hacker news with inline top comments    .. more ..    26 Feb 2014 News
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1
A rescue plan that might have saved space shuttle Columbia arstechnica.com
59 points by SoapSeller  2 hours ago   19 comments top 8
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ryanackley 24 minutes ago 0 replies      
Of course, hindsight is always 20/20. If we sent a successful rescue mission, we would instead be reading an article entitled. "Columbia Rescue: NASA's finest hour or giant waste of taxpayer's dollars?" with a bunch of supporting evidence on why the rescue was unnecessary.
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skywhopper 35 minutes ago 2 replies      
Interesting to remember the Columbia tragedy while recalling Richard Feynman's report summarizing the culture problems at NASA he found following the Challenger disaster. It's clear that NASA ultimately learned very little (or forgot it after 15 years).

No matter the state of the shuttle program, it's also a shame that NASA didn't maintain a non-reusable rocket system that could have allowed for expensive but relatively low-risk emergency flights for this sort of thing. If the shuttle's all you've got then it's going to be difficult to address unexpected problems with another shuttle just like it.

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natejenkins 38 minutes ago 0 replies      
I've always found the relative impact velocity of the foam piece with respect to the shuttle quite surprising. There is some clarification of this in the CAIB report, chapter 3, page 60 (http://www.nasa.gov/columbia/home/CAIB_Vol1.html):

THE ORBITER RAN INTO THE FOAMHow could a lightweight piece of foam travel so fast and hitthe wing at 545 miles per hour?Just prior to separating from the External Tank, the foam wastraveling with the Shuttle stack at about 1,568 mph (2,300feet per second). Visual evidence shows that the foam de-bris impacted the wing approximately 0.161 seconds afterseparating from the External Tank. In that time, the velocityof the foam debris slowed from 1,568 mph to about 1,022mph (1,500 feet per second). Therefore, the Orbiter hit thefoam with a relative velocity of about 545 mph (800 feet persecond). In essence, the foam debris slowed down and theOrbiter did not, so the Orbiter ran into the foam. The foamslowed down rapidly because such low-density objects havelow ballistic coefficients, which means their speed rapidlydecreases when they lose their means of propulsion.

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mrfusion 43 minutes ago 0 replies      
I wonder if a smaller rocket could have been repurposed to simply send extra supplies to the shuttle (or a repair kit) while they waited for rescue? Maybe a soyez?

Even if it couldn't dock with the shuttle, I wonder if it could match orbit and then do a space walk to retrieve the supplies?

5
sxcurry 37 minutes ago 2 replies      
For those interested in a technically detailed fictional account of a rescue mission to Mars, read The Martian by Andy Weir. It raises some of the same feelings as this article.
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snowwolf 29 minutes ago 0 replies      
What surprises me is that this contingency was not already in place prior to the Columbia accident. Was it budget constraints or did they really think it was that unlikely that a shuttle would be rendered unable to return from orbit and need the crew rescuing?
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mrfusion 43 minutes ago 2 replies      
Would the ISS have had enough fuel to match the shuttles orbit? I wonder if that was considered?
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fredgrott 1 hour ago 3 replies      
hmm a launch rescue plan with no room for error from NSA..speed up even..What we want two disasters with one month?

Someone's not dealing with reality wish full thinking

2
Candy Crush creator abandons 'candy' trademark efforts polygon.com
73 points by bpierre  2 hours ago   20 comments top 9
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ripter 4 minutes ago 1 reply      
I don't understand why people got so mad at King for this. People complained at all the Flappy Bird clones. That is exactly why King was trying to protect the candy trademark. King was just doing that the law requires them to do in order to protect their trademark and prevent thousands of clones trying to cash in on the candy trademark.
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chrisbennet 1 hour ago 2 replies      
In case anyone missed it, Candy Crush is a copy someone else's game in the first place. They tried to buy and when that didn't work out, they cloned it.http://metro.co.uk/2014/01/24/candy-crush-maker-accused-of-s...
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Peroni 2 hours ago 1 reply      
>This does not affect our E.U. trademark for Candy and we continue to take all appropriate steps to protect our IP.

So only half the battle won then.

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Simp 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Too bad they still won the battle for the 'saga' trademark.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2014/01/23/candy-crush-...

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fennecfoxen 47 minutes ago 0 replies      
So what's the fate of All Candy Casino Slots Jewel Craze Connect: Big Blast Mania Land?
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zacinbusiness 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I wonder if their IP lawyers still got paid.
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intull 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Phew! There's no "king" for "candy" now.
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dblacc 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Will be interesting to see their actions in Europe from now.
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jbeja 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Thanks god!.
3
Mono 3.2.7 is out mono-project.com
39 points by ot  1 hour ago   20 comments top 5
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melling 12 minutes ago 1 reply      
"Performance under some benchmarks was improved by more than 20%."

How is Mono's JIT performance compared to Microsoft's? Are they nearing parity?

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pjmlp 9 minutes ago 0 replies      
Great work! Now if Unity would just update their runtime....
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skrowl 29 minutes ago 1 reply      
STILL no Ubuntu packages. The official repos are back in 2.x.x land.
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romanovcode 53 minutes ago 3 replies      
MVC5 still not working tho. Good thing we have Nancy.
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patja 36 minutes ago 2 replies      
What are some big poster-child success stories for running MVC on Mono in production?
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Dear first world dev, I am going to live your nightmare channikhabra.github.io
85 points by channikhabra  3 hours ago   54 comments top 22
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gexla 2 hours ago 3 replies      
> I can do it myself sitting at home, Ive done a couple projects, but it was not fun.

No you can't, obviously. You just said it. For one, you don't enjoy it.

What you need to learn is that straight programming isn't a valuable skill by itself. You already know this because you wrote an article about it. You need to be able to tie your programming skills with other skills such as selling yourself as the person to get the job done. Once you get the job, you need to be able to ship it.

There are programming skills that are valuable in isolation. If you are a world expert on a certain domain which lacks talent, then that's valuable. But that's not really isolation, that's tying your programming skills with a certain specialty.

Take a look at the model you are working under. There is a whole spectrum of jobs from good to crap. On Odesk, there are a sprinkling of good and a lot of crap. I imagine the company employing you is saying yes to every job that comes their way. They probably don't get good jobs, so it's all crap. They get crap jobs which pay crap and of course you are going to get a small slice of a crap pie.

Why take a job just because it's there? Okay, you laid out a bunch of reasons but you still hate it. I would probably hate working on crap jobs also. People worked for Steve Jobs because the guy was... well... Steve Jobs. Why are you working for people who are trying to compete on the worst model in web development, the race to the bottom in pricing?

If you know good developers, then maybe you could start your own development shop and get those developers to work for you. If you hate the work but you can get jobs, then maybe do the selling and have the other developers do the work.

Or maybe you could come up with your own projects and monetize them.

You just have to hustle, just like everyone else does. You can't just write code and expect the world to come to you. Get out there and make things happen.

Edit: In other words, quit whining. ;)

Edit: Edit: I could write a book on this subject. The above is just an attempt at an off the cuff capture. There are a ton of threads on HN which are hugely valuable on bringing the bacon as a developer. Just look around, it's more productive than ranting about your situation.

Clearly the person you are working for is trying to take a "this is how everything is done here" approach to running a dev shop and hiring developers. It's the same in the Philippines. Everyone works 10 hour days, 6 days a week and within a certain band of salary. I suppose the U.S. is like that to some degree. We have the 9 to 5 and 40 hour weeks.

Disruption in your case would be pretty easy. If the company has decent employees, then you could scoop them all up.

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RealGeek 1 hour ago 3 replies      
I was in your shoes 10 years ago. Even worse, I was in Ludhiana (Punjab) where I couldn't even find another web developer.

Getting out of such nightmare in India is a lot easier India than developed countries. You just need to make more money than salary of your job to get out it; which is about $100 at this point for you. In Silicon Valley and NYC, developers need to make $5,000 to pay bills. $500 is considered a decent salary for a first job in India; here are few ways to make $500 / month.

1) Freelancing: You can find better gigs on job boards like http://jobs.wordpress.net and https://groups.drupal.org/jobs

I run a startup (http://www.ranksignals.com), we could hire you for a freelance job if you are interested. My contact info is on my profile.

2) Blogging: Start a blog and promote it, you need about 5,000+ page views per day to make $500 a month.

3) Sell small plugins & themes on ThemeForest and CodeCanyon. You can make a lot more than $500, there are developers grossing over $100,000 per month.

If you want to get a full time job, don't work at a body shop. Work at a product or ecommerce startup, they offer higher pay and better experience. Companies like FlipKart are offering 10 lacs/year salary to new developers.

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yummyfajitas 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Bro, send me an email. I might be able to help you out, provided you stop flaking.

If you are able to get shit done, I might be able to exploit you in a more pleasant and productive manner than some odesk bodyshop for similar wages - no bond and no hard feelings when you quit for something better in 2 months.

Do you have a github or other code portfolio? (If not, build one.)

And get the heck out of Chandigarh. Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, pick one. There are Hackathons here in Pune and companies who will pay you well over 6000rs/month provided you actually get shit done.

4
diydsp 2 hours ago 0 replies      
> Things are very bad in my city. There is no any kind of active community of computer enthusiasts; be it some Linux Users Group or something similar.

Start one! Seriously- no jive. Be that change that you want. It may be that your affinity is not to be a developer--- you may actually be an organizer of people! Try it! You can do it for free! Make announcements! Start by meeting once every two weeks in the evening and teach people everything you know! You will make connections! You will be tapped to work with others. You will grow along with those around you. The people you help will see your strengths and send better opportunities your way. Trust me, you will see.

