hacker news with inline top comments    .. more ..    11 Aug 2013 News
home   ask   best   6 years ago   
Show HN: TextBlob, Natural language processing made simple in Python readthedocs.org
145 points by sloria  4 hours ago   27 comments top 14
eliben 3 hours ago 2 replies      
Yay #1: a nice wrapper around NLTK. NLTK is great but its API is not very Pythonic or comfortable. Pleasant facades over it are a great help for Python NLP.

Yay #2: an actually interesting programming-related article on HN. These get rarer every day, losing their place to gossips about what Snowden remarked following some or another NSA official's remarks about Snowden's even earlier remarks.

feniv 3 hours ago 0 replies      
The NodeBox linguistics module is another nice wrapper around NLTK (and other natural language processing libraries). I used it for extracting actions and details from sentences, but it's also great for spelling correction, pluralization, part-of-speech tagging and other common NLP tasks.


mrkmcknz 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Just a quick word on Pattern[1].

TextBlob is probably just using the en module, I would suggest everyone take a look at the other modules in particular the web module should you be doing any light data scraping. It has nice wrappers around BeautifulSoup and Scrapy among others, jumping into BeautifulSoup and Scrapy can be daunting for beginners.

[1] http://www.clips.ua.ac.be/pages/pattern

eieio 3 hours ago 0 replies      
This looks great! NLTK is incredible but definitely can be a bit intimidating. Very cool to have a wrapper around it.

I'm curious to see exactly how it works and so I'll certainly check out the source when I have a bit more time. Thanks for posting this.

the_cat_kittles 46 minutes ago 0 replies      
If you could add a blob.target and a default vectorizer, you could use scikits learn to offer some nice classification and regression. It's pretty easy to do that with what you have now, but some of those concepts are a little foreign if you haven't done text classification before, like me before yesterday. Particularly the part of speech tagging- using those as features could be powerful alongside n-grams.
throwawayg99 11 minutes ago 0 replies      
This is awesome. I looked, but couldn't find out: is there a word sense disambiguation layer somewhere hidden in here?
mark_l_watson 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I played with this a few days ago. It is a nice wrapper for NLTK. You probably want to, at some point, read the free NLTK book online.

Edit: and it also uses pattern.

sixQuarks 3 hours ago 2 replies      
Can someone explain what this does in layman's terms? I'm a biz guy, not a coder, but I'm interested in the use cases. thanks
aswanson 47 minutes ago 0 replies      
Thanks, I plan on using this.
dpmehta02 1 hour ago 0 replies      
This looks great, thanks for sharing.

Any thoughts or relevant benchmarks you would like to share about its speed?

sumit_psp 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Curious as to what training algorithms you used for Sentiment Analysis? Also can I add my domain specific training set?
tomrod 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Awesome! Thanks for posting. Are you the hacker that put it together?
photorized 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Awesome. I could use this.
misiti3780 3 hours ago 0 replies      
This looks great
What makes Lua tick? lua-users.org
52 points by da02  2 hours ago   12 comments top 4
NelsonMinar 1 hour ago 3 replies      
My favorite thing about Lua is that the language is so simple, once you figure out one way to do something it's probably the only way. Like, say, summing up all the numbers in a list of strings. In Perl there are many ways, in Python there are many ways but one is right, and in Lua there's probably only one way so once you figure it out, you're done. Simplicity is a nice thing in an embedded tool language.
sker 59 minutes ago 0 replies      
The thing is indeed fast. Looking at these benchmarks[1], it always makes it to the top 10 on the tests where it appears.

Edit: Apparently, OpenResty[2] is largely responsible for the impressive performance in those benchmarks, and Lua may be secondary.

1. http://www.techempower.com/benchmarks/#section=data-r6&hw=i7...

2. http://openresty.org/

thinkpad20 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Big fan of Lua. I have only poked around at the language, and never really done anything significant with it, but I love how simple and powerful it is. Every time I break out the lua programming book I wish I were using that at work instead of python. I don't agree with every choice they've made, but it's a great language for sure.
rsiqueira 46 minutes ago 0 replies      
I love the fact that Redis database can run Lua scripts, allowing very sofisticated queries.
CSS Absolute Centering codepen.io
342 points by nvk  9 hours ago   157 comments top 22
crazygringo 8 hours ago 7 replies      
Just in case anyone's unaware... it's entirely possible to vertically center elements of variable height too in pure CSS... it's just "unsemantic", because it relies on the fact that only table cells have "vertical-align:middle".

But that's how I center every one of my "modal dialogs" on a site -- the whole modal dialog is inside a <table> with position:fixed and top/bottom/left/right:0. Then, just give the <td> a "vertical-align:middle", and then put your desired visible dialog <div> inside it.

It's annoying to have to wrap something inside of a <table><tr><td> just to vertically center something, but it sure beats using JavaScript to do it. (You might be able to do it just with the display:table-cell property too, but it's been a long time since I checked browser compatibility.)

gamegoblin 9 hours ago 14 replies      
I have just started doing web programming in the last month after several years of applications programming.

It feels like to me, and someone please tell me why I'm wrong, that the amount of hackery that goes into making webpages look the way web designers want them to is astounding. I google for solutions to various problems and the top rated comment on StackOverflow says "...there isn't a good way to do this in CSS, but here is this hack...".

I feel like somewhere in the universal programming ether there exists a beautiful unification of HTML, CSS, and JS that doesn't rely on any ugly hackery, and it's just waiting to be found and start a brave new world of web programming...

jiggy2011 8 hours ago 1 reply      
It confuses me that you have to specify things in terms of margins, I understand how that is technically correct but surely something like alignment: center should just align to the center of the parent element?

I've spent hours in the past the past getting correct centring behaviour in CSS, then tried by just putting the whole thing inside <center></center> and had it work immediately in all browsers. But apparently that's "cheating".

lectrick 15 minutes ago 0 replies      
The fact that something so simple needs to be explained as "a thing" or "a trick", many years after HTML5 even came out, feels like a disgusting frontend failure.
mkl 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I haven't done any front end web work so I'm confused by this. Can someone please explain why it is noteworthy? It seems strange to me that something as simple as centring a box should require special attention. Why aren't such tasks trivial beginner stuff?
jafaku 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Can someone paste the code somewhere else please? The linked website is broken. And yes, I have Javascript enabled. But it's probably using localStorage (with no graceful degradation), which I won't allow. Is this becoming a thing? Either you give up your privacy, or you can't surf the web anymore?
candl 2 hours ago 1 reply      
HTML/CSS is generally quite flexible when it comes to operations on text. No surprise since it was its intended purpose to be a format for documents.

Making any layouts and god forbid centering elements has always been a headache for me. Even by looking at the CSS examples provided by the link my first thought is how random they all seem and how ugly they are not to mention difficult to remember and use. There should be a single way to center an element. It should be an obvious operation given how important and common it is.

Some very useful CSS properties might take a lot of code and be hard to implement in native GUI toolkits like floats, overflow, height/width with percents, text wrapping etc. This is a sweet spot where HTML/CSS shines.

I have been playing with QML lately and decided to implement the Dialog (Absolute center within viewport) that pops after visiting the linked page just for comparison:

Here's the dialog equivalent that just fills the entire screen of an application done with QtQuick 2.0 for Desktop.


Layouting is easily done by anchors. Filling a rectangle to match a parent's container, centering an element inside a parent, etc. Other containers such as Rows, Columns or Grids are also provided. Property bindings are used for centering the dialog even if the viewport changes. Text wrapping is also done explicitly and binding was necessary to limit text width to the ScrollView for it to work.

One big difference compared to CSS is that by looking at the source I can see at glance what the layout structure is and what might be happening with the element.

Another cool thing about QML is that it's as simple as taking the code, creating a new file 'Dialog.qml', adding a few properties, a signal and some functions and we get a reusable standalone component:


that is very convinient to use:


result: http://i.minus.com/iGTQhAxP55bBP.gif 3MB gif)

spleeder 34 minutes ago 0 replies      
I have written about a much better (IMHO) solution that does not need the height be declared and does not use tables.


X4 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Why is such basic css hyped so much? Can someone technically explain it? Is the ratio of HN folks that need Web 101 greater than the ratio of people who need Startup advice, including technical and architecture solutions? (Been doing dev+webdev for >13y
hayksaakian 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Does it seem a bit off to anyone else in chrome?


Or is the browser chrome considered usable real estate.

namuol 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Don't forget to sacrifice at least one goat, if you want cross-platform, standards-compliant code.
msujaws 8 hours ago 0 replies      
We use this same technique in Firefox to center images when viewing them standalone, inspect http://www.elizabethtownfamily.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/0... to see for yourself :)
the_cat_kittles 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Very nice. When I actually stop to think about it, it's amazing to me that this is not immediately easy to do. Things like this give credence to Bret Victor's most recent talk.
pbreit 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Vertically centering dialog boxes in a window is a minor pet peeve of mine. Boxes should be slightly above center.

If I recall correctly, the original Mac UI guidelines specified that the midpoint of the box should be 1/3 the distance from the top.

hpaavola 8 hours ago 0 replies      
It's a shame that we need to hack layouts to work with language designed for changing fonts and colors.
stesch 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Doesn't work with NoScript. Bad example.
oakaz 5 hours ago 0 replies      
It's still impossible if you'd like to center a div that resizes itself depending on the content.
ghostdiver 8 hours ago 1 reply      
What is performance loss/gain compared to Javascript solution of this problem?
marcolz 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Those CSS class names are unacceptable. (:grin:)
BigBalli 1 hour ago 0 replies      
not sure how people who "know CSS" can work without knowing this...
marizmelo 6 hours ago 0 replies      
There is anything new here ?
ForFreedom 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Why do you need this to center a box in css?It can be done without this too.
ElementaryOs Luna released elementaryos.org
14 points by agumonkey  56 minutes ago   3 comments top 2
StavrosK 16 minutes ago 1 reply      
What is this? The landing page looks interesting but light on explanations. Has anyone used it? How is it?
minor_nitwit 9 minutes ago 0 replies      
I wonder how good their legal team is. Apple is very big on infringing trade dress.
Bootstrap-switch bootstrap-switch.org
45 points by nostalgiaz  3 hours ago   19 comments top 9
mistercow 1 hour ago 2 replies      
This is cool, but I really dislike those kinds of switches. Pretty, yes, but also confusing to users unfamiliar with them.

Say the switch is to the right, and then word ON is to the left. If you click the switch, it moves to the left. Does that mean you turned the switch on, since the switch moved to where the word "ON" was? Or does it mean the switch is off because now the word "OFF" is visible?

Even knowing the answer, as an only-occasional mobile user I still find these switches require extra cognitive load, which is not what you want from a UI element.

freshyill 2 hours ago 3 replies      
Why use jQuery for this when it can be done with CSS?


vonseel 54 minutes ago 0 replies      
This is nice work.

I don't know if it's just me, but IMO switches like these are inappropriate as a replacement for a checkbox in most forms. I could see it being useful in an app that changed the presentation of something (charts, styles, etc).

prezjordan 2 hours ago 0 replies      
This no longer fits with the bootstrap aesthetic :)
aswanson 46 minutes ago 1 reply      
The animated switch is nice. Good work.
rfnslyr 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Awesome. Was looking for something like this. Switch from jQuery Mobile sucks on the phone.

