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How Google keeps employees by treating them like kids (2006) aaronsw.com
93 points by alnis  4 hours ago   73 comments top 22
luu 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Funny, my experience is the opposite on literally every concrete assertion about people and motivations.

Looking at my team, and the broader team under my director, only one was hired "straight out of college". Well, if you consider fresh PhDs to be "straight out of college", there are a few, but I doubt Aaron meant folks approaching 30 with kids on the horizon when he was talking about people just out of college.

Perhaps a couple are cynical, but I wouldn't call any childish or enthusiastically adolescent, which isn't too surprising, considering that the median employee within two levels of management of me is mid-thirties with two kids.

We have a couple of visiting scientists (professors at major research universities), and they were surprised by what we're doing, so perhaps the secrecy doesn't do such a bad job of keeping things inside the company after all.

I don't doubt Aaron's experience, but it's exactly what you'd expect due to selection bias. How old was Aaron when he wrote that, 20? He probably wasn't hanging out with the median person from my team. There's nothing wrong with that. But, all things considered, that essay contains a lot of awfully strong assertions.

raldi 3 hours ago 3 replies      
A month earlier, Aaron wrote about his experiences working in a more traditional kind of office:


> Gray walls, gray desks, gray noise. The first day I showed up here, I simply couldnt take it. By lunch time I had literally locked myself in a bathroom stall and started crying.

So I'm not sure what kind of office would have ever met his approval.

cromwellian 23 minutes ago 0 replies      
I'm 42. Most of the people I work with are in the 30s and 40s and have children. The stereotype of Google hiring nothing but Stanford grads has been over for a while.

As much as I like Aaron, here he is guilty of excessive generalization. Even in 2006 the claims don't match reality. I lived through the first dot.com boom in CA, where companies were falling hand over fist to offer perks, many of them financially unsustainable, because there was a huge competition to acquire and keep talent, as well as keep them in the office for long hours with the promise of striking it rich on what were often worthless stock options.

Google is pretty clear and upfront about what the compensation will be. Everything I was told about what to expect about stock grants, year bonuses, and benefits, has more or less hit the predicted windows. I was never really oversold on what my compensation would be and I was able to do financial planning around it because it was so transparent.

I also don't see what's wrong with 'infantilizing'. We lose creativity as we become adults because of the sheer numbers of rules, responsibilities, and requirements placed on us. If you want people to do good research or engineering, take away as much as possible impediments, like worry over money, laundry, or corporate politicking.

Do we also talk about Phd students and tenured professors in research labs being "infantilized" by an academic environment often isolated from the outside world? I don't view it as necessarily a bad thing. Although I guess you could claim that Einstein still did good work while working at the Patent Office.

All in all the essay is a rather convoluted and weak critique of Google culture and hiring practices based on anecdotal observations that don't match reality.

jrockway 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I guess on some level this is true. Is there some place where you can work and get money for doing whatever you want, and defying authority whenever you want? If so, sign me up!

Over in the real world, working for an employer like Google is a risk hedge. If your idea for a project this quarter turns out to not be useful, you don't run out of money and end up living in a cardboard box. You learn from your experience, try again, and your family gets food on the table. You can say it's childish to hedge risk, but you can also say it's very adult to hedge risk. Maybe you are a super genius that can code up a solution to a really hard problem all by yourself. But what if the market doesn't like it? Too bad, you're in the same place as the guy who sits at home all day, smokes pot, and watches daytime TV. The market decided: you suck.

I agree with Aaron that we could always use more computers. Sometimes during peak hours, the batch scheduler will only give me a few hundred machines to run my MapReduce on. What am I, a farmer?

Ultimately, I like working at Google and I like having toys in the office. I have Nerf guns. I use Hakase from Nichijou as my profile picture. At the same time, I feel like I'm doing impactful work, with some very smart people. And I feel that I'm evaluated (and compensated) fairly. Does that make me infantile? Maybe so. But I like it.

My real fear of leaving Google is the time I'll have to spend writing all the infrastructure from scratch. And finding someone else that can afford my hourly rate.

hawkharris 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Right after college, I was enticed by these perks: free food, laundry services, etc. After a few years in industry, I became more interested in the less sexy but more substantive benefits like a competitive salary, a 401K and good medical coverage.

College-like perks and grown-up perks are not always mutually exclusive. My understanding is that Google pays developers well and offers great benefits.

However, my experience has been that some tech companies emphasize their college-like benefits in lieu of providing strong adult benefits. "Stock options? Who needs stock options when you have beanbag chairs?"

If a company is going to play up its college-like perks, it should also bring to the table substantive financial and health-related benefits. Otherwise I can see how it would be difficult to retain young developers as their priorities change.

ihodes 3 hours ago 1 reply      
This article always struck me as being composed of two distinctly different opinions. One, Aaron's assertion that employees at Google are being infantilized. Two, that Google's mission and their overall morale and sense of purpose has changed.

Two may be true; I can't speak but anecdotally to this (and nor could he).

But One always struck me as very mean-spirited and unnecessary. As if told by the father in Peter Pan, or Scrooge. As if Google's engineers should be wearing suits (like the "lowlifes" he so despises?) and sitting in Aeron chairs, only, and forgetting about such silly things as dinosaurs and space travel.

pcvarmint 3 hours ago 3 replies      
I thought it looked creepy, like an adult daycare center.

I was approached twice and interviewed twice by Google but I don't think I'd fit that culture.

No offices -- just open spaces.

A meritocracy where you are evaluated by your peers generally, rather than by a boss or customer for your merits in a particular job.

Where you don't even know what you will be working on until you're hired, as if that gives you a choice.

Lots of silly signs hanging, some of which would be trademark violations if displayed in public (Bombay Sapphire, etc.).

Too academic (from Stanford days?) for my tastes.

atgm 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Who maintains/pays for the site now? I tried going to the top page, expecting some kind of obituary or explanation as to why the site is still up, but the blurb there makes it sound like Aaron stepped out for a week and will be updating again soon, except for the last updated note in the corner.

I did a whois lookup out of curiosity, but the contact information all refers to contactprivacy.com, which is apparently set up to allow people to register domains privately.

cyphunk 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Google is a mammoth. Generalising it would be similar to doing the same of a whole country. I do not work there but know many that have that speak so highly of its foundations. Like some sort of new form of knowledge discovery and expansion of thought. While it may be infantile this could just as well be seen as an advantage, at least for a while to come. It is one of the frontiers of innovation for company building (and nation building for that matter): keeping people feeling, thinking and innovating like children. However, Aaron was right and this is not enough to keep some great talent from slipping through.

I had two run-ins with Google HR. Once after they purchased a company that had a product that I was a primary architect and programmer for. Part of the reason the process staled was because I explained "I consider programming like hammering nails. I program. I am not a programmer". I found their questions on what languages I program with to be silly. The other reason it staled had to do with their inability to discuss practical "projects" we could "work on together". It's as if Google is an Amish parent wanting to offer you their daughter in marriage with you committing before even getting a decent look at her.

To their credit the words "projects" and "work on together" coming from a potential hire are foreign to all companies. But if Google wants to avoid becoming Xerox in 30 years they would do well to understand this language and hire more like Al Qaeda rather than Ikea.

Developing a more network based structure is not that difficult to envision. For starters get rid of "%20 time", it's a joke. Instead I could imagine something more like: %25 on mandated work, %25 on google projects (what used to be %20 time), %50 time on projects entirely of your choosing that would be handled like an investment (with yearly reviews of direction as a board of a company would) and finally abolishment of most vacation days with vacation taken at will from the %50 and in any form (clustered, by day, half days, whatever). Full time creativity is a form of cognitive dissidence fostered only by industrial era thinking. Creative workers should be given the option to take minor or major pay cuts dynamically and at will in order to replenish their energy. Whereas today, asking for extra time off, even with a cut in pay, carries a lot of guilt for most. Such a structure as described, when monitored, also provides valuable feedback on the health of the employee and company. When you get something like this Google, hit me up on Pond.

charleslmunger 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't think this is really accurate. It's not about treating people like kids, it's about rejecting the attitude found at dilbert-style corporations.

The T-Rex skeleton and the shark fins are there because they're cool. Google has monorail cars as meeting rooms in the Sydney office [1] - because an engineer requested it. It shows that management listens to employees. It gives people the confidence to propose somewhat outlandish ideas, because if management will buy a monorail because an employee requests it, management will allocate resources to things that actually matter because employees request it. Those stories don't get publicized, but I've seen it happen multiple times.

Also, the idea that all google employees are young kids just out of college who are being shielded from "the real world" by free food and buses is silly, many of my coworkers are married with kids.

[1] https://plus.google.com/+PaulCowan/posts/Sfm9SpV4eCE

I work for google, but I'm not speaking on their behalf.

mlyang 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Creatives (designers, engineers, etc.) with optionality (at the caliber that Google would hire) pine for freelance-like working conditions (not referring to pay, but rather creative control, flexible hours, and amenities). These tech firms try to absorb as many of those benefits as possible to woo over employees. In Google's early days, maybe employees had greater creative control over their projects-- hence creating more autonomous and creative working conditions. However, as a company scales, you inevitably lose your creative control and become a cog in the larger machine. No perks can veil this, hence the changing of Googlers' mentalities.

Unless you're at the top of one of these large firms, I have a really hard time imagining any creative and truly autonomous person willing to work for more than a year at any of these institutions before breaking free and either founding a startup, joining an early stage startup, or freelancing.

10098 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Growing up is overrated anyway.
lowglow 33 minutes ago 0 replies      
Hm. I feel like Google is following Diamond Age's tips on how to train their engineers. There's a pretty great passage in there about this, and you owe it to yourself to read it. It reads more like a prophecy than a sci-fi book, but it's super good. :)
psbp 3 hours ago 0 replies      
The Google = slimy politician comparison really undercuts the detached perspective that he's hoping to impart to Googlers or potential Googlers.
blazespin 2 hours ago 2 replies      
Simply not true in 2013. They are aggressively hiring engineers of all sorts. College degrees are less relevant. Google, of all companies, have developed some of the finest talent recognition software in the valley.
jacob019 3 hours ago 2 replies      
read this before noticing it was written in 2006 by Aaron Schwartz. That certainly colors the perspective. I wonder how much has changed.
linux_devil 2 hours ago 0 replies      
>"People read the airbrushed versions of Google technologies in talks and academic papers and think that Google has some amazingly large computer lab with amazingly powerful technology."

Latest acquisition of "Boston Dynamics" and team working at "Google X" and other projects lead to second thought . In the end it's choice of people , we should not have say in what they should or shouldn't.

shpx 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Something that sounds like an ideal is nothing like what you would expect it to be?

That's like every other thing in the world ever, isn't it?

fromdoon 1 hour ago 0 replies      
This is typical western philosophical bullsh. As life becomes easier in Western world, people have more time to fret about such inconsequential things. Please carry on!
ChristianMarks 1 hour ago 0 replies      
The tl;dr is Google Google Goo.
nrubin 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Hey, did you also here that there are NO trees on their campus?
nipponese 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Essays from the funniest man in Microsoft Research msdn.com
190 points by tujv  10 hours ago   32 comments top 14
tomlu 7 hours ago 0 replies      
On C++ syntax errors:

    Syntax error: unmatched thing in thing from    std::nonstd::__map<_Cyrillic, _$$$dollars> const    basic_string< epic_mystery,mongoose_traits &lt; char>,     __default_alloc_<casual_Fridays = maybe>>

ColinCochrane 4 hours ago 1 reply      
From The Night Watch:

Similar to the Necronomicon, a C++ source code file is a wicked, obscure document thats filled with cryptic incantations and forbidden knowledge. When its 3 A.M., and youve been debugging for 12 hours and you encounter a virtual static friend protected volatile templated function pointer, you want to go into hibernation and awake as a werewolf and then find the people who wrote the C++ standard and bring ruin to the things that they love.

matthewmacleod 7 hours ago 0 replies      
All of his articles are absolutely worth a read. Rarely read anything about computer history that's quite as compelling as The Slow Winter...
bronson 7 hours ago 1 reply      
If you finish these and want more, it's worth skimming back through time on http://www.dadhacker.com/blog/

Bemused frustration is such an entertaining writing style. Alas, my attempts tend to end up as incoherent raging. Maybe switching to bourbon would help.

AndrewBissell 5 hours ago 0 replies      
A few weeks back I was inspired by "The Night Watch" to write a short systems programming take on Col. Jessup's famous monologue: http://abissell.com/2013/11/22/a-few-good-systems-programmer...
seiji 8 hours ago 1 reply      
You must read his The Slow Winter: http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/people/mickens/theslowwi... It deserves to be made into a movie.
mnemonicsloth 7 hours ago 3 replies      
> You can't just place a LISP book on top of an x86 chip and hope the hardware learns about lambda calculus by osmosis.

1. Loudly declare that theory is useless.

2. Ignore any tool that is not "serious" -- i.e. so larded with other people's complexity that all theory is useless.

3. Justify (2) by claiming that "ordinary" programmers are too stupid: only the brilliant can understand a tool so simple that theory is not useless.

4. Pension!

tujv 6 hours ago 0 replies      
There is also this interview from the National Science Foundation: http://www.livescience.com/40023-james-mickens-microsoft-s-l...

Incidentally, I look forward to the day when Lebron James is called the James Mickens of Basketball.

andybak 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I went to some of the essays linked but the only way I'm going to be able to read that is to increase the line spacing about 150% and put in about 3x as many paragraph breaks.
moocowduckquack 8 hours ago 2 replies      
Mickens is awesome, they should make him their new CEO.
ianet-goog 6 hours ago 2 replies      
Also recommended, "The Old New Thing" blog itself.
pgbovine 5 hours ago 0 replies      
these essays are amazing ... also great for learning about CS systems in general. if you can get all the jokes, then you're well on your way to an applied CS degree!
almosnow 6 hours ago 0 replies      
"this solution will definitely work in practice"
shalmanese 6 hours ago 0 replies      
His facebook page is also a hidden treasure trove of hilarious writing!
0 A.D. Alpha 15 - Osiris play0ad.com
83 points by intull  7 hours ago   14 comments top 9
gprasanth 13 minutes ago 0 replies      
This is written using an OOP language - C++

I was always fascinated at games like this one as to how perfectly they are a use case to OOP paradigm. All objects are sharing a common object, and the player can create, destroy objects, do stuff on the objects ( call their methods ). Objects can upgrade to different versions. Objects exchange information with themselves or even battle among themselves! Really cool perspective, isn't it?

sown 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I like it. I went into it completely blind, not knowing what I would get.

The display felt like it was making the units, buildings and scenery seem too small and I was often squinting. This caused tension to build up in my neck and head, which caused some frustration.

Although it feels low-energy, it's fast paced. I had 1 wave that I could repel but they almost wiped out all of my units. The 2nd wave sure did.

It wasn't totally obvious that I could upgrade units through buildings, but I got that much eventually. The resources are up in the upper left hand. I guess I need 3 resource types? Not quite sure what the elephants were for or how to get them to offload.

Couldn't tell if there was advantage to one race over another.

Over all it was kind of fun. I think i'll play again.

lowglow 33 minutes ago 0 replies      
You should toss this up on http://itch.io
cpeterso 4 hours ago 0 replies      
btw, 0 A.D. embeds Mozilla's SpiderMonkey JS engine for scripting: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/0_A.D._(video_game)
mholt 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Heard the hype about it so I thought I'd check it out. Pretty cool for open source.

If you have trouble using this release on Macbook Pro with Retina display (OS X 10.8+), the following worked for me:

1. In Displays preferences, scale down the resolution (so text is bigger) by one setting.

2. Run the game. For me, it appeared, full-screen, in a small portion of the screen on the bottom-left side. When I moved my mouse above that portion a few inches, I figured out how to get the game to think my mouse was over the buttons (fortunately they have hover effects). I had to move the mouse to a Y-position a few inches up on the screen from where the button actually appears (but the X-coordinate was correct).

3. Adjust the settings so the game runs in Windowed mode. Save setting and close the game entirely.

4. Return resolution to normal.

5. Re-run the game. Worked fine then.

mml 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Would be cool if they distributed via torrent (though their d/l speeds are pretty impressive anyway).
mladenkovacevic 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Thank you for this game. I especially love the music and the 2 new tracks definitely don't disappoint. Keep up the great work.
isaacdl 4 hours ago 2 replies      
How does this compare to other (commercial) games in this genre?
alexnking 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow, very impressive.
Dear Jailbreak Community (part 2) evasi0n.com
13 points by ihuman  2 hours ago   10 comments top 3
nwh 47 minutes ago 1 reply      
The whole thing is disappointing all around. It was clear just from the outset that the TiaG application was intended for piracy, there's absolutely no reason for it to be included. For the reasons stated (Cydia is not in Chinese) they could have just offered patches with new translations. If people found the relationship between TiaG and kuaiyong (another piracy store) in a matter of minutes, I'm not sure why the evad3rs didn't.

Now ultimately their jailbreak is being used for piracy by a company who paid not a dime for the exploit kit. I'd have been happier to see them take the money and donate the lump sum to EFF for similar.

wvenable 1 hour ago 1 reply      
It's extremely stupid and disappointing that this jailbreak was released before iOS 7.1.
songco 2 hours ago 2 replies      
How about official Cydia?
Google sues to protect Android device makers from Apple-backed patent hell gigaom.com
88 points by kirtijthorat  6 hours ago   74 comments top 15
sethbannon 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Sadly I'm becoming more and more convinced that the only solution to the broken way patents work in this country is for things to get so bad, and these troll lawsuits to get so egregious, that Congress is forced to act and overhall the entire system.
jdechko 5 hours ago 8 replies      
I'm definitely splitting hairs here, but I think there's a distinction to be made between a non-practicing entity (patent troll) and a consortium of companies that pooled together to purchase patents. Rockstar may not make devices itself, but it consists of, and represents, companies that do.

Just saying.

mikhailt 5 hours ago 2 replies      
Except Nortel did use many of those patents. They decided to sell it to Rockstar, full of owners who are likely licensing the patents to themselves for use in their products. Yes, technically Rockster is an individual company that doesn't make/sell any products but it's not a troll just because of that. It's a troll if the owners didn't use it in their products.

