hacker news with inline top comments    .. more ..    28 Feb 2013 News
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1
Torvalds clarifies Linux's Windows 8 Secure Boot position zdnet.com
34 points by mtgx  1 hour ago   16 comments top 5
1
speeder 17 minutes ago 3 replies      
I always thought that the secure boot is a very, very, very bad idea.

In fact the whole UEFI in general I think it is a clusterfuck of mishmashed random ideas, some good, many bad.

What I intend to do personally, is attempt to don't use secure boot.

And this all might explain the e-mail I got from Lenovo 10 minutes ago...

I asked them for a non-Windows machine.
They replied saying that they from now on only manufacture machines with Windows. At first I was: "wtf? why?" now this article remembered me that now we have firmware tied to Microsoft, and this explains then why ThinkPads must come with Windows.

Here in Brazil this is illegal, and Lenovo for example got sued (and lost) once. I hope a rain of lawsuits make this shit stop.

2
UnoriginalGuy 25 minutes ago 4 replies      
The thing about secure boot is that it is a GOOD idea done very badly indeed.

What was needed was for a trusted neutral party(or two) to be the owner of the root key, and for that organisation to hand out child keys (e.g. Microsoft, Open Source Initiative, Apple, etc) who could in turn generate child keys (all of which could be revoked). Essentially we need the "internet model" of key exchanges for this too.

I cannot understand who thought it was a good idea for Microsoft to be the only authorised party to generate keys. Even from Microsoft's perspective it is just asking to get anti-trust-ed again.

3
belorn 17 minutes ago 1 reply      
> What they've told us privately is that as long as no-one comes along with a plausible exploit for Windows based on using a secure boot enabled Linux system, they don't care what we do.

I guess we need to hide all those forensic distributions that can modify and access data on a windows machine. To name a few: backtrack, CAINE, and DEFT. If technology can modify and access data, it can also be used in an exploit. Some might even argue that running a forensic on a computer without the owners permissions is an exploit in itself.

Edit: How could such technology be used you say. Package a usb drive that once plugged in, will reboot the machine and load a Linux distribution. Once loaded, it automatically modify the windows system with and transfer any interesting data it find. Afterward, it erase itself and reboots, thus looking like any empty usb drive once windows boots up. If that is not an plausible exploit which an ordinary Windows users could trigger and become compromised, then I would like to hear the definition of an "plausible exploit".

4
Toshio 30 minutes ago 0 replies      
ZaReason spoke out on this issue at FOSDEM (direct link to webm file):

http://ftp.osuosl.org/pub/fosdem/2013/maintracks/K.1.105/UEF...

5
RexRollman 36 minutes ago 0 replies      
What a clusterfuck this situation is.
3
Here's How AT&T Is Planning to Rob Americans of a Free Public Telco Network wired.com
36 points by Libertatea  2 hours ago   6 comments top 6
1
smutticus 5 minutes ago 0 replies      
The argument of this article seems to be, "We can't fix how the FCC regulates IP services so we must force AT&T to stay in the dark ages."

You can't simultaneously decry America's networking innovation and complain that AT&T is moving to IP. Everything is moving to IP. Circuit switching is dead. They're even putting TDM over IP nowadays(ITU Y.1588v2 and SyncE).

If you really want to improve the situation don't act all Luddite. Start the conversation on overhauling common carrier legislation. Bring Judge Greene back from the dead and break these carriers into thousands of competing tiny operators.

2
raverbashing 42 minutes ago 0 replies      
Let the switched network die its deserved death

It's costly, it's an awful use of resources, for no good benefit.

POTS is a huge ruby-goldberg device, it's almost laughable sometimes. All that so that the terminal can use 19 century tech (yep, not 20th century, 19th century)

Regulation shouldn't be about the technology details, it should be about the service provided.

Oh by the way, the US Postal Service is being driven to bankrupcy by regulation as well (I'm not saying all is bad though)

3
gz5 5 minutes ago 0 replies      
Access duopolies are the problem and have nothing to do with core network tech. Give us multiple access pipe options (IP access of course) and the telcos can do whatever they feel like in their cores (and most already use IP cores).

This is really just an attempt by ATT to get us to help subsidize their retiring of the legacy systems that we helped subsidize in the first place.

4
Wista 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I'm not sure I agree with all the logic in this article?

Higher Prices: This is not a deregulation, surely it would make AT&T have to compete with other VOIP services? The issue are the necessary safety/security services and hiw these are not well governed in the TCP/IP world?

Service Disruptions: I can't see how both AT&T and smaller operators both using public IP would disrupt? I think there's a trade off between between price and quality of service, those that go with a Cadillac service vs those that know they are getting a slower service albeit at a lower rate?

Inequality and discrimination: This on eis an issue, it's the Governance of "essential service", My sense is the legislation needs to change to a) Force this be be carried over IP (I know there are technical issues) b) Subsidize or keep a lid on prices?

5
fishercs 34 minutes ago 0 replies      
IP is a good thing, there will be changes made i'm sure to accomodate for innovation... kudos to AT&T
6
sokrates 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Well, then go fix that legal loophole. "Moving services to IP" is modernization to me, not an attempt at deregulation.
4
50 kilometers comet just might hit Mars in 2014 nbcnews.com
16 points by wsieroci  1 hour ago   5 comments top 3
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tocomment 13 minutes ago 1 reply      
I got to thinking. Is there any chance we could nudge this to impact the Hellas Planitia on Mars. It's the lowest point of Mars and therefore already has a higher atmospheric density (.01 ATM). So if we could double the depth and potentially add more water, it would really get us closer to a great location for a colony.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hellas_Planitia

2
tocomment 5 minutes ago 0 replies      
Can anyone calculate how much this impact might heat up Mars? (I've heard even a little heating might set off a chain reaction and substantially increase the temperature?)
3
jonsen 8 minutes ago 0 replies      
50 kilometers ... hmm ... how big must a stray celestial body bee to severely disturb the longterm stability of the solar system?
5
UK ISPs to block more file share websites bbc.co.uk
44 points by benev  2 hours ago   35 comments top 13
1
bobsy 1 hour ago 3 replies      
I was speaking to a friends dad at his last Christmas party. He was talking about downloading movies. I asked if he used a proxy. He said. "Of course I do. I use blah." He then told me how he checked to make sure it was working.. I was genuinely surprised that a casual internet user knew about proxies.

As always such domain bans are ridiculous and do not solve the issue of why people choose to pirate stuff. I now use Spotify. I used to pirate music, downloading thousands of albums. Most were deleted after one play. I brought albums, merchandise and saw live bands that I liked. Bands I would never have discovered without "pirating" the music to begin with.

The article talk's about how piracy is dropping and Spotify use is raising. This isn't to do with TPB being blocked. This is to do with people realizing that music discovery is easier with Spotify than it is via piracy. This is the way it should be.

I am sure less TV shows are being pirated due to the rise of catch up and streaming services. I only download TV shows and the only reason for this is the delay in availability in my country. I don't download movies any more because there is already an abundance of stuff to watch - be it new or old - on streaming services like Netflix. I recently discovered the TV show Jericho. Check it out. It was brilliant.

If anything these ban's are endangering users making them more vulnerable to viruses, keyloggers and becoming a part of a bot net. If someone wants something THEY WILL DOWNLOAD IT. Sites like TPB have great community moderation. Dodgy downloads are flagged. Good ones are up voted. I don't remember the last time I got a bad download.

Compare this to the less known sites which people are being pushed towards. More bad links, less community moderation, bad site owners pushing dodgy downloads. A lot of people who are not expert computer users are becoming more vulnerable.

All this is because the music / film lobbies have convinced the UK Government that Piracy is destroying their revenues. Its not. The Internet combined with the glacial speed in which these industries are moving is. Better content, easier access and fair pricing will crush piracy. Blocking domains moves piracy to another source.

Music streaming services have done more to stop piracy than anything else. If music / film industry spent less on lobbyists and court actions and more on innovating access to their products they would see a far bigger turnaround in profits.

When TPB was banned I said it would kick a ball rolling that wouldn't stop. Here we go. I wonder what is next.

2
shocks 1 hour ago 3 replies      
The movie/music/tv industries need to learn from Steam.

I used to steal games all the time. New game came out? Steal it. Open up BitTorrent or an FTP client and start downloading, immediately. But then Steam came along. Now I buy all my games. I don't just buy games I want, I buy games I have stolen in the past. I buy new games. I buy games on sale. But the most important part? A new game comes out, and I think about buying it on Steam before I think about stealing it. Stealing doesn't cross my mind, because being a legitimate customer (which is what I want to be...) is just so easy.

Music is getting easier with products like Spotify, but what about quality freaks? Lots of people want FLAC, but don't buy CDs. When a real solution for this problem comes out, I'm sure people will flock too it.

TV? How does someone in Lithuania legitimately pay for HD American TV shows? He or she can't, but they can certainly steal it without any problems. It's not even hard. My grandma could do it. It's a similar problem with movies. Ridiculous release times (US only for two months, etc), difficult to get a 1080p mkv legitimately - but that's what people want.

Netflicks is certainly helping to solve this problem, but their catalogue is not extensive. It is not always up to date.

The only way to compete with piracy is to offer a better alternative.

3
JonnieCache 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Everyone in the UK already knows how to use the thousands of proxies out there to access TPB. This will simply force the operators of the current proxy aggregators eg. http://ukbay.org/ to start aggregating proxies for these other sites as well. This will actually make finding pirated content easier.

But as we all know, the purpose of these laws isn't to stop piracy.

4
meaty 33 minutes ago 0 replies      
Time to move to Andrews and Arnold if you are in the UK:

http://aaisp.com/

They have an explicit no censorship policy:

http://aaisp.com/news-censorship.html

Not only that, they offer IPv6 and their connection isn't a total piece of shit! Rather glad I moved from O2 (Telefonica) who apply the censorship and horrible traffic shaping even though they say they didn't on my contract.