Edit: nevermind, extremely laggy on mobile.

trumbitta2 2 hours ago 0 replies      
This is great! I'll be using it in the coming weeks!
untilHellbanned 1 hour ago 0 replies      
should we always expect that the hidden input checkboxes are being checked? Wish the documentation addressed this...
pippoelpippo 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Palo Alto bans vehicle dwelling paloaltoonline.com
27 points by drwl  1 hour ago   12 comments top 7
RexRollman 1 minute ago 0 replies      
I really dislike it when things are outlawed for no other reaon than not being liked. In my opinion, in order to outlaw an activity, you should have to show that it is causing actual harm.
ics 2 minutes ago 0 replies      
> At the same time, the council heard from numerous residents of the nearby Greenmeadow neighborhood who pointed to the growing homeless population at Cubberley Community Center and said they no longer feel safe near their homes.

I never cease to be amazed at how illogical and inhumane some people's though processes can be, especially in aggregate. People living out of their cars makes you feel unsafe? Better ban that activity! How about investing in a couple ways to get them off the street and into a home, so that they can move on/up? Rather than seeing them all as a destitute scourge waiting to pray on the unsuspecting, which is more likely to happen when you deliberately make their lives worse.

jurassic 12 minutes ago 0 replies      
This seems like a clear message to the houseless (!= homeless) population of Palo Alto to GTFO. Sad, but can't say I'm surprised.
minor_nitwit 13 minutes ago 0 replies      
Rather than creating laws against the poor, perhaps the millionaires of Palo Alto should try to do something to fix the problem.
pcunite 15 minutes ago 0 replies      
This hurts ... I once had to spend the night in a car (one night) so I know how it hurts emotionally.

I pay myself these days, but wonder about businesses that run off of greed. What is happening in Bangladesh could very well come to our country unless we begin to value our fellow man ... even the man that did not have that original great idea, or founded the company.

I understand that America was created by people who wanted to build something useful for themselves and others. Perhaps we should find a way to reinvest in this country. Make jobs for our fellow man somehow. It is an unselfish idea ... we made it, they didn't. So, why care?

It would be cool if some young talent here could make a web service that helped these people. We have plenty of photo sharing sites now ...

noarchy 14 minutes ago 2 replies      
On what basis can they even mandate such a ban? Is it based on the government's ownership of roads? In that case, can you live in your car on private property (parking lots, driveways, etc)? The article doesn't give enough info.
rdixit 13 minutes ago 3 replies      
unchecked capitalism without a social safety net is a savage and brutish failure
The Factoring Cryptopocalypse daemonology.net
40 points by cperciva  3 hours ago   11 comments top 4
tptacek 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Out of curiosity: If you were to design Tarsnap from scratch in 2013, would you still use RSA?
iuguy 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I think Colin's bang on here. Now is the time for cryptographers and software developers to act to implement a mature alternative to RSA, but it's not the point for your average joe to switch to an as yet relatively untested/unproven ECC implementation.

For what it's worth, Tom Ritter recently posted his notes on de-anonymizing alt.anonymous.messages[1], something widely believed to be very anonymous and very secure. It's an interesting read and shows why you not only need the crypto to be sound, but the implementation and your own use of it to be right too.

[1] - http://ritter.vg/blog-deanonymizing_amm.html

kazagistar 1 hour ago 2 replies      
For someone who is somewhat unfamiliar with cryptography, what is the obstacle in creating cryptography that is provably secure: in other words, cryptography that can be absolutely trusted within certain provided parameters.
The free Web program that got Bradley Manning convicted of computer fraud washingtonpost.com
59 points by blumentopf  4 hours ago   16 comments top 6
anigbrowl 1 hour ago 1 reply      
You know, I wouldn't rely on this article for accurate characterization of the government's legal position. Saying 'prosecutors argued that...' and then linking to a 2011 Guardian article threw up a red flag for me. That article didn't describe prosecutor's arguments; it described expert witness testimony. And the trespass was not the unauthorized nature of wget, although this was mentioned in passing, but the way in which it was employed to access data from the '.22' computer that was for secure/classified material.

wget is mentioned by the forensic expert in the context of describing how he came to his conclusions, but that's a far cry from saying it's bad in and of itself. Suppose I'm investigating a physical trespass, and I say that I discovered characteristic bootprints in the area that perfectly matched a pair of boots owned by the suspect. That doesn't mean the boots themselves are illegal, it just shows that someone was wearing that particular pair of boots while trespassing. As far as mentioning the non-authorized nature of wget, it's equivalent to observing that the boots in my example were not regular army issue.

I don't know precisely what prosecutors argued as I haven't obsessively followed the trial, so if someone can link to a primary source that contradicts the above I'm happy to be corrected. But as posted, the article seems to be drawing an incorrect inference from another news report, an as such is a questionable third-hand account of what prosecutors were really saying.

aqme28 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Not authorizing wget and classifying that as computer fraud may have its justification, but giving someone 10 years for what amounts to a form of trespassing is absurd.
venomsnake 4 hours ago 2 replies      
Quantity has quality of its own. So does efficiency. When you make a process much more efficient you after a tipping point convert it to something else entirely - like the surveillance that. Technology is amplifier.

Of course getting 10 more years just because he used wget instead of bash scripts that loop with nc is absurd.

But the fact that he used simple automation to do the job should be taken into consideration. So should be the fact that solitary confinement is torture.

But the whole trial seemed like Kangaroo court to me anyway ...

Edit: Also technically he was authorized to use wget - he had permissions to download it from wherever or to install the package and had permissions to set the executive bit to true.

gambiting 2 hours ago 1 reply      
So is the US government listing every single program authorized to be used on their computer? And I mean every single one?

That would include:-ls-cat-bash

and in Windows land:explorer.exe

If he used windows explorer to copy those files, could they have argued that explorer.exe was not on the list of authorized programs to use?

pothibo 3 hours ago 2 replies      
This is crazy. If he had used IE "Save as a file", he wouldn't have been convicted of fraud?
ibudiallo 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Make sure you read the fine prints before you view source on a page.
E-mail's Big Privacy Problem: Q&A With Silent Circle Co-Founder Phil Zimmermann forbes.com
43 points by 2a0c40  4 hours ago   19 comments top 5
zdw 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Most people are stunned by the way the internet email system is set up. I probably have to explain SMTP error codes on a weekly basis to people who don't get why it doesn't "just work".

A common conception is that it works like the telephone system - you make connections all the way through, then send the message. Bounces? Delays? How could those happen?

It's stunning to talk to newcomers about how things were before the internet came to exist as we know it. Mail routing via bang path with UUCP? How many people on HN even have seen that?

The problem is that we need a forklift replacement for SMTP and mail envelopes, both of which which have crypto built into it at a fundamental level.

Switching everyone over to SSL wrapped SMTP would be a good stopgap for the transport portion of this, even if it's just self signed, with some sort of HSTS style cert persistence.

acabal 3 hours ago 2 replies      
The surprising takeaway for me is that PGP is so astoundingly crappy to use that even Phil Zimmerman asks people to send him plain text mail. We've got to do something to improve the state of things here.
dobbsbob 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Problem is the mobile end device is incredibly insecure. You'd have to custom build an o/s to NSA fishbowl specs and then drop in Silent Circe, but even that wouldn't guarantee privacy since all of us have SIM cards with unknown carrier installed apps on them, and unknown software running on the baseband (which is typically in ARM supervisor mode w/no NX bit)

Also interesting the inventor of PGP and guy who once went against the gov tells people to mail him in clear text and uses a closed source OSX blackbox.

zokier 3 hours ago 3 replies      
Zimmermann advocating Hushmail. That's curious. Also imho deleting user data without warning is kinda non-pleasant even in todays climate. Of course you should have had everything backed up, but I'd guess many people didn't.
616c 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Interesting that Forbes interview him and the Lavabit founder. Honestly I expected far less from this rag regarding computer and privacy issues given other links here and elsewhere, but there is always time to be surprised.
How Your Brain Becomes Addicted to Caffeine smithsonianmag.com
158 points by Libertatea  10 hours ago   116 comments top 23
karpathy 5 hours ago 9 replies      
I was hoping that the article would also mention some approximate amounts you have to drink per day to start to get withdrawal effects. Are there no studies of this?

As one personal data point, I drink 2-4 cups daily and a few months ago I decided to suddenly stop just to see what happens. The results were very unexciting: I felt nothing. No headaches, no fogginess, no significant loss of alertness (although I did need more time to "warm up" in the morning from my groggy morning states). Otherwise I felt normal and after a week of unexciting I just went back to drinking coffee because it tastes good and works when you need it.

At least from my personal study then, it seems 2-4 cups daily is not enough to get any adverse effects.

magoon 3 minutes ago 0 replies      
As I read this article and thought to myself, "hmm maybe I should go cold-turkey for a couple weeks" since I certainly have been building up a tolerance, I got an alert for this email (I can't make this up):

From: My Starbucks Rewards <Starbucks@e.starbucks.com>

Subj: The next one's on us. In fact, it's already on your Starbucks Card.

terhechte 8 hours ago 4 replies      
I quit Coffee/Caffeine around twice a year for the amount of around 3 - 5 weeks for some sort of cleaning of the system. It is always awful, I get bad headaches, I feel tired, I can't concentrate, I basically loose 1-2 days of productivity. However, after that, I start slowly, only with one espresso per day, and then gradually move back up until I hit the 5 cups a day again, and that's when I quit cold turkey again.

I do agree that my body feels great when I'm not drinking coffee, however I like the taste of it so much, that I always have to fall back to it. Still going cold turkey twice a year feels good.

gruseom 7 hours ago 5 replies      
It's hard to believe, but caffeine withdrawal is classified as a mental illness in the recently updated DSM, the bible of psychiatry.


gruseom 6 hours ago 2 replies      
Voltaire famously drank something like 50 cups of coffee a day. When someone told him it was a slow poison, he replied, "It must be very slow."

That's the story at least. Don't know if it's true.

jebblue 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Caffeine has been found to have beneficial effects in fighting diseases like Alzheimer's:


...and for Parkinson's:


zmmmmm 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I've always maintained a strict rule that I don't drink any caffeine after midday, preferably not after about 11am. The theory being, this leaves my brain without caffeine for at least half of its time, which should thus prevent the brain modifications from setting in. However I've never had anyone confirm this is a valid approach, but it seems to work ok as far as I can tell.
phatbyte 6 hours ago 1 reply      
What's life without a little addiction ? ;)

Coffee is small dosages is not bad for you, many studies say that in fact it's healthy in a long term.

In my case, I drink my morning black coffee, and one espresso after lunch and another after dinner. It fixes my daily "addiction" and I don't see it interfering in my life like an actual drug would, say cigars/alcohol/etc..

jsonne 9 hours ago 5 replies      
I had a massive caffeine addiction (think 2 large cans of redbull a day) about a year ago until I quit cold turkey. It may be in my head, but after about a month off the stuff I felt like I had more energy than ever.
drakeandrews 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Interestingly, I've found that a significant part of my own addiction is behavioural. If (for whatever reason), I know I'm not going to be able to drink tea for a few days, as long as I have something to replace it with that has an appropriate amount of ceremony to it I don't really exhibit the withdrawal symptoms the article mentions.

On the other hand, if I just try and stop I feel useless for about a week (possibly longer, I've only stopped for that long once).

wissler 7 hours ago 4 replies      
Why quit cold turkey and invite suffering, when all you have to do is reduce your intake over time?
trumbitta2 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Recently I woke up no more able to hear anything from my left ear.

My hearing has always been higher than most people's.

Long story short, as part of the cure, the otolaryngologist prohibited me to even smell caffeinated coffee for like forever.

I instantly switched to decaffeinated coffee. The one I drink has half the caffeine it must have to be legally said to be decaffeinated.

