hacker news with inline top comments    .. more ..    30 Jul 2013 News
home   ask   best   5 years ago   
1
Observations from a Tipless Restaurant. jayporter.com
149 points by mattkirkland  2 hours ago   123 comments top 30
1
po 29 minutes ago 3 replies      
Having lived in Japan for the past few years, I'm so over the tipping culture it's pretty hard to stomach when I go back to the States. Besides the issues it causes for employers that this article covers, I really dislike the power dynamics that it causes for the customers: but maybe not in the way you would think.

While the customer may be financially powerful in the relationship, I feel that tipping culture gives power to the server to withhold good service as a punishment or as an optimization strategy at their own discretion. It causes a server to judge you as soon as you walk through the door... will this person give a good tip? Should I ignore them and focus on this other table?

The worst part is that the tip happens at the end of the meal after all of the 'costs' of providing good service are already done. If the patron stiffs the server, then the effort was 'wasted.' It's far better to make an educated guess based on what? the way they dress? their grammar? the car they pulled in with?

It's a terrible system.

2
rm999 32 minutes ago 4 replies      
Back when I lived in San Diego I took my parents to the Linkery. The service was so bad it actually reversed my opinions against tipping. The servers clearly didn't care much about making us happy, messing up almost every aspect of the order. They put meat in my food - I'm vegetarian. My father got his food 20 minutes after my mother and I did. The waiter forgot one of my drinks. We called over the manager who offered us a free dessert to make up for it. Guess what? The dessert was on the bill. I'm always happy to tip 20+% for good service, but being forced (yes, we asked) to pay the service charge added insult to injury.

This is just one data point, but the Linkery was infamous around San Diego for having much worse service than other places in a similar price range. I'm convinced their experiment with tipping was correlated with this.

3
jmharvey 29 minutes ago 3 replies      
This is an odd title. The article gives an interesting explanation for why, theoretically, a restaurant would choose to go with a service charge rather than a tip-based system, but doesn't contain many observations from the now-tipless restaurant.

The whole idea of mandatory "service charges," or "fees," in any business, is kind of bizarre. It seems strange that we've accepted that certain types of businesses (airlines, hotels, ticket brokers, in some cases restaurants) should list prices that differ significantly from the actual price charged. There does seem to be some backlash against this practice: Kayak, Hipmunk, and many other travel sites now list the full price of airline tickets (though, often, not hotel rooms, with their "facility charges," whatever those are). And today I noticed that StubHub now shows prices inclusive of all fees. I understand why a business would like to list prices that are 30% lower than what the customer actually pays, but it seems a little odd that we're all OK with it.

4
famousactress 58 minutes ago 0 replies      
I saw an interview recently with David Chang [1] who implied that part of the thinking behind the design of his 12-seat, 2-Michelin star restaurant Ko was an experiment in ways to improve the wages of his employees. Because KO is so small and the kitchen bellies up to the diners, the cooks are also servers and can legally make tips.

[1] - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Chang

[Edit - Whoops. As a San Diego resident, I feel bad for neglecting to mention that The Linkery was awesome and like lots of folks here I'm sorry to see it go.]

5
mr_luc 46 minutes ago 2 replies      
It makes sense. Good servers are compliance professionals, whether you or they know it or not, and their pivotal role in the experience means that the good ones can make good money.

But I know that I've not gone back to restaurants precisely because I didn't like interacting with the staff, or I didn't like how they interacted with my guests.

And looking back, the most specific I could be about it was "well, the waiters were kind of intense." You know what I mean. They were professional, they did their job, but ... they were intense. And they didn't need to be; we're going to give them 20%, but they don't know that. So they're ... slightly intense, forward with their presence, so you won't dare undertip, instead of melting into the background and letting the food and ambience dominate.

In a restaurant like this guy posits, waiters aren't compliance professionals.

On the other hand, in a tipless restaurant, they aren't paid based on merit, so maybe they won't be as motivated to do a great job in the parts of their work that require concentration and diligence.

But they're doing a job that a robot should be doing as soon as possible, and a whether my server is good, great or okay isn't going to affect how my food tastes.

6
thoughtsimple 45 minutes ago 1 reply      
I have had consistently worse service from restaurants that I know share tips. There is no reason for a server to do better than their coworkers which brings everyone down to a common denominator.

This is in Massachusetts that does have a tip credit and where servers rarely get paid the statutory minimum wage if it is a slow night (against the law but it happens). Just for reference, the server minimum wage is $2.63/hour. If you can't make enough in tips because its a slow night and one of your coworkers is bringing the tip average down, your incentive drops off dramatically as well.

For something like this to work nationwide, the tip credit has to go.

7
joosters 40 minutes ago 3 replies      
If there is a flat 18% service charge, why not just add 18% to the base prices and get rid of the service charge? Or does a restaurant have to 'hide' these costs as an added percentage in order to make their prices seem reasonable?
8
davidw 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Tipping is fairly rare here in Italy, and the food is "pretty good" - some might say excellent - even if there is a tragic lack of good Mexican food in this country.
9
madsravn 28 minutes ago 1 reply      
I live in Denmark. Here tipping is almost not even heard of. Maybe our food just costs a little bit more, I don't know - because it doesn't say "+ 10% tipping fee" or something anywhere. Here you just pay the prices noted next to the food and drinks that you order.

And the kicker, the service is always good. Because if the server isn't nice, they'll probably get fired. Because guess what, serving food and being polite about it is their job. That is what they're getting payed for. So demanding extra money to do their job with a smile just seems too weird for me.

10
bradleyjg 11 minutes ago 0 replies      
The blog post makes reference to a 9th Circuit case, Cumbie v Woody Woo[1] and the Department of Labor policy purporting to overrule it.[2] The latter is full of incredibly weak legal reasoning. It's so bad, I forced to wonder if John Yoo[3] has taken a job with the Department of Labor.

[1] http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2010/02/23/08...

[2] http://www.dol.gov/whd/FieldBulletins/fab2012_2.htm

[3] The author of the infamous torture memos, that argued that it isn't torture unless it's as painful as losing a major organ.

11
Shank 1 hour ago 0 replies      
If you missed part 1, here's the first half of the story:

http://jayporter.com/dispatches/observations-from-a-tipless-...

12
mathattack 54 minutes ago 1 reply      
I like this quite a bit.

2 places have no tipping in New York City:- Sushi Yasuda - considered by some the top sushi spot in the city. (Certainly one of the most expensive)- The tap room at Whole Foods - let's just call it a little more lowbrow.

My budget hasn't encouraged me to visit Yasuda in several years, but I will say that I like not having to pay tips at the tap room. It certainly makes an inexpensive place seem even cheaper, and their service hasn't suffered for it at all.

13
DanielStraight 23 minutes ago 0 replies      
Is there an inherent disconnect in being anti-tipping and pro-pay-what-you-will? How is a restaurant letting you pick your own price for service with the expectation that you will be fair different from a humble bundle letting you pick your own price with the expectation that you will be fair?

I'm not trying to be difficult or argumentative, I'm genuinely wondering. I'm pretty anti-tipping and pro-pay-what-you-will myself, and I'm just wondering if I'm fooling myself now.

14
Spooky23 23 minutes ago 0 replies      
I've never understood why I need to pay the wages of restaurant employees directly, when just about every other business seems to figure out a way to fund employee wages by selling products or services.
15
alistairjcbrown 53 minutes ago 3 replies      
Coming from the UK, added service charges always annoy me (unless it's for large parties). A tip is something that I volunteer to express gratitude for a good experience. It is also something I can refuse if the experience is bad. Forcing a service charge assumes I will pay X% more than the price I have been shown regardless of experience.

However, that view is based on the UK system where minimum wage for the serving staff is enforced and where tip pools are allowed.

16
amalag 59 minutes ago 3 replies      
In his scenario the servers make $22, the cooks $14. Is that typical? There does not seem to be much incentive for a long time occupation as a cook.
17
mcphilip 57 minutes ago 2 replies      
On a side note, if you have a waiter or waitress that you particularly like and want to provide a tip that will not necessarily go into the tip pool, just leave a cash tip. This gives the waiter the ability to choose how much of the tip they report at the end of their shift.

Conversly, leave a tip on a credit card bill if you want to ensure that the entire tip is subject to any tip pool.

18
Uncompetative 1 hour ago 2 replies      
English pub food is paid for at the bar with your drinks, that you yourself walk away carrying. They often give you a number on a wooden spoon and if you hate the food, you just don't go there again.
19
joosters 33 minutes ago 2 replies      
Notice that amongst all the discussion of money and wages, one thing that is completely avoided is any thought of operating on a lower profit margin. All the hand-wringing about poorly paid staff, but never once any thought about taking less money for himself to aid their plight!
20
dfxm12 50 minutes ago 0 replies      
It should be noted that the restaurant now charges a mandatory "service charge" in lieu of accepting tips. I put service charge in quotes, because in some jurisdictions[0], there is a legal distinction between a "service charge/fee" and "auto gratuity". If a restaurant automatically charges you gratuity (many do this for tables of 6 or more), you don't legally have to pay it. You do have to pay anything labelled as a "fee" or "charge" though.

[0] I have some knowledge of this in the mid Atlantic states, but the author is speaking about the West. Maybe it is different over there, maybe it isn't.

21
EGreg 55 minutes ago 1 reply      
I never really understood the point of tips instead of just charging everyone the service charge. If it is some kind of feedback mechanism to the server for doing a good job, then why can't the restaurant just implement reviews?
22
tantalor 59 minutes ago 1 reply      
I've eaten at this restaurant several times, and I should say the service was always excellent, contrary to what you might expect when the service charge is fixed.
23
makerops 37 minutes ago 1 reply      
Does anyone know the reason as to why this is true:

"However, to give the tip money to every worker would be illegal. The law is historically very clear the $220 in tips belongs to the two servers only, and cannot be distributed to any other employees." ?

24
fatjokes 24 minutes ago 0 replies      
I found this enjoyable enough to read that now I want to go to the restaurant. Too bad I don't live in SD.
25
_pmf_ 30 minutes ago 0 replies      
When a very rich guy tries to improve the situation of quite poor people, one should be very, very careful.
26
jf22 1 hour ago 2 replies      
While interesting I really don't like articles that are setup with entirely hypothetical scenarios which are constrained in such a way to make the entire premise seem more valid.

>if one job gets a $2/hour raise, that most likely means that another job will have its wage reduced by $2/hour.

This statement right here sets up half of this posts argument here and isn't realistic at all.

27
sz4kerto 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Fixed service charge is very common all around Europe.
28
fetbaffe 55 minutes ago 0 replies      
Only the last paragraph was about tipping, the rest about how silly legislation get silly effects.
29
wmt 38 minutes ago 0 replies      
Why not just up the prices and the wages instead of the sneaky service charge? Is that too honest in the restaurant business?
30
JimA 38 minutes ago 1 reply      
Apparently this model didn't work so well, since they are now closed?http://thelinkery.com/blog/
2
A Passive Income Hacker's View on Wealth myles.io
93 points by mkrecny  1 hour ago   34 comments top 14
1
jasonkester 59 minutes ago 0 replies      
That's a nice way to think about it. Looking back at the big "travelling phase" in my 30s, there were lots of years where I only grossed between $10,000 and $20,000 for the year. That was plenty, though, to spend most of the year living out of a backpack on some remote tropical beach. A lot of it actually ended up in savings.

That was contracting, so I needed to come back to LA to refill the travelling stack. It doesn't take much work to pivot that into a SaaS product or two that replaces the same amount of income. Again, maximising for free time and flexibility with profit being a nice side effect.

Then it gets really good.

2
noname123 24 minutes ago 1 reply      
I've had friends who tried to go the start-up route and didn't pan out; so they decided to do some affiliate marketing with Google Adwords, that didn't pan out. Then they tried to build a SaaS for developers to help with their development, designers to manage their CMS. So far, they haven't seen a dime. The only one success story I've heard said Google screwed up his search result ranking, so it only lasted about a year of supplementing 15% of his full-time job income.

I'd love to hear some passive income hacker (PIH) failures, risk & reward, opportunity cost in terms of time spent on your own venture vs. spent on climbing the corporate ladder and vs. traditional passive income paths say, becoming a slum lord, dividend investing etc.

3
noelwelsh 1 hour ago 2 replies      
I was waiting for the pitch at the end, but it didn't appear. Other than that it's a straight forward restatement of what others have said already.

The problem with these types of posts is that they make it seem like passive income is easy. In fact it is a hell of a lot of work to create, say, an info product, and marketing it can also be a full-time job. You need to have surplus income and time to take on the risk of doing this, which is hard to do if you're an employee. This probably explains why most of the passive income stuff we read on HN comes from consultants.

4
mixmixmix 15 minutes ago 1 reply      
I've been traveling full time for the past 5-6 years ever since leaving a full time job in Silicon Valley. I've lived pretty much all over the world (now based in Eastern Europe).

I probably only make about $20-$25k a year off a few low maintenance projects, taking up random contracting gigs when I feel like.

The experience of seeing new places and meeting new people is priceless. No amount of money, equity or incentives can ever make up for that.

If I could change one thing, it would've been quitting my full time job even earlier.

5
bernardom 1 hour ago 4 replies      
Great post. I wonder if there's space for an alternate Hacker News- a Passive Income Hacker News (PIHN) that works as a sort of support group for PIHs.
6
dsschnau 25 minutes ago 1 reply      
They make it sound so easy. I'm holding down a full-time job and raising a son with my fiancee. I've only got 2.5 years experience programming, but I'm getting up an hour early to hack on side projects, hoping to get some of this mythical passive income that people talk about like its so easy.