5
casca 1 hour ago 0 replies      
If you'd like to support the fight against this kind of stupidity, please consider supporting the Open Rights Group. It's the UK equivalent of the EFF and they do great work.

http://www.openrightsgroup.org/

6
brador 2 hours ago 2 replies      
The slippery slope has started.

This is why it's so important to fight with everything you have over the tiny scraps of civil liberties you enjoy. Once a bite is taken, the whole cake inevitably follows.

7
Lockyy 2 hours ago 1 reply      
>However, a recent report from market research firm NPD suggested that there had been a large reduction in the number of users illegally downloading music, with fans instead favouring legal options like streaming site Spotify.

The implication that this block is what is resulting in an uptake in services like spotify is so disingenuous it's not even funny.

8
rheide 1 hour ago 0 replies      
The only thing this article did was let me know the names of some torrent sites I didn't know about yet. Thanks for sharing the love, BBC.
9
pisarzp 2 hours ago 0 replies      
It's really sad to see phonographic industry fighting piracy that way. There is a million of proxy sites which make Pirate Bay available in UK anyway...

The only way to deal with piracy is enable users to have access to they content they want in any possible way at affordable prices!

I used to download a lot of music, but since spotify offered Premium service for just 4 pounds a month in Poland I bought it instantly (I have Polish CC).

If Netflix had good XBMC app I would gladly pay for that as well.

10
casca 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Correction - UK _Court_ requires ISPs to block more filesharing website. This is about the UK courts, not the ISPs.
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nodata 2 hours ago 2 replies      
Good. Let's see what new technology this creates.
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DanBC 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I'm curious about which ISPs they're targeting, and whether that'll mean more business for the other ISPs.

A small number of file-sharing users can take a lot of bandwidth which wouldn't be a problem if the plans were priced realistically, but plans are priced for lowest-common-denominator use while being described and sold as premium product.

13
Fuxy 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Ok. I really didn't care that the piratebay got blocked except for the legal precedent that created but as expected here comes the banning of every site remotely considered as "bad" by any corporate party.
We will all be old and gray talking about this magical thing called the internet where everybody was free to do whatever they wanted but young children would be looking at us like we're crazy because the never experienced it. It's all down hill from here folks.
6
Tor Exit Nodes Mapped and Located hackertarget.com
11 points by the_wanderer  38 minutes ago   1 comment top
1
dgesang 4 minutes ago 0 replies      
15 exit nodes in the kyrgyz republic hospital area alone? Can that be correct?
7
Scientists Uncover Invisible Motion in Video bits.blogs.nytimes.com
74 points by Libertatea  4 hours ago   16 comments top 9
1
timthorn 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Philips launched an iPad app to do this over a year ago: http://innovation.philips.com/pressreleases/nurturing-bg_vit...
2
archivator 2 hours ago 1 reply      
The paper from last year's SIGGRAPH - http://people.csail.mit.edu/mrub/papers/vidmag.pdf
3
0x09 3 hours ago 0 replies      
4
mattvot 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Someone should take the code and make a site/app that can take YouTube videos in and enhance. I would try, but video processing goes way over my head.
5
speeder 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Someone posted this same link yesterday, but I think I am with a ban that make my upvotes don't count, since the arrow go away and the vote count don't change. Goad that someone tried again and made this go to front page, I think it is vert amazing and awesome, maybe animators will be able to use this tech to learn how to avoid uncanny valley
6
konstruktors 37 minutes ago 0 replies      
Someone should port it over to HTML using canvas, native video and lots of javascript.
7
Geee 2 hours ago 0 replies      
8
jbrooksuk 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I imagine that the only real problem is it'll never be able to be 100% real time as you need to sources of colour. I guess you could get pretty close though.
9
laurencei 2 hours ago 3 replies      
"The system works by homing in on specific pixels in a video over the course of time. Frame-by-frame, the program identifies minute changes in color and then amplifies them up to 100 times, turning, say, a subtle shift toward pink to a bright crimson"

So really the title should be "Scientist amplify motion in video" - because that is what is occurring. There is nothing "invisible" being discovered - it still needs a visual change.

8
Writing efficient CSS selectors csswizardry.com
45 points by webista  3 hours ago   25 comments top 6
1
janzer 2 hours ago 2 replies      
Note that this article is from 2011.

Trying his tests on firefox 20 beta, shows no difference between id and class selectors (the article says there was minimal difference in ff6), also no difference between between the type and "heavily overqualified descendant" selectors (article reports a large difference) and the latter pair are approximately twice faster than the former (the article seems to report they were up to 40 times slower).

So beware that browser technology has progressed since the time of this writing. Of course once again you should be checking the behavior of your site with the browsers your users are actually using.

[Edit: originally confused the two pairs of tests in my browser tabs, the slow tests in ff6 are actually the faster tests in ff20]

2
batiste 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Please read this,
CSS Selector Performance has changed! (For the better)

http://calendar.perfplanet.com/2011/css-selector-performance...

3
lince 1 hour ago 3 replies      
Do really selectors work that way?

I always though that if I had:

#social a

The browser first get the social, then the "a" tag and analyze and store it in some DOM tree style information.

4
ohwp 2 hours ago 2 replies      
I think it's also good practice to check if you can reduce your DOM.

  <ul id="social">
<li><a href="#" class="social-link twitter">Twitter</a></li>
<li><a href="#" class="social-link facebook">Facebook</a></li>
<li><a href="#" class="social-link dribble">Dribbble</a></li>
<li><a href="#" class="social-link gplus">Google+</a></li>
</ul>

could be written as:

  <a href="#" class="social-link twitter">Twitter</a>
<a href="#" class="social-link facebook">Facebook</a>
<a href="#" class="social-link dribble">Dribbble</a>
<a href="#" class="social-link gplus">Google+</a>

since you already have the social-link classes attached to it.

Another example. This:

  <div id="header"><h1>header</h1></div>

could be written as:

  <h1>header</h1>

since you should have only one H1 on your page.

5
ericcholis 2 hours ago 0 replies      
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etrinh 3 hours ago 1 reply      
A lot of great information here. I always knew that overqualifying selectors was bad, but it was always from a "clean code" point of view and not so much from a performance standpoint. Even more reason to avoid them now.

Although this is very interesting information, anyone reading this article should pay careful attention to the ending headline, "Is all this really necessary?" Odds are, unless you've produced some kind of CSS monstrosity, your CSS isn't the bottleneck in your website performance. Min and concat your Javascript, use appcache, local storage, etc. before prioritizing CSS performance.

9
Super-cooling liquid shaves 97% off data centre cooling costs theregister.co.uk
37 points by iProject  3 hours ago   11 comments top 4
1
uvdiv 1 hour ago 2 replies      
More details:

(press release) http://solutions.3m.com/wps/portal/3M/en_US/NA-DataCenters/D...

(technical data) http://solutions.3m.com/wps/portal/3M/en_US/3MNovec/Home/Pro...

It's a phase-change system (the coolant boils). That's what the article means by "a thousand times better at conducting heat than water": it absorbs orders of magnitude more heat because of the phase change. It boils 49 °C at atmospheric pressure, cold enough for electronics.

They claim it doesn't need fans: the boiling is enough to maintain natural circulation (convection) from the server to the heat sink.

2
davidw 41 minutes ago 0 replies      
Sorry for being a bit off topic, but "super-cooling liquid shaves" sounds like the intro to a Gillette commercial.
3
Vivtek 32 minutes ago 0 replies      
Odd word choice - 97% isn't really a shave.
4
geori 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Brings new meaning to the term wet-ware.
10
Ang Lee and the uncertainty of success jeffjlin.com
266 points by iamwil  12 hours ago   79 comments top 18
1
thejerz 10 hours ago 8 replies      
I knew Taylor Swift growing up.

Like Ang Lee, for around 6 to 8 years Taylor acted in musicals, sang at festivals, entered competitions, and recorded demos. She was bad at first (sorry Taylor!), but she kept working at it. Every day, she was writing another lyric, or taking another guitar lesson, or auditioning for another play, or switching voice teachers. The reason I knew her was that I went to school with her (she was maybe in third grade when I was in 7th), I acted in plays with her, and I ran sound and make background tracks for her when she was 10 or so. I knew her mom and dad and brother too. I got to see her bildungsroman firsthand.

Then came her "overnight" success. And the press talked about her like she appeared on planet earth overnight. She was a sensation. All at once, you couldn't walk outside your front door without hearing about Taylor Swift. It was surreal, having know the awkward girl from a few years earlier.

But what no one talked about was the years she forewent hanging out with other girls in middle school, watching TV and doing her hair with girlfriends in high school... all of the stuff that normal kids do. Playing sports, going on dates with boys... all of this was sacrificed. For Taylor, and Ang Lee, great sacrifice was made.

Success requires an obsession of sorts. You have to say, "I am going to accomplish this, come hell or high water." Failure is not an option... it's not even a word in the dictionary. There is only success. The buck has to stop with you; there's no room for blaming other people, making excuses, or avoiding harsh realities. Whatever it takes to be successful, whether that's hiring a speech coach, taking more classes at the university, learning etiquette, doing odd projects, finding a tutor, seeing a therapist, waking up at 6am to exercise... there is no limit. And that's just the point -- there is NO limit on what you have to be willing to undertake to achieve the goal.

I've grappled with what I'm going to say for years, but I now acknowledge it as a truism: If you stick with it, you'll be successful. It doesn't matter where you come from, who your parents are, what you know, who you know, or how you look. All that is required is a choice -- a commitment to excellence.

Therefore, there's only one rule in making it to the top: don't quit.

2
waterlesscloud 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Screenwriter Terry Rossio (Aladdin, Shrek, Pirates Of The Caribbean series) has a long running website on screenwriting. His site reminds me a lot of PG, actually, since he has a lot of essays thinking about the concepts behind the movie business.