Seriously, start it up. It is within you to do it and it is free and fun! Find a library or a park or someone's living room or a restaurant. Even if it's just one computer, gather a flock.

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jezclaremurugan 53 minutes ago 1 reply      
Wrong. Wrong not as in you are lying, but wrong as in - it does not have to be the case. I would strongly advise the OP not to join...

* Less pay (< $100 month) - totally off, recently I had an offer from a startup in Chandigarh for a very competitive salary - close to $2000 a month (pm me if you want the recruiter's email id).

* PHP projects - There a lot of vacancies for python, ruby, nodejs and angularjs jobs, either you need experience or you should have decent projects in your github repo.

* 48 hours - might be possible, but does not have to be the case

* Joining for a team - Joining a sweatshop for working with a team from whom you can learn is __Stupid__ - Chances of finding someone with proper skills in a sweatshop is close to zero.

* Bond with 2 months pay - Firstly it is illegal, but, yes I do know that sweatshops do have this practice. Avoid it at all costs. Or you can simply not pay them, as there is no way they can enforce the bond (legally). But this is a huge red flag. A proper company does not ask for that - period.

* 0 friends - where do you live? There are PG accommodations available brimming with social life (with individual accommodation - it is not always a shared thing). I currently live in one - and it is awesome.

* Change your life in 9 months - by working in a sweatshop? Not going to happen, you will instead be stuck in a pathetic project which ruins your career prospects further.

* Move to Delhi/NCR region - it is close to CH, and not as far as B'lore/Chennai/Hyderabad, and you have globally respected brands here.

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aviraldg 2 hours ago 4 replies      
I'm not sure why OP thinks this is going to be a good idea. The kind of projects he'll get to work on will almost always be the usual Odesk "clone XYZ in $X" tripe. Also, the sort of company he's talking about is unlikely to have senior developers experienced enough to mentor him (from what I know about these companies.) Working on an open source project instead would be much more constructive and would get him engaged with experienced developers who could teach him a thing or two. If he's still a student (and it looks like he is) GSoC might be a great way to get started with this.

Also, I would avoid Odesk like the plague. Build up a portfolio (open source works as well) and connect with people on HN.

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gkcgautam 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Charanjit, I'm from Chandigarh too.I can completely understand what you are feeling since I'm completely aware of the situation. Luckily I was doing quite well myself while I graduated (last year) and didn't need to work for any such company.

I'm working in a startup now where our major focus is on doing quality work using modern tech. We deal with clients directly and not through websites like oDesk.Great to see that you have worked with backbone etc.Would you like to catchup some time for tech discussion? I have few friends who do that regurlay at weekends. Mail me at gkcgautam@gmail.com :)

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eklavya 45 minutes ago 0 replies      
If you think you are good at coding, why not get into any of the top IT (by employees) companies. I know they are recruiting the lowest of the bottom barrel. Why not join them and make a decent pay and a career while meeting some experienced people who actually know stuff.

I think it's impossible for anyone even just barely decent in programming to get a job in India. I have seen people get into Motorola while searching for jobs like nomads. They were not from premier or even well known institutes. What you are subjecting yourself to is incomprehensible based on your objectives.

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ctdonath 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I will be working 48 hours a week (excluding break; mon-sat 10 am to 7 pm) for less than $100 per month.

Move.

10
onion2k 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I get bored like after 20 minutes of playing with anything. Ive tried as many techniques as I could in 2 years to discipline myself.

You learn discipline by sticking with something despite wanting to jump to something else.

11
shadeless 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I'm in the same situation as OP, only the location is different (East Europe). I've been at it for 5 months already but I'm on verge of quitting every week since I started. The only thing that stops me from doing it is fear of not being able to make similar amount of money monthly to able to pay bills and rent. I've been trying to work on something on the side but the job leaves me exhausted and the only thing I can do in the evenings and weekends is sleep.

I wouldn't recommend it to anyone - we use terrible tech(php and ftp), I haven't learned anything new in months, only taught my (senior) coworkers some tips to work even faster. I'd write more about it but my break is over.

12
code_duck 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I totally empathize with his positions. I've worked in a couple of niche markets for years and felt stifled by geographic isolation as well as my lack of experience working like most people do in a team, with a boss or manager guiding your actions. I too have suffered from a lack of focus and self-confidence. I've thought of getting various sorts of jobs using my skills, but on the other hand I know that I truly value the freedom of working for myself and I would miss it.
13
negamax 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I am from India. And worked for over a year on oDesk. I think it's painting the whole industry with a very wide brush. Personally know people in Delhi/Mumbai making very comfortable salary.
14
WhitneyLand 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Just don't give up man - keep pushing to expand your comfort level.

Discipline is something that can be learned, that's why they teach it so much in the military.

Difference here is you have to force yourself through the pain once you want it bad enough. It will be worth it.

15
RankingMember 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Godspeed, I can understand your desire for the presence of others of like mind in order to be in the right frame of mind to work.

Just be aware that you could do the same thing in the US (or anywhere else, really) and make exponentially more money.

16
senthilnayagam 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Many Indians get exposed to computers at a later age, often not good at computer and programming concepts, their exposure is low.

Think of this initial job as internship, but after a year when they know their stuff and can clear technical interviews and with better communications skills the pay package increases significantly.

when people switch to more reputed companies in earlier years the hikes they get is between 50-100% . for first 5-7 years the hike is abut 30% by the time these people will settle in large indian or multinational companies.

17
doktrin 1 hour ago 1 reply      
That's thoroughly depressing. What does $100 a month translate to in terms of cost of living?
18
klaasn 32 minutes ago 0 replies      
I think it goes both ways. Our company Agile Media Lab is in Chandigarh and we are having a lot of difficulty to find highly qualified resources. We normally do around 100 interviews for each hire and we still have several positions open we still can't fill. We do pay at the top of the market.

Currently we are trying to bring in talent from Delhi and Bangalore.

You can email me at klaas@agilemedialab.in if you are interested.

19
devnonymous 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Oh FFS ! This really hit a nerve and I'm gonna rant. I absolutely hate Indian kids these days who bitch and moan about how tough it is to do awesome shit and get a decent enough pay for it, in a place like ...ehe ...Chandigarh ! Chirst !! Just grow the eff up !! Here are some facts that this guy might want to think about:

a. Today, India has way more internet penetration than even 10 years ago and it also cheap enough to afford a home connection. Yes, even in a place like Chandigarh !! </sarcasm>. Though the average so called 'broadband' access it still far from what might be available in developed nations, programmers these days can at least do a quick google while they are working on something, instead of having to batch all of the querying do be done from a cybercafe. That is what we went through.

b. Having to work at a sweatshop, putting in the hours doing grunt work, earning peanuts and knowing that you could do better hasn't changed much from the way I remember it ...oh wait, hell yeah it has ! These days, you will at least have a computer to yourself. You will at least have comfortable chairs. You won't be working shifts and they at least will be paying you (I refuse to believe the $100 bit) as opposed to slaving it out, while it's being called 'training' (worse still, you have to pay them for the opportunity). That is what went through.

c. They don't have LUGs, Hackathons or any sort of local mailing lists ...oh geez, why the f* not !??! I'll tell you why ? 'cos people like this guy will bitch and moan about it all the time but will not take the initiative to just start one up themself. Indian programmers, (most of them, tbh) expect that things where they can just go to and learn just 'exist'. It's a small percentage of people who would think -- "here is this thing that I already know and I can share, let me do that with another person. It would be a very happy pleasant coincidence if the other person knows and can share something that I don't already know".

Come on man, start up a LUG, organize a hackathon, visit the computer lab in your local college and speak to that girl who appears to be frantically coding on a lab computer because her parents think getting a computer for her at home would be a waste of money ...and anyways, it's not like she needs any more education !!

d. ....I could go on, but I just realized the source of these sort of bitch-and-moan posts, as I write this. The sense of entitlement that youngsters in India have these days.

You know what buddy, you can't address people who just happen to be in a better place than you as 'first world dev' just because you happen to live in India. Being 'First World' anything is about a state of mind where your own personal issues are greater than other peoples, with the irony that the issues come from a sense of entitlement. Take a long hard look at your life and think about why you ought to be entitled to the things that you think you ought to be.

rant done.

20
rk0567 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I think it's a pessimistic approach to discipline. You could just learn to meditate [0].

[0] : http://www.siyli.org/take-the-course/siy-curriculum/ a free course on meditation)

21
SuddsMcDuff 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Meanwhile, somewhere in Western Europe, someone gets made redundant.
22
hueheu 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Is HN a blog plateform?
5
Show HN: Pagesnap Take monthly screenshots of any webpage automatically pagesnap.io
33 points by zrail  1 hour ago   29 comments top 13
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wlll 9 minutes ago 0 replies      
I did something like this for the 37signals homepage a while back. Used versions of the site from git:

http://signalvnoise.com/posts/3007-37signalscom-homepage-evo...

2
derwiki 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I built something very similar last year and still reference it all the time:

https://www.dailysitesnap.com

There's a payment form but I never hooked anything up -- it's all free. You can sign up to have a screenshot of any URL emailed to you on a daily basis, or opt out of emails and just have it archived on the site. I've been collecting daily screenshots of ~20 public web sites for the last few months:

https://www.dailysitesnap.com/public

EDIT: fixed embarrassing typo, good morning everyone!

