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Microsoft killed my Pappy hanselman.com
40 points by donniefitz2  33 minutes ago   16 comments top 10
jmduke 16 minutes ago 0 replies      
This is a shockingly honest and open assessment of Microsoft's PR from someone who actually works at the company. I think the underlying notion is spot-on, and -- as someone who doesn't bear any particular ill will towards Microsoft besides the travesty that is Excel for Mac -- its interesting to see the seeds being sown of irrational Google hatred.
lignuist 14 minutes ago 0 replies      
> Is Microsoft circa 2014 worse than Google, Apple, or Facebook? We're not nearly as organized as we'd need to be to be as evil as you might think we are.

Microsoft is not any worse than the other companies. They are all at the same terrible level.

But Microsoft became a bit better over the last years, I would say.

epistasis 14 minutes ago 1 reply      
Every time I have to suffer through the archaic UI of Word and enjoy late 1990s performance in the mid 2010s, I am reminded that my Pappy is still dead, even though MS could have made amends. They haven't. And in addition to my Pappy there's a whole other cast of characters that are dead, and they've saddled the entire world with mediocre-to-bad computing experiences. No amends for that either. Perhaps can't make amends, because they are themselves too stuck in the past, unwilling to fix their ways or legacy programs.

The world of computing could have been and would be today a better place if they hadn't dominated through business practices, but instead dominated with products.

charleslmunger 14 minutes ago 1 reply      
When you stop shaking down your competitors with software patents, let me know. Until then, your talk about openness is just talk. Extracting settlements from android OEMs over FAT patents is contrary to all the values you've mentioned in this post.
andrewflnr 5 minutes ago 0 replies      
Even if I concede all that, in the meantime, we've had the "Secure boot" fiasco and some other things I don't remember distinctly. I just remember constantly trying to fight the instinct to hate, to give MS the benefit of the doubt, but I just can't do it.

When discussing past wrongs of an institution, the question to ask is not "how long ago did they do it?" but "has the institution changed since?". In Microsoft's case, the answer seems to me to be "not enough".

rtfeldman 6 minutes ago 1 reply      
I can't speak for anyone else, but as a Web developer, I hate Microsoft because of their current and recent handling of Internet Explorer - specifically that it doesn't auto-update.

I love my job, but in my job, Internet Explorer 8-9 is pain. It's why we can't have nice things. I checked out a Windows Phone in a store once, and thought it was pretty sweet until I saw the IE logo and physically recoiled. There was no way I was going to own something where I'd have to hit that logo every day to browse the Internet.

That's not ancient history, that's present-day reality.

mik3y 6 minutes ago 2 replies      
This was a great point:

    That's 20 years ago.  And for bundling a browser    in the operating system that couldn't be uninstalled    or easily replaced? Sure, no operating systems do that    in 2014. I wonder if I can swap out Chrome from Chrome    OS or Mobile Safari in iOS. Point is, it's common now.
I lived through this time "hating" Microsoft for some of the stuff it was doing then, and it's probably well past time to bury those hatchets.

But they still do rather icky things: Rockstar Bidco lawsuits and the "Scroogled" campaign come to mind. I'm biased, but they've got to can it with these things (and just innovate) until I'll look at them as a pleasant company.

chaostheory 3 minutes ago 0 replies      
Past behavior is a great predictor of the future, and winning back trust is both hard and slow. This post would be more believable if MS isn't still exhorting companies with their large patent portfolio.

Maybe Nadella can change the culture but I have my doubts.

Scott, actions are much louder than words.

Mikeb85 19 minutes ago 1 reply      
It's true, Microsoft is quite different, but not different enough.

For entirely pragmatic reasons, I'd rather use Chrome, Linux, Android, Gmail, Google search and Google Docs.

Typescript looks nice, I might use Babylon.js, and I still use Skype from time to time, but I'll still never use Windows, IE, Hotmail, etc...

dragontamer 15 minutes ago 0 replies      

In many ways, Microsoft's Open Specification Promise is quite a bit stronger of a promise than most people might expect.

Sam Altman for President ycombinator.com
613 points by TheMakeA  13 hours ago   141 comments top 44
sama 13 hours ago 53 replies      
Im very excited about this. YC is the smartest group of people Ive ever worked with, and I believe that startups are going to be the major driver for innovation and economic growth going forward.

I was thinking this morning about what it was like to start a startup in early 2005 and how much its changed now. PG has done a remarkable amount to improve the startup ecosystem for foundersin fact, its hard to think of anyone who has done more.

(Also, maybe someday soon well make Hacker News work well on mobile :) )

andrewpbrett 8 hours ago 2 replies      
"You could parachute [Sam] into an island full of cannibals and come back in 5 years and he'd be the king." - PG 5.5 years ago[1]

Congrats Sam.

[1] http://paulgraham.com/fundraising.html

nostromo 12 hours ago 0 replies      
The focus on scaling YC in this post is interesting:

> Because YC needs to grow

> we'll have to grow proportionally bigger

I'm excited to see how this plays out!

sytelus 1 hour ago 0 replies      
On semi-unrelated note: Can YC-like incubators/accelerators ever become a public company? Lot of people I know would like to invest in startups but have no time, resources or experience to personally do due diligence. It would be great if public could buy shares of these accelerator companies. The amount from their IPOs can truely trigger exponential growth of startups.

Right now most incubators/accelerators are busy playing small investment/big exits model but there is huge untapped area where one need medium to large capital but can expect 2X-5X return with lower risks. I'm not sure if SEC has any rules against incubators/accelerators going public but for next exponential growth it seems essential.

the_watcher 12 hours ago 3 replies      
For a second I got irrationally excited that Sam was announcing a Presidential run, then read the post. Beyond my initial excitement at a potential USPOTUS candidate I actually believe in, I'm much happier that Sam is taking over YC, where he can add much more value, and hopefully free up PG to do more thinking (writing, giving advice, etc).
natural219 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Wow, awesome news! I've noticed a lot more Sam Altman posts on HN recently, and I have to say I'm a fan, at least of his writing.

What does this mean for your role at YCombinator, PG? Will you still be spending most of your time helping out with companies there, or are you going to work on other projects?

6thSigma 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Sam, it would be great since you are the new President of YC if you could update the How to Apply to Y Combinator[1] page with your views on what a successful application looks like and your typical thought process when reviewing applications.

Also, congratulations!

[1] http://ycombinator.com/howtoapply.html

zbruhnke 12 hours ago 0 replies      
As a past YC founder that sat on the receiving end of some awesome advice from Sam from time to time I think this is a great thing for YC and for future YC founders.

Aside from being a smart, well connected guy Sam has the innate ability to solve complex problems in a well thought out and efficient manner.

I can't wait to watch YC scale like so many of the companies it has funded. It might be the gold standard for this model of financing, but I think they've only just begun.

Glad to have been a part of YC and glad to be a part of the awesome network of Alums. I sold my first company before I graduated college and never got to be an "Alumni" anywhere else, so in some ways I feel like this is watching my Alma Mater make great forward progress, I'm proud to watch it.

rdl 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I think it's a sign of how good this choice is that I can't think of any serious changes which it will bring immediately (other than maybe freeing up more of pg's time to write essays and do office hours); the long-term changes are all positive.
RKoutnik 10 hours ago 0 replies      
This is absolutely fantastic news for YC, their startups and the community as a whole.

pg was a huge influence on me - I've read all of his essays, watched his talks and studied his comments on HN. I've learned so much about startups and making cool things from him and am now in SF hacking away at a startup solely thanks to the inspiration "How to Make Wealth" gave me.

sama, if you'll take a piece of advice from a lowly HN commenter, please be the same to the next generation of founder/hackers. Don't just be really good at accelerating startups. Teach, inspire, and care. You're inheriting a legacy, now build one of your own.

I've never met you in person but from what I've heard, you're just as capable of this as pg was in your own way. Godspeed.

edw519 11 hours ago 2 replies      
4 years ago, I had a feeling something like this would happen. See #4:


5 years earlier than I predicted and for a better job. Congratulations, sama.

lifeisstillgood 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Weird - I saw this about a minute after reading the AI post - and I did for a second think that he was actually going to run as an Independent candidate for US Presidency.

The weird part of course was "oh on some kind of business / privacy reform ticket. Yeah that makes sense - he might be like a privacy Ralph Nader. "

I think either I live in a bubble or the world really is changing.

josh2600 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Always enjoy Sam's writing. Wondering how this will impact YC (how much of YC is PG's aura and how much is YC? We will find out).

Change is hard and exciting. If PG is monitoring these comments, my question is: "what was the hardest part about letting go?"

brianmcdonough 12 hours ago 0 replies      
It takes tremendous self-knowledge and insight to take a step like this. It's what makes Paul Graham, Paul Graham and it's incredibly inspiring.

Welcome to YC 2.0. Looking forward to following the original meta-startup under Sam's leadership.

boomzilla 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I am really curious about YC corporate structure. Is it a partnership or LLC? Does PG still have "controlling vote block" in significant matters? Can I buy YC shares?
Peroni 12 hours ago 0 replies      
>So when Sam became available in 2012, I started trying to recruit him. It took me over a year, but eventually I succeeded.

All you had to do was ask for my help...

Jokes aside, congrats Sam!

PG: What's your next primary focus going to be?

gummify 8 hours ago 0 replies      
A smart, young, relatable person of the next generation to grow the company. Looking forward to seeing what Sam's got under his sleeves. Has Sam done anything in the entrepreneurial world after Loopt was acquired? Or has he just been an investor?
PStamatiou 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Congratulations Sam! We only had an office hours or two during my YC batch but you instantly struck me as a remarkably bright and quick-witted mentor.
mion 12 hours ago 0 replies      
It's kind of sad to see pg stepping down, but I'm sure sama will do a great job. Should we expect any fundamental changes in the way things get done at YC?
cma 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Altman's recent essays have used the same phrasing/style as Paul's.. hope Paul isn't handing that off too. =P
mjackson 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Huge congrats Sam! I think this move makes a lot of sense for a lot of reasons. You've been cranking out some really great stuff lately. Best of luck to you and YC!
tomasien 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I hope this means PG will write more - PG's essays are why I got into startups (an increasingly common phenomenon), and while some of them are timeless, there are issues of the day that need constant tackling. Here's moar essays PG.
b_emery 10 hours ago 0 replies      
>I'm convinced there's a fundamental change happening in the way work gets done. It's becoming normal to start a startup.

I'm hoping this will be the topic of PG's next essay.

weixiyen 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Came here thinking he was running for public office.
spinlock 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Am I the only one who thinks hn is fine on mobile? It's not perfect but the contents the same.
danhodgins 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Congratulations Sam, and well-done Paul. I consider both of you to be mentors who have educated, inspired, and motivated me to push myself further than I ever thought possible. Paul, you'll continue your mission... it'll just be at a higher level. And Sam... I wish you the best of luck as you elevate Ycombinator to the next level and beyond with your drive, enthusiasm, and talent for spotting patterns, trends and opportunities as well as pain points worth addressing and problems worth solving. dh
jusben1369 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Congratulations to Sam. This was as interesting for the topics it didn't dive into as to the topic it did. I'm sure there'll be an outcry and wild conjecture requiring a longer post on the reasons for doing this.
kirubakaran 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow, congrats Sam. Seeing the title I thought it was a "Altman 2016" joke.
Havoc 11 hours ago 0 replies      

>There will be a lot more startups in 10 years than there are now

Pity pg phrased this in such a fuzzy fashion. Does he mean more in the absolute sense or per 1000 people?

naveenspark 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Congrats Sam! Thank you for the ridiculously good advice you give us and our fellow YC founders. The future is very bright for YC.
ulfw 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Sam is a very intelligent, likeable and knowledgeable guy. Best man for the job. Congrats!
seddona 1 hour ago 0 replies      
congrats Sam! Thanks for your help the last few months!
Kiro 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Is this the first time pg has stepped down?
lukasm 11 hours ago 0 replies      
My first reaction "Sam Altman for President? Is he running for POTUS office? wow! that would be awesome if a hacker would be the president". And then logic part of brain kicks in...
SworDsy 1 hour ago 0 replies      
brentledent 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow, didn't see that coming. I hope the direction stays the same.
londont 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Congratulations Sam and PG, this is exciting news. Lots of <3 and support from the ZenPayroll team!
blakerobbins 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Huge congrats to Sam! Can't think of a more deserving person. Excited to see the transition and effect this has on YC.
denismars 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Congrats Sam! Exciting times for YC.
angersock 12 hours ago 1 reply      
One wonders what pg is going to be up to now.

Maybe lobste.rs?

dfguo 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Congratulations Sam!
wuhhaa 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I am very excited!!
pmcpinto 12 hours ago 0 replies      
bhaumik 11 hours ago 0 replies      
What a horrible overreaction: http://www.techendo.co/posts/yc-is-dead
Neovim github.com
585 points by tarruda  14 hours ago   206 comments top 37
tinco 12 hours ago 13 replies      
Thanks for trying to do what many of us secretly wished we could do but can't because of time/skill constraints. I will definitely move to NeoVim the second it's packaged (is it yet?), regardless if you've changed anything yet.

I hate the ideas many programmers have about backwards compatibility, that it's more important than development speed and modern concepts. There is nothing holy about Unix era software, chances are it's shit and a lot of it should be thrown out.

Look at SublimeText, it's got 1% of the features of Vim, yet it's converting Vim users left and right, by its sheer usability.

We as developers in the Open Source community should be ashamed people are still using Vim to write LaTeX in Bash running on terminal emulators. (Yes, it gives me shivers just thinking about how much each of those technologies sucks when you think about how good it all could be.)

bpierre 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Thiago de Arruda (the author of Neovim) has also released a Vim fork with multithreading support (proof of concept):



rjzzleep 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Thiago if you read this, please do your fundraiser a favor and mention all the work and review that went into your thread safe message queue already.

There is a lot of skepticism about your capability of delivering, but i think it's clear that you already have the experience needed.

krick 13 hours ago 11 replies      
I'm not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand I've been thinking on it for quite a long time already, newer shinier Vim is something I secretly wish for. On the other hand I found it quite problematic. The main problem of Vim is Vimscript. So "newer shinier Vim" is Vim with real programming language instead of vimscript. But it's impossible to remove Vimscript: it won't be Vim anymore. It affects not only scripting itself, but also how we interact with it in command mode, not to say about plugins we have already.

And here we have a project. Virtually nothing is done, previous commit was 20 days ago, and the last commit is adding the fundraiser link an hour ago. I mean, the author doesn't seem to be fanatically enthusiastic. And plans are quite generous. Maybe I'm too pessimistic, but I have some bad feeling about that. I'm thinking instead of "Hm, maybe better to write an open-source version of Sublime Text?".

laichzeit0 42 minutes ago 0 replies      
If you can make Vim seamlessly work with a REPL then this would be worth me upgrading (if all my current vim plugins still work).

It's the only reason I use Emacs + Evil + trying to get it to be as close to a Vim clone as possible. You know how cool it is to type ":" instead of M-x?

thomc 13 hours ago 1 reply      
A brave effort. Given your commit history, documented plan and great idea I was happy to back it [1] and hope you succeed. Best of luck :)

[1]: https://www.bountysource.com/fundraisers/539-neovim-first-it...

bronson 13 hours ago 5 replies      
It sounds like they have no interest in getting this stuff pushed back upstream? There's no mention of it on the home page.

At this point it smells kind of Emacs/XEmacsish. Hope they can rally immense development effort.

bigtunacan 12 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm a hardcore Vim user and I just don't see the point of this.

Not only that, but Vim is charity ware and requires the license to be included. The license is most notably absent from the Neovim fork. Wonder if that will be added any time soon...

sandGorgon 1 hour ago 0 replies      
kickstarter this please. I (and so many others I guess) would love to support this.

I'm worried that a lot of good projects die off because everyone have mouths to feed. I suspect that I have spent a large part of my adult life using vim, so I want to make sure a good successor comes through.

Take a look at LightTable - which was quite successful [1] in raising and delivering what it promised.

[1] https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ibdknox/light-table

gnoway 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Let me just say that I recently had to build a 'new' UnixWare 7.1.0 system. I was stunned and delighted that I was able to compile vim 7.4 + then-current patches.

Couldn't compile git, python or a couple of other things I wanted, but at least I could use a reasonable editor.

coyotebush 13 hours ago 0 replies      
> Migrate to a cmake-based build

> Legacy support and compile-time features

> Platform-specific code

Sounds like well-justified cleanup, although it's possible this project is underestimating the usefulness of feature selection.

> New plugin architecture

> New GUI architecture

Now that's cool and ambitious.

I wonder whether Bram has an opinion on this?

dengnan 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Finally, someone took this step. I really appreciate his work.

Don't get me wrong. Vim is an awesome editor and it is the only editor I'm using now. I've been using it for decades and still cannot find an editor which can replace it. Sorry, emacs, I tried several times but failed. I know it's my problem but I'm too familiar with vim's short-cuts.

However, I do think we can still do some improvement on vim, especially on its plugin systems. If you wrote plugins for vim, you know what I'm talking about. For example, can you quickly tell me the differences between map nnoremap nnoremap? How to write comment in vimscript?

To me, vimscript seems like a language patched by lots of authors with inconsistent goals. It's not as cohesive as Emacs Lisp. And there are lots of historical reasons why they do that --- I know, it's backward compatibility. But you have to move forward at some time.

With that being said, I do think it is necessary to have an editor which keeps the good parts in vim and improve it by not considering too much about backward compatibility. I'm so glad that someone did it for us.

segphault 12 hours ago 2 replies      
As someone who uses Vim to write articles and documentation in addition to code, I'd really love to see a richer UI with proper support for features like variable-width fonts.

It looks like the developer behind this refactoring effort has some really good ideas for decoupling the Vim engine from the user interface layer. It'd be great if somebody could build a really good cross-platform Qt-based UI on top.

fournm 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Ambitious. Best of luck to them--I've considered trying to do a full port to a language like Go or Rust, but I've never quite had the time (or self-hatred to try and handle quite so many corner cases as what I've seen in vim's code).
reirob 10 hours ago 0 replies      
For those searching a combination between VI, Emacs and Haskell: https://github.com/yi-editor/yi
speedkills 2 hours ago 0 replies      
The more I think about this, the more I like it. I badly want my vim to be multi-threaded and a separate engine, especially one that had a queue based pub/sub type interface could really open up some cool possibilities. At that point if you could give it the ability to use operational transform for the changes it would make remote editing, as well as remote pairing work really well. I know floobits is doing something similar but I would have to think this would make that much easier to pull off.
speedkills 3 hours ago 0 replies      
This reminds me of the now dead https://github.com/chrizel/Yzis

Even though it has been tried a few times before and never seems to catch on I really like the idea and would be down to help except I haven't coded C in 15 years and don't really have any desire to go back. I wonder if there are parts I could help with in newer languages. It's always fun to pick up a project to learn a new language.

binarygrizzly 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I applaud your effort but I worry that this step is not far enough to make a better version of vim. However I really think that we can do better and the famous, great editors (vim, emacs, acme, etc.) all have different features that make them great and unique. I prefer vim because of its modal nature which might be the reason why I find it also ergonomically superior (after remapping ESC to jf) - e.g. I don't like it to stretch my fingers.