He's talked there before about the time he spent preparing to become a screenwriter. His initial plan was to take 10 years to learn the craft.

http://www.wordplayer.com/forums/forulttrs/lt18.That.Big.Bre...

"Since Ted and I were going to be working and studying screenwriting for ten years, that took some of the pressure off. It doesn't make sense to kick yourself after failing at something for four years, when the path you're on is designed to take ten. This allowed a period of time to undertake an analysis and exploration of the business, the techniques, the craft, the history, etc. Step by step, from style to format to character to concept to theme, etc. In other words, we gave ourselves room to practice."

He's also got a fantastic column on why you should give up at screenwriting.

I think a lot of people here can apply it to startups.

http://www.wordplayer.com/columns/wp34.Throw.in.the.Towel.ht...

"That's what I'm really trying to do here (and you're smart enough to see it). And I'm not quitting. Oh, no, I'm not even warmed up. This is important, and I'm gonna give it my best shot.

Because what's at stake here is pretty damn big... oh, just, let's say, your life. A wasted life, potentially, or at least wasting the best years of your life. Days, months, years of effort endlessly trying to do something that you'll never be able to do well. And how many sunsets will you miss before you finally give up? How many walks in the moonlight are forever gone? How much laughter with friends are you willing to sacrifice? How many times will the kids not get the attention they deserve because 'Daddy's trying to write something' that nobody wants to read?

Oh. Gee. Did that one get to you a little?
Feel a little twinge in the pit of your stomach?

Good."

3
MikeCapone 11 hours ago 3 replies      
Very inspiring, though this makes me think that we also have to worry about survivorship bias. How many people stuck to their guns, focused, worked really hard for years, and nothing ever happened for them (at least nothing close to their dreams)? Probably many, though I'm sure it's still the best way to maximize your chances of getting there; by giving up, you are assured of not making it; but even doing your best brings no certainty.

That's why you have to love the journey, not just the destination.

4
enraged_camel 4 hours ago 2 replies      
I read the story. It is very touching. That said, I think stories like this send a very dangerous message. The reality of the matter is that for every person who stuck to their passion and ultimately "succeeded," there are thousands who lived the rest of their lives in obscurity and never "made it."

When I was reading the story and Ang Le said he started taking computer science classes at the local college, I though, "that's great - he finally came to grips with reality ad went from being a daydreamer to being a harsh pragmatist." I was therefore dismayed when he then said he tore up his class schedule and went back to his passion.

A lot of people glamorize his choice with things like "his dedication and commitment paid off" but what if t had not? Would we hear about Ang Le today?

In hindsight his choice was the right one. But hindsight is 20/20. If you really want to maximize your chances of success in life, be flexible and ready to change course often.

5
mladenkovacevic 10 hours ago 2 replies      
It takes an inhuman amount of confidence or blind faith to convince yourself that you are good enough to make it in the film industry. To hold that belief for 6 years, while seemingly spinning your tires and growing your family is just something else. Ang Lee is something else too, though. After seeing Eat Drink Man Woman one evening, he instantly became one of my favorite directors.

As a former film school graduate myself, I must admit I took the other route and settled for a safe, but rather mindless career in marketing. At 31 I think I still have some fight in me, but alas not everyone is Ang Lee.

6
jblock 11 hours ago 0 replies      
It's an interesting perspective on the man in light of all the ruckus about his film and the bankruptcy of Rhythm & Hues (who did the Oscar-winning effects for the film and ultimately fired 250 people in the past month):

http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2013/feb/26/ang-lee-visual-ef...

He's got talent, that's for sure. I suspect much of the flak should be thrown at the industry rather than at the filmmakers.

7
danso 9 hours ago 0 replies      
> It got so discouraging that Lee reportedly contemplated learning computer science so he could find a job during this time, but was scolded by his wife when she found out, telling him to keep his focus.

Tragic...we came so close to having Ang Lee be a programmer!

I guess it's a small consolation that he's one of my favorite directors ever.

8
mooreds 9 hours ago 1 reply      
What I think is fascinating is not Ang Lee's determination to last those 6 years, thought that is impressive.

It is that his wife and family supported him for all those years (granted, it seems he was providing childcare). And believed in him, to the point of scolding him when he considered switching to a more immediately lucrative career.

We should all be so generous to our partners.

9
melling 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Here's the author trying to explain how long Ang Lee spent working towards success:

"Imagine starting something now, this year, that you felt you were pretty good at, having won some student awards, devoting yourself to it full time…and then getting rejected over and over until 2019."

This reminds me of the "Story of Longitude" where John Harrison spent decades of his life in search of his prize (the first "X-Prize"?), and everyone is betting against him. How could a self-educated clockmaker beat the best minds of the day? Anyway it's a great story, which I've read a couple of times.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Longitude_(book)

A few years ago when I was thinking up a name for my mobile "hobby start-up company", I took inspiration from Harrison and called my company h4labs (http://h4labs.com). His fourth clock (H4) won the prize. As a software developer, I image myself more as a craftsmen. I'm taking one idea and I'm going to refine it over several years. Hopefully, by my major forth version, I'll have something really worthwhile.

[Edit]
Btw, here's the book: http://www.amazon.com/Longitude-Genius-Greatest-Scientific-P...

10
balsam 11 hours ago 1 reply      
here is a very personal essay the oscar winning director Ang Lee wrote about those 6 years in the desert (translated):

http://whatshihsaid.com/2013/02/26/ang-lee-a-never-ending-dr...

11
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antoniuschan99 7 hours ago 0 replies      
iamwill, this is a really awesome post. I shared it on FB and Tweeted it. I wanted to add one thing:

My sister won the Miss Hong Kong Pageant a few years back and is one of the top celebrities in Asia. One thing I learned from her was that success is all about determination, focus, and a lot of work; talent is in fact overrated.

For her, there have been ups (winning the pageant she was at the top), and downs (a year after winning the pageant, she was given the standard actress contract and was basically at the bottom), then ups again (she had to work her way up to the 'acting' totem pole).

Success in my view is what you make of it as well. Dave Chappelle talked about it when his dad confronted him about wanting to be an entertainer. His response was if he could make a living comparable to a normal white collar job (I think he used the example of 50K a year), then he felt in his mind that he achieved success. It's probably why he went to Africa! (Unless you believe in the Oprah Conspiracy lol).

DHH and the guys at 37signals have it right in my mind too. There is a huge difference being -10K in debt and having 10K in savings. Another huge difference between 10K in savings and having 250K in savings. However, there really isn't much difference between 1 Million and 10 Million and above (First Class vs. private jet... one Mazeratti vs. 5 Mazeratti's). For the majority of us, success is hitting that 250K mark. At that point, you don't need to worry about rent, food, bills... etc.

Lastly, a piece of advice I learned from Derek Sivers was what do you want? He broke it down to Fame, Fortune, Freedom, excitement, quiet, comfort.. To some all they want is Fame. To others, all they want is the money. His advice was to choose only one and go for it. A nice little byproduct is that you might get the Fortune and end up getting the Freedom as well. But know what you want and set yourself to achieve that goal!

13
rdouble 10 hours ago 1 reply      
One thing I've always wondered is what film and TV writers do all day during their years of obscurity. It would be interesting to hear more details about their process during that time, but that part of the story is never told.
14
dm8 10 hours ago 2 replies      
“I sent in script after script. Most were turned down. Then there would be interest, I'd rewrite, hurry up, turn it in and wait weeks and weeks, just waiting. That was the toughest time for Jane and me. She didn't know what a film career was like and neither did I.”

Blimey me, that's some solid hustle. That too when you have young kid. Seriously inspiring. Time and again it has shown that determination can change fortunes.

EDIT: I got # of kids wrong

15
jheriko 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Wait a minute, isn't 6 years of work to become an amazing success very quick and impressive? It takes most people a lot longer than 6 years to achieve a lot less...

What I struggle to imagine is the distorted sense of self and entitlement required to have the opposite perspective, which seems to be the author's view - that 6 years is too long to work hard at something and become good at it???

16
orangethirty 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Success, like failure, is an event. Not the destination itself. My work discipline is the same when I succeed as when I fail. I don't suddenly become smarter or dumber. Success after all is what happens when you have a well-oiled system working for you.
17
fludlight 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Is White Plains the Palo Alto of the Northeast? There seem to be a disproportionate amount of intelligent people doing new and exciting things from that town.

Edit: spelling

18
robertlaing 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm surprised he didn't mention his interview with the comedian Stewart Lee: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hHC13MYcrR4
12
Typeplate - A Typography Template typeplate.com
136 points by Brajeshwar  8 hours ago   25 comments top 12
1
acabal 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Nice resource, but I disagree about indenting paragraphs in web copy. I've found that for me, I'm more comfortable with narrow paragraphs spacing and traditional indentation in print media; but web media just reads more smoothly with wider paragraphs spacing and no indentation. Indenting web copy stands out, but in the wrong way I think.
2
aw3c2 27 minutes ago 0 replies      
The font size is much too huge (and bold) for my standard displays. I prefer sites that use 100% font-size.

Can somebody shed light on the recent trend for huge font sizes? Not guesses and anecdotes but some research?

3
abcd_f 6 hours ago 2 replies      
Tangentially related -

The demo page is a representative case of the "designer font-size" setting. I get exactly 4 lines of text on the first pageful. Not everyone surfs on Retina displays or humongous iMac panels at 1080 vertical resolution. As much as I appreciate being able to admire individual glyph curves up close and personal, it comes at the expense of being actually read the page without constant scrolling.

4
lowboy 7 hours ago 1 reply      
> Just like in print, don't use the darkest black available in your body text (#000). Instead, go for something softer, like #444. You can use a slightly darker color for titles (#222).

I've always found the opposite; because headings are typically larger, they benefit from a lighter colour than the body copy.

5
ajanuary 4 hours ago 0 replies      
If you're demonstrating or introducing a CSS library/tool, I'd recommend not minifying the CSS on the page.