3
zrail 1 hour ago 2 replies      
This was inspired by a short discussion on Twitter between mperham and patio11 last weekend.[1] The basic app works great right now but I haven't put the billing code in quite yet. If you're interested, sign up for the list[2] and I'll send you an invite (with a discount) when it's ready to go.

https://twitter.com/mperham/status/436976217443422208

http://www.pagesnap.io/list-signup

4
timjahn 36 minutes ago 4 replies      
Along these lines, I've always wanted a repo specific wayback machine that would generate a state of your site for every commit, so you could browse what your site looked like at every point along the way as you built your repo.

So I could browse back to last week and see what my site looked like, or to my 3rd commit and see what my site looked like then.

5
spindritf 47 minutes ago 1 reply      
Very cool and I think the pricing is just right. Why are there 3 start now buttons all together though? Does each correspond to the plan you'd like to buy?
6
andygcook 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I actually had this idea a few years ago but never got around to building it, so I'm glad you're making it happen.

At my previous startup I hacked this manually by taking a screen grab with Evernote once a month.

I've heard Alexis Ohanian mention he is thankful for having the foresight to take screen shots or early reddit builds too.

I'm sure a lot of startups would find this useful for capturing the journey of the product and then later nostalgia.

7
pastylegs 44 minutes ago 0 replies      
- Adding visual diffs would be very cool.

- Some sort of visual timeline would also be great, i.e. the ability to flip through screenshots with a javascript slider or something

- Export to gifs of video might be useful

- The ability to tag information to certain screenshots would be useful for noting changes and milestones (like in Google Analytics)

8
gruseom 47 minutes ago 0 replies      
That's a really good name.
9
ansimionescu 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Reading some old Steve Yegge posts (e.g. https://sites.google.com/site/steveyegge2/five-essential-pho...) I started wondering about the feasibility of a web service that would automatically change links on articles older than say, 5 years, to the equivalent Web Archive/Google cache/other links.
10
rschmitty 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Cool feature to add would be mobile and tablet versions
11
NikolaTesla 24 minutes ago 0 replies      
I think the real benefit of sites like this are accountability and historic research. Having the ability to see what has been omitted or taken down is far more interesting.
12
650REDHAIR 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Are the screenshots being grabbed by Pagesnap or the website's end? Do I have to include some sort of JS snippet? Could you use this to monitor the competition's landing page?
13
mperham 18 minutes ago 1 reply      
I love everything about this. Good job so far!
6
Density.io density.io
102 points by jordanmessina  2 hours ago   104 comments top 40
1
chrisfarms 2 hours ago 5 replies      
Risky. MAC address tracking is definitely a legal 'grey area' at the moment. I can imagine mining/fingerprinting in this way could easily become illegal in the not-to-distant future.

In the UK, City of London already banned the wifi-enabled bins that were tracking MAC addresses.

It would be really easy to tie a name to MAC address (from point of purchase with a credit card), then see exactly where that person went via the 'sharing' of data with other retailers. This is certainly something you would expect to need 'opt in' to.

2
Robin_Message 1 hour ago 3 replies      
This idea is cool, but there are some issues with their privacy claim.

They say they are hashing the MAC address (presumably on the device). However, they can't be salting the hash (else they wouldn't be able to match across different stores).

Since there is no salt (or a fixed salt), it is trivial to de-anonymise a specific MAC address (just hash it and see if any server has it).

Worse, there are only 46 bits that are variable in a MAC address, and there is structure in there (3 bytes manufacturer, 3 bytes serial), so a complete mapping from MACs to the hashed MAC is very doable.

A secret per-device key for a HMAC would preserve privacy much better, but would stop them doing the cool stuff they plan the usual trade off.

3
petercooper 37 minutes ago 0 replies      
Apparently Nordstrom did an experiment with this for a while - http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/15/business/attention-shopper... - even going as far as monitoring passing traffic so you could monitor the percentage of people passing who actually come into the store. This could be pretty fascinating in the context of running certain types of window displays, sales/offers, etc, and lead to ecommerce-style split testing and the like. It says they stopped the experiment partly due to people whining though, but I imagine it'll just go 'under the radar' in future since it could be too valuable not to try.
4
albertsun 2 hours ago 3 replies      
This is a privacy nightmare.

Perhaps wifi devices should no longer provide constant MAC addresses....

5
plusbryan 25 minutes ago 0 replies      
Without wishing to belittle the privacy concerns of my fellow HNers, I wonder how long it will take for people to just be ok with being tracked in this way? This seems like one of those social changes that feels strange and uncomfortable at first, but over time becomes the accepted norm.
6
highace 2 hours ago 1 reply      
This is really clever. So it's like Google Analytics (or any analytics) for your brick and mortar business. This is the kind of stuff I love to read about and see being developed, it makes a refreshing change from yet another javascript framework or social network for your pets.
7
nwh 55 minutes ago 2 replies      
Keep in mind that these "anonymous" data points aren't. Your phones MAC address exposes your home wifi network thanks to Google's databases. They also expose where you work, where your friends houses are, what your favorite coffee shop is. This is beyond dangerous, it's completely unacceptable.
8
agentultra 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Has there been any work on developing and commercializing personal RF "firewalls?" I'd buy one in an instant to block intrusive tech like this.
9
droob 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Don't surveil your customers. It's creepy.
10
ynniv 43 minutes ago 0 replies      
I hadn't realized how trackable cell phones were until I was experimenting on a wifi project and saw both MAC addresses and Preferred Network List of devices within the area that had not joined my network. Cell phone wifi is a privacy nightmare. Even the most technical people don't realize this, so projects that popularize it are going to kick up huge amounts of mud. Think of how easy it is to identify "whale" clients, if not by direct tracking, then by revenue correlation (these N people were present for $N,NNN,NNN in revenue events). They're valuable to track because when they show up you want your sales people to be at their best, but a service that starts tracking those people is going to make real enemies quickly.
11
geuis 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Did I miss something with the video? It plays an interview between pg and Calacanis that's 2 hours long.
12
jroes 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I've actually seen a crude version of something like this on a trip to Taiwan a couple of years ago. I was at a mall and I noticed a wifi network called "People Counter." I wasn't entirely sure what they were doing with it, but I assumed it was counting MAC addresses.
13
Xorlev 2 hours ago 2 replies      
Where's their opt out?
14
650REDHAIR 1 hour ago 1 reply      
This is creepy. I will actively avoid stores that use this.
15
jamiequint 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Everyone here seems to be complaining about the anonymous tracking, which isn't really an issue for "normals". Its a relatively useless complaint too as that data already exists in the credit card network.

The real issue with this is that most SMBs are unsophisticated when it comes to the technology stack they use. I saw this firsthand in many ways working at Swipely (swipely.com) as we figured out product market fit. While things like 'see where else your customers shop' might seem like an interesting feature from an outsiders perspective, the businesses don't actually care. They often barely have the bandwidth to worry about their own customers.

16
pfraze 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Great execution, completely unethical
17
jofer 2 hours ago 2 replies      
Now that's cool!

If anyone knows or can say: What physical principle(s) is the sensor operating on? There doesn't seem to be much information on that (possibly deliberately).

18
tomasien 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Met these this last week, they're absolutely incredible and they understand their market really well. They take privacy incredibly seriously and they've built a product that can change the industry.
19
mrfusion 1 hour ago 2 replies      
I'm seeing people talking about MAC address issues.

But how does this device work exactly? Is every phone throwing around a mac address, even if it's not trying to connect to wifi?

For example I have my phone set to use 3G expect on my home network. Would I count?

20
josephlord 54 minutes ago 0 replies      
I'm OK with the measuring traffic volumes using this method but I'm uncomfortable with the identifying information being stored without permission.

If they provided incentives to install an app/visit a website to register for rewards or be entered into a prize in return for allowing density.io to track you that would be acceptable.

21
soithrewitaway 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Before you say more, check euclidanalytics.com. The creator of Google Analytics has been working on this, with funding, for a number of years already.

I had seen news about this recently and am surprised that more people didn't notice how it is essentially the same, without funding, and less developed.

22
dgavey 32 minutes ago 0 replies      
Ok so this system works by tracking MAC addresses. I assume the same sort of system using cameras and facial recognition would work too, and you can't turn off your face. I assume this must be already happening somewhere.

The amount of privacy we think we have must be a small fraction of what we actually have.

23
mrfusion 1 hour ago 1 reply      
By the way, I'd love something like this for the gym.

I'd like to check if it's too crowded before I decide to go or not.

I guess for any kind of business with lines or waiting rooms, (banks, ATMS, restaurants) customers might appreciate a way to quickly gauge the crowd level before going.

24
pbreit 50 minutes ago 0 replies      
Shouldn't something like Leap Motion be able to do this (for one store at least) and without the privacy concerns?
25
deutronium 46 minutes ago 0 replies      
Interesting idea, but wouldn't you get better coverage of people using GSM addresses, rather than Wifi MAC addresses?

Also it could be rather easily tricked by competitors, by constantly switching the MAC address.

26
rokhayakebe 45 minutes ago 0 replies      
To everyone screaming about privacy, RELAX, this is opt-in.
27
Sprint 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Time to build a device that pollutes the databases with useless data.
28
mrfusion 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Could a device like this use bluetooth instead of wifi / mac address?

Or for that matter could it somehow look at cell signals?