By this logic, any standard bodies would be trolls as well if they decide to sue any companies that infringe without paying the fees.

andy_ppp 54 minutes ago 1 reply      
Simple solution, the law should be:

A) only companies using patents directly can sue

B) the maximum damages that can be awarded are 2x revenue related to the patents

This means that companies actually using patents and making a business out of them can benefit and stops patent trolls.

Am I crazy?

k-mcgrady 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Didn't think it possible but this sensationalist headline is topped by the image of a mushroom cloud at the top of the article.
namespace 5 hours ago 4 replies      
Interesting times. There is no doubt that the legal punches thrown at Android have been anti-competitive and kills innovation instead of what there were meant to protect. For example reportedly Microsoft earns more from Android than selling Windows phone: http://www.zdnet.com/microsoft-is-making-2bn-a-year-on-andro.... If the patents were that useful for innovation, Microsoft would have been ahead of Google by miles.
beedogs 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Wow, the guy in the comments section of the article just nonstop trolling for Rockstar/Apple is unbelievable.
twentysix 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Slightly offtopic, but Article One recently launched a crowd-funding project[1] aimed at helping start ups affected by actual patent trolls.

According to the project page,

"Our goal is to launch and maintain a completely free, data-rich, up-to-date, member-supported database that small companies can use to help defend against patent trolls."

They are starting with a patent owned by Treehouse Avatar Technologies regarding gaming avatars. Treehouse has been targeting indie game developers using US 8180858[2].

Eventually, they plan to build a prior art database targeting the most abused patents and provide small start-ups with free access.

[1] http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/operation-ninja-s-t-a-r-he...

[2] http://google.com/patents/US8180858

throwawaykf03 36 minutes ago 0 replies      
If the Rockstar shareholders can be shown to have direct control over this, the DoJ and FTC may get involved. From this interview/fluff piece: http://www.ip-rockstar.com/Press_Releases/IAM%20Rockstar%20A...

Commitments to the DoJ

The sale of the Nortel patents closed on 29th July 2011, which also happens to be Veschis birthday. But it took another few months until Spring 2012 for the acquisition to receive clearance from the US Department of Justice (DoJ). Although this approval may have taken some time to obtain, the only commitment that Rockstar itself gave to the DoJ (and the Federal Trade Commission) was that it would operate autonomously. This, explains Veschi, was so that the shareholders as operating companies cannot pick and choose who we will target

sbuk 46 minutes ago 0 replies      
Title is misleading. Rockstar isn't backed by a single entity. It's flame bait and many of you have taken it.

Merry Christmas.

millerm 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Seriously, a horribly biased "article". I don't prefer this style of journalism.
kirtijthorat 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Meanwhile, in response to abuse of the patent system by so-called trolls, the House of Representatives has passed a bill called the Innovation Act (details: http://www.gop.gov/bill/113/1/hr3309) to fix the worst abuses. The bill is expected to pass the Senate and be signed into law next year. Significantly improving patent quality is no easy task and would likely require fundamental changes to patent law, to the PTO, and to procedures for examining patent applications. New rules to reduce smash-and-grab patent trolling is VERY IMPORTANT and hope our Govt. acts on this bill asap.
bananacurve 4 hours ago 0 replies      
>Today, Rockstar employs once-proud Canadian engineers to work as high-tech ring-wraiths in service of its American trolling operation.

At least they didn't oversell it.

throwawaykf03 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Saying "Apple-backed" (or "Apple and Microsoft owned" as past articles have) insinuate that those companies are pulling the strings, which is not necessarily true. Straight from the horse's mouth [1]:

Given the amount they paid and given the on-going issues at least some of them have with both Google and the Android platform, many reports have talked about the consortium going on the attack or have assumed that it is the shareholders that have driven things. This is categorically not the case, Veschi says. It was entirely my call based on the facts in front of me, he states. The shareholders got an email telling them what had happened after the suits were issued.

You might not believe him, but it's not necessarily that unbelievable. For instance, Intellectual Ventures is, in a way, "Google-backed", since Google invested in one of their "funds" (or whatever they call it). Yet IV turned around and sued Motorola two years after Google acquired it.

1. http://www.iam-magazine.com/blog/detail.aspx?g=d258542c-dbfc...

liviu 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Google is now crying like a little kid after they tried unsuccessfully to buy Nortel patents... Pathetic.
Unicorn Jobs pgbovine.net
186 points by luu  13 hours ago   69 comments top 28
chops 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Whenever I give a talk about Erlang-related stuff, I almost inevitably get asked "do you do this for fun or for your job?" And I can genuinely answer "both, really".

While I'm the project lead for one of the more popular Erlang web frameworks (http://nitrogenproject.com), my main focus is on my sports league management system[1] (http://bracketpal.com), which runs on Nitrogen.

As a result, I can justify spending "free" time working on open source because at the end of the day, it improves my main products.

It's an interesting way to piggyback the so-called "unicorn" project onto a product (the design of which I get to control). Granted, it'd be nice to just get paid to work on Nitrogen all the time, since that work is generally more mentally stimulating, but I can't complain.

[1] I know the landing page is a total dog. It's the current project to fix that up to something not terrible.

was_hellbanned 11 hours ago 9 replies      
The rather unethical alternative is to find a job in a fairly incompetent group at a company that's not extremely tech focused, then spend most of your time working on whatever you want to. I've had jobs (and spoken to many people with similar jobs) where I could accomplish all my tasks within a couple hours of actual, focused effort, leaving the rest of the work week for personal projects, side business, etc.
benjaminwootton 12 hours ago 2 replies      
Getting someone to pay you to work on what you want and how you want is likely to be rarer than a unicorn.

Starting your own business is a much easier path to that and even then you will be pulled in all kinds of directions.

The only case of a unicorn job that did actually spring to mind was the CouchDB founder. This is a very motivational talk by him - http://www.infoq.com/presentations/katz-couchdb-and-me

smoyer 10 hours ago 1 reply      
I think the question is completely wrong ... the question you should be asking is "how do I turn my current job into a unicorn job?". I've done this for almost 30 years and, with the exception of the times I was forced into management roles, I've loved engineering.

The key is that you have to be doing something your employer feels provides value, and ultimately you want to tailor the work towards something you're enthusiastic about. For me, I try to determine which up-and-coming technologies are worth including in future products. This means I get to play with lots of cool (and sometimes not so cool) technologies - and when my employer asks how something should be done, they "redeem" that knowledge with a list of concrete pros and cons.

Even the author's examples were projects that he was passionate about before he started the unicorn job. One point I definitely agree with is that you have to be a good communicator to first convince your boss you can provide value, and again to deliver that value.

I'll also agree that it might be easier to find a unicorn job in a university setting where things aren't quite so structured. In July of 2012 I landed a job at Penn State as an enterprise software architect/developer ... and it was music to my ears when I found out that my bosses' bosses' boss felt the university need to be more engaged with the open-source community and contribute to more projects.

abhiv 10 hours ago 0 replies      
This article might not be applicable to that many people. My guess is that many people are actually happiest working on things that are given to them. Working on your own projects requires that you think of an idea, and have the self-discipline to work on it in the absence of externally enforced constraints.

I think a better question for most people might be: how do I get a job where work on the job is itself interesting, rather than a job that allows me to do my own interesting stuff in my spare time.

code_duck 12 hours ago 1 reply      
I was lucky to start a small startup which functioned like a 'unicorn' job. It allowed me to work exactly on what I was interested in for 4 years, while making more money than I had been. The only drawback was the amount of time managing advertising.

So, don't leave out 'start a business!'. Surprised to not see that possibility mentioned in the article... This is HN, after all. You don't need an employer to have a job.

bikamonki 50 minutes ago 0 replies      
A rather narrow view, of the thousands of occupations and careers you are just looking in the mirror. How about my friend who owns a bike shop? Or my other friend who runs an art/design webzine? Or my other friend with the micro-brewery? None of them are particularly skilled at what they do nor have the right networking. I think their secret lies between living within their means and choosing to do what they love. Anyone can do that and if that is what you are looking for, a sabbatical with enough money to go by and full time to inmerse in a great idea: go ahead and do it, do not over think it, do not be afraid to fail.
chrisbennet 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I haven't seen a job ad since I started my current job (~3yrs ago) that looks more interesting than the job I have. I do desktop applications (WPF/C#) one day, C++ computer vision/algorithms another day with an occasional scoping of signals with an oscilloscope and logic analyzer thrown in. All this and no politics or deadlines.

Most of the jobs I see advertised are one dimensional - they want a GUI person OR a computer vision person OR an embedded person, rarely more than one thing.

I've had a lot of great jobs and the thing they shared in common is they were small or tiny companies.

lquist 12 hours ago 0 replies      
The Meteor team has been working on Meteor for almost 3 years now and recently raised enough money to do it for a few more years.
michaelochurch 9 hours ago 0 replies      
OP is writing rubbish.

I've worked in enough companies and done enough consulting and advising to have some thoughts about this.

First, stop obsessing over binary distinctions that don't exist like "unicorn job". It's like "being rich". You won't get there by obsessing about it. There are shades of gray on this one.

Second, it's better to ask for forgiveness than permission. If Guido only spends 50% of his time on Python, that's probably because he doesn't want to spend more than 50% of his time on Python. (I doubt he explicitly asked for permission to spend 50 vs. 75 or 25 percent of his time on it.) As with the creative arts, you'll make better stuff if you're part of the world, rather than completely isolated. Work for other people-- and, except when its interests contradict your own, for the benefit of your firm-- but on your own terms.

Third, "political forces" always exist but are not always irresistible. Yes, sometimes you have to work on things that wouldn't be your first pick if you were unconstrained, but that build your credibility or advance your career. Accept that. Everyone has to do some selling and alliance-building. Do that work, do it well, and make allies. It's important to stop hating that aspect of work; it's part of the game, too. It's actually fun once you're halfway good at it, and if someone like me can develop those skills then anyone can.

Fourth, make sure to find people, companies, and managers whose passions match your own. Don't try to sell a Java shop on Python. Find a company that uses Python, if that's what you want. It's much easier in the long run to keep looking until you find a company that agrees with your ideology, than it is to try to change everything.

Fifth, never work on stuff that isn't interesting to you or good for your career. If you get assigned work that hurts your career and bores you, work quickly to find someone powerful who can use you for something else. (You might get fired in this process; accept that risk. It's better than being taken advantage of for 5+ years.)

Sixth, don't use the words "personal project". It may be something you initiated, but it's probably useful to someone. Find some way (possibly an abstract one) that your project is useful to someone else, and preferably your company as a whole. Again, make allies. Ask others for advice (this is a big one!) and let them have input into your work (but don't compromise on the vision in a major way). Treat people you work with as first customers, not as obstacles. Don't make it obvious that you're trying to take control of the show. People will ask you to join them long before they'll be ready to be led by you.

There's a lot more that I can say, but I hope I've made my points clear. You don't get this "unicorn" job or environment by becoming a brand-name engineer (it works in reverse; the great engineers get the autonomy and use it to become really good at something). Rather, you get creative at selling the work you want to do, make allies, and find companies and managers who are going in the same direction. I don't want to make it sound easy, but you don't have to be a celebrity to pull it off. You need to know what you want and work hard to get it. You also need to learn the difference between asking for permission (never do it) and consulting others (often do it). Don't ask "Can I do this?" (Counterintuitive fact: most bosses dislike being explicitly asked for permission. You're not doing him a favor, but asking him to take on risk-- for mostly your benefit.) Say, "This is what I want to do; how would you recommend that I go about it and make it maximally useful to those around me?"

derekp7 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I personally think that there are more unicorn jobs than people think. It's just that everyone has a different idea of a unicorn. The work I'm currently doing (the level of influence I have over the final product, the technical challenge, and meaningfulness of the work) all combine to make this probably the best job I've had. However others I talk to doing similar work in the past couldn't wait to find a different job.
seivan 10 hours ago 1 reply      
I thought this post would be about jobs for 'unicorns' designer + developers positions conjoined.

That's what I want. A job where I won't be dictated by designers who can't implement their bullshit photoshop mockups.

I'm not an entrepreneur, but I like to create things. I am OK with a paycheck (where eating out on McDonalds is a luxury) with no equity, hell that's my current situation - sans creative freedom. Right now I'm a code monkey, and I kinda hate it, so I'm hoping that would change in the future. Just need a project without the photoshop-guy.

That being said, creating my own tech demos on my own free time helps keep my sanity in check

ChristianMarks 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Programming may be the wrong profession. Ed Witten says he has the greatest job in the world.

Now there are sinecures, but I certainly would not admit to having one, now or in the past...

corbett3000 10 hours ago 1 reply      
This setup is certainly rare. At my company (http://istrategylabs.com) we've done our best to at least feed this desire and tie it back to revenue.

1. Everyone in the company can work on R&D projects. 2. There's budget set aside for this work.3. Everyone can pitch new ideas for new projects/products.4. If something get green-lit you can join that project if you desire and have value to bring to it.

It's really challenging to assign dedicated "20% time" or some other formal allocation. We've tried serval times and failed. Instead, now, we just setup hackdays/internal innovation days where the entire company can work on whatever they want. It's great for morale and produces new things we can pitch to our customers.

arasmussen 9 hours ago 1 reply      
When your side project turns into a full time job via starting a company around it, your founding position at your startup is your unicorn job. I find that this is one of the biggest pulls towards entrepreneurship for me.
analog31 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I've got a job where I get to spend a fair amount of time hacking on things that I'm personally interested in. I wonder if the 50% level, a la Guido Van Rossum, is some sort of optimum. Besides paying the bills, the non-unicorn work keeps me in touch with a lot of interesting people and ideas, and prevents me from getting tunnel vision.

Two things have helped me. First, the stuff that the company makes is close enough to my personal interests, that I don't have to fight too hard to justify my unicorn work. Second, I make damn sure that my hacks end up in products and patents once in a while.

brryant 10 hours ago 2 replies      
Most founders/entrepreneurs have unicorn jobs, but it comes with a big caveat: being your own boss. Not as easy as it sounds.
loomio 9 hours ago 1 reply      
For those of us whose "core dream" is exactly the kind of logistical problem solving and organizational coordination the author describes as "overhead", starting your own company is a unicorn job. Feeling lucky, I suppose :)
gonzo 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I have a unicorn job. I sleep with the boss. It helps that we've been married for over 23 years.
ossdev1 12 hours ago 2 replies      
I have an unicorn job. 100% to my own projects. My secret? I don't use any standard technologies: Python, Ruby, PHP, etc. Too much competition there.
LogicalBorg 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Question #4: are you a virgin? According to Wikipedia, "In the Middle Ages and Renaissance, [the unicorn] was commonly described as an extremely wild woodland creature, a symbol of purity and grace, which could only be captured by a virgin."
adwordsjedi 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Side note: I went to high school with Phil (article author) - he is a smart guy.
cykho 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I think most people don't spent enough time looking for the best fit. Most engineers I know select from the jobs offered to them by friends/recruiters. I did this for my first job (which sucked bigtime). The best jobs will never be offered (too many qualified people competing already). However, if you get out there and prove yourself to awesome people you'll get offered unicorn opportunities. My second job (helping schools write CS curriculum) came this way. My new years resolution: spend more time with less people.
tway9999 10 hours ago 1 reply      
I think this is why some people go into Finance. Spend 10 years in some miserable high stress job, but hopefully gather enough wealth to retire in your early 30s and work on whatever you want.

Also why people work part time and spend their off time painting or playing music. Be poor but have time to work on what you care about.

Edit: Grammar

serverascode 12 hours ago 4 replies      
I don't know if I believe that Guido Van Rossum has to spend 50% of his time on not making python better, but perhaps it's true. Isn't he at dropbox now as well?
joshontheweb 8 hours ago 1 reply      
best way to find a unicorn job is to build and release a library of some sort and then contract yourself out to customize it for specific needs.
dreamfactory 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Isn't solutions/application architecture a kind of unicorn job by this definition?
auggierose 12 hours ago 0 replies      
There are unicorns. And you can catch them.
Ruby 2.1: Profiling Ruby tmm1.net
44 points by tmm1  6 hours ago   8 comments top 3
gazarsgo 42 minutes ago 0 replies      
Why is line level profiling so non-existent for dynamic languages? Function level just doesn't cut it, esp. w/ the zillions of monkey patches in Ruby.
wrl 5 hours ago 5 replies      
So, I'm a Ruby neophyte. Why did adding parenthesis speed that line up so much?
kbar13 4 hours ago 0 replies      
At first I didn't realize OP was a GitHub employee and thought he was munging his company's GHE appliance :o

Cool read!

Unprofessionalism allenpike.com
94 points by shawndumas  10 hours ago   68 comments top 14
tptacek 10 hours ago 12 replies      
This was a fun read but I think the author is overthinking. How about: there are people in the world, quite a few of them, who like Nickelback. A "Refuse to play Nickelback" feature mocks and insults them. It's a little weird to feign surprise over that.
TamDenholm 8 hours ago 2 replies      
Unprofessionalism is an opinion. I'm a contractor and so its common for me to work in 3-6 different offices a year, depending on the amount of engagements i take. I've been doing this for around 10 years now. So as you can work out i've worked in a lot of different offices, in ALL of them, i've never once worn a suit, i've never worn a suit to an interview and i have the luxuary of never having to wear a suit because its just not the norm in this industry. Then i went to an interview at a bank, the first financial sector client i've interviewed at. The feedback was that while they thought i'd was absolutely qualified for the role, they viewed me as unprofessional because i didnt wear a suit.

At first i was kinda pissed off, because to me, wearing a suit has no bearing on whether i can do a coders job or not. But afterwards i came to the realisation that if a company judges my suitability on whether or not i'm wearing a suit, its not a place i want to work in.

Dont be professional, be authentic. - 37Signals

IvyMike 9 hours ago 1 reply      
In the next release, "due to popular demand", he should remove the feature and add in an "only play nickleback" feature.
nilkn 24 minutes ago 0 replies      
All I really got out of this is that I can't believe this whole Nickelback joke is still going on.
ef47d35620c1 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Every time you go out in public or post something online, you're going to offend someone, somewhere. You'll wear the wrong clothes, have the wrong haircut, have a beard or not have a beard, have different beliefs, eat the wrong food or have the wrong opinions.

