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NASA Rover Finds Old Streambed on Martian Surface nasa.gov
223 points by Sodaware  5 hours ago   53 comments top 6
jpxxx 4 hours ago 3 replies      
A quick Mars timeline:

Mars was formed around the time Earth was, but it was blessed with only 11% of Earth's mass and less than 40% of Earth's gravity field. Shortly after cooling solid, its "Noachian Era" was similar to proto-earth: warm, a thick atmosphere, plenty of liquid water on the surface, and probably a significant magnetic field.

But this era was still during the era of the Late Heavy Bombardment, a time in which the last dregs of the solar system were still settling out. Large asteroids still pounded the planets with regularity.

Unlike Earth, Mars had trouble maintaining its liquid iron magnetic field. Since it's much smaller, it cooled and thus congealed faster. And there's growing evidence that asteroid impacts were able to drive enough heat beneath the surface that interior convection was quelled, leading to a fragmented magnetic field.

Without an adequate magnetic field to deflect solar wind, the atmosphere was prone to shedding off pieces of itself into space. This was amplified by the lower gravity which meant holding on to lightweight gasses was even harder.

Over time, Mars cooled to the point where the major forms of tectonics ceased. The water locked up beneath the ground, rusted out pulverized basalt dust from the asteroid impacts, and frizzled in the radiation-baked atmosphere, floating off.

The seas and lakes dried, the rain stopped, and that... was that.

Three billion years later, we arrive on the scene and find out we have a little sibling. Then we send robots. We hope to find life, or evidence that it once lived. Characterizing how water worked in the Martian past is a part of answering that question.

jpxxx 5 hours ago 3 replies      
Not to burst anyone's bubble, but this is not the staggering news it's being made out to be. It is good foundational geology, yes, but water has essentially been confirmed for years now.

The story of Mars in short: flop planet, can't hydrosphere.

There is extremely strong evidence that in the very early years Mars was capable of holding on to a great deal of water: Enough to cover the Southern Hemisphere. The streambed seen here is from that time.

That downer is that this was over 3 billion years ago. Through a variety of processes and for a number of reasons most of Mars' water was lost to space or trapped underground.

The billion-dollar question that would be epic to answer: Did Mars develop Or acquire life during the time it had liquid water on the surface and if so is there any trace of it left, alive or dead?

bootload 5 hours ago 4 replies      
"... NASA's Curiosity rover mission has found evidence a stream once ran vigorously across the area on Mars where the rover is driving. There is earlier evidence for the presence of water on Mars, but this evidence -- images of rocks containing ancient streambed gravels -- is the first of its kind ..."

Why isn't this front page, the implications are staggering.

Zenst 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Out of the set of pictures I find this one the most intriging http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/msl/multimedia/pia16189.ht...

The cemented section on the mars side is in itself most interesting I find and yet seem unable to state why. Wonderous stuff indeed.

wamatt 5 hours ago 1 reply      
"From the size of gravels it carried, we can interpret the water was moving about 3 feet per second, with a depth somewhere between ankle and hip deep," said Curiosity science co-investigator William Dietrich of the University of California, Berkeley.

Out of interest, how do we know it was water, and not some other liquid?

DigitalSea 4 hours ago 3 replies      
The real question is where did the water go and does it still exist somewhere on Mars? Finding a little bit of ice or water is one thing, finding an old streambed is another " but potentially finding an underwater ocean/ecosystem filled to the brim with undiscovered organisms makes me excited not only from a study of different organisms perspective but perhaps because the key to curing diseases that plague Earth might be found on Mars not to mention unlocking other discoveries like how to live longer and even more exciting finding organisms that don't age and have been alive since Mars was created.

My mind is teeming with excitement of the possibilities, is anyone else as excited as me?

StarCraft: Orcs in space go down in flames codeofhonor.com
318 points by phenylene  9 hours ago   56 comments top 10
T-R 7 hours ago 1 reply      
For anyone who's wondering:

Mode 7 was the SNES graphics mode that allowed for things like rotating and zooming a background layer - used for things like the track in Mario Kart and F-Zero, or the worldmap in Final Fantasy 6 (while you're in the airship). The Scroll Register was used for scrolling in Mode 7.

H-Blank is the horizontal blanking period (and associated interrupt) - a time period between the drawing of scanlines on the screen (there's also V-blank, between frames). Changes made during H-Blank could make for some interesting effects - it was used for things like the circle that closes around Mario at the end of a level of Super Mario World: The rectangle draw routine is used, but the size of the rectangle is changed between scanlines, creating a circle. I'd imagine this was used for some of the wavy distortion effects in games like Chrono Trigger and Earthbound as well.

SoftwareMaven 7 hours ago 6 replies      
I've worked at two game studios over the years and came away with one takeaway: there won't be a third unless it's my own. There are few more dysfunctional engineering environments on the planet, leading to continual burnout.

There is a long line of coders who grew up playing games that want to do that into adulthood, leading to a perverse supply/demand ratio that allows studios to treat their employees like crap under the auspices of "that's how the industry works". I wouldn't buy into it.

wtallis 7 hours ago 1 reply      
"As bad as Ion Storm was internally, there was a dark secret that eventually unraveled. It wasn't until years later, well after the 1996 E3 demo of Dominion Storm, and after StarCraft launched, that we discovered that the Dominion Storm demo was a fake."

How many times in the history of computing has a team seen a faked demo, believed it, and cloned it, unwittingly becoming the first ones to do it for real? The fact that there are several such stories is really quite amazing.

danso 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Ah, the press event, the time-suck that had to be tolerated in every realm of human undertaking: video games, sports, business, politics, etc

> As every game developer knows, release dates are slippery, but the dates of trade shows are set in stone. If a game studio has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to prepare booth space, purchase long-lead print advertising and arrange press appointments, the development team is going to have to demo something or heads will roll.

It's crazy to think about how much money and resources were wasted, not to mention destructive pressure created, by these contrived schedules of publicity dates. Getting publicity today is not as simple as making a webpage and twitter account, but at least it's not how it was in the OP's day

STRML 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Blizzard is often revered as one of those few studios, like Valve, that operate on "when it's done" time - game releases happen when they're ready, not when some publishing house requires it. As a result they have been monumentally successful.

It is interesting to hear that this was not always the case. As graphics have gotten better, storage has gotten cheaper, and budgets have gone way up, studios can't just pump-and-dump franchise cash-ins and casuals quite like they used to (with the exception of smartphone titles). ION Storm did Blizzard a great favor by wounding their pride and motivating them to create one of the greatest games ever - and to continue that brilliance until the present day.

comlag 7 hours ago 5 replies      
The link to the story of ION Storm and the game Daikatana he mentions was a really interesting read as well. Talk about a complete mess of a company.
xentronium 6 hours ago 3 replies      
Speaking of change of plans. Does anybody remember blizzard warcraft 3 pre-release version? See screenshots [1][2]

That was entirely different gameplay, with more RPG and less strategy. I remember how I read about it in some magazine and was greatly excited. When it came out, I liked it even more than I expected, that was one kick-ass game.

And then I found World Editor. Needless to say, I was stunned, I spent all my free time playing with JASS (wc3 scripting language), and that was very probably a deciding factor in me becoming a programmer. Hell, even now, I think I could make a decent map if paired with a good landscape designer/storymaker. I haven't finished many maps and projects in my time but the process of creation/programming was so incredibly enjoyable, that end result didn't even matter.

I wonder if there are any other world editors on HN.

[1] http://www.scrollsoflore.com/gallery/displayimage.php?album=...

[2] http://www.scrollsoflore.com/gallery/albums/war3_prerelease/... also click arrows on the page, there is more.

error54 3 hours ago 0 replies      
IGN review of the game that made Starcraft what is today.


lectrick 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Pretty awesome story!
Want To Disrupt An Industry? Try Actually Working In It First (RentHop YC '09) fastcompany.com
61 points by luxiou  3 hours ago   22 comments top 5
leelin 3 hours ago 2 replies      
Hey, this is Lee from RentHop.

One thing that isn't very clear from the writeup: we went through a LONG trough of sorrow before finding our current pivot. That's a story for another day...

pippy 1 hour ago 1 reply      
No. The best way to disrupt an industry is to do something unrelated - something crazy and something different. You'll never break the mould and explode by copying incumbent industries line of thought.

For example the real estate industry has been upset most in New Zealand by trademe, a company started by someone who wanted an easier way to buy a used toaster. The industry here is still scrambling to catch up, instead of competing with a startup trying to emulate their business model.

By doing what the article suggests, you'll be above mediocre at best. Think different (tm).

robrenaud 3 hours ago 3 replies      
To me, broker fees in NYC seem so crazy. Can someone justify them? Is opening up a few doors really worth 3k?
mijail 2 hours ago 1 reply      
New York real estate is a system. You have to learn the system to hack it.

A lot of real estate start ups are trying to "Avoid the Broker." The system isn't as broken as we may think. Landlords enjoy minimal vacancy. Brokers get paid generously. Tenants find apartments.

Complaining about a 15% broker fee is like complaining about the gas for your Lamborghini.

codeoedoc 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Can't agree more.
Notch: "I'd rather have minecraft not run on win 8 at all than to play along." kotaku.com
29 points by evo_9  2 hours ago   17 comments top 8
thetabyte 18 minutes ago 1 reply      
What people here aren't getting with the references to XBox and iOS is that Notch's objections aren't to closed platforms. He objects to PCs as closed platforms. Minecraft was originally an indie game developed for PCs due to their open ecosystem. It was only able to reach closed markets like iOS and XBox because of its success as a side project on an open platform. Notch strongly believes that the computer should stay a bastion of openness in order to sustain a indie game community--indeed, the majority of my own games I play today are small, independent games that provide a unique experience that I would hate to lose due to higher barriers to entry.
kenjackson 15 minutes ago 0 replies      
With all due respect, I'm going to Windows 8. I'd like Minecraft to be there, but if it's not, I'm sure some other indie developer will put together a compelling game on the platform.
recoiledsnake 7 minutes ago 0 replies      
What is Windows 8 "certification" that he's complaining about? Is it about adding it to the Windows Store distributed by Microsoft? In that case, doesn't it need to rebuilt with WinRT/DirectX?

Or to add it as a link to the developer's website like desktop apps can have in the Store?

The requirements are here: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/hh74...

