hacker news with inline top comments    .. more ..    22 Nov 2012 News
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1
Police Raid 9-Year-Old Pirate Bay Girl, Confiscate Winnie The Pooh Laptop torrentfreak.com
86 points by Sami_Lehtinen  1 hour ago   18 comments top 8
1
netcan 23 minutes ago 1 reply      
How do these NDAs work? Can they really demand that you pay them money and not tell anyone?

Seems pretty creepy.

2
ashray 50 minutes ago 0 replies      
Clicked through to the article hoping to see a picture of the laptop. Was not disappointed! :)

On topic though, this just shows how ridiculous the MAFIAA is getting these days. Unfortunately, this episode played out negatively on the artist as well - who probably had nothing to do with the event. So piracy harms the artist, but in this case the MAFIAA hurt the artist even more by prosecuting someone for it [1] ? Not sure if that's justice, but it feels quite strange to think about it.

[1] - The article says that the artist experienced a serious backlash on her facebook page from enraged fans.

3
DanBC 40 minutes ago 2 replies      
The age of criminal responsibility in Finland is 15. So I'm at a loss at what is going to happen to this 9 year old girl. Certainly downloading music without paying for it is wrong. But there are much better ways of dealing with this than sending in the police.

And justice needs to be public. (With a few rare exceptions). Forcing people to sign NDAs is creepy and weird.

I'd be interested to know what would have happened if the father sent photocopies of the receipts for the music that they bought the next day - I like to think that would have been enough to call off the lawyers but I understand that it probably isn't.

4
gavanwoolery 53 minutes ago 2 replies      
I'm not going to lie, this might be the best headline ever.
5
lelandbatey 46 minutes ago 0 replies      
I really don't like the sensationalist "pull at the heart strings", vibe in this title. I it feels a bit misleading and over-dramatized just to cause controversy. I get what they're trying to say, I but there has to be a better way to say it.
6
belorn 42 minutes ago 0 replies      
Since when did this became normal and accepted in society? Whats next, police pulling candy from babies? or are we just going straight back to whip and flails to handle the dark and evil crime called copyright infringement!

This is the definition of insanity. What is wrong with the people that was part of the chain of events that lead to taking a laptop from the hands of an 9 year old girl?

7
DiabloD3 48 minutes ago 1 reply      
I imagine the death throes of this dying industry are going to get worse before it gets better.
8
aidos 10 minutes ago 0 replies      
I'm listening to the album in question now, the artist has definitely come out of it ok :)
2
Show HN: My C# Tutorial Series: Coding Basics. How am I doing so far? jeremymorgan.com
23 points by JeremyMorgan  2 hours ago   30 comments top 11
1
duiker101 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I find interesting that you took the approach of explaining a console application instead of a form app. More interesting from a technical point of view but maybe less interesting for a someone who just wants to hack something together to see what happens. When I started using C I always found hard to follow this tutorial because I like to use what I learnt in my own programs but I really did had no ideas of what console apps to make. Instead with server languages (for example) I found it easier because I could create my website and therefore do something "mine". In the end just following the steps of a tutorial I think it's about 30% of the learning process. Making mistakes is a good 50%. And to make them you must try your own things.
2
bruceboughton 36 minutes ago 1 reply      
FYI

>> Using Statement - Defines the scope for your application's objects and disposes them when they're done. This isn't super important now, but I'm going to cover some other ways we can implement using statements in C#. What you need to know now is it's including the types in the System namespace in your scope so you can use them.

This is entirely wrong. The 'using' in your example is the using directive, not the using statement. They are entirely unrelated.

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-US/library/sf0df423(v=vs.80).as... - using directive
http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-US/library/yh598w02(v=vs.80).as... - using statement

Also, I really don't see why you are focussing on using the command line to compile programs. This is really not user friendly. The possibility for mistake is very high, which will certainly throw the target user of his/her tracks.

3
jiggy2011 33 minutes ago 1 reply      
Probably a minor point but it seems your screenshots all show Visual Studio rather than one of the express editions?

This might be the best tool for the job, but IIRC VS has a non-trivial price tag which a beginner might not be willing to spend.

4
darklajid 48 minutes ago 1 reply      
My background: C# pays for my family, my wife is constantly jumping on and off random tutorials to learn some programming (interested in C# because of my dayjob and Python as a nice beginner's language with lots of learning resources).

If I look at this article I feel that the flow is missing. It is well written, has nice screen shots and explains a lot. But it seems to hop around a lot. I don't quite know who you're targeting, but I'm reasonably sure you'd confuse the hell out of my (intelligent, brilliant) wife.

The style is more documentation slash dissection of stuff, less introduction with a purpose. I miss a global "why", you provide more like "This is something we can do, let's walk through it together". Unless you're already a programmer or really into case studies like this, I think this way to present something is less accessible.

Don't want to bash on your work. I think what you did here looks nice. Just sharing why I don't think I'd subscribe or why I cannot recommend the series to my so.

5
Denzel 53 minutes ago 1 reply      
Great start Jeremy, I've read the entirety of chapter 3 and skimmed chapter 1, you have a solid foundation.

However, I have a few, hopefully constructive, critiques:

(1) As mentioned by qwerty69, links to the other chapters would help a great deal.

(2) Your target audience is "newbies"? If that's the case, it makes sense that you would provide a little more explanation for critical concepts such as variables. In chapter 3, specifically, it feels as if you gloss over the topic by deeming it a "a space to put data." Maybe you're just looking for your audience to build an intuitive notion of the concept, but annecdotally I've always enjoyed learning the essential details when tackling new topics.

(3) Speak authoritatively; don't inject fluff into your sentences. It drains mental capacity. For some examples:

"You just press that button and it will compile and run your program. Or you can just press F5 and that will do the same thing" ==> "Press that button, or F5, to compile and run your program."

"The new method Console.ReadLine() is pretty self explanatory, it reads a line of text from the console" ==> "Console.ReadLine() reads a line of text from the console."

Concise, to the point, and much more effective. I prefer reading books that explain the most in the least words possible.

Either way, keep up the good work. The more resources budding programmers have access to, the better!

6
teh_klev 32 minutes ago 1 reply      
One thing that jumped out at me right away is your indentation style which is a wee bit messy. New programmers need to be taught good/consistent coding style in the early stages of their development as well as how to use the language. Your examples should reflect what are generally accepted, though not mandatory, conventions.

The first thing I do if I'm coaching/mentoring a C#/.NET novice is to get them to follow the C# Coding Conventions [1] with Allman style indentation [2] and the Design Guidelines for Developing Class Libraries [3].

One other thing I would do is liberally sprinkle the tutorial with links to relevant further reading in the MSDN docs. A lot of new devs are overwhelmed by the MSDN library and often have no idea where to begin looking for reference material. Giving them good entry points so they can familiarise themselves with the official docs would be a beneficial addition.

[1] http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms229042(v=vs.100).a...

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indent_style#Allman_style

[3] http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/vstudio/ff926074.asp...

7
huhtenberg 1 hour ago 1 reply      
What's your target audience?

It seems too verbose for programmers and too specific to a toolset for those who are just starting out.

8
px1999 1 hour ago 1 reply      
You've made a couple of interesting decisions (that I may not have done if I were writing this myself):

* Picking CSC over Visual Studio for compiling initially
* Explaining namespaces thoroughly in part 2, then glossing over them in 3 (I also don't know if I entirely agree with what's under "Using Statement")

No major criticisms with structure/style/order. I find that when teaching a programming language you just wind up dumping information on the person learning until a point where everything clicks, so the order of explaining this stuff probably isn't that important.

One thing that I'd suggest fixing is the indentation on the code. The number of spaces being inconsistent is something that could massively throw off people who don't understand nesting. Other than this, it's a good set of tutorials so far IMO.

9
JeremyMorgan 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I got some good feedback last time, it's helpful to hear from other programmers whether what I'm doing here is going to help newbies. I swear I'm not spamming I don't make a dime for it anyway ;)
10
qwerty69 1 hour ago 1 reply      
You could add links to the other chapters at the beginning of each article. This way it will be much easier for readers to navigate through the series.
11
gprasanth 1 hour ago 8 replies      
Why take all the pain of creating/editing screenshots, explaining through an article? You could have made a video instead. I personally prefer videos to articles when it comes to learning something -new-.
3
Systems Programming at Twitter monkey.org
28 points by DanielRibeiro  3 hours ago   9 comments top 5
1
halayli 1 hour ago 2 replies      
This is more about Scala than systems programming.
2
duncans 33 minutes ago 0 replies      
Off-topic somewhat, but I appreciate the way the slides used `location.replace('#'+n)` so my browser history wasn't littered with slide navigations, hence the back button brought me back here (but slides are still bookmarkable).
3
codewright 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Do the dispatches from engineering-land from Twitter strike anyone else as:

"Please learn Scala, we can't hire people that already know Scala.

Please?

Learn Scala."

The last presentation of any substance I saw re: Twitter Engineering was their cute BitTorrent based deployment stack.

4
abhijat 1 hour ago 1 reply      
It appears to have an error on slide 23, where the flatMap should return 1, -1 at the beginning rather than 1, -2?

I don't know enough Scala to say with certainty but that seems to be an error:

Seq(1,2,3,4) flatMap { x =>
Seq(x, -x)
} == Seq(1,-2,2,-2,3,-3,4,-4)

5
smegel 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Yawn. Headline should have been "Scala tutorial".
4
Disqus: Scaling the World's Largest Django Application ontwik.com
6 points by pajju  24 minutes ago   discuss
5
Freelancing, half a year in. alanhollis.com
7 points by Alan01252  46 minutes ago   1 comment top
1
showsover 5 minutes ago 0 replies      
As someone looking to try freelancing in a couple of years (only been programming for about 2 years) it is reassuring to see that you can make a decent amount of money with almost no network.

How do you find freelancing vs ordinary job?
Do you have savings for harder times?

6
The ‘Bloop' mystery solved doubtfulnews.com
102 points by paulgerhardt  8 hours ago   25 comments top 6
1
parfe 8 hours ago 1 reply      
A lot of the wild speculation regarding the bloop stemmed from the ultra low frequency audio being sped up 16x to be audible to the human ear.
2
marknutter 6 hours ago 2 replies      
It's never a giant squid <kicks the dirt>
3
cyanbane 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't believe it was anything crazy and that I believe that there is probably a common answer for what this was, but I am amazed at the HN comments so far that take this post for certification of an idea.
4
eshvk 7 hours ago 2 replies      
I confess to be slightly disappointed at this. Although there was speculation that this was indeed iceberg related, there was also speculation that possibly a living creature could be the source of this. Sad to say this but it appears that the age of discovering large animals is long past us.
5
dhughes 7 hours ago 3 replies      
For some reason that reminded me of the climatic (pun?) scene where the bad guys' undersea under ice lair blows up and the ice falls down to the ocean floor facepalm
6
gosub 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I semi-seriously think then someone got the idea for the 'solution' from this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=90cRyd4LpJo
8
Why 2.4GHz? Chasing wireless history indiegogo.com
95 points by Bob_Sheep  9 hours ago   35 comments top 15
1
femto 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't know the answer to why the 2.4GHz ISM band is at 2.4GHz, but I do know the answer as to why the 2.4GHz band was chosen over others. (I also know why the 61.5 GHZ ISM bad was chosen to be 61.5GHz.)

The choice of the 2.4GHz band needs to be seen in the context of 1995, when the first WLAN prototypes were built.

The lower limit was set by the desire to have the smallest antennas possible, to allow WLAN equipped devices to be portable. The higher the frequency, the smaller the wavelength, the smaller the antenna.

The upper limit was set by what was technically possible in 1995. The desire was to use cheap CMOS technology to build WLANs. In 1995, it was just possible to build a 2.4GHz radio in CMOS and research was in progress to build a 5GHz radio.

Consequently the first WLANs came out at 2.4GHz. Since then, WLANs have remained at that frequency for compatibility reasons (Metcalfe's law). 802.11a was defined to be 5GHz, because 802.11a came out after 802.11b and by then a 5GHz radio was possible in CMOS. Due to the dominance of 2.4GHz, 802.11g was later defined to be 802.11a at 2.4GHz, to take advantage of readily available 2.4GHz RF components, and allow 802.11a rates without having to have a dual-band radio.

61.5GHz was chosen for ISM because it is heavily attenuated by oxygen the atmosphere. This makes it unsuitable for long-range communications, but great for short range, since the high attenuation provides a degree of isolation between networks.

2
jaytaylor 8 hours ago 5 replies      
Given that the FCC is funded by the taxpayers I find it frustrating that the FCC document archive is sitting behind a paywall-esque system. Is there a good reason for this?

With all the money it costs to physically store and maintain the documents, I would imagine that they could instead scan and index them, and then put them up online and make them available to taxpayers for free, since we (the taxpayers) have effectively already paid for it, and continue to pay for it continually.

How did the BCPI become the sole contractor to have access to these documents? How can I find out how this came to be?

http://bcpiweb.com/fcc.php:

> Our office is inside of the FCC building and we have full complete access to FCC files,

> FCC divisions, FCC bureaus and FCC archives! We are the official contractor given top

> priority by the Federal Government in handling FCC documents to benefit the public.