So don't sweat it when people get offended. Do unto others as you would have others do unto you and you'll have no regrets, but you'll still offend people. Just accept it and move on.

Also, I did not think your stunt unprofessional, I thought it was cute and funny. That band offends me ;)

mcdowall 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I think professionalism bores down to basic communication skills, be punctual, responsive and considerate.

I've recently hired 2 "developers" from the freelancer HN thread to find them utterly unprofessional, requiring constant chasing and inconsiderate of the projects needs.

Thankfully I didn't spend a significant financial amount on them, but, for anyone looking at using that thread I would seriously consider oDesk or something similar with professional validations as a valid alternative. It really is a crapshoot with little or no comeback, and the quality certainly isn't top end from my experience.

PhasmaFelis 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Actively hating a band/musician is faintly embarrassing in anyone old enough to vote. I mean, when you're 15 everything is either the shining heart of the universe or the worst thing ever, sure, but there comes a time when you have to realize that Justin Bieber is completely harmless and anyway nobody is forcing you to listen.
jacalata 6 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm a little unnerved by someone who lists honesty as "unprofessional". Perhaps he meant tactlessness or lack of a filter?
protomyth 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Thinking your tastes and opinions are shared is one of the easiest ways to take your logical, thoughtful argument or product and turn it into a visceral hateful experience by your users or the person(s) you are trying to convince.

If being true to yourself involves "attacking" someone's loves and interests then you might want to evaluate your own character and definition of self. Going to effort to show a lack of respect will result in people rewarding that in kind.

Nickleback sells a lot of music and, by accounts, does a pretty good concert. The option in the preferences[1] was stupid, and having it on by default was asking for trouble.

1) most folks don't look at the preferences on iOS apps unless there is a problem

FrankenPC 8 hours ago 1 reply      
There isn't a human alive who is immune to internet blow back due to a creation of any kind. And if there was no internet, you'd get it in the mail.

Lesson: Grow a bullet proof hide. It's a totally unavoidable consequence of living with 6+ billion people.

sitkack 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I have done things like this, like adding "get your war on" to the svn repo navigator page, http://www.mnftiu.cc/category/gywo/war81/ I thought it was hilarious, they paid some dude to "work the weekend" to figure out how to remove it. In retrospect, I should have DONE EXACTLY WHAT I DID, but also add a button to hide the artwork. We need to be human and express ourselves. Nothing of interest happens by consensus.

The nickelback feature should have popped up a dialog, the problem would have solved itself. I see you are playing nickelback 0_o ...

I put this right here, http://funkatron.com/posts/empathy-is-our-most-important-att...

exo_duz 7 hours ago 0 replies      
This paragraph really resonates with me:

"Resistance: Developing a thick skin. A better way of describing it is learning how to filter feedback in a way that helps you grow, but discards trolling and lashing out. Usually this involves only paying attention to criticism when it comes from somebody you know and trust. If a celebrity comes off like a jerk, this is often whats happening."

I've always been taught that the first option of developing a thick skin and filtering out trolls would be the best way to deal with trolls and such but never heard of the 2nd and 3rd way described in the article.

The 2nd option of split personalities sounds interesting to me as this allows a channel to release vent. Will have to try it out.

andrejewski 6 hours ago 1 reply      
This is not unprofessionalism; it is poor UX. The sensible backlash to the Nickelback feature is that is was set "by default," not that ripping on Nickelback is a humorous, widely accepted activity. This app could have retained that "cleverness" and "easter egg" vibe by keeping the setting but not having it be active by default. With proper UX considered, the backlash in this case could have been avoided.
infinity0 3 hours ago 0 replies      
TL;DR: haters gonna hate
How to Hack the Developer Console to be Needlessly Interactive for Christmas konklone.com
4 points by morgante  21 minutes ago   1 comment top
cheapsteak 16 minutes ago 0 replies      

    say("\n:sparkles::sparkles: :star2: :sparkles:\n     :christmas_tree: \n :sparkles: :christmas_tree::christmas_tree:  :sparkles:\n   :christmas_tree::red_circle::christmas_tree:\n  :christmas_tree::ribbon::red_circle::christmas_tree:\n :christmas_tree::large_blue_circle::christmas_tree::red_circle::christmas_tree:  :sparkles:\n:christmas_tree::red_circle::christmas_tree::ribbon::large_blue_circle::christmas_tree:")   
For those of you who want to play around with the emoji stuff and feel bad about spamming chat:

    function test(message) {      events.chat({name: "test", message: message})    }
afterwards call `test` instead of `say`

Snapchat exploits have been published zdnet.com
11 points by firemedicpro  2 hours ago   discuss
So, you want to crypto existentialize.com
106 points by bqe  11 hours ago   58 comments top 15
greenyoda 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I think this quote from the article perfectly sums up the dangers of amateur cryptography:

"Cryptography isn't something you can iterate on until you get it right, because you'll never know if you do."

phaus 11 hours ago 2 replies      
>Do not let users use your product until it's been vetted.

Its OK to let them use it so you can have a large user-base to test with, you just need to explain to them that it isn't proven secure. As in, explicitly tell them that they are under no circumstances to use it with sensitive information.

Playing around with cryptography is the only way to learn it, you just have to remember to tell people that playing is exactly what you are doing.

plg 9 hours ago 2 replies      
The Matasano crypto challenges are a great place to start getting your feet wet and your hands dirty.


Myself, I'm trying them in ANSI C

andrewcooke 10 hours ago 1 reply      
article mentions nothing-up-my-sleeve numbers, so a topical reminder that the permutation for md2 (and rc2 apparently) is still unexplained (despite being "derived from pi") - http://crypto.stackexchange.com/questions/11935/how-is-the-m...

for all you conspiracists - this was designed by rivest, the r in rsa, now famous for cooperating with nsa... (i don't really believe that the permutation is a backdoor, but i would like to know how it's derived - rivest is famous for elegant algorithms, and for the life of me i can't find a simple, neat way to get those numbers from pi)

haberman 7 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm curious to hear people's thoughts about git. Git is "crypto" to some extent, Linus does not appear to have tons of crypto expertise, and it uses SHA1 as a MAC AFAICT (which according to tptacek's earlier comment is invalid). And yet I've never heard about attacks on its crypto.

This was interesting for me to think about because it seems like a counterpoint to the article, in that it is a very successful project that came about in a very "quick and dirty" way as opposed to starting with formal protocol design.


I see that Linus disclaims the idea that SHA1 is about security: "Git uses SHA-1 in a way which has nothing at all to do with security.... It's just the best hash you can get.... It's about the ability to trust your data. I guarantee you, if you put your data in Git, you can trust the fact that five years later, after it was converted from a hard disk to a DVD to whatever new technology and you copied it, five years later you can verify that the data that you get back out is the exact same data you put in."

But it seems like avoiding attacks like this must also be a goal: http://lkml.indiana.edu/hypermail/linux/kernel/0311.0/0621.h...

derefr 7 hours ago 1 reply      
> And don't make your cryptography project sound like snake oil. Saying military grade encryption or N-bits of security makes you sound like you don't know what you're talking about.

Interesting to contrast this with patio11's statement from just a few days ago (https://training.kalzumeus.com/newsletters/archive/sco_remin...):

> People are better at remembering images than they are remembering claims or facts. "256-bit SSL encryption" is a true fact about your software product, but for most customers it goes in one ear and out the other. "Bank-grade encryption" is an image -- people can envision the vault -- and is vastly more likely to be recalled favorably when someone is worried about security.

milhous 9 hours ago 3 replies      
I'm taking an Intro to Crypto course this spring. What's interesting is that it's offered through the Math department, and assumed it was a CS class.

We'll be using this text:


Is this any good? Apparently a best seller in the "Software Coding Theory" category on Amazon.

Nursie 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Ok so I do want to crypto and (to the best of my ability) I already do. I follow best practices, read about the subject matter, did coursera's crypto 1 (and where the hell is pt2? 1 was awesome!). I use established algorithms and I use, well audited implementations etc etc. where available.

I have a question about MACs. We're using HMAC based on SHA256 with 32-byte keys on our new system, but our security architect only wants us to send and verify 4 or 8 bytes of the MAC output. Am I wrong to be suspicious of this? It massively reduces the number of bits an attacker has to guess or calculate, though at 8 bytes that's 128 bits so not exactly a quick brute-force...

sidcool 2 hours ago 0 replies      
The author seems quite pissed at the state of crypto in the world, and he's definitely trying to help. I like the general language of the post. Good work and keep it up!
rnicholson 10 hours ago 1 reply      
>Both Applied Cryptography and the Handbook of Applied Cryptography are great resources, although they're a little dated now. ... Step one is to read Cryptography Engineering. This is not optional. Read it. It is a fantastic book that details how to use cryptographic primitives.

It seems kinda superfluous to mention Applied Crypto when the real reco is to read Cryptography Engineering. I'd almost wonder if it would be better to direct people away from Applied Crypto...

Personally, I found Applied Cryptography to be so-so at best. Practical Cryptography was a breath of fresh air in comparison.

betterunix 10 hours ago 1 reply      
If you want a more "theoretical" look at the theory, Introduction to Modern Cryptography by Jon Katz and Yehuda Lindell is a great book. Also good (but my copy had many printing errors) is Foundations of Cryptography by Oded Goldreich.
jiggy2011 11 hours ago 2 replies      
Surely the correct answer is "just use keyczar"? At least 99% of the time.
theboss 11 hours ago 0 replies      
TL;DR - If you want to do crypto then learn crypto.

If you want to learn crypto and do crypto then certainly start with this. Then, when doing crypto...practice. Build it and reach out and ask for help and talk to people who know what they are doing and learn from them. Ask them about problems you encountered and ask them about the best ways to solve them...otherwise you will continue to make the same mistakes.

ztnewman 10 hours ago 1 reply      
>Don't listen to idiots who tell you otherwise.

Real mature.

lazyjones 6 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a condescending blog post by someone with an (apparently) much weaker crypto background than the telegram people he is ranting about. Of course it's much easier to post something like that than it is to actually get a rock-solid implementation at the first attempt - and we can safely assume that the telegram people do not need such advice.

Would not read again.

Who's Selling Credit Cards From Target krebsonsecurity.com
190 points by dkasper  15 hours ago   75 comments top 12
ghoul2 12 hours ago 7 replies      
A lot of value of stolen credit cards comes from the reluctance of businesses and law enforcement to go after the users of such stolen cards, as the transactions are "small" - sub-1000$.

Last year, I had four fraudulent transactions appear on my card. I am a very cautious user - Linux on the desktop, seperate user and browser profile for e-shopping etc. This was the first time it happened in over 15 years of extensive online card-use.

Two of the transactions were with Netflix to register new streaming accounts. I called up Netflix, and within a couple minutes had a block placed on my card and both the accounts deleted with refunds to my card.

The other two transactions were on frys.com. One was for a laptop and the other, much higher value, for a smartphone. Shockingly enough, while one transaction got security flagged and did not go thru, the laptop one cleared and the laptop had been shipped out before I contacted frys. Frys rep told me on the phone that the information submitted was very clearly and obviously phony - the email address was a string of random letters @gmail.com, name etc everything was fake. Even with the credit card info, the only piece of correct info was the credit card number. No CVV was submitted, no correct billing address, not even the name on the card was correct. Heck, as my credit card is NOT US based, even the country of the card was not correct. Yet Frys shipped it.

I tried to get more information about the fraud but frys refused: they told me point blank, that they will not give me information, they will not initiate a police case, and they will not refund my money even though they were clearly at fault for having the transaction to go thru.

I, not being based in the US, had few options. I filed an online police report with San Jose police, where Frys is based. I also filed an online report with the FBI online fraud division. Both of them assumed I was filing these reports for insurance/reporting purposes, but told me outright that no investigation would take place.

Later, when my bank provided me with more info about the fraud I found out that frys actually challenged my chargeback and provided the transactions details to my bank. As expected they had no case, but I found out from the details that the laptop had been shipped to an address in Abilene, TX. I immediately registered an online report with the Abilene PD as well.

None of the authorities were interested in following up. Considering how trivial it would have been to atleast checkup on the address, this seems like a bad lapse.

I believe it creates a moral hazard: In the end, frys was the one that was out a few hundred dollars, and they refuse to prosecute. Police does not act on my complaint. Once it becomes known that a company has such lax policies, its open season.

bri3d 14 hours ago 3 replies      
This is a a good illustration of how hard it can be to stay anonymous online.

With that being said, I don't see how Krebs reaches the conclusion that this guy "probably" knows who stole the Target cards or how they were stolen. They were just posted on his crappy carding forum.

It seems a bit disingenuous to me to plaster this person's dox under this headline; yes, he seems pretty scummy and runs several criminal enterprises but there's no actual evidence in the article linking him to the Target fraud beyond someone else using his forum to hawk their stolen goods.

belluchan 13 hours ago 2 replies      
I was in line and made a short conversation (short so as to not hold up the line) with the cashier at Target. The elderly lady behind me was pretty worried about the credit card theft, and the cashier knew about it too. It's cool at least that news about this stuff is reaching more people.

In my opinion just get a new card, don't wait for suspicious activity. Check it to see if it was already used. Also given that the 3 letter pins weren't from the back are not included I'm not sure if it's going to be very easy to make use of this card data. Having said, still get a new card if you used it at Target recently.

tzs 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Several years ago I received an email offering to sell me 100k stolen credit cards, and it included a sample of 12k cards. They had card number, issuing bank, customer name, expiration date, customer address, and I think phone number. I don't remember if they had the CSC or not.

Some of these were from banks that would let you try to login given a card number and password, and told you on failure if you got the card number wrong or the password wrong, so I was able to do a check using that on some of the cards and found they were legit card numbers for accounts at those banks.

This was on a Friday late afternoon Pacific time.

I called the FBI to see if they were interested. They were not, and suggested that the Secret Service might be more appropriate. The Secret Service was also not interested. I then tried the credit card associations, and most of them told me that this would be an issue for their security department and suggested that I call back Monday morning as the security department had gone home for the weekend. One did give me the email I could forward the mail to.

I had thought someone would be interested in this, at least enough to want to look at the card numbers I had to determine if they came from a known breach or were from something new.

ck2 14 hours ago 5 replies      
How on earth are the sellers "cashing out" and how are they taking payments?

Why can't the money be followed?

If the NSA is such a powerhouse with billions of dollars of assets to track every electronic communication, why aren't they focusing their entire resources on people like the sellers?

Or is it like the TSA where they just hassle the completely innocent people at the airport for show while the real criminals take other paths.

ginko 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Is it just me or is anyone else surprised that the first screenshot contains a (working) .su URL?

.su was the TLD of the Soviet Union.

falcolas 13 hours ago 1 reply      
So, granted the perpetrator can easily be considered to be a scumbag, but is doxxing him really the best way to address this situation? What if this guy ends up lynched by a vindictive mob? What if this information is wrong?
x0054 13 hours ago 3 replies      
This is a fascinating bit of research. Has any one posted yet information on how the actual card info was stollen? I read somewhere that the point of sale units were infected, but with no evidence to back that claim up.
lstamour 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Of course all this hinges on the admission that he was Hel in the first place .... which seems plausible to the amateur but requires more evidence for courts, I suspect. Though the name-clash of that service and the bribery is intriguing.

As to Target, there had to be a group. Somebody funding, someone inside, and then you've distribution networks for what effectively ends up as money laundering. At least that's the way I imagine it :)

seivan 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I tend to create temporary e-cards for online purchases outside of subscriptions...
yeukhon 13 hours ago 2 replies      
I am fascinated how the black market operates. With law enforcement probing every corner, going undercover, I can't imagine myself getting involved in a blackmarket at all. Well, I guess there is always the risk which says high risk yields high return.
andy10 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Unfortunately, I was one of the shoppers at Target. It's fascinating how different issuers are dealing with the problem. It seems that many are waiting to reissue the cards, so the consumer can continue to shop during the busy time.
Edward Snowden, after months of NSA revelations, says his missions accomplished washingtonpost.com
581 points by uptown  1 day ago   179 comments top 24
hooande 1 day ago 8 replies      
But what has really changed?

The NSA is under pressure from the public, less so from the intelligence and defense communities. If anything Snowden has caused those areas of government to close ranks even tighter. There's nothing a leader wants more than a highly visible enemy to unite his or her people. There are orders of magnitude more people who hate General Alexander now than there were two years ago. But his own people love him even harder.

The NSA may or may not lose some funding in the coming years. It will probably just transfer over to the NRO or the Office of Intelligence and Analysis or one of the dozen other agencies that we haven't come to know and hate yet. If there's one thing government is good at, it's maintaining the status quo. Public support has never meant much to the intelligence community. These are people who signed up to serve in secret, who have dedicated their lives to what they believe to be just causes. They won't pay a thought to a year or so of bad press.

Snowden's future is unclear. He'll probably be in russia for several more years, if he doesn't overstay his welcome. It's possible that some future president will see pardoning him as a free goodwill card. Or perhaps he'll be able to start a life as an overseas media personality, reaping the benefits of what many see as a heroic action. One thing is for certain: US intelligence agencies will continue business as usual.

Edward Snowden has shown the light, and his work is indeed done. It's up to us to effect real change and shape our government in our own image. Maybe things will change, maybe they won't. But those who dislike what he has revealed have their work cut out for them.

eliteraspberrie 1 day ago 4 replies      
The Washington Post sat on the Collateral Murder video. [1,2] The New York Times sat on the warrantless wiretapping scandal at the request of the White House. [3] CBS sat on the Abu Ghraib torture scandal at the request of the Pentagon. [4]

What is the Washington Post not telling us?

[1] https://twitter.com/wikileaks/status/15617022129

[2] http://www.cjr.org/the_kicker/wapo_denies_allegation_it_sat....

[3] http://fair.org/take-action/action-alerts/the-scoop-that-got...

[4] http://www.nieman.harvard.edu/reports/article/100787/CBS-Let...

quesera 1 day ago 4 replies      
> If I defected at all, Snowden said, I defected from the government to the public.

