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1
Intermittent fasting: The good things it did to my body bbc.co.uk
39 points by gps408  2 hours ago   21 comments top 8
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stickydink 1 hour ago 2 replies      
I don't think we're even close to really understanding how the body works here.

I'm not obese, but I gain weight from eating a little more, very easily. Last summer, I followed a Keto ("ultra low carb, high fat, medium protein") diet for about 4 months. After the first week of feeling terrible, a well-known side effect, I felt perfectly fine. It felt like I was binge eating, I limited what I could eat and just went mad eating it. Any time I was remotely hungry, grab an approved snack. A big plate of bacon and eggs for breakfast, Chipotle for lunch, and a hefty meal for dinner.

I never went hungry, and as someone who likes food, it felt more like a treat than a diet. Colleagues thought I was trying to gain weight, and my girlfriend thought I'd gone mad with hunger. But the fat melted off. I didn't walk into a gym in those 3 months, and dropped 2-3lbs a week (starting ~250 at 6"3'), every single week.

I'm not saying it's perfect, or even viable for everybody -- it's not cheap, it's awkward to eat with friends, and the first week or two can be hell. Despite what people have been told, fat won't make you fat, and Keto has been shown over and over to reduce the risk factors for heart disease, 'cure' diabetics, and provide huge body transformations.

For anyone interested, /r/keto is a reasonably mature community, and can provide a lot more information.

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skwosh 4 minutes ago 0 replies      
Related: I have been doing the 5/2 diet [1] for the last few months, with a fasting-day calorie limit of ~ 500cal. Because it's supposed to be 1/4 of your daily cal I've been watching it on the off-days as well.

I've found it very sustainable, and my general health has improved in addition to losing around 15kg over the last 15 weeks. Fasting has also given me more awareness and self-control over what I eat on the off-days.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/5:2_diet

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Tarang 38 minutes ago 0 replies      
There was a very interesting documentary on intermittent fasting on BBC Horizon titled 'Eat, Fast, Live Longer' where Michael Mosley experimented with himself fasting trying different types of fasting including intermittent fasting.

It did help him alot but the cool thing was there was a guy who lived on a meal a day which had athlete like body fat levels.

There's also a runner, Fauja Singh, who ran a marathon at 101 years of age featured in it who practices something close to intermittent fasting [1]

It was extremely interesting and I do feel after watching it that 3 meals a day is something conjured by man but may not really be all that natural.

Link to episode intro: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gGHDBIaibok

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

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awjr 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Looks like a derivation on the 5/2 diet. The 25/5 diet. My personal issue with these types of diets is that my concentration levels initially drop. I find the first couple of days extremely uncomfortable.

The best lifestyle change I've made is to drastically cut down on carbs, generally avoiding wheat and try never to eat sugar, in particular fructose. Note this doesn't stop me eating carbs but that I generally try and avoid them in my day to day eating. I no longer feel tired in the afternoon.

I also cycle to work.

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gojomo 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I find it frustrating when people often discuss experience with 'intermittent fasting' without describing exactly what they mean. The term ranges over lots of approaches. I've seen it used to describe just 8 hours (perhaps every/most days) without food, to a full day or couple of days without food (perhaps every other day or once per week or two), to other things, as is the case here.

Fortunately, clicking through to another article in the series (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-25498742) gives more details about what was tested here:

The food, during the [5-consecutive-day] period of the restricted diet, was designed to be highly nutritious. It consisted of plant-based soups, kale chips, a nutty bar, a herbal tea and an energy drink. The total number of calories, in five days, was about 2,500 - a little more than the average person consumes in one day. No additional food was allowed. For the rest of the month we were allowed a normal diet. The regime was repeated three times, followed by a control period, when we could eat anything.

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piyushpr134 16 minutes ago 1 reply      
This is not really a new thing. In India, fasting is a like a culture. More common with females though. Some of them fast like once every week. There are festivals which are based around fasting. Like Karvachauth, in which girls fast for their husbands etc (we are not very feminist yet). There are festivals during which people fast for straight 2-10 days! (chath, durga puja, somwari etc).

Even in Islam, during ramzaan people fast everyday for 30 days . They eat before dawn break and eat again after dusk.

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nodata 32 minutes ago 1 reply      
This sounds awfully like regular crash dieting.
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iagomr 15 minutes ago 0 replies      
It also might have given cancer to Steve Jobs
2
Losing Aaron: Bob Swartz on MIT's role in his son's death bostonmagazine.com
222 points by cjbprime  9 hours ago   115 comments top 13
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suprgeek 7 hours ago 2 replies      
MIT Played a key role in Aaron's Death:http://gothamist.com/2013/01/15/aaron_swartzs_lawyer_mit_ref...

They refused to sign-off on any deal that did not involve Jail time. This was THE one point that weighed more on his mind than any else per the recorded statements of his partner.

MIT's pig-headedness in this aspect really destroyed any respect I had for that institution. JSTOR made a much more reasoned statement http://docs.jstor.org/summary.html - Clearly indicating that they had NO INTEREST in any further prosecution (since they were the primary wronged party).

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Smerity 7 hours ago 4 replies      
I'm still more disturbed by the laws in play.

Aaron was facing a cumulative maximum penalty of 35 years in prison.

The roommates of one of the Boston bombers was only facing 25 years in prison[1] if found guilty of helping Dzhokhar Tsarnaev dispose of a laptop, fireworks, and a backpack in the aftermath of the bombings.

I understand it's not a straight comparison, but no matter how I try to re-arrange those numbers in my head, I can't reconcile the impact to punishment.

[1]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boston_Marathon_bombings#Dias_K...

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vex 8 hours ago 11 replies      
Suicide is completely a personal choice. MIT had no reason to try and defend an outsider who hijacked part of their network, and trying to make them seem like they caused him to hang himself smacks of tunnel vision.

It's a natural response to a suicide; we try and search for something to blame. But unless you argue that MIT should have known Aaron was mentally unstable, saying MIT "caused" him to kill himself is illogical. People who commit suicide may desire to because of what they feel about their lives, but the final decision is one's own.

It's sad that it takes a death to bring attention to the IP issues that Aaron's trial had raised.

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xacaxulu 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Bostonian of the Year!! This makes me profoundly sick.

"United States Attorney Carmen Ortiz, in the midst of a prosecutorial tear that would lead the Globe to name her 2011s Bostonian of the Year, held up Aarons indictment as a warning to hackers everywhere."

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noonespecial 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I wouldn't call MIT "responsible" as that would open the door to a world of "look what you made me do" thinking. It is sad that MIT had a chance to be differnet than the paranoid schizophrenic mess that the US security apparatus has become and reaffirm themselves as champions of free thought and somewhat rebellious free thinking. They chose to do the opposite. That is very sad indeed.
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tzs 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Several comments have talked about 35 year or longer potential sentences.

Those big numbers come from simply taking the maximum possible sentence that can ever be given out for each charge, and adding them all up.

There are two things that make that unrealistic in most cases. First, the defendant is almost always charged with several similar or related crimes that have mostly the same elements. If convicted on more than one charge from such a group, they are only sentenced for one of the convictions.

Second, the sentence takes into account the severity of the particular acts that constitute the crime, and the prior criminal record of the defendant. To get the maximum possible sentence you'd need to have gone way beyond what ordinary violators of that particular law usually do, and you'd have to have a serious criminal history.

What Swartz was actually facing if he want to trial and was convicted was something ranging from probation to a few years, depending on just how much damage the court decided he caused.

If he took the plea the prosecutor was offering, he was facing up to 6 months.

Details with citations on the above are available at [1] and [2].

In the dozens of discussions of the Swartz case we've had in the last year here, the 35 year or 50 year myth has been repeatedly busted. Yet it keeps coming up in each new discussion--often from people who were in some of the previous discussions! Why is it so persistent?

[1] http://www.volokh.com/2013/01/14/aaron-swartz-charges/

[2] http://www.volokh.com/2013/01/16/the-criminal-charges-agains...

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rodrodrod 7 hours ago 1 reply      
What were MIT's obligations to Aaron? While there is a whole lot that MIT could've done to help Aaron (even if only just taking the JSTOR route and stating they were backing off entirely) and that would've been commendable, I don't really see why MIT had an obligation to help Aaron, so I have a hard time holding MIT morally culpable.

If anything, I'd think screwed up laws and an overzealous prosecution are the real issue here, and I'm not sure what pointing fingers at MIT accomplishes.

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marincounty 6 hours ago 0 replies      
It's just a sad story. I do know one thing, don't tellyour significant other, or anyone else Anything-- "Instead, he grilled her until he had what he needed: Norton mentioned that Aaron had coauthored the Guerilla Open Access Manifesto "

I am on the end of a civil suit. It's nothing big, but I have never felt so helpless. I can't imagine what Aaronwas feeling.

I don't know if MIT was complicit, but a few things suprisedme--50k charge to public libraries.

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bumbledraven 3 hours ago 0 replies      
[U.S. Attorney Stephen] Heymann subpoenaed Aarons girlfriend, Quinn Norton, to give grand jury testimony. That was bad enough, but even before the jury convened, Norton agreed to meet with Heymannagainst Aarons pleas. Norton would say later that she thought she could talk Heymann into dropping the prosecution. Instead, he grilled her until he had what he needed: Norton mentioned that Aaron had coauthored the Guerilla Open Access Manifesto (remarkably, the prosecution had failed to read through the blog posts of the Internet activist they had intended to charge). For Heymann, this was a key piece of evidence: It established a motive.

I never realized Norton agreed to talk with the prosecution against Aaron's wishes.

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freejack 6 hours ago 1 reply      
What makes me absolutely, terribly sick is the extent to which the USG waves its hands to dismiss the seriousness of the extent and reach of the NSA's domestic data gathering activities and at the same time deciding that Swartz's data gathering was worth going to the mat over.
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1stop 6 hours ago 1 reply      
MIT clearly did something wrong here... The Secret Service seemed to get involved by accident, due to the fact MIT do a lot of "Super secret stuff, that China want". MIT should have immediately moved to limit how seriously this was taken, when they understood who was perpetrating it (and why). Kind of like if a kid accidentally (because he didn't know it was one) spray pants the side of nuclear missile silo, we would treat them differently to someone trying to sabotage a nuclear missile silo (I hope!)

The article hinted at the fact MIT ran an "Open network" which ran counter to the charge of "unauthorised access". MIT should have commented on that in their report.

MIT worked with the prosecution to help build there case, that's fine, but talk about "neutrality" as that clearly isn't.

Anyone arguing that MIT didn't do anything wrong, I would say, just isn't rational.

But we still haven't gotten causation (Are they to blame for Aaron's death?).

There is always some people who say that suicide is only the victims fault, no one else. But do you apply that to people being tortured? Or people with no hope to live out their life as they thought they would. Was it the jews fault for committing suicide rather than face the camps?

Now applying that extreme analogy to the US legal system, and in particular, the plea bargain system... isn't it the same dynamic? They want to make the proposed outcome so bad that you take an easy way out. In the process they destroyed parts of your life (in Aaron's case it was his friendships, girlfriend, family, wealth).

Thus, aiding this system (the prosecutor) (as MIT did) certainly deserves some of the blame, no?

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abvdasker 5 hours ago 0 replies      
What's clear is that the prosecution only got out of control once it got into the hands of the federal government, at which point Ortiz and Heymann threw the book at Swartz when he wouldn't take a plea deal.

Swartz's death was the result of institutional failure. The criminal justice system and more broadly the US government are very sick institutions if their standard operating procedures can result in a tragedy like this.

13
inspectahdeck 6 hours ago  replies      
MIT's report on their involvement in the prosecution of Aaron Swartz: http://swartz-report.mit.edu/
3
Twitter SVP Chris Fry Breaks Down How His Engineering Org Works recode.net
46 points by adidash  4 hours ago   10 comments top 4
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amix 2 hours ago 5 replies      
While Twitter a is cool service I can't imagine what 1000 engineers can do all day long? Based on this maybe they are building their organization wrongly and following their footsteps isn't the correct way to follow.
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jph 1 hour ago 0 replies      
He highlights Twitter EventParrot and MagicRecs, both compelling experiments:

EventParrot for news alerts: http://www.theverge.com/2013/10/10/4823278/twitter-eventparr...

MagicRecs for notifications: http://www.theverge.com/2013/9/24/4767290/twitter-will-notif...

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jtchang 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Chris mentions the 3 things that motivate people. Good video about this from RSA Animate if you haven't seen it yet:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc

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random2 1 hour ago 0 replies      
"Breaks Down How His Engineering Org Works" is an exaggeration. "Offers a glimpse" would have been more appropriate:

1000+ engineers that include (perhaps a majority) of people working on reliability/operations.

Mobility - engineers _can_ move every quarter to a team that has an open position

Peer-feedback (360?) promotions based system (this is rather popular)

I guess I was hoping for something more about the actual structure and interactions, but it's mostly saying it's not too centralized, nor too distributed and that it's "like a school" and they're using lean/agile methodologies.

4
Teaching Software Architecture: with GitHub avandeursen.com
24 points by SanderMak  2 hours ago   discuss
5
129 Cars thisamericanlife.org
60 points by cpymchn  5 hours ago   14 comments top 6
1
johnthedebs 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I listened to this podcast the other day and it was one of the more compelling This American Life episodes I've listened to recently. I say that as a pretty big fan of TAL.

They spend the episode interviewing car salespeople and managers at one particular dealership over the course of a week (IIRC), where the salespeople are trying to rack up a certain number of sales to qualify for a bonus payout that means the difference between being in the red vs being in the black. They clear up some myths about car sales and generally get to the heart of what it's like to be a salesperson.

The things that were interesting to me were the various mindsets and tactics the salespeople use to sell a car, especially when they're desperate. The way the salespeople negotiate between two different parties on one side with the customer, on the other side with their manager was also something I hadn't thought about.

That's about the gist of it: a week in sales during a somewhat desperate situation from a car dealership's perspective. As a semi-regular podcast listener who really likes TAL but feels like they have some hits and some misses, this one is definitely a hit.

3
canadev 1 hour ago 0 replies      
That was so intense... I was stressed from the very beginning.

There's a lot to be said for a stable paycheck.

Personally, I only buy used cars and pay cash. But if I didn't, I know that I'd be buying my car at the end of the month...

If you listen to this, don't forget to to look at the photo gallery. I waited till after I'd finished listening to look at it, I think that worked out well.

