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Dear Google: Stop asking plus.google.com
214 points by davidgerard  2 hours ago   114 comments top 28
buro9 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Does Google believe that if they just push a little harder and finish the job, that somehow the people so alienated will be won over?

Or is the pursuit of profit far more important than the perception of the brand overall?

Right now, and for the last year, the brand is being severely tarnished in all of the networks I have, tech and real-life. I don't see them winning on any front. A Pyrrhic victory.

alextingle 1 hour ago 6 replies      
I was all enthusiastic about G+ for about 5 minutes - until they wouldn't allow my wife to sign up without giving them her phone number, and proving that it was hers by accepting a call from them. Just who the fuck do they think they are??

There is no way I could suggest my friends and family sign up to such an intrusive service, so I quickly deleted my own account.

It's an absolutely stunning achievement to create a web-site that's even more offensively intrusive than Facebook. I hope Google are proud.

colinbartlett 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Google has become this unwieldily beast that doesn't care how frustrated its users become, because it knows not enough of them will leave to have even the slightest dent in their revenue.
ancarda 1 hour ago 4 replies      
The main issue is Google will only drive a small minority of it's customers/'products being sold' away. If you have a problem with Google's current approach, you may want to consider leaving, not to "stick it to the man" but to not have to deal with their services anymore.

I recently deleted everything on my account (G+ & YT included) and it feels great to be free from the constant harassment. I only have Gmail active now. I'm still looking for a new mail provider but once I have one, my relationship with Google is over as far as I'm concerned.

It really depends on how much you need to use Google's services.

vinhboy 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I don't mind the annoyance of Google+ for my personal account. But they really fucked things up when they forced the integration on my Google Apps for Business (terrible name by way -- why not "Google Business Suite"). Now we have clients pissed off because they can't share images in their organization without opening Google+. This HAS to stop.
pstuart 2 hours ago 0 replies      
It blows my mind how badly Google sucks at "social networks."
switch007 6 minutes ago 0 replies      
Gretchen: That is so fetch.

Regina: Gretchen, stop trying to make 'fetch' happen. It's not going to happen

shittyanalogy 1 hour ago 2 replies      
The whole phone number thing is an attempt to solve a very hard problem.

Most people have terrrrrrrrrrrible password practices. Absolutely abysmal. And they are keeping extremely sensitive data inside their email as well as using their email address as the key to accessing many other websites and pieces of sensitive data. Think about how screwed you'd be if you lost access to you email address. Now think of how many people DAILY probably loose such access. Phone numbers are an easy, mostly reliable way to identify someone and give them access back to their email address without an investigation and without human intervention.

Plus, let's just get reasonable for one minute here. Google already has your phone number. Ever given it to someone via gmail? Someone else ever given your phone number to one of their friends through gmail? They're just asking for permission to send you a text.

gojomo 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Listen, and understand. That Google Plus is out there. It can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you complete your profile.
davidjgraph 30 minutes ago 0 replies      
Isn't the real point here the relative quality difference between Google's search and the rest of their products?

The search result looks pretty good...

c_hawkthorne 2 minutes ago 0 replies      
Wow, two years can have a huge impact: http://i.imgur.com/wbjCmbt.jpg
Tarang 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Its really annoying since you know its a script and it can just keep asking you again and again. Sometimes it asks me my cell number while trying to check my email (even on my paid google apps account!)

Facebook has taken an interesting more sneaky turn recently with their messenger app. Since now they can collect phone numbers without explicitly asking for them.

Once it's given to them just once.. Its with them forever.

joelrunyon 2 hours ago 2 replies      
No means no. They really ought to figure that out by now.
dlsx 1 hour ago 0 replies      

And stop asking if I want to download the youtube app every time I go to youtube.com in mobile safari (It is the pop-up banner of this generation.) That goes for all you clever scripting savvy marketers, I fucking despise you.

mcphilip 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Im thinking about writing a FireFox extension that substitutes the word Google with Panopticon on all of their web properties as a reminder to use their tools less frequently.
jamiequint 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Ah yes, the vocal minority...
lignuist 18 minutes ago 0 replies      
Dear Hacker: Stop signing up at Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Twitter and all the other personal data collection services, if you care about your privacy. I'm living a happy life without such accounts, and so can you.
kansas 1 hour ago 1 reply      
True. It is beyond sickening. Recently it forced me to upgrade to Google + when i try to login to gmail. Upgrade?

That was the only choice in the whole page. I have to close the browser session and come back again. I really dont know what to do. Got sucked in. there is no way around. Soon i will get the courage to move out.

dror 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I gave google my phone number a long time ago when I set up two step authentication. Your account is significantly more secure when you do that. Has never been abused AFAIK.

I think of it as similar to giving identifying information to my credit card company when I'm calling them. (Though citi pissed me off asking me for the full credit card number a few years ago).

ddorian43 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Like youtube, they asked you to make you feel like you had a choice. (i may be wrong)
keyme 1 hour ago 3 replies      
Is there a browser plugin or something that can keep google in check? Like separating youtube, gmail and the search into different "sandboxes"? Maybe blocking some of the annoying popups that constantly demand your info?I'm not familiar with such a thing, but it could be kinda nice to have it.
mason240 57 minutes ago 0 replies      
Also please stop asking me to share G+ with my contacts everytime I go to G+.

Nothing makes like a website less than annoying screens I have to click through every time I go there.

mtgx 19 minutes ago 1 reply      
You can only grow a user base that is engaged with your product organically, not by forcing them.
hellbanTHIS 1 hour ago 0 replies      
That personal info must be worth an unholy amount of money for them to blow their once-stellar reputation like this.
fallinghawks 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I am asked for a phone number most times that I actually log into mail (which isn't all that often since I just sleep the computer). Youtube is a travesty, though.

After the recent upgrade, it did ask twice to turn on Talk for SMS messaging. I said no both times and it hasn't asked me since.

charlus 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I complied with everything they ask and they no longer bug me really. But still Google+ is unusable, it constantly uses 40% of my processor just to have that tab open in Chrome/Linux. Facebook runs lovely in comparison.
altrego99 1 hour ago 0 replies      
To upload all the pictures I click automatically to Google's server. What's up with that? Stop, asking.
randac 1 hour ago 0 replies      
This annoys the hell out of me because I know as well as they do that one day I'll misclick one of these fucking things.
Many PS4 units dead on arrival amazon.com
50 points by manojlds  1 hour ago   25 comments top 7
simias 37 minutes ago 1 reply      
The problem with those reviews is those whose console is working are not complaining. Are there any hard numbers on the proportion of dead consoles? Have Sony commented on this issue?
minimaxir 50 minutes ago 2 replies      
I read a comment earlier that made a good point that unlike the console launches of the previous generation in 2004-2006, we now have access to Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to vocalize and demonstrate our complaints worldwide.

It makes the vocal minority much more vocal.

yelnatz 46 minutes ago 1 reply      
At least you know right away that they're dead.

It'd be more annoying 6 months down the road.

obsurveyor 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Manufacturing defect with the HDMI port is causing damage to HDMI cables. Amazon should really send an email out about it to people who ordered, there is an easy fix.
vonskippy 4 minutes ago 0 replies      
So rushing to stand on the cutting edge might result in bloody feet - whoda thunk it?
abritishguy 57 minutes ago 0 replies      
There may well be widespread issues but this link just shows that some people have issues which given the volume of PS4s was kind of a given.
agumonkey 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Was it better on previous models ? I wonder Sony isn't suffering from off-sourcing issues. Instead of in-house easily controlled circuitry, the cheaper off-the-shelf approach might cause higher rates of failures.
Empty London roberttimothy.com
63 points by TranceMan  2 hours ago   34 comments top 17
sjtgraham 0 minutes ago 0 replies      
I live near quite a few of these. The way to experience this is by being there very early on a Sunday morning or a Bank Holiday. Let me tell you there are few things as eerie as riding a bicycle around Central London and not seeing a single soul. Of course it's not totally deserted, you'll see the odd vehicle especially on the main roads, but there are definitely moments where it feels like being in 28 Days Later.
ilamont 15 minutes ago 0 replies      
The zombie film 28 Days set up a few shots like this in downtown London ... but with a movie budget and some official clearances they were able to get some sunlit shots, which appeared to be taken very early in the morning. It was a great Danny Boyle movie, incidentally.

Within the past 10 years, I remember seeing another another film set in NYC which showed a scene in Times Square, completely devoid of people or traffic. It was quite striking. Anyone remember what it was?

EDIT: I see from the other comments it was Vanilla Sky

sillysaurus2 1 hour ago 2 replies      
The author explains how they took these photos: http://blog.roberttimothy.com/2013/05/Deserted-empty-London-...
sharkweek 43 minutes ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of the opening scene of Vanilla Sky where Tom Cruise is running through downtown Manhattan alone --


I always think it's cool when we're able to capture this sort of rare feat on film, in this case emptying out Times Square for a few brief moments

Brakenshire 1 hour ago 1 reply      
And the tents were all silent,

the banners alone,

The lances unlifted,

the trumpet unblown.

And the widows of Ashur are loud in their wail,

And the idols are broke in the temple of Baal;

And the might of the Gentile, unsmote by the sword,

Hath melted like snow in the glance of the Lord.


spjwebster 50 minutes ago 1 reply      
I've previously done this kind of thing with an ND filter and long exposures to save getting frustrated by occasional passers-by.

Here's a series of photographs of major cities around the world done using this technique by Lucie & Simon:


CWIZO 1 hour ago 1 reply      
At first I thought he combined several images into one (there was a project a while ago that did that). But after reading that he actually waited for everyone to clear ... that blew my mind. I absolutely can't imagine seeing big ben or piccadilly without a single person in my eyesight.

Absolutely marvellous!

Too bad I'm away for christmas this year, I'd love to stroll trough the empty streets ...

chrislo 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I also enjoyed this collection of "empty" photos of all 270 tube stations:


benblodgett 58 minutes ago 0 replies      
This is really cool, I've never been to London so I have no reference for how busy the places he photographs typically are. I would love to see a similar project for NYC.
csmuk 2 hours ago 1 reply      
The square mile looks like that on a weekend.

The rest looks like that at 05:30. in summer.

kenshiro_o 1 hour ago 0 replies      
That's awesome work! Strangely I cannot believe that a place like Piccadilly Circus is ever empty. It feels so unreal.He must have:a) waited a lot to see the streets clearb) been quite lucky the streets eventually cleared.
crorella 34 minutes ago 1 reply      
Nices photos, horrible website usability.
ngpio 2 hours ago 0 replies      
What a surprisingly pleasant side-scrolling experience.
Usu 2 hours ago 0 replies      
If you liked this, you should also check out this beautiful timelapse video of Milan (same concept): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EyHsouXc_HU
kcovia 1 hour ago 0 replies      
28 Weeks Later also takes place in an abandoned London.
joelle 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Wow those photos stunning...and thought provoking.
ldn_tech_exec1 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Why Valve's SteamOS Could Be Revolutionary informationweek.com
41 points by Dotnaught  3 hours ago   19 comments top 10
alexeisadeski3 4 minutes ago 0 replies      
With the mediocrity of "next-gen" consoles from Sony & MS, I pray to the gods that Valve is successful in this endeavor.

Console stagnation harms all gaming.

ispivey 14 minutes ago 0 replies      
In the most meaningful way, it could be Android for consoles. It's "freely licensable" for hardware manufacturers, so companies will be able to build new consoles without building their own OS -- the same innovation that led HTC and Samsung to become two of the world's leading phone manufacturers.
darkchasma 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Until we get out hands on the OS, so outside of idle speculation, we really don't have much to go on. Steams "Big Screen" is far from mainstream ready, so I doubt that we'll see a usable OS for some time.
venomsnake 23 minutes ago 0 replies      
Lets see it released and what it has and how hackable it is - if we could reasonably run all the stuff on current linux distros if packaged correctly it could be my main OS.

But vaporware is always revolutionary (I treat every unreleased software as vaporware). My predictions for steam OS - really rocky start that will settle few months in when the enthusiast community would have ironed most of the kinks and then the heavy gaming hitters will appear.

Avitas 48 minutes ago 1 reply      
It is 1983. The Atari 800 (XBox One) and Commodore 64 (PS4) are the hottest items in home computing. The PC (Steam) that has been around for a couple of years is a growing infant that doesn't quite approach the industry leaders. The brewing revolution that is attributable to the ubiqitous penetration of the PC along with *nix, cheap networking, the internet, billion dollar apps like DBase, Lotus and WordPerfect is a decade away, but it has started. The snowball has started rolling.

SteamOS has the potential to be a juggernaut of gaming that eclipses consoles. Will Valve prove to use their talent and determination to make this THE eventual go-to gaming platform? (Note: Rhetorical headlines can usually be answered with a "no.")

Maybe. They certainly have the opportunity.

hershel 28 minutes ago 0 replies      
He hadn't mentioned Microsoft project spark, a game creation platform , which at least according to the demo , lets people build amazing stuff with little effort or experience.


If it's promise is true, maybe this is where we should look for the future of gaming, and the future of platforms.

eks 1 hour ago 3 replies      
I'm saving up to upgrade my PC (AMD HSA on Kaveri + DDR4) because of SteamOS (amongst other things) instead of getting a next-gen console. And I know a few other people doing that as well.
hyperion2010 10 minutes ago 0 replies      
For some reason I think that Gabe et. al. are smart enough to know that partnering with ubuntu right now would not be met with enthusiasm by the community, on the other hand maybe pressure from Valve could get Mark to pull his head out of his ass and work with the community instead of continually disrupting it.
pm90 1 hour ago 3 replies      
>It's worth noting that current iPhone and Android phones now equal, if not exceed, the current generation of consoles in terms of power.

Is this true?

tedajax 23 minutes ago 0 replies      
For me the best thing to come out of SteamOS is the potential for some really powerful game development tools on Linux.
A crossword based on the Adobe password leak zed0.co.uk
89 points by mdisraeli  5 hours ago   20 comments top 9
apitaru 3 hours ago 2 replies      
This is a great implementation, and super fun in many levels. Thanks for whipping this up.

(meta: yes, just a simple comment to say its great. Lets not forget to post these as well once in a while)

michaelt 1 hour ago 1 reply      
If you already have the answers right, the 'check' button appears not to work, but actually it highlights only those cells which are wrong, so if you've got it right it won't highlight anything.

Ben: Maybe when you get everything right it could give you a big green tick or something?

matthewmacleod 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Lovely UX, and I'm so glad someone did that. Kudos!
e12e 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Doesn't seem to be working for me - neither in Iceweasel (Firefox) 25 or chromium (30) :-/
davidcelis 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Kinda weird that the crossword is case sensitive and only works with lowercase letters. Funny idea, though.
mdisraeli 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Talking to them now about CDNs and other means to handle the increased load - Sorry everyone!
x0n 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Hmm, rendering is broken. Missing grid lines, misaligned; unusable. I presume this is CDN issues?
Zariel 2 hours ago 1 reply      
This is great, yet sobering that people still use awful passwords.
Introduction to the Python Interpreter, Part 1: Function Objects akaptur.github.io
42 points by luu  3 hours ago   8 comments top 3
cjh_ 7 minutes ago 0 replies      
Part 2 has been posted http://akaptur.github.io/blog/2013/11/15/introduction-to-the...

But I still feel like both part 1 and part 2 are far too short; even if read together they provide very little information to digest.

jdreaver 3 hours ago 4 replies      
This seems like it could be a great series, but maybe the author should wait a little next time until there is more content to post.

I am currently reading Engineering a Compiler, and I eventually want to build my own small, interpreted language. Does anyone know of any great resources to supplement that book that is particular to interpreted languages? Is a supplement really needed?

dmotles 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Finish pls.
An Empirical Evaluation of TCP Performance in Online Games edu.tw
13 points by cpeterso  1 hour ago   discuss
Getting a bit creepy gingerlime.com
78 points by gingerlime  6 hours ago   43 comments top 14
gvb 4 hours ago 6 replies      
I really like the "NoScript" model of permissions in a browser and wish phone OSes allowed that model. With "NoScript", I block javascript by default but can unblock temporarily or whitelist permanently.

On my Android phone:

* With standard Android, I have to whitelist an application when installing it. I cannot pick which permissions I give it, I cannot control when it can use those permissions, and I cannot remove permissions. Ever.

* With Cyanogenmod, I can restrict permissions fine grained both for permissions and applications. This would be really great if it were usable, but when I try to use it the applications behave very badly (often crashing) if they don't get unfettered permission to use my data.

I would love it if (a) applications behaved well in the absence of permissions (I fault Google for setting expectations of availability that don't require this) and (b) I had a UAC style permission granting mechanism[1] so that I control an application's access to my data and can monitor what it is asking for and when. While it could still "steal" my data (cache it, send it to the borg) any time I gave it permissions, it would at least give me a clue that the application was not trustworthy if (when) it popped up unexpected permission requests.

[1] I cannot believe I said I like Windows UAC dialogs. That will cost me another year in purgatory. :-/

Brakenshire 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Personally, I'm going to move away from Android, because I feel like I cannot use the device without the sensation that my privacy is under assault, not only from some App creators, but from the OS itself. Many of the most popular utility apps ask for very intrusive permissions - unique identity, location, sms, contacts etc - and the OS provides no way to effectively sandbox your data. The OS does not believe that you should be able to control access to your data, on your own terms. I have also come to believe that there is a fundamental misalignment of incentives here - I'm only willing to use a smartphone on the basis that I'm buying a device which attempts to protect my privacy, not attempts to expose it, and that will only work if the business model of the manufacturer doesn't rely on mining my data to sell advertising.

Unfortunately, I'm not sure other operating systems are much better.

fastball 4 hours ago 1 reply      
> You have SMS waiting from Dad, Jonathan and Florian. The mightytext guys thought it would be more engaging to take a look into my recent SMS messages, pick up recent or popular contacts and use it to get me to use the product.

> To me this is crossing some invisible but very clear line. I havent used the product yet, and its already trawling through my personal stuff?

I'm confused by this example. Isn't this exactly the purpose of MightyText, the app he installed? It's routing your text messages through you server. Obviously their system knows what texts you are sending, otherwise how would it function?Also, the product has been used if you give it permission to access your contacts.

300bps 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Unfortunately things aren't "getting" a bit creepy, they've been creepy for quite some time.

In 1998 I worked at a large publicly traded insurance company. We provided quotes online and sent a follow-up email to the person with their written quote in it. I was asked to figure out a way to determine when the person read their email. Our infrastructure was Classic ASP so I:

1. Created a new web site in IIS

2. Changed IIS' processing of .jpg to run through the ASP processor

3. Created a .jpg program in the site that would update a quote's record as having read the email

4. Put an img tag in the HTML email that loaded the "jpg" file with the unique identifier on a querystring

Our business people used this to automatically initiate an outbound call to the person the second they read the email. A lot of people were creeped out, "OMG I just sat down to read your email, what a weird coincidence" but by god those people bought insurance from us.

Of course today, that is the reason why images don't automatically load in emails. But there are plenty of people finding new creepy things to do every day.

tyleraland 3 hours ago 0 replies      
My eye-opening creepy moment was after installing Facebook's android app. I had the G+ app already installed, but logged in with a dummy account which follows various people I don't know in real life. For some reason, G+ put those people in my contact list and one day I accidentally called one of them that put their phone number on G+. It never rang because I quickly hit disconnect. The next day on Facebook, guess who was suggested I add as a friend? Mystery dial.
IvyMike 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I prefer when sites and apps are in my face about what they can do.

Because the most likely alternative is they have the exact same information but the consumer isn't fully aware. Which is actually more creepy.

pnathan 3 hours ago 0 replies      
This is thr trade the author made: I sell my personal information away, in order to use a "free" product.

I suggest that if someone doesn't like this business model, then purchase your programs; don't get ad-supported programs.

Mister_Snuggles 4 hours ago 2 replies      
I find that emails like that have the opposite effect and push me away from products/services. If the product/service was useful to me, those emails would not be required to keep me engaged.
nni 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I've seen accurately targeted technical ads when viewing my local paper's site that are creepy as well, since there's "no way" they should have known enough to put that ad there, and was musing on a post about this creepiness, too. Recommendation engines are interesting, and it is amazing how much information can be gleaned from simple yes/no/didclick kind of stuff, but it can also reach a creepy point faster than we might think. Sort of like the little "20 questions" novelty toy that can surprise you, where (I assume) it exploits the effectiveness of dividing the solution space in half with each question... you do that 20 times and you've reduced the space by a factor of a million.
sciguy77 3 hours ago 2 replies      
I have to say I know exactly what the author means.When I visit a site (like BetaBrand) and all of a sudden start seeing their ads in my Facebook feed, it feels unsettling, even if they are just using the cookies temporarily stored on my computer.
mathattack 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Getting our attention is a world of spam requires crossing the creepy line. Unfortunate.
frank_boyd 4 hours ago 0 replies      
> But it just feels creepy to email me about it this way.

In other words:

"Yes, I know it's wrong and they should not know these things about me, but I want to use their product anyway, so can we please just pretend nobody knows what's going on in our society?"

qwerta 5 hours ago 0 replies      
>Im trusting you with my data. I realise there are risks involved, but please treat my data with respect. Just because you can doesnt mean that you should. And dont be a creep.

Yes, we can! :-)

linux_devil 2 hours ago 0 replies      
As far as I remember , similar permissions are required when you install app for "Uber" cabs.
A living death: Sentenced to die behind bars for what? aclu.org
523 points by subsystem  17 hours ago   402 comments top 53
spodek 16 hours ago 7 replies      
It's a crying shame. Normally that's an empty phrase, but it describes this.

I can't imagine reading this and not feeling tears well up.

No sense of what I would call humanity. From what perspective does this make the world a better place?

