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Mathematicians Team Up on Twin Primes Conjecture simonsfoundation.org
181 points by digital55  4 hours ago   53 comments top 9
davidjohnstone 3 hours ago 2 replies      
To clarify, this result means that there are infinitely many pairs of primes separated by at most 600. This doesn't mean that the gap between subsequent primes must always be less than 600.
joe_the_user 3 hours ago 5 replies      
Ah, an earth-shaking discovery made by a man in his fifties who was barely within academia [1]. Guess he won't get a Fields Medal for that.

It seems like more and more of the really big discoveries are being made by people who go off and work really hard on their own.

I vaguely recall a claim that the greatest discoveries aren't being made by people in their twenties any more just because math is so huge you need ten years of study to get to the bleeding edge.

Anyway, it seems to say something about academia.

Edit: Just to be clear I neither deny that academia can achieve great things nor do I claim that young people can't do similarly. Certainly, anyone halfway near academia probably see many flaws but that's for another post.

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

jtchang 2 hours ago 2 replies      
So if I understand this right...it means that no matter how far along the number line I go (and I can go a long ways out) I will always be able to eventually find a pair of primes that are separated by no more than 600?

The crazy thing to me is that primes get less and less dense as you get further and further out. It would seem to me that once you reach a certain threshold you won't be able to find two primes "close" to each other anymore because primes will be so far apart from each other. But this says I will always be able to find a pair pretty close together? (I may be looking a long time though)

simonista 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow, this is a great story. First of all, props to the writer for weaving a bunch of different threads together in a way that made sense and was understandable to non-mathematicians without dumbing it down too much. And this is why I love math. There are so many great characters and themes in this story.

I love problems that can be stated so simply and yet are so fiendishly difficult to prove.

I love the idea that there is room for everybody in mathematics, from the lone genius outside of academia, to the young post-doc, to the unlikely collaborators.

Most of all, I love the idea that it's okay to fail, to throw out dumb ideas along with brilliant ones and that everyone makes mistakes, even Ph.D.'s in mathematics. We need more of that in education and academia generally.

whatgoodisaroad 2 hours ago 3 replies      
My understanding of the Riemann Hypothesis is that it can be reformulated as a statement about prime density. If this result is a concrete outer bound on density, does it have implications on RH?
possibilistic 3 hours ago 3 replies      
I'm not a mathematician, but this is an interesting subject to me.

Does this imply a certain density to prime numbers? And given this new information, does it mean that it could be less computationally hard to find or verify primes?

Maven911 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Montreal..on the map, finally. There's a lot of talent here.
sushirain 20 minutes ago 0 replies      
A mathematician once told me that he doesn't appreciate research which leads to small improvement of a bound, but only research that leads to a conceptual novelty (like possibility).I guess this story shows that there is room for both.
misiti3780 3 hours ago 3 replies      
I might be way off here ... but does this not have implications for RSA encryption .. isnt the whole concept resting on the fact that two prime numbers cant be factored ... (I don't know shit about encryption obviously)
Weak passwords brute forced github.com
111 points by olefoo  5 hours ago   78 comments top 17
Wingman4l7 8 minutes ago 0 replies      
I wonder why Github didn't publicly post the details behind the attack -- namely, that is was an attempt to game a Ripple (cryptocurrency) giveaway. They mentioned it in their "heads up Github user, your account was compromised" emails, apparently: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6766293
fphilipe 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Considering that the code in a GitHub organization or in a repo with collaborators is only as safe as the weakest link in the chain of users that have access to it, it would be nice if the admin of that org/repo could set a policy that all members need to have 2-factor authentication activated before they get full access to the codebase. Enforcing strong and unique passwords is hard, but enforcing 2-factor is easy and the bump in added security is high. At least I would sleep better knowing that, for an attacker to access the codebase, brute forcing would not be possible.
forrestthewoods 4 hours ago 7 replies      
How is this possible? I would expect repeated failed login attempts would force a timer making a brute force attack impossible? Or at least more difficult. Is that not the case or am I missing a key piece of info? (Serious question, not trying to troll or be smug.)
dm2 6 minutes ago 0 replies      
Along with 2-factor auth, what about the option to block all IPs from outside of a certain country (if you live/work in the US, only allow US logins).

This obviously won't work for everyone, but might prevent a decent amount of brute force successes.

voltagex_ 4 hours ago 2 replies      
null_ptr 4 hours ago 4 replies      
Interesting, my account's Security History shows a few failed login attempts in the last 3 days from Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia, and my account is not even popular.
Wingman4l7 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow, ~40,000 unique IP addresses were used to circumvent rate-limiting.

Thankfully that even with that many unique IPs and presumably a few tries per IP, you still only have enough tries to crack weak passwords.

captn3m0 3 hours ago 0 replies      
If these attackers had tried targeted brute-force on some limited accounts, they might have been successful without tripping over the GitHub security team. Nonetheless, kudos to GitHub for handling this perfectly.
welder 1 hour ago 2 replies      
> This is a security log of important events involving your account.

> 18 hours ago user.failed_login: Originated from (Istanbul)

> 3 days ago user.failed_login: Originated from (Indonesia)

> 3 days ago user.failed_login: Originated from (China)

Is this a distributed brute force attack against my account?

arasmussen 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I'd love to know just how weak "weak" is. Something like [A-Za-z0-9]+ and <= 6 characters, or [a-z]+ and <= 8 characters?
cft 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Just show captcha randomly on login, with the frequency proportional to login failure rate for an account.
eliteraspberrie 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Only allow logins from country/continent: X

With a feature like that, if an IP address from country C attempts to log in to accounts of users in separate countries A and B, they are quickly spotted.

Wingman4l7 4 hours ago 4 replies      
What was the purpose? Were the repositories private? Was the attack targeted toward known accounts working on new projects -- i.e., industrial espionage?
benaiah 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Had five attempts over the last 2 days, four from Venezuela and one from Bangladesh. All unique IPs.
uladzislau 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Can Fail2ban http://www.fail2ban.org help in this case?
ismail 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Single failed login attempt from china. Though could this be any way related to the adobe leak? If you have the list of emails and password, you could try a bunch of commonly used services and see if that works.
ya 1 hour ago 1 reply      
ripple.. you bastard,.
Undo sachagreif.com
102 points by sgdesign  5 hours ago   37 comments top 14
crystaln 3 minutes ago 0 replies      
Undo is hard, not a core competency for most companies, and most users don't care. In fact, many users don't want deletes to be undoable, they want deletes to be delete.

You could probably make a stronger case for improving deletes by overwriting the disk space with garbage and ensuring users that no derivatives were left around. That would be a selling point.

Imagine SnapChat with undo...

GuiA 2 hours ago 2 replies      
Interesting write up. Thanks a lot for writing it Sacha.

Okay, so I have a question. Isn't this just a property of the internet as a system?

If we remember the history of human-computer interaction on 2D displays, we first really remember what led to the desktop GUI (Xerox Alto, all that stuff). This domain had tons of research poured into it (of which Raskin is a member) - including from the military, for usability in extreme situations - and by now it's reached a pretty mature stage, and we have developed a nice design language to describe it and advanced technological tools to implement that language.On my Finder, or in Pages, I can reliably undo things nicely. Just today, I deleted a file by mistake- command + z, boom, undone.

(by the way, this is exactly what Apple and mobile devs talks about when they say that well done native apps can never be beat by web apps- those decades of best practice experimental research)

Web apps, on the other hand, run on the internet, which adds some constraints structure wise. All of a sudden, we have at least 2 computers talking to one another, and in most cases many, many more than that. So we have to come up with design principles to make all of this somewhat work together, and we come up with things like RPC and REST. Those things are how our servers talk now, and they influence every technology that we build. They come with some constraints however- notably the ideal of statelessness, in which implementing "undo" would be really hard. Relational databases don't have the semantics to express "undo the last statement that was a user action done with id N", and good luck implementing things like undo in a system where you have caches you can't invalidate, content determined by one way hash functions, etc. If you have a binary blob of 5 lines, that user 1's action modify the first 3 lines, that user's 2 action modifies the last 3, and that user 1 then decides to undo his command?

You'd basically have to version everything, and have super amazing algorithms doing bisects and diffs on your content.

The http internet is really just a way to exchange documents. We've hacked it, using fancy stuff like AJAX, to make it behave more like the traditional GUI that we know and love, but at the core it's still a way to transfer documents. And naturally, HTML, the description language we use for web content, has semantics for describing static documents. Heck we've had to design a whole new language for design (CSS), because it's really just a way to describe documents! So ultimately it lacks the way to implement concepts like undo-ing as first class features.

Let it be noticed that mobile apps do undo-ing very poorly, as well.

brianberns 1 hour ago 2 replies      
"Undo" only makes good sense in an app where each user works in her own isolated sandbox. This is a common paradigm on the desktop (e.g. word processing), but less common on the web. As soon as Alice's transaction is visible to Bob, making it undo-able gets much more complex.
kcorbitt 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Implementing a passable undo with a database-backed system gets a lot easier if you have an append-only record of every transaction.

Rails has a great gem that adds this feature with a minimum of fuss (https://github.com/airblade/paper_trail). There's even a Railscast that goes over how to use it to implement "undo" (http://railscasts.com/episodes/255-undo-with-paper-trail).

tadfisher 4 hours ago 1 reply      
You use Gmail's undo feature as an example, but it doesn't work in the way you prescribe. It's the cheap & easy version of undo that doesn't require building your application around the command pattern: just implement a reasonable delay before making the irreversible change, and show the Undo action during this delay (which is really a "cancel the pending change" action).

No, it's not as clean or as good of an experience for your users, but it works great for applications such as email that perform fundamentally irreversible actions.

vcherubini 4 hours ago 3 replies      
I would wager that the reason Undo isn't implemented more often is that it is very difficult.

Executing a DELETE statement and deleting a bunch of data is simple. Implementing "undo" is more difficult, especially for browser based software. How long is the undo valid for? Can you undo every action? How many levels of undo do you support? Do you allow an undo for UPDATE's as well (updating a blog post to set it's content is essentially deleting it, and would probably be something you want undone, for example).

On top of just building the functionality in to your app, communicating it to your users is also difficult since the web app medium is so different than the desktop one.

apeace 1 hour ago 1 reply      
It's worth noting here, the two instances where the author wished for an "undo" (dropping a data database table and deleting a production server) are very different from what the rest of the article discusses (user-facing apps like Gmail, Photoshop).

A database or IaaS application are typically used by administrators, and typically every action is rehearsed in the form of staging testing or automated tests. Furthermore, these types of applications would need significant additions or rearchitecture to account for undo operations.

For example a SQL implementation might not be able to reclaim disk space as well if it were unable to really delete the data from a dropped table. Likewise an infrastructure platform would need to keep unused resources busy. In both systems there are important ramifications of the deletion, and providing the ability to undo them doesn't exactly make sense.

raimondious 4 hours ago 1 reply      
I felt like I was having dja vu reading this article. Happy to have found why, Aza Raskin in 2007: http://alistapart.com/article/neveruseawarning
jakejake 3 hours ago 0 replies      
My philosophy is that of all the things that are important for a business or a web service - keeping your data is the very highest priority. Just about anything else can be fixed, but if your data is lost with no backup then no amount of programming or time or sweat is going to get it back.

It's a good idea to just keep this in mind when you're working anywhere near a production database. backup, backup, backup.

joshmlewis 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Famous last words. :)

> doesnt seem like it would be that hard technically.

coolsunglasses 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Easier to implement this if your data is backed by Datomic. I'm working in a HIPAA environment and we're quite happily using Datomic there.
tomasien 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I was thinking about how memory must work to allow "Undo" on desktop apps earlier today, and realizing how different that is as it pertains to the web. Undo is amazing, it's a life saver - it's probably literally saved me days of my life when I've accidentally deleted entire projects before.
blt 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Implementing bug free undo is difficult, in my experience. I have a gut feeling that functional programming has a lot to offer here.
trevordixon 4 hours ago 1 reply      
I just tried sending a message in Gmail, and it didn't give me an option to undo. Is it a feature I have to enable?
Pencil fiftythree.com
730 points by xuki  17 hours ago   342 comments top 101
asolove 16 hours ago 9 replies      
This is wonderful and beautiful. I don't want to knock it. I'll probably buy one and love it.

If you like this, also look at the demo video for Adobe's project Mighty/Napoleon, a pen and drafting tool combo that is pretty incredible: http://www.engadget.com/2013/09/17/adobe-xd-mighty-napoleon-...

What I think is sad about both of these products is that they are tied to specific apps. These closed ecosystems get to be more powerful instead of becoming tools on top of which larger things can be hacked together. I don't blame 53 or Adobe for that: making open hardware with open standard communication is probably incredibly hard, and getting it to interact with a tablet operating system through anything other than your one app is perhaps impossible.

But it's still sad.

With the growing popularity of hardware hacking, it's only natural that developers will start making our own physical tools the same way we write our own software tools. Unix makes this easy by providing abstractions like pipes, sockets, etc. for getting small programs to work together using common interfaces.

What are the OS-level abstractions that will make it easier to build, combine, and reuse our own hardware tools? The current methods for using device drivers, detecting wireless devices, or sharing them across a network are not very open to reuse and sharing.

What is the way forward where we can use something like this pencil with its smart palm rejection and erase, hack together our own physical drafting tool, and plug them both in to existing software by writing a little adapter?

It makes me wonder whether we need to go back and steal some of the bits of plan9/inferno: a single abstraction around sharing both data and devices, a natural way to multiplex input and output streams, and transparent network sharing of everything.

diydsp 16 hours ago 10 replies      
>"artisanally crafted" (grammar)

Did an artisan craft it? No, it looks to me mass-manufactured to spec by someone or something who doesn't have a say in its design or the ability to individualize it. You mean "made of wood," but that's the most you can squeeze out. Please don't try to steal the thunder of actual artisans.

> "unique built-in eraser"> "unique sensor lets you flip Pencil to erase"

Yeah, the crappy Wacom knockoff I bought in 1998 had the same thing. Wacoms have the same thing. If you are like all the other, most popular, long-existing things, you are not a unique thing.

If they're delusional about this, what else are they delusional about? Why would I spend money to support hubris? Because I'll have some minor extension of my abilities within a double-walled garden?

Aim higher.

fidotron 16 hours ago 10 replies      
Maybe I'm stupidly jaded, and it's one of the things that has steadily pushed me out of the Apple ecosystem, but this trend for overly emotional marketing of stuff, especially in the hipster end of the market, grates enormously. This is like a sort of tech-etsy.

It's got to the point I can't actually take products like this seriously without getting annoyed by them going on about artisanal wood carvings. Like the owning of the object itself is more important than what you're supposed to do with it . . .

a3_nm 9 hours ago 2 replies      
Did anyone else read this at first as a very well executed parody website explaining all the benefits of using traditional paper and pencil? I sniggered when I read "Our adaptive palm rejection instantly knows whether its your hand or Pencil touching the page." It took me some time to realize that this was a real product...
hippee-lee 16 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm a paper user. Here are my pros and cons:

Pros:- easy to get started or back into drawing- easy to sketch UI concepts and send them around- easy for my daughter to play with

Cons:- fixed canvas size; you can scale an are a tiny bit but not much- no layers- customer support has shown an indifference to existing technogy (with pressure and palm detection) even for the styli they support. - customer support seems to have a (IMO) arrogance in how they respond to things on the forums. - including the upgrades makes Paper 2x as expensive vs Procreate which has more drawing fools and the abity to customize and save my own tools.

It was a good app to have and my daughter still uses it. But for my own doodling or quick UI concepts at work I switched to procreate. The wacom creative (http://intuoscreativestylus.wacom.com/en/) stylus was on my Xmas list u until I saw the adobe tool mentioned. I'll be checking that out.

jedberg 16 hours ago 6 replies      
Whoever directed that video needs to go back to film school.

I understand that you're trying to "highlight the product", but causing nausea in your customer isn't the best way to do that.

baumgarn 17 hours ago 9 replies      
"Pencil is the most natural and expressive tool for getting ideas on Paper"

I thought this would be some kind of parody at first...

devindotcom 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I will never understand the stylus-on-capacitive-screen thing. The lag, the limited accuracy, the interpolation of your movements, it's all very opposite to the idea of a stylus as an input. I'm glad others find it useful, but every stylus I've ever used on a capacitive screen has immediately struck me as, to me, worthless.
deltaqueue 14 hours ago 4 replies      
Can any artists on HN comment on how useful styli are with tips this thick? I suspect the added thickness is required for capacitive touch screens, but I always thought my fingertip was far too thick for accurately initiating thin lines or dots (e.g. in games like Draw Something). Something like this seems like it would require far less erasing:


*edited for clarity

ruswick 16 hours ago 4 replies      
Pencil seems like an fairly interesting idea, but it's priced in a really odd way. The $50 price point puts it well out of reach consumer and hobbyist users. Despite this, Pencil and Paper are not as robust as, nor ate they priced comparably to, professional digital drawing tools like Wacom's system.

Pencil precludes the casual demographic who just wants to doodle in their free time or take notes with its high price, but does not cater to the group of elite professionals who would be willing to cough up a substantial amount of money for drawing tools.

I just don't understand who this is for.

beloch 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Is there anyone who has used one of these who can comment on the amount of lag? The website makes a lot of claims about almost everything except lag. High accuracy (claimed) is nice and all, but it really throws you off if you're drawing a curve and what's showing up on the screen is precisely half a second behind your hand!

Low latency is crucial for a stylus. Absolutely crucial. It's what separates tools from toys.

jeena 14 hours ago 2 replies      
Honestly, I read the whole page and I have still no idea what this is. It says it is a Pencil which works with Paper, both pencil and paper with uppercase letters which seem to indicate that they mean something else then a carpender pencil and a peace of paper to write on, so does the price and that you can load some battery and connect to something unspecified with bluetooth.

Could someone tell me what this is for and why they have a beautiful website which doesn't tell me what the product is for?

toddmorey 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Does pencil provide any additional drawing resolution or pressure sensitivity? Genuinely curious. Didn't see any mention of those on the site, but I saw a battery required and wondered if that did more than power the eraser.
omegote 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Yet another product that expects EVERYONE to own an iPad. W-T-F? Try this. Control + F, search for "ipad". Nothing. Search for "apple", nothing. Search for "android". NO-THING. What's wrong? Is the iPad the definitive standard and everyone is now born with one?


xiaoma 11 hours ago 0 replies      
As someone who has done a decent amount of digital art, this is a far inferior solution to existing Wacom products. Not only are there issues with using such a large "pencil", but the iPad simply doesn't have the ability to differentiate between different levels of pressure like the Intuos or even the much cheaper Bamboo tablets.
epaga 17 hours ago 1 reply      
Seems like this company should be an insta-cquire for Apple any day now. They display Apple's core values more than any other company I know (outside of Apple).

Since it's Bluetooth it seems to be a great way to get probably close to 100% accurate palm detection which has always been the most annoying part of stylus usage on iPad for me. Genius.

bbx 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Paper is the only "entertainment" app I actually installed on my iPad. (I don't have games, news or social media apps.) On its own, Paper is already a very interesting experience. The content is simple but provides tons of possibilities.

I also own a Wacom stylus that I never use. Pencil seems to solve the main issues of a stylus: being able to rest your palm, to erase easily, and to keep it close at hand (by snapping it to the iPad cover).

It's a perfect example of software / hardware synergy.

celerity 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I like the whole idea of well-crafted products, but in the end this is nothing but a crappy, laggy, low fidelity finger-simulator/crayon. Writing any text with it is probably clumsy, and certainly impossible to do as well as with any other pencil on paper.

Pass. Apple needs to get out something with a proper active digitizer so that all these satellite companies start making nice pens that also work well.

bitwize 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Wait, so this is a thing?

It's not some sort of tongue-in-cheek joke about our reliance on technology?

Geez, Poe's law even applies to marketing...

WalterBright 12 hours ago 1 reply      
I watched the video, and although it is pretty cool, I have a couple of issues with it:

1. It's a bit fat, not skinny like a pencil. I generally don't like fat pens.

2. The point is pretty large and blunt. This suggests it is hard to locate it precisely. I've done professional drafting work in the past, and having a nice sharp tip to control exactly where the mark goes is important.

mey 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Some suggestions for pressure sensitive tablets


Microsoft Surface's use Wacom digitizers as well, see http://www.penny-arcade.com/2013/09/26/the-surface-2

Samsung's Note series also has a good digitizerhttp://www.samsung.com/us/topic/galaxy-note-10-1-2014-editio...

mekoka 12 hours ago 2 replies      
Saw the upvotes, opened the link, watched the video, came back to HN comments, saw many people confused and criticizing.

I have to ask, why so many upvotes then?

