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Appmaker mozillalabs.com
88 points by co_pl_te  2 hours ago   41 comments top 21
JoeCortopassi 2 hours ago 6 replies      
"Oh wow, that seems neat. I should check that out"

clicks link on Hacker News

"Hmm, not sure what this is about. I'll just hit the 'Start' button"

Hits start button. 'Add a button' dialog pops up

"That seems pretty straight forward, I'll just add drag that thing labelled 'Button' from the left window pane, on to what looks like a smartphone"

Drags button over. Gets 'Congratulations' box

"Wow, this is really intuitive so far. With a little effort, something like this would be a real game changer in the mobile space!"

New dialog pops up: 'Add a randomcat component to your app

Looks around for anything labelled 'randomcat'

"Huh, thats strange. I wondered if it's labelled something else and I'm just missing it"

Looks for 'random', 'cat', 'Cat.random()', and any other possible combination

"Wtf mate?"

Gives up and leaves

davidascher 22 minutes ago 0 replies      
Whoa. Definitely wasn't ready for HN-style exposure.

As bmoskowitz pointed out we have some rough words about the project. For this group, I'd in particular point out the roadmap and CONTRIBUTORS.md documents on the github repo:

  https://github.com/mozilla/appmaker/blob/master/ROADMAP.md     https://github.com/mozilla/appmaker/blob/master/CONTRIBUTING.md
I wrote some earlier words at https://github.com/mozilla/appmaker-words/wiki, but that's quite possibly out of date.

At the highest level, we're exploring whether it's possible to make a tool that lets non-devs (_not_ you folks!) who currently see their phones as a pure engine of consumption, as a place where they can create something fun or useful.

It's very, very early software, and it's public mostly because a) we kinda don't know how to do anything else, and b) we're going to use early and frequent user feedback to correct the aim on the product.

If people are interested, we're more than happy to entertain questions either here or on github, irc, the mailing list, etc.

Oh, and yeah, many of the components are broken, brittle, etc. This is still just a prototype.

That said, we're getting positive reactions from people close to our target audience, such as high school teachers, people teaching others how to make their first app, etc.

I'm sure we have loads of x-browser compatibility bugs, as well as known issues with respect to accessibility, absent localization, no great mechanism for contributing new components, and many more.

Oh, and the gamification bits in particular were really just testing the gamification APIs -- the levels we have in place are deeply unuseful =).

davidascher 3 minutes ago 0 replies      
Hey HN, if you're curious about this, I suggest you watch this video (http://youtu.be/RaRIdLgZTPI) which shows a quick demo, and/or:

- opt out of the levels thing on first load, it's not ready. - instead, jump straight in the designer and run through these few steps:

- drag & drop a button, click on it, notice it sends out messages on the blue channel- D&D a counter, notice that it listens to a blue channel, and that the button clicks cause it to increment (that's how we "program" these components- D&D another button, make it emit on a different color, and configure the counter to "count down" on that color. That way one button increments, the other decrements

- D&D the fireworks component, configure its "shoot this many rockets" to a third color (and clear "shoot rocket); make the counter emit on that color. Enjoy the fireworks show.

- Other components that work well for understanding things are:

- ratings widget - input widget connected to a map widget will center the map on a place name (although HN will likely exceed the limits on our usage of the OSM server; need to setup another one =() - flickr widget can do both topic and location searches

Let us know if you have ideas for components we should build (or submit a PR!).

The publish button will create "hosted apps" which can be installed on FirefoxOS, Firefox for Android, and incidentally recent builds of Firefox desktop, although the focus for Appmaker is very much mobile apps).

bmelton 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Since nobody can seem to figure it out -- As near as I can tell, this is a not-quite-fully working app-maker demo, that 'publishes' to static HTML and Javascript files hosted on Amazon S3.

The gamified GUI is a little bit confusing, and you end up with a resulting 'app' (that sometimes takes a few reloads to work, oddly) with an Install button that doesn't seem to do anything yet -- but which I suspect will be a link to save 'as an app' icon to your mobile phone's homescreens.

It's not fully baked, at the moment, and it appears that some of the widgets aren't loading, but it's definitely a neat proof of concept, that was either leaked early, or is for some reason swamped under load, or something.

bmoskowitz 57 minutes ago 0 replies      
From someone peripherally involved in the project:

This is an open source project, community-built from the beginning. It's pre-alpha. Pre-pre alpha, even. There has been no public launch or fanfare. That's why you'll see no blog posts or explanatory text yet, why many of the components don't work, and why the tutorials aren't built.

But it's cool to see that it's already found its way to HN.

It's meant to be like Hypercard for mobile apps.

If you want to learn more, check out the repo:


or the vision stub / wiki:


glesica 32 minutes ago 1 reply      
Doesn't seem to work in Chromium... I just get a "loading" message in the bar on the left side.
geuis 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Sadly, as it seems to be the comment I leave most these days, it doesn't work on mobile browsers. At least mobile Safari.

I understand that there are some interfaces that aren't meant for mobile. There are some that aren't meant for desktop. But at a minimum, you have to make some small effort to give a message to those visiting from unsupported platforms. It shows that you care.

If it doesn't seem like you care about the experience I'm having with your product then I have no motivation to go back and try it again.

leokun 2 hours ago 2 replies      
I couldn't figure out the Cat.random thing. I'm pretty sure I could code a Firefox mobile app from scratch, but that UI is confusing, though pretty.
MarcScott 1 hour ago 0 replies      
The tutorial crashed for me, but after a refresh I made an app that took a photo and stored it in a gallery. There seems to be a lack of useful widgets, and few ways to customise them. It certainly has potential though, and I'll be showing some of my students on Monday
sejje 2 hours ago 0 replies      
This entire experience was quite opague. I can't figure out if it's a game or some GUI for basic apps or what.

I lost interest fairly quickly, and half of the components seemed broken.

hardwaresofton 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Maybe change the icon (think it's still using the default express icon), and the drag/drop doesn't work for me:

Google Chrome30.0.1599.66 (Official Build 225456) OSLinux Blink537.36 (@158213)JavaScriptV8

hayksaakian 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Interesting. What I'd like is a chrome packaged app to Firefox app porting guide.

That'd seal the deal for me.

ricksta 2 hours ago 3 replies      
Looks neat, However, the widgets are not loading for me.
netghost 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I assume it's not quite done. I liked the channels for publishing things, lots of little rough edges, but it seems like a neat idea in general.
Gravityloss 1 hour ago 0 replies      
It's clearly being built right now. I get different pages at different times.
arnley 2 hours ago 2 replies      
I could publish a very simple app, but I'm not sure where I can "install" it? Mobile Firefox maybe?Anyway, pretty neat visuals but a bit of lack of documentation right now. But I assume it's not yet ready to use as they did not communicate on this right now.
hiyou102 45 minutes ago 0 replies      
This reminds me a lot of Android App Inventor. The main difference is that app inventor is a bit more advanced programming wise.
pearjuice 56 minutes ago 0 replies      
So how long does it take before the widgets are loaded?
devd 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Cool - Created a simple app and pushed the app to Firefox on Android
devd 1 hour ago 0 replies      
nice Signals/Slot mechanism, similar to Qt. The color of the line needs to be matched to connect a signal to a slot. Customization of signals/slots seems to be not supported atm.
uxwtf 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Tried it out, one star rating does not work for me.
On comparing languages, C++ and Go grok.se
59 points by abelsson  2 hours ago   31 comments top 6
tptacek 1 hour ago 4 replies      
I've been following this whole business card raytracer story and wonder if people might be missing the forest for the trees.

It would be a little nutty to suggest that Golang 1.1 is going to give optimized C code a run for its money. Nobody could seriously be suggesting that.

What is surprising is that the naive expression of an "interesting" compute-bound program in both languages are as close as they are.

Most C/C++ code --- the overwhelming majority, in fact --- is not especially performance sensitive. It often happens to have performance and memory footprint demands that exceed the capabilities of naive Python, but that fit squarely into the capabilities of naive C.

The expectation of many C programmers, myself included, is that there'd still be marked difference between Go and C for this kind of code. But it appears that there may not be.

This doesn't suggest that I'd want to try to fit Golang into a kernel module and write a driver with it, but it does further suggest that maybe I'd be a little silly to write my next "must be faster than Python" program in C.

icambron 1 hour ago 2 replies      
> Personally, Im hoping for Rust.

That was my thought while reading article; Rust seems like the answer here. I'm coming from the opposite direction than the OP: I'm unwilling to give up the expressiveness of Ruby and friends in order to write micro-optimized C++ code, and I'm hoping Rust will give me the best of both worlds.

frozenport 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Leave Britney alone!

I don't see why people feel that C++ needs to be replaced, when I write C++ I have many levels of scope - and while dangerous it is not impossible and the empowerment makes me feel like a god.

Programming is not incremental. If we spend all day writing a python back-end and when it doesn't give the performance numbers that day was a complete waste. When I think about C++ I know that a code written in C++ will take me 100% of the way - even if it takes longer to write.

tinco 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Ofcourse, if you want your site to be up when it has 25 upvotes on hacker news, it's best not to worry if your web application is written in C++, Go or in Ruby (or sadly but likely, PHP), but that it doesn't actually have to spawn hundreds of processes and hundreds of connections and allocate hundreds of megs of ram to accomodate your visitors.

So, please just use nginx to host some static html files for your blog, and fetch your discussion boards asynchronously..

AYBABTME 1 hour ago 2 replies      
I think all there's to get from these posts is that:

Presumption: Writing Go code is more fun than C++ code.

Demonstration: You can write performance Go code that's not too far from C++ code.

Result: Cool, here's a more fun than C++ language I can use as a step down the complexity path when I need performance.

Or like tptacek said.

Jayschwa 1 hour ago 1 reply      
If you want to "poke at the processor" with Go, its toolchain makes it pretty easy to use assembly in your package.
I emailed the CEO of T-Mobile and he killed my contract bizjournals.com
67 points by amerf1  2 hours ago   39 comments top 10
gkoberger 1 hour ago 5 replies      
The title seemed negative to me (I thought he complained and the CEO said "we're done with you!").

But really, the T-Mobile CEO was helping -- the author wanted out of his contract (well, out of the $200 fee).

(EDIT: The original title was "I emailed the CEO of T-Mobile and he killed my contract, no joke")

rjzzleep 1 hour ago 2 replies      
It's funny how people immediately mock someone's sense of entitlement. You know what? Sometimes you indeed are entitled to something and the only reason you don't is because everyone else just accepts the sewer everyone is in.

I once received an apology letter after helping my mom bringing her complaint to the governing board of deutsche Bank. Because god forbid she was right and that douchebag bank worker wasn't.

Indeed just wow. I wish people would complain more, when there is a need.

What do I mean with when there is a need? That's the thing. Were not supposed to be machine(even though a lot of people wish for the opposite). Were supposed to evaluate the choices given to us and act accordingly.

And for all of you running a small business and thinking of the douchebag client you don't want. I apologize, because I know exactly who you're talking about and you're right.

001sky 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Reporter: For $200, I will write a nice article about you.

CEO: Deal

tempestn 12 minutes ago 1 reply      
If he didn't have one already, Legere is certainly going to need an assistant to triage his personal email now.
lucb1e 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Well this is nice of T-Mobile and shows they do somewhat care about customer service. I can chime in and add my experience with the English (American?) division of T-Mobile: they responded to a mention at a social network while I was not even really meaning to ask them a question, I merely mentioned them. The Dutch division is not as great, but oh well.

Still, I'd say it's how it's supposed to be. In the Netherlands it'd be illegal to upgrade contracts like this. You can't start charging more without giving the user an option to quit the contract for free (or continue the old contract for the old price). Also after the contract period (one or two years), consumers have a right to cancel the contract each month, also for free.

Asterick6 1 hour ago 0 replies      
It's a good thing that John Legere places customer care/service as a high priority, but it seems like you didn't take the time to figure out the problem yourself.

Instead of "getting frustrated" and taking the issue to the CEO, you could have spent some time and effort to resolve it yourself.

Also, this post doesn't provide enough information about your issue and why you had a misunderstanding. If it did, then it would be more meaningful.

derefr 1 hour ago 0 replies      
> "But how is that so? I have had a full upgrade since November."

Usually, phone upgrades are offered starting two years into a three-year plan. They don't want to let the contract expire before they try to reel you back in with an upgrade; that'd be incredibly dangerous for retention. They want to offer you the phone while you're still good and legally bound to them, but when you feel like you're almost out.

skittles 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I want to like T-Mobile, but I'm in the middle of the US with access to 100+ Mbps Internet but no T-Mobile signal in my house. T-Mobile is pushing itself hard in my area, but they just don't have the coverage.
Keyframe 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Article/blog post (whatever it is) reads like a PR article, which it probably is.
ulfw 2 hours ago 7 replies      
We live in a world were people feel entitled to bring their little contractual issues all the way up to the CEO of a company with over 30 MM customers. So you either believe a) you're above those other 30 MM and can just do your CEO 1:1s if need be orb) you foolishly believe that the CEO of a major corp has the time and willingness to deal with customer support for 30 Million people.

Just wow

Preventing 'layout thrashing' wilsonpage.co.uk
112 points by makepanic  6 hours ago   29 comments top 12
icambron 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Can someone explain why the "Quick Fix" even works? It seems like if having the DOM updates separated by one statement triggers two reflows, so would two consecutive updates. Or more generally, what does "batching DOM updates" really mean?

Does the browser just pay attention to whether each line of JS updates the DOM and queue up its updates until it encounters one that doesn't? Doesn't fit my model for how the JS engine fits into the browser. I guess I don't really know, but I always assumed it just reflowed on a fixed timeout.

Edit: Nevermind, I get it: it's that the intervening statement reads from the DOM, thus triggering a flush. I just missed that in the article.

andrewaylett 19 minutes ago 0 replies      
This seems to be the equivalent of Flex's 'callLater()', which was the bane of my life back when I did Flex, as it almost completely decouples the called code from the calling code -- very difficult to work out what called the code if it's failing and very difficult (without good comments) to know why it was added.

We had a rule: If you think you need a callLater(), you don't need to use callLater(). If you still need a callLater(), you need to get someone to come and look at your code now to tell you that you don't need to use callLater(). If you both agree that you need to use a callLater(), you've still got to justify it at code review time.

The biggest difference I can see at the moment is that Flex doesn't recompute layout until the end of the frame, even if you do read from it. JS does recompute, so you need to defer for performance rather than (as in Flex) correctness. In either environment, the sane thing to do is to avoid having to defer your calls at all. It may be more work now, but your sanity will thank you later.

As an example of how bad things can get, Adobe's charting components would take more than 13 frames to settle rendering, because of all the deferred processing. This is a good example of how deferring your calls can actually cost you quite a lot of performance.

patmcguire 1 hour ago 0 replies      
If you have the default sidebar on Ubuntu 12.04 and a 2560-pixel wide screen, and give Chrome exactly half of the width (I have a grid plugin), some Wikipedia pages will resize themselves about 15 times a second as they realize that they should change their layout, but then the change means that they should shrink down to the previous version, and then that change... can't find one that triggers that or I'd link to a video.
aray 4 hours ago 1 reply      
This seems very similar to the way mobile devices use vsync/vblank to organize work into frames. [0] Very cool!

[0] Good explanation of how this process works on android: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8m9sHdyXnE

nsxwolf 2 hours ago 2 replies      
There doesn't seem to be a definition of layout thrashing anywhere on the internet. Googling "what is layout thrashing" returns nothing.

Anyone want to offer the net's very first ever explicit definition of this term?

solox3 4 hours ago 2 replies      
Well-researched feature. The best part of the fastdom wrapper (https://github.com/wilsonpage/fastdom) is that a timeout stub is introduced even for browsers that don't support native animation frames. Good job.
stu_k 3 hours ago 0 replies      
We use a technique similar to this in Montage, which we call the draw cycle: http://montagejs.org/docs/draw-cycle.html. Because it's built into the components, everything in the webapp reads from the DOM at the same time, and then writes to the DOM at the same time, completely avoiding the thrashing.
stingraycharles 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Doesn't this open up the possibility of race conditions?
OliverM 2 hours ago 0 replies      
This is something of a solved problem for many of the major javascript frameworks. Sproutcore (just to pick an older example I'm familiar with) has had this licked since 2008; you put all your DOM-upating code in your view update calls, and Sproutcore pipelines the calls. I'm sure most of the other JS MVC frameworks have similar solutions.
mrtksn 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Hmm, can this be implemented in JS frameworks, so that can be done with less code?
ehsanu1 4 hours ago 2 replies      
This seems like something that should be solved by the dom api, rather than this (quite clever) workaround.
fvox13 3 hours ago 5 replies      
Maybe if people stopped using Javascript for things it shouldn't be used for, we wouldn't have this problem...
Jester, a Sinatra-like web framework for Nimrod github.com
41 points by networked  4 hours ago   12 comments top 7
dmix 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I didn't know what Nimrod was (probably like most people), so I'll save you the Google effort:

> Nimrod is a statically typed, imperative programming language that tries to give the programmer ultimate power without compromises on runtime efficiency. This means it focuses on compile-time mechanisms in all their various forms.