What am I missing about being human that this fits into that I don't understand?

jmadsen 8 hours ago 2 replies      
I think at the root of this is a very prevalent attitude among a many people in America toward "not letting people get away with things"

I don't think you can look at this in a vacuum - you need to see these punishments as simply another manifestation of this attitude. This is not a "this group vs. that group" thing; you may find this among "fire and brimstone" Democrats just as often as your "Limburgh Republicans".

I've often said the difference between these groups is: given 100 people asking for a free meal, the liberal will take satisfaction in feeding 99 hungry ones; this type of conservative will fret over the one person who "got away with" getting a free lunch he could have afforded himself.

(Side rant: these people tend to be among the loudest Bible-thumpers, and think "the Good Lord helps those.." is an actual biblical passage.)

Rehabilitation as a way of dealing with miscreants doesn't work in the US for the main part because there is too large a segment of the American populace who feel that these various programs equate to giving them a reward for bad behavior. Why should they (the convicted) get a free hand with job placement when no one else is "being coddled"?

(The wonderful quote "born on third base and thinks he hit a triple" always comes to mind here.)

So you see, Americans understand perfectly well all the logical and economic aspects of this issue. The fact is, it is built into our culture to punish people. We get satisfaction from it. We're not after what's best for the country, we're after revenge.

It's ugly, but I've been around for many years & I stand by that statement.

beloch 14 hours ago 3 replies      
The U.S. and Canada have very similar cultures, so comparisons here have some meaning. The U.S.'s per capita incarceration rate is 6.28 times Canada's [1] and the per capita number of police officers is 1.26 times higher in the U.S.[2]. However, the intentional homicide rate of the U.S. is 2.94 times that of Canada[3]. Certain types of offenses (e.g. drug offenses) are higher in Canada, but the violent crime rate is lower.

It's worth asking what is going on here. I'm no expert on law and punishment, but it seems like the U.S. is throwing more resources at the problem (perhaps prodded by for-profit prison lobbyists) and getting poorer results. The cultures are too similar to explain this away by saying Canadians are inherently less violent. As Canada considers harsher prison sentences and expanding prison capacity, it's imperative to understand if this will produce the intended results.




thaumasiotes 16 hours ago 20 replies      
My thoughts on the best and the worst:

> Anthony Jackson has a sixth-grade education and worked as a cook. He was convicted of burglary for stealing a wallet from a Myrtle Beach hotel room when he was 44 years old. According to prosecutors, he woke two vacationing golfers as he entered the room and stole a wallet, then pretended to be a security guard and ran away. Police arrested him when he tried to use the stolen credit card at a pancake house. [...] Because of two prior convictions for burglary, Jackson was sentenced to mandatory life without parole under South Carolina's three-strikes law.

Emphasis mine. I can't get too worked up about a system that sentences this guy to life in prison. What would be the point of letting him out? He knew he wasn't supposed to walk into other people's hotel rooms and take their wallets. At what point does society get to tell people "you know what, knock it off"?

> After serving two years in prison during his mid-twenties for inadvertently killing someone during a bar fight, Aaron Jones turned his life around. He earned an electrical technician degree, married, became an ordained reverend, and founded the Perfect Love Outreach Ministry. Years later, Aaron was hired to renovate a motel in Florida, and was living in an employee-sponsored apartment with two other workers, one of whom had a truck that was used as a company vehicle by all the co-workers. Jones decided to drive this truck home to Louisiana to visit his wife and four children. When Aaron's co-worker woke up to find his truck missing, he reported it stolen. Aaron was pulled over by police while driving the truck.

I don't understand this one at all. Shouldn't the truck owner have testified on his behalf? Declined to press charges?

I made a cursory effort to look up the case itself, but I have no idea how to do that.

mynameishere 16 hours ago 1 reply      
The three strike laws make some sense as long as people conflate "felony" with genuinely serious crimes like rape or aggravated assault. If someone commits three consecutive rapes...well, who would complain about locking him up forever?

The problem is in the increasing meaninglessness of the term "felony". If they limited it to grievous crimes, there wouldn't be much controversy.

Also, it's weird to have something presented as "news" when The Simpsons covered it satirically about 15 years ago:


clarky07 15 hours ago 2 replies      
Am I the only one here not seeing this as propaganda with nicely worded articles masking a lot of the reality here? Some of them seem a little unreasonable I'll agree, but lets go through a few of these:

"taking a wallet from a hotel room" - we blame it on the court appointed lawyer. He's already been convicted and sent to jail twice for burglary and he continues to break into other peoples places and steal their stuff. Poor guy just took a wallet from those rich vacationing golfers. Screw that. If I was there I'd be scared to death. How many times do we let him keep doing this. Stop doing it stupid.

"stealing tools from a tool shed" - oh he was just riding along. sure he was. already been convicted multiple times for burglary. The fact that he desperately misses his children does not make him less guilty of continuing to break into other peoples places and taking their things. Stop doing that stupid.

"borrowing a co-workers truck" - i think there is clearly more to this story. generally speaking, people don't normally drive other people's trucks 3 states away without letting them know. If it really was harmless, i'd expect the other guy to not press charges or testify on his behalf. Hey guys, it was just a misunderstanding I thought someone else took it. Also, "inadvertently killing someone" is a really nice way of saying he beat the shit out of someone in a fight and the guy died.

Perhaps some of these don't deserve life, but I don't really have that much of a problem with it. Maybe we could lower it to 20-30 years, but I have no problems with escalating penalties. If you are a productive member of society this isn't a problem. These mini-articles are all worded as if these people didn't do anything wrong and just made a tiny mistake this one time and now they are in prison forever. Not the case. Most of them made pretty big mistakes, and they made them repeatedly.

joshfraser 16 hours ago 2 replies      
There is so much injustice with our prison system right now. There are countless people being locked up for their entire lives over petty crimes -- the same crimes that relatively comfortable white boys like me could easily get away with because I can afford a decent lawyer. It's racism and wealth discrimination disguised as justice.

The US is leading the world in incarceration and the privatization of prisons is a big contributor to the problem. Corporations have a financial incentive to incarcerate more people and lobby to keep strict drug laws.

Meanwhile we make jokes and laugh about things like prison rape. I believe we will look back at prison rape the same way we look back at slavery. How barbaric are we that we think that's somehow okay?

For things to change, were going to have to change public perceptions and start demanding change. I wish we were a little less eager to deprive people of their most basic right to freedom.


whiddershins 12 hours ago 0 replies      
One thing that disturbs me, after reading the comments here, and after hearing attitudes expressed by people in general: I think normal citizens massively underestimate how harsh these sentences are. Look around at your life and picture how much damage might be done by just a 6 month stint in jail. You would likely lose your job, you might lose your house, your kids. Even a month in jail would be a serious bummer for most of the people posting here.

Now, think, really picture, what a 3 year sentence would do. How hard it would be to recover from losing those years.

Now picture a 5 year, 7 year, 10 year, 15 year sentence. There is a reason Norway generally restricts its sentences to 21 years for even the most heinous crimes. The sentencing here in the US is truly draconian. It only seems proportional because we are measuring relative to what is already going on, so in context this stuff seems "not that bad."


mrkmcknz 16 hours ago 0 replies      
The UK in comparison:


I understand that we don't have the kind of problem that a8da6b0c91d mentioned here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6743406 however I really don't understand the common sense of the US judicial system.

If I were to be caught breaking some computer misuse act against a UK company it's more than likely a slap on the wrist would be handed down to me. Abuse a US corporation and I would expect extradition and 10 years or more in one of your comfortable prison cells.

Also compare the US and UK prisons themselves.

UK: https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=uk+prison+cell&espv=210&es...

US: https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=uk+prison+cell&espv=210&es...

drawkbox 15 hours ago 0 replies      
If there are filters like archaic three strikes laws to take out human decision making on repeat offenses, there should be sanity filters on the other end. Laws that say noone, ever, should serve more than X amount of years for non-violent crimes and that is probably or should be a low number, single digit. Life for non-violence is very sad as a society.

I am against prison or jail for any non-violent offense beyond fines or 'outpatient' like corrections, they cost much less and might actually help. They keep the individual contributing and don't subject people to a further life of crime locking them up, especially drug offenses when it is really most likely an illness or a non-issue.

If, when they gave a sentence, they reported the projected cost of that sentencing maybe some of this would change?

Things to try to help this:

1) Create common sense filters for sentencing so non-violent criminals or repeat offenses serve no more than x amount of years for a crime or remove jail/prison for non-violence altogether.

2) When sentencing is handed down, the projected cost of that sentence should also be read with the sentence except in extreme cases of violent sentencing. All non-violent sentencing should have a price right next to it so people understand what it really means. i.e. caught with a small amount of drugs = 10 years * 30k per year = 300,000 to put this person away for nothing. Right after that it lists their projected income and loss in taxes. Then a net benefit total which in this case is probably around 500k of economic value for this one offense.

Stupid events like this wouldn't happen if we changed this: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/video-shows-man-dyi...

Technology changing society is another side to this. In the past, laws were not only there to dissuade people from doing undesirable behavior but were also more lax and harder to get caught. Nowadays everything is tracked and aggressive laws are now problematic because it isn't just a dissuading factor anymore it is a certainty. If there is something that probably shouldn't be illegal but is based on this past we could be in trouble. So all laws or things like this with non-violence being locked up and a private prison industry run amuck, we need to change drastically soon. People are human and they can mess up, our systems for corrections sometimes mess up the rest of their lives for one momentary lapse of reason.

anigbrowl 16 hours ago 4 replies      
This is poorly focused. I'm absolutely against 3 strikes sentencing laws and mandatory sentencing escalations that can put petty criminals in prison for life.

On the other hand, I'm perfectly OK with some criminals dying behind bars, such as the recently sentenced Whitey Bulger, and so are most other people. By making the headline about the undesirability of custodial life sentences in general, they'er losing a large chunk of their potential audience straight out of the gate.

noonespecial 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Well, we seem to be going all out defending the other amendments these days. I guess its time to add the 8th to our efforts.


noonespecial 13 hours ago 1 reply      
The takeaway? If you're considering a life of crime, be a freakin super-villain because they're going to sentence you like one anyway.
siculars 40 minutes ago 0 replies      
I hate to say it but: Don't go to the Southern parts of the US. Don't go to Texas. Don't go to Florida. Don't go to the Carolina's. Certainly don't go to Mississippi, Alabama or Louisiana. If you live there now, leave.
zaroth 15 hours ago 1 reply      
If the judge simply orders a sentence below the minimum, what happens? While the Government can appeal the sentence, then it comes to the next judge up the line to stand up for justice.

For example, California's 3-strike law counts non-violent felonies, which sweeps up a lot of criminals into 25 year sentences that they don't deserve.

"The California law originally gave judges no discretion in setting prison terms for three strikes offenders. However, the California Supreme Court ruled, in 1996, that judges, in the interest of justice, could ignore prior convictions in determining whether an offender qualified for a three strikes sentence." [1]

But these so called "mandatory" sentences are not actually that, it's just that most judges simply don't have the guts to stand up for justice. A judge can use their discretion in setting sentences, but then can be challenged if Government can show the sentence is unreasonable. While following the guidelines is presumed reasonable, simply not following the guidelines is not presumed unreasonable.

Lois Forer was a judge in Philadelphia facing just such a decision, and he explains the process better than I can [2]. In the end, the man he tried to save was resentenced by another judge to serve the balance of the "mandatory minimum" five years. This is a system which is ultimately perpetuated by the judiciary.

I don't blame the legislature for enacting laws that get them re-elected. I do blame the judges for letting a sentencing law unjustly destroy some peoples lives.

[1] - http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Three+Strikes+...[2] - http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Justice+by+the+numbers%3B+mand...

brianbreslin 16 hours ago 1 reply      
This is pathetic. What country that claims to be a leader in human rights can justify this kind of justice? I'm American, and am continuously appalled to hear these types of stories. these stories are sadly not isolated either, and have come to almost be accepted. We are nearing a tipping point where we need to stand up for a better America. Screw the prison industry, and screw lobbyists, screw bipartisan squabbles. We need to stand up for ISSUES that matter to us.
mschuster91 17 hours ago 2 replies      
As an European citizen, I think such "sentences" are more resembling China, Russia or any other dictatorship, but not a first-world country.

Do human rights actually mean something in the US?

zw123456 16 hours ago 3 replies      
From the map it seems like all the cases are in the Southeast. Is the Southeastern United States sort or a 3rd Word Country within the U.S. ? It seems like every time I see something like this it is in the Southeast. It seems to me like the rift from the Civil War has never completely been resolved. Just an observation, does anyone else feel the same way?
gregsq 16 hours ago 0 replies      
In England, especially in the eighteenth century, we had a somewhat similar, though harsher regime where one strike against you on a charge of petty larceny could lead to imprisonment in HM prisons. Of course the prison population swelled as hangings became less fashionable, and the temporary prison ships were unmoored to sail to places like Australia. Transportation for the theft of a loaf of bread.

Ironic that that country, along with its New World cousin the USA, claimed ideals of freedom so strongly. Much more so in the USA. Mandatory sentencing has it's place it can be argued. This seems antithetical to first principles however.

tshile 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Wait, are we actually supposed to get worked up over this? The ACLU so clearly tip toed while writing the descriptions of these cases as to clearly walk a line between lying about the case and giving us the context needed to understand why these people are in jail for life.

"Patrick had no violent criminal history and had never served a single day in a Department of Corrections facility" - Right, but he obviously had a drug problem since he did NA in prison and probably got in trouble previously, just not enough to go to the Department Of Corrections facility (what his crimes and punishments were are left as an exercise to the reader)

The other stories have similar issues. Blame it on the abusive and threatening boyfriend, not the previous drug convictions and a three strikes law. Life in prison for borrowing a truck from a friend that accidentally reported it stolen?

Look, innocent people get in trouble for things they didn't do. Not innocent people get in trouble for things they didn't do, but were just in the wrong place at the wrong time due to the other things that they did do. It's an unfortunate part of the system and I'm all for things that minimize overcharging and punishing innocent people.

But anyone who can't read between the lines on these is either a sap or just believing what they want to. They even led into it with a statistic about race to soften you up. There are three strikes laws for a reason. There's massive amounts of context missing from these. It's a shame, I generally like the ACLU and what they do, but this is awful.

skyraider 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I think an effective way to frame this issue is:

Would you consider these people so dangerous that you would personally build a small concrete box and forcibly keep them inside for many hours a day for the rest of their lives? Or, is that how you would treat your children if they committed some minor, nonviolent, kinda-maybe-bad act?

No reasonable person would - the moral decision above is clear. Would you pay for someone else to do this?

We are brothers and sisters in humanity, and we elect people who write these laws and treat fellow people like this (and/or refuse to reform the US Sentencing Commission). We are to blame.

julesie 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I would encourage anyone who hasn't already, to watch the brilliant documentary 'The House I Live In' by Eugene Jarecki. It's available on Netflix (in the UK at least).

It follows the War on Drugs in the USA. As an outsider (Irish living in London) I found it genuinely eyeopening on a topic I knew next to nothing about. For example did you know that the only difference between cocaine and crack cocaine is the addition of baking powder and heat. Although the later will get you 100 times the sentence of the former. There are 19 year olds being put away for the rest of their lives for the possession of a few grams of this stuff.

I don't care what stand you take on the legalisation/criminalisation of drugs, that is insane!

Instead of trying to reduce the rate of reoffending once released, it seems many states go out of their way to marginalise convicts so that virtually no law abiding avenues of employment remain for them. Talk about a vicious circle. That's not evening taking into account the effect of incarcerated parents has on the generation that follows.

mayneack 16 hours ago 0 replies      
brandonhsiao 15 hours ago 1 reply      
I have no words. None. At all.

I'm going to be honest and say that in general I am anything but a compassion. I have every bit of sympathy, however, for (relatively) innocent people being victims of things like bureaucracy, human stupidity, laziness, or sheer scumfuckery. It's hard for me to imagine what was going on in those judges' heads, but chances are it's something I despise.

This one was the worst for me:

> When he was 22-years-old, Lance Saltzman was charged with breaking into his own home and taking his stepfathers gun, which his stepfather had shot at his mother and repeatedly used to threaten her. He was convicted of armed burglary and sentenced to prison for the rest of his life.

mercurial 11 hours ago 0 replies      
It's pretty disappointing to see so many comments praising what most people here would describe as "absurdly disproportionate sentences" and "probably something out of North Korea". Especially when the same people were up in arms not long ago about Aaron Schwartz.
dsjoerg 16 hours ago 1 reply      
A throwaway thought: one of the (many) problems with 3-strike sentencing laws may be that the escalation curve is too quick to have the desired curbing effect.

It is obvious (to me) that some kind of exponentiation would be more effective. 2x - 3x elongation per offense would be plenty harsh, harsh enough for the offender to understand it's going to be much worse each time, without it having to be life in prison.

EDIT: On second thought, formulaic sentencing is bad. Sentencing is hard, consistency is hard, but to remove human judgment and discretion from the sentencing process seems obviously wrong.

everyone 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I think the interesting discussion point here is this.. In the US the prison system is a huge, profitable and influential industry. As the pharma industry will encourage doctors to prescribe their medicines the prison industry will encourage and lobby the legal system to increase the amount of prisoners.
sukuriant 16 hours ago 1 reply      
It says that there is no hope for these individuals.

... Why? Why can't they be brought out of their situation? I know some have been in there for 22 years already; but, why can't they be helped from this? I just... it doesn't make sense to me

analog31 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I came across a web forum thread in which the escalation of criminal sentencing laws is compared to the Milgram experiment:


Of course no analogy is perfect, but this one gave me pause.

DominikR 7 hours ago 0 replies      
If I had to choose from facing life in prison (and maybe being raped there) and sharia punishment for stealing someones wallet I'd probably prefer having my hand amputated.

That's how irrational and absurd this law is, the Taliban look like humanists compared to that.

electic 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I actually teared up reading this. This is truly a tragedy.
MarcusBrutus 5 hours ago 0 replies      
"After serving two years in prison during his mid-twenties for inadvertently killing someone during a bar fight, Aaron Jones turned his life around ...". To be honest, at that point I kind of wondered whether I was reading a parody piece or not. The 3-strikes laws are not totally irrational provided the legislators carefully decide what counts as a "strike". Even so, "inadvertently" killing someone during a bar fight should count as a strike in my book. Granted, having such laws in a legal environment where almost everything is a felony or can be charged as such, results in great many wasted lives and a huge societal cost. But it's the felony character of some of those underlying offences that should be questioned, not the three-strike principle per se.
hrktb 9 hours ago 0 replies      
> He did not want to sentence her to die in prison, but his "hands [were] tied" because of her prior convictions for minor drug offenses three years earlier

This part struck me. There was grellas' comment on the Google vs Authors Guild thread were the judge decided to go against the 'mechanical' application of the law and took time to come up with a sensible interpretation to handle the case. It's crushing to think about a mother of two in prison for life for a crime the judge itself thought wasn't worth the sentence, potentially leaving her kids in the hands of an abusive husband (I hope they got sheltered at least)

smegel 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm blown away by this. I really thought three strikes laws only applied when the earlier crimes were extremely serious (basically murder or close).

Really drives home the idea that in some ways, America really isn't like the rest of the western world.

m_mueller 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Because of that anchors bar I first thought, watching that video is what got someone behind bars for life - 'what, has America come this far already?'.
e12e 15 hours ago 0 replies      
"(...) we found out that seven out of every ten black men behind jail, and most of the men behind jail are black

Seven out of every ten black men never went to the ninth grade

Didn't have 50 dollars and hadn't had 100 for a month when they went to jail

So the poor and the ignorant go to jail while the rich go to San Clemente"

     -- We beg your pardon America, Gil Scott-Heron        from the album The First Minute of a New Day (1975)

agildehaus 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Here's a woman who was sentenced to life in prison for having a 13 year old touch her breast.


eliben 5 hours ago 0 replies      
The alternative has to be asked too. How many crimes have been avoided so far because past felons fear of committing that 3rd crime.
aquadrop 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't understand how mad those judges should be to send those people in jail for life... Life imprisonment for that... It's like the ultimate punishment (because death penalty isn't worth it) for evilest people. Or is it mad laws? I understand when two adults are sentenced for life because they were torturing and killing random homeless people just for fun (real example from my city). They are very dangerous to the society and should be kept away forever, that I understand. But I don't see how driving a company's truck is an immense menace for the society.
marvin 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow. This is incredibly fascinating and frightening. I didn't believe that things were nearly this bad in the US...and that's saying something, seeing as I am very critical of lots of things that go on these days.
unabridged 14 hours ago 0 replies      
In an effort to be more civilized we have inadvertently come up with more barbaric punishments than the past. Locking someone away for life for stealing is worse than cutting off a hand or tattooing the forehead.
jimmytidey 10 hours ago 0 replies      
From a European perspective some of these things might not even being custodial. European countries don't suffer higher crime rates because of their more lenient punishments.

I think the problem is that on a manifesto a three strikes proposal looks very good especially for those concerned about law and order, the reality is these horrible injustices..

yetanotherphd 15 hours ago 0 replies      
This really shows the unjustness of "three strikes" laws. There is nothing magical about committing three crimes. In my opinion, sentences should reflect the crime you actually committed an not much else.
edvinbesic 15 hours ago 1 reply      
The 3 strikes law system seems beyond ridiculous. Not being a US native, does this mean that I can get three tickets for shoplifting and go to jail for life? What about 3 speeding tickets?