Could it be that people here upvote even before opening links? Or just because everybody else seem to think it's a good idea to upvote?

archagon 14 hours ago 0 replies      
To me, latency is by far the most important issue here, and I don't see any mention of it on the page. Compared to my Wacom tablet, touch input is just too laggy to use in anything but the most basic drawing and note-taking tasks; is Bluetooth better or worse? (Judging by my existing BT devices, I'm gonna have to guess "worse".)
applecore 17 hours ago 3 replies      
Awesome scrolling effect on the Pencil in the Crafted For Creativity section.
charlieflowers 15 hours ago 2 replies      
I wonder how well something like this would work for doing math.

Say, for example, a word problem, or a proof. You often need more than one sheet of paper for a problem, but if you're using a notebook, it becomes painful to try to concentrate on what you're doing while also flipping back to the previous page to look at something you need.

If you work the problems on separate detached sheets, you have more flexibility, but you end up with separate detached sheets :).

A computerized tablet interface could solve all these problems and automatically organize the finished work for you. But it would have to not SCREW UP all the symbols you'd be writing.

Has anyone here successfully used Pencil or any other stylus/tablet combination for doing math?

sudont 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Explains why they prevaricated on other Bluetooth styluses:http://support.fiftythree.com/customer/portal/questions/1461...

Safe to say this is the only one that will be supported.

blackdogie 16 hours ago 0 replies      
That video made me a little dizzy. it was a fun effect, highlighting the pencil in the middle of the shot, but I had to turn it off.

"Pencil is the most natural and expressive tool for getting ideas on Paper"

iPad + Pencil + App = most expensive expression tool I know too !

xerophtye 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Am i the only one who thinks its too damn THICK? Aren't pencils and styli supposed to be slim and easy to hold in your hand?
abbot2 16 hours ago 1 reply      
The web site misses one obvious sentence: "Pencil is a ...". I spent 60 seconds on the web site, did not understand what the heck is this thing, and closed the web site. Will never open again I guess.
asadotzler 15 hours ago 0 replies      
After using a Surface Pro for a year with a real stylus and its excellent digitizer, I wonder how so many people can be so happy with something so inferior. iPads are a joke for input.
lukeschlather 16 hours ago 0 replies      
What really struck me about Pencil here is that they're marketing Pencil as a durable good.

The idea that someone's marketing a computing device without hoping I'll throw it away in 12-18 months is really inspiring.

On the other hand, it only works properly with a single brand of tablet.

elacey 3 hours ago 0 replies      
This has to be my favorite HN comment ever... bravo 53, for this gold alone:

"Pencil isn't designed to only work with Paper. Anyone who is interested in an SDK for Pencil should let us know..."

Oh my, we've come full circle. I look forward to next learning about Bookmark's SDK and it's integration with Bound Book

CmonDev 17 hours ago 3 replies      
We asked for Android support and this is what we get instead?


darkstalker 15 hours ago 0 replies      
It probably has a noticeable latency, like most touchscreen inputs. The video just shows silly camera/pen movements and no actual drawing scenes.
acron0 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Gutted it's only for Retina & Mini (i.e. not the iPad 2) [1] devices as well :( This would have been an amazing Christmas present for my wife.

[1] http://shop.fiftythree.com/ System Requirements at the bottom)

liminal 11 hours ago 0 replies      
So apparently this is a device to be used with iPads. Would have been nice if the company put that somewhere on the product's webpage.
nilsbunger 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Am I the only one who at first thought this was a joke, i.e. making fun of our crazy hyperbole by marketing a real pencil?
lnanek2 10 hours ago 0 replies      
There are already pressure sensitive pens that are supported in multiple apps, not just Paper, like the Pogo Connect. Seems actually bad for the ecosystem to have another separate pen with yet another SDK. Some apps will support one, some others.
Lerc 9 hours ago 0 replies      
/r/SomebodyMakeThis works!


I made this pic several years ago trying to express what I thought styluses could be. http://i.imgur.com/yLuh8.png

davb 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Tell me it's not Apple-only. Tell me it's not Apple-only...

crosses fingers

Oh, bugger. It's Apple-only.

lignuist 14 hours ago 3 replies      
"If you see a stylus, they blew it"

- Steve Jobs

gbog 17 hours ago 3 replies      
Looks interesting. I must have missed the part where they explain with which tablets and apps this pencil is compatible.
skrebbel 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I knew the "Buy Now" button would link to a Kickstarter page. Kudos to the FiftyThree folks for proving me wrong. This looks like a great product.

I'll buy one as soon as they port it to Windows (because seriously, doing real work on a device that doesn't even expose a filesystem? I'm clearly old-fashioned).

brickmort 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't understand all the negativity in this post. This product is a work of art. This layout/presentation is making Apple stop and take notes.
julianz 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I watched the video and scrolled to the bottom of the page. I don't know what they're selling - is it just the stylus thing? Does it work with every app, or just their one? Is it only for ipads, or can I use it on an Android? Then I noticed they spelt "ginkgo biloba" wrong on the sketch underneath the video. Twice. And then I closed the tab.
sosuke 14 hours ago 0 replies      
The tip still gets me. I just have a hard time with the thick tip where I can't see my connection to the 'paper'. I keep wanting to try out the Adonit Jot http://adonit.net/jot/touch/
sgt 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I feel silly about this, but did anyone else also get seasick from watching that video?
tieTYT 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Is that software that it works with (apparently called "Paper") going to stay free? I see it's free as of today: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/paper-by-fiftythree/id506003...
marban 16 hours ago 0 replies      
If you don't need the eraser and battery worries, I recommendhttp://www.studioneat.com/products/cosmonaut
leoc 13 hours ago 0 replies      
For most of the way through this, reading about Pencil and its compatibility with Paper, the palm-rejection technology and the super-handy eraser on the rear, I thought I was reading a parody advertisement.
chris-at 11 hours ago 0 replies      
> Our adaptive palm rejection instantly knows whether its your hand or Pencil touching the page. Rest your hand on the screen, write from any angle. No calibration or setup. Youll forget youre creating on a tablet.

Does anyone know if this works with iPad gestures enabled?

All of the other apps promising palm detection/rejection (like Penultimate) require you to turn off iPad gestures.

nat 16 hours ago 1 reply      
I actually laughed out loud when I scrolled past the exploded view of its innards. Best use of parallax scrolling I've ever seen.
hashtree 14 hours ago 0 replies      
The cost of purchasing moleskine notebooks each month has gotten out-of-hand ($16+ per). As a previously die-hard paper/pen guy, I've attempted to make the move over to iPad based note taking only to find its abilities completely lacking. There are great apps and stylus hardware, but even when tightly coupled to overcome the iPad's lack of hardware support.. it leaves much to be desired.

You see companies like Jot and 53 having to invent far too much in attempts to solve this problem. A shame for otherwise great tablets.

jlebrech 16 hours ago 0 replies      
My pencil is paper compatible also.
sly010 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Only 30 times more expensive than this:http://www.cableandcase.com/products/stylus-touch-screen-iph...Is it 30 times better though?
MattBearman 12 hours ago 0 replies      
This looks really cool, but what really blew me away was the way the pencil dismantles as you scroll the page down.

Absolutely beautifully done.

Mithaldu 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow, another website featuring a product that is Apple-only and almost actively hides the fact that it only works on a single platform.
mikeg8 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Pencil looks really cool!! but that video made my stomach turn a bit. As someone who used to edit videos, I can't image working on that, I would have puked for sure.
desireco42 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Awwww, I got Evernote's Jot pen that takes them forever to ship (still didn't arrive). This is really tempting, but how many styluses a man really can use. I really love what they did here.

On the other hand, Samsung Note and Surface are places if you really need to use stylus. I thin Surface is especially strong there.

etler 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I've never heard anyone using finger input to do smudging. That's so obvious but so smart. I don't know how I haven't heard of that before.
decasteve 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of a prototype I had seen a few years ago, Cont, after the artists crayon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HDqT_oKM7j8
xs 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Although it looks cool... for my tablet... It doesn't bring the collaboration I still seek. I often work remote and do screen sharing of my laptop. I have a wacom tablet that allows me to draw on my computer screen which is then being shared to my team. It would be great if I could use my existing iPad and something cool like pencil to do my drawing and have it display on my computer so my remote team can see it.
beefsack 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I still can't figure out if that page is satirical or not.
alexobenauer 15 hours ago 0 replies      
This is probably the first time I've ever thought that a scrolling-aware content page has actually added meaningful functionality to the page without being in the way and annoying. Really nice work there.
taude 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I have mixed feelings about this.

I wish Apple would just get it on with having some form of integrated active digitizer builtin to the iPad. After playing with MSFT Surface Pro and even Samsung S-Pen, it's obvious to me that these are superior solutions to all these third-party workarounds for iOS. And this is really a locked-in third party solution...

Anyway, I think iOS eco system is ripe for more accurate artist/drawing tools and it seems they should be able to support both types of input (touch & pen)...

yk 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I am confused, is this a parody of the current "Not as cool as a pencil" iPad ad, or is this a real product?
metaphorical 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Bluetooth but no pressure sensitivity? Pressure sensitive stylus is the closest thing that emulates drawing on "paper".

It's a beautiful stylus, but not a very practical one.

guiomie 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Just bought one for Christmas. Not for me, but my dad who is addicted to his ipad (hes got the TV turned on in the background by habit, but he is actually consuming content on his ipad on his couch).
protomyth 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder how many types of "tools" we will get that work with tablets. I'm still hoping someone comes up with a electronic airbrush.
spenrose 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Dangerous. Fifty-three employees will use them 6 hours/day, only a fraction of Paper customers will ever try one once. Anti-dogfooding.
colinramsay 17 hours ago 2 replies      
Is this pressure sensitive?
smrtinsert 16 hours ago 1 reply      
These product vids are ripe for a funnyordie parody.
egeozcan 14 hours ago 0 replies      
It doesn't ship to Germany. I was ready to buy an ipad just to give this a go for my note taking needs though.
CSDude 7 hours ago 0 replies      
The shaking on the video is so disturbing that I had urge to close the video. It does not how to shake for all the video duration.
nilliams 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Paper is the only app I've ever used that makes me wish I had a bigger tablet than my iPad 2 (because I love it).
DonGateley 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Cool if you like writing with a log.
linux_devil 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Paper is one of my favorite app on ipad. Pencil looks innovative and promising . But I was using the app effectively with stylus, also palm detection is something which can be done at application level.
EGreg 11 hours ago 0 replies      
So this is basically a stylus that feels like it's made of wood? Or it is made of wood? That's about it?
adultSwim 13 hours ago 2 replies      
It's not clear to me which benefits are from the new stylus and which are built into Paper.

For instance I don't see how the smudge with finger is actually a Pencil feature.

What are the differences compared to just using a regular/dumb stylus?

jroseattle 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Makes me wonder what the Rembrandts and Picassos would have thought of such a device and whether it encourages or prohibits artistic expression. I can imagine it certainly does on the tablet medium, but in general I wonder if there is any aspect of artistic creativity gained or lost when moving away from traditional mediums.
lasermike026 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Someone kill me.
pagekicker 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Microsoft addressed most of the issues addressed in this thread twelve years ago when it launched XP for Tablet PC with "ink as a first class citizen" data type in the OS.
ajmarsh 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Ok so I'm going to end up buying this. However I feel like I'm due a refund on the Bamboo stylus I bought from Studio 53 when I originally started using the Paper app. The Bamboo stylus was so laggy it was unusable. Hopefully the Bluetooth stylus will work as advertised.
hellyeasa 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Why do all websites have the same design? It's boring and lifeless?
ep103 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Did anyone else notice that this site somehow causes IE to crash?
trumbitta2 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I was ready to buy it.

But no. I'm in Italy so screw me :-/

crorella 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Nice idea and execution.The video makes me dizzy :P
airencracken 10 hours ago 0 replies      
"Capacitve screens are so great, you don't need a stylus anymore"


NikolaTesla 16 hours ago 0 replies      
All I want is a tablet that has the line fidelity of a pen or pencil, not a crayon. If I can record my writing/drawing with voice-over, even better.
twodayslate 13 hours ago 0 replies      
No pressure sensitivity?
joelle 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I absolutely LOVE the paper app. This is so cool.
oddshocks 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Anyone know of some open hardware that does this same sort of thing and works with existing software?
borismus 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Still too thick.
parthoghosh86 16 hours ago 0 replies      
This is so wonderful and amazing....
typon 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Wait how is this better than Surface Pro? Seems like it has the same features.
jdalgetty 15 hours ago 1 reply      
wow that camera was annoying.
freshchilled 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I really had to come into the comments to see if this was satire or not. Paper, Pencil, Book. I swore this was a joke, even after I saw there was an actual price tag!
boristhespider 7 hours ago 0 replies      
The Russians used a...
kitwalker12 14 hours ago 0 replies      
would've loved some iPad 2 love
caiob 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Satires please. hehe
beauzero 16 hours ago 0 replies      
JavaScript particle simulator cake23.de
211 points by filipedeschamps  9 hours ago   75 comments top 28
clarkmoody 8 hours ago 2 replies      
I would love to see a choice of initial conditions, one of which being a couple 'galaxies' of particles on a collision course.

Also, a way to reset the simulation without reloading the page would be nice.

technotony 8 hours ago 0 replies      
This is beautiful, after watching I feel like I finally understand how the universe developed structure after the big bang.
theGimp 8 hours ago 2 replies      
The frame rate is incredible given the number of particles. JavaScript interpreters really have come a long way.The frame rate for JS particle simulation beats the frame rate you get when you tell a browser to append content, which is usually native C/C++ optimized to death.

To the author: great work. It looked very much alive on my screen when I first loaded the page.

d23 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I find this infinitely more interesting than the recent "X in 2.3 lines of JS" trend lately.
arturventura 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Does anyone have the theoretical description of what is happening? I'm curious about the fractal patterns being generated and the increasing in entropy and the that results in a catastrophic failure of the stable system. Is this some kind of chaotic system or is just an force field being applied on the particules.
DanBC 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Y U NO SUPPORT OES_texture_float_linear?

Using Version 31.0.1650.57 m Google Chrome is up to date

benihana 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I will never get tired of seeing these kinds of posts on HN.
pwnna 8 hours ago 2 replies      
How is this made?

It's pretty slow on my computer. Would ASM.js work better?

andreea_popescu 8 minutes ago 0 replies      
iLoch 8 hours ago 0 replies      
So how long do I have to wait to see it go back to it's initial position? (Theoretically...
tumes 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Yes, but how many lines of javascript? It seems that's the metric above all metrics lately.
spectre256 8 hours ago 0 replies      
but is it done in 30 lines of javascript? (i checked, no)
vjoel 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Took me a long time to notice that my cursor movements were injecting disturbances into the fluid. What physical laws govern these points, and how is the cursor perturbing them?
crashandburn4 7 hours ago 0 replies      
is there anything detailing the maths/programming techniques behind this? can anyone confirm whether this is Barnes-Hut?

I've had a look here: http://creativejs.com/2013/11/coupled-turing-pattern-and-219...

but there's no details on the specifics

j2kun 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Is this doing anything smarter than brute force and having the graphics primitives do the heavy lifting?
sengstrom 5 hours ago 0 replies      
It seems like the ensemble heats up. Could it get a little energy dissipation?
Bhel 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Cute, although not the best performance.

It'd be nice if the color gradually changed.

ffrryuu 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't think that's how particles work?
nni 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Maybe we're written in 30 lines of javascript, too. You can get - to us - surprisingly and beautiful complexity from simple rules.
filipedeschamps 8 hours ago 1 reply      
To be honest, I would love to play a game out of this.
adcuz 7 hours ago 0 replies      
How do you even begin to write something like this?
stuartd 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Meh. U no support my 6 year old MacBook with crappy integrated graphics? Nothing on Safari 6.1, Firefox 25, Chrome 31..
ponyous 8 hours ago 0 replies      
In how many lines?
contrahax 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Black screen Chrome 31 OSX
grogenaut 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Man I thought we were done with "Look at this 1998 era screen saver I made with webgl"
tomrod 8 hours ago 2 replies      
No mobile!
lectric 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Since a load of unfeeling morons have taken over HN, let me say for them that this was amazing. Thank you.

I really can not wait until there is some new community to which these unemotional sociopaths can wander.

English Has a New Preposition, Because Internet theatlantic.com
189 points by sinak  9 hours ago   107 comments top 31
alex_c 8 hours ago 11 replies      
What's fascinating to me is that, unlike so many other language "changes", this isn't caused by laziness or carelessness. This seems to be a rare case where removing words adds information, rather than removing it: "The talks failed because of politics" means roughly what it says, while "The talks failed because politics" means roughly "The talks failed because of politics, which is the kind of thing that always happens when politics are involved".

Any linguists care to comment whether there's a term for this kind of meaning compression? "Idiom" doesn't quite seem to cover it.

jrockway 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm not yet convinced that this is something one can use and not get laughed at for quite yet. It's fine for informal communications because your readers are probably not too literate, but I fear that this might still confuse an older generation used to more formal grammatical constructions.

All of the examples are just social media wanking, as far as I can tell, so probably not indicative of any actual shift in how people are using English to tell a story. "Skipping lunch because sleep." OK. Who the fuck cares?

Ultimately, the human brain can error-correct over gross misuse of language; plenty of people speak without using articles, mess up "his" and "her" and "he" or "she", spell the world "you" as "u", choose the wrong word when their are homonyms, or wr173 411 7h31r s3n73n(3s l1|<3 7h15. That doesn't mean it's a good idea to invoke the error correction machinery when the message isn't actually corrupted; it would be pretty fatiguing to read Neal Stephenson in l337 speak. Just because you can, doesn't mean you should. Because humans.

humanrebar 8 hours ago 6 replies      
Maybe it's just me, but the "prepositional because" is usually deprecative of the subject. The article details the implications of the prepositional because:

"It conveys focus... It conveys brevity... But it also conveys a certain universality."

People use it when they're busy, drunk, or absent-minded to be self-deprecative. As in:

"Maxed out my credit card because too much beer!"

But people also use it to disparage someone else:

"Uptown a*&%$# voted against prop B because racism."

The article briefly hints at this when it says, "So we get comments like these, with people using 'because' not just to explain, but also to criticize, and sensationalize, and ironize...".

In fact, I'm having a hard time coming up with an example of a "because X" clause that has complimentary implications.

However, it's possible that the implications of this preposition has softened recently and I'm out of the loop. Or maybe I'm just overthinking it.

EDIT: Maybe it's just me but "because bacon" and "because awesome" do not imply that the subject of the sentence is a person with qualities worth aspiring to. Not that bacon isn't awesome.

ozataman 6 hours ago 3 replies      
Huh. This new form of "because" in an actual, intended-to-be-grammatically-correct sentence sounds weird to me and I don't think I personally use it at all. Isn't it just "because of" without the "of" when people are in a rush, typing on a tiny keyboard or just plain lazy? Or when the intent is to construct a witty, purposefully broken sentence?
apendleton 5 hours ago 1 reply      
See also another relatively recent grammatical innovation in English, the evolution of "slash" into a conjunction:


(Someone elsewhere in the thread said the "because" construction was unusual because prepositions evolve more slowly than words of other parts of speech in English; this is true, but conjunctions typically move slowest of all. Such times we live in...)

dnautics 8 hours ago 2 replies      
My suspicion is that this evolved from the phrase "because f-ck you, that's why", which is pretty old (~5-10 years).

Edit: Oldest usage, as found by google:

http://www.dkvine.com/games/dkl3/ 2001), line 807 in the source; this is probably not the first usage in all of english.

chc 7 hours ago 2 replies      
It's not really a new preposition, per se. It's a type of joke. Every occurrence cited here is using it in a jokey fashion. It seems to me you may as well say potatoes are a common topic of conversation on the Internet because of Latvian jokes.
rurounijones 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I have always seen "Because noun" as being a dismissive "Don't think to hard about it; that is just the way it is" reason. Or for a situation where there is no rational explanation.


A: "Why do some people have such a fetich for eating tiger penis"

B: "Because china"

Am I alone in this?

contextual 6 hours ago 0 replies      
My favorite word that's picked up a new meaning (for me, anyway) is trespass, as in "trespassers will be trespassed"[1].

Apparently, using the word trespass as a intransitive verb is correct (albeit archaic) and was used as such in the New Testament, as in forgive those who trespass against us.


return0 25 minutes ago 0 replies      
It's just "because of" ironically replaced with "because ..." , with the ellipsis omitted
cenhyperion 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I've always used it in a dismissive sense. As if to say "it is the way it is, let's not investigate further"

So "Why do you look so distraught?" "Because PHP" "I am so sorry."

powertower 8 hours ago 4 replies      
That seems to dumb down the language, rather than improve or evolve it.

> Skipping lunch today because sleep.

What is that supposed to mean? You need to take a nap during lunch; you got too much sleep the night before and are groggy, etc.

Why not add a few more words to make the sentence understandable (in this case non-ambiguous).

c0achmcguirk 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I first heard this construct in a Deep Thought by Jack Handey, from the mid-nineties I believe:

"After I die, wherever my spirit goes, I'm going to try to get back and visit my skeleton at least once a year, because, 'Hey, old buddy, how's it going?'."