4
rallison 1 hour ago 0 replies      
A quite enjoyable and interesting piece by TAL. One aspect that I found interesting is that Manny, the guy inspired by Sun Tzu and without much inherent interest in the cars themselves, actually fared poorly in sales [1].

This sort of salesman is exactly the sort of person I always want to avoid when I am looking at purchasing something, so I am glad to see his techniques were not all that effective.

Overall, the piece doesn't paint the dealership model in a very positive light. While it makes one sympathetic to some of the individual salesmen (at least, to some extent), it also largely reinforces many peoples' assumptions that, mostly, they are prey when they arrive at a dealership, unless they know what they are doing (or, if they happen to arrive at the end of the month during a poor sales month and happen to be slightly stubborn).

A related note: I'd love to see more car sales go the way of Tesla and Saturn [2] (yes, Saturn), where pricing is much more transparent/fixed. Basically, I find the current dealership model's incentives to be largely mismatched to the actual needs of consumers.

[1] (~10 cars per month) http://www.thisamericanlife.org/at-the-car-lot/

[2] http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/saturn-a-wealth-o...

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jap 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I don't understand why the general manager didn't wait till the last minute to book the dealership's two loaner car purchases.
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yread 3 hours ago 3 replies      
I can't listen to audio. Why is it interesting?
6
Vacations are for the weak sethbannon.com
358 points by sethbannon  14 hours ago   291 comments top 2
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equalarrow 10 hours ago 7 replies      
I think the big takeaway here is a lot of companies don't care, these are the rules and you accept them or not. Most people accept them - they feel like they have to. I've done it quite a few times.

But what we really need is more self-realization like this at the top. This is where the change for these sorts of policies can happen. On one hand, it's really sad that we're so work obsessed here - money is more important than people so much of the time. But, on the other hand, there is still room and freedom to make your own way and write your own rules.

I think about this topic a lot, especially because I am fighting burnout myself. I didn't do any work for most of xmas break and when I went back this week I kept thinking "I need another few months off". I even had to push for the two days after xmas off - there was a little push back from the ceo since we're a small 4 person company. But, I'm a little older than everyone and I was thinking "fuck it, I need to chill".

Ideally, my dream job is to just work for myself (I'm sure that's everyone else's too). Sure, there are tradeoffs with that, but there's something about working when you want, where you want. I think there can definitely be a balance between being on vacation a lot and outsourcing all the non-important work to other people who will do it. Time Ferris is a great read for this type of living and it exemplifies the work to live not live to work thing (or work as little as possible and really live).

I did a vacation a few years ago where my wife and mother in-law went to Spain. It was awesome, my first time there, but I was 'pressured' by work to keep crankin on our app. It was such bullshit and I was really pissed about that pressure - vacation was not vacation. I told myself: 1) I'd never work for someone else on vaca again - ever, and 2) I'd never make anyone else do that. Needless to say after a few days I was like, 'fuck this, this is the stupidest thing in the world. I'm in one of the best food and historical places in the world and the guys at home want me to keep coding. Bullshit.'

I think there's a point where you either keep going with everyone else's rules or you make your own. Get busy livin or get busy dyin. I'm at the point in my life where I'm getting to the last of dyin for someone else's deal and starting to live for my own. It's not impossible, just take discipline and focus. Otherwise, me, and everyone else is working under someone else's thumb, by their rules, working on vacation. Dumb.

2
glesica 14 hours ago  replies      
It is unfortunate that so many people are stuck in jobs that don't offer sufficient time off. It seems fairly common for employees to "start"* with just two weeks of paid time off (and many, I think, even lack access to unpaid leave for non-medical reasons).

One might argue that two weeks is sufficient for a week-long vacation every six months, but most people I know use most of their time off for family obligations and "work outside of work" like home repairs. This is a crap situation.

* Quotes because it is becoming less and less common to work for a company for decades, so the traditional system of awarding vacation based on length of tenure is becoming more and more insane. How many people never even get past the initial level of paid time off before switching jobs?

7
Business Ideas for 2014 scottsbarlow.com
121 points by strwbrry  10 hours ago   51 comments top 19
1
ignostic 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Whoa, let's tone down the negativity HN. The hate is already piling up, but I think there are some really good ideas here. Sure, many (probably most) of the ideas are already done, but he does give some thoughts on the angles of execution and niches. This would be a great place to start for someone looking to brainstorm or for someone looking for their first startup experience.

At least don't deride the author for sharing some interesting ideas. If you've thought about each and every one of these, good for you, but I had some interesting thoughts while reading.

2
jonmrodriguez 2 hours ago 3 replies      
The "Night time Delivery Service" sounds like it could be a big business. The trend in logistics lately is getting closer and closer to same-day shipping.

A "Night time Delivery Service" could help start in one city and expand to others. The existence of Luna in SF shouldn't dissuade anyone from starting the same thing in a different city, because it will take years for any one player to expand and colonize more locations. If anything, Luna is at a geographic disadvantage due to SF's high wages.

The way you use Luna seems very convenient, which is that the customer has the package shipped to Luna by any shipping service, and then once it arrives there, Luna does same-night last-mile delivery for $7. This is nice because it can interface with any existing shipping service without the need for Luna to win any contracts.

Eventually, once a company like this is starting to scale, they could aim to get a contract with UPS, FedEx, DHL, or USPS to pick up packages directly from the UPS/whatever warehouse, saving both time & money for all involved.

If the company wants to exit they could sell to Amazon.

The company might have to pay a wage premium because the work is at night, but then again, in this economy maybe the workers would just be happy to get a job (and the hours involved would make it a great 2nd job). Also, compared to daytime shipping services, the nighttime company would be more productive per hour due to its drivers facing less traffic.

3
alaskamiller 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Cursory google searches and from my memory I can see all these ideas have been done in one form or another.

So much talk about ideation and execution and force multipliers blah blah.

Real key of the matter is knowing your opportunity costs and choosing the right thing. That actually takes time and experience to learn, albeit you can take the shortcut and finding the right mentors to guide you.

4
visakanv 6 hours ago 1 reply      
"I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times." - Bruce Lee
5
zaroth 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I like the style of these, in that most have low barrier to entry but for the hustle. Also, I don't think any idea is ever really "done", only incumbents waiting to be challenged. It does make sense to ask 'how is this different from X?' but often times the differentiation comes down to just being more hungry than your competitor.

These scribbles from my notebook may be a bit more tech heavy or have other barriers to entry;

  Student loan servicing  Programmatic corporate founding docs, term sheets, seed rounds (legalese as code)  Self managed SMB 401k/IRA/125/etc SaaS  Crowd-based intermediation of credit [card] payments  Single-click self-hosted [insert data-sucking, privacy violating SaaS here]  SMS for every business  Bid on anything (build the demand curve)  Stop social fallout (crisis management as a service)  P2P two-party escrow  Telepresent expert hired by-the minute/hour (fix my ___)  LouisCK as a Service (the way he sells his content, not him specifically)  Self-hosted everpix  Yours If You Want It - A way to buy a gift for someone, but only if they 'accept'  Disciple - Subscribe to talks by geniuses in your industry  
And the one I'm currently working on... passwords that can't be cracked.

Happy Hacking in 2014!

6
dalacv 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Add one more to your list: I had this one in 2012 and created a small app. There were a couple of lawsuits that I could have gotten "my fair share" on, but just didn't know about them in time. Didn't get too far with it, so I'm donating it in case someone else wants to "run with it": ClassAction website or app. Aggregate all current class action lawsuits. Use crowdsourcing to keep the list current. You have like 5-10 "standard" pieces of info: link to the official website where you can fill out the form, Date that you need to respond by, who is eligible to participate, etc. Not sure about payment model, but as they say, worry about that later. Solve the Class Action Lawsuit 'problem'?...
7
mikegirouard 4 hours ago 2 replies      
A note on bamboo eyewear:

I'm in the eyewear business. I've struggled with the idea of wood or bamboo for a while now. There seems to be a lot of interest in the area but I'm skeptical. Materials like these are porous and people sweat -- not the best combination.

I've been waiting for the acetate fad to fall out of fashion but we're still doing pretty well in this area.

8
clark-kent 3 hours ago 1 reply      
It's easy to come up with a 100 ideas when you don't have to execute any of them. I know it sounds dismissive but i'm speaking from experience. One idea will take a thousand other new ideas to turn it into a successful business, plus a ton of hardwork and persistence.
9
revx 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm already doing the "Rock Your CV" as a side business! Maybe time to step it up? http://handprintresumes.com. Would love some feedback from HN on prices, design, etc.
10
yitchelle 3 hours ago 2 replies      
After reading the post, a skeptical person might say that this post is a clever hack to sell domain names. The article has a few links to domain names available for purchase.

However, these are pretty good ideas. At the very least, they should inspire further tweaks to the ideas for execution. Great list!

11
edwardliu 2 hours ago 0 replies      
A lot of these ideas are great. Perhaps executable for other countries as well. Thanks Scott!
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notastartup 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I can see some patterns emerging in the list of ideas, some of which are quite okay. I think to me the value is seeing categories of the ideas and sort of what problems are on the horizon.
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nawitus 4 hours ago 0 replies      
>Also as a vegan some good vegan dishes!

Oh God yes.

14
grumblestumble 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I thought this article was satirizing every negative stereotype about HN, until I came in here and read the comments.
15
AHconsidered 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I've been thinking about the "Sell my car" idea for a bit. I think it's ripe for new thinking. If you're interested and in the SF Bay Area, ping me at ahconsidered@hushmail.com
16
tzm 5 hours ago 0 replies      
GradFolio is very similar to GradFly.
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dalacv 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I like it! Good job.
18
snitko 7 hours ago 2 replies      
And not one of those ideas is Bitcoin related. It's 2014 for god's sake.
19
freehunter 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Am I the only one who sees a giant and useless header on the site?

http://i.imgur.com/XQHyc2O.png

8
Unfinished, unfair and brutally difficult polygon.com
81 points by danso  8 hours ago   22 comments top 5
1
wtracy 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Supposedly, the reason there are so few successful FOSS games is that no one wants to play a half-finished game, offer feedback (or patches) and come back and play the next revision. Is this changing?

On a different note, I've been intrigued by the idea of an MMORPG with a mechanic that coerces players into acting in-character. I think DayZ just pulled this off. You can be the desprate survivor just trying to hang on, you can be the thug monopolizing precious resources, or you can be the dangerous, unpredictable psycho, and all these possibilities feel perfectly in-character. There's no grinding, leveling up, or amulets of +2 charisma.

I suspect that right there is the real reason for this particular game's success.

2
teddyh 42 minutes ago 0 replies      
> [] the game consists of trolling and ganking. Players have very little reason to trust each other, and many reasons to kill each other.

> []

> [] make your own fun, and thats often at the expense of the other players, or perhaps due to their actions towards you. Its a playground for the perverse.

As entertaining as this game very well might be, I think Ill pass on putting myself through what sounds like a collection of potentially traumatic and dehumanizing experiences. I think Id be a worse person for playing it.

3
rmrfrmrf 7 hours ago 3 replies      
Since giving up cable, twitch.tv has more or less become my HGTV -- somewhat enjoyable, minimal attention requirement; decent background noise to help keep me from going insane.

I cannot for the life of me, though, understand the appeal of Day Z. Perhaps I've had the misfortune of only seeing the "slow" parts, but, from what I've seen, it's a lot of running around in large environments and then... hiding out? sometimes? Then there are zombies? I really don't get it. I tend to fall in love with niche market games, but this one doesn't do it for me.

4
RBerenguel 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I have not checked the game, only this Polygon article, but the premise sounds a lot like a (washed down!) Dwarf Fortress. Specially the unfair part. You'll realise how unfair DF's adventurer mode is the day you pick your first mission to kill a scrawny beast only to find yourself brutally killed by a pack of capybarss.

Toady (the developer of DF) is preparing a big update to adventurer mode, by the way.

5
dreamdu5t 7 hours ago 7 replies      
Everyone is looking at it wrong.

It's not about the game anymore. It's about the online community surrounding it. Games today are social networks. It's not about the game-play anymore. It's about the mods, the chatting, the culture, community, etc.

If you see Minecraft as a game like Sonic is a game you are blind.

9
How Netflix Reverse Engineered Hollywood theatlantic.com
278 points by coloneltcb  17 hours ago   117 comments top 13
1
smsm42 6 hours ago 2 replies      
For all the high praise that gets heaped on Netflix for their brilliant technology, I have a feeling there is some other Netflix that is concealed from me.

I have been Netflix customer for years. I thought the idea was brilliant - super-cheap movies arriving whenever you want, what could be better?! I loved Netflix. Then I slowly discovered Netflix is running out of movies I want to watch - up to now where about 95% of movies I want to see are out. Then there was that streaming vs. DVS fiasco - and I stayed with streaming. But then I discovered there's nothing for me to stream. I thought maybe my tastes are weird - so I went to wikipedia and IMDB and looked "top X movies" - and most of them, of course, can't be watched on Netflix, except for those few that I've already watched long ago.

And that million dollar recommendation system? I've over 800 ratings, and I have hard time remembering last time their system suggested me something useful. In fact, the only reason I am keeping the subscription is because my wife has some series on her sub-account that she's watching. For me, Netflix has become almost 100% useless. So I wonder, with all the high praise to their brilliant data usage and innovative technology - am I doing something wrong? Am I missing some important part of Netflix that everybody else is seeing?

2
refurb 7 hours ago 1 reply      
A friend of a friend works at Netflix and told me how they use some of this data.

House of Cards was basically a data driven production. Based on Netflix's customer preferences, they knew that a political thriller, starring Kevin Spacey and directed by David Fincher would maximize the number of views based on the habits of its customers.

It would appear the data was correct!

3
danielharan 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Netflix's data allows it not only to recommend movies, but also to finance original productions.

Lots of businesses want "recommendation engines" to appease their cargo cult gods, few ask what possibilities their data really creates.

Sometimes data can make you better at delivering your service. Other times you can optimize inventory, enter entirely new lines of business or even obsolete your competitors.

4
eli 16 hours ago 8 replies      
Haven't people gone to jail for scraping a URL and enumerating its possible values?
5
zheng 15 hours ago 0 replies      
What would be really cool is if this list of genres was open-sourced somewhere. I can see Netflix not wanting that, but it would really save time for however many hackers read this article and decide they want the same data.
6
msg 16 hours ago 3 replies      
At the top of the article is a Netflix genre generator. That is worth the price of admission all by itself.

But then there's a fairly entertaining look into what happened to content at Netflix after the million dollar challenge.