A few places I inspected the elements to see how it was working in the real world - i.e. this site - and it's a bit of a pain to work out which bit of line 29 a particular rule is on.

6
Trezoid 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Please don't use #444 for body copy. Anything lighter then about #222 (which typeplate has used throughout their own site) is just too low contrast on light backgrounds.
7
thristian 6 hours ago 0 replies      
A while ago I wanted to make a stylesheet I could use when formatting Markdown documents for online viewing, as a replacement for the terrible backwards-compatible defaults web-browsers use. The stylesheet I came up with ( http://gitorious.org/typesetter-css/ ) , doesn't have all the fancy extra class features that Typeplate does, but it makes a pretty decent job of rendering semantic HTML5, like this:

http://zork.net/~st/jottings/How_to_limit_the_length_of_your...

8
ivan_ah 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Very good ressource: SASS code examples for many standard things you might want to do with text.
9
etrinh 4 hours ago 1 reply      
This seems like a great starting point for anyone who is interested in designing a website with a strong emphasis on text content (think blogs, online magazines, etc). If you've ever tried to formally study typography, it can be pretty overwhelming. I'm a web developer with an interest in design, and type is one of those things that seems simple until you realize you have to understand it intimately at multiple abstraction levels (individual letterforms, lines, and blocks of text). Glad to see there's a resource out there that uses typography best practices and makes them sensible defaults.
10
johnx123-up 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Any LESS version?
11
tcdowney 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Very nice. I'm definitely weak on the typography front and this looks like something that I may actually use!
12
pseingatl 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Could you use the css file for epubs?
13
Guide to Tech Interviews kchodorow.com
20 points by kchod  2 hours ago   2 comments top 2
1
maeon3 57 minutes ago 0 replies      
If you are using an IDE like Eclipse or anything with auto code completion, syntax color-highlighting, and syntax error highlighting, get rid of that while coding up the exercises in the PDF.

Use Notepad++ or kwrite and disable those features, if your coding speed grinds to a halt under these conditions, good!

That's the point of the exercise, like trying to jog at 30 thousand feet, as you overcome the hindrance up there, and you come back down to normal level, you feel like you can leap over a car. Same with coding, you feel like you can code blindfolded. And your ability/productivity increases by an order of magnitude.

2
namenotrequired 39 minutes ago 0 replies      
Great tips, thank you. One tiny thing I -partly- disagree with:

"you absorb more info when you're doodling than when you're just listening"
I think this differs a lot per person. I find creative types tend to be bad at focussing on one thing, and can focus better if they are distracted by something they control like doodling. Personally I tend to think very linearly and once I'm distracted by something, that immediately means I'm not focussing anymore.

14
How is Github dealing with SPAM? github.com
33 points by dz0ny  2 hours ago   14 comments top 6
1
venus 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Wow, they've definitely gone on a spam-killing spree recently. Following that scandal a few weeks back where someone had, uh, "inappropriate" downloads in their checked-in public .bash_history, I did a few searches and found insane amounts of spam in github pages.

It's all gone now, as far as I can tell. You can view the lingering google results with a porn-themed search like "site:github.com pthc"†.

Typical cached result: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:zLf3Tgp...

† that is a child porn-associated acronym. Use common sense deciding how or if you are going to get yourself on the record searching for that.

2
rtomayko 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm looking into why those are showing up in the issues list. Likely a bug. The user has been marked as spammy for over a month, though, which means notifications (email or web) are not delivered.

We should have this cleaned up shortly.

3
pyvek 51 minutes ago 0 replies      
I have also seen automated accounts being operated by bots similar to those twitter bots who follow you and unfollow you if you don't start following them within specified amount of time.

Example: https://github.com/gitlisted?tab=activity

4
yen223 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Whatever it was, it's not there anymore.

What happened?

5
ellie42 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Github isn't dealing with SPAM.

Go to gists, click explore.

I've seen some ugly stuff like these:
https://gist.github.com/imwinner/5056251
https://gist.github.com/onhkys/5056233
https://gist.github.com/onhkys/5056224

since the beginning of the gist.github.com re-launch

6
chewxy 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Looks like most of it is handled, since most of them lead to a 404 if you click on the issues. Cache hasn't been invalidated I would guess
15
Beware of the Tricks Used By Clients To Manipulate Freelancers smashinghub.com
5 points by robdoherty2  47 minutes ago   discuss
17
First Picture of an Atom's Shadow nationalgeographic.com
40 points by loki_dx  5 hours ago   9 comments top 7
1
TheAntipodean 3 hours ago 1 reply      
This may be a dumb question but what does the shadow fall on for the scientists to take a picture of it? If is is landing on the 'lens' then wouldn't 'silhouette' be a more appropriate term?

As far as I understand all matter is made of atoms so at the atomic level there wouldn't really be matter (wall, ground etc.) for the shadow to be cast on.

Amazing nonetheless.

2
mnl 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Actually it appears to be the spatial pattern of absorption of around 6 million photons. So technically it is a shadow, but it's not like you are flashing an atom from the right and taking a picture from above. I'd like to know more about Fresnel lens aberrations to have an opinion about the feasibility of such a measure.
3
Monkeyget 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't quite understand the how nor the consequences. How does this compare to crystallography?
4
icebraining 4 hours ago 0 replies      
The paper at arXiv: http://arxiv.org/abs/1201.5280
5
3rd3 4 hours ago 1 reply      
So, what do we actually see on the photo? Is the black dot a shadow of the nucleus or a shadow of the electron shell? And these ripples are effects or the wave properties of light?
6
itsybaev 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Interesting. When I read the title, I was curious about the practical use of that photo until I read that this would lead to study DNA inside living cells.
7
markwong 4 hours ago 0 replies      
reminds me of Dune II
18
A painful tale of SEO, spam and Google's role in all scriptogr.am
168 points by slaven  13 hours ago   92 comments top 28
1
venus 10 hours ago 6 replies      
My god, the quote from that "white hat" SEO guy just defies belief:

> There will certainly be webmasters out there who will strip you down to the bone asking for money in exchange of link removals. These are the most soulless snake oil salesmen on earth

To say that about webmasters, already victims of years of abusive SEO spamming, when they then refuse to help an abusive site clean up its own mess for free .. I have no words. Could anyone possibly be more of a self-interested, myopic, egocentric prick?

My rock-bottom opinion of pretty much anyone who has anything to do with active SEO is re-confirmed for the thousandth time.

2
kkowalczyk 12 hours ago 3 replies      
Blaming google for seo spam is not productive - spammers are legion and in constant battle to game google's ranking system, whatever it currently is. This won't change as long as google is used to search for things.

There is a solution to his particular problem: better forum software.

I don't want to trivialize the problem of writing spam-resistant forum software but it's not such an insurmontable problem (this forum being a proof positive for that).

For the reference: I've been running a fairly popular forum (http://forums.fofou.org/sumatrapdf) for several years, using forum software that I wrote.

I don't even require the user to log in, I don't require moderation for posts and yet I had zero automatic spam (I attribute this to my unusual captcha http://blog.kowalczyk.info/article/16fw/Best-captcha-is-exot...).

I occasionally get human spam i.e. someone writes a post with the only purpose of linking to some other website. I just hellban them after I see the post in my rss reader.

And I didn't even write any special anti-spam code (other than hell-banning), because I'm lazy. I can easily come up with simple ideas e.g. putting all posts that contain links in moderation queue.

To reiterate: his problems were caused by a crappy forum software that didn't do much to protect from seo spam.

I don't really know how current best off-the-shelf forums fare in this respect.

I would rather not spend my time maintaining my own forum software so I have high hopes for http://www.discourse.org. I'm sure StackOverflow had plenty of spam problems so discourse people should understand the problem.

3
will_critchlow 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I can't put words in the mouth of the SEO quoted, but (unless you know he was one of the people making removal requests against your site) I suspect he is not talking about you or sites like yours.

I should add that I don't agree with the rhetoric btw, but I think he is targeting a different kind of webmaster.

I think he is referring to webmasters who sold links (knowingly outside the guidelines) for years. They would previously have instantly removed the links if someone stopped paying.

As soon as Google stepped up their game and removing those links was important, those same webmasters started charging to take down the same links.

I would personally point to the irony of this (google creating a market that enriches people who have been abusing their system for years) rather than calling it immoral. Ymmv.

Hope that helps clarify some things and I hope I'm not distorting the guy's real meaning.

(written on my phone. Please excuse typos).

4
coderdude 12 hours ago 2 replies      
One way to combat this problem is to deny new users the ability to post links by replacing the link text with [removed]. HN has a karma system with thresholds that must be passed in order to get additional privileges (like down-voting). If you have a site that assigns karma to users (even if it's a secret number) then you can set a threshold for allowing links to pass through. It's not perfect but it's better than letting brand new accounts post links, IMO.

Another solution is to hide all links when a page is viewed by a user who isn't logged in.

5
mutagen 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I saw the SEO post he's referring to (it was one of the articles in SEOMoz's top 10 monthly email). Site owners don't realize the amount of work and headache they cause forum communities when they contract out SEO work without an understanding of what that work entails. Or they do and just don't care.

Google's Penguin update didn't deter the spammers, either. Here we are nearly a year later and I'm still cleaning out accounts created en masse by XRumer or other bots.

6
8ig8 9 hours ago 1 reply      
How about taking inspiration from D&B[1]?

Don't charge for link removal; charge for priority link removal. Same day service: $1,000 per link. One week: $500. Etc.

Free link removal: First-come, first-serve at your own leisurely pace.

Sell the old forum to someone else and let them handle the requests.

BTW, PocoMail was a godsend back in the day. Thanks.

[1]:http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4994246

7
Aardwolf 1 hour ago 0 replies      
There exist very popular forums that receive no such spam.

Hacker News comments also seem free from it.

Any idea why it is that some forums get targeted with 10000's of spam accounts, while others don't? What is the trick to protecting if even capchas don't work?