/genuinely curious

BorisMelnik 16 hours ago 2 replies      
this is so ridiculous. 3 strikes laws are meant for murderers who just don't know how to stop carrying guns, not these people.
mililani 14 hours ago 1 reply      
If you guys think this is a travesty, look up felony murder. I think it's unconstitutional, and people have been sentenced to life because of it.
pswenson 16 hours ago 1 reply      
insanity. I don't understand how many of these cases aren't cruel and unusual punishment
codezero 15 hours ago 1 reply      
I felt like the title here was misleading. They weren't sentenced to "death," as in, given a death sentence, they were sentenced to life in prison, which in some cases means they will die in prison, this is pretty different, though no less a tragedy.
JungleGymSam 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Am I understanding this right? These people have been given extreme sentences because the law requires it? If that's true why are the judges in these cases not being called out for not protesting these kinds of convictions?
Kiro 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't understand this. For what reason are first-time offenders sentenced to lifetime?
memracom 16 hours ago 0 replies      
The decline of the American empire. Things like this are nickel and diming the taxpayers to the bone.
brohoolio 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Sounds fucking expensive.
ElComradio 16 hours ago 0 replies      
This is an important issue, but HN?
Startup Failing? You Might Be Asking The Wrong Questions fastcolabs.com
25 points by nate  3 hours ago   1 comment top
morganb180 1 hour ago 0 replies      
This is so spot on. Asking questions is completely different than asking good questions. Conversion Rate Experts, who are pretty much the leaders in conversion rate optimization, talk about using questions to light up different areas of a user's motivations and mindset (they call it a psychogram, that's their branded term).

I like that mental model, because if you think about questions as tools to illuminate different areas that you are blind to (whether in your business or customer mindset) you ask different and more insightful questions.

If you want to figure out churn, and you're trying to figure out what you're blind to with your churn numbers you have a more investigative mind set and end up with better insights.

They dive more into it here: www.conversion-rate-experts.com/questions/

What does SVN do better than git? stackexchange.com
15 points by iamtechaddict  3 hours ago   9 comments top 2
AndrewDucker 52 minutes ago 2 replies      
SVN works better when you're dealing with large binary files.

If you're bundling in all of your dependencies, or some images/models/sound files then Git gets very big, very quickly.

Aqueous 1 hour ago 2 replies      
The answer basically amounts to: "Git is harder to understand."

Fortunately that difficulty has a huge payoff that SVN simply can't beat. Git has a superset of SVN's functionality - it can act as a central repository, and can also support any granularity of permissions you wish.

And you can pull in, pull out subtrees using Git using the git subtree module.

New GPS game is out of this world: Stratocaching idnes.cz
80 points by honzzz  9 hours ago   26 comments top 11
shabble 3 hours ago 0 replies      
For anyone wondering what's normally attached to a weather balloon, reading up on the history of the Radiosonde[1] is pretty interesting.

Things like thermal insulation, choice of materials for biocompatibility/minimal long-term hazard etc are all important parts of the design.

There's a fairly in-depth tear-down and explanation of the bits of one by Mike Harrison online[2]. The battery tech used there is particularly neat IMO.

[1] http://radiosondemuseum.org/the-collection/

[2] http://youtu.be/xSxtwuTS5hw

hngiszmo 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Oh my god how do 90% of the replies blow this so out of proportion???

Yeah, it is some 5kg of "litter" if you want to call it that. How much litter is thrown onto train tracks on a normal train station in one day? Will enthusiast jump after it to return it to some organisation?

Yeah, the paths of these "seeds" might cross some air plane or some person on the ground but it is highly highly unlikely. Ever wondered why nobody is hit by rocket parts on new year's eve? It happens but rarely enough because human heads cover such a low percentage of earth that it just doesn't matter even with billions of private rockets shot every year.

maxander 1 hour ago 1 reply      
How far do these seeds wind up distributed geographically? Tens of miles from the launch point? Hundreds, thousands...?
pavelczech 6 hours ago 1 reply      
The Dropion is retrieved and so is the first stratoseed. We are guessing that the fierce temperature was not taking it easy on the GPS trackers. But it seems that other seeds might have survived it as well. I'll keep you posted. Pavel Kasik, Technet.cz
driverdan 4 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a really cool idea. I can see it being a fun family outing trying to find them and a good way to introduce kids to the tech involved. Anyone know what the cost was for the project?
donretag 5 hours ago 1 reply      
How does one actually play this "game"? The app is in Czech and the map does not have anything displayed. Has everything been found?
xixixao 7 hours ago 1 reply      
idnes.cz is the web presence of the "largest serious Czech newspaper", as they like to call themselves. Proud to see this on top of HN. Geocaching is fairly popular in the Czech Republic, though I don't know of a comparison to other countries.
ghostdiver 7 hours ago 4 replies      
Isn't it dangerous for aircrafts? What if some turbo jet engine sucks such seed inside?
pi-rat 7 hours ago 0 replies      
"Breaking: Man decapitated by gigant space boomerang"
aw3c2 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Sounds more like Littercaching...
codeflo 6 hours ago 3 replies      
Don't get me wrong, the idea is cool, but I think there's enough plastic garbage on earth already without dropping more from space. Who cleans those things up if they land on private property?
Bitcoin for the Befuddled Our fancy new book and website befuddled.org
41 points by drcode  6 hours ago   9 comments top 2
drcode 5 hours ago 2 replies      
We'll hang out in this thread and answer any questions. (Also happy to answer questions on my other books, "Land of Lisp" or "Realm of Racket")
contextual 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Seriously cool stuff. Are there other formats (PDF for example) for those who want to buy this and read it on their smartphones later?
Sunset on Mars sci-universe.tumblr.com
16 points by felixbraun  46 minutes ago   1 comment top
peferron 0 minutes ago 0 replies      
Couldn't help but immediately think about Star Wars' "Binary Sunset" [1]. If you discard the red star, it's strikingly similar.

[1] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1gpXMGit4P8

Why Do Companies Still Use Microsoft Windows For Displays? shkspr.mobi
124 points by edent  7 hours ago   122 comments top 46
terhechte 6 hours ago 6 replies      
I've worked for quite some time in the digital display industry, at a company which has a very feature rich, Mac OS X based digital signage solution [1] with high profile customers such as Mercedes-Benz, or Disney. Since the company is small, it is easy to be part of all steps of the process, including marketing and sales. I learned a lot about B2B buying behaviour while I worked for this company.

We oftentimes ran into the situation where a potential customer really liked our solution, but wanted to run Windows instead of Mac OS X (this was arguably a lot tougher in 2005 when we started, and less so after the iPhone hit). There were a variety of reasons for this:

- Windows was the OS that the company was also using for employee machines, so they knew it.

- The IT department only wanted Windows machines on their network (our grand solution for this was that our machines were sold with direct support and did not need to run on the customers network, which also removed a lot of security pain)

- The customer was afraid of Mac OS X because they thought it would not be stable enough

But most importantly, it came down to simple risk aversion. The employee at a big company that was internally responsible for the 'digital signage' project, would base every decision on which choice would be less risky for his carreer in case the project fails. Lets say they roll out digital signage, and it costs a lot of money, and it doesn't work right. In that case, the employee needs to be able to defend himself against all sorts of questions: "Why was this product chosen", "Why was this vendor chosen", "Why was it implemented in this way", etc. In that case, being able to answer "We choose Windows, because it is the de facto standard" is better for the career than having to say "It seemed to be a stable product". Out of this reason alone, we found companies would choose a solution where they knew that it was far worse (less stable, less flexible, less features) simply because on paper it looked less risky.

[1] http://www.videro.com/

sillysaurus2 6 hours ago 4 replies      
Because .NET makes it very easy for average developers to write GUI programs, and Visual Studio is what they use to write them.

In theory, this developer could just use Mono to run his .NET app on Linux. But that requires them to learn how to do that. Personally, I've never found a clear tutorial on how to take a .NET GUI app that you've just written in Visual Studio and get it running on Mono. I haven't looked in several years, so I thought I'd give it a try right now. I googled "visual studio mono" and these were the top 3 results:




None of those are clear at all. The second page links to this screencast: http://www.mfconsulting.com/product/prj2make-sharp/tutorial/...

which illustrates how to use this thing with Visual Studio 2003(!) and demonstrates part of the problem: the Mono version of the app looks noticeably different from the native Windows version. Sure, this can probably be fixed, but it's yet another issue that the dev has to spend time learning how to hack around.

This situation results in substantial cognitive overhead. It's unlikely that an average .NET dev will be able to go into work, install this Mono plugin, compile their app using it, and present to their coworkers, "Look! We don't have to change our process at all, and we can deploy our app on the latest Ubuntu with a minimum of hassle."

It's hard to imagine how wonderful it is to build .NET apps compared to dealing with Qt, because Visual Studio's GUI designer is just so good. Suffice to say, there are a lot of network effects that keep a developer mentally locked into Visual Studio's paradigm of "here's how you make this GUI form;" a paradigm which is immensely difficult for Linux to support natively.

I think it's a mistake for Linux to even try to support this, though, because it's probably focusing on the wrong problem. The way to beat Microsoft is to make it so easy to write cross platform business apps that newer generations never even bother figuring out how to install Visual Studio. I think the web browser will be that solution within the next decade. It's not quite there yet -- it's way easier to get a GUI workflow up and running using VS's designer -- but it seems inevitable. So if you share the author's concerns, then the best course of action is to write some quality tutorials for your web frameworks, and to invent easier frameworks. The advantages of the web will naturally outweigh any possible native program advantage.

UnoriginalGuy 6 hours ago 2 replies      
Last year I was on an aircraft watching the IFE, then it froze, I got a kernel panic, then it restarted, I was left looking at a Linux logo then the init output before being thrown back into the IFE interface.

My point is that no general purpose OS is immune from fault. All you can really do is remove or disable things which aren't absolutely needed to get your work done. In this case they should have disabled Windows explorer (which, by the way, is supported) or used one of the specialized cut-down versions of Windows (e.g. Windows Embedded 8).

PS - Although I will readily admit that Microsoft makes it insanely hard to licence Windows Embedded, particularly for SMBs. But Microsoft's licensing is far harder than it needs to be across the board, they have an old-mode mindset where they can charge more if they make the whole process harder.

joosters 6 hours ago 2 replies      
Because the hardware support is good.

Because the licensing costs are pretty small compared to the project costs.

Because there is plenty of tech support available.

Because Windows flash support is good.

Because there are plenty of developers who will customize it for you.

Because it is easy to add to the existing networking systems being used.

There are plenty of reasons to choose Windows for this kind of thing. why is the article even complaining that the OS is old? No need for cutting-edge here. (EDIT: Oops, that was in the comments section)

(LOL at the mouse jiggler software though!)

zdw 6 hours ago 3 replies      
People use what they know. Given a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

If you work in IT for any length of time, you come across people who use Excel as a text combiner to parse tabular text in ways similar to how a regex could, or have similar convoluted workarounds for any number of tasks.

In some ways, these are quite clever hacks.

In other ways, it's kind of sad as it obviously shows how badly GUI-centric "It's a fancy typewriter" attitudes toward computers have ruined generations of users by giving them substandard tools which they barely can make work for an automation task.

I'd love to see a "Signs in Stores-ix" as much as the next guy... but most people who do this are probably designers or businesspeople whose computer worldview doesn't extend behind Photoshop and Powerpoint. And thus, that's what was mandated on the displays...

radicalbyte 6 hours ago 1 reply      
The total cost of using Windows is (probably) lower than using Linux. These displays are often custom work - building something like that is a couple of days work for a WPF or Flash (/Air) developer. The vast majority of those use Windows. And I've not even touched on the administration costs..

To be honest I'm more concerned when I see ATMs running Windows 98; at least these advertising displays can't do any real damage...

tammer 5 minutes ago 0 replies      
Adding Linux or other OS support to a Windows IT shop requires more than a trivial amount of work and added overhead, especially if security is regulated. It's always cost/benefit.
jballanc 6 hours ago 2 replies      
A quick Google search of the phrase "build an animated display" with one of the following strings appended to the end reveals the answer, I should think:

"raspberry pi" -- 1,060,000 results

"linux" -- 4,890,000 results

"os x" -- 6,910,000 results

"windows" -- 32,800,000 results

silverbax88 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I love the fact that the author thinks Windows is unsuitable because the people who are using it for displays don't know how to turn off a screensaver, but somehow those same people will magically understand how to run Linux without a hitch.
jsingleton 6 hours ago 0 replies      
A lot of these systems are just displaying a web page which makes it very easy to move to Linux. I know a lot of the transport ones are simple static web pages on auto refresh. I built some smarter screens which use AJAX and JavaScript which is less jarring when it updates.

I've changed a set of digital signs from running full screen IE on windows (with very long VGA cables) to chromium on Raspberry Pis. The new system behaves a lot better but there were lots of little things to tweak to get it running well. I wrote a short blog post with all the relevant configuration: https://shutdownscanner.com/Blog/Posts/Raspberry-Pi-Digital-...

A lot of the new TVs are smart and come with a built in android browser so you don't need anything else. We have one of these and run Pis on all the existing dumb TVs.

rwmj 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Some ideas:

- The cost of a Windows license is tiny compared to the cost of the hardware and software.

- The cost of installation and maintenance: How much does it cost to pay someone to attach that screen to the wall and run wires around the building to the room containing the server?

- Back in 1995 it probably did make sense to use Windows, since it had wider support for hardware and good developer tools. Now that there is a huge amount of software written in the 90s for Windows, it's going to take a very long time to change that (if ever).

- Windows might actually be better for this even now.

justincormack 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I did once have a Linux boot screen come up on the Coca-Cola sign at Piccadilly Circus (with two penguins, it was a dual CPU back in the day), after a power cut. Alas I didn't have a camera with me. After that I moved the boot console to a different output. Back in the day when I was in this business flash was the big thing that pushed people to Windows as people wanted to do flash content as thats what Ad agencies could produce.
w0rd-driven 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Ahh something I can speak to directly.

At my current gig, we use SiteKiosk which locks windows down tight. It uses the IE WebBrowser control via ActiveX/COM/.Net/however the hell it works. Its basically IE but slightly shittier due to there not being a 1:1 between it and IE proper. SiteKiosk has some pretty powerful digital signage features you don't really get from a Windows Embedded scenario. One feature of 8.1 I was looking forward to was "kiosk mode" but with WinRT being blocked from talking to localhost, except through a hack (yes, fuck you Microsoft) it was stillborn for my tastes.

.NET apps are ClickOnce or xbap, which is basically pre-Silverlight. This is the suckiest part. SiteKiosk can run normal applications and Silverlight with no problems but it took SL 5 to get proper COM support and it isn't terribly easy to make your normal .NET library "just work" so that wrapper for a card dispenser isn't as easy to leverage. Due to the low number of these apps (2), we haven't bothered migrating away from shitty xbap.

The largest amount of applications use typical wamp running a lightweight PHP framework and sometimes MySQL as localhost. Some are completely or partially Flash driven applications as well.

SiteKiosk and leveraging IE lets us focus on perfecting the experience though I've become complacent. IE development is just too slow now and testing in Chrome with superior dev tools are absolutely essential. The problem there is we can easily paint ourselves into a Chrome-only corner if we aren't careful.

Leveraging the POS equipment like barcode readers, card dispensers, or printers are the only thing the web proper isn't really suited for unfortunately. This may be where Windows has much more leverage due to their driver model. Most equipment we interfaced with had a .NET library or simple instructions of use with P/Invoke. I saw very little (<1%) that had anything to do with Linux and in typical fashion wasn't something to simply use via something like PHP or Ruby/Rails. Maybe we chose Windows friendly vendors, though, so take this with a grain of salt.

JohnDotAwesome 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I worked with an IT department (all windows shop, but not afraid of Linux) who setup large screen high definition tv's around the facility for a request to support digital signage. The department wanted to save money, so they took on a DIY attitude instead of building it themselves.

Well, they know the windows platform and had windows machines lying around. They hooked up PC's to these TV's mounted high up on the wall, either mounted the PC on the TV or put it somewhere that couldn't be seen, and put powerpoint viewer on the PC's.

This might sound like a disaster, but the higher-ups loved it. And it worked quite nicely to my surprise. Windows can easily be configured to start the powerpoint file of your choice in fullscreen mode when the machine starts. Creating the material was as easy making a powerpoint.

So, in the end, the cost of materials and time was minimized because these guys used Windows + Powerpoint for their digital signage. And since they weren't using some buggy piece of custom software, it was fairly stable.

You may not like Windows, but it's a _fine_ computing platform. People get _work done_ with it. Personally, I'll stick with OSX.

rangelreale 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm the lead developer in a company that does just digital signage software in Brazil.

Recently we rewrote from stratch our software in Qt so it would run on Linux and Android, even on the Raspberry Pi.

The main barriers we found in Linux adoption were:

- Support staff only knows Windows. This gets worse when screens get installed in remote areas, like we have some screens at Manaus, in the Amazon Forest. There is just no one to support Linux there.

- Flash support state in Linux is unknown. Adobe seems to be discontinuing support for flash in Linux, and flash movies cannot be run on the Raspberry Pi or any ARM device.

- HTML5 is the next target, but even on Windows the embedded webbrowsers are not up to par yet on performance, in Raspberry Pi it is inviable. It cannot replace 100% Flash yet.

- Remote admin support on dynamic IP is great in Windows with Logmein, terrible on other platforms. Yes there's TeamViewer on Linux but it seem not too stable, not to say it looks like to be running emulated. Our customers don't trust it the way they trust Logmein.

That said, we are seeing increased Linux adoptions for some markets. If the Qt5 Blink-based webbrowser is more on par in performance with current desktop browsers, than the adoption may rise a lot.

EDIT: fix newlines

ericcumbee 6 hours ago 0 replies      
One of my responsibilities was to serve as admin for our campuses digital signage system. It used windows based machines. The cost of the Windows OS was trivial compared to the cost of the hardware and the license for the digital signage software. it also helped that if need be these systems could be managed with our existing toolset such as SCCM and remote desktop. and if we needed to do something that the Digital Signage software could not do for special occasions if there was a windows app for it, it was that simple.
tlarkworthy 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I bet the whole ecosystem of updating, remotely maintaining, selling an advert and designing an advert on a display in a train station is deeply engrained in windows technologies, and swapping the front is not trivial. I bet everyone knows its shit long term but the cost of migration outweighs the short term fixes (mouse wiggler!). Probably its what the customers want anyway
SloughFeg 24 minutes ago 0 replies      
I noticed a malfunctioning display on the CTA here in Chicago and it was running on chrome. Still on Windows but at least they had the foresight to make it portable.
apaprocki 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Just wanted to point out that Microsoft does offer an embedded version of Windows that is supposed to be used for these types of applications so stuff like in the post does not happen. But, due to how extremely annoying it is to configure (properly) and create an image, most users probably skip it and opt for a standard Windows image and all the issues that come with it.
romanovcode 4 hours ago 0 replies      
>Why Do Companies Still Use Microsoft Windows For Displays?

Because it's cheaper. All you talk about is license but what about actual work of setting it up and making it work?

Also, you really think that only WinOS kiosk systems are crashing? You really are so ignorant to think that LinuxOS kiosk systems never crash?

stusmall 5 hours ago 0 replies      
"When all you have is hammers the whole world starts looking like nails."

Sure as hell not the way I'd do it, but for a non-critical system that really just kind of sits there and doesn't cause any problems when it crashes, why not if they only know Windows desktop dev and are only deploying a few? Use what you know.

kayoone 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Honestly, even if it was using Linux, there could be a million ways for the app to crap out and show dubious messages.

Doing it this way was probably the easiest way in the mind of the responsible engineer and i am sure it generally works fine.

That MouseJiggler thing is pretty lame though ;)

informatimago 50 minutes ago 0 replies      
That said, I have seen panic'ed linux systems on such screens too. But granted, it is easier to run a single program as /bin/init on a linux system than to configure a proprietary OS.
cyclotron 6 hours ago 3 replies      
I'm not a fan of Windows, but when I saw this post it reminded me of a picture I took at 30th street station in Philadelphia. I guess this was an attempt to use Linux for an visitor information kiosk.


seivan 6 hours ago 3 replies      
Like anything shitty in tech being used, decisions pulled by non-engineers.
mariusz79 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Most of the software dev in the world don't know anything besides one language (either java or vb) and one operating system they encountered right after school. And even when they do - management doesn't.
chromanoid 6 hours ago 0 replies      
When you don't know why this is, you are either a passionate hobbyist or you don't see reality. Choosing an operating system is nothing you should do for the sake of it. Not everybody is as passionate as you and want to memorize CLI commands. Why do you think Windows and iOS are so successful? Most developers feel like most end users, they don't care as long as it runs and it can be easily operated. And this is a wise attitude.
jamesjguthrie 4 hours ago 0 replies      
To me this clearly just looks like a plug for the guy's friend. Hardly an interesting article.
AshleysBrain 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I've noticed a lot of ATMs run Windows for the display, and suffer similar problems. It's really quite unnerving to really need to use an ATM, but a Windows XP Start bar is showing with some strangely named programs running...
michaelfeathers 4 hours ago 0 replies      
A friend of mine collects photos of monitor and advertising display fails in airports. He's been doing it for years and he has a large collection. I think that over 95% are Windows.
kmfrk 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I think all the departure table screen I've ever seen have run Windows.

Always wondered what the hell, especially since it doesn't even seem to provide stability.

aviraldg 2 hours ago 0 replies      
For the same reasons why companies still use Microsoft Windows.
esolyt 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Well, the short answer is they don't know about other operating systems or what an operating system is.
300bps 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Inaccurate title. It should read, "Why Do Companies Still Use Something I Hate?"