29
slackpad 40 minutes ago 0 replies      
Are there any good apps for location-aware WiFi toggling? I rarely use WiFi outside of home or work so I'd like it to turn itself off to avoid stuff like this.
30
thefreeman 1 hour ago 0 replies      
If you have Wifi disabled on your device will they still be able to pull your MAC?
31
CSDude 2 hours ago 0 replies      
In this flat, rectangular world, I have liked your flat, but curvy rectangles in common card UI.
32
simpsond 43 minutes ago 0 replies      
While I understand the concern about tracking peoples presence with phones, I don't feel like this is new. The cellular companies can track location, and it's already happening.
33
legec 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Mental note : before your next hold up, remember to turn off your smartphone ...
34
80 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I wonder if the market for 'dumbphones' will increase as/if this sort of thing becomes more common? Probably not, but it's fun to think about. I know Nokia are still making bare-bones, extra-long-life models aimed at developing countries (eg the 105, 220).
35
warrenmiller 1 hour ago 1 reply      
sounds very similar to this http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-23665490 which was shut down.
36
circa 16 minutes ago 0 replies      
my density has bought me to you
37
skrowl 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Why are posts allowed that just have the site's URL as the entire post title?
38
jayvanguard 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Definitely creepy.
39
holgersindbaek 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Awesome product.
40
allan_ 2 hours ago 0 replies      
are .io domains still so hipster, that you just drop em somewhere and people klick on it?
7
GitHub's new text editor leaked on Twitter github.com
538 points by almightygod  12 hours ago   197 comments top 45
1
jashkenas 3 hours ago 1 reply      
There's a bunch of lovely gems scattered through the Atom repos. Some of my favorites from a first quick glance:

Biscotto A CoffeeScript API documentation generator based on TomDoc notation:

http://atom.github.io/biscotto/

React-Coffee A little glue that makes Facebook's React easy to use from CoffeeScript without having to resort to JSX:

https://github.com/atom/react-coffee

SpacePen: A minimalist view library for jQuery, allowing custom methods, super calls, HTML-building, subviews, and easy event binding:

http://atom.github.io/space-pen/

... and the best bit about this bonanza is that everything is really quite readable. Keep up the good work, Kevin.

2
aroman 12 hours ago 7 replies      
holy cow this thing has like 70 repositories!

And I found a screenshot... looks very much like sublime text: https://f.cloud.github.com/assets/1424/1228569/cce6eb26-27a6...

edit: based on this[1], it looks like this is a GitHub-aware/integrated text editor that targets both desktop (Mac, at least) and web

[1] https://gist.github.com/elcuervo/eb68883f233baf5a46c8

4
jordwalke 11 hours ago 4 replies      
I really can't wait for this to be released. I am a little pessimistic about the Vim mode. There are countless 80 or 90% complete Vim modes in various modern editors. But the absence of a truly native feeling Vim (that last 10%) is a deal breaker for many. I'd rather see more editor developers spend time finding a solution that provides a truly authentic Vim mode instead of spending countless hours merely approaching 90% compatibility. For the people who you're selling on that Vim mode (the people who would care that your editor provides it) 90% isn't good enough. There are other ways to integrate Vim modes in your editor such as using the (inappropriately named) "Netbeans interface" which actually allows Vim to run in the background while you integrate your UI on top of it across a serializable bridge. This allows a perfect recreation of Vim while letting you customize the application experience on top of it.

Aside from that approach, there are a few faithful Vim recreations that I've discovered out of the dozens that I've tried.

https://github.com/vicoapp/vico (Excellent project)http://www.viemu.com/ (Solid experience in Visual Studio)https://github.com/guillermooo/Vintageous (fairly close and getting better every day)

But I don't mean to sound like such a pessimist. The progress so far looks excellent and I can't wait to try it out. Keep it up!

Edit: I also notice that the logo looks like an iOS7 version of React's logo: http://facebook.github.io/react/

5
theboywho 5 hours ago 2 replies      
Am I the only one who finds it hard to believe this has indeed been leaked and is not just a marketing strategy from Github? The repos are not even private.
6
chjj 11 hours ago 3 replies      
Flattered to see it using marked for the markdown engine. Maybe the world is finally ridding itself of showdown.
7
james33 11 hours ago 3 replies      
All of the competition can only be good for us developers. This, ST3, Light Table, Brackets, etc. Bring on the text editor wars!
8
hodgesmr 48 minutes ago 0 replies      
http://whois.domaintools.com/atom.io

  Domain : atom.io  Status : Client Updt+Delt Lock  Owner  : GitHub Hostmaster  Owner  : GitHub, Inc.  Owner  : 88 Colin P Kelly Jr St  Owner  : San Francisco  Owner  : CA  Owner  : US

9
almightygod 12 hours ago 0 replies      
whois atom.io =>

Domain : atom.io

Status : Client Updt+Delt Lock

Owner : GitHub Hostmaster

Owner : GitHub, Inc.

Owner : 88 Colin P Kelly Jr St

Owner : San Francisco

Owner : CA

Owner : US

10
keeran 12 hours ago 0 replies      
https://f.cloud.github.com/assets/1424/1228569/cce6eb26-27a6...

"Collaboration is now working (and accepts 2FA logins)."

11
georgecalm 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Pretty crazy! Here are a few interesting plugins in there already:

  - vim-mode  - fuzzy-finder  - emmet (aka Zen Coding)  - solarized-dark-syntax (heh)  - snippets (check)  - language-* (check; so many; awesome)  - timecop (tracking where time is spent in the editor)  - editor-stats (graph your mouse / keyboard activitiy)  - ...

12
CoachRufus87 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Never thought I'd be excited for a text editor, but damn I can't wait for this to come out.
13
jitl 12 hours ago 4 replies      
What sets this apart from the other WebKit-based text editors, LightTable and Brackets? In general it seems like there's been an explosion of new text editors with this style since TextMate went into hibernation around 2008. It's great to have options, but there's lots of these TextMate clones now.
14
eik3_de 2 hours ago 0 replies      
If you go to https://atom.io/docs you can authorize the app with your github account. You still get the 'soon' page afterwards, but at least you're now something like an early atom.io beta user ;
15
pritambaral 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I like that they are already prepared(/preparing) for Node 0.11, (https://github.com/atom/node-vm-compatibility-layer)
16
jastanton 11 hours ago 2 replies      
FYI https://atom.io is leaking assets. Here is an album of the images found in the css http://imgur.com/a/KG4MX#0the css http://pastebin.com/FgN3g448the js http://pastebin.com/p1nBmGki
17
petsounds 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Glad to see there's an Atom plugin[0] named after the Jean-Claude Van Damme movie Timecop[1]

[0] https://github.com/atom/timecop

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

18
acanby 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Looks good and all... but I'm interested in the story on how it leaked on Twitter. The link just goes to the Github repo now.
19
intrepidd42 8 hours ago 0 replies      
http://blog.atom.io/ seems to be WIP, the meta tags are quite revealing :

At GitHub, were building the text editor weve always wanted: hackable to the core, but approachable on the first day without ever touching a config file. We cant wait to see what you build with it.

20
72deluxe 7 hours ago 3 replies      
A text editor in a browser? There seems a lot of excitement about it but I can't work out why - can anyone explain? I'm not trying to be argumentative; I really am curious! It's for editing text and there appears to be massive excitement about it....?
21
sspiff 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I sure hope this will have a rich plugin API and support non-web non-scripting languages as first class citizens. That would make it stand out from most recent editors.
22
featherless 5 hours ago 0 replies      
23
jupiterrr 2 hours ago 0 replies      
It seems that Holman has already used it 5 months ago.https://github.com/holman/feedback/issues/432
24
forrestthewoods 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I was excited until I saw it was WebKit based. My confidence level that it won't be slow and buggy is next to zero. I would, of course, love to be wrong.
25
zachinglis 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I saw this. I have a lot of respect for Githubbers and Github but is Node really the language for a text editor? My text editor that's built natively to my OS often struggles, let alone if it's Node. Seems like they're shoehorning the wrong technology.
26
bashcoder 9 hours ago 0 replies      
27
sspiff 9 hours ago 0 replies      
This looks great! I'd be more than happy with an open source, modern editor to replace the current myriad of specialized-language editors (QtCreator, Brackets, ...), Sublime Text and Komodo Edit I'm using.
28
kumarski 10 hours ago 1 reply      
top of HN = leak well done = planned? maybe.
29
jbranchaud 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Any ideas if all the code behind the editor will be released as open source?

Edit: To be clear, I am not talking about all the supplementary repositories that are already open source, but rather I am wondering if the core application will be OS.

30
mattpass 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Looking good and this only helps confirm that web IDE's are going to be the big thing in the next couple of years.

I've been predicting/preaching about this for 2+ years now and been building my own browser code editor in that time (http://icecoder.net).

So, CodeAnywhere gets $600k in funding, Adobe is releasing Brackets to the browser soon, GitHub is launching Atom as a web based offering.

Need much more reason to leave the desktop behind?

31
hkdobrev 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Website now says "SOON". Response from #atom irc channel:

> Would the editor itself be open-source?

> yes

> a non-opensource editor from GitHub would be ludicrous

> seems like the source code will be up today

32
shaunbent 7 hours ago 0 replies      
They're on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AtomEditor found the link in the Source Code of: http://blog.atom.io/

It also has the line: "At GitHub, were building the text editor weve always wanted: hackable to the core, but approachable on the first day without ever touching a config file. We cant wait to see what you build with it."

33
jalan 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Will this support Linux? I would love to try this on my Linux System. (Ubuntu, to be specific)
34
jbeja 2 hours ago 0 replies      
If it doesn't come with a vim-mode or that vim-mode is slow and painful to customize, then this will be useless.
35
36
caiob 11 hours ago 1 reply      
the vim-mode better be really good to make me switch from native vim.
37
zeckalpha 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Any word on how to get in on the beta?
38
tuananh 10 hours ago 3 replies      
Very likely that Github bought SublimeText.
39
pacoverdi 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Looks 1000x times better than a project I just started based on Ace.js. Should save me a lot of trouble!

I just hope it's not tightly coupled to the backend so I can replace it with a custom one.