On the other hand I never really script vim as I find vimscript just terrible. This is far better in emacs as it uses a decent programming language.

The third aspect I think is not well-designed is window/buffer-managment. In my opinion this point could be outsourced or developed in connection with a tiling WM or terminal multiplexer like tmux/screen (this part is best in acme).

A modern approach I thought about (Yet Another Text Editor Syndrome) would be a client-server architecture with a server node storing buffers with context information (filename, cursor, etc.) to which clients can connect. A client node could be on one hand a viewer (terminal or gui based) doing fancy thing like syntax-hightlighting, cursor control, searching and on the other a REPL (in any language) that just has to implement the bridge to a defined message protocol.

dbbolton 10 hours ago 0 replies      
As far as I'm concerned, just moving a vim clone to git is a huge improvement.

Ever tried building vim from the ports tree on a <1GHz machine? Painful.

SmileyKeith 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I think one of the most important things about this is the last bullet point. "Development on Github." I occasionally look at the vim-dev mailing list and I see people attaching patch files to conversations. I think Github's collaborative development workflow could help the barrier of entry to updates a lot.
jamesjporter 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I wish someone would try this again for Emacs :(
wprl 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I wish them the best of luck.

Vim is already an IDE.

mekoka 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I would love to have Bram Moolenaar's input on this project.
arjie 10 hours ago 0 replies      
First-class support for embedding wins a pledge from me. I wish you the best.
CountHackulus 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Sounds nice, though I hope they keep support for more esoteric platforms. My only real choices on z/OS are vim, emacs, and the ISPF environment.
limsup 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Cool project! It'd be nice if the build system was converted to GYP, so that it integrated well with libuv.
euoia 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I think this is a great project. The author appears to be extremely competent. I pledged $20.
bayesianhorse 12 hours ago 1 reply      
I actually had hoped "Neovim" would be a modern reimagining of a modal Texteditor for the modern time, along one of two paths.

Path 1: An html5+javascript based modal editor where buffers are actually DOM trees, enabling both code and other data to be rendered/edited, and also offering much richer visual enhancements. Javascript is already a great way for enabling a rich plugin ecosystem.

Path 2: Modal Textediting suited for mobile devices. For example based on python+kivy, or even C with SDL, it would be aimed to be portable and to extend the modal interface to touch-based gestures and speech recognition. Akin to "verbal vim", entering vim-like commands with touch or voice gestures, text editing on mobile devices like tablets would immediately suck a lot less...

ribs 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm not sure about libuv. Isn't that primarily for async I/O? This is a desktop application. Async I/O isn't going to significantly affect performance. And it doesn't make shit any simpler.
mynameisfiber 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Any worry about latency with this new plugin architecture? I'm not quite sure how the current plugins communicate with the main process, but I am sure that one of the things I would most like to see in a re-write of vim is a more responsive interface, even if I have a handful of plugins running.
ilaksh 12 hours ago 0 replies      
If anyone is looking for alternative to vim then check out Textadept which has a curses UI version and a graphical UI version.
jmehman 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I really like what he's setting out to do here but I was a bit put off by the fundraising setup. If the target isn't met the donations still go to him, and there's no pledge to do anything on that case. Is that right or did I miss something?
jdc2172 11 hours ago 0 replies      
if this ever gets off the ground there should be a complete spec sheet for the plugin commands so anyone can write their own vim core that interfaces with other guis and plugins designed for the original vim
skrewler 5 hours ago 0 replies      
First off, what happens if you don't meet the funding goal, do we get our money back?

I think a big reason for Vims popularity is how ubiquitous it is. It's installed by default on most *nix operating systems. Even if I'm not privileged on a system, I can still pull down my dotfiles and have my familiar vim editing experience.

If I understand correctly, plugins written for Vim would be compatible with Neovim, but not vice versa?

izietto 12 hours ago 0 replies      
$10000 seems to me a great amount for having this!
toblender 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Long Live Vim!
jdc2172 11 hours ago 1 reply      
the improvements to the plguin system sound awesome - hopefully it remove the need to do virtually anything in vimscript...
America Online to Buy Internet Chat Service for $287 Million (1998) nytimes.com
147 points by ski  9 hours ago   92 comments top 22
efuquen 5 hours ago 3 replies      
Someone mentioned about trying to find out if their have ever been any other chat services that have really made a lot of money on it's own, and it sparked memory of an acquisition that didn't happen quite that long ago, Microsoft buying Skype in 2011, and here is a good recent article about it:


The bullet point that stands out for me is this:

Problems monetising it: revenues at the time $860m for the year, losses of $7m amounted to just $1.30 per user per year

So, here we have a company, at acquisition, that was making close to the $1 per year per user that WhatsApp is charging. At the end of 2010 skype had 663 million users and was acquired for $8.5 billion. That's $12.82 a user.

Then, as now with WhatsApp, people are questioning whether Microsoft would ever make enough money to justify such a price. Then, as now, people justified the price based on the sort of intangibles (getting rid of a competitor, strengthening the brand, tapping new markets, etc.) the WhatsApp acquisition is being justified with now.

But there is still the big difference that Facebook, with a business in a similar space (obviously still different but they both are chat/communication based), with a similar revenue model per user per year, but only 3 years later purchased it for $42.22 per user. That's almost 4x the price for a similar acquisition 3 years apart.

And people thought Microsoft was crazy for the price they paid for Skype ... it kind of makes you wonder what the hell is going on.

slg 8 hours ago 6 replies      
I assume the motivation for pulling this out of the archive is the WhatsApp purchase. However, I don't think this comparison is truly fair. Not only is WhatsApp monthly adding over twice the userbase ICQ had at the time of purchase, but it is also actually collecting revenue from them. WhatsApp is a real company with real monetization strategies.
JoshGlazebrook 8 hours ago 3 replies      
I still remember back in 2000 when we still had AOL. I was eight or nine and I had my own aol account. You could have a dozen or so sub accounts on the main one. And because it was a "kids account" there were chat rooms for kids. Being the lovely kid that I was, of course I went into one and was like "how the f*ck are you all?"

Well the kid chat rooms were moderated and our entire AOL account was disabled. My mom had to call to have it re-enabled and of course they told her what I had said.

Fun times...

nailer 8 hours ago 7 replies      
40979067. I don't even know how I remember. I haven't used ICQ for 15 years.
MichaelMoser123 1 hour ago 0 replies      
It's funny how these ICQ like messenger applications always end up being bought out with heaps of money. When you see it all over for the nth time than its just funny.

I mean: you are supposed to learn a real profession so that you will be able to create real value, whereas real value is actually assigned to messenger apps.

drawkbox 8 hours ago 0 replies      
It was mainly purchased for the ICQ instant messaging patents rather than userbase: http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/business/u-s-awards-icq... AOL still owns that patent, HTTPS/SSL from Netscape and the cookie from netscape as well. They loaded up on patent nukes in '98: http://news.cnet.com/2100-1023-218360.html
MichaelTieso 8 hours ago 3 replies      
Is it bad that I can still remember my 7 digit ICQ number? It's probably been over 14 years since I've used it. I use to judge everyone that used AIM but eventually I switched over to AIM because all my friends in school had AIM.
hazelnut 7 hours ago 1 reply      
There are still people out there who try to sell their ICQ numbers: http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_trksid=p2050601.m570.l1313.T...
coltr 33 minutes ago 0 replies      
Wow, I forgot about Tripod. Had a few sites on there.
bane 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I really wish valuation was a measure of how much value you can get out of a company and not how much somebody is willing to pay for it.
WaterSponge 8 hours ago 2 replies      
Either 300mill was a steal for AOL or Valuations are out of hand?...

Which one is it?

securingsincity 8 hours ago 2 replies      
$19 billion and whatsapp has 465 million users, and ICQ was purchased for $287 million had 12 million users at the time. $40 dollars per user vs $24 dollars per user.

Now if the goal were to acquire users. its far more likely that facebook would have a huge overlap in the number of users it has already and those on whatsapp. That means maybe a cost of acquisition at let's completely speculate $100 dollars per user(maybe more). It seems kind of silly. but then you think about their penetration in developing markets and network effects... I don't know I'm not zuck.

BUT on a complete tangent of my comment. I should start an Israeli chat company. they've had some big exits.

iamsalman 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Just a naive comparison, AOL paid ~24MM/user for ICQ. Facebook is paying ~42.3MM/user for WhatsApp. That's about 76% more. IRC wasn't making any money when it was acquired. WhatsApp was making some.
jcurbo 6 hours ago 0 replies      
7-digit ICQ number here, but since I'm seeing people post 6-digit ones, I'm guess I'm not that special :) Still have my 3-digit Slashdot UID though!
BlakePetersen 5 hours ago 0 replies      
12834982 -- can't believe I can still remember it. I haven't signed on in well over a decade. Kinda proud, not gunna lie. And according to Google, my last nickname was "Blake's Alright", must have been going through some teenage melancholy at the time, haha
jetsnoc 1 hour ago 0 replies      
575061 ;)
notastartup 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I actually didn't notice the date on this, and thought after Whatsapp, another one?!

We are in a bubble now I presume.

ninive 7 hours ago 0 replies      
1315453 - A great collection of memories, indeed ;)
solarmist 7 hours ago 0 replies      
booleanbetrayal 6 hours ago 0 replies      
243121 <3
_of 7 hours ago 0 replies      
1369500 :)
Kluny 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Is this an ironic comment on Facebook's recent purchase of Whatsapp?
How Google missed the boat scripting.com
43 points by queensnake  2 hours ago   43 comments top 17
B-Con 7 minutes ago 0 replies      
> Their search engine was and still is the glue that holds the web together. So, why didn't they build around that?

Yeah, if only every product they offered either:

a) had comprehensive search capabilities (YouTube, GMail, map, etc)

b) was at least decent integrated with their flagship search (News, YouTube, images, Blogger, heck, Android, etc)

c) was a variant of their flagship search (images, news, sound, etc)

I think it's fair to say that Drive/Docs/Keep and Calendar are fairly independent of Search. Tsk, tsk, for shame.

mirsadm 28 minutes ago 0 replies      
I'm glad we have this guy to tell Google how to run their completely unsuccessful business that missed the boat.
rsync 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Wrong wrong wrong. OP, comments, parent, children, all wrong.

Tim Wu, Master Switch, monopoly over distribution channels - that is the answer. Either google ceases to exist or it becomes Ma Bell.

There's no third way, and all of the things that google does that seem confusing make perfect sense if you view them through the prism of trying to become The Phone Company.

dsl 1 hour ago 3 replies      
Google missed the boat because they only hired academics, not hackers.

They didn't need to embrace standards or build APIs, they just had to hire people who knew how to build products that real people outside the valley wanted. Google got lucky with its first product (search), acquired a company to make it a successful business (Adwords), and kept buying companies to try and onboard innovation.

troymc 42 minutes ago 1 reply      
Blogger isn't the winner of the blog engine wars anyway. That would be WordPress, which is open source and now runs about one in five websites.


It's fun to imagine a world in which Blogger was open sourced, with the core developers working for Google. Would WordPress have "won" in that alternate universe?

ralphm 57 minutes ago 0 replies      
The technology of the last 10 years should have all been open to experimentation by developers without locking users in. There are a lot of developers who believe in this. It's central to the mission of WhatsApp, btw, so if you doubted that it could be lucrative, you should think again.

WhatsApp has changed and extended their XMPP basis such that it is not even remotely interoperable. They are actively battling third-party implementations. Their server is not federated. How exactly are "open", "experimentation" and "without locking users in" central to WhatsApp's mission?

toyg 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Dave Whiner lamenting the demise of RSS and OPML, you don't say!
meowface 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Interesting how a lot of the advice in here parallels Steve Yegge's infamous rant.

The link, for anyone who hasn't read it: https://plus.google.com/+RipRowan/posts/eVeouesvaVX

Mikeb85 42 minutes ago 0 replies      
What boat did Google miss? Seems to me they're achieving their goals. They own search, they own video (YouTube), they have a very successful mobile OS, they have a successful desktop platform (Chrome OS and the Chrome browser), and they're innovating faster than anyone.
yuhong 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Another HN comment on this issue (I wonder why HN don't allow its own comments as submissions):


Makes me wonder how Larry Page was convinced that Facebook was a threat.

sidcool 1 hour ago 0 replies      
It interests me how people expects Google to do all the things they want. Let's be sure that Google is a business, not a missionary organization. They will guard their business interests first.
WWKong 23 minutes ago 0 replies      
I strongly believe that was the right way to go. I never understood why Google didn't make a big push for standard structured information. They could have published standards for different industries similar to RSS. Everyone would have gotten on board similar to how every blog was pushing a RSS feed. Once the web moved towards structured data it would have been the first big step towards Semantic web.

Imagine writing apps that could do this: "Phone, please book top movie at the box office and dinner for Friday evening and adjust Nest at home accordingly".

whitef0x 53 minutes ago 0 replies      
First of all twitter's growth is slowing, so its not very apt to compare them to google. And the same thing may start happening to Facebook in a few years (as people are notoriously fickle with social media sites - which depend on mass adoption - not innovation). I think google is doing the right thing - they are sticking to what they know instead of trying to 'build around the web' and become another Microsoft (who tries to make 'their own version of everything' example - Silverlight).
auctiontheory 1 hour ago 2 replies      
When you're just so damn rich, and the money keeps pouring in, it's very hard to stay focused, to relentlessly innovate, to admit (if only to yourself) that you're just as imperfect as everyone else, and make just as many mistakes.

It was true for Microsoft, it's true for Google, and it's true for everyone else. (Well, those of us who are rich enough not to have to give a sh*t. Not me personally.)

drakaal 2 hours ago 2 replies      
The premise that they missed the boat is wrong. They built a leaky boat because their core competence is in a different field. Google didn't "Miss the boat" they just never studied Nautical Science.

Google is very good at things that are mathematical, predictable, quantifiable, and numeric.

Google fails at things like Natural Language, Art, Social, Music, Video (youtube doesn't count that's just hosting and they bought it already successful, and it still doesn't hardly make any money)

Facebook would "miss the boat on search". Apple will "miss the boat" on social.

The difference is those guys won't go after a boat if they don't have the competency for it.

api 1 hour ago 1 reply      
IMHO Google was somewhat psyched out by Facebook and made the classic mistake of copying their rival. Google+ is almost an exact copy of Facebook.
BorisMelnik 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Ohhh love the site framework and use of snap.svg. Interesting how he didn't mention Google+ not once.
About the security content of iOS 7.0.6 apple.com
133 points by davepeck  11 hours ago   54 comments top 17
kryptiskt 7 hours ago 1 reply      
This is so bad that it is hard to imagine how it could have escaped notice until now, Apple really need to beef up their security competence. Lets hope that malevolent hackers were similarly asleep.
tlrobinson 7 hours ago 1 reply      

"congrats to the Apple iOS team on adding SSL/TLS hostname checking in their latest update! very cool feature."


lstamour 1 hour ago 0 replies      
As it happens, Secure Transport (edit: on OS X) is open source. I just spent the last hour rummaging through source code ... It was later renamed to "libsecurity_ssl" when it landed on iOS. It's been around since OS X launched. They also have a folder with about four dozen regression tests and a test app, not that I've had the chance to inspect either that closely. The tarballs are spread across two folders in the tarballs index: Security (look for multi-MB file sizes) and libsecurity_ssl. The 5-digit numbers appear to be sequential revision IDs, any single-digit numbers seem historical. (E.g. libsecurity_ssl-6 is before libsecurity_ssl-10 rather than after libsecurity_ssl-55471.)

It appears they haven't posted newer source than this. The most recent timestamp I could find was Oct 11, 2013 in 55471, which corresponds to 7.0 and my 10.9 system has the same version number for Security.framework -- same bundle version of 55471 for 10.9.1 aka 13A581. Previous version numbers don't appear to be as well-maintained. I don't expect a newer release to be posted until the next OS X release, as the source was only published under 10.9, not iOS. Additionally, there's no mention of iOS 7 on http://www.opensource.apple.com/

I couldn't easily find the bug without more to go on, because the code is spread across a few components and really, I'm not an expert in TLS. It appears to have been largely unchanged from 2000-2006 or so. TLS 1.2 brought quite a few changes, but it was neat to browse through the lines of "FIXME" and "TODO" comments, as well as various diffs between releases. And neat to see how much code today still goes back to 1999-2001, sometimes all they did was add a 'k' in front of a few variable names or delete the line in the first README saying the server code wasn't tested against Windows ;-)

It sounds like when 10.9.2 is released, or at worst when 10.10 comes along, you'll see a new push of code to the opensource site. We can all diff 55471 against what comes next to see the changes. (If someone's already running 10.9.2 and its unaffected by the bug exhibited via curl, open /System/Library/Frameworks/Security.framework/Versions/Current/Resources/Info.plist and post the Bundle version.)

lstamour 4 hours ago 2 replies      
Odd. Apple updated iOS 7 and iOS 6 but didn't update Secure Transport in iOS 5? I wonder if the bug was introduced between iOS 5 and 6.

Background on Secure Transport:

"At the bottom of the TLS stack on both iOS and Mac OS X is a component known as Secure Transport. Secure Transport maintains a per-process TLS session cache. When you connect via TLS, the cache stores information about the TLS negotiation so that subsequent connections can connect more quickly. The on-the-wire mechanism is described at the link below.


"This presents some interesting gotchas, especially while you're debugging." More at: https://developer.apple.com/library/ios/samplecode/AdvancedU...

computer 6 hours ago 1 reply      
So, was this plus automatic updates over SSL one of the ways the NSA could access "any iOS device"?
nekitamo 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Looks like they weren't checking the hostname in the certificate. This would allow anyone with a certificate signed by a trusted CA to do a MITM attack on iOS devices. Very very bad vulnerability.
thibaut_barrere 7 hours ago 1 reply      
If I believe [1], 4% of all the iOS devices are still on versions earlier than 6, and will not be patched to this specific issue. This is pretty severe. I wonder (but presume not) if Apple is going to issue patches for earlier versions.

[1] http://appleinsider.com/articles/13/12/31/ios-7-now-installe...

rmoriz 8 hours ago 0 replies      


(i've not checked that on iOS or Apple TV just on OSX. Maybe it's another issue but the update description pretty much fits too well ;-)

noclip 8 hours ago 2 replies      
It's not just cURL. It's much bigger, and much worse.


randomstring 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Sounds like a classic Man-in-the-Middle (MITM) attack.

Just a guess, but from the short description I suspect if you have control over DHCP you can get iOS to use your proxy. From there you can use something like mitmproxy (http://mitmproxy.org/) to forge SSL certificates on the fly and intercept and decrypt SSL traffic without any warnings showing up on the iOS device.

crishoj 2 hours ago 2 replies      
Bad as it may be, the fix Apple is pushing will reach roughly 95% of the installed base more or less immediately.

I can't help wonder how much worse a similar situation would be for the Android ecosystem, with the poor update track record of operators and OEMs.

nwh 9 hours ago 2 replies      
Does this contain patches for the jailbreak?
helper 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow, this sounds bad. It sure would be nice if Apple gave us a little bit more information, like when the bug was introduced and what exactly was not being verified. Until we get more information, you should assume the worst that all your IOS TLS traffic might be compromised.
shawn-butler 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Doesn't affect any app using SSL pinning.