Can't see anything really bad there, if anything those rules finally herd the Windows application cats.

dpark 51 minutes ago 1 reply      
Wait, so he's refusing to put Minecraft in the Windows Store because it's "less open" than Windows 7? Didn't his company rewrite Minecraft so that he could sell it on iOS?
sbochins 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Don't quite get what his beef is with Windows 8. It doesn't really seem to be "openness" issues like he is saying. If that were the case why would he have ported his code to Xbox (another closed microsoft platform). If he doesn't like the Metro UI why is he complaining about things being closed. I guess people don't usually really think about what they say when they tweet.
dmansen 1 minute ago 0 replies      
To all you people saying that this is just "best practices" requirements, etc: do you not realize this is MICROSOFT? The evil empire? He's taking a stand! A completely meaningless stand, but really, this is important!
stephengillie 58 minutes ago 0 replies      
The article lists many tech celebrities whose dire predictions have made other articles. I'm still waiting to see the technical problems each has with Win8.
hetman 17 minutes ago 0 replies      
Yes, I can see how making an application more consistent and predictable would be terrible for the end users.
Download any ebook free from Packt Publishing (through the end of the month) packtpub.com
62 points by jontas  4 hours ago   20 comments top 5
oinksoft 3 hours ago 3 replies      
Can anybody recommend some books put out by Packt? I've looked at quite a few of their books over the years, and they have been, without exception, dreadful (not quite a tutorial, but also not a reference, lacking in detail, and usually behind the curve technology-wise). They appear to have several hundred books so there must be some hidden gems.
andrewcooke 3 hours ago 2 replies      
I don't know much about ebooks and I don't have a mobile device. Does this include something like a PDF I can read on a computer?
dmayle 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Any good recommendations for a book to choose? I browsed the 'new eBooks' section, and the only one that looked any interesting was on balsamiq mockups...
gary4gar 3 hours ago 2 replies      
tried ordering an e-book & it asked for payment. i assume there a special promo code that needs to applied?
gary4gar 4 hours ago 3 replies      
Site down?
Click around, hover over a link desandro.com
15 points by ericz  43 minutes ago   6 comments top 5
BryanB55 0 minutes ago 0 replies      
Oh I see... FYI: Click on the background somewhere near text. I was clicking on links and you dont get the 'smush' effect unless you click on the background....and hovering over links gives a rainbow colored effect.

I guess its cool.... but no, not really.

retlehs 3 minutes ago 0 replies      
This is awesome, too: http://metafizzy.co/ also from David DeSandro)

Hover over the logo and watch how the colors on the page change

pooriaazimi 12 minutes ago 0 replies      
Nice hack (especially when you're clicking around), but what caught my eye was that maybe for the first time, Safari is actually waaay better than Chrome or Firefox.

This is (roughly) the framerate I get when I tried it on the three browsers (all latest version, Windows Vista):

    Safari: 60 fps (or 30, or whatever "completely smooth" means)
Chrome: 20 fps (compared to Safari)
Firefox: 30 fps (compared to Safari)

But why? Chrome has always been the fastest (on Windows - on Mac, Safari is much smoother for me)???

lukevdp 27 minutes ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of the bright colours of geocities days
kondro 33 minutes ago 1 reply      
That's hideous.
Announcing the First Beta Release of Persona mozilla.com
378 points by callahad  12 hours ago   172 comments top 9
Osiris 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I just tried it on the Times Crossword page. The workflow is really simple and elegant. I put in my email address. It took a second to determine there was no Persona account, then asked for me to create a password. After that, I clicked on an authorization link in my email account and as soon as I did that it immediately logged me in. I clicked Log out and back in again and it immediately recognized me and logged me in.

This is really what I was hoping to see with OpenID when it came out, but the process to set up an account and get started is much more cumbersome.

I look forward to seeing native support for Persona in browsers.

binarymax 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Have been messing around with BrowserID since it first went public last year (with a node.js backend) and I love it. Its so much more straightforward to implement than oauth and openid, and the fact that it's tied to your email address is perfect. I'm definitely going to be using it as my primary auth system going forward. Great job Mozilla!
Too 12 hours ago 5 replies      
After reading the text twice and watching both videos i still have no clue what it actually does and how it solves the problem. I'm a few pages of skimming into the documentation now but there's no overview of what it actually does in the background.

Just a load of buzzwords and awesomeness!1 of how this will revolutionize my account management and how easy the API is.

Is it a password manager, a biometric system or some kind of account provider?

JakeSc 11 hours ago 4 replies      
My major concern with this, beside the eggs-in-one-basket issue, is that this places even more value on my email account.

Years ago, my email account was simply used for exchanging short pieces of text with acquaintances and companies. Now it's the central key to all my authentication sessions and finances, and therefore presents a huge target for attackers.

I've been looking for ways to reduce the risk associated with losing access to my email account, should that ever happen. Yet for all its benefits, Persona still places yet more importance on protecting my single email password.

lifeisstillgood 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Got it spliced into the site i am working on, checked in to github, and my laptop crashes. Karma oh karma.

This looks great, I got an identity service plugged in in hours, into a OSS website and this will kick openids bottom.

Brilliant - Mozilla is hitting some incredible high notes right now

BryanB55 9 hours ago 3 replies      
This seems to be a nice solution if you are on your own home/work computer and have your email open. They didn't really explain much on HOW it works but the problem I'm seeing is that if I am at a public computer and want to login I have to log in to my email account first and click on the persona link. I guess the benefit here is that I only need to remember 1 password (my email address password) but my email password is usually a 50 character random string that I don't like entering on public computers if I even could.

So if I want to log in to a crossword puzzle I almost feel like I have to compromise my email password which is much more valuable, if say the public computer has a key logger or something.

Maybe I'm over thinking. I could see how this would be useful if I have my desktop mail client running and just click a link to log in though.

AndrewDucker 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm hoping that a large email provider (like gmail) will support this soon.

Getting providers onboard with this will be the make or break factor. And I'd really like it to succeed.

forgotusername 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I really want to believe in something like this, however you'd getting much better traction by explaining a few key details:

* What the hell does the JS assertion object look like?

* How do I run an independent service?

* In a single page, walk me through the steps to integrate?

Videos, dodgy music, overenthusiastic PFYs appeal to me much less than good documentation

qikquestion 9 hours ago  replies      
Let me add my understanding. Please correct me if it is wrong.

Actual user case if everything is in place:

1. you are in a website using browserid protocol/persona (eg. http://crossword.thetimes.co.uk/)

2.hit the login link. Give your email address (superuser123@gmail.com or superuser123@yahoo.com)

3.it prompts for your password - gmail password or yahoo password

4.post authentication it takes you to the website with user session as superuser123@gmail.com/superuser123@yahoo.com - eg crossword.thetimes.co.uk

5.In a nutshell, end user doesn't need to create a new userid & password for using the website, as long as he knows his emailuserd/emailpassword

Present use case - since few things are missing

1. you are in a website using browserid protocol/persona (eg. http://crossword.thetimes.co.uk/)

2.hit the login link. since gmail & yahoo as email providers not implemented browserid/persona protocol, you will asked to create an account in persona.org with any of your existing email address.(gmail / yahoo).

persona.org will send you a verification link to check if you really own your email address. Click on the verification link and you are verified to use persona.org account in all the places where browserid is supported

3.in the login page - it prompts for a new password if you are a new user or existing password if you are a returning user - this is the password for the email address used in persona.org registration.

4.post authentication it takes you to the website with user session as superuser123@gmail.com/superuser123@yahoo.com - eg crossword.thetimes.co.uk

5.In a nutshell, two things will change in future - no login window from persona.org & no need to create account in persona.org

Adaptive Resampling in D3.js ocks.org
38 points by shashashasha  3 hours ago   3 comments top
mbostock 2 hours ago 2 replies      
Since it's not clear from the link, I'll clarify that this refers to resampling for map (cartographic) projections. For more on our recent work on extended projections, see the geo/projections plugin:


And more cool mapping demos here:


Facebook Gifts facebook.com
101 points by tksohishi  7 hours ago   82 comments top 16
boredguy8 6 hours ago 4 replies      
"It's Mary's birthday in 3 days - send her a birthday cupcake?"

I would probably click "yes" if it's < $5.

Not for every FB 'friend', but there's a 'sufficiently close' threshold where, yes, I'd click that button. Even better if it's day-of fulfillment. And I bet I'm not alone.

gfodor 4 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm super bullish on this. I think this will end up being FB's first big cash cow. I never thought advertising was anything more than a stop-gap to cover costs, Zuck has always hated ads. Personally I thought their big revenue stream would probably be to start charging for FB Connect, but this makes more sense. They are basically hooking in at the right point of intent to convert a user, which is exactly why Google can print piles of money.

This is just step one. Once they get this working they are going to have all kinds of purchasing behavior and really be able to weave their way into all sorts of ecommerce scenarios. Their biggest challenge is going to be fulfillment (you don't want a birthday gift showing up late) so they are probably going to be very selective in who they partner with and are going to roll this out very slowly, since first impressions being good is essential.

Edit: Also there are all kinds of social experiments they can run to optimize conversions with this. If someone you know buys a gift for your friend, you are going to feel more pressure to do so. Etc.

LaGrange 6 hours ago 5 replies      
Oooh, now that's the way to get real names + addresses out of people. Neat. It also involves social pressure -- now not giving away your address will mean rejecting a gift.
marquis 6 hours ago 3 replies      
"Now you can do something more meaningful" (than a hey, happy birthday call or message). It disappoints me when I hear wording like this, there is nothing more meaningful about paying money for a present that took you two clicks and is probably already part of a pre-selected group of items from their profile/history, than thinking of something to write on their wall in two clicks.

All power to Facebook to make it work though: maybe if they can monetize themselves through means like this they'll pay more attention to privacy issues as they will have less incentive to make everything public for advertising/selling data.

waterlesscloud 6 hours ago 3 replies      
All depends on the quality of the gifts. If they're chintzy, good luck. But if it's quality stuff, cool. It's got to be of a higher level than Zynga was for apps.

Facebook would be served best by controlling gift quality with an iron fist. I'm a little skeptical they'll do that, but maybe.

This is very cool, though "Friends ... can swap for a different size, flavor or style before the gift ships."

Still. Quality. Quality. Quality.

jbwyme 14 minutes ago 0 replies      
When I first started reading, I thought "Now THIS is something Facebook should have been doing all along. It's a perfect fit.". Then I read:

2. Your friend is notified instantly

Friends enter their own shipping info and can swap for a different size, flavor or style before the gift ships.

What!? This seems like a huge product miss. It's almost the equivalent of buying someone a gift card. It removes the element of surprise that makes gift giving great and takes a lot of personality out of giving the gifts. I get that it's more practical but since when has giving gifts been about practicality?

IMO it would be a much better implementation to say "a friend is sending you a gift! Fill out your address so we can ship it out to you: ...".

timothya 6 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm friends with a few people on Facebook who I'd consider to be very popular. 1000+ friends with many guys vying after their attention. Every time they post a picture of themselves it will be hit with 50 likes (mostly from males) in the first hour.