I can code/debug for a corporate in my sleep but creating entire products on one's own is a whole different ball game. I'm tired of these articles making it sound _so easy_.

7
resu 8 minutes ago 0 replies      
All these posts about 'Passive Income Hackers' and I have yet to see any mention of what a reader of these articles could do to become one.

"That's a shame, because as a programmer in the 21st Century, you're in a unique position to do something that most people simply can't; live a life with adequate income, lots of time and total freedom over what you do with it."

That sounds great, but how?

8
josscrowcroft 48 minutes ago 1 reply      
Beautiful post, thank you! Love the idea of a 3-dimensional matrix. It really is that complicated, and simple.

Harder than you thought it would be, but easier than most just-starting-out passive-earners would expect, if that makes sense.

9
basicallydan 14 minutes ago 0 replies      
But if you're interested in pursuing passive income, you probably have a different view of what constitutes wealth.

I have the same view of wealth as you and I am a programmer at a startup. I wasn't hugely interested in this but now I am.

10
zobzu 17 minutes ago 0 replies      
so this basically mean you gotta take the spot of the actually rich people (ie the top 0.5%) of the planet, which don't need to work.

This takes a lot of luck, in general (more than work) or/and a lot of ruse and malice.

Otherwise, if everyone just end up being a founder, it obviously doesn't work either. You need minions to do the actual work. If you don't wanna be a minion anymore, someone else has to be. Never ending loop.

11
toddsiegel 27 minutes ago 0 replies      
This is not a PIH vs. VC funded startup issue, except that this seems to be part of an ongoing flamewar between people from both communities.

You can achieve the same balance and freedom with a part-time job, freelancing, as a PIH (although I don't think the OP actually earns passive income in the accounting sense) or some other work arrangement.

What's most important to have the kind of freedom that the OP describes is to first have a relationship with money that supports it.

12
walshemj 36 minutes ago 0 replies      
Can we have a moratorium on calling dodgy ebook sellers mlm scam artists and doddgy time share sales men hackers
13
ronilan 1 hour ago 2 replies      
If you care about anything or anyone then you have obligations. Such obligations are not liabilities. These are assets. The entire conceptual optimization offered is false.
14
6ren 44 minutes ago 0 replies      
Your personal value is not how much you take, but how much you give. You are a resource.

Some resources are richer than others.

3
MIT releases report on its actions in the Aaron Swartz case mit.edu
47 points by bguthrie  57 minutes ago   9 comments top 4
1
bguthrie 39 minutes ago 1 reply      
Those of us who believe MIT deserves some blame for subsequent events do so because they could have asked the prosecution to desist, as JSTOR did, or at least downgrade the charges to a misdemeanor, but chose not to. That amounted to an implicit endorsement of the prosecution, which would have been difficult to pursue without the support of either MIT or JSTOR.

The report appears to find that MIT should not have changed its neutral stance, which is disappointing, and I'm skeptical. Here's a quote:

    Given the lead prosecutors comments to MITs outside     counsel (see section III.C.3), MIT statements would    seemingly have had little impact, and even risk making    matters worsealthough this information was not shared    with Swartzs advocates.
It does reinforce what we already know: that the public prosecutor was mostly interested in collecting a scalp.

Keep your eyes peeled for a response soon.

2
denzil_correa 43 minutes ago 1 reply      
The problem with MIT's neutral stance is highlighted in the report and the one which I find particularly interesting.

    However, the report says that MITs neutrality stance did not consider     factors including that the defendant was an accomplished and well-known     contributor to Internet technology; that the law under which he was charged     is a poorly drafted and questionable criminal law as applied to modern     computing; and that the United States was pursuing an overtly aggressive     prosecution. While MITs position may have been prudent, the report says,     it did not duly take into account the wider background of policy issues     in which MIT people have traditionally been passionate leaders.
IMO, the MIT fraternity (particularly the faculty) should have been a bit more proactive in this regard.

3
rdl 42 minutes ago 1 reply      
Interesting dropping this 2h before the PFC Manning verdict, and during the week of hacker conferences.
4
mikexstudios 48 minutes ago 0 replies      
Direct link to report: http://swartz-report.mit.edu/
4
Android Fragmentation Visualized opensignal.com
56 points by muratmutlu  1 hour ago   40 comments top 11
1
valgaze 0 minutes ago 0 replies      
If you peek into the dataset (fragmentation_model_July_2013), these are some of the first few entries: DIGMA iDs10 3G!QU SMILE advance\002\""(MC605CH)*#? (^?^)=?001DL001HT003Z007HW009Z06_v89_hjy106_v89_jbla768_asx

How on earth is a firm supposed to make sense of nonsense like that to inform their device targeting?

2
FooBarWidget 30 minutes ago 6 replies      
I'm not an Android app developer, but can someone explain to me what the big deal is? I've been developing Windows desktop software, Linux desktop software and Unix server software for years. The hardware diversity on all those 3 platforms is huge. Heck, if you're developing web apps, it's like every user uses a different machine. I've never seen anybody claiming that Windows is fragmented. So what's so special about Android that people put the "fragmented" label on it, and why is that a big deal?
3
morsch 1 hour ago 2 replies      
I think the report could benefit from dropping the lowest 1/5/10% of devices by market share. As can readily be seen from the first diagram, Android has a long tail of obscure devices. Dropping that would make many of the other graphs more readable and more insightful. I guess it'd also be interesting to exclude devices by other characteristics, e.g. exclude all <4.0 devices because maybe you don't want to support them anyway.

I was first puzzled and am now intrigued by their choice to use physical screen size as a basis for that diagram, as opposed to screen resolution. Very appropriate in our resolution-independent times. Of course either way you do it, Android is going to have more variation than Apple. That diagram is also kind of difficult to read; what shade of blue corresponds to what market share?

Finally, it's awesome of them to share the source data! Maybe I'll actually get around to implementing my suggestions.

4
Zikes 1 hour ago 1 reply      
When personal computers were just coming into the mainstream, particularly when GPUs were just coming about, there was a similar fragmentation issue. OpenGL sought to resolve this with a crap-ton of manufacturer bits and a difficult to use API, but DirectX came along and (for the most part) solved that.

Nowadays we hardly think twice about the fact that there are millions of combinations of monitor and GPU brands and models and configurations. Has anyone ever thought to do a similar comparison of desktop and laptop "fragmentation"?

5
troymc 59 minutes ago 3 replies      
Imagine a similar article about vegetable fragmentation. They all have the same operating system (DNA, ribosomes, cells, etc.) but gosh, look at that horrible, awful variety! And all the different manufacturers! What a disaster.
6
alayne 7 minutes ago 0 replies      
In my experience, the UX expectations on mobile are higher than for desktop apps. It's hard to get the UI to be tight/efficient/performant/attractive across such diverse devices and operating systems with Android. It's not insurmountable, it's just something that works against you in producing a good app.
7
xpose2000 48 minutes ago 0 replies      
Of course there is going to be many devices and many sizes. That's the whole point of android.

The most important trend to notice is that Android operating system breakdowns are getting better.

4.x accounts for 60%~ market share. 2.3.x accounts for 34%.

Those are good signs.

8
fenesiistvan 1 hour ago 3 replies      
Who cares? Google make a good job maintaining API compatibility. The tools are also (mostly) the same from the very beginning (while with iOS you actually have to learn and adapt much more with each version change) ...but otherwise the graphs looks fine :)
9
AUmrysh 57 minutes ago 0 replies      
It appears that the source data download at the bottom of the page is broken, it gives an XML file with two fields saying AccessDenied.

edit: it's working now

This is some great information to think about concerning Android fragmentation, and how, perhaps, it's not actually a bad thing.

10
mkr-hn 1 hour ago 3 replies      
> 11,868 Distinct Android devices seen this year

> 47.5% - Samsung's share of those devices.

It seems implausible that Samsung has made 5,934 distinct Android devices.

11
DangerousPie 48 minutes ago 0 replies      
As a word of warning, the visualizations on this site managed to lock up Firefox on my MBP to the point where the only thing I could do was force power off the whole laptop and reboot.
5
Quickly generate product screenshots in realistic environments breezi.com
159 points by NirDremer  3 hours ago   37 comments top 24
1
sethbannon 2 hours ago 0 replies      
This should save a lot of people a lot of time. FYI it's all done under Creative Commons license allowing commercial use of the images.
2
3
Yetanfou 5 minutes ago 1 reply      
Only Apple products there - why tailor to the minority? Globally Apple has around twenty-something percent of smartphones, thirty-something percent of tablets and ten-something percent of 'PC's'. You wouldn't suspect if you looked at the media though where it often is Apple or bust. I never understood this herd mentality and I still don't. People will start dropping Android screenshots in your iProducts, Xmonad runninng on Macs (OK, that is plausible but still...), Windows will suddenly magically run on more iProducts, etc.

Diversity is good. Apple is not very diverse. Why not add something else?

4
replax 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Seems like this guy's images became somewhat handy afterall:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5794083

5
enraged_camel 32 minutes ago 1 reply      
I really want to share this with people, but it's horrendously slow. I uploaded a 2048 x 1536 image generated from my iPad, and it has been processing it for the past 10+ minutes.

edit: over 20 minutes now. I had to restart it.

6
jqueryin 2 hours ago 1 reply      
This is fantastic. I'm surprised I haven't seen something like this before. I think you've got a great potential market here for monetizing. It's like stock photography meets product upsell.

My first suggestion would be to get similar shots to those you've already done with a female replacing the male. It's an easy way to add more shots quickly.

I also like the idea of more scenes including people. Make it look like they're having fun and also using the phone/tablet at the same time. Smiling faces sell products!

7
gedrap 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Found it on HN on January and... Why it's free?!

I would be glad to pay for each screenshot generated because saves plenty of time and simply makes presentations look way better.

There is a channel (you already have it), there is a real problem to be solved and it's something people would pay... Sounds brilliant :)

8
cpursley 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Thanks for sharing, I'll be using it on my revamped marketing site.

I think in terms of conversion, potential users emphatically see themselves using the product with their device with this type of frame (opposed just a screenshot with no device frame).

However, I would suggest several PC shots. Like Lenovo laptop, Dell monitor, etc instead of being so Apple-centric.

9
philjackson 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Amazing. Thanks for sharing this. I'd been searching for stock images like the ones offered here in which to superimpose screenshots but always came short so just didn't bother. Now I'll bother.
10
joeblau 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I used this for a mock that I posted on Dribbble[1]. I remember when it was first released and there were only a few templates so it's great to see that it's still growing. If the OP is here, how hard would it be to have a scene with multiple images?

[1] - http://dribbble.com/shots/1023533-Moneys-Mobile-Digital-Wall...

11
ohwp 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Why not transform the image on the client side? It will save load on the server.

But it's a nice idea!

12
ollysb 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I'd love this as a webservice (I'd pay). I need to create product shots for every customer I have (white labelling) and it would be awesome to be able to generate them on the fly.
13
scrozier 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Isn't working for me right now...possibly server load? But great idea. I too would pay. And I second the suggestion for more diversity in the shots. E.g., I could use one right now in the hands of a Hispanic teen girl. In general, I would need more women.
14
GuitarJ87 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I created an opensource alternative a few months back, called snappshot. (https://github.com/justinjudd/snappshot)

Right now I have just posted my own images, but my goal is to get other photographers/individuals to add photos of different devices.

I am updating my webserver right now, but for now you can run it locally or deploy it yourself.

15
subsystem 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I do wonder if something bad happens if you try to screenshot the screenshot script url, being a get request and all.
16
davefp 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd love a way to filter the options. Scanning through all the pics looking for all the laptop ones (for example) is annoying.

Otherwise: I like it!

17
mgkimsal 2 hours ago 0 replies      
nice idea. i can see people paying for this to use some premium background images. 3-4 generic ones are free, you could offer up a lot more custom ones for a small fee.
18
nns 2 hours ago 1 reply      
This has been discussed before over here - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4988914
19
cdawzrd 2 hours ago 0 replies      
realistic Apple environments :-)

(I realize there are one or two Android and Windows phones in the list, but still...)

20
aaronz8 1 hour ago 2 replies      
I tried to drag and drop one of the images on top, but I get:

We're sorry, but something went wrong.

We've been notified about this issue and we'll take a look at it shortly.

21
andyhmltn 1 hour ago 0 replies      
It doesn't work at all for me. I just keep gettign 500's
22
alevans4 54 minutes ago 0 replies      
Would be awesome if this had stages for industrial environments.
23
slawwwc 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I was just looking for something like this. Works great!
24
jacog 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Brilliant. Bookmarked.

Would love some Windows-y machines as well, all laptops are Macs. (Which is what I use, but still live in a world of Windows laptops)

6
Why You Will Never Learn to Code viniciusvacanti.com
38 points by suneel0101  1 hour ago   21 comments top 13
1
dragonwriter 8 minutes ago 0 replies      
The biggest problem with this article is that it is -- and this is non-obvious until you've read through the whole thing -- written with a very specific audience in mind. To wit, the audience the article is directed to is people similar to the author in his earlier circumstance while he was still working in finance.

It is assumes that whoever is reading the article is similarly situated to that earlier version of the author both in terms of career circumstance and interests.