> Beneath a nice infix/indentation based syntax with a powerful (AST based, hygienic) macro system lies a semantic model that supports a soft realtime GC on thread local heaps. Asynchronous message passing is used between threads, so no "stop the world" mechanism is necessary. An unsafe shared memory heap is also provided for the increased efficiency that results from that model.



dom96 2 hours ago 1 reply      
What a nice surprise to see my own project on the front page of HN. :)

Here are some examples of web apps which use Jester in production for those interested: Nimrod forum (http://forum.nimrod-code.org) and Nimbuild (http://build.nimrod-code.org). The source code for both is also available on Github: https://github.com/nimrod-code/nimforum and https://github.com/nimrod-code/nimbuild.

wiremine 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Would love to hear from someone to uses Nimrod in production. I'm not familiar with the language.
mmariani 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Just the project I've been meaning to code in the language that's on the top of my list. Now my saturday night is perfect. I'm gonna read this code after pizza. :) Thanks for the effort!
saejox 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Never heard of sinatra before. Just checked /tests folder. It's a small and beautiful piece of code. I shall bookmark this.
rmrfrmrf 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't know what any of these things mean -___-
tillinghast 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Introducing [random noun] a [random noun] for [random noun].
Swiss to vote on 2,500 franc basic income for every adult reuters.com
518 points by selmnoo  17 hours ago   422 comments top 42
tikhonj 16 hours ago 32 replies      
A Swiss franc is currently worth a little bit more than a dollar, so this works out to $2800/month or $33600/year. By US standards, this actually seems to be a good salary: significantly better than working full time at minimum wage.

It would cover all my current expenses handily. Of course, I'm young and single but by no means frugal. (I find that the little costs involved in worrying about my expenses easily outweigh the money saved.) So this is quite an income.

One of the main questions about something like this is about who would do boring, low-paid work with this sort of basic income. What I would really hope is that people would still do many of those jobs, but for far fewer hours--largely as a way to get money for incidental expenses and luxuries beyond the basic income. One problem I find with most jobs is that it's much easier to get more pay than less hours, even if I really want the latter. There is a large drop-off between full-time and part-time work.[1]

Beyond a certain level, I would value having more free time far more than making more money. Unfortunately, mostly for social reasons, it's hard to express this preference. A basic income could make this much easier to do.

While I suspect this might not pass, I think it would be very valuable for the entire world. One of the unfortunate realities in politics is that it is really hard to run experiments; small countries like Switzerland can act as a test subject for the entire world. Or perhaps like a tech early adopter for modern policies.

Either way, this passing would be very interesting.

[1]: For me, this is not quite as simple. In reality, there are plenty of jobs where I would be happy to work relatively long hours. But this stops being a question of pay, or even "work": after all, I'm happy to spend hours and hours programming for free. Being paid to do something I really like is wonderful, but it really changes the dynamics in ways that probably do not apply to most people.

jre 13 hours ago 5 replies      
As a swiss citizen, I'm really happy we'll have to vote on this. I'm not sure yet what I'm going to vote (I'm slightly bending towards a yes), but I think this is a very interesting debate to have. Especially because this is not a traditional left-right fight.

On the left, you have some unions saying this is going to be counter-productive and that it will reduce the leverage of employees in negotiation ("You've already got 2500, stop complaining"). Some other unions say it's going to give employee more leverage ("If you don't pay me more, I leave").

There are some people (including right-wing "economy-friendly" politician) who think this is a boost for innovation. By letting people work on what they want, without the risk of becoming homeless if it fails, you'll have more people trying to become independent / create companies.

And finally, you have what is still the majority reaction when told about this idea, which is that this is encouraging laziness.

spikels 16 hours ago 3 replies      
I would greatly prefer a basic income to the thousands of poorly run programs that aim to help the poor. The poor are not helpless but simply don't make enough money for some minimal standard of living (i.e. they are poor). A side effect of many existing programs is that they make the poor dependent and actually discourage self-improvement. A basic income would minimize these unfortunate but real consequences of helping them.

More info http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basic_income

sjwright 15 hours ago 3 replies      
I've always liked the idea of a base salary for all citizens. However, this plan appears to set the base level far too high -- it needs to be barely enough to fund the most basic of life's essentials, and indexed to an inflation rate of essential commodities. Life on this salary needs to be difficult and unsatisfying.

The model I imagine would also:

* Be paid to all citizens from age zero. Which means it can replace many existing systems, from child support payments and old age pensions.

* Child salaries from ~3 onwards could come in the form of vouchers with limited scope, e.g. accredited education providers, accredited child care services.

And you need to combine it with some further reforms, e.g:

* No minimum wage.

* Pretty much all existing welfare scrapped.

* Reduced work rights (e.g. less onerous unfair dismissal rules)

The underlying goal of such a system would be to dramatically simplify the role of the welfare state, and put the responsibility back on the individual to manage their own welfare.

rmoriz 15 hours ago 1 reply      
FYI: You have to live 12 years consecutively in Switzerland, pass a tests and a personal hearing done by the local government to get a citizenship by naturalization.

Switzerland has one of the most strict immigration rules in Europe.

Source: http://www.bfm.admin.ch/content/bfm/en/home/themen/buergerre...

eatitraw 12 hours ago 2 replies      
There are so many people excited about all these "equality" bills, and nobody criticizes it.

So I'll just leave it there:http://paulgraham.com/inequality.html

LekkoscPiwa 28 minutes ago 0 replies      
So what happens if everyone in Switzerland is given 1,000,000 Francs? You really think they all will end up being millionaires? LOL, you will jut create a lot of inflation that's all. Amazing how economically illiterate leftists usually are.
pyritschard 15 hours ago 1 reply      
I think it's worth explaining how swiss legislation works. There are several ways to propose a new law, one of which is for enough citizens to petition, which leads to a referendum style vote.

The basic income vote followed this process, and though it gathered enough interest to warrant people voting on it, it has little chance of passing.

Interestingly a similar vote recently passed which limited the income in a company to a factor of 12 (i.e: the CEO can not make more than 12 times the lowest salary of his company) which wasn't expected of switzerland (a rather liberal and conservative country)

JDDunn9 15 hours ago 1 reply      
A country that values science, education, peace AND cares about the poor! Have I stepped into another dimension?
ck2 15 hours ago 1 reply      
I like to think I am progressive but this minimum income idea is a horrible idea in my eyes.

It is like student loans in the USA, everything will rise to the maximum price that people can obtain money.

negamax 2 hours ago 1 reply      
At the risk of mowed over by the crowd, I want to propose not calling it income. It's welfare. In no way should we equate it to result of someone's work.
wavesounds 16 hours ago 2 replies      
Meanwhile, in America, the government is shut down to try to stop poor people from receiving subsidies on their private health insurance.
avty 11 minutes ago 0 replies      
Basic income is a basic human right.
chmars 13 hours ago 0 replies      
The text of the Swiss initiative can be found at http://www.admin.ch/ch/d/pore/vi/vis423t.html. Please note that it does not mention 2'500 Swiss francs as a basic income.

Rough translation into English:

Federal People's Initiative 'For an uncoditional basic income'

The federal constituion shall be amended as follows:

Art. 110a (new) Unconditional Basic Income

(1) The Confederay introduces an unconditional basic income.

(2) The basic income shall allow the whole population a decent life and participlation in public activities.

(3) The law defines funding and amount of the basic income.

psuter 16 hours ago 2 replies      
Before anyone gets too excited, let's remember that this is also the country where the people voted against raising the required paid holidays (2012), for substantial cuts in unemployment allowances (2010), and for increasing the VAT (2009), just to give some recent examples. Regardless of its merits, it is going to be nearly impossible to gather popular support for an idea such as basic income. But hey, at least we'll talk about it.
Kiro 15 hours ago 5 replies      
Wouldn't basic income just lead to higher prices and inflation?
tpainton 9 hours ago 3 replies      
Atlas shrugged... and the leaches attacked. I find it hard to believe Swit doesn't already have some welfare system that provides for those who actually need it... but now, 30k a year just for breathing? Sounds like communism to me.... only you don't have to produce anything. Utopianism like this doesn't last. Eventually you run out of payers. it's human nature to eventually grow tired of working hard so someone else doesn't have to. When that time comes, you either join the leaches or you leave the environment. Eventually, you always end up with a negative balance. It is doomed to failure.. Eventually.
badass 4 hours ago 0 replies      
A basic income only serves to maintain the status quo for those at the top. It's a release valve on political pressure to bring fundamental changes to the system to better serve the lower classes.

In the US, one can look how the Section 8 housing program serves a similar pressure-relief function in the housing rental market. By giving essentially free rent to those who cannot afford current market rate rents, it relieves political pressure to reform housing policies that keep rental rates high while also inflating rents and property values, heavily distorting the rental market. I think one can easily view the Section 8 program more as welfare program benefiting property owners rather than lower class renters.

A basic income would have a similar effect on the general cost of living, inflating values and benefiting the wealthy. Again, like the Section 8 program, this will be a welfare program benefiting the wealthy because this basic wage will simply flow upward and concentrate at the highest economic rungs.

patatino 13 hours ago 0 replies      
We have about 3% unemployment rate in Switzerland. You have to know something about us, we love to work. Why? Because we are raised with the thought that's our strongest asset. Pretty small country with zero resources. Last year we voted for the increase of our holidays from 4 to 6 weeks. Result? 66,5% voted against it.

This vote will get something like 80% no votes because people are affraid this will change how people think about work.

AndrewDucker 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd imagine that for most people this would make little difference - you can adjust income tax and remove the basic allowance so that it balances out somewhere near the median wage.

The main thing it would do is to remove the welfare trap - whereby you can earn less from starting work. Suddenly, every Franc you earn adds something onto your income. And you get rid of a whole tranche of bureaucracy at the same time.

transfire 7 hours ago 0 replies      
It's a good idea, but that's too high. You want to keep people from starving and living on the streets; not keep them from doing something productive with their lives.
notdrunkatall 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Free money for everyone, what could go wrong?


lettergram 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Economically speaking this is not going to help anyone... If every person makes a specific lower bound limit all that happens is prices are increased. It probably takes a year or so for the full effect to be felt, at which point there is the choice to either raise it to combat the prices or set limits on how much stuff will cost. Either option sets a limit goods or wages in your country that will not be beneficial.

Not to mention, in combination with the other stuff being passed by the swiss there country can have some major problems coming up here.

danbmil99 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I'll be on the lookout for lots of great Swiss bands to hit the scene around 2017 (if this gets passed).

Also lots of alternative art shows, post-feminist poetry readings, etc.

Should be fun

k-mcgrady 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I like this idea and think it's something that's going to become more common. As more and more jobs are automated it makes sense that governments would eventually generate money through automating societies least popular jobs and use the money generated through that to pay citizens a basic salary.
angularly 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow, I hope they vote no. I moved to Switzerland recently to avoid the dominant socialism in northern Europe. But they are one of the last liberal stands down here, so there is a good chance it will fall through.
namlem 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Can someone explain how they are going to pay such a large amount? Isn't this more than their entire national budget? I punched the numbers into wolfram alpha and they don't add up. Am I misunderstanding something?
seeken 11 hours ago 1 reply      
There have been experiments with NIT (Negative Income Tax) in the US. My impression was that they were a disaster, but in looking for them I found this article,[1] which explains some of the history of NIT in the US.


marcamillion 14 hours ago 3 replies      
If this passes, I suspect that Switzerland would see a MAJOR, MAJOR spike in inbound immigration requests.

I would love to see what that spike would look like.

SCAQTony 14 hours ago 0 replies      
If they did that in America 50% of the population would quit working and prices would quickly shoot up to MARS!

Less workers, higher wages, more money in circulation... What an inflationary mess that would be.

znowi 14 hours ago 0 replies      
A separate proposal to limit monthly executive pay to no more than what the company's lowest-paid staff earn in a year, the so-called 1:12 initiative, faces a popular vote on November 24.

This is a peculiar initiative. Surely, a plot by the commies, or is it not?

robomartin 16 hours ago 3 replies      
Maybe I am too obtuse to understand how such things could work.

What happens if nobody has a job?

OK, that's a little extreme. Let's see, a family of five would get 12500 F per month unconditionally. That's probably a pretty good chunk of money for doing nothing.

I see images of five to ten people living together to collectively earn 25000 F per month.

In the same story they talk about limiting executive pay to 12x the salary of the lowest paid employee. Again, I just don't see it. In a global market I just don't see intelligent and capable people not looking past their borders seeking better compensation for what they have to offer.

How can you build a sustainable and competitive society this way? Again, I'll admit to not being mentally equipped to comprehend how this can work. Perhaps someone can educate me.

sebilasse 14 hours ago 0 replies      
2'500 CHF is about the budget for a student life-style in Zurich. I expect a lot of young Swiss going on long holidays to cheaper places like south-east asia or eastern europe.
ivoras 14 hours ago 1 reply      
For those in the EU, there is currently an official (run by the European Comission) on-line petition in which EU citizens can vote for encouraging the application of the Basic Income idea at https://ec.europa.eu/citizens-initiative/REQ-ECI-2012-000028... .

This is not a "let's apply this now!" thing, but a petition to study the ways and means of how it could be applied.

rickjames28 16 hours ago 2 replies      
go for it. and let's see the extrapolation to a economic juggernaut like the U.S. It's always the "norway" argument. If Norway (pop 4 million or so) can do it so can the U.S.

Yes, I guess Los Angeles could do something like that, but..

tpainton 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I have to chuckle at the thought of forcing the wealthy to pay other wealthy a minimum income. Or is the 'wealthy' excluded from the definition of 'every adult'. What a complete waste of time and paper.
jes 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Are the taxes to pay for this voluntary in Switzerland?
stretchwithme 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Any petition getting enough signatures can place something on the ballot in Switzerland.

They've even voted on whether to abolish the military.

vaibpuri 14 hours ago 0 replies      
This "might" lead to people actually working more in a certain sense. If a person is to receive an X amount of francs per month then employers will require 40 hour / weeks leading to approximately 15 francs per hour (12.5), which for a place like Switzerland is kind of fair.

Those who choose not to work enough might have to face inflationary affects in housing etc. needing to catch up to the median (not average) population income levels.

Eitherways, if the Swiss go wrong on this their system of voting is flexible enough to allow for change back.

known 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Very much desirable to prevent wage slavery in globalization
frank_boyd 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Switzerland has twice the amount of asylum seekers per capita, compared to the EU average.

That seems to be the result of a fairly open asylum policy. Some people find it's too open and complain about that.

With the concept of a basic income like this, I suppose their asylum policy would have to become more restrictive.

Twitter Quitters And The Unfiltered Feed Problem techcrunch.com
36 points by aelaguiz  4 hours ago   30 comments top 14
protomyth 2 hours ago 4 replies      
I do wonder, if Twitter hadn't gone psycho on the twitter clients, if this problem would have been solved. Twitter stopped most development on this issue for anyone outside Twitter.
ProblemFactory 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Automated filtering approaches like Facebook's edgerank are a band-aid fix for fundamentally wrong user interface. For me, there is no content on the internet that is time-critical and has to be consumed in the order it was posted, or as soon as it was posted.

The great thing about the Google Reader interface was that you can sign up to 300 blogs, and see which ones have new posts in the left hand column. You read the interesting ones every few days, and perhaps scroll through the headlines of the boring ones once per month.

This way no post goes missing because it is too old, a frequent poster doesn't take priority over an infrequent but more interesting one, and the user decides how to "filter" content based on every visit.