I still laugh about it, and the main reason it was funny to me was the odd (but humorously apropos) use of the word "because."

adamnemecek 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Can't wait for lolcat spelling to become alternative spelling.
axus 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I thought this usage arose from dropping the word "of" after "because". "Because of" wasn't mentioned anywhere in the article.
EGreg 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I am not so sure internet idioms are of the same class as professionally written English structure. Otherwise UrbanDictionary and RapGenius should serve as the sources for today's written English.

These are two different genres. It's interesting to ask when something becomes so widely accepted that it is considered fine to use in "proper" english writing. If "because X" is, then so is LOL.

Incorporate ALL THE THINGS!

Mindless2112 8 hours ago 1 reply      
On one hand, this doesn't bother me much because it's mostly just a mutation of "because of" which I already avoid using. You can usually rework "because of <noun>" into "because <phrase>" and produce a sentence that, in my experience, better expresses what the speaker actually intends.

On the other hand, "because <noun>" is extremely inexact:

> English Has a New Preposition, Because Internet

What about the Internet caused English to gain a new preposition? Unless you already understand, "because <noun>" adds little, if any, explanation. I can see its use as a handy short-hand when your audience does already understand though.

wubbfindel 8 hours ago 2 replies      
Excellent article, worth the read.

Not many comments here, because short attention spans!

marincounty 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Being brief is great. I have always felt most people areoverly wordy--especially in the technicial fields(600 pageprogramming books go right in my recycling bin), but what I find irratitating is peope who use the constraints of the internet to be cute--too tired to exemplify, but Hip Chicksseem to gravitate towards this way communicating.
anakanemison 6 hours ago 0 replies      
The grammatical class of prepositions changes considerably more slowly than other classes.

We need new nouns and new verbs all the time, because what occupies and what occurs in our environment changes so fast. Interestingly, despite that rapid change, the set of prepositions, the set of conceptual relationships we've chosen to concisely express, stays pretty steady.

It's fascinating to read about a new preposition entering into common usage, because it makes me wonder what new pressures we're collectively facing in describing conceptual relationships. Certainly it could just be Twitter's character limits causing people to drop the "of" in "because of", but maybe other forces caused this construction to have utility now.

My bet would be on an increased expectation that our conversational partners share our context, and our models for understanding why things happen the way they do, because internet.

mtdewcmu 5 hours ago 0 replies      
You still run a risk of sounding like an idiot if you use this construction. Personally, I would wait a few more years before adopting it in all situations.
erbo 8 hours ago 0 replies      
There's other ways of expanding the "because-noun" construction. I've occasionally posted a link to Facebook with a comment like "This is incredibly awesome and you should read this, because SPACE." In this case, the construct expands to something like "...because it has to do with space, which I consider to be inherently awesome."

"Because-noun," it would appear, can be construed multiple ways, and a lot of the meaning is contextual.

vezzy-fnord 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Interesting how language can evolve (devolve?) in the face of character limits for online comments. A very memetic fashion, as well.
triplenineteen 4 hours ago 0 replies      
This seems somewhat related to "not sure if serious" or the general form "not sure if [adjective]".
lutusp 5 hours ago 0 replies      
"I rationalize endlessly, because because."
Aardwolf 8 hours ago 0 replies      
In Dutch this one already exists: "vanwege".
fallingOff 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I added bacon to my milkshake because delicious/awesome.

In the sentence above, "because" is followed by an adjective phrase. Prepositions are never followed by adjective phrases, so "prepositional because" is a misnomer for this new construction and does not fully describe its range of uses. I have no suggestions for a better name though...

I've never heard this construction in speech, but maybe I don't hang out with enough nerdy internet types.

sjclemmy 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't think the article mentions it, Because? Question mark.
l0gicpath 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm here, commenting on this because -HN-Timesink
ChristianMarks 6 hours ago 0 replies      
This is trending on HN because Hacker News.
US senators say theres no evidence bulk metadata surveillance is useful arstechnica.com
15 points by rosser  1 hour ago   1 comment top
thenerdfiles 2 minutes ago 0 replies      
I don't feel like explaining this shit to non-technical people anymore.

But I'm supposed to be grateful that I have a job.

The American Police State chronicle.com
151 points by danso  6 hours ago   94 comments top 13
spodek 5 hours ago 11 replies      
> Men like him lived a paradox. The penal system was supposed to shape them up. But its tentacles had become so invasive that the opposite happened. Goffman argues that the system encourages young men to act shady"I got to move like a shadow," one of Mike's friends told herbecause a stable public routine could land them back behind bars.

> Take work. Once, after Mike was released on parole to a halfway house, he found employment at a Taco Bell. But he soon grew fed up with his crowded house and decided to sleep at his girlfriend's. That resulted in a parole violation. When Mike went back to the Taco Bell to pick up his paycheck, two parole officers arrested him. He had to spend another year upstate.

This passage described a poor black man in Philadelphia -- the tip of the iceberg in the story. Today I happened to read about Toronto's mayor and couldn't help compare the two.

Toronto's mayor is on video smoking crack, is drunk and disorderly in public, shoves (assaults?) a grandmother, more, and isn't even removed from office, let alone arrested.

How can anyone have faith in such a system with such gross inequalities? The differences in cities and countries pale in comparison to the differences in treatment between the two people.

EDIT: a couple comments point out the differences between the U.S. and Canada police forces. Fair enough, but as different as Toronto and Philadelphia may be and as different as Canada and the U.S. may be, I can't imagine those differences are lost on the men jailed for smaller infractions, asking "What does it take for a rich, white guy to have to go to jail? ... Why should I bother trying to stay out if nothing I can do can keep me out?" I'm sure we could just look at police on Philadelphia's Main Line, maybe ten minutes away, to find similar effects to avoid the U.S./Canada comparison.

eof 4 hours ago 2 replies      
In 2003 I was pulled over for not wearing a seatbelt; I was in Saratoga NY; I had just moved out of my apartment.. having gone to school in Troy, NY and I was working as a "quality assurance analyist" looking for bugs in some lotus software. My license plates were from TX because I never registered in NY; I probably was supposed to, I just never did.

The cop pulled me over and was immediately convinced I was running drugs from Canada to TX. I had been across the border somewhat recenctly, maybe he could see that(?). I had no previous convictions other than a speeding ticket. My car was dirty and filled with crap; but I was pretty clean cut and just came out of an office job like 3 minutes earlier.

I did in fact have a couple pipes and a couple grams of mid grade bud; and I was dumb and didn't insist on my rights and essentially "let" him search my car. I made my mistake when he found the little jar and I got cocky; as NY had recently decriminalized.. so I just told him to give me the ticket and leave me alone.

He promptly arrested me for "driving while ability impaired"; impounded my car, nicked my license, I spent the night in jail, was humiliated, I still can't go back to Canada; I had been detained for 3 hours by the time I was given a 'sobriety' test; I was literally in the police station by then.. reflecting on it, it was clear I was being fucked with; walking a line with my arms spread out, bent ninety degrees at the waist, told to turn around without lifting my feet.

I hired the only lawyer I could afford, who basically did nothing but show up for me; paid him 500 bucks and about that in fines; but it has haunted me ever since.. and I was literally 100% sober in every way. I have never trusted cops since then as a whole; though I have personally come to know a couple that have eased my deep hatred somewhat.

My story here I know isn't directly related to the article; but it was an extreme abuse of power by a cop exerting his authority over what was genuinely a punk-kid; and I just wasn't in a position to do anything about it, both financially and because I didn't know then what I know now.

sologoub 53 minutes ago 1 reply      
>"In modern history," Goffman writes, "only the forced labor camps of the former U.S.S.R. under Stalin approached these levels of penal confinement."

That's actually a pretty offensive comparison. Stalin's regime resulted in an untold number of completely innocent people being worked to death. There was no due process, no hope of any humane treatment. Just terror and dumb luck that kept people from being picked out of a crowd.

Maybe my views are biased by growing up in Russia, but such rhetoric seems to use horrors of the past to advance a particular agenda, that has little to do with the horrors themselves. It also denies the respect and dignity to those innocents that died.

The very introduction admits that there were drugs and guns in the apartment, so crimes happened and unfortunately, people are being prosecuted with somewhat questionable methods. But how is this the same as NKVD coming for you in the middle of the night and you are never heard of again?

thenerdfiles 4 hours ago 4 replies      
Right. Okay, Upstartuppers, let's play Reconstruction of the Bottom Line.

> Men like him lived a paradox. The penal system was supposed to shape them up. But its tentacles had become so invasive that the opposite happened. Goffman argues that the system encourages young men to act shady"I got to move like a shadow," one of Mike's friends told herbecause a stable public routine could land them back behind bars.

If an African American man walked into your startup, given some negligible* felony history and a "shady look", but showed you an SPA he built in prison, how would the "culture fit" measure factor in your decision procedure to hire him?

*: And [if] you do hire him, do you poke and prod for social metadata until you discover this feature of his personality?

pstuart 4 hours ago 1 reply      
And a keystone of this madness is the War on Drugs. End it, and the police will have a lot less to do...
xacaxulu 5 hours ago 2 replies      
Alice Goffman might be one of the bravest women of our generation. She's a true revolutionary.
rurounijones 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Kind of ironic that the article talks about how she is annoyed that the story is focusing on her.

At which point the article basically starts focusing on her.

austinl 2 hours ago 0 replies      
On a similar topic, I would highly recommend the book The Birth of the Prison by Michel Foucault.http://www.amazon.com/Discipline-Punish-The-Birth-Prison/dp/...
tsotha 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I can't help wondering what the black women in the neighborhood thought of Miss Goffman.
squozzer 3 hours ago 0 replies      
It's quite possible the purpose of the criminal justice system is to remove the young male (and dare I say black?) population from the breeding cycle.

Is that a falsifiable hypothesis?

wrongc0ntinent 5 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a pretty misleading title. As to its actual subject, best of luck with the book.

edit: Just pointing out the clickbait aspect. It's hyperbole, not the technical usage.

l33tbro 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Bad conversion strategy for the publisher. I was on Amazon ready to buy. Maybe don't publicize this until it's available to the public (book comes out in April next year
mortyseinfeld 4 hours ago 2 replies      
Yeah, this is what happens when people defer to government authority as a consequence of looking to government to solve all their problems. This leftist shift will only make the situation worse.
Want to use my wifi? thejh.net
36 points by TheJH_  4 hours ago   18 comments top 7
IgorPartola 3 hours ago 2 replies      
Using a browser in incognito mode does none of the sort. You can still enter your password into it and it can be stolen just as easily. The true solution is to only browse over HTTPS, connect to a VPN or not use untrusted networks.

Note that if I can spoof an IP address, I can send you bogus DNS replies, and send you to a web server that impersonates Google/Facebook/etc. but does not require HTTPS (unless they use the strict security header). In this case you do not get a warning, just the absence of a tiny green icon.

chrissnell 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I've been thinking about the possibility of injecting a JavaScript bitcoin miner into every page loaded through my access point. Imagine the possibilities for an open AP that's located in a very public place, like Times Square, or near a busy Starbucks (where access is slow and unreliable).

If you really wanted to take this to the evil next level, you'd just break one (or several) WPA keys on nearby APs and have your rouge injector AP act as both an open AP (to unsuspecting users) and a client (using cracked keys) to other APs, thus avoiding having to actually buy internet access for this spot. You'd essentially just need to find a place to hide and power your evil AP.

malandrew 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Is it possible to use the browser in https only mode, or at least have it force launch any https sites in a new incognito mode window so that you know it's http-only. Furthermore, it would be nice if you could disable all text inputs on http-only windows.

I know that I would be more likely to contact a site owner asking for https if it screamed at me everytime it happened.

It's time to ditch http for all but rare use cases, because almost 2014.

mschuster91 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Just for teh lulz, you could do ARP-spoofing on public wifi's too, and achieve the same effect wthout having the trouble of setting up a hotspot.

I admit of having spoofed a Burger King public WiFi and replacing all img-tag sources with Goatse. Priceless reactions everywhere ;)

quasque 58 minutes ago 0 replies      
I wonder if this attack would also work on the http://www.gstatic.com/generate_204 page that Chrome uses to detect captive portals if you are accessing https pages.
davidbanham 3 hours ago 0 replies      
These attacks could be given longevity by using a cache manifest.
pocketstar 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Using a VPN would protect you against all of this right?
Word Lens for Google Glass questvisual.com
68 points by jf  7 hours ago   26 comments top 9
andrewljohnson 6 hours ago 4 replies      
1) I remember the original post. Word Lens lit up #1 on Hacker News for an impressive amount of time:


2) Looks like jf did the original submission too, I wonder if he knows a Word Lens founder.

3) I like the forward-looking embrace of Google Glass. It's such a futuristic thing to have shades that translate for you. Your phone is essentially a babelfish already - how long before you can buy an auto-translating bluetooth headset?

swalsh 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Oh man, this is great. I have the World lens app for the ipad, i didn't have an iphone when I was in France... so I was "that guy" holding an ipad up in public. My wife tried to distance herself from me :D

The app is not perfect, it does a word for word translation, so sometimes its a bit weird. However most of the time its good enough, and it is surprisingly flexible with different signs. It definitely saved me from eating some things i'm just not adventurous enough to try :D

mrinterweb 5 hours ago 2 replies      
Word Lens is amazing software, but from my experience with it, its results are frequently more confusing than trying to decipher the foreign language on your own. Word Lens shines when you are using it on text that is large, on a plain background, in good lighting, and a recognized font. If one or more of those conditions are not met, your results will likely be less than satisfactory. For example, trying to use Word Lens to read most restaurant menus is usually not productive, in my experience. I love the spirit of the software and what it is trying to accomplish. I just don't feel that it is yet useful for translating most of the text you may be trying to read.

A good companion to Word Lens is the Google Translate app. I found the Google Translate app was much more accurate when I took pictures of text that I wanted translated. The downside to the Google Translate app is that it requires a data connection which can be tricky when traveling in another country.

physcab 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I actually might buy Google Glass just to have this app when I travel. It's the perfect app for Glass. I just hope Google can take away the auditory cues of "Ok glass, do this...". I should be able to just turn on Glass, steady my head, and get the translation.
seliopou 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I forgot that Google Glass existed.

I'm not saying that to be smart. I actually read the headline and caught myself in the middle of asking myself, What's Google Glass? Am I the only one, or what? I guess people just haven't been talking about it lately or something. Weird.

jeremydw 4 hours ago 1 reply      
I just downloaded it to Glass and tried it out. The UI is nice, and very simple. You say "OK Glass, translate this" and then you point your face (the camera) at some text (there's a bounding box on the display that you put the text into).

You need to hold your head still, and then the software expands the bounding box to the full size of the screen. Everything I've described so far happens very quickly, and then slowly some of the words on the screen are translated and replaced in place. The lighting in my room is not very bright, and so far I've been unable to get full sentences to translate (just words, and just for a moment until I move my head a little), but I suspect it'd work better in high contrast situations (out in the sun, block text, etc.)

Tapping the side of Glass lets you switch between to/from English/Spanish.

Edit: Last thing, IMO, the largest downside to the UX right now is that when you move your face (even a tiny bit) the in-place translation disappears and you need to hold your face steady again to get the translation to appear. This would obviously make it pretty difficult to use in a real world situation (like, if you're walking outside you'd need to stop and hold very still to translate a sign) but it's still super cool.

tobyjsullivan 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I like the idea of this. I'm curious how well it'll actually work in practice.

Will the Glass camera require you to hold everything up to your face?

vlad 3 hours ago 1 reply      
This must have been the app I saw at Super Happy Dev House in 2009 or 2010, because it was secret at the time. I remember the creator was a really nice guy and this is a great idea.
danellis 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I feel like I'm missing something obvious here, but how do I actually get this?
Show HN: MMORPG in 55KB of Javascript aberoth.com
127 points by simple1  9 hours ago   28 comments top 14
VonGuard 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Hey, this is really terrific! Extremely impressive, especially the fact it's so small (code size). This expresses a real retro sensibility that most "retro" style games miss: pixel art shouldn't take up megabytes of space.

I think you should do something with this. You've actually got something you could spread far and wide, in this. It's shocking how few Web-based MMO experiences there are like this. This is the point where I say "quit your day job." Unless this is your day job.

To whit: such a small MMO could become a nice little business for you. People will pay for cosmetic stuff, and they love to idle in virtual worlds...

Kiro 7 minutes ago 0 replies      
Where can I read more about the technologies used? I'm especially interested in how you are using WebSockets to achieve such smooth real-time. I was always under the impression that WebSockets was unsuitable for multiplayer games like this.
babuskov 8 hours ago 1 reply      
It seems that this started in 2010:


Comments from other people trying out the game are hilarious:

    - I was alive once... it was awful    - This is way better than GTA    - How do I give you my money    - Which way's the strip club

cfontes 6 hours ago 1 reply      
For me it's only showing this message.

"Session has ended"

tibbon 1 hour ago 0 replies      
A link to the non-minified source?
filipedeschamps 9 hours ago 1 reply      

I'd love to see a port of Out of this World to Javascript.

sabalaba 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Would like to see:

    - Mining    - Auction House    - Scripting language    - Player driven economy like crafting
You will eventually need some kind of gold sink to balance out the inflationary nature of in game currencies.

fekberg 8 hours ago 3 replies      
Out of curiosity, How much larger would this likely become if you converted this to something 3D using WebGL?
shmerl 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Very impressive. Reminds Browser Quest a bit.
Empathenosis 4 hours ago 1 reply      
This is amazing.

I shared this with my stepdad and his friend,and we started talking about retro-gaming andhow things were in the 80's-90's with gaming.

I hope to see this hit Steam :)

michaelchum 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Amazing, reminds me of Runescape, the old days
pratik661 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow this is amazing!
arcameron 7 hours ago 1 reply      
There was no key :o
lukasm 6 hours ago 1 reply      
awesome! kickstarter maybe?
DigitalOcean Sucks. Use DigitalOcean raymii.org
174 points by mdewinter  11 hours ago   140 comments top 37
nwh 10 hours ago 2 replies      
I've still had absolutely no issues with my running droplets, though space is getting very tight in AMS1 at times when creating new ones. Their support is excellent even if you have a very specific question about their network, there's none of the fluffing around I've seen with other providers. It's cost effective even for my non-existent budget. Put simply, I'm pleased as punch.

I'm not usually vocally supportive of companies, but they're doing quite a good job: this article is a little undeserved.

jbverschoor 0 minutes ago 0 replies      
Unresponsive droplets here
nodejscloud 10 hours ago 1 reply      
We https://commando.io use, love, and are sponsored by DigitalOcean. They've been awesome and amazing. The SliceHost of 2012/2013.

Some features we really want to see are when upgrading a droplet, the ability for the disk to increase in size. Right now, you have to image it, delete it, create a new droplet from the image, and pray that you keep the same IP address. Not a suitable solution for companies relying on uptime and stability.

Second, when creating a droplet, the ability to check a box, "ensure this droplet is provisioned on a different hypervisor then the rest of your droplets." Again, when building a highly available cluster, does absolutely no good if they are all on the same physical machine.

Finally, the ability to attach multiple ip addresses to a single droplet is a must have.

With that said, thanks DO, you guys rock!

icelancer 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I am pleased with DO but they overpromise way too often, or at least they used to. We were supposed to be able to install instances from ISO in 2012 as promised by their support tickets:


It was last updated ONE YEAR AGO. Come on, that is outrageous.

neom 11 hours ago 4 replies      
IPv6 is something we get asked about a lot, and it's on the way. Unfortunately it's not something we can just "turn on" - We have to make sure it's build out properly and also fits in with some of our other roadmap items that our community will love in the coming year.

So yeah, love the feedback and actively working every day to bring any suck to zero.

SudoAlex 10 hours ago 3 replies      
Treat DigitalOcean as any other provider - something you can't trust, so always have backups of your own data in a place you trust (not a DigitalOcean snapshot) so you can restore when needed.

Personally I use Ansible http://www.ansibleworks.com/ and rdiff-backup http://rdiff-backup.nongnu.org/, along with Vagrant http://www.vagrantup.com/ for testing. So the day something happens with my droplet on DigitalOcean - I'll just run Ansible on a fresh server and restore the remaining data with rdiff-backup.

Yes, the lack of IPv6, being unable to use a virtual machines bootloader, a lack of a decent rescue image, and no private networking apart from one location sucks. However for the price - it's a good deal.

batbomb 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I was trying recently trying to estimate write-ahead log performance for my 2GB droplet, and for random sized (2-8k, 4.3k avg) sequential writes, my droplet is able to throw out 230MB/sec or ~60k 4k writes/second. I haven't actually done database benchmarks yet, but it looks pretty promising.
johnpowell 8 hours ago 3 replies      
Yesterday I went to pay my bill and it said "Automated Abuse Detection - Account Verification". Luckily I was able to ftp in and do a back-up.

After some back and forth my account was reinstated. It wasn't a huge deal but a shitty way to start my day. And after asking multiple times I was never told the reason why I had to go through this.