8
javajosh 12 hours ago 1 reply      
The problem here is the work. The solution is to write a program. Have the white hat SEO people write a program that spiders the site with admin privileges and removes offending posts. It should come with a "dry run" mode that lets you spot check it. When they get it right, you can run it for them. It's a win-win: your forums get cleaned up and they did the work.
9
nkuttler 6 hours ago 1 reply      
So this "SEO" who helping his clients to "clean up their profiles" doesn't even know how to disavow links [1]. Well, it's not surprising that somebody who hired spammers once would hire another idiot later.

[1] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=393nmCYFRtA and https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/disavow-links-main login required)

10
bambax 6 hours ago 1 reply      
There must be a programmatic solution to this problem.

Do some outbound links have value on this forum? If not, then you could remove all links, or remove the "link" part of the link (change @href to text).

If some outbound links have value you need to identify those, and it's more complex, but a Bayesian analysis of posts should be able to score posts on their "spaminess" and remove the links on only the most spam-like comments.

There may be some false-positive doing this, but since no information is actually removed (only the links, not the content) it should be quite ok.

11
phasevar 13 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a great post that I'm sure rings true with many 'a webmaster. Time is money. There's no two ways about it. If you want a webmaster to modify their site in your favor, you should be willing to compensate them for their time in doing so.
12
Father 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Link removal requests can also be malicious. A blackhat seo will check his competitors domain to see if there's a spf record, if they're signing their mail, and if there's a catch-all (simply by checking if random mail is accepted). If there's neither they get a list of backlinks, from public web-crawls or sites like ahref, and request these links be taken down by sending mail with spoofed email addresses.
13
speeder 13 hours ago 0 replies      
This is sad, sad, sad. I wonder how much awesome communities died that way. I stopped visiting Orkut when communities there got overran with spam. Also the same apply to some Usenet groups and Google Groups I used to like.
14
arn 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I've received similar emails. I've also been tempted to charge a fee for removal. I just ignore the emails.
15
Tichy 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Maybe it could be scripted? Site owners would have to place some proof of ownership on their site (to be generated on the site of the forum owner - see Google web admins site verification), then a script could detect the faulty links on the forum and remove them automatically.
16
rurounijones 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Would love to hear feedback from the white-hat to this article.

Maybe get a decent discussion going from both sides. It does seem that the white^hat's remarks are very harsh, I wonder if he has honestly never thought about it from the other side's point of view.

17
JimWestergren 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Place a meta noindex, nofollow on the whole forum or at least the infected areas such as memberlist and user profiles. That could be done within 15 minutes and then you can answer with a standard reply that you did that to all emails you receive about removing links.
18
codezero 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd be tempted to ask for money as well, but I feel like at the very least, you should ask for an apology. They may not have known that their SEO agency was using shady tactics, but since times changed, and it's obvious that they put bad links out there, it seems like an apology would be more than a token gesture.
19
rizz0 3 hours ago 0 replies      
There's a difference between buying links, which Google actively started prohibiting at a certain point, and the automated forum spam you are mentioning. The latter is done using software like XRumer, and has always been penalized by Google. The former wasn't prohibited in the beginning, when link deals were often mutual agreements, most of the time involving a traffic component as well.

The snake oil salesmen that are mentioned, are the ones who actively participated in the scheme by selling links and making a buck, and are trying to make another quick buck now that the rules have changed.

Moreover, some links aren't even paid at all, but just look manipulative. For example, if you developed a wordpress theme, and your link is in the footer of tons of blogs, you might get penalized for manipulating the anchor text of your links in a non-natural way. In those legitimate situations, webmasters do have a moral obligation to cooperate.

I don't think anyone would think that of an honest entrepreneur being spammed to death by link spamming software.

On a side note, there are plenty of forums on the web that have survived the spam wave, if it were core to your business, you could have protected yourself.

20
jedireza 12 hours ago 3 replies      
You could shoot the hostage and add rel='nofollow' to all outbound links. You should be able to programmatically do this.

Then with an auto-reply (or 'link policy' page) inform 3rd party sites that the link-juice (good or bad) is no longer flowing.

21
hakaaaaak 8 hours ago 0 replies      
If your business relies on SEO or is affected by Google search rank in a critical way, it may not be a viable business long-term.

Yes, that means I'm talking about a lot of online businesses.

The intelligent thing to do is sell a product or service that has value on its own and neither relies on SEO nor is it likely to be blames by other sites or companies for lowering their SEO.

I feel bad for these folks, but if you are planning on starting a business that doesn't really provide much value on its own that is identifyable outside of the roach motel of SEO, then you are headed into the ocean in a dingy with a small outboard motor, imo.

22
lutusp 5 hours ago 0 replies      
The solution is obvious -- write a routine that automatically goes through the entire forum database and disables all the links -- leave the names, but rewrite the links so they're just text, not hyperlinks. Sort of like:

s!http://!!g

The above deletes the "http:// prefix, but leaves the original destination name, in case anyone wants to object that their post has been edited after the fact. So technically, it's no longer a link back to the originating site, but it's otherwise unchanged.

No human intervention required. Problem solved.

23
iuguy 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Does anyone else think that the author should set up something like mailchimp with an autoresponder to deal with the spam? Something that explains his policy, why he doesn't respond to emails, why he won't remove the link without charging them?

Many of the people who will have these spammy links on his forum will have paid one of the more scummy SEOs out there to raise their SERPs. The people emailing may not have originally been aware that the links have been put up. By having an autoresponder address for people to mail to this should alleviate the spam for all but the dumbest of people (that can't read what to sign up to to get a response, or those that fail to read a clearly defined policy via email).

24
mangostache2 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Why are people getting bent out of shape over some bad links? Can't you just disavow them in Google Webmaster Tools?
25
BashiBazouk 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Here is a question for those who know: is there anything forum regulars can do when we see spam posts beyond letting mods know about it?

I was active in a now dead forum that would get hit once or twice a week. The mods would clean it up with in a half a day but until then those posts would just sit. Does the Google web crawler consider words in replies to the spam post? I used to reply occasionally with words like: scam, fraud, got ripped off. I have always wondered if I was wasting my time. A few times I checked the link to see if it went some where legitimate (Google the base url), if so, I then searched the site for an informational web form. If there was one, left a message that their SEO company was using sleazy methods with a link to the forum post.

Google ought to make a code phrase that forum users can use to red flag spam posts. Though some of the posts were for Japanese and Chinese sites. The spam might not have been meant for Google but other search engines...

26
ajenner 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow, so Google penalizes a site if a link to that site shows up in spammy pages? That seems like a new business model for black-hat SEOers: "hey, nice site you have there - it'd be a shame if links to it started appearing all over my spammy network - $$$ will make sure that doesn't happen." Really search engines should just give zero weight rather than negative weight to links from spammy sites.
27
Nikolas0 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I had the same problem myself. In fact I still run a couple of forums. And I get at least 3 "remove my links" mails per day. I guess you can't ask them money, but they already cost you money (to maintain their spam and since the panda update read their emails asking you to remove it) so I guess the best solution is just ignore those mails.

Regarding anti spam I am afraid there is nothing you can do. Real humans will create an account for 0.01$ and they will post anything (I tried adding custom code in the post code as well, but those signups are not necessarily bots) In fact they even post if you don't allow them to post links (they post the urls with no http)

Next solution I'll try is social integration. Maybe that would work for some time but even this way spammers will find their way to create thousands of crap accounts in FB, twitter, etc.

28
halcyondaze 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I use XenForo and it's relatively simple to stop all forum spam for the most part. I just set up a custom captcha that only people who are interested in the topic would know the answer to, and then use XenForo's built in spam catching system for the rest...though I haven't had anything get through yet once I made the changes.

Also deleted forum footprint to dodge people scraping my forum off of Google, so that takes care of about 99% of all spam attempts. Someone would have to custom register accounts on my forum to get in, after which they would be destroyed by the spam catcher :)

19
Django Redis Pipeline trick pnegahdar.com
5 points by Goopplesoft  1 hour ago   discuss
20
Featurewhack robertheaton.com
6 points by robheaton  1 hour ago   3 comments top
1
arocks 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Great article, but not quite sure about the final bit of advice. Even if you gradually build your software in layers you might be faced with exponential complexity. If you are releasing early, then you also have the "legacy data" issue along with users who are just getting used to the interface. Change will be always met with resistance.

A harder but definitely more powerful approach is to build more isolated pieces of functionality with well defined interfaces. A conscious effort to minimize the feature interdependence definitely pays off in the long run. A team of moles is harder than an uncoordinated mob!

21
Thalmic's (YC W13) MYO draws 10,000 preorders in 2 days communitech.ca
139 points by TonyReinhart  14 hours ago   44 comments top 19
1
reso 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Here's some amusing trivia: the source on this article, Communitech, rejected Thalmic from their "Hyperdrive" accelerator program shortly before the company was accepted by YC. Something about "we don't think people will like it".

Suffice is to say they've been kicking themselves ever since.

2
mindstab 13 hours ago 2 replies      
I want two of these and Google glass. Seems like a match made in heaven.

Should be able to get Silent Messaging going, straight out of Vernor Vinge's "Rainbows End"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rainbows_End#Augmented_reality

3
redthrowaway 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm not sure how I missed this earlier, but this is the first YC company in a long time I'm genuinely excited about. This is as close to telekinesis as I'm likely to get, and I want it, dammit.
4
hospadam 11 hours ago 2 replies      
Genuine question - have preorders always been this popular? Or are they a relatively new thing? It seems that Kickstarter has really changed people's perceptions of purchasing a product. People seem much more willing to pre-buy something like this.

Either way - this thing looks great. Can't wait to try it myself!

5
kriro 54 minutes ago 0 replies      
FAQ says MacOS and Windows are fully supported + iOS and Android API support.

What are the plans for Linux down the line?