<sarcasm>Yes, what a boon for the public.</sarcasm>

FWIW, I hate being so negative about this. But as is often the case with governmental affairs, this seems like total bullshit.

3
ash 37 minutes ago 0 replies      
Some speculations:

I suspect FCC simply allowed Raytheon to use whatever frequency its "Radarange" oven used. After all, Raytheon was the main radar producer for the US military. Presumably the military had a strong influence on FCC. Remember, it all happened in 1947, just 2 years after World War II.

http://www.raytheon.com/ourcompany/history/leadership/

4
dchichkov 3 hours ago 0 replies      
It should be somehow connected to the width of roman roads, I'm pretty sure of it. But the connection is not an obvious one: "speed of light / 2.4 gHz / (56 1/2 inch) = 0.087041".
5
ghshephard 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Well, to be precise, it's 2.4GHz and 902-928MHz, so, for completeness, you'll want to chase down both of them. (I spend a lot of time on 902-928 MHz at 1 Watt. )
6
monochromatic 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Is it really true that microwaves would work on that whole range of frequencies? I thought there was a water resonance at 2.4 GHz that they were designed to excite.
7
elithrar 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I would say that a lot of the rationale would come from:

1) Availability of the 2.4GHz band in other established countries
2) Propagation characteristics of 2.4GHz (this would also explain why the 900MHz ISM band exists given the better coverage) being relatively well known at the time
3) Separation, at least originally, from heavily populated bands at the time

Note that the $500 funding goal would only allow for 10 hours of discovery (exc. email & per-page costs), which may not be a lot if the investigator needs to find meeting minutes, memos and communications with other regulatory bodies from over half a century ago.

8
phreeza 1 hour ago 0 replies      
My guess would be that it has something to do with design considerations for early cavity magnetrons, which generate the radio waves for microwave ovens.
9
gprasanth 2 hours ago 0 replies      
This wired article _seems_ to explain it:

http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2010/09/wireless-explainer/2/

10
zanny 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I always thought it was some balance of range vs bandwidth, some nonsense about lower frequencies having larger range but having lower peak data carrying capacity, and higher bandwidths having less range but more data.

Which still wouldn't explain why we didn't use low bands for cellular (all the time at least, hello 900mhz) and high bands for wifi.

11
alexhawdon 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Good luck with your search!

Out of interest, have you tried approaching the University to see if they have funds available to help you out? That would be my first port of call - $500USD isn't much to them.

12
rtkwe 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I always assumed those were set aside as unlicensed spectrum and that was why so many things existed along those bands. Probably also some propagation characteristics?
13
mef51 8 hours ago 1 reply      
14
ck2 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Ah American democracy - freedom and knowledge for all, who can afford it.
15
thinkingtall 4 hours ago 0 replies      
To give everyone cancer...

Ask yourself next time your pocket vibrates.

9
Mozilla quietly kills Firefox 64-bit for Windows thenextweb.com
12 points by Reltair  2 hours ago   7 comments top 3
2
GvS 51 minutes ago 0 replies      
I use Pale Moon 64-bit, custom-built and optimized Firefox clone: http://www.palemoon.org/
3
bifrost 1 hour ago 3 replies      
This just reeks of dumb. Seriously guys, support 64 bit platforms or perish.
10
Side Hustle: Overcome Your Objections to Starting Your Own Business artofmanliness.com
24 points by robjama  4 hours ago   4 comments top 2
1
daliusd 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Good article but I would like to ask different question. Here is my objection: if you earn money you must pay taxes and deal with bureaucracy. My ideas are simple ones, I like them, maybe they will grow big someday but while they are small going legal means I will pay more in taxes (time for bureaucracy is not free IMO) than I earn.

I wonder if people in other countries have problem like this. I'm especially interested in EU countries since as EU citizen I guess I have some flexibility here.

BTW, there is part II here: http://artofmanliness.com/2012/08/07/the-company-mans-guide-...

2
Gustomaximus 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I think this is a good article, for people like me anyway. There are loads of people on HN wiling to throw their life at an idea for a period of time. Then there are people who are embedded in corporate but 'startup-curious' but for whatever reason are not going to quit the job and head in all guns blazing.

A side hustle is a great way to give yourself a bit of freedom, understand what your getting into with a startup and make some early steps. And with time management it is not that hard. Something else I have done I would recommend is I have set up a bank account where X% of my salary goes into a separate account. This account is for investing in my business. This way I have a clear budget to spend and don't get cold feet at the thought of digging into my family savings account.

11
Ghosts of WW2 Blended Into Present Day Pictures demilked.com
48 points by llambda  8 hours ago   6 comments top 6
1
gadders 28 minutes ago 0 replies      
This would make an awesome augmented reality app for your phone. It could alert you when you're near somewhere it had a historic photo for, and then direct you to point your camera in the right location and overlay the old photo on to your current view of the street.
2
meaty 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Might try this with my father's collection of photos from east Germany in the 1970s and 1980s. It'd be interesting to compare the Marxist state to the current one. Good excuse for a holiday as well :)

Thanks to the poster for this: it's a great idea and the photographs are wonderful.

3
telecuda 6 hours ago 0 replies      
If you're feeling inspired to try this yourself, go to your local historical society/museum and ask to go through some of their albums. My town has volumes of old photos like this from 20-50 years ago with easily recognizable standing structures.
4
WalterGR 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I thought this sounded familiar. Apparently another artist - Sergey Larenkov - does the same thing.

Here's the HN submission about it: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1570085

5
lloeki 2 hours ago 0 replies      
> maybe you've walked down one of those streets yourself!

Damn yes I walked down those Cherbourg streets. Day for day, nine years ago I met a girl in a MMORPG, and two weeks later I actually crossed France on a bluff to physically meet my wife there.

This makes those composited shots quite a bit more emotional.

6
ekianjo 1 hour ago 0 replies      
This is really great to give a sense on how WW2 was close to our current world. Sometimes when you learn about the war in History books it all seems distant and far but it was actually very, very close to us in time.
12
You are committing a crime right now erratasec.blogspot.com
659 points by ssclafani  1 day ago   185 comments top 32
1
grellas 1 day ago 7 replies      
In April, 2012, the erudite Judge Kozinski wrote for the entire Ninth Circuit in an en banc decision addressing the very concerns raised in this piece (see decision here: http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2012/04/10/10...).

The opinion is not only compelling, it is a brilliant example of law at its best, for it shows how a wonderful legal mind wrestles with a knotty problem that can be summed up with the question, "Should courts apply a badly drafted piece of legislation to lead to the absurd result of criminalizing a whole host of minor misdeeds committed by individuals every day in using the web and their computers?" Judge Kozinski answered this question with a resounding "no."

He did so by applying the "rule of lenity," which requires "penal laws . . . to be construed strictly." (at p. 3872) "The rule of lenity not only ensures that citizens will have fair notice of the criminal laws, but also that Congress will have fair notice of what conduct its laws criminalize. We construe criminal statutes narrowly so that Congress will not unintentionally turn ordinary citizens into criminals." Applying this rule, he held as follows: "Therefore, we hold that 'exceeds authorized access' in the CFAA is limited to violations of restrictions on access to information, and not restrictions on its use." (emphasis in original)

In other words, though the CFAA is so badly worded that one might potentially give it an absurd and unconstitutional interpretation so as to criminalize things one would think shocking for Congress to have criminalized, the courts have the power to apply well-established rules of statutory construction so as to avoid such an absurdity. Here, the Ninth Circuit did so by construing the CFAA to criminalize violations of access restrictions (i.e., hacking) and not violations of use restrictions (terms of use on website and the like).

Now, there is a split in the federal circuits on this issue and it will either be resolved by an amendment to the statute or it will eventually find its way to the Supreme Court for resolution. But, even granting the split, the most extreme cases in which the CFAA has been applied criminally have involved things such as employees misappropriating trade secrets and other items that go far beyond innocuous things such as violating an employer's computer use policies by surfing the internet on company time.

In other words, no court has gone so far as to adopt anything close to the absurd outcomes suggested in this piece. Even the government in its arguments to Judge Kozinski strongly stated that it would never consider prosecuting such items as crimes. ("The government assures us that, whatever the scope of the CFAA, it won't prosecute minor violations. But we shouldn't have to live at the mercy of the local prosecutor." at p. 3870)

Thus, it is fit and proper to call out the alarmist tone of this piece as being wildly outside the mainstream of where the courts have gone with the CFAA and of where they are likely to go. Is it badly drafted legislation? Yes, it is a mess (if you want to lose your mind, try reading through the text of the statute here: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/1030). Can it be interpreted to criminalize things that Congress might not have intended to criminalize? Yes, including acts by employees that, though wrongful, may not have been within the contemplation of Congress when it passed the statute. But, that said, is there a risk that the CFAA can be applied to criminalize our daily interaction with computers and the web? No, not unless normal, sound principles of law are wholly disregarded by the courts, which they won't be.

2
jellicle 1 day ago 5 replies      
Despite the assertions of tptacek, there is no requirement for any fraud to occur for a crime to have occurred. This is a pretty important thing for computer people to understand, and it's really unfortunate that one knucklehead vehemently asserting false facts has ruined this whole thread.

http://www.justice.gov/criminal/cybercrime/docs/ccmanual.pdf

Essentially, anything you do exceeding authorization to a computer connected to the internet is potentially a U.S. federal crime. Anywhere in the world. No fraud need be proved. For example, here are the elements of a crime under 1030(a)(2):

1030(a)(2) Summary (Misd.)
1. Intentionally access a computer
2. without or in excess of authorization
3. obtain information
4. from
financial records of financial institution
or consumer reporting agency
OR
the U.S. government
OR
a protected computer

So if the government can prove these things: you intentionally accessed a computer; without or in excess of authorization; obtained any information at all; and it was a computer connected to the internet, then they have successfully proved that you violated 1030(a)(2). Numerous whistleblowers have been charged with violating this law, including Bradley Manning; at least one "cyberbullying" case has been charged under it, etc.

NO FRAUD IS REQUIRED. You can shouldersurf someone's password, log in as them, type "ls", log out and never use that password again - you've violated that law.

Every person working with computers in the U.S. or anywhere the U.S. can reach with its laws should have this engraved along the top of their keyboard.

3
tptacek 1 day ago 5 replies      
Are you reading this blog? If so, you are committing a crime under 18 USC 1030(a) (better known as the “Computer Fraud & Abuse Act” or “CFAA”). That's because I did not explicitly authorize you to access this site, but you accessed it anyway. Your screen has a resolution of 1280x800. I know this, because (with malice aforethought) I clearly violated 18 USC 1030(a)(5)(A) by knowingly causing the transmission of JavaScript code to your browser to discover this information.

Jesus, Rob. You know this isn't true. Under the CFAA, you can't simply declare your blog "off limits" and then press charges. I have to access the site with the intent to commit fraud. And my access to your site has to further that fraud.

4
crazygringo 1 day ago 2 replies      
It's always bothered me that laws can be so vague such that, in advance, there's no way for you to know if a particular action of yours would break the law or not. You literally have to do it, wait to see if you're charged, and then wait for a judge/jury to decide which side of the law you fall on. It seems so unfair that law should ever be a gamble.

I've always wished there could be some kind of government agency you could go to, where you would lay out exactly what you would like to do, and they will explicitly decide in advance, and it would even set judicial precedent. Maybe you would have to pay the fees for lawyers on both sides and judge (so it wouldn't be cheap) no matter what the outcome, but if your actions were found to be legal in advance, then that would be binding, and there would be zero risk to your actions.

5
coffeemug 1 day ago 1 reply      
The entire U.S. legal system is based on a principle of "acting in good faith" and interpreting laws from the point of view of a "reasonable observer." If you choose to ignore these two principles, every single sentence of every single law can be convoluted to have an enormous range of meanings. That's not what the law is about -- it's not just about the letter, it's also about the spirit.

Sometimes judges and juries screw up -- maliciously, or otherwise. Most of the time they don't. It sucks, but it's the best system we've got.

That's not to say that the legislators shouldn't try to make laws clear and unambiguous, but they have a lot on their plates and patching a hole in a 1986 legislation that doesn't seem to actually harm anyone isn't high on their priority list.

6
fierarul 1 day ago 4 replies      
It's hard for an analytical mind to understand that law is mostly a socio-political game with some vague rules. It's not a verifiable axiomatic system (although, I think it should be quite close).

I'm coming to grips with the idea that law is mostly empirical and can only be falsified. Which means that, by design, you can't know if you are following the law or not.

7
monochromatic 1 day ago 2 replies      
> That's silly, you say, because that's not what the law means. Well, how do you know what the law means? The law is so vague that it's impossible to tell.

No, it's not that this isn't what the law means. It's that this isn't what the law says. There are vague laws, and there are ambiguous laws, but you are way overstating your case here. Either that, or you have never read § 1030.

8
j_baker 1 day ago 1 reply      
You know, I think we as programmers have a tendency to want everything to be well-defined, and that can sometimes turn tedious. In this particular case, that's what the OP is doing. Congress simply isn't capable of writing these laws fast enough to keep up with the technology, nor do I think it's preferable ("The citizens of Utah will not stand for oauth2-based authentication! Only SOAP will do!").