I bet these people will be swimming in gifts once it's released.

k-mcgrady 6 hours ago 0 replies      
A much better idea than the original 'virtual gifts'. I could really see this taking off although it will take some time to reach users around the world. Maybe they will partner with Amazon for distribution. I wonder how this would affect Facebook's bottom line if a large percentage of their users started taking advantage of it. Combined with the birthday notifications everyone is used to it could generate significant revenue.

e.g. What is you clicked a birthday notification and instead of just an option to post to the persons wall you could send a gift? Lots of opportunity here for Facebook to integrate this.

Edit: just watched the video and they are integrating with birthdays.

gsharma 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Here is something interesting Facebook can/may do: Apart from showing variations of the gifts (such as colors, flavors, etc.) have another option of "Save $xx as Facebook Credits." Once people have Facebook Credit sitting in their accounts they'll be more inclined to use Facebook to pay for things.
veb 6 hours ago 2 replies      
Does this mean I can buy my friends a beer? Because that'll be better than buying them a ... cupcake.
mikek 5 hours ago 0 replies      
This is why Facebook acquired Karma.
icey 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Any Facebookers around who work on this? It would be really sweet to have a few "Charitable Giving" options. The more the merrier. Everyone in my family does charitable donations for Christmas / some birthdays, and it'd be fun to do it for people who I'd normally just message.
3am_hackernews 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Is this the result of the Karma acquisition [1]?


smackfu 7 hours ago 1 reply      
In case you have a feeling of deja vu:

Last Call for Facebook Gifts (https://blog.facebook.com/blog.php?post=405727117130)

rishi 6 hours ago 1 reply      
It looks like Facebook allows businesses to add their products into their "Gift Store"


This might be a great way to get your physical product in front of millions of people.

kin 2 hours ago  replies      
Anyone remember the old Facebook gifts? The ones that were virtual? People even paid for those! I think people will for sure participate in this. Who doesn't want to extend a nice gesture to their friend.
How can I submit prior art to the Patent Office? stackexchange.com
88 points by bugsbunnyak  6 hours ago   10 comments top 2
arjn 5 hours ago 2 replies      
This is interesting but I'd like to know a few more things :

1) Does submission of prior art guarantee it will be looked at and considered ?

2) Must a prior art submission always be associated with a particular patent or set of patents ?

3) Can one submit prior art for a patent that does not exist yet or is in pending stage.

4) Do things like video clips (say of movies), showing objects or devices that don't exist, count as prior art ?

proksoup 5 hours ago 1 reply      
This reminds me that I want a Google Alerts for patents.
Marissa Mayer: Yahoo Products Must Ship In 6 Months, Or Don't Bother sfgate.com
28 points by kqr2  3 hours ago   11 comments top 5
jkubicek 12 minutes ago 0 replies      
People seem to be misinterpreting her comments. The product will ship in 6 months and reach 100M users eventually.
snowmaker 56 minutes ago 1 reply      
Does anyone have a link to a more detailed summary of her turnaround plan?
ricksta 34 minutes ago 4 replies      
anyone felt 6 month is kinda long? I guess it depend on the type of product, but wasn't the first version of Gmail written in a day?
dmishe 1 hour ago 0 replies      
That's the spirit
alphazulu 1 hour ago 0 replies      
For some reason Marissa reminds me of the King in that Bugs Bunny cartoon.
"Where's my Hasenpfeffer!" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDe8fTgVUZw&feature=youtu...
Fuck 'em deliberatism.com
42 points by jennylang  3 hours ago   19 comments top 10
michaelochurch 49 minutes ago 1 reply      
I hate to be the downer, but this "fuck 'em" attitude doesn't work for most people. Sure, society is mean-spirited, limiting, imbecilic, and cutthroat. The ratrace literally serves no purpose (it's a sterilized, time-consuming social-climbing circus that has almost nothing to do with work, and is not necessary to get done the work society actually needs, more often getting in the way of actual work) but one cannot just take 5 years out of it and get back into the game with the same status. Ageism is huge in the business world (you lose opportunities as you get older and less "shiny") and even one year is a massive, often intolerable loss.

The "fuck 'em" attitude would be great if it were sustainable, but it's not. You can't keep living like a teenager when you're in your 40s. Want to have kids? Then, you need to own your house (it's good for their self-esteem and has measurable effects on their social and academic success to own the house they live in) and get them into good schools and make sure they have the opportunities (intellectual, athletic, creative, occupational) that will socialize them well and provide them with the connections to have a decent shot of actually achieving something instead of just being some entitled guy's pawn. Otherwise, you're just generating middle-grade meat for society to munch on. So kids are super-expensive, but you can't really have them at age 60, and you better have laid your groundwork (career-wise) for many years before you make that decision.

It makes me sick to read this bad advice that tells people they can just do what they want and that society will accept them for being unique, wonderful snowflakes. Or "do what you love and the money will follow". It's total bullshit. People generally suck and are mean-spirited and vindictive, and this idea that society will catch and nurture those who indulge themselves in a gap or two is ridiculous. You know what happens (if you're not rich and well-connected) to your career if you travel for 2 years after school? People resent the fuck out of you (because they didn't have or take that opportunity) and ding you for that alone. Six months of leisure travel when young is, for this reason, somewhat more of a liability than that amount of regular unemployment (which, post-2008, makes you look more unlucky than incompetent).

What you actually need to do is figure out what matters, what to care about, and how much. For example, you should care about your job well enough to do it well and get promotions. You should not care about it so much that you get into conflicts that damage your career. You should care about your success in the company (and in your career) but not about big-picture company-wide issues over which you have no influence. (Pay attention to these, because they may be relevant to your career, but don't get emotionally involved or take stupid risks, even when those risks benefit the company, because you won't give a shit about "good for the company" if you get fired.) You can't take a "fuck 'em" attitude or get a chip on your shoulder, but blind obedience to managerial authority is going to lead to mediocrity and misery and, in the long run, anomie. Somewhere between "yes, sir" douchebaggery and "fuck 'em" is the right attitude-- the "middle path".

mladenkovacevic 1 hour ago 1 reply      
It's a very careless thing to say "Fuck'em" to all the people that care about you enough to take an interest in how your life turns out. For the most part they aren't trying to box you into some mindless, slave-like existence, but really just want you to have a plan-B in case your rockstar/pro-snowboarder/billionaire-entrepreneur career doesn't work out.

I think many people who advise us in our young age grew up in a time when "travelling & writing" just wasn't a conceivable reality because there wasn't a market for any of that "finding yourself" bullshit. They were part of a society that was too busy putting a car in every garage and a chicken dinner in every dining room (and eventually sending kids to college and on Euro-trips).

I'm not saying you shouldn't go couch surfing across Eastern Europe if that's really what makes you feel alive, but don't dismiss an entire cultural mindset that made it possible for you to do so with a passport that will allow you across nearly every border in the world. "Travelling", for many non-westerners, means waiting for 2 years and checking with an embassy every single day to see if your Visa has been approved so your family can board a plane that allows you to leave your country for more than 6 months.

robomartin 46 minutes ago 0 replies      
Hey, someone has to work at <insert your favorite low-wage-but-I-saw-the-world-and-write-poetry employer 'cause I don't want to offend anyone>.

Seriously now. The path characterized in the article as "the plan" is not for everyone. And that's fine. I wish I were an America's Cup competitor. I am not. I am a pretty good recreational sailor. And that's OK. I chose to follow a path that led me to engineering and serial entrepreneurship. We don't all have to follow the same path.

So long as the focus is positive there's value in every path.

A better title for the post might have been "...and that's OK".

zainny 2 hours ago 3 replies      
I personally found the correspondence in the comments between Adrian and Eric (the author) more interesting than the article itself.

It kinda highlights the contradiction between what people say, and what people do. Fuck 'em? Sounds bold! But "driving a minivan with two baby seats in the back" well, that sounds...like me in five years.

Stated alternately, there's an awful lot of people online with regularly updated blogs, twitter accounts and other social profiles who seem particularly compelled to tell me how amazing their lives are.

jayfuerstenberg 0 minutes ago 0 replies      
Every tiger mom should read this.
nhebb 25 minutes ago 1 reply      
> What if you volunteered some time in a developing country and met someone who'd never spent a moment thinking about Chandler and Monica?

Most organizations that send volunteers to developing countries are either evangelical or are looking for educated people with skills, both of which require the kind of conformism that this piece rallies against.

BTW, in all seriousness, who are Chandler and Monica?

nsxwolf 1 hour ago 0 replies      
This came off offensive to me. Kids and a house may not be your ideal life, but many people have that life and don't consider it "lame ass". Some people are actually happy and not constantly regretting roads they didn't take in life. I'm wondering if you're the one who is insecure and depressed.
jaggederest 1 hour ago 1 reply      
It's a good thing we exist in the top percentile of the world's population that affords us even the luxury to consider this sort of thing.
kghose 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I think the advice I would give is, before settling into a course in life, go out and meet as many people you can. Try to just observe and see outcomes. That way you have an idea of what lives are like along certain paths (in general).

Myself, I really only had the example of my parents and some relatives. I don't regret this, because I really like my path in life. It is not easy, but it is driving.

However, if I could give myself advice, it would be to mingle more with more people from more diverse lifestyles, just to see outcomes, attitudes and daily lives.

beebs93 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Boiled down it's just saying "Don't be a sheep" (Perfect Circle's "Counting Bodies Like Sheep" music video popped in my head).

I've read a lot of the posts on that site and it always amazes me how people's knee jerk reaction is "you don't know me - don't tell me how to live".

Geezuz Jump-roping Christ - panties have never been bunched up so quickly by so many by so few words.

Linux TCP/IP Tuning lognormal.com
98 points by bluesmoon  8 hours ago   27 comments top 8
caf 2 hours ago 0 replies      
In order for a collision to take place, we'd have to get a new connection from an existing client, AND that client would have to use the same port number that it used for the earlier connection, AND our server would have to assign the same port number to this connection as it did before.

Ephemeral ports aren't assigned to inbound connections, they're used for outbound connections. So, for the client-to-nginx connection, both the server IP and port are fixed (the port will be either 80 or 443) - only the client IP and port change, so for a collision all you need is for a client to re-use the same port on its side quickly.

For the nginx to node connection, both IPs and the server port are fixed, leaving only the ephemeral port used by nginx to vary. You don't have to worry about out-of-order packets here though, since the connection is loopback.

Note that only the side of the connection that initiates the close goes into TIME_WAIT - the other side goes into a much shorter LAST_ACK state.

meritt 7 hours ago 5 replies      
Really surprised this article doesn't mention tcp_tw_reuse or tcp_tw_recycle. These have a more substantial impact that simply adjusting TW, as those ports will still be in a FIN_WAIT status for a long time before reuse as well.