TillE 3 hours ago 3 replies      
This is a huge problem, IMO. It only takes one or two noisy accounts to flood your feed on a regular basis. There are a handful of people I really don't want to unfollow, but they tend to dominate my feed even when they're not completely overwhelming it.

All I really want is the ability to designate certain follows as "important", which would give me their tweets in something like the format of an RSS reader at the top of the page. Then dump the rest into the current "river of news" style which I can wade through, or not.

ilamont 2 hours ago 2 replies      
I've always wondered how people who follow thousands of people are able to get much value from their timelines. I've concluded that they don't, or they are using lists or other tools to manage their Twitter experience.

Speaking of lists, I disagree with the author's claim that they are hard to set up. Twitter (and many Twitter apps) have made a list quite easy to set up, and monitor. Doing this is one way to handle the unfiltered feed problem.

He brings up an interesting point, though, regarding negative behaviors such as being less likely to follow new people. I agree that this can happen, but the flip side is people may be far more selective about who they follow as time goes on. Assuming that such users are regularly unfollowing bad or spammy accounts, their Twitter experience should improve over time.

lucb1e 1 hour ago 0 replies      
There should be a distinction between friends and followers. I'd friend many more people, but I don't give a shit about most friend's tweets. (Most of them are about their current dinner, or something equally unimportant.) I think I currently follow around 15 people, and that's exactly right for how often I check my feed and how much time I want to spend on twitter.

So for me this works is fine, but I know many others that follow for social reasons, not because the person they start following is interesting. And if you do that, yes indeed your timeline will be overflowing all the time.

I've never not followed anyone for having too many tweets in my timeline already. And if someone starts spamming shit I don't care about (accounts with lots of followers sometimes abuse it for political or other things), I unfollow them without second thought. And I let them know why I unfollowed (like with downvotes here and on stackoverflow, I always try to comment if I do negative actions).

utnick 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I've wanted a twitter client similar to the old aim clients with respect to away messages.

Just a list of people I follow and their most recent tweet. Either ordered alphabetically or ordered by date last tweeted. If I hover over one of the people , then I can look at their past X tweets.

teaneedz 1 hour ago 0 replies      
The OP is trying to solve a problem with a FB mentality. Twitter is a different animal. Lists solve many problems. Twitter could do a better job surfacing lists and making them easier to implement and return to, but we the users have a responsibility too I believe. We often complain about spammy accounts or unmanageable TLs when we control the Follow button.
pastProlog 1 hour ago 0 replies      
One phenomenon which Facebook takes into account which Twitter does not is that of the loquacious acquaintance, possibly someone with a business constantly hyping things, possibly someone who just likes to hear themselves speak more often than I do. They apply slight pressure to me to follow them on Twitter or friend them on Facebook so I do so.

On Facebook I can easily set people to three settings which are private to me - read everything they write, read only significant things they write (things which get more than ordinary likes/replies, or whatever), or ignore them. This is great for me, otherwise my entire Facebook feed would be filled with my 4-5 chattiest friends or current/former coworkers, I'd have to scroll through their collective 10-12 posts a day to see anyone elses, etc.

Twitter does not have this option where I publicly follow someone, due to them pressuring me to follow them on Twitter, but where I can actually privately ignore them. Which just tends to mean I use Twitter less. Maybe there is an option buried somewhere where I can do this, but it's definitely not obvious like on Facebook. Which just means I use Twitter a lot less. Because all it is for me is a constant stream of 4-5 chatty acquaintances with the dozens of others I follow popping in once in a while.

There are ways to deal with this on Twitter, but none of them are that good. I can create another account, but then there are problems from that - accounts with private tweets I no longer have access to or have to ask for two adds from everyone etc. I can create a private list without these people on it, but then I have to go to the trouble of maintaining two lists - the main list and the private list. Facebook just makes this a lot easier.

mikegioia 3 hours ago 0 replies      
The author's suggestion here to fix this problem is to have twitter offer feed cleaning tools and un-follow recommendations. Not only will this never happen, but it could create far too many false positives to even be a good thing.

I think the only way out of this is for twitter to put out 1 or a series of lenses with which to view your feed. People still want to follow all of their friends as well as celebrities, athletes, bands, news aggregators, etc; however, they don't need to see all of that crap in one feed. I think it'll be the redditization of twitter that solves this problem.

Terretta 3 hours ago 1 reply      
If you like this article's ideas, are fascinated by social graphs and smoothing communication among nodes, enjoy functional programming (functional Scala, Clojure, etc), and are interested in a new job, drop me an email.
amrnt 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I write an article before about this issue that we have with most of the social networks: https://medium.com/editors-picks/b5eaaa3ff7c3
Zakuzaa 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Is there potential for a third party app doing it (the fixes mentioned in the article) instead?
b123400 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Personally I don't think Twitter cares much about the quality of users' timeline.

Twitter doesn't provide any easy way to manage followings while keep suggesting people to follow, because promoted accounts will be unfollowed easily.

I am one of the user in the official popular users list in China region, but most of my tweets are Japanese. This kind of careless mistake should not happen if they had do a simple review before selecting me. I've ask them to remove me from the list, but they never reply.

They seems to encourage users to keep following, increase the quantity not quality.

BurritoAlPastor 3 hours ago 1 reply      
The second sentence of this article is false. When the lede contains blatant errors, that's your signal, as a reader, to stop reading.
Everybody Let's Stop the TPP: Share These Videos and Spread the Word eff.org
9 points by DiabloD3  1 hour ago   1 comment top
camus 9 minutes ago 0 replies      
USA and Europe will have the same kind of "agreement",it's called something like the trans atlantic partnership => bad for EU workers and bad for USA workers , especially since nobody asked us ( Europeans ) if we agreed on this or not. It will only be good for big corps and banks. And nobody's talking about it.
Turning a Wii Balance Board into a net-enabled bathroom scale stavros.io
61 points by StavrosK  6 hours ago   17 comments top 4
johnpmayer 6 hours ago 1 reply      
What's so striking to me is that the barriers to prototyping these peripherals for general purpose use has been lowered significantly. It was not long ago where it took days of hacking to connect a Wiimote to your PC, and even then you probably wouldn't get full functionality.

Good work and thanks for sharing!

(also, obligatory "now the NSA can estimate if they can chase you on foot")

smokey_the_bear 5 hours ago 2 replies      
This is neat.

Sort of relatedly, I bought the Withings Wifi scale about a year ago, which does the same thing. I really like it. It is easy to go back and look at weight trends without having to obsess too much about the number each day.

ekianjo 5 hours ago 1 reply      
This is a great example of innovation at work. And I really like the fact that he removed several dependencies from the existing solutions. You have to love that :)
anjc 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Excellent work. How accurate is the weighing with the averaging that you seem to be doing?
PuzzleScript is an open-source HTML5 puzzle game engine puzzlescript.net
51 points by munchor  6 hours ago   8 comments top 8
teamonkey 23 minutes ago 0 replies      
I reckon you could go a bit beyond simple tile-based puzzles with that beautiful logic engine. A boulderdash-type game seems feasible, but what about Dwarf Fortress?
donpark 1 hour ago 0 replies      
plancien 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Good job !

The logic used, based on pattern detections is pretty clever.Reminds me of cellular automata algorithms.

Even if you are not interested in puzzle games, reading the "first steps" part of the site is quite interesting and enlightening.

In the "make a game" part, one thing is not clear enough, though : in order to launch the games, you'll have to hit the "x" key.

straws 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Woah, looks like this was made by Steven Lavelle (http://www.increpare.com/) too, who has made a staggering number of bizarre and fascinating indie games over the years. My personal favorite is Mirror Stage, where you navigate patterns in a kaleidoscope:


tobr 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow, this is fantastic.

I have some puzzle game ideas that I've tried to build several times, but I always get frustrated with how tricky it is to express the rules in code. This seems like such a clever way to do it. Fun!

dested 3 hours ago 0 replies      
To be honest, im not certain how useful this will actually be, but it was probably incredibly fun to program! Great stuff!
rowlandrose 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Great work. I am going to dive into this.
siscia 4 hours ago 0 replies      
What about the level 9 ???

Nice works btw :)

Btcd: Not your mom's Bitcoin daemon conformal.com
83 points by conformal  7 hours ago   42 comments top 6
jimwise 2 hours ago 2 replies      
Hmm. My Mom was a trained engineer. She's no longer with us, but if she'd lived long enough to select a Bitcoin wallet, I have no reason to believe she'd have picked a poor one...

(And yes, I get the irony that they probably picked this headline out of fear that "not your dad's..." was sexist.)

bengotow 5 hours ago 5 replies      
I haven't been following Bitcoin very closely. This looks great, but I'm confused why the authors went to so much trouble to duplicate the existing daemon down to every last bug. It sounds like their architecture improves on the design of the original implementation quite a bit, which is awesome. But if they don't want to cause a fork in the Bitcoin community (by adding features, fixing bugs, etc.), what's the point of having a well written one over the poorly written one? Isn't the thing more or less a "locked" piece of software?

* I don't participate in the Bitcoin community, so I'm sorry in advance if this is an ignorant question! Congratulations to the authors - I think this is a pretty significant accomplishment regardless.

nwh 7 hours ago 3 replies      
Alternate implementations make me uncomfortable. The original client is not documented much at all, and there's very little room for error.

I salute the amount of effort that's gone into this though.

petercooper 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Not my dad's either.
gaunab 7 hours ago 5 replies      
Yeah, as if there weren't any nerd moms. Stop the headline sexism already.
bachback 3 hours ago 0 replies      
very cool stuff. Could some subcomponents be used for the JS implementation? (https://github.com/bitcoinjs/bitcoinjs-server).
Introducing Daala part 4: Chroma from Luma (xiph video codec) xiph.org
18 points by jobstijl  3 hours ago   2 comments top 2
quink 54 minutes ago 0 replies      
Thank you Monty! Awesome as always and already waiting for the next part - no pressure :)

And just because I know someone is going to ask: Motion prediction in H.264 is based on luma, but there's also a chroma option. I've done some quick searches and found a patent for HEVC that covers using the correlation for motion prediction.

jobstijl 45 minutes ago 0 replies      

  xiphmont_: huh demo4:CfL is on HN already  jobstijl0: I posted it, didn't saw you where still working             on it  xiphmont:  ah, it wasn't actually due to be up for real              until I got back from vacation in two weeks  xiphmont:  no harm, just 'agh, nothing is tested yet!'

The Hail Mary Cloud And The Lessons Learned bsdly.blogspot.com
11 points by zdw  2 hours ago   2 comments top 2
spindritf 1 minute ago 0 replies      
I don't understand this sentence at the end of keys section

> And I'll let you in on a dirty little secret: you can even match on interface in your sshd config for things like these

I don't get the secret.

eksith 24 minutes ago 0 replies      
There's an additional trick possible to dissuade these types of attacks, but I'm not sure if everyone is up to that type of dedication.

I once worked with an admin who would setup a script to enable SSH passthrough on the firewall (also OpenBSD) at a specific time of day, but never the same time. Once connected in the allowed window and he finished his business, he would reset the timer for another time of day (or perhaps several days to a week later if he's going to be away for a while).

It's a bit like the timed bank vault where even the manager couldn't open it until the timer on the door allowed it.

The Existential Risk of Mathematical Error gwern.net
71 points by gwern  8 hours ago   9 comments top 5
onosendai 3 hours ago 2 replies      
This reminds me of an excellent short story by Ted Chiang, "Division by Zero", which deals with a mathematician's deteriorating mental state and attempted suicide as a consequence of proving the inconsistency of mathematics.

The whole thing (http://www.fantasticmetropolis.com/i/division/full) seems to be temporarily offline, but here's a pretty good summary: http://kasmana.people.cofc.edu/MATHFICT/mfview.php?callnumbe...

ttctciyf 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of the late lamented Pertti Lounesto who made himself quite unpopular by looking for counterexamples to some accepted proofs and posting about them repeatedly on Usenet. See http://users.tkk.fi/ppuska/mirror/Lounesto/counterexamples.h... for example.

Lounesto was a controversial and sometimes reviled figure, but I (purely as a non-mathematician and sometime reader of his posts) was very sorry to hear of his death in a swimming incident about 10 years ago now. Nice that his website is still available though.

I tend to agree with his idea that it's valuable to search for counterexamples to newer proofs - a sort of application of Popperian principles in the mathematical domain I suppose. I've no idea on the validity of his claims about specific counterexamples, though.

Bakkot 6 hours ago 2 replies      
No mention of machine proof? Surely those raise the upper bound on our confidence in a new result significantly.
elliotlai 6 hours ago 0 replies      
consider_this 6 hours ago 0 replies      
"This sentence is false".
Model S Fire teslamotors.com
524 points by shakes  1 day ago   219 comments top 31
gkoberger 1 day ago 18 replies      
I agree this isn't as big of a deal as the stockmarket may imply, but this line bothers me:

"That equates to 1 vehicle fire for every 20 million miles driven, compared to 1 fire in over 100 million miles for Tesla. This means you are 5 times more likely to experience a fire in a conventional gasoline car than a Tesla!"

Americans drive an aggregate of 3 trillion miles every year, while Tesla drivers have done 100 million (and they don't cite this number; are they including test drives?). That's well over an order of magnitude difference. Plus, the average Tesla driver is currently probably a superior driver (if for no other reason than they have a brand new expensive car) and has taken better care of their car (since it's within 2-3 years old, tops). In theory, Teslas will eventually become more mainstream over the years -- resold, price drops, lower-end models, etc.

Again, I don't think their conclusion about Teslas being safer overall is wrong. However, their conclusion of the likelihood of a Tesla catching on fire seems off, and the exclamation mark makes this press release seem glib.

mixmax 22 hours ago 1 reply      
My boat's hull happens to be made of 1/4 inch metal plate (6mm) which is apparently the same as the protected underside of a Tesla. I've hit a concrete block, gone aground a few times and generally have a bit of excperiencing with impacting hard immovable objects with a vehicle protected by a 1/4 inch metal plate.

It takes a LOT of force to pierce 1/4 inch plate. My boat weighs 12 tons, and it hardly has a dent from the collissions I and previous owners have been in.

abalone 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Question: Is it really that unusual to have 25 tons of force applied to a point of the underside of the car in an accident? Does anyone know?

My conjecture: The Model S is a heavy car. Hit something pokey at speed and you've got an awful lot of forces channeled to a point.

I also thought it a bit much that Musk tried to compare this to severing "fuel supply lines" in a gas car. The likelihood of a 3 inch puncture severing a fuel line or entering the gas tank is vastly lower than compromising a battery pack that runs the length of the underside of the car.

The Tesla's underbelly vulnerability zone is vastly larger than fuel tanks and lines.. and a punctured battery doesn't need an ignition source to start a fire, either.

patrickg_zill 1 day ago 6 replies      
I think the write-up is pretty good.

I would only point that 25 tons of force, isn't really a lot - I mean, the small jack that you use to lift your car can be a 5 or 6 ton device.

You have a vehicle traveling a decent rate of speed, for it to strike or run over anything at all will involve tons of force.

Neat explanation of the sort of math involved, with both SI and US units http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/carcr.html . In the example, a car going 30 mph (50km/h) striking a tree will hit with about 48 tons of force.

codex 23 hours ago 2 replies      
It looks like they're backing off the claim that the fire was contained to only one cell. It's unclear, but if the fire were contained to only one cell, it's likely they would mention it:

"A fire caused by the impact began in the front battery module the battery pack has a total of 16 modules but was contained to the front section of the car by internal firewalls within the pack."

If the fire was able to jump cells, does this make the battery pack "fundamentally unsound", as Elon has described the Boeing battery? Not necessarily. However, merely puncturing the gas tank of a ICE car in this way is not guaranteed to set the gasoline on fire. The ignition temperature of gasoline is over 500 F and the gas tank itself is plastic, most likely. Gasoline vapor is explosive, but the car was traveling fairly rapidly and a there's a fair amount of wind to dispel vapor. The ignition source would have to be heat from the metal of the debris self-striking metal of the debris, or though both layers of plastic to the auto frame itself, and that spark would have to find some gasoline, which is pooled at the bottom of the tank and not near the top. I suppose it's possible. Car crashes do produce burning gasoline, though usually it's a very severe crash that mixes gas vapor with the heat of the engine.

bsullivan01 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Fire happens. Maybe Tesla performs better, maybe not but cars do catch fire. I, however, will not be buying Elon's explanations simply because he seems like a cheesy salesman and a media whore. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-04-02/tesla-to-begin-mode...