40
twice 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Is this a replacement for gist?
41
jbb555 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Lets reinvent everything in javascript no matter how badly...
42
staaky 7 hours ago 3 replies      
Looks amazing, but why CoffeeScript?
44
frade33 10 hours ago 3 replies      
the next big thing for devs. I love sublime and will, but can't figure why is it taking them so long, to launch it on mac appstore.
45
mediastuttgart 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Guess, github bought sublime.
8
Thirty Percent Feedback 42floors.com
10 points by jaf12duke  30 minutes ago   3 comments top 3
1
clarkevans 8 minutes ago 0 replies      
This is sage advice. When asked for feedback on a 90% completed project you simply shouldn't comment on the big picture, that's set, the feedback is about what small, tactical changes can be done to improve the invested effort. While at 30% things are more strategic... are you missing an essential part? can it be restructured?

I think this post exactly encapsulates the pattern my wife and I have settled on after 15+ years of lively discussion. We always ask: "are we editing, or scoping", or "tactical or strategic"? Asking what sort of feedback someone is seeks is essential to non-frustrating communication and having your review received properly -- in a manner that is actionable.

2
davidjgraph 16 minutes ago 0 replies      
Good advice, but seems like a long way around saying "do everything in small, fast iterations, including research"...
3
rayiner 1 minute ago 0 replies      
This is really great. It's really easy to disincentivize the right behavior. If you point out every typo in a first draft, then people aren't going to let you see work that's not "90%" done, even if you tell them to bring you a "30% draft."
9
Learnable Programming in Thailand chrisuehlinger.com
15 points by Uehreka  1 hour ago   discuss
10
Show HN: I implemented gmaxwell's "solvency proof scheme" github.com
9 points by olalonde  46 minutes ago   discuss
11
Dual-lens smartphone cameras are coming engadget.com
38 points by emanuer  3 hours ago   23 comments top 10
1
jawns 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Contrary to what the headline implies, dual-lens smartphones came a long time ago. I had an HTC EVO 3D (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTC_EVO_3D) for more than a year. It came with two lenses, which allowed it to take 3D stills and video. It also came with a special articulated screen that allowed you to view those 3D images/movies right on your smartphone.

Sounds great, right? Well, I used the dual lenses to take a 3D still or video maybe, oh, half a dozen times. Why? One reason was that the screen hurt my eyes when in 3D mode. Another reason was that unless someone else had a 3D screen, I wouldn't be able to share the files with them. And another reason was that except for some gimmicky action effects in the movies, 3D isn't really all that spectacular.

But it sounds like what's going on here, with the different focal lens stuff, is a lot different than just a 3D gimmick, and I'm interested to see what can be made of it.

Actually, one thing mentioned in the article -- depth analysis, to generate blurred backgrounds -- would, in principle, work on the HTC EVO 3D. Actually, I'm kind of bummed now that I didn't look into whether any existing software could do it. I would have liked to have been able to generate 2D stills that have an algorithmically generated shallow depth of field, sort of like what the Lytro (https://www.lytro.com) light field camera does.

BTW, in case anyone's interested, I broke the EVO 3D about a month ago and got a Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom (http://www.samsung.com/global/microsite/galaxycamera/s4zoom/) to replace it. The camera on this thing is amazing! It's got a 10x optical zoom and a Xenon flash, just like a regular point-and-shoot. Of course, when I'm talking on it in public, I end up looking like a dorkwad, because it appears as if I'm talking into a camera, not a cellphone, but it's totally worth it.

2
ryanjshaw 2 hours ago 0 replies      
The title is strange; this seems to be describing dual cameras, not just dual lenses.

One important advantage I'd expect but not listed: an increase in effective dynamic range (the ability to capture more range in shadows and highlights in the same photo [1]) may be possible if there's a sensible way to interpolate data from the 3x and base focal length cameras (which seems to be the case, if the low-light claims are to be believed).

[1] http://cdn-4.nikon-cdn.com/en_INC/o/kiGHs2ZNM_El1gxcFVmhHA2R...

3
jader201 59 minutes ago 0 replies      
One thing that I'm confused about though. If the two lenses are at fixed depths (i.e. 1X vs. 3X), does this mean that the benefits of better low light, blurred backgrounds, and augmented reality will only be supported at the largest depth (3X), since most of the information would not be available for the same shot at 1X (i.e. the 3X shot is missing two-thirds of the information)?

For example, how can it improve low light on the 1X shot for the pixels outside of the 3X frame?

4
jader201 2 hours ago 0 replies      
With the title being a bit misleading (this isn't about 3D), the key takeaways are that two cameras/lens will allow:

1) Two different focal lengths/zoom levels without having to use digital zoom

2) Better low light quality due to twice as much information

3) Better depth analysis: quicker autofocus, blurred backgrounds, augmented reality

5
001sky 1 hour ago 0 replies      
This is actually a great idea. Back in the early days of photo-journalism...it was quite common to have a dual-camera setup for PJs. Or even 3 lenses (35, 50, 90), and just switch between the two. The benefits were multiple: better, simpler prime optics. But also it turns out that most people develop a keener eye. Zoom lenses suffer to some extent from ~infinite degrees of freedom, which inhibit to some extent developing a good 'eye' for how each focal length distors reality from a 3d to 2d transition. So, by adopting dual optics...perhaps we can see faster, simpler and higher quality glass without the loss of practicality. Shooting portraits with 28s isn't always flattering, and shooting Landscapes with 90's can be equally frustrating.
6
aaronetz 2 hours ago 0 replies      
As a result, noise is reduced and we end up with a cleaner picture -- just as we would if we had one big imaging sensor instead of two little ones.

But the two lenses are taking the picture from different angles, and with different focal lengths! I don't understand how matching of pixels is possible without an error greater than the noise they are trying to remove... It definitely can't be equivalent to one large sensor, as they claim. Unless they can somehow route the image from one lens to both sensors? Is that even possible?

7
kang 1 hour ago 2 replies      
If this is so good why aren't cameras using 2 lenses?Wouldn't making zoom better by improving the one lens be cheaper than doing so by introducing other?

I am not mocking this, but am really interested. Because it seems like this idea would have already been tried & if it were good would already have existed mainstream for cameras.

8
brixon 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I like the idea of this since you can use software to make better images.

This is one of the reasons some really old color movies were able to be restored so well. They filmed it with 3 lenses with one for each color (RGB). Since there were 3 sources of data the restoration it was much easier to find the best image. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Separation_masters

9
_mulder_ 3 hours ago 5 replies      
I imagine the 3D would be fairly limited because the lenses are so close together. Would this be the case?
10
higherpurpose 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I think the re-focusing stuff is mostly a cool-looking gimmick that not many people will take advantage of. Instead of doubling their camera budget to buy 2 cameras, I think I'd rather have them pay double for a much better camera, and be more competitive with the best mobile cameras on the market, today.

As for shooting 3D with dual-lenses, I don't think there are many applications for that right now, but perhaps there will be in the future.

If for example recording video in 3D will make it look much better when watching it later with a VR headset, that could be pretty cool. It could also be used for creating models/avatars of yourself, again probably most useful in VR worlds/games, and other stuff like that.

12
The Lost Art of the Saturn V amyshirateitel.com
72 points by ColinWright  5 hours ago   38 comments top 11
1
thearn4 2 hours ago 3 replies      
> "The whole mission, however, depended on the titanic Saturn V rocket, a technology that is lost to the current generation."

NASA engineer here. I think it's actually kind of ludicrous to claim that we have somehow "lost" the technology of the Apollo program. We're not living in some sort of space technology dark ages here, where we've forgotten all of the fundamentals of the 1960s 'classical enlightenment'. In fact, the decades since then have provided invaluable experience in the design and use of reusable launch systems, in-space assembly, astronaut medicine, etc.

If the agency and it's supporting industry contractors were given both an executive mandate and the funding to construct a comparable system to Apollo (for whatever reason that would be), today's engineers would not struggle to do it for lack of technical prowess. We might struggle to do it in the current federal budgetary climate (where we can't predict the whims of legislators 3 months from now, much less 10 years from now - and the Saturn V was expensive as hell to operate), but the "lost rocket science" myth is a bit tiring.

2
antimagic 4 hours ago 6 replies      
This needs a [2011] in the title, which is important as the space industry has changed a lot in the last few years, particularly with the arrival of SpaceX and other COTS competitors. Whilst it's true that no-one is planning a beast like the Saturn V (although the Falcon 9 Heavy is getting close), it's also true that these days we don't need that.

Back in the 60s/70s, it was not possible to do an automatic hook-up of modules in space. Today we do these routinely. Those Apollo missions could still be launched today by launching the command module, the service module and the lunar module as separate payloads and joining them in orbit. The crew would launch in the command module.

It's a bit like regretting that Formula 1 cars no longer have big 3.0L V12 engines, and instead have to get by with measly 2.4L V8s, whilst missing the fact that the modern car will eat the V12's lunch, with it's eyes close, in reverse.

3
mapt 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Funny time to complain about this, a few days after SpaceX confirms that it will be building a 9-Raptor engine, 6-9M lbf methalox launch vehicle comparable in scope per core to the Saturn V, and suggest strongly that they're going to make a 3-core configuration.

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=34015.msg11...