I had been happy until now. This just left a bad taste in my mouth.

edit: What pissed me off was having to send in a copy of my government issued ID.

fakeanon 10 hours ago 2 replies      
"TL;DR: DigitalOcean is a good VPS provider with minor issues. I like them and have been using them for over a year." -- Thus a dishonest title.
ianbicking 10 hours ago 1 reply      
I do wish there was something akin to S3 to allow for larger amounts of storage, without necessarily being bundled in complete package that gets upgraded together (and there would be no SSD required). Obviously using S3 is still an option, but it would be nice to have the network locality and maybe even the general value proposition that DigitalOcean provides.
eschulte 4 hours ago 0 replies      
matiasb 11 hours ago 1 reply      
A few weeks ago it was still possible to sniff traffic from other instances.


ilaksh 8 hours ago 0 replies      
The title is very stupid especially since he is actually giving them a recommendation.

Anyway it comes down to the fact that its cheaper than any other large provider out there and almost always works very well. No one can beat that price with an actual usable service.

If I was going to complain about anything it would be the current lack of 2GB/4GB etc. droplets in San Francisco and the fact that launching a droplet from a smaller snapshot takes several minutes instead of one minute.

viraptor 9 hours ago 0 replies      
What I'm really looking forward to is better IP management. So far it looks like most cloud servers providers try to ignore the issue, which I'm really disappointed about. It looks like DO's answer to droplet failures is - set up a load balancer. OK, but what happens is that droplet disappears? What protection can I have against going completely offline for the duration of DNS TTL in that case? (And the time of manually changing it)

I see that as an unacceptable risk really - one thing that keeps me from using DO. Other services also lack the reserved IPS sometimes, but some of them at least provide an integrated solution (LBaaS style).

j45 10 hours ago 1 reply      
I won't use DO for everything, but I won't use Linode for everything either, and that's ok. I also use dedicated servers with VMs and they all have their place and purpose quite nicely.

With tools like docker, it's less about where you're hosting and more about being able to deploy to any infrastructure, as the only guarantee you'll have for the rest of your life is you'll be redeploying somewhere, be it with the same host or another one.

I think for what you pay, what you get, and the level of flexibility, DO is a great value and service in that it's not a random, small, no name vps provider that may disappear due to not managing their resources between the fine line of over or under subscribing.

Where I wouldn't get a Linode and recommend someone to get shared hosting, I can start them on DO and let them grow there, so I quite like the segment they've let me introduce dedicated VPS resources to.

mrbill 10 hours ago 0 replies      
For just needing an off-site VM for backup-relay-host/testing/debugging purposes, you just can't beat $5/month. Been very happy with them, and the fact that I can just throw $50 into my account and not have to worry about it for almost a year.
simfoo 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Been using them for a few weeks now for a private Minecraft server (<= 6 people, whitelisted). Additionally it serves a statically generated map over nginx and I've been trying to get OpenVPN to work. It's a $10 one, 1 gig of RAM in Amsterdam.

Generally I'm quite happy so far. The setup process and the management panel is awesome while the CPU performance is lacking a bit. I/O performance (both disk and network) is great.

cmaxwe 10 hours ago 4 replies      
The font on that site is what really sucks... :-)
csmuk 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I run my web, email and some other stuff off a cheap end DO droplet for $5/month. Can't say I've had any problems other than availability of droplets in Amsterdam. I'm in the UK but have a VM in NY2. To be fair the latency feels about the same as our production kit which is 7 miles from my house, not 3460 miles. DO is less hops as well.
bnycum 10 hours ago 2 replies      
Not seeing anyone here talk about it so maybe no one has had it happen to them, but how is everyone dealing with the disk failures? Seems like your one to two man startup could have a fun day ahead of them. Not to mention if it happened on your launch day. Coming from someone looking to use DO for a future project.
veeti 10 hours ago 2 replies      
Are there any (decent) similar per-hour priced providers based in the EU? Any experiences or suggestions?
CSDude 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I use DigitalOcean, my application is not very large but response time is important. 20 GB is more than enough for me, even 10 GB would be enough. Being it SSD, it runs the short lived disk-based tasks I give (compilation & copying moving files) very fast due to its SSD, compared to AWS and others. This is my usecase and I am happy with it.
karmicthreat 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I like DigitalOcean and these problems are annoying. I'd really like to run coreos. DO claimed they were near deploying a custom image feature months ago. But it has never materialized.

The lack of IPv6 is a pain but I can deal with it. And the screw up with the NY2 network going down for a day kind of soured things as well.

What I'd really like is for DO to be a bit faster with feature development and more transparent on their progress.

Thaxll 9 hours ago 2 replies      
You still can't boot your own kernel...
mateuszf 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Digital Ocean is great. The only thing keeping us from using it is lack of private networking in Amsterdam DC.
threeio 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Been a big fan since their first deploy... grandfathering is nice for unlimited bandwidth... Use them for most test setups now, proof of concepts, etc... heck I've even got a domain pointed at them, and I've run my own DNS servers since the early 90s ;)
networked 10 hours ago 3 replies      
Could someone who has used both DigitalOcean and RamNode say how they compare?
tlongren 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Recently moved a few sites to a single, 1GB droplet and am very, very happy with it. Also have been using a 512MB droplet for the last 3 months or so to run a tor relay. Their "one-click" installs are nice too, and WordPress runs really well on a 1GB droplet.
luos 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I use smallest Digital Ocean package (Amsterdam) to run a play 2.x scala app. It is not a visited site (yet, heh) but I am very happy with it. And they gave me a coupon when I couldnt tinker with the project and cancelled, so I am back again :)

The sucks part fortunately havent affected me yet. I could use a little more ram but when I am there it could be changed with a click (and a reboot if I remember correctly).

renang 8 hours ago 1 reply      

  1073741824 bytes (1.1 GB) copied, 3.84315 s, 279 MB/s
I was expecting it too be faster, actually. I get over 300 MB/s on a VPS with HDD at the company I work at. [1]

[1] https://true.nl

Kalki 11 hours ago 2 replies      
I'd really like to see additional storage available for a node. I'd like to add an additional 100gb to my 20$ per month node.
sdesol 11 hours ago 1 reply      
It would be nice if implementing something like Amazon Marketplace was in their roadmap but it isn't right now.
amree 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm still waiting for a data center in Asia
jpdlla 10 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm currently using Ubiquity SSD Cloud Servers and I'm happy with them, but still find it weird that its not that popular. Anyone else using them? Any difference between them and DO?
cauliturtle 5 hours ago 0 replies      
with the first 3 points of the cons, no doubt to use DO rather than other cloud service for small/personal stuffs
mediaserf 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I use ksplice to run my own OS & kernel on Digital Ocean, you don't have to stick with their templates.
shan199105 6 hours ago 5 replies      
I want to say that I hate Digital Ocean as well. I am a University of Waterloo Computer Science student. I have CS 458 (computer security) this term. We had an assignment last month asking us to get all the users permission without knowing their password for a web app. Then I wrote a script. The use of the script is to use curl one time per second (may be longer, due to the connection issue) to guess all the different combination of the password. Of course I was using that script on Digital Ocean!

After running it two days, I receive an email saying their router find out that I was doing the DDOS and ask me to stop it. I stop the script immediately and reply them my reason telling them that I was doing it for University Assignment and I don't know that I was not allowed to do this. However, my account got suspends anyway. No matter how I send emails to beg them to give back my files in the server (I use the server for emacs and tmux to write codes for school projects), they just told me that sorry but my account is suspend. No matter how I beg them, all I received back from the email is just a max two line saying that my account is suspend. They do tell me that it suspends forever. After several days they deleted my account with all my files in it. Now I have no ways to get any of my files back! I feel ... so angry and hate so much about the digital ocean.

Is this how a normal American Company does? Will a normal American Company suspends customers account because that customer use it to do university work? I can understand it suspends me if I violate any laws but I was just doing an assignment and not violates anything. It also ignore the apology from the customer. Any evidence the customer provides is ignored gets well. Even that after couple days, digital ocean deleted that customer's account with all his files permanently!

This is my story. This is the reason why I hate Digital Ocean!!!!!!

Xbox One: The Review polygon.com
16 points by lotso  1 hour ago   6 comments top 3
angersock 1 hour ago 1 reply      
"A notable disappointment is the absence of real-name support at launch. One of the PS4's most enjoyable enhancements has been postponed for Xbox One until an unspecified future date. Microsoft has also dropped social-network integration, which seems like a short-sighted reaction to the lack of users of the Xbox 360 apps."

This is a great move by Microsoft--tempting though it would be to send hate mail to the jerks you meet online.

ssafejava 41 minutes ago 1 reply      
The nicest description most Polygon staff could manage for the Xbox One's silhouette is "inoffensive" there's no sugarcoating the console's lack of visual flair. Microsoft has created a system designed to blend into the other components of your home entertainment center, and it does that ... for better or worse.

It's quiet, and it runs relatively cool. But if youre looking for subtlety, this is not the console for you.

Is it just me, or does the writer/editor not understand the word "subtle" here?

Otherwise, that was a really beautifully done review, at least visually.

n1kh1lp 11 minutes ago 1 reply      
Can anyone tell me what framework/technology was used to design this site? It looks really good.
The first Bitcoin post on HN ycombinator.com
341 points by neotrinity  16 hours ago   263 comments top 29
cs702 16 hours ago 8 replies      
That four-year-old submission has just two comments: one expressing doubt, one expressing optimism.

Interestingly, despite growing worldwide adoption of Bitcoin, comments about it on HN continue to be more or less evenly split between doubters and optimists. And I wouldn't be surprised if comments to this submission are evenly split between those same two camps.

No amount of evidence or reasoning seems to persuade either camp to change its views!

pg 14 hours ago 10 replies      
How much money would you have made if you'd bought $1000 worth of bitcoin on that day?
applecore 15 hours ago 2 replies      
Here's the first popular post (with 20+ comments) referencing Bitcoin on HN:

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1532670 - Bitcoin P2P Cryptocurrency | 1217 days ago | 24 comments

Some other early, popular posts about Bitcoin:

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1942708 - Imagine your computer as a wallet full of Bitcoins| 1088 days ago | 36 comments

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1998144 - How to Get Started with Bitcoins | 1072 days ago | 47 comments

vinhboy 16 hours ago 2 replies      
It's really not fair to dig these things up and call people haters for doubting it.

I bet the list of failed companies and "haters" who called it accurately is much much bigger.

Although I do like the nostalgic value of these posts.

r3m6 15 hours ago 1 reply      
One of my favorite quotes (forgot by whom): " Great ideas are fragile at birth because they are indistinguishable from crazy stupid ideas."
steven2012 14 hours ago 2 replies      
Can someone explain how the idea that every single transaction has to be stored in the ledger is scalable? Won't wider adoption mean that the ledger grows even quicker, to the point where it makes using btc harder and harder?
pearjuice 13 hours ago 2 replies      
"Why did you buy a bitcoin?" "Because I don't want to enter too late!"

The absolute problem with bitcoin is, is that it cannot be used as a currency. If one bitcoin can buy you one "x" today, two "x" tomorrow and in a week only half an "x", what is the point of spending it? Its value fluctuates way too much and that's why so many people are getting on board. They want to be in the elevation towards another all time high.

I am not saying that Bitcoin does not have a future, but key in this future is that all those investors and startups on the get-rich-quick-with-a-very-high-potential-to-loose-a-lot-scheme have to abandon ship. The value of Bitcoin has to stabilize because at this point it is not a viable currency. Currently it is just an asset so many people are interested in, which drives the price only further up.

As soon as it stabilizes or drops we will see what it will d o with Bitcoin its popularity and acceptance for other goods and services.

pinaceae 15 hours ago 2 replies      
and let's revisit this discussion 5 years from now.

right now there is so much fluctutation within BC it might as well be tulips. maybe it will become a stable currency, maybe it won't.

josephagoss 16 hours ago 2 replies      
It just shows that many people are quick to be negative and for some reason unwilling to consider alternative possibilities.

Remember that negative and critical viewpoints are normally perceived to be from the the more intelligent person. Unfortunately people who are more accepting of new and novel ideas can at first seem like the less intelligent of the group. (Probably because they are not quick to dismiss and put down a thing, and thus have less to say at first glance)

The only solution is to think for yourselves and research the positions presented.

crystaln 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Likely the best investment opportunity ever posted on HN, possibly in the history of the world, for simple buy/mine and hold ROI.
dschiptsov 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Very telling, a reply of a sceptic and of a dreamer, everyone else just ignored.

I wish I could be such a dreamer, capable to understand the idea and its potential and have a bit of drive and courage to give it a try.

lcasela 16 hours ago 2 replies      
>Well this is an exceptionally cute idea, but there is absolutely no way that anyone is going to have any faith in this currency.


onebaddude 15 hours ago 0 replies      
>Over the last two weeks especially, many in the upper echelons of international finance are moving into the bitcoin space in a mich bigger way than they had before.

Do you have a source for this? I haven't heard of any major hedge funds buying bitcoin. It's still considered quaint in the internet circles I frequent.

chaostheory 12 hours ago 1 reply      
funny - I don't remember posting it
shocks 16 hours ago 2 replies      
singold 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I hope, chaostheory doesn't have something related to Tor hidden services posted anywhere on the internet :P
hardwaresofton 16 hours ago 1 reply      
'always be naysaying' is the mantra of about 80% of HNers
jcfrei 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I was relieved to see I hadn't even joined HN at that time.
rheide 15 hours ago 0 replies      
This one has a more interesting discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1532670
sidcool 15 hours ago 1 reply      
If the vice president of ReThink DB could be wrong, I have all the liberty to make 100s of mistakes
tomasien 16 hours ago 2 replies      
jdoliner's comment is a good reminder to forget the haters
tlrobinson 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd like to see a "where are they now" of the commenters' views on Bitcoin.
neotrinity 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I quite liked the polarity of the 2 comments in the post .. Hence I posted it !
ghostdiver 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Perhaps it was posted during wrong time of the day or was crowd power pointed to front page.

It is also possible that people here on HN do not have enough intuition about ideas, which could possibly change the world just like bitcoin is doing it right now. It's fun to read retrospective posts here on HN, but apparently innovation starts elsewhere..

khawkins 15 hours ago 0 replies      
jdoliner's comment is interesting, because it's almost true. At the time, hardly anyone could find faith in the currency. But what he failed to understand that if "someone" could find faith in the currency, then others would follow.

It's an interesting property of markets that they can seemingly boostrap themselves, just so long as there is support during the initial growth stage. You don't have to believe in Bitcoins to trade in them, you just have to believe someone wants them. This might be why black markets and transaction privacy are so essential to making the currency work. Since there are a large number of people who need to make their payments private, the rest of the market believes that the currency has intrinsic value in its exclusivity in certain transactions.

techprotocol 16 hours ago 3 replies      
How many people had the slightest clue that books would be replaced by Kindles, CDs by iPODs, tablets selling as much as laptops. The comments show that people underestimated the impact bitcoin would make.

I still believe its just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Bitcoin.

shashwatak 12 hours ago 1 reply      
I could be so rich right now. I missed the bus completely on this one.
totti 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't know about you guys but I found this really motivational.
infra178 13 hours ago 1 reply      
> jdoliner 1655 days ago | link

>Well this is an exceptionally cute idea, but there is absolutely no way that anyone is going to have any faith in this currency.

> joedoliner.com jdoliner@gmail.com https://twitter.com/jdoliner

The Mature Optimization Handbook facebook.com
161 points by webmaven  12 hours ago   16 comments top 9
numlocked 10 hours ago 2 replies      
This is really fantastic. It's highly readable, with a good mix of high-level headiness and practical advice. At a relatively early stage startup many of the techniques are overkill, or simply out of reach, but it's nice to peer around the corner and get an overview of the approaches and problems of performance at the next order of magnitude of scale. And the fundamental lessons of each of the optimization anecdotes are applicable, even if the techniques aren't.

The first few chapters in particular are a nice introduction to reasoning about performance, and the availability in multiple formats is also nice!

aristus 4 hours ago 2 replies      
Very cool to see this on HN. :) I developed a 1hr class in March or April for Facebook's "bootcamp", and kind of just kept going, collecting in war stories from smart folks around the industry. If you have any questions or want to suggest a topic to add, fire away.
cube13 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Optimizing code is really the closest thing to experimental science in programming, because it really is a purely experimental exercise.

Restricting your variables is important, because you can't be sure exactly which change resulted in the improvement if you made a dozen changes(which is why threading is sometimes dangerous, because, like jwz's famous regex quote, it tends to turn one problem into many).

You're going to see things that don't make any sense, even if your gut says differently. This point is hammered home quite a bit. I've seen a case where removing what I thought was dead code reduced performance by a measurable amount... I still can't explain that one.

mtdewcmu 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Great quote from Knuth/Dijkstra:

  I believe that by presenting such a view [on the proper use of goto statements] I  am not in fact disagreeing sharply with  Dijkstra's ideas, since he recently wrote the  following: "Please don't fall into the trap of  believing that I am terribly dogmatical  about [the go to statement]. I have the  uncomfortable feeling that others are making  a religion out of it, as if the conceptual  problems of programming could be solved by  a single trick, by a simple form of coding  discipline!" [29]. In other words, it, seems  that fanatical advocates of the New Pro-  gramming are going overboard in their strict  enforcement of morality and purity in  programs.

nutmeg 12 hours ago 2 replies      
Someone might mention that the ebook (PDF, ePub and mobi) is provided free in the link.
goshx 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Great topic!It reminds me of the times when I found out about the wonders of profiling my applications, where I could clearly see where the bottlenecks were (the 3%).This also reminds me about the endless discussions about which <insert here a programming language>'s function/method was faster than the other and why you must change your code immediately to save a tiny fraction of a millisecond </irony>

I haven't read the book yet, but I believe the key to a mature optimization is knowing clearly what needs to be optimized. There is no way to know it if you don't measure it. But the thing is that you may be measuring the wrong thing. If you focus on a class, for instance, without the entire context, you may be trying to speed up the wrong piece of your application.Make sure you measure the entire flow, from the user clicking something to him seeing the response. Sometimes you will find that what needs to be optimized is not even your code.

mtdewcmu 11 hours ago 0 replies      
You can't know what to optimize without taking into account how the application is going to be used. And even knowing that, profiling and cost/benefit analyses are the ultimate guide. I think the best rule of thumb is to not worry too much about optimizing everything on the first pass, but be careful not to cut off future optimizations and prematurely lock in poor performance. I always like having my options open.
danishabdullah 10 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a really cool resource. Thank you Carlos and Facebook.
Drone Imagery for OpenStreetMap mapbox.com
122 points by bsudekum  11 hours ago   40 comments top 13
ChuckMcM 11 hours ago 2 replies      
This is insanely cool, and a bit crazy too. 45 minutes to map 10km^2, so two of them, swapping out batteries, you're talking one person mapping 90 km^2 a day. So a city like San Francisco (121 km^2) in a couple of days? Or San Jose (467 km^2) in a week? That is pretty interesting. Make your own map with license to your own assets pretty reasonably I'd guess.
jfoster 20 minutes ago 1 reply      
This could end up being quite a significant threat to Google Maps.
uptown 10 hours ago 5 replies      
Completely awesome. I was curious so I looked up the eBee price. $12,000 - too steep for a hobbyist, but I'm sure that price will come down over time as drones become more widespread.
ville 11 hours ago 0 replies      
This is very cool. TileMill (https://github.com/mapbox/tilemill) is also one of the most amazing open source web apps I've seen for a while.
ris 10 hours ago 0 replies      
If only we didn't have to rely on nonfree software for the processing.
callmeed 6 hours ago 0 replies      
This is so cool.

I'd really like to do a drone services startup focusing on municipal govt's and agriculture. It seems like you could solve a lot of surveying/permitting issues for cities. With ag, special cameras can give farms a lot of data (I know this is being done already). I think becoming sort of the "Waste Management for Drones" could make a lot of money.

awor 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I used to work for a mineral exploration company that purchased an Ebee in the spring, and used it heavily this summer in Northern Canada (mountainous, extremely remote terrain).It's a pretty neat unit and only required about 1-2 hours of reading the manual and making a quick flight plan before we were ready to fly it. The software that ships with it is super duper easy to figure out. Though it may be too simple as some of the control we would have liked wasn't there.

That said, the gov't paperwork before we were able to fly it was a nightmare, but operating it in remote, helicopter access only areas (no humans/buildings/etc around for dozens and dozens of kilometres) did ease the requirements a tiny bit.

Generating DSMs from the geo-ref'd images within an hour or two of flying a flight plan was pretty awesome though. Being DSM (Rather than DTM/DEM) is kind of annoying with tree-cover, but in less treed areas is still better than the Government of Canada 30m DEM.