(Knowing the Elon is the Sun God among many here, I want to say this: I do not particularly care about karma, I'm saying 100% of what I am thinking.)

EStudley 1 day ago 1 reply      
Tesla's write-ups on their blog are the most informative reports I've seen written by a company about their own product. It's awesome to see this kind of transparency as opposed just a copy-paste statement like "Tesla is investigating the event."
Shivetya 1 day ago 6 replies      
I really don't care about "it would be worse if it were a gasoline powered vehicle". That statement is simply trying to redirect attention. Leave statements like that out of the problem diagnoses and simply concentrate on what went right.

Otherwise it looks like making excuses and that is bad.

ebiester 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Two things.

1. I have had my gasoline car catch on fire in my lifetime. (That was the end of the car.) However, it was having a lot of trouble at the time and we had just taken it to the mechanic. (That's right, it caught on fire at the mechanic's shop. We were still waiting to talk to the mechanic before going back home when it caught on fire.) This was not the only on-fire incident among our friends. One had his minivan catch on fire in a gas station.

But both of them were old cars. What is to say that most of the cars that catch on fire aren't much older than the Tesla? What is to say that the Tesla won't have more trouble as it gets older?

Oh yeah. The batteries will have to be replaced before the car is run down as much as our old beaters were. And Tesla owners will have the money to maintain their cars better than we did as teenagers.

So, what I'm saying is that the real test will be in a decade. More fires will probably happen, just like regular cars do.

Either way, it's probably not dangerous enough to be worth avoiding buying a new one.

001sky 19 hours ago 0 replies      
A little closer reading of the report[1,2], shows that only 26,000 automobile fires occur on public highways. That makes Tesla's single datapoint worse than a conventional Auto.

All cars: 1 fire per 116 million vehicle miles/year

Tesla: 1 fire per 113 m vehicle miles/since inception

Obviously, the Model (s) being a newer Tesla model does not have the full historical amount of "Tesla" Miles as the denominator.

[1] http://www.nfpa.org/~/media/files/research/nfpa%20reports/ve...

[2] Furthermore, only 2% of non-deliberate fires start in the fuel line or fuel tank of a normal vehicle

001sky 1 day ago 1 reply      
Initial attempts to douse the fire were unsuccessful. The fire appeared to be extinguished, then reignited underneath the vehicle, the report said. Firefighters had to use a jack to turn the Model S on its side, and then cut a hole in the car to apply water to the burning battery.

He seemed to skip that last bit. (?)

devy 1 day ago 4 replies      
Is Elon's claim, "the effective combustion potential is only about 1% that of the fuel in a comparable gasoline sedan", accurate?

AFAIK, all the Lithium Ion Battery electrolytes are flammable (they are pressurized in the battery container too). Depending on the chemistry of the Lithium-ion battery that Model S uses, some (I.E. LFP) are safer than the others, but still, 1% potential?

EVs like Chevy Volt, Fisker Karma and even Boeing 787 Dreamliner and UPS/FedEx freight flights had been caught Lithium fires in air before.

tn13 20 hours ago 1 reply      
The following statement is wrong at many levels.

"That equates to 1 vehicle fire for every 20 million miles driven, compared to 1 fire in over 100 million miles for Tesla. This means you are 5 times more likely to experience a fire in a conventional gasoline car than a Tesla!"

- All Tesla cars are new and almost all of them have superior drivers.

- They drive their cars only on certain roads where as Gasoline cars are almost everywhere.

- You can not compare 100m sample set with 2 trillion size sample set.

anoother 21 hours ago 0 replies      
As much as I admire the work Tesla and Elon Musk are doing, I can't help but feel that the press releases issued by the company are at times overly defensive.

We all know there is negative rhetoric bouncing around about this incident. It seems to me that, precisely because of this, there really isn't a need to write in such a mannertrying to block all possible avenues of attack as if one is a afraid of what will be written in response.

The tone, to me, betrays insecurity, and this seems something at odds with the bullish, innovative nature of the non-PR aspects of the business.

jmount 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I've blogged a fun writeup of the math in the (unimportant and actually against Tesla) formal bias in evaluating a failure rate right after the first failure: http://www.win-vector.com/blog/2013/10/estimating-rates-from...
lafar6502 1 day ago 2 replies      
Wow, first serious Tesla road accident and all they can say is how unlikely it was. It was impossible before, now it's only extremely unlikely. Until next time? There are probably many other ways to destroy the battery in a collision, how likely is it to ignite when damaged?
RyJones 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wonder what he means by 1/4" armor plate - AR500? Is it actually rated for armor plating, or just built with material from which you could also build rated plates?
uladzislau 22 hours ago 1 reply      
The title is missing word "incident". My first thought was that Tesla has a new model "S Fire".
smoyer 1 day ago 0 replies      
Excellent post-mortem!

And who would have thought a side-effect of disrupting the automotive industry would be training fire-fighters on the correct techniques for battling a lithium fueled fire?

rdl 1 day ago 6 replies      
So a truck driver who couldn't be bothered to secure his fucking load just cost Tesla shareholders $1b+?
Kiro 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Why are people on HN so keen on defending Tesla at all cost?
fus 11 hours ago 0 replies      
"Had a conventional gasoline car encountered the same object on the highway, the result could have been far worse."

Diesel-powered car would be much safer, since oil requires something like a wick in it to burn. It's hard to argue with Tesla's statement, since argument is true; but it doesn't include this issue in electric vs ICE vehicle competition.

nodesocket 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I wrote a blog post on this last night (Tesla model S and the three laws of robotics).


sgustard 23 hours ago 0 replies      
If Toyota owners got one of these emails every time one of them caught on fire it would be sort of a downer, so I guess you only have a few chances to make it a PR event.
hkmurakami 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Totally thought this was a name for a new model S model, a la kindle fire.
robomartin 23 hours ago 2 replies      
> This means you are 5 times more likely to experience a fire in a conventional gasoline car than a Tesla!

I LOVE THE COMPANY. I DON'T ENJOY OR APPRECIATE THE LAME MARKETING ATTEMPTS THEY SOMETIMES MAKE. Just like that whole business of jumping through hoops to make it seem like there was some new magical way to finance a Tesla, this is wrong.

Trying to create a safety metric by comparing the number of fires to the number of miles driven per vehicle type is pure nonsense. You have to look at the causes and mechanisms of the fires and dig a lot deeper than that in order to even hope to generate a meaningful metric.

Here's an imperfect analogy (numbers made-up): One million people run marathons every year world wide. 1000 have heart attacks and die. Ten thousand people have run marathons with our shoes and only one had a heart attack and didn't die. You are far less likely to have a heart attack and die if you run marathons with our shoes.

Nonsense. Right?


Almost anyone would look at that and recognize it as a poor attempt to create a nexus where one does not exist. I think it's bad marketing.

Now, if we started to dive into the statistics and identified location, weather conditions, age, physical conditioning, pre-existing conditions (heart problem they did not know about), etc. we might actually be able to attempt a comparison between people wearing the new shoes vs. the other brands. Even then, the nexus would be tenuous at best.

A similar exercise would be needed to compare car fires between brands and types with any degree of validity. I don't have the time to dive into the stats. It was easy enough to Google [0][1][2][3] and do a quick scan:

It is easy to see that young males are more likely to be involved in a car fire.

There are statistics about different brands having different fatality rates (not necessarily related).

Lots of fires are caused by running equipment. Lots of fires originate in the engine compartment. Mechanical and electrical failures seem to account for over 60% of fires.

The point is simple: Far more extensive and detailed statistical work needs to be undertaken before anyone can conclude absolutely anything on the merits of any particular car or design as it pertains to potential to cause fires.

Elon and his team are very smart. They know this. And this is why some of their marketing of late feels really dirty and beneath them. This is Tesla reacting to news that affected their stock price and, potentially, buyer sentiment, with marketing rather than the truth.

Are Tesla's safer than all gasoline cars? That question is probably not an easy one to answer at all.

There's the potential for a theoretical sort of an answer based on design. For example, there are no fuel lines to rupture. Does that mean it is safer? Hard to say. What do you compare that to? Perhaps you can list all the potential sources of ignition and sort them by probability and MTBF? Not sure.

Of course, then you have the real-life probability. Once you get a million cars on the road with all kinds of people, driving in all conditions, roads and levels of maintenance and neglect things can change dramatically. If I remember correctly Tesla has somewhere in the order of twenty thousand. There's a reason we see major car companies recall hundreds of thousands of cars every so often. Shit happens. Design error are made. And it can take time and a massive installed base to discover them.

THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER is these are the kinds of tests electric cars will have to endure over a period of time in order to reach wide adoption. Despite what's been said here a full tank of gasoline is far safer than a fully charged battery pack with enough energy to go 300 miles.

Before anyone mauls me, consider how many gasoline cars have been driven and, yes, crashed, world-wide since gasoline cars came into mass production. Not last year. Since forever.

There have probably been millions of accidents without fires, even with fuel leaks. There's probably no imaginable way to compare the two at this time. We simply don't have enough data. And, no, linking to a horrible crash video on youtube involving gasoline igniting does absolutley nothing to support arguments on either side.

The one issue with electrics that is not spoken of is the fact that you have a several hundred volt high energy system that could very well electrocute passengers. I fully expect that to happen one day (in general, not necessarily Tesla). If and when that happens you can bet it will set the breaks on electrics for a while and relevant stocks will plummet.

I still believe electric cars are the future. We simply need to go though the evolutionary process that will make them really safe for hundreds of millions of electrics to share the road. What happens when you have a pile-up of ten or twenty electric cars on a fogg-covered highway? A pile of mangled wrecks with 400 Volt high energy systems is unimaginably dangerous. I can think of a few horrific scenarios under those conditions.

At some level part of me thinks that fuel cells are the future, not batteries. Having something relatively benign that can leak out would be a good thing.

A few months ago there was a horrific crash in my neighborhood. This 18 year old kid decided it was OK to go 100 miles per hour on this avenue. He lost control and plowed into a bunch of cars parked by the side of the road. He absolutely destroyed seven of them before coming to a stop. Most of the cars were mangled beyond recognition. He was driving an SUV with a lot of mass. His SUV was nearly cut in half and impaled into one of the cars to a degree that made it difficult to see where one car started and the other ended. Almost like taking two lumps of play-doh and mixing them together.

No fire. Gasoline all over the place but no ignition at all. He hit the first car, fused into it and the "ball" formed by the two cars proceeded to destroy the other six. Absolutely amazing display of how much kinetic energy was dissipated.

Had this been eight fully-charged electric cars I am almost certain there would have been a horrific fire as well as the potential for absolutely impossible to describe electrocution of some of the passengers. And, to make matters worst, it would have taken the rescue crew far longer to remove the victims as they would have to be worries about electrocuting themselves and the victims (at the very least).

Until there are enough electric cars on the road to have a massive pile-up accident [4] where most cars are electric we will not really understand the practical reality of a world where every car on the road is electric. Imagine having to walk out of a one hundred mangled car pile-up where every car has a battery pack storing enough energy to drive 300 to 400 miles and they are wired to produce hundreds of volts. I can't imagine anyone who understands electronics and electricity that would tell me all would be well after looking at the pictures from this accident [4] if all cars were electric. Look at pictures 1, 8 and 11. No fires. Gasoline isn't all that bad in this regard.

[0] http://www.usfa.fema.gov/downloads/pdf/statistics/v13i11.pdf

[1] http://www.usfa.fema.gov/statistics/reports/vehicles.shtm

[2] http://www.chandlerlawgroup.com/library/national-vehicle-fir...

[3] http://www.statisticbrain.com/driver-fatality-stats-by-auto-...

[4] http://www.cnn.com/2013/09/05/world/europe/uk-huge-chain-rea...

senthilnayagam 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Stakes are high, for sure

Elon Musk & Tesla would review its design, would possibly add protection for these type of accidents.

Will any other gasoline car manufacturer be willing to participate in such crash test what model S encountered, I doubt anyone will.

zw123456 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Tesla, recall is coming, that is obvious. You will be forced to put in stronger armor underneath. So drop the price by $10K, or do the recall sooner. Either way that is the reason for the stock hit, people know one or the other or both are coming.
oddshocks 4 hours ago 0 replies      
He is just great
hipaulshi 1 day ago 0 replies      
wow. reading their report always inspires me to be a better engineer
indus 1 day ago 1 reply      
> "highway speed"

crafty writing. read it as "high speed"

Why Do We Eat Popcorn at the Movies? smithsonianmag.com
47 points by shrikant  5 hours ago   35 comments top 15
crazygringo 3 hours ago 2 replies      
> Popcorn wasnt widely eaten in homes, mostly due to how difficult it was to make: consumers needed a popper, oil, butter, salt...

That's wrong, it's insanely easy to make. You don't need a "popper", just a pot with a lid. Any pot. And what kitchen doesn't have oil, butter and salt around?

But since TV wasn't around yet, what were you going to eat it to? ;)

dandrews 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I used to run a small community theatre group, on a wing and a prayer and a shoestring budget. When we discovered how much of a money-maker popcorn was we were elated. Basic materials were cheap, and we sold a small bag of popcorn for a dollar - lots of those little bags. Wonderful stuff, worth even the extraordinary mess that patrons always left behind. (Cleaning up the house after a show is part of the biz. Ah, the romance of the stage!)
shrikant 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Also of related interest is this article from 2009 that says:

A "small" at Regal has 670 calories and 34 grams of saturated fat. Thats about as many calories as a Pizza Hut Personal Pan Pepperoni Pizzaexcept the popcorn has three times the saturated fat. Even shared with another person, that size provides nearly an entire days worth of the kind of fat that clogs arteries and promotes heart disease. And every tablespoon of "buttery" oil topping adds another 130 calories. Asking for topping is like asking for oil on French fries or potato chips, according to CSPI.


kleiba 3 hours ago 0 replies      
It's interesting to learn that movie theaters originally tried to establish themselves as highbrow institutions that drew inspiration from actual theaters. Sadly, not much is left of this ambition today.

The introduction of popcorn may have been one of the first steps of movie theaters to "open up to wider audiences", but as another thread points out, the artificial flavor and smells that surround the product today has not just found friends. Movie theaters, in their fight for customers, have had to lower their standards so drastically to attract new movie goers that others turned away in bewilderment. With the advent of home entertainment technology, both for audio and video, a fair amount of people now prefer the quiet, clean, comfortable, distraction-free screening in their own living room to a night at the movies.

At the same time, we're witnessing a big cultural landmark of the 20th century is dying out. It already has in some forms that had to make space for the mega multiplexes and super blockbusters.

In this context, the introduction of popcorn may have marked the beginning of a development in which the original attraction, the movie, became just one factor among many in the "movie going experience", thereby being devalued. In the end, movie theaters will have to answer to the question why they expect their customers to pay premium prices for these factors.

The business model of movie theaters, with or without popcorn, is not sustainable any more. Whether the disappearance of the cultural entity "movie theater" in its present form would still constitute a big cultural loss, or whether that loss has already happened long ago, is certainly worth debating.

Aldo_MX 4 hours ago 1 reply      
> Popcorn, it seems, was the original clandestine movie snack.

Haha. I have a big coat with inner bags where I can fit two 1.5 lt sodas, I always sneak snacks when going with my friends, since, at least in my country, every snack is ridiculously overpriced (around 5 to 10 times the original price).

fatjokes 45 minutes ago 0 replies      
Isn't the Smithsonian shutdown along with the rest of the gov't? Or is Smithsonianmag.com not affiliated with the museums?
lnanek2 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Kind of price tiering as well. People with little money can come and just pay for the show, others can buy lots of extras.
sudomal 4 hours ago 1 reply      
To me cinemas / movie theaters are about the film. I never eat or drink while I'm there... maybe I missed the memo.
barrkel 4 hours ago 1 reply      
I've never eaten popcorn at the movies, and have long thought popcorn smelled disgusting. I wasn't pleased when that American tradition was imported into Ireland when I was a kid.
brspangler 2 hours ago 0 replies      
My wife pointed out is that one of the disposable lines in the article mentioned that until "talkies," movies were less of a "bread and circuses" pasttime - the illiterate don't get the full experience of a silent film.