I didn't experience a single effect of caffeine deprivation. Not a single time.

All in all, I don't think caffeine is a drug like others.I think is a drug to someone, and it isn't to someone else.

eeeeeeeeeeeee 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I drink 2-4 cups of caffeinated coffee each day and I really don't have any problems. I drink Red Bull every now and then, too. On days that I don't have caffeine I do feel "sluggish" but it's not awful. I enjoy the ritual of drinking coffee plus the taste.

I don't have any problems sleeping unless I have caffeine very late in the day. I get a solid 7-8 hours of sleep each day without any problems. So, I don't really see the reason to quit caffeine.

thinkersilver 4 hours ago 0 replies      
It would also be interesting to see research on coffee's effect on a wide range of personality types. I've quit and haven't used in ~19months. Back then I'd drink 3-4 espresso's a day. Quitting was one of the most unpleasant and unbalancing experiences of my life. I kept a log of headaches, moods and fatigue before and after going cold turkey; and it was a long while (months) before the fogginess, tiredness, muscle spasms and irritability became manageable.

The rush and withdrawal effects of coffee on individuals seems to me to differ widely. I have friends that only got a slight barely notable buzz from it, but for me, I got the buzz, pleasure and motivation from my morning espresso. It was my on switch.

I think when I began to realise my psychological dependency was a bit unusual, was when I noticed how jittery and restless I was before my morning espresso. The first sip would correct that and bring with it a strange zen-like calm; the hustle and bustle of the day would dim to a dull hum and I would regain my presence of mind and I could function again. I promptly decided to quit.

dsego 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I can do without caffeine, but I actually enjoy drinking coffee. I love the taste, the smell and the ceremony of preparing it. I like to make turkish coffee and espresso in my moka pot. I've also recently bought a french press. I don't smoke, so making coffee gives me a reason to take a break from the computer. Maybe I could switch to tea, but tea isn't as exciting for me.
Dewie 4 hours ago 1 reply      
The article doesn't seem to mention whether coffee is healthy or not. One thing is if it is addictive, but if it is healthy (or even if it just isn't unhealthy), I've got to ask... so what if it is addictive?


dhughes 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I never used to drink coffee it made me feel very jittery and short of breath with just a sip, the guys where I worked as a kid (14) went on coffee runs, make that I went on coffee runs, and once I got a coffee and whoa jittery! Although a Lebanese store owner used to give make Lebanese coffee for me when I was a 14 or 15 plus some nice pistachio baklava, the coffee didn't bother me as much, weird.

Anyway 20 years later I started shift work and when installing equipment when the building I was working at was being built we had coffee breaks more to keep warm in an unheated concrete box during a Canadian spring. Now I like coffee (?) but most often it's a latte, cappuccino, espresso or some coffee flavoured drink but sometimes I get four shots of espresso.

Now I have GERD and caffeine is a trigger, at worst I am vomiting up stomach acid and my throat feels like there is a golfball stuck halfway down it. Yet I still drink coffee :(

shekyboy 5 hours ago 1 reply      
That is why I created this http://www.getjumpstart.me/

We had our baby girl earlier this year, which led to sleepless nights and several cups of coffee during the day. My dad who has been practicing yoga for decades recommended a different route, which involved a 10 minute session involving deep breathing.

One thing led to the other and we built this app to help everyone who may have this problem.

Sorry for the shameless plug but seemed very topical.

NDizzle 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Neat article. I'd like to hear about the next step in the process. Why Aspirin cures the caffeine headache, but something like Tylenol will not.
JohnDotAwesome 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I read this as I sip my daily coffee.
europestup 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't like coffee, but when I need a kick I use caffeine pills. I only use them sparingly, they're very useful, and I don't find any drawback!
dmead 7 hours ago 0 replies      
quitting caffeine was way harder than i thought it was going to be. i still have doubts if i'll ever be as productive
fruitbatsh 9 hours ago 3 replies      
addiction or not, my code is more composed and creative under the influence of coffee
Vim 7.4 is released vim.org
178 points by sramsay  11 hours ago   77 comments top 14
sramsay 11 hours ago 3 replies      
:help version7.4 has all the details, but the two most significant ones cited are "New regexp engine" and "A more pythonic Python interface."

Of the former, the help file says:

What is now called the "old" regexp engine uses a backtracking algorithm. It tries to match the pattern with the text in one way, and when that fails it goes back and tries another way. This works fine for simple patterns, but complex patterns can be very slow on longer text.

The new engine uses a state machine. It tries all possible alternatives at the current character and stores the possible states of the pattern. This is a bit slower for simple patterns, but much faster for complex patterns and long text.

Most notably, syntax highlighting for Javascript and XML files with long lines is now working fine. Previously Vim could get stuck.

AlexanderDhoore 5 hours ago 3 replies      
I've been digging deeper and deeper into vimscript and also scripting vim with python. It's so amazing what you can do with just a few lines of hacky vimscript!

Today I made it so that every time I open a .markdown file, vim compiles it to html and opens it in my browser (using 'open' command on OS X). It also updates it automatically every time I save or leave insert mode.

I've also hacked together a python REPL inside a vim window. (Wasn't very hard, as vim has python built-in.)

Once you realise that Vim is just an extension of the command line, a new world opens up. Everything you can do from the command line, you can do from Vim. Throw in Python and the options are endless... So much POWER!!

BTW: I also discovered vim has MzScheme built-in, so don't go for emacs just because of lisp... Vim has a nicer lisp! Come to the dark side, we have cookies! (And lisp.)

rcarmo 4 hours ago 2 replies      
I've just updated my unofficial Mac OS X build (featuring alloy's native sidebar with a file tree):


It's a tad controversial, I know, but I find it vastly more friendly than NERDTree, and I know quite a few people were looking for alloy's builds a while back.

EDIT: screenshot, from an older build:


Millennium 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Bad form to require someone to install your program just to see your changelog, though. Please put up a page, or put the latest help docs online (the current set is still for 7.3) and link to the relevant section, instead of "see :help version7.4".
lcedp 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Script to assemble last vim from source under Debian/Ubuntu: https://gist.github.com/liverlin/5274228
StavrosK 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Very nice! Does anyone remember that nifty syntax highlighting script from a while ago that required a recentish version of Vim? I'll install 7.4 and want to try that out, but I don't remember what it was...
gaving 5 hours ago 9 replies      
I love vim, but:-



Which one would you want to use?

farslan 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Complete Changelog ftp://ftp.vim.org/pub/vim/patches/7.3/README (it includes all changes from 7.3 up to 7.4)

New patches for 7.4 will be in the patches/7.4 folder.

dasil003 8 hours ago 2 replies      
It doesn't appear as though MacVim for 10.7 and 10.8 is released yet though the 10.6 is:


wubbfindel 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Going to wait for the update to come via chocolatey:


lsiebert 3 hours ago 0 replies      
So if I previously compiled from source in ubuntu (which I did for YouCompleteMe) can I just recompile and install?
pearjuice 9 hours ago 3 replies      
And still no viable competitor to emacs.
kseistrup 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Is there a PPA for Ubuntu users (et al.)?
zhufenggood 7 hours ago 3 replies      
MacVim dont't have lion or moutain lion style native scrollbar still.
Super Mario Melodies (2011) losdoggies.com
55 points by kanamekun  6 hours ago   8 comments top 6
eddieroger 2 hours ago 1 reply      
So the power up sound is a sped-up version of the level end tune? That's cool. I knew Nintendo did a lot of tricky things to make the most out of those cartridges, but for some reason this one strikes me as particularly clever - even more than the cloud/bushes.
memset 1 hour ago 0 replies      
This is too cool.

Aside: what is that neat flash package used to play and display the notation? For example, when you hover over the "1-up melody" notation, each note plays.

Or the "play slow" feature of the "Jump" music's glissando?

Patrick_Devine 4 hours ago 1 reply      
I (somewhat recently) taught myself how to play the piano solely by playing Mario songs. There's a pretty decent easy piano book which goes through the entire canon.

Here's a link to the book on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Super-Mario-Series-Piano-Easy/dp/07390...

pit 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Los Doggies is an awesome band. Buy their music: http://losdoggies.bandcamp.com, and come see them if you're ever in the Hudson Valley!
mproud 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Do not forget Mario Piano (http://www.mariopiano.com) which has most of the same, including written score.
Why founders fail: the product CEO paradox techcrunch.com
116 points by kunle  9 hours ago   29 comments top 12
hga 8 hours ago 3 replies      
Joel Spolsky (remember him :-) gave us a great example of how Bill Gates did product reviews in the early '90s: http://www.joelonsoftware.com/items/2006/06/16.html E.g.:

"He didn't meddle in software if he trusted the people who were working on it, but you couldn't bullshit him for a minute because he was a programmer. A real, actual, programmer."

And the article details how those two were intimately linked.

OldSchool 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Let me gently remind everyone that one success or failure is not completely deterministic.

A single business failure or short-term success doesn't say much about someone as a founder. That his/her interest and drive can be made to fit the current market conditions plus still more relatively intangible luck in other areas factor heavily in any end result.

Founders who have successfully built and sold, say at least three companies for millions each over a period of years would tell me this person has a genuine talent for entrepreneurship.

Best to go for it, and if it takes off get all you can while it's there to be had, setting aside an untouchable personal nest egg as soon as you can. You should have a feel for the business so if a good offer comes along when your gut tell you that it has perhaps plateaued or peaked take that as an exit sign. If it doesn't take off don't be discouraged, know when to make that exit too.

pcunite 7 hours ago 1 reply      
As a founder, you are an idea, product, execution, sales, or customer service guy. Rarely do you start out good at all of those. You may never have them all. Get good help fast in the areas you fail at.

Founder's fail because they lose (or never really had) empathy for their customers or staff in these areas. If you can't feel what your users/staff feel, you can't properly navigate them out of their pain.

danbmil99 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Seems to me some founders are the right CEO for the first few years of a company, and should be replaced at a certain point in scale. Typically they transition to a CTO, board-level advisor, or chief visionary sort of position. Often, after a few more years, the founder will leave, either because (s)he hasn't been able to fully release the reins, or just because (s)he is bored and wants to start a new venture. [edit: or because the CEO is a paranoid psychopath and wants to scorch the earth, enforce fealty, and redact the founder from the company history.]
btilly 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I believe that http://consultingadultblog.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/why-foundi... has much more actionable advice for founders who do not wish to be fired by their own boards.
andrewflnr 7 hours ago 3 replies      
Am I correct that part of the reason you don't "communicate direction" in informal settings like ad hoc conversations is to make sure you've thought everything through? I just imagine talking with someone and suddenly having a cool idea that would necessitate a significant change in direction, and not being able to talk about. So I've suddenly clammed up because I need to think and can't do it out loud, and meanwhile my people might be working on the wrong thing.