616c 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I live abroad and was considering pitching this as a low-cost alternative to satellite imagery and crowd-sourcing with the the government GIS teams and national computer research center ehre. Very, very cool to see it in action!
xgad 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow, as a big multicopter and fixed wing enthusiast/hobbyist, I find this to be super awesome. It also literally hit home for me because I noticed that it was captured only a few miles away from where I grew up, haha. These technologies look very promising for things like mapping agriculture and providing recon in environmental disasters.
senthilnayagam 10 hours ago 1 reply      
volunteers with army of drones can can cover cities, there can be a kickstarter for each city funded by its resident. I will fund for chennai and bangalore for sure
riquito 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Cool, but you can't let your drone fly over cities. Not in my country and I suppose not in most places around the world.

My brother however will be happy to use his quadcopter to contribute with some aerial images of fields

Scene_Cast2 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Does anyone know a free alternative to Pix4D (the image stitching software)? I'd love to try this myself.
MPetitt 10 hours ago 1 reply      
I was really bummed when I read that one of these costs about 12k. But then I realized how much money you could make taking this around the country, mapping out cities and licensing the images out. Heck, just taking private gigs for colleges, estates, parks, and things of that sort could make you good money. I think i found a new side business.
Cloud Cost Calculator scalyr.com
65 points by snewman  8 hours ago   34 comments top 17
snewman 8 hours ago 4 replies      
There are plenty of pricing cheat sheets out there, but we couldn't find a tool that would let us compare cloud providers while taking one-year or three-year EC2 reservations into account, or answer questions like "who has the best price per GB of RAM", so we built this. We'd love feedback -- what can we do to make this more useful?

For more discussion and some interesting results, check out http://blog.scalyr.com/2013/11/11/cloud-cost-calculator/.

bpizzi 13 minutes ago 0 replies      
Great stuff you brought here, thanks for that.Did you think about giving some clues on dedicated servers as well?Looks to me that "cloud" offers may be convenient for a lot of use cases, but nothing can still beat the power/price ratio of a good old dedicated hw.
craigyk 7 hours ago 1 reply      
OK, I read through the blogpost to read up on what "cores" mean. Is running a quick benchmark on each instance a possibility? Even something relatively simple and fast like geekbench. Also, if possible, test inter-instance interconnect performance with some kind of MPI benchmark? I would be willing to chip in to pay to collect this data.
rpedela 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I believe you have the wrong disk size for AWS cc2.8xlarge. It says 1.65 TB but according to AWS it is 3.28 TB. I am assuming the disk corresponds to instance storage not EBS. It also seems strange that disk GB per $ seem to go down as you go from 1 year light to 1 year heavy on AWS. Shouldn't it be the opposite?

Awesome calculator BTW! I really needed something like this.

joshsegall 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Linode gives you 8 cores even at the low tier. Granted it's at lower priority but in practice I get way more than 1 core's worth of CPU.
kbar13 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Linode's "cores" is greatly misrepresented. I'm sure the AWS/GCE/DO core counts are equally misrepresented.
grosskur 6 hours ago 0 replies      
EC2 spot instances can provide significant cost savings if your app can cope with them getting killed unexpectedly.

To help decide what to bid, I made a small app that continuously collects and graphs historical spot prices:


sdfjkl 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Nice idea, but needs more content. There is not a single non-US company in that list (which should be a filter, because NSA).
welder 6 hours ago 1 reply      
DigitalOcean is the cheapest on the list. Has anyone used it who could provide some feedback on network throughput, ease of use, etc?
cbsmith 1 hour ago 0 replies      
What, no Joyent?
martypitt 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Perhaps I'm misreading this, but the pricing for Digital Ocean seems wrong.

For example, the "Cheapest servers with at least 16GB of RAM" lists a Digital Ocean 16GB server, 8 cores for $7.247/mth.

Looking on their site, I see that this would cost $160/mth.

Am I missing something?

TallboyOne 6 hours ago 0 replies      
It seems insane to me the header of the table doesn't 'stick' to the window as you scroll. nice though
gsharma 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Scalyr folks - Please make the header of the table fixed.
akh 6 hours ago 0 replies      
makeshifthoop 7 hours ago 1 reply      
The cr1.8xlarge Amazon 3 year heavy utilization should be 660/month with the upfront cost amortized over 36 months.
sheetjs 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Is there some excel spreadsheet or google doc with all of this information?
snewman 7 hours ago 1 reply      
We had a temporary server glitch -- still not sure what happened, but it's unstuck for the moment. Murphy 1, redundant server pool 0...
My Man Jeremy newyorker.com
28 points by shawndumas  2 hours ago   7 comments top 6
batiudrami 2 minutes ago 0 replies      
This is fiction. Apparently the 'Shouts and Murmurs' is entirely fictional parody.
JshWright 17 minutes ago 0 replies      
I don't get it...

This just seems really obnoxious to me.

cypher543 48 minutes ago 0 replies      
Is this supposed to be funny or something?
wunderlust 1 hour ago 0 replies      
very strange.
jjjeffrey 31 minutes ago 0 replies      
Welp, that made sense.
Amadou 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I like how it's dated next week monday. Freaked me out for a second.
Launching developer Q&A on Stack Overflow mozilla.org
79 points by rnyman  10 hours ago   41 comments top 4
sentenza 9 hours ago 3 replies      
In principle, it is good to go where the community is. Let's just hope they don't get slowed down too much by the questions police.
elchief 8 hours ago 3 replies      
I'm not sure why other companies even use forums instead of StackExchange.
babuskov 8 hours ago 2 replies      
From what I can tell, this means they will be monitoring the tags to spot potential bugs and strange behavior.

Well done! I rarely have to report some problems with Firefox and trying to remember my bugzilla password is a major PITA. Most of the time I had to reset it. OTOH, I'm using SO almost daily. I just hope they will be able to really monitor it and not get overwhelmed (I have no idea how many questions are opened for those tags daily, hopefully not too many).

matt_heimer 9 hours ago 3 replies      
Besides the dino head on the tag buttons what exactly does this mean? All the article says is "We are now happy to announce our presence on Stack Overflow!"
Gaming Company Fined $1M for Secretly Using Players' Computers to Mine Bitcoin forbes.com
58 points by comice  8 hours ago   33 comments top 10
frisco 7 hours ago 3 replies      
That's actually a very interesting use of Bitcoin: post-advertising monetization. Eyeballs are directly monetizable by mining, which of course continues even after all BTC has been "mined" via transaction fees. I've been working under the thesis that "programmable money" will be interesting even if I can't see the applications now for a while, and this is the first real use not possible with a traditional currency that clicks for me.
Pinckney 7 hours ago 1 reply      
>The program was also designed to give E-Sports employees full administrative access to users computers; they could access files, capture screen shots, track mouse movements, and monitor computer activity even when users werent logged into the E-Sports servers.

Is there any indication that the large fine stemmed from the bitcoin mining, rather than the spyware? This seems like journalists focusing on bitcoin, because that's the buzzword of late, but it's not the part that seems overtly malicious here.

idupree 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I imagine it's sketchy enough to be illegal, but what specific laws were they accused of violating? I read the consent judgment to find out:

"3. Defendants' conduct constitutes deceptive and unconscionable commercial practices pursuant to the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, N.J.S.A. 56:8-1 et seq. ("CFA") and unauthorized access pursuant to the New Jersey Computer Related Offenses Act, N.J.S.A. 2A:38A-1 et seq. ("CROA"). The Attorney General and Director (collectively, "Plaintiffs") submit this Complaint seeking equitable relief, to prevent any more consumers from being victimized by Defendants' practices, as well as penalties, restitution, investigative costs, and attorneys' fees."- p.2 http://nj.gov/oag/newsreleases13/E-Sports_Complaint_Consent-...

p.9 (item 38) lists the alleged "unconscionable business practices and deceptions".

Also: ESEA is a New York company (p.3 / item 6). The laws are New Jersey laws. "Venue is proper in Essex County [, New Jersey], pursuant to R. 4:3-2, because it is a county in which defendants have otherwise conducted business." (p.3 / item 5)

girasquid 7 hours ago 4 replies      
I'm curious: if a gaming company were to distribute a game that had an option where you paid for it and an option where the client partitioned 10% of your capacity for mining (only while playing the game) - how many players would go for the free-but-mining-bitcoins option? If the game client was less greedy about the resources and everything was communicated up front, could this be a way to monetize free to play games without charging the player any real money?
tehwebguy 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow, I am genuinely surprised at how fast that was. Maybe that's the difference between someone like Google getting into trouble and dragging the case out for 3 years and someone who can't afford to do that?
kozikow 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I have been suspecting redtube is doing it. If I accidentally enter their website (hehe) my CPU jumps through the roof to level rarely seen in other places, even playing Diablo 3. I didn't look into what they are doing, but this seems like the most possible outcome.
downrightmike 5 hours ago 1 reply      
It really isn't nearly as bad as Sony creating rootkits.
bsamuels 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Under this ruling, wouldn't the guys who create league of legends be liable for secretly using people's computers as p2p seeds to distribute copies of the game to other downloaders? Both that and what's described in the OP taxes the user's machine/bandwidth for monetary gain for the software developer.
cowstwo 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Gaming company fined $1M for secretly installing malware? Color me surprised.
The Right Way to Grant Equity to Your Employees firstround.com
151 points by ca98am79  14 hours ago   73 comments top 11
shalmanese 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Having been on both sides of the negotiation table, I'm increasingly of the opinion that the standard model of granting equity (linear vesting over 4 years with a 1 year cliff) is deeply and fundamentally broken and the only reason anyone ever sticks with it is due to tradition and a fear that any attempt to tinker will uncover how deeply broken it is.

It's a bad system that doesn't serve either side well and the only reason it hasn't blown up into a real issue is because cash is cheap enough right now that most of the deals I'm seeing amount to something like "within 20% of market wage + an insultingly small amount of equity".

I have no pretensions that the ideas I have are any good, feasible or even legal but I think it's at least worthwhile thinking and experimenting with models that serve the needs of both sides better.

Problem: Options are basically impossible to price (and are undervalued). If it costs me as an employer $100K to offer an options package but the employee only perceives it to be worth $10K, then it becomes a major problem using it as a hiring incentive. The problem is that standard option contracts are basically impossible to price. I like to think I'm relatively sophisticated at finance and I've worked through the options packages of a bunch of my friends and I always end up throwing my hands up in the air and declaring that I have no idea how to even approximate a fair price.

What most people far less sophisticated (aka most engineers) do is price on the underlying asset. eg: 4% of a company worth 1M vesting over 4 years equals $4000 of forgone salary (aka: not that exciting). In reality, basic options theory states that an option is always worth more than the underlying asset and the difference is directly dependent on the volatility of the underlying asset. On the flip side, liquidation preferences, dilution, acquihiring and the like drastically depress the value of an option. These two combined make pricing options a black art.

Solution: Think about it, nowhere else in the startup world do we make locked in 4 year contracts, why would you do it with employees? Would you sign a 4 year office lease? Would you commit to a fixed bill for EC2 4 years down the road? Startups are all about paying a premium for flexibility, I'd much rather offer 2% vesting over 1 year than 4% vesting over 4 and I wager employees would value it higher as well. Alternatively, get rid of linear vesting and implement something like 40%/30%/20%/10%. This at least makes refresher grants meaningful rather than a pitiful joke when put against existing options.

Problem: There are huge discontinuities in the standard vesting. At 1 year, your effective net worth suddenly takes a huge jump upwards and at 4 years, your effective salary takes a huge jump downwards (even accounting for refresher grants). These discontinuities are ruinous to employee loyalty. People are pretty lazy, they usually prefer a pretty good job to the effort of finding a better one. But 1 year cliffs and 4 year cliffs are just enough of a nudge to put people casually on the market.

Solution: Get rid of the 1 year cliff. The ostensible reason given for the cliff is that companies don't want to reward employees who don't work out. But you've already paid them a bunch of salary and spent the time hiring and training them!

If the concern is that you don't want them added to the shareholder limit, instead what might be a more elegant solution is that, anytime during the first year, if you leave for any reason, the company has the option to force you to sell back your shares for say, 2x the strike price. For example, say you're made an offer for 1000 shares per month at a $1 strike price and it ends up not working out in 4 months. The company has the option of either letting you keep 4000 shares or paying you $8000 to void the shares. This seems like a way better way to keep all the incentives aligned rather than blunt force cliffs.

Problem: It's easy to give people additional options but hard, and possibly illegal to take options away. On the surface, this seems like a win for employees. But like laws that make it harder to fire people, the perverse incentives make companies more conservative and make it worse for employees. A company that makes a mistake and offers a salary that is too high for an employee's value can at least attempt to re-negotiate and drop the salary. A company that makes a mistake on equity has no choice but to either live with it or fire the employee.

Solution: Making equity grants re-negotiable opens up a can of worms as Zynga discovered. Who knows? I don't have any great ideas about this.

Problem: Standard share grants are a shitty way to compensate for forgone income. Say you're a cash strapped startup and an engineer is willing to work for you as employee #1 for $12K instead of his usual 120K. How much is that worth in equity? It's hard to say since you don't know how long the income is forgone for. You could raise a Series A tomorrow and bump his salary back up to 100K, you could struggle to raise for a year while he gamely hangs on. Is that worth 1%? 4%? 15%? Who knows?

Solution: Agree on two vesting schedules that get switched over automatically upon hitting certain goals. eg: Agree to pay 1K & vest 1% for every month while bootstrapped which gets automatically switched over to 10K & 0.05% monthly upon raising $1M.

I'm not saying these solutions are necessarily good and I'm sure there's a dozen things I haven't taken into account. But these are all real problems I've seen that have caused real equity negotiations to fall apart.

fleitz 11 hours ago 4 replies      
I collect equity bi-weekly when I use a portion of my earnings to invest in various companies (most of whom make actual... you know, money):

I come from the fuck you pay me school of equity.

Now the startups's got Paulie as a partner. Any problems, he goes to Paulie. Trouble with the bill? He can go to Paulie. Trouble with the cops, deliveries, Tommy, he can call Paulie. But now the guy's gotta come up with Paulie's money every week, no matter what. Business bad? "Fuck you, pay me." Oh, you had a fire? "Fuck you, pay me." Place got hit by lightning, huh? "Fuck you, pay me."

That said, I also don't care about business strategy, blah blah blah, that's up to the founders, I'm happy to add my 2cents but as a professional my job is to implement their vision. Not play venture capitalist with my time rather than my money.

Think about it, HN gets 5% for 20K, if you make $100 an hour, that's 200 hours. Imagine the typical first employee, 1-2% with a 4 year vest, that's over 8000 hours (assuming an 8 hour day, let alone the typical death march), and it's doubtful you'd come even close to $100 an hour. If you're working for equity you're paying close to 100 times the price for a much shittier class of shares.

Now on the otherhand if you take a convertible note at $20K and the founders can't raise anymore, just call your loan and grab the IP, or break even on the aquihire.

Jemaclus 13 hours ago 5 replies      
The best part about this is that it describes equity as what it should be: an incentive to do a great job. The problem that I see with most startups (especially in SF) is that they treat equity as a replacement for salary.

Sorry, guys, but equity doesn't pay the bills. Furthermore, it's delayed and potential gratification. First, there's generally a 1 year cliff, which means I'm effectively taking a salary hit for 1 year for no good reason (unless you matched my original salary). So like I said, equity is not a replacement for salary. Second, your company may be valued at $400M, but my options are worthless until you get acquired, sell, or IPO.

You're basically saying "I'll give you X salary and I'll also give you Y pieces of paper that will hopefully be worth Z dollars in the future, but I can't promise anything."

IMO, equity should be treated as a benefit along the same lines as free lunches or vacation days. It should be a bonus. If you offer me X salary and Y equity, then X should be enough to pay my bills and Y should be enough to incentivize me work my ass off for you.

My two cents, anyway.

7Figures2Commas 12 hours ago 1 reply      
A distinction needs to be made between illiquid equity at early-stage startups and liquid equity at publicly-traded companies or companies that are well on their way to liquidity. What makes sense at Equinix, Juniper Networks and Opsware, all publicly-traded or acquired companies, may make little sense at an early-stage startup.

When equity is liquid, ongoing grants are akin to bonuses. At early-stage startups, however, the attractiveness of ongoing grants to employees ultimately depends on the perceived value of those grants. If a path to liquidity is not clear and employees are not certain that the company's traction is producing meaningful appreciation of their existing equity, ongoing grants are unlikely to be very compelling.

In short, I think it's a mistake for earlier-stage startups to treat equity as a retention tool. It can be an effective recruiting tool in some circumstances, but unless your company is a rocket ship that is going to reach the moon soon, which most early-stage startups are not, focusing too much on equity as part of the compensation package can easily hurt retention because most of the experienced and savvy employees know how to keep score.

edgesrazor 12 hours ago 2 replies      
One thing I don't see mentioned frequently when articles talk about equity is the concept of trigger events in regards to vested shares. Equity is a great motivator, and is terrific for rewarding (or even keeping employees) but most strategies don't cover vesting and trigger events. I've seen several excellent employees at another job get completely screwed because they were given equity, but their shares didn't vest until a specific trigger event (such as a buyout or a VC investment). The contract stated the employee had to be working at the company during the trigger event, so the easiest way to save money was to fire those people right before it happened. Not here during the trigger event? No vested shares and therefor no money for you. It's a terrible strategy and quite immoral, but not illegal, so I encourage anyone who is contemplating taking shares in addition to (or in lieu of) pay, make them be very specific about the trigger events, and more importantly - if there's any amount of those shares that are automatically vested on Day 1.

When we formed our company, we specifically stated automatic vesting for specific employees so they knew they were guaranteed money during the trigger event - whether they were still with the company or not. Those numbers are low, but it gives them faith we're not going to screw them over.

PhantomGremlin 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been very lucky to have received equity from three different startups (as an early employee, not as a founder). In each case the company went public or was acquired by a public company. In each case my equity was meaningful in comparison to the salary I received.

IMO there's exactly one key to my good fortune: the company founders made the decision to be generous with the amount of stock/options they granted. They weren't trying to lowball people.

That's the bottom line, you need founders who want to "do the right thing" for their employees. Unfortunately I don't know how you (without doing a lot of due-diligence by asking around) join a company with "honest" founders. It's almost axiomatic that startups try to screw "the little people" out of any stock rewards, even if the company is successful. I was lucky.

mahyarm 13 hours ago 4 replies      
I want to add one more thing, doesn't happen often, but happens often enough:

- Don't put call options on employee stock.

And something I wish that companies would start doing:

- Don't make vested options expire soon after the end of employment. Don't force people to take big tax hits just to buy the stock that they have earned.

michaelochurch 10 hours ago 2 replies      
The defining difference between Silicon Valley companies and almost every other industry in the U.S. is the virtually universal practice among tech companies of distributing meaningful equity (usually in the form of stock options) to ordinary employees.

When was that written? 1985? Meaningful equity? "Meaningful" starts at 0.3/N (pre-dilution) where N is the number of employees. Anyway, equity is an awful model. Profit-sharing is better. Go here: http://michaelochurch.wordpress.com/2013/03/26/gervais-macle...

If I ever build a company, I'll use profit-sharing (at much more generous levels) instead of equity, except for people who are truly partner-level. Trying to convince non-partners to think of themselves as more in order to extract more from them is just dishonest.

But the engineering tradition that spawned Silicon Valley was much more egalitarian than traditional corporate culture.

No, those supposedly stodgy corporate cultures (see: banks) are actually a lot more egalitarian. In banks and normal companies, your boss is a social equal, just more experienced, more valuable on account of being longer with the organization, and perhaps luckier than you are. In these VC-funded startups, founders (much less the unapproachable gods called "investors") are simply better than you. That's why they got introduced to partners at VC funds and you're lucky to get a reply from an associate.

No company would ever pay the 27-year-old VP/HR 10 times the salary of the 35-year-old programmer. You might see 1.5x, especially if the programmer is a bad negotiator (or female). But that's common with VC-istan equity. When it matters, VC-istan equity exacerbates the shit out of inequality because the executives are getting paid 10-100x as much as the workers (when no one would tolerate more than a 1.5-2x difference in salaries).

the Wealthfront Equity Plan should result in approximately 3.5% to 5% annual dilution assuming no executives need to be hired

Investor infusions dilute everyone, of course; but if employees are getting diluted for fucking executives then you, sir, are a fucking asshole and deserve to lose all the talent you have.

Honestly, this product (yes, this is a product pitch, not a real article) looks like a complex solution to a simple problem: the equity model in Silicon Valley is broken and actually very un-egalitarian in practice (look at house prices out there). Equity should be substantial but for genuine partner-level people only (and most people shouldn't, and won't want to be, partners). Everyone else should get substantial profit-sharing that can pay off like equity-- in fact, most get bonuses much larger than they get under the VC-istan system that awards mediocre one-time bonuses-- but (a) isn't persistent if the person leaves, and (b) doesn't come with all the nastiness (tax, regulation) of owning an illiquid security.

johnrob 12 hours ago 1 reply      
There's a catch 22 here though. If the company does well, the new hire equity amount will drop because the stock is more valuable, and thus the evergreen grant will pale in comparison to the employee's earlier grants. Should the evergreen grant be relative to the original grant?