Considering the storylines of many silent films, I'm rather amused to contemplate what that implies. Seriously, "Keystone Cops" is kind of like the "America's Got Talent" of its day - "Othello" it ain't.

politician 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Why indeed? I'd rather have a beer than popcorn, so Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Austin, TX gets my vote.
methodin 3 hours ago 3 replies      
I can never eat popcorn at the movies because it's gone by the time the previews are over. Am I the only one?
dreamdu5t 3 hours ago 0 replies      
How difficult it was to make? lol. Popcorn is extremely easy to make, cheap, and every typical kitchen had the supplies to make it back then.
kzisme 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I feel as if the best reason to eat popcorn is because it's not terribly crunchy. If i eat chips while watching a show the crunching of the popcorn makes me unable to hear the movie.
johnnyg 5 hours ago 2 replies      
Cause it is tasty.

Not everything needs a blog post.

Attacking Tor: How the NSA targets users' online anonymity theguardian.com
583 points by brkcmd  1 day ago   159 comments top 28
shawn-furyan 1 day ago 6 replies      
One heartening aspect of the Snowden revelations as a whole is that they have pretty much just confirmed that the things we thought were strong (public crypto research, tor) are in fact strong and the things that we thought were iffy are in fact iffy(Certificate Authorities, Unvetted Crypto, Cloud Services, The Wires, Implementations). This bodes well for the prospect of navigating out of this whole mess successfully since on the whole we seem to have good instincts about what is trustworthy and what is untrustworthy. I think that it actually has tended to clarify thinking about security so that fewer and fewer engineers are able to delude themselves into trusting something that they know deep down is really untrustworthy.
tptacek 1 day ago 7 replies      

I've taken a jaundiced view of "liberation tech" efforts in the past and this is as good an illustration as any of why. Among "amateur" libtech projects, Tor is about as good as you get --- an active community, extremely widespread use, technical people with their heads screwed on right and as much humility as you can reasonably expect of people whose projects are (candidly) intended to thwart world governments.

If Tor can't provide meaningful assurances (here, there's a subtext that Tor actually made NSA's job easier), you'd need an awfully convincing reason for how you're going to do better than they are before "liberating" the Chinese internet, especially given that it your users who assume the real risks.

elwin 1 day ago 2 replies      
The more we learn about the NSA's capabilities, the more it seems like the Manhattan Project. They are developing the "cyberwarfare" equivalents of weapons of mass destruction. This exploit delivery network goes so far beyond any legitimate purpose it might serve that it belongs in the same moral category as hydrogen bombs.

EDIT: The above is somewhat hyperbolic and unclear. The NSA's capabilities may have legitimate uses. Similarly, there may be legitimate military uses for nuclear weapons. But building nuclear weapons creates the risk of worldwide nuclear destruction. Similarly, building this kind of highly efficient exploit system creates the risk of destroying all Internet security. The potential destruction far outweighs whatever good the weapons might accomplish. That is why I said they belong in the same category.

anologwintermut 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is one way the NSA can attack Tor. if they just want to de-anonymize a connection, not get access to the content, (.e.g to locate the Silk Road Sever), in theory they can just analyze all their passively collected data form major fiber backbones to identify and locate the user.

Tor, including hidden services, was never designed to protect against someone who could observe all or almost all traffic in the Tor network. Given that data, it's rather easy to correlate timing information. Indeed, Tor fundamentally allows this since it aims to be a low latency network.

Given the NSA's extensive tapping of key fiber lines, we should assume they can actually observe the necessary traffic.From the original paper announcing Tor: "A global passive adversary is the most commonly assumed threat when analyzing theoretical anonymity designs. But like all practical low-latency systems, Tor does not protect against such a strong adversary." --- Tor: The Second Generation Onion Router [0][0] https://svn.torproject.org/svn/projects/design-paper/tor-des...

kilroy123 1 day ago 3 replies      
Sounds like, if you're going to do something very sensitive on tor, you need to:

- always have an update to date version of tor bundle!

- compile the bundle yourself from source

- run it virtually, and always roll back to a clean snapshot (before installing it tor) when done

- if possible use from a network that is not your own (open wifi, public wifi, etc.)

- spoof your mac address

- do not run JS, Java applets, etc.!

I know this seems extreme, but from what I read, it's the best you can do to protect yourself.

conductor 1 day ago 1 reply      
> Once the computer is successfully attacked, it secretly calls back to a FoxAcid server, which then performs additional attacks on the target computer to ensure that it remains compromised long-term

It would be nice if somebody could honeypot them to find out the vulns and malware types they are using.

GigabyteCoin 1 day ago 1 reply      
Is nobody slightly concerned that the date shown in the PDF file which sparked this commentary ( http://www.theguardian.com/world/interactive/2013/oct/04/tor... ) shows the PDF as being created in 2007?

It looks like they had some trouble picking out users 5 years ago... lord only knows how easy it must be for them now.

spindritf 1 day ago 1 reply      
So how does Tails[1] stack up? It seems to thwart most of those attacks.

It block non-anonymized traffic and makes permanent changes difficult. OTOH, privilege escalation bugs happen frequently on Linux.


chrisduesing 1 day ago 1 reply      
Wait, so simply by using Tor the government will install malware on your computer. How is that legal?
espeed 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Foxacid sounds like an NSA version of BeEF (http://beefproject.com/), which hooks browsers that would then be monitored from the Lockheed-Martin-style SOC (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1tCJfy_iZ4 :-).

However, for those with more limited resources, Ryan Barnett is working on an open-source monitoring system for BeEF (https://vimeo.com/54087884).

jstalin 1 day ago 0 replies      
So how does one determine which sites are being intercepted through Tor and served malformed code? Start doing CURLs from within Tor and outside of it and comparing hashes?
aroch 1 day ago 1 reply      
At least according the the slides, Tor appears to be safe for the most part. Which is good.
danso 1 day ago 2 replies      
This accompanying article has useful context: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/04/nsa-gchq-attack...

> But the documents suggest that the fundamental security of the Tor service remains intact. One top-secret presentation, titled 'Tor Stinks', states: "We will never be able to de-anonymize all Tor users all the time." It continues: "With manual analysis we can de-anonymize a very small fraction of Tor users," and says the agency has had "no success de-anonymizing a user in response" to a specific request.

So only with "manual analysis" can intel agencies have any success, and that appears to be with a small subset of users who have other vulnerabilities. But when targeting a specific user, the NSA appears to have had no success in de-anonymizing them.

neves 1 day ago 1 reply      
I've been playing with vagrant and ansible to create a new server in a snap. Here is a good weekend project:

Instead of having just an Tor/browser bundle, build a vagrant machine specification that installs the Tor bundle. This virtual machine would be destroyed and recreated from time to time. Now put the machine specification in GitHub and let anyone use it.

malandrew 21 hours ago 0 replies      
If someone makes disposable Raspberry Pi Tor exit and non-exit nodes sealed in hard plastic resin, we could all buy them and drop them off in random places throughout the world on open networks. If enough people the world over does this, we would make it a lot harder for a global passive attacker to succeed.

Tor's biggest vulnerability is the risk associated with operating exit nodes means that the number of exit nodes remains relatively low at ~1000 worldwide. If hundreds of thousands of exit nodes started popping up all over the globe. It would be very hard to counter.

I'm also curious if enough governments unhappy with what is happening could go as far as hosting many tor nodes outside the control of the NSA. Is the Global Passive Adversary threat still valid if there are many of them that are non-cooperative with one another (i.e. China can't monitor US and Russian tor nodes, Russia can't monitor US and Chinese nodes, and the US can't monitor Chinese and Russian nodes)? My intuition tells me that the global passive adversary would have to be able to monitor most of the nodes, but if others came on the scene doing the same, they would dilute the percentage of nodes that any single global passive adversary could monitor.

coldcode 1 day ago 1 reply      
Sure these folks are smart and have all sorts of powerful weapons; what are the odds that someone out there could successfully repurpose some of these weapons? What is the likelihood that vulnerabilities exist in the NSA's systems? We can never know since it's all secret. If someone does take over these systems we wouldn't know that either.
pygy_ 11 hours ago 0 replies      
> FoxAcid tags are designed to look innocuous, so that anyone who sees them would not be suspicious. An example of one such tag [LINK REMOVED] is given in another top-secret training presentation provided by Snowden.

Anyone knows what these tags look like?

ksrm 1 day ago 0 replies      
Can one use something like Lynx with Tor? I doubt there are very many exploits for it.
welder 1 day ago 1 reply      
The NSA is like Tor's pentesters, except Tor doesn't get to see the results.
pitchups 1 day ago 1 reply      
It appears that the NSA has been able to target only Tor users that are using the Tor - Firefox bundle. So if you are using Chrome or some other browser - configured to use Tor, you would be safe from these exploits. Wouldn't most sophisticated hackers - or other high value targets most likely to be of interest to the NSA - be already doing that, rather than using the Firefox+Tor bundle?
rdl 1 day ago 0 replies      
Should really make a packaged vm in vm failsecure tbb equivalent. Nothing is really works from a usability standpoint while giving reasonable protections against this kind of endpoint attack.
hawkharris 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Apparently, John Grisham works for the NSA, naming its programs.
galapago 1 day ago 0 replies      
This kind of news should encorage people to create and use better tools for find and fix vulnerabilities in software.
wil421 1 day ago 0 replies      
I am loving every minute of this NSA-Gate or Snow-Gate. Nothing like holding GOVT accountable for decisions they make behind closed doors, decisions that had an impact on the whole world not just US citizens.

Its also great all the technical details that are being released about how they Intel Agencies collect data. Its all fascinating.

gcb1 21 hours ago 0 replies      
what about the nonsense on the quantum system? i think the reporter left some key info out.

why does speed is a factor to mitm attacks? the slide shows a proper mintm diagram... or is this quatum thing exploiting a package arriving before the honest response? and why they would need to do that if they are in a position to do a proper mitm attack and not expose themselves for someone who monitors man-on-the-side attacks?

doug1001 1 day ago 0 replies      
don't forget that Tor publishes their exit nodes--they make them freely available to anyone. So a simple membership test on a client IP against that list of exit node IPs identifies that client IP as either having come through Tor via the onion router or else they are an exit node themselves.
frank_boyd 1 day ago 2 replies      
I remember somebody from Mozilla thinking out loud "we should integrate Tor in Firefox". Glad that didn't get done.
mcphilip 1 day ago 4 replies      
edit: removing meta discussion about flagging. the story should get the attention. apologies for the distraction.
Show HN: Web service for monitoring web pages (weekend project) watchit4.me
8 points by nedzadk  2 hours ago   5 comments top 2
dopey 22 minutes ago 1 reply      
Why do people not sign up for Mandrill / Postmark / Sendgrid etc when creating an app like this so the confirmation email is delivered instantly and not placed in your junk folder?

App looks good, was thinking about creating something like this for my own use. My use case would be for monitoring a forum 'Whats New' page so we can be alerted if a thread is started about our business. But we would need the alert much more frequently (every hour at least), and wouldn't want the same alert over and over again.

sloop 30 minutes ago 1 reply      
fast and nice clean interface. I would like to see a 'run now' button when adding a thing to watch to see if it works immediately.

do you have a specific target audience for this?

Rubinius 2.0 released rubini.us
151 points by steveklabnik  17 hours ago   40 comments top 10
wiremine 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Here's a tl;dr for the blog post:

Thanks to Matz, DHH, Evan Phoenix. Thanks to the hundreds of contributors. Thanks to Engine Yard for the $$$. Thanks to the community.

Rubinius 2 will target Ruby 2.1. We're brining Ruby into the future! We will not support multiple Ruby language versions moving forward.

Version releases are changing with the release of Rubinius 2.0. There will be a new release once a week, won't follow a pre-determined release schedule. Master branch will be kept extremely stable. New versions will be X.Y.Z+1. Please post issues, hopefully they will be fixed quickly.

The goal is to semantically version the Rubinius core starting with version 3.0. We've added a subdomain http://releases.rubini.us for hosting release tarballs.

About Rubinius Parts:

* It has a VM that runs byte code produced by the Ruby compiler. Every Ruby method gets its own interpreter.

* The generational garbage collector (GC) has a very fast young generation collector, usually pausing for less than 15 ms to complete a collection.

* Rubinius implements native operating system threads for concurrency and has no global interpreter lock (GIL). Ruby code can run in parallel on multi-core or multi-CPU hardware.

* The Rubinius just-in-time compiler (JIT) turns Ruby bytecode into machine code. The JIT thread is mostly independent of the Ruby threads so the JIT operation doesn't impact the running code's performance.

* The Rubinius core libraries (e.g. Array, Hash, Range, etc.), as well as Rubinius tools like the bytecode compiler, are written in Ruby. The Rubinius systems treat them just like Ruby application code.

Commenters note: There's a whole section called "Plans, Meeet Future" which seems to say Ruby hasn't kept pace with the "SaaS revolution." Honestly, not sure what as going on here, I'll punt on a summarizing.

Plans for improvement:

* Significantly improve concurrency coordination in the system. Some operations requires topping all threads. Working to get rid of this.

* Provide more efficiency by using more modern lock-free concurrent data structures.

* Make the GC more concurrent and parallel.

* Make the JIT even faster and expose more of it to regular Ruby code.

Gems as Components:

* Major components, like the bytecode compiler, Ruby parser, debugger, etc. have been moved to gems. These components can be updated easily and quickly without requiring a Rubinius release.

* In Rubinius 2.0, the Ruby standard library has also been converted to gems.

The post then reflects on how Rubinius has inspired other projects: RubySpec, Topaz, Opal, Puma, etc.

And it ends with: "Ruby is an excellent language. Rubinius is dedicated to providing Ruby developers with excellent tools and technology competitive with these other languages. Developers who are happy writing Ruby shouldn't be forced to leave it because of technical limitations."

1qaz2wsx3edc 15 hours ago 5 replies      
> Concurrent and distributed applications aren't the future anymore, they are the present. They are vital to business success. The many talented developers that are passing over Ruby for Erlang, Go, Clojure and Node are draining Ruby of talent and vitality.

As someone who has been working with MRI since 2006-ish, I feel this statement is accurate. MRI is stagnating around the GIL. Rails last lost some of it's edge and this is in part responsible. Since about 2011, I've invested into Erlang (elixir), and mostly NodeJS. They're truly communities that are evolving well, they are applying themselves well to new problems inherit to changes in application building demands.

akanet 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm very interested in trying out rubinius alongside MRI. I have two big questions, if anyone knows the answers:

Does anyone have any pointers on how to keep the latest RBX up to date in RVM?

Will heroku be supporting RBX's new weeklyish release cycle?

regularfry 11 hours ago 0 replies      
> Over time, we've tried to support multiple Ruby language versions, many different projects, old and new code, code that abuses every corner of MRI's ad hoc semantics, and every random, undocumented MRI C function with the Rubinius C-API compatibility layer. Unfortunately, this is unsustainable and not in the best interests of Ruby or Rubinius.

I wonder what this means for RubySpec?

ksec 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Finally, i thought it would be another Duke Nukem Release. Glad to see it out.

Now, Rubinius 2.0, Ruby 2.1, Topaz, JRuby.

Exciting time for Ruby implementation.

piratebroadcast 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Can someone explain Rubinous to me like I'm 5? NEwish to Ruby and Rails.
tharshan09 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Is there a possibility of something like this for python? or is there already?
arnvald 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Congratulations to Brian, Dirkjan and all the other people involved in Rubinius. This is great news, I'm looking forward to test my apps on Rubinius 2.0!
te_chris 15 hours ago 0 replies      
This is super cool, great work guys!
kasperbn 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Are the new lock-free concurrent data structures like clojures persistent data types? That would be very useful. Great work/plan!
Developer releases app to remove region lock of Galaxy Note 3 xda-developers.com
12 points by pearjuice  4 hours ago   8 comments top 3
csense 19 minutes ago 0 replies      
> backporting it to devices sold in the past (aren't there laws against this?)

This could also describe Sony's behavior with the Playstation 3. Early-model PS3's contained a feature called OtherOS which allowed you to run Linux on the console in a way officially supported by Sony.

Sony later decided to remove OtherOS support from the console in a firmware update. While technically optional, the firmware update was required to play online games on the console, or play subsequently produced game discs.

IMHO it's fine if a hardware manufacturer chooses to remove features from newer models. OTOH reaching out through the cloud to remove features and cripple models that people have already bought should constitute deliberate fraud against the consumer. You bought something which was advertised to do X, Y, and Z, the manufacturer deliberately removes the capability to do X after you've purchased it -- it seems like it should be totally illegal for them to do that.