Ultimately we (our representatives in Congress) decided in ~1970 that actual exploration was simply too expensive. Political goal accomplished, Moon reached, Soviets cowed, mission over. Instead we would pay endless lip service to the idea while cutting budgets as far as possible. The design-by-committee-session Shuttle was a ridiculous project in a dozen different ways and failed to do much of anything (including being cheap), beyond two key elements: firstly, being impossible to cancel. Second, it waved the flag for the notional romance of space in an age of decay, when we became disinterested in funding and structuring programs at a sufficient level to innovate or even seek out the maximum return per dollar by choosing appropriate technology.

http://idlewords.com/2005/08/a_rocket_to_nowhere.htm

SLS and Orion explicitly continue in this legacy. I'm hoping Elon Musk's motivations outlast the US Congress's.

4
josh-wrale 25 minutes ago 0 replies      
The world today is such a wicked place.Fighting going on between the human race.People got to work just to earn their bread.While people just across the sea are counting their dead.

A politician's job they say is very high.'Cos he has to choose who's got to go and die.They can put a man on the moon quite easy,While people here on earth are dying of old diseases.

A woman goes to work every day after day.She just goes to work just to earn her pay.Child sitting crying by a life that's harder.He doesn't even know who is his father.

- Black Sabbath's "Wicked World" (1970)

I'm a fan of manned spaceflight and exploration (slash finding a high availability arrangement for life from Earth). However, I believe we have more pressing matters to tend at the moment. In the meantime, it seems we need more Encyclopedists. ;-)

5
hcrisp 4 hours ago 2 replies      
John Aaron saved the Apollo 12 mission with four words, "Try SCE to AUX". And entered the history books as the best controller of the Apollo era. http://www.universetoday.com/98484/this-day-in-space-history...
6
jotm 2 hours ago 1 reply      
The Saturn V doesn't really matter anymore - what matters is that we know it can be done (the Falcon 9 Heavy would be impossible without the simple knowledge that the Saturn V existed), and if need be, it will be done.

The second issue is that no one needs that powerful a rocket at the moment - though I believe if it did exist, everyone would suddenly find use for it (like it happened with PC's and smartphones, for example).

7
graeham 1 hour ago 0 replies      
An interesting comparison of rockets in the context of this article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_heavy_lift_launch...
8
lmm 5 hours ago 0 replies      
It's not a loss of art, it's a loss of political will. Given the same budget as in the Apollo years, I have no doubt NASA could produce something better than the Saturn V. But its current funding is a tiny fraction of that. (I mean, Apollo 18 was a complete mission that was scrapped, more-or-less to save the cost of the fuel).
9
icehawk 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Even if we had the operational knowledge, you'd still be trying to assemble a rocket that is half a century old. I would be amazed if the commodity parts, things like screws and washers and whatnot, were still being made.
10
qwerta 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Russians still develop Energia rockets and engines. It is modular rocket system which included soviet space shuttle and some heavy orbital weapons. It has more powerful engines than F-1 used in Saturn.

It is modular system and heaviest configuration were close to Saturn, but are currently abandoned. The lighter configurations are in active use and share the same engines and other components. Plus they develop new types.

I guess it would just take a few months/years to develop Saturn replacement if there is demand.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RD-170

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energia

11
l_perrin 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Nice writeup. One small error I noticed: the first manned flight was Apollo 7, not Apollo 8.
13
King James Programming kingjamesprogramming.tumblr.com
95 points by lnmx  2 hours ago   19 comments top 14
1
wikwocket 1 hour ago 3 replies      
Here is my favorite Bible verse related to programming. I subtitle it, "God, calling a function."

"So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it." -- Isaiah 55:11 (NKJV)

2
scholia 1 minute ago 0 replies      
Timely wisdom....

"In view of this, it is ironic that introductory programming is most often taught in a highly imperative style. This may be a memorial unto the children of whoredoms."

http://kingjamesprogramming.tumblr.com/post/75266347899/in-v...

3
noonespecial 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Programming is very spiritual. You start out with nothing but a void and then call things into being with nothing but words.
4
Dirlewanger 1 hour ago 0 replies      
It's like reading the ramblings of a drunk and deeply Christian contemporary of the Unix guys.
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ForHackernews 1 hour ago 0 replies      
God is Real, unless declared Integer.
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gatehouse 1 hour ago 0 replies      
The author has provided more info on the blog in response to questions:

http://kingjamesprogramming.tumblr.com/tagged/ask

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voidlogic 2 hours ago 1 reply      
TempleOS anyone?
8
delinka 1 hour ago 0 replies      
This leads me to the thought that we need to define KJPL and implement a front-end for LLVM. OK, maybe not need ...
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MikeTV 23 minutes ago 0 replies      
> "I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and the first variable"

Wouldn't that be "... and the first constant"? ;-)

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ansimionescu 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Yay, my university is in the news! :D
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lnmx 2 hours ago 0 replies      
This was mentioned in Cognicast Episode 50 [1]

[1] http://thinkrelevance.com/blog/2014/02/25/luke-vanderhart-an...

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hbnyc 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Am I the only one that was hoping this was LeBron?
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weeeeeeeeeee 53 minutes ago 0 replies      
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you representational state transfer" -- Matthew 11:28
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daveqr 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Jesus wept.
14
Why I stopped being a Voluntourist pippabiddle.com
273 points by hansy  13 hours ago   135 comments top 34
1
jcampbell1 12 hours ago 3 replies      
I took a trip to Africa to go on a Safari and climb Kilimanjaro. I was amazed at how many do gooder tourists there are.

The conversations go like:

Me: What are you here to do?

Them: Build a school.

Me: Oh, you are a carpenter.

Them: No, part of a school program.

Me: Oh, you are providing unskilled construction labor. Didn't realize Tanzania had a shortage.

Near the end of the trip, I met a friend's cousin, asked what she was doing, and she was going from village to village verifying that chlorination systems in NGO built wells were working. I was impressed. I asked how she got that gig, and she told me a story about her going to Tanzania to build a school. She decided to make a real difference.

Her story changed my attitude. I am certainly less snarky about kids going to do unskilled construction labor.

2
PakG1 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I have volunteered regularly to run children's summer English camps in rural China. The point of these camps is mostly to give the kids an opportunity to have fun and learn some English while they're at it, because such nice opportunities simply don't exist where they are. Camp counselors in North America for summer camps don't go through extensive counseling training either. The bar for such volunteer activity is lower, but the bar should be much higher in other cases. Here are some things I've learned about non-profit organizations that are well-run.

Firstly, well-run organizations want to maximize their ROI. The volunteers usually fundraise for donations or pay out of their own pocket to go on these trips. Essentially, these funds are revenue for the organization. That revenue must then be invested into their business, as their purpose is not to make a profit (hence non-profit), but rather, accomplish their goals to make the world a better place in their specific way. As such, a good organization will get tourists who are qualified to do the work that needs to be done.

The organization with whom I volunteer has multiple programs in medicine, agriculture, construction, education, and local skills training (for local professionals for the above categories). They ensure that the people who are volunteering are qualified to do their work. For example, for my most recent excursion, I couldn't stay the entire camp, so they asked me to run some sessions with local teachers instead, since I had so much experience volunteering to teach their kids. I prepared some lessons and explained to the teachers that I was not a professional teacher like they were, and that my teaching wisdom and experience only consisted of basic theory and volunteer experience. I made it clear that I was not qualified to teach them about teaching. Instead, I focused on professional skills that I brought over from the corporate world. We had sessions on conflict resolution and negotiation tactics using concepts developed by Max Bazerman at Harvard, the Behavioral Change Stairway Model at the FBI, and discussions about conflicting cultural worldviews and personalities, the basics of which are taught in many corporate seminars. I also focused on leadership styles, motivation tactics, and decision-making strategies. My sessions were very well-received and I received lots of thanks from the teachers, as well as a round of applause at the end of my time there.

This organization never asked me to do anything like surgery, building repair, etc. They did ask me to help out with some computer stuff now and then. For their medicine, agriculture, and construction programs, they made sure to bring in only qualified people. Full stop. The organization had a relationship with the local government and had gained respect of the local government because they did things properly. That's the way it should be. When you're a non-profit, don't do anything that will waste the scarce dollars you have been given.

Secondly, it's true that your impact in these countries is small. But it's like the story of the kid who saved the one starfish. The man comes along and asks the boy why he saved that starfish, what difference does it make in the face of so many starfish dying on the beach? The boy thinks and says, "Well, it made a difference for that one." I still keep in touch with the kids I've taught. The Internet is wonderful today and makes this easier than ever, except in those locations where the situation is so dire that you take Bill Gates's attitude of choosing to fight the malaria over getting the Internet up and running. Overall, I know that the kids are impacted on an individual basis because they keep in touch with me, still call me Teacher, and talk with me about things. The people in these communities appreciate that someone took their time and money to go and help them, if what was provided was helpful. Again, that goes back to the organization making sure that the money and effort is being spent in a way that maximizes ROI. It's the same in business. You don't tell a recruiter to do the bookkeeping, you get a bookkeeper or accountant for that. It just makes sense.

Thirdly, these trips have value in that they work as vision trips. A percentage of volunteers will go on these trips and have their eyes open and their thinking changed in such a way that their life goals change. Those people are the ones who will go into this work full-time and throw away the nice cushy jobs in the first world. Those people are also often the ones who can afford to do it because they've been working nice cushy jobs in the first world for a while, so they have the savings to make it happen for some time until outside donations can take over in terms of funding everything. If these trips don't happen, a huge recruiting channel for these organizations for long-term workers completely disappears. These organizations prefer that these trips be available for people from every generation because you don't know where you'll find the people who will have the switch turned on inside themselves, and you don't know which people will have which kinds of support networks that would be willing to help fund this lifestyle. This third factor is possibly the most important reason why these trips are a good thing.