Would it be consistent with this article's philosophy to discuss it in that context as "maybe it would be a good idea to..." rather than "this is what we're doing"? I haven't actually run a company myself so there could be all kinds of subtleties I'm clueless about... Actually, the question is not whether there are any but which ones are relevant.

sixQuarks 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Sounds like he's talking about Groupon when he mentions the guy that took a company to $1 billion in record time.
rwallace 6 hours ago 2 replies      
Lots of good advice, but I'll disagree with the bit about insisting on formal documents instead of e-mail - might work for some people but if you're not one of those people, you might end up getting paralyzed by the task of writing formal documents for everything. If e-mail is what works for you, use it. Bill Gates used to give a lot of guidance by e-mail and Linus Torvalds still does.
rdudekul 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Product CEOs are intimately familiar with their products including design decisions, code quality etc. This creates an attachment to get a little too involved in implementation details even as the company is growing beyond say 100 people. One way to get a bit detached is to be deeply involved in hiring people and coaching technical leadership. By thinking at a meta-level it is not hard to arrive at some process that can be documented that teams can self-manage well enough for product CEO to let go.
chromaform 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Does anyone else find the author's stylistic choice of the generic 'her' throughout this article a little weird? I'm all for using language to erode stereotypes about the types of people involved in tech enterprise, so in theory I should applaud TechCrunch here, but I feel like the use of the female pronoun in an article describing a hypothetical CEO as a failed product is perhaps a step in the wrong direction.
auggierose 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Loved the post. I'll keep that advice in mind.
yuhong 5 hours ago 0 replies      
From the comments: "i wounder how successful is the obvious approach- grow or bring in a strong and trusted VP Product?"
Why isn't there a Kickstarter for killing patents? galenward.com
57 points by EAKoester  5 hours ago   49 comments top 13
chasing 33 minutes ago 0 replies      
The flaw, here, I think, is that's it's still prohibitively expensive. If it takes hundreds of thousands of dollars to invalidate a patent, we're probably talking hundreds of millions of dollars to invalidate all of the patents that could be used for trolling.

That's part of the problem, right? For each patent we hear about being killed, there are ten, twenty, or a hundred more waiting in the wings to take over. And why wouldn't there be, since there appears to be little financial downside for the trolls.

Anyway: Having the community spend millions upon millions upon millions to fix this problem would just be another financial drain on the industry. This is a situation where the government needs to step in and do its job, because there's a busted system and the players involved are simply not capable of fixing it without the government's help.

JohnHaugeland 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I mean, (disclaimer: I'm an engineer there) you could use Crowdtilt for something like that. "Put together $x to fund lawyers to defeat patent Y" or "I know how to undermine Patent Z and I need to raise $x to make it work" or whatever.

I don't actually know enough about patent law to understand how this would need to be done, but if it's just a question of putting together money to fund professional counsel or research, you don't need something specific to this; there are several things in the existing crowdfunding ecosystem that can cover your needs.

And I am suspiciously going to neglect to mention the other ones.

But seriously, you can do this on a bunch of existing platforms, if it's just about putting money together, and if what you need is some kind of white label solution, so that it's focused around specifically that topic, you can do that on CrowdHoster (disclaimer: still crowdtilt.)

VandyILL 4 hours ago 3 replies      
I really don't understand what you're advocating or what mechanism you hope to develop.

You basically want to put out bounties for law firms to take cases against patents? What patents would they target? What adversarial setting would they defend / attack patents in? Couldn't this result in a race to the bottom about what things people want in the public domain - ie. a bunch of people petitioning to have a law firm attack Amazon's One-Click patent? Basically if someone made something desirable enough, then an efficient market would funnel enough money into trumping their patent through your concept, destroying whatever incentive the company had to make something valuable.

I could be off on what your suggesting, so i apologize.

While there are lots of flaws & advantages in the patent system, one major opinion I have is that there should be some sort of use/active-pursue requirement. Ie. you can't claim property ownership over an idea unless you're actively putting it into product / trying to figure out how. Or maybe a shorter length of the patent (ie. 5/10 years), unless you're actively pursuing it.

This would be similar to adjustments in other types of property law. Ie. a lot of property law is based on incentives to define ownership / acquisition in a means that most benefits society. For example in the old property case Brazelton, they didn't award ownership to the person who found a sunk ship & squatted on it, but rather awarded ownership to the person who came later but actually had the technology to lift it.

galenward 5 hours ago 0 replies      
The EFF is probably the closest to doing something like this, but they picked the patents and there isn't a way to support killing just one: https://www.eff.org/patent-busting
blueblob 4 hours ago 1 reply      
I think Ask Patents is supposed to be like this. HN already posted an article about this a few weeks ago.


notahacker 3 hours ago 0 replies      
The simplest market-based solution for killing troll patents I can think of involves anti-troll entities effectively using the troll's tactics against them: mass mailing people whose product might be accused of violating a dubious patent with a no-win no-fee offer to strike down the patent. Contributing to a pool to fight a patent is potentially even cheaper than settling it, especially if the quality of the patent and the NPE's incentive to defend it is low.

(of course the less good side of this solution is that the entity best placed to play the role of white knight is one actually linked to the troll who knows exactly who has received the litigation threats. That's probably where trusted bodies like the EFF should get involved)

mdsteph 4 hours ago 4 replies      
I don't agree that killing patents is the right approach, how about this as an alternative: The site's admin team could identify patents of particularly useful or disruptive potential and users could pledge a value to bring this patent into the public domain, and their pledge could remain valid for some reasonable period of time, the site could then put forward the aggregate pledge and buy the patent with the view to releasing it. Perhaps a price could be agreed upon up front. The same could be done to bring creative works like books into the public domain.
jm3 4 hours ago 1 reply      
RPX[1] is doing some interesting things with Patent Troll Insurance, but it's really only a viable option for huge corporations who want to buy into the troll-defense patent pool.

[1] http://www.crowell.com/NewsEvents/AlertsNewsletters/all/Cour...

microcolonel 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Sounds like (+ AskPatents money), I'm up for it.Also potentially creates market for patent lawyers to clear their consciences.
marincounty 3 hours ago 2 replies      
1. Agree2. Though about this a long time.3. Believe their should be three tiered fee system for patents.4. Low income entities--first two patents free.5. High income entities--pay 2x current fees.6. Anyone abusing the patent system would be barred fora certain amount if time, or life.
Kliment 2 hours ago 0 replies      
The boring, frustrating answer is that Kickstarter forbids it.
pearjuice 5 hours ago 4 replies      
Why isn't there a Kickstarter for curing cancer?
VandyILL 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Why not Eminent Domain for patents then?
Text-based terminal screencasts showterm.io
220 points by daw___  14 hours ago   41 comments top 22
chjj 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Author of term.js/tty.js[1] here. Nice work. You guys should keep an eye on term.js. The version you're using is slightly old and actually contains a bug (now fixed) wherein all events will become unbound if the reset control sequence is received. I'm also adding fixes for a few other things currently, such as double-width character support, which has been a problem in the past.

[1] https://github.com/chjj/term.js

tibbon 8 hours ago 1 reply      
One thing that I think could help out a bit would be to show key commands as they are pressed as well. I'd love to use this to show my students software development things (using vim or emacs for editor), but showing them the keypresses I make as well is critical for some text editors newbies.
telemachos 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I agreed with the people saying that a confirmation before uploading would be helpful, so I went to file an issue.

It turns out there is one there already. You can weigh in here: https://github.com/ConradIrwin/showterm/issues/12.

EDIT: A follow up: It turns out that there is a slightly hidden and indirect way to abort uploads. Start the program as `showterm -e`, and it will offer you a chance to edit timings before uploading. (This is intended to give you a chance to trim out long pauses.) At that point, if you can cause your editor to abort with a non-zero status, the upload aborts. For Vim users, the gem's author points to exiting with `:cq`.

See here: https://github.com/ConradIrwin/showterm/blob/master/bin/show...

grk 13 hours ago 1 reply      
http://ascii.io/ does the same and was around for a while, but showterm's text selection works better.
bilalq 11 hours ago 0 replies      
This is such an incredible idea. I can already see tons of use cases for it. CLI apps can easily demo themselves through this. It even recognizes backspaces!

I'm using a patched font with a git branch symbol in my prompt[0]. As expected, it only displays on devices that have that font installed. Colors don't match my actual terminal either, but that's just a minor problem.

[0] http://showterm.io/e49d0900602104ae4850f

prezjordan 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Pretty cool, but unfortunately it does not work with my PS1 [0]. Looks like any PS1 with a shell call in it won't work.

[0]: http://github.com/impromptu/impromptu

plg 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Q1: is there a way to download the resulting screencast so that it can be viewed off the network?

Q2: is there a way to do this without having to upload anything? e.g. pipe to a file locally?

daw___ 12 hours ago 0 replies      
paddy_m 3 hours ago 0 replies      
awesome. I tried a while ago with terminalcast.com. hopefully this gets more traction. integration with native terminal emulators would be great, so you can start recording at any point in time.
beshrkayali 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Wow! This is quite awesome!

Would love to have live streaming capability for this (though I can't think about a reason to use it yet, but I'm sure it'll be handy.)

rfnslyr 2 hours ago 0 replies      
If I want to go back on your site, it keeps me on your site. Absolutely infuriating, remove this.
q_revert 14 hours ago 1 reply      
the ability to copy/paste is particularly useful in this case, given that that's what most people end up doing anyway.. particularly for more complicated commands
nkuttler 13 hours ago 1 reply      
I think the script should ask for a confirmation before uploading stuff. Somebody could get distracted and forget that script runs.
pdkl95 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Nice - it automagically translates "CSI 38:5:FG m CSI 48:5:BG m" properly.( http://showterm.io/6ed840f381fd81a881176 )

This will be very useful! That said, I have to second the concern above that it should ask for confirmation before uploading; just auto-uploading could be an in issue if somebody accidentally pastes sensitive information into the terminal.

kolev 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Here's another interesting library by floobits: https://floobits.com/help/floomatic/
reustle 12 hours ago 1 reply      
I've been thinking of better ways to do programming tutorials and something like this is roughly what I had in mind. Thanks for open sourcing it!
daw___ 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm doing some tests [1] with showterm's screencasts embedded in a web page and, argh, apparently you can't control the autorun feature, pretty annoying.

I think that if it had a set of "play"/"pause"/"rewind"/"forward" buttons, tons of websites would benefit (for docs, examples, tutorials, etc).

[1] https://googledrive.com/host/0B9lMEsFXwv0ZLVh5dkRfdmw1UnM/

riskable 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Gate One has had this feature for ages. You can export your terminal logs to HTML payback files or as traditional flat logs. You can then share them however you like... Web, email, whatever.

It works with full screen apps like tmux, vim, htop, etc. It even plays back images (if the user output them to the terminal).

voltagex_ 10 hours ago 1 reply      
So if you can work out how to add a red to your prompt, this'd be a really good way to indicate recording.
hngiszmo 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I wonder about credentials leaking to the service. When I show off connecting to a server that uses login/password, will this also be recorded and uploaded or only keys that actually change the ui?

How about ncurses apps?

xSwag 13 hours ago 1 reply      
What happens if I run something like htop?
kaichanvong 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Would love to see most viewed showterm videos! :)
How Bad is DOM Interaction Really? andyshora.com
64 points by andyshora  7 hours ago   27 comments top 9
ender7 6 hours ago 1 reply      
The real hits to performance do not come from "I did X writes" or "I did Y reads", but rather from situations such as "I did X writes interleaved with Y reads, which caused Z reflows". Or "I needed to update a tiny part of the screen but triggered a full-page repaint". Or "I'm doing complex animation X, but am not triggering hardware acceleration."

Reflows are very expensive. So are repaints. Chrome dev tools will allow you to detect issues with both of those.

malandrew 6 hours ago 1 reply      
No discussion of repaint and reflow? You can't leave a discussion of those out when talking about the cost of DOM manipulation.

You absolutely can touch the DOM, but should do so through and interface that manages or eliminates repaint and reflow.

ihsw 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Most DOM performance issues arise from jQuery (mis)usage, and fortunately there is documentation for that:


It's brief and quite informative.

kellegous 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I mean no offense to the author, but speaking of the DOM as if it is uniform in terms of performance seems silly. Pretty much every piece of API in the DOM has its own semantics and performance expectations (even if it's presented as a JavaScript property). Reading Element.offsetLeft, for instance, is a whole different world from reading Node.nodeType.