7
mixmastamyk 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Meanwhile, their client still can't separate my daughter's kid shows from mine. It took them several years to implement profiles on iOS and then another to do it on Android.

Now implemented, "My Top Picks" last night were still dominated by My Little Pony.

Also would like to choose which shows she can watch, but the client doesn't support that. </complaints-over> ;)

8
shawnc 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I find the part at the end about the Perry Mason aspect very interesting, and actually my favourite part of the article.

And the final sentence, feels like the real reason this was posted to HN: "And sometimes we call that a bug and sometimes we call it a feature."

Edit: Also, the 'Gonzo' genre of Post-Apocalyptic Comedies and Friendship seems it's got its first one in "This Is The End".

9
agibsonccc 9 hours ago 0 replies      
For those who are data curious:https://gist.github.com/agibsonccc/8230583

I cherry picked this from the source for those who might want the generator. I "think" that's everything, correct me if I'm wrong there. I didn't really test it, just took a few seconds to grab what I saw for later.

10
discardorama 14 hours ago 2 replies      
How is this any different from that Pandora did with music?
11
mathattack 12 hours ago 1 reply      
I get a kick out of the genre names. My wife and I both use the same account, and each rate movies ourselves. Whenever something comes out of left field, we say, "Look at your movies..."

I wonder if Netflix can tell if multiple people are rating movies. Does it think we are one confused person, or two distinct personalities?

12
hershel 16 hours ago 1 reply      
There's also jinni.com which has a similar system, not limited by UI issues and that can be used globally. Usually i get great recommendations from them , and they're fun to play with.
13
mbillie1 16 hours ago  replies      
> There are so many that just loading, copying, and pasting all of them took the little script I wrote more than 20 hours.

I want to see that script.

10
NSA seeks to build quantum computer that could crack most types of encryption washingtonpost.com
126 points by JunkDNA  13 hours ago   96 comments top 14
1
tptacek 12 hours ago 10 replies      
1. $80MM isn't even in the ballpark of what it would cost to build a quantum-theoretic machine that could break IFP (RSA) or DLP (DH, DSA) crypto.

2. $80MM is way, way past the threshold believed to be required to break the most widely deployed public-key crypto, RSA-1024. Put differently: there are venture capitalists who could successfully fund an effort to break the most widely-deployed public key crypto.

3. If it is feasible to build a quantum-theoretic machine to break RSA, it is vitally important that the NSA attempt to do so; such work is at the very core of their mission.

I have no insight into what's actually happening behind this disclosure, but the price tag on it suggests to me that it's just a research project.

Since NSA is the kind of organization that historically spends $80MM on paper clips, the number suggests to me that quantum-theoretic attacks on IFP and DLP crypto aren't currently a serious thing. But that's a wild guess.

2
topynate 11 hours ago 3 replies      
Both NSA and GCHQ have quite the history of co-opting smart mathematicians to create secret theoretical advances in cryptography and cryptanalysis, which could well be relevant given a quantum computer with the following three properties:

* Fully general. By this I mean capable of solving BQP problems in polynomial time. This excludes D-Wave machines, for example.

* Sufficiently large. 100 qubits would probably enable qualitative advances in cryptanalysis.

* Low enough error rate. This is a slightly redundant requirement, as too high an error rate would provably prevent the computer from being asymptotically faster than classical - which is what we care about.

The last requirement is due to the quantum threshold theorem[1]. Briefly, there is an error rate below which quantum computing is possible and above which it is not. The precise value is not known but it is probably over 1% and, at least for some kinds of circuits, under about 40%. That means that at the theoretical level, the task is to create a model of computation that has as high a threshold limit as possible, and then to design an error correcting scheme that comes close to that limit. This is something that a secret agency could plausibly do in-house.

However, there is then the question of implementing the model of computation in a physical system, with a sufficiently low error rate. NSA, GCHQ etc. are not known to have this sort of experimental expertise - they would probably have to contract it out (and indeed this is the major piece of new information in the article). The history on fundamental advances over civilian technology shows that this normally depends on co-opting basically the entire research community working in the field - as in radar, nuclear weapons, stealth etc. This is not at all the case for experimental quantum computing, which is not in practice treated as a 'sensitive' field.

Thus it is my opinion that the NSA may well already have some theoretical tricks up its sleeve that it can use in the future for a decent edge, but is unlikely to get the opportunity to use them before quantum computing becomes considerably more feasible in the unclassified world.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_threshold_theorem.Bounds lifted from http://arxiv.org/abs/0802.1464.Qualifications: I studied the mathematics of quantum computing as a Masters student, although I can't claim to still be current on the state of the art.

3
EthanHeilman 12 hours ago 1 reply      
This is the first leak that lower bounds the NSA's capabilities. It suggests that the NSA does not have a quantum computer.

If the NSA did have a quantum computer they might fund a project like this as it would be suspicious not to.

EDIT: The more I think about this, the less it says about the NSA capabilities. They may attempt multiple paths to QC. The classification document that WashPo released (http://apps.washingtonpost.com/g/page/world/classifying-nsa-...) outlines Level A (public) and Level B (classified) research. All this shows is that the NSA is dedicating at least ~0.8% of their budget to QC.

4
crystaln 10 hours ago 2 replies      
This is the sort of code-breaking the NSA should be doing. If breaking encryption algorithms is possible with quantum computers, we should figure out how to do it before any other nation-state or hacker does. This discovery would hopefully push forward encryption standards toward less breakable encryption.

What we should not do is use those discoveries to illegally spy, but rather to improve our security. Unfortunately, the NSA has lost credibility in contributing to encryption standards, so how that would happen is unclear.

Breaking encryption with new technology is entirely different than subverting encryption technologies intentionally or using their asymmetrical powers to tap into communication systems. Any attacks that can be discovered will hopefully first be discovered by relatively good actors (US intelligence) rather than relatively bad ones (Chinese intelligence.)

5
jrwoodruff 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Full version of the article, with sane paragraph measures and distracting teasers and social features.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/nsa-se...

6
ck2 11 hours ago 2 replies      
When the limit to breaking encryption becomes only cost and not technical hurdles, we have a huge problem.

Because there is no limit to tax dollars the government would be willing to spend to spy on it's own citizens. Congresspeople are already happy to line up to throw money at the spy machinery which is the new arm of the industrial war complex.

7
redthrowaway 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Good. That's their job. I'm not worried about the NSA using quantum computing, as fiscal realities dictate that it would have to be narrowly targeted at a small subset of the encrypted information out there. I'm fine with them recovering plaintext from pgp-encrypted emails sent between suspected al-Qaeda members. I'm not fine with them break encryption en masse and compromising the integrity of the Internet.
8
bitsteak 1 hour ago 0 replies      
"Physicists and computer scientists have long speculated about whether the NSAs efforts are more advanced than those of the best civilian labs. Although the full extent of the agencys research remains unknown, ___the documents provided by Snowden suggest that the NSA is no closer to success than others in the scientific community.___"

Nothing to see here but false outrage and surprise, move along.

9
PavlovsCat 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Apologies for being extremely clueless, I don't even understand advanced math, not to mention encryption, not to mention "quantum stuff" - that's why I ask here: is it theoretically possible (or could it be in the future) to use quantum computers for encryption, too? If so, would that reduce options for breaking it to "brute force on the quantum level"? Does this question even make sense?
10
gamebak 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I didn't know when it was going to happend but i knew it would. That 80m investment is nothing, imagine if they will use it to crack sha256 from bitcoins ? A 9-10 billion "business" opened for them.Plus, privacy = lost
11
f_salmon 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Or:

How to reduce the value of the Internet as much as possible for everybody.

Nice, really nice.

12
throwawayusa 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I honestly don't understand why the NSA bothers with this. All they have to do is claim that someone is a threat and they are then able to seize said person, secret them away, and make them an unperson in some government facility that we've yet to learn about.
13
2810 3 hours ago 1 reply      
so Bitcoin is doomed?
14
BostX 9 hours ago 0 replies      
RLY? OMG, who would expect that?!?!
11
Edward Snowden, Whistle-Blower nytimes.com
711 points by Anechoic  1 day ago   151 comments top 4
1
pvnick 1 day ago 3 replies      
That was such a refreshing article. I've been saying it for a while now, I'm hopeful that we're going to see some very positive reforms in 2014 or 2015, as well as an eventual hero's welcome for Snowden. It takes a while for such a massive shift in public opinion, but it's inevitable. The reason it's taking so long is just a knowledge gab with the people that aren't as well-informed and don't know the magnitude of the abuses. As people learn the full scope of what's been revealed they tend to be (for the most part) outraged. I look forward to a couple decades from now, when I can tell my kids about how us folks who were paying attention were all vindicated when the NSA reforms were enacted and Snowden was given a full pardon.
2
r0h1n 1 day ago 3 replies      
Absolutely! I especially loved this part:

>> "His leaks revealed that James Clapper Jr., the director of national intelligence, lied to Congress when testifying in March that the N.S.A. was not collecting data on millions of Americans. (There has been no discussion of punishment for that lie.)"

3
umanwizard 1 day ago 5 replies      
I find it pleasantly surprising -- almost unbelievable, in fact -- that a highly sought-after fugitive accused of treason and practically certain to be found guilty of serious crimes is so widely supported by the public and the media.

Has there ever been another person whom the executive has done everything in its power to paint as a dangerous enemy of the state, whose approval rating was several points higher than the President's and several times higher than that of Congress? Or is this a never-before-seen situation?

The inverted totalitarianism[1] we live in can seem almost invincible, but this to me is a big glimmer of hope that some people at least are still unwilling to swallow the (two-)party line.

I hope this leads to some real change, but then again, I can't exactly hold my breath.

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

4
ajays 1 day ago  replies      
On the surface, I welcome this editorial. About time.

But the NYT has deep connections to the USG, so I'm wondering where this editorial is coming from. It could be a trial balloon on the part of the administration to test the public's appetite for a reduced sentence for Snowden.

12
Lock Picking A Basic Guide hackthis.co.uk
199 points by hackthisuk  16 hours ago   104 comments top 21
1
GuiA 15 hours ago 2 replies      
I taught myself how to pick locks my final year of high school - in France, high school students have to take the "baccalaurat", a set of exams that cover everything you've studied in high school, in all subjects. It spans the course of 2 weeks or so, and you get 1 week to prepare before it.

I hadn't been doing so hot in high school (writing assembly for my TI-83's z80 was more fun than reading Shakespeare and doing derivatives), so my parents locked my laptop in the attic for me to focus on revising during that week.

Of course, I spent a few hours reading at the local library on lock picking, and managed to get my laptop from the attic on the first day (the lock was a fairly old model too, which helps). I spent the rest of the revision week writing C and hanging out in IRC :')

For the record, I did pretty well on the baccalaurat :)

2
emhart 14 hours ago 2 replies      
Pardon the self-promotion, but this hits a bit close to my area. If you'd like a much more comprehensive guide:

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL66CD42F86F3A1F85&feat...

I also cover disc detainers, and a bunch of other stuff. I'm shooting a new series on lock forensics presently, just got a great microscope that can take my DSLR for high def microscopy.

3
yason 9 minutes ago 0 replies      
Finland is nearly completely fitted with Abloy rotating disk locks for anything worth locking down, and this was a nerdly disappointment when I was a teenager and got interested in how to pick locks. There weren't meaningful, pickable locks to play with.

The older Abloy locks from 60's/70's can apparently be picked if you're really skillful but it takes a lot of time and effort, and this was never common knowledge.

I read about hackers who were picking locks in the USA, or just outside of Scandinavia, and how pin tumbler locks work, and realized that those would indeed be plausibly pickable but I never had access to them in practice. I think probably could've found some if I really, really wanted to but nobody was using them for anything serious so learning to pick something considered as toy locks wasn't very motivating.

4
smilliken 14 hours ago 1 reply      
The MIT Guide to Lockpicking[1] is the classic resource for getting started. It's an exceptionally good tutorial because it teaches you how locks work so you have a solid mental model you can refer to.

[1] http://www.capricorn.org/~akira/home/lockpick/

5
jheriko 15 hours ago 6 replies      
A much cheaper and easier approach that works for most locks is to get a coke bottle and tear a strip out of it, then use it to do the 'hollywood credit card trick'.

unlike a credit card it doesn't snap or break very easily - the type of plastic will become softer when placed under pressure and is very flexible but strong - if you continue to force it in the right area it will work its way around hard corners and into tiny gaps until there is enough pressure to pop the bolt. when the bolt has an edge that is sloped towards you it will pop on the first push (the way i see most 'yale style' locks fitted on doors that open inwards - i.e. most front doors)

it takes an exceptionally tightly fitted door frame to prohibit this (e.g. one with brushes or hermetic seals)

the one time i couldn't break into my own home doing this was because there was a brush fitted down the side of the door - fortunately there was not one fitted in the letter box, so i found a long spanner at a nearby construction site and then spent the next four hours of my life whacking the mechanism from through the letterbox blindly until i caught the handle the right way and the door popped open...

6
vincentbarr 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Helpful animations on how locks work: http://toool.us/deviant/

Good presentation on types of locks and approaches to picking: http://www.blackhat.com/presentations/bh-europe-08/Deviant_O...

And a guy who knows a ton about picking: http://deviating.net/lockpicking/slides.html

7
herbig 15 hours ago 4 replies      
I was really into this back in high school but never got proficient in it. The concept is simple to understand but actually executing it takes a LOT of practice. Raking can open a lot of older locks pretty quickly, but that doesn't mean you're skilled.

Also, just owning the tools is illegal in some states.

8
gcb0 2 hours ago 0 replies      
How I and the ocasional lock smith uses lock pick "practicaly":

1. get any torque wrench (L-shapped metal that goes in the keyhole)

2. get any triangular pick (any thin metal that goes in the hole, saw a triangular tip)

3. insert the pick as far as it goes, apply some tension to the torque wrench, pull the pick out it pressing against the lock pins.

4. repeat #3 until lock is open. you will usually ram the lock like there is no tomorrow, so some graphite or other kind of lubricant may help.

9
codezero 14 hours ago 2 replies      
Can anyone explain how the pins getting "set" works? I understand there is torque applied to the entire cylinder, but once you push a pin up, why does it stay there, is it just the torque? How can you push many pins up when the torque required for each pin to become set is presumably variable?
10
mynoseknows 15 hours ago 2 replies      
This is why my deadbolt uses an Abloy Protec2 cylinder (custom ordered from Bay Area Locks: http://www.bayarealocks.com). It's drill resistant, and it's disk-based so it's bump and rake proof.