Seriously, complaining that an out of disk space error message pops up on signs? I have a Slackware Linux box that has been running for years. Probably ran out of disk space a dozen times since I first installed it so I know from personal experience it's not immune from running out of disk space.

qas1981 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I think its really about lowering barriers to entry. The more people that understand how to operate a system decreases risk. Plenty of people understand Window OS and how to run an application. With this knowledge everyone just can be an expert on how to operate the displays.
kaeluka 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I've seen presentations being really embarrassing because of windows-updates too.
blahbl4hblahtoo 6 hours ago 0 replies      
8.1 allows you to boot into a single metro app... at least the desktop won't interrupt...
roryhughes 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I would say when they need some displays set up, they don't want to buy in any new computers so they just get the old office PC's which aren't in use anymore.
will3942 5 hours ago 0 replies      
It gets even worse, an airport's departures time table ran Windows and just showed the desktop, causing me to have to walk to the other end of the terminal to check the Gate number.(source: https://twitter.com/Will3942/status/394915432660234242)
JIghtuse 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Yep, it is pretty common. In Novosibirsk (Russia) such displays installed in subways (metro) and all of them shows some error when I see them. It is weird.
dragontamer 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't think Linux supports the 18-screen configurations that Windows can support.


shdisi 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been talking about this for years:


salient 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Because unfortunately, most of these companies are clueless about technology, and buy from whoever comes to them through the door, pitching them about how awesome it would be to buy some thousand dollar/unit such displays, and have them show info to their customers.
AsmMAn 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I want to get into real market to see how many unstable is Windows. I really, really want to see that.
mtgx 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Why not just use low-cost Android tablets, since those displays only need very basic full screen apps anyway?
Big Ball of Mud laputan.org
11 points by noobSemanticist  59 minutes ago   discuss
Where to begin when learning C? Start by making lots of errors svbtle.com
36 points by morganwilde  6 hours ago   54 comments top 12
tptacek 4 hours ago 1 reply      
This situation is why there is "hello world"; that program seems trivial but actually has important implications; for instance, that your environment works, that you know how to feed programs to the compiler, that you can actually run the output.

I never took "hello world" seriously until I started doing embedded systems work; it's now an extraordinarily important tool for me (I work an anomalously weird number of different environments).

kabdib 5 hours ago 6 replies      
I learned C by reading K and R and doing the book's exercises . . . on paper. At the time I didn't have access to a C compiler, so I wrote them all out in a notebook. A month later I got a job at a shop that was running Unix, and got the chance to type my programs in and try them.

I had a lot of things wrong. It took me a while to understand the difference between control-D and EOF, for instance (how embarrassing). But the 30 days I spent without a compiler made me think about program behavior.

I'm not saying this is a great way to learn a language, but it can be done.

I keep hearing people complain about K and R being "a terrible book." For me it was perfect: pragmatic, succinct, with great examples and good exercises.

pjmlp 5 hours ago 4 replies      
By making sure to enable all warnings, enable warnings as errors and use a compiler that integrates static analysis like clang.
vparikh 20 minutes ago 0 replies      
In order to for people to really understand C and be proficient in it very clearly, I always recommend that they learn the basics of programming (memory, basic types, looping structures and array manipulation) in a simple assembly language such as 6502. This helps immensely with understanding pointers and deciphering the many cryptic C compiler messages.
b0rsuk 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Install Valgrind. It makes error messages a lot less cryptic (my #1 problem with C... not that's it's limited to C). If you don't get proper feedback, it's not learning, just banging your head against the wall.
yetanotherphd 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I think I have some ingrained fear of making errors, from the days where a simple error might cause your program to chew through your whole hard drive. Actually I don't know if that was ever the case, but that's how I felt.

Anyway, the hardest step for me in learning a language is when I take some running code and make one change to see what happens. Once I get in the swing of it, it gets much easier, but that first step is still hard to do.

foster1890 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Where to begin when learning C? Start at http://c.learncodethehardway.org/. It's going to be tough to top Zed Shaw's approach. The best way to learn code is by writing code.
morganwilde 5 hours ago 2 replies      
By the way, I would love any feedback on this approach and where I should take this further.
lhgaghl 4 hours ago 0 replies      
This is stupid. You should learn C properly (know how to avoid undefined behavior) or not at all. Exception if you're doing something that can tolerate remote code execution.
passfree 1 hour ago 0 replies      
You should learn go instead of C.
laveur 3 hours ago 0 replies      
This all of this!
mbq 4 hours ago 2 replies      
Actually the message quoted complains about the lack of _main not main, so the rest of this post is a huge overinterpretation. _main is IMO some windoizm connected to the use of WinMain for GUI apps.
FixYT fixyt.com
402 points by turbo_pax  22 hours ago   105 comments top 38
kapitalx 18 minutes ago 0 replies      
Finally, related videos that are related to the video!

For some reason google decided to show videos 'relevant' to me. But all I want is videos related to what i'm watching.

Thanks, I really like it.

zokier 22 hours ago 6 replies      
I think this is completely wrong approach. We as a community should stop giving G/YT our traffic if their stuff does not please us instead of making an effort to give them more traffic.
sequoia 22 hours ago 3 replies      
It's nice but if you ever even appear to cut into their ad model they'll shut ya down. Gotta pay the engineers, other employees, electric bill etc.... youtube ain't free ;)

EDIT: I really like the site & hope you flesh it out. Just not getting my hopes up too high. :)

ngoldbaum 20 hours ago 1 reply      
As I'm involved with an open source analysis and visualization tool named yt [1][2], this submission made my heart skip a beat.

[1] http://yt-project.org

[2] Neal Stephenson reference.

bowlofpetunias 20 hours ago 1 reply      
It's shocking that only now I realize just how incredibly bad YouTube has become.
yangtheman 22 hours ago 2 replies      
I love it. With all the horrible and bloated changes they have been making, I thought there would be an opportunity to create simpler version of or alternate of YouTube. I guess you are still using YouTube contents so they can block you if they wish.

I still think there is an opportunity to create an alternate video sharing site that's good enough.

Good job, though! I will be using your site instead of youtube as long as your site is live.

SeoxyS 21 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm a big fan of toogles and its chrome extension.


jff 21 hours ago 2 replies      
Both this and Youtube's own Feather beta seem to lack support for playlists. I like playlists for listening to music at work, for example Brad Neely's "America, Now" videos (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPQrXUpvkuc&list=PLD8217FD2EE...). Also useful for watching web series like Marble Hornets. I love a simpler experience, but I think content creators will want playlists.
martian 17 hours ago 1 reply      
> "supports privacy and stores no information"

Interesting that there's still a Google Analytics tracking call on the page.

rocky1138 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I thought about doing something similar a few years ago but gave up after reading in their TOS that in order for embedding to be allowed, the page cannot be specifically about the video but instead must simply use the video to enhance the original content on the page.
zalew 21 hours ago 0 replies      
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-us/firefox/addon/youtube-cente... is useful, especially fixing buffering and quality.
bschwarz 22 hours ago 1 reply      
After getting fed up with the ongoing changes to subscriptions I created a barebones tool to act as a replacement. No Google/Youtube account needed, new videos are fetched using the API, setup is git clone and open in browser.


LukeWalsh 22 hours ago 3 replies      
I use a browser plugin that strips down the actual site to a minimal version http://www.clea.nr

It's by far the best solution I've found since it stays out of the way, and when I click on a Youtube link the page is much nicer.

cjstewart88 22 hours ago 1 reply      
As always, I love sites that strip down YouTube. YouTube houses tons of great content; however, they seem to be making their consumers pretty unhappy. Check out http://www.tubalr.com it's my app and focuses on YouTube's music content.

Grats on hitting the front page and I hope you can retain users, its the hardest part about websites like this.

lionheart 22 hours ago 1 reply      
Does this get around the issue of local ISPs caching the content and then causing the video download to be extremely slow?

I've heard there's a way get your browser to always connect directly to YouTube's servers, but I could never get it to work.

carlesfe 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Thank you, now I can watch yt videos without any flash player!
skizm 21 hours ago 1 reply      
I mentioned this in another thread but YouTube feather (beta) is pretty much this. It strips down everything but the video and the recommendations on the side. Also it is an official Google feature.
zapt02 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I love how channels are presented. Now I can actually see the new videos.

Will use this instead of YouTube for a while!

PSCan you make "load more" optional? I just want stuff to be loaded as I scroll automagically. :)

calbear81 22 hours ago 0 replies      
On my recent trip, I wanted to watch some YouTube videos in the air but there wasn't WiFi on my flight. I found an app called MxTube for iPad and it blew my mind how much cleaner, faster, and more intuitive it was than the REAL YouTube app. Added benefit - You can cache videos for offline playback. I happily paid the $1.99 pro upgrade to support the developer.
znowi 20 hours ago 0 replies      
This is what YouTube should be like (or how it once was actually).

However, I agree with others that building a UI on top of it is not much of innovation. I'd rather see new and better apps instead of new and better props for the old and ugly services.

tehwebguy 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Looks like the YouTube specific autocomplete uses an undocumented Google API at suggestqueries.google.com

Someone documented it here:


lignuist 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Recommendations are actually nice, but the problem on YT is how they are based on the current video and my personal browsing history at the same time. I think in earlier days they were just based on the current video and this made much more sense to me.
ye 19 hours ago 0 replies      
It's completely useless to me. All the important content discovery features are gone. The search is horrible, all the nice filtering options YT has aren't there.
trendoid 21 hours ago 0 replies      
All the videos that require sign in due to "rated content", seems to be not working since they require sign in. I dont even get a sign in option, just "error occurred".
WoodenChair 10 hours ago 0 replies      
That Noah movie looks absolutely "epic".
vishaldpatel 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Shameless plug for playr.me
__hudson__ 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't have a youtube account so this site is a good way to watch youtube videos with content restrictions.
iancarroll 22 hours ago 1 reply      
What's the real purpose behind this site? All I see is YouTube with Bootstrap.
benmorris 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Simply awesome, in an instant I remembered all of the reasons I used to like youtube.
nighthawk24 22 hours ago 0 replies      
This is so good! Hoping YouTube takes a clue or two
agumonkey 21 hours ago 0 replies      
where can I comment ?

just kidding, great job

lukasm 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Did they just fix the comment?
ChrisNorstrom 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Thank you whoever you are. May the randomness of the Universe be in your favor.

- It's blazing fast, much faster than the original.

- Doesn't have that stupid loading bar at the top.

- No more glitched video page loads.

- Isn't going to be redesigned every 5 months like YT.

- The video player is center aligned and not left aligned.

- Drops all the unnecessary UI elements and doesn't bother me to start using my real name with G+.

I've become so pissed off at Google for the way it's been handling YT redesigns (and Analytics redesigns too). It's like they get the most amateur designers out of high school, and go on an a/b test spree by changing absolutely everything they can. YT's gone through 3+ redesigns now. Each one getting progressively more annoying than the last. And they just keep tinkering with things that aren't broken. Remember the slideshow playlist at the bottom of the screen a year back? And who in their right mind would left align the div holding a video player?!

It's annoying when a company treats one of its flagship products like a never ending science project experiment.

Good job on FixYT, my only suggestion: give me the option to turn the color scheme black.

kunai 19 hours ago 0 replies      
The overbloatiness of YouTube and the artsy-fartsy nature of Vimeo have left a vacuum for something that would be similar to the imgur of videos. I wouldn't be so surprised if someone applied to a venture capital firm with this sort of thing.
timl88 22 hours ago 1 reply      
If it could get around youtube's annoying DASH and buffer the entire video while paused I would use it!
salient 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Seems so much faster than Youtube.
lanbird 20 hours ago 0 replies      
already watched and hide it would be great!
Adobe Password Breach: What You Need to Know eventbrite.com
3 points by squidi  31 minutes ago   1 comment top
brownbat 1 minute ago 0 replies      
Really curious what proportion of large password breaches we actually discover...
CrowdProcess crowdprocess.com
52 points by styluss  8 hours ago   10 comments top 8
aegiso 1 hour ago 1 reply      
As someone who has tried (hard) to build something like this (seems I'm not the only one), I'll chime in.

This is a great execution of a bad idea. It's the worst kind of bad idea because it seems like a great idea until you try it. It's novel, interesting, timely, and attractive from a technical perspective, but unless your market is tech porn, you're selling to nobody.

This use case is served by countless hosting services, saturated at all levels from cheap VPS's to Amazon clusters to private farms. The market is really efficient here and doesn't afford much overhead. Distributing computation over volunteer users is enormous overhead both for you and your users -- in terms of molding problems to fit the computation model, maintaining the infrastructure, keeping it reliable and performant -- the list is endless. This overhead means you can't compete with the existing players. Forget about being significantly better, which you would need to be to get significant numbers of people to switch.

Quite simply, the math for this doesn't work. Not yet, maybe not ever.

Maybe there's some amazing secret sauce here, but I don't see it. So I offer a warning that a lot of people have tried this idea and failed because they were oblivious to reality.

arturventura 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Since I bump into one of you guys in the Startup Lisboa elevator I been thinking about your startup. As a concept is cool and sounds great but as an actual product doesn't work.

First of, market. Not there isn't a market for computing power, but a market for this kind of thing. This is a good parlour trick, to show of browser power, but as a computational framework it doesn't work. There are far better and cost sensitive solutions, even using the cheapest AWS service. I know, because I did the math.

Second there is the ethical problem. You are are off shooting the cost of cloud computing to the website client that will pay for the extra electric power generated by your tasks. How do you justify that? More so, how can you justify a ecological minded person paying for mapreduce geological data from oil company?

Third, and the one that kills you, security. You cannot assure the confidentiality of the data being processed. You can not use homomorphic encryption because you do not know the operations you need to do on your data, and since you are working over it, at least in memory it must exist in plain text. Therefor you cannot assure your clients data confidentiality. Worse, this screws up the market fit. The only people that have big data needing to be processed that isn't confidential is research institutions. The thing is, research institutions buy computer power by the stack. I know, I work at one. There is always some grant that allows them to buy a bunch of computers to do parallel processing.

I've heard about you guys for over an year. And it took you more than a year to complete the full product to launch it. What have you been up to? I've seen clones of your product on techcrunch 500. I made a clone of your product using bitcoins, in a weekend. (I did the calculations and wasn't cost effective and I decided not to launch it) Where I work, Tcnico Lisboa, we are actually thinking about deploying my clone in my work, over computers we own and provide that computing power to the faculty. Actually I've seen this in 2009, when it was shown of by Ruben Fonseca on Codebits (http://blog.0x82.com/2010/11/22/map-crowd-reduce). If anyone can do this, how can you assure the competitiveness of your product.

pearjuice 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of "Bitcoin mining in the browser". Fun idea, but could end up horribly. Imagine this being the common thing to do instead of traditional advertisements. So you end up with "processing power" pay-walls.
tuananh 6 hours ago 1 reply      
While I would like to help, it doesn't feel right from the visitors' POV.
brianbreslin 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I had a loosely related idea at one point to leverage a browser plugin I built for distributed computing, but couldn't find the market for it (who needs to buy into this power?)
spolu 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I was wondering if you had though and computed the maths for harvesting storage as well?
airencracken 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I see zero security concerns in such a setup.

I'm also reminded of hivemind from defcon this year.https://github.com/seantmalone/HiveMind

almosnow 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I'll buy it
Ask HN: Thoughts on Meteor.js?
49 points by karlcoelho1  3 hours ago   40 comments top 24
napoleond 2 hours ago 4 replies      
Meteor is good, but not at everything, so it's very important to understand the trade-offs.


0. Obviously, its major strength is its "real-time"[0] nature: I have built multiple chat systems (and presumably so has anyone else who's used Meteor, because it's an example of something that's fun and easy with Meteor but relatively hard with a traditional stack) as well as a map application that tracked the motion of a company's employees in relation to their destination (as part of a dispatching system).

1. It's also the least complicated way of sharing code between the browser and the server that I've seen to date.


0. It's non-npm package manager feels like NIH to me (although I'm sure the team had valid reasons, I've never looked into it). Apparently it's still possible to require npm modules[1], although I've never tried it.

1. You're more or less stuck with MongoDB for the time being, which I guess a lot of people like but it's not really my thing.

2. There's not really any SEO capability, but that's sort of a given. Just don't use Javascript frameworks for that sort of project (or do, and do all sorts of weird shit to help Google).

3. It's kind of too auto-magic for me sometimes. The documentation is generally very good, but I occasionally run into weird variable scoping issues and the like, without any way of really figuring out what's happening. Of course, the source code is available[2] if I had time to read it. (Well-written, but big, and I find reading Node code to be mentally more taxing because of all the callbacks.)

4. The biggest con, for me, is that Meteor is basically limited to web applications. I really enjoy the typical single-page web app approach of building an API first, which you can access from other apps later (ie. mobile/tablet). I have no idea how I'd do that with Meteor. I'm experimenting with bundling a Meteor project and inserting the client-side code into a Phonegap app, for a mobile chat thing I'm working on, but that's obviously not ideal.

Generally, I love working with Meteor. I know I've written more cons than pros, but the pros I've listed are huge, and they've allowed me to work on cool stuff. You just need to know what you're getting into.


0. The scare quotes are for the people familiar with embedded real-time systems who seem to always find these comments and complain about how that word has an entirely different meaning when it comes to web applications.

1. http://stackoverflow.com/questions/10165978/how-do-we-or-can...

2. https://github.com/meteor/meteor

harrylove 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I've been using Meteor in paid gigs for over a year now. I don't regret giving it a try. It was hard to get my mind around for a few weeks. But then it clicked and I saw a lot of possibilities. I've never been happier as a developer. But that's me. It fits me.

I started using Rails in professional work in late 2005. That turned out to be a good decision. There is hype around Meteor in the same way there was hype around Rails in 2004/2005. The praise and objections are similar. Meteor is not Rails, so don't go looking for too many parallels. And the development climate in 2013 is not the same as 2005. You won't be able to predict Meteor's success or failure in five years, so it's not worth speculating.

When Rails came out, I was ready for it, technically speaking. My skills were in the right place and I was ready for a change. Similarly, I felt I was in a good spot to learn Meteor last year.

So the real question is, are you excited, ready, and able to learn it? If so, go for it. The worst that will happen is you will learn a new programming paradigm (perhaps) and it will inform any other development work you do.

jbuzbee 18 minutes ago 0 replies      
I've played with meteor a bit and and also hacked on drorm's mysql back-end:


It works for some cases, but it quite limited in the type of database tables it will support. And in the end it's polling mysql for changes to feed to meteor clients.

I also added meteor support to a leaflet-draw package to allow users to share drawing on a map:


Powerful and fun!

jasoncrawford 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I wrote about Meteor here: http://blog.jasoncrawford.org/meteor-demystified

Bottom line: Very interesting platform; nicely done in many ways; some concerns about architectural choices; not quite ready for prime time (production use) but probably will be soon.

lampe3 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I want to clear some things:

0. Meteor is in version so there are things not as good as they could/will be.

1. scaling: meteor is 100% scalable. There are meteor smartcollections which use the MongoDB optlog. Nice read: http://meteorhacks.com/lets-scale-meteor.html .

2. Right now you have to stick to MongoDB this will change in a later version.

3. Meteor will get a new rendering engine which will allow you to put angularjs( god only knows why ) or haml or some other templating thingy in meteor.

4. You can use meteor with phonegap right now.

Will meteor solve all your problems? No!

Will meteor will make you not think? No!

It's a great new piece of technology and you will learn new pattern and things. the livedata package and ddp package are great packages on their own.

camus2 3 hours ago 1 reply      
> Do you think it's worth learning?

Everything(almost) is worth learning , the question is , is it worth using ? you give 0 clue as to why you'd need that stuff.

Tarang 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Its lots of fun learning with it. It tries to remove as much boilerplate as possible.

They have packages to take care of most of the stuff for you such as their accounts-ui package.

One helpful place to learn meteor from beginner to advanced is via the screencasts on.


ezequiel-garzon 3 hours ago 0 replies      
... or Derby [1]. I'm curious about things the HN crowd has been building with this kind of stack.

[1] http://derbyjs.com

possibilistic 1 hour ago 0 replies      
How well does Meteor scale? Could a multiplayer game written with Meteor handle the HN crowd hitting it? I'm thinking of writing something like this and Meteor would be perfect if it's amenable to authoritatively sharing state between thousands of connections.
mmgutz 1 hour ago 0 replies      
As a developer I think "Wow, impressive". They have serious creativity and brainpower on that team. But, as a developer I also think how much magic must be going on there. I've always been a lightweight framework kind of guy Sinatra over Rails, Backbone over Angular. I'm not their target.
christian_fei 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Reading 'Discover Meteor' and consulting the docs will give you all you need to create a great realtime application in short time. It's a real pleasure to work with Meteor and the realtime web feels just a few steps away.

I built http://opentalk.me with it

arunoda 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Of Course Yes.Just spend few hours with DiscoverMeteor[0] book. You'll be amazed.

[0] - http://www.discovermeteor.com/

wavesounds 2 hours ago 0 replies      
It's really great technology and a lot of fun to program in! My only problem with it is its so closely tied to Mongo. There are ways around this already I believe. However official SQL support is coming soon, which I'm very excited about.

If real time collaboration is at the core of your web app, then you'll love Meteor.js.

tobinharris 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I'd recommend writing a few sample apps just to get a peek in to the awesomeness of where web technology could be going. It's hugely different to the Rails, .NET and Node stuff I've worked with to date.

Meteor buzzed me out - the auto-updating views, syncing data across client & server. Your app can achieve amazing real-time capabilities with very little code.

But now I'm a few thousand LOC into an application, admittedly I've pretty much hit the "wall". The magic baffles me. I'm struggling to solve problems in performance, code organisation and security.

I've been disappointed by the progress and the team behind it. All that funding and I can't see it progressing quickly. The docs are quite weak, there's not many example apps, progress seems slow.

So... on one hand it's awesome and well worth learning. But I'm reluctant to back it for the long term, as I don't see the team/framework moving in the right direction.


ollymorgs 2 hours ago 0 replies      
My biggest issue with all of the frameworks is their lack of maturity. If you're working on a large platform with a team of people, you're going to want database migrations, localisation/i18n, asset management, proper testing framework, continuous integration and general proof of scale.