Just looking at their implementations in WebKit should tell you why:



pcunite 6 hours ago 5 replies      
After 10+ years as a performance leaning C++ desktop app developer I'm looking for any and all tips to make JavaScript (jQuery too) work in perceivably faster ways. I'm use to threading database calls, using message queues, and views updating themselves from caches. Its a new world for me and feels somewhat like a step backwards.

Here I come html5!

chime 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Did not know Underscore comes with a debounce function. I always implemented my own.
bkjelden 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Caching jQuery selectors may result in a speedup, but as with all caching systems I've run into nasty, hard to trace bugs that were the result of stale cached jQuery selectors.

So I'd add the caveat to caching jQuery selectors that standard premature optimization rules still apply.

Semiapies 6 hours ago 1 reply      
These timings are all remarkably random, even with 10k repetitions.
eagsalazar2 5 hours ago 0 replies      
TL;DR: Writing is slower, debounce resize event handlers, cache references to dom nodes or jquery selections.

Really the resize thing is sort of bs also because it is such an incredibly rare thing to handle (99% of all apps will never ever require handling resize except to test responsive designs)

Learn Emacs and Lisp with simple, bite-sized screencasts emacsbites.com
100 points by ColinWright  11 hours ago   32 comments top 6
eyko 8 hours ago 3 replies      
I like the approach (two birds with one stone) but the first bitecast has left me the impression that I've learnt some emacs lisp and very little emacs. Since total newbies are supposed to be the audience of this first bitecast, I'll give my opinion as a total newbie...

From the video, here are the features of emacs that I've learnt by just watching:

1. Emacs will read your environment variables. You can override them as you'd expect.

2. You can override your HOME directory by setting the environment variable to any path. From my point of view, it seems like too much work - will emacs use your current working directory? Seems like it doesn't.

3. C-x C-e evaluates.

Here's what I would have liked to learn, that I didn't:

1. What shortcuts is the author using throughout the video?

2. Basic emacs functionality: moving around, opening / closing files, saving files... Granted I know some movement shortcuts because they're commonly used in other contexts (C-a / C-e for begin/end of line, C-f, C-b to move cursor forward/back, etc), there are many other tips we could use as newbies.

3. Does emacs only evaluate lisp? Will it evaluate Python? Javascript?

4. Although I know I can extend functionality, I'd love to learn about the ecosystem (plugins or modules, what tools, if any, exist for plugin management, etc).

terhechte 7 hours ago 4 replies      
I'm still in the process of switching from Vim+Extensions to Emacs+Evil+Extensions. What I say now mostly applies to the Cocoa version of both editors, such as MacVim and Emacs/Cocoa: What I like so much about Emacs so far is the better editor component: Text can be a little bit rich:

- Inline images are kinda supported - There can be different font sizes - There can be styled (bold / italic) text.

So a good syntax definitions could have different background colors for code, different foreground colors, different text sizes, different text weight / italics.

I find this much more pleasant for the eye. In vim, all text has to be the same size and all text has to be the same font. In emacs, you can even (with some hacking, as I remember) have different color themes for different windows/views.

If I'm looking at an editor all day long, I want it to look pleasant. Period. Have a look at https://github.com/jasonm23/emacs-soothe-theme to see how beautiful it can look.

Apart from that, the other reason why I'm trying to switch is that I wanted to become better at lisp and I really wanted to have an editor that I can shape like a tool to suit my needs. And I could never get the hang of vimscript. So if I already learn a new language Lisp sounds like a better investment than vimscript.

So far, I'm happy with emacs, though I can't use it for all my coding yet. Most notably, it lacks a good Objective-C code completion. On vim, there's YouCompleteMe, which does a formidable job of connecting with clang complete. I started porting youcomplete me over to emacs a couple of weeks ago but had to stop due to other priorities. I'm at a point now where I can get the correct completions in emacs in a popup when I'm over a symbol or at the end of a property (self.???). However, I still have to solve a couple of issues and it is not ready for usage yet which is why I've never shared it. If somebody knows a bit of emacs lisp, python, and objective-c and wants to help out here, I'd be glad to share this project on Github.

btipling 7 hours ago 2 replies      
One problem for a vim user like me is emac's terrible first use experience. The delete key doesn't delete, it opens up help [1] and quitting is very difficult [2]. Also what people don't know at first start is which key is their meta key. A key that is super important in emacs. That it gets this first basic experience so terribly terribly wrong turns a lot of people off within a few critical settings of having run the thing.

[1] http://www.gnu.org/software/emacs/manual/html_node/emacs/DEL...

[2] http://www.ugrad.cs.ubc.ca/~cs219/CourseNotes/Unix/emacs-sta...

diminish 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Does this run on elnode, the web dev based on elisp?
unknownian 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Does Emacs support or have any extension that "tabs" the right amount of spaces based on the programming language/filetype? I use Vim and it annoys me that this isn't built-in, nor can I find any good script for it. I know I can write it manually, but I want it for all languages.
wging 8 hours ago 1 reply      
fyi, the 'why' link is broken due to a naming mismatch.
How I Created the Iconic iPhone Sound jacklinstudios.com
248 points by anewcolor  17 hours ago   55 comments top 17
Centigonal 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Wow -- when I first opened up the article, I thought "it's just a major third and an octave, how could coming up with that possibly be interesting?"

While reading about the things he did, though, I realized that I do a lot of similar things (queueing up lots of combinations, throwing instruments at a line until something works) to achieve really simple results. I'd always chalked that up to "not being that great at programming/composing/what-have-you." I guess others go through that as well. That's reassuring!

afandian 15 hours ago 3 replies      
Brilliant. Did I miss something or does the article not actually give us the sound he ended up with?
tmuir 10 hours ago 3 replies      
Iconic? Thats equivalent to saying the Beatles were iconic by coming up with a catchy band name. These things become part of collective consciousness because they are widely disseminated, repeated, an generally unoffensive. There is no special sauce in the name Beatles, nor in this sound. Both were elevated by other unrelated factors, the Beatles' music, and Apples prevalance in the computer marketplace. As long as they didnt name themselves The Motherfuckers, The Beatles would have been successful by just about any name. As long as it wasnt something offensive or grating, the sound of a cd finishing burning/phone notifying would be recognizable by millions, regardless of the sound itself.
oftenwrong 11 hours ago 1 reply      
The blog Music Thing once did a short series of posts called "Tiny Music Makers" that gave some background to the creation process of famous small sounds.

My favorite quote from it, about the Intel Inside chimes:

  In less than three seconds, they wanted "tones that evoked  innovation, trouble-shooting skills and the inside of a  computer, while also sounding corporate and inviting". 

joezydeco 8 hours ago 3 replies      
Great story. Now can we please, seven years into the existence of the iPhone, please can we get some new ringtones into the default library?

"Digital" gives me post-traumatic seizures now. Swear to god every other iPhone I hear is using it.

jcurbo 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Great article. Reminds me of this awesome breakdown of the music from Super Mario Bros.: http://www.losdoggies.com/archives/1302
lysium 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Nice read! I never noticed that the 'disc burning completed' and 'installation succeeded' events use the same sound.

I like how the author is not like "I could have made so much money if I licensed it!".

Dewie 12 hours ago 2 replies      
I don't see the big deal with coming up with an incredibly simple ascending arpeggio with a percussive kind of timbre. It's not like you need any kind of technique or technology in particular. I'd think it is "iconic" only because it is heard so often and that it has an instrumentation that stands out enough. The melody doesn't sound so iconic anymore when it is featured thousands of guitar arpeggios.

Or was the point that actually making a specific sound with computers alone used to be hard?

What's more interesting to me is the iconic ring tones - the mellow Nokia ringtone taken from Francisco Trrega - Gran Vals, and the incredibly annoying-sounding Sony Ericsson ringtone.

I guess the lesson is that a lot of roads leads to the same place, even if the road is over a big mountain with a glacier instead of driving around it (using Lisp to permute three notes...).

alanfalcon 13 hours ago 1 reply      

I'm so far removed from having any musical knowledge or ability, but I was faced with a similar challenge of creating a small sound (in my case for Snake Quest, a game I was helping to create, coincidentally also in 1999). And what did I do?

  Now a normal person would have just started playing around on the keyboard. 
Guess I'm a normal person. Sat down at a midi keyboard I'd connected to my iMac (I had never-realized ambitions of using that keyboard to learn to play) and just hit a few keys at random. Then apparently added an awful clashing reverb effect (IIRC I also used SoundEdit at the time).

My sound: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/6692701/Sound%20Test.m4a

shinratdr 14 hours ago 0 replies      
This sound has a personal history for me, I would always turn up my speakers full blast so I could play games in another room and know when my CD was finished burning. When Tri-Tone shook the house, it was ready.

I was a little disappointed to see it in iOS as I would have chosen it for that exact purpose, but now it had the caveat of causing everyone to reach for their phone including me.

donut 2 hours ago 0 replies      
In the episode of the excellent podcast "99% Invisible", there is a story of how the iOS unlocking sound was created:


crusso 3 hours ago 0 replies      
same "completion" sound in the installer, for the sound that happens when an install completes

Yeah, damn them for that. I remember checking my phone on several occasions when background installs had finished. Eventually I had the installer up when the sound went off and I had a nice WTF? :)

arocks 16 hours ago 4 replies      
Just shows how hard computer-generated music was, at one point in time. Today, it is ubiquitous and requires almost no technical computer knowledge.
philwelch 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Apparently someone else at Apple shared his conclusion that the marimba was the best instrument for this kind of alert, since the default ringtone for receiving a call is "Marimba", featuring a slightly longer tune.
brendoncrawford 13 hours ago 2 replies      
Is anyone else annoyed by the inaccurate use of the name "tri-tone"? I'm guessing a real tritone would be far too anxious as a phone sound for most western ears.
aa0 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Seems like over engineering and a good reminder that stress can be avoided through simplicity
beloch 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I've always hated that sound. Now I know who to blame!
Math Advances Suggest RSA Encryption Could Fall Within 5 Years technologyreview.com
67 points by codesuela  10 hours ago   52 comments top 5
Mithrandir 9 hours ago 3 replies      
I think this comment from djao has some additional insights:

"It would have been nice if TR had asked an academic researcher for comments. After all, if discrete logarithms are ever broken, it'll likely be by academic researchers.

Diffie-Hellman is based on discrete logarithms, but RSA is not. RSA is based on integer factorization, not discrete logarithms. Integer factorization and discrete logarithms share some common techniques, but neither is known to be based on the other, and opinion is split as to whether they are truly equivalent. I can't think of a single respectable academic researcher who thinks that the latest results threaten RSA.

The new discrete logarithm attacks require the existence of a nontrivial intermediate subfield, and work best in small characteristic. They do not apply to the most common instances of Diffie-Hellman in deployment (no subfields, large characteristic), and we currently have no realistic approaches that could make them apply. A similar story actually played out with ECC some 10-15 years ago, when Weil descent attacks were new. Those attacks on ECC also require an intermediate subfield, and 10 years of follow-on research has been unable to sidestep this requirement. To date, there is no indication that Weil descent can be used on the most common instances of ECC being deployed today, and nobody is going around saying ECC is at risk from new algorithms. (Quantum computers, yes, but not new algorithms.)