6
pkorzeniewski 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I haven't heard about it before and oh boy I'm so excited now as I wasn't in a long time about a piece of hardware. If it really will work as good as advertised, and I think it's very possible it will, this will be huge.
7
jokermatt999 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Their concept video was definitely interesting, but is there any video of an actual demo? (Or, since the company seems to be answering questions here, is one planned?
8
mjmahone17 10 hours ago 3 replies      
I wonder if it would work for amputees. I.e. do you need an actual hand in order for the signals to be processed correctly, or would imagining your hand's movements be enough?
9
moultano 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Have they given any indication of what stage in development they are in? Do we know this thing works yet? I couldn't find any mention on their site.
10
grittathh 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Does anyone know if the API can/will provide the raw EMG measurements? (I work in a lab that does this kind of recording with wired electrodes. A robust wireless interface that spits out the full bandwidth signal would be quite a useful research tool).

Anyway, even if it doesn't, I think this will still be awesome.

11
mrtron 9 hours ago 1 reply      
You will be hiring 200 RIM engineers next year if there aren't delays and problems.
12
uniclaude 6 hours ago 1 reply      
That's great that they are a YC company. I hope they do something together with boosted boards, that would be incredible.
13
goronbjorn 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Are there any more specific release timelines outside of 'by the end of 2013'?
14
pairing 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow, looks like a great product. If it works as seamlessly as the concept video suggests this could be a huge hit. I find this product more interesting to me than Google glass. I'd consider preordering but there are too many unknowns at this point and the website is kind of vague.

I wonder if the rumored apple "watch" is similar tech.

15
pshin45 12 hours ago 3 replies      
I've seen their [EDIT: concept] video (below) and it was wildly successful in getting me excited about the product. The video combined with the tagline "UNLEASH YOUR INNER JEDI" definitely gave me goosebumps.

http://youtu.be/oWu9TFJjHaM

The MYO, its name derived from the Greek myos, for muscle, instantly measures electrical activity in muscles and connects wirelessly to computers, smartphones and other electronics, enabling users to control these devices with a simple wave of the hand.

Some of my engineer friends have serious doubts as to how well this technology will actually work (haters gon' hate?) but nonetheless I will be rooting for the guys at Thalmic. Good stuff.

16
asafira 4 hours ago 0 replies      
For the record, a friend of mine ordered one and was told he was roughly number 9500. (Basically 10,000, but I thought I would put in my 2 cents)
17
snowbrook 12 hours ago 2 replies      
I don't see how it can distinguish between normal use of your hand/arm and a control gesture. Perhaps in the midst of a video game, you are gesturing full-time, but the other examples seem more dubious to me.
18
dacilselig 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Would anyone like to guess as to how long I would have to wait to receive one if I were to pre-order it now?
22
How PHP's foreach works stackoverflow.com
174 points by vlucas  16 hours ago   35 comments top 6
1
SeoxyS 13 hours ago 1 reply      
If anybody feels like explaining something else that's also puzzling about the Zend engine and PHP arrays; I had a few hours spent the other day on a WTF moment writing a PHP extension in C and querying array zvals.

I was doing something fairly simple, trying to extract values passed as named argument to a function and turning them back into simple C types (char * and int):

    // capturing hash keys as zvals
zval **salt_hex_val;
zval **key_hex_val;
zval **iterations_val;
if ( // getting values
zend_hash_find(hash, "salt", strlen("salt") + 1, (void**)&salt_hex_val) == FAILURE ||
zend_hash_find(hash, "key", strlen("key") + 1, (void**)&key_hex_val) == FAILURE ||
zend_hash_find(hash, "iterations", strlen("iterations") + 1, (void**)&iterations_val) == FAILURE ||
// checking types
Z_TYPE_PP(salt_hex_val) != IS_STRING ||
Z_TYPE_PP(key_hex_val) != IS_STRING ||
(Z_TYPE_PP(iterations_val) != IS_LONG && Z_TYPE_PP(iterations_val) != IS_DOUBLE)
) {
php_error_docref(NULL TSRMLS_CC, E_WARNING, "Could not extract and check types on required values in hash: salt, key, and iterations.");
RETURN_NULL();
}

char *salt_hex;
char *key_hex;

if (Z_STRLEN_PP(salt_hex_val) != salt_length * 2 ||
Z_STRLEN_PP(key_hex_val) != key_length * 2) {
php_error_docref(NULL TSRMLS_CC, E_WARNING, "Key or Salt length incorrect.");
RETURN_NULL();
}

salt_hex = Z_STRVAL_PP(salt_hex_val);
key_hex = Z_STRVAL_PP(key_hex_val);

int iterations = (Z_TYPE_PP(iterations_val) == IS_LONG ?
(int)Z_LVAL_PP(iterations_val) :
(int)Z_DVAL_PP(iterations_val));


The part that I still don't understand (but that I figured out by trial-and-error) was why `zend_hash_find` takes a `void••`[1] as argument, which should actually be a `zval•••` cast as `void••`. What's the purpose of the triple pointer here?

    zend_hash_find(hash, "salt", strlen("salt") + 1, (void**)&salt_hex_val)

[1]: Imagine the • there is a star / asterisk.

2
Wilduck 14 hours ago 0 replies      
As far as I can tell from my reading, the strangeness stems from the fact that:

> Arrays in PHP are ordered hashtables (i.e. the hash buckets are part of a doubly linked list)

And that iteration is done using a "internal array pointer":

> This pointer is part of the HashTable structure and is basically just a pointer to the current hashtable Bucket. The internal array pointer is safe against modification, i.e. if the current Bucket is removed, then the internal array pointer will be updated to point to the next bucket.

Which together require some complex copying rules to allow for some simple things like iterating over the same array in nested loops.

I'm not very familiar with the implementation details of many other languages with these constructs, but in python a `for` loop (which operates similarly to the described `foreach` loop in php) simply operates over an iterator, which have a well defined implementation [1]. I don't know about the implementation any deeper than that, however.

I'm curious how other languages implementation of foreach type constructs stack up and how the choice of implementation for the standard list/array datatype affects the interface.

[1] http://excess.org/article/2013/02/itergen1/#iterators

3
danso 15 hours ago 4 replies      
Is this actually Stackoverflow or an impostor phishing site? I don't see the "Question has been closed as not constructive" notice even though this question meets all the requirements for it.
4
stormbrew 9 hours ago 1 reply      
I think the interesting thing that this highlights about php, perhaps especially for people who've never worked in it, is the fact that php is an extremely rare example of a scripting language that has value semantics for complex objects.

I've always found that an interesting choice.

5
nkozyra 14 hours ago 1 reply      
So basically it operates on a copy unless it determines it doesn't need to?

I'm not sure why this is interesting.

6
francispelland 14 hours ago 2 replies      
Wasn't this a given when working with PHP? You can afterall send the reference so that you are modifying the array as you go, rather than at the end.

$array = array(1,2,3,4,5);
foreach ($array as &value){...}

24
Literals in Programming Languages gavilan.edu
28 points by RohitS5  6 hours ago   15 comments top 4
1
jmmcd 2 hours ago 2 replies      
This article is only about primitive literals, not compound ones. I think the list and dict literals in Python are the #1 reason I like it better than C. I think the regexp literals in Perl were one of the main reasons people liked Perl better than C.
2
tantalor 5 hours ago 3 replies      
> Booleans are ordinal values and usually false is less than true.

I was surprised to find this is true,

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/truth-values/#3

3
swah 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Factor has them for many data-structures: http://docs.factorcode.org/content/article-syntax-literals.h..., but they are simple to add in a concatenative language

(they might as well have been added by a user library).

4
anders0 1 hour ago 1 reply      
To nitpick, -14 isn't a literal in all languages. :)

(In Haskell, it's just sugar for negate 14, while in Standard ML it's spelt ~14. And I assume there are other exceptions too.)

25
Help Fight Patent Trolls " Support the SHIELD Act eff.org
203 points by Steveism  20 hours ago   29 comments top 9
1
mfringel 18 hours ago 0 replies      
The "Non-Practicing Entities must post a bond" section (section (b)) is the one I was most happy to see.

It means that at least the first levels of "Have a corporate shell that dissolves upon an adverse finding" tricks will be defused.

2
SeanLuke 14 hours ago 1 reply      
It's nice to see. But SHIELD lacks a critical element: allowing the defendant to specify the jurisdiction. Otherwise every patent case will still be fought in troll-friendly East Texas.
3
Steveism 19 hours ago 1 reply      
I feel the law should do more than require the patent troll to pay the other side's legal fees. Perhaps extra damages should be awarded to patent troll victims. Lawsuits take a tremendous amount of time to defend oneself against. You should be personally compensated for the time spent defending yourself when a troll needlessly drags you to court.
4
charonn0 18 hours ago 2 replies      
It's a good bill, but why does every new law need a cutesy acronym for a name? How about calling it the "Patent Litigation Reform Act of 2013"? Or something else similarly utilitarian?
5
jhdevos 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I can't help but feel that this is battling symptoms, not the real problem.

A frivolous lawsuit is a frivolous lawsuit, no matter who brings it. The real problem is that patents give far too much power (injunctions of products heavily invested in), defending costs far too much money, and it is far too easy to get patents on relatively simple things.

This has to be balanced by either:

* Making far fewer inventions patentable (only inventions that take a real investment of time and money should be patentable)

OR

* Drastically reducing the power of patents (no injunctions unless in rare cases, much cheaper process for patent infringement fights)

Preferably, both.

6
bratsche 17 hours ago 2 replies      
This seems like it isn't a totally perfect solution either, though. I would expect that smaller companies or startups would be more hesitant to try to file a legitimate claim now, especially against someone like Apple or Google, because if they end up losing (because sometimes the other guys just have a bigger and better legal team) then it may financially ruin the small company.
7
dkaigorodov 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I have just one question: where to sign against the SHIELD?