Meteor.js seems great but is still a bit of a gimmick in my eyes. But If I'm pressed to pick one, I have to say I'm much more interested to see what happens with Go and web frameworks like martini.

bhurlow 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Meteor is one of the most comprehensive and smooth frameworks for making web applications available today. It solves a ton of problems with a few overarching concepts: http://docs.meteor.com/#sevenprinciples
Sewdn 37 minutes ago 0 replies      
Yes, it's worth learning.

3 good reasons why:

1. It's ambitious.

Meteor is not yet another nodeJS web-framework or client side JS framework. It also doesn't stop at combining the both (with a beautiful DDP to share data between C/S). Meteor' s architecture will make it possible to use it's components for all sorts of applications (other then the obvious web-apps).

2. It's as easy or as complex as you want it to be.

You can write a meteor app in 4 files or in a complex packaged structure. No need to overcomplexify, if you dont't want to. But you cn write large, complex, stable and maintainable code.

3. It embraces the eco-system.

You can rely on all of the NPM packages out there for your serverside logic and use all of the available frontend UI libraries and scripts. It will also enable writing complete reusable components in 1 package: servers-side logic, data-model, client-side logic, UI, ... all in one.

Biggest upcoming updates:

* Meteor UI.Better approach then any other UI framework out there (including Facebook's react or FTLab's fruitmachine)

* Galaxy.Deploy and scale your app on your own infrastructure or in the cloud by pressing a few buttons.

To counter a few of the cons in this thread:

* It's not reached 1.0 and it is therefor not production ready. I'd suggest writing your new applications in meteor anyway. Meteor matures quicker then any other framework out there. Is is well funded and here to stay.

* It is not scalable. Maybe not easy right now to make it scalable. But it certainly will be soon, when using mongodb oplog and galaxy will make it really easy to scale your service.

I run an agency in Belgium (redandivory.com) and we switched completely to meteor for all of our new projects. I think it's the framework of the near future.

jorganisak 2 hours ago 0 replies      
If you are familiar with front-end JS frameworks like Backbone/Ember/Angular, then learning Meteor is as simple as a read through the docs and building a sample app.

If not, then learning Meteor would be a great way to become familiar with JS frameworks, and make the move to more complex frameworks (Angular FTW!) in the future.

Either way, awesome tool!

enay 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I use Meteor for a dashboard app and this seems to be the ideal use case for this stack: take JSON documents via third-party APIs, aggregate them (hence MongoDB is fine for the job) and push to clients.

Was it worth learning? I'd say yes, it has a low barrier to entry and is great for practicing front-end development.

reustle 3 hours ago 0 replies      
As other have hinted at, it's definitely worth learning, like most things. Get roughly familiar with it and other projects, that way when it comes time to pick a tool for a project, you'll have a better set of options to pick from.
seniorsassycat 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I have dabbled in it. I found it hard to learn and mysterious, but when things work it is amazing.

Meteor is a combination of handlebars, jquery, mongo, sockets, and a handful of other technologies. It can be hard to debug or develop unless you are familiar with those technologies. I think meteor would benefit from more transparency, make it clear which frameworks provide which features.

You will find more applicable documentation by searching "Handlebars Templates" instead of "Meteor Templates".

tel 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Can anyone compare it to Opa?
igl 2 hours ago 0 replies      
after reading some github issues and some source code... There is also sails, and probably tons of other express/socker-io boilerplate frameworks. But meteor has this facebook guy on the homepage. Your boss will love it.
filipedeschamps 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I feel scared to how incredible this framework is. It's magic that scares me the most.
Utilities puzzle mug mathsgear.co.uk
3 points by ColinWright  47 minutes ago   3 comments top
brownbat 22 minutes ago 2 replies      
This can be solved on a torus, no?
Terminal Cornucopia terminalcornucopia.com
219 points by Amadou  20 hours ago   91 comments top 30
chimeracoder 19 hours ago 4 replies      
> All of these findings have been reported to the Department of Homeland Security (TSA) to help them better detect these types of threats.

The threats that the TSA itself admits are non-existent? (http://tsaoutofourpants.wordpress.com/2013/10/17/tsa-admits-...)

The best I can see coming of this is that the TSA will start to ban braided leather belts and condoms.

revelation 19 hours ago 3 replies      
If there are LiIon batteries available, why bother will all this stuff?

Just short them out and throw them somewhere strategic. Takes all of a minute.

signed0 19 hours ago 3 replies      
The BLUNDERBUSSness Class is by far the best:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lsem22DkIjw

TL;DR: AXE body spray is super combustable!

lhnz 10 hours ago 1 reply      
That's nothing: break open many brands of low-quality leather shoe and you'll find a 3-5 inch sharp metal blade [1].

I know this because my shoe fell apart a couple of months ago and one came out: I'd been through multiple airports with this on my feet and I think it's highly likely that a majority of people are incidentally carrying sharp metal blades because of this.

[1] http://distilleryimage4.ak.instagram.com/a31902082b7911e3b58...

joshdance 18 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't know how effective any of these techniques would be to a terrorist, however cool and ingeniously constructed the weapons were. The whole security TSA thing is mostly a show anyways.
ck2 10 hours ago 0 replies      
But why even try to get on a plane or through "security" to plague people with mass terrorism?

Huge crowds are already caused by homeland security theater.

Are they still taking water bottles from people and throwing these "dangerous materials" right into the trash next to everyone?

ajasmin 14 hours ago 1 reply      
When I read 'Terminal' on Hacker News I don't think of the airport kind...
D9u 18 hours ago 2 replies      
The real travesty here is that "General Aviation" flights (private aircraft) face no such TSA screening as we see in "Commercial Aviation" flight terminals.

So anyone who has the money to charter a private jet is also able to carry whatever they want onto an aircraft, which illustrates the double standard inherent in most tyrannical systems.

moron4hire 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I think the key takeaway here is that there are two types of people: those who grew up and eventually became TSA agents, and those who were curious about the world when they were kids and learned all of this stuff.
blahpro 7 hours ago 0 replies      
"Airplane Mode" claims to use a Parrot AR Drone 2.0 (~$290) for parts. The controller used is actually an infrared one from a smaller and cheaper (~$20) RC helicopter, like this: http://www.amazon.com/Syma-S107-S107G-Helicopter-Colors/dp/8...
vezzy-fnord 17 hours ago 0 replies      
This is simultaneously an excellent hack, culture jam and an expose of the security theater that is the TSA.

There was also the people who were successfully able to get through with decoy explosives without a hitch, but this is much more whimsical.

cowmix 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I find it ironic that I'm reading this link from a Las Vegas airport gate waiting for my plane... using their wifi.
jack-r-abbit 13 hours ago 0 replies      
He makes a point to say all those things can be purchased after the security check point... but wouldn't most of that stuff make it through security anyway?
PaulHoule 19 hours ago 0 replies      
it would be nice to have some text and photos rather than videos you can only watch if you're in Kansas City or outside the US
callesgg 3 hours ago 0 replies      
These weapons are harmless they are not scary enough.

People know what an AK47 is and they know it will kill what it is used on.

Power lies not in the weapon, it lies in what people think of the weapon.

Another thing, since 911 passengers most likely assume they will be killed whether if they cooperate or not.Certain death in a plane crash or possible death trying to take a terrorists weapon.

x0054 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Forget about AA batteries, think about all the laptop batteries. All you need is 4-5 laptop batteries, and you can have a serious bomb going. And how easy would it be to carry that into the airport? Take 2 laptops with you, 2 backups, a cell phone, 3 backup batteries. No one will even blink an eye.
ithkuil 8 hours ago 0 replies      
In fact, airports in places such a Turkey have two security checks, one at the very entrance of the airport buliding, and the second just at the gate.

However it looks like they are relaxing that:


hughlomas 16 hours ago 0 replies      
None of these weapons would be of much use for anything besides maiming one or two people, which could be accomplished with much simpler things. They are novel creations though.
dkbk 10 hours ago 1 reply      
While I found the content interesting, the videos do a very poor job of presenting information efficiently and concisely. Time is wasted in the introduction, the listing of materials takes far too long when bullet points would suffice, diagrams are only shown for a few seconds apiece, and the music is downright irritating.

A bullet point list of materials, a paragraph of description, a few diagrams and an embedded video demonstration would be far more effective. A slideshow would also work well.

I apologise if this seems nitpicky, but as interesting as I found what you've done, I only watched half your videos because I found it so painful to sit through them. I doubt I am alone in this.

Houshalter 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I find this really interesting, but I feel like publishing it is a bad idea. The TSA could just use this as an excuse for more absurd policies, or worse someone could actually try some of these things, which they wouldn't have figured out on their own. Only a very small risk, maybe, but for what benefit?
codezero 17 hours ago 2 replies      
While this is all interesting, none of these videos show any actual lethal potential. I'm not saying that there is any, but there is no target and no way to show whether these tools inflict any meaningful damage.
christiangenco 19 hours ago 2 replies      

Could someone make a short montage of all the weapons firing/being detonated? Slow internet and a lack of weapon descriptions make for quite the frustrating evening.

zacinbusiness 18 hours ago 2 replies      
I think it comes down to what people are willing to put up with. Personally, I don't mind any of the TSA stuff a single bit. I've stood in line for hours, missed a flight, and gotten home at 1am due to TSA and other security stuff, but I don't mind because it at the very least acts as a deterrent.

However, I think that most of these things could be solved with a second screening. None of these options would pass a secondary x-ray, for instance. Or, a better option would be to have all items purchased in duty free to be shipped as luggage, and retrieved in the destination airport. Those would both be a huge pain in the ass, however, and I doubt anyone would put up with it.

aaronsnoswell 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I've often thought how interesting it would be to see a TV series about something like this.
joshguthrie 18 hours ago 1 reply      
I cross my fingers hoping the BLUNDERBUSSness shotgun will be available in L4D3 or Dead Rising 3.
Aloha 18 hours ago 2 replies      
Seeing this 'ns' totally takes away from what the website is trying to say.
tn13 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I have always wondered about this. Given the kind of stuff available in these stores I think it is nearly impossible to scan all those items for security.
csmatt 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Is delivery to the stores and restaurants after the TSA related and our enforced?
daniel-cussen 17 hours ago 0 replies      
OK, how about airports stop selling aerosol cans and lithium batteries after the security check-in? They seem like the worst offenders here.
guiomie 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Lol ... Planned Parenthood.. Why go thru all this trouble, and not just use the black rod to stab someone ? would be way more effective no ?
Show HN: Collect instant user feedback directly on your website. 7scientists.com
23 points by ThePhysicist  6 hours ago   5 comments top 2
dictum 1 hour ago 1 reply      
The ability to rate with smileys can confuse the user.

One happy face is still a happy face. When you rate it 1 happy face, do you mean "I really don't like this feature, so I'm rating it the lowest I can, 1/5", or "I like this feature, it deserves a smiley"?

Case in point: positive 1-star reviews on app stores. " - This app is amazing!"

drewblaisdell 2 hours ago 1 reply      
This looks cool.

One suggestion: make the vote/check icon mechanism asynchronous so that it shows up as selected on the client immediately.

Show HN: StumbleUpon for books stumblary.com
26 points by raimonds  7 hours ago   22 comments top 10
joshmlewis 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't like how the titles aren't necessarily about the book or what you're going to get.
mistermcgruff 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Very cool. Naturally, scraping out of HN is gonna provide a few wonky teasers, but a great idea nonetheless. Just submitted my book per the site's instructions for kickshttp://www.amazon.com/dp/111866146X
Nicholas_C 46 minutes ago 0 replies      
A back button would be nice as well.
kenshiro_o 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Good idea. But the site needs some polish. Moreover, you should add a thumbnail of the book in question.
cocoflunchy 3 hours ago 1 reply      
You need to add an Amazon Associate tag to all these links!
untitaker_ 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Fetching books from HN threads is IMO a really good idea, but using the submission title seems to produce completely inaccurate teasers for me. I'd recommend fetching the title from Amazon too, and also somehow weighting the books by comment upvotes.
vikp 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Finding interesting books to read is a huge problem for me. I have tried Goodreads, but its recommendations are poor. I usually just use random lists to find things to read.

I really like the general idea of something like this, but a way to restrict by category or train it in some way would make it a lot more useful for me.

openastorenow 5 hours ago 2 replies      
Very cool idea. I recently spent quite a while paging through HNSearch.com looking for book recommendations.

My recommendation would be to make sure the "Next" button never moves. Some really long titles cause it to get pushed down a bit and that gets annoying when you're clicking on "Next" at a fast rate.

I also agree there needs to be a little more information on the page because of the sometimes-indirect post titles. I find myself hovering the Amazon link to see the name of the book.

loceng 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Fun name. Took me a moment to realize it's a word combination.. but cool. :)
stasy 3 hours ago 0 replies      
If you could get images for the titles and possibly a short summary, it would be a lot better.
Coin onlycoin.com
1304 points by xuki  2 days ago   678 comments top 151
nlh 2 days ago 29 replies      
SUPER clever idea -- kudos for that. In theory, this is awesome. As a consumer, I love it.

As a merchant, however (which I am), there is no chance I would accept this. None. Unless the issuers (that is, Visa, MC, Amex) drastically change their policies, which I don't see happening anytime soon.

Why? Because the issuers are very clear about a few things: When push comes to shove and it REALLY gets down to it, unless the merchant takes a physical swipe of the actual card AND has backup to prove it (i.e. an imprint of the physical plastic), the issuers will side with a consumer in the event of a fraud dispute.

So why, do you ask, do most merchants not bother taking imprints of the actual cards? Because a visual verification and physical swipe is usually enough (for 99% of cases). Instances of fraud via card duplication are rare, so it's usually not worth the hassle. But in some cases, it is.

My business runs large-ticket purchases though CCs (average is $2000), and we take super extra precautions when our customers buy from us. We take magnetic swipes, visually verify, AND take physical imprints.

We've lost several chargebacks because of lack of doing this. You'd be surprised how these little-known rules crop up when you least expect them. "Sorry, customer claims charge not authorized. Merchant doesn't have physical imprint. Chargeback approved." It's happened and we've been defrauded out of $thousands because of it.

The ONLY way we've been able to successful combat chargeback fraud is through the multi-layered approach.

Anyway, I know this is a fairly esoteric perspective and my business may be different from lots of others where this isn't an issue, but I have a feeling V/MC/Amex aren't going to get behind this.

kintamanimatt 2 days ago 9 replies      
I wonder how this would fare in an ATM. What happens if the ATM accidentally presses the card selection button? If the ATM gobbles the card, now you've effectively lost your entire wallet. What happens if the cashier presses the card selection button while running your card too? Oops, now your boss wants to know why you've just paid for your groceries on the business credit card and why you've cloned your business credit card!! The first can be an innocent mistake, but the second can be grounds for disciplinary action.

I can't see the banks being happy about customers cloning their own cards. In fact, it will probably be a convenient excuse for them to absolve themselves of all liability in the case of loss, theft, or misuse. Some, if they found out, might pitch a fit and close the account.

This also is going to pose a lot of problems when used with non-domestic cards, as they point out in their FAQ. It's possible to use an EMV-based card with just the magstripe, but it's a pain in the butt and the bank may well be aware that all your meatspace transactions are not using the EMV-chip. They may assume that your card is broken or (quite correctly) cloned and block it. A call from the fraud department may well lead to a fit being pitched.

From wikipedia: "Magnetic stripe cloning can be detected by the implementation of magnetic card reader heads and firmware that can read a signature of magnetic noise permanently embedded in all magnetic stripes during the card production process." [0] Oops, now your card is blocked.

Retailers might also get skittish if they figure out this isn't actual bank-issued plastic. They may well refuse it because of the risk of fraud. I would. I really wouldn't want to be running someone's cloned card, even if the cardholder was the one that did the cloning. In fact, it might jeopardize a retailer's merchant account if the acquiring bank found out the merchant were running cloned cards!

The best way to counter a bulky wallet is to not add bulk in the first place. How many credit cards and debit cards does one need to carry on a daily basis? I carry maybe two or three cards, some ID, my Oyster card, and a Costa rewards card that I use daily. I also have a backup wallet that contains a second set of cards in case I lose the first. The bulk of my wallet is receipts that accumulate, but even when I carried way more my life wasn't burdened by a whalelike wallet.

It'd also be a pain in the butt to use this with some rewards cards. For example, my Costa rewards card is swiped at the same time as I'm paying. Would I really want to fumble through pressing a button to find the right rewards card, give that to the cashier, have it handed back so I can fumble through pressing buttons again so I can pay? Certainly not, and even less so the impatient people in line behind me.

Sorry to promulgate the Hater News stereotype, but it's just too easy to poke holes in this idea. It has superficial appeal but I really wouldn't pay $100 for so many potential problems, especially as it would only make my wallet a few mm thinner.

[0] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnetic_stripe_card

dakrisht 1 day ago 9 replies      
It's a neat concept, but I just don't think this gets anywhere.

Dead in the water - as much as I would personally like to see them succeed.

The biggest problems here are security.

() Merchants will hate it since there is no physical imprint / swipe of the bank-issued card. This will lead to chargebacks in favor of the customer. So this alone kills this company/product.

() Banks might change their terms forbidding customers to create digital copies / clones of their card. As per card holder agreements, if you (or Coin) has ever read one, you don't own your card. You're fully bound by the terms of the agreement.

() There is the issue of PCI-DSS compliance. They mention they're "in the process of earning" it but this is a lengthy, difficult and _costly_ process ($100 k). They're using a loophole to ensure consumer peace of mind but this won't last at all.

() Adding a card seems flawed. You're asked to take a picture of the physical card after swiping to "prevent fraud" ok but unless Coin uses some advanced image processing/OCR to validate the card with the swiped data, you can take a picture of any card. So big fail here.

() Coin seems to access a cloud service. Another major reason that this simply isn't going to work. If you've paid any attention to the NSA situation within the past 6-months, ordinary/average consumers (not the HN crowd) are becoming weary of cloud/hosted service. Not to mention, Coin will never ever work outside of the US (or San Francisco for that matter).

Practical usability problems:

() Most users are totally fine with credit cards and big wallets. It's actually empowering to them. I spoke to a guy who loves the fact that he has every color Amex card! So in essence, this is geared towards a micro-niche of tech savvy SF/NY/LA crowd.

() Selecting a card by tapping the button - great. What if the waiter taps the same button? Or someone you're paying does? So many issues with this button here.

"Weve designed the button to toggle cards in a way that makes it difficult to trigger a "press" unintentionally" -- yeah, well most of the time, credit card fraud is an intentional act. What a stupid response. And quite frankly, offensive to anyone with half a brain.

() The obvious issue of losing Coin and losing everything. People like backups. It's a mindset.

() Battery issues with digitizing a non-battery product (credit card). Be in no doubt that more than half of users will forget to charge their credit card (as if we don't have enough things to charge). So you'll see people having lunches and presenting a dead Coin. And since you don't have any plastic, well, now you're screwed.

Products are supposed to make life better, easier, more intuitive.

Conceptually, it sort of makes sense. But the execution is flawed in so many ways.

You're being sold a product that now requires more steps than you did before. And that is the killer fellow HN'ers.

I don't want to have to sync, take photos, select a card by pushing a button, make sure it's within range to my device, update the app when needed for it to work, deal with merchants who won't take it, CHARGE my credit card (!), deal with issues because I tapped/selected the wrong card - vs - take out and swipe. Done.

Fuck that.

The product is inherently flawed

unfletch 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm guessing the Coin pre-order is why Protean sent me an email yesterday reminding me they exist: http://getprotean.com

Their Echo card is exactly the same idea, with some minor variation in implementation. It has not yet launched.

As far as the concerns voiced here (accidental button presses, etc.), Chris Bartenstein, a Protean co-founder, has addressed some of that in the comments on this TechCrunch story: http://techcrunch.com/2012/08/02/the-protean-echo-reduces-al...

rexreed 2 days ago 5 replies      
How would you prevent mass credit card theft in this case? Couldn't an unscrupulous person, say a waiter at a restaurant, take your card, use his/her own Coin to make a copy of your card, add it to their own Coin, and then use that card at their leisure at a future date? I know, the same question was asked re: Square and the like, but the difference is that you need a Square account to steal other people's cards, and that's traceable, whereas here, you can use the stolen card easily and surreptiously with little notice. Except for the fact that using a Coin in itself is noticeable.
cik 2 days ago 3 replies      
I think we're all missing a key point here. From reading the FAQ it appears that the application needs access to their servers. That blows my mind. Why should my mobile phone application, responsible for programming a local card via Bluetooth ever need access to the internet? Simply put - it shouldn't.

To me, this sounds like a big data play, except in this case the company is getting the user to cover the cost of acquisition. I imagine the actual cost of production on a card like this being well < $20 shipped (disclosure: I've been involved in shipping and starting up several physical products).

So now, I have something that collects and unifies data across multiple purchase vectors, sending that back to a single source. In other words, I've paid for the privilege of helping another company get the same sort of insight that mint.com was building, except that I'm also including loyalty data.

Colour me out.

azernik 1 day ago 1 reply      
Great line from their FAQ:

    Q. Can a Coin be used to skim cards?    A. No. You can only add cards that you own to your Coin.
Ummmm... I hate to be pedantic [1], but the question is using the "is it possible" meaning of "can", but the answer seems to be using the "am I allowed to" meaning. There's a line in the previous question about how "As an additional safeguard, the Coin app will only allow you to add cards you own," but no detail on the mechanism of this magical authentication process.

[1] Who am I kidding? I love being pedantic.

skue 1 day ago 0 replies      
If there are any Coin founders hanging out here, this seems like a great idea and cool technology. However, like a number of other commenters, I have a few questions not covered by the FAQ...

The product/fit questions have already been asked, but there's still this: Why is Coin taking pre-orders several months in advance just to raise $50k? I can't help but wonder why a YC company wouldn't just raise the needed $50k from investors?