This is what we have courts and an executive branch for: the law can really only provide broad guidelines. It's up to the other branches to apply these principles in practice.

9
iuguy 1 day ago 1 reply      
What Rob Graham is saying is very similar to the situation for many years with the Computer Misuse Act 1990 in the UK. It took the conviction of someone for not hacking for the establishment to realise that the law indeed was an ass and needed to be changed, and several years for the amendments in the Police and Justice act to kick in that provided much needed background, sadly at the cost of what are referred to as "dual use tools", such as your web browser.
10
harryh 1 day ago 0 replies      
The problem with this post is that it isn't going to convince anyone that doesn't already agree with you. I swear to god that I am on your side. I'm a nerd. I'm pretty confident that what's being done to Weev is awful. You & I probably have mutual colleagues.

But this post made me less supportive of your cause not more.

You wont improve the standing of your argument in this manner. You'll only make regular people think you're crazy.

11
wisty 1 day ago 1 reply      
> A well-known legal phrase is “ignorance of the law is no defense”. But that doesn't really apply here. You know the law exists. You may have read it in detail. You may have even consulted your lawyer. It's just that nobody can tell precisely whether this act as crossed the line between “authorized” and “unauthorized” access. We won't know until if and when somebody tries to prosecute you.

This is a GOOD thing. The whole point is, there's no clear line between reasonable access and hacking. It's something which the courts have to figure out.

The Common Law is largely based on common sense, and precedent; and precedent is based on a previous judge's common sense. The three big rules for interpreting laws are the plain meaning rule (use the literal meaning), the "golden rule" (ignore the plain meaning rule if it's obviously stupid), and the mischief rule (figure out what mischief the lawmakers were trying to prevent).

A vaguely written law lets judges use their common sense. While I'm sure there'll be people who disagree with their interpretations, it's either that or black and white statues which simply won't work.

12
ChuckMcM 1 day ago 0 replies      
This would be a more effective rant if it had a suggested fix and maybe a copy of the letter this guy who is clearly an expert in the field sent to all of the members of Congress on the Science and Technology committee that would have to consider changes to CFAA. Or maybe just to Ben Quayle (R AZ) who chairs the subcommittee on Technology and Innovation.

EDIT: Obligatory shout out for https://postcongress.io/

13
frobozz 18 hours ago 0 replies      
This is hosted on Blogspot, so I don't think the author has the authority to permit or deny people access to that computer.

Surely it's entirely within Google's gift.

http://www.google.com/intl/en/policies/terms/

That said, I can't actually see where they authorise access, only that they tell us not to misuse. Though they do give an example: "don't interfere with our Services or try to access them using a method other than the interface and the instructions that we provide." which might imply that accessing them through the provided interface, and not interfering is OK.

14
gort 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I feel I'm given explicit authorisation to read the page when the server sends a "200 OK" response to my request to read it.
15
46Bit 1 day ago 1 reply      
Interesting argument towards the end, although my answer to about half the questions is caselaw.
16
TheCapn 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Anyone care to fill me in why creating a web server, opening access publicly through the creation of an authorized user account and publishing information on said access does not constitute explicit permission to access? There's a lot of flipflopping legal discussion happening in this thread but to me there were explicit actions taken by the web host in order to allow anonymous individuals access to the information published.
17
smsm42 1 day ago 1 reply      
That sounds like bullshit. Posting link to Hacker News is not exactly how one protects access to his private information. Obviously, whatever is written on that page, the real intent of the author was to publicize the article, and his words in the blog that he is denying access is a lie.

Also, this is placed on a well known public blog, also submitted to search engines and other public catalogues, means that nobody in his sane mind would consider this a private place not intended for public visitors.

It is also a common practice, accepted by vast majority of users, that sites run Javascript in user's browser, and that some data - such as cookies, display resolution, etc. - is available to these scripts. If the site took some liberties outside of accepted practices common for Internet browsing - such as using a hole in the browser to read documents on my hard disk that I did not specifically upload to the site - then yes, the site author would be liable. But to scare me into believing what author intends me to believe, he better would find any court insane enough to interpret it this way.

18
geon 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Webservers usually have a very explicit authorization setting. Apache often has the lines

    Order allow,deny
Allow from all

in a config file somewhere.

19
gggggggg 1 day ago 1 reply      
Could these be let in to allow people prosecuting to selectivally target those they can not get for other reasons.

Like Al Capone for Tax. Cant get someone for real hacking, so these vague laws help along the way?

20
Nursie 1 day ago 0 replies      
From the title I assumed this was going to be about how we have such a volume of law that it's pretty inevitable that you're already breaking several, if not several hundred.
21
b3n 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm committing a crime by (supposedly) breaking a law from a country I've never been to? I guess I should start wearing a hijab so I don't break Saudi Arabia's laws too.
22
jnazario 20 hours ago 1 reply      
bear in mind that weev's an awful poster child for this. he's a known internet professional troll and has made a lot of enemies in the past few years through his actions. ISTR he'd probably been under investigation for a while and this is what stuck.

as noted elsewhere in comments in an article about the event he laughed that what he was doing was probably illegal, suggesting knowledge of a likely crime.

i'm no fan of an absurd application of laws, but there have got to be better poster children for this sort of thing.

23
budchrislee 23 hours ago 0 replies      
As Kyrgizio mentions, You can do whatever you want, probably even illegally, but you DON'T embarrass your "betters". You don't bite the hand that feeds you, and you DON'T stick your head up out of the herd.
24
mercurialshark 1 day ago 0 replies      
The posting of corporate earnings is a rather poor example. The law doesn't require you to personally trade on inside information, as an attempt to manipulate trading by furthering actual or false inside information is sufficient. A reasonable person, which is what I presume the standard is, could expect trades to be conducted based off early release of corporate earnings. Therefore, this example isn't really applicable to the authors primary point.
25
neilmiddleton 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Trust no man who writes web content in MS Word.
26
wooptoo 1 day ago 0 replies      
451 Unavailable For Legal Reasons
27
genuine 1 day ago 0 replies      
Please don't encourage the government to try to update legislation for the world as we currently know it, because that will be woefully out of date in just a few years, and same for something enacted a few years from now, etc. By pointing out what needs to change, they won't remove the law- they will try to update it. The best thing to do is to know how to defend yourself against the existing law so that you can fight it if and when you it affects you. It seems currently that the most obvious defense is that it is unclear. I'm not sure how well that would work, but odds are good that you won't have to defend yourself anyway.
28
xyandnoz 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I am assuming that most or all of those who are defending Weev have never experienced life after he "drops docs" on you (which he has of course done for years, and as casually as one swats a fly)
30
spiritplumber 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you break the law, make sure it's not worth fixing.
31
guard-of-terra 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think Anonymous should be trashing AT&T right now.
32
kailuowang 1 day ago 3 replies      
not if I don't click this link.
13
Make legal documents subject to software patent laws plus.google.com
39 points by Garbage  7 hours ago   15 comments top 6
1
jacques_chester 47 minutes ago 0 replies      
Oh man.

You know how annoying Star Trek is to physicists? Or how Hackers was a riot because of how hilariously wrong it got ... well ... everything that matters?

Yeah. So. That's what this reads like to anyone who's studied the Common law.

I used to think expert systems might be useful for legal situations.

And then ... I studied law.

You know why law is complex? Because of problem domain -- everything humans do -- is complex. Right now a judge is being asked to give a ruling on a particular combination of facts that has never arisen before, ever, in the history of the human race.

It probably belongs to a fuzzy set of existing situations canvassed by cases raised in the past thousand years.

But it might not.

There is always novelty in the law.

2
shawn-butler 5 hours ago 1 reply      
This is not a bad idea, but I would add that I think a better idea is that abuse of the patent system (resubmitting patents over and over with slight modifications to gain approval [0], non-producing entities engaging in jurisdiction-swapping [1], etc) need to be confronted immediately by judges or individuals with the spectre of sanction and disbarment by local and state bar associations boards of professional conduct (EDIT: I am generally against an activist judiciary but, this is certainly an area where such activism has sufficient merit).

This can happen right now. You don't have to wait for political reform or constitutional amendments. Disbar the people who are responsible for abuse. Then let the system work. Bar associations feel local pressure. They respond to it immediately, on the the timescale of months, not years. Remove the financial incentive to file obviously frivolous[2] suits, and the problem will go away. If the trolls can't find anyone reputable to represent them, we all win.

Just my $0.02.

[0] http://www.google.com/patents/US8086604

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forum_shopping
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Thompson_(activist)#Disbar...

3
joshuaheard 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm a lawyer, but not an AI engineer. It seems to me that we do not have an AI good enough to analyze, that is apply a given set of rules to a unique situation. As far as I know, the current state of the art of AI is merely algorithmic pattern recognition. This would not be good enough to replace a lawyer.

Also, some quibbles about the article. Anything one writes, such as a contract or blog post, is automatically granted a copyright. Also, the blogger seems to think contracts are some sort of public reference like a statute. They are not. While you can find form books (private), contracts are drafted by lawyers for their clients and are private property.

The author's one interesting idea is a software-type patent on contract clauses. If you could patent, say a non-compete clause, well, that would certainly transform the legal world. I don't think it is feasible, though, and shows the folly of software patents.

4
Peaker 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Software is not patentable because it is software.

Software is patentable by specifying the entire machine, cpu, memory and software that is used to achieve the purpose.

5
grabeh 55 minutes ago 1 reply      
If protection was granted for contract clauses, firstly it would be far easier to search for existing clauses that were protected, and secondly, it would be far easier to draft around a protected clause.

Also, in the patenting process in the first place, it would be far easier to provide examples of prior art therefore making any attempt to patent clauses far harder.

Finally, advancements in contract drafting take place at a much slower pace than technological advancements in other areas, again, suggesting to me that many supposedly novel clauses would be obvious in light of prior art.

Still, an interesting idea to think about all the same.

6
smogzer 48 minutes ago 2 replies      
Why not model laws as UML patterns ?
14
"Your criticisms are completely wrong": Stallman on software patents arstechnica.com
253 points by markshepard  20 hours ago   175 comments top 25
1
grellas 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Mr. Stallman's proposed solution is both simple and elegant: take all software that runs on a general purpose machine and legislate a "safe harbor" from patent claims for software falling in that category. This essentially would return the state of the law to what it was through the early 1990s, recognizing that software patents are fine when tied to specialized hardware or when they pertain to a special-purpose machine but not otherwise. Such a proposal is "radical" in dealing with the problem once and for all but is also remarkably conservative in only singling out for elimination the one category of patents most vulnerable to the potent objection that its retention does little or nothing to further the progress of science and hence doesn't warrant the monopoly protections afforded by the patent laws. The logic here should enable Congress to support it if it chose to reexamine the issues purely from a social and legal perspective.

Still, the practical issues remain daunting. What becomes of existing software patents, for example? Purists may say these are not "property" but massive dollars have been paid for the rights to own them and there will be huge resistance, not to mention constitutional objections, over any idea that these suddenly should be rendered worthless by legislative action. If these stay intact for the next 20+ years, what good does a safe harbor do in applying only prospectively? More important, those with a stake in the game - even relatively benign players such as Google - want to hedge and trim on the issues in order to protect their investments, and this means that inordinate pressure will be put on Congress not to single out software patents for elimination, emphasizing instead more limited measures to help fight trolls and so on.

With so much resistance, and with an apathetic public, how to build sufficient momentum to push Congress toward a true solution? Developers might lead this charge but I wonder. Founders are mostly not directly affected by software patents and neither are employees at bigger companies who are conscripted to keep churning them out. And those most directly hit in the patent wars resist reform to protect their own investments.

So Mr. Stallman finds himself alone in his position at this conference: not because his solution is bad but because of inordinately difficult practical barriers. At least we see in this conference that persons of influence in this area are finally willing to begin seeking incremental reform. If the worst of the abuses can be fixed (e.g., the troll issue), that at least is a start. And, who knows, maybe radical changes can occur after initial progress is made. Time will tell.

2
belorn 19 hours ago 10 replies      
Richard stallman has always been eccentric and unwavering in his stand on politics around software.

Somehow, people find this odd, wrong, and or bad, and I dont understand it. On basically all political issues, unwavering is a good attribute. Even being an eccentric is better than not caring for the issue. eccentricness is often a key aspect before a change reach a critical mass.

Take a random politician opinion about abortion or nuclear power or any other common political subject. Say his/her opinion is "well, some should be able to do it, but then again there are problems so maybe not, and the issue is not one that need to be address today, and the system today do continue to work, and well, legal greyness is not that big of an issue, only for those in the courts...".

Clear, direct, and consistent opinion is a good thing. Diplomacy and "meeting half-way" has it places, but in politics, there is also times when it should be clearly avoided. In software politics, there are plenty of people working the diplomatic route. There is no shortage of diplomats, and a few eccentric and unwavering voices is then much more useful to maintain the goals of where we want to actually go without moving the goal in favor of diplomacy.