If a car dealership owner decides to sell only cars without radios, that's their business decision, and it's not illegal for them to do business that way. If a car dealership owner decides to drive around town, breaking into cars people have already bought from him and removing their radios, he's going to jail and rightfully so.

Why should PS3's be any different?

Apparently, they are -- AFAIK Sony has suffered no legal consequences for its policy whatsoever.

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

DanBC 2 hours ago 1 reply      
What's the legal status of this?

I can't fathom why vendor locks are covered by the DMCA, but they are. (At least, that's what the Library of Congress says) so maybe this is covered too. Or not.

Maybe a bunch of customers could get together and launch a class action lawsuit?


> Unfortunately, this would be very difficult for several reasons including the fact that wireless subscribers are no longer allowed to sue their carriers as part of a class lawsuit.

> The problem is the U.S. Supreme Court's 2011 decision in Concepcion v. AT&T Mobility, in which the Court upheld the validity of class action waivers and arbitration clauses in consumer contracts, according to Michael Ashenbrener of Aschenbrener Law, a consumer advocacy law firm based in Chicago.

> "As a result of the Concepcion case, it is essentially impossible to sue a U.S. cell phone carrier in a class action," Aschenbrener explained in an e-mail. "Consequently, there is no effective check on the power of U.S. wireless companies."

Mobile phone companies suck, eh?

i386 2 hours ago 2 replies      
Why do companies keep doing this crap? Is there some logical reason why they would do this?
If The Government Used Version Control brianhertzog.com
3 points by bhertzog  57 minutes ago   discuss
Museums that want your legacy tech computerworld.com
24 points by ohjeez  6 hours ago   6 comments top 5
tingletech 1 hour ago 0 replies      
California Museum of Photography collections include early digital cameras and related media. http://artsblock.ucr.edu/Page/california-museum-of-photograp...

They have earthquake resistent storage for the Keystone-Mast sterogram collection of master glass plate netagives.

Pacific Pinball Museum also also pretty coolhttp://pacificpinball.org

fnordfnordfnord 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Slide #7 is my friend's museum in a tiny little South Texas town (Wharton). I was surprised to see it on CW.

If you have some interesting stuff taking up space in your garage, send it to one of these museums. If you miss the old junk that you've thrown away, go visit one of these museums.

code_duck 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I have a Texas Instruments 8086 PC and printer from 1980-81 that I've been trying to determine what to do with. I wonder whether that's exciting enough for them?
shawnee_ 5 hours ago 1 reply      
A newer one that's not mentioned in the article: http://www.digitalgamemuseum.org/donate-an-artifact/
ryanobjc 3 hours ago 0 replies      
And here in the Bay Area there is the Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment for video game things http://www.themade.org/
Maven is broken by design ltgt.net
118 points by richardw  16 hours ago   69 comments top 13
timr 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Reading Java people's complaints about the deficiencies in their fifty different build tools makes me want to force them all to use Make.
koevet 14 hours ago 2 replies      
I don't understand why this is still a matter of discussion after so many years of blood and tears. Maven is dead, everyone else is moving to Gradle (Spring, Android, Hibernate, etc.).

I have been using Gradle now for almost 3 years and I can't be happier. The support is great, they roll out new features at a regular pace, it's fast and incremental build WORKS.

If you work in Java and you are still stuck with Maven, please, take a look at Gradle.

hrjet 10 hours ago 1 reply      
One thing which I detest about maven, it uses http by default. Getting it to use https requires a lot of work[1] so many don't use it.

By default, not only are you downloading a truck load of jars from the internet and running them locally, you are fetching them over an insecure channel!

[1]: http://maven.apache.org/guides/mini/guide-repository-ssl.htm...

Communitivity 9 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm a sw engineer programming Java since 1996. I started using Maven when it first came out as the declarative build language hooked me, and became the local Maven expert. I've watched it grow with pride, and sometimes in anger. I still believe a declarative build language is best, but it won't be in XML. I suspect it will eventually be in something like OWL, whatever comes along after OWL that fixes its issues.

So as of a few years ago I too moved on to Gradle and have loved it.


Language based build systems offer more expressiveness, but that is also more rope to hang yourself with if you get someone that doesn't know Gradle well doing tinkering with your build. For example we had someone add a custom checkstyle report to an Android project using Gradle. After their edits it stopped working because of the way the Android plugin was designed, bringing the build down for several hours. I came in, rewrote the Gradle build file to workaround the issue and it worked. Then I documented to the person why it hadn't worked and what I did to fix it.

As with the adoption of anything that gives you more rope to hang yourself with, it's a necessary piece of Gradle adoption to document your practices and train your team well.

ExpiredLink 6 hours ago 3 replies      
Do it the Maven way and you'll have no problems.

Fight the Maven way and you'll end up in a mess.

tl;dr Understand the tools you use.

hansjorg 11 hours ago 0 replies      
> a pom.xml can only list a single source folder. If you have more than one (for whichever reason)

I agree that this example demonstrates that the Maven model is broken, but why would you structure your project like this rather than using another module or a submodule?

Maybe it's just lack of experience, but I highly prefer the rigidity of Maven projects compared to some of the messes that more expressive build systems allow.

frankzinger 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Incremental builds: I am working at a Java shop at the moment and was amazed to find that even the resident Maven experts clean before every build. To me incremental builds are one of the most important functions of a build system, but it seems that users of Maven and other well-known build systems used in the Java world have given up on it because it just doesn't work. So anything which fixes even only this problem would be a step in the right direction.
dschiptsov 14 hours ago 4 replies      
Just maven or the whole Java philosophy of avoiding any understanding/researching/thinking before beginning to pile it up inside an IDE?)
hansgru 12 hours ago 2 replies      
> Maven is broken by design

It might be, but it still has it's merits. It was one of the first, and many other improved tools can't work without it's repositories.

I still like the IDE support for MVN: e.g. IntelliJ draws a nice dependency diagram that I find useful, even if I don't use Maven for something else in a project.

Maybe it's biggest mistake was that dependencies are global by default, and not local (like Node's NPM). If the dependency structure would have been local to a project, than many of the pain points I encountered with MVN in the past wouldn't have even existed.

richardw 14 hours ago 0 replies      
He and others continue discussion here, with some depth.


chopin 14 hours ago 1 reply      
I am not very experienced in using Maven, but the biggest problem I have with it is, that it is hard to tell (at least for my level of experience) from where dependencies are pulled. Is it my local mirror, is it something on a central nexus in the company or is it totally from outside?

Build reproducibility, which the author mentions is another issue. When I scrub the local mirror, the outcome can be completely different. Previously builds where working fine, when I scrub, everything breaks. This is mainly due to non-local dependencies which had been cached locally, but not replaced by most recent versions.

Another suspicion I have is that most build scripts are slapped together by googling until it works. Which of course is prone to being fragile (not to mention legal issues because it is opaque from where all stuff is pulled).

tomohawk 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Switched to buildr (http://buildr.apache.org/) years ago. So much better than maven.
ssfsx17 8 hours ago 1 reply      
What is inherently virtuous about a build tool being pure-declarative and having no imperative impurities?
Google is building Chrome OS straight into Windows 8 theverge.com
18 points by rbcoffee  1 hour ago   5 comments top 3
darklajid 12 minutes ago 0 replies      
I don't get it. I noticed in a recent thread about Firefox that people like Chrome far more than I can understand. I still have an open tab with the recent 'Setting up a Chromebook Development Laptop' article - that really sounds interesting.

But why would any single person in this world run chromeos on a machine that runs Windows 8? The very same machine already either runs Windows (if that's your eco system) or is powerful enough to run Linux. Why would you _ever_ run Chrome OS here?

Put differently: What's the whole point of Chrome OS, unless bundled with cheap/slow hardware, as a kind of Damn Small Linux, the Web 2.0 version?

nivla 33 minutes ago 2 replies      
Interesting. Great for people completely submerged into Google's ecosystem but still clinging onto the Windows OS. For others especially who use one or few of Google's products, this sucks. When I got my Surface Pro tablet, I just wanted to install Chrome Desktop, but nope, it automatically installs into the metro apps and goes ahead and sets itself as the default browser. The worst part is that it sucked compared to the IE metro. On desktop it doesn't get better, with the lack of support for High-DPI scaling, the touch events are about an inch away resulting in false clicks all the time.

I hope they don't ruin the Chrome browser with techniques used to promote Google+. I don't want to see a tomorrow where you download Google Chrome and it comes pre-installed with Google Drive, Google Docs, Google+ etc. Shoving things down people throat isn't going to end well.

spongle 30 minutes ago 0 replies      
I really don't get this. It doesn't make sense at all.

Its like going into McDonalds and finding a Burger King stall inside it.

This is going to be an experience as smooth as a 1974 land rover with no tyres on it.

Mozilla bug 923590: Pledge never to implement HTML5 DRM mozilla.org
797 points by chris_wot  1 day ago   322 comments top 28
guelo 1 day ago 4 replies      
What's ridiculous about everybody bending over backwards for the Netflix usecase is that Hollywood isn't letting Netflix have the content anyway because they want to control and destroy yet another medium. Hollywood is a corrupting evil in our technical, legal and political systems and should be shunned, not accommodated, as much as possible.
Fice 1 day ago 2 replies      
DRM can't be properly implemented in free (as in freedom) software. Either you will not be able to run any modified version not signed by the vendor on your device, or any version you build yourself will lack DRM support. DRM is all about restricting the user control over their devices.

DRM-enabled Firefox would be effectively non-free software: you could not modify it and rebuild it from source while retaining the DRM functionality.

skrebbel 1 day ago 5 replies      
Can some of the more involved please explain the consequence of a choice like this? If Mozilla chooses to not implement this spec, will the effect be that:

    * Firefox is the only browser that can't play certain content    * Firefox is the only browser that plays all content

I would assume the first, because it should be easy for a content provider to just block a certain browser entirely (and that block could be circumvented, but the majority of people won't do that). People will blame Firefox, not the content provider.

ddebernardy 1 day ago 11 replies      
I think you're barking up the wrong tree... And that it has the potential to blow up in Firefox's face.

Remember what happened to html5 video. Everyone but Firefox was pragmatic, and implemented h.264 -- primarily, but not only for hardware acceleration reasons. Years later, Webkit-based browsers are ubiquitous, and Mozilla is developing a phone OS nobody will care about, in a desperate effort to become relevant again.

Imo, Mozilla ought to spare itself another embarrassment by being the only guys in the room with the contrarian opinion. Take the issue to the W3C directly -- or for that matter vote for your local pirate party. HN and other tech news venues might be the correct places to recruit support, but you ultimately want to lobby your case directly.

frozenport 1 day ago 4 replies      
I wonder if this will finally kill Firefox? Imagine a world where FF can't play YouTube or watch Netflix? What if DRM content becomes so prevalent it FF will render most websites like Lynx?
AYBABTME 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Maybe I have no idea of what I'm talking about, but my understanding over how this "Media and Piracy" plot has gone is:

  - Media purchase was inconvenient and overly expensive.  - People pirated because it was convenient and cheap.  - Streaming services offered convenient, low cost     solutions.  - People 'stopped' pirating because streaming is a decent,    convenient legal alternative.
At least that's how I've (and everybody I've asked about) gone through it. So in that perspective, it seems to be a useless attempt at defending from a fading threat.

aaronem 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'm still trying to figure out how we go from "UA streams encrypted content to EME plugin -- oops, sorry, 'extension' -- and EME extension streams decrypted content back to browser" to 'View Source' being prohibited, copy-paste of text demanding micropayments to complete, dogs and cats marrying each other, and Satan going to and fro on the earth.
dingdingdang 1 day ago 0 replies      
Yeah, good luck the the DRM crap - it worked over so well with music (not) and I'm sure it'll fly super fine with video too. Tim Berners-Lee has sold his soul somewhere along the line. Following bit from Florian Bsch comment on article sums it up brilliantly:

"The W3Cs (and Tim Baner Lees) support of EME shows clearly that once again, the W3C has gone down a blind alley (like with XHTML) and is not interested to serve the real needs of the web. The WhatWG was the result of W3Cs stagnation on addressing real world needs. And once again the W3C is more interested in stagnation than real world needs with EME. It has to be expected that the relevancy of any W3C standard will substantially diminish in the future."

lucb1e 1 day ago 2 replies      
I dislike this. Now sites will just say "View this site in Internet Explorer" and I'll have to boot a virtual machine to legally view the content. Well, if I ever get sued for it I guess I can always say Hollywood should provide me with a Windows license.
chris_wot 1 day ago 2 replies      
P.S. in case anyone asks, I submitted the bug on my iPad... Hope it's not too disconcerting to see the WebKit user agent on this bug! :-)
mmcclure 1 day ago 0 replies      
Mozilla wouldn't implement EME in the browser. It would come in the form of a plugin. It's absolutely incredible what a few uninformed blog posts will do to an otherwise very smart group of people.

I wrote pretty much the same thing in the comments on the blog post yesterday when people were freaking out about this then. EME is a plugin spec for implementing DRM, not something that would get baked into browsers.

Everyone put their logic pants on and stop freaking out for a second. This is might be a silly spec for implementing a stupid premise (DRM), but it's not the end of the open web.

ProNoob13 1 day ago 5 replies      
First of all, making a bug-ticket for something that doesn't exists yet isn't going to solve anything. Second of all, why do you oppose DRM? It's been around for years. Games, DVDs... Nobody really had troubles with it until the bad (not so user-friendly) implementations came around. But, with W3 standardizing the spec for it, we get a win-win: We can watch all our (streaming) video without Flash (which was previously used for DRM), and content providers can be sure that the content we're watching is payed for.
alkonaut 1 day ago 2 replies      
Either make way for content protection for video in some kind of standard, or we are stuck with Silverlight and Flash video forever. Why wouldn't I want some kind of standard platform for delivering protected video in my browser, rather than getting and updating 2-3 different insecure plugins all the time for doing the same thing?

Is this just a crusade agains DRM as a whole (good luck with that) from the free software movement, or do they have problems with this exact proposal from the w3c?

ksec 1 day ago 4 replies      
Realistically, how are content provider suppose to copy protect their properties without the use of DRM?
Qantourisc 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'd like to make a comment, but does anyone know how this DRM works ? I mean either you trust the client, by binary-blobs/hardware or other form of protection, or you are delivering the content into the lap of the consumer.

So I wonder if FireFox CAN even implement it ?

smegel 1 day ago 2 replies      
Well its either that or flash...think I would rather HTML5.
chris_wot 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm not sure I put this into the right category. It's really more than a Firefox issue, it's something for Mozilla as an organisation.
Zigurd 1 day ago 0 replies      
Tens of billions of dollars worth of JavaScript source code are squirted out to every person, good and nefarious, rich and poor, all over the planet without boundaries, every day as they use Web applications. Why is nobody promulgating a standard for hiding it?

The answer is that such proposals get laughed out of the room. They would break the Web, which is far more valuable than anyone's JavaScript source code. Has innovation in JavaScript suffered for lack of source code protection in Web standards? That's also a laughable idea.

So, why not the same answer for passive content?

zamalek 1 day ago 0 replies      
"To view this website please download our plugin that enables DRM-protected content in your browser."
shmerl 1 day ago 0 replies      
I still wonder what was Tim Berners-Lee thinking, when supporting DRM? He should have known better.
devx 1 day ago 1 reply      
It's bad enough that governments are starting to restrict the Internet all over the world [1], almost in unison, why should the last bastions of freedom on the Internet fall so easily, too?

I see the corruption of W3C (because that's what it is) by corporations almost as bad as the corruption of NIST and the security standards by the NSA.

And for what exactly? The apparent "convenience" of not having a 3rd party plugin, but instead a "native" plugin in the operating system, that will only work on certain operating systems and browsers? HTML and DRM are incompatible in principle, and will be incompatible in practice, too. It won't give you any convenience, and will potentially make things worse in many other ways.

And all of this because we're starting to buy into the idea that the content companies are right and piracy is hurting their sales? I guess repeating a lie long enough, does make it true in the end - even though it probably isn't [2].

So once again, why are you letting our Internet freedom slip away without even a fight?

[1] - http://www.freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-net/freedom-net-2...