It is possible that the new discrete logarithm attacks will extend to cases with large characteristic and no intermediate subfields, but I personally think that it is extremely unlikely. I would not put the chances at "small but definite." It would be a major surprise if this happened. Even if it did, RSA may still be safe. I can't speak for others, but my sense of the crypto community is that most experts agree with my assessment."

ceautery 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Isn't there an article like this every year, always long on FUD and short on math?
madaxe 9 hours ago 3 replies      
I'd say "switch to ECC", but the fact that the NSA are strong proponents of it rather makes one wonder why.
beagle3 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Anyone know if DLP for a group generated by a primitive polynomial over GF(2) has had any advances in the last few years?

I haven't seen it referenced anywhere in the last 10 years, but it's a version of DH that is much easier to implement in hardware than over integers, and the DLP was (last I checked) believed to be at least as hard, and probably harder, then the equivalent integer problem.

kenster07 6 hours ago 2 replies      
This isn't very different from saying P = NP will be proven within 5 years. Sounds like linkbait.
Customer Discovery Hacks: Youve Been Miyagi'ed ekoester.com
19 points by galenward  5 hours ago   1 comment top
EAKoester 4 hours ago 0 replies      
In my mind, Steve Blank makes a great Mr. Miyagi. But then does that make Eric Ries the guy who says, "Sweep the Knee Johnny?"
Pirate Bay Releases Pirate Browser to Thwart Censorship torrentfreak.com
98 points by derpenxyne  13 hours ago   34 comments top 6
teddyh 11 hours ago 3 replies      
The link shown in the screenshot is http://uj3wazyk5u4hnvtk.onion/ but I thought TPB's "TOR hidden service" link was http://jntlesnev5o7zysa.onion/ . I wonder what's going on.
agumonkey 9 hours ago 0 replies      
They should have named it after a real pirate ship :http://www.noblesandcourtiers.org/famous-pirate-ships.htm

Delivery sounds fine.

angersock 10 hours ago 1 reply      
I've frequently heard complaints that bittorrent folks using Tor put unhelpful strain on the network--is the distribution of this browser going to be a problem in that way?
northwest 12 hours ago 0 replies      
> They are also working on a special BitTorrent-powered browser, which lets users store and distribute The Pirate Bay and other websites on their own.

Great idea.

If this came as a plugin, it would probably spread faster.

(This is btw how I think any next-gen social network should work - no more central servers, everything distributed.)

LiveTheDream 9 hours ago 2 replies      
Potentially stupid question how is this different from the Tor browser bundle?
alan_cx 12 hours ago 5 replies      
Cool, but why not Opera in off-road mode?
Racket v5.3.6 released racket-lang.org
35 points by racketlang  8 hours ago   10 comments top 2
racketlang 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Full list of changes for 5.3.6: https://github.com/plt/racket/commits/v5.3.6

This was a bug-fix release. In Typed Racket, one set of fixes adds support for struct:, define-type, and require/typed at the REPL. The DrRacket bug with [ on some keyboards was also fixed. For the rest, see the log above.

test-it 6 hours ago 4 replies      
Any Racketeers over here?
Synthetic Biology and 3D Printing medium.com
4 points by zfrenchee  1 hour ago   discuss
How the Government Killed a Secure E-mail Company newyorker.com
87 points by Expeck  6 hours ago   22 comments top 8
robomartin 3 hours ago 3 replies      
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That TO SECURE THESE RIGHTS, GOVERNMENTS ARE INSTITUTED AMONG MEN, DERIVING THEIR JUST POWERS FROM THE CONSENT OF THE GOVERNED, --THAT WHENEVER ANY FORM OF GOVERNMENT BECOMES DESTRUCTIVE OF THESE ENDS, IT IS THE RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE TO ALTER OR TO ABOLISH IT, AND TO INSTITUTE NEW GOVERNMENT, LAYING ITS FOUNDATION ON SUCH PRINCIPLES AND ORGANIZING ITS POWERS IN SUCH FORM, AS TO THEM SHALL SEEM MOST LIKELY TO EFFECT THEIR SAFETY AND HAPPINESS. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

(emphasis mine)


Do yourself a favor and take a few minutes to read the full document. Now, if you really care, play with it a little, modify the Indictment to reflect current events and relevant grievances.

Frankly, it scares me. This is a 237 year old document that feels like we might consider writing it almost verbatim today. I have to say that I have never lived in fear of what my country might become. Now, with the actions of this and the prior administration I really don't know what to think. Obama and his regime have accelerated our descent into something indistinguishable from what I remember as the country I genuinely love with the deepest corners of my heart and mind. It really saddens me to the core in a manner that is hard to express with words.

This is now the domain of tears, not words.

Who's fault it this? It's that of the political fundamentalists. Those among us who choose not to think critically and, instead, vote like sheep, year after year, always supporting their ridiculous parties, Democrats and Republicans either out of self-interest or ignorance. This is on you and nobody else.

You ought to be ashamed. All of you. You bunch of assholes. You now have a front seat from which to enjoy the destruction of our Nation from the inside out. This is almost like a slow motion train wreck happening right in front of our collective eyes. Will you do anything to help fix it or will you sit quietly watching the train wreck? Will you break ranks and vote the morons out of office in a united show of political force by the people and for the people. Will you hold all those you supported accountable for their lies and actions? You probably wont. You will probably continue to vote like sheep, supporting your petty fucking causes, missing the forest for the trees.

Fucking cowards.

LoganCale 4 hours ago 2 replies      
The only way I can imagine secret jail time working is by publicly charging that person with a crime they didn't commit to cover up the actual reason. This is similar to what is alleged with the CEO of Qwest, who would not cooperate with the NSA and was then charged with insider trading and is still in prison.

However, what possible reason would the person have to remain silent about the real reason they're in prison once they're already in prison?

hga 4 hours ago 4 replies      
"If Lavabit lost its appeal to the F.I.S.C.R., and still refused to coperate, it would run a serious risk of being found in contempt; thats how most courts punish those who disobey its orders. The FISA court is no different. According to the courts rules of procedure, a party may be held in contempt for defying its orders. The secret court may consider many punishmentssecret fines for each day of noncompliance, or even secret jail time for executives. The idea behind civil contempt is that you hold the key to your own cell. If you comply, the punishment stops. But hold out long enough and your contempt may be criminal, and your compliance will not end the jail sentence or displace the fine."

Any claims the FISA court is not a real court fail hard if the above is correct. Which is pretty much has to be for the current system to work.

joelrunyon 27 minutes ago 0 replies      
How is Mega not all over this?

I feel like this would be Kim Dot Com's favorite thing in the world to do (sticking his finger in America's legal eye). Why haven't they rolled out a privacy focused email service. Their tagline is the "the privacy company."

rogerthis 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd say that all this gov secrecy is right in the basis of the USA, from its start. Just remember that almost all founding fathers were members of the free masonry secret society.

-- Oh, he is on conspiracy theory now! Let's ignore him.

AsymetricCom 36 minutes ago 1 reply      
Didn't Lavabit shutdown voluntarily?
wildgift 2 hours ago 0 replies      
This now gives an edge to all the big internet companies that offer messaging services that aren't based on email.
Meta (YC S13), The Crazy AR Glasses That Aim To Do What Google Glass Cant techcrunch.com
236 points by L4mppu  1 day ago   82 comments top 32
aray 24 minutes ago 0 replies      
I'm curious how far away the display visually renders? Do you have to focus on very close objects to see it sharply (and then can't focus on faraway objects)? Does it rest in a medium-ish focal zone (10-30 ft?)?

I'd love a AR display, but I'm incredulous if it forces me to take my focus off of anything else.

tyre 1 day ago 8 replies      
Look like a great idea and technological advancement, but the biggest thing holding back Google Glass is not that it lacks feature X.

Glass will be held back because most people don't want to look like geeks. Meta's next design looks like it's from an 80's Sci-Fi movie. I'm not trying to be an asshole, but there is no way I could take someone seriously wearing those things.

m_ke 23 hours ago 6 replies      
Did anyone see actual demos of this thing in action? Meron came to my computer vision class this spring at CU and didn't have anything to show other than the CGI demo that has been up for over a year. The newer videos are also mostly just renderings and the only working examples that were posted are around 10 seconds long.

I wish them the best of luck but it seems to me like they're really overselling themselves.

nlh 1 day ago 2 replies      
Awesome awesome awesome. I'm super psyched about this stuff. I'm going to pre-order a pair.

Anyone (from Meta maybe?) have any details on the SDK? I see "write code in Unity3D on a Windows PC" from their Kickstarter, but curious if that's the latest word...

mikemoka 1 day ago 0 replies      
some other interesting videos about Meta that get more into the details:



jlgreco 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Their stylized logo looks like it says "METH".
sgustard 1 day ago 0 replies      
Also this article: http://news.cnet.com/8301-11386_3-57596204-76/metas-meron-gr...

Gribetz and his band of less than 25 employees are ensconced in the Los Altos mansion, filled with mattresses, cables, and aluminum bins of takeout food ..."We are hacking 24-7," Gribetz said, "and making less than McDonald's wages."

lightcatcher 22 hours ago 3 replies      
> Tracking blank white objects be it a piece of paper, or a big blank wall is one of the hardest computer vision challenges around.

Most of what I know about computer vision comes from deep learning approaches, but tracking a white object doesn't seem like it should be too difficult. Is tracking a large white object actually "one of the hardest computer vision challenges", or is this just a garbage quote?

coopdog 23 hours ago 0 replies      
The lazer tag could be incredibly awesome, since you can actually see all the lazers coming at you, and with none of the range and safety issues that come with paintball. You could conceivably play it as a team event in your own office using just the glasses, or scale up to full real-time war simulation with the right cameras and software.
xianshou 1 day ago 1 reply      
Also, alternative name:

Singularity shades.

EGreg 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Are they already out?

Some of the people here saying Meta Glasses look geeky are missing the point. They can be used at work in a myriad different ways

* previewing 3d printings can be one of them, with Tony Stark-type visualizations more generally

* collaborative games in offices around the world after work, where you can do things like fire projectiles or see the same objects or stats only if you have the glasses on

* metainformation overlaid for visitors to museums etc.

coffeemug 22 hours ago 1 reply      
The concept video looks awesome. A few weeks ago I went hiking and thought to myself "wouldn't it be great if Google Glass had an app that showed me information about the flora and fauna I'm seeing? Oh wait, it can't yet." It looks like Meta might be able to.

When looking at new technologies there are always two questions: is it worth doing and can it be done. The answer to the former is obvious here. I don't know nearly enough about the state of hardware to make a call about the latter, but kudos to the team for unabashedly attacking such a huge problem and trying to make the future happen faster.

monsterix 23 hours ago 0 replies      
It's very interesting to note that there are many hardware (The serious ones, remember!) startups in the latest YC portfolio. I think it'd be pretty amazing to be around such an innovative bunch and do your work, even if one is doing a just software. :-)
solistice 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is really exciting, that someone has turnt this into reality (I was just daydreaming about it).

The top somewhat reminds me of the kinect, or are you guys using bifocal vision? If you are using the latter, does it work outside?

I think I'm way to excited about this, and having to wait for a teardown to find out what tech powers this beast is making me giddy like a 5 year old in a candy store.

verroq 21 hours ago 0 replies      
There quite a contrast between HN's reaction now and 3 months ago


imkevinxu 1 day ago 0 replies      
Brilliant and ballsy. It's refreshing to hear a startup go after long epic visions and to be able to gather so many people to work on it already.