He can't run til 2020, but I'll cast an early vote now.

acqq 21 hours ago 1 reply      
It's a good moment to think again about the words uttered by, at that moment, vice president Cheney on September 16, 2001:

(at that time published on whitehouse.gov)


"We also have to work, though, sort of the dark side, if you will. We've got to spend time in the shadows in the intelligence world. A lot of what needs to be done here will have to be done quietly, without any discussion, using sources and methods that are available to our intelligence agencies, if we're going to be successful."

And, for the opposing view, also to think about the 2006 speech of then senator Obama:


"No President is above the law. I am voting against Mr. Hayden in the hope that he will be more humble before the great weight of responsibility that he has not only to protect our lives but to protect our democracy.

Americans fought a Revolution in part over the right to be free from unreasonable searches -- to ensure that our Government could not come knocking in the middle of the night for no reason. We need to find a way forward to make sure we can stop terrorists while protecting the privacy and liberty of innocent Americans. We have to find a way to give the President the power he needs to protect us, while making sure he does not abuse that power. It is possible to do that. We have done it before. We could do it again."

And as Snowden mentions, the oath the President makes is:


"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

The Constitution.

It's the end of 2013.

znowi 1 day ago 4 replies      
I didnt want to change society. I wanted to give society a chance to determine if it should change itself.

Despite a fair amount of indignation from the public, it seems to me that the majority has accepted the new surveillance reality.

suprgeek 1 day ago 1 reply      
His mission yes - giving up the comforts of a stable paying job in Hawaii and exposing himself to tremendous danger from a variety of nation-state level adversaries for life - in the bargain. Amazingly commendable - all for the sake of preserving core Liberty and Freedom as we know it.

What happens next ? Will things go back to businesses as usual?

jliechti1 1 day ago 7 replies      
If the "terrorists" are following this whole story, wouldn't now be a prime time for another attack?

This could have the effect of validating the NSA's activities in many Americans' eyes ("see, the NSA is unable to its job without invading our privacy") and we would see a whole new round of new laws capitalizing on Americans' fears of terrorists (which means their terrorism succeeded).

mladenkovacevic 1 day ago 5 replies      
Jesus Christ some of the comments on that article. I wonder if there was some way to analyse what percentage of it is astro-turfing and what percentage is real red-blooded Americans just brainwashed into thinking government knows best. Americans you are lost. It's been nice knowing you.
nicholassmith 9 hours ago 0 replies      
His mission is done, our mission isn't. He gave us the information we need to start banging on doors and saying to our elected representatives, 'is this right? Is this reasonable?'.

Some won't listen, some will, some won't rock the boat, some will. But unless you push you'll never know.

yetanotherphd 1 day ago 0 replies      
I am in awe of this man. We all owe him our thanks for bringing this information to the public, at considerable risk to himself.
w_t_payne 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Sorry, Ed, but we are nowhere near "mission accomplished".

This debate may have begun with worries about the risks posed by NSA overreach, but it does not end with them. As Bruce Schneier pointed out, the tools of today's spies are the same as the tools of tomorrow's criminals.

Whilst I am not exactly comfortable with the idea of persistent, intimate state surveillance, this discomfort fades into paltry insignificance when I consider the implications of criminal entities controlling the computing devices that I use to analyse and understand issues, make decisions and interact with the world.

I studied Artificial Intelligence as a student. I buy (somewhat) into Kurzweil's view of the future. Today, my computer may be a "bicycle for the mind", but tomorrow, we may have difficulty distinguishing between rider and vehicle.

The security of today's internet; today's computing devices, profoundly affects how securely, how effectively, and how independently I will be able to think in 20 or 30 years time.

We need to start talking more (much more) about the weaknesses and security vulnerabilities inherent in the architecture and design of our public communications and computing infrastructure. This debate has to get detailed and has to get technical. Fast.

Fuxy 22 hours ago 1 reply      
You have to admire his willingness to risk everything to give the people a chance to change this broken system.

He is right though the system is broken it gives too much power with too little oversight.

kochb 15 hours ago 0 replies      
> "Until youve got to pull the trigger, until youve had to bury your people, you dont have a clue."

Falling to the "you don't know what it's like" argument is never a good sign. You're acting out of pain and so emotionally invested in justifying your actions that you're incapable of communicating an evidence based rationale to an outsider. You can't reach a reasoned resolution like that.

tokenadult 1 day ago 12 replies      
I wish Snowden would roll up his sleeves and start working on the same problem in Russia, where he now lives, and in China, where he stayed briefly on his way to Russia. His mission has hardly begun.
tinfoil007 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Thank you, Edward Snowden. You're true hero.

It's a shame, that your leaders can see in technology only surveillance, war machinery and ways to humiliate and subjugate others.

It's a shame, that USA's participation in computing is still a "donkey work", as tortured (and probably killed) Alan Turing once said.

ck2 16 hours ago 0 replies      
NSA must be thrilled. Like the TSA, the mainstream public has become completely complacent.

Bet they were worried for a whole minute there.

I won't be surprised if like Homeland Security Theater their funding will increase and not decrease after the exposure.

Well at least gitmo was closed. Oh wait. Guess we accomplished less than nothing.

marquis 17 hours ago 0 replies      
"All I wanted was for the public to be able to have a say in how they are governed".

If these are his words to be remembered by, history will have kind thoughts for him.

stevewillows 1 day ago 0 replies      
I just hope at this point that we don't see a high-budget movie starring Justin Timberlake or Jesse Eisenberg playing Snowden.
NN88 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I just can't help but think most people already knew this before he revealed it...but then I remember...so many people are just under a rock
memracom 1 day ago 1 reply      
Amazing that for so many decades under so many leaders, the American intelligence services have relied on the oath of allegiance to the Constitution to preserve secrecy. The Brits do it right by making people sign the Official Secrets Act which both binds the agent to keep secrets and educates them in full detail what that means.
cabbeer 1 day ago 1 reply      
This came to mind when I read the title: http://i.imgur.com/bPn53M1.jpg?1
jokoon 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder what will happen when his 1 year thing with russia will end...

Maybe canada or south america ?

Grue3 17 hours ago 1 reply      
Hopefully he'll stop hogging the frontpage then. Just like nobody remembers Julian Assange anymore.
codex 1 day ago 2 replies      
The world, especially the intelligence world, is more than black and white. A myriad hues exist, some of them dark and dirty, some grey. Here is a portrait of a man who is color blind. Experiencing the world only through a computer, he lacks the judgement to jump to the right conclusions, and goes thermonuclear only to find that mainstream Americans don't share his disability. He wants to be another Assange, but in the end he is another Manning.
GNUnet 0.10.0 released gnunet.org
81 points by bratao  11 hours ago   20 comments top 6
rb2k_ 9 hours ago 3 replies      
I always think it's a shame that they don't release binaries. Yeah sure, it technically "works on GNU/Linux, FreeBSD, OS X and W32", but without binaries, they'll barely get more than a few users. I really like that they continue to improve the technological underpinnings of the software, but there's a reason a lot of people use the tor network. There is a bundle that they can just download, start and it helps them connect.

I guess they DO see themselves as a "framework", but there is a GTK UI and there is a "regular" filesharing component to it

comex 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder whether they would consider replacing GNS (GNU Name System, DNS substitute, decentralized using a chain of trust model but without globally unique names) with Namecoin (uses a blockchain to enforce a registration fee). The latter isn't perfect, but it's probably better, and I wish it had more uptake in general.
bane 10 hours ago 1 reply      
"GNUnet used RSA 2048 since its inception in 2001, but as of GNUnet 0.10.0, we are "powered by Curve25519"

anything to do with recent RSA news?

synchronise 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder when GNUnet and GNU Social will be eventually combined.
xmrsilentx 5 hours ago 0 replies      
GNUsenet seems like a more appropriate name.
ryan-thompson 8 hours ago 3 replies      
Can you GNU guys maybe stop putting GNU in front of everything? It's stupid. It makes me want to avoid these products. The message it sends is that the licence is more important than the product.
North Korean Officials Flood to China, Possible Mass Defection koreabang.com
79 points by notastartup  11 hours ago   38 comments top 11
ChuckMcM 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm never sure how to take these stories, but they provide a good litmus test of my emotions.

I wonder sometimes if these sorts of things are 'leaked' to see if anyone inside the country will flinch and take action, sometimes I wonder if they are wishful thinking on the part of people would like to see the PRK gone. It is always unsettling though to have a nuclear power that is quite unstable near a critical resource to the work (S. Korea). So emphasizing that instability is a great tool for news services to ratchet of the fear views.

Lets consider three possible scenarios:

1) I its a hoax.

Ok, so far (5:30PST) the mainstream press hasn't picked it up (and they would if they had any sort of confirmation). Who benefits? Asia Press?

2) Its disinformation.

So if the PRK "leaked" this to flush out malcontents in the PRK, how would that work? Would people who read this self identify as potential targets and head for the hills? (Thus calling them out as targets for the current government)

3) Its "real"

And there are a bunch of high level military and diplomatic personnel in China waiting to be processed through into the country. What is the PRK reaction? Anger? Retailiation? Do they do something stupid and try to kill their missing minions in China?

All it does it raise questions.

tokenadult 9 hours ago 3 replies      
I've checked twice in the last hour, and so far I'm not seeing any uptake of this story by any other news organization. One of the best illustrations of what a tyrannical country the Democratic People's Republic of Korea is is the news vacuum most of the world encounters when trying to find out what's going on there. The ruling party doesn't want the common people of north Korea to know what's going on in their own country, so pervasive censorship and government surveillance make it difficult for anyone to find out what's going on there. I look forward to the day when the people of north Korea can make a transition to civil liberty and democratic, constitutional government.
valgaze 7 hours ago 0 replies      
For anybody unaware, there is a whole network of sites like this that translate native language stories and commentary into English (depends on the editors, but the content varies from serious news stories like this to silly/interesting slice-of-life stuff from reaction on internet forums).

China: http://www.chinasmack.comIndonesia: http://www.indoboom.com Russia: http://www.russiaslam.com Japan: http://www.japancrush.com Korea: http://www.koreabang.com

henrikschroder 7 hours ago 3 replies      
Oh wow, those comments were interesting to read. Why the hostility towards North-korean spies? That spy program must have an exceptionally low success rate given that once you're outside North Korea, you will find out what the state of your country actually is compared to the rest of the world, and then what motication would you have to do your job?

The only thing I can think of that would keep them in check is that their family is being held hostage, but that would also make all of them extremely motivated to become double agents?

sifarat 17 minutes ago 0 replies      
I hate democracy, but I will choose it over any other method for transfer of power. The only credit I can give to democracy is, it ensures transfer of power without bloodshed and in a civilized manner, rest is all crap as we know it.
notastartup 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Here's the original Korean article translated to English


Often South Korean newspapers are the first to get news about North Korea as South Korean intelligence groups have good source of HUMINT gathered from North Korean defectors and officials willing to give up state secrets in exchange for safety and money.

There were notable cases of high ranking North Korean officials defecting to the South, for example Mr. Hwang (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hwang_Jang-yop) and even Kim Jong-Il's relatives like Mr. Yi (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yi_Han-yong) who was gunned down in an elevator while living in South Korea by North Korean agents.

revelation 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Why go to China when you want to defect to South Korea? I mean I know the obvious answer: the border between the two can't be passed.

But what's in it for China to pass them on to the South?

Also of course, general disclaimer: this may be misinformation by SK to help a perceived revolutionary tide.

Houshalter 3 hours ago 0 replies      
The titles in the sidebar:

>Korean Government Turns Its Back on Abandoned Babies

>Korean Woman Kills Stepdaughter By Force Feeding Her Salt

>Man Forces Three Runaway Middle School Girls into Prostitution

Wtf humans? Not that it compares to the atrocities in North Korea.

AndrewKemendo 6 hours ago 1 reply      
It's not on Chosun Ibo and that is the most reliable source for actual defections and general DPRK instability warning.


moocowduckquack 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I think the image in the article may have been photoshopped though.
ck2 8 hours ago 2 replies      
Apparently the execution was over who controls profits from their shellfish exports.

You'd think they would maybe feed their people with the profits.

If they get that nuclear bomb in portable form, there is going to be hell with that child at the helm.

Tools for the data science craftsman: R, Python, Clojure and Julia redowlanalytics.com
25 points by nextos  6 hours ago   1 comment top
juliangamble 29 minutes ago 0 replies      
If your query is in Clojure there are some great tools in addition to those mentioned for data science that leverage Hadoop - in particular - Parkour

https://github.com/damballa/parkour/ Hadoop MapReduce in idiomatic Clojure)

If your query is in R then you can convert to a PMML query and then Cascading to Run on Hadoop:


Datacoin datacoin.info
79 points by karlzt  9 hours ago   40 comments top 17
nwh 9 hours ago 3 replies      
Somehow I don't think many people will be willing to store arbitrary data like this on their hard drives. It only takes one person to inject something illegal before the entire blockchain becomes incredibly dangerous to handle. There's not really much worthwhile in storing something in this expensive format over an http/ftp/gopher server server if it's not illegal in some way, which will probably lead to it being quickly unsavoury.

On the technology side, you'll get to the point where no solved blocks include any data because it's causing massive orphans for the miner. I can't see this ever working the way the author intends. That already happens in the bitcoin system where blocks are extremely well compacted, and still people don't want to include transactions against the risk of losing their income.

zaroth 9 hours ago 1 reply      
A blockchain isn't a particularly great data storage or retrieval mechanism. The core value of the blockchain with proof-of-work is achieving global consensus through majority hash voting. I don't see why data storage would benefit from this kind of structure.

For example, the basic premise of the blockchain is a backwards linked list. New transactions in the chain are collected into blocks which must be placed at the tail of the blockchain. Miners race to get their blocks on the tail. This is a great property if you're trying to prevent counterfeiting and provide protection against double-spends, but what does counterfeiting and double-spending have to do with data storage?

Blockchains are incredibly cool, but when you have a hammer...

themgt 9 hours ago 3 replies      
I really want to like these storage-coin ideas, but it seems like the obvious advance needed is a conceptual way to distribute the blockchain so each individual computer doesn't have to hold all of the data, and (hand-in-hand) to eventually allow data to be removed from the chain. I don't understand how they can otherwise be sustainable long-term. It also seems like they could take some lessons from BitTorrent, where peers get credit for transferring data rather than computations.
jaekwon 9 hours ago 0 replies      
What is the economics of the incentive system for data storage vs cost of storage?

For the miner who mines a block, he only needs to store the additional data in the block. But the commons of the miner network needs to store all data, so isn't there a tragedy of the commons? Perhaps the number of miners would continue to wind down until only a handful can actually service the network, reducing the security and usefulness of the system.

What incentivizes a miner to actually store the data anyways? Are there proper incentives to ensure that miners or whatnot actually continue to store all that data?

The right incentive system would allow users to pay for data downloaded. Not sure if that's in the spec or code.

jared314 8 hours ago 0 replies      
If you combine this with something similar to Namecoin, for dns, this might be an interesting distributed website hosting solution. Or, perhaps publishing scientific studies (documents and data) instead of using academic journals[1].

It might be horribly inefficient as a hosting solution, but i'm sure that can be optimized.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6960989

maaku 8 hours ago 0 replies      
There's absolutely no reason to construct a new chain for this. You can do data storage in the block chain using Merkle trees whose roots are committed in the coinbase string or an OP_RETURN txout.
VladRussian2 9 hours ago 0 replies      
>Data is stored in the blockchain forever and can be retrieved using a transaction hash as an identifier.

so, if someone stores any piece of copyright material the MPAA/RIAA would need to destroy whole ecosystem of the given coin? bamboo roots come to mind.

t0 9 hours ago 1 reply      
What makes it valuable as a currency? Are people expected to buy DTC to pay storage fees? I don't know that this will work from an economics standpoint.
tibbon 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Maybe I just suck at this, but I've found that compiling the needed tools for various cryptocurrencies is kinda hellishly difficult. I've been trying to get this one going on OS X Mavericks for the past hour with little luck.

I'd really like to play with more of these, but the state of the documentation across the board for them (except Bitcoin) seems to be slim at best, non-existant and incorrect at worst.

Trying to figure it out and post my results to the Github issue tracker...

mikemoka 9 hours ago 0 replies      
bitcoin can already provide proof of existence in a similar way if that is the key advantage expressed, if they claim to be able to store an indefinite amount of future data instead, as could be inferred by a quick scanning of the text, I find it very hardly scalable at all, there could be useful files of any size passing through the voting system and the blockchain should be replicated by each client on the network in theory in order to safeguard the network from possible missing nodes
MarcusVorenus 9 hours ago 1 reply      
What's the difference with Namecoin other than the hashing algorithm and block speed?
BenjaminN 9 hours ago 0 replies      
How many of those do we need? At least this one is using flat design. Guys, you should call it flatcoin, that's a good name too.
dataangel 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Anyone know if this is merge mined with Primecoin or does it just use the same algorithm?
pearjuice 9 hours ago 0 replies      
And another pump&dump coin sees the bright daylight.
habosa 9 hours ago 3 replies      
Why is CPU mining a plus?
mbloom1915 9 hours ago 0 replies      
very interesting, not sure even bitcoin will stay afloat but there is room for other players to make a splash
ronaldsvilcins 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Well, this is very interesting idea...
How Does Facebook Know What's In My Amazon Shopping Cart? thecodist.com
45 points by ojilles  9 hours ago   19 comments top 13
pyduan 5 hours ago 0 replies      
This is called ad retargeting -- the basic premise being that conversion rates are much higher for items the user has actually looked at in the past. Usually it's only supposed to show abandoned purchases, but sometimes it doesn't work and shows you stuff you already bought. I personally feel retargeting to be a bit too intrusive for my tastes but the conversion numbers are excellent, which is why this industry has boomed in recent years. It looks like your browser's incognito mode can be useful for online gift shopping after all!

There are a few companies who do this like Criteo or Adroll, but I believe Amazon is using Triggit [1]. It looks like it's working for them:http://marketingland.com/triggit-facebook-exchange-36-better...

[1] http://blog.triggit.com/amazon-chooses-triggit%E2%80%99s-dem...

ars 2 hours ago 1 reply      
"This could be embarrassing if you ordered a gift for someone who then saw it on the screen."

This happened to me! Luckily the other person didn't realize there was anything special about that ad.