If the company is doing poorly, people are going to look around regardless of equity.

emp25 9 hours ago 2 replies      
General options question: I was hired after the first round of funding and given x0,000 options along the way (three years in so far). We're just now closing our second round. I was curious about the valuation and number of options/shares issued so I could have a ballpark idea of the value of my options. When I asked at a company meeting, the founders hemmed and hawed about it and ultimately wouldn't say. The round hasn't closed yet. Are these numbers typically kept secret? Is there a reason whey they're tight-lipped? Our headcount is 20-30 and I'm just a developer.
btilly 13 hours ago 4 replies      
This is one of the cases where the title of the article is better than the title chosen on HN. Because the entire article is really about why this is The Right Way to Grant Equity to Your Employees.

(As of the time of this comment, the title starts off "One Way..." instead of "The Right Way..." You might disagree with the article's assertion that this is the right way. But a different subject is misrepresenting the article.)

Wikimedia Foundation sends cease and desist letter to WikiPR wikimedia.org
81 points by patomolina  11 hours ago   28 comments top 9
austenallred 10 hours ago 1 reply      
I got this email a couple of months ago. The sales pitch, despite being poorly written, is interesting. I have no idea how they got my email address, but my guess is from AngelList.


Shouldn't Grasswire have a full-length, professional page on Wikipedia? Wiki-PR.com can craft you a professional Wikipedia page for the top 2-3 spots in Google Search.

Would you like more information? Please reply. It will be worthwhile. A full-length, professionally written Wikipedia page will drive sales and inform your clients about what you do best.

Your competitors are getting on Wikipedia. Shouldnt you be on Wikipedia, too?


Vanessa EmbersSales Consultant

Wiki-PRWe Write It. We Manage It. You Never Worry About Wikipedia Again.

Tel: 888-819-0733vanessa@wiki-pr.comTwitter: @wiki_PRSan Francisco, CA

Disclaimer: This is an individual, personalized email sent by a human. But to unsubscribe, simply reply with "unsubscribe" in the email body."

The interesting thing about Wikipedia is that a lot of your ability to post edits without being caught is based on how often you're making edits approved by the Wikipedia community. If it's blatantly spammy or incorrect it will be corrected, but I'm sure there's plenty that slips under the radar, especially for editors with more experience and a lot of edits under their belts.

bradleyjg 9 hours ago 0 replies      
By sending a cease and desist letter, wikimedia puts the situation squarely in that discussed by the US district court in the Craigslist v. 3Taps case.[1] In rejecting a motion to dismiss, the court in that case found that the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, which provides criminal and civil penalties for "intentionally access[ing] a computer without authorization or exceed[ing] authorized access" covers accessing a website after being sent a C&D letter by changing IP addresses to evade an IP ban.

While the aforementioned decision was only on a motion to dismiss and in any event was at the trial rather than appellate level, nonetheless if I were wiki-pr's lawyers I'd caution them strongly not to violate the the C&D.

[1] http://www.volokh.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Order-Denyi...

tokenadult 8 hours ago 0 replies      
That is a well written demand letter. It is reasonably cordial in tone but it is firm and leaves no doubt what the "public relations" company is expected to do and why. My only thought, as a Wikipedian, is WHAT TOOK YOU SO LONG? This kind of abuse of Wikipedia's reputation by violating Wikipedia's terms of service has been going on for years, and even if this group of paid meatpuppets is driven from the site, there are still thousands of articles on Wikipedia that are edited for personal advantage by people who desire to publicize their products or services. I basically can't count on any article about a psychological or genetic test on Wikipedia to be neutral, for example, because people are in the business of publishing or distributing those tests, and other people are in the business of administering them. To date, there are still far too few Wikipedia articles that are based on neutral sources such as graduate-level textbooks (preferably used in combination, to detect any bias that might be in one or another of those) and long-form journalism.

The only Wikipedia article I can recommend (barely) so far is one I have done a lot to edit.[1] It still needs a lot of work, as does just about every other one of the 4,381,166 articles on English Wikipedia. Editing every Wikipedia article to that standard takes a lot of work, and most people don't like to do that much work as volunteers without getting paid, but would rather edit to promote their hobby or their pet cause, or edit to promote their business.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IQ_classification

bredren 8 hours ago 1 reply      
This statement says that wiki-pr was in performing "paid advocacy." I looked at the Terms of Use for Wikipedia and this company seems to be in violation of some or all of this portion:

Engaging in False Statements, Impersonation, or Fraud

- Intentionally or knowingly posting content that constitutes libel or defamation;

- With the intent to deceive, posting content that is false or inaccurate;

- Attempting to impersonate another user or individual, misrepresenting your affiliation with any individual or entity, or using the username of another user with the intent to deceive; and

- Engaging in fraud.

Looking at the cease and desist letter, it appears the real issue here is not that they were being paid to create or maintain wikipedia articles, but that the content was not neutral and that editors did not self-declare their status as paid but rather unaffiliated internet users.

cbr 7 hours ago 0 replies      

    As we have discussed with you previously, we have come to    the opinion that , based on the evidence we have to date,    that agent(s) of your company have engaged in sockpuppetry    or meatpuppetry to, among other things, make it appear as    if certain articles are written by unbiased sources when    in fact those articles are authored by Wiki-PR for money.
I was not expecting to see "sockpuppetry" or "meatpuppetry" in a cease and desist! In general I wouldn't expect lawyers to use company-specific jargon in external communications. What are they trying to do?

pothibo 10 hours ago 1 reply      
This company shows the worse in human beings.

"Let's take one of the best thing human has created to share knowledge and fuck it up and make money while doing it."

iwwr 9 hours ago 5 replies      
So are there legitimate paid articles on wikipedia? Meaning, someone getting paid to write about some (non-spam, non-marketing) topic like how some open source developers get paid.
pkinsky 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Isn't circumvention of terms-of-service a felony these days?
drpgq 9 hours ago 2 replies      
Is there any current standard for when a company is worthy of having a Wikipedia page?
DNS Resolution: APrimer taos.com
33 points by KB1JWQ  6 hours ago   13 comments top 6
colmmacc 1 hour ago 0 replies      
For something so pervasive, DNS is just too hard at times. Even the author, who is clearly in the 99th percentile plus for DNS knowledge, slips up on the depth.

There's two small nits, besides the modern browser caching/pre-fetching, that are worth clearing up;

1. When receiving a delegation response, the NS records won't be in the answer section - they'll be in the authority section. NS records are never in the answer section unless the query was an NS query, or an ANY query. But neither query plays any role in ordinary DNS resolution. Resolvers always ask the same question when recursing - so if you're trying to resolve www.example.com, then with a cold cache a resolver will at some point make a query that is the equivalent of "dig www.example.com @h.gtld-servers.net" . There you'll see the NS records in the authority section, and the glue in the additional section.

2. There's one exception to the "NS queries don't form a part of regular DNS" which is root zone priming. When a resolver first starts it will try to find the current "live" root zone contents by querying each root server in the hints file (which might be out of date), with an NS query, until one responds. E.g. "dig NS . @a.root-servers.net" . That response is what forms the authoritative root zone in the cache, not the hints file. The hints file is just for one-time bootstrap. At least that's the intent.

chrissnell 4 hours ago 3 replies      
This is one of those interview questions that is so disconnected from the day-to-day work of systems administrators and DevOps types, yet it's probably the second-most popular question to ask (behind to "Do you have any questions for me?"). It's not a dumb question, per se, it's just that 90% of the details of the answer is stuff that most of us will never have to mess with.

Still, it's asked so frequently that it's worth learning. While you're at it, take the time to learn dig(1), inside and out. This is something that you'll use frequently and having a solid understanding of dig will make the DNS question a breeze, especially if you are quizzed on aspects of the resolution process.

Bonus points when answering this question: mention the existence of NIS as a resolution option when discussing nsswitch.conf. :)

All of that said, I never ask this question. I'd rather test a candidate's knowledge by asking them about things that we do have to do frequently, like holding a package with APT...backporting a package...writing IPtables rules...structure of Chef cookbooks, etc.

73's. :) NW5W

xiaomai 4 hours ago 0 replies      
This was a really great explanation of glue records. It seems like those are often overlooked when learning about how DNS works.
wereHamster 2 hours ago 1 reply      
> On Linux specifically, the browser will call getaddrinfo()[2] to spark up the systems internal resolver.

Not Chrome, it has its own DNS resolver.

jlgaddis 6 hours ago 1 reply      
The "message compression" used in DNS messages is also quite unusual, compared to other protocols. It serves as a reminder that the DNS protocol was created at a time when it was desirable to minimize as much as possible the amount of bandwidth used (as opposed to today), e.g.:

    a domain name represented as a sequence of labels, where    each label consists of a length octet followed by that    number of octets.  The domain name terminates with the    zero length octet for the null label of the root.  Note    that this field may be an odd number of octets; no    padding is used.

iigs 5 hours ago 0 replies      
It's been quite suitable for my purposes, as well. :) (Hey Corey!)
Nginx security advisory (CVE-2013-4547) nginx.org
111 points by zzzcpan  14 hours ago   37 comments top 10
casca 12 hours ago 2 replies      

    if ($request_uri ~ " ") {        return 403;    }
The issue is the handling of unescaped spaces. These are illegal but nginx accepts them. The workaround is to throw an error any time someone sends the invalid space.

nly 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Call be a cynic, but isn't this why people should use parser generators instead of handrolling this stuff?

I mean, would you want to audit this file? -> http://trac.nginx.org/nginx/browser/nginx/src/http/ngx_http_...

FooBarWidget 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Phusion Passenger has been updated with the default Nginx version set to 1.4.4: http://blog.phusion.nl/2013/11/19/phusion-passenger-4-0-25-r...

The Phusion Passenger official APT repository has also been updated with packages for 1.4.4: https://www.phusionpassenger.com/install_debian

graue 11 hours ago 2 replies      
Shoot, no patch for the 1.2.x series? That's disappointing. It's not that old, is it? I feel like I upgraded to 1.2.x, which was then the newest stable branch, just over a year ago.
yeukhon 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Will Ubuntu server gets the patch in its update? How long does it take to get that update?
egb 9 hours ago 3 replies      
Any advice on how to get PHP working after upgrading from Ubuntu default 1.1.19 to the latest from the http://nginx.org/en/linux_packages.html repo?

No errors thrown anywhere, but php5-fpm is dead in the water... Rolling back until I can find anything on how to fix this.

krenoten 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Does anyone know what the initial estimated severity of this one is?
MickaelVanAken 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Wow, well I've updated to fixed versions from http://nginx.org/en/linux_packages.html before even being noticed about vulnerability.
jacobmarble 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Context anyone?
What It's Like to Fail priceonomics.com
790 points by ryan_j_naughton  1 day ago   298 comments top 55
tokenadult 1 day ago 5 replies      
Wow. He is about my age, and he lived in some of the same cities at the same time I was living in them. After reading this article, I immediately shared it on my Facebook wall before coming here to comment.

Some of the comments posted before this one express puzzlement about his "homelessness" when, after all, he had immediate relatives who still had a house to live in. Many cases of people living on the street are cases of people who have untreated behavior disorders that make them very hard to live with, even for their immediate relatives who have living space. The case of the author here is a case of a man who was brought up (as I am sure, having come from the same generation) to feel that it is his responsibility to provide for his children, and not their responsibility to provide for him. He used to live in Minnesota, where there is lethal cold outdoors during winter, but he was homeless in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, where it can feel cold at night but where the weather is liveable outdoors year-round. The author thought it was more dignified and honorable to live in a car or something else like that than to crash in his children's housing.

On the whole, I'm very impressed by this man's maturity of outlook and gracious recognition of other people's point of view. He acknowledges, as several comments here have pointed out, that he made inexpedient career decisions. For a while, as he also acknowledges, he was "married to his job," and didn't give his wife enough encouragement and support as she brought up their children. He isn't passing blame around, but accepting responsibility. He may be a failure in economic terms in recent years, but his attitude now is admirable and shows a capacity to grow and keep on learning in middle age.

Do any of us know what industry and what form of employment will be a sure thing twenty or thirty years from now? No. But we can be sure that life is full of surprises, which sometimes include setbacks or even complete failures. Being ready to bounce back and try again is a good capacity to develop during youth. It's a crucial capacity to continue to develop into middle age. Now I'm curious about the book[1] from which this article was excerpted. This is the kind of thing I'd like to read for myself, as advice from one dad to another, and the kind of thing I'd like my children to read to prepare for their own independent adult lives.

[1] Tell Me Something, She Said by David Raether


zackmorris 1 day ago 4 replies      
After reading the article, I just realized that there are two kinds of failures: succeeding and subsequently failing, or just failing outright. He managed the first but I've only experienced the second.

The major takeaway from the article is that he fell into the same trap that a lot of us did in the 90s, that the future was so bright you had to wear shades. I had no idea the 2000s were going to be so dang BLEAK.

Now we have a two-tier economy where the companies making money make a lot of money and everyone else makes small money. We also have saturation in just about every market, filled by people who have recognized the small money and rejected it for the suffering it requires. And then we have the rest of the world coming up, so that it's more difficult to stand on others's shoulders and skim income from their labor (a good turn of events in my book). I don't know what all of this means or what the future holds. All I know is that if we rely on the free market to figure all of this out, the future is social darwinism. We'll have billions of souls struggling to find food and shelter instead of contributing their unique gifts to the betterment of humanity.

Xcelerate 1 day ago 19 replies      
So, oddly enough, the thing that bothered me the most about this article was the way his wife left him. I read stories like this a lot online, where two married people are prospering and living happy lives, and then despite the vow they made for "better or worse", one just gives up on the other person when times get hard.

Is it really that easy?

I'm currently 23, and if/when I ever get married, regardless of who brings in the income (both of us, just me, or just her), I would support whoever I married even if they lost their job or had some other hardship. You hear about people getting cancer or some other sickness and their spouse leaving them because they don't want to deal with it. It boggles my mind that these things occur.

If you weren't going to truly commit to the person, why would you get married? Just live together instead. Or get married without saying the vows if you just want the government benefits. I don't understand.

It's not just limited to spouses. It sounds like some of his children could have supported him as well. If something happened to my father, I would do everything I could to take care of him, regardless of what it cost me.

I'm curious of other HNers take on this. Has anyone been in a situation like this?

tsaoutourpants 1 day ago 5 replies      
I feel like there must be more to this story. At one point he says he was making $300K from his main job + $650K from a side job in a year. Even assuming that his average year was only half this money, we're talking $475K. If he did this for 10 years, he'd have brought in almost $5M, or about $6.5M in 2012 dollars. If he invested and got a 5% return on his money (easy back in those days), he's over $7.5M in 2012 dollars. Sure, taxes, but even if a third of his money were gone for that, he's still left with $5M in 2012 dollars.

I understand living is not free, nor is raising kids. But, even if he spent $10,000/month on mortgage payments (which should be building him equity) and $120K on raising each child (prorated over this 10 year period), we're looking at $1.7M in expenses.

He states that he saved well and lived below his means, but yet states that his savings when he quit was $500K. Something doesn't add up.

Bahamut 1 day ago 2 replies      
I understand this conundrum - I experienced homelessness myself. I had a top notch education, attended a top program in mathematics for graduate school as a PhD student, ABD (All But Dissertation)...and ended up homeless after leaving graduate school. I did not prepare for the real world at all - I naively expected the real world to recognize a talent like mine and seize it. I quickly learned that was not the case.

I joined the military out of desperation over that reality. It was a hard way to live, but it had its rewards. It wasn't the life I wanted to live though, and so, after completing initial active duty training, I was out on the job search again.

I applied to just about any white collar job I could, touting my education, excellent intelligence, and ability to learn quickly. Still no luck. I got fed up and started to teach myself coding. I started to enjoy it greatly. A little more than a year after leaving active orders, I found an entry level job at a non-profit - a dream position for me at the time, minus the pay, but it was pay that I couldn't even touch in salary before.

My pay made me more hungry to succeed, so I spent many offhours & downtime during work to learn as much as I could about web development. I switched jobs only 10 months into that first career job in web development and became a senior frontend developer.

It has been not even a year since I started my career & I'm on track to be a successful professional. From 3 1/2 years ago to 1 year ago, I was essentially homeless. I used whatever means possible to survive, and kept as sane as I could throughout all that time.

Homelessness was a humbling experience. It was painful, but it was illuminating. I made bad decisions, as well as my parents, but the situation got me to reflect and put myself back on the right path, with some help from friends. I am still the same person as I ever was, but my compassion for others with legitimate troubles has grown. I still help anyone I can & who is willing to set their lives on the right path, as others helped me beforehand.

Yhippa 1 day ago 0 replies      
> My agent told me that I faced a common problem for writers my age: Producers could hire a team of first-time writers for less than the fee they would pay me for my services. But they wont know what theyre doing, I countered. They dont care, he responded.

Hmm. That sounds awfully familiar.

goggles99 1 day ago 3 replies      
This is a very sad story. Even more sadly, it reflects many similar stories.

All this calamity for this family of 10 came from bad planning. This guy had a career that would have likely lasted until retirement, but he took a risk and quit it. That was a smallish risk, not nearly the risk he took while in his next job.

He admits that writers careers don't usually don't last into their 50s. Why did he not save more money so he could retire early? Why did he choose to have more and more children? Why did he not position himself for transition into another job as his writing career progressed? Why did he just quit without having another (less demanding) job lined up?

He was making upwards of a million dollars a year at one point. I had some neighbors while growing up in the 90s, they had 8 kids too and their father probably make 2-3 million dollars over his entire life. They were never homeless (in fact they had a pretty nice 5bd house), never hungry, cold, had decently new cars and clothes, ETC. This guy blew his wad all at once like a pro athlete.

All bad choices.

After his job, why did they not cut back on their spending? They should have downsized and cut back dramatically rather than continuing their expensive lifestyle.

At the time he quit, he was probably worth over 2 million dollars Add half a million that they borrowed after that and you still can't make that last more than 6 years?

I know someone who did something similar. The person that I know took a couple of years off like this. He got so used to it that when he started looking for a job again - it was half-assed (he was spoiled with still living lavish on savings and not having to work). He sabotaged many interviews, turned down some for bogus reasons and when he got jobs, he could not keep them for long (self sabotage again). It was like he was mentally ready for retirement already, but he was only 40.

It is a sad story, but I have a hard time feeling sorry for someone who has grossed over 10 million dollars over his lifetime but squandered it.

not_that_noob 1 day ago 8 replies      
The main reason he failed is because the industries he picked - first publishing and second sitcoms - were declining industries. And no matter how smart or hardworking you are - and this dude was smart and prudent and hardworking - you can't fight against larger macroeconomic forces.
vijayboyapati 1 day ago 1 reply      
This was a great read. Reminds me of a modern day version of George Orwell's classic, Down and Out in Paris and London
dpcan 1 day ago 2 replies      
He has 8 kids. 6 grown and moved on. Not one of them refused to let him be homeless? Had a couch for him to sleep on? A computer to search for jobs on?
OldSchool 1 day ago 1 reply      
Unless you're the rare tech entrepreneur getting a lifetime's fortune in a single acquisition event, or the equally rare successful serial entrepreneur, there will be ups and downs and you won't know the outcome until years later. The specifics of what you do today will inevitably become irrelevant even if it's the hottest technology of the moment. Save and continually adapt.
VLM 1 day ago 2 replies      
Its fun to search for the word college

"Yes, I, David Raether, the smart and funny guy who graduated with honors from college"

"I ... helped high school seniors write college essays"

"The other children have finished college or are nearing completion."

And his story about his college buddy who couldn't write a magazine.

Yup kids graduating with honors made me what I am today, a dude living in a '97 minivan... while the dropouts are startup billionaires and bartenders for famous people make $600K/yr, however temporarily.

I just thought the fixation on college was humorously extremely accurate and highly subversive.

HIbachikabuki 1 day ago 2 replies      
He seems like a nice guy but comes across like he didn't really think through the implications of his life choices, and when they piled on top of each other, it put him in a bad place. (I'm almost his age & have faced many of the same issues but made different decisions.)

My take-aways:

- being a single-source-of-income family is risky

- the above is esp true if you have high cash outflow (big family & big mortgage in expensive part of the country)

- if you've saved less than 2x your current annual income, don't make the mistake of thinking that's a lot

- taking years out of the workforce, esp in the 2nd half of your career, can hurt your changes of getting back into a decent job

- industries can change really quickly, so don't get too comfortable just because your skill set is hot stuff at a given moment in time

- always have a plan to build up a secondary skill set or source of income (for example, imagine if he'd bought a small rental property back when he was flush...)