If this is an attempt to test the market, are you sure that a crowdfunding approach is the best image for a financial company? I want any company dealing with my financial data to be rock solid and reliable, and crowdfunding is the exact opposite of that.

Also, why aren't you collecting shipping addresses? I read your answer in the FAQ, but that makes me twice as concerned. You say, "A lot can happen between now and Summer 2014. For example, you could move. To reduce confusion, well get those details from you once we get a little closer to getting you your Coin."

This is a problem for two reasons: (1) you are emphasizing that the ship date is far in the future, and (2) it comes across as though Coin is run by young founders who move around a lot and don't see value in long term planning. That's the wrong mindset for a company handling financial data.

ohazi 2 days ago 2 replies      
With any luck, this will piss off the banks/CC companies enough to finally roll out chip+pin in the US.
sequoia 2 days ago 5 replies      
What happens when the waiter accidentally clicks the button & charges your business card when it should have charged your personal card? I guess they can just peruse your cards, see what you've got, and pick which one to charge. :p
robotmay 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm not sure of the prevalence in the US, but does this support chip + pin transactions? They're the standard in the UK now, and I suspect it's a little harder to mess around with than the magnetic strip.
UVB-76 2 days ago 1 reply      
Are the card issuers going to be happy about what amounts to card cloning, or am I missing something here?
mehrdada 1 day ago 1 reply      
Why would you want to carry just one credit card when you can carry zero with Square (or Google Wallet)?

If it is because of the "tradition problem", it's not much better than Square Wallet either: In more than one place I've been to the cashier was supposed to manually enter the last four digits of CC# manually for the transaction to get through. You'll have to carry a backup card with either Square or Coin.

I like the vision of completely ditching the credit card far better, and the marginal compatibility benefit does not seem good enough for this to get anywhere in its current shape.

Of course, things can change.

(BTW, wasn't Google doing the same thing with a physical card for Google Wallet and ended up abandoning it?)

callmeed 2 days ago 2 replies      
Don't forget there is also Loop, which reached it's Kickstarter goal already:


Personally, I like the idea of using my phone over the coin thingy.

Also, I'm curious about how sturdy this thing is. Maybe it's my wallet or maybe I just shop too much, but I tend to wear out my debit card really quickly (< 1 year).

pbreit 2 days ago 3 replies      
I worked on a product like this at Amex about 20 years ago and while it was a totally neat concept it was completely stupid in practice. All those plastic cards are marketing vehicles that can also transmit a number. And, really, are they that difficult to manage?
gojomo 2 days ago 1 reply      
Super cool, but my guess is that there's a very small time window for it to succeed before the phone completely subsumes all card functionality. After all, the phone already scans the old card and sends the details to the 'CoinCard' (and monitors card-custody) via Bluetooth-LE.

It won't be long before most swipe terminals are themselves augmented with wireless transceivers, making the "CoinCard" a redundant middleman-device. That is, your phone could just send archived magstripe details, after your onscreen-app confirmation of payment-intent, to the retailer's terminal.

Coin's real strategy may be for that world - the hardware will fall away like a first-stage-rocket at some point... even faster, say, than Netflix moved from DVDs-through-mail to pure-network-delivery.

joezydeco 2 days ago 4 replies      
Can anyone elaborate how the magstripe trick works? That's the only thing that I can't find, and it's kind of the crucial point of the whole project.
Tomdarkness 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think this highlights how insecure cards are that just rely on magnetic strip information rather than something like EMV (chip & pin). It should not be possible, or at least extremely difficult, to clone a card.

I'm from the UK and EMV (Called Chip & PIN) has been around for years now. No-one issues non-EMV cards anymore, except perhaps for cards designed exclusively for use in ATMs. Something like Coin would not be possible and, frankly, I'm happy this is the case. While having to carry multiple cards around is not an optimal solution I'd much prefer this over the ability for my cards to be trivially cloned.

Aside from the security issues how would this work in relation to fraud with your card issuer? I'm not sure if it is different in the US but if you are the victim of fraud and you were not seriously negligent (i.e stored your PIN in the same wallet as your card) then the issuing bank will refund any money fraudulently taken/spent. Assuming something similar operates in the US, would using this service give the issuing banks a excuse to hold you responsible for fraud? I'd also wonder if you were breaking any agreements you have with your bank in relation to your use of the cards they issue you with.

TamDenholm 2 days ago 3 replies      
I assume that the Chip-and-pin system isnt standard in the US like it is in the UK. Can a similar technology be applied to chips?
driverdan 1 day ago 0 replies      
As a former credit card thief I would have loved this. You mean I don't have to buy $10,000 of card printing and embossing equipment to create a fake clone of a card? Yes please!

As a consumer I'd love to have something like this but it will never fly. Stores will lose liability protection since there is no security. Unless they partner with card issues to provide some kind of secure card verification it will end up being banned by merchant agreements. No store in their right mind would accept it.

swamp40 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't know if I can make a suggestion that might be seen with all the activity here - but if it were me designing it, I would have an option to lock-in a single card via the smartphone app.

Or, maybe only allow switching within a foot or two of your smartphone.

That would eliminate the concern people have about where the waiter accidentally pushes the button and switches the active card.

taude 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'd really like the ability to add all my shopping cards, membership cards, and whatever else that constitutes 98% of my wallet. Replacing two credit cards/bank cards isn't that compelling.

And then really, while I'm dreaming....I just want my phone or an app on my phone to deal with paying because carrying around a card just feels so 2000s.

This is a slick implementation, though.

I'm also more worried about actual merchants refusing to take something like this.

Dirlewanger 2 days ago 1 reply      
Personally, I'm not into a single point of failure device. Same reason why I eschew paying with a cell phone. More convenient? Sure. But lose your cell phone and you have a lot of things to account for, doubly so if you have no form of remote wiping it.
joshfraser 2 days ago 1 reply      
Finally! It's about time credit card skimming technology was brought to the masses.
cfinke 2 days ago 1 reply      
See how this idea has progressed in six years:

Here's how it works. Users register their cards on the company Web site and upload the information into the iCache. When they want to use it, they activate the device with a fingerprint on its biometric strip, scroll through a list of cards on its screen and choose one. Out pops a plastic card with a magnetic stripe, temporarily loaded with the chosen card's data. Just swipe the card and pop it back into the iCache. After one use, the information on the card disappears. The device even works with loyalty cards, such as those handed out by supermarkets.


The hardware technology is certainly more advanced, but I'm of the opinion that the true endgame is going to be a scannable or NFC "card" stored entirely on the user's device (ala Passbook), not using a physical middleman.

earlz 2 days ago 1 reply      
This would be an excellent opportunity to add some encryption to credit card numbers. Imagine taking this, except for it has a pin-pad where you enter in your password/passkey. All credit card numbers stored on the device are encrypted with this key, so it's impossible for a thief to swipe your card. However, it doesn't solve the malicious waiter problem.. but of course, you could still keep it locked down so that the most the waiter could get is one card, rather than all of them.

Ideally, it'd be something like:

* Entering your key keeps exactly one card decrypted for up to 2 minutes* Changing cards requires a reentry of the key

You could even go crazy and do things like allow different cards to have different passkeys. Not sure how useful that would be though

wadetandy 2 days ago 2 replies      
One of my biggest questions/objections is about the battery life issue. They claim that this will run out juice every 2 years or so and that the battery cannot be replaced, so I'll just need to buy a new one. $100 every two years for this device seems like a pretty big expense, as opposed to $100 one time.
arnoldwh 23 hours ago 0 replies      
"...attracted the attention of Osama Bedier, the former head of Google Wallet, whos an investor in Coin. Bedier spent years attempting to make Wallet the NFC payments standard of future phones, but Google abandoned his work to pivot the product into yet another PayPal competitor. "[Bedier] sees scale at Coin where he didnt see scale in current solutions," a company spokesperson said on Bediers behalf. And for what its worth, Parashar says he hopes to develop a way to let users activate Coin (or disable the "lost" feature) even when a phones not around."


ChuckMcM 2 days ago 0 replies      
I ordered the dev kit early on, got charged for it, now waiting anxiously to have it show up. Nice to hear they are moving along. I really think that something like this is a solid answer to some of the vulnerabilities in the current card system and for a subset of identity problems. My interest is in solving one such subset which is this:

At the time of account creation, create means by which both the web site and the user can prove unequivocally at a transaction later, that they are the same person who was there when the account was created.

Nothing about "who" they are, or "what" or "where", but just that the person or entity doing this transaction right now, is exactly the same as the person who created the account.

fekberg 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is very neat and a super cool idea. However, there's no chip? I try to avoid non-chip cards as much as I can for security reasons.

One more thing that crossed my mind is, what happens if you give this to the waiter, the waiter goes away to handle your payment and it happens to be outside of reach of your bluetooth ping; then you will most likely become worried that the waiter ran away with your card, or you will start ignoring it when it notifies you that it is outside of reach.

While talking about the waiter, what happens when the waiter accidentally clicks the "change card" button and takes the personal lunch on your business card? You might not notice until it's too late and people start asking questions..

DEinspanjer 1 day ago 0 replies      
::Sigh:: It sounds exciting.. but so did/do all the others trying to do the same or similar things.Unfortunately, banking regulations and reluctance to push technological boundaries at the risk of being liable or losing money are the big hurdles to clear here. Another slightly smaller hurdle is being able to design a product that is high enough quality and durable enough to survive without costing way too much.

The first one I ever heard about was back in 1999, PocketVault from Chameleon Networks. They lingered with a website that was updated every couple of years promising a release soon.

Next came the iCache. That one did a Kickstarter and actually made it out to market... sorta. I have one, but the company ran into huge manufacturing issues and folded under very odd circumstances.

A few others I've kept an eye on are:

Dynamics, Inc. Card 2.0 -- Was supposed to come out with exactly this product.. ended up doing a very reduced feature set that lets you just select A or B rewards.

Protean Echo -- Same concept. Originally promised 2013 but recently updated saying they weren't ready yet.

There was another that was a similar concept company/site, but I can't find a link to it or remember the name at the moment. :/

There is also a recent company that had a successful Kickstarter: Loop. Rather than a programmable credit card, they are hacking the magnetic readers themselves by making a mobile phone case or dongle that emits a magnetic field that tricks the reader into registering a card swipe. Pretty neat stuff to compete with the struggling NFC solution, but unfortunately, it isn't 100% compatible with all swipe readers, and totally incompatible with dip readers.

usaphp 2 days ago 1 reply      
I wish it allowed a card selection process to be made with iPhone instead of clicking on the actual card itself, so that the person who charges it does not toggle between your cards. With a fingerprint sensor that would be really cool!
ynniv 2 days ago 1 reply      
Swipe, click-to-switch, swipe, click-to-switch, swipe... Why steal one card's data when you can copy the whole wallet? :-) Or, run one card but take down the information for another.

It also appears that the Coin is programmed over Bluetooth. Why bother swiping to steal when you can run a smartphone app and take all of the cards on all of the coins in range?

If this takes off and fraud goes up, credit card companies will drop the discount vendors currently get by swiping. Maybe vendors that currently swipe will start entering CVVs? Will Coin then start storing CVVs per card?

Vendors might refuse to accept Coin in the first place (there's already a comment here from one who won't). Or credit card companies will have Coin outlawed as a counterfeiting tool. I can see how this seems like a good idea, but I don't think it will work out.

newman314 1 day ago 1 reply      
Love the concept but the security worries me. Looking on the site, there is (as expected) not much information about security.


* Coin is in the process of earning a PCI certification. This should have been done before launch. Also, what level?* Coin uses 128/256bit for security but HOW and WHERE?* Coin essentially skims cards (through the reader) to playback for terminals. I don't see how they can say with a straight face that it is less susceptible to the same techniques.* Adding what are supposed to be funny Q&As to a FAQ trivializes what are supposed to be important questions for people thinking about using this.* I understand the love of "the cloud" but I wish people would also consider scenarios for a disconnected model. These are solutions that do not necessarily require a full time connection.

I could see using this for pre-paid gift cards but not for my actual credit cards.

sidcool 2 days ago 1 reply      
The same link has been submitted thrice with different accounts and upvoted to 3 points.
Ryoku 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is one of the worse ideas I've heard of; security wise. Not even at a tech-level. All your data and credentials are a robbery away. Of course, if you get robbed you can probably call in your credit cards from your cellphone... oh... Now, on the tech side... magnetic? Really? We've been through this, it's not secure. It might sound secure in an ideal world where the user doesn't do stupid things like handing over both the card and the phone to someone just to avoid getting the notification or to be shown how it works... or because it's a "store requirement". But we are not in that world, nor we will be.
davemel37 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm more concerned about the price point. Seems cool, but not a problem I spend a lot of time thinking about. I don't see myself spending $100 to solve the problem of carrying multiple cards on me.

I would maybe pay $50 for the beta card because I think it's super cool and I love trying new tech, but definitely not a price point I would pay to solve a problem that is hardly a problem at all. (to be fair, this might be one of those problems that you don't realize how bad it is until you solve it.)

I can't see myself paying more for this than I would spend on a wallet, which is less than $20.

josephagoss 1 day ago 0 replies      
This will never catch on in Australia unless they can clone paypass/paywave. Now most of our transactions are contact free with chip and pin as an option for large purchases.

Just having to enter a pin in Australia is going backwards.

res0nat0r 2 days ago 2 replies      
So I have to turn this over to a bartender to keep behind the bar when I go out and drink? If I forget to grab it before I take a cab, now I'm out $100 and ALL of my credit cards. No thanks.
typicalrunt 1 day ago 1 reply      
It's a neat idea, but what I'd really like to see is a way to use randomly-generated numbers as my credit card for one-time payments instead of handing over my full credit card details to an online store. I hear this is done by a few credit card companies now but I have yet to see it in Canada.

Coin could even take this idea one step further and allow you to store your credit card, but when you swipe their card it provides the merchant with a randomized credit card number useful only for a one-time purchase. Now that'd be cool.

sfrechtling 1 day ago 0 replies      
Coin's logo seems to be very similar to Macquarie Bank's[1]. I'm not a lawyer - but Coin may be infringing on their United States visual trademark[2] (of concentric circles), especially as they are also a financial service. I may be very wide of the mark here; but my first thought with this was that this was a product of Macquarie.

[1]:http://static.macquarie.com/dafiles/Internet/mgl/com/furnitu...[2]: http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin/showfield?f=doc&state=4807:8dpjzg...

drewblaisdell 2 days ago 3 replies      
80% of this product already exists in Simple (https://www.simple.com/).
zavulon 2 days ago 2 replies      
I'm slapping my head and thinking "this is such a great idea, why didn't I think of that?". I'm sure lots of other people are doing the same, and it's a sign of a truly great idea. Congrats on launching!
tomasien 1 day ago 0 replies      
Coin looks great, I want to make that clear. No ifs ands or buts, I think it's a great product.

However - if you're looking for the future, I think I've got something interesting - feeless payments bank to bank by oAuthing consumers directly into their online banking. Completely secure - merchants never get the personal information, they just get paid. Better: I've built it, and we have beta customers. I'm posting a couple comments on HN to start the conversation, because anyone who cares about payments or accepts them online - I'm trying to talk. You'll be hearing more from me in the coming weeks and months - and it's going to be exciting. We're going to kill credit card fees, because we don't need them anymore.

If you want to talk, email me @ tommy@thecityswig.com and let's just chat. I'm not selling anything - we just need to know what hackers are thinking about payments. It's the most valuable info we can have.

ck2 2 days ago 0 replies      
Swipe something user-programmable through a merchant machine.

That might not end well. But I guess that has been an open security hole for a long time now, hopefully has been addressed.

thejerz 2 days ago 5 replies      
Unless I'm missing something: if I lose my Coin card, ALL of my credit and debit cards are compromised. That's a showstopper. A thief could drain not just one account, but every account I have.
joshaidan 1 day ago 0 replies      
While there are perhaps many issues regarding whether or not merchants will accept this product for payments, one thought occurred to me.

What happens when merchants/banks start offering the ability to make purchases using your smartphone? Doesn't that render this product obsolete? (if I'm not mistaken, you need a smartphone to set it up)

alternize 2 days ago 0 replies      
at least in the non-us market, this awesome idea comes a bit late: not only are chip + pin pretty much standard nowadays, and new means like contactless payment creditcards / nfc-payments are being rolled out now.

i really would love to see a one-card-for-all tho that supports chip + nfc, but my understanding is that card issuers are eager to ensure that this will not happen.

GotAnyMegadeth 1 day ago 0 replies      
I hate this kind of scroll website, using the mouse wheel to scroll just means everything is really jerky and isn't ever quite lined up, or correctly faded.
mandeepj 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Sometimes swipe using one of my cards never works. It just does not work. Even if you swipe 10 times, it just does not work. Weird thing is this happens randomly. It may work just perfectly at the next shop.

If this happens with Coin then I guess I'm screwed and embarrassed.

I agree wholeheartedly - the idea is good

6thSigma 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is very cool technology but I'm skeptical for its practical usage. Lots of people have already brought up the obvious pitfalls (atm use, accidental presses, banks potentially removing card liability) but I'd also probably carry around my important cards in my wallet just in case. So they aren't really solving the problem of carrying too many cards - at least for me.

It would be useful for things like gift cards and reward cards - but is it worth it for that?

christiangenco 1 day ago 0 replies      
I just invented something similar.

Though it only supports a maximum of 4 cards, at scale it would cost ~500x less.

I call it "penny." Here's my prototype: http://imgur.com/49auKC4

(reposted from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6733584)

habosa 1 day ago 0 replies      
Seems cool to me, obviously a few flaws but not so much that I'm not thinking about getting one.

Question: what kind of BLE technology goes in a card that thin? Looking into some applications of BLE myself and I haven't seen anything like that. I'd love to know what's in the card and how I could build a similarly small bluetooth device.

nobodysfool 2 days ago 1 reply      
Merchants are not going to accept this, it's the same as a CNP transaction.
stevenj 2 days ago 0 replies      
According to the article linked below, Coin is a YC company.


abalone 1 day ago 0 replies      
So what happens if you hand your card to a waiter/cashier and they accidentally tap the button while gripping it? "Card roulette"?
dzhiurgis 1 day ago 0 replies      
Why people in US are so crazy about credit cards?

I have 2 cards, only one is actually credit, but that's because I am expat, so I still keep one card from my home country.

Someone mentioned owning 16 or 9 cards, which sounds so unbelievable to me.

sejje 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is a very cool gadget, but I think it's a strange name.
Kiro 2 days ago 2 replies      
Swipe only? What is this, 1980?
Diamons 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm surprised nobody's mentioned this.

Q. Which is better; Tiger or Monkey style Kung Fu?A. Depends on the terrain.

If you're a photo sharing / blogging app, sure that kind of tongue in cheek humor is okay and acceptable.

However if I'm supposed to give you access to my credit cards, that is entirely unacceptable.

samweinberg 1 day ago 0 replies      
>Q. Is Coin password protected?

>A. Your Coin account is password protected and the mobile app requires that you type in your password before you can access sensitive card details.

There is no way in hell I would trust a single password to protect all of my debit, credit, loyalty, or gift cards.

Amygaz 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's not bad, but I feel it will be short lived. Like other pointed IC cards are standard in many countries and are coming to the US.

Moreoever, I'd rather have my smartphone do it all, and by all I mean all: cc, id, insurances... Most places I care about now accept IC cards and RFID, which means I should be able to pay directly by pointing my phone at something while punching an sending a encripted 4-digit pin.

Using Google Wallet, Paypal, Square and others would be even better. It's coming and the pace is just accelerating...

Have a good one!

Wintamute 1 day ago 1 reply      
Will this work with chip and pin and/or paywave style contactless payments in Europe?
x0054 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wonderful! This is a great tool for restaurant service people to clone your card. I had my card cloned in a restaurant 2 times. Both times they were able to trace it to an employee who was cloning mag strips and selling them online. With this tool it's even easier! Awesome idea, if we lived in a more honest world.
NKCSS 1 day ago 0 replies      
I just don't think an ATM is willing to take the coin in, which makes it unusable for me. Also, here in Europe, the magnetic strip is hardly used anymore, as the (EMV) chip has taken over.
gagege 2 days ago 3 replies      
For some reason, all the cards I keep in my wallet get destroyed. I have a decent leather wallet but they still crack and chip and the paint rubs off. I don't know if I want that to happen to a $100 device.

Does this happen to anyone else? It has happened with the last two wallets I've owned.

mangoman 2 days ago 0 replies      
I like the FAQ:

Q. My souffls keep collapsing! What can I do?

A. In order for the meringue to peak properly we suggest adding a little lemon juice to the bchamel. This strengthens the mixture and prevents tragedy.

tjgq 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've always thought that the real solution for the "too many cards" problem is to get all credit card companies to agree on a card-less payment protocol that anyone could implement on any device. (And in the process, make all the transactions a lot more secure by using modern cryptography.)

Alas, I'm afraid that kind of disruption cannot be brought forth in a market context...

3327 1 day ago 0 replies      
So are Coins waterproof? Because my credit card is weather proof. Just curious.
dcc1 2 days ago 1 reply      
Wow, i wonder if bitcoin can be integrated into this somehow
jalfresi 1 day ago 0 replies      
Erm... what problem is this solving? Is having multiple cards in your wallet really a problem that requires such a convoluted solution?

Sorry, but I really don't see what this is saving me/doing for me? Whats the problem this solves?

djhworld 1 day ago 0 replies      
This wouldn't work in the UK, we use chip and pin here. It's extremely rare these days to find a place that will swipe your card and loosely verify your signature.
somberi 1 day ago 0 replies      
I am asking to learn.