The goal to have a locally-run operation staffed by locals is an important one. But it takes time to get there, and these trips are a part of the process to get there.

edit: clarification

3
avalaunch 11 hours ago 2 replies      
The main point the article is making, that not all volunteers are providing a net positive, is an interesting one.

I have a problem with her position, though. She ends the article with:"Be smart about traveling and strive to be informed and culturally aware. Its only through an understanding of the problems communities are facing, and the continued development of skills within that community, that long-term solutions will be created."

The problem is that it's hard to be culturally aware and to understand the problems communities are facing if you aren't exposing yourself first hand to those communities. I imagine quite a many useful volunteers, the author included, started off as "voluntourists". And perhaps therein lies the greatest strength of these programs - they help expose little white girls (and boys) to other cultures and problems they otherwise would be unaware of and some percentage of those move on to more useful volunteering.

If she is going to advocate the position she's taken, then she could at least end the article with some alternatives for would be volunteers. As is, if anything, she's just alleviating some of the guilt people might feel over not volunteering: "By volunteering I would be causing more harm than good, so the right thing to do is nothing."

4
yummyfajitas 11 hours ago 4 replies      
If you want to do voluntourism, I suggest something different: start a business or help set up an outsourcing center.

You'll definitely have a positive effect on people by teaching them about western business practices. I'm told by my former coworkers that my standard US egalitarianism was quite unusual. By "egalitarianism", I simply mean "I'm CTO, you are a mechanical turk, we can go eat pancakes and you aren't obligated to make me tea". So were my efforts to ensure that everyone was growing in their career. My feminist sensibilities ("so be late, tell your husband to make dinner") were also a bit scandalous [1].

I came back to India a month ago to attend the wedding of someone I worked with, and I was very surprised to hear all that. I don't know whether to be happy (I made things better) or unhappy (because their next job won't be so good) about it.

By building a good business and maybe destroying some bad local ones, you'll do far more good than you will by doing unskilled construction labor. And very importantly, the people who work for you will learn that western style management is a great way to make money.

[1] By US standards I'm one of those evil misogynists who thinks statistical disparities are irrelevant and discrimination is a testable hypothesis and market opportunity. But drop me in India and I'm suddenly a crazy feminist ranting against rape culture (FYI India has one, the US doesn't).

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herbig 12 hours ago 7 replies      
Most Peace Corps type voluntourism works on the premise that throwing "white" folks into a country and telling them to fix things will generate results. This is because, you know, we understand the incredibly complex social, economic, political, and cultural dynamics of countries better than they know themselves.

We're better educated, and if these backwards countries would just start doing XYZ they'd start to lift themselves up and out of poverty. You know, things like alternative livelihood by making souvenirs out of trash. That's the ticket.

But we don't understand the issues and aren't equipped to be able to even determine what a particular region of the country actually needs, especially not in 2 years or less.

Real results can only come from funded research into what the underlying issues are and how best to combat them. Also, if the United States weren't so economically oppressive.

I disagree however, with the notion that being "white" is a hindrance in the developing world. Being "white" is an advantage everywhere.

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einhverfr 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Living in Indonesia for two years has changed my perspective quite a bit. One of the big things about American culture I now regard as totally odious is the idea that everyone wants to be like us and therefore if we remake the world in our image we are doing everyone a favor. Most of the world doesn't want to be exactly like us -- they like some things about us and dislike other things, and what we like about ourselves may not bear any relation to that.

Societies are homeostatic, equilibrium-seeking systems. If they weren't they'd fall apart under the sorts of stresses that life places on us wherever we live. Foreigners coming in to believe they are making a difference inevitably solve the wrong problems and likely solve them badly.

Now, my parents took some boarding school students to help build medical clinics (under the direction of "Where there Is No Doctor" author David Werner) in the mountains of Mexico back before I was born. They were providing unskilled labor in an area that really did have a shortage (because most people were working in the farms). The upshot though wasn't that the clinics got built faster (they might not have) but that my father got interested in medicine and changed careers from being a math teacher to being a doctor. I have never heard my parents talk about what a difference the students made, or even so much about whatever difference they made.

But having talked with David about this he told me about some of his failures, about how they had this big anti-folk-medicine campaign that they hoped would reduce infant mortality due to diarrhea but then when the floods came, people wouldn't use their folk medicine anymore and the mortality rates went up instead of down and he said they had to go back and reposition what they were offering as one remedy among many.

Often we forget that the people closest to a problem are the best prepared to solve it, and we forget to trust them on this. It is far too often the case that the do-gooders and the activists who haven't yet learned this lesson, solve the wrong problems, often badly, and make things worse.

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crusso 4 hours ago 0 replies      
1. Race had nothing to do with the point of her story. She threw it in there to sound edgy.

2. These programs are as much if not more about affecting the life of the volunteer. Her realization that she thought way too much of her value wouldn't have happened without going there and having the experiences.

3. I know people who are extremely effective in what they do in underdeveloped countries. Her pride brought her to the wrong conclusion about where she was at the beginning of the experience. It's unfortunate that her pride is still in effect, misleading her about the capabilities of others.

8
krstck 12 hours ago 2 replies      
If you really want to help people, find a charity to donate to via Givewell. It won't feel as warm and fuzzy as volunteering, but in most cases that's the best way you can actually help people in need.
9
vitaminj 9 hours ago 0 replies      
A few years ago, I volunteered in SE Asia for 18 months using my electrical engineering skills to help rural villages get access to electricity. At the time, I'd been working professionally for around 7 years and was just becoming competent at working independently. Although I'd gotten my PE status a year earlier, I can't say that I was at a senior engineering / consultant level.

So it was a surprise for me to find that I was one of the most experienced and skilled engineers in my organization (and in many other energy-related organizations for that matter). I concur with the OP and have met quite a few western volunteers that were well-intentioned, but generally had no technical skills.

Of those who had qualifications, they were usually in the social sciences, development studies, media / communications, public relations, etc. Useful skills no doubt, but I felt that the country could have benefited more with direct assistance from the hard sciences and engineering, e.g. hydrology, agriculture, civil engineers, etc - those skills were always in demand. In the end, there's a reason why development is often done so badly - they practically let anyone do it.

10
yaix 2 hours ago 1 reply      
> THE PROBLEM WITH LITTLE WHITE GIRLS

After a year in East Africa, that was one of the things I noticed here: they always come in pairs of 20-year-old white girls. Except for South East Asia, many more young men there.

> $3000 bought us a week at an orphanage

That can actually cause children being obducted or "borrowed" to staff orphanages for white Voluntourists.

> Our mission while at the orphanage was to build a library.

And another 10 African carpenters who lost a job to those white Santa-Clauses.

> have a camp run and executed by Dominicans

Good luck. I have never seen any organization actually run locally. Sure, it often looks like it is, but if you digg a little deeper, you always find at least one Westener (or local who lived half their life in the West) making sure that people actually do things and not just spend the money and idle. But there maybe one such organization, somewhere, I just haven't found it yet.

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cpr 30 minutes ago 0 replies      
Ivan Illich had some good words to say on this topic:

http://www.swaraj.org/illich_hell.htm

12
10feet 11 hours ago 1 reply      
The choice isn't giving $3000 to be a voluntourist, and give $3000 to a charity to hire locals to do the work. The other choice is to go to Europe and blow $3000 having a good time.
13
joshvm 3 hours ago 0 replies      
This is the reason why groups like Doctors Without Borders (Mdecins Sans Frontires) exist. If you want to help sick people, do it with MSF.

There's also Engineers without Borders, but I recently discovered it's not actually about helping with construction work, more like teaching about engineering logistics/principles. Still, point is it's done by engineering students who should know what they're talking about.

In fact there are a whole load of 'Without Borders' groups: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Without_Borders

14
k-mcgrady 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Good article but why did she have to bring race into it? This had absolutely nothing to do with race. The problem was that unskilled people were volunteering to do skilled work. They should be volunteering to do work they have the skills for.
15
wyager 13 hours ago 3 replies      
>It slows down positive growth and perpetuates the white savior complex that, for hundreds of years, has haunted both the countries we are trying to save and our (more recently) own psyches.

Why does this have anything to do with race? Is it any different for a black person with no useful skills to go on one of these voluntourism trips?

16
berrypicker 4 hours ago 0 replies      
>It slows down positive growth

If we ignore race, this model of 'aid' (at this particular stage of development) seems to hinder growth and can not lead to self-sustained communities. Think about this: I could teach somebody how to plant seeds and provide for a whole village, which will eventually lead to a better economy, or I could just buy everybody lunch for a week and wait for somebody else to do the same after me. The latter (which happens in a lot of these programs) is simply interfering with their progress by taking away jobs from the community, which would made progress had you not interfered.

The better solution is guiding and teaching nations how to improve and there are plenty of organizations that do this and have a much more positive effect. Why can't these nations develop like other nations (in similar climates) have done in the past? Nothing wrong with a helping hand but charity like this isn't a long-term solution.

17
aaron695 8 hours ago 1 reply      
It's pretty simple stuff where locals work for $10 per day, your labour contribution is only $10 per day for unskilled labour. IE helping orphans, cute animals, quick bouts of teaching etc

As a libertarian I'm big on spending heaps of money on localised products(With low resource costs) while visiting these countries instead, I make an effort to do stuff that normally I might be stingy on. I figure the money trickles through the economy while encouraging local business.

I also donate because it also has relevance, but if you want to help a community while having a great experience, just pay for it.

18
arohann 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Articles and blog posts like this disappoint and annoy me. They lack logic and intellectual depth.

I sincerely hope young Americans/westerners don't get discouraged by reading such nonsense.

The problem described here is a combination of naivety and misallocation of skills and resources. It has nothing to do with being white and yet this lady can't seem to get away from that.