3
madhadron 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Stallman's position on software patents is clear. It's the response from the rest of the world which is strange. There is one, simple statement that no one attempts to make and defend: "Stallman is wrong." I suspect it's because we all know that Stallman is right, many of us find it socially uncomfortable, and so there are all kinds of attempts to distance the ideas.

Personally I regard Stallman as one of the few moderate voices in software. Most discussion today is at an extreme best described as fascism: all privileges of decision and control reserved to a single person. Stallman is the moderate voice calling for a individual self-determination. He hasn't demanded any kind of social protections. Take a few minutes and imagine what the philosophy underlying the social democracies of Scandanavia would look like when applied to software.

4
linuxhansl 16 hours ago 1 reply      
As usually RMS is spot on. "Can a person program a new solution to a problem?" Any answer involving "no" seems a bit like insanity.

Duffy on the other hand misses the point (IMHO):
"The question is, will you get very serious research that is patent-motivated?"

There is no "serious [software] research" that actually costs money. I have yet to be shown a single software patent that is the result of research and not just a spark on insight.
Sparks of insights are great. The point to note, though, is that they would have happened anyway, they do not cost anything. Granting a legal monopoly on them does not benefit society as a whole.

I have no illusion that anything will change. Big companies (with the notable exception of Google) love software patents to keep the competition (especially new players) at bay. Patent trolls love patents, which they can exploit with extortion schemes.
Last not least lawyers love software patents; not a single patent case is won or lost without the involved lawyers being rewarded handsomely.

5
silentmars 17 hours ago 4 replies      
I read most of the transcripts of the Oracle v Google trial. This was a case where both sides had highly paid expert legal teams staffed with the best lawyers in the country that spent an enormous amount of time preparing to argue a case about patents and copyright in software.

What jumped out at me, and I imagine anyone else on HN who read these transcripts, was that despite what was a set of the optimum circumstances for lawyers dealing with software issues, none of them had the slightest idea what they were talking about. They were way off the mark. "What is an API?" - a central issue to the case. The lawyers from neither side understood the answer. "How do people use a programming language?" Again, both sides were desperately clueless (although Oracle's Boies was obviously more so, sometimes hilariously.)

So often in reading those transcripts I wanted to grab one of the lawyers and scream in his face, "you idiot!! What the hell is wrong with you?!? Are you stupid????"

The situation with software patents is the same - the same clueless legal people are having the same clueless legal discussion about it. They don't understand how software works, they don't understand what software patents really mean, they don't understand the marketplace, and they certainly don't understand programming. Unlike me, who just sits back and screams in my own head at the clueless people who are the self-appointed architects of the legal world in which software developers and entrepreneurs will live and work, Richard Stallman is standing up and screaming in their faces about it. It must feel satisfying to do that. Someone needs to.

6
tjic 19 hours ago 5 replies      
I'm glad to see that RMS is using his trademark good manners to reach out to the undecided middle.
7
Tloewald 16 hours ago 3 replies      
So suppose I want to make a novel device, part of its functionality is software. I can't patent the software only the hardware. It's a mass market device, so I have an incentive to make the software a trade secret. I don't want people to conveniently reverse engineer my software so I design a custom CPU and store the code in encrypted form. That's a whole bunch of overhead that has been created by abolishing software patents.

Not only will this kind of thing happen, but it will become commonplace and convenient (e.g. there will be off the shelf CPU designs that support obfuscation). Imagine the digital world returning to the guild system " and the beauty of digital technology is that this could happen ridiculously fast.

Now, yes, trivial algorithms would not be worth protecting this way, and that's a Good Thing. But consider the inefficiencies and stupidity that will be created by abolishing software patents altogether. Oh and the DMCA will make any efforts to penetrate obfuscated software illegal in perpetuity.

8
jobu 18 hours ago 2 replies      
The thing is I would actually favor software patents if it required the patent applicant to submit all related source code to the public domain. Software is the only medium of creation that is essentially a double-monopoly with copyright and patent protection.
9
debacle 19 hours ago 1 reply      
> Speech recognition, for example, is very patent-intensive.

Speech recognition is patent-encumbered, not patent-intensive. Anyone who has done any research into the field would know that.

10
jrochkind1 14 hours ago 0 replies      
> Speech recognition, for example, is very patent-intensive."

The nytimes article with the guy who DID spend lots of time trying to innovate in speech recognition, recognized as a genius in the field, who was driven out by someone elses patent.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/08/technology/patent-wars-amo...

11
jrogers65 18 hours ago 1 reply      
It's all well and good that we are attempting to address the software patent system but the myth of beneficial medical patents still prevails. If you are of the opinion that medical patents are necessary, please read through this document - http://levine.sscnet.ucla.edu/general/intellectual/against.h... - in particular, chapter 9. Just like software patents, medical patents have a long and rich history of stifling innovation. Don't buy the lies wholesale - look at the evidence and make your own decision.
12
yason 13 hours ago 0 replies      
What we're missing is a fiscal disincentive, a cost of acquiring bad patents and suing others for violating them. Currently the equation is unbalanced, it's too cheap to harass others with patent litigation. The harmful effect of bad patents isn't factored in into the complete patenting scheme, thus the bad outcome. It's like spam.

Not that I support (software and any other) patents at all. I deliberately don't want my name on any patent. I might work on something that my employer wants to patent for they do pay for my time and creativity but I don't want my own name involved outside of that. This isn't just a principle; it has happened in reality. I wish Stallman was heard and patents were banished completely.

13
crusso 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Those include creating key components of the free software system that he calls GNU/Linux (and many others call simply Linux)

I've always savored the irony of Stallman's fight to have content creators relinquish control of their creations while steadfastly refusing to let people just call Linux by the name they choose... while also attempting to steal top billing.

14
GotAnyMegadeth 19 hours ago 1 reply      
> Pinned to his chest was a large white button: "Pay Cash"Don't Be Tracked."

Looking at the photo, it looks like it actually says "Don't Be Tracked"Pay Cash."

15
fastball 18 hours ago 2 replies      
Stallman was the only speaker that day who wasn't streamed.

>"Streaming online would require use of [the] Microsoft Silverlight plug-in, which would pressure people to use proprietary software. Dr. Stallman considers it wrong to pressure people to do that."

Why is Silverlight necessary? http://blog.webmproject.org/2010/12/live-streaming-webm-with...

16
markshepard 19 hours ago 0 replies      
This is definitely an issue to be tackled. After working in a large software company I can attest to the fact that ridiculous stuff that are patented just to increase the portfolio.
17
klrr 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Well, sad he act in such a fool'ish way here, raging are often resulting in that people rather trust the counter-arguments. I would acted just like that myself though, and I agree that some of the counter arguments was wrong. I highly wish RMS and the whole FSF community was more respected.
18
grannyg00se 14 hours ago 0 replies      
"They cover common practices on the Internet, like showing an ad before a piece of content."

Why do patents like that get granted? And once they are, why aren't they extremely easy to invalidate after the fact? There is a non-trivial aspect to a patent that is supposed to be passed. It seems to me that at least enforcing that would be a nice step.

19
aw3c2 19 hours ago 2 replies      
"Streaming online would require use of [the] Microsoft Silverlight plug-in, which would pressure people to use proprietary software," explained Andrew Chin

just for the record, that statement is absolutely incorrect. you can offer streams and watch streams just fine with free and open-source software. for example with ogg theora or webm.

20
numeral_two 5 hours ago 0 replies      
"YOUR ARGUMENT IS INVALID": RMS on most things.

http://cdn.memegenerator.net/instances/400x/30612915.jpg

21
PrinceGeo 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Software idea patents are bad for everyone, except patent lawyers.
22
riazrizvi 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Reduce the problem by reducing the software patent's lifespan, say to 7 years? That would force innovation to be more business-efficient and greatly reduce the number of patent trolls.
23
dsego 17 hours ago 1 reply      
stallman would be far more convincing if he would stop eating stuff from his feet (and drinking pepsi).
24
nicholassmith 18 hours ago 3 replies      
"while Google abhors them, its arch-rival Microsoft is increasingly enthusiastic about them."

Wait, what? Google abhors patents? So all the patents they've been buying up is because they abhor them so much?

25
diminoten 17 hours ago 0 replies      
> "Maybe it wouldn't be quite as good, but we would all be okay. None of us would be shafted."

So rather than reward the talented and ignore the ungifted, he'd rather punish the talented and ignore the ungifted?

15
TL;DR " Faster News toolong-didntread.com
246 points by swader  21 hours ago   120 comments top 49
1
DanielBMarkham 20 hours ago 8 replies      
I don't want to step on these guys' PR, but I do have a similar personal project for anybody who is interested, http://newspaper23.com

Initially it's just an aggregator that presents commentary in plain text. I plan on adding a summarizer one day. For a personal project, I've been using it daily for over a year, so I know I find a lot of value in this type of thing.

As sites try to get more sticky, the signal-to-noise ratio decreases. You spend more time reading a lot of trivial articles that a Facebook friend recommended instead of a few articles that you've scanned yourself. I know Google and FB say social search is the cool thing, but in my experience the only thing it does is increase consumption of mediocre shiny stuff. Much better to pre-qualify sources and then control the depth of your dive. For newspaper23, one of the original ideas was a timer for each day. 30 minutes of scanning and the site would refuse to load until the next day.

I'd like to see more of this type of thing -- gearing content consumption to humans instead of site creators and advertisers.

2
macrael 19 hours ago 1 reply      
If you haven't seen http://evening-edition.com/ I highly reccomend it. It is bite sized world news published every weekday at 5 pm in a few different locales. The news is all written by a journalist, and they track some of the same stories day to day. It's not trying to solve the same problem as this site, and its not just summarizing articles you could read elsewhere. I've been reading it pretty much every day for a few months; it's great.
3
tokenadult 19 hours ago 1 reply      
I browsed around a bit to check it out. tl;dr: I can get the same use out of Google News by customizing sections there and scanning headlines.

Longer comparison with the main competition: Google News also allows me to group sources that are consistently reliable (which appear in an "Editors' Picks" section that I can customize). The Spotlight section of Google News seems to provide much of the same usability as the prototype site submitted here, showing only headlines at a glance, but as another comment here has already said, news stories are written with lede paragraphs to give you the main idea rapidly.

The kind of automated curation and formatting I look for most in a news aggregation site is not curation for short snippets and formatting for good-looking white space, but curation for quality of content and formatting for information density. As I have customized it on my browser, Google News provides that.

I sympathize with anyone who feels too busy making a living to have time to read. But when I can win reading time, I'm glad to read long articles, and I still try to read actual books even in this era of most people doing a lot of their reading online. I appreciate people working on the issue of getting more reading done in less time, and meanwhile hope that the long writings continue to get plenty of attention from thoughtful readers, and plenty of discussion here among the busy participants on Hacker News.

4
cwilson 19 hours ago 3 replies      
Would love to see a "top stories from last week" feature. Imagine I'm on vacation, or I've just been too busy to keep up with current events but would like to catch up.

This is nicely done. I'll be giving it a shot as a tab that never closes.

5
slashcom 19 hours ago 1 reply      
As an NLP researcher, this is interesting as a sort of summarization data set.

The thing is though, summarizing news articles is best done by just reading the first paragraph of the article. News articles are intentionally written this way, and it's a very difficult baseline to beat in automatic summarization.

Still nice site though.

6
irahul 17 hours ago 0 replies      
You probably already know that, but your "sponsors" page is completely broken on my system, and it blames adblock.

Page:

http://buysellads.com/buy/detail/158594?utm_source=shorturl&...

Error message:

Does BuySellAds look broken? Disable your ad blocker, their haphazard default filters sometimes break our site.

I don't care enough about you(yet) to disable adblock. I don't even know what "sponsor" means in context of your site. I was just clicking around.

Also, you probably need it for tracking, but I don't like clicking on http://toolong-didntread.com/sponsorship and being redirected to http://buysellads.com/buy/detail/158594?utm_source=shorturl&...

7
nathan_long 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Nice. My curmudgeonly response, though, is: "Now all we have to do is put another TL;DR on top of that: a monthly or yearly summary of 'items that actually mattered.'"

It's always interesting to pick up a newspaper from a year ago and see how few items are worth reading anymore, and imagine how many stories I've read and forgotten.

The same might be said for HN, for that matter... what am I doing here again? ;)

8
redcircle 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Why do people put the TL;DR summary at the bottom? If the content is too long, and I didn't read it, then I'm not going to see a summary at the bottom. Abstracts, introductions, executive summaries, etc., go at the top. You don't even have to call it one of those: the goal of good writing is to engage people before they move onwards. I guess that locating it at the bottom is equivalent to adding a conclusion, and I'll grant that some people skim to the conclusion, rather than use the abstract/intro/exec-summary.
9
rhplus 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't have a citation for this, but I read recently that BBC News articles always lead with a concise one-sentence summary rather than something that trails to ellipses... supposedly the original reason was to fit the text within the fixed width of their CeeFax (Teletext) news pages. The result is that their RSS feeds are still rather concisely descriptive.

[1] http://newsrss.bbc.co.uk/rss/newsonline_uk_edition/world/rss...