I don't get these ads though - I looked at a product and either decided to get it or not. Why are you still showing it to me? I'm done with that product.

amccloud 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Ad retargeting. Happens all the time.


jka 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Although this does sound like a case of ad retargeting (as a number of other commentators have mentioned), it's worth being aware of the 'data brokerage' industry, which may or may not become more closely linked with advertising in the future.

Essentially, with so many institutions collecting and storing (even fairly anonymous) profile/intent data (browsed this page, purchased these items), there's an ability and motivation to have back-channels between data-driven advertisers; buying and selling user data to inform each other's targeting.

Retargeting pushes the user experience in this direction while being arguably more benign; it is a little more transparent and simple to understand than data sharing.

jtchang 5 hours ago 0 replies      
My guess is retargeting via AdRoll or something that Facebook uses for their ads platform.
blantonl 3 hours ago 4 replies      
Before anyone grabs their pitchforks and condemns ad-retargetng, the question has to be asked. How much did the OP pay to use Facebook as a social platform? With that said...

There is nothing nefarious here. This is standard internet marketing efforts.

MrMorden 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd be much less annoyed by this tactic if the retargeted ads didn't gang up on you like a platoon of Belarusian KGB agents.
alecsmart1 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Also, would like to add that Facebook does not know what's in your shopping cart. For all practical purposes, it's just an advert from Amazon (using retargeting).
chenster 5 hours ago 0 replies      
That creepy thing is called "ads retargeting".
idunno246 3 hours ago 0 replies      
if you click on the x in the top right corner of the ad, theres an about this ad link that will give you details on who generated that advertisement.

http://www.mikeonads.com/2010/02/22/rtb-part-iii-cookies-use... this describes roughly how they identify you.

moonka 4 hours ago 0 replies      
This is exactly why I buy my gifts using an incognito window for researching gifts. Otherwise I'd go to Facebook or Fark and the sidebar would have exactly what I was looking at.
jbverschoor 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I was wondering the exact same thing today
drakaal 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Retargeting typically uses Cookies, the scarier ones are Continuous Targeting, where Metadata is used to track you without cookies, or worse yet straight up user data sharing.

If you are John Smith of 1313 Mockingbird Lane no cookie is needed partners just share info about targeting.

Sometimes it is more general Someone at your IP shopped for an Xbox one, so you get ads for Xbox One. We see this at my office a lot. I shop for something, and the guys in the office start to see ads for it.

Then there is the really scary ones. Your referrer data comes along with a search from Google or where ever, the ad network uses that with your metadata, or user data to know what you searched for, now they store all of those to track where you live based on you doing things like "Near:1313 Mocking bird lane" from Google Maps, and they now have your physical address, (or they get it from somewhere you bought something). Now your paper mail gets "Current Resident" targeted Spam.

Go a step further.Your friend Bob plays Candy Crush on Facebook, the game gets all the friends of Bob and their cities. Using the data from above we now know you are friends with Bob. So we start sending you spam that uses Bob's last name in it, or We just plain send you spam that uses Bob's Full name.

As someone who has managed large online ad campaigns you don't want to know how much information I can buy about you. The NSA is not nearly as Scary as Google with regards to how much they know about you. And Google will sell that stuff to anyone with a big enough budget, with no care as to how we want to use that data.

Royal pardon for codebreaker Alan Turing bbc.co.uk
513 points by louthy  1 day ago   147 comments top 40
acheron 1 day ago 13 replies      
75,000 men were convicted under the same law, of whom 26,000 are still alive. [1] Only Turing has been "pardoned".

My understanding [2] is that the "pardon" implies there was nothing wrong with the law as such, just that Turing is forgiven for having broken it. So while I guess this is better than nothing, I don't know if it's really the way to go about it.

[1] http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201314/ldhansrd/t...

[2] I am not a lawyer, nor British, so give my understanding as much weight as it deserves...

alan_cx 1 day ago 5 replies      
This is politically motivated nonsense. At right wing government trying to prove its not homophobic. Yes the Queen issued the pardon, but it wont have been done without the government being consulted. Pardoning one person like this when thousands suffered is an insult. They should have either pardoned everyone who was convicted under these laws, or none of them. Favouring one man because of his historical significance is creating a two tier justice system.

And frankly, I find the whole thing problematic. Judging the past by todays standards is just wrong to my mind. He did break the law as it stood, right or wrong. Its not like we now have evidence he was innocent of the charges. What do we do, go over all the past laws that have been repealed, pardoning every one who was convicted along the way? That would be insane. What about the reverse? Surely if we are to pardon people who got convicted under laws that we have now repealed, we should go back and try any one in the past who has committed acts which are now crimes but were not then.

Yes, Turing is of huge historical significance. What happened to him was awful and tragic. If the notion that he wiped 2 years of WW2 is not over exaggerated, millions owe him their lives and freedoms. There for not just a great scientist, but a world figure of huge significance. But, this is not the right way to honour him. And from what I can see, is shameless political points scoring by a weak government concerned with its gay credentials.

If it were me, I would have left the conviction alone, let it stand as a reminders of our stupid homophobic past (1), and perhaps done something like having a national Turing Day, which could celebrate science and open humanity. Or something like that.

(1) Not so stupid. Problem back then was that the vast majority of people were disgusted by homosexuality. So, obviously they kept it quiet. If they got found out, they suffered. Problem for organisation concerned with secrecy, is that the social pressure placed on gay people made them easy and obvious targets for espionage. They were easily black mailed. Now a days, most people have no problem with homosexuality, so the threat of being outed is weak. The problem back then was not government, its was the social attitude in general to gay people. There for, to me it is wrong for the public to point fingers at the government. Had the public not been so prejudiced, the government could have kept their genius employed, and alive. Its our fault as a society. Government had to operate in that context. It had no choice really. And of course many people in that government would have had the same attitude as the public. But in the end, it was our fault, our shame, as a society. And that is what we should remember.

SimonPStevens 16 hours ago 3 replies      
What I find most intriguing about this is the how a law that was enforced only 50 years ago has so quickly become abhorrent to the majority of the population. It's an interesting thought experiment to consider which laws we routinely use today to punish people will become morally unacceptable in the next 50 years.

Copyright and patent laws, and laws used against Snowden's whistle blowing are some obvious ones that are due for changes, but what's more interesting is if history continues to repeat itself it seems likely that some things we consider wrong now will become acceptable in the near future and the reverse is also true. This is much harder to predict.

(Humans driving cars is a reverse example. I think in the next 50 years it will become illegal for humans to drive cars manually except on private racing circuits)

edw519 1 day ago 2 replies      
How ironic, coming the same week as LGBT education sites are blocked by British "porn" filters.

The best pardon to someone who is dead would be to stop doing similar misdeeds to those who are living.

badclient 1 day ago 3 replies      
Pardon? For what? Thanks but no thanks.
kirinan 1 day ago 2 replies      
This falls under the category of too little too late. I get that traditions change throughout history, I get that some things that are acceptable now were unacceptable even 10 years ago, but this is a case where people should have looked the other way. Alan Turning is both a war hero and one of the greatest minds to ever live. To simply disregard someone like that because of their sexual orientation is both short sighted and a disgusting lack of humanity. Imagine how much further computing would be if he had lived longer? If he had been free to think and live without ridicule and the tests run on him?
bluecalm 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Instead of pardoning bullshit get him a chapter in elementary school history books. Chapter about a man, who greatly contributed to modern science and the war effort and was prosecuted by bigoted fanatics running the country. Then warn about similar attitudes displayed today and teach the children to recognize them along with their gloomy consequences. That would do some actual good instead of insignificant PR gesture of pardoning.
Tloewald 1 day ago 0 replies      
Somewhere between better than nothing and nothing.
Brakenshire 1 day ago 1 reply      
The British state already formally apologized five years ago, under Gordon Brown, for Alan Turing's barbaric treatment. I can't see how a pardon adds anything to that. The best response is just to treat people humanely in the present.
wreegab 1 day ago 1 reply      
> "Alan Turing, the second world war codebreaker who took his own life after undergoing chemical castration following a conviction for homosexual activity, has been granted a posthumous royal pardon 59 years after his death."

I don't understand, I thought what was needed was "royal apologies". WTH.

infruset 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Wait. Someone who has a title and shitloads of money just because they were born is pardoning one of the greatest geniuses of the 20th century, as an act of kindness?

How does such an undeserving leftover of the middle ages even have a say in this?

vithlani 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Let this be a reminder to all hackers and geniuses out there: protect yourself from your society. You exist purely at the mercy of your physical realm. It does not matter how essential your discoveries, how profitable, how useful to mankind, how breathtaking. If you are perceived as being a risk (through something simple like your sexuality) you will be ground to dust. The decision will be made (perhaps justifiably) but it will be executed by the worst sort of petty human being: bureaucrats, under achievers, jealous men and beasts in human form who have been handed down power by the state. They will unleash a torrent of hellfire in your life.

This beast does not discriminate: weather a gathering of Sikhs in a park, tribes of Africans or a sole genius with an arguably significant contribution to the war effort - to the beast they are all one once the order has been given.

Always ensure you have some form of protection and a way out.

The British establishment should be ashamed of themselves. They have tolerated homosexuality for centuries among the upper classes up to and including the royals. To grind down a man on the level of Turing with for such an absurd reason is an act of criminal stupidity. All the more so after his efforts during the war.

The computer science community all the world over should reject this "pardon" and ask the queen to stuff it up her posterior.

davidgerard 1 day ago 0 replies      
Even this, 61 years late and only applying to him, is only a sort-of pardon legally:


huherto 14 hours ago 0 replies      
The queen was already reigning when Alan Turing was brought to trail.

May be the queen is who needs to be pardoned.

lostlogin 1 day ago 0 replies      
Thought I'd stick this link here - great place. http://www.bletchleypark.org.uk Last time I was there, 10 or 15 years ago, they were redecorating the house (can you call it that?). They had a load of really old fittings like taps etc in a skip. I still regret not asking if I could take one or 2. Having a few taps from that amazing place would be so great. I spent days of time there over the course of a year, and met a few of the people who worked their who knew Turing (by sight, not personally). You can see Turing's room at the place too. It was fascinating to talk to people who worked there during the amazing period Turing worked through.
sanoli 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Yes, they apologized 5 years ago, and now there's a pardon. As an important abolitionist from my country once wrote, "Justice that is late is not justice".
nayefc 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Unrelated to the topic, but:

> He said the research Turing carried out during the war at Bletchley Park undoubtedly shortened the conflict and saved thousands of lives.

Clear example of "history is written by the victors". The Allies were as guilty in the war as the other side. Neither side's goal was to "shorten the conflict and save lives" but to "defeat the other side" with no regards to human life.

microtherion 1 day ago 0 replies      
The infinite tape of justice winds slowly, but grinds exceedingly fine.
StavrosK 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wouldn't it be much more forceful if his conviction remained as a mahnmal? Something to point at and say "here's what we did to a brilliant man because we were too small-minded to think otherwise"?

All pardoning Turing does now is lead us to eventually forget the tragedy of his conviction.

Kliment 19 hours ago 0 replies      
moxic 1 day ago 0 replies      
He should get a Royal Apology as well, even if the PM already issued one.
NAFV_P 1 day ago 1 reply      
Turing died only a few years before the emergence of high level languages. I have often wondered if he would go for FORTRAN or LISP.
ciderpunx 1 day ago 0 replies      
Finally. Though it is the very least that the establishment could do given how Turing was treated.
elchief 1 day ago 1 reply      
Lots of complaining on here, but I was glad to see it.

The government certainly didn't have to. It doesn't have to pardon everyone convicted of a crime that is no longer a crime.

It was a good thing to do for a good man, and I commend them.

Rogerh91 1 day ago 0 replies      
You know, I was just reading a WSJ special on how returning PTSD-afflicted veterans were lobotomized...

Reading back on what happened to Turing and countless other homosexuals gives me those same chills.

What a simple pleasure it is to live in the era we do now. No, not everything is perfect, but so much has improved, and it's up to all of us to improve things even further, and to keep the momentum going.

sarreph 1 day ago 0 replies      
The manner in which the document was written makes its authenticity strike me as highly surprising.
jackmaney 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Way too little, way too late.
mydpy 1 day ago 0 replies      
About f*cking time, but is it enough? No, but hopefully we won't need to worry about things like this in the future. Progress is progress and I'll take it.
kopos 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Should this not have been an "apology" instead of a "pardon"?
InclinedPlane 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Have we ruled out the possibility that the UK government is more desperate to legitimize code breaking than to exonerate a mistreated war hero?

I don't think that's the case, but these days it's getting harder to be sure.

enen 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Anyone know a good movie/book on his life?
soperj 1 day ago 1 reply      
First step to knighthood?
fmendez 1 day ago 1 reply      
It seems to me that the fitting thing to be issued here is an apology, not a pardon.
kimonos 1 day ago 0 replies      
It would have been better if he was still alive when he was pardoned...
tekkanphan 23 hours ago 0 replies      
They should give a royal apology
thrillgore 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Datsundere 1 day ago 0 replies      
59 years late.
nbody 1 day ago 2 replies      
grad_ml 1 day ago 0 replies      
BBC please do not make any of the royal drama news headlines.
bitsteak 1 day ago 2 replies      
Scumbag Hacker News: Admires spies only after they're dead.
Indian Scientists developed Insulin Pill for diabetics jagranjosh.com
81 points by conductor  13 hours ago   23 comments top 6
jimrandomh 12 hours ago 5 replies      
> the effects of the pill lasted longer than injected insulin

A non-diabetic might think this was a good thing, but it's more likely to be a serious problem. The actual research article (http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/bm401580k) is paywalled, so I can't see what its pharmacokinetics are, but I'm not inclined to give the benefit of the doubt; unlike most drugs, insulin needs rapid uptake, precise timing and precise dosing. Even if it did survive the digestive tract, interactions with foods that altered the effective dose, or sped up or slowed absorption, would be likely to sink it in actual use.

codva 12 hours ago 1 reply      
One thing I've learned from my Type 1 wife is to never get excited about this sort of stuff. Her father was a Lilly executive and they tried to get her to use the insulin nose spray back in the 80s. She passed, and a few years later it was pulled from the market as it was destroying the user's nasal passages.

She was also a beta tester for a blood meter that didn't need disposable test strips. It got pulled by the FDA.

I always root for advances in diabetes management, or dream of dreams, a cure. But I'm not expecting it.

discardorama 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Here's the link to paper, if someone wants to take a gander: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/bm401580k?journalCode=bo...
dnautics 12 hours ago 0 replies      
one thing to worry about - insulin cross-reacts with the IGF receptor and insulin is a mild carcinogen; but insulin variants and insulin reformulations can be extremely potent carcinogens. Presumably they did IGF cross-reaction studies, but the post-digestive tract form might have different properties even, and before getting too excited, I'd want to wait for results from a longitudinal study in the clinic.
alphakappa 7 hours ago 0 replies      
The Indian media is a bit breathless in declaring that this is the first time an insulin pill has been developed, but that doesn't seem to be the case [1]. Not to take anything away from new research, but I wish these discoveries were reported with some moderation because there's a long way between a discovery and a pill that can actually be sold.

1. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/10/09/us-novonordisk-ora...

kirtijthorat 11 hours ago 3 replies      
Now all that they need is to get it FDA approved to market in the US market. We need a sure shot remedy for diabetes which is alternatively known as "The Plague of Our Time" Read this article: http://blog.seattlepi.com/timigustafsonrd/2012/02/28/obesity...
The real use of money is to buy freedom paraschopra.com
305 points by paraschopra  23 hours ago   264 comments top 43
miles 22 hours ago 7 replies      
Tim O'Reilly on money:

Its easy to get caught up in the heady buzz of making money. You should regard money as fuel for what you really want to do, not as a goal in and of itself. Money is like gas in the car you need to pay attention or youll end up on the side of the road but a well-lived life is not a tour of gas stations!

Source: http://radar.oreilly.com/2009/01/work-on-stuff-that-matters-...

birken 23 hours ago 2 replies      
There is a really great article in The Atlantic (from 2011) called "Secret Fears of the Super-Rich" on this topic:

Excerpt: The respondents turn out to be a generally dissatisfied lot, whose money has contributed to deep anxieties involving love, work, and family. Indeed, they are frequently dissatisfied even with their sizable fortunes. Most of them still do not consider themselves financially secure; for that, they say, they would require on average one-quarter more wealth than they currently possess. (Remember: this is a population with assets in the tens of millions of dollars and above.)

Link: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/04/secret-f...

officemonkey 21 hours ago 8 replies      
Everybody just loves the word "freedom," like it's some magical super-juice which is the be-all and end-all of the American experience.

We will all be free of obligation, pain, responsibility, and any other positive or negative thing soon enough. Instead of the pursuit of freedom, we should dedicate ourselves to obligations that honor ourselves and others.

You don't really want "freedom," you want an obligation that you're excited about, you want a responsibility you're eager to take on, you want a job you love doing, you want a relationship that resonates with your values.

Everyone shorthands this to "freedom," and sooner or later that becomes the goal instead of the individual obligations you're now able to pursue.

graeme 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Freedom has been my main goal for money. As my business has grown I'm happier, but I can see the monetary goalposts shifting as I go.

I started two years ago. My initial goal was to build recurring income. I wanted enough to cover expenses, as an initial goal.

Achieved that. But I saw I was vulnerable to sudden expenses, or a temporary decline in business. So I wanted an emergency fund.

Achieved that. But then I realized I had student loan debt that I would soon have to pay interest on, as I was earning more money and wouldn't qualify for debt relief in the near future.

Had a really good autumn and achieved that. Then I noticed that I might have to pay more taxes, because my previous tuition tax credits may run out in 2013.

Achieved that, which brings me to the present. I only achieved much of that savings through tutoring. I charge a high rate, but it's not scaleable. So now my current goal is increasingly recurring revenue so that I don't have to sell my time directly.

Why am I writing this? At each one of these stages, I had the feeling "If I just achieve this goal, I'll have enough". It was a silly belief in retrospect it would have been obvious to an outsider that I still had challenges to overcome.

Yet presently, I have the feeling "if I double my recurring income, I'll have enough". But I'm certain that once I achieve this goal, I'll see another reason I ought to earn more. Probably the next goal will be "if I just achieve X, I can make work optional by age 33" or "if I just earn X, I won't have to worry about the cost of airfare for trips".