Abloy also claims it's pick proof. Whether that will remain true in the future I'm not sure, but I do know that at the very least it has yet to be successfully picked. If someone did figure out a way it would likely be extremely difficult to do in practice.

After watching some videos that showed just how easy it is to simply kick a door in, another thing I did was replace my strike plate with a heavier duty one, and replace the worthless 3/4" screws that "hold" most strike plates in with 4" screws that actually go into the 2x4's of the house frame.

11
lowglow 15 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm trying to prototype something called The Hacker Pen and wanted to get some community feedback. It's basically a nice heavy pen, with lock picks on the inside. It will also include a USB key with a digital penetration testing suite on it.

What are your thoughts?

12
kriro 13 hours ago 0 replies      
It's fun and relaxing but most locks are too easy to pick. For me it's kind of similar to knitting as a relaxing exercise :D

I still remember a fun talk I heard about the safety of gun safes (or lack thereof). They cracked it and told the manufacturers how easy it was and got a reply along the lines of "well maybe it's easy for a specialist like you with good equipment but it's safe enough for normal folks". Next slide contained a video of a 6 year old kid (highly trained security specialist) cracking the thing with a straw (specialized security equipment).

13
blunte 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't know if this affects everyone as it does me, but light text on black background is really, really tiring for me to read. It leaves white and black horizontal stripes in my vision for many minutes. On sites like this I have to open my developer view and fix the CSS.
14
kazagistar 7 hours ago 1 reply      
The fatal flaw with physical keys is that the image IS the key. As 3d fabrication and photography become ubiquitous, it becomes more and more absurd to use these locks to protect anything. In essence, anyone who has seen a key gains the permanent irrevocable ability to bypass that lock, until the lock is replaced.
15
Aloha 14 hours ago 0 replies      
As a field engineer, I often use the universal key (screwdriver) to open doors - sometimes you don't even need to pick the lock - just move the hasp out of the way.
16
DonateKarma 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Growing up as the middle of 7 children - 5 of them girls - I taught myself how to open padlocks with their bobby pins. It started for the usual mischief, opening their secret young girl things, and then moved onto more rewarding achievements. My technique was to break the pin into two, using the wavy pin as the tension pick, and the straight pin to rotate the barrel. This hasn't failed me on any padlock I've come across, and with practice will take only a few seconds.
17
lewaldman 14 hours ago 0 replies      
One thing that I did when I was learning it, was to prepare a set of training locks.

I bought two locks, diassembled then and reassembled leaving aside a number of pins out.

So I had a lock with only one pin, one with two, one with 4 and one with all the 5 pins.

It helped a lot because you learn to feel when the pin stucks on the open position and also to learn about how much pressure you need to put on the tensor. Too much and it will prevent the pins to go down. Too little and the pins will not stuck on the outer frame.

Ahh, and ofcourse, see the lock diassembled over my desk, and reassemble it gave a lot more insight on how it works than to just watch some animations.

18
samstave 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I have been locksporting by myself for some time, and I make my own picks from street sweeper blades.

If you're at all interested in picking, do yourself a favor and get this practice lock for ~$40 it is amazing:

http://learnlockpicking.com/

Also, I highly recommend getting on the TOOOL email list for your area.

in the SF bay it is tooosf@googlegroups.com - great group and good list, although I mostly lurk.

Here are some of my picks.... ignore the lame embellishments; I am not very artistic :)

http://imgur.com/a/ug2wI#0

19
sussman 6 hours ago 0 replies      
A couple years ago I bought this book, read it in a few days, and was on my way. Highly recommended. Super fun.

http://www.amazon.com/Practical-Lock-Picking-Physical-Penetr...

20
logfromblammo 15 hours ago 3 replies      
A good place to start is office furniture locks. They usually aren't very well made, and therefore easy to pick. The nearby office supplies can be used as your tools. You can use the large wire from one side of a binder clip as-is as your torque wrench, and a bent paper clip as your rake pick. First, straighten the clip, then bend the middle into a triangle shape. Bend the ends outward for better control over depth and angle.

Insert the binder clip wire, apply some torque, and scrub the pointy end of the triangle on your former paper clip against the pins. The lock will turn in seconds. You may need to adjust the shape of the triangle somewhat to achieve best results.

Popping open your first lock with entirely improvised materials is a powerful reminder that cheap locks are little deterrent to anyone but the most casual and unmotivated intruders, just like privacy locks in bathrooms.

21
Schweigi 10 hours ago  replies      
It looks like most lock picking videos focus on the easy locks. How hard would it be to pick a lock with side pins or however they are called? For example the Kaba locks use them and most houses e.g. in Switzerland do have one of them.

http://www.kaba.sg/media/470570/v4/resized650x-1/mechanical-...

13
Building a Mesh Network in Rural Somaliland commotionwireless.net
92 points by benbristow  12 hours ago   35 comments top 5
1
cinquemb 10 hours ago 3 replies      
I think it's pretty amazing the way that certain technologies that might be considered bleeding edge by some, are being adopted more in the developing world out of practical needs. Even more so as the costs of maintaining aging copper/fibops grows, the less perceived incentive to move towards more modular and decentralized systems ("we invested all this money already") for the increasing burden of maintaining that would be placed upon on others in developed countries.

Though this makes me wonder, the routers are running some kind of openwrts firmware[0], it would be interesting if someone had the chance to unsquash/decompile it for backdoors because from a sigint perspective (especially in the horn of africa) being able to tap into these networks (like via uav recon ops) will probably be on the table.

Edit: Looks like they are funded by the New American Foundation[1] with Eric Schmidt as chairman, interesting

[0] https://commotionwireless.net/download/routers

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_America_Foundation#Funding

2
samirmenon 11 hours ago 2 replies      
Wow! Really interesting post. I've always wanted to set up a mesh network, just for the learning experience. Just one question I've been wondering:

How much do you think the whole setup would've cost if you did it yourself? I ask because I've always thought that the cost of the special hardware for a mesh network was the major limiting factor.

3
jdmitch 10 hours ago 3 replies      
> Somaliland receives its Internet connection via microwaves across the desert from Djibouti.

Surely the main way people access the internet is through 3G either directly on the phones or on mobile broadband. When I was in Hargeisa in 2008, 3G connectivity was common, and I would assume that it is still the case (though its possible Abaarso doesn't have a very good mobile connection).

4
pedrocr 10 hours ago 1 reply      
The points in the network are in the range that Cat6 can handle. Wouldn't it be easier to just run cat6 between the points and put 50$ APs with gigabit in each point? You'd get wifi and gigabit for the clients and regular switched gigabit interconnect. Surely it would be much faster and more reliable. A few TP-Link TL-WDR3600 APs would do nicely and even give you a couple of USB ports to attach some printers for network printing.
5
salient 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Since this will end up being a sort of "new Internet", I hope they start by building this one with security in mind from the ground up. We don't want to end-up with a next-gen Internet, that's just as broken as this one, security wise, especially since you basically have to have access to someone else's phone or computer, to get in the network.
14
Bzr is dying; Emacs needs to move gnu.org
371 points by __david__  23 hours ago   284 comments top 3
1
hyperpape 20 hours ago 9 replies      
I went back and looked at the older discussion, and it doesn't paint Stallman very well as the head of a project. He pins the question of whether to keep using bzr not on whether it is good or whether the Emacs developers want it, but on whether it's being "maintained".

But then he seems to define maintenance as having fixed a specific bug that's been around for over a year, blocking a point release.

He admits that he can't follow the developers list to see if they're genuinely doing active maintenance (reasonable enough: he has a lot on his plate), but also won't accept the testimony of Emacs developers that the mailing list is dead and there's no evidence of real maintenance.

When questioned, he says that there's too much at stake to abandon bzr if it can be avoided at all. But the proposed replacement is GPL software. This is just madness.

Refs: http://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/emacs-devel/2013-03/msg009....

http://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/emacs-devel/2013-03/msg008...

(and surrounding posts).

2
stiff 22 hours ago 2 replies      
FWIW, just a few days ago I was browsing through the Emacs Bzr repository - after a full bzr clone, that took ridiculously long as well, a simple bzr blame takes 40-60 seconds to execute locally, and I have an SSD drive, four-core intel i7 and 8GB of RAM. I have never seen this kind of slowness with Git, with any repository size.
3
mikro2nd 21 hours ago  replies      
>git won the mindshare war. I regret this - I would have preferred Mercurial, but it too is not looking real healthy these days

I confess that my perception of Mercurial is the diametric opposite of the author's. Recently I believe I have seen a modest resurgence of interest in Hg and increased uptake. Am I just seeing this through some peculiar VCS-warped glasses?

I believe that much of the popularity of git stems from github making it very easy to adopt, something that bitbucket doesn't seem to have pulled off as well.

15
T-Mobile CEO hints at family plan disruption in 2014 cnet.com
16 points by wanghq  4 hours ago   9 comments top 3
1
iandanforth 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I cannot recommend T-Mobile to anyone any more. Their biggest liability is their customer service infrastructure, which is manned by the same, poorly trained, helpless, and degraded staff as always. In a recent debacle where they forced me into a new plan but promised (in writing) it would only be $30/m. In reality they forced me to a $70/m plan, and customer service was totally helpless. They knew nothing of the forced transition plan, or the letter I had received. Even the executive response team could only force through 2 months of free service rather than honoring their promise.

While I respect the PR they are going for, the reality falls far, far, short, due to years of 'cost management' minded outsourcing and hamstringing of customer service. You simply cannot remake a company if you don't eliminate the cruft of crappy infrastructure. Perhaps they could hire someone from Zappos to start fresh.

2
watchdogtimer 8 minutes ago 0 replies      
The real disruption is occurring in the MVNO space. The things the major telcos are doing pale in comparison.

For instance, our family and parents share 5 phone on 1 plan on Ting. There is a flat $6 monthly fee per device, and our charges are based simply on the amount of minutes and data we use. The rates are cheap (about $0.02 per minute for voice calls). You can use almost whatever Sprint-compatible device you want (we use some cheap Nexus S phones we bought used from a reseller) and can add, remove, or swap devices at anytime through their online interface. If your outside of Sprint's network, voice calls will roam over Verizon's network at no extra cost. You are free to do whatever you want on Wi-Fi at no cost, and there if no charge for tethering, either.

Their customer support has been superb. We've called them a couple of times when we had some issues activating a new device (mostly my mistakes) and someone knowledgeable picked up the phone immediately. No waiting, no transferring between CSRs.

Similar innovations are occurring with other MVNOs like Republic Wireless. Why people are sticking with the majors I don't understand.

3
vxNsr 3 hours ago 2 replies      
Can't wait. While they don't have the best coverage everywhere, they more than make up for it with their wifi-calling and great customer service. Right now our family is too big to fit into one "family plan" and it's too small to make it cost efficient to have two, so instead we bundle with our relatives, but it means some of us are on AT&T (aka All abouT sTealing your $$, it's too late at night to come up with a good one) and don't get the great benefits of NO overage charges and freedom to pay for our devices only ONCE!!

I don't work for T-mobile, I just really like how they're one of the few consumer-friendly companies out there (I don't care about their motives).

16
New Year's Resolutions for SysAdmins usenix.org
28 points by zdw  6 hours ago   40 comments top 7
1
reitzensteinm 4 hours ago 1 reply      
"Check that your backups are working the way you think they are."

I'm a bit horrified to read this here. If you're a sysadmin and don't have both automated and manual testing of backups, it's hard to imagine what else was a more important use of your time.

There aren't many things that could bankrupt a healthy business overnight, but catastrophic data loss is certainly one of them.

An analogous entry for a lawyer might be to pay attention while reading contracts.

2
jaryd 6 hours ago 4 replies      
I'd also recommend any sysadmin to start looking into an automation framework like Chef, Puppet, Ansible, or any other of the myriad options.
3
Ecio78 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I should "Finally learn IPv6" but I know that I will procrastinate again and again..
4
AmVess 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I learned #2 very early on. Further, the specs I give for a project are the very minimum. If you aren't willing to do things correctly the first time, I'm not willing to be a client.
5
pchander 6 hours ago 5 replies      
Excuse my ignorance, but what's wrong with nslookup and ifconfig?
6
ams6110 6 hours ago 1 reply      
3. "Check that your backups are working the way you think they are."

3.1 "Check that you can actually restore a file/recover a database"

7
blueskin_ 1 hour ago 0 replies      
#2 is the most important in that list.
17
Gate Tower Building wikipedia.org
174 points by lelf  15 hours ago   48 comments top 23
1
mrtron 14 hours ago 4 replies      
I took a video of this building when I was visiting in Osaka (apologies for the quality, the video is quite zoomed in):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GbJBwTHidGI&feature=c4-overvi...

I happened to spot this building in Osaka from the Floating Garden Building (http://www.osaka-info.jp/en/search/detail/sightseeing_3147.h...)

I had read the wikipedia article before, it was very exciting to see in person. Looking back it appears the wikipedia photo is taken from the same spot as my video.

Bonus: http://d.pr/i/Q7dn and http://d.pr/i/L9cV give you some more perspective on the surrounding area.

3
ddoolin 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow. That's pretty interesting. I'm sure it posed quite a few interesting architectural questions. Cool that it doesn't even touch the building while passing right through it.
4
somethingnew 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Was this posted in reaction to the Hyperloop post?https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6999556
5
maratd 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Apartments over the George Washington Bridge

http://wirednewyork.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3682

6
kiwidrew 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Hong Kong has something similar, where the highway passes through a carparking building in Yau Ma Tei:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/18378305@N00/8572448579/

7
c0ur7n3y 11 hours ago 0 replies      
The adobe building in Utah has a road going under it.

http://blog.kezu.com.au/page/2/

(Disclosure: I work there)

8
paul_f 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Not quite the same thing, but a 6-lane freeway (GA400) goes under the Atlanta Financial Center. http://www.southeastroads.com/georgia200/ga-400_toll_nb_exit...
9
Crito 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder how loud it is in that building, next to or below the highway.
10
mVChr 9 hours ago 1 reply      
... ...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GaOF6lDnRUk

I was hoping they'd show what it sounded like on the 4th-8th floors. Can't be optimal working conditions.

11
guard-of-terra 14 hours ago 2 replies      
Then again La Defense in Paris is similarily mind blowing.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grande_Arche

12
Argorak 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Berlin has something similar with a subway since ~1900 (along with the house that can be found in other comments):

http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=de&tl=en&js=n&prev=...