This is particularly clear in this excerpt:

I found that there are two types of people that power through the frustration [...] [t]hose that are really intellectually interested in learning to code. If you havent learned to code by now, its highly unlikely youre one of them.

2
noonespecial 47 minutes ago 0 replies      
Doing "whatever it takes to make it work" creates profoundly different results as opposed to "learning how things work".
3
rayiner 5 minutes ago 0 replies      
What a load of crap. Coding is a skill, and like nearly every skill you can learn it on the side. It's like saying that you'll never learn to play the violin unless you quit your job and force yourself to play violin for your supper. Indeed, it's even more of a silly assertion, because you can be "pretty good" at playing the violin and still not be good enough to make something out of it, but you don't even have to be that good at coding to do something useful with it.
4
Jgrubb 47 minutes ago 0 replies      
This is almost offensively linkbait-y. In the "most popular posts" sidebar you have "Everyone at Yipit is Now Learning to Code". Why will I never learn to code? You never get to that part.

By the way, I decided to "learn to code" at age 30, and I find it interesting. Then again, I was also full of platitudes when I was in my 20s.

5
j4pe 11 minutes ago 0 replies      
Yes, granted, the title's intention is to inspire controversy, but it's still worth pointing out that the author's two concluding avenues to 'learning to code' - all-or-nothing desperation and irresistible intellectual attraction - are baseless. I'm confident that they're entirely false. Just more evidence-free platitudes dreamed up by a fellow twenty-something. I'd wager that these two extremes represent a very small percentage of real coders.

To answer anecdotal proof with anecdotal proof, I studied finance and taught myself to build web apps. I didn't do it because I had to. I didn't do it because I couldn't stop myself. I just forced myself to do it the same way I force myself to memorize Chinese characters, the same way I force myself out of bed every morning. Willpower isn't some mythical ability granted to the anointed few. It's just asking yourself, what am I doing right now? Is it what I want?

There's also a troubling perception of what 'coding' is behind this post and many others. I write code for a living and I'm under no illusions about my abilities. As James Somers pointed out in Aeon, I'm a kid playing around with tools given to me by adults. Nobody like myself or the author is going to build a Rails, a V8, an Ember, a Heroku. If I learned how to use a brush I wouldn't call myself an artist. It's fine that we're becoming more abstracted from the machine's reality - thank God DHH didn't have to use punchcards - but with that abstraction should come a bit of humility about what we've actually learned. Because for web development, at least, it's mostly syntax.

I'd better stop before I exceed than the original post length. If you'd like a tl;dr, it is: fuck the author's position, my experiences contradict it, and the author is confused about what 'real' code constitutes. (However, I wholeheartedly agree with his suggestion to learn by building something you yourself want.)

6
mcphilip 22 minutes ago 0 replies      
I didn't really start learning to code, even though I had a year of CS under my belt, until I found a problem that I wanted to solve. I was using Audiogalaxy to download music over a 56.6K modem and I wrote a program to monitor the download folder and move any file after it was completed in order to prevent automatically sharing/uploading it to other users.

It wasn't as technically difficult as most CS homework, but it was the first time I started thinking about programming as a tool to solve an actual problem I was experiencing.

7
bmac27 29 minutes ago 0 replies      
The time investment is key and the OP is dead on. I can speak to trying to learn Objective-C last year on nights/weekends and not really learning the fundamentals behind I was doing, despite being able to follow along with the books I was reading and the rudimentary apps I was building. It requires a full-time commitment, which is why so many of the development "intensive" programs and workshops are time intensive (at least 8 hours per day) over anything else.

Unfortunately, the time commitment becomes prohibitive to those that have to keep running the job/consulting treadmill and can't fall back on an investment banker salary (or similar) to fund their creative ambitions for a year or more. That unfortunately is the real answer to the post's title.

8
teilo 35 minutes ago 1 reply      
In writing we call this "The Genius of Desperation".
9
awaxman11 27 minutes ago 1 reply      
As an investment banking analyst who was learning to code "on the side" for 6+ months and then finally decided to quit my job and learn to code full time in January, I can't agree more with this article. Learning to code part time doesn't work. You need motivation, and you need to dive into coding head first. Zach Shapiro has some great tips related to learning to program similar to this article:

1. Nights, weekends are bad2. Forget codecademy3. Have a real project you want to build

Check out the full article here: http://blog.zackshapiro.com/want-to-learn-to-code-start-here...

10
aylons 47 minutes ago 0 replies      
Yet another reason for teaching programming at high school. This is not about learning programming, but about gaining a mindset that is not easily learned unless you really need (or want) to get through it.

And people who does not understand how systems so central in our society work is in the core of several recent political problems and conflicts.

11
billyjobob 47 minutes ago 6 replies      
All the good coders I've ever met had already taught themselves to code before the age of 10. (Most of them were so passionate about it they went on to do computer science degrees which polished their raw skills and taught them rigor.) The question isn't how to learn to code: if you have the innate ability you can't STOP yourself from coding the first time you encounter a computer. I'm all for people learning new skills later in life, but to force yourself to learn something you have no passion for just because you want to 'do a startup' is ridiculous.
12
chas 25 minutes ago 0 replies      
Never and ten years[1] feel pretty similar in month two.

[1] http://norvig.com/21-days.html

13
ExpiredLink 24 minutes ago 0 replies      
Developing software != 'coding'.
7
Attaching a Thunderbolt GPU to a Macbook Air (w/ benchmarks) techinferno.com
31 points by arange  1 hour ago   18 comments top 7
1
dmix 33 minutes ago 0 replies      
Windows only.

> Oh and we're using Windows because games only exist for it, and I can't get the setup to work on OSX (haven't tried too much though).

2
larsberg 31 minutes ago 1 reply      
I've been assuming this is what Apple is going to do with the next MBP retina. Intel graphics when headless + a new Thunderbolt Display with built-in Nvidia or ATI card when "docked."
3
recuter 20 minutes ago 1 reply      
I was hoping for an external GPU enclosure, like a storage bay, that lets me plug in my own card ever since Thunderbolt was announced.

This is a hack that goes: Thunderbolt -> ExpressCard -> PCI-Express. Two adapters is not quite so elegant, but whatever, this seems to work and I love it.

A 13" Air has 12 hours of battery life and weighs nothing and now you can dock it at home to game. Perfect.

4
kayoone 22 minutes ago 0 replies      
Good writeup! For a home workstartion setup this would be pretty ideal imo..it would possibly also reduce heat as the load is moved from the internal GPU to an external one.Windows only kills this though, as i can use my old windows rig from 2009 with a somewhat recent GPU (core2quad 2.8Ghz + HD6870) which still plays basically every game without breaking a sweat.

For my work setup with OSX something like this would be great!

5
rheide 26 minutes ago 0 replies      
Hm, the only reason I want a new Macbook Air over an Ultrabook is that it has the HD5000 graphics which are way faster than anything else on the ultraportable market right now. Ultrabooks with HD5000 graphics still haven't launched. If you're going to install Windows on it you might as well buy a (way cheaper) notebook instead.
6
apashee 19 minutes ago 0 replies      
Hmmm, this is really cool. I'm wondering how well this'll work with my first gen Thunderbolt MBP.
7
whitehat2k9 58 minutes ago 6 replies      
...Or you could put together a proper gaming machine for the same price.
8
Brand new Scala-lang.org scala-lang.org
42 points by bad_user  2 hours ago   24 comments top 7
1
justinmk 1 minute ago 0 replies      
The sbt site ( http://www.scala-sbt.org/ )is still impenetrable to anyone trying to understand wtf it does in under 15 minutes. (Why do I need this? How is it different than the scala compiler? Is it a package management system? Is it a REPL?)
2
rtpg 1 hour ago 5 replies      
Nice to see the language page be as easy on the eyes as the language itself. There's almost no excuse not to use Scala if you're deploying on the JVM.

On a related note, does anyone else see the Scala logo and confuse it for a symbol representing databases or hard disks? It just doesn't click with me

3
girvo 35 minutes ago 2 replies      
I recently installed Scala. I'm a PHP Dev, who plays around with Clojure on the side, but wants to be converted into the static typing camp. I also wanted to keep things functional (hence my love of Clojure, and my PHP code keeps things as immutable as possible), but also have a language that is usable if I were to go and get another programming job.

Scala seemed a perfect fit. Until I looked at job boards for Brisbane :(

For those that use it regularly, what sort of things do you build in.it? I really want to replace PHP with something, but between Enterprise Language Java and just-as-dynamic-as-PHP Ruby and Python, Scala looks like the only language that might fit... but then Play as a framework looked very heavy for my usage.

4
z0r 1 hour ago 1 reply      
The page loads quite slowly on my macbook air. I wonder how many 'reactive' Scala web technologies went into the creation of it!

Scala is wonderful and all the hard work put into it is greatly appreciated. However, every Typesafe product targeting the web that I've tried has given my browser indigestion.

5
chaffneue 36 minutes ago 0 replies      
It's quite a pretty site, but the home page loads very slowly on my quad core I5. Something about this page is hanging up the dom onload event pretty significantly - Network tab showing about 7 seconds. Got a screenshot of the network tab here: http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3769/9399721127_a63086e535_o.j...

Luckily the api docs and tutorials are unaffected and load quite quickly.

6
TylerE 35 minutes ago 0 replies      
Anyone else find this hard to read? The light blue/cyan is about 3 shades lighter than ideal. Especially for links.
7
adam_lowe 35 minutes ago 0 replies      
Beautiful. Glad to see another open source project with a solid site.
9
Facelift: MyClean kyrobeshay.com
18 points by todayiamme  57 minutes ago   1 comment top
1
berberous 36 minutes ago 0 replies      
Great job. I actually thought about using them previously due to the good reviews, but did not want to ever have to look at their hideous old site. I'm going to try them out now!
10
The Guardian Moves to .com Domain theguardian.com
28 points by drewvolpe  1 hour ago   17 comments top 8
1
adaml_623 7 minutes ago 2 replies      
I'll be interested to see how they handle Sports and other national issues that are totally uninteresting to people from other countries BUT are very interesting to people from the UK (or where ever) that are accessing the site from outside the UK.

Generally I've not seen this handled gracefully

2
nly 28 minutes ago 1 reply      
I rather preferred the aesthetic of "guardian.co.uk" to "theguardian.com". The "theguardian" logo is rather fugly.

It also seems a bit premature, why not wait for guardian.news?

3
makomk 57 minutes ago 0 replies      
The Guardian's been making a fairly obvious play for the US online market for several years now, particularly in their choice of opinion writers and topics.
4
shirro 29 minutes ago 0 replies      
When I was a kid my town had two newspapers. A broadsheet and a shitty rag called The News. The guy who inherited The News went on to buy the other paper and then like a cancer take over the world. Today 11 of the 12 Australian capital city dailies are owned by just two companies.

There are a few independent online news services but having the Guardian start an Australian branch is a welcome boost to democracy here. Visiting the Australian sub-site on a co.uk domain wasn't all that attractive for a country that has been independent since federation. So well done everyone at The Guardian.

5
vickytnz 13 minutes ago 0 replies      
Amused to see how US commenters take to the famously opinionated yet erudite CIFers :D
6
jpswade 13 minutes ago 1 reply      
This seems like a power move to gain international traction, but it immediately discounts it as a good source for national news, as it traditionally has been.
7
lmm 56 minutes ago 3 replies      
I wish US-specific (or any country-specific) sites weren't allowed to use .com. There's a perfectly good .us TLD going almost unused, and as an international user it's very frustrating to find a shop I want to buy from on a .com, and then discover that it only sells to the US.
8
basicallydan 11 minutes ago 0 replies      
Oh, great. Now I have to type "theguardian.com" a load of times to replace the top result in Chrome for "th"
11
From STUPID to SOLID Code! williamdurand.fr
25 points by couac  1 hour ago   18 comments top 8
1
dljsjr 35 minutes ago 0 replies      
A lot of people love to try and make a case for Singletons. I have yet to see anyone make a really, truly good case for a pure software singleton. They just make it an absolute nightmare to be well informed -- as a developer -- about state in complex/concurrent/distributed systems.

The only time I ever use them is when my hands are tied by some sort of hardware restriction; a JNI wrapper around some native lib that talks to proprietary hardware like a motor controller where instantiation of more than one comms object would blow out a fuse or something. And even then, I'd make the argument that the people who designed the hardware and its corresponding C API should have just made a safer interface instead of saying "Don't call `new` more than once, or else!". Seems lazy and less-than-appropriately fault tolerant.

2
skrebbel 54 minutes ago 1 reply      
I've always felt that the SOLID rules are very difficult to comprehend, yet pretty basic to apply. A junior dev that I recently coached, who had grown up on modern OO languages (Python, C#, etc), understood all these rules in his underbelly but would never be able to explain them.

I believe that we should be able to come up with a set of (slightly different) rules that are simpler to explain and yield the same good designs.

3
MarkMc 54 minutes ago 1 reply      
Always avoid singletons? Here's my situation: in various parts of my code I need to get the current time. Normally I would call System.currentTimeMillis() but in my test cases I need to ensure the time is a particular value. So I have a Clock singleton class which allows me to get the current time but also to 'stop the clock'.

Is it really better for me to pass the Clock instance all over the place, rather than have a singleton instance that can be referenced anywhere?