I can attest that life IS better now that I've met the goals I listed above. I remember having lots of worries about money that have mostly dissipated. I haven't increased my lifestyle, and have been trying to keep "freedom" as the main goal for earning more money.

But the whole process feels shockingly short-sighted. It's as though I'm incapable of imagining how I will feel if I am earning $X or have saved $X.

kamaal 20 hours ago 1 reply      
>>A life spent mostly hoarding money and possessions is a wasted life

Having seen the kind of advantage some of my friends born in rich families enjoy, I would love to hoard and posses tons of wealth even if its purely to give away in inheritance.

Rich kids enjoy privileges and advantage poor kids can't even dream of. The biggest of which is attitude of course. Rich kids are born with an assumption they are supposed to remain rich forever, become leaders and are free to act as unfair as they want given the their 'natural selection' in becoming rich.

No matter how hard you work, you will never be able to truly compete with a rich kid. He will get all the resources, tutions, fee and expenses taken care of to establish a more deeply entrenched position of advantage.

The only real way is for you to exactly do what their parents did, and hope your kids will be better off.

>>Then why do we run after money?

Which brings me to the point, why did you start a company?

Speaking purely from a philosophical point. There have been people in India, especially wandering monks who shown you can find all the bliss in life even on bare minimal survival gear. And there is no way you can match their freedom.

Joeboy 21 hours ago 1 reply      
A few years ago, after spending most of my adult life in voluntary-ish poverty I decided to spend a few years earning proper money. By which I mean, significantly more than my first world country's average salary but still peanuts in HN terms. The main differences it's made to me are:

1) I can afford to buy a home, which I expect to remove a large amount of bullshit from my life and makes me feel more secure about my future.

2) When my computer / bicycle / phone / printer / washing machine etc fails I can get the problem fixed without significant disruption to my life. This is probably a much bigger deal than anybody who's always been able to find money for these things realises.

4) It feels good to know I have earning ability if I put the effort in.

5) It's nice to be able to buy stuff, occasionally.

egypturnash 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Yeah, I think I largely agree with this.

A few years ago, my grandmother died and left me a healthy pile of money. Enough that I don't have to have a day job for several years yet, even if I hadn't invested a bunch of it.

I live alone in a two-bedroom apartment in a very walkable part of Seattle. I don't own a car, I don't have kids. I spend my days mostly drawing comics, without troubling myself much with deadlines, or whether they're "what the market wants" - I'm two years into a complex and ambitious comic about a lesbian robot lady with reality problems because it's a story I want to tell.

I have the freedom to do this instead of grinding out commissions, working as a minor cog in animation or games, or doing weird web-dev things in the intersection of "good artist, half-assed programmer". And I have this freedom because of money. I can afford to travel to several comic book conventions every year and make enough to at least cover my costs, and not stress when a new con turns out to have sales so shitty that I walk away from the last day to hit the beach instead.

It is fucking awesome and I really hope I can continue to enjoy this freedom for a very long time.

downandout 21 hours ago 2 replies      
The importance of money is a matter of perspective. Anyone that has the author's attitude toward money has never been poor. Ask a homeless person, or any of the 50% of the US population that has a net worth of zero or less what their opinion on money is, and it will be markedly different than the author's. The opinion that money doesn't matter is a luxury that only the wealthy can afford.
forgottenpaswrd 22 hours ago 2 replies      
When you know self made millionaires you learn one thing:

"Money is not wealth". Almost nobody that understands wealth holds money, money is a tool for exchanging things and its value decreases with time.

They hold real state, they hold precious metals, they hold stock, they travel, they know people.

The people that made money usually like making wealth and don't fear losing it so much, they learn all their life to handle risk with positive results. It is their children or grandchildren who fear it, because they don't.

The good thing about being rich is that you could be poor whenever you want. You could also help lots of people in your life, which feels amazing.

AndrewKemendo 17 hours ago 1 reply      
This article and the bulk of the comments strike me as shortsighted. Money is the driver of industry. The more you have, the more you can direct resources towards productive activity.

The idea of money being freedom is a great comparison, which I make myself often. The OP and others here however largely limit their notions to hedonistic freedoms and critiquing buying "things."

What about building that school or the playground in the neighborhood that can't afford it? What about funding fundamental research that is under funded right now? What about starting a job training program for the under employed.

No, there is no such thing as too much money because there is no end to the things that need to be done in the world. So the whole conversation about enough is baffling.

tluyben2 22 hours ago 0 replies      
After working very hard on things to 'make money' (no goal attached, just making money, boy I was naive) doing stuff I really didn't like to do (building large EJB based systems for banks/insurance and we had entity beans back then!), I had some realisation that actually, this sucks. I alienated my gf at the time, my friends, my family. I worked, 200+ people under me and it sucked. I thought about it a few days, sold off some stock to make sure I could have freedom.

Which I also believe is the main goal of having money. No loans/mortgages, being able to do what you want. And then I started making companies again, doing about the same thing (without the entity beans, or beans at all :), but now it's fun. If it goes badly (the current crisis almost bankrupted one of my companies) I handle it like you are supposed to handle it; in a calculated, company-first, manner. And pull through stronger than before. If you don't have that freedom, you make decisions which often don't reflect the best interest of the company because, well, you cannot pay the rent or feed your family.

I always believed in lots of interests and hobbies (my twitter feed must seem rather ADD, but I actually have a planned working day in which I get to do those things) as I think the biggest waste of life you can have is boredom and now I actually get to make companies around those things. Money in the bank gives you the balls and the contacts to do that while as before that wasn't even an option without right-out prostituting yourself. And the freedom to say no to something which would before have been (or have seemed like) a brilliant opportunity because you just don't want to.

Freedom usually (unless there are health issues in your family/close friends) also buys you no stress which already comes from the above. But having my own fruit/vegetable garden and having the time to prune the trees and prepare nice food from it etc is very far removed from shit in styrofoam containers and not even tasting it during a client conference call.

Edit: I forgot my new-found pet peeve with getting older; people get way to serious over 30. Life's a game and a short ride; money allows you to live it like that.

dnautics 23 hours ago 0 replies      
By corollary, individual debt is fractional, voluntary slavery.

Or possibly it goes the other way. By being wealthy the truest freedom you enjoy is not having to worry about owing anyone anything.

mpweiher 23 hours ago 0 replies      
"Money is coined freedom" - Fyodor Dostoevsky.
ar7hur 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm surprised nobody has quoted Jean-Jacques Rousseau on money:

I love liberty, and I loathe constraint, dependence, and all their kindred annoyances. As long as my purse contains money it secures my independence, and exempts me from the trouble of seeking other money, a trouble of which I have always had a perfect horror; and the dread of seeing the end of my independence, makes me proportionately unwilling to part with my money.

The money that we possess is the instrument of liberty, that which we lack and strive to obtain is the instrument of slavery.

He did not have a blog, but he did know how to say a lot with just a few words!

malandrew 14 hours ago 1 reply      
The entire basis of money is a Pareto Optimality, thus I would amend that statement to be "The real use of money is to buy freedom at someone else's expense."

Now it's also possibly that if we view money through the lens of a Nash equilibrium, that in the long term we are doing what is best for all of us by constantly seeking greater productivity. Therefore, "On a long enough time scale, the real use of money is to buy freedom for every one as money is traded with those that can achieve the greatest productivity." Money is the lubricant that permits the human machine to find the most efficient means of production.

glurgann 16 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm kind of disappointed, I was hoping for a bit more than a "rich people get obsessed with getting richer" type of story (still a good piece).

Freedom is indeed bought with money, but not in the way that most people think. There's a shell game going on right now for the lowest class worker.

At the time the US economy had it's "oh shit" moment around 2007-2008, I was working at a marketing research company. At the time I was working from home being paid by the hour, but there wasn't a lot of work coming in. I was broke most times after paying bills, so I had to find a quick patch job.

I began working at a McDonald's. At this point I was staying available online for most of the day until the afternoon, at which I would go to McDonald's and work all night. I found a bartender gig and started to work that on my off days of McDonald's.

At that point, I was making good money, but there wasn't any time I had to myself. I ended up quitting the marketing research job, as I was making more from McDonald's alone.

Now I was making OK money, but still not having a single day off. The bartender gig was getting more and more violent (I worked at a rough R&B club getting paid under the table). I eventually left the bartending job (there was a shooting there less than a week later). I don't think I need to explain what life was like working only at McDonald's, even if I was being paid more than most non-managers.

It's a bit hard to communicate what was exactly wrong with this picture. As a low wage worker, it was impossible for me to both have time and money, or leverage either of them to get myself into a better position.

When I had money, I had no time to leverage it. I couldn't finish a degree, I couldn't even keep a girlfriend. It was easy to slip into depression and substance abuse. I drank a lot. When I did get the chance to go out and have fun, it was to the extreme.

When I didn't have money but I had time, it was equally as bad. I couldn't go out to bars, I barely could keep up on bills. I couldn't take time off to go to the doctor. I couldn't afford to lose hours, nor afford the doctor's visit. When I had to go to the emergency room, I had to take the hit to my credit. I couldn't go across town or go to the show, I was behind on either electric or gas most months. And electric people have no qualms in shutting off your power and then laughing in your face when you say you can't even cook food.

It's interesting to me that when you're in that trap, it's almost impossible to pull yourself out. On one end of the spectrum, if you have the money to better yourself, you don't have the time to do so. You can't leverage the three jobs on resumes, nor is that a replacement for a degree.

On the other end, if you work one or two jobs, you don't have money enough to get a degree, or take a vacation, or take sick days, or go to the doctor, or change cities, or go to a concert, or have a night on the town, or even (sometimes) keeping internet.

So yes, I would argue that the real use of money is to buy freedom. It's just that most don't realize it, until they are stuck at the very bottom wondering how the hell they can get out. I'm not saying I did everything perfect, but I don't feel I did anything horribly wrong either.

And I'm doing fine now. I ended up getting with a start up doing Node.js and frontend JS work, which was enough to jump start my career.

EDIT:And yes, technically I'm falling into a logical fallacy here:https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/anecdotal

Tycho 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Another perspective I read recently is that 'time is the ultimate form of wealth.' Meaning that if you have a lot of money, you don't need to spend your time on things which do not interest you.
trimbo 13 hours ago 0 replies      
The parable of the fisherman and the investment banker.


ashray 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Great post Paras. However, I wish you would have addressed what you do with your new found financial freedom. I suppose running your business takes up most of your time. That's fine as long as it's enjoyable I guess.

The question here is, if something, what would you have done differently ? Or, going forward, what are you going to do differently ?

Also, the modern economy is poised against us in terms of preserving the value of our wealth. Because of this, I disagree with your final conclusion (the sweating over investments bit..). The hard part about money is making it, but it's also hard to keep it. Inflation eats away at what you have, furthermore, depending on your country (India in this case..) you don't have 250 years of documented economic history to make your investment decisions.

If you've reached your financial goal, mine is 25x of annual expenses then yes, maybe you are truly financially independent and now free. You have literally bought freedom. You're right, materialistic pursuits will probably never lead to happiness. However, for some the road to financial independence is longer than others. And yes, many people lose the plot along the way ;)

Maybe a more apt title for your post would be: "Having a successful business and a good amount of money buys you freedom" ? :)

privong 15 hours ago 0 replies      
> And, although it might be true that certain people just get kicks out of making money, science definitely tells us that certain things make us predictably more happy than others. So people who are irrationally attracted to hoard are just victims of uninformed biases.

While the statement on science is accurate, those kinds of results are statistical. So, it's incorrect to extend that result to every individual. While people who chase money may be statistically likely to be "victims of uninformed biases", not everyone will be.

pmelendez 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I thought deeply about this when I read something that Bill Gates said answering a question a while ago. At some point he said that he could understand that people wants to be millionaire because the freedom that brings, but after a threshold the burger is the same for everybody.

Freedom in that context is a weird concept, specially when you see a lot of rich people that are slaves of money. I guess it depends on the personality.

yetanotherphd 12 hours ago 1 reply      
I liked this article because unlike many on this topic the author's viewpoint was fairly nuanced. However I still think the author goes too far in his claims of how useless money is.

First, raising children is very expensive, and to put 2 or 3 kids through college requires a lot of money. And most single people would like to have a family at some point, so they need no excuse for saving money.

Second, money (and conspicuous consumption) is a social signal, and demonstrates your ability to earn that money, which not everyone can do.

mcgwiz 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Overall, I agree with the post.

> The freedom to do whatever one wants, wherever one wants (within moral limits, I hope).

This overreaches. You cannot do "whatever," "wherever". This implies complete control over one's circumstances, which is obviously absurd.

More precisely, money buys increased control over your circumstances and life. This is very valuable and empowering, but it is clearly limited.

clarky07 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I really like the idea of money as freedom. I'll take it a step further though, and that is the ability to generate at least somewhat passive income whether from a business or from investments. Not having to make money right now is key to freedom.
melling 18 hours ago 0 replies      
"A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do." - Bob Dylan
andyl 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Money is an enormous source of suffering. Worldly life and the pursuit of money is a hamster wheel. Poverty and service is the only freedom. I'm not kidding.
jwatte 6 hours ago 0 replies      
There are two scarce resources: human lifetime, and mineral resources. Money lets you assign the disposition of some of those.
alexeisadeski3 19 hours ago 0 replies      
The real use of money is to pay taxes.
keiferski 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Although I'm nowhere near financial freedom, I've been wondering lately what "freedom" means in a strictly material sense. Inflation, bad investments, etc. can eat away at a bank account. But material objects seem to be more secure. The problem, of course, is balancing this need for reliable physical possessions with my (and many other's) minimalistic tendencies and general dislike of "stuff".

Here's what I've got so far:

- a nice house in a nice neighborhood, tricked out with the best in security, fitness, intellectual and entertainment devices. Add in renewable energy sources via windmills/solar panels/ etc to truly be self-sufficient.

- enough canned food and rice to last multiple lifetimes.

mil3s 3 hours ago 0 replies      

I enjoyed your article. I too grew up in a middle class family, much the same as you. I was taught to work hard and to use good motives when working.

I remember early on, deciding not to take part in activities because I just focused on the money, I was 16 years old. I consider it unfortunate that I repeated that decision many times until my late 30's.

Looking back I missed out on many of the experiences that later brought me much joy.

So now what?

I try to focus on the experiences, instead of just getting the money. I have experimented with less money, and the joy was still there. However I still need money, I still want and work to be comfortable."I work with many that just focus on the money and point out that "with so much money you can do good for others." I think you can do good for others before you get 'the big pot at the end of the rainbow.'

Keep sharing.

monkeyspaw 23 hours ago 4 replies      
>A life spent mostly hoarding money and possessions is a wasted life

I find it interesting that an article whose tone is one of optimism is so judgmental.

vorg 19 hours ago 0 replies      
If you need money to buy it, it's not freedom, it's power.
guard-of-terra 21 hours ago 0 replies      
My take: I really need to own a good apartment. Half commute time is a life changer; not having to cough up rent every month is a life changer; being able to rent it out and move to Southeast Asia and/or get unlimited run time for project/business/startup is a life changer.

Once this is accomplished I never strictly 'need' to work unless I need something extravagant or more savings or family :) In theory anyway.

VladRussian2 21 hours ago 0 replies      
buy freedom? from whom are you going to buy it? who has a freedom for sale? do they have excess supply of it? or would they build a one for you? or are they going to sale you their own one?
vijayr 21 hours ago 1 reply      
We dont make movies to make money, we make money to make more movies

- Walt Disney

jbeja 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Good post, but what i don't find to get is the assumption that having or not money fall in some sort of polarity context: "Having money is bad or good?", Neither is something that is needed just that.
jonsleet 16 hours ago 0 replies      
The "real" use of money is dominance. Between you and the things you need or want, money is a proxy controlling access to those things. Control the money, control the people.
tonylemesmer 21 hours ago 1 reply      
It's possible to go to Antarctica with someone else's money. That's the satisfying thing. Make it a win-win arrangement (I'm not talking about freeloading).
patmcdonald 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Disagree. Money does not equal freedom. I know plenty of poor people who live freely and plenty of wealthy people who feel trapped. What money really is is a placeholder for time.
blazespin 22 hours ago 0 replies      
The real use of money is to fund your next startup!
zhijiasun 2 hours ago 0 replies      
quite agree
gprasanth 23 hours ago 2 replies      
"the pieces of green paper have value because everybody thinks they have value."

Freedom is fallacy.

beto96 11 hours ago 0 replies      
totally agree
New algorithm finds you, even in untagged photos kurzweilai.net
13 points by jonbaer  5 hours ago   12 comments top 5
bonemachine 5 hours ago 2 replies      
Can we go back to 1974, please? I'm not sure I like where this is going.
fatjokes 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Interesting work. How is it different than this, which was published in 2012 at ACM-MM, a more respected venue than IEEE-ISM?


krapp 4 hours ago 3 replies      
It would be interesting to see this as part of an app where you take a photo of someone and it sends you a feed of every photo of them it could find anywhere on the web (and any accounts it was attached to.)

And by interesting I mean creepy and probably inevitable.

CaveTech 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Says the research would be presented Dec 10th. Anyone have a link to the presentation/whitepaper/code?
xarball 1 hour ago 0 replies      
TIL: You like the people you are in pictures with?

How is ground-breaking!!!

This Is How I Work semihyagcioglu.com
50 points by semihyagcioglu  9 hours ago   44 comments top 18
osener 2 hours ago 0 replies      
"I believe in taking care of myself and a balanced diet and rigorous exercise routine. In the morning if my face is a little puffy I'll put on an ice pack while doing stomach crunches. I can do 1000 now. After I remove the ice pack I use a deep pore cleanser lotion. In the shower I use a water activated gel cleanser, then a honey almond body scrub, and on the face an exfoliating gel scrub. Then I apply an herb-mint facial mask which I leave on for 10 minutes while I prepare the rest of my routine. I always use an after shave lotion with little or no alcohol, because alcohol dries your face out and makes you look older. Then moisturizer, then an anti-aging eye balm followed by a final moisturizing protective lotion."