Excellent article on the subject.: http://www.speedguide.net/articles/linux-tweaking-121

aidos 5 hours ago 0 replies      
There's some good info in here. We ran a flash hotel sale a while back. Only lasted for 60 seconds but with about 800 booking req/second. Discovered many of the same issues but I never quite got iptables stable (hash table flooding, then other issues) so I ended up getting it to ignore some of the traffic. Will try out the solutions in here next time to see how it goes.
ianshward 5 hours ago 0 replies      
_"A large part of this is due to the fact that nginx only uses HTTP/1.0 when it proxies requests to a back end server, and that means it opens a new connection on every request rather than using a persistent connection"_

Have you tried using upstream keepalive http://nginx.org/en/docs/http/ngx_http_upstream_module.html#... This should help keep the number of connections, and thus ephemeral port and tcp memory loading down.

As for node.js, core only ever holds a connection open for once through the event loop, and even then, only if there are requests queued. If you have any kind of high volume tcp client in node, this will also cause issues w/ ephemeral port exhaustion and thus tcp memory loading. Check out https://github.com/TBEDP/agentkeepalive in that case. Related to tcp memory load issues in general, this is a helpful paper http://www.isi.edu/touch/pubs/infocomm99/infocomm99-web/

ck2 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I've found the low hanging fruit is to add initcwnd 10 to your ip route and setting tcp_slow_start_after_idle=0
dfc 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Does anyone know why nf_conntrack_tcp_timeout_established is set to such a high value? Five days seems like an awful long time.
koenigdavidmj 6 hours ago 2 replies      
Do people seriously run out of ephemeral ports before they run out of server memory?
Generating 16384 Bit SSH Keys aeg0.com
39 points by AdamGibbins  5 hours ago   17 comments top 6
zobzu 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Forget 16kbits keys.

Use this: ssh-keygen -b 521 -t ecdsa

That's (a lot) faster than RSA 16384 bit keys. A 200bit ECDSA key is +- (there's many factors involved) equivalent to a 2048bit RSA key.

Also the 521bit ECDSA not only verifies faster, it generates instantly (on current hardware), instead of taking a few coffess with the 16K RSA.

Finally, remember that, by the time we've enough computer power to brute force either of the above, one of these will probably happen:

- RSA or ECDSA may be logically broken

- you will be dead

- the hardware and software will not run anymore

- a new computer power breakthrough will make the choice of strength and cipher irrelevant (one can hope)

peterwwillis 30 minutes ago 0 replies      
I would like to point out that you can not future-proof anything that's security-related. You must have a plan to be able to upgrade or replace any security measures you have today, because the chance they'll be broken in your lifetime is extremely high.
jlgreco 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Would be interesting to see some numbers for some (actually) low powered hardware. An i5 from a year ago taking almost a quarter of a second doesn't sound to great in my book.
lotyrin 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Because more = better (obviously), and my keys are going to continue to have privileges on machines several hundred years from now.


Zenst 4 hours ago 1 reply      
This may be one way in curtailing bring your own device mentalities but beyond that any security system is always a compromise in one way or another. Also it is only as strong as the weakest link and if your the only user logged onto the box via ssh and others have weaker keys then you start to see the flaws.

But if everybody who logs on uses the same level of security, then it is that secure, otherwise it realy is down to the weakest link and even a home box can be taken out by a house cat who can't even use the vi editor.

erikano 1 hour ago 0 replies      
github didn't seem to like that. I gave it my 16k pub-key. It gave me a 500 error :(
MMO xkcd WebSockets fixed by PubNub pubnub.com
98 points by pubnub  9 hours ago   38 comments top 14
pubnub 9 hours ago 4 replies      
Hello all hackers from HackerNews. We notice a new MMO was released by n01se and xkcd yesterday (September 26th, 2012) with multiple users flying around with a balloon figure. If you got stuck, you can click your balloon guy and turn into a ghost to seamlessly move through the landscape unhindered by mortal barriers like trees and hills. There was a problem however with the scaling of users on the system. The max concurrency could only be 20 users at a time leaving many wonder where the MMO part of the MMO was. We ripped out the non-scaling Node.JS code. ENJOY.

Enter the xkcd World with Friends: http://www.pubnub.com/static/pubnub-xkcd/index.html

ch0wn 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Great use of a marketing opportunity. This actually runs very smoothly. Well done!
JTxt 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Neat and your service looks interesting, but I don't call this 'fixed' yet. It did not seem to scale well.

Everyone is spawning at the same point. I just see a flood of dead users. Some jerk around a little and appear and disappear. But very little interaction.

Is it possible to multiple spawn points when demand is high and separate channels/servers for various areas that you switch as you move? (like Second Life)

I believe a node.js (or something else) version could be federated, and/or clients connect to various servers as they travel.

I know this is just a toy, but it would be interesting to see this work well at a large scale.

meritt 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm running Chrome yet it's still long-polling instead of using websockets.


kanaka 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I think your service is having some trouble. The updates appear fairly smooth because the client continues rendering the last vector seen for each avatar. However, when comparing with several friends also connected it's clear that very few of the messages are getting through and sometimes only in one direction.

Also the dynamic poll/sample interval you implemented seems to hit 1000ms (1 second) and stay there.

danielweber 9 hours ago 2 replies      
Okay, I could probably answer this if I read all the old WebSockets posts, but how can you have people communicate without a server?
joshaidan 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I like this a lot. But I wish it had some physics added to it. Maybe that will be my fork.
pubnub 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Added iPad and iPhone / Android Support with Touch! - http://www.pubnub.com/static/pubnub-xkcd/index.html
vyrotek 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Cheers! We're using PubNub in production and it's been great so far. We were one of those noisy customers that wanted the presence API. :
mparlane 7 hours ago 1 reply      
"No server required courtesy of PubNub."

There most definitely is a server, so can anyone explain what they meant by that instead?

pubnub 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Recorded a video - http://vimeo.com/50320757 - [VIDEO] of live action during the early moments of the release.
carimura 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Nice work guys.
wschott 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Parallella: Raspberry Pi-like open parallel computing hardware kickstarter.com
36 points by JonasH  5 hours ago   23 comments top 8
gbraad 3 minutes ago 0 replies      
It is a nice try. Looks quite similar to the Creative Zii (Egg platform) and the Zii Labs' ZMS-05 processor which they marketed as "Stemcell Computing"... and a lot of other attempts.

They use a Zenboard (Xilinx Zync, ARM+FPGA) as a base platform. My first reaction; they claim this being 'open source'. Nothing about the ARM processor or even the core inside the FPGA is open source. Also, what they will deliver is the toolchain and the documentation, but no IP or RTL code for the cores. Another Fauxpen source project... using it merely as a buzzword to get people involved; comparable to the Beagleboard to get usecases and branding out.

When hardware is called "open source", they need to look at how Milkymist does it. PCB design files are offered, but also the RTL verilog is available for the CPU (in fact the whole SoC).

aristidb 26 minutes ago 0 replies      
I'm hardly an expert in this, but doesn't that architecture look similar to Intel's MIC architecture (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_MIC) with the upcoming Xeon Phi product? See also http://semiaccurate.com/2012/08/28/intel-details-knights-cor...
malandrew 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Sounds awesome, but I have a few comments I'm going to braindump:

$750k seems really ambitious for a kickstarter project with such a niche audience. Is that realistic for 29 days, considering you need to sell 7500 units of the $99 pledge amount? At the end of day 7, Leapmotion had 15,000 applications for a free leap motion device and SDK, and that is a device with a much larger audience.

Do you have any investor lined up that would be willing to maybe match a Kickstarter total pledge amount of something realistic like $375k?

Have you considered approaching a fund like In-Q-Tel? This seems like the kind of project they would fund, since I imagine a lot of the best parallel computing work is being done in government-funded agencies and labs. I also imagine the government is probably the biggest employer of people working on parallel processing devices. With that in mind, getting a device like this into the hands of many, allows more people to get hands on exposure to parallel computing.

Overall, it feels like the funding strategy needs to be diversified, because I imagine it will be difficult to get $750k all from one source, with the exception of a VC fund whose thesis aligns with your goals.

Lastly, it feels like a project like this would be a bit too soon. Many developers who are playing with hardware have been playing around with the arduino for a few years, some are now graduating to the Raspberry Pi, which offers clear benefits over the Arduino because you can run tons of stuff simply not possible on the Arduino. However as the Raspberry Pi just came out, I imagine that most developers are still trying to get their hands on something like it and still don't feel the pain of trying to solve problems with it, that could only be solved with something like the parallella.

As a hobbyist, besides exploring parallel computing for its own sake, what other kinds of problems can I explore/solve with the parallella which simply wouldn't be possible on the raspberry pi? Sell a dream and possibilities here. I'm personally not familiar with what would only be possible on a parallella and I might feel more interested in this project if I know why I'd want it (besides learning pp for its own sake).

AceJohnny2 5 hours ago 1 reply      
What's wrong with the Parallax Propeller? You can get a starter kit for $25 [1]. Granted, you used to have to program it in its own language, but C compilers are popping up [2]

[1] http://adafruit.com/products/791
[2] http://propeller.wikispaces.com/Programming+in+C+-+Catalina

ricardobeat 4 hours ago 1 reply      
The "Making parallel computing easy" and "The goal of the Parallella project is to democratize access to parallel computing" lines made me immediately think of the Parallax Propeller.

Turns out their product isn't remotely similar: up to 64 cores at 800mhz, plus a dual-core ARM CPU. I wonder why they are doing a kickstarter instead of harvesting their dollars from server appliances.

backprojection 4 hours ago 4 replies      
This sounds great, but why is it a kick starter project? If the claims they're making are reasonable, it seems to me that, for instance, Google would be more than a little interested, and could easily cough up $750K. What am I missing?
wtracy 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Has anyone here worked with Epiphany chips before? Are there any special APIs required to use them effectively? How hard would it be to get Haskell code running on one?
iyulaev 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Hasn't the whole massive multicore thing been floating around the server space for a few years now? I remember HP Project Moonshot and Sea Micro and a few other projects to built multi-chip ARM servers. However, I don't recall seeing ANY benchmarks that demonstrated that they were any more efficient, per watt, in a REAL application, than the x86 competition. I would really like to see such a data point. I guess now it's being sold as a novelty to let people play with such a technology, which is fine I guess.

The CISC vs. RISC days are long over and the battle between the two architectures is a bit silly at this point since the gap between the instruction set and the underlying implementation has gotten quite dramatic. Claims that RISC chips are inherently more efficient may have been true in 1995, but I don't see this holding water today.