I have been trying to work on an implementation of TACK to mitigate headaches involved in pinning. Wish I had more free time.


jtchang 6 hours ago 0 replies      
How do you not notice this? Maybe a lot of SSL interception is done with self signed certs and not ones that are signed by a valid CA?
Greenisus 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Does anyone know if this is an issue at the Foundation API level (affecting any apps using NSURLConnection, for example) or if it's a Safari issue?
Fasebook 10 hours ago 0 replies      
lol oops
Voynich Manuscript partially decoded, text is not a hoax, scholar finds medievalists.net
126 points by sweedy  11 hours ago   67 comments top 10
Renaud 5 hours ago 3 replies      
I'm not sure why we only consider that this manuscript is either a hoax or a forgotten language. Why can't it be an expression of whimsical fantasy?

When I was 12, as an introvert kid with too much imagination, I started inventing my own language. I would make up words, sometimes based off various other languages, sometime simply based on how they sounded.

It had a couple of different writing systems, one was a slightly modified version of Greek alphabet, another, more complex, was made of dots and small squiggles that were fast to write (I was fascinated with the Arabic writing system at the time and took inspiration from it even though it didn't look anything like that).

I would write pages of nonsense in that writing system, just to see how it would flow or change over time, just to find patterns, just to have fun.

I even invented my own calendar, using the 88 day revolution of Mercury around the Sun as the year.

When I look at the Voynich Manuscript, all I see is the product of a fertile imagination that went a lot farther than my early teenage attempts at building a coherent world for myself.

I believe that these unconvincing attempts at finding meaning elsewhere -or degrading the object by calling it a hoax- are distracting us from the real beauty of this work of love and imagination.

bencollier49 10 hours ago 4 replies      
The combination of the Voynich Manuscript's history of translation claims, taken together with the origin of this work (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/3326436/I...), leads me to view this with at least something of an air of caution.
hcarvalhoalves 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Well, he's trying to recognize the plants and work out backwards from their known names, but there's a lot of assumptions and glossing over involved in this approach.

1) A figure hints at a sunflower, but the idea is refuted based on the supposed location and date of this manuscript (sunflower is native from the American continent).

2) Another figure was recognized as "coriander", that looks nothing like it, but they went with it anyway because the transcript was possible.

It looks like a botanist is more likely to figure out this manuscript than a linguist. The other theory that this manuscript is about plants from the american continent [1] is less flawed in my opinion. It could also explain why it's in an totally unfamiliar script, as it could be a pre-Spanish language, or an attempt from a foreign to codify it.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7199751

adamnemecek 10 hours ago 4 replies      
Here's a PDF for anyone who wants to take a stab :-)


Juha 3 hours ago 0 replies      
The video offers very interesting view on how he approaches the problem and proceeds to solve the problem. From scientific point of view it just seems like guesswork, but as video goes further it's clear he has a real methodology to it. I was also very impressed how he all the time seemed very objective and used words like "probably", "could" and "possibly" to communicate that his findings still need further review.
thearn4 10 hours ago 2 replies      
I wish I knew more about linguistics to understand his this work further.

Though it seems a bit odd to host his work on his own personal site, rather than one hosted by his institution.

bnegreve 8 hours ago 0 replies      
> Voynich Manuscript partially decoded, text is not a hoax, scholar finds

As the author of this work states it himself, this is a "proposed partial decoding" and it is "tentative and provisional".

But anyway, the methodology is interesting and the video is worth watching. Although I'd be surprised all his speculations are correct, it seems to be the way to go.

TeMPOraL 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I still seriously consider the xkcd interpretation to be the most likely one.


Human nature doesn't change.

EGreg 8 hours ago 0 replies      
This is pretty cool, and if it is not a hoax then this is one of the only documents that remains a mystery in the age of us cracking codes, not just ones like the Zimmermann telegram and the Venona project, but even the Vigenre cipher which was eventually broken and deciphered.

So this could be like navajo code talkers ... an organic language that is hard to decipher because it comes from a culture so unconnected to anything, that it developed its own symbolism. This is an intersection of cryptography and history.

aaron695 9 hours ago 2 replies      
Why can't people just realise humour is not unique to one's own time period and culture.

Jumped the shark here -

"He also speculates that the reason this work is written in a language never seen before was that it was made by a small group of people who belonged to a culture that didnt have a written form."

Go Ahead, Let Your Kids Fail bloomberg.com
123 points by tokenadult  11 hours ago   84 comments top 17
ef4 9 hours ago 3 replies      
One of the ironies here is that it's actually much easier for the smartest kids to excel in school if they have a healthy level of disrespect for it.

Intrinsic motivation is the dominant factor. A student that's actually driven by curiosity and a desire to master everything he or she can is tens or hundreds of times more effective than someone acting out of extrinsic motivation -- the carrots and sticks of grades and punishments.

It is so much easier to learn this way that the other kids who are just slogging it out seem to be moving in slow motion. Staying far enough ahead of them to get good grades takes very little effort when you've actually internalized that learning is something you do for fun.

The real trick of course is igniting the desire in the first place. Which has been obvious for at least two millennia:

    "The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be ignited." - Plutarch

mathattack 9 hours ago 2 replies      
There's a saying at Harvard Business School... (I didn't attend, so I'm not namedropping!)

The A students become professors. The B students work for the C students.

The academic society forces this focus on high grades across all subjects that is unhealthy.

But what's a student to do? If you can't get into a top school with a couple of Bs, life gets tougher. If you want to major in Computer Science, any school is fine. If you want to major in Philosophy, you had better get into a top 10 school. And once there, you'd had better get top grades because you'll need to go to graduate school.

The problem is even larger than the author suggests. If you're in a large city, to get into the nice high school with the fancy IB program, you might need straight As in junior high. And that junior high school may have competitive admissions.

It's a wonder that any creativity survives!

jrs235 10 hours ago 2 replies      

Getting an A- in 9th grade may have been the best thing that may have happened to me in high school. It relieved me of the pressure to get straight A's and "compete" for the top of the class. I no longer had to be driven by an external factor.

In college I realized how awful things were (for those that were driven by grades). You could look around and see zombies sitting in desks. Most weren't interested in learning or thinking critically... just worried about getting the "right" answer and "good" grades.

I remember the first time I "failed" and got detention in high school... it was my senior year. Thank goodness I hadn't gotten it earlier because after experiencing it, it wasn't all that bad. In fact I actually sat down and got my homework done then.

Life's too short to worry about grades and failure and we only make childhood shorter by placing this pressure on our children so early.

dethstar 9 hours ago 0 replies      
The thing the girl said reminded me of my little nieces and nephews. They are in either Highschool or jr high, whenever I've asked them what they want to study, or do in life they just say "something easy". By easy it doesn't mean not challenging or that requires no effort, it means that they are certain they're going to pass, that's all they care about. And since they haven't experimented/looked in other fields, for fear of failing, they are also not sure what they want to do at all. When I talk to their mother, she just wants them to be teachers like her, because she could probably get them a job.

So yeah, it is pretty harmful. Let them fail.

nickff 10 hours ago 1 reply      
This piece reminded me of an earlier NYT piece, where the author suggested that students drop out of STEM because of the low grades they receive compared to similar peers in other faculties.[1] It is somewhat strange that students in different fields are compared through the lens of a grading system which does not reflect the subject matter differences, or the grade inflation which has affected each field differently.

[1] http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/20/why-students-le...

guelo 4 hours ago 2 replies      
One solution is for businesses to stop playing their game. At my startup we refused to hire from Harvard or Stanford or MIT. We didn't hire ex-googlers either for that matter.
pirateking 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Trying to get a 0.0 GPA in a quarter/semester/year really is a worthy challenge. Much more difficult than you would think. I tried 3 separate times - closest I could get (without dropping from classes) was a 1.0.

I believe being spoiled by many of the finest computer, console, and arcade games of our time, as well as being a heavy book addict, made me bored of the "correct" way to play school at the rather early level of 2nd grade. So I started looking for ways to play the game to make it more fun.

In high school, hearing the words "wasted potential", were like a trophy to me. It showed the teacher respected my knowledge (which I obtained for my own pleasure and proved at will by getting random A+s), but frustratingly knew it was not a result of the system they were paid to run. The few really awesome teachers I had, did not get this treatment. I could sense their love for knowledge, either in the way they were actually passionate about the subject they taught, and/or the way they treated students with respect. For these extremely rare few, I was willing to pretend to play by the school rules out of mutual respect for the teacher, not the game.

Unsurprisingly, many of these truly awesome teachers were fired or forced to transfer schools. The highly competitive high school had too many parents complaining to the school board about their kids being given a B, and even tried to convince the teachers to erase records of cheating (they being honorable ambassadors of knowledge, of course refused). This was the final proof to me that the system was a joke.

"Wasted potential", I learned was a reference to the potential of the system to use you to perpetuate itself. It had nothing to do with your own potential future, which was always your own great responsibility (thank you Uncle Ben). I had 127 recorded absences in 12th grade. I still graduated, as I expected - the only thing more important to the school than student attendance, was public appearance.

brandonhsiao 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I remember in high school the only things I ever learned well were things that weren't taught there, or that I'd learned myself before going in. I'm still trying to recover from the hit I took in subjects like math and physics; I loved both when I was younger. Like many others I happened to be lucky to have discovered computers before going into high school, or I know AP Computer Science would've killed those for me too (haven taken it).

College dropout now. School's never "worked" for me. But I was born into a family where blindly grades were everything, and I'm pretty sure this had more of a negative than positive effect on me.

shas3 9 hours ago 1 reply      
The key problem with schools is that they teach you to not just respect authority, but also to defer to it. In the real world, conforming and deferring to authority only makes you mediocre. In order to succeed, one needs to develop the mental framework to question authority and challenge the status quo. The current schooling system, for the most part, does not encourage the development of such a mentality.

As someone who grew up in India, I am all the more sensitive to the role of authority. Thanks to massive density of population, weak economy, and cultural norms, Indian institutions promote the worst forms of deference to authority. However, rather than culture, in countries like the US, the schooling system is the primary source for teaching people to conform to their peers' expectations and to defer to authority. The American society, in general, is quite different from the hierarchical structure that exists in American schools. In the real world, you have more freedom to question authority. Life is also different for adults because they are often more mature than kids, and are in positions where they have more choice than in the school. Schools should thus change to mirror the society, while still understanding the fact that school students are mostly immature.

Often, such suggestions for reform are mistaken for 'give them the choice to study what they want'. On the contrary, throughout secondary school, students should necessarily be taught all subjects and forced to sit through all classes. But, be careful to note that this does not necessarily imply that they should be judged on all these courses. The key problem in modern schools is that the 'judgement' system is broken. Just like performance review systems in most companies. Schools should take a leaf out of the HR policies of companies like Netflix [1] and do away with formal judgement/performance review processes.

[1] http://hbr.org/2014/01/how-netflix-reinvented-hr

joelgrus 9 hours ago 1 reply      
I grew up as one of these "terrified to fail" kids. Now I have a kid of my own, and one of my primary parenting goals is that she not end up like that.
applecore 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I suspect these parents aren't actually conflicted, but are reasoning through their own fears of failure by projecting it onto their children.
diminoten 2 hours ago 0 replies      
What did she say to the 10th grader, though?

All this pontificating about the state of our education system and the problems with our super achievement-oriented culture aside, what do you actually tell a 15 yr old who's deathly afraid of failure?

chipsy 6 hours ago 0 replies      
My form of rebellion was to disengage and fail. I was a huge bundle of nerves about it every time, but secretly I wanted to have the experience of feeling the consequences and knowing what it actually _meant_ to screw up.

I've remained pretty obstinate about this even in my adult life. I like to fail until success is inevitable.

InclinedPlane 10 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm always reminded of an essay by, I think, pg about how school works the opposite of real life. In school you are effectively judged by your failures, and thus are encouraged to avoid failing since it will bring down your grade point average. Moreover, the impact of your successes is capped, and at a fairly low level due to grade inflation. Once you've achieved an A/4.0 there is little incentive to put in more effort.

In real-life, however, things are reversed. Being mediocre yet diligent at doing busy work in a variety of subjects, which is precisely what earning a 4.0 implies, is not terribly valuable. Instead what matters is excelling at a small number of things, perhaps even only one.

The conceit of our educational system is that the way it works encourages students to become "well rounded", but it does nothing of the sort and works stronger against doing so than towards. Students are discouraged from developing passion, discouraged from exploration, discouraged from putting forth more than the minimum amount of effort, discouraged from developing their own interests and their own points of view.

kator 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I have six kids, my goal in life is to teach them to make good decisions. I always tell him to embrace originality in mistakes. Make them big, creative, interesting mistakes. Learn. Move on.
zwieback 10 hours ago 2 replies      
How many kids like this are there, really. I keep reading these articles but I'm not sure how representative they are. I live in a town with a demographic that should be 100% trapped in upper-class white-ville angst but I don't actually meet very many parents or kids like this.

Maybe it's Oregon, my in laws in the Bay Area are more prone to this kind of behavior.

knappador 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Make it twice as hard and require half as many points. Getting 100% at anything signals the end of learning, not the beginning of mastery.
German tank problem wikipedia.org
172 points by fortepianissimo  14 hours ago   65 comments top 15
jxf 11 hours ago 1 reply      
It's astounding how accurate they were using only statistical methods:

> Analysis of wheels from two tanks (48 wheels each, 96 wheels total) yielded an estimate of 270 produced in February 1944, substantially more than had previously been suspected.

> German records after the war showed production for the month of February 1944 was 276.

T-hawk 9 hours ago 3 replies      
This actually hit my previous company in a software context.

We would number our hotfixes sequentially. Many would be items demanded by a single client, so would get deployed as hotfixes only to that customer's site, and just rolled into the main trunk for the next quarterly release for everyone else. Clients would always be notified about hotfixes going onto their live sites.

One savvy client noticed the hotfix numbering sequence. Naturally, that ensued quite a number of extremely awkward discussions as they would regularly ask why our software needed so many hotfixes (tens per week) and why they weren't entitled to all of them right away.

Solution: a new policy to randomly generate hotfix numbers. Which of course led to the next problem, that now the sequence was not obvious from the names, so dependent hotfixes would sometimes get deployed in the wrong order. Why can't anything be easy...

schoen 13 hours ago 6 replies      
Huh, I once visited a military base where people on the trip wanted to be photographed with a tank. The soldiers said it was OK, as long as somebody obscured the tank's serial number by standing in front of it. I wonder if their training in this respect was inspired by this history!

(But if so, why not print the serial numbers inside the tank, not outside? Or maybe encrypt or HMAC them?)

IgorPartola 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Don't remember where I read it at least 12 years ago, but someone talked about an April Fools prank where they released three pigs in their high school, with numbers 1, 2, and 4 written on them. Allegedly the administrators spent weeks looking for number 3.
sparkman55 12 hours ago 8 replies      
There is some practical relevance to software development here. One shouldn't expose sequential IDs (a.k.a. serial numbers) to the public for anything non-public.

I see this Hacker News post has a numerical ID in the URL, for example; I can estimate the size of Hacker News given enough of these numbers... More directly, I can modify that numerical ID to crawl Hacker News.

Many sites do this; it's generally better to generate a (random or hashed or generated from a natural key) 'slug' to use as the key instead. For example, Amazon generates a unique, non-sequential, 10-digit alphanumeric string for each item in their catalog.

sbirch 14 hours ago 1 reply      
My favorite explanation of this (posed instead as the Locomotive problem) is in Allen Downey's "Think Bayes," pp.22

It's online too, and worth reading!


bane 6 hours ago 1 reply      
So here's an idea. Conventional intelligence was off by quite a bit, spurring the allies to overproduce tanks (which was possible due to the absurd American industrial capacity), which then allowed the allies to cleanly overwhelm the order of magnitude fewer tanks they actually came in kinetic contact with.
stillsut 11 hours ago 1 reply      
This is why the whole secret agent "#3" thing in movies like Bourne Legacy, James Bond etc are so ridiculous.

That's a worse code name then just using the person real name as it gives hints of the total participation in the secret organization.

ariwilson 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I encountered a slightly different problem trying to find the size of the union of a bunch of sets. We ended up just storing the smallest k int64 hashes of each item in each set, and computing 2^64 / ((largest hash - smallest hash) / (k - 1) as an estimate of the size of the union.
te 13 hours ago 2 replies      
The frequentist and Bayesian analyses give different answers to the central question. Which one is more correct?
auctiontheory 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I first read about this work a few years ago, but had I encountered it before college, I think I might have majored in statistics. Such powerful results - feel like magic.
therealmarv 13 hours ago 3 replies      
Interesting. Especially because there is no German translation or Wikipedia entry for this article.
concernedctzn 11 hours ago 0 replies      
This sounds like an excerpt from the Cryptonomicon, which I happen to be reading right now.
elwell 10 hours ago 0 replies      
The Germans should have sanded off the serial numbers.
germanTankPanzy 9 hours ago 1 reply      
I think the most important information is the table:Month Statistical estimate Intelligence estimate German recordsJune 1940 169 1,000 122June 1941 244 1,550 271August 1942 327 1,550 342

Intelligence estimates... so off the mark.

VAXen, my children, just don't... crash.com
142 points by DiabloD3  13 hours ago   41 comments top 11
ChuckMcM 12 hours ago 2 replies      
The really funny thing for me, is that I remember Monday the 19th of October very differently. Sun had called together the biggest press conference they had ever had, they were announcing that Sun and AT&T were going to work together to jointly build one true standard UNIX which everyone would run, with interoperability and reliably across the spectrum of computing. And that AT&T was putting 1B$ into Sun and had options to put another B$ in.

Eric Schmidt, who was the lead on that press conference, and Bill Joy who was his technical backup, were really confused why all during the conference reporters kept running out of the conference room to make phone calls. They didn't believe that their announcement was that big but everyone was clearly quite agitated.

The clipping service didn't find a single major daily that covered that press release that day. Magazines that had it and were embargoed went with it. But it got little to no coverage.

nate_meurer 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I haven't laughed this hard in days:

The fire alarm klaxon went off and the siren warning of imminent halon gas release was screaming. We started to panic but the data center manager shouted over the din, "Don't worry, the halon system failed its acceptance test last week. It's disabled and nothing will happen."

He was half right, the primary halon system indeed failed to discharge. But the secondary halon system observed that the primary had conked and instantly did its duty, which was to deal with Dire Disasters. It had twice the capacity and six times the discharge rate.

mherdeg 13 hours ago 4 replies      
In case the date at the end fails to register, the reference (19 October 1987) is to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Monday_(1987) .
dsr_ 12 hours ago 2 replies      
A bit of explanation: a VAX 750 is about the size of a large washing machine. It does about 1 MIPS, and can handle a surprisingly large number of serial terminal users simultaneously due to the I/O design. An RA60 is a hard disk unit, but not the sealed "Winchester" technology that IBM was promoting (and certainly won). Each disk pack could store 200 or so MB on several 14 inch platters that were held in a clear pack. It was frightening, expensive, and remarkably rugged.

By the time I was part-time sysadmin of one in 1992 or so, they were totally obsolete, and my 486DX-33 running Linux was faster at everything... except effective serial I/O for multiple users.

canadev 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I actually clapped and said "Oh my god!" when I got to the last line. That was a great story.