[2] - http://torrentfreak.com/piracy-isnt-hurting-the-entertainmen...

tpainton 1 day ago 0 replies      
until you see some slime profit from your hard work by simply copying it... it's easy to talk about how evil drm, and copyrights are. I know photographers, great photographers, that were stunned when they googled their images and found them front and center on some scumbags webpage, claimed as theirs. musicians go thru the same ordeal. This isn't just about Hollywood, it affects creators who are far from rich.
ChikkaChiChi 1 day ago 1 reply      
Please implement this. The faster we lull these stupid media companies into a false sense of security, the faster we can get rid of Silverlight.
thenerdfiles 9 hours ago 0 replies      
The Grand Chancellor of English, or Webster's Dictionary, has confirmed that utterance of protected terms is in scope of the latest edition.
ialex 1 day ago 0 replies      
What a scary stuff is this?

Imagine the new world that would be open to the malware/spyware if DRM is enabled they will easily use this to hide their shitty stuff and not allowing anybody to see whats going on, how does w3c is going to let that happen :S

Hopefully Firefox wont be open to implemment this shit on their browser.

crazychrome 1 day ago 0 replies      
am i the only one to against the pledge?

here is the reason: if there was such kind of mechanism in browser, we probably already had snapchat years ago on browser instead of Apple's safe guarded garden.

there is no evil technology. it just depends on how to use it. i'm surprised so many are blindly naive.

captainmuon 1 day ago 1 reply      
Implement it, but don't implement it properly. Always tell the server (or whatever does the checks) that DRM is available, and that the user is authorized to play the content. Or add a button or setting to unlock any content.

And even if they implement DRM, I could probably just grab the source and comment out a few ifs, and would be fine (assuming its not just a wrapper for Windows' DRM).

jheriko 1 day ago 0 replies      
well done. :)

as we all know drm is folly. if the data can be decrypted to use then it can be stolen /always/.

You Must Try, and then You Must Ask akamai.com
305 points by mfringel  1 day ago   42 comments top 22
mef 1 day ago 2 replies      
This is so great.

By forcing yourself to try for 15 minutes, you gain a deeper understanding of what you're troubleshooting so that, even if you don't fix it in 15, next time you're in a better position to troubleshoot than you were the last time.

And by forcing yourself to ask for help after 15, you not only limit the amount of banging-your-head time, but you also get to see how the other person solves the problem while all the details are still fresh in your mind, so that you'll more likely have a deeper understanding of why what you were doing to fix it wasn't working, and why the ultimate solution actually worked.

pasbesoin 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Trying first reduces the burden on the person you eventually ask. If you made a good effort, you will go into the conversation knowing a lot more and having a contextual awareness (in detail) that you otherwise would not have.

The person you ask can focus on the parts that you didn't figure out for yourself. And, you may have gained a different perspective and/or insight into deficiencies or additional options that is actually of interest to the person you talk to (write, IM, etc.).

Viola. You just turned a lecture into a more interesting and engaging conversation.

joshdance 1 day ago 2 replies      
Often times I start writing out my question like I would post it to StackOverFlow. The very process of writing out what I know, what I don't, and what I have tried very often leads to a solution.
nhebb 19 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm a one-man shop with no one to bounce problems off of, so I rely on Google and Stack Overflow (or other forums). In the past when I got stuck and posted a question, frequently I'd solve the problem myself almost immediately afterward.

So now when I'm tempted to ask a question on SO, I write out the question in a text editor, giving as much detail as possible. It's not a 100%, but I've found that going through the process of trying to frame a question intelligently goes a long way toward figuring it out myself.

falcolas 22 hours ago 0 replies      
This works if, and only if, the cost of you failing is limited to the cost of your time. If you're starting work on a metal lathe, ask before trying (the cost of failing is your life). If you're working with an expensive physical material, ask before trying (the cost of you failing is the loss of that physical material).

More relevant to HN viewers: If you're doing work on a production server, ask before trying. The cost to your corporation of you failing and bringing down a mission critical service is typically greater than the context switch of one additional person to make sure you're doing it right.

emilsedgh 8 hours ago 0 replies      
This is very similar to 'How To Ask Questions The Smart Way' written by Eric Raymond.


Strongly recommended to hackers.

616c 5 hours ago 0 replies      
This is very cool, and this is how I have approached my sysadmin and programming work over the years.

When I started, I had very little experience, but a willingness to learn. My boss hired me anyway, and it moved from pushing paper to labs to "OK, we need to update this web application" and "I need you to learn how to deploy a very customized Windows image for 300 computers, and learn to maintain them." Since I was much younger, first as a student and then a full-time employee at uni, it was easy to ask my bosses (the first, if you can believe this, actually wrote his own code to hide a password in the bootloader to run some admin task on the first boot after imaging and then delete after completion; with Windows installations and incosistency, it took him months to get that write; he now is a full-time lit nerd and author, talk about renaissance man) and tell them everything I did and needed help. Not only did that teach me to solve the problem, it taught me how to approach computer problems (kind of like the OSI stack, but more general than networking, and not as shitty as "turn the computer on again and off again") and then onto "how do I debug stupid coding mistakes in scripts with the least time possible" (answer: it might not be a production app, but make sure your scripts have good on-and-off logging infrastructure or you will be sorry).

Unfortunately, I moved on from that job. And if this long-winded post is any indication, I am now seen as too chatty and annoying with this approach where I work. Some people get it, while as the other more senior infrastructure people see it as me questioning them when I ask for explanations or better tips to troubleshoot issues I could see (not that are there, but potentially could see) from my end and know when to leave them alone. As others pointed it, it is essential to enforce this on everyone, and in many institutions, that is seen as being chatty and nosy.

I learned a lot through my mentors, and I wish this could be imposed everywhere I worked and work, but many oppose this as questioning authority. I wish it was different, but oh well.

tmoertel 1 day ago 0 replies      
I like this rule for one reason beyond those the author mentioned: it benefits the people you're asking for help, by sharing with them problems that have been pre-qualified as interesting.
johnpmayer 8 hours ago 0 replies      
This is great advice, and very difficult advice if you have a ego that dislikes not knowing the answers. It's also something that is doubly important for devops - don't let production issues sit idle because you're afraid to ask how to fix something! I know that I still struggle, but I'm getting better and am much better than when I started.
goshx 1 day ago 1 reply      
I like the rule.

I'd suggest to try also with a step in between. Something like: try for 15 minutes, if you still can't find the solution, go for a quick break, like getting a coffee, and if the solution still doesn't magically appear, ask someone.

I lost count of how many times I solved a problem while getting up to get coffee, after trying hard to find the answer for a few minutes. I can't be the only one.

jonahx 1 day ago 1 reply      
I run into this phenomenon often when posting on SO.

In the process of writing up a clear and detailed post, which often involves simplifying the problem into something reproducible on jsfiddle, I suddenly see the answer.

Instead of hitting submit I can just close my browser tab.

cruise02 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is a pretty good rule of thumb for posting questions online (Stack Overflow) as well as asking your co-workers. Take the time to understand the problem yourself so you can better present it to someone else.
toadi 1 day ago 1 reply      
Sometimes whie trying to explain the problem to someone else. I find the solution myself. So maybe after the intial 15 minutes try to explain it.
Apocryphon 5 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a great idea. I'm sad that I didn't learn it earlier, in college. I wonder why it seems like most of us in this thread hadn't, as well?
umsm 1 day ago 0 replies      
Whenever I get stuck on a problem, I try to clear my head. That usually involves tackling another task, getting some fresh air, or just going home.

I noticed that going home early and tackling the problem early the next morning helps more than the 2-3 hours I spent with no success.

diminoten 1 day ago 1 reply      
Is 15 minutes enough time? It might be a small point of contention, but why not an hour?
joeblau 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've learned a lot and wasted a lot of time doing this. Sometimes I think I'm almost there and 15 minutes turns into 2 days.
vsvn 8 hours ago 0 replies      
We use and apply this basic rule at work and it works wonder. A lot of time, the developer could figure out the answer before asking or during the discussion with another developer.

I think the reason why this works well is because you are force to document and make it as easy to understand as possible. There are complex problems, but it is easier to solve if those problems are broken down into solvable pieces.

badman_ting 1 day ago 0 replies      
I like this rule.
bifrost 1 day ago 0 replies      
Well said. Matt Ringel is spot on here.
namenotrequired 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I suspect this would work great even if you don't have direct workmates but know some people with expertise in your area anyway. I'd love to try it!
squozzer 1 day ago 0 replies      
I might try for 30 minutes, but maybe I'm just stubborn.
Setting Up A Chromebook Development Laptop zfeldman.com
97 points by thebiglebrewski  15 hours ago   53 comments top 13
rwmj 11 hours ago 2 replies      
I used a Chromebook running Fedora 17 (dual boot on a separate SD card, not chrooted) for 2 weeks and wrote about it[1]. In summary, not too bad.

Even better: recently someone worked out how to fully root it so you can enable hardware virtualization and sign your own kernels[2].

[1] http://rwmj.wordpress.com/2013/01/16/some-thoughts-after-2-5...

[2] http://lwn.net/SubscriberLink/568943/fd91a17213c1e788/

moonchrome 12 hours ago 6 replies      
As much as I like the idea of 200$ dev machines for students if they already have working laptops by far the easiest and uniform solution would be to distribute virtual box images, have students install virtual box and develop inside that, even that cheap Acer would be enough to run a ruby dev virtual box.

You can even install all ruby gems, packages and w/e you need for the class before you distribute it for convenience.

someperson 14 hours ago 3 replies      
Does anybody have a way to do Android development on a ARM Chromebooks? The Android SDK is not available on ARM (probably will never be).

I have used AIDE (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.aide.ui&hl...) to with Github and Dropbox with some success, but I feel it could be a lot more polished - but it works as far as I can tell.

A Chromebook + modern Android smartphone/tablet is powerful enough to provide a very good development environment (no need to emulate a device). It's held back by Eclipse being slow and bloated and Android SDK being unavailable.

Is there any hope for me other than getting a more powerful laptop? I feel like I people around the world should be able to write great Android software with a Chromebook + android device, but they currently can't

ChikkaChiChi 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I recently posted on G+ that if the hardware were more open, the Pixel would be the flagship Linux developer machine.

The problem is that I don't want to get a laptop and spend countless hours getting it to "just work"

pjbrunet 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I think it's better to learn violin on a Stradivarius. (Start out using Linux.)

And 4 hours battery life? Not really enough IMO, especially for a slow Celeron :-/

MatthewPhillips 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I love developing on a Chromebook but I use ChromeOS because I prefer it... am old laptop to use as a server and Secure Shell app is all I need.
chernevik 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Does crouton have issues with hibernation on lid close? I've been using ChrUbuntu, and it is great, but it often fails to wake up after a lid close.
xdd 4 hours ago 2 replies      
I still remember the $4899 price tag on IBM T-series. Everything today compare to that period is a bargain. Xeon and Ecc is what developer should use for stability(VMs) and decent speed.

$200 coding machine is not a bad idea, but I just cannot figure out where to use it.

pearjuice 3 hours ago 1 reply      
In terms of operating system support, ARM is really a deal breaker.
bond 7 hours ago 1 reply      
If only could be used for android development...
MrMeker 14 hours ago 2 replies      
I have the same setup on mine. Aside for a weird trackpad grounding issue that sometimes messes up the screen after extended two finger scrolling while on battery power, it is really nice. I just have to touch the VGA port every few minutes. I am planning on expanding the RAM to somewhere between the 2GB it came with and the 16GB it supports. I might also put in a laptop hard drive.
brianfcoleman 13 hours ago 1 reply      
I have used crouton to install Debian with xfce on my Samsung Chromebook. It's a bit on the slow side compared to my Macbook Pro running Ubuntu but the lack of a fan makes it an awesome little machine. I just wish that there was a version of the Pixel with an arm processor inside.
tbarbugli 12 hours ago 1 reply      
9Gigs of disk space...
Boston Dynamics Unleashes Wildcat, the Sprinting Quadruped Robot eetimes.com
144 points by jonmrodriguez  19 hours ago   117 comments top 18
joe_the_user 17 hours ago 10 replies      
The odd thing is how we keep seeing these impressive prototypes and yet we don't see the deployment of even the five-years-ago prototypes.

It's interesting to think about the factors that go into this. I could imagine:

* High unit cost

* High maintenance cost, especially in remote locations.

* It is only useful in remote locations where wheeled vehicles can't go.

* It requires special training to operate.

* It doesn't have enough intelligence to avoid obstacles by itself in the remote, rough locations it would otherwise be fit for.

Other ideas?

NatW 18 hours ago 0 replies      
The updated Atlas may even be more-frightening: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SD6Okylclb8
chadwickthebold 18 hours ago 3 replies      
They test this across the street from my office. Pretty crazy when you actually see it sprint the length of a football field, turn around and run the length again. Then again, it's also pretty funny when it faceplants and one of the engineers runs over with a fire extinguisher to make sure it doesn't explode.
ihnorton 18 hours ago 0 replies      
It doesn't just sprint; the thing gallops. Like a horse. Also, as it warms up, it does a weird jitter-hop and walk-in-reverse thing that is just begging for a remix to an electronic beat.

(Sometimes I miss Slashdot. This one deserves an 'overlords' reference).

bostonpete 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Notice that there are no jokers trying to kick this thing over in the video. Wildcat is much less forgiving than Big Dog. Three engineers have already been mauled by it...
usaphp 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Can someone explain me, why are they spending so much time on trying to make it run instead of just fitting it with wheels? What is the benefit of it having legs vs wheels? I must have missing something sorry...
clarkmoody 18 hours ago 7 replies      
I'm waiting for the demo of a robot placing accurate shots at full-auto with a standard issue rifle -- on multiple targets.
stock_toaster 43 minutes ago 0 replies      
I am rooting for a LandStrider model.
robomartin 16 hours ago 7 replies      
In a different thread there was an argument about the relative futility of some of today's robotics experiments [0]. As it is sometimes typical on HN, the poster with a message outside the "go team" cargo-cult mentality wasn't very welcome. I happen to think he had a very interesting point. And that point translates well into this thread.

Why don't we see practical applications of all of these robotics experiments? The answer is very simple really: Most of them are relatively pointless and add very little to the robotics knowledge-base that will be needed to really move robotics forward into real-world applied robots.

Think of something like robotics vacuum cleaners. Nothing whatsoever innovative about any of them. It's a wheeled platform that has been in use in hobby and research robotics since, well, forever. The '70's and '80's were full of robots with this basic platform. What changed? Electronics got better, batteries smaller, microprocessors more capable, manufacturing more efficient. What was retained and reused from prior research? Probably not much.

I started in college with the goal of becoming a robotics engineer. An EE with specialization in robotics. It didn't take long for me to realize that the field wasn't as interesting and exciting as I made it out to be in my mind. The R2D2's and C3-PO's were nowhere to be found and were easily decades away from becoming reality. If I wanted to be in robotics I would end-up making industrial manipulators or things with motors that we would all pretend were robots. That's a pet peeve of mine. Battlebots had nothing whatsoever to do with robotics. It was about a bunch of remote controlled machines. Not robots.

I digress. The point is that I was really excited about the field until I realized what I wanted to do would have to wait 50 or 100 years. I wanted to work on Commander Data, not a mindless pick-and-place machine.

And so I begun to dissect things and think about what it would take to get there. Do we learn anything by making humanoid-looking little robots out of RC servos? I built a couple. It's an utter waste of time. Nothing whatsoever of value other than to pretend we built a humanoid. Don't get me wrong, it's a great hobby and lots of fun for the kids to learn, but it is far, far away from anything even remotely useful.

In my opinion these are the areas that need a quantum leap in development before robots like Wildcat can become useful and relevant outside the lab:


This is huge. Motors, gears, springs, pistons and bladders just don't cut it. We need a step change in the performance and capabilities of what we use to do the job of biological muscles. Machines like Wildcat can't operate for days at a time. They use internal combustion engines to power pumps and hydraulic or pneumatic end-effectors to actuate joints. This is lousy. Very little can be learned from trying to operate such machines. You end-up with things like Asimo that walk like they are taking a dump because it is nearly impossible to implement true dynamic gaits because we either can't implement enough degrees of freedom or joint actuation simply isn't up to par.

Artificial muscles that perform well and are energy efficient would revolutionize the field.


Thankfully this is something robotics shares with electric cars. We need to do much better than current LiPo cells allow in terms of volumetric power density (at the very least).