Looking forward to seeing their future

hendzen 1 day ago 0 replies      
I just took out my credit card and bought a pair. Looking forward to developing on their platform.
shabble 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've been hoping for a long time that Mann's EyeTap stuff could be more widely available, so here's hoping they deliver something amazing (and maybe affordable too, in my dreams)
xianshou 1 day ago 1 reply      

Where are our flying cars? Who cares. We have Meta glasses.

FrankenPC 7 hours ago 0 replies      
"You need hungry, imaginative and foolish people in their 20s to do this, and we have that" --Article about Meta from USAToday

F'k you ageists... Notice how they need the old guy who invented the AR concept (Steve Feiner) to give them any credibility.

foobarbazqux 1 day ago 0 replies      
The technology here is groundbreaking, but personally reality is amazing enough as it is without augmentation. I honestly can't see myself wanting to wear any iteration of these glasses in my lifetime, even if they were undetectable contact lenses.
mike_esspe 16 hours ago 0 replies      
According to specs, field of view is 23 degrees. Concept video seems to exaggerate the visible portion of AR.
helloTree 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I am not sure such glasses will take off. You have always a fucking HUD before your eyes and I am not sure everybody likes that (I never tried it but I even do not like normal glasses and prefer contact lenses as I feel more free that way).

I would appreciate something like a small beamer a lot more where you can project a UI on a suitable surface (holograms seem to take longer ;) and control it either by a pointing device or gesture control.

s_q_b 1 day ago 1 reply      
Wow, didn't realize Meta was a YC company. It's a very interesting product.

I watched the demo on Kickstarter. I couldn't put my finger on it, but something seemed off about the object occlusion. Was that FX or real tech?

RRRA 19 hours ago 1 reply      
If we can get AR with the quality of the occulus rift, gesture control with very fine precision and an emotiv like layer for added thought interaction, for 300$, I think we might slowly be getting somewhere...
7cupsoftea 1 day ago 0 replies      
These guys are from the future.
suyash 1 day ago 1 reply      
The SDK works only on PC's as per their tech spec. Wonder if it is all C# based or some MS technology.
visualR 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Is the price of $667 a play on what Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak sold the original Apple I for?
flgb 23 hours ago 0 replies      
What kinds of wireless comms will the device support? The specification only seems to mention USB and HDMI interfaces?
jermaink 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I really like what you created!
hydralist 19 hours ago 0 replies      
john carmack is watching gentlemen, get ready for a job offer ;)
bgrub55 1 day ago 0 replies      
Can't wait to see them in action for myself!
Lavabit's founder: 'If You Knew What I Know About Email, You Might Not Use It' forbes.com
327 points by DanielRibeiro  14 hours ago   151 comments top 14
beedogs 12 hours ago 1 reply      
My guess (and he intimates this in his comment about backdoors in Chinese products) is that the US government asked him to basically break his entire system so they could do MitM attacks and ship unencrypted communications directly to the NSA.

The conversation probably went something like this:

    USG: Install this machine in your datacenter.  Route all traffic through it.      Accept installation of this new fiber demarc and allow us access to     configure this new router.  You do not need to know where this     traffic is going.  If you refuse, we'll slap you with a contempt order     and throw you in federal prison.  If you tell anyone about this, we will     slap you with a contempt order and throw you in federal prison.        LL: Get fucked.  I'll shut everything down instead.
The truly terrifying thing about this scenario is that they're likely already doing this elsewhere on a huge scale.

ibejoeb 7 hours ago 3 replies      
Zimmermann on the shut-down and elimination of Silent Circle email: "Its not obstruction of justice if you do it before justice comes calling."

I'm sure he and his lawyers aware, but we've got this cool new thing called Anticipatory Obstruction. It'd probably be a pretty far reach, but stranger things have happened. See http://www.perkinscoie.com/files/upload/LIT_11_06FunkFeature....

bengrunfeld 10 hours ago 4 replies      
In America, were not supposed to have to worry about watching our words like this when were talking to the press, Binnall said. (from article)

I am a new immigrant to America. I came with my wife from Australia 8 months ago. All my life I heard about how the US supported the freedom and rights of its people, and now that I'm here, I find that that was a sick joke. This place is a KGB state on the brink of happening.

malandrew 9 hours ago 3 replies      
Once you've been contacted the first time under an NSL letter, what stops you from choosing to broadcast the entire duration of the ordeal.

government: "Here's an NSL."recipient: "Cool deal. I will respect it and not mention it to anyone, but be aware that from this point forward I will always have a device that will broadcast every interaction verbal or electronic that anyone has to me publicly live in real-time to the Internet. You have the right to remain silent. Do you understand? Anything you say may be used against you in the court of public opinion. Do you understand? If you wish to continue to communicate with me, be aware that any statement that you or anyone from your office makes to me will instantly and irreversibly become part of the public record."

On top of that you can hand them a special email address for their use only and you can delete your own personal email. You can also wear a shirt with friends and family that informs them in big bold letters that everything is a matter of the public record.

This would essentially serve to shield you entirely from secret communication by placing a "force field" of publicity around you. There might be some law somewhere that prohibits this tactic, I cannot imagine how they would counteract this tactic legally so long as you always greet them with disclosure that your are recording everything. I imagine that they could try to force you somehow to interact with them in a location that prohibits recording devices.

Keyframe 9 hours ago 2 replies      
Maybe it's time for a new type of email service. Something along the lines of two way auth, private key on cell phone, public on server. Cell phones have cameras now, so you could generate a QR code or something which your auth app could look at and generate a response in order to generate a unique token to gain access to your message(s). On the server side guys could have a deadman switch which would purge all data if not heard from administrators for 12 hours. That way they could delete data and not be in jeopardy of obstructing any government or whomever is seeking to gain access. Bonus points could be had for not hosting in US too.
gst 11 hours ago 0 replies      
There are already some existing Bitmessage gateways such as http://bitmsg.cc/. Looks like using something like this would be a better solution for a Lavabit-successor: Use a secure messaging protocol and then only use gateways to send messages between the traditional email world and your own secure protocol.

Of course, the gateway could still log your messages, but the same security issue applied to Lavabit. The main advantage is that once the gateway has forwarded your message, no one can force the operator to retroactively decrypt the message.

Bitmessage sounds like one potential solution for this, but it has some scalability issues. Using RetroShare would be another approach.

ezl 7 hours ago 1 reply      
email is a tool. you can use it for what it works for.

it doesn't have to be used for all communication.

assume a world where all your emails are archived in publicly accessible databases. you've lost privacy, but could it still be a useful tool?

send birthday emails. send your friends funny cat videos.

you don't have to use email for everything you used it for before -- you can just use it in different ways. i would still like to be able to near-instantly communicate with relatives across the world.

i know bacon clogs my arteries and making bacon has a terrible environmental footprint relative to eating only grains, but i love it.

chmike 12 hours ago 3 replies      
What is problematic with mail ? It's because it's in clear text most of the time and easy to tap with MITM attack?

What about an alternate messaging system addressIng these issues ?

mvkel 12 hours ago 4 replies      
So why doesn't he share with everyone? If he's willing to shut down his service in the spirit of security, why not expose details in the spirit of transparency?I can't imagine all of it would be subject to a lawsuit.
mtgx 10 hours ago 1 reply      
He should contest the NSL gag orders. They've already been declared unconstitutional at least 3 times, but they managed to trick the justice system by changing a few random words in the law (with the help of Congress), in effect creating a "new" law that was wiped clean of any "unconstitutionality" ruling.

The NSL is still unconstitutional in principle, it's just that it needs to be contested every time they change the law to escape the ruling. Hopefully this time Congress will stop playing along and creating new laws for them.

Watch this and you'll get it:


dombili 10 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm not a programmer so this might be a stupid question and I apologize in advance but, why not open source the service?
vishal0123 11 hours ago 2 replies      
> He doesnt have the technological capability to decrypt his customers data but if someone could intercept the communication between the Lavabits Dallas-based servers and a user, they could get the users password and then use that to decrypt their data.

Is it really what I understand from this or LL is trying to say something else.

kintamanimatt 12 hours ago 4 replies      
For those without showdead on, there's an insightful comment from beedogs:

My guess (and he intimates this in his comment about backdoors in Chinese products) is that the US government asked him to basically break his entire system so they could do MitM attacks.

The conversation probably went something like this:

    USG: Install this machine in your datacenter.  Route all traffic through it.      Accept installation of this new fiber demarc and allow us access to     configure this new router.  You do not need to know where this     traffic is going.  If you refuse, we'll slap you with a contempt order     and throw you in federal prison.  If you tell anyone about this, we will     slap you with a contempt order and throw you in federal prison.        LL: Get fucked.  I'll shut everything down instead.

Why beedogs is shadowbanned is beyond me. A quick glance through his comment history doesn't indicate he's done anything to deserve it.


Hey beedogs: I can't reply to you directly because you're hellbanned. Send an email to PG. I'm not usually a fan of posting people's contact information, but in this case it's everywhere anyway - pg [at] ycombinator.com

digipaper 12 hours ago 4 replies      
One the companies closed and deleted all their paying customers emails? That's bad imo.
Help Thy Neighbor and Go Straight to Prison nytimes.com
35 points by nkzednan  3 hours ago   19 comments top 6
rayiner 1 hour ago 2 replies      
The gaps in Kristof's narrative really highlight how he's trying to spin a story out of this:

1) Why didn't he dispose of the shotgun shells? Surely someone told him that as a convicted felon he wasn't supposed to possess firearms or ammunition?

2) What led him to be suspected of the burglary?

3) He notes: "Then Young became a suspect in burglaries at storage facilities and vehicles in the area, and the police searched his home and found the forgotten shotgun shells as well as some stolen goods." He keeps mentioning the shotgun shells, but never returns to the issue of the stolen goods found in Young's house.

I agree with the sentiment of the article. Minimum sentence laws are wrong. Felon in possession laws are wrong. The disabilities applied to convicted felons after they've served their time are wrong. The U.S. imprisons too many people, especially in states like California where there is an toxic amalgam of scared suburbanites, police and prison workers unions, and for-profit prison companies that have created an unsupportable situation.

BUT: the fact that the author has to resort to presenting a story that's as much of a mixed bag as Daniel Young's should give you some pause. It should give you some perspective of the scale of the problem.

Kristof's exaggeration is unnecessary ("totally innocent people sent to jail just for helping their neighbor!"). I once had to watch a sentencing hearing for a class. The guy was a scumbag. Drug dealer (not the harmless neighbor kid who deals pot mind you), had two kids with two different women but didn't support either of them. One of the moms came to testify that he was trying to be more of a father to her kid recently and that imprisoning him would destroy that. The judge handed down I think a 15-20 year sentence based on the raft of prior enhancements (I think he had assaulted his other baby momma, did some burglaries, etc). He was not an innocent guy. At the same time, it was unnecessary to sentence him to 15-20 years. Our sentences are just too damn long, even if they are mostly applied to scumbags.

larrys 1 hour ago 3 replies      
Point by point:

"He later found, mixed in among them, seven shotgun shells, and he put them aside so that his children wouldnt find them. "

Ok so why did he "put them aside". Why is this taken as a fact anyway?

"He was trying to help me out, Mumpower told me. My husband was a pack rat, and I was trying to clear things out. "

Why does this matter at all? The fact that he was helping her and the fact that he held on to the shells has nothing to do with anything.