Also, here is what a Halon discharge looks like: http://youtu.be/2fyGGqgVzCY?t=1m36s

bbanyc 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I smiled and said, "No sweat, I'll train you. The first command you learn is HELP" and proceeded to type it in on the console terminal. So the data center manager, the shift supervisor and the eight day operators watched the LA100 buzz out the usual introductory text. When it finished they turned to me with expectant faces and I said in an avuncular manner, "This is your most important command!"

The shift supervisor stepped forward and studied the text for about a minute. He then turned with a very puzzled expression on his face and asked, "What do you use it for?" Sigh.

This feels like every time I've tried to explain some bit of technology to a non-techie.

pyrocat 7 hours ago 0 replies      
So, did the story have anything to do with the punchline or was it a coincidence? And what happened to the trillion dollars?
quux 10 hours ago 1 reply      
What was the barrel for?!
BillSaysThis 10 hours ago 0 replies      
That was the first day of my honeymoon, in Aruba. The hotel had a local four page paper that came out at noon, so I saw it when we checked in shortly afterwards. Boy was I glad not to be in the office of the (investment company) where I worked then. And they said you could never get fired for buying IBM...
davb 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I enjoy stories like these. I read them throughout my high school years (late 90's, early 2000's).

Now I've been in industry for close to a decade, sometimes I feel like I missed the golden age of computing.

walshemj 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I thought that halon systems where supposed to have interlocks so that they could physically not go off if anyone was in the room.

The dinosaur pen batteries seem to have been done on the cheap though - dont understated how the power coming back took out the UPS though.

Show HN: I built an HTML 5 Guitar Tuner freetuner.co
90 points by hoddez  10 hours ago   47 comments top 25
daeken 8 hours ago 3 replies      
This isn't exactly an app or traditional tuner, but I recently put a TronicalTune unit on one of my guitars (Les Paul Studio -- it's my project guitar) and it's the coolest thing I've ever played with: http://www.tronical.com/ Makes it so easy to switch tunings, the locking tuners are great (learning to string it up properly takes some time, but it's worth it), and it doesn't add too much weight to the headstock. Can't recommend it enough for guitarists with compatible equipment; really wish they'd make one that would fit on my 8-string or my PRS!

(Note: Not affiliated with them in any way, just become a huge fanboy lately!)

publicfig 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Oddly enough, this is the app that made me realize that Chrome puts a recording symbol next to the name of the page when a page is using your microphone now (kind of like when they put the speaker icon on tabs that are playing sound). I think that's pretty cool!


Edit: I should also mention that this is really well done, and I've been looking for something simple like this for a while. Thanks for sharing!

hawkharris 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't own a guitar, so I tested this web app by making guitar-like noises. It turns out my voice produces "C" chords...and my neighbors probably think I'm insane.

(Jokes aside, this has a great design and it's an interesting application of the microphone API. Hope to see more apps using this feature in the future, especially in conjunction with the cool voice-to-JSON APIs that have recently come out.)

austinl 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I just tested this against my Snark Clip On tuner (http://www.snarktuners.com/tuners/original-clip-on) and it's almost identical. I hope your site eventually passes the other "guitar tuners" in Google search results that just play the tones, great job overall.
exDM69 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Good work, thank you. I have been looking for a free guitar tuner and I have had varying experiences with the ones I've used.

I mostly use a linux native app called lingot. It does the job but has small annoying bugs (settings file is not parsed properly, my ALSA device CARD:foo,bar=baz fails because of the colon character, I'll write a patch one of these days).

This guitar tuner works, I tuned my guitar succesfully with it but it was a bit painful. I'm on Firefox 27.0 on Linux, using Alsa, no PulseAudio. I am using a Microsoft LifeChat headphone + microphone laid on the table before me that is good enough to tune my guitar with Lingot. I would have tried Chromium for comparison but it seems I have a version that is too old.

There was a very bad latency, around 1 second from playing a note to seeing feedback on the display. The information I got back was decent and good enough to get my guitar in tune. Overall the quality of this was somewhat comparable to a cheap guitar tuner from the 1990s with an internal microphone. But I think the culprit here is the platform (ie. browser + audio frameworks) rather than the quality of the app itself.

What platform(s) have you used with tuner and how did it work out? What browser, OS and audio system did you use?

If you want me to help out testing this app, please reply and tell me what to test and I will.

theatraine 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I used this tuner to test it: http://www.audionotch.com/app/tune/ and this chart: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piano_key_frequencies)Seems to work well! Good work.
bhrgunatha 2 hours ago 0 replies      
This is great.

It seems to have trouble with the A on both of my classical guitars. The needle skips directly from one tick below to one tick above while never lighting up (despite the string being tuned correctly.)

Interestingly the needle shows C, D and E correctly using the A string at the 3rd 5th and 7th frets.

vacri 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Interesting. I don't have a microphone, but it did detect my Rocksmith guitar cable as a mike. It almost worked, but didn't quite get the right tone - I'm assuming the custom cable isn't just a straight-out mike.

The needle was very stuttery, as opposed to other tuners which have a much higher frequency update. Is it always like this, or am I seeing perhaps an interaction effect with this non-standard mike?

Nice work, though.

cyberjunkie 27 minutes ago 0 replies      
You could add presets for different tunings and strings. That would help :
bijanous 35 minutes ago 0 replies      
There are many similar programs on google play and apple app store. But good job.
ryanwhitney 5 hours ago 0 replies      
No standalone tuner on me, and both Guitar Toolkit and GarageBand's crap hit-or-miss tuner were failing me with a bass. Remembered seeing this and got tuned up in no time. Thanks for making it.
paperwork 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Interesting, just last night I was searching google to see if it is possible to write a guitar tuner in html 5 :)I just started learning the guitar. When I do basic finger exercises, I have no idea if I'm plucking the right string. Something like this could be easily extended to help provide feedback for such exercises.
nanidin 9 hours ago 1 reply      
I used a library I found on github for a similar project - here's their demo page: http://deibelman.github.io/dart-mic/demo.html

For my project, I was charting the dominant frequency for fun.

a3camero 10 hours ago 5 replies      
I don't have a guitar but I can tap on my desk, and that seems to result in random notes. Maybe there's a way to improve the detection so it knows it's a guitar note?
DougHaber 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I also made and released a chromatic instrument tuner using web audio input a while back:


I haven't looked too closely, but my technique is probably a bit different. I use FFT only to gain a hint of where to look. FFT itself, at least in the form that is built into the web audio api, is not accurate enough for a tuner. Instead, after FFT tells me where to look, I use auto-correlation to scan those frequencies.

I may have released too early, because back when I wrote this web audio input only worked in limited versions of Chrome. It didn't even work in the main release without changing flags, and so my release went mostly unnoticed on the internet.

I haven't checked in a few months, but I've been waiting for mobile support to catch up. Firefox mobile beta started somewhat working a few months ago, and I don't know if that moved up into the main version. While Chrome works well on the desktop now, on mobile I don't think they have any working web audio input support, unless that changed recently.

jeena 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow, great work, I will check out the code and bookmark the page. I struggle to find a program to tune my accustic guitarr because I'm often on different computers.

And nice touch with the countdown too.

aalpbalkan 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Please try Guitar Tuner.app on Mac OS X. It has a neat UI so I can see where the sound falls within on the scale. Took a screenshot for you: http://imgur.com/XCge66b

Personally that UI is better for me.

mmastrac 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Very neat. What's the timeout for?
donrhummy 8 hours ago 1 reply      
This worked on Chrome on Android (KitKat 4.4) but not on Firefox Beta for Android. Both correctly showed the microphone sharing notification, but on Firefox, no sound ever registers.
cdelsolar 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Nice job. It's always hard to find a good guitar tuner app and this could become my go-to from now on :) (at least until I develop perfect pitch)
udfalkso 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Awesome. How does the audio analysis work? Is it all happening client side?
OhHeyItsE 9 hours ago 0 replies      
do we need any more evidence that the web will win?
plg 8 hours ago 1 reply      
not supported in Safari? (7.0.1)
ellisonleao 9 hours ago 0 replies      
very nice! congratulations!
yuuks 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Just tried it out with my synth, worked well. Good work :)
Radiation-hardened quine github.com
193 points by epsylon  18 hours ago   59 comments top 15
p4bl0 10 hours ago 0 replies      

This reminds me of a work I did as an undergrad which landed in a paper called "Can a Program Reverse-Engineer Itself?". The idea is to take any program/function and make it a quine so you can retrieve its original code even if it has been obfuscated. You can find the paper here: http://pablo.rauzy.name/research.html#imacc11.

danslimmon 12 hours ago 1 reply      
I was curious how well this quine would withstand having more than one character removed, so I performed a test. I did 1000 iterations removing 2 characters each time, then 1000 more removing 3 characters each time, and so on.

Here are the results up to 23 removals: http://i.imgur.com/PwWN7Z7.png

Cthulhu_ 16 hours ago 2 replies      
I can't read this code at all, but, does this code basically contain the same code twice, so if something from the first half is removed the second half saves it?
zefhous 16 hours ago 2 replies      
Here's the google translate link to his blog post about it.

My favorite part: "Ruby I terrible."


zackmorris 14 hours ago 3 replies      
Interesting! Does anyone know of a language or operating system that uses ReedSolomon error correction on every file?


Or to top that, imagine a computer where the entire memory space, perhaps shared with persistent flash memory, was encoded in this manner, so that even the filesystem was protected against bit flips.

When I was doing Mac repair a few years back, the majority of the PowerMac G5s that came through the doors died premature deaths for two reasons: the ram was in a bad spot which caused the board to bend and crack on insertion, and the ram was non-ECC so it was notoriously difficult to isolate a bad ram chip. It was the most unreliable Mac I ever diagnosed, by perhaps an order of magnitude.

Contrast that with the Mac Pro, which used ECC and was so much more reliable that I don't remember seeing a single Mac Pro fail in the 3 years I was there.

Imagine how stable a ReedSolomon computer would be..

dllthomas 16 hours ago 4 replies      
Fascinating exercise. "Deleting one character" seems a phenomenally unlikely outcome of radiation, though.
mey 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Wouldn't radiation flip a bit, rather than remove a character?
michaelmior 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Depends on how you define "works." The program continues to output the original source code after the deletion, and ceases to be a quine. Still a very cool trick though :)
hyborg787 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Exercise for the reader, make a quine that still works even if any one character is mutated (by 1 bit or 8?), rather than deleted.
tomp 15 hours ago 1 reply      
This would be much easier to understand if GitHub had proper ruby syntax highlighting. Just yesterday I was testing this, it appears they use very simplistic algorithm for parsing Ruby string interpolation - probably just regexes, which cannot handle nesting.


th0ma5 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I recommend reading specs for low power digital radio protocols like WSPR for ideas around basic error correction. Just something I did recently and was fun.
NAFV_P 13 hours ago 0 replies      

  $ git clone the_quine  $ cd the_quine  $ ruby the_quine  The program 'ruby' can be found in the following packages:   * ruby1.8   * ruby1.9.1  # shit I don't have ruby  $ sudo apt-get install ruby1.9.1  # 200 bytes/s, terrible  # ... what's going on? Ah finally.  $ touch output  $ ruby rbquine.rb > output  $ diff rbquine.rb output  # nowt

heydenberk 10 hours ago 0 replies      
If you had asked me I might've said this was impossible.
jheriko 16 hours ago 1 reply      
i wonder how far this can be taken... e.g. flipping or setting a random string of bits that would be physically contiguous in hardware as if a real neutron came smashing into the memory... if doing it during run can be achieved etc.

how about a real native app with instructions? i'd never expect something as high level and wooly as ruby in systems that will be exposed to radiation. that's just asking for failure imo... how robust is the interpreter for instance?

throwaway_yy2Di 16 hours ago 2 replies      
Hard mode: flip bits in the interpreter's process memory as it's running.
Uzbl Web interface tools which adhere to the Unix philosophy uzbl.org
70 points by javanix  10 hours ago   39 comments top 15
Smudge 9 hours ago 1 reply      
> Any program can only be really useful if it complies with the Unix philosophy.

False! Software can be really useful without being modular and readily composable.

But I enjoy the premise of what Uzbl is aiming to solve. It would certainly make for a richer array of web-related software components, with plenty of uses beyond just web browsers.

bradgessler 36 minutes ago 0 replies      
Has anybody looked into the application of this for headless acceptance tests on web apps?
rjzzleep 10 hours ago 1 reply      
i can't really use this project now that my main os is osx(i frequently boot from my ssd with archlinux on the mba), but

i absolutely love this project. it's amazing,

the only thing i'm a little sad about is that i never wrote the pass plugin i wanted for password store [1]. but hey you can still write one

the main author moved, but there are fairly active forks[2].

the amazing thing about this is that you can write plugins in any scripting language you want. you can pretty much hook it's basically a mighty scriptable version of webkit.

here are a bunch of scripts you can use to extend it with [3]

on a sidenote, a completely different, but also interesting approach are conkeror [4] and luakit [5]. though luakit seems abandoned too. luakit is kind of a lua webkit browser framework with sane vi like defaults. conkeror is an emacs for xulrunner, however keep in mind that since firefox is taking over the role of xulrunner you might not really need xulrunner at all.

[1] http://www.zx2c4.com/projects/password-store/

[2] https://github.com/mathstuf/uzbl/tree/next

[3] http://www.uzbl.org/wiki/scripts

[4] http://conkeror.org/#Installation_and_Startup

[5] http://mason-larobina.github.io/luakit/

agumonkey 27 minutes ago 0 replies      
[related] ii irc client where everything is a file http://erthalion.github.io/2014/02/16/ii/
mvip 9 hours ago 0 replies      
We've been using Uzbl in Screenly (http://www.screenlyapp.com/) for some time now and it works really well.
sparkie 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Another browser with a similar approach: http://portix.bitbucket.org/dwb/
javanix 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Thanks for the rename, whoever did that. Couldn't figure out how to properly phrase it without being super link-baity.
xiaq 1 hour ago 1 reply      
For anyone wondering, uzbl stands for usable.
javanix 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd love to figure out how to get tmux/screen keybindings for this.

Opening a browser and using it within an existing terminal (without needing the mouse) would be incredibly close to the ideal workflow for me.

mixedbit 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Does Mozilla explore similar architecture with their experimental Servo project?
_delirium 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Development seems to have mostly dropped off in the past year, fwiw: https://github.com/Dieterbe/uzbl
zhemao 6 hours ago 2 replies      
Hey, it's in Arch community repository! Happy day.

    sudo pacman -S uzbl-tabbed

vezzy-fnord 10 hours ago 3 replies      
I tried out uzbl a few months ago. It works very well for tiling WMs, actually. I should consider using it more often.
ezequiel-garzon 8 hours ago 0 replies      
This is awesome! Is there a uzbl command to view the page source?
xiaq 1 hour ago 0 replies      
for anyone wondering, uzbl stands for usable.
Zuckerbergs Data Stance Faces Privacy Backlash in Europe bloomberg.com
35 points by T-A  7 hours ago   discuss
Project Tango google.com
727 points by psbp  1 day ago   329 comments top 74
martythemaniak 1 day ago 11 replies      
This is essentially putting a Kinect in your phone and hooking it up with hopefully high-level APIs. It may take 2-3 years to make it into regular phones, but when it does it will be huge. Apple's acquisition of PrimeSense (the makers of the 1st gen Kinect) means they're also working on this.

To give you a real-world example: when I started BarSsense (http://www.barsense.com) the core problem was tracking the path and velocity of a weightlifter's bar. I bought a PrimeSense camera because it can extract a lot more data and with greater accuracy out of an image than a regular camera. After some prototyping, I decided to use a 2D camera and deliver the software as an app because I thought wide distribution and ease of use was more important than the fidelity and correctness of the data - ie, the "worse is better" approach. When these cameras make their way into regular phones, "worse is better" will suddenly become "better".

SiVal 1 day ago 15 replies      
"Imagine measuring your room by just walking around in it." Yes, and imagine transmitting each of those footsteps in real time back to Google, so they can have a map of your room, too, in case they, or other parties, ever need it.

I was just having a discussion yesterday with a friend who works at Google about what data they store when you query their search engine. Every single keystroke, including backspaces, is stored. They don't just know what you ask. They know how well you can spell and know how well you type, not just in general but down to specific letter sequences. With this data, they can tell if you are regularly more impaired (fine motor control) at some times than at others, or if you're growing more impaired over time and match that against the content of your queries, etc.

"Phones that don't limit their boundaries to a touchscreen", meaning, we're not satisfied limiting our knowledge of you to just what we can extract from what you enter and how you enter it and when on a touchscreen. We want to know every step you take, when you sit, when you stand, how and where you walk.... SO much more data about you and your world that we can mine for treasure!

I'm not saying that Google is evil. My friends at Google certainly aren't. It's just that they are like kids in a candy store with unprecedented access to data and so many great, new algorithms for extracting information from it that they are just loving it, the way geeks would. But we're really going down a rabbit hole here.

magicalist 1 day ago 6 replies      
"- Johnny Lee and the ATAP-Project Tango Team"

Johnny Lee was the guy with the awesome Wii Controller demos back in 2007 (can't believe it's been that long).


edit: here's the full set of demos: http://johnnylee.net/projects/wii/ also, I'm assuming it's the same guy, but his site says he's at Google now)

skywhopper 1 day ago 5 replies      
I wish I could go back to the time when I thought this kind of thing was awesome. Nowadays, it's just one more aspect of our private lives that'll be stored on Google's (or whomever) servers, sold to advertisers, harvested by the NSA, and abused by law enforcement. Add some object recognition to the 3D scanning, and you can start getting marketing messages about how much better [Featured Brand]'s refrigerator would suit your needs, courts will rule that no reasonable person would expect the interior contents of their house to be private and require a search warrant, and the DEA will be able to find something that looks enough like drug paraphenalia in the images from anyone's home to justify a home invasion of whoever their preferred target of the moment is.
k-mcgrady 1 day ago 1 reply      
Really cool. I love how this could help the blind (my first thought when I saw how it worked - glad it was acknowledged in the video as a use case). The stuff Google's working on (and the face they're making it public is really exciting me (this, Glass, contact lens etc.). The more I see the more I think I'm going to spend more time developing for Google's platforms and less time developing for Apple's. I'm sure Apple has a few cool projects they'll be sharing this year but Google seems to be the one pushing the boundaries.
Hermel 1 day ago 7 replies      
I'm looking forward to the first first-person shooter built on Tango. E.g. a ghostbusters game in which you walk around in your own house, the ghosts only being visible through your Tango.
jlas 1 day ago 2 replies      
"Unfortunately, due to FCC restrictions, we can only send development units to incorporated entities or institutions at this time."

That's a bummer.

Also, the page's default background-color should be set to black (or something dark). Most of the text is white(ish) and with a slow connection the background images take a while to load, making it impossible to read while you wait. /rant

tbenst 1 day ago 1 reply      
My submission:

3D Printing is a big data problem where the data is not being collected. Sensors in desktop 3D printers are usually restricted to simple limit switches on the axes.