(scroll all the way down)

13
notastartup 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Here's a video of driving through one. I don't see what's so special about it though.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ouPfeHJZzzM

14
bbanyc 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Among Robert Moses's unsuccessful development projects was an elevated expressway across Midtown Manhattan, with commercial development below the road and high-rises above it. One proposed route had the expressway passing right through the Empire State Building. I don't know how seriously this was considered - it's one thing to put up a building around a road and quite another to retrofit an existing building to put a road through it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mid-Manhattan_Expressway

15
venti 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Residential building on top of a highway in Berlin, Germany:

http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autobahn%C3%BCberbauung_Schlang...

16
bitwize 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Shoot, this just makes me miss Osaka. How could I have gone to Osaka and missed this?

I'll keep an eye out for it next time I'm there.

17
awad 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Similar but nowhere near as intense in Manhattan.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Park_Avenue_Viaduct

20
civild 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of the Tay House on Charing Cross Podium, a building straddling the M8 motorway in Glasgow, Scotland, near my office: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M8_Bridge_to_Nowhere and http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/cb/Wfm_m8_br...
22
ballard 13 hours ago 1 reply      
When cars are driving on the vertical sides of buildings, then maybe that might be impressive
23
fddi 13 hours ago 0 replies      
check out the Meguro Sky Garden in Tokyo, recently completed. It covers a freeway interchange

http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/social_affairs/AJ20...

18
Jolla Outsells iPhone 5S and 5C in Finland jollausers.com
132 points by sirkneeland  15 hours ago   63 comments top 16
1
krig 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I got the jolla on the 28th or so (bought mine in late November), and I've been using it a little since. I haven't switched from my iPhone, but I do have some impressions:

Good:

- Sailfish OS is really nice looking, and the gestures have grown on me. Actually, I find myself trying to perform the gestures like closing an app by swiping down on the iPhone as well, and when it doesn't work, the iPhone feels old and clunky.

- The phone feels good in the hand, the back has a pleasant smooth feel. It's nowhere as plastic as the galaxy phones, but doesn't have the weight and solidity of the iPhone. In general, I'm happily surprised by the quality of the hardware.

- Terminal and SSH access is one click away.

Con:

- There are no apps. The ones that are there (a media player, a calendar, a mail app) are extremely bare bones. They work, but lack essential functionality. On the plus side, they look good. Well, the browser looks a bit iffy and some of the UI choices there are no good.

- Android apps don't really work that well. Of the ones I've tried, only the official Twitter app and the Youtube player really work okay. Most apps either fail to detect network connectivity or crash. Plus, the Android apps run in a VM, not appearing as separate apps in the sailfish UI, and are pretty sluggish. Not a great experience.

- The screen is not great, fonts in the browser in particular look terrible. Hopefully this is something that can be improved (some of the fonts in sailfish itself look great). It's not a terrible screen, but it's fairly low resolution.

- The camera is pretty bad. This is a bit sad, since my last maemo/meego phone was the N900, and it had a fantastic camera for its time.

- Wireless and 3G data are flaky, and 4G is not working at all, yet.

Right now, my impression is, despite its flaws, pretty positive. Once there are more apps, the worst bugs are fixed and the browser is a bit more polished, it'll be a pretty nice OS on a slightly outdated phone. If they can get sailfish running on something like the nexus 5, I think that could be a pretty nice choice.

2
sirkneeland 15 hours ago 6 replies      
Obvious caveats:

-it is Jolla's home market of Finland

-Finland is a small market where slight changes in absolute sales volume can show significant changes

-Jolla is satisfying pent-up demand for their phone

-it is on one carrier in Finland (the only one where Jolla is offered)

-iPhone aggregate demand is split into 2 whereas there is only 1 Jolla model

But hey, a win is a win...and it is certainly better than, say, failing to outsell the iPhone on this one carrier in one country

And the Jolla also outsold high-end Nokias (only the low-end Lumia 520 outsold the Jolla)

3
cdooh 12 hours ago 1 reply      
I need to get my hands on one of these. I used the Maemo OS on the N900 for a couple of years and must say I loved it(having a hardware keyboard was a plus) I've got to say I love the community around it. Just about 40000users left on that particular system yet some of the best support I've ever seen. The community is incredible.

If this OS, and phone, can get that same sort of support and community around it(and I don't see why not seeing that they're based on the same cores built by the same teams) I see great things in the future. Like booting Ubuntu, Jolla and Mozilla from the same phone.

4
bertil 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I worked for an iOS developer in Finland this summer; it's an amazing but peculiar country. Some elements that might help make sense of the news:

- those numbers are only for DNA: it was the operator that I used, great service; it is a relevant operator on the market, but apparently not the best for international roaming or the countryside; Helsinki coverage makes it a preferred option for the savvy, but not the most senior crowd who travels abroad quite a bit;

- the tech scene is extremely tight-knight, sprung out of Nokia; most of those have close ties to some of Jollo developers and have internal information on the project;

- the country is not only fairly small, it includes SuperCell, Rovio and thats the tip of the iceberg: dozen of thousands out of the 600k-1.3M people living in Helsinki or around develop for mobiles; most people openly describe how the country made a conscious, political, country-wide pivot from Nokias experience in sparse mobile code to iOS games and apps; half the people there seem to personally know game developers;

- iPhones 5C and 5S were not available early this summer and as you can imagine, this was a significant, professionally dire problem (on that note: Seriously, Apple!?); people flew and came back with fistfuls of the things up long after Finnish resellers suffered shortages; I believe that operator subsidies on the handsets are not significant (but I cant say for sure: as a foreigner, I couldnt hold a contract myself).

Because of that, Im assuming that operator sales of smartphones are a biased sample; traffic data would be preferable for actual use. However, even that usage is skewed: most people have a mobile platform written in bold on their LinkedIn profile, or ask one who has before buying a handset. That they sold significantly is a great sign however: if the product wasnt good, local buyers would have heard rumors before and many people buying are actually considering developing for the thing.

5
znowi 12 hours ago 3 replies      
This is great. A real alternative to surveillance tainted iOS and Android.

In addition to this, there's a new Firefox OS phone coming soon (I hope).

http://www.geeksphone.com/revolution/

6
oscargrouch 10 hours ago 1 reply      
There is a gold mine for Jolla here in Brazil:

* Big market

* Iphone is too expensive because its built outside of Brazil and have heavy taxes because of it

* Android doenst actually have a strong brand.. its good looking and the hardware is more cheap, so people buy because of the lack of options (actually to be fair, samsung is pretty good, as everybody knows) - People dont buy a phone because its a android like they do with Apple

Map for the gold mine:

* Find a good brazilian partner with good relations and well stablished in traditional industry

* Ask for money in development banks like BNDES to build a factory(or use some part of one already built) in Zona Franca de Manaus (with tax incentives) (it will be easy for a project like yours as long Jolla have well conected people here)

* Use the factory to export to other south american countries with tax incentives for exports

...

I think Brazil is a unique market to launch this things because of the unique environment you have here..

Once Jolla made a pitch and some hits here, they can start to launch in more saturated and sophisticated markets (read apple fanboysm here) like US and EU

Really, Jolla should be very serious about that possibility..

7
aaronbrethorst 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Alternate, equally accurate headline:

'Jolla fails to outsell 3 Samsung phones, Nokia phone'

8
Zigurd 12 hours ago 1 reply      
As others have pointed out, Jolla is the "home team" in Finland. Jolla is made of up people formerly at Nokia. Wider success depends on shipping a great product, but it also depends on how much people who liked the Nokia Harmattan and Meego OS smartphones know that Jolla is the successor to those products. Before they were thrown off the "burning platform" they outsold Windows Phone-based products.
9
mmahemoff 12 hours ago 1 reply      
All these new OSs to try out and develop for ... has anyone attempted a boot manager for them? I'd love to have a single device rocking all the open-source efforts - Android, FxOS, Tizen, Jolla, Ubuntu. I believe at least some of these have been able to run on various Nexus devices, so should be possible?

I realise multi-booting isn't practical for end-users, but very useful for developers and tech evaluators while the Cambrian explosion of mobile OSs plays out.

10
gress 10 hours ago 1 reply      
This is grossly misleading - it outsold the iPhone on the one operator that carries it. Not in the entire Finnish market.
11
wil421 13 hours ago 2 replies      
Considering all of Finland is about the same population size as the metro area I live in (Metro Atlanta), I think this is irrelevant. Also considering Jolla's home is Finland I am sure they enjoy a pricing advantage or a sense of pride buying something made in Finland.

That being said I would really like to see an outsider come into the US and gain some marketshare.

12
xilaworp 13 hours ago 2 replies      
I own a Jolla, I currenty use it as my primary phone and the real game-changer here may be that it actually runs Android apps without any signficant problems (so far :-)) even at this early stage (Angry Birds and Skype in my case, which seems me like quite challenging apps to emulate, Skype video calls, for example works).

For me this seems to invalidate the ecosystem concept underlying for example the Nokia switch to Microsoft and making Jolla and other smaller phone makers' chances of success a lot bigger.

13
ommunist 14 hours ago 2 replies      
Wow. When shall we see it offered at O2 and 3, and Orange and T-Mobile in the UK? Just to gain some more stats, nothing else. Power is in numbers, right?
14
mafuyu 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I preordered and recently paid, but I'm still stuck in the shipping queue. Seems a bit silly to make the preorder customers wait longer, but it's probably to get as many devices out in stores as possible.
15
badman_ting 11 hours ago 0 replies      
It is worth counting total sales by platform as well as by handset.
16
jenniferk 13 hours ago 2 replies      
It's hard to find info but isn't the UI and other parts closed source? If that is the case Firefox OS and Ubuntu mobile OS look more promising.
19
The Saddest SaaS Pricing Pages of the Year priceintelligently.com
144 points by pccampbell  18 hours ago   77 comments top 12
1
fotbr 17 hours ago 8 replies      
At least they HAVE pricing pages. Quickest way to lose a potential sale (and all future potential sales and references) is to not provide pricing information because you're stuck in the sales-rep model where I have to call/email/otherwise contact you when all I want is an estimate so I know if I'm looking at a trivial-dollars-a-year or a reorganize-the-entire-budget-to-pay-for-this product/service.
2
abruzzi 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't know. As a SaaS buyer (occasionally) I have to take strong disagreement with some of the points. For instance the first two sites links--first bad, second good. Both show pricing structure, the "bad" one shows a feature list with a bunch of check boxes. I wish more vendors did this. I look at it and I know what I'm getting with the basic plan. I know what each increment buys me.

I look at the second example--the "good" example--and the basic plan looks like it gives me---nothing. So now I have to go to some other marketing page, read the description, then, in my head, subtract all the great things that higher tiers give me to figure out what exactly I'd get with the base tier. Having it all in one place is preferable to me. The second problem with the "good" site is by summarizing feature each plan comes with, rather than being more specific, they are assuming that they know what is important to me. What if I could care less (and this has happened to me several times) about some big picture feature, and just need the version that provides database X integration? More clicking, and more likelihood that I buy a higher specced plan that I actually need.

And that is where I think these come from. Not a desire clearly layout what you get for your money, but a desire to obfuscate just enough with requisite marketing to push you towards more expensive options.

3
brianbreslin 15 hours ago 1 reply      
I spoke to a friend the other day with a SaaS and they are aiming at the long-tail of sites as their customers, and they chose 1 price plan, regardless of how big the customer sites were. Their advisor said simplifying would reduce fear in customers, especially small businesses.

I've been considering a similar approach for a simple SaaS we run, which we have had trouble with getting traction for.

4
elwell 4 hours ago 1 reply      
What does HN think of my pricing section on http://wesawit.com ? Any feedback?
5
justinsteele 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Looks like Dyn has changed theirs; http://dyn.com/email-delivery-express/
6
socalnate1 17 hours ago 2 replies      
I wish the blog had "fixed" each of the poor examples to show what they would have done.
7
leowidrich 16 hours ago 2 replies      
This is amazing, huge thanks for the analysis of our pricing page Patrick! Will go ahead and work on that for sure, some great pointers, you're right, there's so much power in the new analytics and we're not conveying that very well at all.
8
jameszhang 15 hours ago 1 reply      
I work at Wistia. Glad that we made it to the list of good pricing pages!
9
smtddr 14 hours ago 0 replies      
http://i.imgur.com/LjJhc2Q.png

Anyone here ever been to Santana Row in San Jose? They have a GUCCI store in there; no prices are displayed for anything.

"If you have to ask, then we're too expensive for you."

It's like how most of us can generally walk into any Target Store or even Macy's(well, some of us) and just buy what we like without looking at the price.... or maybe this is just me.

10
vylan 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Thanks for the feedback on the Qualaroo pricing page, Patrick.
11
circa 16 hours ago 3 replies      
"Sell me this pen"
12
jaboyer42 17 hours ago 1 reply      
fotbr - nice observation. In my opinion, illusive (or non-existent) pricing pages only frustrate prospective customers and serve as a barrier.
20
Happy New Year from Y Combinator ycombinator.com
146 points by sethbannon  16 hours ago   11 comments top 8
1
thrush 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Summary

Advice from YC companies to...

> Land a new job

  HackerRank  * Hire Art  * The Muse
> Learn to code

  CodeAcademy  CodeCombat  HackerSchool
> Take a trip

  Vayable  * Airbnb  * Hipmunk
> Be smarter with money

  ReadyForZero  FutureAdvisor
> Make a positive impact in the world

  Watsi  Microryza

2
elwell 14 hours ago 0 replies      
HackerRank looks interesting. I see there are some Functional Programming challenges [0].

[0] - https://www.hackerrank.com/categories/fp/intro

3
overload119 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Wow, HackerRank is amazing! Can't believe I've just heard of this -- I literally was going to build the same idea (with the same name) at a hackathon. I just wish they had more challenges in Javascript/Ruby.

In general I think the list is really great.

4
frenchman_in_ny 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Interesting - I didn't know about FutureAdvisor, which seems like a great tool.

I have one nit with it -- I just had it analyze my portfolio; I find it odd that FA recommends no changes to an employer sponsored retirement plan due to "significant amount of unrecognized holdings", while it knows what options are available within the plan (ie, it doesn't suggest rebalancing the plan)

5
MyNameIsMK 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Don't forget to self-promote and always toot your own horn. wink wink
6
donretag 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Great, the last thing I want to see as I sit here burnt out at work are pointers to getting a new job. :)
7
mcdowall 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I hadn't heard of Vayable before but will definitely consider some of the tours I've discovered for the month in Brazil at the World Cup now.
8
photorized 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Good collection of links.
21
Hyperloop: Not so fast mathworks.com
178 points by cju  21 hours ago   112 comments top 7
1
bane 18 hours ago 7 replies      
I remember hearing an interview with a civil engineer about why highways have all these "unnecessary" curves in them. Why can't engineers build highways that are more direct and straight?