App.net developer incentive programme app.net
79 points by anu_gupta  9 hours ago   37 comments top 13
smacktoward 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Once a month App.net members will receive an email asking them to give feedback on the App.net apps they have used that month

I bet they're going to love that. There's nothing people like more than filling out the same form over and over again, after all.

jyap 8 hours ago 1 reply      
The problem with 3rd party apps is that the participation will always be a subset of the overall user base of App.net.

The overall user base of App.net is constrained by financial limitations (pay to play yearly).

So if someone creates an app off of their platform, like the simple chess app, they also need to be a member of App.net to play it. So while you may see the benefits and be a member of App.net, if you want to convince your friend to play who isn't a member of App.net you also need to convince them to pay and join App.net.

App.net is arguing that their business model does not require lots of users to be sustainable. While that may be true, for network effects to take hold, you need users.

whalesalad 8 hours ago 1 reply      
App.net really needs to work on a branding initiative sooner rather than later. This bootstrap++ styling is not going to work forever. A logo at least.
cek 7 hours ago 2 replies      
It is never a good idea to pay developers to support a platform [1]. I struggle to find a single proof point of a successful platform where early dev adoption was kickstarted by the provider paying for apps.

All that paying for apps does is get uncommitted developers doing second-rate work. It sets the expectation that payments will continue as well.

I was bullish about ADN until I read this news. Now I fear it is doomed...

[1] http://ceklog.kindel.com/2012/09/26/paying-developers-is-a-b...

cheez 8 hours ago 2 replies      
I swear I still have no idea what app.net is.
mikeknoop 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I came up with a good explanation for the "vision" of app.net:

A replacement for traditional communication (instant messaging) that is built into everything.

spaghetti 7 hours ago 0 replies      
This sounds pretty cool! Are there any screenshots of the chess app available to non app.net members? I'd like to see what using an app in app.net looks like. If it looks good I'll sign up for app.net and start developing apps immediately.

Seems like there's some "low hanging fruit" problems that this app ecosystem could attempt to solve. First is search and discovery. Just do it better than Apple. Then there's the review process. Just scratch that entirely and use collaborative filtering to let the best apps bubble up to the top of the list. Of course have some flag for offensive, hate related etc apps.

How about partnering with Stripe and having an in-app-purchase system where developers get 100% of the revenue? Or perhaps 90%. Just being better than Apple is a great start.

One more thought: Apple's app ecosystem had the benefit of users' CC info pre-entered. Seems like app.net could benefit from the CC or other payment info already supplied by users when signing up.

fusiongyro 7 hours ago 0 replies      
What a strange idea. I wonder if it will work. We used to kid that the app store turned development into a popularity contest. Well, this is exactly a popularity contest, no metaphor.

On the other hand, I'm glad they're going to suspend developers who goad; I am sick of every app on my phone asking me to go give it five stars.

obilgic 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I dont think app.net is revolutionary enough to be next big social network.

I believe that next big social platform will be open, decentralized, interface-independent and wont be under direct control of a single company/organization. Something like an email, just an api...

jaredcwhite 7 hours ago 1 reply      
If enough amazing apps come out that require an App.net account to use, people will get on it. Think about it like this: if Netflix came out with a developer program whereby devs could create new video-watching-related apps that required a Netflix account, guess what? They'd probably do just fine because millions of people already have Netflix accounts. App.net is starting from scratch, yes, but if they can build up to a few hundred thousand or over a million paying users who perceive value, this thing is frankly a no-brainer.

I think the logic behind the feedback system is pretty good too. A lot of users won't bother submitting feedback, but the ones that do are already motivated to submit feedback and therefore reward apps they like. So it's in the best interest of devs to create apps that delight their users. Win-win all around.

EGreg 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I think we are building something more ambitious.


teawithcarl 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Way to go, Dalton.
Disruptive approach to "target" innovation sharper.
Ballsy idea - I like it.
duked 8 hours ago 0 replies      
It's always easy to play nice and call for 3rd party developer when you need them to build your audience. I'm glad they do that but for now it's more geared towards their own benefit.

Let's see how they behave once they actually have users.

How to Reinforce Impostor Syndrome tessrinearson.com
57 points by liberatus  5 hours ago   61 comments top 11
codex 4 hours ago  replies      
A long time ago, I was once a Microsoft intern attending a party at Bill Gates' house. At that party, a high-ranking Microsoft HR employee told me that it was Microsoft's goal to have twice the percentage of female interns in their program than female CS majors.

For example, if women only made up 10% of college CS majors, Microsoft wanted to have 20% female interns.

I replied that, if that were their goal, they would most likely have to lower the bar as compared to a male intern, or else pay the female interns more, give them more perks, or purposefully interview fewer qualified male interns.

My argument was that if Microsoft's hiring bar was the top 1%, most likely only 10% of that candidate pool is female. So, one must either drop the bar for females, interview more females in that pool than males, or somehow double the chance that a female in that 10% of 1% accepted your internship offer. However, in those days almost nobody rejected Microsoft offers, so that last route seemed difficult.

The only way to maintain equality of pay and skill without purposefully rejecting male applicants is to spend a huge amount of effort finding more female applicants than male applicants in that 1% and persuading them to apply. But that's still not really fair, as that really implies that recuiters pay less attention to males, e.g. spending less time and money finding them and recruiting them.

The HR representative got very angry, but couldn't articulate why.

jacques_chester 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Imposter syndrome is quite widespread. I first learnt about it from a law academic: http://skepticlawyer.com.au/2008/07/12/imposter-syndrome/

On my office wall hangs my degree -- first class honours from a good university. I still half expect that one day they will ask for it back, that they were just being nice because they like me.

My Dad has it bad -- very bad. He has > 50 years experience in his field. He knows more about electricity than most electrical engineers. I tried to convince him to join the IEEE; with his experience and knowledge they'd probably bump him up to Senior Member grade quick smart.

Nope. Not good enough.

This can actually be quite crippling -- he used to give away his services rather than charging for them. "Too simple a job, I couldn't possibly charge for it". He was not a successful small businessman, thinking like that.

It takes most of my willpower to ask people for money. Because surely, I'm not that good. Surely.

esrauch 4 hours ago 3 replies      
Unfortunately I think the dismissive attitude of your friend is a direct product of very real reverse discrimination. Anecdotally it really does exist; a female friend of mine was able to easily get interviews at Google, Microsoft and Apple every year despite lousy technical chops and a 2.5 GPA at a mediocre state university. My ex girlfriend had her hand held for literally years by Microsoft recruiters on the stated basis of being a female cs major. Policies of reverse discrimination are definitely not limited to the special programs with women in their name.

Note that the former never was able to pass interviews, but it was only enough to get a foot in the door. It goes without saying that I have worked with many extremely capable women that no one would question they deserve everything they have, but it is easy and to see why some insecure college students have some backlash at having explicit discrimination against them (usually for the first time ever), since they are not being able to see how the less explicit but very real institional discrimination against women.

petercooper 4 hours ago 2 replies      
Say, "You so deserve that promotion/scholarship/interview offer."

I read something recently that suggested using language like "You really earnt that [whatever]" when complimenting people. That is, you define the merit in terms of the person's effort which, hopefully, the recipient of the compliment is less able to deny. We often deserve nice things, but when we think we earnt them it's a more concrete achievement that's harder to wave away with impostor syndrome.

xibernetik 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I'm a former and returning Microsoft intern, who interviewed in her freshman year. I strongly suspect I got the interview as a result of being female and facing discrimination early on (but not because I was female and they wanted to hire someone of my gender).

Long story short, I'm used to being dismissed or looked over by my male peers - often in CS, but also in the hobbies I've taken up over the years. I found the only way to be listened to or respected was that I had to prove myself very quickly to anyone I had to work with. I got my interview after talking to a Microsoft dev doing recruitment for 10 minutes about a project I worked on after identifying he had a personal interest in that field. He didn't even look at my resume, but I saw him star it when I gave it at the end of our chat.

I would never have been able to do that if I wasn't used to being over-looked. I can signal that I'm competent and easily discuss projects or tech interests within a couple minutes of meeting someone because in the past few years, I've learned that when I neglect to do that, I'm going to get ignored. Because of that, I have an incredibly advantage in that many of my male peers CAN'T do that, simply because they've never had to until it came time to search for a job.

FWIW, one of the biggest reasons I'm returning to Microsoft is that it's one of the few places I've ever felt like I was respected off the bat regardless of age or gender. I couldn't imagine working with most of my peers back in school because of the lack of respect. There are bad apples everywhere, and certain teams are definitely geared towards older folk - but there are highschool kids doing internships there, in some very coveted areas. The guy was out of line, but he's definitely the exception and not the norm.

scott_s 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Anecdotally, I know that myself and most of my friends deal with the impostor syndrome.

But, I also think it's important not to fall prey to what I think is the opposite problem: the narrative fallacy. It's easy to feel that you were "fated" for many positions. Or, if not some form of predestination, then some notion that things were "bound" to happen. I know that there was an enormous amount of luck in how I ended up where I am today. While your abilities may have enabled you to be in an elite pool of candidates, there may still be some random chance that landed you the position instead of one of your fellow elite candidates. I can think of three instances that afforded me opportunities that have made enormous impact on my career that were essentially luck.

What you can control is that when you are lucky, make sure you make the most of it. When fellow grad students would ask me for advice on finding jobs, the best I could do was reply, "Be lucky and be good."

jobu 2 hours ago 1 reply      
My personal belief is that a diversity of backgrounds and life experiences outweigh intelligence and skill to a fair degree. It counteracts group-think, and fosters more innovation and creativity.

So don't feel guilty about how or why you got an opportunity. You came by it honestly, and whether Microsoft feels their benefit from you is due to your ability or your gender, the fact is you are benefiting them or they wouldn't give you the opportunity. Enjoy it and use the chance to improve yourself as much as possible.

VMG 4 hours ago 2 replies      
> “You only got that internship because you're a woman,” P. said. I was floored. [...]

> “Good one,” I said. After all, we were talking about my Microsoft internship. Microsoft has a program for women and underrepresented minorities, but I wasn't in it. I was a regular old SDE intern.

Yes - but what if you had been in one of those programs? That is the problem with explicitly preferring some group over another, not based on their skill level, when the people you select want to only be selected for their skill and nothing else.