We would use Project Tango for a real-time feedback system for 3D Printing. Initially, we would demonstrate a simple functionality: recognizing when a print is failing and instructing the machine to stop, rather than waste more material. Next, with the help of the open-source community, we would expand functionality to dynamically adjust machine instructions to compensate/fix problems observed during the print. Here are a few examples:

- adjust bed height for different layer heights via software rather than manual hardware tinkering

- dynamically change extrusion rate if underextrusion/overextrusion is observed

- detect if belts are slipping & correct extruder positioning

- pause print is no filament is extruding

- intelligently resume print if stopped (e.g. power failure)

- inform slicing software if/where/why a print fails so the software can reslice and repeat properly

For users, no new hardware will be needed besides Project Tango - a computer will stream GCODE instructions via USB to a RepRap-like 3D printer (e.g. Makerbot, Ultimaker, etc.). Project Tango is precisely the breakthrough we have been waiting for to make 3D printing more user friendly.

sirkneeland 1 day ago 0 replies      
I swear you could just write a "HN comment generator" script for these sorts of articles:

input: $new_google_tech

output string: "$new_google_tech will let Google know more about you! I disapprove! Also, NSA."

Repeat. Occasionally sprinkle with insightful comment about the actual technology being introduced.

patrickaljord 1 day ago 0 replies      
Funny, the official tagline of the project is "We like epic shit". http://i.imgur.com/mvcyUX4.png


kodablah 1 day ago 4 replies      
Here's the best idea I can think of with this technology.

Imagine taking a scan of your pantry, refrigerator, and/or laundry room. Then mark everything as what it is (e.g. "box of cheez-its", "milk", etc). Then come back a few days and do the scan again and it'll tell you what's missing. Once you return from shopping, scan again saying what the new items are (even if they aren't what was there). The software would probably need to recognize certain shapes so a slight rearrangement/movement doesn't change. It'd be like history/bookmarks/favorites for perishables!

twelvechairs 1 day ago 0 replies      
This kind of technology will lead to very big changes in the surveying industry, which is big. Also will lead to open 3d city models (the next openstreetmap will be in 3d and textured - IMO gmaps and apple maps will lose out to this eventually) and real-estate models (see your apartment without actually visiting) which will lead to lnock-on effects for a range of other property industry fields. Academically - urban studies (a field mostly based on experience and conjecture) will benefit hugely from realistic 3d modelling...
ihsw 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'm shocked by the distinct focus on fear and doubt about Google's intentions with this technology -- does it really matter that much?

The rising tide lifts us all, and this technology can be ubiquitous within twenty years. Isn't that worth it?

ok_craig 1 day ago 2 replies      
This technology inside Google Glass would be pretty killer.
shanselman 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is the return of Johnny Chung Lee! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny_Lee_(computer_scientist)
snotrockets 1 day ago 2 replies      
I wonder if Google has a stack of experimental projects to release whenever a competitor announces some headline grabbing news.
TophWells 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Here's the application I thought was immediately obvious: memory palaces.

Based on the old mnemonic trick of taking a real physical location that you know well, and associating memories with objects in that space. The digital version of this would be having files and data stored in a "physical" place - although they're not solid, they'd be tied to a single location.

Harder to organise, but I know several people who have completely filled their computer's desktop with shortcuts, because they don't like futzing around with folders. The folder metaphor isn't the be-all and end-all, there are times when it's appropriate and times when it's not. The metaphor of icons that are dragged around the screen is limited by available screen space - Project Tango gives you a house-sized (or even just room-sized) 3D space to play with, more than enough for all the files you could need to be immediately visible.

The main risk is that my virtual room could end up as messy as my real room.

I don't know how anyone could make money from this, but it would be really damn cool.

gamegoblin 1 day ago 1 reply      
I wonder if it uses the machine vision aspect to prevent the typical problem of accelerometer drift. e.g. by orienting itself relative to walls/other stationary things.

Also, imagine making a 3D "scanner" that you can scan objects with into a virtual world, or print out on a 3D printer.

znowi 1 day ago 0 replies      
GPS tracking + complete 3D environment history of your presence.

I can imagine how NSA is excited :)

arjn 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Anyone recall the mapping drones from the recent Ridley Scott film "Prometheus" ? (similar concepts in other films too I think)

Combine this with a small smart-ish drone and it could get very interesting.

pinaceae 1 day ago 1 reply      
interesting that they built this into a phone. but i guess once you need a mobile computing device with a screen and a camera you end up with a "phone" nowadays.

the reliance on lenses is a hinderance though as it has two and holding it without covering them both requires user effort. you can see it at the end of their video where a finger is partially over the second lens.

still, exciting!

radley 1 day ago 0 replies      
Isn't the next win turning your house / apartment into a game world / holodeck using something like this together with an Oculus Rift?

Household layout and furniture are mapped out, then re-textured to represent a castle, evil lair, enemy corporation, etc. Textures can update allowing the story to reuse each room as different places as you progress - the same way the holodeck area is actually small but uses optical illusions to give you a sense of greater mobility.

Not saying we have holodeck. But it's a step towards.

pyvek 1 day ago 2 replies      
Is anyone else getting 404?

    The requested URL /atap/projecttango/ was not found on this server. Thats all we know.

_random_ 1 day ago 1 reply      
"written in Java, C/C++, as well as the Unity Game Engine" - good news and a discreet way of saying they support C# via Mono!
bambax 1 day ago 1 reply      
> updating its position and orientation in real-time


flyt 1 day ago 1 reply      
Not a single woman in this entire video.

edit: actually there's one I saw in the background as a camera pans over a table, but 99.9999% of the people represented here are men.

rcthompson 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ulterior motive: https://xkcd.com/1204/
ultimatedelman 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think a game that maps your home or yard or street or whatever, recognizes common objects like trees, benches, cars, houses, people, etc, skins them with some sort of other-worldly skin, and allows you to walk around in the world finding virtual treasures and going on dynamic, virtual quests and fighting monsters by actually walking around would be the first literally fully-immersive game. incorporate events queued by actual sound coming in through the mic and you have the coolest game ever made, to date.

think ingress, but overlaid in real time on what your camera sees and phone hears, instead of just on google maps.

roycehaynes 1 day ago 2 replies      
Tango looks a lot like The Structure Sensor by Occipital - http://structure.io/
kamaal 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is really amazing. This is basically the stepping stone for 'self driving car' equivalent applications for indoors.

One wonders what Google is upto. Big investments in AI research, and then things like this. You could build domestic robots to do all sorts for work with a technology like this.

And I'm not just talking of toys or games here. The very nature of consumer electronics can be redefined with technologies like these.

Something to think of:


-> By now, it is likely that "clean a house" will be within the capabilities of a household robot.


d0 1 day ago 2 replies      
Is it just latent paranoia, or can I just see evil uses for this?
ulyssesgrant 1 day ago 1 reply      
As someone who's worked on visual odometry projects before, I'm extremely interested in how they're able to compute the phone's motion estimations so accurately and in real time on a mobile device. Is any of this project open source? Is anyone here familiar with the vision techniques they're using to accomplish this feat? Perhaps there's an FPGA or ASIC designed for visual odometry inside the phone.
iceIX 1 day ago 0 replies      
Interesting to see that this is coming from ATAP - the one part of Motorola that Google kept in the sale to Lenovo[1]. I was curious to see if they would merge the ATAP group into Google X, but I guess they're going to keep it separate and just rebrand it as Google ATAP.

[1] http://www.theverge.com/2014/1/29/5359068/google-keeping-mot...

archagon 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Space detection is very exciting to me, but this feels like a technological stopgap. Is there any research being done into "blind" space detection, that doesn't require the use of cameras? Is that even possible? It would be amazing if I could have my phone in my pocket and (for example) adjust the rotation of a nearby camera based solely on my hand gestures.
web007 4 hours ago 0 replies      
This is the embodiment of the phone-scanner-mapping thing from The Dark Knight. Fascinating!
Aoyagi 1 day ago 2 replies      
Every time something new comes out from Google or Microsoft, I just wait to see where is the catch. There is always the catch.
deletes 1 day ago 1 reply      
I understand the idea that you can get the exact positions of the surrounding, if you have an accurate position of the device. But how are they achieving that? I don't know of any such small tech capable of being accurate to 1cm, without external help.

I don't see how can they do this without an accurate position of the device.

An example when it breaks down without the position information:

Pointing the device perpendicular at an uniformly colored wall and moving parallel to the wall. Then the visual information is undefined and you have to rely on very accurate position sensors( which don't exist ) to correctly scan the environment.

runewell 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Did I understand this correctly, will this actually map onto virtual Earth geometry at the same position and scale as real-life? That would be amazing, you would literally be able to use Google Maps to walk inside buildings and look around not to mention it could be the first Earth-accurate metaverse. Imagine sitting down with a more advanced pair of Google glasses and being able to see both your real-life environment and its identical online copy with virtual avatars navigating the hallways along with your real-life co-workers.
pazimzadeh 1 day ago 1 reply      
This should be interesting to the guys who made Minecraft Reality.


TeMPOraL 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Applied for our local Hackerspace. I hope Google will consider applications not only from companies, but from community R&D labs as well :).
Nate630 1 day ago 0 replies      
Google needs more data so that Google Maps can map the inside of your house. :-
Pro_bity 1 day ago 1 reply      
Forget the phone, this is technology is ideal to merge into Google Glass.
fidotron 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you were to build an Android powered robot isn't this exactly what you'd need inside it?
return0 1 day ago 1 reply      
Cool technology and all, but i find that it is an odd fit for phones. Apart from games and other gimmicky applications, or exceptional cases like navigation for the blind, what are the awesome applications of space detection for a phone? I can think of much more interesting applications in mobile devices like cars.
benhirashima 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's great to see mobile 3D scanning receive validation from a major player like Google. My company, RealityCap, is working on bringing 3D scanning to mobile devices without the need for specialized 3D cameras. We use the sensors already present in smartphones: the camera (monocular), accelerometer, and gyroscope. That means that we can bring 3D scanning to millions of mobile devices that already exist. http://realitycap.com
mbrameld 1 day ago 0 replies      
I hope I can strap one on an RC plane or multi-rotor and map my neighborhood. That would be kind of cool.
chacham15 1 day ago 1 reply      
I can see this being HUGE in the real estate market. Imagine if a house seller can walk through his house with one of these, then upload the data to a website and now you can have a truly online "open house".
pbreit 1 day ago 0 replies      
Some of these applications sound more promising than the user input applications Leap Motion has been touting. I bet there are massive commercial opportunities for technology like this.
cynusx 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Generating CS maps from the university campus now becomes ridiculously simple :)
cmollis 17 hours ago 0 replies      
awesome. I continue to be amazed at Google's breadth of ambition. If it works, which I assume it mostly does, I think it will be beneficial to most. Some (perhaps even some division of Google itself), will do something totally asinine and attempt to subvert the original intents of the engineers and designers who are currently involved. But that's what happens with any new technology that broadens access and visibility. I don't believe anything Google does is inherently 'evil' on its face.. unfortunately, given their reach, they are a natural access point for some federal agencies to execute their primary tasks, as they fall under the same vague, broadly defined national security laws as we all do. The only difference is that we don't run the Internet and its major consumer touch points. Google does and they need to make money from their capital investments. It would be smart to use it and do something cool.
stefek99 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Contest finished at the moment it is started?


"The Contest begins at 12:00:00 A.M. Pacific Time (PT) Zone in the United States on February 19th, 2014"

"On or about February 19th, 2014, each Essay will be evaluated by the Judges."


rasz_pl 1 day ago 0 replies      

19 second mark shows they are using monocular structure from motion.

Some Japanese Uni has a working solution(HDL inside FPGA) doing same thing toohttp://hackaday.com/2014/01/12/autonomous-quadcopter-fits-in...

you can try it yourself, code is on githubhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E35xbo3r8rAhttps://github.com/nymanjens/ardrone-exploration

bzalasky 1 day ago 0 replies      
Looks cool. This reminds me of what Dekko was working on while they were still in business, though I suppose at Google scale.
epmatsw 1 day ago 0 replies      
Makes me think of the arm computers from the Neanderthal Parallax. I'd love to get my hands on one of these
Nogwater 1 day ago 0 replies      
Could this do real-time position, rotation, and gesture tracking if it was embedded in a VR head-mounted display?
belgianguy 1 day ago 0 replies      
I like the mapping ability, imagine mapping out your house and be able to use it as a level in a game, like walking on your ceiling with Oculus Rift.
atburrow 1 day ago 1 reply      
It would be very interesting to see an application for this using Glass. Could this potentially help blind people navigate in unknown environments?
Keyframe 1 day ago 0 replies      
With enough precision this could work really well for set extensions/reconstruction.
adamzerner 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think the video made the mistake of focusing on features, and not benefits. (Not saying that the benefits aren't there, just that I personally don't see them, and the video didn't do a good job of making them apparent).
mrbill 1 day ago 0 replies      
Surely I'm not the only Charlie Stross fan who immediately thought "SCORPION STARE"...
z3phyr 1 day ago 0 replies      
Couple it with neuromorphic engineering, and we have a good robot AI technology in our hands!!!!
jogzden 1 day ago 0 replies      
I can see tech like this being used in the next Bond film. Every day, the advances in modern technology surprise and impress me. I love our line of work, where we can set our mind to something and just make it.
tunesmith 1 day ago 0 replies      
Fun to imagine this tech being put into a contact lens.
infocollector 1 day ago 0 replies      
Paracosm as partner? Isnt this exactly what the paracosm startup was doing? Does anyone know the story?
Allower 20 hours ago 0 replies      
This is not creepy at all...
mixerjoe 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Cool would be if this mixed-reality game here would be on Tango: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/gbanga-famiglia-rise-and-f...
ejstembler 1 day ago 0 replies      
Pretty much all junk and ancient looking. It's sad this genre has not advanced.
boucherm 1 day ago 0 replies      
Argh, this is my phd subject.Not sure wether this is good (for the lights) or bad news...What do you think?
wegi 1 day ago 0 replies      
I am a little bit disappointed, that I have to be part of a company to apply there. No time to work full time while doing my masters.
jcoleh 1 day ago 1 reply      
Google's answer to iBeacons?
jankeromnes 1 day ago 0 replies      
s/updating its position/updating its position/
nikunjk 1 day ago 2 replies      
404 error
mendelk 1 day ago 0 replies      
Getting a 404.
How much is time wrong around the world? unipi.it
118 points by ot  15 hours ago   59 comments top 14
chimeracoder 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Since the rest of the site seems to be down, here is a direct link to the relevant image:


clarky07 13 hours ago 4 replies      
It is interesting to see that much more of the world errs to the side of having sun later in the day. As someone who lives just on the other side of a timezone line in a green area, I can definitely see the appeal. It gets dark at 4-4:30 in the winter here, and it sucks. There is actually a bill in our state now to stay on daylight savings all year. I really hope we pass it and don't have to "fall back" next year.
brey 14 hours ago 3 replies      
brilliant concept ...

... but this could probably be the poster child of where not to use the Mercator projection.

yeah, Greenland overlaps five time zones. but they're tiny at that latitude! this makes it seem like places as far apart as New York & Los Angeles are in the same time zone.

edit: Miller not Mercator - but the point stands that it's distorting the size of countries at high latitude, significantly exaggerating the issue.

wtvanhest 14 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm going to argue that the colors should be flipped. Having sunlight last longer seems like a feature not a bug. Taking Boston in to consideration, it is dark here by 4:15 for weeks at a time in early winter. Every day of the year, SF stays light later.

Boston would be dramatically more livable if it were to just change to the next time zone. The red areas seem far more desirable to me.

MichaelGG 10 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm in Guatemala, and frequently see late dinners (later than 8PM+), but Guatemala is about "perfect" in time. (And fortunately, doesn't participate in timezone shifting nonsense, except on years when the local government arbitrarily decides to implement a timeshift for a few months.) So it's probably more a cultural thing, than a slightly shifted timezone.

While this article is interesting, I don't get the obsession people collectively have with specific times and needing timezones. Don't like getting up when it's dark? Get up later. Yes, that requires participation if you depend on others' schedules. Schools are particularly notorious, starting at ridiculously early hours. (My kids would have had to get up at 5.30 or so, but I created a private school for them, and it starts at 9. Works fantastic for them, they can stay up a bit later and play. There's no traffic rush for the teacher, which is good. A much better solution than starting at 7.30.)

I imagine if there were no timezones, people would cope with this better, since they'd be forced to. Instead of saying "kids shouldn't be up past 8!" they'd actually stop and think about it.

gruseom 13 hours ago 2 replies      
I wonder if Spaniards used to stay up late before Franco changed their time zone in the 1940s. Does anybody know?
zer 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Interesting fact just for fun: Afghanistan shares a 76 km long border with China; this is where the biggest time zone jump occurs, an impressive 3.5 hours.
dfc 9 hours ago 0 replies      
The Olson tzdb used to have support for a solar-noon time zone for Saudi Arabia. I forget the specifics but there was a need for solar noon and a religious observance. It was just recently removed due to constraints regarding the size of unsigned chars.[^1] It would be neat to remake the map with the tz shapefiles and animate it a la xearth.[^2]

[^1]: http://efele.net/maps/tz/world/

[^2]: https://github.com/eggert/tz/commit/a9ac0f6938c416f724a52115...

snissn 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Earlier this year I was curious as to what would happen if we used a clock that was actively calibrated to the solar high noon. I made this little web page here: http://mseiler.com/highnoon/ that uses your geolocation data and a few date-time and astronomy libraries to do just that. It tells me that in NYC the time is shifted by about 11 minutes and that number varies a lot throughout the year.

It would be a very different world if we were to set up meetings using the actual solar time calibrated to the date and location of our meeting points!

kybernetikos 12 hours ago 0 replies      
If you don't like having your time wrong, you could use my decimalised time system that rotates the numbers based on your geolocation so that solar noon where you are is always at the top of the clockface.


(You will of course have to allow it access to your location)

wnevets 13 hours ago 0 replies      
its perfect apparently.
LinkedIn is not using email contacts to find people who have an account already plus.google.com
273 points by robinjfisher  23 hours ago   161 comments top 38
grey-area 20 hours ago 6 replies      
This obsession with collecting users (dead or alive) reminds me of Gogol's Dead Souls - companies trading in users (who may or may not exist) in order to boost their standing and taking out huge loans on the basis of their illusory popularity. Even illusory users can have some value, just like the dead serfs in Gogol's tale, and like the dead serfs, their value is not in their existence, but in being entries on a ledger of chattels.

It doesn't matter to LinkedIn whether these accounts are used or real, because they are judged on basic numbers like how many users they have. Since real money is involved and salaries and careers are riding on this number going up, they'll employ all kinds of perverse and intrusive tricks in order to inflate that number every quarter for as long as it is a measure of success.

SideburnsOfDoom 22 hours ago 9 replies      
> "LinkedIn allows you to sign in to your email account and it will scan your contacts..."

Hand my contacts list to a website? No thank you. When is letting a website have this a good idea, not just Linkedin, but ever?

weixiyen 21 hours ago 7 replies      
Really surprised by all the comments here. This seems like a solid business decision by LinkedIn, riding the line of what a user is willing to accept and balancing it well with the potential rewards.

Look at every famous company and you'll find tactics that you don't agree with, and sometimes downright illegal (Path).

If you're not willing to do desperate things, to do what is necessary for user acquisition, good luck trying to build a successful business, because pure blind luck is exactly what you'll need.