After going on a bit about requirements for different kinds of terrain, the kind of strata the road needs to go on etc. and how those were difficult and expensive to surmount (so curves were often chosen to deal with it instead of a more expensive solution). He lamented that the most difficult and expensive aspect of new road construction was right of way through existing developments and other properties. Most of the curves we experience on highways are apparently the result of somebody, or a block of people, simply not wanting to give up their land.

2
kinofcain 19 hours ago 5 replies      
Passengers are much more sensitive to vertical acceleration than horizontal. Repeated 1g swings from -0.5 to 0.5 g would make this thing a vomit comet. Would be interesting to see this analysis done with normal limits for high speed rail design, instead of Elon's chosen 0.5g limit.

Edit: HS2 in Britain, for instance, is being designed with a maximum of around 0.01g vertical acceleration. If Elon's has figured out how to get passengers to handle 50x that much, he could save them a lot of money.

3
jcchin41 18 hours ago 2 replies      
NASA engineers have also released an optimization framework for the Hyperloop concept as well. It's completely open-source and written in Python.Docs here:http://openmdao-plugins.github.io/Hyperloop/

Their baseline optimization focuses on 5 subsystems: Compressor Cycle Analysis, Pod Geometry, Tube Flow Limitations, Tube Wall Temperature, and Mission Analysis

Initial results indicate that the concept is still very viable. However, due to very tight coupling between the tube and vehicle size, the tube size will need to be around twice as large as originally proposed by the Tesla/SpaceX team to reach the proposed speeds.

Feel free to download the entire analysis and play with it yourself, without purchasing several expensive toolboxes from MATLAB!

4
skj 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Despite the headline, which I'm going to assume was added by an editor, the article is positive about the hyperloop prospects.
5
melling 19 hours ago 3 replies      
Maybe someone can convince China to develop the technology. They already have 6,200 miles of high-speed rail, on their way to 10,000 miles.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-speed_rail_in_China

Their Shanghai Maglev only cost $1.2 billion.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shanghai_Maglev_Train

China is clearly interested in building a 21st century transportation infrastructure. Beijing to Shangai is 800 miles. Perfect for 700 mph hyperloop.

6
cju 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Another article of the blog is about the modelisation of the Hyperloop vehicule (+environment): http://blogs.mathworks.com/seth/2013/11/07/hyperloop-model-a...It can be read as an introduction to Model Based Design. It shows for instance the interest of handling variants to test either different hardware concepts or different level of representativity.
7
dangerlibrary 19 hours ago  replies      
Article assumes that the hyperloop can/would follow existing highways. Considering the cost of diverting traffic during construction, it seems unlikely you could build it for anything close to the advertised $6 billion while following existing highways.

Also, the structure would need to be tall (or short) enough to bypass highway bridges and overpasses...

22
How the United States is reinventing itself yet again washingtonpost.com
16 points by ryutin  5 hours ago   17 comments top 9
1
suprgeek 4 hours ago 1 reply      
This is an atrociously optimistic view.The fundamental inequalities between the rich and the poor are more getting more and more out of balance.There is chronic long-term unemployment, the Debt has ballooned beyond reason and Fundamental Liberties are under sustained assault.

So the "reinventing" might work out for a measured few while the rest have a hopeless, orwellian future ahead barring some serious course correction.

2
ciscoriordan 2 hours ago 0 replies      
This is written like some kind of sales pitch for US Treasury bonds.

It's so lopsided that I doubt the authors believe their own thesis. They're trolling -- http://xkcd.com/386.

3
leoc 3 hours ago 1 reply      
> a new era where the precepts of Moore's Law can be applied to virtually any field

It was at this point that I started reaching for my revolver.

4
ExpiredLink 1 hour ago 0 replies      
> Because the United States continues to lead the world in its ability to adapt to, incorporate and develop new systems and new technologies, we are uniquely poised to reap a disproportionate share of the benefits of these shifts.

That was funny!

5
DominikR 49 minutes ago 0 replies      
Similar articles have been printed in the Sowjet Prawda 30 years ago.
6
forkandwait 4 hours ago 1 reply      
tl;dr -- Happy days are here again!

Not very much content, except that solar panels and natural gas continue to get cheaper. Don't get me wrong -- I love to hear the US is about to return to being a world class manufacturing nation, and it might even be true, but this seemed like a pretty content-free article.

7
orthecreedence 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Reinventing itself as an Orwellian dystopia.
8
coldtea 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I guess he was told to write something with a possitive spin for the new year...
9
rasengan0 2 hours ago 0 replies      
O Canada! Maybe the picture is a lil more complex...http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/fyi/Local-scientist...
23
The Best To-Do List: A Private Gist carlsednaoui.com
109 points by Ashuu  17 hours ago   81 comments top 27
1
davexunit 15 hours ago 5 replies      
Correction:

The Best To-Do List: Org-Mode

http://orgmode.org/

2
rza 16 hours ago 0 replies      
All the manual creation of checkboxes, deletion, and moving of tasks to me makes Gist far from "The Best" to-do list. Personally, I find the lighweight Google Tasks just fine, especially since there are many excellent mobile apps that sync with it and builtin support for multiple lists. I wish the URL for it was a bit more memorable though (https://mail.google.com/tasks/canvas?pli=1). The only thing missing is date completed, which I personally don't find very useful, but a calendar would probably be better if you want to keep track of that.

Edit: Nevermind, it does save date completed.

3
city41 16 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm also a huge fan of todo lists. I like the simplicity of this approach. I still feel like Trello is better though. Trello is almost perfect. It's heavier for sure, but you gain a ton of flexibility and power.

My wife and I put an old iPad up on our fridge and use Trello to maintain needed groceries, chores, household repairs, and upcoming events. Even better, these lists automatically sync to our phones and PCs. I can just head to the grocery store whenever I have a free moment and my grocery list is always up to date and ready for me.

4
gkoberger 16 hours ago 4 replies      
For me, it's still paper. Specifically, this paper:

http://www.amazon.com/Strathmore-Visual-Journal--Mixed-Media...

The spiral bound means it can be left open to the right page, and the thick paper is great. Version control (new pages) is built in. And the best part is that it's always right there in front of me, and I can glance down.

5
knowtheory 15 hours ago 0 replies      
None of the complaints in this thread consider the utility of creating sharable checklists.

The ability to quickly slam a checklist into a gist and share it with others is very handy.

6
outside1234 16 hours ago 2 replies      
I just use a file in Dropbox. That is devastatingly effective for me - available across devices and offline.
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desireco42 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I think wunderlist is pretty much what stayed with me for longest. Everything else kind of falls away. And paper of course :)

I appreciate innovations in this space, however I stopped even trying new things as experience shows they don't bring much once novelty wears off.

8
apunic 5 hours ago 1 reply      
The best to-do list: a raw text file

A line = a task

Deleting a line = task finished

A text file = a list of tasks related to some context

The best and fastest editor for this on a Mac: NValt

This is the most efficient and simple solution for managing plenty of todos, no cumbersome rules, check boxes, markdown, web interfaces.

9
res0nat0r 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I like Wunderlist. Cross platform, syncs and all kinds of other goodies. Can send to-do items to other people via their email addresses also.

https://www.wunderlist.com/en/

10
stickhandle 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Here's the thing ... the BEST to-do list is the one you use. Its that simple. For me, that's Workflowy.
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Zikes 16 hours ago 2 replies      
I like that this is an option, and it's certainly a great option for some people, but calling it the "best" based on "it turns brackets into checkboxes!" is a bit of a stretch.

I do think that gists could be an ideal platform for a more robust todo list, though. It could easily serve as a backend for todotxt [1], for example.

[1] http://todotxt.com/

12
aagha 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm continually astonished by the number of HN posts on what the best tool to do something is. The reality is that there are often different tools for different needs and there need NOT be just one tool to rule them all.

I find that I keep short-term notes--need to know in in the next hour--in a notepad on my desktop. Tasks that need to be accomplished in the next day+ go into Google Tasks. Things that need elaboration, depth, detail go into Workflowy [0].

[0] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CSmbnaPZVHE

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codereflection 14 hours ago 1 reply      
This is a nice idea. Gists are also cloneable, giving you the the power of git and any tooling that you want to use to update your list.

Also, come on people, you all know that "Best" is subjective. This is the best tool for this guy, so there's no need to shoot it down.

14
asb 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been using my own minamilist todo-list manager for the last couple of year: https://github.com/asb/sh-todo

However I've recently found I want to have some sort of task hierarchy, and to associate notes with tasks. I was going to just extend my text-based file format but luckily came across taskpaper which is pretty much exactly what I was aiming for. I'm now playing with taskpaper.vim and finding it promising: <https://github.com/davidoc/taskpaper.vim>. I just need to reconfigure vim's display of folded blocks so having all task comments folded is less painful.

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jlgaddis 10 hours ago 1 reply      
I haven't used it in years but this reminded me of TiddlyWiki [0], which will work whether you have Internet access or not.

[0]: http://tiddlywiki.org/

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treetrouble 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I've tried a lot of programs but always come back to using a low-tech Gmail draft.

In this particular case, the advantage over gist is that you can edit it offline on mobile (I ride the subway) and it syncs automatically

17
pkrumins 12 hours ago 0 replies      
You should try todoist - www.todoist.com. Todoist really is the best to-do list manager.
18
loupeabody 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm using Cal on Android, made by the same people. I've liked it so far, but I can't help but feel like I'm missing out on its potential integration with Any.do. Are you using Cal and Any.do in conjunction? If so, any glaring benefits?
19
thrush 16 hours ago 0 replies      
This is great, simple and easy. I wish that it didn't save a revision every time you checked an item. I'm more interested in keeping revisions on how my list items change. Granted, there could be some value in knowing when I completed items, but that being said, when you check an item is not necessarily when it was completed.
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deadfall 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I use Evernote to create todo lists while programming. I name the title todo_[date] or note_[date] that way I can go back to dates in the list and see what I have missed. I see it as simple as gist todo lists but with IMO a better UI for better search/organization.
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wcbeard10 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I recommend using gistbox [0]. It allows tagging and other features that make gist convenient as a todo list.

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

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moron4hire 15 hours ago 2 replies      
I've spent a lot of time thinking about TODO lists and trying different solutions. Eventually, I settled on a very specific means of using good, old, pen-and-paper.

I think probably the most important feature of the TODO list is that it gives you mental clarity. Both the popular book "Getting Things Done" and a career couch I worked with for several months talk about the importance of clearing the mind before being able to begin work in earnest. If you have "do the laundry" stuck in your head, it's going to be a major hurdle for getting through work. So, having some sort of system to capture everything that needs to be done is essential for staying on task with work.

So that means that the most important feature of TODO is capture. Any system that imposes overhead on capturing items for your TODO list will eventually fall out of habit. You'll start to mentally prioritize which things go on the list and which things do not. That ultimately defeats the purpose of the TODO list, to get things out of mind, squirreled away in a safe place.

Thus, very formal issue trackers like BugZilla or Redmine (or anything else that has a separate "issue entry page") are far too cumbersome for capture.

But being streamlined on capture is not the whole solution. Having used sites like PivotalTracker or Trello, I've fallen into traps of recording TOO much. Certain pie-in-the-sky tasks will sit in the list for months on end, getting no closer to ever getting worked on. It then becomes its own mental burden, worrying about whether or not certain TODO items will end up in that moribund pile. I even tried writing my own that had an arbitrary limit to the number of items I could enter. It just didn't feel right. It was always too easy to just bump up the limit and keep adding items.

So with all of my experience with various activity and issue tracking systems, I went straight back to pen and paper. My system is very simple, but it is not from lack of design. Its simplicity is the design.

I use an ink pen on a yellow legal pad. The pads are cheap and readily available. The ink requires strike-throughs for error corrections. I write in two columns, but only to be able to use all of the paper. There is no semantic difference between the two columns.

I do not number things, unless I'm in crunch mode and am working very fast through a series of items. I am more likely to underline the high priority items, rather than number them. I don't think it's really possible to prioritize things any more than "things I'm working on in the next few hours" versus "things I'm not working on soon." Anything more than that really calls into question the entire concept of priority for me. It's easy enough to scan the list and figure out priority as I work. I can also rewrite the list with higher priority items at the top if necessary. Usually it's not necessary.

Completed items get scratched out, fairly heavily. The goal is then to fill the page with ink. It becomes a motivating factor to finish the last few items on the list.

The list is limited to 2 columns only and is not allowed to spill on to a second page. I rewrite the list either once a week or (more often) when the page is full to remove the completed items. I did three columns for a while, but it started to develop a deadpool at the bottom right end of the page, so I went back to two columns. Multiple pages would be even worse, and would make it harder to scan the total list. That basically means I'm limited to a max of 50 or so active items on my TODO list. I've found that, if I need much more than 50, then I've failed to manage my work correctly. The desire to record more is a signal that I'm procrastinating things and taking on too many commitments.

And that's it. Any other feature of TODO list tracking is either too restricting on capture or too enabling on over capture. Pen and paper is it for me.

23
dsugarman 15 hours ago 0 replies      
it is pretty cool how you use the revision history for something unique, but this needs to be simplified greatly. It seems like if you made an app that automatically changes the list and updates git, it would be extremely efficient. I would put a create today's list link in that gives you a popup that you can fill out with just a task per line that turns into a checklist.
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gokulk 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I use workflowy and it works pretty nice
25
doomrobo 9 hours ago 0 replies      
There isn't a decent client for Android that can edit a Gist very easily. I keep my to-do list either on Google Tasks or as Gmail draft.
26
designatedInit 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Shameless plug here, check out my iPhone app Begin: http://beginapp.co/

It's goal is to be an extremely simple to-do list. I'd love to hear what you guys think.

27
dynamic99 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm still a huge fan of Vesper. It's the perfect TODO list. It just works.
24
Backdoor found in Linksys, Netgear Routers github.com
510 points by nilsjuenemann  1 day ago   134 comments top 14
1
maxk42 1 day ago 10 replies      
About a year ago I left a cable modem and internet service (Time Warner) at an apartment I was moving out of while my friend continued to stay there. I had configured the thing in a manner I thought to be fairly secure -- strong password, no broadcast, etc.. One day the internet goes down and my friend doesn't know what to do. She calls the ISP and asks them what's wrong. They say they can't release any information about the service to her without my permission, so I suddenly get a three-way call explaining that my friend and the ISP representative are on the line and I need to give my authorization to access the account information. Being the person I am, I attempt to troubleshoot things over the phone before giving out any sort of account credentials. Eventually, I ask her to log into the router configuration page. She doesn't know the password and the first one I gave her doesn't work. The representative chimes in "That's fine -- I can just change it from here."