4
dave1010uk 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Anthony Ferrara did a similar presentation a while back: http://blog.ircmaxell.com/2012/05/dont-be-stupid-grasp-solid...
5
ExpiredLink 16 minutes ago 0 replies      
'Dependency Inversion' increases coupling. More and more I'm inclined to consider 'Dependency Inversion' an Anti-Pattern.
6
kazagistar 54 minutes ago 5 replies      
I have been questioning the "programming languages are for humans, use full names" principle recently. Why do we have a tendency, as humans, to create abbreviations so often then? Mathematicians get upset if an operation uses more then a single character or symbol to express it, and are willing to have massive amounts of overloading to achieve it.
7
luiz-pv9 36 minutes ago 0 replies      
About the square/rectangle example, what would be the solution? The Square subclass should not verify equality with width and height or it should not even exist? Or something else?

-- editWikipedia:If Square and Rectangle had only getter methods (i.e., they were immutable objects), then no violation of LSP could occur.

8
winkerVSbecks 55 minutes ago 1 reply      
Someone needs to fix the font on that website. Ultra thin font on white background and not rendering properly highly, unreadable!
12
Abuse of the abuse button rarlindseysmash.com
12 points by steveklabnik  42 minutes ago   3 comments top 2
1
Karunamon 11 minutes ago 1 reply      
>I honestly do not expect a privileged homogenous team to actually be able to come up with a solution, because privileged groups tend come up with solutions that are best for privileged groups.

Leaving aside the issue of whether anyone buys into third wave feminism's definition of "privilege", this comes out as an indictment of every abuse reporting system ever made. It adds nothing and suggests nothing, only says "this sucks".

Actually, I take that back. It's impossible to leave that issue aside since you implicitly accept that definition to even make sense of this article.

Thing is, "abuse" is determined by the service provider, not the users. (And rightly so - or else you run into the problem mentioned where people flag something off and ruin someone else's day because their delicate sensibilities were offended..) Twitter and every other social communication site has a list of "thou shalt not's" which you are reporting when you click on the "flag" button.

2
redacted__ 11 minutes ago 0 replies      
MUH PRIVILEGE
13
What to do when someone steals your startup idea - case study pipedrive.com
32 points by standrews  2 hours ago   25 comments top 11
1
belorn 1 hour ago 2 replies      
A very misleading title. The blog post doesn't describe an entity who copies an idea and goes to form their own company and produce competing products.

Rather, this is the simple case of a "potential businesses party" who copied front-end code, design (obviously), and images. They also redirected traffic of an associated domain. So, beyond blatantly doing copyright infringement, they are also breaking fair trade competition/fraud laws and depending on jurisdictions, trademark (established through use in the marketplace rather than registration).

What you can do to protect yourself against such activities is simple, send a cease and desist letter, file a complaint to consumer protection agency (if you've got one), and possibly send the issue to the local police.

Their suggestion of registered trademark, watermarks, and (meh) patents might increase the reward money from a law suit and increase win chances in court, but it won't actually "protect" you against entities who already willingly commits copyright infringement.

2
Aqueous 1 hour ago 3 replies      
If they blatantly stole your idea - don't worry. The type of people who can't think originally enough to come up with their own idea are probably not going to execute it well either.

The same principle applies when someone else has the same idea as you at the same time, and you catch wind of it right in the middle of your implementation of that idea. It might be slightly more difficult, since you arrived at the same good idea independently of each other. Just focus on executing better.

Ideas are a dime a dozen - they aren't worth anything in and of themselves.

If they blatantly copy your code, as is the case here, then it becomes slightly worse, an actual legal issue. But again I wouldn't worry too much since I'm willing to bet that they aren't that good at coding either.

3
dochtman 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Might want to update your nginx, pretty sure this one is vulnerable.

Oh, and your site is down.

4
girvo 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I'm planning on skipping this pain, and open sourcing our base code. If someone wants to copy us, go ahead, but our machine learning and data analysis services are going to be hard to build: its taken me two years to get even close to launching ;)

Other upshot is I get to give back to the FOSS community: couldnt have built it without them.

As the saying goes, if you can be copied that easily: you've built a feature, not a business!

5
gz5 2 hours ago 4 replies      
very hard (impossible?) to copy the most important parts of a startup:

+ business model innovation+ go to market strategy+ execution, focus and efficiency+ iteration+ user/customer care and cultivation+ brand integrity and trust+ vision+ interfaces+ partnerships+ etc

6
grimborg 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Don't worry. Ideas are worthless. Implementation, marketing, etc. is what matters. Focus on that. You should be chosen because you're the best, not because you're the only one.
7
viennacoder 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I would suggest that, even if someone copies your front end code, don't worry about it. Run your own race. A business who just copies (instead of innovating) wont last long.

I would worry about a google penalty for duplicate content across the two sites. If they are really copying your code wholesale you can screw them over by defining the canonical urls for various pages (as your own domains).

8
bayesianhorse 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Ideas are almost worthless, implementation and execution is what counts.
9
natejenkins 1 hour ago 0 replies      
"If possible, look into patenting key components of your software this offers more protection than copyright. More on that here."

While I agree that having your site copied verbatim sucks, I don't think contributing to the giant pile that is our current patent system is the way forward.

10
nfoz 1 hour ago 0 replies      
There's no such thing as a stolen idea.

Especially not for a startup.

11
tgodard 1 hour ago 0 replies      
PipeDrive... sounds like a great name for an adult film.
14
Disney's new image algorithm turns 2D photos into a 3D model 3ders.org
124 points by makos  6 hours ago   29 comments top 10
1
greendestiny 5 hours ago 3 replies      
Wow tough crowd, this is actually extremely impressive if you're interested in the subject. The fineness and complexity of the reconstructed depth field is unparalleled.
2
hardwaresofton 48 minutes ago 0 replies      
That's pretty awesome. I wonder if they will hook it up to google maps and start using real cities for game levels.

Also related, check out the work Japan has been doing for years

http://www.engadget.com/2012/08/23/live2d-drawing-technology...

http://www.engadget.com/2009/06/04/video-sonys-motionportrai...

3
rorrr2 5 hours ago 3 replies      
It turns a series of photos into a 3D model, which has been done to death.

Autodesk 123D (which is free) can create a 3D model from just two photos.

4
xedarius 6 hours ago 1 reply      
This is pretty neat, although I would suggest perhaps of limited use. The whole point of a 3D model is that it can be viewed from any angle (also at any scale). The 2D scene lacks sufficient information to reconstruct the 3D scene. This can be seen with the toys on the sofa when the back of the hippo becomes visible and there is no texture or model data. You could extrapolate and assume there's a degree of symmetry in the object, but this would only work on a limited subset of objects.
5
bnegreve 6 hours ago 1 reply      
The title is a bit misleading, it's not from a single photo but from a video stream.
7
kang 4 hours ago 0 replies      
8
xabi 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Other option:

Videotrace http://punchcard.com.au/

9
thomasfl 1 hour ago 0 replies      
This looks like it could be used as a replacement for 3d laser scanner.
10
jimparkins 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Maybe I am missing the point - but this style of 3d I have never really found visually impressive or fun. I think it is because of the limited range of movement on display. Half the fun of this kind of 3d would be to find things initially hidden in the opening view. I can imagine my sun tilting his ipad to see behind things. But the affect only shifts very slightly. I know that masses more information would be needed for such an affect but to me at least this is what this 3d hints at and why i guess ultimately i find it disappointing.
15
Linus's advices on git rebase and merges mail-archive.com
150 points by Brajeshwar  7 hours ago   25 comments top 6
1
morsch 5 hours ago 5 replies      
One of his points is that you should only pull rarely:

   And, in fact, preferably you don't pull my tree at ALL, since nothing    in my tree should be relevant to the development work _you_ do.    Sometimes you have to (in order to solve some particularly nasty    dependency issue), but it should be a very rare and special thing, and    you should think very hard about it.
That might work well for the kind of highly decoupled development he's dealing with, but I'm not sure it'll work for the kind of work I do with my colleagues. The first thing I do every morning is a git pull (often surrounded by git stash [pop] and sometimes with a --rebase appended if I have outgoing commits), because I might need the stuff a colleague worked on the past days, or we might work in the same files and generate lots of conflicts otherwise. Maybe I'm doing it wrong.

2
oelmekki 3 hours ago 3 replies      
I'm not sure to understand the point about rebase destroying the history. Does he speak specifically about `git rebase -i` ?

I very often run `git rebase master` in my feature branches to avoid having many conflicts to resolve just before my pull request to master. Once merged in master, initial commits I rebased from master did not seem to have changed. Am I missing something, here ?

3
jebblue 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I've been teaching myself git on side projects for several months. I've read through Linux's man page tutorial at least twice, I think I'm starting to get git. It's revolutionary. It will probably still be in use a half-century from now. It's almost too much power, I think some of the git commands should use ASCII art to paint a big picture illustrating the power of the command the user is about to invoke and double checking with the user, do you really want to "xyz", rebase, etc.
5
alexchamberlain 5 hours ago 2 replies      
Polite, yet still extremely useful. Is Linus getting old?
6
jheriko 1 hour ago 1 reply      
or just don't use git... :)
16
Enforced privacy is rude: advise instead sidekicksrc.com
22 points by timruffles  2 hours ago   18 comments top 8
1
btilly 1 hour ago 0 replies      
The problem with this argument is that no matter how much you make the developers aware that they are doing something wrong, there will be developers who do it when under pressure. (Meaning to go back and clean it up, but we know how that one goes.) And then when you break stuff, people OTHER than that developer will not be aware of how well you warned the developer.

In that situation, you'll be the one blamed. It is unfair, but that is what will happen.

For a case in point, Microsoft encountered this one repeatedly in the 80s and 90s. (It didn't help that sometimes it probably was their fault..but most of the time it wasn't. It really, really wasn't.)

2
jeremysmyth 1 hour ago 4 replies      
This is quite naive.

When I learned to drive, my tester required that I demonstrate competence with the controls, using them at the appropriate times, in the appropriate ways.

If my car exposed all of its private internal operations, I would have needed to know how to use them, and demonstrated that I know that. I haven't a clue about fuel flow and gear ratios, or air/fuel mixture or how the thermostat affects how the engine operates. I'm quite happy that I didn't have to demonstrate all of that too.

What the article ignores is that a good API provides everything the consumer needs, while keeping the API small and easily comprehensible. A driver who has to keep track of 5 details is more likely to learn to use his car more quickly, and less likely to crash than one who has to keep track of 200 details and make decisions about each one.

3
drone 45 minutes ago 1 reply      
I'm in nearly complete disagreement with the author here. I guess it helps that I've been burned more than once when using code from two third parties where party A reached into the "private areas" of party B's code. Rather than working with party B to resolve the incompleteness of the solution, they work around it and then push it to everyone. Later, when party B makes a change ("Hey, it's private, and the public interface doesn't change!") and suddenly breaks A's code - there are a bunch of un-related other parties which now have a nightmare on their hands.

Case in-point (of which there are many, I'm sure): QExtSerialPort. The author needed access to underlying Windows functionality that Qt didn't publicly provide, however, there was this nice, private header file laying around they could use. The Qt team later decided they wanted to remove the contents of that file, because no one should ever be using it. Anyone who wanted to build QExtSerialport had to go and grab the original file, and put it into the correct location. If they had instead submitted a patch to Qt to fix the problem, many hours would have been saved.

The author might get more points with me if they added "keep private usage private," but instead they are advocating accessing private internals of 3rd party tools in new open-source projects, which restricts the original developer from making changes without impacting users of the third party tools. Privacy is important - if you want to go around it fine, but you have to expect the price for you and your users, to hand-wave around that is naive at best.

4
ryanpetrich 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Enforced privacy is advisement. It's a signal that if you want access to a library's internal behaviours or state you should either communicate your use cases to the library's maintainer or fork it and manually integrate upstream changes. This leaves the maintainer free to make changes to internal behaviours and state without breaking an implicit API contract they didn't realize they had made.
5
sz4kerto 1 hour ago 2 replies      
It seems that the post argues that enforced privacy is too theoretical, in practice, advice is better than enforcement.

I'd argue that the post is too theoretical, in practice, enforced privacy works much better. People will do stuff against your advice. That's OK, you say - they'll get in trouble eventually, but it was their decision. However, it affects you, the library (app, etc.) developer, as your clients might turn out to be more powerful than you.

Think of Linus' rant on not breaking userspace. He's right I believe. In general, you are not allowed to break client code, even the client did something he was discouraged to do.

Interfaces are contracts. The ultimate documentation is the code, not the comment. You are saying that in the following case,

// do not access;

public int getSize();

comment has precedence over the visibility modifier. Well, no.

6
tbrownaw 53 minutes ago 0 replies      
Unenforced privacy is a Bad Idea for (shared) libraries that may be upgraded independently of whatever uses them. It means that any internal change becomes a breaking change, and when some application stops working after a library upgrade it is your fault regardless that you told the application developers "don't do that" (the users don't know or care that you said that, they only know that upgrading your library broke their stuff).
7
kijin 58 minutes ago 0 replies      
There's a middle ground between public and private, and some languages call it "protected".

In FOSS libraries that I maintain, methods and properties that I don't want to expose are prefixed with an underscore and designated as protected. Protected members are not directly accessible, but anyone who wishes to play with them can create a subclass to access them. They also don't need to make any further changes other than subclassing, whereas private members might need to be overridden or (even worse) reimplemented depending on the language. So I think "protected" hits a nice balance between simplicity, openness, and maintainability.