Stuff like this is what really separates successful businesses from the failures. It was never about some grand vision, or some belief in connecting the world. It was about figuring out how to acquire users, retain them, and monetize.

etfb 22 hours ago 2 replies      
I know I'm a bitch for laughing that an article about Linked In inflating its usage figures is posted on Google+.
iand 21 hours ago 2 replies      
I've never intentionally shared my contacts with LinkedIn and yet I get shown names from my address book. One was my teenage son and I tried to connect thinking he'd signed up for some reason. Nope, he'd never even considered it.

I don't know where LinkedIn got my contacts from but I suspect I must have missed a setting when I briefly installed the mobile app a few years ago. Some of the email addresses they have are out of date so that adds weight to my theory.

antr 22 hours ago 1 reply      
Misrepresentation can be a very serious offence. I'd like to hear LinkedIn's argument for impersonating people who don't use the platform.
ben336 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Ironic title coming from a post on Google+. In all seriousness though the title is misleading. Its not increasing user numbers, its increasing perceived relevancy, and misleading users into evangelizing its platform.
imdsm 22 hours ago 1 reply      
I can see how this may confuse people who aren't tech savvy, but as a tech person, I immediately recognise this as a ghost profile. When you see five or six of these amongst the actual profiles, and all of them just so happen to be people from your email, possibly who you haven't spoken to in years, you can put 1 and 1 together and know it's a trick.
droob 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Bizarre headline rewrite, there.
downandout 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Your headline is extremely misleading. They are a public company and thus it is quite unlikely that they are lying about user numbers. That is a fantastic and relatively speedy way for a CEO to go to jail.

What they are doing is using your contacts list to mislead you into believing that many of your contacts are already on Linkedin. Once they get you to connect with yet-to-exist accounts, then they can legitimately spam your friends saying that you want to connect with them. Interesting strategy, but it will earn them some backlash.

naterator 21 hours ago 2 replies      
Is there an alternative to LinkedIn in that isn't (as) ethically dubious?
adrianb 22 hours ago 2 replies      
I get this all the time on the "suggested connections" page - names and email addresses extracted from my Gmail contacts, but the name is not a link to a profile (on normal suggested connections you can click on the name to see their profiles). I could easily spot those and not request to connect but it can be confusing for non-technical people.

What changed recently is that these fake profiles are also listed as having "shared connections" with me which is hard to believe considering those are not Linkedin profiles at all.

kaivi 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I have used my Gmail box since early beta, and most definitely, a fraction of people I have ever contacted are no longer alive. There is no way for me or for LinkedIn to determine that. They may use an aggressive strategy to get new sign-ups, but that's just their way of shoveling money. Death is natural and inevitable, and I believe that we must raise people's awareness of it. I'd say deal with it and don't ever let the reality offend you.

Here is a good speculation from xkcd on a related topic: https://what-if.xkcd.com/69/ With it in mind, how valuable would a database of the deceased be in 100 years from now, if we start gathering this data today? For example, mining the internet for history on relatives would probably become a business of it's own, and as a consequence, ancestor's deeds would be much less romanticized than they are today.

senthil_rajasek 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I can confirm that this happened to me as well. I deleted my Linkedin profile last year. I received a connection request. I went back to Linkedin to confirm if my account was deleted. Of course, I had no account associated with my email address. I was puzzled by this and did not know the answer until now. I am going to warn people that I know to not allow Linkedin to scan their contact list. I am definitely annoyed by this.
nomadcoop 21 hours ago 2 replies      
I deleted my LinkedIn account last year because I got tired of dealing with spam emails from them and people bugging me to endorse them for skills. I still get emails from LinkedIn telling me someone would like to connect. For a site which is supposed to be about building professional connections I find them horrible to deal with.
mephi5t0 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Just go to LinkedIn, in the top drop down menu "Network" select Add Connections. You will get a list of "imported" users. That's the users LI tricked you to give to them when they asked you to grow your network and you let them connect to your gmail or other email. They sucked in not only your address book but probably all people that ever emailed to you.

In that list just go through all users and check all that don't have little LI icon next to them (no LI profile). Click Delete button and you are all set. You can just delete all of them if you want. I clicked on "allow access LI to GMail" by accident once, when they gave me some tricky pop up during my roaming on LI. Very shitty behavior IMHO

callesgg 22 hours ago 2 replies      
Not exactly news that linkedin does this...
grayprog 19 hours ago 0 replies      
For what it's worth, LinkedIn has different wording on this page for people who have an account and those who don't.For people who have an account already, the button says "Connect". For those who don't it says "Add to Network".I agree that even "Add to Network" may mean to "my network", which is misleading.
edstock 21 hours ago 1 reply      
This is not the only underhanded practise from LinkedIn. I've had endorsements from people whom I know haven't logged into LinkedIn for years, including one from my partner who was sat next to me at the time and had even forgotten they had an old account there.
smrtinsert 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Seems every few months LinkedIn is busted on some nefarious activity. I don't know how it hasn't gotten a serious competitor yet, I can't stand them as a company.
mathattack 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I've sometimes wondered about the folks with 0 connections. Same thing?

By and large I've found the website very useful.

loceng 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I think the discomfort here is that it's not a standard practice - usually people are clicking an "Invite" action - and so the expectations of what happens creates some cognitive dissonance.
rjf90 19 hours ago 1 reply      
This is deceptive at best. I've been a fan of LinkedIn as a company until now.
shakeel_mohamed 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Oh wow, this explains so much! LinkedIn seems to be slacking with UX across the board IMO. The contacts page is entirely unusable, I have no idea what they were thinking when the built that.
aet 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Here is a idea: long LinkedIn @ 194.20, short FB @ 68.90.

Now, we come back in see in 5 years.

jbb555 21 hours ago 0 replies      
That reminds me, I keep meaning to delete my linked in account. It literally is of no use to me, all it does is attract spam from useless recruitment agencies.
Zigurd 17 hours ago 0 replies      
The author fatfingered the "spam my contacts and ask them to join" button. It's annoying, but it's one step less evil than the games on Facebook that spam your friends without asking.
blueskin_ 19 hours ago 0 replies      
One of many reasons Linkedin are never getting my email logins (not that I use a webmail service which they can scrape anyway; my saved addresses are in thunderbird).
zwischenzug 22 hours ago 1 reply      
What is the lie here?
michaelochurch 16 hours ago 1 reply      
My issue with LinkedIn is philosophical as well as practical: it's fucking dangerous.

In the career game, most of us have to be spies-- careful and immensely tactical with information-- in order to have success. A lucky few are so good at what they can do that they can shoot their mouth off (like I do) and tell the truth, for the good of the world. But most people will need to reinvent their histories at least once, and LinkedIn makes it harder to do that.

The upside: participation in a rather boring social network.

The downside: you can never reinvent yourself, because you've put too much information out there and people can find out that you actually were only a Director, not a VP, at that job in 2007, or that you spent 4 months at a shitty startup you've since taken off your resume.

But now it's almost socially unacceptable not to have a profile and actively play the game (so as to get double-digit endorsement counts in your specialties).

To me, LinkedIn seems to be a way for those in the slave class to polish their own chains.

soundoflight 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I've had numerous older relatives/friends accidentally sign-up for LinkedIn because of this and not even realize they have LinkedIn.
rob_mccann 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I noticed this a while back - I'm fairly sure they are scanning your mobile phone contact list via their mobile app.

I promptly uninstalled it.

drakaal 16 hours ago 0 replies      
What a load of bull.

Let me tell you a story about John Sculley. Former CEO of Apple ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Sculley )

I met John 4 times. He contributed to a charity that I was working with. I didn't think there was any chance he would remember me. Years went by, then I got a linkedin invite from John wanting to connect.

John Sculley wants to connect with me? Really? This can't be real. I'm "famous" but I'm not that "famous" and I barely met John, no way, has to be fake. So I report it to LinkedIn. A second friend gets a similar invite, and she has never met John, but was a contractor for Apple, and at Pepsi when John was. I have her report it to Linkedin as well.

Linkedin rushes around, calls John, doesn't get anything but a generic voicemail. 72 hours later they remove the account. 4 days later John's wife gets back from a trip, and checks his email and sees that linkedin has removed his account.

Ooops. I have caused a legit person to have their account removed.

I'm not saying LinkedIn users are all "real" but they do seem to go out of their way to have what is described in this article not happen.

- http://www.linkedin.com/in/brandonwirtz

citizenconn 21 hours ago 1 reply      
LinkedIn's copy is as misleading as the title of this post. LinkedIn doesn't "increase its user numbers" by doing this, i.e. they don't report these ghost accounts to wall st analysts or include them in userbase statistics. It's simply a question of disingenuous language on their site.
Istof 11 hours ago 0 replies      
while they are at it, why don't they use a fake user generator?
hrish2006 22 hours ago 1 reply      
They have gone too far. Disgusting.
wellboy 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Linkedin is a horrible, horrible company and very harmful to the startup culture and ecosystem.

I don't understand why Reid Hoffman, who I think is a great Angel investor is doing that to the startup community.

almavi 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I noticed this and don't like it. I even wrote them a complain through their Help Center and never got a response back. Sad.
Show HN: We've open-sourced our bootstrapped startup, ShareLaTeX github.com
225 points by jpallen  21 hours ago   71 comments top 36
primitivesuave 20 hours ago 3 replies      
You're doing a great thing by making your platform open source. Even though you make it incredibly easy to get set up with a well written readme, I'd much rather purchase this service because it's not expensive and I know I'm supporting good people that care about contributing to the open source community. Plus, your product is awesome.
jpallen 21 hours ago 4 replies      
James from ShareLaTeX here. I'm hanging around all day today ready for the barrage of pull requests that we're about to receive(!) so feel free to ask me any questions.
einhverfr 17 hours ago 1 reply      
It's really great to see perpetual interest in collaboration on LaTeX documents. I hope you have great success (not sure I have a use for it now but will keep you in mind if I ever do). I also expect to recommend it.

Unfortunately a lot of my own documents are really hard to handle with editors -- I tend to write very long documents split across multiple source documents in a tree for easy management. I wonder if there is room in an offering like this for something more like an online IDE rather than just a editor for a singular file.

grittathh 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Thank you for open-sourcing this! At the moment I'm using sharelatex to keep a version of all my equations "alive" since every time someone tries to resave my word documents, the equations become rendered to images.

Unfortunately for me, Latex hasn't gained traction in our department. I think the main barriers to entry, for our lab at least, are:

1) Local installation is more difficult than installing Word. Sharelatex and other cloud-latex solutions solve this.

2) Word's comment and review tracking system is more intuitive. If you're reading a document electronically and want to insert a comment or make an edit in word, you just do it right there. With latex, you can use synclatex to go back and forth but this extra step is actually a non-insignificant barrier. Also, with latex, is there a way to make and see comments in the pdf/preview but have the comment also live somewhere in the source, AND have the comments be editable in both places? I suspect the answer is yes, but I just haven't found the right tool?

I haven't unlocked the "history" feature in sharelatex but does it come close to this?

kriro 19 hours ago 1 reply      
This looks excellent. I'll certainly try it for my next paper and will see if I can lobby our university to pay for the hosted version.

I'm assuming universities are what you are aiming for? I think you should focus on CSy departments.

Could also target conferences/journals i.e. allow them to offer access to the hosted version for people collaborating on a paper for that journal/conference.

From a business development POV, I think it would make sense to wade through university pages and collect departments that offer Latex-Templates to their students as potential contacts.

adsche 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Awesome! I happened to stumble upon ShareLaTeX just a couple of days ago, when I needed a CV and had no LaTeX installation available due to my personal laptop being broken.

I found it easy to get started, fast and overall a pleasure to use. :)

habosa 11 hours ago 0 replies      
This is great. ShareLatex is an excellent service and they are always improving. They're the only company I can think of that sends useful, interesting emails that are for my benefit and not just theirs. Keep up the good work!
pseut 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Just tested this out with a 150 page document split across several folders; it compiled quickly and I really like the way you display the logs and warnings. Looks great! And I really appreciate your making it opensource.

Integrating this with github a la travis-ci would be great, obviously one would need to be able to make commits to the repository too; I'm not sure if it would be great enough that it would induce people to start paying for the service if they weren't already, though... although I'd sure like it.

I'm not sure what sort of use-cases you are seeing already, but this seems most useful to me personally for last-minute edits to coauthored papers & grant proposals right before submission. Nailing down the final version can be a real pain in the ass.

A few other minor observations:

* uploading a zip file didn't work, but I'm on an old version of RHEL and made the zip with Ark, so... who knows

* after accidentally drag and dropping a bunch of .bbl, .log, .toc (etc) files, I didn't see a way to delete more than one file at a time, or how to undo a file deletion.

* I also couldn't figure out how to move a file from a subdirectory to the top level directory

RA_Fisher 17 hours ago 2 replies      
My wife started out with www.writelatex.com to write her dissertation. The auto-compilation really slows down once you get beyond 30 or so pages.

Also they don't have Git integration either, which was a deal breaker for my wife.

She's since moved to using RStudio locally + Git.

She says, "If you have Git integration, the auto-compilation feature would get me back from RStudio."

We've also thought about using Grunt to build our own auto-compilation feature.

imroot 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm really excited by this. I've been a big fan of ShareLaTeX and teach a LaTeX class at my local Hackerspace for EE/CE students at the Universities near Cincinnati and I always use ShareLaTeX in our class as an easy way of getting started without needing to install TeXLive on your system. This allows me to run our own version of the service at the Hackerspace -- nothing sucks more than trying to teach an online class when 25 Engineering-heavy students are using the 5M Down Internet connection...
leoedin 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Brilliant! I used ScribTex (which I believe has now merged into ShareLaTex) a few years ago for my dissertation and it was brilliant! So much easier than maintaining a local LaTeX installation, plus being computer agnostic when working on my disseration was a huge bonus.
jtreanor 21 hours ago 1 reply      
This is really great. Thank you! What made you decide to open source it?
blueblob 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Thank you so much! I wanted to use this initially but my advisor didn't agree with storing unpublished papers on another server than the localhost/our servers. As a result I was using flylatex[1] which is nice but not as mature as this. Now I can give this a try!

[1] https://github.com/alabid/flylatex

silveira 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm a big fan of ShareLaTex, I'm always showing it to friends. It was very useful for me during my studies. I'm extremely happy knowing it is now under the GPL Affero license.
shrikrishna 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I used your product to write my resume, and could finish it without having to learn latex top-to-bottom. Really an amazing product guys. Wish you all the best and hope you achieve great success!
xanth 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I have been meaning to use LayTeX for my assessment and now that my second year of university is rapidly approaching this product looks perfect. I would love to use this but github intergeneration is a must for collaboration. What is the time frame for git integration?
benjamta 19 hours ago 0 replies      
A fantastic move! I've been using ShareLaTeX for quite some time, it's a great service. This move to open source really shows you're pushing your product in the right direction. Thanks :)
kaybe 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Our method of choice is local latex installatons + git, but this certainly looks interesting. It might be a good alternative if a less tech-savy member joins the group since it looks as if it was better for teaching and assisting people.
stevejb 13 hours ago 0 replies      
This is fantastic! I am planning on showing this to my undergraduate students, because 1) it will help them be more professional in the long run, and 2) I am incredibly sick of trying to read their handwriting and inconsistent documents.

I am wondering, what would be the best way to have students create accounts and have their accounts be populated with templates for all of the homework assignments?

I am really excited by this announcement. I hope that it leads to even more success!

cies 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I love the service! I've used it for several documents so far; with great success.

Thanks for opensourcing!

sauravt 21 hours ago 0 replies      
This is awesome, really appreciate you guys open sourcing this app.
jordigh 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Ooh, neat, AGPL! Are you planning to sell exceptions?
cliveowen 17 hours ago 1 reply      
writeLatex.com offers a live preview and it's faster overall. I really hoped this would be a better alternative because I'm already a bit disappointed in writeLatex.com's performance.

An online version of Latex sure beats the hell out of setting up a local installation though.

yrochat 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Congratulations James & Henri! I'm very happy that my lab has been financially contributing to your work for nearly a year :-)

Anyway, I'm currently writing my thesis and I've had to stop using your product. The dropbox sync is lame (I know that the problem is on their side) and working on three different computers (usually two at the same time) is a problem. But in case of collective writing, then shareLaTeX is the most useful tool. Thank you for that and for your move!

beejiu 20 hours ago 0 replies      
This is awesome. A group of us used this to write a project for University a couple of years ago. It certainly made collaboration a lot easier, without everyone learning how to use git, for example.
geekam 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Kudos! Having your source available and ability to peek into it gives me more confidence in your service and I'd rather use that. Thank you for doing this.
phireph0x 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I used ScribTex for my dissertation and have used ShareLaTeX for papers as well. Both were/are great services backed by a great team. Having experienced the pain in configuring and maintaining a local LaTeX installation in the past, it was a pleasure to have a web-based version that was backed by git.

I'm glad to read that the code behind ShareLaTeX is being released as open source!

newsoundwave 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been using this for my Senior Design project's docs, and so far I have had no issues.

Thanks for open sourcing!

thearn4 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Thanks for open sourcing! Looks like a pretty great concept, best of luck to you guys.
jre 19 hours ago 0 replies      
This is awesome
huherto 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Awsome!I almost want to learn LaTex. Perhaps this is the push I need.
onalark 18 hours ago 0 replies      
This is incredible news! Congratulations, and thanks so much for contributing back
mrcactu5 19 hours ago 2 replies      
is there any consistent way to turn LaTeX into HTML?
bookworm101 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Well, i have been working on something similar for a little while, what is the biggest challenge when getting started with this type of SAAS? what do you wish you knew when you were getting up and running? Would you recommend anyone to try out the same venture you guys have done? Is there some worry about what this might do to revenue? or was there already some evidence this would do nothing evil to your business model?
antonydenyer 20 hours ago 0 replies      
This is awesome
brickcap 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Share latex.....

Open source.....

I will just come out and say it. I had funny thoughts in my head when I read that.

The official site as well as the products looks well designed (love the idea of templates). Here is the clickable link


NSA Official Warned About Threat 17 Years Before Snowden bloomberg.com
45 points by T-A  9 hours ago   12 comments top 5
joe_the_user 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Oh Gawd...

It's not "NSA Official Warned About ... the threat to freedom that is the NSA"

It's "NSA Official Warned ... that a low level employee might warn the world about the threat to freedom that is the NSA"

pmorici 7 hours ago 1 reply      
This article is silly. The title suggests that if they had only listened to some guy stating the obvious 17 years ago all this could have been prevented as if "don't let your sys admin steal all your sensitive files" is some deep insight. The problem is more likely that their IT staff is woefully inept and either weren't bothering to look or didn't notice what was going on right under their noses.
PythonicAlpha 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Sometimes laziness beneficial for the world. Maybe not for the agency.
vinceguidry 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Features will always be prioritized over security.
glasz 5 hours ago 0 replies      
i'm with you, nsa. very sad indeed.
Gmaxwell's prove how (non)-fractional your Bitcoin reserves are scheme iwilcox.me.uk
96 points by sillysaurus2  15 hours ago   74 comments top 13
aston 12 hours ago 2 replies      
Say you were a shady Bitcoin banker with 5000 BTC in deposits, and you wanted to steal 1000 while still looking like you're on the up-and-up by implementing this idea.