10
perfunctory 48 minutes ago 0 replies      
What is their business model?
11
mstefanko 13 hours ago 1 reply      
I've given a lot of thought to the TL;DR approach to content digestion. It works extremely well, in a vacuum, or on the site it was made popular, reddit. Their, the original poster writes the TL;DR, which is why it works so well. If you write a large post, then immediately after summarize the post into 1-2 sentences, it becomes a very efficient message that still expresses exactly what you wanted to get across. TL;DR is the future, almost to a sad degree. A lot of time it digs deeper than just wanting to filter out the articles you have no interest in reading. But this becomes the only form of digesting news. You begin consuming a lot of news, stories, articles, but you're no longer actually informed on any of the topics, you just end up with a vague idea of what is going on around you. That's far beside the point though.

This is a actually a very nice effort.

The issues I have with growth and actual value, is with how the summaries are generated. Automatic generation is fast and inaccurate, manually curated is slow and very accurate. In a world where people no longer have the time to read newspapers, their not only looking for quick news on the run, they want current news. Something that happened today, everything that happened today. But quick, not the full story, "i'll read that later." Meeting in the middle between fast and slow approaches does not work here. You're too slow, and the headlines in my RSS feed and twitter have already informed me of the news, too fast and your summary becomes a failed attempt to make twitter and RSS better quality. I have no idea how your TL;DR are currently generated. But I would think you'd have an aggregation and be doing some manual curation. To me for this to really work, you'd have to have a large group of people that read the article generating the TL;DR, constantly iterating, until you end up with an extremely efficient 2 sentence summary. Or there needs to be a project that integrates TL;DR on large scale, the publishers, news papers of the world, blogs..They submit these directly.

I think there's still a lot of value in what you're doing. I just don't think it will take off as it is now. Away from the name/marketing/novelty/social aspect not really being there. Twitter, RSS feeds, and sites like http://skimfeed.com/ end up providing me with far more day to day value. If you took this and spoon-fed me the TL;DR via my phone, i'd consider being a repeat visitor a little bit more. But you'd then be competing with a whole 'nother slice of the pie.

12
logn 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Cool. I was just complaining how cluttered and junky Google News has been looking lately. Way too many links, borders, and images. It used to feel so clean compared to the other news sites. This is what I was looking for.

Also, how did you get the summaries? It's like you have some algorithm to re-word the first paragraph of the story.

13
billirvine 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Common problem, problematic solution.

Humans, no matter how altruistic, have inherent bias that will influence their selection of news to summarize, as well as the nature of their summarization.

Circa is another prime example of right idea, problematic solution. It gives me news and photos with no attribution... not even bylines of whomever created their shortened bits of things that they claim could be news. (intentional sarcasm) There's no mechanism whereby I can learn to trust them, or toolong-didntread.com.

14
corporalagumbo 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Nice clear tablet-friendly design. Bold to go with text-only too. How is this news chosen and paraphrased though?
15
joelthelion 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I have a request: make a "real news" feed, which is only about things that will actually make your life a bit different. Two or three items a week would be a maximum.
16
damian2000 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Good to see these guys are from Perth, Western Australia. We need more startups here!
17
rglover 18 hours ago 3 replies      
Why don't people like to read anymore?
18
MojoJolo 18 hours ago 0 replies      
If you want my "TextTeaser" (http://textteaser.com/) can really help provide "faster news". I'm currently doing an API that accepts a URL as an input and returns a JSON result that contains the following: title, url, sentences with their respective scores.

The scores are based on title, sentence length and sentence position for now. Because there are more to come. They are included in the JSON output.

19
lutusp 16 hours ago 0 replies      
This tl;dr thing can be taken too far --

"War and Peace", Leo Tolstoy, 1,225 pages : it's about Russia.

"Hindenburg" : a really nice dirigible, until something bad happened in New Jersey.

"Adolf Hitler" : politician, didn't like Jews very much.

"Helen of Troy" : nice-looking woman.

"Calculus" : a province somewhere north of algebra.

20
robmcm 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Amazing, still only read the titles though!
21
iamdave 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Caveat: Not speaking against you (the developers of this) or the work you put into it, but instead against the notion behind this trend of summarizing the news: Why?

That's a curious "Why", not a crotchety "Why". Lots of people are talking about browser extensions that summarize the news or are linking to other sources that do this; is the state of journalism so that a summary is better than what media outlets produce because of excessive filler (redundancy department all hands alert), or because we don't like reading anymore?

22
abalashov 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Torn about whether to praise or damn this. On the one hand, I'm critical of modern attention spans, laziness and ADD-addled brains (allegedly) that don't have the discipline and intellectual wherewithal to actually focus on a single thought for a whole minute or more.

On the other hand, far too much of journalistic prose (and even more so, speech) in mainstream media is contentless fluff.

23
drd 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Effective news consumption has been a huge problem since Internet got exponentially publishing disease. Unfortunately today writing for some writers and journalists is a matter of mass producing text not informing people.

I don't think today's technology can auto-summarize news for us properly. The approach taken by TLDR is the correct one. The news should be summarized by human to be useful.

To crowd source this function we can create groups of like-minded people. Members of each group need to split the job. Such a process will save many souls.

24
czzarr 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Seems like there are a lot of people trying to tackle this problem at the moment.
We are using a different route with our tl;dr Chrome extension for Hacker News: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/tldr/ohmamcbkcmfal...
25
nickbarone 15 hours ago 0 replies      
There's something missing from the summaries: An indication of how much there is to read when non-summarized / how wrong the summary might be.

Two of my favorite examples for this are the DCA cancer treatment news and those people who don't pay for fire protection in counties that don't require it; the typical headlines are "Canada Cures Cancer" and "Firemen stand by as house burns down". The former isn't very true and there's a fair amount to read, while the latter is entirely true, only missing a little, critical, bit.

To put it another way, you're teaching me something with all those summaries, but you're NOT teaching me how much I don't know or when to go look up more information, and I think you should try.

26
iaskwhy 19 hours ago 0 replies      
The idea is good but the implementation is what sets it apart, good work!
27
ErikGelderblom 17 hours ago 1 reply      
Compared to all the others, I really like this execution of the simple, eye friendly design and the color coding. Well done! A small source url after the headline like reddit and HN do, would be a welcome addition imo.
28
pseut 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Is this trying to be, "headlines done right," "a newspaper's home page done right," or something else? FWIW a combination of twitter and the BBC's mobile site[1] work for me.

I was surprised that Gaza was mentioned on your front page but not world news (at 10:20 ET) and that a 2.0 earthquake in new jersey made world news.

[1] http://m.bbc.co.uk/news/world

EDIT: after thinking about it some more, I'm still not sure how your website is different than, "We opened a Tumblr and/or Twitter account." There are lots of link blogs.

29
swader 21 hours ago 1 reply      
While I feel like this is a very interesting initiative, my distrust in humankind makes me fear bias and sponsorship. What if a big sponsor decides competitor news are to be ignored and their own news are to be kept at the top longer?
30
jnazario 19 hours ago 0 replies      
i like it, guys! neat! i share the concern about sustainability if humans drive it, but beyond that well done.

i do a sector (infosec) specific site for myself and a handful of friends using twitter to seed links and libots to summarize, works like a champ and has been running solidly and automatically for over 3 years. could be easy to retarget. python, mysql, libots powers it, think delicious+twitter.

31
halayli 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I like using nextly.com for the same reason.
32
viggity 19 hours ago 0 replies      
wow. I can't count the number of times I've thought about doing something similar. looks like I don't need to now.
33
hdragomir 20 hours ago 0 replies      
If it would create separate twitter accounts per section (like tech) and autopost stuff there, that would be a major win.
34
j2labs 16 hours ago 0 replies      
That's an amusingly long URL, given the context of the name...
35
lambersley 19 hours ago 0 replies      
There was a previous discussion on this topic (1) but I found skimthat.com served useful information to me via daily email.

(1) http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4734654

36
amanuel 19 hours ago 1 reply      
I always had thought it was TooLazy;Didn'tRead....I guess TooLong also works.
37
mysteryleo 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Weird. I like how hacker news is all text and read it daily.

But I could see my eyes getting bored after a while on tldr. I much prefer this layout
http://www.rawsignal.com/

Optimized for fast consumption or just dicking around.

38
azinman2 13 hours ago 1 reply      
I love how the featured news contained like 90% tech, and not even a single mention of the current war between Hamas & Israel... with a cease fire brokered by Egypt already.

Priorities?

39
pseut 18 hours ago 0 replies      
One point in addition to what I posted earlier: check out the old (maybe the original) version of Slate's "Today's Papers." It was awesome: a ~1 page prose summary of the major newspapers every morning. The Slatest is but a pale shadow.
40
samspot 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I will always maintain that "summary" is easier to type than "TL;DR"
41
allsystemsgo 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I like the idea. I really do. But doesn't twitter do a lot of this already?

Good luck to you.

42
nathell 19 hours ago 1 reply      
The domain name seems slightly TL;DR.
43
abemassry 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Did something very similar to this in node with socket.io realtime updates. http://mashrd.com/
44
Jemaclus 15 hours ago 0 replies      
This is one of those things I wish I'd thought of first. Good job!
45
tolos 17 hours ago 0 replies      
isn't that the point of headlines?
46
elliott99 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I like Prismatic. Why is that not popular?
47
olog-hai 20 hours ago 1 reply      
No feed.
48
tanaytandon 12 hours ago 0 replies      
clipped.me/tftrial check it out - Its a one man teen startup - would love to get feedback from the community!
49
jackyyappp 21 hours ago 0 replies      
love the idea.
16
CardMunch CEO uses Flightfox for 29-Country Startup Trip flightfox.com
69 points by todsul  11 hours ago   29 comments top 9
1
iag 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Bowei here.

I just want to give a huge shoutout to FlightFox co-founder Lauren. She's been absolutely amazing to work with.

Early stage startups, please take note. This is how you get loyal first customers. You treat people like VIP and make sure they're taken care of.

Thanks Lauren!

2
xb95 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Flightfox is neat, but the thing that wasn't super clear and I found out later, after paying a finder's fee, is that you have to go through hoops to book your tickets.

This isn't just -- they put it together and you click a button and suddenly you have your tickets.

This is "now you have to spend hours on the phone, attempting to book these tickets, and you don't have enough information to really do it -- nor enough confidence to pull it off".

So I love Flightfox and I hope they succeed, but I'm hoping to save time -- and Flightfox definitely doesn't. It saves you money at the cost of adding a lot of extra time to your booking process, but that's not a tradeoff that is apparent from the start, IMO.

3
MichaelGG 11 hours ago 2 replies      
The thing that bothers me here is the same as with 99Designs. You pay an award fee but that only goes to the winner, right?

After using 99Designs a couple of times, I'm happy with the results, but probably won't use such a system again; it just feels a bit exploitative. I know, people elect to enroll in the system and compete so it's "fair" that way, but it just feels sorta icky to know I had X people spending so much time on my project and they get no compensation at all.

Maybe on FlightFox trips are usually shorter, easier, and less money, so it's not as bad - is that the case?

4
tlrobinson 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Is there a more complete service, like a travel agent, to help book an entire trip? e.x. I want to go to a beach in country A, B, or C, on X dates, I prefer Y type of hotel/resort, my budget is $Z, what are my options?

So far I've been using a combination of TripAdvisor, Hipmunk, etc, but it's still really painful.

I looked into using an old school travel agent, but it seems like they work on commission from the hotel, which doesn't really align incentives. I like Flightfox's model where the fee is simply based on complexity.

5
ttbmike 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Pretty interesting service! I'm always surprised that human experts can challenge algorithms in setting up travel itineraries. I wonder how much time an average expert spends putting these proposals together?
6
richiezc 11 hours ago 2 replies      
Interesting, may I ask how much did you pay out as the finders fee?

I see lots of promise in these types of crowd sourced activities and I'd like to compare the cost to self described "experts" who do this type of trip planning as a side business.

Also I'm curious did you consider a RTW ticket?

7
hsikaria 11 hours ago 2 replies      
Interesting post and a very interesting concept of FlightFox! I think it would do well, especially if you're flying to several places. However, I wonder if I would save much if I was just doing a simple round trip flight.....
8
bdesimone 9 hours ago 1 reply      
I just similarly booked a round the world honeymoon ticket. I'd consider myself pretty good at scheduling domestic and international travel, and I'm an American-Airlines life-time platinum member. That said, the experts really impressed me and were able to find me business class flights for the entire trip for 7k a head. Not bad.
9
tyang 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Love this.
17
Megaupload Assisted FBI vs NinjaVideo, But Evidence Then Used Against Them torrentfreak.com
88 points by AlexanderHektor  12 hours ago   40 comments top
1
rymith 10 hours ago 12 replies      
Why are all the people fighting the fights I want to get behind, completely obnoxious? Kim Dotcom, Juian Assange, Richard Stallman, etc... Can't we have a champion for the digital causes with the charisma that exceeds new money red neck, rapist, or raving homeless person? I'm not asking for MLK or Gandhi, just an average Joe.
18
Tell HN: HN Search isn't indexing anything newer than 5 days old
34 points by petercooper  4 hours ago   9 comments top 4
1
pg 4 hours ago 2 replies      
I asked the Octoparts.
2
petercooper 2 hours ago 0 replies      
This is probably a good time to give my thanks and appreciation to HN Search, however. I use it a lot and it's a very useful tool. I appreciate whoever does all the work on it.