- Patrick Bateman

com2kid 8 hours ago 2 replies      
I get up at 9-ish, hopefully. I use intermittent fasting so I don't eat breakfast. I go to work still exhausted. I have a paper notebook I use to take notes. Space constraints at work means my team's whiteboard wall for standup is now inaccessible. I work as late as I can, eating lunch and maybe dinner, until 8 or 9. I go home and stay up online reading until 2 or 3 in the morning, with a few games of something in-between. I pass out exhausted.

Heaven forbid I ever go to bed not ready to fall asleep instantly, lest I be forced to consider all that I have not done in life, all that I have failed to be. All the missed opportunities that I let pass me by, all the mistakes I have made.

teeray 4 hours ago 0 replies      
The title of this is "This is How I Work", not "This is How I Play" or "This is How I Spend Time With (Family|Significant Others)". Many of you read way beyond the content of this article and drew the conclusion that the author has no capacity to write equally lengthy posts on those other topics.

The schedule laid out is probably idealized. Would this really be as useful a post if he or she qualified everything with branches like "well, unless it's the first Tuesday of the month... On that day, I meet up with...", "Oh, and every Monday morning I have to put the trash out".

Knowing exactly what you need to do when you really need to shift into Get Sh*t Done mode is incredibly useful, and takes trial and error to continually improve. Stories like these provide new things to try in your own process.

chatmasta 7 hours ago 2 replies      
This sounds like a terrible life. Do you live in Sparta? Where is the balance?

No mention of a significant other, socializing, meals, etc. And only 15 minutes for exercise? Seriously? You get more than that in prison.

zobzu 4 hours ago 0 replies      
im always a little intrigued when i see these stories.

list of applying so-called perfect formulas for an efficient work-bee style life that you're apparently supposed to be craving for.

my take:

- never know if real or wishful thinking

- most formulas have simple common sense equivalents for each person. yet it seems many are drawn to a "must have some formula to follow that has been spelled out and named by someone". ie: don't wanna learn, prefer to apply some magic formula - blindly. sounds dull to me.

- wrong amounts in formulas. it never achieves balance. balance is in my eyes the most important thing in the world. and im not talking just work/life balance.even if one could sustain a worker bee type schedule - and im sure some can - the ones i see arent efficient. 15min x2 workout really? averaged what you found in the past 3 such blog posts to do this? looks like so.

finally - do you really need to follow a guide on how to make bullet lists and organise a notebook? reeeallly? if you never try to solve any such problem on your own, you'll never achieve what you're looking for.

jseliger 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Nice post. One small comment: "For taking notes I use a squared Moleskine notebook and a black pen." I used to use Moleskine notebooks, until one catastrophically broke (http://jseliger.wordpress.com/2011/05/11/eight-years-of-writ...). Since then, I've begun using Rhodia "Webnotebooks." The name is stupid but they're incredibly durable.
a3voices 6 hours ago 2 replies      
Productivity for the sake of productivity is pointless. What are you trying to accomplish? You're not going to get rich or make history because of this. And it certainly isn't sustainable alongside a social life.
ryanSrich 4 hours ago 0 replies      

Why would you do this?

You're basically saying you work constantly. What is the point of life if you're always working?

No friends, family, social activities, or random fun unproductive moments? Is this truly a goal for the tech community? To just be a slave your whole life?

sidcool 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I understand that work is important in life, but it's not entire life, I believe. May be we don't need to think about work from the moment we wake up till the moment we fall asleep. Just saying.
sunjain 2 hours ago 0 replies      
What an efficient robot. It is amazing how our entire lives are about being most "productive". Do we do anything just for the for the fun of doing it, in an unstructured unplanned way?
socksy 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Checkout workflowy.com <- it's "just" an outliner, but it's really changed the way I work.
update 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Are you happy? That's my most important takeaway from this, because if you are, then this is a well-done routine -- like neat code, if you will. If you aren't happy, then, this sounds more like an android's schedule.

I personally prefer a very flexible schedule, something that can live with my moods

bomatson 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I am drawn to this type of life, especially when my goal is learning a new skillset.

Only problem is, you end up feeling like just another 'productive asset', squeezing every inch of time to maximize output.

It sounds the author's routine is so closed, almost never leaving time for an open mind or time to reflect.

pacomerh 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Every time I see these kind articles I feel like the writer is being sponsored by one of these tools.
Mustafabei 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Semihcigim great post. Thanks
moeedm 2 hours ago 0 replies      
This is the saddest thing I've ever read.
cowpig 3 hours ago 0 replies      
do while (alive) { work()}
akamogli 6 hours ago 1 reply      
What was the point of this?
Sorry, RSA, I'm just not buying it github.com
491 points by dmix  1 day ago   119 comments top 20
ChuckMcM 1 day ago 3 replies      
True/sad story. So at Sun when I was building crypto tools for Java I wanted to be able to use the RSA public key algorithm in the class loader (part of a capabilities based security system). We negotiated with RSA for a right to use their patent in Java, which proceeded right up until the final contract came back (which our lawyer signed but I did not get a chance to review) where the wording was changed to be a license to BSAFE rather than the patent. Clearly I wasn't going to put BSAFE into the JVM, I l already had an implementation of their algorithm in Java. There was never a good explanation for how the lawyer got so "confused" at the last minute and "forgot" to have these changes reveiwed by the engineer leading the project.

Given the sort of shenanigans we've been reading about I would not be surprised to hear that someone who was neither a Sun or RSADSI employee said "spike this deal".

[edit: clarity]

morsch 1 day ago 3 replies      
Not sure if this tidbit made Hacker News -- the OpenSSL project added Dual_EC_DRBG support at the request of a paying customer: http://openssl.6102.n7.nabble.com/Consequences-to-draw-from-...

They're under NDA and cannot reveal the customer's name. The thread doesn't say how much the customer paid, does anybody know? A friend told me 600k USD last night, but I cannot find any sources that back this up.

jusben1369 1 day ago 2 replies      
I think there are two types of commentators on this issue. Those who've been involved in negotiating agreements like this and those who haven't. Those who have can see how something like this happens. Those who haven't cannot believe how something like this could happen. It's important to remember/realize that no one, outside a handful of folks, understood what the NSA was up to until the last 12 months. Heck, at one point not too far back it was probably prestigious to mention you worked closely with the NSA on developing your technology. Help you impress a few corporate execs and close some deals.
ska 1 day ago 2 replies      
Are EMC/RSA denying that they took money from the NSA? That alone seems damning, since I can't think of any way that the existence of such a contract for any stated purpose doesn't undermine the credibility of the company fatally.
VLM 1 day ago 3 replies      
"As a bonus, all the other algorithms are apparently faster and thats generally a desirable property."

I apologize for discussing a technical topic in whats likely to be a political crypto-rage flamewar, but I've been digesting some thoughts about this and the figure of merit of processing required per bit of randomness is probably interesting, in that for a given set of professional grade RNGs (not algorithms implemented by idiots) the more processing required to generate a bit of randomness, the more likely it is someone's sticking a nasty backdoor in.

Or rephrased the more time you spend sticking magic "nothing up my sleeves" constants into a bit, the more likely something unpleasant is getting stuck in there.

(edited to add I'm talking about "real" RNGs not implying the worlds simplest shortest LFSR is magically better than a real RNG just because its really fast... I'm talking about more "in class" performance comparisons than joke vs real.)

diminoten 1 day ago 6 replies      
I don't think the, "We trusted the NSA" explanation makes them look stupid or negligent. This article does reference the fact that people are now retroactively claiming understanding of some of these revelations, but I think the writer forgets that this might apply to him as well.

NOW it makes perfect sense to see how terrible this is, but we haven't always just blatantly assumed the NSA was out to get us. They used to not have the worst reputation in the world in the security community, right? I'm not the best authority for this, but from what I could gather they played a kind of spooky-but-helpful role prior to the Snowden leaks in the intelligence community - that is, you could generally trust they were thought to have the community's best interest at heart, even if they couldn't say why.

davidgerard 1 day ago 1 reply      
tl;dr point by point on why RSA's press statement makes them lying liars who lie, and that they were wilfully negligent from 2007-2013 at the very least.
mrobot 1 day ago 2 replies      
Here's a question: Do we think Snowden is intentionally misleading us to attack RSA and EMC, or that he's actually releasing as little information as he can to get us on the right track toward fixing things? Why would this particular piece of information be selected if it was not a real problem?
PaulHoule 1 day ago 1 reply      
Note up until this transition around 2001 the NSA was focused on controlling the key length of cryptography available.

They gave up on that and chose to focus instead on stealing the keys

chris_wot 20 hours ago 0 replies      
What did you expect? RSA got purchased by EMC in 2006. That's the kiss of death in terms if any semblance of ethics. Someone in EMC would have known about this and swayed decision making.
salient 1 day ago 1 reply      
NSA didn't need to backdoor DES when they just forced everyone to use weak keys:

> 1979 - Present, DES: The Data Encryption Standard was altered by the NSA to make it harder to mathematically attack but easier to attack via Brute Force methods. The original version of DES, called Lucifer, used a block and key length of 128-bits and was vulnerable to differential cryptanalysis. NSA requested that the already small DES key size of 64-bits be shrunk even more to 48-bits, IBM resisted and they compromised on 56-bits11. This key size allowed the NSA to break communications secured by DES.


This is why any known NSA employee from security standards groups (including IETF and Trusted Computing Group [1]) must be forbidden to participate in the making of that standard. Their role there can only be seen as to facilitate weakening of the standards, either by weakening the algorithms themselves, or if that's too hard and/or obvious, to convince everyone else to use a weaker version of it (which NIST kind of tried to do with SHA-3 recently, too).

As long as there's any chance of NSA being involved even remotely in a security standard, I'm going to lose faith in that whole standard and the group.

[1] - http://www.securitycurrent.com/en/writers/richard-stiennon/i...

RSAInsecurity 1 day ago 1 reply      
We're responding to our valued customers as fast as we can over on Twitter. https://twitter.com/RSAInsecurity
crystaln 19 hours ago 0 replies      
"we continued to rely upon NIST as the arbiter of that discussion"

This seems like a reasonable position to me, but I'm not in the field. Can someone tell me why it's not reasonable, in the face of all sorts of theories and suspicions being thrown about, to rely on the leading standards body as to whether the algorithm is flawed?

uptown 1 day ago 3 replies      
And the stock-market shrugged.


nullc 1 day ago 0 replies      
> assume it was publicly documented at the time that BSAFE defaulted to Dual EC

Was it? Before it was revealed to be the BSAFE default I was going around saying that no one would have chosen to use it anyways, so it was probably a pretty ineffectual backdoor except if it ever was option for a downgrading attack.

ozten 1 day ago 2 replies      
With a quarterly income of $587 million in Q2 of 2012, isn't 10 million dollars "chump change" for EMC? Perhaps it's more of a lubricant for the larger picture of deals and pressures.
atmosx 1 day ago 1 reply      
That's a dead corp imho. Do we have any famous customer's list floating around?
thearn4 1 day ago 2 replies      
Kind of odd: this seems like something better suited to a blog post than a Gist.
aaronchriscohen 1 day ago 0 replies      
NSA deserves an award for accomplishing this for just $10 million.
onedev 1 day ago 0 replies      
What if we literally didn't buy it?
Harvard student offering to pay someone $40k a year to attend class boston.com
5 points by kimura  2 hours ago   6 comments top 2
spiritplumber 33 minutes ago 2 replies      
So, someone offered a full scholarship for Harvard on craigslist? Damn, too bad I missed it :
Casseres 7 minutes ago 0 replies      
I sent an e-mail asking what the major was. Never got a response.
How to Become a Better Developer coderwall.com
73 points by bitsweet  13 hours ago   36 comments top 17
tieTYT 12 hours ago 2 replies      
Something missed in this article is the need to reflect and have personal retrospectives. Back when you first learned to code, you may have chosen names for your variables like `foo` and `bar`. This was fine when you're learning how an if statement or a for loop works. But once your program gets a little more complex it's hard to keep track of what `foo` or `bar` represent.

I notice a lot of people who run into these types of problems and consider it to be just the way things are. This makes your productivity plateau. But, the reflective programmer notices the meta problem and asks, "How can I make this easier to think about?" In this specific example, the answer is to give the variable a meaningful name. I think you've gotta be reflective to learn this lesson. You can be taught and you can be told why you should do it, but it won't click very well until you feel the pain and the satisfaction of solving the problem.


New cynical topic: The real way to become a better developer is to be passionate about development. Everything else will fall into place. I'm not sure that this can be taught. I've seen a lot of people with the attitude of, "even if I'm more productive, I still have to work an 8 hr day so what's the point?" These developers (which in my experience is the majority of them) won't improve because they don't want to. But for me, maintainable code is its own reward.

RyanZAG 12 hours ago 1 reply      
> Learn technologies that are specifically different from those that you already know.

Careful with this point. A lot of people take this to heart a bit too much and dip their toes into 10+ different languages with only a couple weeks each. This is definitely a big mistake. While it's good to learn technologies that are different from what you know, you need to actually learn them, not play with them for a week. This means actually building something substantial and at least a few months of heavy usage. You need to really understand the technology and the reasons for the decisions the technology makes before the learning will be transferable beyond meaningless syntax.

TrainedMonkey 13 hours ago 0 replies      
TL:DR - learn new things, don't be a dick, ask for help, and write code.

This all seems like standard stuff, but if you look at it like a framework and evaluate all actions using that methodology, it will help to identify areas in need of improvement.

j4pe 12 hours ago 1 reply      
This post belongs to Shawn McCool of Big Name (http://heybigname.com/2013/01/21/how-to-become-a-better-deve...). Though he was credited, I think we should use the original content source when possible.

McCool does make some excellent points and his contributions to Laravel and other projects have been very helpful to me.

suprgeek 10 hours ago 0 replies      
All good and straight-forward points. Once you internalize these, you are on the way to being a "code craftsman" - someone who knows their tools well yet is humble enough to ask for help & make himself/herself uncomfortable again and again in the quest of more understanding.

Personally, the number one technique that helped me grow was to always ask "How & Why is this feature/framework/Technology important to the end goals of the business/product?"As you start being entrusted with more complex systems the amount of "religious" arguments begin to multiply (Java is slow, Ruby is cool, Python is old, Mongo is the hotness, Postgre is for old farts,...)At this point focus on the Business needs ..What is absolutely essential?

edw519 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow, 2226 words and not one of them was "customer" or "user". ("user groups" doesn't count because in this context the user is "me".)

That's the whole problem with this; it's entire focus was on "me" and not on "others".

I have always believed that the best way to transcend mediocrity is to focus on others, not yourself. All this talk about mentors, technologies, methodologies, communities, opinions, and intelligence is about oneself and while probably will provide some improvement, you won't really get to the next level until you find a way to apply it.

Find a customer with a difficult problem. Find a way to solve it with whatever it takes. Trust yourself to rise to the occasion. That's the best way to become a better developer.

NDizzle 12 hours ago 1 reply      
The only thing I disagree with here is "never call anything magic."

What ELSE would you call .par[1] files?!

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

natasham25 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been coding for only a little over 2.5 years, and especially agree with the point on learning technologies that are significantly different from what you're comfortable with. I started by learning Java to understand programming fundamentals, which made Ruby pretty easy to learn.

I then learned Ruby on Rails, which I thought was a bunch of "magic" until I started learning iOS development. A lot of the Ruby on Rails architecture concepts were very useful in figuring out how to architect my iOS application. Knowing some Java was also super helpful, since Objective-C is a strongly typed language. Learning iOS helped me understand both Rails and iOS better, and why people didn't like Rails. I also feel a lot more comfortable picking up JavaScript frameworks, such as Backbone.js and Angular.js, which were harder for me to understand and pick up when I was just doing Rails.

Next up, I'll be learning a little bit of Android development, hoping to learn the different philosophies for mobile and how to better structure my layouts for different devices, and will probably learn a bunch of other things I can't even think of right now!

Working with amazing engineers who are open to mentoring me has also been priceless.

grownseed 10 hours ago 1 reply      
These are fairly nice and straight-forward suggestions, but I'm always surprised that these articles (or conversations like it) never mention ideas not directly related to programming. It might just be me, but in my opinion programming is a specific application of a given mindset, not the other way around. Anything that can improve this mindset can be beneficial, even if it's not always directly obvious. I've personally become a considerably better programmer by learning more about cooking, music, different languages, biology, physics, philosophy and many other things. I find it somewhat sad that so many people seem to consider programming an end rather than a means.
astonteck 2 hours ago 0 replies      
This is why experienced developers can pick up a new technology in a day, where a beginner could spend months.

The idea that a professional programmer can pick up a language/technology in a day or two is unlikely. They can PLAY with a new language or new technology and understand the basic idea behind it but they are not going to know it well enough to write anything serious. The problem is not the architecture or the know-how but the syntax and limitations of the tool. Programming in multiple languages is hard; you must keep on shifting your brain back and forth between the syntaxes and the nuances of the languages. A design pattern is a design pattern no matter what language it is but the syntax of that language complicates things.