The requirement to create a subclass to access protected members might come across as an inconvenience, but it sends the same message as the article's "dodgy" JS syntax: Here be dragons, tread carefully and don't blame me if your app breaks. It would be very nice if users understood that the leading underscore is meant to send the same message, but since they're apparently not getting the message, a little more inconvenience might be needed.

8
brnstz 1 hour ago 0 replies      
The two footnotes are good counter-arguments. The only time I can imagine making a class final (can't extend) is when it's a matter of security (e.g., Java's String class).

Then there is a matter of "well, it's not MY fault if you didn't use the public API and your code is now broken." I recall even Steve Jobs chastising developers for doing this.

Building something with a sensible yet strict privacy model takes a lot of upfront design. Makes sense for code that will be used by the masses, but maybe not for a small project.

17
A musician needs 133,253 plays per day to earn minimum wage on Spotify theatlantic.com
9 points by callum85  52 minutes ago   21 comments top 9
1
quadrangle 22 minutes ago 1 reply      
Yeah, um, this assumes each stat to be the sole source of income, and to compare to minimum wage we must assume 40 hour work weeks.

Anyway, if you can't make it as a musician, I guess you have to do something else productive. Corey Doctorow gets it when he describes himself and other people who make a living in creative arts as being in the 0.001%, the extremely lucky few who get to have that as their career.

All professional musicians could disappear tomorrow and we'd still have enough great and varied music to listen to for all of anyone's lifetime and also have massive amounts of high quality participative music making by non-pros.

Incidentally, I'm a semi-pro musician myself but I long ago stopped fighting the I-deserve-a-living-as-a-musician battle and switched to figuring out how to be sure my contribution to the economy actually mattered.

2
wmeredith 24 minutes ago 0 replies      
This is from 2011. It's best to add a (2011) to the title in situations like these. It's a good topic and good info, but considering the speed at which music industry tech is evolving, the date of publication should have more attention.
3
earlz 13 minutes ago 3 replies      
I don't think the world is ready yet.. but here is my idea on how to let artists make money in a fair manner without consumers paying too much.

Imagine a clone of Spotify. You can do offline streaming and such for all the music in it. You pay $10/month for the privilege (which I think is fair). $5 or so goes to the company to maintain their servers and such. The other $5 though you can do interesting things with. Basically, each month you have $5 worth of "tip money". You can send however much money you want to whatever artist you want.. or you could alternatively setup other neat dynamic setups (the author gets 50 cents when you favorite his song, etc). .. The point being that it's under the user's control. And, if the user chose to not tip any artists this month(or they have left over tip money), then it's evenly split between all the artists they listened to for the month (depending on song count or whatever).

This model I believe would work because the biggest thing standing in the way from giving your favorite band a tip is that it's through services that you are not already using. I don't want to go to their website and then sign up for paypal to give them a $1. The thing with this method payment is already accounted for. You already paid. Now you just get to pick which band deserves your money. This could even work with a free version by doing a model like for every 10 ads you must listen to in a month, you get 10 cents added to your tip money..

If I knew anything about the music industry, this would be the startup I'd be behind. This wouldn't work with the label model, and giving artists tips isn't really something I think most people would understand at this point... but some day... some day.

4
cliveowen 28 minutes ago 3 replies      
A musician who relies on Spotify to make a living isn't a musician. In the music industry money comes from concerts, there's no way around it. Recorded songs are best thought of as marketing.
5
incision 32 minutes ago 0 replies      
Not the best submission title.

Spotify isn't mutually exclusive of the myriad other ways musicians can earn from their music online, many of which are described on this very same infographic.

6
EdgarVerona 15 minutes ago 0 replies      
This doesn't actually feel like an unreasonable number. Even a radio station with a small broadcast radius playing your song once could get that many people to hear it per day - I think people may be assuming that the value of a single person listening to a song once is worth more than it actually ought to be.
7
lewisflude 28 minutes ago 0 replies      
Musicians make money from touring and selling merchandise primarily. This statistic is still quite interesting, it really puts it into perspective how little money there is for most artists to make on platforms like Spotify.
8
jpswade 23 minutes ago 0 replies      
Or just 6,929,156 for one week of the year, around Christmas time...
9
grahamburger 14 minutes ago 0 replies      
Which is equivalent to what, one play per day on traditional radio? Maybe less?
18
A Common Lisp Bookshelf mozartreina.com
25 points by momo-reina  2 hours ago   14 comments top 6
1
arh68 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Wow, I'm a little surprised. I took the _exact_ same path all the way up to PAIP. It's eerie to read your thoughts on a blog that isn't yours.

Anyway, the CLQR [1] is by far the most useful CL book I've found. It's small enough to print and bind yourself, and the pages on LOOP & the type hierarchy are just pure typography.

I recently finished Let Over Lambda (finished the first read-through, anyway), and I almost wish I had started with it. CL is the C of the lambda calculi, but it didn't 'click' until the final chapters of LoL. With a sufficiently smart compiler (and by compiler I mean sets of macros), CL can do damn near anything.

ANSI Common Lisp is a great book, too, but I found the chapters oddly arranged (chapters 12,13 need to come first, maybe).

[1] http://clqr.boundp.org/

2
asgard1024 9 minutes ago 0 replies      
Though will mostly repeat what others have said, here it is:

ANSI Common Lisp from Paul Graham is also a good CL textbook. I bought it as a complement to Practical Common Lisp and it also has a nice quick reference at the end.

Having read both On Lisp and Let Over Lambda, of those, I would recommend On Lisp more because it has more practical applications of macros, LOL is much more esoteric/playful/abstract, and not everybody is into that sort of thing.

3
agentultra 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I actually found the Little/Reasoned/Seasoned Schemer series to be rather enlightening even as an experienced programmer (Little Schemer can seem a little basic at first but the principles it teaches are sound and applicable outside of Lisp programming as well).
4
tonetheman 24 minutes ago 0 replies      
Great post, I am wanting to head down this path. I am really wanting to get Lisp in Small Pieces but is it super costly.

Maybe I will look at Let Over Lambda.

5
dschiptsov 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Practical CL (written with Java mindset) is a waste of time, compared to PG's ANSI CL which has more idiomatic, subtle examples. Then On Lisp, of course.

HtDP should go before SICP. HtDP2 is a much better reading than old HtDP. In both books exercises must be done.

PAIP is a decent reading, but mr. Norvig, it seems, dislikes macros and recursion and prefers strictures and loops.)

btw, all the books are "available" on piratebay, if you are not too strict or american.)

6
jessaustin 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Amazon links with no sneaky affiliate crap? Awesome!
20
Kathy Sierra: Your app makes me fat seriouspony.com
492 points by _pius  16 hours ago   144 comments top 41
1
tobtoh 14 hours ago 9 replies      
For those people wondering why so many comments here are saying 'Glad to see Kathy blogging again', it's because she stopped blogging in 2007 after getting severely harassed online. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kathy_Sierra#Harassment

As someone who followed her previous blog 'Creating Passionate Users', I'm really glad she's back writing publicly - not so much for this particular post (which wasn't anything novel), but more that it means her scars have healed enough. Hope to see more posts from her soon!

2
teej 11 hours ago 1 reply      
This is bothering me, but first image is inaccurate. They were asked to memorize a two-digit number (like 17) or a seven-digit number (like 8675309). The image shows 2 two-digit numbers and 7 two-digit numbers. This is important as our working memory capacity has been shown to be about seven digits. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Magical_Number_Seven,_Plus_...

It's a minor detail, but an important one.

EDIT: It looks like the image has been updated. Thanks Kathy!

3
6ren 1 hour ago 0 replies      
One thing that troubles me about technological progress is whether we really are making anything better. Sure, we solve one problem... but it creates problems of its own, and exposes previously hidden problems.

I think this article provides something of an answer: work in itself is not a bad thing. It takes effort and concentration - it's work - but it can be enjoyable, satisfying, meaningful.

But putting in effort that is wasted, by being diverted into tedious, pointless, unnecessarily complex tasks, is a bad thing. It's not enjoyable, not satisfying, not meaningful.

Therefore, any technological progress that reduces that tedium is a good thing (even if it has problems of its own, or exposes other problems, provided net tedium is less).

[I don't think this is the whole answer, but I think it's part of an answer (probably, things like saving lives, health, and somehow enabling people to relate better are more important goals).]

4
kevinconroy 14 hours ago 3 replies      
So happy to see Kathy blogging again! She's always been my favorite tech-UX blogger.

For anyone interested in her prior blog, Creating Passionate Users, I coped with her absence from the blogosphere by curating an e-book with all of my favorite posts.

You can grab a copy here:http://www.kevinmconroy.com/pdf/creating_passionate_users.pd...

5
foobarbazqux 14 hours ago 7 replies      
> Willpower and cognitive processing draw from the same pool of resources.

Like many things in psychology, this is basically unfalsifiable. Our brains have pools of resources? How do you even differentiate between willpower and cognitive processing at a neurological level? It's one model, but there are other equally valid but also unfalsifiable explanations. What about anxiety goes up after working on a hard problem (memorizing a 7-digit number, apparently) - maybe you can test this by measuring cortisol levels - and so you choose the (stereotypically) more satisfying and rewarding dessert (cake) as a form of emotional eating and also, you know, rewarding yourself for a job well done?

I mean, it's basically just saying, "Use your brain, and your brain will get tired. Both solving problems and doing something you don't want to do count as using your brain." Sure, but I hardly need an experiment to tell me that.

Also, what about people who perform better under stress? Since it requires willpower to work hard and meet a deadline, and since the quality of your cognitive processing also goes up (for an initial period), doesn't that defeat the "competing for the same pool of resources" claim?

Psychology is great and a lot of the unfalsifiable stuff is valuable but it's irritating when it's dressed up as science.

6
xenophanes 8 hours ago 2 replies      
This is so stupid. The experiment can be explained in many different ways and she just picks a trendy one. Another explanation is people who did harder work were more tired and hungry, or felt more like rewarding themselves. I don't particularly favor this explanation; I have no idea what is the right explanation; and that's the point, the experiment doesn't tell us.

She also ignores that for some people it takes more willpower to eat the cake. It can go either way depending on a person's ideas. She just assumes everyone has currently trendy ideas wherein fruit bowls are unpleasant but virtuous and people use willpower to eat them. But many other lifestyles are possible. For example, one might think cake is more delicious but they are scared of getting fat so it requires willpower to enjoy eating it instead of giving in to the fear, whereas the fruit bowl is easy to eat because there's no pressure against it, so it's the easy default.

7
lkrubner 3 hours ago 3 replies      
Yesterday on HN there was a link to this story:

http://www.penny-arcade.com/report/article/swimming-in-a-sea...

Which had this quote:

"This isn't something that happens to some people online, it's something that happens to everyone who has ever put any of themselves out there for public consumption."

One thing that has confused me from the beginning, when Sierra first claimed that she had received death threats, was exactly why this story took on the scale that it took on. I recall at the time, of the 100 tech bloggers that I read on a regular basis, this story overshadowed everything else. I recall that previously I had been unsympathetic to Sierra because of the perception that she tended to rely on hyperbole and drama to sell her books. For that reason I was initially skeptical of her claims. Later it turned out that the 4 bloggers who harassed had clearly stepped over some line, and said some things that were at the least, very rude. As I recall, all of them later apologized (all of them were bloggers with some substantial reputations in the world of tech blogs). But given the amount of abuse that happens online on a regular basis, it seemed a little surreal to me that the story reached such a scale.

8
okamiueru 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Anecdotal, conjectural, and even the dubious psychological experiments she references are completely misrepresented.

The subjects were told told to memorize a number, and on their way to a different room where they expected to be tested, someone stopped them mid-way and asked them to choose between two snacks -- a fruit salad and a cake. The people who had been told to memorize many digits didn't choose the healthy snack as frequent as the people who had been told to memorize few digits (and, presumably, could focus on which choice they really preferred).

It tries to convey "common sense" concepts, using conjecture and complicated constructs. It hurts my brain when I try to understand what is meant by "to use up cognitive resources". The more convoluted an explanation is, the less I feel it has been understood by the person explaining it. I have a strong distaste for psychology terms that add depth, but not clarity, as if trying to validate and give authority to the field or explanation.

A bit ironic for an article trying to explain the concept of "minimizing drainage of the cognitive tank" (to paraphrase).

So, what is this article really about? This -- http://www.amazon.com/Dont-Make-Me-Think-Usability/dp/032134....

9
ryandvm 14 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't get it. How did the first experiment imply anything about willpower?

Seems to me that a viable explanation for the first experiment is that heavy cognitive processing trips some circuitry in the brain that says "We got a lot of work to do. Get me some glucose."

10
pygy_ 15 hours ago 0 replies      
"To my readers from long ago: I've missed you. More than you know."

-- http://seriouspony.com/about/

...

She's back. I'm giddy as a schoolgirl.

11
_pius 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Truly great to have Kathy back. She gave an awesome talk at BoS 2012 on the "Minimum Badass User" that subsumes this post. Well worth an hour of your life to watch:

http://businessofsoftware.org/2013/02/kathy-sierra-building-...

12
hoi 13 hours ago 3 replies      
My take on this, is that you can create an app/site that is engaging and depletes self/control or willpower and then monetize that at the end by selling cake or equivalent.

Can test if the conversion funnel for cake (or low self-contro) goods) sell more after a more 'intense' work out on the site/app.