Feel free to leave similar comments as it might give someone a smile while they're being hassled to fix this over Thanksgiving.. ;-)

3
sherjilozair 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I would also like to add that it only does exact string matching. HN could use a better algorithm. The search could, say, even crawl the website linked. That would make HNsearch a much more powerful search engine, its advantage being the huge amount of vote data collected from an awesome community. Instead of Google's back-link information, instead of Aardvark's social graph nearness algorithm, HNsearch could be a search based in the level of intellect contained in the links, and discussions. All it needs is some sophistication in the algorithm, maybe some LSA, LCS, etc...
4
przemoc 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Maybe it mimics twitter in this behavior? What is now is the only relevant stuff. Present doesn't see beyond 5 days time horizon.
21
Show HN: Say Cheese - a cross-browser compatible webcam API github.com
55 points by FuzzyDunlop  11 hours ago   14 comments top 5
1
FuzzyDunlop 10 hours ago 2 replies      
Author here. I started this thing off as a bit of a jumble of incongruous features (take pictures, take pictures of just parts of the image, etc. etc.), and have since been whittling it down to two core components: getting a webcam feed up and running; and giving you the option to capture images from it.

Instead of adding more features before 'shipping', I probably deleted a load instead. Didn't need 'em.

2
pamelafox 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Does anybody know what the stats are for how many users generally have a webcam either on their computer or attached? It seems the only way to know is to actually use their camera either via HTML5 or Flash, or to look at user agent and infer from the OS, but that wouldn't tell you about attached webcams.

It would be a useful stat to know before adding webcam-related functionality into our site.

3
ChrisNorstrom 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Hmmmm could you do the same for microphones?
4
sergiotapia 9 hours ago 1 reply      
No demo in sight, would love to see this working in a small demo. :)

Edit: Tried this but it isn't working: http://jsfiddle.net/fPTTz/5/

5
acgourley 11 hours ago 2 replies      
Does anyone know the timelines for non-flash cross browser webcam access?
22
The maker/manager transition phase joel.is
64 points by LeonW  12 hours ago   10 comments top 7
1
MattRogish 12 hours ago 2 replies      
Right now, I'm the CTO of a small startup in NYC. I'm probably 80% development, 30% other.

When I've been on bigger teams, it's probably more like 10-15% coding, 120% other.

I find that it's beneficial for me to always be in the code even as the team grows - even just a little bit. But, I usually take on small "nice to haves" (or small bugs) that no one relies upon and isn't critical to the product. So when it takes me a month to write it, no one cares.

In the least, it forces me to understand how to keep the system up and running on my machine and answer/demo general purpose stuff to other folks without looking like an idiot.

If you're a technical manager, I think dropping to 0% coding is a bad thing. It's way too easy to get out of touch.

2
bhntr3 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Two points to augment the article:

1) It's too easy to fall into the pattern of bullsh%t by day, hacking by night. There are two problems with that. First, you're still seeing management as bullsh%t (a natural inclination for a hacker.) Second, it's unsustainable and overwhelming. If you find yourself feeling like you never get anything done while other people are around, then your job is no longer coding and you have to accelerate the transition to manager (especially in your own mind.) This has been my experience.

2) Not every engineer should make this transition. If you're a founder or CEO, you will have to, but make sure you build a company where every engineer does not have to. I've worked at companies where the only path to success was through delegation and distance from the code. That sucks. Some people are amazing coders who will continue to deliver increasing value for years and you will only lose them if you can't find a way to let them progress their careers without having to do things they find uninteresting or are simply not well suited for.

3
mappu 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I work on an internally-funded startup within a small business - equal parts management, development and devops simply by necessity. So i'm guilty of finding management a chore, or at best, a huge time-sink.

But there are highlights. It's oft-repeated but it really is true that supporting your customers and dealing with marketing can give you great insight into your own product. Through customer interaction i've gotten simple feature requests that add significant value, that I would never have encountered on my own with a programmer mindset.

I'd still take a pure 'maker' position any day of the week.

4
akoumjian 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I am also a CTO for a small startup in Seattle. We now have an engineering team of 4 and I find myself oscillating between playing these roles. At this stage, I have to make sure I don't ignore either position.

If I ignore coding, I begin to feel detached from the product we are developing. It becomes easy to lose interest in the quality of what is being produced. On the other hand if I ignore the managing aspect, we become a much less effective team.

Sometime later this year we will be growing and I wonder if and when it will be appropriate to drop coding altogether and start developing my management skills with 100% focus.

5
asanwal 7 hours ago 0 replies      
A key ingredient in this transition and being successful in it is trusting in your team.

We've gone from 3 to 10 in last year and realizing everything might not happen my way but will still be done well required some mental adjustment for me. But the ability to do this was purely a function of trust in the people on the team and their instincts, judgement, skills, etc. (note: the mental adjustment remains a work in progress. Maker tendencies are not easy to lose)

6
davidtyleryork 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Fantastic post, and one that I think a lot of developer founders can sympathize with. If you're in the specific circumstance of being the developer founder turned CEO, I think this is one of the toughest aspects of that role. I appreciated the fact that you brought in advice from numerous outside sources as well.
7
gtzi 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Great read, I've put some similar thoughts of mine here - http://gtziralis.com/from-doer-to-leader/
23
Wooden device that makes your bike clop like a horse. trotify.com
3 points by franze  1 hour ago   4 comments top 2
1
shin_lao 12 minutes ago 0 replies      
Are there a lot of sexual innuendos in this video or is this just me?
2
culshaw 1 hour ago 2 replies      
I love this, bicycles & Monty Python all in one helping.
25
Everything Technical in F1 scarbsf1.com
158 points by dmmalam  21 hours ago   54 comments top 15
1
nl 13 minutes ago 0 replies      
My friend works at McLaren in this building: http://archidose.blogspot.com.au/2005/03/half-dose-8-tag-mcl...

It's crazy, but sometimes that building seems the most ordinary part of the job!

2
ivanmaeder 53 minutes ago 0 replies      
I don't remember and F1 story getting so popular on HN, the Austin GP has helped :) I think the sport is fascinating because it really is a battle of geek engineers and drivers. The most successful geek around today is this guy:

http://en.espnf1.com/korea/motorsport/image/92108.html

Normally the champagne can get stuck in your eyes.

These guys and the huge teams behind them battle off track with each other and with the regulations, and the strategists and races battle on track. The off track battles make these cars safe in accidents at 300 km/h (186 mph),

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AtrzvwayniM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6GQ0MBMhDjo

Robert Kubica was unconscious after the crash and he missed a race but Mark Webber hit the barrier at 280 km/h (174 mph) and walked away from it. As some other readers have mentioned, there has not been a driver death in F1 since 1994.

A typical trade off we might think about in software is this:

http://cheezburger.com/6747638272

:)

In F1 the trade offs when writing the regulations are between safety, cost reductions and entertainment.

And yet the two aspects that make the cars go slower (safety and cost reductions) are exploited to the maximum. No matter if wings are taken off the car to reduce downforce, or traction control is banned to reduce speed into and out of corners, or if fans are declared illegal (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s-rZKlutlzE), the cars each year go just as fast as the year before.

For example in 2009 this little trick from Brawn GP caught most teams off guard and won them the championship:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f5oDu6nSgBg

Interesting story: the development of this car had been carried out by three teams separated from each other so that they each understood and explored the regulations differently.

If you're interested in F1 I recommend Youtube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZthxDFy_pM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AmOixmxpXF4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eHjeAS7HQbg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EGUZJVY-sHo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-eiKYyVr2A

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TOhgI1hQA68

The Peter Windsor podcast is good, and Scarbs has been on it a few times:

http://smibs.tv/the-flying-lap

And there are plenty of blogs around. For me the perfect dose of racing is:

http://axisofoversteer.blogspot.com/

The last race of the season is this weekend in Brazil. Qualifying is on Saturday, the race on Sunday. The times are at http://www.formula1.com/

I sound like an F1 spokesperson!

3
junto 19 hours ago 3 replies      
A friend of mine was a transmission/gearbox designer for F1 cars. It was fascinating to hear about the things going on behind the scenes.

Most teams have components built by a handful of specialized external engineering companies. Some things are dealt with internally, but the lower order teams don't have the budgets to deal with much of the technology in-house. Ferrari is the exception and they do almost everything themselves (this might have changed because this was nearly 10 years ago).

The lower order teams get called "pit dodgers" (behind their backs). External companies know that statistically these teams don't finish so many races, and the attention to detail in the design and finish for these teams is much less than those premium teams receive.

It is sadly a vicious circle. Statistically, they will have worse drivers, who are more likely to crash or damage the cars early in the race, so often the cars in the lower order teams don't have the required staying power for the entire race.

I found it interesting to know that F1 cars have reverse gear, simply in accordance with regulations. It doesn't always work that well however, and I believe on one occasion its inclusion was overlooked.

4
ImprovedSilence 20 hours ago 5 replies      
If you ever have a chance to go to an F1 race, do it. You might have a terrible view of the race, but it is the greatest sound you will ever hear. It's like the sky is getting ripped apart by a million banshees.
5
pinchyfingers 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Why would you do this to me? I'm supposed to be working!

I'm fascinated by F1 because of the technology in the cars. The driving is astounding, but for the technically minded, Formula One cars marvelous.

I'm already excited for the race coming up in Brazil. Now I need to forget that this site exists or I will lose all productivity in these precious few days surrounding the Thanksgiving holiday. (Bogus holiday BTW, but at least I get to chill with my family).

6
philjohn 16 hours ago 0 replies      
One of the big draws for me in F1 is the technology. Each team is, more or less, producing a prototype car each year, and developing it throughout the season. Over the course of 8 months the cars get ~ 1 - 2 seconds a lap faster.

There are some mandated "common" parts, such as the McLaren ECU, but so many parts of the car are custom designed and manufactured it really does boggle the mind.

7
tomthorns 19 hours ago 1 reply      
I've been reading this blog for over a year now and the detail and knowledge Craig has is incredible. Understanding the technical characteristics of the cars has really deepened my love for the sport.

On a side note, I saw on Twitter this weekend that Craig/ScarbsF1 has been ill recently. He's actually due to go for a tripple heart bypass tomorrow, so I'd like to wish him well and hope he makes a speedy recovery.

8
scott_karana 13 hours ago 1 reply      
As cool as the technology in F1 is, I wonder what might be created if there weren't such labyrinthine rules imposed on them.
I think a league like Can-Am, with only a budget cap, would be fascinating. Would we be seeing three-wheel drive cars? Supercapacitor-driven electrics? Something entirely different?

(For those who don't know, many innovations came out of the league [1], especially from the Chapparal constructor. McLaren was another notable.)

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Can-Am#Pioneering_technology
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaparral_Cars

9
paddy_m 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I just subscribed to racecar-engineering.com . I should have done this 20 years ago.
10
beaker52 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Just wanted to say that this isn't just any F1 technical blog, Scarbs is -the- best technical blogger and has uncovered and written about several innovations before any other source. He's a technical sleuth, who delivers great articles.
11
mgl 16 hours ago 0 replies      
If you are interested in how the construction of F1 car is an equilibrium between technological advances and hard limits set by the FIA just go through the "Technical Regulations" section on the right hand side at http://www.formula1.com/inside_f1/rules_and_regulations/tech..., "approved by the FIA" is a very common phrase.

Software-related excerpt from "Electrical systems":

"The electrical and software systems of all cars are inspected by the FIA at the start of the season and the teams must notify them in advance of any subsequent changes. All teams must use the same FIA-specification Electronic Control Unit (ECU) for controlling engine and gearbox.

All software must be registered with the FIA, who check all the programmable systems on the cars prior to each event to ensure that the correct software versions are being used. Electronic systems which can automatically detect the race start signal are forbidden."

"notify them in advance of any subsequent changes", right...

12
brunorsini 20 hours ago 3 replies      
I could never get interested in F1 again after Senna's tragic death.
13
MindTwister 20 hours ago 3 replies      
I sometimes have a hard time trying to fathom all the regulations imposed on the teams. Can anyone shed some light on eg. the dangers of wing design?
14
prdsh 17 hours ago 0 replies      
The best site for F1 technical fan. A great reference for most of updates to a car component neatly explained with illustrations and diagrams.I am Fan of F1 for some years now and what amazes me is the speed and sound of F1 and the different race strategies. Really its the pinnacle of Motorsport
15
udkl 18 hours ago 0 replies      
It also be great to have such an exhaustive peek inside the workings of the drivers head !!
After-all the driver is maybe the most important part of the race !

On the other hand, will there be driver-less F1 races in the future ? ... or more aptly put, WHEN will there be driver-less F1 races ?!

26
Thank You HN: From 30 people whose lives you saved
337 points by chaseadam17  18 hours ago   50 comments top 30
1
dos1 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Holy shit. I can't remember a time when a website had an immediate impact on me like this. I mean, literally 5 seconds after landing on the site I got what they were trying to do and couldn't click the fund button fast enough. Such a simple idea but maybe that's what makes it so damn brilliant. So cool.