"...What?"

I was furious. Time Warner had left a backdoor in all their modems that gives them administrative access to my private connection. And yes -- she did alter the password remotely. She didn't seem to think there was anything wrong with this. I tried googling for relevant information, but wasn't able to find anything more than speculation at the time.

2
earlz 1 day ago 3 replies      
Interesting. Reminds me of the hack I did on a (mandatory) modem/router forced on AT&T users. They had a bunch of problems with it, so one day I got fed up after the millionth disconnect and cracked it open. Got a serial root shell by using the "magic !" command (completely randomly discovered) and dumped the source to the web UI(in Lua/haserl). From there found the equivalent of a SQL injection vulnerability and used it to gain a remote root exploit.

Most annoyingly, AT&T put out a firmware update some months later that closed the exploit, but didn't fix any other problems. So, I found another more intrusive/permanent exploit. Still waiting on them to patch it next heh. But now they are actually putting out some updates that actually fix problems too at least. Hopefully user uproar will continue to drive them to fix more problems

3
midas007 23 hours ago 1 reply      
This is not surprising. It's a calculated risk to make a product just good enough. Development resources invested in retail wireless gear is minimal. I've worked on firmware for high-confidence industrial wireless gear used in mines. Most of them fall over under load, run obsolete+unpatched code and/or reboot randomly. Retail customers will tend to just put up with it and not return the product before the merchant's return grace period.

It's a totally different attitude when the intended market is enterprise: it's assumed that if a product causes a failure, the vendor is going to receive escalating, unpleasant phone calls until it's resolved.

4
nlvd 1 day ago 1 reply      
"And the Chinese have probably known about this back door since 2008." http://www.microsofttranslator.com/bv.aspx?from=&to=en&a=htt...

That's a pretty scary prospect. If its been 'known' and exploited since at least 2008. Poor form Netgear/Linksys.

5
dbbolton 1 day ago 4 replies      
Has there been a technical write-up on this yet? I honestly tried to read the presentation and had to quit after the third superfluous meme slide.
6
nwh 1 day ago 1 reply      
I have confirmed this (or something similar) is present in the Netgear DG834N as well.
7
elwell 1 day ago 3 replies      
TIL: Some people know a lot more than me about hacking. That PDF was interesting, but I only understood a small fraction of it.
8
atmosx 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I live in Czech Republic and my Zyxel from O2 has port 7547 open (Allegro RomPager 4.07) and you can't do anything about it. There is no editor on the installed linux version (cropped down linux, probably openWRT or something similar), no package manager no nothing.

If I flash the firmware warranty is void and I have no user/pass to re-enable the ADSL. So basically, my router is a hostile AP.

Given the fact that, it's a common pattern among ISPs in order to offer quick service - I firmly believe that ISPs do it for practical reasons - and end up killing your security, the best thing is to put the router in bridged mode and get a cheap custom-made router like carambola2[1] and install FreeBSD[2] on it.

Disclosure: I donated one of these devices to Adrian Chadd[3] in order for him to port FreeBSD on this device, which enabled me to use PF[4] - my favorite firewall - but I have no affiliation otherwise with 8devices or FreeBSD.

[1] http://8devices.com/carambola-2

[2] https://wiki.freebsd.org/FreeBSD/mips/Carambola2

[3] https://wiki.freebsd.org/AdrianChadd

[4] http://pf4freebsd.love2party.net

9
salient 1 day ago 3 replies      
Can this be fixed by changing the firmware to OpenWRT or DD-WRT?
10
redx00 1 day ago 1 reply      
Has anyone ever tried submitting a GPL request to http://support.linksys.com/en-us/gplcodecenter

I wonder if there is anyone still working in the GPL compliance department.

11
dobbsbob 1 day ago 2 replies      
Buy a $200 soekris box and install openbsd or m0n0wall on it, or on any old pc you have lying around with 2 network cards.
12
billpg 1 day ago 1 reply      
I've used GRC's "Shields Up" and asked for a user-specified probe for port 32764 and it came back "Stealth".

Assuming GRC isn't out to decive me, can I assume that my router is fine?

Bill, using a Netgear router.

13
m86 1 day ago 2 replies      
ScMM = SerComm, perhaps?

Many of Linksys' old DSL modems were manufactured by them, AFAIK.. and it seems many of the noted 'probably affected' models have a SerComm manuf'ed device for at least one revision of that model line

More probable SerComm manuf'ed devices are visible at the WD query link below..

http://wikidevi.com/w/index.php?title=Special%3AAsk&q=[[Manu...

14
jacob019 1 day ago  replies      
is this backdoor only served up on the wlan or is it also exposed to the internet?
25
Can-Do vs. Cant-Do Culture recode.net
307 points by minimaxir  1 day ago   122 comments top 19
1
zach 1 day ago 11 replies      
The economist who helped Walt Disney's theme park dream become what it is today[1] said that the most important thing he learned through it all was the profound difference between a "no, because" person and a "yes, if" person.

If you ask many people an audacious "Can we do X?" their response is usually along the lines of "No, because [valid reasons]". They're not wrong, but the basic attitude is to shoot down what doesn't seem to fit with one's own view of the world. These are "no, because" people, and big companies are often full of them.

Much rarer and infinitely more valuable, especially for an entrepreneur, is the person who hears "Can we do X?" and responds, "Yes, if... [possible solutions]". Their response is one of problem-solving instead of confrontation, seeking to find a synthesis of the new perspective and their own. It seems like a small thing, but it is a very significant shift in mindset. Thinking like a "yes, if" person can unlock so much potential.

A friend of mine, one of the most talented and knowledgeable game programmers around, could easily have shot down many of the ambitious ideas that came his way. Instead, he greeted them with enthusiasm, often saying, "It's software! We can do anything!" Wouldn't you like to set out to do amazing things with that person on your team?

[1] - https://d23.com/harrison-price/

2
austenallred 1 day ago 2 replies      
I love the comment from Robert Scoble:

"My friend Andy Grignon worked for Steve Jobs and was on a very small team building the original iPhone. Steve told him "sorry, you can not hire anyone who has worked on a phone before."

Why not? For exactly the reasons laid out here. He didn't want his team to find out what they were attempting to do was "impossible." Andy learned that when he went to AT&T to pitch them on what became visual voice mail. Andy and his team thought it was possible. The AT&T folks thought they were nuts. It took lots of work by Steve Jobs to convince AT&T to try."

3
abalashov 1 day ago 5 replies      
Ultimately, in 1842 English mathematician and astronomer George Biddel Airy advised the British Treasury that the Analytical Engine was useless, and that Babbages project should be abandoned. The government axed the project shortly after. It took the world until 1941 to catch up with Babbages original idea, after it was killed by skeptics and forgotten by all.

Is it not reasonable to suppose that it was an idea before its time, and useless in the particular historical context and implementational form in which it appeared?

There has always been utility for mechanical computation, but it's entirely possible that the world simply did not have an application for The Analytical Engine in the 1830s-1840s because other sectors of technology and the economy simply hadn't evolved to a level where they could effectively utilise it, especially given its physical properties--its size, scale, and energy consumption.

I don't know that for a fact, and can't effectively gauge the merits of my own suggestion, as I am neither a mathematician nor a competent historian of the intellectual, scientific and commercial zeitgeist of that period. But, for the sake of argument, is it not possible that this invention fell into the "interesting, novel, but useless" category?

Now, as for the telephone:

1) From the point of view of the telegraph establishment, it was a competitor;

2) Unintelligible voice really is useless. They just weren't far-sighted enough to see that the voice quality could improve, and indeed, it was a quite a long time before it did. Local loop quality improved first. Long-distance toll voice really didn't begin to sound good until digital trunking came along. Ask your grandparents or great-grandparents what coast-to-coast long distance phone calls sounded like in the era of analog lines and waveguide-type multiplexing technology;

3) In the heyday of the telegraph era, deploying lines was an extremely expensive and capital-intensive process, and it wasn't until other technological advancements that made possible various multiplexing and aggregation schemes (frequency-division, and later digital TDM) came along that the idea of running a copper line into every home really got to be realistic[1]. I agree that Western Union was a bit shortsighted in turning down this patent, but one could hardly blame them for thinking that universal telephone service wasn't economically possible. That's like selling a business idea today that relies on everyone having a 10 terabit fiber cable run to their home. Yeah, it's possible, and I have no doubt someone will make fun of me in a decade or two for naysaying it in any way, but would you invest $2bn in a related patent today?

What mistake did all these very smart men make in common? They focused on what the technology could not do at the time rather than what it could do and might be able to do in the future.

I don't disagree, but that needs to be fleshed out. No viable entrepreneurial venture can succeed solely on the basis of what it is logically possible for the technology to someday do, or what it could, in principle, in theory, one day. There is a need to realise a return in a usefully short period of time that is also unanimously acceptable to a coterie of investors with varying needs in terms of payoff time frame and patience.

Thus, you need a practical plan for getting to point B, making the technology do X. Even the most far-fetched, high-risk, R&D-driven ventures entail a proposal to concretely deploy and commercialise technology in a period that is usefully short and politically palatable, and that means everyone involved is somewhat constrained to what can be practically envisaged in terms of today's possibilities. One can make some leaps of faith, some intelligent extrapolations and some prescient forecasts, but ultimately, it's something expressed largely in the observational language and ontology of today.

Thus, I can't bring myself to fault someone for doubting, in 1995, that the consumer web is going to be what it is today, or even be what it was six or seven years later, in the early 2000s. It was possible--perhaps even reasonable--to suppose so, but would you have bet the farm on it? Your retirement savings? I'm not sure I would have (not that I have a farm or retirement savings, pero bueno).

[1] http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpl/login.jsp?tp=&arnumber=451163...

4
crazygringo 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Of course, too much of a 'can do' attitude can lead to completely unrealistic expectations, spread your resources too thin, and bankrupt a business or lead you to waste years or even decades of your life.

The smart choice is obviously a happy medium. Too much of a "can do" attitude is just as harmful as too much of a "can't do" attitude. We all need reality checks.

And this is why diverse teams and groups are so important -- one person says "of course we can't do", another says "of course we can do", and everyone hashes it out until they've come up with a realistic assessment that is neither clouded by overly optimistic nor overly pessimistic thinking.

5
mech4bg 1 day ago 1 reply      
That Alexander Bell quote sounded way too good to be real, looks like I wasn't the only person to think that, some interesting sleuthing:

http://blog.historyofphonephreaking.org/2011/01/the-greatest...

6
praptak 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't buy this division into can - the good and cannot - the bad. It's just two strategies with different outcome distributions. The critic will be right more often, invest in boring tried ideas, earn less on average but with less variance. The enthusiast will often fail but when he's right against the common knowledge, he hits the jackpot.

And picking those jackpots and their critics ignores the majority of crazy ideas that indeed fail - "They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown."

Here's some criticism of a crazy idea that actually failed (CueCat): http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/fog0000000037.html

Obviously there is a lot of criticism for the sake of proving oneself smug. Unfortunately sounding smug does not automatically make one wrong.

7
aetherson 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't believe that quote that purports to be a Western Union memo on the telephone. I don't think that 19th Century businessmen put words like "idiotic" into business communication, and I don't think that they used phrases like "the technical and economic facts of the situation," as the word "economy" at that point was much more strongly meaning "being thrifty at home" and much less about economic systems.

This blog post claims that the quote is fake: http://blog.historyofphonephreaking.org/2011/01/the-greatest...

Slate says it "may" be fake and is awaiting verification: http://www.slate.com/blogs/business_insider/2014/01/02/why_p...

8
annnnd 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I think this article missed a point. It is not a battle between "Yes, if" and "No, because" - each has its own place and each should be used with care.

The first stage of innovation should use "Yes, if" approach. This is similar to brainstorming session, where negativity should be kept to minimum. This mentality lets people find ways around the obstacles.

When the idea is ready for evaluation, it should be evaluated in light of resource constraints and similar. In this phase "No, because" approach should be used to identify all possible downsides. If the answer is "No", the idea can be either retired or returned to brainstorming session, until it is ready for re-evaluation.

So it is not a question of Yes/No, it is a question of appropriate answer in appropriate moment.

9
jasonkester 1 day ago 1 reply      
I wonder how much of this is just a visibility issue.

We notice this same thing here on this site, where every new idea seems to get immediately piled on with negativity. The feeling is that it didn't used to be this way, and many of us old timers will remember a time when new ideas were mostly met with encouragement and constructive criticism.

But I bet if you look at the threads today and then, you might find that the absolute number of constructive, encouraging comments hasn't changed much at all. Rather, they are simply lost in a sea of negativity spouted out by the peanut gallery that seems to have washed in from other places where people dump all over tech news. We used to be conspicuously entrepreneurial here. Now we're a lot more representative of the tech world at large.

So yeah, I think that there are still plenty of people with the right entrepreneurial mindset out there. It's just getting harder to find them.

10
_delirium 1 day ago 0 replies      
I kind of wish the startup community looked like the picture painted in this post. :)

More audacity and innovation, less audacity-lacking "innovation" of the form, how to get users to click ads more often and exit this company for a multiple ASAP.

11
jeffdavis 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Way too general to be useful.

I think it's useful to be optimistic when it comes to visions of the future and how a business can accomplish it. Electric cars for everyone? Sure, give it a try. All that can be lost is a little money, and maybe you make a huge fortune and change the world. Isolated government programs can be a similar story -- e.g. NASA, which is unlikely to lose anything but a small amount of money but can be really inspiring or create some great things.

However, when it comes to government policy, the downside can be utter disaster. It pays to be a little skeptical that the "help the poor" bill (or whatever other utopian title) will actually deliver as advertised. Or skeptical that a war will be a simple in-and-out proposition.

Or some things just have little upside. We see this all the time in engineering. Someone wants to use a fad technology or model of some kind, or wants to reimplement something to be a little faster, or whatever. There's huge project risk that it could derail other projects and destabilize the entire product -- which is fine if you're going to change the world with it, but not fine for a 10% speedup on some specific workload.

Moral of story: optimism and "can do" attitude is good when the upside is huge and the downside is contained (like in a startup). Not exactly a profound revelation.