13
fauigerzigerk 9 hours ago 2 replies      
"Willpower and cognitive processing draw from the same pool of resources."

I don't see how that follows from the the memorization experiment. Maybe the people who could remember 7 items felt they worked hard so they deserved to be rewarded with a chocolate cake.

14
eagsalazar2 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Not to be too cynical but this really seems like a dangerous insight for people optimizing conversions. Hmm, everyone wants my product but it is wasteful/bad for me/a luxury/etc? Just deplete their ability to resist first. Ooops, someone trying to cancel their subscription? How about a nice maze of forms to get through first?

Anyway, the super cool insight of this article is the relationship between cognitive load and will power. We all knew "try harder" didn't work. Simplify everything else is a way more powerful way to manage your motivation and it makes it super clear that you can really only do a certain number of things. When your motivation turns to procrastination, it isn't some "problem" you are having, it is you simply hitting your cognitive limit for the day/week/month. Awesome.

15
6ren 1 hour ago 0 replies      

  If you spend the day exercising self-control (angry customers, clueless co-workers),  by the time you get home your cog resource tank is flashing E. 
The Linus solution becomes increasingly appealing...

16
astral303 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Sadly, when it comes to app reviews from tech blogs and publications, the cognitive load placed on the user is rarely ever noticed or highlighted, unless it's so high that it's unbearable. Instead, apps often get bonus points for eye candy and gratuitous, but cool-looking animation. Nobody ever writes "wow, I got a bunch of things done and I didn't even notice the interface details."

This is particularly bad in the geek community, as we are used to high cognitive load (configuring X anyone?), and so we brush off any complaints about it as "stupid" or "computer illiterate."

One early app example is all the gas mileage tracking apps. Damn near every one of them in the early iPhone days had the spinning odometer control and the spinning gas number controls (where you spin each number up and down, like a key combo). I recall being infuriated by those designs, because all I really wanted to do was to quickly enter the odometer or the gallons and dealing with spinning those damn digits was NOT at all quick. Compared to the effortless/mindless act of typing into a digit keypad, spinner controls required much more cognitive load (did I spin too fast, will it go too far? Let me catch it at the right digit. Which digit do I need to push up or down to make it match what's on my real odo?).

17
mijustin 16 hours ago 0 replies      
So nice to have Kathy Sierra back blogging. I've missed her!
18
ankeshk 9 hours ago 1 reply      
While I agree with the thesis, a contradictory point comes to mind.

We just don't know a lot about how cognitive resources are utilized. Long distance runners know this. Athletes know this. The whole concept of "second wind". Where they find the strength to better their game using way less resources -- after they have been tired. Some type of cognitive resource depletion gives people even more energy and motivation.

While I agree that things should be made simpler and we shouldn't over-gamify things, I don't think we should make decisions with the cake / fruits question in mind. That just provides a framework to dumb things down. We will never enable the users to hit their second wind if they never get tasks that make them crave cakes.

I guess my point is: simplicity is good. Simplicity to the point of dumbness is not.

19
ibejoeb 11 hours ago 0 replies      
That's pretty neat. I understand why so many folks reject the claims here, but the observation itself is very interesting.

It certainly seems that highly successful, highly visible people (creatives, executives, politicians) tend, disproportionally, to exhibit behavioral problems (addiction, suicide, etc.) I don't know if it really is disproportionate, but if so, is it related to their exertion, or depletion, as the author puts is? Is it the visibility and the accompanying scrutiny? Maybe it's the other way around, and the underlying psychological makeup propels short-term performance.

Very interesting stuff, especially in context of burn-out.

20
cafard 15 hours ago 2 replies      
"The participants who memorized the seven-digit number were nearly 50% more likely than the other group to choose cake over fruit.

Researchers were astonished by a pile of experiments that led to one bizarre conclusion:

Willpower and cognitive processing draw from the same pool of resources."

Bizarre, all right. Unless the subjects were wrestlers or models, why should the choice of fruit v. cake involve self control at all? If you wished to argue that they thought they deserved more of a reward, I might be willing to consider that.

And are we talking about seven numbers vs. two numbers (as in the illustration) or seven-digit number v. two-digit numbers, as in the text?

21
tcskeptic 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Based on this I would think that the conversion rate on the TURBOTAX offer to subtract the cost of the service from your return for a HUGE 100% fee (meaning the cost of that method of payment is as much as the tax service itself) but allows you to skip the entering of your CC information, given that it comes at the end of doing your taxes, is probably pretty high. They should try a cake add on.
22
krmboya 44 minutes ago 1 reply      
I'd guess terminal users consume more cognitive resources than GUI users. Are they on average fatter than the latter?

Just a speculation.

23
winfred 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Now take it one step further, not just your UI, that's peanuts next to that big elephant in the room. Each ad you make me watch, requires a little bit of my willpower. I have to ignore its message, resist clicking on that nice looking lady. Your ad based revenue model is making me fat way faster than your UI will ever be able to do.
24
PaperclipTaken 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Anecdotal evidence is not scientific, but this makes a lot of sense in the context of my life. At work, when I hit a tough problem, I'm much more likely to tab over to HN or reddit, yet I've found that somehow I manage to hit the deadlines at the same pace regardless of how much I force myself to focus.

I do think though while you might be drawing from one 'pool', it's a pool that you can work to expand. To me this seems to be the same vein of psychology that makes ADHD medicine ineffective for kids on the long term. There's one pool of resources you are drawing from but like muscular strength you aren't doomed to your current limits.

25
dschiptsov 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Statistically caught correlation does not imply the assusmed causation you wish to "prove".

The guys who memorize numbers might associate a cake with a reward and choose it just in order to reward oneself for a meaningless and boring waste of time they choose by mistake, while in 2 digits group it wasn't counted even as a joke.

As for willpower/self-control - hormonal levels are almost always the major factors. Just do the silly experiments which are "considered unethical" involving "images from those magazines" and you will notice lots of correlations.)

The famous experiment with tape-recorded heart-beats is the beautiful one.

Again, trying to find a single cause in psychology is kind of naive. The theoretical framework advocated by Marvin Minsky of constant competition of multitude of semi-independent agencies (specialized regions of the brain) helps to develop the notion of multiple causation.

My guess is that if one would nail a poster of a fit bikini girl to a wall, the number of cakes chosen will be reduced dramatically, everything else being equal.

But for a pony psychology the article is perfectly OK.)

26
marcamillion 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Like the other commenters, so glad that Kathy is blogging again.

That being said, I am glad that she has finally verbalized what I have always felt.

As the only person running 5KMVP, I have always found that it is hard for me to do things like marketing, and customer relations/support on the same day I do development.

That would also negatively impact my performance of both.

But now that I have people working with, I can concentrate on interacting with my clients without feeling guilty (i.e. knowing that the rest of my day is dead, from a development perspective).

Also, this explains the logic behind Steve Jobs always choosing a black turtleneck, blue jeans and sneakers. If he has 1 less thing to make a decision about, his life is much easier. I have recently adopted that, and am trying to simplify my wardrobe as much as I can.

This also impacts how I schedule 'outside' events. If I have to go to an event outside of the house, that usually means no coding for me on that day. I can't quite explain why - other than the mere fact that I know I have to go out, is enough of a distraction to make me not be able to 'get into the zone'. Glad to know that I am not deficient in anyway, and it is just being depleted from the same 'cognitive tank'.

27
moomin 7 hours ago 0 replies      
She's back, the article's great, all is right with the world. Let's read the first comment... oh.

Seriously, I thought the article was great. It would be great even if it wasn't written by Kathy Sierra.

28
ryanobjc 14 hours ago 1 reply      
I love pretty much any time Kathy Sierra writes. So ditto here, I'm glad to read it.

As for the willpower situation, on a tangent, I really believe that the notion of willpower as a useful ANYTHING is outdated and badly needs to be replaced.

The reality is we are smart people who understand our brains, and can reprogram it. Using emotions and basic urges to create motivations and positive feelings about the things we NEED to do but typically dislike doing is the key here.

Luckily there is a group that is teaching these skills outside the normal context of "self help" that turns off oh-so many people.

29
dreamfactory 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Why is this considered the moral responsibility of the app creator and not the consumer? Seems to be a highly immature viewpoint where the consumer doesn't take responsibility for how they live their life.
30
hsuresh 12 hours ago 0 replies      
For those interested in this topic, Daniel Kahneman's book "Thinking, fast and slow" is an excellent resource. He refers to 2 systems in our brain, and how they interplay when making everyday decisions. Fascinating read.
31
vannevar 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Grad students and dogs, sure. But how do we know these findings apply to humans?
32
yutyut 8 hours ago 2 replies      
Perhaps the conclusions drawn by the experiment (if they are correctly paraphrased in the post; I didn't read the full paper yet: http://www.d.umn.edu/~dglisczi/4501web/4501Readings/Shiv(199...) are valid but I think it would be pertinent to consider that perhaps rather than being 'cognitively taxed', those 7-number participants simply felt that they worked harder and therefore deserved a better prize. I often find myself making similar justifications if I've pushed myself hard in a workout or followed my diet faithfully.

It would be interesting to see an experiment that 'cognitively taxes' participants by having them perform a task that is not considered positive. Memorizing a number elicits a feeling of accomplishment that may contribute to the justification I described above.

33
ludoo 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Sitting all day on a chair, then going home to sit in front of a TV makes you fat, not exercising willpower and using your brain...
34
jjindev 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Dan Ariely's Coursera on Irrational Behavior spent much time on current research in these areas. Very interesting (and a good/fun course, should it come around again).
35
areeved 12 hours ago 1 reply      
This is fascinating. For those that are interested, Daniel Kahneman discusses this in 'Thinking, Fast and Slow' too:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thinking,_Fast_and_Slow

What I would like to know is how can we grow this limited resource?

36
harishankar 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I always knew that thinking a lot made me hungry. And tired. Mental work is quite as tiring to the mind as physical work is to the body and muscles. The article is well written, but I found nothing particularly new in that viewpoint.
37
lancefisher 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm glad she's back. I always enjoyed reading her articles back when blogs were new.
38
mmilo 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Anyone notice hitting the escape key sends you to a squarespace login screen? Seems like an odd thing to have turned on by default.
39
muratmutlu 14 hours ago 0 replies      
There's so many articles full of analogies and fluff in UX, sometimes I read a post and wonder if I'm in the same industry.
40
matthiasb 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Now I know why my dog stopped working on his Kong... he's spoiled!
41
hheide 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Actually the the app doesn't make you fat. The resource that is burned is sugar. To replenish it you need one piece of candy. After which you'll be as able to make decisions as you ever was.(But Burger king won't tell you, since they don't make money from candy.)
21
What It's Like To Drop 150,000 Feet Straight Down npr.org
23 points by rowanseymour  3 hours ago   2 comments top
1
jaynate 1 hour ago 1 reply      
That made me feel a little sick. But very cool.
22
Android vs. iOS: Comparing the Development Process of the GQueues Mobile Apps gqueues.com
80 points by jrignacio  8 hours ago   49 comments top 16
1
rogerbinns 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Not mentioned are the command line dev tools for working with the device. adb[1] is really handy on Android. You can easily upload packaged builds, stop and start apps, transfer files, invoke anything via Intents (am), get a list of installed apps, and use the shell to invoke other things (eg `pm clear` to reset an app to first user experience).

Doing the same with iOS development is painful. Apps for the simulator end up in arbitrarily named directories so you can at least inspect their sandbox and can be invoked via extremely long command lines. But forget about apps on the device itself. libimobiledevice has reverse engineered some of it, but for example there is no way to start or stop an app from the command line.

I was doing some FTUE[2] work on both Android and iOS with a third party app, and needed to stop it, clear the data and start it again. For Android I just had to press up arrow and return. For iOS I had to do multiple gestures on the device, then use an app named iFunBox (really) to manually clear out the sandbox, and then launch the app again via touch.

[1] http://developer.android.com/tools/help/adb.html

[2] First Time User Experience

2
gcb0 9 minutes ago 0 replies      
The gripe i have with android is that the IDE is essential. and it does not work very well.

You can't find documentation or do with easy most things without the IDE. and the IDE often assumes things that get you by surprise, such as saving the project files when you change something in a preference dialog, and not providing a Undo for that, and not telling you all the files modified by such action.

3
LinXitoW 3 hours ago 4 replies      
Almost all my mobile development experience(of which there isnt much to start with) has been acquired via PhoneGap, meaning i only did native if absolutely necessary.

The biggest issue and something that has gotten me into a state of white-hot rage has been Apples certificate/provisioning profile nonsense. I don't think I've ever gotten a profile to work from the get go, even just for development(a requirement thats positively ludicrous). That's why I generally develop/test on Android first.

Seriously, I've managed to require a whole week just because of some certificate snafu.

4
wallflower 3 hours ago 3 replies      
Re: CoreData

Every iOS developer has to go through that learning curve. It is part of the initiation process, unless you want to stick with straight SQLite. CoreData becomes a merit badge of honor. Every developer has their war stories about NSPersistentStoreCoordinator, PSCs on multiple threads, threading, performance, sorting, etc.

Quick note on performance in CoreData. If you need to cache objects that you use frequently, make your own in-memory cache. CoreData is not optimized for caching objects.

But really, CoreData, is something most people who move from iOS dearly miss. Not everyone wants fine grained SQL-level control over persisting data. There is no equivalent in Android. Nada. OrmLite and some other libraries have tried. Where most of the Android OR persistence libraries break down is either m:n relationships or performance or both.