First, you announce that you only have 4000 BTC in deposits. Then you build this tree, and at the very bottom layer you add a node with a -1000 balance. You pair that node with your (or a conspirator's) real node holding more than 1000 so that any node above yours (read: everyone else) sees a positive balance at every point in the tree. Everyone can verify they're in the tree, the numbers add up to what you claimed publicly, but you're now successfully running a fractional reserve! And the only way to uncover such a scheme would be to publish all of the balances for every account.

Am I missing something?

Edit for clarity: the node you pair with is your own, so that no real user sees the negative sum.

Sambdala 11 hours ago 1 reply      
If anyone is interesting in helping, I'm going to spend my evening trying to implement this here: https://github.com/ConceptPending/proveit

My email is in my profile, and I'm happy to Skype chat with anyone who wants to help.

patcon 14 hours ago 2 replies      
Not to discredit the very capable developers discussing this, but in the interest for giving credit where credit is due, didn't Peter Todd suggest this back in his Bitcoin 2013 presentation on off-chain transactions? I seem to remember him explaining something similar on a rooftop patio in Toronto last spring after a Bitcoin Toronto meetup.

EDIT: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4d3LA8KpdMQ#t=6m45s

M4v3R 13 hours ago 4 replies      
Or, just use a system like we use on Bitalo, where fractional reserves are impossible because of use of multi-signature Bitcoin addresses, which means funds are specifically tied to user wallets and exchange operators cannot use them without user's signing all transactions by himself.
sillysaurus2 15 hours ago 1 reply      
The developer is Gregory Maxwell, aka nullc. Here's a very interesting thread in which he proposes that the bitcoin community should demand that every bitcoin exchange (and every other type of service which can hold bitcoin on your behalf, like webwallets) continually prove that they are not fractional reserve. In other words, proof that if every user of the service simultaneously tries to withdraw all of their bitcoin, then the service would be able to honor all withdraw requests: http://www.reddit.com/r/Bitcoin/comments/1yj5b5/unverified_p...

"I think that as a community we should start demanding these services continually prove that they are not fractional reserve. We cannot effectively eliminate the need for trust in these sorts of services, but we can certainly confine the exposure and eliminate a lot of this drama. With Bitcoin it's technically possible to prove an entity controls enough coin to cover its obligations and even to do so in ways that don't leak other business information, and so we should. But this isn't something specific about MTGox, it's something we should demand from all services holding large amounts of third party Bitcoins. I wouldn't even suggest MTGox should do it first, rather it sounds like a great move for their competition to differentiate themselves."

Here's the takeaway:

"This would leak the total holdings, and some small amount of data about the number of accounts and distribution of their funds, but far far less than all the account balances. Importantly, though it could be implemented in a few hundred lines of python."

In case anyone from Coinbase is reading: you have a unique opportunity to be the first webwallet service to implement this, and thereby make the entire bitcoin community instantly fall in love with you. It would also set a minimum standard of quality for webwallet services in general, which would add a lot of value to the bitcoin ecosystem. It seems like this might be a pretty big business opportunity.

infruset 13 hours ago 1 reply      
At first I was worried of what would happen if the exchange introduced fake nodes with negative balances at the bottom of the tree, but there would be no way for them to hide that without the first real customer up to the root finding out (there would have to be a negative node that he/she could see). This sounds like a great idea!
tlrobinson 12 hours ago 0 replies      
The big problem with this is convincing businesses to publicize their total customer deposits, which is extremely interesting information to competitors.

Though it could be a good way for new/small exchanges to differentiate themselves and gain trust of the community, which could force larger and larger exchanges to do the same until it's common practice (as mentioned has happened with provably-fair gambling sites)

minimax 13 hours ago 2 replies      
This doesn't give you a way to validate your dollar deposits. In other words a dishonest exchange operator could misappropriate your dollar deposits and this scheme wouldn't tell you anything about it.
kumarski 13 hours ago 5 replies      
What bitcoin exchanges do HN readers trust?

I've been using http://coinmkt.com

I regrettably used MtGox.com. I'm kicking myself now.

higherpurpose 14 hours ago 4 replies      
Fractional reserve? I don't like that. It's like building a house of cards or a ponzi scheme. You shouldn't be able to say you have 10x of the value you actually have.
snake_plissken 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Can't all of this information be found in the block chain if you know the addresses the exchanges are using?
pedrohrcunha 13 hours ago 0 replies      

already pleading it to brazilian exchanges.

jrockway 13 hours ago 0 replies      
It turns out that MtGox used all the deposits to buy Magic cards. They now have the world's most excellent cube. We all should have seen this coming.
My childrens book on technology raised 100k within 24 hours heres how lindaliukas.tumblr.com
163 points by kp02  19 hours ago   104 comments top 19
pwthornton 16 hours ago 1 reply      
I backed the project, and think it will make a great gift for my nephew. It's something he can grow into, where he can read the book part with his parents right now, and then start doing the problems as he gets older.

I think this project did well for a few key reasons:

1) STEM, STEM, STEM and code, code, code. The timing is right. Look at all the coverage this got in big mainstream media publications. Here is a project to help your child get into programming at a young age.2) There is a need for introducing programming to children in an accessible way. There is some stuff on the market, but not that much, and this might be the first centered around a colorful children's book. I also think this is more approachable for parents too. A cold, clinical textbook would scare off many parents.3) Linda is attractive, bubbly and non-American (on a heavily American site). This never hurts with crowdfunding. The fact that she is female in a heavy male-dominated space helps too. I can't fault her at all for this, and why not harness it?

I hope it turns out well and that this is just the beginning for Linda and her books. I'm excited to read it with my future child.

nonrecursive 17 hours ago 1 reply      
This is really inspiring! I had no idea that Linda co-founded Rails Girls, and for some reason I had formed the impression that she was an illustrator before becoming a programmer. I didn't know that she had learned to draw so that she could create the book.

This advice is golden, and it's pretty cool to see such joy, enthusiasm, and generosity rewarded.

yeukhon 15 hours ago 3 replies      
I like the idea and I backed it. Book for kids can be as simple as picture books. Parents and mentors are the one supposed to help them to learn the hard stuff.

But I also want to say that I have some feedback for the video. I just thought there was too much "smiles". I don't know how to put it: but it's strange and weird to see someone posting a video of her smiling like literally every few seconds, throwing things every minute or so. A bit formal will be great.

There was too many moving. Scenes were constantly changing while the speech was on-going. It was hard to concentrate, pay attention to the dialogue and the animation at the same time. The main point wasn't delivered/pitched to me right away. I wasn't too sure what exactly would go into the book and how parents/mentors can help guide the kids in general from the video. Essentially, an ad that changes scene every 1 second is going to hurt viewers.

Here is another project (which I backed too), I am not trying to promote it (but putting out here is guilty of promoting it). Check wongfuproduction movie fundraising video on Youtube. That was a lot easier to grasp.

Just my 3 cents. Good luck.

jonesetc 16 hours ago 2 replies      
> Start a blog where you share progress on your project. This will hold you accountable and let people know what youre working on.

For a long time I wrote off the idea of having a blog because it seemed vain. I don't usually have any great ideas that anyone else needs to know about, and my trials of learning new things are just the same as everyone else's. However, over the past few months I've realized that I was dead wrong. Watching a few good series of blogs like [1] and [2] has shown me that even if you don't have anything world shattering it is still great as a means to make learning more important. After all, you can't let down your readers, can you?

[1] http://jvns.ca/blog/2013/09/26/hacker-school-day-4-c-unit-te...

[2] http://www.jeffknupp.com/

lifeisstillgood 13 hours ago 1 reply      
It took me a while to work this out - but I think its a great and brave choice.

Yes, totally agree software is "literacy 2.0". And yes, of course, we need pre-school books on software. I had weird books teaching me BASIC without putting it into context - and context not ability has been where I have missed opportunities or regreted actions.

So I applaud Linda for her insights, hope her world view is one I want my daughter to take into the 21 C, and look forward to seeing my copy at the end of the year.

0xdeadbeefbabe 14 hours ago 3 replies      
Harold and the purple crayon is a great book that introduces programming concepts, but it doesn't beat you over the head with any computer lingo.

This book is a neat idea and the illustrations look cool, but here is one concern:Why name the main character Ruby? Good kids books are timeless and ruby the programming language is not, and it dates the book too. Why associate any programming language in particular with programming concepts like sequences or sets? That seems like a message from "learn to code" school. So does DRY to a lesser extent.

hawkharris 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I think the children would prefer learning JavaScript: "No class? You're saying we never have to have class?? That's amazing!"
goldenkey 16 hours ago 13 replies      
I'm pretty sure the only reason this is getting so much funding is because the majority of computer science folk are horny men who are glossing over the dreamhouse attire / makeup / presentation put on in the video. "Hi I'm little Ruby and I wear polka-dots and pink lipstick, let me be your fantasy" That said, I did fund it, because I'm a horny coder and Linda is very sexy.
eliteraspberrie 15 hours ago 0 replies      
The practical advice in this post is gold. Marketing to a select community is true for apps as well as Kickstarter.
digitalboss 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Some relevant news - "Women Outnumber Men For The First Time In Berkeleys Intro To Computer Science Course" - good to see this growth and interest.


apunic 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Nice idea + hot founder => 100k raised in 24h
kaivi 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Would really like to see a couple of starting pages from this book. I hope she has an idea about how to deliver this stuff to children: coding by itself is pointless for somebody who does not even comprehend the manifold of applications it can solve. Video games are fun, because they exploit the basic survival instinct within us. With programming, there is no low hanging fruit to reach for a child, as the mental link between writing code and receiving a reward is build by experience, which minors lack.

I find it hard to explain the fundraising which went way over the goal, without including gender into equation. Anyway a pink-colored children's book about tech stuff, written by girls, sounds comforting in every way.

SyncTheory13 16 hours ago 1 reply      
I've been watching this project since it was first posted on HN, getting giddy over the thought of it. I love the execution in how this book will teach kids about programming. I also love that the main character is a girl and that the whole book is cutesy.

I plan on using this both for my own enjoyment, and sharing it with a soon-to-be five year old boy who will be absolutely in love with the little animal/Android characters.

I'm toward the end of a rough patch financially, and usually pass up supporting projects on Kickstarter for this reason... But I couldn't resist, and ordered the double package.

Congratulations on the extreme success, Linda! I hope you find the process enjoyable enough to continue the series for years to come. I also hope the app or even a little indie game will be possible to create in the future (I realize it won't reach the $500k goal.)

As a final note - I just thought of the possibilities of this being implemented in a classroom!

mu_killnine 18 hours ago 1 reply      
I backed this project and loved how the author presented per project. I was able to identify with her and, more surprisingly, my non-technical spouse and family were also able to identify with her. I am excited to see where the story of Ruby goes for both my young daughter and myself.
nhangen 14 hours ago 0 replies      
This project was the subject of a lot of debate when it launched, and at that time, I was on the side of the author because I thought it seemed like a nifty project, though not a fit for what I'd give to my children.

Now that I see it turned into a write up like this, I can't help but wonder if those criticizing the project for its intentions were correct.

sireat 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I think pretty much only No. 2 is sufficient and almost necessary these days. That is if you have a community already, you can sell your project/book even if it lacks much substance(this project certainly has some substance and is a good cause).

If you do not have the early adopters who will also help you spread the word to secondary adopters, you are SOL.

There have been countless posts on HN where the author has made some amazing sales on e-book, SaaS MVP, apps, other software, and so on.

In pretty much all those cases, they already had some sort of community/e-mail list to kickstart(ahem) the sales.

balls187 5 hours ago 2 replies      
Cool idea. My only gripe was after she said she was from Finland, she mentioned Scandinavian summers, when Finland isn't a Scandinavian country. Nordic, yes. Scandinavian, no.

Minor quibble for sure.

avitzurel 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I backed the project, I am excited to see what comes out of it.

I want to teach my kids (4,2) how to program, if this is a more accessible way, it's worth my money.

cyberaleck 16 hours ago 8 replies      
Am I really the only one who things that she is annoying and fake? I literally threw up when I tried to watch her playing Manic Pixie Dream Girl-role.

Ruby and Snow Leopard? Really? This book will be completely useless in 5 years when technologies change. She should have wrote about basic CS principles instead. But I guess most of the women just cannot think logically. And that's probably why there are so few women in tech...

Comcast and Netflix now have a direct adjacency github.com
58 points by bdb  11 hours ago   63 comments top 11
ck2 11 hours ago 4 replies      
It would be funny if netflix just looked for one of their hubs/datacenters and moved in next door on purpose.

ISPs are common carriers and must be regulated as such, because as soon as Comcast makes its own netflix-like service, you can forget getting netflix to stream smoothly.

MiguelHudnandez 10 hours ago 3 replies      
It's anti-climactic that all it was going to take was a compelling business case. Netflix made it easy with their peering initiative [1].

Now Comcast gets to count these bytes against their customers' quotas, and it costs them nearly nothing to deliver the traffic.

This reminds me of NNTP, but Netflix is still running their own hardware.

[1] Netflix's "Open Connect" https://signup.netflix.com/openconnect/guidelines

koblas 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I've noticed that the 11greatoaks.ca.ibone.comcast.net router(s) (Equinix SV1) are typically the ones that fail / have large latency issues. Hopefully if this has happened then they've increased overall capacity through this bottleneck.
bifrost 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I can confirm this: *[BGP/170] 2d 05:02:06, MED 150, localpref 100, from

AS path: 7922 2906 I

jonny_eh 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I did notice last night that my stream of House of Cards looked way better than it has in the past month (when it started to go bad). It was HD level the whole hour, while previously it would only go HD for about 10 minutes total randomly through the episode.

I'm a Comcast user in San Mateo, CA.

egray2 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Isn't it possible that the traffic could just be going over an MPLS backbone? If that's the case, then there could potentially be more hops that aren't seen.
freeasinfree 11 hours ago 1 reply      
CamperBob2 10 hours ago 0 replies      
How are you concluding that from the tracert?
squigs25 11 hours ago 1 reply      
A short route doesn't necessarily mean good bandwidth
sergers 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Meh. So your ISP joined the Netflix open connect CDN to make your Netflix experience even slower.

Have fun blocking that address and other known Netflix cdn

Harvard supercomputing cluster hijacked to mine Dogecoin arstechnica.com
67 points by fournm  12 hours ago   66 comments top 6
heydenberk 11 hours ago 12 replies      
I'm hopeful that future cryptocurrencies won't be so energy-intensive to mine. Bitcoin is already a non-negligible contributor to global CO2 emissions, believe it or not.

EDIT: Reversible computing (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reversible_computing) is a possible way to have computationally difficult proof-of-work while minimizing energy consumption.

notacoward 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Would it really surprise anyone if it was revealed that stuff like this already happened with Bitcoin? Seriously, give a bunch of hackers with access to racks full of Other People's Machines, plus an obvious way to turn cycles into money, and the only surprise would be if they didn't take advantage of the opportunity. I for one expect this to be the norm for every cryptocurrency from now until the end of time. The only question is how much of it the rest of the world is willing to tolerate.
mkeung 12 hours ago 4 replies      
If cryptocurrencies become mainstream, this will be a bigger problem I think. Even things like "free" electricity are attractive for mining purposes, ex: universities, businesses, etc. If every student setup mining, it adds up (at the university / business' expense).

If I am the one paying for an office at $500 a month that includes all electricity usage, is it fair to plug in a ton of mining hardware and profit / subsidize myself? What if I manage to use more than $500 worth of electricity?

Is shared space even setup for monitoring individual renter's usage behavior? I don't think so.

edit: note, I do mine Doge but with my own stuff at home

fnordfnordfnord 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm currently "ignoring" a similar effort in my lab (~20 workstations). I don't think they've broken a MHash/s yet out of an estimated potential ~2-3MH.
logfromblammo 12 hours ago 3 replies      
I have heard people say that scrypt is better than SHA256 as a basis for cryptocurrency because it doesn't put all the network power in specialist ASIC boxes, but then stuff like this happens.

Do you think Harvard would have paid for a custom-build scrypt-coin miner if someone wrote a real academic proposal for it?

waiquoo 11 hours ago 1 reply      
ha, wasn't me
TestFlight Owner Burstly Acquired By Apple techcrunch.com
90 points by coloneltcb  13 hours ago   47 comments top 15
novum 13 hours ago 8 replies      
Bummer...but also exciting, since Adhoc/Beta distributions and access could be massively improved by being handled first-party by Apple. Maybe now it will be!

I've long been using TF for adhoc beta distributions of my iOS apps. Looks like there are only two options left for that:

    * Hockeyapp, starting at $10/month    * Host your own IPA on S3 or elsewhere. 
The downside with the latter is where TF added value: per-build access settings, notifications, teams, and feedback. You'll have to approximate this now by mucking with which devices are listed in your provisioning profile.

I open-sourced my iOS build script recently. It'll take care of everything for you -- downloads your provisioning profile from Apple's dev center, builds, codesigns, archives, and uploads to S3. https://github.com/splinesoft/SSBuild

k-mcgrady 12 hours ago 0 replies      
This could be great if Apple really improves distribution of adhoc builds but I wouldn't hold my breath. After 5 years iTunes Connect still sucks. The dropping of Android support is annoying as I use TestFlight to distribute iOS and Android apps and it made things so much smoother, especially when working with non-technical people.
LordIllidan 12 hours ago 0 replies      
First time I've heard about it too...and I found Testflight invaluable for sending betas to customers, the experience for both developers and end users was second to none.

Damn, I really hope Apple doesn't screw it up. But if they can integrate it into their iTunes connect platform, I'll be a happy developer.

ctdonath 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Also resolves the FAQ question about how they expected to make any money when not charging anyone for such a useful service.
kclay 12 hours ago 2 replies      
So that explains why they dropped android support.
eddieroger 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow, if these comments have taught me anything, it's that there are more OTA installer services than people who will miss TestFlight. Maybe I should even open source mine.
michaelmior 11 hours ago 1 reply      
If anyone happens to be interested, I have a PoC OTA deployment solution I built when I got tired of being asked for regular app builds. It's a Web service designed to run on a Mac and pull from a GitHub repository, run xcodebuild, package the IPA, and let you install it on your device.

I abandoded this because I longer have access to a Mac since I stopped iOS development a while ago, but ping me if you're interested and you want to try to get it to work. It doesn't come close to the features of something like TestFlight, but was designed for in-house use by a team who needs access to bleeding edge builds without developer intervention.

siavosh 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow, interesting news--hopefully for the better. Testflight really made adhoc distribution not completely insane. Excited to see if the partnership with Apple will make it even smoother.
pirateking 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I wrote my own simple set of shell and ruby scripts (based around xcodebuild) that have helped me automate deployment back since the iOS 3 or 4 days. With some upgrades, they still work perfectly well with iOS 7.

I remember trying TestFlight when they first launched, and going back to my own deploy script instead. Hopefully, this acquisition means an integrated "Deploy" Xcode Action (or maybe even a Bot now?) and easier device registration / removal.

Aqua_Geek 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Somehow I don't really see Apple integrating TestFlight into the iTunes Connect mess of an ecosystem.
dirkdk 7 hours ago 0 replies      
OK, my main question to Apple is still, please get rid of the 100 device limit, such a pain that Testflight or any other service didn't have a workaround for. Enterprise licenses is still an uncertain thing to do
BenSS 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Funny that I tweeted @ the author this morning since they've written about TestFlight before, wondering if they knew what was up. One way to get an answer when the company isn't talking!