Last, lets take a tool such as GIT for example, this thing has a zillion of commands and most of them do the same thing Why? All we need is tool to help with versioning our codes not something that stands in the way. There are a couple of GITUIs but when there is a problem, they send you straight to the command line without any real explanations. Now you realize that you should have learned it using the command line to begin with. A lot of people hear this tool was written by the creator of linux and they just jump on board like sheep when in reality this thing was not written with human being in mind. Why are we complicating things? Programmers are being smart so lets focus our energy to solve real problems instead of boosting our egos with the next tool that does not solve anything.

ryan-thompson 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Be honest with yourself. Have enough hubris to think you can do a better job than the guy that came before you, but tempered with the humility of knowing that he also was a very smart person. Try not to personalize feedback, because it's the fertilizer that will help you grow. Learn to ignore half the feedback you get. After years and years, you will see patterns that others don't see. Don't be afraid to have a respectful argument over implementation. If everyone agrees right off the bat, then you have the wrong team, or nobody cares.
poulsbohemian 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Good developers tend to focus on patterns for solving problems beyond a language and beyond a framework. Focus on understanding the patterns in payment systems, GIS systems - whatever interests you - and write a lot of code in that area. Figure out what worked and what didn't, improve. Rinse, repeat for about ten years.
VishalRJoshi 4 hours ago 0 replies      
The most important of it all is write a lot of code. Write it for a cause. Write more of newer, faster, cleaner, clever, smarter code. The more you write the better developer you will become.
dcomartin 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Focus on Principles, Patterns, and Practices. Ask yourself "why" regarding everything. Understand the problems and solution a technology/pattern/framework/library solves rather than blindly using said solution.
angryasian 12 hours ago 1 reply      
while he touched on learning from more advanced engineers, the number one way I found to be better is to actually read their code. Look at many of the best open source projects and even the source code for the language you're using. You'll learn a lot.
trenchwarfare 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I just registered to say: both this and the "how I work" posts are awesome. I love the ideas and the friction between them. Where can I find more content like this?
stephenitis 12 hours ago 0 replies      
humility is attribute #1
The Plight of the Employed krugman.blogs.nytimes.com
9 points by rosser  39 minutes ago   4 comments top 2
argonaut 8 minutes ago 0 replies      
Interesting that this is posted to HN - software developers in the US currently have historically abnormally high levels of bargaining power and leverage.
notastartup 22 minutes ago 2 replies      
This is a great article bringing light to the employed and how little bargaining (if any) they have in this economy. I'd say it's even worse in countries where population is several times smaller than United States and happen to be just above the border of it. I've seen so many people at my past jobs willing to "stay late" which is often beyond the 9 to 5 range. At one company I worked at, people were asked to come and work on the weekends. I used to get calls at 1 am on a friday, to commit some extra code. There's so many stories I hear from people who have worked across various industries in Vancouver, BC. It's not even demanded but people's unwillingness to say no, out of fear of appearing less irreplaceable compared to their peer engineers or designers. Overtime is unpaid of course because software developers and web designers are not "professionals" and no union because somebody decided for all of us that "it's not in our interest" and that an engineer can "freely negotiate their salary". Not in this economy, at least not in this tiny Canadian market filled with exploitative employers.
Why use Clojure? paradiso.cc
112 points by iamtechaddict  17 hours ago   92 comments top 15
lkrubner 12 hours ago 2 replies      
I feel like the "Why Use Clojure?" essay is a bit flawed. I feel like it focuses too much on details so minor that I would regard them as trivial. I would suggest that a much better answer to the question "Why use Clojure?" could be found by reading Colin Steele's essays. When he became CTO at Hotelicopter/RoomKey he was inheriting a vast system of PHP and Ruby. When they re-wrote the system in Clojure, he had a very small team: only 4 programmers. That they were able to accomplish so much in a short amount of time says a lot about the power of Clojure. These are 2 essays he wrote:

60,000% growth in 7 months using Clojure and AWS


Against the Grain: How We Built the Next Generation Online Travel Agency using Amazon, Clojure, and a Comically Small Team


At this point RoomKey is a lot bigger than Hipmunk.

DigitalJack 14 hours ago 4 replies      
The big lie wrt lines of code vs bugs is the kind if bugs.

What good is a single line of clojure vs 25 of golang if it takes 45 minutes to get that line of clojure working. I might have more bugs in my golang but the are trivial.

I've busted my ass on clojure for two years with various projects (systemverilog parser/manipulator, CPAP data decoder interpreter visualizer). I want to use clojure but I find myself dealing with awful error messages, constantly breaking tooling (cider), and dealing with asinine constructions all in the name of functional and programming directly in an AST.

I tried. I've read the awe inspiring posts about lisp from Graham and Fogus and Raymond and of course R Hickey and Granger and Hagelberg and Stokke . I think all these people are amazing!

After two years I have not gotten there. I can write reasonably sophisticated applications, but the productivity is so low I feel like in programming in Russian.

I got fed up with tree traversal the other day and said screw it. I turned around and rewrote versions of my CPAP app in golang, and then CPP in d a day. It took me weeks to get this done in clojure.

I couldn't get a binary parser framework to work except for the most trivial case, so I wrote my own generic binary parser. I couldn't tell if seesaw made swing better or worse. Actually I decides worse because at aleast with Java interop I can tell what the hell is going on.

In CPP writing a binary parser was nearly as simple as defining a struct and memcpy. God I live memcpy. You know how many years it's been since I wrote CPP? Never. I've never written a line of CPP before and the rewrite was almost pain free. The Makefile and understanding data alignment in struct a was the hard part.

mpweiher 16 hours ago 4 replies      
Not very convincing when the very first example is apples vs. oranges: the java fib() code includes a main() driver with command line parsing and printing of the result to stdout, which I don't see in the clojure version.
kohanz 15 hours ago 0 replies      
The introduction has a reasonable premise, but I thought Business Case No. 1 doesn't do much to further the point. In fact, it reinforces the academic/industry divide that is belabored in the intro.

Ask people who are working on "commercial" development how often they have to implement a Fibonacci sequence or something similar. The example comes across more like a neat party trick then something that would make itself useful on a daily basis.

lpolovets 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I wrote an answer to this question on Quora a while ago: https://www.quora.com/Clojure/Why-would-someone-learn-Clojur...

I think the answer is interesting because it's not purely mine, but instead summarizes a poll of ~5 strong engineers at my previous company. Two years later, I still think most of these bullet points hold, though I could also add a few more advantages and a few disadvantages of using Clojure.

ChristianMarks 12 hours ago 0 replies      
The Java Button Demo translated (or transliterated) into Clojure. If this doesn't lead to instant employment, I'll switch to OCaml.

  (ns buttondemo.core    (:gen-class)    (:import [javax.swing AbstractButton JButton JPanel JFrame ImageIcon]            [java.awt.event ActionEvent KeyEvent ActionListener])    (:use [clojure.contrib.swing-utils]))  (defn create-image-icon [path]    (if-let [img-url (clojure.java.io/resource path)]      (ImageIcon. img-url)      (.println System/err (str "File not found:" path))))  (defn enable-buttons [button-flags]        (doseq [[button flag] button-flags] (.setEnabled button flag)))   (defn initialize-buttons [b1 b2 b3]    (doto b1          (add-action-listener           (fn [_] (enable-buttons [[b1 false][b2 false][b3 true]])))      (.setVerticalTextPosition AbstractButton/CENTER)      (.setHorizontalTextPosition  AbstractButton/LEADING)      (.setToolTipText "I can disable the middle button.")      (.setMnemonic  KeyEvent/VK_D))   (doto b2      (add-action-listener (fn [_] (prn "I told you not to click me.")))      (.setVerticalTextPosition AbstractButton/BOTTOM)      (.setHorizontalTextPosition AbstractButton/CENTER)      (.setToolTipText "Don't click me.")      (.setMnemonic KeyEvent/VK_M))   (doto b3      (add-action-listener          (fn [_] (enable-buttons [[b1 true][b2 true][b3 false]])))      (.setMnemonic KeyEvent/VK_E)      (.setToolTipText "I can enable the middle button.")      (.setEnabled false))

  (defn -main []     (let [[b1 b2 b3 :as buttons] (for [[title file]         ;         [["<html><center><b><u>D</u>isable</b><br><font color=#ffffdd>middle button</font>" "right.gif"]                                     [["Disable middle button" "right.gif"]                                     ["Middle button" "middle.gif"]                                     ["Enable middle button" "left.gif"]]]                                    (JButton. title (create-image-icon file)))            panel (doto (JPanel.) (.setOpaque true))]         (doseq [b buttons] (doto panel (.add b)))     (initialize-buttons b1 b2 b3)         (do-swing-and-wait        (doto (JFrame. "Button Demo")           (.setDefaultCloseOperation  JFrame/EXIT_ON_CLOSE)                  (.setContentPane panel)          (.pack)          (.setVisible true)))))

kvtrew76557 16 hours ago 14 replies      
Good question. Unlike most languages with which I am not yet familiar, Clojure looks like Greek. Most languages are at least somewhat readable. Perhaps I need to know Lisp to appreciate Clojure. Coming from a Java/Scala/Ruby/Python/Haskell/Pascal/C# background. I can't make head or tail of Clojure examples. It might as well be encrypted. To those who are using Clojure, which previous languages enabled you to make sense of Clojure more easily? Or was it something you learned from scratch?
virtualwhys 15 hours ago 3 replies      
Could substitute Clojure for Scala and the arguments made in the post would be at least equally valid.

2014 is going to be a big year for the JVM as the Java 8 gorilla cometh. Will be interesting to see what impact that event has on Scala/Clojure/Ceylon, etc. alternate JVM language adoption.

elwell 15 hours ago 2 replies      
"going on other" => "going on in other" (actually that sentence doesn't make sense anyways; somewhere around "were" it's gets confusing)

"perseption" => "perception"

"Fewer lines of code is a great thing" => [the opposite argument could easily be made as well; more lines of code (within reason) = less obfuscation]

michaelochurch 15 hours ago 2 replies      
Functional languages, as personal experience above leads me to believe, are inherently more difficult to comprehend

I don't agree with this. They seem "weirder" and harder, but they're not intrinsically difficult. They're just less familiar.

Also, there are a huge number of people out there who think they "know Java" but really don't. If you don't know what volatile and synchronized are and how they work, for one example, you don't really know Java. I would say that, unless everything in Java Concurrency in Practice is familiar to you, you don't really know Java.

Java and C++ are actually complex, difficult languages. The difference is that, with "design patterns" and explicit managerial attention to differences in ability (i.e. don't give mediocre programmers hard problems) it's more possible to half-ass that knowledge.

JackMorgan 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I wish this didn't use the 590 core functions vs 30 Java keywords argument. Clojure only has a handful of "special forms", whereas Java has dozens. A better count would be all the methods in String, Int, List, Array, etc.
bonemachine 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Oh, cmon.

Comparing any functional language to Java is just silly. As illustrated by the Fibanocci example.

creese 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Can your validation example handle checking at the map level (i.e. the case where a required field is missing)? It seems like this is something you would want to do.
robin2 14 hours ago 0 replies      
[Lightweight comment]The main thing that puts me off from learning Clojure is the name. I mean, why not go the whole hog and call it funargs4j?
dkhenry 15 hours ago 4 replies      
So if thats the best list I am happy I went with Scala. Especially the Leiningen example. Is that seriously what needs to be written for a project to build ? Its as bad as maven.
How Netflix Reinvented HR hbr.org
96 points by mvikramaditya  18 hours ago   46 comments top 15
rsweeney21 14 hours ago 5 replies      
I was an engineer at Netflix from 2010-2012. There were a lot of things that I really liked about the Netflix culture. They really do live the "Freedom and Responsibility" culture. It was very empowering. There is a dark side to that culture though. At Netflix it was too easy to fire people.

This had two side affects.

1) People were afraid of being fired. You could come in one day and be sent home that afternoon without ever having any idea that you were under-performing. You'll hear Netflix employees talk about the "Culture of Fear".

2) In a meeting with my team Patty said "We are your co-workers, not your friends." `The idea being, you don't make friends at work because you might have to fire that person one day. It was really strange, people were very guarded and almost never talked about their lives outside of work.

PIPs protect employees from the constant fear of being fired. They require managers to give an employee negative feedback. Without them, managers can take the easy route and never have the uncomfortable conversations.

#2 made life really hard at Netflix. The majority of my friends come from my co-workers. You spend more time with them than most other people in your life. Some teams ignored the company culture and became close friends anyway. I think the correct thing to do here is to expect your managers to be adults and do the hard thing. Fire your friend.

blazespin 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Simple: http://www.glassdoor.com/Reviews/Netflix-Reviews-E11891.htm

You can filter for just engineers, if that's who you want to pay attention to. Netflix rates very low compared to Facebook, Google, etc. Those companies demand hard work from their employees, but are great places to work. They do a good job with hiring.

Netflix does not, they just grind through people very rapidly .. like they're cheap batteries. Thus the poor glassdoor reviews.

Fact is, Netflix culture is terrible for employees but effective for the Company.

I advise anyone before they apply for a job anywhere to study glassdoor carefully. Ignore ratings, read comments carefully. Reviews which balance positive with negatives are the ones to take as credible.

phamilton 15 hours ago 1 reply      
The big accounting firms in the US are an interesting case to look at. Accountants will join the firm and spend 8-10 years there. Eventually, they either become partners or they wash out (most don't make partner). The culture has developed in such a way that "washing out" is not really seen as a negative thing. They've established a concept of alumni and maintain good relationships. The "washed out" alumni go on to become CFOs and CPAs and there is a steady stream of referrals to and from the big firms.

Maintaining relationships after letting an employee go is hard. If employees are only let go for incompetence, it may not even be worth the effort. But if an employee is let go because there's a resource mismatch I think there is a lot of value in maintaining that relationship.

Netflix seems to say "We just don't need your exact skill set right now" instead of "You aren't good enough for us". That seems like a prime situation to try and keep a good relationship.

dba7dba 36 minutes ago 1 reply      
Got few issues with the culture of Netflix.

So once someone is not needed, the person is just sent off? I understand a generous severance is given. But, you couldN'T use that money to try to retrain the worker with another technology/task/job?

What about mentoring? Someone has to start somewhere. So if Netflix ONLY hires someone who's A grade, where do B and C grade people get their chance to learn and improve? Sounds like a very selfish way of hiring (granted every company is selfish).

I do agree with one thing in the article. The whole year-end or half-year end performance review is just a sham. No one in management cares until management decides to lay off someone. They start putting down C or D grade all of sudden when earlier it was mostly As and Bs. And next thing you know, you are let go.

falcolas 14 hours ago 2 replies      
Anecdote time:

My wife worked for Netflix customer service (CS) back about 9 years ago - in their formative years. She likens her time there as similar to any other large company. The individuals were great, but the management was your typical bureaucracy. Rankings were heavily based on seniority, not actual individual value.

As CS reps were considered to be fully interchangeable (and the first to be let go to maintain profit margins), it was a terrible department to try and gain seniority in.

Never seemed all that different, HR wise, from any other company. Perhaps they've changed; I can't say.

727374 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I appreciate the philosophy of getting rid of HR rules in favor of treating people like adults with good judgement. However, good judgement is probably one of those things whose definition is open to disagreement. E.G. one person's good judgement might mean taking risks and another's might mean playing it safe. Is Netflix just forming a monoculture of people with the same definition of good judgement.

Also, it's interesting that the writer validates Netflix's efforts by saying the company's stock went up, 3 Emmys were won, and the firm acquired a bunch of new customers. Are employees expected to optimizing these metrics, first and foremost, which seem very short sighted to me? What about fundamentals like profitability and customer retention?

nilkn 13 hours ago 1 reply      
While the generous severance package and transparency about the process ease my concerns over whether it's ethical or not to cut employees so frequently, all I really got out of this is that I will probably never apply to Netflix.
seunosewa 14 hours ago 1 reply      
After getting to this line - "after I left Netflix and began consulting..." - I couldn't help wondering whether or not the author was fired and whether this means there are significant portions of her advice that the current management of Netflix would disagree with.
yalogin 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I am not sure its all positive though. I only heard bad things about Netflix and the atmosphere. I stay away from it and their recruiters proactively because of that. Just like the "there is no limit on vacation" scam that they pull over their employees got implemented in many startups, I am sure a lot of that "culture" spilled into the startup world as well.
PaulHoule 15 hours ago 2 replies      
I think some of this is bizzare.

I mean, an employee is satisfactory, but only satisfactory, so they give him a generous severance package and go hiring somebody else. Really?

This sounds like "stack ranking" where they fire the bottom 60% every year.

tunesmith 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I see some tension between values like "go for the root cause rather than the symptoms" vs "bias towards action rather than analysis-paralysis", as well as "speak up when we we aren't practicing our values" vs "value action rather than process".

At the end of the day it'll come down to the personality of your manager and the dynamics on your day-to-day team.

andy10 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Article mentions the shift to "unlimited vacations". Sounds like it worked at Neflix, larger companies are starting to move toward unlimited vacation model, but it appears that it's driven by not having carry accrued paid time off on the books and studies that show that people actually take less vacation under unlimited plans. How is it done at your company?
mcot2 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Sorry, this sounds like a terrible place to work.
TinyBig 9 hours ago 0 replies      
The author unabashedly claims credit for Neflix's success, but provides no evidence that HR was the source of it.
michaelochurch 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Netflix sounds like an extremely well-managed company. Can anyone comment on the accuracy of what's in the slide deck? I'd be curious to know how it all works out.
Python Practice Projects pythonpracticeprojects.com
109 points by watermel0n  19 hours ago   20 comments top 10
rbonvall 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Very nice idea. Congrats!

One thing that I've always thought it's missing is a list of projects in domains other than programming for motivating people that don't have an interest in programming per se.

That means no Lisp interpreters, no command-line palindrome detectors, no reverse polish calculators, no Collatz sequence generators, etc., but things like card game emulators, embroidery pattern creators, guitar tablature generators, etc. Thing that could pick the interest of people that have very specific interests, and that don't see how programming could be of any use to them.

When I was learning to code, I wrote a program for computing the standings table for soccer league tournaments. It was very rudimentary, but it kept me motivated since it did something useful for me, and I could tweak it ad infinitum.

Year later I taught programming to first-year university students, and a big problem was keeping them motivated. Every one of them had different interests, and computing large Mersenne primes was certainly not one of them.

holychiz 1 hour ago 0 replies      
good idea. Can you add a forum to the site for people to discuss particulars of the project they're working on? It would be nice to see other people working on the same thing and how they go about it. This feature works great on Coursera.
mathattack 16 hours ago 2 replies      
Great idea. Thanks for sharing!

A test suite would be great (as mentioned by JadeNB) but is the end of this something along the lines of a MOOC or a programming community?

abecedarius 10 hours ago 0 replies      
For the regex matcher, I outlined a practice project at https://github.com/darius/regexercise
JadeNB 16 hours ago 1 reply      
I love this idea! It would be nice if the suggestions went into more detail, including, say, a test suite to measure success .

Are there any similar resources for other languages?

ZanyProgrammer 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Why not add something that doesn't sound like a project for a college CS class? Build a Google App Engine app in Python, for example.
jackhammer2022 10 hours ago 0 replies      
mrmagooey 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I keep meaning to use project Euler for this purpose
busterarm 14 hours ago 0 replies      
At some point I'll be doing these. This is super cool, thanks!
DonGateley 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I'd like something that involves a GUI, perhaps using QT unless you know something you think is better.
       cached 25 December 2013 08:02:02 GMT