I'm not saying that sexism in the industry isn't a problem, but the solution is more difficult than "just hire more women"

andrewguenther 9 minutes ago 0 replies      
I'm just going to leave this here...


dkarl 3 hours ago 0 replies      
When they want to flatter students or buck up their spirits, professors at selective colleges are prone to saying things like, "The fact that you're even here means something." It's a good idea to let that thinking go as soon as possible. The fact that you're here, there, or anywhere means nothing. The world is complicated. In a sense her friend was right to point out that being female in a field that is desperate for more female representation is usually an advantage, but he was wrong to be certain -- sexism is still rampant among computing professionals. More importantly, he was wrong to care. Actually, they were both wrong to think that they could know the answer to the question and both wrong to think it was important.
swampthing 4 hours ago 3 replies      
Deeper thoughts aside, what kind of good friend says that to someone?
Bitcoin Foundation Launches to ‘Standardize, Protect and Promote' Bitcoin betabeat.com
73 points by nitashatiku  8 hours ago   22 comments top 6
tokenadult 6 hours ago 0 replies      
A while ago I wrote that perhaps the greatest contribution the Bitcoin experiment will make to humankind is to teach you and me and our neighbors more about the realities of economics. And now I will add that the Bitcoin experiment will also contribute to greater understanding of how nonprofit industry associations are organized to protect the economic interests of for-profit businesses. A lot of new industries have discovered that a few bad actors who screw up early can damage the reputation of the entire industry, and there are many previous examples of "competing" companies in a new industry banding together to promote consumer protection, as they say, and to promote the growth of their market. We'll see how this goes for Bitcoin.
kiba 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Of course, the Linux Foundation is about promoting an operating system that has been largely marginalized

Bollocks. Linux has not been marginalized. It is dominating the server market, embedded devices, and smartphones in the form of android.

whereas the Bitcoin Foundation will work to promote a cryptocurrency sometimes used for blackmarket activity.

Haven't you heard? The dollars are used for black market activities too.

olalonde 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Here's a list of all the anonymous donations they have received so far (doesn't include membership donations): http://blockexplorer.com/address/1BTCorgHwCg6u2YSAWKgS17qUad... currently 26.5 BTC
jboggan 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Ah, the long-storied September announcement. Pretty good idea overall. I'd be happiest seeing a set of security best-practices agreed upon and some sort of mechanism for organizations and businesses to elect for auditing.
volts 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I think an encrypted currency base managed only by computers and the market is fairer than a system run by a few men.
Also I like privacy.
TazeTSchnitzel 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Trigger.io supports custom url schemes - open your app from the web trigger.io
25 points by amirnathoo  4 hours ago   discuss
What happens to our brains when we exercise and how it makes us happier bufferapp.com
156 points by LeonW  13 hours ago   69 comments top 12
zacharyvoase 10 hours ago 2 replies      
Interesting that very few of these life hacking blog posts attempt to draw a distinction between different types of exercise. A marathon (or training for one) is a very different form of stress to a low-rep high-intensity power or oly lifting session, and I would expect their neurological effects to be miles apart.

Regarding the endorphin hypothesis, there's another parallel hypothesis which is that the good feelings of exercise are just a symptom of oxygen deprivation in the brain:

    Altitude-chamber tests have shown that as oxygen deprivation
increases, some victims experience a sense of increasing
well-being, even euphoria, while they're losing the ability
to function in a thoughtful, coordinated manner.

Source: http://www.planeandpilotmag.com/pilot-talk/ntsb-debriefer/a-...

ZanderEarth32 11 hours ago 8 replies      
Good post, but I think there is too much emphasis in general on tracking and logging workouts.

I find the whole tracking and logging weights, reps and feelings while working out to be daunting and pointless. Maybe it's because I am not a "I'm going to start working out and dieting" type person, rather I just live a healthy lifestyle by design. I don't "diet", I just try to eat healthy in general. I don't have a "work out routine", I just try to be physical every day. It makes the whole exercise process more a part of my natural life, rather than something I have to schedule.

I enjoy going to the gym and getting a good workout, doing whatever I feel like at the moment. The important part to me is working up a sweat and getting my heart pumping, not how many reps with a certain weight I did. I can see if you have a goal of weight loss or increasing your strength to a certain level that can be measured by numbers, but if you are aiming for general health, why do you need to keep a detailed log? Just try to exercise everyday, regardless of what that includes.

If you do keep a detailed log of your workouts, what kind of actionable data does that information provide you? Do you refer back to it daily, weekly, monthly and try to optimize your workouts based on your previous history? If so, how?

bazzargh 11 hours ago 6 replies      
Endorphins? Where's the link to the science?



  "I believe this endorphin in runners is a total fantasy 
in the pop culture," said psychobiologist Huda Akil, Ph.D.,
from the University of Michigan.

The endorphin theory had several problems, the most serious
being that endorphins are too large to pass through the
blood-brain barrier that border-patrols your gray matter.

Florin_Andrei 12 hours ago 1 reply      
> If you start exercising, your brain recognizes this as a moment of stress. As your heart pressure increases, the brain thinks you are either fighting the enemy or fleeing from it.

That's exaggerated. It's simply a reaction to increased level of effort. It's not always a full-fledged fight-or-flight response, unless it's a quite strenuous type of exercise.

> The first 20 minutes of moving around, if someone has been really sedentary, provide most of the health benefits. You get prolonged life, reduced disease risk " all of those things come in in the first 20 minutes of being active.

Makes sense. Exercise a little every day, even if it's some very mild form like walking. Laying down on the couch all day long is bad.

egonschiele 9 hours ago 1 reply      
After spending a couple of years exercising on and off and never really getting these gains, I have finally gotten into a routine where I exercise at least 3 times a week. I've been doing this for more than a year. Here's what I've learned from that experience:

1. Start small. It's much easier to talk yourself into exercising for 10 minutes 3 days a week.

2. Exercise at home. I hated going to a gym so I never did it.

3. Do something fun.

All of these made it much easier to exercise consistently, which was my goal. I stopped running and weight lifting and started doing yoga, cycling, rock climbing and boxing instead. I'm not ripped or anything but I have plenty of functional strength and more energy and happiness than I've ever felt before. I'd say yoga and biking give me the most long-lasting pleasure, whereas rock climbing and boxing give me a quick intense flood when I'm done with them. It's really great feeling like this...most days I feel ready to do something crazy and fun like bike to wine country for wine tasting, or spend time in a wood shop, or go to another country on a whim. Last year I felt like I peaked at going out to dinner with friends a couple times a week (and I barely had energy for that). I also don't miss the mid-afternoon lazy slump or the weeks where I'd feel like my thinking was foggy and there was no way to clear it.

mbesto 11 hours ago 3 replies      
A year and a half ago I started doing triathlons and moved all the way up to doing a full Ironman this year. Due to the amount of training involved it's an awesome motivator to get you in shape and control your daily plan. Highly recommend it (even if just doing sprint/olympic/half distance) to anyone looking for a structured approach to staying healthy.

I also think it's a great way for entrepreneurs to exercise their minds. The full Ironman is extremely long and takes long term determination. It's not something you can simply hack together (as some people do by minimal training and walking 6-hour marathons). So in a way it allows me to go through a long term process of building up my body (i.e. a company) and make tweaks along the way to improve the performance. I can't tell you how many times I've failed along the way and get better as a result.

Although there is no real way to quantify this, I would say my ability to focus at work as drastically increased. I much more confident and happy as a result.


Curious - anyone else on HN do triathlons?

aezell 12 hours ago 1 reply      
The anecdotal evidence in my personal case which supports the ideas in this blog post is overwhelming. Having started an exercise and diet regimen a few months ago, I have noticed a vast improvement not just in physical health but in mental health.

I feel brighter (not in the intelligence sense but in the photonic sense). That is, I feel like I'm pushing positive energy out into the world instead of negative energy. It has been a fairly subtle shift over the last 3 months, but in my mind it is undeniable.

Scene_Cast2 12 hours ago 0 replies      
The one thing that makes a significant change for me is sleeping well. For me to get a good night's sleep, though, I need to exercise during the day, dim the lights at night, and to keep a consistent time of going to bed.
The biggest part of exercise = happy, for me, is the fact that I sleep well afterwards.
dfc 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Recently on HN:

"Exercise Does Not Make You Less Depressed (bmj.com)" http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4446400

krrrh 12 hours ago 2 replies      
The book Spark by John Ratey is a decent read for anyone who wants to go more in-depth on this topic. The big idea that Ratey tries to get across is a reframing of exercise as something that is essential to mental health, with positive physical side-effects. There's been a lot of work recently tying exercise to increased neuroplatisity that's covered as well.
ams6110 3 hours ago 0 replies      
While I don't deny that exercise helps some people feel better, this has got to quite variable from individual to individual. For example exercise doesn't make me happy or energized, it just makes me tired.
darkstalker 10 hours ago  replies      
I don't remember ever feeling "hapiness" after doing exercise. All that's left after it it's the overwhelming feeling of being tired.
Bret Victor: Learnable Programming worrydream.com
909 points by siavosh  1 day ago   170 comments top 5
bretthopper 1 day ago  replies      
There's already two comments here about being "harsh" or "ungracious" towards Khan Academy which is ridiculous.

The usual HN article that contains criticisms is usually limited to that. Some rant that took 10 minutes to write and contains nothing constructive.

Bret Victor put an insane amount of time into this (I can only assume) and is truly advancing mindsets about programming tools and learning. We should all be thankful that he put this much effort into a "criticism" piece.

scott_s 1 day ago 2 replies      
Programmers, by contrast, have traditionally worked in their heads, first imagining the details of a program, then laboriously coding them.

I don't think this describes most real work done by programmers. Rather, what he says we should do,

To enable the programmer to achieve increasingly complex feats of creativity, the environment must get the programmer out of her head, by providing an external imagination where the programmer can always be reacting to a work-in-progress.

Is exactly what most programmers already do. We usually don't have a nice, interactive environment to do so; it's usually a combination of coding, inspecting results, thinking some more about new issues, coding, inspecting results, on up until the problem is solved.

In other words, I think that programmers do tend to solve problems by "pushing paint around." I rarely start with a full appreciation of the problem. But in order to gain that understanding, I have to start trying to solve it, which means starting to write some code, and usually looking at results. As I go through this process, the domain of the problem comes into focus, and I understand better how to solve it.

We already do what Bret is talking about, but not at the granularity he is talking about it. For beginners, I can understand why this difference is important. But I certainly solve problems by pushing paint around.

In general, I think this is a fantastic piece for teaching programming, but I don't think (so far) that all of it carries over to experienced programmers. The examples of having an autocomplete interface that immediately shows icons of the pictures they can draw is great for people just learning. But that's too fine-grained for experienced programmers. Chess masters don't need to be shown the legal moves on a board for a bishop; their understanding of the problem is so innate at that point that they no longer play the game in such elementary terms. Similarly, experienced programmers develop an intuition for what is possible in their programming environment, and will solve problems at a higher level than "I need to draw something." That is the reason we put up with existing programming environments.

gfodor 1 day ago 2 replies      
There is nothing new here. Before you downvote, this is actually a huge complement to Bret. As he's said before he is inventing on principle not inventing for you to download and install his latest hack. His principles have been consistent (and, imho, right), and this is another view into them. But, if this opened up some huge new insight for you then you haven't been paying close enough attention.