If you are judging on something you are to consider both options. And it is not about software/hardware producers and p-trolls. The law is to protect authors. In some way the law is to embrace innovation and progress (despite it is not the main value).

Producers want do use the law to create monopoly. To eliminate minor innovators and use they innovations for free. What about scientists? What about research groups? Does they innovations "practical"? Mostly not, but still these people might understand the direction of technology and take actions that are two steps ahead of producers. Our society is called "postindustrial" not because the great development of IT but of lack of development "industrial" things. Progress became extensive and not moving forward. Science became servant of production, faith by itself. Science loosing criticism -- the approach that leads to better models of the world.

Author of innovation is nobody, a pawn in the hands of mighty producers, and we, the consumers is to worship great producers, ought to sacrifice all this minor and unworthy author. Who even dares to remember the authors?

Also, consider rights of "real" innovation authors -- in-company engineers. Are they any protected? Do they really have author right's at some moment? They are the authors! Many of them are quite unique in special areas. Did they have a voice?

SHIELD act protect producers to create monopolies. It is uncertain that the act will decrease possibilities of pure trolls.
The origin of author's rights is not about the areas where it is applied now, current approach is outdated. But even complete rejection of author's rights is better than the SHIELD law.

8
Coincoin 15 hours ago 2 replies      
I fail to see how this fixes the problem.

How does a small company or individual who doesn't have the millions to defend herself win in the first place?

The way I understand it right now, this basically only removes the risk from medium sized companies that have the financial backing but only settle to save littigation money.

9
phil 16 hours ago 0 replies      
<3 Peter DeFazio
27
Adding to Discourse using EmberJS Part 1: Routing and Templates eviltrout.com
37 points by tortilla  8 hours ago   discuss
28
Fancy Input - CSS3 text typing effects for input fields dropthebit.com
187 points by robin_reala  21 hours ago   69 comments top 33
1
wmeredith 20 hours ago 3 replies      
As an interaction designer, I implore you: do NOT screw around with forms. Your conversion rates will fall through the floor. The CSS specification itself says that browsers can ignore styling for forms. This is by design. Overriding it with a bunch of unsupported animated nonsense that requires Javascript and invisible divs and such is a recipe for disaster from a usability and accessibility stand point.
2
gbog 11 hours ago 0 replies      
So many paternalistic comments here telling us to please not use this. As if it was not obvious enough this fancy input is properly useless, and very interesting in its uselessness, as an experiment or an exercice de style.

Usefulness is overrated. Would no human ever had followed the craze of useless endeavors, we would still all be living in caves, and would not even draw with fingers on theirs walls.

3
SchizoDuckie 20 hours ago 2 replies      
Please use this never on mobile. The experience is impossible on android, and as seen from the rest of the comments on iOS it's not much better...

On desktop it's super cool though. Kudo's!

4
JoshTriplett 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Ugh. When I select text, the selected text does not appear in the same location as the corresponding unselected text, the cursor doesn't line up with the selected text, and the cursor moves to incorrect locations in the text as I move it with shift-arrows.
5
adamzegelin 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Please do not use this.

The whole page flashes and flickers for me on Safari 6.0.2 on Mac OS X 10.8.2.

Input of extended characters also doesn't work. Option-[aeiou] doesn't enter any characters. Holding [aeiou] prints the base character but fails to update once a modifier is selected.

The antialising algorithm alternates between subpixel and greyscale, causing flickering changes to the boldness of the text.

All in all, very very broken.

6
8ig8 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Cool, but please don't use this. It is essentially unusable on my iPad. Virtual keyboards tend to choke on such fanciness. If you want my input, make it easier, not harder for me.
7
yojimbo311 4 hours ago 0 replies      
It's certainly "fancy", but... as someone who has been forced to go down this road more than a few times for desktop and mobile platforms please do NOT encourage this. The level of manipulation and monitoring of key events necessary to get even close to parity of normal input behavior and accessibility, which this example unfortunately doesn't do very well, is enough to drive one into voluntary retirement.

It's fun to look at and play with, and I know it has some useful applications, but it quickly becomes incredibly fragile and is guaranteed to waste time and effort that can, and should, be spent on other stuff. Unless of course there is nothing left to do and you're just looking for ways to torture some poor soul hopped up on Red Bull or Mountain Dew.

That said, I definitely do encourage anyone interested to explore how this stuff works. My experience has been that design pretty much overlooks input behavior in general, but there are some pretty impressive things that can be done now without painting yourself into a corner and exploring stuff like this is probably one of the fastest ways to figure out where the boundaries are.

8
muxxa 20 hours ago 5 replies      
Bug report: I managed to get it into a state where it's impossible to delete the characters behind the cursor. I remember pressing the Euro sign (alt-gr + 4) and accidentally hitting the 'Windows' key. Here's a dump of the DOM state:
http://pastebin.com/ELyMNAKd
9
eisbaw 35 minutes ago 0 replies      
I never had reasons for animosity against CSS, but now I do.
10
skoob 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Dead keys seem to confuse it, though. They get added to the value of the input element, but they aren't displayed.
11
Bjuukia 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Pretty. But whenever I see something like this on a website, I disable styles. As easy as Ctrl-Alt-Z on my browser.

I do it for blogs that have fancy title css, scripted comments... just about for anything that's unnessesary junk and therefore just a pretty annoyance.

12
andrewguenther 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Cute, but if I were a user and I saw a form that uses this, I would probably close the tab.
13
meerita 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Aside the dizzy collateral effects you get after writing more than 10 words, when you try to write accented words in other languages it stops working.

With measure, and applying it wisely, this can be a good thing. But for long texts, it's a madness.

14
shocks 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Clicking the input box when it's typing "type something..." is causing a crash for me. Also, I broke it by hitting home and then spamming the left arrow key. :)

Chrome 27.0.1423.0 dev-m

15
evv 18 hours ago 0 replies      
This is cool, just don't press tab.
16
dmvaldman 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Really nice! Some things are broken on my iPhone, like the spacing when deleting and typing letters when they overflow the input area
17
davekinkead 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Bug: ctrl-a (or ctrl-anything) results in the non-ctlr key stuck in the text field with no way to delete it
18
tallowen 18 hours ago 0 replies      
The number of bug reports in my opinion sums up the problem with doing this thing. Even though these effects can be really neat, there is nothing worse than somebody trying to put in data and have the form not accept thier input for an unknown reason.

That being said, I think these could be really neat in certain places and maybe with a bit more testing this could be super useful.

19
frogpelt 13 hours ago 0 replies      
If I select 'textarea' it only wraps by letter not by complete word.

I thought someone might want to know.

20
jofo25 20 hours ago 1 reply      
I like this! It has potential to be used in really nice ways. Once the kinks have been worked out, I would definitely consider using this.
21
oatmealsnap 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Looks great! A few bugs, and probably many usability and compatibility issues, but I can see something like this finding its way into a movie or game website. Too flashy for a regular form input, but in the right context it would feel at home.
22
bluehex 10 hours ago 0 replies      
FYI: Switching to an IME to enter Japanese (or any other language, I imagine) breaks it and doesn't allow typing. Switching back to English doesn't fix it. Putting the cursor at the beginning again allowed me to type English, but I can no longer type at the end.
23
mmuro 16 hours ago 0 replies      
File this under "One of those things that can be done but never should be."
24
pknight 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Very cool effects but pretty jittery and laggy when typing fast on chrome 24, too bad.
25
JacobIrwin 18 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm not an advanced user of jQuery, but still feel slightly ashamed for asking:

How can I use effect2 without having to change/toggle the class (i.e. effect2 class onPageLoad)??

26
gatorek 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Tried it on Chrome. Non-english characters look awful - fonts are mess, typing effects work randomly. Sometimes all I'm typing is invisible. For me it's unusable.
27
suyash 16 hours ago 0 replies      
It creates a lot of extra DOM nodes, not that great to be honest for this effect.
28
josh_blum 15 hours ago 0 replies      
typing more than 5 letters made be feel i was going to have a seizure.

also, the demo is lacking in basic usuability-- at least have the form reselected automatically when you change between effects.

29
jokull 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Stops working if you type an accent character ´
30
eknkc 21 hours ago 3 replies      
Works great on Chrome, causes weird flashes on Safari.
31
momchenr 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Gives me a headache.
32
sebbean 18 hours ago 0 replies      
broke it within 10 seconds
33
fuleo 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Not working on IE9
29
I Can Detect Your Facebook Username, Using W3C Standard homakov.blogspot.com
86 points by homakov  14 hours ago   51 comments top 12
1
yason 6 hours ago 5 replies      
It didn't work but I know why: I use a different browser for Facebook"not because of these hacks but because Facebook itself is more invasive than any of these tricks. I don't want to accidentally connect what I browser with Facebook. I have a separate browser icon that launches:

  google-chrome --user-data-dir=/home/myaccount/.config/facebook-chrome

And that launches directly to Facebook. I keep Facebook stuff nicely contained in that browser. I mostly just follow links out of Facebook. The real Chrome never even knows that I'm on Facebook.

2
stephengillie 4 hours ago 1 reply      
This doesn't actually work. After allowing the popup, it just confirmed whatever username I put into the text box.
3
justin_vanw 12 hours ago 2 replies      
Cool story, followed link, tried example, it doesn't work at all. Either Facebook fixed it, or it was crap.
4
ansman 12 hours ago 2 replies      
Isn't this the same guy who discovered the mass assignment bug in Rails last year?
5
Qantourisc 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Isn't it time browser implement a "safe" mode:
- Sharing cookies between tabs? Nope, unless you personally opened it another tab, and expires as soon as you type in a new url.
- Access or url on a different domain ... maybe, but certainly not to localhost.
- Font access ? No
- Plugin listing ? No
- Whatever the hell I don't know about: No.
Then either allow the user to whitelist the site, and/or allow certain parts.
Would it be easy for the user? No.
Would we weed out a lot of issues? At least a few !
6
gee_totes 12 hours ago 1 reply      
But can't you also find someone's username by hiding the facepile plugin from the user, waiting for it to load, then pulling the username once it's loaded?
7
homakov 11 hours ago 1 reply      
There was a typo in my code! Sorry, now updating
8
splitbrain 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Okay, maybe I was stupid but I couldn't find the link to the demo in the article. Author posted it somewhere here in the comments: http://homakov.github.com/fbdetect.html

So all this does is to check if my username matches with some preexisting username. Its no way you can detect my username if you don't already know it. Also even after I gave the demo my username, chrome simply blocked a popup and the whole thing failed...