If I have to use this card, do I also have to have my cell phone with me all the time? If I go downstairs to get a Bagel in the morning, I need to take my phone, or else no Bagel for me? And it seems from the "Iphone will alert you using Bluetooth" facility, that I need to have Bluetooth on all the time, which I normally do not, to save battery life (adds an hour or so on my Iphone4). To me this is a functional gridlock.

Does it also need to be connected to some data network or the other to work?

If I lose this Coin card, then is it same as losing all my cards? If my assumption is true that this needs to be paired with a phone always, then will it not be possible to nullify the card, using the app on the phone, in case I lose the Coin card?


colinbartlett 2 days ago 4 replies      
Seems crazy that it only holds 8 cards. I'm not about to go through all this effort only to replace some of the cards in my wallet but not all of them.
lucb1e 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ooooh such a bummer. We just phased out swiping cards altogether about a year ago because of the huge security issues.

Sounds cool, then you think about it, then it turns out pretty useless if they don't partner with everyone.

The demo is very, very good though. Nicely done.

atpaino 1 day ago 0 replies      
It seems like this would be much more useful if the front and back of the card were OLED screens, or something similar, so that you could toggle the appearance of the card. I feel like that would solve most of the problems people are suggesting here - i.e., it could replace driver's license, photo id's, wouldn't be a problem at bars that hold on to your CC, etc. Personally, I'm going to hold off on getting this until there's some functionality similar to what I outlined above, because currently this could only replace 2 out of the 5 cards in my wallet.
slig 2 days ago 0 replies      
How will this work when CC companies finally migrate to cards with SIM chips?
pbhjpbhj 1 day ago 0 replies      
Isn't this back to front ... surely you need a trusted player and then you need Amex/Visa/Mastercard to be able to use that token (the credit card) to aid identification of a person.

So the card would be like Coin's but would have fixed credentials. Then when you open an account you'd provide your ID for the bank to register (or sign the registration with your public key); that account would be added to your card as an option.

jaxn 1 day ago 0 replies      
A company wants to have access to information about who I am as well as all of my purchasing behavior regardless of which merchant it is? Where do I sign up?!?!
ta_euccoin 1 day ago 1 reply      
I remember the US refusing to rely on foreign technology, hence refusing to issue plastic money with chips.

But this changed after the CIA got their hands on the technology through in-q-tel acquisition of the french company gemplus then world n1 company in the business. Then cards with chips were coming the US and it was expected for the rest of the world to get backdoors with their US issued chip cards, years later the french government finally bought back control of the company but way too late.

Now that they have the technology, I'm surprised the switch has not happened yet, even more so since cloning and other kind of fraud is quite easy with magstripes (not that it is that much harder with chips, see yescards).

The coin introduced here seems anachronistic to my european eyes which have not seen a card being swiped in the last 30 years and a great opportunity for fraud. Better use than reducing the number of card in a wallet is obviously to charge other people for your expenses by cloning their cards.

mephi5t0 1 day ago 0 replies      
A lot of cards also moving towards a smart chip implementations on cards. Also I carry 3 cards with me, 2 CC and a debit. Perhaps I am not the intended customer for this thing, I do like gadgets but my wallet is fine for now. Still a very nice idea. I would def follow up to see what happens after Summer 2014
aaronsnoswell 1 day ago 0 replies      
America is so behind with payment systems. The rest of the world has chip cards and now touch-less payments. I am astounded to see that the US is still using magnetic strip cards.
techaddict009 2 days ago 0 replies      
"Q. Will my Coin work outside the U.S.?A. Not in all cases.

U.S.-based customers: Coin will work overseas, but we recommend that you bring a backup card when you travel.

Customers located outside of the U.S.: Coin does not support EMV yet. If the country you live it requires it we recommend holding off your purchase for now."

Found this in FAQ

dzink 1 day ago 1 reply      
Nice execution. I saw several pitches for unifying cards while working for a VC.

As a consumer I have a few suggestions:

1. Make the card switch/activation button detect the fingerprint of the owner. (The merchant or waiter sliding the card could press the button accidentally and switch to a different card)

2. Show me that a tap-scanning tool can't take the data for all of my cards. (from hackers to accidental taps)

3. Can a magnet disable this card?

4. What happens if someone steals my coin? Can I disable it remotely with the app? Can it happen automatically?

Good luck!

ececconi 1 day ago 0 replies      
Some merchants make you have to give over the card so the person at the register can type in the last 4 numbers. This won't work with that use case will it?
PeterWhittaker 2 days ago 1 reply      
Cool idea.

Needs chip support for Canada and perhaps the rest of the world.

linux_devil 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is innovative, really like this concept. Wish them Good Luck !
drakeandrews 1 day ago 0 replies      
iPhone only, no chip and pin, won't work with any cash machine in the UK, no apparent protection against people skimming random cards (I'm suddenly very suspicious of anyone putting my card anywhere near an iPhone) AND it stores all your card details on their servers for no apparent reason?

Where can I sign up?

shr0d1nger 1 day ago 0 replies      
I quite like the idea though I don't know whether people would accept it, guess I can at least use it in ATM!

And referral: https://onlycoin.com/?referral=lvCn3taaplease use it :)

joshdance 2 days ago 1 reply      
Can Mastercard or Visa prevent or try to prevent this? Also what about cards that are shown example Costco?

I just wish my phone did all stuff related to money.

davemel37 1 day ago 0 replies      
Im curious if Coin will capture my purchase data when I swipe. It's bad enough credit card companies sell my data...I am super paranoid about Coin doing the same thing.
jebus989 2 days ago 0 replies      
Well-implemented idea, as others have said. It's ridiculous that in 2013 I'm still carrying around a wallet full of junk (and keys but that's another story).

However this feels like an awkward stop-gap between the current card-payment system and online payments. I don't want to give a waiter a piece of plastic and get a little paper receipt back, give me some kind of abstracted account ID and I'll transfer you the money from my phone/laptop/smartwatch/glass (/whatever we'll all have by the time a new payment method is sufficiently penetrant to be useful).

nfoz 2 days ago 0 replies      
Obnoxious website
jackmaney 1 day ago 1 reply      
0_0 This is one of the worst ideas I've ever seen. Yes, let's put all of my cards in one card so that if it's stolen, then all of my cards are gone. @#$%^ing brilliant!
firstplanthendo 2 days ago 0 replies      
There are some theft and risk concentration concerns, along with potential feature problems (accidental card selection change), but this would be great for credit cards rewards hacking- a lot of cards have different bonus areas.. 3x-5x points/cash back on different categories, like dining, gas, groceries, travel expenses, specific department stores, etc. This would easily allow you to maximize your rewards without having to carry around all the different cards. 2x-4x extra back means this will pay for itself pretty easily.
kenrick 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is very cool. However, in Jamaica where I live. An id is required to use a credit card, so they can check your name and your signature. Is there are way to displaying that info on the card.
justncase80 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wish your phone had some kind of a unique ID it could broadcast. Then you could take it to the bank and they would associate it with your account, then you could just use the phone as your card. You just hold it over the receipt thing and push a button on an app and boom done.

Now if you could get my phone to be as slim as that Coin that would be pretty sweet too.

stormpat 2 days ago 0 replies      
Thats a sweet idea, i would really like to have something like coin.

The problem is that in Finland there is very few places that uses the "swipe" your card and sign method anymore. Back some 2-3 years ago it was a custom, but for security reasons (anyone can swipe a stolen card and sign it, the law does not require an ID unless the amount being paid is over 100 euros) it was abandoned and now you simply enter your PIN and that that.

Im not sure about other countries, but atm this is the norm in Finland.

pit 2 days ago 0 replies      
No kidding about the souffls. Even walking by the oven at the wrong time can spell disaster.
yeukhon 1 day ago 0 replies      
The idea is cool, but we already have the idea using mobile phone to check out. All we need is the ability to bring that alive.
gambiting 1 day ago 0 replies      
Swipe card? Completely useless in most places in the UK, few shops take them nowadays.
berrypicker 1 day ago 0 replies      
What problem does this solve? After watching the video, their value proposition is: "my wallet is filled with cards, too many" - i.e. using one card instead of a few. Is it gaining popularity because of the technology, or because we're addicted to gadgets like this one?
porter 1 day ago 0 replies      
This looks like one of those game changers that everyone says will never work. But then somehow they figure it out and change the world. VCs should be all over this.
bonjourmr 1 day ago 0 replies      
Do they know that their logo very closely resembles Australia's largest investment banks? http://macquarie.com.au/

I know this oversight can happen and it sucks, but the two are in the same industry (Macquraie has a global presence and quite a substantial US one), so it might come under some sort of copyright infringement. Just a heads up!

fww 1 day ago 0 replies      
erock 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm really unsure how this is any different than the multiaccount product here https://www.dynamicsinc.com/Corporate/Products

of course with the exception of it altering you if you left it at home, however that is a bit creepy, and, well let's just say I won't be getting a coin for my wife anytime soon

theuri 2 days ago 0 replies      
Curious to hear what the team at Wallaby thinks about this, and whether they're planning on competing directly or focusing squarely on rewards cards.
vitalus 1 day ago 0 replies      
Love the idea!

I'm pretty obsessed with keeping the wallet light & thin - this seems to help out with that.

I wonder if this could potentially store other cards in some way as well? Gift cards etc - would be super convenient.

Incredible to squeeze that much tech in such a thin form factor - would love to see the internal hardware

krutal 1 day ago 1 reply      
http://getprotean.com was similarly hyped up last year, hopefully this one delivers.
WayneS 1 day ago 0 replies      
Here is a part that I don't get. Do they actually change the magnetic strip on the 'coin'? Or does it have a fixed VISA number that is tied to your ID and owned by the 'coin' company. Then they just use the coin app and the timestamp of the transaction to know which card to charge in the backend.

That would mean the company gets a log of all transactions.

joshdance 2 days ago 0 replies      
Love the idea. But one of those "I'll believe it when I see it working well".
tonydiv 2 days ago 0 replies      
IF ONLY he had said, "One coin... to rule them all" at the very end!

What a product, I love it, and I love this guy's quirkiness. Love. Love. Love.

nico 1 day ago 0 replies      
I pre-ordered 2 about an hour ago (already got charged), haven't gotten a confirmation email yet...
blazingfrog2 1 day ago 1 reply      
Anybody else feeling uneasy about committing to spending serious cash immediately for a scheduled delivery 7-10 months away for something that could have many legal ramifications (with the associated delays)?

At $50/card, with anywhere from 5 to 15 cards, it quickly adds up...

FaceKicker 2 days ago 1 reply      
"Works like a debit card when you swipe it" - I'd probably get this if I wouldn't effectively be paying several hundreds of dollars per year for it in losses of credit card rewards.
rajacombinator 1 day ago 0 replies      
this is pretty cool. I'm into having a thin wallet but there are a number of cards I need to carry around currently.

however, $100 is way too much for what is basically a very minor convenience. $50 is too much. For $20, I'd consider it.

from a business perspective, I wonder if they have deals with the banks. I wouldn't be surprised if they get slapped with some cease n desists just because the megabanks want their shiny pieces of plastic on display at all times.

zshprompt 2 days ago 0 replies      
What stops the person taking the payment from pushing the switch button accidentally or intentionally. Also I can totally see how people can steal your card, use the app to put it into their coin then place the card back so you don't know you've been robbed.
hugofirth 1 day ago 0 replies      
As a European: Chip and Pin?
benbrown 2 days ago 0 replies      
How is this different from Wallaby Card? Is this a live product? My understanding is that the networks were not allowing such products. For example, Google and PayPal both planned to issue dynamic "wallet cards" but were blocked by V/MC.
reustle 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's fantastic to see Android support right off the bat!
synaesthesisx 2 days ago 0 replies      
Neat concept, but doesn't Google Wallet already integrate this kind of functionality (via NFC)?

I'd much rather have my financial data stored on my phone as I keep the device encrypted and can erase it remotely.

karka91 1 day ago 0 replies      
oh wow. Just a month ago I and a couple of colleagues were talking about this very idea and that this would be a great startup, though we dismissed it because none of us had any experience in this field and we were afraid of possible legal issues.

It's great to see that someone actually brought this to life!

rebel 1 day ago 0 replies      
Seems really cool technologically, but I just don't get it as a consumer. $100 so I can carry less credit cards that take up virtually no space in my wallet? What am I missing?
viame 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is great. I love it. I want to know what did the girl do at 0:11 that he had to look away. :D
ryanckulp 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wrote a quickie on how this is a stopgap, but purchased one nonetheless..


Eleutheria 2 days ago 0 replies      
How about an altcoin card with all my cryptos in it? Pick a coin, swipe and deduct from my account?

There is a huge window of opportunity in the altcoins market right now.

floetic 1 day ago 0 replies      
kumarski 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hackernews is sometimes a contrarian's paradise.
Houshalter 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is amazing. Mildly annoyed at the name though.
frmlobbyist 1 day ago 0 replies      
At Whole Foods they often want to see the back of the card to see the signature if the purchase amount is over $100. They most had gotten burned sometime in the past because I go to this Whole Foods in my home town at least 2/3 times a week and the checkout clerks know me and my wife but they still insist because sometimes we use different credit cards.
panzi 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's this easy to clone a credit card? Why is anyone using credit cards? I feel confirmed in not having one.
_random_ 1 day ago 1 reply      
Windows Phone not supported -> fail.
veganarchocap 1 day ago 0 replies      
What about chip and pin? Or contactless? Is it the same deal?
obedeugene 1 day ago 0 replies      
Very cool product. Im curious to see how the big guys (VISA, Mastercard) would respond to this.
raybeorn 2 days ago 1 reply      
Seems like a cool idea. But also seems like a credit card thief's dream.
homakov 1 day ago 0 replies      
how many cards we have? I have 3 and see no use in coin
miralabs 1 day ago 0 replies      
here I am thinking magstripes are obsolete. where I stay (Singapore), most transactions are done via EMV. Its rare to find the use of magstripes.
a_emme 2 days ago 0 replies      
There's a reason HUGE banks with customers who have significant existing relationships (Citi Bank - Mastercard, Visa Debit, Heloc, etc) has not done this, don't you think? Not cause the love printing and mailing plastic....
ivanbrussik 1 day ago 0 replies      
for me this would be worth it just to have as a bluetooth security device when i lose/forget my wallet.
felipelalli 1 day ago 0 replies      
Can I use Bitcoin with this?
dohertyjf 1 day ago 0 replies      
dc_ploy 2 days ago 0 replies      
They need to fix their closed captioning.
fierycatnet 1 day ago 0 replies      
Coin aka Wallet...
taigeair 1 day ago 0 replies      
no chip...
rejected2013 1 day ago 0 replies      
i cant wait for this to come out
joshstevens 1 day ago 0 replies      
This needs to be brought to Europe.
acsta 1 day ago 0 replies      
have you seen www.getsolo.com they have some patents on this.
X4 1 day ago 0 replies      
wow, I think this seems to be HOT Topic, took a while for me load this.

I know of an alternative that I bookmarked a long time ago. Have just submitted a link to their landing page, they're practically doing the same, but allow more card types to be fused and it's a mini-computer. They were on the market much earlier than Coin and it looks very prestigious & elegant.

The alternative card can be found here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6736606

(A post, because I'm curious how the Echo is worse or better, without interrupting the Marketing of the Coin, on this board)

I am not sure how to think about this in general, but @nlh has really good points. I agree with him that he needs the imprints, but to be honest, those imprints don't guarantee security.

Void_ 2 days ago 1 reply      
So no holography technology like that in the video? I'm disappointed.
insomnie 2 days ago 2 replies      
Feel free to use my referral code.


Jeremy Hammond sentenced to 10 years for Stratfor leak theguardian.com
308 points by callum85  1 day ago   229 comments top 24
dopamean 1 day ago 15 replies      
> The same beast bit us both, Hammond said. They went after Aaron because of his involvement in legitimate political causes they railroaded charges against him, and look what happened.

First let me say that I am pretty sympathetic to Hammond and Swartz (though I think their actions were totally different). I am sympathetic because I've been in Hammond's shoes actually. I had my door kicked in when I was 15 for things I shouldn't have done online.

What Hammond has said here really bothers me for two reasons. The first is that he attempt to conflate things that are not equal in any way. Swartz may have had a "legitimate political cause" but he sullied it (in my opinion) with illegal activities. Anonymous may also have a legitimate gripe but their actions were illegal and Hammond is now paying the price. That's how it works. It is wrong to act as if you somehow should be looked at differently by the law because you had a "legitimate political cause."

Also, it's really not fair at all for Hammond to compare his situation to Swartz. The damage done by what Swartz did is nothing compared to damage and potential for real harm with what Hammond did. Maybe I'm alone in this but I think that is an asinine comparison that does Swartz's reputation a disservice.

jamesaguilar 1 day ago 9 replies      
It's unfortunate that a possibly productive member of society has to go to jail for this.

At the same time, I wonder at what seems like a tone of surprise about the outcome. What he did is not materially different from breaking into secure offices and stealing copies of private documents. Apparently he or others working with him also made donations in the order of millions of dollars using stolen credit card numbers from this hack. His punishment should be of the same order as someone who did those things. Political motivation is not a get out of jail free card.

Presumably he knows this and the emphasis in this direction is the work of the article's author. Or maybe I'm picking up on something that's not there.

forgottenpass 1 day ago 0 replies      
For more background, The Rolling Stone had a good piece on him last year after he was arrested: The Rise and Fall of Jeremy Hammond: Enemy of the State [0]

[0] http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/news/the-rise-and-fall-o...

ChrisAntaki 22 hours ago 1 reply      
Jeremy Hammond helped uncover TrapWire, possibly the most cutting edge surveillance system currently exposed to the public.


kh_hk 1 day ago 0 replies      

    Part of Sabus interest in him, he now believes, was that Hammond had access to     advanced tools including one known as PLESK that allowed him to break into web    systems used by large numbers of foreign governments.
I do not think this means what they think it means.

ThrowFarAway 22 hours ago 1 reply      
There's a lot of certainty and knee-jerk moralizing on display here (hacker in trouble! He deserves our unhesitating support!), but there's shockingly little justification to accompany strong sentiment. Put another way: what's with the mob mentality, HN? This place is normally better than that.

He did a significant amount of damage to a legitimate business. Some people seem to hate STRATFOR, without articulating any reasoning for feeling that way, other than using certain triggers for up votes, "government," "CIA," "evil," etc.

The files posted to Wikileaks largely showed them to be a surprisingly competent private forecasting company. The outcry over telling an attractive intelligence collector to use her looks as a means by which to get people to be more pliable? Welcome to the real world. Sex sells, and it also buys.

Many subscriber's identities were stolen in the process. My personal information was leaked, and it was difficult and costly to deal with. Some will never be able to fully undo the damage personally done to them by Jeremy Hammond. I'm not sure how his actions bettered the world, or even sought to.

Activism is valid, and a discussion of hacktivism as a form of civil disobedience that can effect necessary change, would be welcome.

A guy who selected a target while being almost completely ignorant of the work they do, a guy who, rather than going to some effort to minimize collateral damage, actually worked to inflict as much collateral damage as possible, is not a hacktivist, but a criminal, and a pretty inconsiderate criminal, at that. Doing harm for the sake of ego isn't hacktivism, it's mayhem.

I'm OK with people like that being segmented from civil society, no matter how just the cause he thought it would further. If a guy walked around keying cars in the parking lot because he wanted to achieve world peace, I'd respect his desire to achieve world peace, but also want him prevented from doing so again until he demonstrated some understanding and therefore the necessarily resultant remorse.

I subscribe to STRATFOR's informative, insightful, and apolitical news service, and think most people who wax lyrical about how evil they are probably don't, or they'd realize they tend to write things like "Germany's Problematic Trade Surplus," or "Colombia's River Revitalization Plan."

A hacktivist picked a bad target and sought maximum collateral damage of innocents. People like that need to demonstrate that they understand why that's incompatible with living in a civilized society before they get to sit at the big kid's table again.

I'll get down voted for this, but if Jeremy Hammond still thinks the same way when his 10 years are up, he will have been released too soon. Sometimes prison is about rehab and reform, sometimes it's about damage control.

mkohlmyr 1 day ago 1 reply      
And the judges husband is a stratfor client directly affected by the hack..

edit: wrong word

erikpukinskis 22 hours ago 0 replies      
> It is wrong to act as if you somehow should be looked at differently by the law because you had a "legitimate political cause."

Like morally wrong? If you think the law is bad, what is morally wrong about breaking it and saying "I understand the law, but I don't think I should be punished for this act"? That's what civil disobedience is. I can understand if you think it's stupid, or if you think the justice system should ignore those people, but I don't understand what morally wrong about it.

andrethegiant 1 day ago 0 replies      
I remember when Hammond helped run (or at least was an admin for) HackThisSite. That site helped pique my interest in web development, which is now my career. I owe a lot of my web tech prowess to that site.
clienthunter 1 day ago 0 replies      
> ...Hammond had access to advanced tools including one known as PLESK...

Could somebody please tell me there's another kind of PLESK beyond that which is shat forth by Parallels?

GuiA 1 day ago 1 reply      
One nation under god, with freedom and justice for all :')

Edit for below: oops! liberty indeed :)

gcb1 1 day ago 1 reply      
and the stratfor people are all innocent even after the leaks. that will surely tell people that they should not be activists but live within the law.
notjustanymike 1 day ago 2 replies      
Anyone else accidentally freak out that this would affect Top Gear?
baldfat 1 day ago 1 reply      
He was denied bail due to possible LIFE IN PRISON sentence. WOW! I just do see that A) He did illegal activities B) Money was involved. A Jail sentence is very likely BUT life and denial of bail?
rospaya 19 hours ago 0 replies      
It's sickening to see so many people claiming Hammond "did a good thing" and "didn't harm any person". Something I expected from reddit, but not HN.
jlgaddis 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Tangentially related:

> ... he saw quotes marked CW for co-operating witness ...