However, times may be a'changing - maybe CoreData and some of its pain can be abstracted itself - if I were to advise a new iOS developer - assuming their requirements for persistence weren't too complicated - I'd tell them to go with Parse for managing backend persistence or http://helios.io from Matt Thompson (of AFNetworking).

5
thomasjoulin 6 hours ago 2 replies      
> "Complex" Layouts"

> Neither Android or iOS support this "Flow Layout" natively

I don't know about Android, but iOS has just that : UICollectionViewFlowLayout. It would be trivial to implement a tag list as he did.

6
cageface 57 minutes ago 0 replies      
The thing you realize after writing a few mobile apps is that most of them are really just glorified CRUD apps. Grab something from a web service, stuff it in a table view, let the user fiddle with it, post changes to web service etc. And overall I've found writing those kinds of apps easier in Android. The framework is, for the most part, at a higher level of abstraction.

However, if you want to do something a little more interesting, particularly with any kind of interactive multimedia, then Android makes things harder or downright impossible.

7
coldcode 1 hour ago 0 replies      
No matter which side you work on if you put the effort into learning how to do it right and use the tools the way they were designed to it becomes so much easier. XCode 5 is a massive improvement. Jetbrain's involvement in Android dev made it so much more palatable.
8
ohwp 5 hours ago 1 reply      
This is why I like Xamarin Studio. You can reuse like 50% of your code base for both Android and iOS [1] (if you strictly keep the view separated from business/logic).

Yes the Android emulator can be very slow but testing on a real device is very quick without the hassle of certificates.

[1] Windows and Blackberry as well

9
tluyben2 1 hour ago 1 reply      
The article kind of matches with my experience. And I as well enjoy working in vim more than Eclipse / Xcode. As I have significant experience with Eclipse and with VisualAge before that, Xcode took some getting used to. The coding part is ok, but for anything else (which I found out only after doing a real project in it) it is horrible. I cannot count the times I have to kill Xcode and restart it because things which were properly done just didn't work. The Stackoverflow answer to those things usually is; restart Xcode. That kind of behaviour, to me, makes it a horrible and unpredictable IDE to work with.

On a previous stable version I had to suffer a month without code completion (well broken code completion) and there were many complaints online about it, but no fix (at least none that worked for me). This did teach me to memorise more and type faster.

Also half-baked things like Storyboards & IB which you cannot really use for actual apps because you need code to add images, custom fonts etc to controls and the often buggy code generation for Coredata makes me think that this has no priority for Apple. It feels outsourced (as in, thrown over the fence with a vague spec) and more neglected with every new version, making me think it's some kind of arrogance; let developers do everything the hard way, they cannot do without us anyway. Every story and tutorial I read seems to back this up; working around the quirks in the toolchain instead of the tools helping you. I keep wanting to believe i'm doing it wrong, but I haven't met anyone yet with a better experience.

10
fotcorn 6 hours ago 4 replies      
I can't understand why people always complain about the performanceo of the android emulator. With an Intel X86 image and activated hardware acceleration (GPU & CPU KVM or HAXM), the emulator is much faster than an actual phone. Installation Guide by Intel: http://software.intel.com/en-us/articles/speeding-up-the-and....
11
sdogruyol 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I seriously think this one is kinda biased. I've been a long time Android developer and working with ios devs in parallel. Recently it's true that Android development is becoming a better experience but still not even close to ios. Have you ever really experienced shitty jar mismatchs or wrongly generated R files or trying to fix that shitty class paths ? Those are really making Android development xp shitty and painful.
12
bradshaw1965 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I think it's likely that a particular community, language, tooling combination is likely to resonate with a particular person. Although reading a few well reasoned articles might give you a hunch of which one to choose, it's likely, barring external forces like occupation or marketplace requirements that you'll know until you plunge in and try it for yourself. I appreciate the article, seems well written and reasoned, but I wouldn't want to read too many more like it before I just dove in and found out for myself where I felt most happy, efficient and expressive.
13
ratsimihah 5 hours ago 3 replies      
> and my Objective-C coding was limited to the two games. So I basically started with an equal blank slate on both platforms.

It's not like game dev is one of the most complex kind of development and requires game design as well as low-level graphics programming skills.

14
tluyben2 2 hours ago 0 replies      
For the float:left and such wouldn't http://www.pixate.com/ be a solution? I haven't tried it yet, but will do for my next app.
15
enrmarc 3 hours ago 0 replies      
More than 20,000 lines of code. In my opinion that's a lot of code for this kind of apps. What a pain to maintain such a codebase.
16
hnrandom 1 hour ago 0 replies      
> I finally ended the pain by taking all layouts out of IB and simple wrote them long-hand with pages of boiler-plate code.

Mother of god. Simply using layout constraints instead of auto layout would have saved > 1000 lines of code I would estimate.

23
What does it mean for light to be stopped or stored? askamathematician.com
82 points by ColinWright  8 hours ago   12 comments top 5
1
JulianMorrison 53 minutes ago 0 replies      
What I wonder is if this could be used to bridge across decoherence.

Current problem: a quantum system is used to do a calculation, but it decoheres to fast to be useful, or to scale.

Possible solution: do part of a calculation, shove the result in one of these light storage thingies, decohere, reboot and re-establish coherence, feed in result from light storage thingy, continue calculating.

2
KennyCason 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I think that was the easiest to understand/intro to quantam information handling that I have read.

I also enjoyed how they went from:Heinze, Hubrich, and Halfmann -> H and H and H -> the three H's. I kind of expected it to go to "triple H"

3
thehme 2 hours ago 1 reply      
An actually readable explanation that can be understood. However, it seems to me that the actual accomplishment, as the author mentioned, is our newly acquired ability of "storing quantum information" and not actually "stopping light". I like the "H's" references...how interesting that they all have H last names - perhaps there is a German stat of last names starting with H.
4
mariuolo 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Could it also conceivably be used to store energy?
5
deletes 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Is this a possible way to store information in quantum computers?

EDIT: Note to self, reading is tech.

24
HTTP/2.0 Initial Draft Released apiux.com
71 points by bpedro  7 hours ago   23 comments top 7
1
inopinatus 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Why didn't they use SRV[1] records in DNS to resolve http2 requests? It has so many advantages:

  * Permitted at the domain apex (yes really! unlike CNAMEs!)  * Allow weighted round-robin  * Allows lower-priority fallback services  * Unusual port numbers no longer required in URIs  * Doesn't get confused with non-HTTP services located at the same FQDN.
It's the modern way to federate services! And there's very wide DNS server support - everything from BIND to Active Directory.

Fortunately the standard (nor as far as I can see, the normative references) doesn't actually say you have to use an A-type record. Unfortunately that will remain the convention unless someone makes this easy but explicit change.

I'd get involved but I fear the politics. Would I have any chance of being able to advocate for this change?

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

2
jimktrains2 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I think that the changes being made for "HTTP 2" are a terrible decision for HTTP. For SPDY, sure, make it as complex and as hard to work with as you want in the name of performance, but please keep my HTTP a nice, simple, text-based protocol that I can work with very easily.

I just feel that HTTP should not remplement TCP. SPDY/HTTP2 just seems much more complex than necessary.

http://jimkeener.com/posts/http is a 90% complete post of what I would like to see as HTTP 1.2 and some other things I think would be beneficial.

3
judofyr 7 hours ago 2 replies      
> Another new concept is the ability for either side to push data over an established connection. While the concept itself is hardly revolutionary this is after all how TCP itself functions bringing this capability to the widespread HTTP world will be no small improvement and may help marry the simplicity of an HTTP API with the fully-duplexed world of TCP. While this is also useful for a server-to-server internal APIs, this functionality will provide an alternative to web sockets, long polling, or simply repeated requests back to the server the traditional three ways to emulate a server pushing live data in the web world.

As far as I know, this is not true. Server Push is only for the server and can only be done as a response to a request. It's not a WebSocket alternative.

Server Push means that when a client sends a request (GET /index.html), the server can respond with responses for multiple resources (e.g. /index.html, /style.css and /app.js can be sent). This means the client doesn't have to explicitly GET those resources which saves bandwidth and latency.

4
asm89 6 hours ago 0 replies      
The draft was released earlier this month. There was an interesting discussion about it back then too:https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6012525

At the same time I also submitted another article that I still think is interesting and relevant as of today:https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6014976

5
fenesiistvan 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Microsoft already released and open sourced server code which (partially) supports HTTP 2:http://blogs.msdn.com/b/interoperability/archive/2013/07/29/...
7
X4 5 hours ago 5 replies      
I think HTTP/2.0 should break backward compatibility and take a more advanced step than "little improvements like that". Killing TCP/IP completely and inventing a more efficiently compressed, more government resistant and more easily encryptable Protocol would be highly anticipated. The reason is that even adopting HTTP2.0 in that state would take at least a decade or more.

Here's stuff that backs my argument:s

a) http://rina.tssg.org/docs/PSOC-MovingBeyondTCP.pdf

b) http://users.ece.cmu.edu/~adrian/630-f04/readings/bellovin-t...

And here are more viable and real alternatives that not only increase the speed by a factor of n, but also increase security and compatibility to our mobile generation:

http://www.fujitsu.com/global/news/pr/archives/month/2013/20...

http://users.ece.cmu.edu/~adrian/630-f04/readings/bellovin-t...

http://roland.grc.nasa.gov/nrg/local/sctp.net-computing.pdf / http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc4960

http://www.qualcomm.com/media/documents/why-raptor-codes-are...

PS: I was initially afraid that HTTP2.0 was optimized for Advertisers...pheww

25
First Open Source Airplane Could Cost Just $15,000 wired.com
79 points by rmason  8 hours ago   32 comments top 7
1
rorrr2 5 hours ago 3 replies      
For those unfamiliar with planes, you can buy a used ultralite plane for under $10,000 in working condition. Something that has been proven to fly reliably.
2
rmason 50 minutes ago 0 replies      
I was always told that new planes were so expensive because manufacturers had to tack on a huge amount to the price for expected lawsuits.

What I thought was original in this approach was how can you sue the manufacturer of a kit plane over its design if it's open source? Course lawyers will surely try so it has to be tested in court first.

3
zaidmo 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I was wondering if the word "open source" is being used correctly in the context of aeroplane parts.

Dictionary.com has 2 definitions:

1. Computers. pertaining to or denoting software whose source code is available free of charge to the public to use, copy, modify, sublicense, or distribute.

2. pertaining to or denoting a product or system whose origins, formula, design, etc., are freely accessible to the public.

I guess the latter definition could apply, where the components can be produced (e.g. 3D printed) from detailed "open source" blueprints? However, I dont think the plane will be built from 100% "open source" rendered components. Generic or branded components may need to be purchased as well.

4
ctdonath 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Tangent: predictions on a "3D printed plane"? Push a button, wait, result needs little more than an engine installed?
5
gokhanceliker 7 hours ago 1 reply      
The final cost of an actual airplane usually covers a lot of testing before going to market. It involves special test pilots that are ready to risk their lives while testing it. If we can find/fund a test pilot for this project, the price point can become a reality.
6
worldimperator 5 hours ago 1 reply      
If bugfixing those planes will be as rigidly pursued as with some open source software, maybe the phrase 'buying a ticket' gets a totally new meaning ;-)
7
alixr 6 hours ago 4 replies      
This is great, I've been wanting to get into aviation for some time but the barrier of entry is steep.

Using their plans as a guideline for building an ultralight instead of a light sport aircraft would reduce the cost dramatically. Ultralights have much lower limits but don't require any formal training/licenses.

In the end you could probably build an ultralight for the cost of a pilots license.

26
Meet the Man Who Sold His Fate to Investors at $1 a Share wired.com
21 points by cwan  3 hours ago   10 comments top 5
1
dgreensp 2 minutes ago 0 replies      
This is so perfect, a parable for our age. A man with balls but no guts, deferring to the sort of terrible decisions made in boardrooms everywhere. Even when he knows what he wants, he wants the decision to come from someone else.
2
chasing 1 hour ago 2 replies      
He created 100,000 shares. 3,711 of those shares are in other peoples' hands. Sounds like he still controls about 96% of himself. So why does he care about their votes?

Anyway: This whole thing seems wildly narcissistic. Who gives a shit if he moves in with his girlfriend or gets a vasectomy? These are issues to be decided between KMikeyM and his friends/family, not someone who gave him a few bucks for some fake "shares." Especially if he doesn't know that someone personally.

3
j_s 47 minutes ago 0 replies      
Previous discussion, ~187 comments back when this was published in March:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5454147

4
lotsofcows 45 minutes ago 0 replies      
Didn't David Bowie do this 20 or 30 years ago?
5
80 33 minutes ago 0 replies      
I feel that he missed a trick by approaching this from the angle of an economic experiment instead of performance art
27
Mail from the (Velvet) Cybercrime Underground krebsonsecurity.com
115 points by andreipop  10 hours ago   23 comments top 9
1
nemesisj 7 hours ago 2 replies      
I really enjoyed this blog post for some reason - I think the frank dissection of how the whole plot was hatched was really interesting.

The main takeaway for me is how worrying the chosen attack vector was, and what it says about the state of the USA. Think about it - the most effective way to remotely cripple someone you hate is to turn the USA's ridiculous drug enforcement apparatus on them. It's not a bomb or insults, or any kind of direct or overt physical harm, it's simply mailing them a narcotic and tipping off the police.