Edit: When I first went to the site 15 minutes ago there were two profiles of people in need of medical care. The total outstanding balance for both treatments was around $650 USD. In just 15 short minutes both treatments have been fully funded according to my inbox. That's just phenomenal, and I bet this story on HN has a lot to do with that!

2
justjimmy 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Your open Google doc is what persuaded me. I've always felt uncomfortable donating to charities - knowing well that my money may never go towards the cause they're touting, but on TV ads, expense accounts, PR Campaigns etc. While some argue it's operation costs but it's just not transparent enough.

Your easy to access and understand table really lifts the veil, as well as your clear separation of Donations going to the patients vs. Donations to the operating costs. I think people are definitely more willing to open their wallets knowing that 100% of the money go towards directly helping the patient.

Definitely suggest setting up a recurring payment option - while some people would love to help out continuously, they may not have the time to read each case (and then having to decide who to help) and come back once in a while(paradox of choice) - just take $100 bucks each month out of my account and let me know how that $100 was spent. Also give the option of deciding a % of the donation go towards operation and a % go towards the patient (like a slider style) so people don't have to feel compelled and work to donate in 2 flows.

And knowing that you guys may have a challenge of getting operation donations, offset it by giving us easy to add social widgets or just a simple graphic to add to our blogs and sites. I have no problem showing it next to my Dribbble and LinkedIn icons knowing that you guys have a really tight budget and may not have PR money. (I think free social advertising works better than those in your face PETA campaigns anyway. Makes us feel like we're directly helping out by displaying it on our sites :D)

3
ashray 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Oh my god! I missed this for a while but .. wait a minute. You're saying that I can find $580 and help save this kid Cesar ?!

Or Alan even ?!

This is absolutely FANTASTIC!! I'm really curious as to how you carry out on the ground execution (getting the money to the family, carrying out the needed medical procedures, etc.) and stuff but I absolutely love the idea. Amazing work guys!

EDIT: Just donated $25 :) Oh yeah, just noticed this. If I click on "Tweet" on the site, the pre-filled tweet says "via @sharethis". You might want to change that to say "via @watsi_org" so that you know when someone shares your stuff =)

EDIT2: Just voted for you at the huffington post thing. Looks like it's close! 51-48 so far :O

EDIT3: GOOD GOING HACKERNEWS :D I just checked the site and:

There are 0 people on Watsi that need your help!

AWESOME!!! (http://watsi.org/fund-treatments)

4
streeter 17 hours ago 1 reply      
I've been following Watsi for a while, and it's great to the continued success. They're currently tied for first in a HuffPo competition to win $10k which would help them reach even more people in need of medical aid. If you want to help them out, you can vote in 10 seconds for them here http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/14/millennial-impact-c...
5
forgingahead 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Clickable to Watsi: http://watsi.org/

Clickable to original thread: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4424081

6
noonespecial 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I can't help feeling that there's some of the ingredients needed to create an entirely new form of health insurance in here.

I'm ridiculously glad its working as well as it is. Its like watching the start of an avalanche. You don't really know what exactly is going to happen, but the ground is rumbling and you're sure its going to be huge and exciting.

7
jacquesm 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Every now and the something comes along that is a real game changer. The internet was such a thing and it in turn engendered with web, which gave us WikiPedia, the Khan Academy and now this. What a super concept!

I hope you guys will be able to avoid the various pitfalls and traps that other charities seem to fall in to (where it becomes more about them than about those they help), by the looks of it you will be in excellent shape in that department.

Edit: you've covered this in the faq, but you may want to make it more plain, your donations are tax deductible, you might want to emphasize that. Especially for corporations that's a big thing, and it could get you corporate sponsors willing to name you. I know you're peer-to-peer but don't underestimate corporate dollars and riding their PR machine for free.

8
clicks 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow, this is so, so awesome. You made the right choice to quit your job for this. :)

I am really really looking forward to see this become big. Kudos to you for building this thing. I should also note that you've made a beautiful site as well, I can't find any faults in it by any aspect. I wish you much success.

9
mtrimpe 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Congrats on the great work! Just a quick question; have you considered making a WordPress plugin to display today's top causes?

I worked on a project similar to that for Oxfam Novib (Blogsfam) which didn't make it due to organizational friction but won several awards nonetheless.

It might be an interesting addition to your platform...

10
ars 13 hours ago 3 replies      
Since everything is fully funded you should give people the option of funding in advance.

Be open about it of course, and send them an email as soon as you know who the money is going to.

Also give people the option of getting an email when there is someone in need. (To avoid annoying people perhaps limit the email to the next 3 people, then stop sending them for a user specified time.)

11
sherjilozair 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Great work Adam, and the Watsi team!

However, its the time to scale up higher. I came to the website and saw that there were no patients to help. Surely this means that the scouting team should be enlarged. Tie-ups with other NGOs would help, who can provide you details about patients who need help.

Here in India, there is a very reputed hospital called AIIMS, who have subsidized treatment, but still ask for some nominal payment. Also, patients have to buy medicines on their own. Watsi could be a great help to these patients, since the amount of money they require is only nominal, and many times, these patients can't even afford that. Some of these medications would cost as little as $20/month. Partnering up with such institutions would get you a credible list of people needing help, and this list is perfectly aligned to the 'low-cost, high-impact' patients you aim at.

I'm willing to help you with operations in India, if you are willing to expand.

Keep up the great work!

12
baggers 1 hour ago 0 replies      
@chaseadam It would be quite nice to have an option to use this in a gittip sort of way.
Also how do you go about finding people to donate to? I have contacts with a Ugandan Hospital and I'm sure others here have have worked on the ground with folks that would love to link up with you guys.
Thanks for your awesome work and good luck
13
nodata 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Your website is excellent, I've helped five people so far.

Just two suggestions:

1. Please give me a way to view who I have helped. A followup story would be great too.

2. Please give me a way to find out about new people

14
toomuchtodo 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Do you have a way yet to charge on a recurring basis? #shutUpTakeMyCreditCardAndChargeItMonthly
15
kainteriors 16 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a wonderful idea being executed completely by volunteers. It can be a game changer for those in impoverished countries. You can help out even more by voting in the Huffington Post IgniteGood contest. Watsi has a 50% chance of winning $10,000.00. Please vote for them so they can continue doing this amazing work. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/14/millennial-impact-c...
16
yesimahuman 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Great work guys. I agree with the other comments, I just felt something powerful as soon as I hit the landing page, and just had to donate (and I don't do that much).

It's amazing that just 10 minutes ago Cesar needed $500 and now he's fully funded. Keep up the awesome work!

17
thomasilk 14 hours ago 0 replies      
It literally takes half a second to get what the site does and how to help. Brilliant.

I'd put the mailing list or something similar more prominently above the fold, because more people would regularly return if they'd get a weekly or monthly email with success stories and new profiles/stories that still need funding.

F.e. currently every project is fully funded and I almost fear forgetting about the site.

Anyway great project if you need someone to help with some marketing ideas or anything else from time to time (of course for free), send me a mail (me[at]ilkthomas[dot]com). I'd love to help.

18
farmdawgnation 12 hours ago 1 reply      
I just tried to access the site and got a Heroku error page. Looks like you guys are under some significant load? This is an excellent idea.

I'm left to wonder how well this idea would transplant to a country like the United States. Everyone has varying degrees on Obama's healthcare act depending on where you fall on the political spectrum - but wouldn't it make the entire conversation moot if the private sector were able to fund stuff like this?

What about directly funding and putting a face to the efforts of someone who is homeless finding a job? Plenty of people give to organizations like Goodwill and United Way, but you very rarely get to have a picture put with where your dollars are going. There would be a lot of details to work out, and the idea is certainly ambitious - but if Watsi is able to succeed this much then hey, someone should give it a shot.

So much good is happening here. You guys are brilliant, and I'm thankful for people like you. Cheers.

19
HyprMusic 14 hours ago 0 replies      
This is such a brilliant idea, and looking at the site now everyone is fully funded. And major kudos for taking the risk of quitting your day job to head such a great non-profit. If you ever need any extra dev hands, I'll happily help any way I can.
20
woodsier 5 hours ago 0 replies      
You guys are absolute heroes. The concept behind this site is amazing. Well done.
21
andreyf 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Well done! Support for Google Checkout and Amazon Payments will help a lot, I think.
22
brackin 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Congrats, this is really awesome. We're building a crowd-funding site in the charity space. Where one can fund a project directly and relieve updates on project progress. So that your money is going directly to help.
23
keeptrying 14 hours ago 0 replies      
You guys rock man!

I would love to meet you guys if you are in SF. This is the kind of deep impact stuff that I want to be doing or at least sponsoring.

24
vimarshk 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I am a student at USC. I could not do much on the financial side of it but I sure did spread the word on Twitter and other channels. I e-mailed them about the awesome work they were doing and told them that I would help them from the technology side if they required me. Then I got a reply back from Chase (co-founder) himself. In life very seldom you get a chance to do something meaningful, they are doing it! Hats off. Go Watsi!!
25
hosh 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Gratitude is never too corny for Thanksgiving. And thanks for putting the platform together :-)
26
nickbarone 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Woah @ prefunding-treatement. Brilliant! I hope it scales - It can, I think, if you keep momentum.
27
aioprisan 15 hours ago 0 replies      
you should build widgets so that others can embed the top stories from your site and get distributed exposure, I'm sure it would provide sustained exposure.
28
gauchosteph 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Here's to another 30 more!
29
killingmichael 16 hours ago 0 replies      
chase - this is great :) if you're up for it, we would be happy to donate some iOS time to the mobile app.
30
rxooo 17 hours ago 0 replies      
We did it Reddit!
27
Homeland Security spent $430M on radios its employees don't know how to use arstechnica.com
56 points by Cbasedlifeform  12 hours ago   40 comments top 9
1
Hoff 10 hours ago 2 replies      
Radio programming is almost always local to and customized for the department or agency or location, and the channel names and tags seemingly always vary.

Even in a system that's been architected with specific channel layouts, there's almost always some weirdness somewhere, and some differences, and some number of radios always seems to arrive mis-programmed and needs a trip back to the radio shop, and this if the folks receiving the batch of radios are paying attention and can afford the reprogramming. Not all do, or can, either.

Not all radio shops pay attention to what they're doing here, and even the good shops can be using radio service software most charitably described as atrocious.

And yes, anyone that thinks you can have everybody on one of the mutual aid frequencies is headed for trouble. The pile-ups are always massive. Add in encryption and tone squelch (CTCSS, PL) and you might be stomping on the other agencies without knowing it.

In a typical organization, you'd want your dispatcher(s) or communications officer(s) or (if not delegated) one of the senior officers on the shared channels.

Modern radios can be surprisingly complex tools, and the FCC migration to trunked radios and digital trunked radios, and adding inter-operations features (gazillions of channels, etc) and digital communications and deadspots, and the over-the-air rekeying and reprogramming, emergency button(s), and the seemingly obligatory remote kill can all combine to makes your average high-end radios hairy.

Certainly various radio users don't regularly train with and aren't familiar with the "odd-ball" channels; the "national" and mutual aide frequencies can have different names, or weird local oddities, and many of the end-user folks are often trained to stay off the other channels.

Training is certainly part of this, and of using the radios correctly. Conversely, you're probably not expecting the folks to be picking random channels. In the newer radio systems, you can be told (by dispatch or by your supervisor) which channel to use, or dispatch can reprogram your radio and your talk group(s) on the fly.

And as for training, every emergency services department I'm familiar with has been chafing under the political and technical and documentation requirements arriving from outside entities; blanket mandates requiring time and thought and budget for stuff that's probably never going to happen to a given individual or agency, but the obligatory training and documentation requirements pull the folks away from the stuff that they can and will be dealing with. Like dealing with their radios. And delivering whatever service the folks hired on to provide.

Yes, modern radios can be far more complex than it should be. So is the rest of the mess.

Startup ideas here? Sure. The two-way radio version of a ruggedized iPhone; a radio with a "modern" UI.

2
majorlazer 11 hours ago 3 replies      
And this is one of the reasons I laugh when people try to tell me how the "government" organizes all of those intricate conspiracies.
3
thechut 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I wonder what lucky contractor supplied those radios... Surprised there is no mention of that in the article.
4
nthitz 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Can you imagine 123,000 people all trying to converse on one common channel? Maybe this is for the better!
5
hnriot 11 hours ago 6 replies      
It's not exactly rocket science picking the right channel, I am more disappointed that the people we hire for DHS jobs can't figure out how to work a radio. I would bet that the radios are commodity hardware and the manuals are online.

I'm also more than a little worried that each radio costs $3500 when even milspec radios don't cost that much. I'm sure a simple FRS/GMRS radio with scrambler chip would have sufficed, and those retail at around $30 each.

6
Zenst 11 hours ago 2 replies      
Who buys that level of new equipment/technology without user training, just silly. Whoever sold it also probably should of sold training or bundled something in beyond the manual.

Now we don't know all the facts and probably what happened was they did put a tender for the radios and training to use those radios. One way or another be it budgets or somebody doing a cheaper training bid though starting later after the radios are delivered or whatever permutation of events. They ended up with radios there users are unable to use. Why they are unable to use them again is not detailed and I can imagine many on here who would love that challenge to work out how to use a new peace of technology.