"Confidential witness", that is.

"CI", short for "confidential informant", is also commonly seen in similar documents.

nutball 1 day ago 0 replies      
seoguru 21 hours ago 0 replies      
wow. I consider this sentence overkill. and sadly he is not the only victim of extreme sentencing:https://www.aclu.org/living-death-sentenced-die-behind-bars-...
ThrowFarAway 21 hours ago 0 replies      
If anyone who wants to somehow argue that Stratfor is evil incarnate thus rendering Hammond's sentence unjust, I invite you to first read some of their stuff:


Disclosure: I'm a subscriber, and have been for a number of years now, and find most of the Stratfor-bashing that inevitably (and predictably) happens in these discussions to be void of any understanding of what they actually produce. So, please read up and then tell us why the fact that he attacked a private forecasting company somehow makes his sentence unjust.

rookadook 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Because, after ten years, he will get out and become a model citizen. Right? If you don't deal with the root of the problem, the monster you create will be your undoing. If the feds keep doing this, it won't be pretty. They are creating a lot of monsters.
6d0debc071 1 day ago 0 replies      
Without commenting on the politics of the thing, I'd suggest the proper lens to look at this situation with is one of an insurgency.

When you look at insurgencies you start asking, it feels horrible to say this, what a life is worth to a cause. If the insurgents take out a couple of soldiers but lose a bomb-maker then they've done poorly on the exchange, if they take out a general or political figure but lose a few dozen suicide bombers they've done well.

Some lives are more valuable to a cause than others.

Here someone relatively smart, a high value target so to speak - though apparently not overly skilled in opsec, has been taken out of the game. That's a win for the powers that be, and perhaps helps to explain the punitive nature of his sentence. Anonymous has a lot of people who turn up in crowds, but we don't hear about them having a lot of high-quality hackers.

There are people that it makes more sense for them to sacrifice. To have the attacks that these people do executed by someone other than the people capable of making the tools in the first place.

They could do everything through encrypted channels, that could be made largely immune to traffic analysis, with the sort of really fluid cell structures that would facilitate. Just the first idea that springs to mind: uploading an encrypted steg'd message as part of a lolcats image on reddit that thousands of people are going to download - the noise to signal ratio would be enormous.

But then, insurgencies - in general - do a lot of things that don't make sense when taken purely from the perspective of their cause. I wonder how that sort of approach would interact with the social dynamics of A, how they'd find people who were up for it. Whether that's more what we're going to be looking at if A gets to mature as an organisation or whether their largely ephemeral nature excludes that sort of distribution of risk.

happycube 1 day ago 1 reply      
. o O (they would have caught Richard May, but he was too slow to hack anything.)
dyc 1 day ago 0 replies      
Good obviously got what he deserved.
horm 1 day ago 0 replies      
Jeremy Hammond? Doesn't seem very anonymous to me.
Winning at Candy Crush stavros.io
373 points by sokratisp  1 day ago   141 comments top 36
kens 1 day ago 5 replies      
My game cheat story starts way, way back, playing Wizardry on the Apple II. In this game, you go through a dungeon, killing monsters and collecting treasure and experience. Fun, but slow going. So I found out where in memory these values are stored and started manipulating them, giving myself tons of experience and new treasures.

Everything went fine until I put in an invalid treasure value which apparently caused some random memory locations to be modified, corrupting the game. Unfortunately, game state was written back to the same floppy disk that holds the game itself, rendering the game unplayable.

Fortunately, I could borrow a second floppy drive, borrow an uncorrupted copy of the game, and repair the game with a disk-to-disk copy. Unfortunately, I plugged in the disk drive connector crooked, sending -12 volts into a chip on the controller board that didn't want -12 volts. The result was a "pop" and a disk controller that no longer worked. Needless to say, my father wasn't happy.

Finding the problem was easy - it was the chip with a square hole blown out of it where the silicon had vaporized. Unfortunately getting a replacement chip wasn't easy when you live in the middle of nowhere. So I built a replacement circuit on a solderless breadboard and wired it into the controller board, and everything worked fine until I could get the proper replacement chip.

TL;DR: cheat at games and you will be punished

just2n 1 day ago 2 replies      
A long long time ago before I ever wrote a line of code, I'd just play all the games I could. I was fascinated by how they worked. I later found a book on BASIC that introduced programming by having the reader write simple word games. After learning the basics, I then would wonder how FF1 managed to change states from being in a tiled map and exploring the world into a battle screen and back again, which led me to more learning and eventually I ended up making a very shoddy Zelda clone that ran in DOS. I think I was 11 or 12 at the time?

Anyway, one day a long time after that, I was playing this new mod for Half-Life called Counter-Strike. It was fun, and I had started learning C and about OpenGL to understand a bit more about how HL worked itself. But on this day I saw a guy just running through de_dust getting tons of headshots. Watching his camera, it seemed he had superhuman aiming. Comments about cheating flew, and this was long before the game was infested with cheats. He also seemed to know where everyone was. How?

A few hours later I discovered he was using a cheat called ViperG. It along with another cheat called XQZ were the only known public cheats at the time. ViperG was open sourced on a forum called clientbot at the time. Since I was learning C, I was actually able to read the code. Back then, HL only imported mod client function implementations using DLL imports, so you could write a DLL that exported fake client functions while also importing the real ones from a renamed client.dll, which let your cheat intercept all of the client API calls. Most in ViperG were just pass throughs, but one would gather entity information from a drawing API and another would draw some text on the screen in a HUD update API, etc. It was almost no code but it rendered little '+' signs on every player through walls and would let you automatically aim at their heads. Crazy.

This is when I realized that I could actually take software people had written and break it to make it do whatever I wanted, and that's when I feel like I really started learning things. Understanding how programs ran on my OS and learning how to reverse engineer came pretty rapidly. XQZ was closed source but had some really nice features, so I'd reverse its gl function exports and figure out exactly what it was doing so I could replicate them in my own cheat.

Doing what the author did here for modern MMOs can actually be a very difficult exercise, even for seasoned reverse code engineers. I've done it for several games, essentially reversing the entire netcode to write cheats that automate client actions, and there are all sorts of ridiculous traps I've seen to prevent you from doing so. One game even went so far as to require you to parse a terrain file and send the cell ID of your movement target in every movement packet, along with the absolute coordinates. This was slow as an iterative find process as a map had tens of thousands of triangles and you'd be sending these quite often, so naively you'd just loop over each triangle and check if your target coordinates were inside of it. This gave me a nice introduction into quadtrees and other algorithms that can make this operation asymptotically much faster. Yay learning.

To this day, I can only play a game so much before I get an overwhelming urge to break it. I think that despite the stigma of cheating, it's a great way to learn. It's comparable to taking something apart to see how it works and change it around a bit. Just don't take it too far and ruin games for other people.

chaz 1 day ago 3 replies      
In 2009, when Farmville was the New Hotness, I checked it out to see what all the fuss was. After all, it was rumored to be minting $1 million per day. Soon after, I saw that a lot of my friends were playing. Girlfriends were getting boyfriends to tend their crops for them while at work. They were very scrupulous with the design of their farm and tending their crops. But I wanted to just be at the top of the leaderboard.

Unlike later games, it was possible to keep leveling up and making money by farming only instead of inviting friends. Plow fields, plant crops, and then harvest them hours later -- repeat as fast and as frequently as you can. TONS of tedious clicking. Of course, I wanted to automate it, and I wasn't alone. Searching around, I found a Perl script that someone had written and I adapted it for my PC.

I just fired up Farmville, and here's what my farm looks like: http://i.imgur.com/nrtkitJ.jpg. It's almost all crops (maximize $) and it requires the farmer to be trapped within hay bales. Otherwise, he walks to where you're clicking and can sometimes get in the way of the click. It would mess up every now and then, but was fairly reliable -- just run the script and let it do its thing for a few minutes. The trick was to flip the game into full screen mode, zoom all the way out, start at a known (x, y) position on your screen's resolution, and then loop through all crop positions by incrementing/decrementing (x, y). Only slightly tricky because of the isometric view and avoiding clicking on some non-crop positions. Picking the right crop was important too, to maximize yield. I just wanted to do two runs a day: first thing in the morning and then in the evening when I got home from work.

I moved up fairly quickly and quit when I beat all of my friends. Got some jeers from those who thought I was actually playing Farmville so much, but had a few requests for said script ...

sbov 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I've worked on a few flash games in my free time. Ultimately since the game code resides in the client, it will always be feasible to cheat. That, of course, doesn't mean you can't deter some.

One of the things that kept people from snooping around was encryption. All communication went to 1 vaguely named endpoint with 1 parameter, which was a an encrypted list of the parameters and the action to take. This will deter some, but not others.

At the start of a game, the client had to contact the server for a key. This changed each time you played. Any score submission required this key - if it was wrong I ignored it. Only 1 score submission per key.

Note that you have other useful information now: you know how long they were in game to get their score. I flagged scores that were abnormally high for the time it took to get them. I would then review them, and based upon their score history hellban them - they could still play, but no-one saw their high scores except themselves.

If Candy Crush did something similar, they would likely catch you. You wouldn't even know until you gloated and your friends said they can't see your score. Some people who got hellbanned would contact me, and I'd give them a free pass.

Of course you could cheat and get a normal score in a normal timeframe, but I didn't care as much about that.

Beyond trying to thwart cheating, I'm a big fan of cheating in games myself. It's part of why I enjoy eve online so much, because they encourage the usage of 3rd party tools more than any other game I've played.

The most extensive thing I've programmed for cheating is probably a custom MUD client to facilitate multiplay. The clients report to eachother information they know. All clients keep the state of the group and the things I'm fighting. They also keep track of which client can do what, so I can type into any client that I want to heal someone and the program will figure out which client is able to do that, and tell it to do so.

rickdale 1 day ago 4 replies      
Back in the day I would log onto yahoo chess and beat everyone by simultaneously playing expert mode in windows chess and just mimicking the expert modes moves on yahoo as mine. Good times, never lost.
smartician 1 day ago 2 replies      
Maybe I'm overly cautious, but in today's world, where even simple URL manipulation can be regarded as hacking, I would be very reluctant to post exploits like this. It's crazy, but this can be construed as wire fraud or computer crime:

18 U.S.C. 1030(a)(4)

Whoever(4) knowingly and with intent to defraud, accesses a protected computer without authorization, or exceeds authorized access, and by means of such conduct furthers the intended fraud and obtains anything of value, unless the object of the fraud and the thing obtained consists only of the use of the computer and the value of such use is not more than $5,000 in any 1-year period . . .shall be punished as provided in subsection (c) of this section.

"Protected computer" in this context means any computer that is connected to the Internet. And the value obtained would be unlimited use of the game, which would normally be a limited. True, that last part is up for debate, as it is possible to play the game without paying, but I wouldn't want to be forced to argue this in court...

Timothee 1 day ago 1 reply      
I had a somewhat similar story a few years ago with Bejeweled 2 (except that I didn't seek a way to cheat, just came across it).

I wrote it up here: http://timotheeboucher.com/on-writing-laconic-error-messages... but the gist of it was that their score submission endpoint required a checksum, but the error message if the checksum was wrong was:

    <Response type="error" reason="Checksum failed (ext_csm = cc7ae8d3d26d911f9d6e6178d93b9fc0, int_csm = c1f19e476622b8df7f830ee0c45df533)" server_ver="1.0"/>
Yes, the `int_csm` value is the checksum the server expected instead of the one I had passed. It would tell you "you're wrong. But here is the correct answer". I could then just re-submit with the proper value

egeozcan 1 day ago 1 reply      
Even though it doesn't have a winning / losing condition, I had coded an automated bot[0] to draw for me in Doodle or Die[1]. Stopped using it when people started complaining though. It was supposed to be quick and dirty, that's why it's a windows forms application. But of course I kept improving it for a while. After implementing a very basic plug-in system, I realized I was spending too much time on it =) Here's an example drawing from a friend of mine, using my tool: http://doodleordie.com/c/EGXBBJeMU45#2

[0]: https://github.com/egeozcan/DrawThatThing

[1]: http://doodleordie.com

hung 1 day ago 2 replies      
Awesome! I once wrote a boggle solver to beat my friends at Bogglific on Facebook. It was loads of fun until I was banned from the game.


edwhitesell 1 day ago 2 replies      
Step 1: ATT adds the 'infinite lives' interception/response to the proxy servers for the Starbucks hotspots/WiFi.

Step 2: Starbucks Marketing advertises 'Unlimited Candy Crush lives at Starbucks!'

Step 3: Profit! Well, assuming all of the squatters actually buy stuff.

KVFinn 1 day ago 0 replies      
F2P models are so strange.

Game piracy used to mean stealing the game. Now 'piracy' is getting extra lives.

togilvie 1 day ago 1 reply      
Awesome breakdown. I wrote a blog post in late September - based on some industry rumors - that speculated on whether Candy Crush was "cheating" by varying the random seed to generate monetization or retention events:


Based on the "seed" going back and forth at the start/end of games, I'd have to assume that they are doing something with it. Anyway to see if that's happening?

miguelrochefort 1 day ago 0 replies      
I used to cheat at SongPop using the multi-finger multitasking on the iPad (pausing the game a fraction of a second after a song started playing, having plenty of time to guess the song properly). I could beat anyone using this technique, but it required manual work.

I expected a similar "hack" with Candy Crush, and was surprised by how "high-tech" their solution is. Good stuff.

v64 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't know how valid it is now, but in July of 2011 I reverse engineered some aspects of Zynga's Words with Friends and put it up online: https://github.com/v64/fiend

The most interesting part was the way they decided to do the random generation of letter tiles. At the start of the game, each client was given the same PRNG seed (in the case of Words with Friends, the PRNG was a Mersenne twister), and when tiles needed to be drawn from the bag, instead of having the server tell you what tiles you received, you would use the preseeded PRNG to randomly draw your tiles from the available pool.

Of course, as your opponent is also doing this with the same preseeded PRNG, this also allows you to determine what tiles your opponent has, and what order the tiles will be drawn in for the rest of the game.

benmanns 1 day ago 2 replies      
It looks like the author is decompiling the Flash SWF for the Facebook game. Would there be an equivalent way to do this for games on an iPad/iPhone without rooting the device?
Yhippa 1 day ago 6 replies      
What's the best solution for this, managing game state server-side? Did they do it this way to offload storage and processing for scalability reasons?
bouk 1 day ago 1 reply      
Remember Draw Something? That game that was sold for $180 million to Zynga? I wrote an API library for that in Python https://github.com/bouk/drawsomething-api that allowed me to just add coins (the currency they sell for real money) through simple API calls.

Good times

Globz 1 day ago 0 replies      
I am sure they did this to offload the server.

I remember reading an article about some javascript games and how to find the balance for game state server-side check.

source : http://fugiman.com/blog/2013/08/17/on-click-fueled-javascrip...

bayesianhorse 23 hours ago 0 replies      
As long as using wget can lead to a conviction for hacking, it might not be the best idea to admit such a hack publicly...

But luckily in the EU the European court for human rights should stop such stupidity in its tracks.

kin 1 day ago 0 replies      
Cookie Clicker: http://orteil.dashnet.org/cookieclicker/This game is all client-side so it's easy to cheat. The cool thing is you actually get achievements for cheating!
squeakynick 1 day ago 0 replies      
Years ago, for fun, I wrote a Bejeweled Blitz player. As with others here, the fun was about the challenge, not about 'beating' the game.


btgeekboy 1 day ago 0 replies      
The only winning move is not to play.
chris_wot 21 hours ago 1 reply      
I once lost a license key for a major enterprise system. It had to get a demo up and running ASAP. Luckily, it was an ASP.Net app. I was able to use .NET Reflector, find a code rewriting plugin, and I blanked out the function that did the cert check (always made it return true) and I was able to login.
sucrenoir 1 day ago 0 replies      
I built a small app to cheat at Landlord (http://www.landlordgame.com) to check and buy venues from anywhere in the world. There was also a small script to get huge amount of coins (through faking twitter and facebook sharing).

After 10 days i was number one in the rankings. Scores and amounts of $ was so large that the iphone app was starting to bug... Of course it does not work anymore.


irfan 14 hours ago 0 replies      
In 2007 I did the same level of digging with a facebook puzzle solving game. Game used to post daily puzzles and top scorers (solving the puzzle in minimum time) were shown on global leaderboard. At that time, the app was not using any kind of hashing or validation. It was simply posting the score to the server so tempering the data was easier. After staying on top of global leaderboard for a few days (with impossible score of 1 second), the app developer contacted me and requested to stop cheating the system. I suggested him some changes and the game became much better
aetimmes 1 day ago 1 reply      
A strange game.

The only winning move is not to play.

mathattack 1 day ago 1 reply      
Great story. I think it's less about cheating and more about poking your way around public software. I appreciate the spirit of adventure in searching through the game.
Cyph0n 1 day ago 1 reply      
Nicely done. Now I have to find the secret key...
thecodemonkey 1 day ago 1 reply      
Wow! I'm surprised to hear that their production servers output a full stack trace.
mrcactu5 1 day ago 0 replies      

  Whats this? It looks like we can just tell the game we finished a level, without any other hassle
the game insults players' intelligence on so many levels

ydesouza 20 hours ago 0 replies      
You could also use a memory editor. Like this - http://www.ydesouza.com/crandy-crush
itakee 1 day ago 0 replies      
This guy did it faster using memory hacking:https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=308857235912631
Lionga 1 day ago 3 replies      
it is crazy that a game that makes multi million dollars every day has no server side validation at all and just trust the client. crazy
sengstrom 1 day ago 0 replies      
The best way to play this game.
cycnusx 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is so much faster, I had been using CheatEngine to modify the values, then play the entire level.
mnml_ 1 day ago 1 reply      
NameError: name 'start_game' is not defined
PS4 UX is powered by WebGL plus.google.com
237 points by sciwiz  1 day ago   150 comments top 18
gisenberg 23 hours ago 6 replies      
There's a bit of irony in that the strengths of HTML5 shine through when confined to a single environment. If the best experience comes from targeting a single environment, then why go web at all? Further, HTML is considered a strong contender for true cross-platform app support, which is where it fails the hardest. In my experience, it's less effort to target native apps per platform than to try and use something like PhoneGap for apps of reasonable quality and complexity.

The single environment HTML5 showcase is also often supported by another development team who is actively trying to support their specific use cases; Microsoft with IE/WinJS, Mozilla with Firefox/WebOS, Sony with a PS4-optimized WebGL implementation, etc.

When the big players hit roadblocks during the development of something as high profile as their UI for their next-gen console, the browser can be changed on-the-fly to overcome them. That option isn't available to the rest of the world, and "audio doesn't work like we need it to" being a solvable problem can certainly influence whether or not you believe HTML5 is a suitable app platform.

kllrnohj 1 day ago 10 replies      
So they have a web browser for the sole purpose of setting up an GLES context for their UI? On a video game console? I guess that's what you do when you suddenly have 8GB of RAM, you piss it away on useless shit...
seanalltogether 1 day ago 5 replies      
Both steam and mac app stores are html as well. It really makes sense given how easy it is to create fluid layouts in browsers, as well as how much easier it is to prototype new changes from designers.
drawkbox 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Most game companies and associated now use embedded Webkit that makes all this possible. Apple webkit investment still paying dividends and benefitted so many areas including desktop browsers (Chrome, now Opera) that run on it.

EA's open source initiatives almost all use an embedded webkit lib/browser to render UI content (some also use Scaleform (flash) -- skate 3 uses it a bunch).


Back in the day EA did this more often, they also had an EASTL for game optimized STL containers/usage: http://www.open-std.org/jtc1/sc22/wg21/docs/papers/2007/n227...

macspoofing 1 day ago 4 replies      
Makes sense. HTML/CSS/JS is not a bad way to build UI and if you're going to have an HTML rendering engine and JS VM on your machine, you might as well use it.

When WebView on iOS and Android finally get WebGL support ( what's taking so slong?!!?), native app development with native SDKs will plummet.

shocks 1 day ago 1 reply      
Many commenters here may be very surprised to know that it is very common for game developers to use Flash/ActionScript to build both game interfaces and game logic. See ScaleForm.

WebGL is the natural next step.

fidotron 23 hours ago 1 reply      
More interesting is it is running FreeBSD:http://www.scei.co.jp/ps4-license/
kayoone 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Its actually a pretty small part of the UX as the guy pointed out here:https://plus.google.com/113371030751322342143/posts/5akNbY6A...
davb 1 day ago 3 replies      
I suspect it may be rendered in WebKit (http://www.scei.co.jp/ps4-license/webkit.html)
damirkotoric 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Hate it when people use UX as a cool new buzzword for UI. UX is not UI. Read:


Touche 1 day ago 2 replies      
Any video of what it looks like?
ffrryuu 23 hours ago 0 replies      
So that's why PS4 is using 70-90W idle?
eonil 17 hours ago 0 replies      
WebGL is just an interface to low-level graphics. This just means HTML was inappropriate for any UX in PS4.

So, why didn't they use just native GL code? Because of sandboxing limitation?

filipedeschamps 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Despite all the hate, they've done it and it looks rock solid. Great job guys!
camus2 23 hours ago 1 reply      
yeah, Netflix thought it was a good idea too until they ditch their web ui for a native one:


davb 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I really enjoy getting to "peak behind the curtain" of embedded systems and other such appliances, especially games consoles. They've always held a certain mystique. Sometimes a beautiful, glossy UI running on top of a well thought out, logical and high performance system can be just as exciting as the games they were designed to deliver.

(At least to someone stuck doing LoB/ERP work and CMS development.)

morenoh149 17 hours ago 0 replies      
no surprise. Here in SF Sony was searching aggressively for webGL and JS hackers since last year
taopao 22 hours ago 1 reply      
UX => UI
       cached 16 November 2013 20:02:01 GMT