12
altero 1 day ago 0 replies      
A few years ago the iPad mania just started. I worked for harware company on admin software. It was written in Java, 15 years old (1998) and never had major rewrite.

All managers were like 'be like apple' and 'we must release iPad app' and 'PC is over'. Programmers on other side wanted to rewrite some critical parts, introduce automated tests and fix some very old bugs.

I was speaker for programmers, soon I became 'tablet hater' (kind of funny since I had Android tablet). Latter we even bough some iPads for developers to learn, those were locked in managers office :-). I left company shortly after that.

So for me 'Can-Do vs. Cant-Do Culture' is just sort of bullshit to mask real problems. Sure Jobs made iThinks, but he pulled massive resources towards the problem. Apple actually bought factories for touch screens before iPhone was made.

13
mrbrowning 15 hours ago 0 replies      
He's making a good point in the abstract, but I think Horowitz is too close to the matter to understand that a lot of the negativity he cites is a natural reaction to the totally overblown rhetoric of the start-up scene. He inadvertently proves this by referencing such epoch-defining inventions as the telephone and the internet. Many tech start-ups are creating interesting, useful, and sometimes even novel products, but it's nonetheless annoying to anyone with a sense of perspective to hear from every angle that Start-up X is going to change the world by revolutionizing, you know, shoe-resoling.
14
tlb 1 day ago 1 reply      
A fine editorial. Stirring. It has inspired me to not write off recode simply because 90% of what's on their front page today is crap.
15
fudged71 1 day ago 4 replies      
I see this all the time in the consumer 3D printing space. Sometimes high tech people act like laggards. "I can't make a metal part on my desk, so it's useless!" "okay, we're almost there, but how about you look at the progress in this industry and all the other applications that we CAN do right now!"
16
joelandren 1 day ago 1 reply      
Let's also remember that there is valid criticism of startups and how they operate their business.

If a startup founder is an asshole, let's not excuse the behavior because they are building something worthwhile.

If a startup makes a mistake due to lack of concern about its users (i.e. Snapchat and their security hole), they should be criticized.

All told, I'm all about "can do" culture, but let's not use it as an excuse for boorish behavior or bad business practices.

17
MichaelMoser123 5 hours ago 0 replies      
And venture funds also have to be picky about start-ups that they are going to fund; I understand that the author is working for a venture fund, and that he tries not to be a 'hater'. Is the Andreessen Horowitz portfolio really breathtakingly innovative, or is it more of the same?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andreessen_Horowitz#Investments

"In February 2011, Andreessen Horowitz invested $80 million in Twitter,[2] becoming the first venture firm that holds stock in all four of the highest-valued, privately held social media companies: Facebook, Groupon, Twitter and Zynga"

http://a16z.com/

Otherwise its a great article.

The lesson that I took home: I always held that asking/questioning of assumption is also of value; but this article told me that I have to be careful here, and that style of communications is often also very important - style determines how a person is evaluated by others.

18
daemonk 23 hours ago 0 replies      
How about just being reasonably rigorous in your assessment instead of being overly cautious or overly idealistic? This division into can-do and can't-do seems to represent two opposite extremes that might not reflect the majority.

What's the real data here? From a practical standpoint, isn't it just risk vs reward? Can-do's probably get a bigger reward than can't do's, but they fail more. A can't-do gets smaller reward, but succeeds more.

19
devhinton 19 hours ago  replies      
Any one else notice the self-justification of the comments?

> Cherrypicking. A great majority of startups fail and their ideas are proven as unworkable or impractical, so it is not unreasonable to summarily dismiss most of them.

Clearly read the article but is trying to justify his own negativity in the past and undoubtedly.

>Would love to see a post on how you define "great" in this context, Ben.

Who the fck, address someone they don't know by their first name like that?? Ending the statement with his name also seems a bit passive aggressive.

Enlightening check out the comments and see how many people actually respond to the article. All too often when reading articles or listening to other people, instead of listening or understanding, the goal is: 'let me read until I think think of something I can say'. This really hurts that person and just isolates people in their own point of view

(note this post could be ironic. Its not though, the article was freakin awesome! I will try to change my mindset towards a more positive one after reading and rethink what it means to innovate)

26
OpenSSL site defacement involving hypervisor hack rattles nerves arstechnica.com
54 points by JohnTHaller  12 hours ago   32 comments top 9
1
haberman 8 hours ago 4 replies      
Fortunately, the attackers didn't, or weren't able to, use their access to slip backdoor code into the OpenSSL software, which websites around the world use to provide HTTPS encryption for the pages they serve. That assurance is possible because the code is maintained and distributed through Git, a source-code management system that allows developers and users to maintain independent copies all over the Internet. Since the cryptographic hashes found on OpenSSL matched those elsewhere, there is a high degree of confidence the code hasn't been altered.

A few days ago I posed the question of whether Git's crypto is an example of dangerous amateur cryptography, since Linus isn't (AFAIK) a crypto expert: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6961683

The general answer I got was that Git isn't really crypto, because it isn't using the hash to guarantee integrity, but simply as a checksum to detect corruption.

I didn't find this argument very convincing at the time, and I would now offer the above quotation as evidence that people do in fact treat Git's hashes as a security mechanism that can withstand an adversarial attack.

2
throwaway125 11 hours ago 2 replies      
Have there been recent public disclosures of vulnerabilities in hypervisors?

Breaking out of virtual machines is a really interesting process but it's important to remember that a hypervisor can be attacked with pretty much the same techniques you can attack any other program. Virtual machines aren't a magic contain-all-the-hackers solution. There was an interesting talk on DEFCON 19 about breaking out of KVM: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tVSVdudfF8Q

3
wmf 11 hours ago 3 replies      
There may be some alarmism getting started here. "The attack was made via hypervisor through the hosting provider" can be interpreted in several ways and (to me) doesn't necessarily indicate a hypervisor exploit. It sounds like it could be similar to the Linode admin access hack.
4
xSwag 9 hours ago 1 reply      
No.

Simple logic: The defacement was amature at best. If the group has a 0-day in a hypervisor they would have gone to multiple hosting companies and multiple attacks would have taken place, there are many more targets that are worth much more than openSSL.

Most likely, the administration panel of the hosting company was comprimised through malware/phishing. Seriously, if a group like this had a 0-day in hypervisor then they would be doing much much more damage.

5
thirdsight 2 hours ago 0 replies      
This doesn't surprise me one bit if its a hypervisor hack. You have to design in this stuff from day one rather than tack it on as an afterthought. To quote Theo de Raadt on virtualization, who I agree with:

"x86 virtualization is about basically placing another nearly full kernel, full of new bugs, on top of a nasty x86 architecture which barely has correct page protection. Then running your operating system on the other side of this brand new pile of shit.

You are absolutely deluded, if not stupid, if you think that a worldwide collection of software engineers who can't write operating systems or applications without security holes, can then turn around and suddenly write virtualization layers without security holes."

6
sneak 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I think it's common to use "hypervisor" to refer to "hypervisor host" (and usually not "hypervisor software").

I've been hearing this usage more often these days.

7
zurn 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Related:

"Virtually Impossible: The Reality Of Virtualization Security" talk videofrom 30C3 a few days ago: http://media.ccc.de/browse/congress/2013/30C3_-_5445_-_en_-_...

Slides from apparently same talk from Defcon Russia: http://www.slideshare.net/DefconRussia/gal-diskin-virtually-...

8
kyrra 11 hours ago 0 replies      
may as well link directly to OpenSSL's post on it (which says the same thing) [0]. Also, assuming the traceroute on www.openssl.org is correct, this[1] is their webhost.

[0] http://www.openssl.org/news/secadv_hack.txt

[1] http://www.indithosting.se/

9
justincormack 10 hours ago 0 replies      
There is a suggestion it could be an open admin access http://www.andrewhay.ca/archives/2343
27
MapReduce and Spark cloudera.com
47 points by rxin  11 hours ago   14 comments top 5
1
lmm 10 hours ago 2 replies      
I like Spark over Hadoop just from an interface point of view, particularly the ability to just start up a (Scala) shell and start playing around. Hadoop can be very effective, but even getting "hello world" to run requires an intimidating array of setup.
2
fintler 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Although spark is nice, I'm also looking forward to mpi/orted integration with hadoop...

"Performance: Launches ~1000x faster, runs ~10x faster"

"Launch scaling: Hadoop (~N), MR+ (~logN)"

"Wireup: Hadoop (~N2), MR+ (~logN)"

http://slurm.schedmd.com/slurm_ug_2012/MapRedSLURM.pdf

3
hobbyist 8 hours ago 2 replies      
I often read that spark avoids the costly synchronization required in mapreduce, since it uses DAG's. Can someone explain how is that achieved. If the application so demands that you can launch jobs together, that can be done even with hadoop/mapreduce. If one job requires the output of another, then the job has to wait for synchronization whether its mapreduce or DAG.
4
wheaties 7 hours ago 1 reply      
What I would love to know is if Mahout works out of the box with Spark or if there's a third party library that bridges the two.
5
justinkestelyn 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Some interesting use cases are also described on Cloudera's developer blog, at http://blog.cloudera.com/blog/2013/11/putting-spark-to-use-f....
28
Understanding the Politics of Tech Startups bothsidesofthetable.com
12 points by Brian_Curliss  5 hours ago   1 comment top
1
staticelf 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I think this was a very bad article with several issues what's a fact and what is not. For example:

"But the reality of why socialism or communism dont work is precisely because as human beings were fundamentally motivated by power and greed and thus those that set out to form perfect societies end up just controlling the resources and people for their own personal benefits."

I wonder where the author got that information which I concieve as plain wrong. No sources for that information were given. Humans aren't motivated by greed or money and I think it's possible to set up a society were it doesn't exist.

29
Machine that Levitates Objects Using Sound [video] hardware-360.com
89 points by justinmares  17 hours ago   39 comments top 14
1
deletes 17 hours ago 1 reply      
If we assume they want to hold objects with a size of half a centimeter, a quick calculation shows they are using a sound frequency of 68000Hz.

-> 340m/s / 0.005m = 68000Hz.

If we limit the frequency to above human hearing range (>20000Hz) then maximum size of objects held in this way would be about 1.7 centimeters.

2
HCIdivision17 13 hours ago 1 reply      
I wonder if this would be a good technology for a pick-and-place robot for circuits.

Obviously the palsy needs to be fixed, but assuming that's solvable, it would be interesting to see it used as perfectly sterile tweezers.

Alternately, there seems to be some impressive vertical momentum imparted. Perhaps it could be used to launch small components into the air to be caught by another acoustic field, which does a more refined drop or transfer.

Or... Well, there's an awful lot of applications, really. Truly cool tech.*

* This isn't the first time a trick like this has been done, but it's the first I've seen with such control and dexterity.

Low frequency sound "halting" flow of water (illusion):http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mODqQvlrgIQ

Non-Newtonian fluid on speaker:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3zoTKXXNQIU

Of course yesterday's article on General Fusion showing the power of a well focused waveform:http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6996683

3
NatW 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder the maximum weight that could be theoretically lifted, the amount of power to do it, and if/when it could e.g: negatively-impact ears or skin.
4
ColinWright 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been watching this same story submitted over and over again - it's nice to see it get some traction.

In case you're wondering, the other submissions have no comments, so I won't link to them, even though the other sources may have more videos, more commentary, or better explanations. I've decided not to do the cross-referencing for a while.

5
adriand 15 hours ago 1 reply      
I wonder if you can feel the waves with your hand. Presumably you can - anyone have any idea what that feels like?
6
minutetominute 16 hours ago 3 replies      
Could this be used to create a 3D display? For example, when turned off, it's just a pile of styrofoam pellets, but when on, it can use standing waves to create shapes in midair?
7
crusso 16 hours ago 3 replies      
It would be cool to see this used in medicine. Imagine using advanced imaging and standing waves focused(dynamically, with the aid of the computer) on arterial blockages that you wanted to clear.
8
andrewflnr 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Did I forget my physics, or do their diagrams actually show the particles suspended at the anti-nodes, i.e. the high-pressure areas?
9
chisophugis 15 hours ago 2 replies      
mikeselectricstuff did a hack playing around with this concept <http://youtu.be/qy1w6rTpC2g>.

Not nearly as sophisticated as the linked post, but still pretty neat (especially seeing how he messes around with it).

10
jared314 16 hours ago 0 replies      
This might be interesting for positioning radiation targets without support structures. I wonder how well this would work at high-pressures or in liquids.
11
diaz 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Nice, after all this time watching all the history channel and other non-exact-scientific documentaries like the Aliens and Ancient Egyptians and others related that said they used the techonological power of the sound waves to lift the stones is finally real and proven not impossible.

I wait for the day when it's finally proven they were advanced civilizations or helped by aliens :D.

This could be extremelly useful, I'm excited for more news about this.

12
ChrisNorstrom 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Commercial Application Imagination Time:

Mix & combine foods, chemicals, and drugs without contaminating them or using beakers or containers by floating them around the warehouse on tracks of sound imiting assembly lines. I'd imagine a huge factory with minimal moving parts and sterilized air where liquids are floated out and mixed. If you're afraid the liquids will evaporate into the air while being mixed you can encase the assembly line in Anti-microbial glass vents (or black ones that don't let UV light through). Basically floating chemicals through really clean tubes without touching the sides.

13
sarreph 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Would be a pretty cool way to put on an Iron Man suit.
14
lhgaghl 16 hours ago 0 replies      
DAE just watch Dune recently?
30
Improve Your Python: Metaclasses and Dynamic Classes With Type jeffknupp.com
100 points by lukashed  18 hours ago   13 comments top 4
1
JulianWasTaken 17 hours ago 6 replies      
As he says himself at the end, these aren't used very often because they aren't very useful.

The example at the end is perfectly well written using the class statement and using register as a class decorator, while being more familiar and readable.

It gets tiring to hear people say "oh advanced Python? Like metaclasses, I'll learn that".

Learn useful things instead, like writing readable, testable code.

2
temuze 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Here's another amazing tutorial for metaclasses:http://stackoverflow.com/a/6581949/764463

This is probably my all-time favorite StackOverflow post!

3
SpacemanSpiff 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Did anyone pick up the OP's book, "Writing Idiomatic Python"? I'm tempted to buy, as someone new to Python. Looks like it may be useful for learning some Python best practices.
4
dmcg 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd like to buy the book, but is it really necessary to enter my email and password, twice each, then give my address, all to give you money through PayPal?
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