There is also the prospect that they got training and it was either not very good or clearly not targeted at the level of customer understanding.

With all that if these chaps landed planes then it would get rather dangerous too fly. Worrying thought perhaps.

7
polarcuke 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Yeah, this seems like pretty typical misuse of government money. Even if these radios are an effective investment why wouldn't they spend a couple million more and train the employees responsible for using them? It's pretty ridiculous in my opinion.
8
ck2 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Think of all the millions of people looking for jobs in this country, there might actually be some slightly more intelligent folks to replace that 120k or so.

But I guess the only good side of this is THEY WILL NEVER HAVE TO USE THEM, it's theater.

$430000000/123000 = $3,500 per radio, which is also insane.

9
Cbasedlifeform 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Your tax dollars at work. Not.
28
Interactive Data Visualization for the Web (a D3 book by Scott Murray) oreilly.com
106 points by mxfh  18 hours ago   12 comments top 5
1
aw3c2 11 hours ago 3 replies      
I am a total javascript hater but reading just half of the "drawing with data" chapter made me go to the order page (just to see the print edition is not out yet). I really like the style.

seems like I will use d3 instead of gnuplot or gnumeric for even my simple graphing needs in the future. so much control in easy ways and of course that being automateble (as opposed to manually clicking in gnumeric). there might be other ways with python etc but D3 looks fun and hip and dynamic and useful for web stuff so I am sold.

2
tlrobinson 14 hours ago 0 replies      
This book is an expansion of his excellent D3 tutorials available here http://alignedleft.com/tutorials/d3/ though now the free chapters from the book may be a better resource
3
jaytaylor 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been looking for additional resources to learn more about how to create nice visualizations, especially using D3. It seems to me that with D3 there is a lot of power, but this comes at the expense of a proportionately steep learning curve.

I've also found http://gis.stackexchange.com to be an excellent resource for finding techniques and getting help with visualizations programming.

4
joey_muller 12 hours ago 0 replies      
D3 really is a powerful way to visualize data on the web. Check out the gold standard of d3 charts, created by Mike Bostock: http://bl.ocks.org/mbostock.
5
davidrupp 14 hours ago 2 replies      
Ebook, please!
29
Microsoft's Most Valuable Asset padgeblog.com
45 points by jbpadgett  6 hours ago   46 comments top 18
1
DanBlake 3 hours ago 2 replies      
"In fact, so many people I work with don't use Windows as their host OS."

Then the people you work with are a edge case minority.

Windows absolutely and completely dominates the desktop computer landscape in both enterprise and home. Most estimates have it at 90-95% penetration worldwide vs mac/nix.

For anyone who may say macs are now selling more than ever before and that MS is losing market share fast, remember that apple is not even in the top 5 for computer manufacturers. For every Mac computer sold, there is 90+ Windows equipped computers.

While MS may be in trouble in the phone/tablet market, they still are on extremely solid footing in the desktop market. The question just becomes, what will become a desktop computer in 5 years. Will we all abandon what it is currently and move to tablets?

2
joenathan 4 hours ago 1 reply      
In the corporate space I'd agree, but the Xbox brand isn't to be discounted. The Halo series is a money printing machine.

"All in all, the Halo franchise has made nearly $3 billion from sales."

"Halo: Reach, Halo creator Bungie's last Halo game, made more than $200 million in sales in the US and Europe in the first 24 hours of release. This figure eclipsed all previous 2010 US entertainment launches, including the three-day opening weekends of Iron Man 2, Alice in Wonderland and Toy Story 3."

http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2012-10-31-more-than-46-mi...

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/12/us-microsoft-halo-...

3
jewel 5 hours ago 3 replies      
In 2006 I helped put in an OpenLDAP server in a medium-sized company (150 users). Once we'd gotten past the initial hump of configuring everything to work with it, it was really nice to have single sign-on and a list of users and permissions accessible from any computer on the network.

Since we could access the directory from perl it was easy to make a simple UI for the support team to make changes.

Maybe I'm missing something, but I don't see Active Directory as being that big of an advantage over OpenLDAP. If your company is small, you'll do fine without any central directory. If it's large, the cost of implementing and supporting OpenLDAP should be less than the cost of the CALs for Active Directory.

4
cargo8 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Great call out on a reasonable strategy for Microsoft to remain successful, albeit less relevant in the consumer market. (There is another comment alluding to taking the route of IBM, cementing their place in enterprise but sacrificing the consumer market a bit). AD is definitely a great asset that is probably not thought of as much as it should be given its usage, as you point out.

I would say, though, that claiming that IE and Bing advertising is "wasted" is pretty bold. Sure, OSD hasn't started turning a profit yet, but there is something to be said about Bing having ~30% market share and the fact that if Bing did not exist, Google would almost certainly have a complete monopoly on search today. The data generated from Bing and the Bing ecosystem is incredibly valuable, but Bing Ads have yet to unlock the full revenue potential unfortunately. Consider, though, that Google and Microsoft are the only two companies that have the unbelievably valuable asset that is an index of the entire (within reason) web.

5
Cogito 4 hours ago 0 replies      
My dayjob is as a business process consultant, specialising in the Atlassian application stack among other things.

Almost every single hour of my time working with an enterprise customer involves dealing with AD or related Microsoft products in some fashion.

In the enterprise, I almost always deploy to windows products, over the preferred linux+postgres+apache stack, because the business has already invested in resources to manage Windows Server, Microsoft SQL Server, and IIS, in conjunction with AD. Configuration tends to be more platform agnostic, as the applications are Java based, however the number of gotchas that seem to crop up around the Microsoft products make it a big enough pain.

It's unfortunate that the link to AD so often blossoms out to the entire infrastructure stack, as the products are in many ways inferior to their open source relatives, but the momentum, support and resources are already there and it doesn't look like changing anytime soon.

6
rizzom5000 5 hours ago 3 replies      
While I've certainly seen firsthand the importance of AD in enterprise, and I agree that it will continue to sell a lot of Server and SharePoint licenses for MS - I think Office is probably a stronger most valuable asset for a variety of reasons. Among them, Office actually is MSFT's most profitable product and it actually currently doesn't face any noteworthy competition (not that AD does, mind you).

Also, I had to check to see if 'blogosphere' was coined prior to 2001, and found that indeed it was.

7
jtchang 5 hours ago 1 reply      
This guy is spot on. I've done quite a bit of time in the corporate environment running middleware systems such as LDAP and AD.

Google Apps does not have a viable solution because it is not in house. There is no easy way to extend the schema and integrating with Google Apps is actually quite difficult. There are tools to help you integrate from Active Directory to Google Apps but not the other way around.

Also Active Directory is actually pretty awesome from a management standpoint. Suppose today you wanted to have 50k linux boxes with all the same logins. You would probably use LDAP (which is essentially AD under the hood). But how about automatic package management per user? How do you configure that? AD has all this built in and more.

8
freehunter 5 hours ago 0 replies      
So, what I'm taking from this is that the author feels Microsoft should pull an IBM and basically completely withdraw from the consumer market. While it's true that Microsoft's best domain is in the enterprise market, I have to imagine there's more to it than them "wasting money" on IE, Bing, etc. AD is great, but even in the server space Microsoft has a lot more to offer than just one product.

I like the author's main point and I agree with it without hesitation, but I can't support the supporting arguments. Especially considering Microsoft is still a huge success in the desktop market (a market that isn't quite as dead as some seem to call it).

9
joss82 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Please someone create a cool, cheaper alternative to AD that runs on Linux and does not suck!

Insert below mandatory answer about how great existing open-source solutions are.

10
skrebbel 2 hours ago 0 replies      
At the risk of intentionally misunderstanding the OP's definition of the word 'asset', aren't their developers supposed to be their most valuable asset? I'm not saying they are, just that if they aren't (anymore), I'd worry about that instead.
11
stuaxo 39 minutes ago 0 replies      
Stopped reading when I read 'could care less'...
12
medell 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I worked for a company with 25,000 office employees worldwide and can say that they won't be leaving Microsoft anytime soon for this reason.

They were using IE6 all the way up until 2010, finishing the deploy of IE8 two years after it was released. :/

13
troymc 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Corporate directories aren't something I'm familiar with, so forgive me if this question seems naive:

Does Google Apps for Business (i.e. http://www.google.com/enterprise/apps/business/ ) have a viable solution for the corporate directory, or do they just expect you to use a third-party solution like Microsoft Active Directory?

14
est 5 hours ago 0 replies      
It's now on an interesting fork right now. ActiveDirectly is possible via DCOM and MMCs, but Microsoft is thinking of replacing it with .NET Remoting and Web based UIs.
15
pixie_ 5 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm not familiar with big orgs. What does active directory facilitate mostly? Like seeing a list of other computers in the company and accessing their drives?
16
sjtrny 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I stopped reading at "I could care less".
17
meshko 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Very true.
18
sjtrny 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I stopped at "I could care less".
30
A Tale of Two Bridges unprotocols.org
73 points by raldi  15 hours ago   45 comments top 15
1
edw519 14 hours ago 2 replies      
Enterprise ending:

The Big 5 auditors refuse to certify the suspension bridge because in their opinion, it doesn't satisfy GAAP & SOX.

$10 million is paid to the Big 5 auditors for a program of education and documentation to convince everyone to use the "best of breed" bridge.

The suspension bridge is sunsetted.

It's so difficult to use the enterprise bridge that people don't bother. Eventually they move to another valley.

The town dies and its assets are sold for 10 cents on the dollar. Management blames "market conditions".

2
choffstein 12 hours ago 2 replies      
Robert Martin (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Cecil_Martin) once tweeted (@unclebobmartin):

"When designs are cheaper than builds, e.g. a skyscraper or a bridge, big up front design makes good sense. But when builds are cheaper than designs, e.g. software or oil painting, short and iterative design and build steps are best."

I couldn't agree with that more.

I work in an industry where builds are not cheap and iteration after launch is nearly impossible. You better believe we have a very, very long design cycle.

3
Stratoscope 13 hours ago 2 replies      
Forgive a shameless plug for a dear friend, but Harmon Parker builds footbridges in the back country around Kenya. His bridges bring people together and save lives:

http://www.bridgingthegapafrica.org/

What he does is not too different from the rope guy in the parable. He doesn't come in with a big team and a grand plan. He goes out and gets to know the people and finds out from them where they have dangerous crossings and what they need, and they build a bridge with him.

Harmon has the engineering know-how to make it safe, and the local people have knowledge he never could assume. When it's done, it's their bridge and they know how to maintain it: the people who use the bridge have been involved from the beginning.

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chasing 15 hours ago 5 replies      
I, too, can write vague parables to support just about any point.

And what is the point? That it's always better to let the grassroots develop software? Like so many other things in this world: It's Just Not That Simple.

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benihana 13 hours ago 0 replies      
So the moral of the story is...

cross that bridge when you get to it.

Ha-ha! GET IT? No seriously, though. That's the lesson. Build for actual need now, not something you think you might need in the future.

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drcube 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I think the moral is to pave over the desire path[1] and iterate with user feedback, rather than doing the big design up front and finding out nobody wants to use it after the money is already sunk.

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

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mistercow 12 hours ago 2 replies      
>Just a rope, tied to two trees. There were two villages, one at each side. At first, people pulled packages across that rope with a pulley and string.

I'm trying to visualize this, and it's not making any sense to me. I searched around to see if any such system is commonly used, and the closest I can find is a hauling line, which requires a second length of rope, at least long enough to span the gorge twice, which is hooked to the original rope via a carabiner and anchored at both sides. But there's no pulley involved with that (although if you wanted to over-engineer it, I guess you could use one instead of the carabiner).

So is this an actual thing that people do, or am I reading too much into this parable?

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praptak 15 hours ago 0 replies      
See also the recent Death Star Design Pattern by K. Kovacs: http://kkovacs.eu/the-death-star-design-pattern

The first bridge was an example of this.

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nealabq 13 hours ago 1 reply      
The lesson is the first bridge would have been an unqualified success if only they had conducted usability studies and A/B testing and gathered feedback from community-oriented focus groups and practiced just-in-time lean-agile bridge-driven design concepts.

And applied for 6000 patents.

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olalonde 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Reminds me a quote from pg: "Don't try to construct the future like a building, because your current blueprint is almost certainly mistaken. Start with something you know works, and when you expand, expand westward." http://paulgraham.com/ambitious.html
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ww520 14 hours ago 1 reply      
The point of the tale is to hire the 2nd engineer on the cheap to find out where people cross the river, then hire the 1st one to build the real thing.
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far_at_makerbot 14 hours ago 1 reply      
I think the lesson is that vague fictional parables to support your worldview are a better way to work than real stories or facts.
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apdinin 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Legal Disclaimer: Don't forget about the possibility of a child falling off the rope bridge because of poor construction and the builder getting charged with involuntary manslaughter as a result of product negligence.
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jtms 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I have heard a very similar tale used to describe the inefficiencies of a centrally planned economy vs free market.
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frozenport 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Needs more GNU/Bridge
       cached 22 November 2012 11:02:02 GMT