He's always been right and I hope he continues to have patience while he continues his conversation with the world as the world misunderstands his ideas. Unfortunately many people are going to latch on to the examples in his demo movies, and the important parts of the essay will fly over their heads. (The most important part of this essay being, of course, to read Mindstorms.)

All of his creative output points to the same core message: programming today is broken because it is not designed. His various essays, talks, and so on are just alternative "projections" of this thesis. This is a sign of clear thinking.

He's given us all the tools we need to solve this problem. These tools are the mental framework he lays out, not the specific concrete flavor he demoed in his latest talk or essay.

The hard part is not building IDEs or visualizations, it's having the guts to throw everything out and start over again, knowing it's going to be a mess for a long time and it will take years before things start to make sense again. It's convincing yourself that most of what you know is useless and that many of your assumptions are wrong.

Why do that when you can just download the latest whiz bang framework and start hacking shit together taking advantage of the life-long skill you've acquired at firing bullets with a blindfold on?

It's scary to be a newborn again, especially when you're in a place where few have been before (and those that have, are largely not around anymore.)

greggman 22 hours ago 1 reply      
Wow! What an awesome critique. I'm in awe.

First off, rather than just saying Khan Academy missed the point, Mr. Victor goes over in extreme detail with full examples with ideas on how to do it better.

Second, he really went into some detail about how to think about things. Not just the solutions but ideas and ways of thinking to come up with better solutions.

Third, he's set the bar for critiques higher than I've ever seen. Next time I want to critique something I'm going to feel at least some responsibility to give good and clear examples of both what I think is wrong and what I think would be better with reasons.

Fourth, even if I never write software to help learning programming or help programming advance in general I'll certainly be influenced in my API and system designs by this post.

Thank you Mr. Victor

NickPollard 1 day ago  replies      
I think this article raises some brilliant points, and is very well written, but I also feel that it falls short of the mark Bret was aiming for.

As he himself alludes to, most of what he is teach is not programming - it is individual actions. Just as being taught the meaning of individual words does not teach you to write, being taught what certain functions or statements do does not teach you to program.

What is important is not spelling, but grammar - the shape of a program. His parts on Loops and Functions are better on this - the timeline showing loop instruction order is pretty awesome. However, it's still not perfect. At no point is the user instructed what a 'function' is, and how to use it. How do they know that they should be using it? I agree with other commentators who have suggested that it looks too much like he knows what he is aiming for, and the tool is designed to aid that.

In fact, my strongest criticism is in regards to his rebuttal to Alan Perlis:

> Alan Perlis wrote, "To understand a program, you must become both the machine and the program." This view is a mistake, and it is this widespread and virulent mistake that keeps programming a difficult and obscure art. A person is not a machine, and should not be forced to think like one.

I'm sorry Bret, but Alan is right. You do need to be able to think like a machine. Not necessarily an x86 machine, but an abstract turing machine, or a state machine, or a lambda calculus machine. If you cannot think like the machine, you cannot outwit the machine. This is incredible important if you are relying on the machine to give you feedback on what the system is doing.

In all his examples, very simple things happen, and never go wrong more than drawing in the wrong place. What happens if he starts causing an infinite loop? Or creates cycles in a linked list (and remember, sometimes he may in fact want cycles).

In "Godel, Escher, Bach", Douglas Hofstadter suggests that one of the key ingredients for intelligence is being able to go 'up' a level of abstraction. Bret's comment about a circle being made up of small steps, and hence integrating over a differential function, is part of it. A human can recognise that sequential steps with a consistently changing angle can be viewed as a circle. A human can realise that certain relationships are iterative, recursive, self-referential, in a way that (currently) a computer cannot. This is what needs to be taught, and I fear that what Bret has shown here would not help in that element.

However, it's still going to be a better intro than anything we have currently, so I think that in regards to getting people to dip in and try, it will be a vast help. I just hope that Bret keeps thinking about bridging the chasm between setting down series' of instructions, and programming.

How to build a windmill jacquesmattheij.com
247 points by DanielRibeiro  19 hours ago   46 comments top 21
btilly 13 hours ago 2 replies      
The windmill is really cool, but reminds me of some trivia.

Remember how Don Quixote was fighting windmills because they were "giants oppressing the people"? He was right! And everyone in Cervantes' day knew it.

Windmills did not, contrary to popular belief, mostly spread as convenient labour-saving devices. Instead they spread as a way for the local lord to enforce taxes. When peasants had hand mills, there was no easy way to see how much food they really had grown, so it was hard to collect taxes. But if they go to the local miller, the miller takes your grain, grinds it, and then takes the lord's cut right there. There is no possible hiding of the food you've grown.

In countries with a strong peasant class, like Sweden, the lords were unable to introduce this form of central taxation. And I've read reports that hand mills were still in use there as late as WW II.

nettdata 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I had to chuckle at how he nonchalantly just whips up a mill simulator or a Python script for the shape of the blade. Each of those alone would be worth digging into in detail.

Needless to say, this article is my motivator for the day.

erikpukinskis 16 minutes ago 0 replies      
I bet http://opensourceecology.org/ would be really interested in this, if they wanted to open source the plans.
singular 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Really awesome article @jacquesm, I love these intricate, in-depth, long struggling-for-a-labour-of-love stories.

In fact, not to wax overly lyrical, I think a lot of stories that appeal to people in general follow that pattern. Something about the best aspects of humanity in that kind of endeavour.

lifeisstillgood 17 hours ago 4 replies      
How do you find the time?

This is actually a serious question - for the various makers on HN, is it sacrificing other things, older (or no) children, flexible jobs, independant income. Or just really awesome time management?

I would like to know so either I stop beating myself up for bad time management, or improve it.

terhechte 17 hours ago 1 reply      
That's a fantastic story. Now that the research is done, open sourcing this data could allow many people especially in poorer places of the world (once they can access the right tools, which might be a severe stumbling block) to create similar machines and gain power.

I wouldn't have thought that creating a windmill is such a difficult thing. Always cool to learn something new from an unknown domain.

davidw 16 hours ago 1 reply      
> It has survived numerous storms and worked very well supplying our house with reliable power, far more reliable than the solar panels we had used exclusively up to the point the windmill was finished.

Italy certainly has its share of troubles these days, but the above made me smile a bit. There are still some good things here.

patrickk 15 hours ago 0 replies      
How great would it be if he could mass produce these! He gained incredible insight leading to variable pitch blades, process of making the various parts...if I were a homeowner & actually had cash I'd buy one in an instant.

Or even write a detailed ebook showing others how to do the same, and maybe sell the tricky parts like the stator sheets and blades to budding windmill DIYers. Great project.

tmh88j 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Just being pedantic, but shouldn't it be called a wind turbine, not windmill? After all, it's outputting electricity and you're not grinding down grains or corn. Either way, this was very interesting. Good work.
js2 11 hours ago 0 replies      
This is the best thing I have ever seen on HN. Kudos.
tlb 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Wind force goes up as the square of speed, not the cube. Available power goes up as the cube.

Friends of mine are building vertical axis turbines. The key to safety seems to be to make the blades out of lightweight foam & kevlar so that if they do shatter they aren't flinging big heavy pieces around.

starpilot 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Technical error: the force of the wind depends on the square of the wind speed (q = rho * u^2/2). The cube law refers to power (proportional to rho * u^3/2).

Good article though. For those using software to design and analyze mechanical designs with "pretty good confidence," there's nothing more humbling than actually trying to build it.

jcr 18 hours ago 0 replies      
jacquesm, For some strange and unknown reason, I'm recalling a story
about a very powerful magnet suspended in the air, and very heavy
metal table... also in the air, attached to said magnet.
stephengillie 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm impressed that you made your own plasma cutting table. That project must be worth a blog post on it's own!

What gauge and quality of metal is that?

Tipzntrix 14 hours ago 0 replies      
How much of the difficulty could have been avoided if the windmill wasn't for generating power? This is an amazing project, but I wonder if it would be quite possible just to get something looking nice that stands strong (even against wind force at the cube of its speed) without such quality lathes and metalworking tools. Obviously, you have decades of experience in the field as you noted, and I doubt this would be possible for most people.
kriro 13 hours ago 0 replies      
This is great. If someone asks me the dreaded "what is a hacker" question again I'll link them to the article.
Enginoob 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I do not believe you have built a windmill- you have built a proper wind turbine.

Very cool project- there are a good number of residential scale manufacturers out there, but I believe this is the first homebrew wind turbine I've seen.

ck2 14 hours ago 1 reply      
What's the noise level like?

I've read the circular ones are far more quiet?

na85 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Nice article. The aerodynamics behind windmills are extraordinarily complex, so 500 Watts is a pretty good output!
codediva 16 hours ago 2 replies      
How much did it end up costing altogether, and how much would it cost to make another?
sneak 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Sweet hack!
Did NSA Put a Secret Backdoor in New Encryption Standard? (2007) schneier.com
151 points by Jach  15 hours ago   91 comments top 2
danielweber 14 hours ago  replies      
Back when DES was being designed, IBM had a bunch of values in their S-boxes. NSA told them "don't use those values; use these values instead." People freaked that it was a backdoor the NSA put in.

About 15 years later, differential cryptoanalysis was publicly discovered. The original S-box values would have been very vulnerable to the attack, but the ones the NSA used were resistant, suggesting that NSA knew about differential cryptoanalysis way ahead of time and were suggesting ways to protect the public against its eventual discovery.

It is possible that there is still some magic in there to let the NSA magically defeat DES, but we still haven't found it. Similarly, it's possible that this random number generator exists for some nefarious purpose, but we have no evidence for it.

Also, this article is 5 years old (the headline didn't say so when I first read this). Schneier was in pretty big self-promotion mode at that time.

anonymouz 14 hours ago  replies      
This is quite interesting, as the NSA on the one hand needs to provide secure algorithms for the public to use, but on the other hand has an interest in being able to break algorithms.

IIRC, during the standarization of DES, the NSA has also modified some S-Boxes without giving any explanation. Only later, when differential cryptoanalysis became known to the public, it was clear that this was to strengthen DES against this particular attack (which was already known to the NSA).

The case here is more interesting though: It seems like you need to know some secret numbers (a sort of "private key" if you will) to be able to attack the PRNG. So it seems that the NSA could place a "safe" backdoor that even an attacker with the same cryptography knowledge as they have cannot break unless he himself possesses the "private key".