- think through the lifestyle implications of jobs/careers: for example a job that requires a lot of travel or long hours or relocation will have impacts on your family/ non-job life

- think through the implications of having a kid (much less eight) in terms of the stress on family finances, your time, your marriage

- there's resources online that can help with almost any problem you encounter in life, you just have to find and use them

cabinguy 1 day ago 1 reply      
Very interesting story. I used to frequent Williams Pub in Uptown (the downstairs peanut bar) so it made the story a little more personal for me. My guess is that he will have a few offers for "full-time, permanent employment" as a writer after this essay.
emillerm 1 day ago 1 reply      
I feel for the guy, but it sounds like he was spending beyond his means from the start, and then quit his job on top of that. According to cnn the average cost of raising a child is 240K, not including college. Multiply that by 8 and spread it over 18 years, and that is 107K per year, for 18 years. And that is just for the kids.

It was a different time and all, but quitting your job completely when you have a large mortgage and 8 kids seems irresponsible. His eventual recovery is inspiring, but what would have happened to those 8 kids if his wife couldn't fall back on the German citizenship and its social safety net? This could have easily ended much worse for them.

kilroy123 1 day ago 3 replies      
I'm actually on the other end of a very similar story with my mom.

My mom will turn 50 in just a few months and she is now homeless (lives with family for the movement), has no job, can not land another job, and has absolutely no money or savings.

She was a nurse and my step-dad was a software developer who made very good money, especially for the area. Both of them combined made over 200k a year. They were terrible with money and very rarely saved.

It started when my mom lost her nursing license and could no long hold her career, at all, anywhere. Not a big deal, step-dad made a lot of money. Then my step-dad decided to leave my mom. He was still going to help her until she bounced back, so not that huge of a problem. Until he got laid off... After months, he finally landed a new job at a startup, and it will be a while until he bounces back.

Now my mom is completely on her own. She has no money whatsoever. She has no home, and is living with one of her brothers. She took a year+ off work, and doesn't have a medical license to get a high paying nursing job.

Who wants to hire a 50 year old who hasn't worked in almost 2 years, and mysteriously isn't a nurse anymore? I feel for her, but a lot of bad financial, and personal decisions lead her to where she is now.

bjourne 12 hours ago 1 reply      
In my mind, this is an important bug report. Often when you deal with users, the problem is between the keyboard and chair: "The calculations are all wrong!" "Yes, that's because you uploaded an excel spreadsheet with all the wrong numbers..."

But sometimes it isn't the users fault. Sometimes programs crash because you made a coding error. So you fix your code and the users become happy.

To me, this story is the latter. Guy didn't do drugs, isn't a suffering a mental disorder, have a gambling problem, alcoholic and still becomes homeless! Then I think the problem can not be blamed on a user error, but is a system problem. Perhaps this user didn't behave exactly as the system programmers expected, but there still needs to be enough error handling builtin so you don't get homeless from the errors he made.

xacaxulu 1 day ago 1 reply      
For the sake of fiscal solvency, an argument could be made for not having 8 children and maybe not living in the most expensive place in America. The guy's story is motivational but it seems like a lot of this could have been avoided by not buying into the 'American Dream' hook line and sinker.
mooreds 1 day ago 0 replies      
Terrifying. But inspiring too.

I rode by a homeless person on the way to work today. This reminds me "there, but for the grace of God, go I". (Substitute whatever you like for the god word: fate, karma, etc.)

Sometimes it is good to be reminded that sometimes sh*t just happens. (And I know, he could have done things differently in terms of life choices, but he also had some really poor luck.)

pbreit 1 day ago 1 reply      
Is Priceonomics ever going to do anything besides write epic blog posts?
paulhauggis 1 day ago 0 replies      
Honestly, with 8 kids, what kind of job do you expect to have that doesn't take the majority of your time up? It will either be one long job or a regular job and a night job.

"All of our children do as well. Germany has a stronger social safety net, so she decided to return with our two youngest daughters. They spent their high school years there and received a great education"

This part doesn't make sense to me. So his wife would rather divorce, which is even more unhealthy for the children because there is no dad around to utilize a safety net than have a husband with a job with long hours. He was making $600,000/year. This is enough to support them for many years.

His wife sounds like the selfish one and this was all an excuse to go back to Germany. Many women want the family and the money, but don't realize the time and sacrifice that it actually takes to get it.

mhartl 1 day ago 0 replies      
I find this especially surreal because I live in Pasadena near San Marino and know most of the places he mentions. We may even have crossed paths. It's also virtually certain that we know at least one person in common, as I have a cousin who held various positions on "Roseanne", including head writer. Come to think of it, I once went to a taping of the show, so we may have crossed paths then, too. Wild. Glad he bounced back.
OGC 1 day ago 1 reply      
Lesson: Don't have eight kids.
UK-AL 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is why I think having a good welfare system encourages entrepreneurship. You can take risks without going homeless.
300bps 1 day ago 6 replies      
Stories like this are why I work 40 hours per week at my full time job at an investment bank and then work 20 hours per week doing side consulting. Right or wrong, I believe that "There but for the grace of God go I".

As he says in the article:

I made a thousand decisions, large and small, that seemed reasonable at the time but cumulatively led to our situation

This type of thing keeps me up at night. Should I take the night off watching a TV show or get more work done? Should I go to every single one of my kids' activities or should I spend some of them at home working? Having grown up relatively poor, I don't want to return to that and stories like this are scary.

angryasian 1 day ago 2 replies      
I think many entrepreneurs here can attest to similar stories of failures after being in the job market. I was fortunate I have an engineering background, but my skills were very deteriorated .. due to the fact that being a founder pulls your focus, skills and attention in many other areas. I did feel like I took a giant step down from where I was when I left my engineering position to becoming a founder and back.

Was it worth it, NO

charlieflowers 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Who paid for the 6 kids college?

(I enjoyed the story and feel tons of compassion for him. But there do seem to be some unexplained factual gaps in the story that my brain wants to make sense of. Who paid for college is the main question I haven't seen anyone else mention yet).

deaconblues 1 day ago 0 replies      
Frightening and strangely inspiring. Definitely worth a read. Right on for his honest and uncompromising view of his own situation.
rckrd 1 day ago 0 replies      
So many things in this article don't add up. First, the finances. Second, the two years of intentional unemployment to bring his family back together. Clearly, that didn't work, and he suffered financially because of that. The inability to pay bills and the foreclosure on his home were not immediate - he must have seen his finances dwindle over the period of two years. Then, the estrangement from his family and their lack of financial support for their now homeless father.

While there is probably some value here, most of the important parts are missing and its hard to find sympathy for someone when it seems like the fail happened over the course of many years and was avoidable.

bomatson 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wow, quite a story. I wish we saw more like it on HN. Honest and real
zvrba 1 day ago 0 replies      
Reading comments in this thread just confirms the old saying that it's easy to be a good general after the battle. But David himself says at the beginning of the text: "I made a thousand decisions, large and small, that seemed reasonable at the time but cumulatively led to our situation."

Of course it's easy to analyze what went wrong after the fact. But it's not easy to see the trends when you're amid them. (Continuously monitoring the ongoing trends is one of the advices in the Book of five rings. A pile of small seemingly incremental changes amounts to a big shift. It's hard to notice them when they happen over an extended period of time.)

auctiontheory 14 hours ago 0 replies      
For those who would like to help him, the most direct way is to buy and then review his book on Amazon. He will receive more money for the paper edition than for the Kindle.
ilaksh 14 hours ago 0 replies      
How many jobs did he apply for which he was well qualified? The "economy" failed this guy, not the other way around. And under no circumstances should people end up homeless. There are too many empty homes. I will go so far as to say that no one should have to take charity from family or community in order to have some type of home, regardless of their income.

This is a very sick and outdated Social Darwinistic society we have.

The structure is the problem.

OhHeyItsE 1 day ago 1 reply      
Go home and hug your bank accounts tonight, folks...
kika 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wow. There're experiences that you may think of but never really anticipate to encounter. For me it was feeling shame for buying a Kindle edition of the book. But I really want to read it and if so I need to buy it in the Kindle form.
josh_fyi 23 hours ago 0 replies      
To solve a resume gap, just say you were a consultant.

To make sure it's truthful, get a few gigs, no matter how low-paid (this guy did). If you're likely, some of the customers will serve be willing to serve as references.

Most interviewers will not ask much about what you did as a consultant. You can tell them truthfully about the gigs. No interviewers will ask exactly how many hours a week you were billing.

lettergram 1 day ago 0 replies      
It seems to me that he did not plan appropriately. He invested and what not, but it seems to me he could have just been doing a part time job the entire time he was in "the gap" and he would have been fine.

Further, eight kids...

He seems nice, just planned VERY poorly. Also, kudos for him tugging back from homelessness. I am impressed.

11thEarlOfMar 1 day ago 0 replies      
Like a chess game, it is not always obvious when you've made a decision that will ultimately cost you the game. Even if it is the only bad decision, and even if the mate comes 2 dozen moves later, you may never realize what it was.

In reflecting how this could have played out differently, it seems that he needed a perspective outside his own circle, even after he had resigned. Not a formal adviser and paid advice, but someone he trusted who could see the increasing peril to his career. Even if the outcome was inevitable, perhaps the landing could have been softer.

geoka9 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Barring living in a socialist utopia, I wouldn't dare to have even one child without being independently wealthy, let alone 8.
stretchwithme 1 day ago 1 reply      
I wonder how much this fellow paid in Social Security taxes over the years. I don't understand why people can't use their own resources when they need them, rather than when other people think they need them.

The rules of a 401K and IRAs allow you to borrow from your own retirement funds (albeit with penalty if not paid back within a certain window). It seems like that would be more desirable than the funds being untouchable.

bkamapantula 1 day ago 0 replies      
Incredible story. Heart-breaking and inspiring at the same time. I cannot help but think how many stories were forgotten from that recession.
nilkn 1 day ago 0 replies      
What stood out to me about this is how well-written it is. I hope someone in a position to hire a writer reads this and recognizes his talent.
ilovecookies 1 day ago 2 replies      
"My wife, Marina, was cooking dinner for me and our eight children"

I stopped reading there...

liotier 1 day ago 0 replies      
Takeaway: socio-cultural is the most important sort... Without a large baggage of skills to bounce back on, this story would not have ended the same way.
michaelochurch 1 day ago 1 reply      
I feel like the "fuck you, I've got mine" culture of Hollywood and, thanks to the VCs, also the Valley leads this way for a lot of talented, creative people (such as OP). The problem is that no one thinks age discrimination will happen to them, and people who've realized that it can and does have been rendered irrelevant.

Also, I know that a lot of people will think that this is a shitty thing to say, but it's just the truth, so here goes. Unless you have dynastic wealth (and various generational protections against losing it, such as trust funds that skip a generation) having 8 kids is just fucking irresponsible. You're betting on 5+ of them being 150+ IQ types who can make it on their own without top schools and bought connections, and that's just not a reasonable bet no matter how good your genes may be. Sorry, but them's truth. I'm not sure I can even condone bringing one child into this fucked-up, horrible society. I certainly wouldn't even consider it if I lived in the ex-hippie-now-hypocrite fuck-you-I've-got-mine paradise of Hollywood/Silicon Valley.

bomatson 1 day ago 0 replies      
Just picked up the book, anyone else?
eranation 1 day ago 0 replies      
Bought the book, I hope most of the money goes to him... but I doubt it
krasi0 9 hours ago 0 replies      
A great and enlightening story! But 8 children...?! Come on!
tonydiv 1 day ago 0 replies      
Priceonomics should hire this guy. I wouldn't doubt he would dedicate himself to writing stories such at these.
jxf 1 day ago 0 replies      
He didn't really fail; he stumbled, and got back up.
capex 1 day ago 0 replies      
Just bought his book.
sciguy77 1 day ago 2 replies      
While this is up, does anyone know what happened to the Priceonomics search bar?
mrtriangle 1 day ago 0 replies      
for anyone looking, his twitter is: https://twitter.com/davidraether
sunl 22 hours ago 0 replies      
It's a good story, people should think about the fail carefully before commit to a startup. I shall read this story 1 year before, it's too late to think about it when you are facing it.
larrys 1 day ago 2 replies      
"Since I moved to the Bay Area, Ive worked on two startups. I had a substantial equity stake in one of them and was promised an equity stake in the other once the next round of financing came through."

Good story. And sad. But still not following Mom's advice and betting on something that has a very small chance of success.

I wonder how much salary he is giving up to get that lottery ticket?

In Venture Capital Deals, Not Every Founder Will Be a Zuckerberg nytimes.com
62 points by npalli  10 hours ago   35 comments top 16
npalli 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Slightly disappointing to see the anti-founder sentiment expressed here. To recap --

1. The founders started from zero with their own equity and worked for six years on the startup. They took funding during '99 and '00 when it was a very easy time to get funding. Completely unremarkable investment (risk-wise) for the investors.

2. The dot-com crash and 9/11 meant that many many businesses collapsed post 2000. So, it wasn't just founder incompetence. There are many startups that almost went under but slowly managed to get out and have exits during the late '00s.

3. Apparently the investors thought the company was good enough to continue investing under the same name with new management. If the idea was so useless why didn't they shut it down in 2000?

4. Most of the value of startups is created after the first several years. Many lessons are learned that give direction to future opportunities. Many of the startups that almost went under and came up, learned to pivot (same management).

The lesson to learn here is that the founder were not diligent about control over their company. It is not like the investors did some calculation of value demonstrated to come up with the numbers. They automatically started adding 8% of company shares every year based on the 2000 agreement.

To give a counter example to make things clear, Microsoft started in 1975 with Bill Gates and Paul Allen. Allen was diagnosed with Cancer and pretty much stopped working at Microsoft after 1982. After six years. How much audit-able value did Microsoft created post Paul Allen?. I would say about 99%. Does that mean he should be zeroed out? No. He kept his stake (worth tens of billions). That's how it should be.

Most of the value in a startup is latent during the early stages. Even things that don't work out teach you things. If you go by audit-able value, that pretty much guarantees early founders (who don't stay) will get wiped out. For people who are cheering on the investors, how many of you have bootstrapped a startup for six years?

yangez 10 hours ago 3 replies      
> When the Internet bubble burst, the company underwent rocky times. By 2000, [the founder] was gone from the company, as were four other members of his founding team.

> For the next decade, Bloodhound recovered and slowly grew, raising seven more rounds of financing. In April 2011, the company was sold for $82.5 million.

11 years is a long time. How much do they think they deserved?

ChuckMcM 8 hours ago 0 replies      
My first startup I made enough money to buy a car, the second, a car radio. Not an uncommon outcome. But I did well on Sun, NetApp, and Google shares as an employee.

When a startup goes years and years and years the likelyhood of a "big" payout goes down. Especially if there has been a number of rounds because later rounds often restructure the terms if the company is in a 'do or die' sort of situation. No matter what you sign you may be out of the money even with a big initial grant.

There was this quote: "Bloodhound also paid a $15 million bonus to its current management team." which is probably the retention incentive/earnout bonus. Basically you don't want the folks who know how to run the engine to bail as soon as the check clears the bank, so you put some sort of constraint on that.

As for the original founders, hey they went on to do other things and suddenly from their past a check dropped in their lap, that is something at least.

ig1 10 hours ago 2 replies      
1) Always get an experienced lawyer to review paperwork you sign.

2) It's pretty normal for people who give you money (be it a loan or an equity investment) to get their money back before you do in event of a sale.

Imagine the situation where you raised $5m for 20% of your company and then the next day you sold the entire company for $5m. You'd get $4m and the investor would get $1m, you'd be very happy and your investor very unhappy.

Hence no rational investor would give you money without a clause that ensured that in the case of an exit that they had priority upto the amount they invested.

joshmlewis 10 hours ago 0 replies      
The title is somewhat misleading (wow I hear that a lot around here.) Basically the founders raised a bunch of money (almost $2M in '99 and $3M in 2000) right before the dot com bust.

The article gives no indication how well they did, how they were able to raise so much money, what happened with it, etc. So really it's hard to judge if the founders were really put on the street like the title suggests. Like someone else mentioned, it seems as though a lot of the value was created after they were gone. Who knows if they blew the money, sucked at managing and scaling the company, etc. WE DON'T KNOW without doing more research.

It kind of sucks the article was so vague on their actual business value. That would've given more insight. If it said they put all their blood, sweat, and tears and created value for years before it was ripped out of their hands and given to the big bad VCs, then I would've had more sympathy.

argumentum 10 hours ago 3 replies      
I don't feel too bad for these founders, regarding the outcome. It looks like the majority of value was created after they were at the company (by people other than them).
mattmaroon 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Really? I thought every startup went just like Facebook!
mani04 51 minutes ago 0 replies      
I was reading the comments under original article, and came across this book - "Venture Deals".

With a bootstrapping mindset, I probably may not need it. But posting the info here for anyone who might be interested in VCs... Search for it in amazon or your favorite bookstore.

tthomas48 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I think this goes back to the fact that start-ups are not get rich quick schemes. I was at a successful start-up that was acquired by a fortune 500 company. I got north of $500. From talking to many other software engineers, that is a pretty fantastic payout. Most people will never be in a start-up that yields much of value. You've got to do it because you love it.
arbuge 7 hours ago 2 replies      
I believe VC terms are a bit more founder friendly these days than they were in 1999. Founders have become more educated and double or triple dipping isn't as common as it used to be, in my experience.

That, and VCs are less likely to fire the founder as a matter of course to replace him/her with professional management, ever since The Social Network came out.

redschell 10 hours ago 2 replies      
>The rule of thumb among venture capitalists is that some 20 percent to 30 percent of companies fail, returning nothing to any investor, including the venture capitalists.

Earlier in the article, it mentions the statistic that I'm familiar with, which is that roughly 75% of venture-backed companies fail.

What gives?

contextual 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Zuckerberg must be a traffic-drawing keyword for them to put it in the headline. It's such an obvious statement for an otherwise informative article.
bruceb 10 hours ago 0 replies      
While one would have to know a lot more details but the basic take away is control, control, control.
pocketstar 5 hours ago 0 replies      
At first I read: "In Venture Capital Deals, Not Every Founder Will Be a Zoidberg"
founder4fun 6 hours ago 0 replies      
No doubt Zuckerberg is a smart guy, but he hit the start-up lottery jackpot.
larrys 8 hours ago 1 reply      
"The rule of thumb among venture capitalists is that some 20 percent to 30 percent of companies fail, returning nothing to any investor, including the venture capitalists."

I believe that number is the mirror. It should say "20 to 30 percent" succeed.

The Mission of Tesla teslamotors.com
312 points by GraffitiTim  23 hours ago   185 comments top 26
cloudwalking 20 hours ago 3 replies      
Everybody is missing a huge point:

Vehicle fire now completely covered under warranty, even when caused by operator error.

"Third, to reinforce how strongly we feel about the low risk of fire in our cars, we will be amending our warranty policy to cover damage due to a fire, even if due to driver error. Unless a Model S owner actively tries to destroy the car, they are covered. Our goal here is to eliminate any concern about the cost of such an event and ensure that over time the Model S has the lowest insurance cost of any car at our price point. Either our belief in the safety of our car is correct and this is a minor cost or we are wrong, in which case the right thing is for Tesla to bear the cost rather than the car buyer."

salimmadjd 20 hours ago 9 replies      
Flawed argument!

Model S is only 1 year old and it's a premium vehicle. So the fire rate should be compared to those of premium vehicles about the same age.

jwise0 22 hours ago 9 replies      
The sentence -- "First, we have rolled out an over-the-air update to the air suspension that will result in greater ground clearance at highway speeds." -- for some reason deeply amuses me. I thought that it was scary to push out OTAs to phones (I hope everything works like it did in the dev environment); I can't imagine pushing an OTA to a $85,000 car!

A few sentences later, though -- "Another software update expected in January will give the driver direct control of the air suspension ride height transitions." -- concerns me. Tesla's car computer is becoming increasingly complex, and the fact that the infotainment system will have such complete control over the car -- and will still accept data from outside sources -- is very concerning. I hope that at some point soon Tesla will begin talking about the security methodology that they use for the firmware running on the car, and how they prevent unauthorized code from running.

nfm 21 hours ago 7 replies      
Why are people desperate to see Tesla fail? Is it a negative PR campaign from the auto or oil industry? This blog post shouldn't need to be written.
MrMeker 22 hours ago 5 replies      
Mr. Musk seems to have a habit of publicizing his back-of-the-napkin calculations. "Based on the Model S track record so far, you have a zero percent chance of being hurt in an accident resulting in a battery fire."

It seems to have worked well for him. Maybe I should pick it up.