Either I don't get it or this is a lot less impressive than the title suggests.

9
aristus 12 hours ago 1 reply      
www.facebook.com/whitehat/report/

First hit when you Google for [facebook report vulnerability]

10
Whitespace 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Didn't work for me although I was logged in to facebook. Chrome 25.0.1364.99
11
heroic 7 hours ago 0 replies      
LOL, i entered my handle and it says I am not my handle!
12
slig 12 hours ago 1 reply      
FWIW, it's still working.
30
The Deep Insights of Alan Kay servicestack.net
169 points by mythz  21 hours ago   84 comments top 21
1
grinich 17 hours ago 3 replies      
I've admired Alan Kay's work for years, but I wish he had another Jobs/Apple to turn his ideas into products. His work on the GUI was put into the Mac, Smalltalk directly influenced Objective-C, and the Dynabook is clearly a predecessor to the iPad. I don't think VPRI is a similar vehicle for new work.

It's a really tough dichotomy: people who invent world-changing things very rarely have the skills (or desire) to spend years polishing and shipping. I think almost all of academia is great example of this, where invention is praised over innovation.

I'm not saying this is bad. Researchers excel at doing research, and should focus in that domain. But papers and conference talks don't change the world. It takes real products, which are the result of substantial non-idea work. Even Doug Engelbart's famous demo took decades to actually build at scale.

One of the most important things about PARC may have been that it was a pairing of research-like projects with real world engineering accomplishments. For several years, I've felt like Google is on the verge of this as well. Glass may be their first shipping experimental product, so we'll see.

It'd be interesting if Alan took a research position at Google. Hal Abelson (inventor of Scheme, founder of Creative Commons, prof at MIT, etc.) spent a sabbatical there and shipped App Inventor for Android, which essentially took ideas from the Scratch programming environment and made them work for Android. Something like Smalltalk on top of App Engine could be really awesome.

    When the Mac first came out, Newsweek asked me what I [thought] 
of it. I said: Well, it's the first personal computer worth
criticizing. So at the end of the presentation, Steve came up
to me and said: Is the iPhone worth criticizing? And I said:
Make the screen five inches by eight inches, and you'll rule the world.

-- Alan Kay

2
david927 21 hours ago 2 replies      
Alan is the most important person alive in Computer Science, showing us -loudly- the way forward, and he's largely ignored. I don't know of a more damning indictment than that.
3
thebear 17 hours ago 2 replies      
Thanks for this post; the importance of Alan Kay's work can hardly be overstated. Here's another quote by him that I find interesting:

I invented the term Object-Oriented and I can tell you I did not have C++ in mind.

Whether or not you share the disdain for C++ that is implicit in this quote, I believe it is important to understand the difference between the way OO was originally conceived of and the way C++ interprets it. I believe the best way to understand the difference is to look at object-variable binding. Smalltalk and almost every other OO language that followed it uses reference semantics: the assignment

x = y

causes the variable x to release its binding to whatever object it is currently referring to, and to refer to the object that y is referring to instead. C++, on the other hand, is pretty much the only OO language that uses value semantics: the intended meaning of the assignment

x = y

is to copy the state of the object to which y is referring over to the object to which x is referring. The older and wiser I get the more I am inclined to believe that this attempt to marry OO and value semantics was an experiment that has failed. Even if you do not believe this, you'd have to admit that the collective amount of time and effort that the C++ community has spent on dealing with the assignment operator is simply staggering. (I would have made that last statement even two years ago, and now we have rvalue refereces.)

4
gnosis 20 hours ago 0 replies      
There's really no way to adequately summarize such a varied and content-rich article. You should really read it in full for yourself. But here are the section headings:

* On Software Engineering

* On Object Orientated Programming

* Tear it down and build something better

* On Messaging

* On LISP

* The Unknown side of Alan Kay

5
podperson 20 hours ago 1 reply      
I admire Alan Kay as much as the next guy and a lot of this stuff in this article looks great, but he doesn't need his lily gilded:

* Laser Printers

Yes -- invented at Xerox PARC.

* Object Orientated Programming / Smalltalk

No. OOP was invented in Norway (Simula) / Yes

* Personal Computers

Um... really? No.

* Ethernet / Distributed Computing

Yes Xerox PARC. / Not really

* GUI / Mouse / WYSIWYG

No (Englebart et al) / No (Englebart et al) / Yes

See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_graphical_user_i...

6
espeed 16 hours ago 0 replies      
To me, one of the nice things about the semantics of real objects is that they are “real computers all the way down (RCATWD)” " this always retains the full ability to represent anything.

I remember 15 years ago when Philip Greenspun (http://philip.greenspun.com) first introduced me to the idea that a Web service is like an object -- it may seem obvious today, but at the time it completely changed my Web view:

The challenge is in realizing that the Web service itself is an object. The object has state, typically stored in a relational database management system. The object has methods (the URLs) and arguments to those methods (the inputs of the forms that target the URLs). The engineering challenges of Web development are (a) coming up with the correct data model for the object state, (b) coming up with a correct and maintainable organization of URLs, and (c) defining the semantics of each URL. By the time an individual page is constructed, the engineering challenge is over and it doesn't really matter whether you build that script in a simple language (e.g., Perl or Tcl) or a complex powerful language (e.g., Common Lisp or Java).

http://philip.greenspun.com/wtr/aolserver/introduction-1.htm...

Philip also discusses this idea in chapter 13 of his classic book, "Philip and Alex's Guide to Web Publishing" (http://philip.greenspun.com/panda/).

But as Alan Kay points out, this RPC-type model still hasn't evolved to a point where you can pass around self-contained objects that are RCATWD.

7
malbs 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Anything I've ever read that Alan Kay has written, either inspires me greatly, or depresses me deeply. His POV is worth 80 IQ quote is something I live by. It applies to _every_ aspect of life. Then you listen to him talk about computer science, computing in general, and what the future might hold, and you end up wondering why we're using languages today that are essentially prettied up versions of languages 40 and 50 years old (sweeping generalisation!)
8
codemac 16 hours ago 1 reply      
> The ARPA/PARC history shows that a combination of vision, a modest amount of funding, with a felicitous context and process can almost magically give rise to new technologies that not only amplify civilization, but also produce tremendous wealth for the society.

[...] felicitous context and process [...]

I am interested in what the process is he's referring to that PARC used.

I think software engineering as a discipline is too young to have decent processes figured out, as is evident with the takeover of the "agile/scrum" process (I don't mean this in a bad way, but before this it was either NO process or a bug tracker with dates in it).

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martinced 13 hours ago 0 replies      
My new favorite from Alan Kay, which I just learned from TFA:

"Lisp: greatest single programming language ever designed"

My previous favorite quote attributed to Alan Kay, which is not in TFA:

"I made up the term "object-oriented", and I can tell you I did not have C++ in mind."

: )

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qznc 16 hours ago 3 replies      
If "message passing between objects" is so great, then why do those distributed object frameworks (CORBA,(D)COM) not rule the world? Bad execution?
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elviejo 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Alan Kay is a voice that we need to listen more...
we are distracted from the fact that our current Industry generates a lot of money...
too look at the fact that our Craft is in the pyramid construction age.... we need real architecture and real engineering.
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Uhhrrr 20 hours ago 2 replies      
"Object Orientated"? Really?

How does someone read so much material on Alan Kay and still manage to have "object orientated" stuck in their head? It's like putting together an overview of Edward Said's "Orientatilism".

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pbreit 17 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't think the dig on the "web amateurs" is fair. It seems clear to me that the simple and, perhaps, amateurish underpinnings of the web (http & HTML) ended up being a great strength.
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qznc 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Oh, how I would like to base everything on simple abstractions like “real computers all the way down (RCATWD)”. However, reality seems to think differently. James Hague recently said it well: "Simplicity is Wonderful, But Not a Requirement"

http://prog21.dadgum.com/167.html

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army 18 hours ago 2 replies      
Some of those points are a bit misleading. Sure, you can define a lisp interpreter in very few lines of code. But to build a decent standard library and optimizing compiler/JIT, that is where the LOCs rack up.
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psadri 20 hours ago 0 replies      
... orientated around “visions rather than goals” and “funded people, not projects”

being exclusively goal oriented constrains the originality of the high level ideas that are produced.

on the other hand, being constrained by specific goals (eg: put a person on the moon) can produce a lot of creativity as people's efforts are focused on a narrow domain of problems to solve.

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vidoc 17 hours ago 3 replies      
While there's no question that some of Alan Kay's achievements are very important, I cannot help but thinking that our industry's tendency to surrender to 'fanism' (e.g: douglas crockford, linus torvalds) - is ridiculous.
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warmfuzzykitten 11 hours ago 0 replies      
It's a small thing, I know, but the author's use of "orientated" for "oriented" was a bit annoying.

Other than that, it's a nice collection of quotes and links. Good to see.

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endlessvoid94 14 hours ago 0 replies      
What network protocol did the ARPA network at PARC use?
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lani 17 hours ago 0 replies      
has anyone seen him talking about a Tim Gallwey video ? Kathy Sierra mentioned one of Alan Kay's talks called 'doing with images makes symbols'... I'm trying to find this one ..
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mike_ivanov 14 hours ago 0 replies      
The author lost me here: "Which didn't even require inheritance, which is not like we know it today".
       cached 28 February 2013 14:02:01 GMT