This is a field that has seen advances but is nowhere near where it needs to be. I can teach a five year old kid how to sort and fold a pile of clothes without much effort (other than maintaining his or her attention). It would be very hard to do the same with the AI we have mastered to date. I am talking about having a couple of robot arms and a camera presented with a random pile of clothes and having those clothes sorted and properly folded as a human would. No special mechanics, suction mechanisms or anything like that.


The AI+CONTROL field ultimately needs far more advanced and energy efficient processing architectures than are commonly available today. Stuffing a robot with a powerful Linux PC provides nowhere near the processing bandwidth needed to perform at a level comparable to a human child. I am not sure what form this step improvement in computing will take, but we need it.


We are in the dark ages. We need a serious paradigm shift in the way we program computers if we are ever going to even approach something that can compare to the fictional C3-PO or Commander Data ideas.

If you want to contribute to robotics your time and efforts would be far better spent on the above (I am sure there are other areas I have not listed) rather than making little remote-controlled gyro-actuated cubes that link to each other via magnets. I don't know what can be learned from that other than making remote-controlled gyro-actuated little cubes that link together via magnets. Cool toy. Useless for the advancement of robotics. It's almost like spending a lot of time playing chess: You become better at playing chess, a narrow skill, and virtually nothing you do can be translated or reused for other tasks outside of chess. Grandmasters are not genius thinkers, they are simply great chess players and that's it. Master little cubes with gyros and that's all you've mastered.

I have two German Shepherd dogs. I have trained both of them to search for objects I hide anywhere in the house. I show them the object, I let them smell it and then hide the object while they wait in a "sit-stay" well out of sight. Sometimes I'll hide the object deep in a drawer inside a closet in an upstairs bedroom while they wait in the garage with the door closed. These dogs are amazing to watch. They always find what I showed them. Every so often they need a little help (and they ask for it), most of the time they do it on their own. Think about all that is required for an animal to do this spanning a range of capabilities from cognition, perception, sensing, navigation, planning, communications and more.

There is no way a bunch of little blocks or a gasoline-hydraulic-powered machine is helping us advance towards even something as simple, in terms of biological beings, as finding an hidden object using smell. A better place to spend money and resources is in the areas I highlighted above and others I did not mention. Once you "ace" the above, the process of designing and fabricating a mechanical frame with the required capabilities should be an almost academic exercise for any engineer with a moderate range of experience in the electromechanical fields.

Not to minimize Boston Dynamic, but I really think a lot of what they and others are doing is simply burning tax money for no good reason. Well, there is a good reason. The government folks who shovel out the money are easily impressed by this stuff. Nothing really advances but it is impressive as hell. Who knows how much money was burned on the GE walker in the 1960's [1]. I don't know of anything that came out of that project and is in use today. If I gave any reasonably capable team of engineers a few million dollars to play --without a requirement to actually deliver something that works in the real world-- they could build similarly capable machines. There's nothing special about these systems other than they are impressive to the untrained eye.

General Electric built quadrupeds in 1968 [1]. The only reason they didn't perform like the Boston Dynamics rigs is that they did not have access to better computing platforms, sensors and electronics. There is nothing in the Boston Dynamics machines in terms of mechanics or hydraulics that was not available or could not be implemented in 1968. Just look at the video [2] (got to love the sound effects). This machine, all by itself, proves my point about the futility of some of this research. They all put the cart in front of the horse. The GE machine needed better effectors, sensors, energy storage, AI and control. The machine shows the amazing mechanical complexity that was attainable in 1968. Remember, no Solidworks, no microprocessors, no FPGA's, no Linux, just a dude pulling levers. Amazing stuff.

We are simply focusing on and throwing money at the wrong things.

[0] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6495440

[1] http://www.frc.ri.cmu.edu/~hpm/project.archive/Image.Archive...

[2] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZMGCFLEYakM


Just came across this, which is really cool (1957):


MarcusBrutus 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I am not convinced that that's the way to go. I know nothing about robotics but it seems to me that research into a chimp-donkey hybrid might have more potential for success and also for producing lasting results and solve real, elementary problems that will be relevant for future generations (also with a better chance for civilian / medical applications). The intelligence of a primate to allow it to obey simple commands and follow his master and the agility, biological power source and millions of years of evolution of a donkey or some other sturdy quadruped that can negotiate rough terrain.

Not to mention that with a biological "robot" you also have a very low cost of producing subsequent units if you manage to create a non-sterile hybrid.

wyclif 15 hours ago 1 reply      
It's only a matter of time until one of these things kills a person.
lispm 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Looks like it is hard to stop the military-industrial complex. Don't say you have not been warned.
JulianMorrison 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I wonder if Boston Dynamics understands how intensely viscerally creepy their prototypes are.
001sky 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Interesting how they use a petrol engine.
whatfor 18 hours ago 3 replies      
Is this thing been developed to kill humans?
vapidResponse 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Time to protect rocket propelled grenades, recoilless rifles and H.E.A.T. ammunition under the 2nd amendment. The robot apocalypse is nigh.

(...I'm only half joking)

johnzim 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Can't wait till Sean Vanaman finds out about this one...
JDDunn9 16 hours ago 1 reply      
This doesn't seem like it will do much to advance robotics in the private sector (wheels are fine). I'm more excited to see more results from the DARPA arm program (http://www.gizmag.com/irobot-darpa-autonomous-robotic-manipu...) and the Velo gripper (https://willowgarage.com/velo2g).
Show HN: Upbeat, HN for music - Node + Redis + Angular + Soundcloud upbeatapp.com
55 points by shaunrussell  4 hours ago   34 comments top 14
Raphmedia 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I really like this. I had this concept in my head for a while now. It's a great execution.

What I never could wrap my head around is how to monetize it without using ads all over.

I see you are using "Buy on amazon". Is this giving you a share of the profit?

Anyway, great job!

dinnison 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Thanks for all the feedback! We're aware of the firefox compatibility issues and are working on them.

Great ideas for vinyl links too.

antirez 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I see this working very well if it is possible to create sub-upbeats, especially for groups of friends. A big general one is hard in the context of music. Good interface btw.
heed 53 minutes ago 0 replies      
How is this any better than say /r/listentothis? Not being snarky, but genuinely curious how you are setting yourself apart existing services.
JonnieCache 3 hours ago 1 reply      
If you don't allow people to submit their own tracks then it isn't really HN for music. You should make that clear on the submit form.

(Posted my own track under the artist name, just got deleted. Guess I should have lied.)

EDIT: the site is very nice though.

mcnabj 21 minutes ago 0 replies      
Great Job on this. I really like the light upbeat (pun intended) feel of the design.
contextual 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Apparently I love the site, because I already left a comment and submitted a song :)

Here's my submission, if anyone wants to hear it: https://www.upbeatapp.com/#/?track=662

brickcap 2 hours ago 1 reply      
First of all great job guys. The website looks really good even better than HN. One thing I dislike is the scroll bar in the middle. It makes navigation a bit cumbersome in my opinion.

I see you are using redis! It would be great if you could share some details about your usage like how much memory your app uses and what are your costs associated with it.

clark-kent 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I love this, I'm jealous great execution.
nvartolomei 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Wow, very cool, I will use it.

How do you deal with copyright and author rights?

djh_ 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I like that this will allow me to try to promote my music in a way that doesn't feel so spammy. If people don't like it, it won't get any visibility, and I won't have to feel like I'm bothering people.

A bit of feedback: people's submissions should default with 1 upvote(ala Reddit).

bender80 3 hours ago 1 reply      
The site is beautiful. I like it :)
cioc 3 hours ago 1 reply      
i dig it
XyerD 3 hours ago 2 replies      
Shame that it doesn't support Firefox though...
And Then Steve Said, Let There Be an iPhone nytimes.com
316 points by apress  1 day ago   126 comments top 23
JunkDNA 1 day ago 4 replies      
I always like stuff like this because you see that these people who knock it out of the park apparently effortlessly actually struggle like all the rest of us normal humans behind the scenes. They couldn't figure out how to make a touch screen, the processor wasn't available, Sir Ive's case was impermeable to RF, the LCD was causing interference on the multitouch display, etc... This stuff is hard. Really, really hard. Any one technical obstacle could have killed the whole thing.
ianstallings 1 day ago 5 replies      
Reading this makes me think of Jobs as a Railroad baron of old. Kind of heartless, gruff, and willing to crush anyone in his way, but a guy with a vision so strong he will do anything. And it changed the world, it's hard to overstate that.

I remember seeing the iPhone unveiled and thinking "It's cool, but will people really buy such an expensive phone?". I think it was $600. That was pretty expensive at the time. I also remember thinking about how they wanted all apps to be web-based. A disaster for certain I thought. The phone market was all over the place and brand loyalty was in short supply. I'd seen compaq go from dominating PDAs and nosedive off the cliff. Motorola took their brand loyalty (remember how many people had Razrs?) and went into hiding. Time and again I'd seen phone platforms rise and fall. I was skeptical.

All I knew was one thing - I certainly wasn't going to buy one.

Years later and I now program for iOS a lot. Everyday pretty much. I'm a full blown Mac convert and I'll be honest, the iPhone was what caused it. I bought my first iPhone at version 4. Then I specifically bought my first Mac so I could use the SDK for that phone. I fell in love with the platform, in all its insane glory.

I might move to another platform one day, but I can honestly say I never imagined this is what I would be working on.

pinaceae 16 hours ago 2 replies      
i am glad to be old enough to remember the time before the iphone. seems like a stupid thing to say, right? but go to any tech forum and it seems like all of it is forgotten already, 2007 is kinda blurry and Apple producing smartphones completely normal.

when the rumours started swirling about apple launching a phone people could not believe it. like at all. apple, the ipod guys, building a phone?! no way, what a joke. you had the photoshops of ipods with a dial, etc. analysts explaining why this was completely wrong, impossible and apple was doomed.

same at the launch of the iPad. same at the launch of the iPod (less space than a nomad, no wifi, lame). what the fuck is a nomad one might say today.

those great photoshops of steve holding a giant iphone to his ear, hilarious. an iPad, buhaha, bunch of retards at apple. but now the galaxy note makes perfect sense. to exactly the same neckbeards who laughed at apple's idiocy before.

apple is indeed the most frustrating company. it somehow has defied gravity in the second jobs era and proven that large swaths of the tech world couldn't define taste and style if their life depended on it.

and perfection, like the iphone launch, is a matter of style and taste.

PhasmaFelis 15 hours ago 1 reply      
"Very rarely did I see him become completely unglued it happened, but mostly he just looked at you and very directly said in a very loud and stern voice, You are [expletive] up my company, or, If we fail, it will be because of you. He was just very intense. And you would always feel an inch tall."

"Compounding all the technical challenges, Jobss obsession with secrecy meant that even as they were exhausted by 80-hour workweeks, the few hundred engineers and designers working on the iPhone couldnt talk about it to anyone else. If Apple found out youd told a friend in a bar, or even your spouse, you could be fired."

Christ, what an asshole.

hayksaakian 1 day ago 2 replies      
Talk about literally "fake it till you make it"

-----(regarding the presentation)

They had AT&T, the iPhones wireless carrier, bring in a portable cell tower, so they knew reception would be strong. Then, with Jobss approval, they preprogrammed the phones display to always show five bars of signal strength regardless of its true strength. The chances of the radios crashing during the few minutes that Jobs would use it to make a call were small, but the chances of its crashing at some point during the 90-minute presentation were high.

padmanabhan01 22 hours ago 1 reply      
Articles like this help to show all the work involved in the path from a vague idea to a finished product. That's the hard part. Guess that's why they get upset when some other company just sees the end product and just makes a clone of it, without having to face all the hurdles to arrive there from the initial idea..
ultimoo 23 hours ago 2 replies      
>> The 55 miles from Campbell to San Francisco make for one of the nicest commutes anywhere. The journey mostly zips along the Junipero Serra Freeway, a grand and remarkably empty highway that abuts the east side of the Santa Cruz Mountains.

While scenic, the 280 is certainly not 'remarkably empty'. I make the commute from San Jose to SF everyday and wish I shared the enthusiasm of the author. Apologies for commenting on something completely orthogonal to the point of the OP.

forgottenpaswrd 14 hours ago 1 reply      
"The thinking goes, why let bad Internet or cellphone connections ruin an otherwise good presentation? But Jobs insisted on live presentations. It was one of the things that made them so captivating. Part of his legend was that noticeable product-demo glitches almost never happened."

What is interesting is that product-demo glitches happened all the time. We went to one presentation in which Steve had to ask for people not to use the Internet because they had not enough bandwidth.

But mistakes were so "naturally handled" that people just did not care.

I think Edison said, you will not be remembered by your mistakes, but from your successes.

siglesias 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Amusingly, there was one technical snafu during the presentation. Steve's clicker stopped responding [1]! Of course, the way he handled it, in my opinion, made the presentation that much better and that much more human.

1) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hUIxyE2Ns8&feature=youtu.be&...

codeulike 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Watching the original iPhone unveil, it was pretty surprising to see all the Google love from Steve, and Eric Schmidt come bounding onto the stage http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OxUDiS3AR0M
cbr 18 hours ago 3 replies      

    "The solution, he says, was to tweak the AirPort software     so that it seemed to be operating in Japan instead of the     United States."
Great solution, but illegal. Did they get permission or just do it?

chernevik 8 hours ago 0 replies      
The timing of the project launch is pretty remarkable. It seems that Jobs wanted to do this for some time, but was waiting and watching for technical feasibility. From the effort they had getting the demo to work, it seems that they launched the project something like immediately after the progress of the component technologies brought that feasibility into view. And even then they had to manage risks, and then they had to get the thing into production.

And while that suggests some pretty deep technical savvy at executive levels, they still had heartburn over seemingly simple questions like "can you put radio waves through aluminum?"

It seems to me that the genius of Jobs was 1) to envision customer experiences based on really remarkable extensions / integrations of existing tech and 2) to judge the moment when those visions had gone from "someday" to "now".

ChikkaChiChi 2 hours ago 0 replies      
A nice reminder that the screen sharing built for the initial demo still doesn't exist without jailbreaking a device. :)
Aloha 1 day ago 3 replies      
The technical details of the presentation are interesting, but less relevant than how well the device worked at launch. It worked. The iPhone was a success not because it was the first, but because it was the first really usable device, it put everything that came before it to shame.
mcenedella 1 day ago 4 replies      
It's easy to forget how far Apple had already come by this point. I re-discovered this super-insulting dude asking an obnoxious question to Steve at WWDC 1997: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6497475
mistercow 7 hours ago 1 reply      
>What worries Apple fans most of all is not knowing where the company is headed.

As a former Apple fan, I actually find the iPhone's hemorrhaging of market share and Apple's uncertain future extremely encouraging. I always attributed the things I liked about Apple to their struggling underdog status. They lost that with the iPhone, and they've never been the same since.

It will be fascinating to see if some of the old Apple shines through in the years to come.

yashg 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I always thought Apple took the iPod and added phone radio to it, then they took out the radio, made the screen big and called it iPad. Not anymore. This is interesting stuff.
plg 1 day ago 1 reply      
"In the span of seven years, the iPhone and its iPad progeny have become among the most important innovations in Silicon Valleys history. They transformed the stodgy cellphone industry. "

What other stodgy industry is there that Apple could easily disrupt? How about this: how does it make you feel when you use the DVR box that your cable / satellite company forces you to use, to watch tv? I know the answer for me. Seems like low hanging fruit with potentially enormous payoff for Apple.

valgaze 1 day ago 0 replies      
The unsuccessful partnership with Motorola (& Cingular wireless) mentioned in the article was probably w/ the "Rokr"

See press release:http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2005/09/07Apple-Motorola-Cin...

YOSPOS 1 day ago 1 reply      
Keep this story in mind when idiots on the internet talk about a "rectangle with rounded corners".
daned 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I thought I had it tough as a Sales Engineer but I am a piker compared to these guys.
vonsydov 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm still on 4s with ios 5. don't use siri.
bitwize 1 day ago 5 replies      
iOS is starting to regain marketshare from Android. Now that Apple is making serious downmarket moves with the 5C, it may soon be time to rethink whether Android was ultimately successful at competing with Apple.

Within two years, non-iPhone smartphones will be niche players with partisan user bases, but the bulk of mobile development will be once again for iOS.

       cached 5 October 2013 22:02:01 GMT