What if this guy hadn't been monitoring things? He could very well have been in a nasty, highly stressful, possibly career ending situation simply due to America's stance on drug enforcement.

2
marvin 10 hours ago 5 replies      
Would the claim "I didn't order this, someone wanted to frame me" hold up in court if this guy hadn't discovered this scheme?
3
lifeisstillgood 9 hours ago 1 reply      
For me the two big takeaways are the cop who wanted to unplug from Google. This is likely to be a fairly sizeable minority of the world who used to know how it all worked - and just cannot be bothered to learn the new rules.

I am not sure if that's a good or a bad thing - if grandpa is not online can be do video calls to the grandkids ?

The second is of course - I do not monitor these boards and of course the next attempt will not be public. Not sure how to react if a dozen baggies got delivered. Hand it over to the cops I guess.

It is the makings of an interesting real life DDoS attack on politicians for example

4
Renaud 9 hours ago 1 reply      
You must be something right when you attract that much dedicated attention...

I'm surprised at how personal these attacks are. Is it that common for public security figures to be at such risk ?

5
undoware 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I always get a kick out of Krebs' relationship with the thesaurus.

"Miscreants""goons""fraudsters"

Seriously, 'goons'? What is this, an Archie comic?

But, yes, fascinating article, nonetheless. I dislike the man for reasons difficult to articulate, but there is no arguing with a story like this. Great read.

6
gedrap 7 hours ago 0 replies      
And that's really worrying. For me, it makes various threats and other cyber bullying look like a game. 'I wish you get cancer' yeah whatever f-off kid.

But this one can easily ruin someones life. Or at least give enough stress to shorten it for a while. Not even talking about legal expenses to prove it's not yours. I mean... Police finds reasonable amount of Class A drugs at your place. 'it's not my' 'yeah right, everyone says that'.

7
ollybee 8 hours ago 1 reply      
While entertaining for us responding in such a public way will encourage further stunts from his adversaries. Kreb plays a dangerous game.
8
sidcool 6 hours ago 1 reply      
It's interesting how righteous the Silk Road guy sounds. He's using his power to cheat, and then he quotes about agorism and shit.
9
soapit 45 minutes ago 0 replies      
What a waste of perfectly good heroin.
28
Ethernet Turns 40 ieee.org
3 points by eguizzo  11 minutes ago   discuss
29
Identical Droplets in the DigitalOcean: Regenerate your Ubuntu SSH Host Keys now missingm.co
265 points by jlund  17 hours ago   96 comments top 16
1
agwa 14 hours ago 6 replies      
SSH host keys are problematic on cloud servers, not just because of this problem, but also because if the cloud provider does the right thing and generates the SSH host key on the first boot, the key is generated when the system has very little entropy available. The primary sources of entropy on Linux are key/mouse input, disk latency, and network interrupts. There's obviously no keyboard/mouse on a server, and in an SSD environment like DigitalOcean, disk latency is quite uniform and thus useless as a source of entropy.

Linux distros mitigate the cold boot entropy problem by saving some state from the RNG on shutdown (on Debian, it's saved in /var/lib/urandom/random-seed) and using it to seed the RNG on the next boot. On physical servers this obviously isn't available on the first boot, and on cloud servers, the provider often bakes the same random-seed file into all their images, so everyone gets the same seed on first boot (fortunately this doesn't harm security any more than having no random-seed file at all, but it doesn't help either). What cloud providers should really do is generate (from a good source of randomness) a distinct random-seed file for every server that's created, but I haven't seen any providers do this.

2
Nux 9 hours ago 0 replies      
This is not the last of the problems we'll have with "the cloud", but I guess it's part of what makes it so exciting. :-)

Many people, especially beginners, make the mistake of leaving the same SSH keys in a certain template or in a snapshot of a virtual machine that they later use as a template.

There are a few files that you really, really need to wipe out from a wannabe image template:

- /etc/ssh/* key* (for reasons explained in the parent article. stupid autoformatting, remove the space after the first asterisk)

- /var/lib/random-seed (the seed used to initialise the random number generator. this is the location on CentOS)

- /etc/udev/rules.d/70-persistent-net.rules (so that the VM's new NIC - with a new MAC - can use the same "eth0" name)

People who want to do this more exhaustively can have a look at libguestfs and it's program virt-sysprep which does all of the above and more!

http://libguestfs.org/virt-sysprep.1.html

3
rwmj 10 hours ago 0 replies      
They should be using cloud-init or virt-sysprep[1] on new instances. In particular, it is vital that you give your new instances a unique random seed (which virt-sysprep can do). Also that you provide the virtio-rng to guests that support it.

[1] http://libguestfs.org/virt-sysprep.1.html

4
mey 16 hours ago 4 replies      
I must say, I'm impressed with how this was handled both by the original researcher and DigitalOcean.
5
makomk 16 hours ago 2 replies      
This is now one of the first things I check when setting up a new VPS or other VM instance, because it's really common.
6
rlpb 7 hours ago 1 reply      
To avoid this kind of security problem, use providers that use official Ubuntu Cloud images only. If Canonical haven't certified the Ubuntu images you're using, then your provider could have done anything to them. You'll need some other way to determine their competence.

Cowboy images like this are exactly the reason trademarks exist. Commercial providers who don't get certification are in fact violating Ubuntu's trademark by telling you that you are getting Ubuntu, when in fact you are getting a modified image which is possibly compromised (such as in this case).

7
sehrope 14 hours ago 2 replies      
Generating fresh keys aside, one thing I do with our AWS setup is whitelist the IPs that can connect to our SSH bastion host. This completely eliminates scripted port scans of the SSH server and makes the auth logs much more manageable.

If our IP address changes (eg. ISP assigns a new one for the cable modem) then we just update the whitelist (and remove the old address). It's very infrequent. I could probably count the number of times I've done it on one hand.

It might not be the most scalable setup but at our small size with everybody working from home it works great.

The only slight hitch is updating it when traveling but even that isn't much of a problem. It takes a minute or two from the AWS console and its good to go.

I recently took a look at digital ocean ($5 servers gives me ideas...) but didn't see a firewall option similar to the security group setup in AWS. If it does exist then I highly recommend it.

8
stevekemp 2 hours ago 0 replies      
We ran into similar problems on the hosting side; another surprise can be the debian-sys-maint password configure by the Debian mysql-server package.
9
druiid 14 hours ago 0 replies      
One good thing to note is that any VM image using cloud-init (a package for debian/rhel systems) should automagically generate a new host_key set for any new system image. Basically if you build a system image for EC2 or any system that uses the EC2 data format (like Openstack) for host instantiation, then you should install cloud-init. It would prevent something like this.
10
joeblau 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Great find. I came from a heavy security background and moved to SV where it seems like security is an after thought. I spent many long days and nights STIGing RHEL boxes so I can appreciate this find. Also thanks for letting me know about Digital Ocean, their VPS looks promising and I think I might start using it.
11
schappim 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Props to the way you handled this. That's how you do responsible vulnerability disclosures!
12
davidhollander 15 hours ago 0 replies      
> After you have run those commands, simply restart the SSH daemon so it starts up with the new keys in place

I believe if your version of OpenSSH is up to date, sshd will read the host key each time a session is opened and does not need to be restarted.

13
joshmn 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Now that it's said, I did notice something strange once.

I had loaded up an Ubuntu Desktop droplet with the purpose of checking something out through the browser on the node.

The startup page was https://www.americanexpress.com/

Since when is that default?

Didn't think much of it at the time, but now... whoa.

14
scottlinux 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I suspect this kind of thing happens with other companies, but can only speculate.

Somewhat related: chicagovps gave me a 'fresh' gentoo vps, and the default provided root password was identical to the original one from several months ago. I assume it is one gentoo image with the same password (for all customers)?

15
foxhop 14 hours ago 0 replies      
So you are the reason I started getting these error messages, I noticed the change on June 2, great work.

If you are still reviewing salt, I just wrote a post about salt-cloud and DigitalOcean that you should check out -

Create your own fleet of servers with Digital Ocean and salt-cloud:

http://russell.ballestrini.net/create-your-own-fleet-of-serv...

16
throwawayh4xor 15 hours ago 3 replies      
Just verified this is also the case with at least some AWS-hosted servers. Coupled with the fact that many people simply ignore the MITM warning that SSH throws, this is scary stuff.
30
The pace of modern life - UK vs Denmark bbc.co.uk
71 points by AndrewDucker  5 hours ago   72 comments top 6
1
ThomPete 4 hours ago 9 replies      
If there ever was an article written and filled with mis-information and a completely superficial look at the pros and cons of the Danish society and it's merits, it is this article.

The claim that Danes are ambitious is flat out wrong. The younger generation more so, but there is a reason why danes are the "happiest people" in the world and it's not because of their ambitions.

The Danish model is under huge pressure and haven't escaped the reality of globalisation and automatisation.

But because wealth gets distributed the way it does, it doesn't feel the heat too much just yet.

In other words the Danish system is a thing of beauty as long as it works. Unfortunately it doesn't work anymore and somethings gotta give.

Edit: Was asked to be more specific.

Out of 6m people:

Almost 0.8m people on some sort of social welfare

Almost 0.8m people are working in full time positions for the public sector.

In comparison 1,9 in the private sector and it is shrinking rapidly.

It is notoriously easy to start a company in Denmark but notoriously hard to grow it among other things because most Danes don't have those ambitions and are very very risk-averse.

We are long past the point where more people are depending on the state than on the private job market and as those jobs disappear because of the named automation and globalisation and because Denmark is just too expensive, it will be hard for any government to promise the elaborate system we have now.

This is already starting to show as the latest government scramble to lower taxes for corporations and reduce the number of entitled benefits Danes can expect.

Furthermore Denmark took the wrong educational strategy and unfortunately like most of the european countries believed that knowledge worker meant book reader.

The result of this is that we have a large over educated part of the population who will have a very hard time finding a job.

2
ForrestN 1 hour ago 0 replies      
"Ambition" is probably a less useful frame, in the article and in the comments, than "expectations."

I've only been to Denmark a few times but I think the feeling I got is that they are happier because they have managed to largely sidestep the otherwise ubiquitous trap of perpetually escalating expectations.

The American/capitalist model is that each achieved goal is a platform for the next goal. Growth is what matters. Being satisfied with a decent job and a peaceful context in which to love your family is not any less ambitious than desiring to get rich or "change the world." It's just ambitious in a different direction.

Americans, for example, optimize for economic performance. Danes, I think, optimize for happiness. The tantalizing, troublesome idea that captivates me as an American is that money as an abstraction of 'value,' when survival is assumed, might only be desirable as a tool for being happier.

And if the pursuit of money, on a societal level, interrupts the pursuit of happiness, that implies that we capitalists are doing it wrong.

3
cmdkeen 4 hours ago 1 reply      
I'd be intrigued to see a breakdown between London and the rest of the UK in the "working very long hours" stakes, especially when you add in commuting.

It's entirely possible to have a successful career working 9 to 5, with a sensible commute, in vast swathes of the UK. I've spent 4 years in Edinburgh and have always lived within a 10 minute walk to work, often within a World Heritage Site.

The childcare costs are however a good point of something that other Northern European countries tend to do better at. Though our recent government spat over the ratio of staff to children shows that the public just aren't rational on the issue so changing it would be hard.

4
Zigurd 3 hours ago 1 reply      
It's always interesting to see the reactions to articles like this here: "They may be happy now, but it can't last!"

But, as Keynes said, "In the long run, we're all dead." Do you plan on listing your git check-ins on your tombstone? Will your epitaph be "He was ambitious?"

Most of us on this forum are fortunate enough to enjoy most of our work and are well-paid to do it. Much of our work has novel interesting and innovative results. Many of us are happy to keep working as long as we can. All the greater shame on us for not having the imagination to visualize what life is like outside our fortunate circle.

5
adaml_623 3 hours ago 3 replies      
Ignoring most of the specifics in the article I found the word: "janteloven"[0] interesting. Australians would call it tall poppy syndrome and the Brits....

Well the Brits have an institutionalised system of honouring people who achieve.[1] Everyone from sports people to business people. Obviously it's incredibly political but it is taken very seriously.

[0] - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_Jante[1] - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_honours_system

6
kfk 2 hours ago 2 replies      
I lived in Denmark 1.5 years. I do not know how the country is managing things so well given that:

1. Taxes are ridiculous (my friend is in the 65% bucket, sixty five, after 2 years of work experience).

2. There is a huge amount of people living on welfare State.

3. The University system is far from ideal. Not much competition, grades are given almost randomly and tend towards a political 7 (average)

4. You pay 180% (one hundred and eighty) of taxes on top of the value of a new car (180%...) when you buy it

5. The cost of living is high, very high

6. Foreigners, if they are not from US, are not very welcomed (say what you want on this, it's been my and others impression). Compare this with, say, Germany, and you see a big problem right there

7. There is not really much good work. I get it, 5-6 mln people, but finding a work in Denmark without Danish is like finding the eldorado

Overall, I would not take this country as a "model". If you want a model, take Germany. Germany managed to get out total destruction (world war II) and the whole West/East mess without asking help to anybody. Germany today is probably one of the most open countries to foreigners. The Police in Germany is great with everybody (I had my bad experiences with the Danish one doing absolutely nothing wrong...).

Sometimes you need to look deeper to see what's really going on in a country. "Working hours" should not be the only way we measure things.

       cached 30 July 2013 16:02:01 GMT