Killah911 19 hours ago 3 replies      
This whole fiasco reminds me of Ryan Holiday's book "Trust me I'm lying". I can't help but wonder if some "media manipulator" was involved in the possible manufacture of some negative PR for Tesla.This assumption is not unreasonable since Ralph Nader was attacked by hired gun media (hired by the big three) when he dared challenge the status quo. I'm not that the big three are involved, but the stink caused by the car fires seems a bit "manipulated".My friend rolled his truck this weekend. He's looking for the new car and when I suggested a Tesla, he gave me a Resounding no, due to fire hazard. While this a heuristic observation, he is a pretty innovative guy and I'm confident he would a picked or even considered a tesla had it not been for the negative press.Lastly, I wonder if Elon's doing the right thing by repeating this. Maybe he should talk to Ryan Holiday type. I genuinely hope that this blows over and that Tesla & Elon can get back to building awesome cars & changing the world rather than playing PR.
codex 10 hours ago 0 replies      
In general, I'm not a big fan of linking directly to PR put out by self-interested parties. It's very hard for the average reader to de-spin the propaganda put out in these missives. They're being manipulated and don't know it. I'd much prefer a link to a well written analysis of events from an unbiased industry expert.
bachback 21 hours ago 0 replies      
This just shows how insane the media world is. Great rebuttal. I love this one: "It is literally impossible for another car to have a better safety track record, as it would have to possess mystical powers of healing."
thom 19 hours ago 2 replies      
"It is also why arsonists tend to favor gasoline. Trying to set the side of a building on fire with a battery pack is far less effective."


damon_c 21 hours ago 0 replies      
This is probably the first article I've read linked from HN where "firewall" referred to a barrier designed to partition fire.
chris_mahan 4 hours ago 0 replies      
What I want to know is what Elon Musk is working on next. He's not 100% on Tesla 24x7, because now he has people to optimize the factories and work out the next models. What else is he doodling about on his notepad.

This is the Elon Musk I want to see, not the harried auto executive making PR stunts.

ececconi 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Yes, but the Model S's on the road are less than a couple of years old. How many gasoline fires are caused by cars that are a couple of years old? I would guess this comparison would put the gasoline fires more in line with Tesla car rates. I would assume that most of the gasoline engines that catch fire are from older cars which haven't been maintained well.
felix 17 hours ago 1 reply      
Whatever you think of the blog post and Musk's spin - he puts his money where his mouth is. He's put into writing that if a 3rd party investigation into the fires finds anything they can do to improve safety - everyone gets a free retrofit. And short of an owner actively trying to destroy their car, Tesla's warranty will cover fire damage.

How many CEO's have that level of confidence in their product? Can you imagine Honda, Audi, BMW or any of the others reacting that way to something like this? And they've been around for much longer.

sanj 12 hours ago 1 reply      
"First, we have rolled out an over-the-air update to the air suspension that will result in greater ground clearance at highway speeds."

Wow. Now I live in the future.

san86 15 hours ago 1 reply      
I did not see Elon complaining when a car launch got so much attention from the press. This just seems to be the other side of the same coin.This happens to every runaway success. Remember the "death grip" nonsense for iPhone4 and how it was blown out of proportion?Media loves the story of a man who worked against all adds to build/create something amazing. Unfortunately, they love "the fall of the guy" even more.
codex 16 hours ago 1 reply      
The Tesla counter spin to avoid a recall here is incredible. The OTA update is a de facto recall but it only partially addresses the issue.
001sky 21 hours ago 6 replies      
Reading the headlines, it is therefore easy to assume that the Tesla Model S and perhaps electric cars in general have a greater propensity to catch fire than gasoline cars when nothing could be further from the truth.

Actually, the Data do not support Him. He is starting to tread on shallow ground, and perhaps should re-evaluate and stratify his data analysis to fires 'on public highways'.[1,2] That is where all of the Tesla Fires are happening. Unfortunately, those data do not support him.

By this metric, you are more than four and a half times more likely to experience a fire in a gasoline car than a Model S! Considering the odds in the absolute, you are more likely to be struck by lightning in your lifetime than experience even a non-injurious fire in a Tesla.

And, Bayesian statistics might give you a different analysis.

From a PR perspective, I wonder if this is really doing him any favours? The note he wrote after the october crash was flawed, but perhaps excusable. This is too pre-meditated and now must just be considered somewhere on the spectrum of 'wrong' to 'misguided' to 'misleading'.

[1] In data terms, it excludes intentional fires like vandalism, and parked cars being struck, and accidents in motor repair facilities, etc.

[2] http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Public+highway

Pitarou 8 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a marketing problem.

For marketing purposes, Teslas must be perceived to as safe, if not safer in every respect than gasoline cars. So if they're more likely to catch fire when they hit road debris, that's a problem.

robomartin 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't know what's going on but I sometimes wish someone would tell Elon to cool it and really think things through before making public statements. I realize there's a lot of emotion involved. His competitors are loving every minute of him flying off the handle and making dumb statements.

> Based on the Model S track record so far, you have a zero percent chance of being hurt in an accident resulting in a battery fire

This is right up there with Bush's "Mission Accomplished", his Dad's "Read my lips. No new taxes.", Obama's red line and "You can keep your plan. Period".

It's not true. Or put in better terms, the data is not statistically significant. And he knows it.

These are the kinds of statements you really regret making when reality catches up with you.

> There are now substantially more than the 19,000 Model S vehicles on the road that were reported in our Q3 shareholder letter for an average of one fire per at least 6,333 cars, compared to the rate for gasoline vehicles of one fire per 1,350 cars. By this metric, you are more than four and a half times more likely to experience a fire in a gasoline car than a Model S!

Again, he knows this math is wrong. To make this comparison stick you'd have to aggregate data going back to the very introduction of gasoline powered vehicles. You'd also have to include every kind of vehicle --trucks, vans, busses, not just cars. And then you'd have to remove the percentage of fires that were caused intentionally which, from what I was able to garner, could represent a massive 20% to 30% of fires. Fires due to collisions represent a smaller fraction of all automobile fires.

Further to that, you'd have to also consider vehicle age, maintenance and environment. Is it fair to compare a fire on a a 15 year old truck in a rural setting on substandard roads against a brand new Tesla in the city on great roads? How are Tesla's going to perform (in terms of safety) when they are five, ten, fifteen or twenty years old?

Perhaps the comparison should be restricted to fires caused by collisions (not intentional or other non-collision causes) on new cars operating in the same urban centers where Tesla's are found.

In other words, he is grabbing numbers without any though given to applicability.

Again, these are statements that obviously come from anger and frustration and you could end-up regretting them.

> you are more likely to be struck by lightning in your lifetime than experience even a non-injurious fire in a Tesla.

From [1]:

"The odds of becoming a lightning victim in the U.S. in any one year is 1 in 700,000. The odds of being struck in your lifetime is 1 in 3,000."

So we are comparing the odds of something happening over someone's lifetime (50 to 90 years?) with a fire in a car that's been in the market for ONE YEAR? Really? How about we compare it to the 1 in 700,000 yearly case? It's still a bullshit comparison. But, hey, since we are slinging bullshit.

Again. Please. Think before saying such things. All you need is one fire where someone gets hurt or killed and this statement could be thrown back as an utter joke. With only 20,000 cars on the road every incident has the potential to change numbers in a radical way. If that happens you now have a 1 in 20,000 chance of being killed in a Tesla in any one year. See how stupid it is to make such statements?

> The far more deadly nature of a gasoline car fire deserves to be re-emphasized.

Who do you think you are talking to? Who's your audience? Children? There are a BILLION cars in the world[0]. A BILLION. That number might not include motorcycles, trucks and other variants. I would suggest gasoline powered vehicles are pretty damn safe, particularly when you consider markets where they might not have pristine roads, regular maintenance and where cars are used for ten, twenty and thirty years rather than flipping them every few years as is often the case in affluent communities in the US and elsewhere.

Anyhow, the point is that sometimes you have to lead by not reacting to things with emotion and by not saying things you know you will have to regret. The strongest statement he could make right now is to crash several Model-S's (as painful as that might be) into concrete walls, into each other and into gasoline cars and show --in a very public way-- just how safe they might be. If they are not. Fix it and then show the public. Release the videos and let people sort it out.

[0] http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2011/08/23/car-population_n_934...

[1] http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/06/0623_040623_...

TrainedMonkey 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I find their statistics to be somewhat misleading. Can we see fire statistics on cars produced from the same time as Model S? Because I am not surprised a lot of the older cars are catching on fire.

I still believe Tesla will be safer then gasoline cars, but gap definitely would not be orders of magnitude.

11thEarlOfMar 14 hours ago 0 replies      
FD: TSLA Shareholder

We should discuss whether the situation changes over time. As gasoline cars age, their likelihood of catching fire increases. As electric cars age, does their chance also increase?

The flammable elements of a gas-powered car also have wear and tear issues, and poor service risks. A do-it-yourself mechanic replacing a fuel filter is a worry, for example.

Or, an old engine with a compromised head gasket, coated in leaked oil and then overheating.

No time to do the analysis myself, but I am guessing that the failure modes of a gas car that cause fire are many and the failure modes of a Tesla are few. Moreover, the likelihood of a particular failure mode in a Tesla may not increase at the same rate as gas as the cars age.

robomartin 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I've said this before and now I'll generalize my statement to say that the most important issue in the electric vehicle segment is and will be that of high power and high voltage system safety, of which the battery is one component. If the public becomes spooked by problems and accidents in this area it could set the electric vehicle market back a decade or more.

The real test for electrics will come when one or two million electric vehicles of all types are sharing the road. That's when this issue of battery and power system safety will be hugely important. I can imagine semi's with a million Wh battery systems rolling down the highway. What I cannot imagine are chain reaction collisions involving a variety of electric and liquid fuel vehicles.

Tesla is at the forefront of this movement, which means all eyes are on them, the arrows are on their backs and they have the burden of proof.

One of the most expensive types of businesses to get into are those where you have to educate your customer base before a sales pitch can even begin. Having to educating the market before you can sell to them can seriously derail one's focus and cost bundles of money that could be put to better use elsewhere. I've been in markets like that. It's a horrible slog.

Up until now, for the most part, electrics have avoided this territory. I fear that period is ending. Up until now the conversations about electrics were about range and relative cost when compared to gasoline vehicles. It feels like we are now entering the domain of having to potentially prove to the market that the technology is safe as well as to remove (or stop the potential of the development of) fears of fire and electrocution.

Tesla, due to their position in the market, has the honor of having all microscopes aimed at everything they do. Every mishap is amplified. Now that the NTSB has officially opened an investigation every afternoon news show is jumping on the issues. It will soon be everywhere. And Tesla now has to defend, educate and prove to the market that what they are doing is safe.

Competitors are now going to pull back and let Tesla take the hits. In markets where a huge investment is required in order to educate the customer base it is often a good idea to not be a pioneer. They will let Tesla burn reputation, bleed cash and resources to deal with the challenge of getting people to be comfortable with the technology. In these markets letting someone else slot through this phase is often the most intelligent strategy.

Once things settle, competitors will come in and enjoy a market segment that has been paved flat by the pioneer/s. It is far less costly --at all levels-- to enter at that point. The mentality of a typical potential customer --after massive investments in educating them-- is now very different. Now customers look at the available products and think about which one to buy rather than whether or not to take a risk with this new technology. That's a massively different mind-set. That's a mind set primed for well executed product, marketing and sales strategies with wide distribution, solid sales channels and a solid post-sales support infrastructure --all of which the established players either know how to do or already have in place.

Manufacturers entering the market after the education phase can focus on pricing, marketing and, in general, execution rather than educating or evangelizing the audience. There's a huge difference in cost of sales in "nicely paved markets".

When that happens, when the market is "flat" and competitors enter in force, they could run right over Tesla, push them right off the edge of the market or they could be swallowed-up by a larger organization. Let's not forget Tesla sold somewhere in the order of twenty thousand cars --total. There are companies that probably sell that many cars per day. The difference in scale is huge.

It is possible that Tesla is at the start of an existential threat. It is hard to predict which way this will go. It's all on them now and they are all-in. They can't afford many more fires. And they certainly can't afford to have the market turn on them. They need to be way ahead of this and spend lots of money to show people this technology is safe. And, if it isn't, they need to move quickly to make it safe and then show the market. Quickly.

Volvo used to run commercials featuring cars being rolled and crashed in order to show how well they protected occupants. Tesla might have to crash a few cars into concrete walls or into each other to demonstrate how survivable their high voltage and high current systems might be. If they don't get ahead of this and more accidents are reported the cost to regain market trust will grow exponentially. And that could be very difficult to survive.

daily 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Hope it's not superfluous to point out, but it's kind of funny: "By By Elon Musk" is seen under the title. That sounds hostile :) (the duplicate By isn't seen in other posts on the blog)
shaunrussell 10 hours ago 0 replies      
The amount of hate in this thread is sickening.
ZanyProgrammer 17 hours ago 0 replies      
To make money, of fucking course.
sciguy77 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Now that, ladies and gentlemen, is persuasive writing.
How Google Sold Its Engineers on Management hbr.org
128 points by toby  15 hours ago   38 comments top 8
kevincennis 11 hours ago 6 replies      
> At first, he says, the numbers were not encouraging. Even the low-scoring managers were doing pretty well. How could we find evidence that better management mattered when all managers seemed so similar? The solution came from applying sophisticated multivariate statistical techniques, which showed that even the smallest incremental increases in manager quality were quite powerful.

As someone without a strong statistical background, this really sounds like "we got data that didn't agree with the point we were trying to make, so we tried a bunch of different ways to look at it until we found the one that matched our hypothesis".

Can someone explain to my why my reaction is wrong? I'm sure it probably is.

abraxasz 8 hours ago 2 replies      
"And as the company grew, the founders soon realized that managers contributed in many other, important waysfor instance, by communicating strategy, helping employees prioritize projects, facilitating collaboration, supporting career development, and ensuring that processes and systems aligned with company goals"

That's right, but this describes a "support" function. If they were truly filling the roles in the quotes, managers would not be "bosses", but simply "colleagues". A better term than manager would be "facilitator". I don't think anyone would argue that "facilitators" are useless. What engineers tend to disagree with is the notion of "managers" as "bosses", with significantly higher salaries, etc..

jwilliams 5 hours ago 0 replies      
My summary of what Google did:

1. Ask what makes a good manager (the behaviors)2. Correlate this with an outcome (turnover).3. Move the needle on other managers.4. See result.

This is a decent enough model, but you're working on the predicate that #1 is actually building a comprehensive model.

These things may be important, but the chance of them being confounded with other variables is high. For example, you'll find that people that floss are healthier. Getting people to floss, however, isn't the solution. It's that people that care enough to floss embody numerous healthy behaviors (and future/intended behaviors).

This is not to detract from what was done, but an exercise like this needs multiple loops to normalize. I'd be interested to compare this approach with just rolling out sound management training that is based on the last 10-20 years of literature.

DanielBMarkham 12 hours ago 6 replies      
I keep reading these Google stories that appear flawless examples of exceptional thinking and execution. But heck, at some point, the stories just wash over without effect. Do they have no problem employees? Management feudal battles? Studies and organizational change movements that produce nothing appreciative?

I understand that Google is basically a giant marketing company ran by engineers who own the web, so I get the fact that there's a lot of creative spin that goes with anything you're going to see published on the web about them. But hell, it sure would be interesting to poke around behind the scenes and see how things really work.

I'm not saying that to disparage this article or work, it's actually quite impressive. I simply wanted to point out that at some point, a company that does no evil and always is inventing things along the lines of time machines and faster-than-light travel every month starts to be a bit much for a reader to consume. Surely with 40K+ employees and that much money there is some other story here.

mathattack 11 hours ago 0 replies      
We've seen a lot of articles on Google about the product side. This is the first I've seen in a while on their internal management. This is important for them to nail to avoid becoming the next IBM or Microsoft. (Both did well in their own ways, but Google aspires to be neither.)

Are there any GOOG alums who would like to comment on the article?

My impression is that data driven HR is a good start, but that it can leave outliers. I have heard anecdotal stories that things are generally well run, but you have to please a lot of people to be promoted as a result of the 360 degree feedback loop and general flat structure. Again purely anecdotally I've heard that there is a lot of email communication required of management, but this is true of most large tech firms. (Oracle, IBM and HP to name a few)

As an outsider my impression is that it's a great place to hire engineers from because they're learned the right things. The salespeople aren't as reliably solid, as they may not have needed to be scrappy.

csense 8 hours ago 1 reply      
The study contains "examples and descriptions of best practices...details [that] make overarching principles, such as "empowers the team and does not micromanage," more concrete..."

Their "concrete" example is given by an employee who says, "Early on in my role, [my manager] asked me to pull together a cross-functional team to develop a goal-setting process."

I can't think of anything more illustrative of why engineers to be dismissive of management than strings of abstract buzzwords that conveys little information, such as "Pull together a cross-functional team to develop a goal-setting process."

That's where I stopped reading.

Yhippa 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm sure there's more detailed data for this in Google's implementation of this but largely this reads to me that this program is more of a way of HR showing management how effective or ineffective they are. I didn't see a part where there was large scale opposition to management by engineers and then a reversal of that thought, proven with data.
Meltdown 9 hours ago 0 replies      
... a lot of googledygook
Chernobyl Fungus Feeds On Radiation (2007) scienceagogo.com
90 points by skennedy  12 hours ago   49 comments top 17
ChuckMcM 12 hours ago 1 reply      
So following up later papers that cite the original [1] doesn't seem like this has gone very far. A number of papers collecting extremofile exemplars, and a few thinking about energy sources. But nothing on 'space food', 'radioactive remediation', or analysis of the energy source in humans. Sigh.

[1] http://scholar.google.com/scholar?cites=14704617567455474393...

civilian 12 hours ago 4 replies      
So, radiation is a big risk factor in sending astronauts to Mars and around the solar system.

What if we could genetically engineer ourselves to use this melanin pathway for ourselves?

We wouldn't use energy from radiation in the fungi-melanin pathway (although we could), but it could be good to make our bodies recognize that a radiation storm is happening and that could trigger biochemical changes in our bodies. Either to become more radiation proof (hide yo' DNA in chromatin) or take some radiation-resilient actions (heavily increase the reproduction of cells in our gut lining).

This isn't a very realistic idea, just a sci-fi thing. We have a hundred years of ethics and technology to accomplish before this would be realistic.

ealloc 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Interesting. Only 2 photosynthetic molecules are known so far in all branches of life, chlorophyll and rhodopsin, so the existence of another photosynthetic pathway is pretty surprising! I hope it's not another case of hype followed by debunking like for "arsenic dna" or "antideluvian dna".

The study seems to be done properly though, and hints at a possible mechanism, so maybe. I'd need a couple follow up studies of the mechanism to be convinced!

DonGateley 45 minutes ago 1 reply      
"Just as the pigment chlorophyll converts sunlight into chemical energy that allows green plants to live and grow, our research suggests that melanin can use a different portion of the electromagnetic spectrum - ionizing radiation - to benefit the fungi containing it,"

One problem with that. Ionizing radiation is not on the electromagnetic spectrum. It's particles with rest mass.

ben1040 12 hours ago 1 reply      
This reminds me of the fungus you see growing on the sides of distillery facilities (if you ever go through bourbon country in Kentucky, all the whisky aging warehouses are covered in the stuff). Instead of radiation, they thrive on ethanol.


mileszim 12 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a very cool fungus, I'm glad this was posted! The trickery of its survival comes from its use of melanin, specifically pheomelanin. Basically what happens is when ionizing radiation strikes pheomelanin, an incident electron is generated because of something known as the Compton effect (think photoelectric effect but at really high energy). Somehow, pheomelanin is able to strip down the energy of the electron until it is no longer capable of acting as a free radical and destroying surrounding matter. Unfortunately, that mechanism is still unknown, hopefully with the development of higher resolution microscopes we can get a more thorough understanding of the molecular structure.
kevinchen 11 hours ago 0 replies      
This is almost out of a Michael Crichton book. So close. http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Andromeda_Strain
TrainedMonkey 11 hours ago 2 replies      
I am pretty sure I've heard something about Japanese wanting to try radiation "eating" fungi at Chernobyl ago in order to decontaminate the area almost a decade ago.
xacaxulu 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I hope this could be cultivated and embedded around sites in Japan.
andrelaszlo 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Older news: "Exotic Underground Bacteria Thrive On Radiation Rather Than Sunlight"


GuerraEarth 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Funghi absorb radionuclides strongly. The reindeer and other grazers who eat lichen, etc. are all highly contaminated now. Look up radiotrophic funghi.
everyone 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Amazing, I guess its easy forget life on earth is billions of years old and extends deep into the planets crust. It has adapted to some completely different environments than what we normally associate with life.
evolve2k 10 hours ago 1 reply      
So the fungi essentially absorbing some of the radiation and transforming it.

Does this mean that this is positively affecting the radioactive halife of the area because the fungi are essentially living off the excesses radiation present and will help contribute to reduce the radiation levels over time?

punkghetto 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Would be awesome if this could be developed as a method to decontaminate or stabilize areas affected by nuclear accidents.
Houshalter 12 hours ago 0 replies      
This isn't really "new" but still pretty interesting.

EDIT: Title changed.

plu420 7 hours ago 0 replies      

A black organism that bioaccumulates radionuclides has being known of in Japan for a while.

I wouldn't go so far as to say this is a good or bad thing before we've studied this radioactive monster; considering how very hot it is I'll leave the studying to up someone else...

Zikes 12 hours ago 1 reply      

Very interesting, though. Just not very new.

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