"Then Young became a suspect in burglaries at storage facilities and vehicles in the area, and the police searched his home and found the forgotten shotgun shells as well as some stolen goods. "

but then:

"It didnt matter that the local authorities eventually dismissed the burglary charges. "

So we find out that he was enough of a suspect to be charged with burglary. (Not a big deal but not the same as "walking through his house they saw shells" or anything like that. Apparently even though he had committed no crimes since 1996 there were circumstances that made him a suspect in a burglary.

"So the federal government, at a time when it is cutting education spending, is preparing to spend $415,000 over the next 15 years to imprison a man for innocently possessing seven shotgun shells while trying to help a widow in the neighborhood. "

What does education spending being cut have to do with anything? What does the amount they are going to spend have to do with anything? What does the fact that he was "innocently possessing" have to do with anything? I didn't know that that mattered and of course where is the proof that he was "innocently possessing" or is that just a conclusion that Kristof came to?

" With less than 5 percent of the worlds population, the United States has almost one-quarter of the worlds prisoners. "

Why does this matter at all? So other countries don't lock up as many people. Who cares about a comparison like this other than to try to get people all emotional about this case (clearly the point quite obviously "ah the injustice of it all").

"Almost everyone seems to acknowledge that locking up vast numbers of nonviolent offenders is a waste of money. California devotes $179,400 to keep a juvenile in detention for a year, and spends less than $10,000 per student in its schools. "

Who are the "everyone" and why does it matter comparing prison spending to education? They are two different things. People get locked up in prison when they break laws. Stick to the argument of the law part don't say "we could feed 10000 hungry children if we didn't lock this guy up".

"Granted, mass incarceration may have been one factor in reduced crime in the last couple of decades; theres mixed evidence."

The NYT "to be sure" phrase. I'm surprised there is only one of these in the opinion.

" One careful study of 35,000 young offenders by Anna Aizer and Joseph J. Doyle Jr. reached the startling conclusion that jailing juveniles leads them to be more likely to commit crimes as adults. "

"One study" - speaks for itself. So what. One study.

Etc. Etc.

Sure it's an opinion piece. I know. Just pull at the heart strings with a compelling story and we will all fall for it.

hga 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Our betters love gun control and don't believe that anyone committing a felony deserves to possess any, or ammo in this case.

Given how harshly "citizens" with no records are often treated for the same thing, I have mixed feelings about this case. E.g. any "citizen" of Massachusetts doing this without having a state Firearms Identification Card would be going to jail for 1 year, no judicial discretion allowed. One of the first cases was a teen who borrowed the jacket his father had used for hunting, which had a leftover shotgun shell or two.

anigbrowl 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Surprisingly, this article omits to mention that the DoJ is asking the US Sentencing commission (and independent statutory body) to dial back mandatory minimum sentencing: http://www.justice.gov/criminal/foia/docs/2013annual-letter-...
kaonashi 1 hour ago 1 reply      
So a white guy gets targeted by the laws meant for minorities, and all the sudden the walls are falling down?
Retric 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Cases like this are one of the reasons pardons exist.
The Animals are Also Getting Fat marginalrevolution.com
56 points by yummyfajitas  9 hours ago   26 comments top 8
ericb 39 minutes ago 1 reply      
The quality of most of these comments makes me sad. I see snark, refusal to consider new hypothesis in light of previously held beliefs, and rejection of the idea of entertaining other hypothesis (let's dismiss them as speculation). Here's a hint--coming up with new hypotheses is speculating. Then you test. As long as you don't hang your hat on the hypothesis as a new truth without testing it, speculating is great.

Is there some subconscious need to make fat people's fatness a character flaw? I'm trying to understand the intransigence against considering what looks like a great area for research. I'm wondering if this is a case of cognitive dissonance. The reductionist calories in/calories out approach seems disingenuous to me. If large portions of the population began breathing 10% more over a long period, I wouldn't assume they were greedy-breathers, I'd look for a medical cause.

This is an intriguing finding. Particularly that animals on controlled diets are gaining weight. (even if the control is simply what is available). Forgetting the reductionist view, hunger is a drive, and depends on a self-regulating system. If something is interrupting the equilibrium in animals, either type of food, type of calories, environment (not necessarily the global environment, it could be local, like room temperature or something else), or foreign agents, isn't that pretty interesting, especially if it is happening to animals on controlled diets with exceedingly similar environments?

hristov 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I think this probably has to do with the sugar in our diets. Animals that live in human environments tend to eat refuse from our food, and our food has been getting more and more packed with sugar lately.

The explanation about animals having access to more food does not work. In the wild, if there is more food, you will simply get more rats. Wild animal populations tend to rise to match their food supply without giving much opportunity for animals to get fat.

Unfortunately, the sugar explanation does not quite explain the lab rat observations. It is possible that the lab rat food has been augmented by sugar without the scientists noticing. AFAIK lab rats tend to be fed commercial food mix that is purchased from various suppliers.

The other explanation fits the lab rat results much better but it is much scarier. It is possible that due to GM crops and/or cattle food supplements we may have released some new hormone in the food supply and/or the water that makes us and animals fat.

hga 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Maybe we're all sensing at some low level that the next Ice Age is coming. We are overdue one....

This hypothesis could be tested in one way by looking to see if whatever is happening decreases as you get to the tropics. If so its strengthened, if not it doesn't necessarily say one way or another.

toble 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't know what pet food was like in the past, but today it seems to be dominated by flavoured products made of cereals, rather than meat or offal.
dkarl 4 hours ago 0 replies      
The study authors supply plausible and completely ordinary explanations for weight gain in each of the populations. Why speculate beyond that? No reason except that it's "intriguing."

Though it is certainly not necessary that there be a single explanation for all of these population level increases nor even a single explanation for each individual population, it is intriguing to consider whether there are any factors that could conceivably account for weight increases in all of these populations.

In other words, just more fuel for speculation about some alien contaminant, a pathogen or pollutant, that we can blame for the obesity epidemic. We have all the explanations for human obesity that we could possibly need, but we continue to wish for some cause that does not operate through our behavior.

AsymetricCom 6 hours ago 2 replies      
Obvious: There is more food per individual.

Why? Increased productivity of farming. Have you ever seen a modern farm? They are just as impressive as any modern sky scraper or any other engineering accomplishment, probably more so for logical reasons. Once you throw in the logistical side, even more. The technology being used for traveling salesman problem is fascinating and cutting edge.

In fact, it's well known that there is plenty of food for everyone on Earth, but the logistics aren't quite up to snuff.. The result is lots of wasted food. Logistics is not a popular science for career-minded scientists to get into, because the costs need to stay low, thus they aren't making a lot of money. But they are well funded and working with the same type of stuff you'd see in the Oil Industry. They're supporting an entire society with their contributions. This is part of the reason I hate Monsanto so much, but that topic is for another thread.

Humans get all the food they need, so they stop forging, same for our pets, so they stop hunting. So do the rats, so they stop competing. Etc, etc, cascading down to many species.

pavel_lishin 6 hours ago 3 replies      
I wonder what a study of animals not in a human environment would show, although I wonder how difficult it would be to find such an environment.
X4 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Wrong logic, so wrong.. rats eat what? Exactly, they eat our processed foods, including high fructose corn sirup and other metabolism altering ingredients. So much hype about animals getting fat? Prove that monkeys of different types in their unaltered natural habitat become obese or fat, then I'll start critically listening.
Getting started with Clojure aheusingfeld.github.io
74 points by ColinWright  15 hours ago   37 comments top 7
Mikeb85 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Easiest way to get started:

1) Install Leiningen (download script, place in usr/local/bin), then "lein new project".

2) Download Clooj (standalone .jar), run with "java -jar clooj"https://github.com/arthuredelstein/clooj

3) Open project directory in Clooj.

It will automatically set up the REPL, and you can run expressions just like in EMACS/Light Table, it has code completion, source browsing, etc... Super easy to set up and run, much easier than any of the alternatives.

This Clojure environment is by far the easiest programming environment I have ever set up. Far easier than even Python or Ruby on Linux, definitely easier than anything EMACS-related. Leiningen is super easy to use from the terminal, and Clooj is super easy to set up and use.

gw 10 hours ago 1 reply      
For what it's worth, I am actively improving Nightcode, an IDE written in Clojure that bundles Leiningen. Last night I released 0.0.6. We have a long way to go before it's stable, but more feedback from users is the best way to get there.


StevePerkins 12 hours ago 2 replies      
I wish the Clojure guys would come up with some clear and direct messaging around its license. When I started exploring Clojure one weekend a few months back, I found that it's the only language I've ever seen that uses the Eclipse Public License. In turn, the EPL is the only license I've ever seen where the FAQ is even more ambiguous and confusing than the license text itself!

I did some sniffing around to see what the practical effects (if any) are for applications written in Clojure, and on their own mailing list the topic is a bit of a mess:


Everyone seems to agree that forking or modifying Clojure itself would trigger all sorts of license requirements (e.g. GPL-incompatibility, you might need to use the EPL, etc).

However, nobody on their mailing list seems to agree on what the licensing means for normal applications that happen to be written in Clojure and use its library at runtime. Is that a "derivative work", or not? Does the fact that you write applications in Clojure have any bearing on the licenses that you may choose?

I know that it's somewhat possible to mix the EPL with almost anything... because I've worked with some Aptana IDE's that are based on Eclipse, yet use GPL v3 with several paragraphs of caveats and exceptions. (http://www.aptana.com/legal , http://www.aptana.com/legal/aplgplex) Not sure about GPL v2.

I just don't want to have to think about this stuff AT ALL as an application developer who isn't making changes to the programming language or core runtime library. The murkiness on their own mailing list has definitely been a deterrent from my exploring Clojure more seriously.

coolsunglasses 14 hours ago 3 replies      
IntelliJ + LaClojure isn't great.

I'd recommend Emacs + nRepl or Eclipse + CounterClockWise instead.

I realize IntelliJ is better typically but in this case it's not.

dominotw 7 hours ago 1 reply      
When ruby hit the mainstream we would see these kind of 'getting started' atricles once in a while but very very rarely. Would it be safe to assume that since functional thinking is such a departure from traditional OO that it warrants more 'getting started' ?
edem 14 hours ago 3 replies      
The fonts on this page are very hard to read. You may change them to something les blurry?
dschiptsov 14 hours ago 2 replies      
It is advisable to begin with Scheme (SICP) or Racket (HtDP2) to internalize the underlying ideas behind Lisps, because in Clojure everything is messed up due to kitchen sink syndrome.

After proper Scheme training (CS61A) Clojure looks awkward and messy but very useful, as it supposed to be due to its "productivity beats clarity/conciseness" philosophy of scripting languages, such as Ruby.

Dear Google: Please fork WebKit (2010) opera.com
47 points by yuhong  12 hours ago   13 comments top 5
manojlds 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Google listened, and Instead of having one more engine that bolsters open web, we also had to lose one because Opera changed as well.
w1ntermute 9 hours ago 2 replies      
Hasn't this happened with Blink[0]? And now Opera is going to be using Blink as well.

0: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blink_web_engine

Navarr 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I think it'd be hilarious to see what happens to the "open web" if Google changes the vendor prefix in chrome to -blink- instead of -webkit-
ghostdiver 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Flash player(common denominator for all browsers) still runs in separate system process, so I does not look like overall security of web increased at all.

That's not big suprise tho, if you are required to have Adobe Flash player installed in order to use Youtube.

There is also entire advertisement ecosystem built by Google, which relies on flash player... and I don't mean ads here, but all the data about users which Google is harvesting through it thanks to Google Toolbar which is bundled with Flash player.

diminish 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Dear Opera: Please fork Blink. ..or better not.
       cached 11 August 2013 01:02:01 GMT