I hope Apple keeps the essentials here, and integrates it with iTunes Connect. They seem to be more interested lately in making it useful!

sidcool 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I sometimes wonder if all these acquisitions are done out of paranoia rather than business shrewdness.
mvelie 9 hours ago 0 replies      
It could also be that apple wanted the other part of Burstly which did advertising, to help support their iAd platform.
elwell 9 hours ago 2 replies      
Ok fine. Just don't buy PhoneGap.
Show HN: Selfie Ticket ticketleap.com
106 points by timae  16 hours ago   61 comments top 25
brandon272 14 hours ago 2 replies      
It's probably just me, but it took me so long after visiting the site to figure out what they actually DO. Wording like, "BRING PEOPLE TOGETHER TO Share Your Passion" and "IT STARTS WITH AN IDEA" is vague and gives me no idea of what the product or service was.

I saw something about selfie tickets but had no idea what that meant. Do you take a selfie on your phone and then it's part of an e-ticket? Do they print tickets with your face on it? Is there a web backend? What does the mobile app do, specifically? I feel like there's not enough to-the-point descriptive copy.

I navigated back to the homepage and kind of got a better idea of what was going on:

"Create an event page and start selling tickets in minutes."

Okay, makes sense.

"Run event-day like a pro with a full mobile box office"

What's a mobile box office? Is it an app that lets me scan tickets with QR codes? Is there communication between mobile devices to validate tickets using NFC or something?

Please take this as constructive criticism. Good luck with your product! :)

emhart 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Love this idea, lots of fun and a lot friendly than most event ticket experiences. Does it fallback gracefully to a non-selfie/non-phone ticket if someone doesn't wish to, or isn't able to participate?
pshin45 14 hours ago 1 reply      
This is cool in terms of self-expression and making the ticket more personal, and props for trying something new and building this in the first place, but does it actually solve a problem? I agree that the hassle / un-naturalness of scanning everyone in for smaller, more casual events is a problem, but I'm not sure if this solves that problem.

Unless an organizer makes this mandatory for all attendees, it's more than likely that only a minority of attendees will actually take a selfie of themselves for their ticket. And if say, 20% of attendees took a selfie and 80% did not, how does this solve the "scanning problem" for organizers?

RafiqM 15 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm honestly not sure about this concept, but props to Ticketleap for innovating and trying something new. Good work!
web007 15 hours ago 1 reply      
How does this prevent ticket forgery? I see a moving logo and the bar at the bottom, but what keeps me from creating a GIF overlay with that info for any pic?
csbrooks 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Neat idea. One potential downside: people like me, who are incredibly non-photogenic.
seniorsassycat 10 hours ago 4 replies      
What prevents me from creating a app that looks like yours and displays my selfie without buying a ticket?
naveenspark 10 hours ago 1 reply      
This feels gimmicky. How does this help solve real issues with admission control? The idea of admitting based on a face vs. a barcode for a reserved show won't work. Assuming this is for GA only? Why not just allow users to import photos from instagram, FB or similar? Are you going to make these photos available in bulk fashion to event organizers? I can see how this might be interesting for attendees to stalk who else was there but what is the value prop for event organizers? Would the event organizer get other info from the user such as email address? Why is this going to make me choose TicketLeap vs. TicketFly vs. TicketMob vs. Brown Paper vs. Eventbrite vs. anyone else in this insanely crowded industry? And for what its worth, the video is unnecessarily emotional. If I were you I would just cut to the chase on how this adds value to the ticketing ecosystem.
mross462 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I disagree very strongly with the principle that services should be purchased with a photo. I will share a personal experience.

Traveling from Luxembourg to Brussels by train I made an arrangement for a room via AirBnB. It being the first time, they asked me for ID, and Credit Card information. I provided that. By the time I got off the train I received a response from AirBnB that my reservation had been canceled due to the fact that I hadn't provided a photo of myself for AirBnb. I believe the reason was because they wanted to know that I was a "real person", but the exact phrasing escapes me. This was not the case since I provided a photo of my driver's license as my ID. As a result I had to scramble to find a room in one of the most expensive cities in the world for this at the last moment (which was expensive).

I strongly disagree with the idea that "your face" should be integrated with a purchase. I strongly agree that your identity which includes but should not be limited to a subset of "your face" should.

If you are proceeding down this path I recommend having a user select a photo, rather than taking a self portrait.

Good Luck.

hartator 14 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't want to be this guy, but how come this can a good idea in post-snowden world?

Obviously you don't want your face associated with a political events or ideology events. But also and more surprisingly to tech events, specially crypto, physics and nuclear stuff. Some people get denied US tourist visa based only on that.

Dewie 16 hours ago 1 reply      
OT: The style of that presentation video seems pretty typical for technological gadgets and apps. Does it have a name?
gailees 16 hours ago 2 replies      
We need this for hackathons. Why do they need to take a selfie rather than just using their facebook profile picture?
mattgreenrocks 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Great idea! Turns out selfies do have uses :)
spoiledtechie 14 hours ago 2 replies      
What about selling these tickets on StubHub? Can they be resold, since I now have my face on it?
mikekij 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I clicked the link because I thought it was an app that would give someone a ticket every time they took a selfie. Like a parking ticket. Selfie ticket.
debt 15 hours ago 1 reply      
They should have some closed caps on that video for deaf people. Also it sounds like the narrator is talking down to me.
cdcarter 14 hours ago 1 reply      
How does the organizer/door attendant mark the patron as attended? Is this done on the user's personal cell phone, or is there another device at the door?
brianbreslin 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Look into Kairos.io they have an API now. Could speed check-in, we use QR codes and eventbrite app to do check-ins at RefreshMiami.
nathan_f77 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Ha, my first thought was a service that let's you give warning tickets to people who post 'selfies' on Facebook. Sign up today to join the "Selfie Police".
nemrow 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Props on the innovation. Devil's Advocate: Barcodes were put in place to speed up mass quantity entry. This might cause a lineup as the ticket-taker is now a 'bouncer' and has to verify each persons physical identity. Have you tested this model at any fairly large events?
wehadfun 14 hours ago 0 replies      
How does this handle the people who refuse to take a selfie
coherentpony 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Great idea. Thanks for sharing.
Kluny 14 hours ago 1 reply      
I suppose it saves small events from needing to have a scanner.
jpd750 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Start with a problem people actually have. I dont think this solves too many problems... How different is this really? Incorporating an image into what you show?
carlmcqueen 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Here is a selfie of the scalper I got the ticket from!

Definitely a fun concept.

What's relevant in the Ruby Universe? omniref.com
81 points by timr  14 hours ago   9 comments top 3
tinco 13 hours ago 1 reply      
That's some cool software. It would be cool is they applied their deep understanding of Ruby code to a code browser.

Often times to understand how a piece of Ruby code works it's not enough to just look at the source of that specific method. For example if I type in 'ActiveRecord.find', the second result is the one I want, ActiveRecord::FinderMethods.find, and I click it. The documentation is a bit long, so I click 'view source'. The code is short and sweet, but not very enlightening, it's just a wrapper around 'find_by_ids'.

Now luckily 'find_by_ids' is a public method so that's documented and I can search for it. But almost guaranteed at some point the code is going into private api's and I can't use the documentation anymore to understand it.

This is why I always have a local checkout of the Rails code and any other big gems, so I can just 'ack' my way through the source from identifier to identifier.

It would be super awesome if omniref in that 'view source' block would find identifiers, and try to guess what they refer to, and make them clickable so we could really just browse through the source. The user interface is perfect too for fuzzy search, as it shows the item its most confident in in the main window, but has the rest of the results in the bar on the left side, can't go wrong with that!

randall 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Tim. You're a pessimistic bastard but I love you. And I love Omniref. (When I remember to use it.) Maybe consider a sublime text plugin and complete sublime's inevitable march toward IDE-dom?
vrepsys 10 hours ago 2 replies      
Coming from Java the biggest surprise to me was a lack of good API documentation for Rails and Ruby gems.

Javadoc used to drive my productivity. It is quite frustrating sometimes with Rails that more often than not I can't find good api docs.

Rails and various Ruby gems have very good tutorials, but sometimes no api docs at all.. Tutorials are great for getting started, but you're in trouble when when you want to do something slightly unusual.

Slowly I'm realising that to be really good with Rails you need to look into the source code of libs you're using to get a better grasp.

As an example, I wanted to find out if it was possible to do something with ActiveRecord.to_json that I haven't seen in any tutorials. Spent 10 minutes searching for docs and then looking at the code.. which in Java would have been done in 20s.

Having said that, I really like Rails and enjoy a lot of productivity gains. I just wish it had better api docs.

What the Whatsapp acquisition tells us about Facebook's mobile strategy jordankong.ca
9 points by mints  4 hours ago   4 comments top 4
geuis 3 hours ago 0 replies      
What it tells us is simple and people keep trying to make more of it than it is.

Users are leaving Facebook in droves. Facebook is buying back users who's attention they have lost.

People are migrating to other services that offer a better experience for the task at hand. This is what Facebook/Google/Microsoft keep forgetting.

FB bought Instagram because their own photo feature wasn't as good and that's where they sensed people would be moving to. They've mostly left IG alone and it's been good.

WhatsApp is a better IM experience. Facebook buys them to get back users that have left.

The thing to remember is that people leaving something like Facebook isn't "I'm deleting my account", it's inattention attrition. Facebook users don't die (mostly), they just stop caring.

So FB buying WA doesn't mean much except FB is trying to alter its course. To their credit, they have the foresight to see they're failing and attempt a course correction.

joelrunyon 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Is this a tacit admission from FB that Zuckerberg's statements from past conferences on how people want to share everything is basically wrong?

People don't want to share everything with everyone. They want to share what they want with the people they want.

johnvschmitt 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Nope. Not at all.

It was about buying USERS, not an app or feature.

aaronbrethorst 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I disagree with the article. This was Facebook countering an existential threat to their core business.
Developer depression: Isolation is the biggest problem (2012) thenextweb.com
94 points by hrish2006  15 hours ago   44 comments top 15
mikeleeorg 14 hours ago 4 replies      
If you are an engineering manager, you can see huge gains in team satisfaction and productivity if you are cognizant of issues like this.

My suggestion is to take the time to understand each member of your team, then create various interactions that can foster teamwork, satisfaction, etc. This can include:

+ Lunches or dinners - Going out to a restaurant together can give your team a reprieve from the stresses of work, while strengthening bonds. This tends to work best with extroverts. Dinners work best for singles and lunches work best for people with families (who may have to go home to a spouse and kids).

+ Movies - If there's a movie that most of your team wants to see, treat them. This may give introverts a more comfortable setting, since not everyone likes team lunches & dinners. I sometimes reserved a dark conference room and played episodes of Futurama (or some other TV show my team wanted to watch) during lunch, which worked just as well.

+ Outings, activities - Not everyone may enjoy a particular activity, like a hike or indoor rock climbing gym. But you can offer various activities to your team as opportunities to get to know one another. Don't make those who cannot or do not want to get involved feel ostracized, however. Make these optional events.

+ Code reviews, paired programming, tech talks, hackathons - These exercises not only strengthen the skills of your team, but improve team bonding as well. And chances are, all of your developers want to improve their own skills, so any chance to do that is a good thing.

+ One-on-ones - Sit down with each team member and have a chat with her/him. This is not easy for every engineering manager, as it requires skills in listening, empathy, conflict resolution, etc. The goal here is to truly listen. If something is bothering your developer, chances are you'll be able to pick it up here, giving you a chance to resolve it before it becomes a major issue. I've had developers tell me they felt like these chats were therapy sessions, though I did my best not to make it feel so clinical (in some cases, these chats were over coffee, ping pong, a walk, etc). The point is, listen.

There are many more that I've forgotten and I'm sure you've done (and please do share!)

I never had a problem with attrition by employing tactics like these. And I don't mean to imply that no one on my team had depression - I am not a licensed therapist and make no claims that I can diagnosis this condition. My point is just that engineering managers who actively cultivate a supportive environment may reduce the likelihood of depression and foster greater satisfaction and productivity.

JulianRaphael 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I experienced a very similar situation, resulting in a stress-induced tumor and heavy depression. This experience has completely changed my life and I'm incredibly happy that I got a second chance in life to live a better life. These situations happen because people learn and focus on how to manage the outside world but hardly anyone knows how to manage the inner world. Furthermore, most people don't talk about the stress or their fears and thoughts that torture them, not even with their spouses. The bad thing is that you can easily identify the first signs of depression or burnout and counter it with therapeutic measures, yet so many end up completely burned out.

You don't even have to pay a therapist, our minds can be trained to build extremely powerful therapeutic algorithms to avoid these situations. After my experience I quit my job as a business subordinate and started building a tool to help others manage their inner world better so that they hopefully don't end up where I did. Our approach is heavily scientific (we have two ongoing PhD projects to investigate and test our program) and we have just started out.

I'd be happy to connect with anyone who wants to share their experiences and thoughts on this topic. If you feel like it, drop me a line at: julian@appnroll.com If you are stuck in depression or a burnout and feel like breaking down, please don't hesitate to contact me, too - sometimes you just need to talk to someone. Hang in there!

pfraze 13 hours ago 0 replies      
One personal observation is that intense, extended development is mentally exhausting to the point that social interactions are difficult. I plan my work stints around my social schedule now, to make sure I'm well-rested for having fun with people.

Posture is also very important for my sense of self. If my chest is collapsed, I feel a subtle pain that sours my mood. If my lower back is clenched, I slouch my shoulders, and I get anxious. Exercise helps keep up positive energy and cast off anxiety. It also gives me time to relax tension in my body.

In my experience, both of these can factor into depression and social anxiety. I'm much happier when I maintain a good balance.

euphemize 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Small tip for the ones working on their own and/or freelancers. Join a co-working space/community! I did a few months ago and the difference is very noticeable. If you're in a large-ish metro area, chances are there are some around you.

Having lunch with other people, being able to ask around for help or feedback, taking part in events are all small things that end up making a big difference.

einhverfr 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I have always assumed that depression is at least in large part a social illness.

Of my three children, two were born in Indonesia, and one was born in the US. My wife says that the experience was totally different, and that post-partum depression wasn't really an issue as much in Indonesia because she was surrounded by friends and family for over a month after giving birth (this culminates in a large party after 40 days which has a similar social significance to the older tradition of "churching" and the following "gossip" dinner in Europe). Even something which has as clear neurological strata as PPD has a pretty heavy social component too. (Now obviously this isn't to blame those suffering from PPD, but to note that our society to a large extent makes the problem quite a bit worse.)

Similarly I struggled hard with depression for some time after moving to Indonesia in large part due to the isolation it brought me. Eventually I overcame this by overcoming the isolation.

But beyond that I wonder if developers have a couple of additional strikes against them. I find that it is impossible for me to simultaneously think in machine operations and socially connect. Even when I am around other people, if I am thinking about code, that's isolating. Talking about code is not socializing and I am not sure it can be.

Additionally coding is a sedentary activity and exercise is one thing that also is shown to help avoid and treat depression.

I wonder to what extent we should think about structuring our lives as developers around an extended version of the Greek ideal adding a third component:

A healthy body, a healthy mind, and a healthy social life.

On the management side, I also wonder to what extent ensuring that outings involve mild to moderate physical activity may help too. Lasertag, or indoor rock climbing over movies. If there are people who can't, then looking at finding activities they can do too.

im3w1l 14 hours ago 1 reply      
>It amazes me how often how to be happy pieces do well on Hacker News. I think delving into the notion that the more time we spend behind our computers, the less fulfilled we might feel in life overall [is a question worth asking].

I think unhappy people procrastinate more, vote more. The average vote is not given by the average reader, but one more depressed than average.

michaelochurch 14 hours ago 2 replies      
I think the issue is more that we have a skill that powers the world, but 95% of us are just business subordinates-- not professionals like doctors or professors, not even unionized-- and the 5% who have good jobs at any given time still live under the threat of an unforeseen issue (AI winter, financial crash wiping out the quant jobs, age discrimination, "Series A crunches") putting them back into the EnterpriseJavaDrone purgatory.

It's not "isolation". The software industry is a very depressing place. The pay (while not great) is solidly OK, but the status is low and the job security's abysmal.

Most software engineers have a skill that can do so much and end up having to use it to do so little.

hrish2006 13 hours ago 2 replies      
It reminded me of thishttps://xkcd.com/664/when I read it. The difference between what is intellectually stimulating and gives you a sense of aesthetic pleasure and joy, and writing something that will work correctly in IE6 is too damn huge.
jokoon 12 hours ago 2 replies      
Got into a video game programming private school, sneaking into 2nd year directly because I was good, was not accepted for the next year.

Apparently, it my fault of not trying to reach out to other people for building that school project. I'm more of an introvert, I was already taking anti depressant for 2 years. I'm at the opposite side of a narcissist. Apparently it's a bad thing in society, but nobody really talk about it either.

I was told things like "humans are a social species" and "teamwork is the most important thing in business and IT" etc.

I doubt being an extravert type makes a good programmer. There need to be a balance. But if you teach people programming, why not teach them teamworking too, or just gives bonus to students for their strength without making the teamwork aspect mandatory ?

mprny 13 hours ago 0 replies      
> Even introverts are happier when they are around people they like,

Agreed. I don't mind spending time alone, but I love being around people I like. Usually others with a common interest. (And no, it doesn't have to be tech related. Horse people and swimmers are a lot of fun.)

Extroverts sometimes talk about themselves. A lot. Not that interesting :)

nraynaud 13 hours ago 1 reply      
"is your facebook a lie?" It resonates strangely to me, one friend told me my facebook statuses where really negative and that my fb friends were tired of it. Somehow, I guess you are contextually expected to lie anyways.
yawz 14 hours ago 0 replies      
There was a related discussion a few days ago:


aashishkoirala 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't know about depression, but as far as stress is concerned, I think working with and dealing with people causes a lot more stress than solo work. That's for sure. Code doesn't have an ego or preconceived biases.
rmcfeeley 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm working on a project to boost awareness & strengthen resources around mental health in the startup community.

Check out the basics at


Reach out to rob@blueperiod.org if you'd like to help out

gcb0 14 hours ago 0 replies      
OT: This page instantly kills my Android browser...
SoundFocus Raises $1.7M to Protect Hearing in Post-iPod, XBox Era wsj.com
22 points by varunsrin  7 hours ago   4 comments top 4
quickpost 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Awesome - glad to see someone trying to prevent hearing loss. I've had tinnitus for a few years now and am very protective of my hearing these days. Now that I'm forced to be more aware of it, I'm consistently amazed at how unnecessarily loud the world often is. Always have a set of ear plugs in my pocket!
coupdejarnac 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Cool app. I see it makes good use of the three band equalizer audio unit in iOS. This app would be great for hearing impaired.

Shameless plug: My start up also concerns audiology apps. Like the founder of SoundFocus, I've had hearing issues all my life- just had my second typmpanoplasty in November. Right now we have two apps that address tinnitus on iTunes. Check us out, www.bxtel.com

seddona 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Awesome guys, congratulations. I struggle with hearing and i'm sure years of headphone abuse hasn't helped!
yefim 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Awesome, love this app!
       cached 22 February 2014 08:02:01 GMT