What Kindle Means for Android geekli.st
25 points by jstrimpel  3 hours ago   38 comments top 9
zmmmmm 3 hours ago 1 reply      
It's kind of amusing to me how every now and then someone proclaims that Google has "lost control" of Android and how this must be some kind of crisis and portends a looming disaster.

Then we will have a series of people proclaiming how Android is not really open and what a farce Google's pretense of openness is, and what fools we were to ever believe that Google intended to make an open source operating system.

Frequently this will be followed by people lamenting "fragmentation" and demanding that Google put a stop to it by putting tight controls on who can implement Android and how they can do it.

These are all different sides of the same coin. Openness = fragmentation, openness = loss of control, openness = diversity, choice, innovation and endless possibility. It has benefits and downsides to be sure, but to think Google didn't know they were giving up some control of Android when they released it as open source is absurd - open sourcing something is by definition giving up control of it.

swang 2 hours ago 2 replies      
First, can we stop with the FUD about Google "banning" Acer from releasing a phone. This ArsTech article covers most of it but basically Alibaba was planning to release an OS that could run Android apps but was not certified by the OHA. And Acer as a member of OHA has to enforce Android compatibility on their devices to enforce consistency in Android. The same thing people complain about Android (fragmentation) is what they were trying to avoid.


Regarding the article, whatever Google has controlled since the beginning they have never lost, which is providing the "Google Experience" On Android.

programminggeek 1 hour ago 1 reply      
The whole point of Android from Google's perspective was to give them the ability to control search on mobile without having to buy their way in like they did on the Windows desktop and they do on iOS. Every year Google spends hundreds of millions of dollars to Apple, Mozilla, Dell, HP, etc. to be the default search provider, have their toolbar installed, have Chrome be the default, or whatever way they want to be the search default, and it is worth every penny, but owning their own platform in Android means they control their own destiny on the future computing platform - phones, tablets, tv's, and other embedded computing systems.

Fragmentation is not a problem because Google still is the primary Android services provider. If Samsung or HTC started doing what Amazon is doing and selling Android phones without Google apps and search as a default, then Google's in trouble.

Google's biz model is to give away Android for free, but make up for it in money from the Play market, mobile ads, and mobile search.

SCdF 3 hours ago 2 replies      
Maybe this is just me, but if they have their own app store, their own UI, their own idioms and their own devices.... from any useful user or branding perspective, how are they Android phones?

And so more importantly, why does it matter for Android? It doesn't mean Android is more fragmented, because those phones aren't Android phones, it just means one more competitor in the smart phone market.

If anything, it makes it easier for developers, because Amazon phones will be easier to port to than another random smart phone brand.

guelo 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Fortunately for developers Amazon hasn't forked the OS too much. The APIs for the latest release are the ICS APIs which is OK since most devs will still be targeting Froyo or Gingerbread for another year or so. The only problem is if you use some of the Google APIs, mainly Maps, in which case you'll have to get clever, either with reflection or your build system, to include Amazon's maps in your app.

If Amazon ever tries to do a major fork at the API level we'll be in trouble, but they have shown no sign of that as of yet.

esolyt 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Yes. Google lost control of an operating system which they consciously decided to release as open source and free software.

Somehow, I don't think they were trying hard to retain control of the OS.

Mythbusters 3 hours ago 6 replies      
The way android is used by Amazon is essentially how apple used unix core to get the basics right when creating a new software platform. A smart move obviously. What surprises me is how none of the big android players have not seen an opportunity here and created their own experience on top of it. That is the easiest way to differentiate yourself from the myriad of other cheap android device makers.

Im sure there is a lot of hand wringing going on behind the scenes for this to not have happened yet but its inevitable.

michaelpinto 2 hours ago 1 reply      
But didn't Google block Acer pretty recently? I understand that Acer was part of an industry group, but if Google is delivering a stream of improvements to Android can't they just lock up future updates?
seanschade 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Charlie knows what's up! Amazon has all of the pieces in place to remain a disruptive force in the industry.
Founder Failure Insurance: Pooling equity ezliu.com
18 points by ccg  5 hours ago   36 comments top 13
patio11 3 hours ago 3 replies      
Seems like there's an adverse selection problem here. (And, relatedly, a signaling problem.) This is not an attractive option for companies at the head of the distribution or anyone aspiring to be there, and to the extent that you talk about it, VCs are going to read that as "You're a loser planning on losing."

From a practical perspective, one largely buys insurance to smooth out either cash shocks or future decreases in earning potential rather than for diversification. Having a startup fail is not going to be a cash shock. Your earning potential if your startup fails should go up, because you're worth six figures on the open market trivially, and you probably were not paying yourself that previously.

jpdoctor 40 minutes ago 0 replies      
I once got approach by someone putting together a fund for just this purpose. The rules were something like:

1. You buy into the fund with your shares.

2. The shares had to have had a valuation by a major VC in the past N months (N=4 IIRC).

3. You had to retain X% (they didn't want founders dumping on the fund.)

Finally decided it wasn't worth it. It is very difficult to have faith in other people's valuations of non-tradeable stock.

masterzora 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Stand-out quote:

in a sense, trading any of your company for other companies might be a negative expected value play

In general, insurance is a negative expected value. After all, that's how insurance companies make money: by charging more than they pay out. The key with insurance, however, is that it is purchased to cover a catastrophic event. That is, all the money you pay into it will hopefully be more than the money you get out of it but if you end up needing really expensive medical treatments or your house burns down you need to be able to afford to move forward.

With founders and the "founder failure insurance" there is significantly less of this, though. If you fail you don't get an immediate payout, or even a guaranteed payout, failure is not a catastrophic event (in the sense of needing a lot of money fast) for most, and it's actually possible to do well and make money from this.

Really, a more honest way of describing this is as a bet that you will lose, though that's not a complete picture, either.

Intriguing idea nevertheless and something I'd consider if I were a founder.

tptacek 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Vesting is hard enough with groups of people working together on a common project. How would you solve that problem with a group of different companies, each with different incentive systems?
eli 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Apologies for the snark, but if my goal was to maximize expected return, I think I'd probably not do a startup at all and get a nice salaried job with a government contractor. Startups are risky! And it's hard enough for me to judge the risk/reward of my own startup, let alone someone else's.

If I wanted to take out some risk, I'd rather cash out some equity using more traditional means and putting it some place safe (or at least different), not other startups.

jfarmer 4 hours ago 1 reply      
First Round Capital did something similar a few years ago with their portfolio companies: http://redeye.firstround.com/2010/01/sharing-and-exchanging....

Speaking personally, I want to own as much equity as possible in a company I start. 3% is a ridiculous amount of common stock to go towards something like this.

joshontheweb 4 hours ago 2 replies      
Interesting but I think the problem is that most founders are not building companies to minimize their losses, but to maximize their upside potential. Especially for a developer founder, the worst case scenario is you fail and go back to having a high paying day job.
davidu 4 hours ago 0 replies      
This has existed for years... and been structured.

http://ebexchangefunds.com/ is one popular one... :-)

joelrunyon 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't like this way of thinking.

Might be smart to "diversify risk" in an investor sense, but as a startup, you're more akin to a team than an investor.

It seems akin to a pitcher betting against his own team in order to make money himself. Sure, he might come out ahead, but that's not the point of the team.

If you really want to invest in other startups, put up some cash.

ljd 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Adverse Selection[1] is a big problem with insurance in general. Insurance of this nature has adverse selection problems in spades.

The people that think their startup is likely to fail will be most likely to contribute to the pool.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adverse_selection

wissler 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Sounds like something that can easily run afoul of securities laws.
_pius 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Google Search Referrers Disappear In iOS 6 searchengineland.com
142 points by Shooti  14 hours ago   48 comments top 10
pilif 13 hours ago 7 replies      
I would assume this is caused by the search bar now using the SSL version of Google.

The "fix" is "easy": If you want referrer data, offer your site over SSL or use the Google Webmaster tools (I don't know whether there is an API to get to that data).

Browsers don't send a referrer header if the referring site is SSL and the target site is not. This has always been the case even on the desktop.

olalonde 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Unrelated but I just learned that "referer" is a misspelling of "referrer" but we still use the former term as it is set in stone by the HTTP standard. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTTP_referer#Origin_of_the_term...
ftwinnovations 12 hours ago 2 replies      
From my iOS6 4S p:

https://www.google.com?q=referer and then click to www.whatismyreferer.com- no referer as expected.

http://www.google.com?q=referer and then click to www.whatismyreferer.com - a valid referer as expected.

Nothing to see here folks.

Judson 13 hours ago 4 replies      
The last line of the article:

> However, it does seem like this issue is specific with Google. So I suspect it is either a bug on Google's side (or a feature).

If this is what he suspects, why does he phrase the title as if it is something in iOS 6 that is causing the issue.

mikeryan 11 hours ago 0 replies      
This appears to be a mobile browser thing when searching google with https.

Search https://www.google.com in a desktop browser and you will get a results page where the links don't like you directly to the result page, they actually take you to an http redirect page which then forwards you to your final destination (which now gets a "google.com" referer.

On my iPhone and my Nexus 7 if I do a search on https://www.google.com the results page does not have the http redirect link. So the final destination does not get a referer.

This seems to be a behavior on Google's side that is different for desktop and mobile browsers, there's nothing specific to Apple here.

thowar2 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Referrer data still seems to be sent when I go to http://www.whatismyreferer.com/ from the SSL version of Google on my desktop.

In fact, I did the exact same thing but with the User-Agent set to iOS 6. No referrer data.

This is a problem on Google's side.

qwertzlcoatl 9 hours ago 0 replies      
They updated the bottom of the article to read Postscript: At about 12:15pm EDT I now see referer data being passed from mobile Safari on iOS 6 via Google either signed in or signed out. I am not sure if this was a bug or something else but it does now seem to pass referer data. It even passes query data if you are signed in.
Kesty 13 hours ago 0 replies      
This will badly reflects on analytics softwares if you have a heavy mobile website.
spo81rty 6 hours ago 0 replies      
As someone who spends a lot of time working on internet marketing, not getting the search terms due to this and all the other changes really stinks!
zalew 11 hours ago 0 replies      
it will possibly affect registration wall publishers who are open to google referals (like WSJ, NYT, etc.).
Search the Enron archive using Searchify's Gotank, a new IndexTank client in Go gosearchify.herokuapp.com
18 points by luriel  5 hours ago   4 comments top 2
electic 32 minutes ago 0 replies      
I know this is going to sound incredibly lame but I wish they styled their usage of Bootstrap a bit more. I wish sites would spend just a few minutes to be a bit original in their visual appeal.
foobert 3 hours ago 2 replies      
       cached 28 September 2012 04:02:01 GMT