I'm South Asian and I would have faced the exact same problems this lady faced had I volunteered in the places and organizations she did. However being older and perhaps wiser, I wouldn't have made the error of volunteering to do things I have no skill in. Thats the only mistake she made and the problems she mentioned are easily fixed with a little common sense. Yet somehow she can't see that

I wonder where this silliness comes from - could it be the result of the modern American education system ?

Before closing I should mention I would likely never have been born had it not been for a bunch of young European women who saved my orphaned grandmother from certain starvation and neglect when she was a toddler.They gave her a home, an excellent education and looked afer her till she was a young woman. Their actions helped my grandmother get the skills she later used to pull her family out of poverty (resulting from the Partition of India) into the upper middle class.

Thank heavens for those dedicated, young, white voluntourists.

19
theorique 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I thought there would surely be reference to this Onion article:

http://www.theonion.com/articles/6day-visit-to-rural-african...

20
arjie 12 hours ago 2 replies      
About the brick laying, I'm told that you usually do that poorly if you have no experience (unlike activities like making sawhorses etc. which require little skill). Our local Habitat chapter has experts come in for brick-laying.

In the end, 'voluntourists' are just trying to give what they think they're able to. If they aren't net negatives, I see it as a good thing because they will spend money there, they will bring attention to whatever cause, and other such things. When they're a net negative, though, perhaps it's not such a good idea. It's nice that you want to help, but sometimes what you have to offer isn't what they need.

21
rdtsc 11 hours ago 3 replies      
I have seen, heard of and have been invited to participate in these trips. Some are NGOs, some are religious groups.

Yeah, looking at it from the perspective she wrote, it seems ridiculous. It is an "industry", wrapped in a non-profit, save-the-world PR shroud, that caters to educated, Westerners who can afford to travel overseas. People feel good when they do good. Whether they other side perceives it as good, sometimes it is not clear.

One can ask, is it better if these "unskilled" people never left home? Maybe even with all the seeming waste and incompetence, it keeps people engaged. I suspect most of them would not have just taken the money for that plane ticket, and handed that check to a NGO that knows better how to spend it, and could build 10 libraries for all that money. But I am afraid it is either "send the volunteers and keep them engaged somehow" vs "don't send the volunteers at all and say goodbye to that money and resources".

People like to help others, people like to tell stories, like to have adventures. These trips cater to that aspect. Do people in Africa feel better knowing that foreigners want to come in and at least try to slap a brick on top of another even if they don't know how? I see a lot of criticism of this here, and rationally I agree, but I also feel there is a bit more too it and I personally am on the fence whether this is good thing or not.

22
raheemm 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Even though voluntourist may not be the most useful addition to a team, I imagine the money that is spent to travel and spend time in the volunteer country also helps the local economy a great deal. An unintended benefit but nevertheless helpful.
23
wcummings 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Yeah, seriously, go to a local food pantry, they'll be glad for the help
24
gone35 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I am good at raising money, training volunteers, collecting items, coordinating programs, and telling stories. I am flexible, creative, and able to think on my feet. On paper I am, by most people's standards, highly qualified to do international aid.

Perhaps I'm missing something, but I don't think it immediately follows the author is "highly qualified to do international aid" at all from that description alone. Shouldn't one require a profession of some sorts to be "highly qualified" in anything, perhaps? I would assume she is college educated: shouldn't a university education have qualified her as a professional in some field already?

25
mountaineer 12 hours ago 0 replies      
There's a book I'm just beginning, When Helping Hurts[1], that dives into this subject deeper. Complicated for sure.

[1] http://www.amazon.com/When-Helping-Hurts-Alleviate-Yourself/...

26
shliachtx 12 hours ago 0 replies      
This has some good points, but it seems (from my experience) that this applies to some degree to a lot of nonprofits. The volunteers actual contribution is minimal, but the nonprofits allow and even encourage it, because it encourages engagement and donations by the volunteers.
27
kumarski 10 hours ago 1 reply      
The number one way to help people in the 3rd world is find hungry competent entrepreneurs in the country and ask them about their problems.
28
ChrisNorstrom 12 hours ago 2 replies      
White people are finally starting to "get it". http://youtu.be/dyf2Cf5GkTY See Dambisa Moyo's interview about her book "Dead Aid" The statistics showing how aid is actually hurting African countries and not allowing them to develop on their own the way the rest of the world has.
29
tim333 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Regarding the OP's>"Sadly, taking part in international aid where you arent particularly helpful is not benign. Its detrimental."I'm not sure that's true as you will still generally be bringing money to the country either in donations to the good cause or in the way that all tourists do by spending at local bars, souvenir shops and the like.
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htns 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Something which everyone so far has failed to mention is corruption. Tanzania is hardly the model of democracy. Putting some foreigners into the mix brings some extra certainty on how the money gets spent, even if the foreigners have their own perverse incentives.
31
khc 9 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't remember where I read it, but someone famous once said "for most people the best way to do good is to make a lot of money and then give it away" (or something to that effect). I couldn't agree more.
32
iopq 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I expected a treatise on Voluntaryism and I have to say that I got really far into the article before realizing I read the title wrong.
33
72deluxe 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I read it as "Why I stopped being a voyeurist" and thought it would be an article on finding morals.

It was radically different.

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kumarski 10 hours ago 1 reply      
The absolute worst thing is when the voluntourists don't speak the native language and stick out visually like a black man in Sweden.
15
I Still Don't Want To Be Part of Your Fucking Ecosystem shkspr.mobi
214 points by edent  4 hours ago   172 comments top 39
1
davexunit 2 hours ago 4 replies      
The author is mixing together several problems here.

1) Amazon bundling a video service with their free shipping program.

2) Amazon's proprietary software locking in you into whatever platforms that are in their business interests.

3) Panasonic's proprietary TV platform that people can't be bothered to develop for.

4) Digital Restrictions Management that prevents one from downloading a movie via Amazon Prime and playing it in any other video player on any other platform.

This is just the usual awful situation when you rely on proprietary software. Stop using Amazon Prime to watch videos. Write to them about the problems you have. I recently wrote to Audible because their ebooks come with DRM and cannot be played on GNU/Linux using Free Software.

2
joelthelion 2 hours ago 2 replies      
Meanwhile the pirate bay is still compatible with pretty much any system on the planet.

If you want my money you'll have to provide at least the same amount of service. And stop being assholes trying to pass massive surveillance laws every three months.

3
vidarh 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I first started buying Kindle books once I was confident that I could trivially rip the DRM off them via Calibre.

(EDIT: And I'm very glad I did, as just the other day I bought a book that in its original format causes the Android Kindle app to go back to the main screen if I remain on the same page for more than a few seconds(!) and lose its position in the book - thanks to Calibre I know I have alternatives, including converting it to other formats and/or reading it in other readers, if Amazon doesn't manage to figure out what the issue is; that's within the first dozen books I've bought from the Kindle store)

I will start buying video online when I'm equally confident I can do the same.

The free videos via Prime I'll be more lenient with. Even rentals. I don't mind DRM on that per se. Except that the DRM generally prevents me or make it hard to access it on all my devices. If they won't run on my Linux laptop (they might, as I understand it, via Pipelight, but I've not tested), or on my Android TV stick, or on my Android phone, they might as well not exist.

In that case the value of Amazon Instant Video to me is arguably negative: I receive zero value, and there's a an added negative value in having it shoved in my face knowing they're choosing to artificially limit my access. I'm less happy about my Prime subscription today, knowing the amount of potential hassle might be involved in trying to get access to these videos than I was before I received the e-mail saying they'd added Instant Video to the UK Prime accounts last night...

4
girvo 3 hours ago 5 replies      
As crazy as this sounds... I've got no problems with being in an "ecosystem" as long as it can be run on any device. See Kindle for a perfect example -- I have it on my iPhone, iPad, desktop and my PaperWhite. Perfect.

Or Netflix: runs on everything. But if your "ecosystem" is limited to particular devices (see: iMessage, or the OP) then it may as well not exist as far as I'm concerned.

Hell, even Apple knew iTunes needed to run on Windows to matter. Eventually, anyway.

5
skywhopper 55 minutes ago 0 replies      
The trend of vertical hyper-integration combined with Comcast's hegemony over broadband and gradual creeping loss of Net Neutrality means that we're gradually moving towards a less and less useful Internet. Unfortunately, whatever benefits these companies might reap in the long-term from wide-open media standards and net neutrality are too small or too uncertain to allow them to move towards openness. I hate to say it on this site, but government does have a role to play here in establishing rules for basic market fairness. Unfortunately, so far the government rules have all been in favor of the media industry and against consumers. Abolishing DRM and going strict on net neutrality are, I think, the two key pieces of the puzzle. Much of the other problems would quickly fall away. Stronger fair use and compulsory licensing across a broader spectrum of IP would also help.
6
far33d 2 hours ago 0 replies      
It's not clear that Amazon has 100% control over how they distribute video. Rights holders are pretty controlling about DRM, distribution, and what devices can use their content.

I don't know anything about the specific deals here, but I wouldn't be surprised if an open Amazon Instant Video was an Amazon Instant Video without very much content you'd care about.

7
Touche 2 hours ago 1 reply      
While I agree with his point about ecosystems (I strongly avoid them), these examples are a bit weak. Android is not an "open standard", it's a code-dumped open source touch OS controlled by 1 company. Amazon should make an Android app, but by doing so they are contributing to an ecosystem.

What's not widely known is that, unlike smartphones, HTML5 is the dominant platform for TV-based apps. That's why every TV has Netflix, not because Netflix is employing an army of engineers to make a new app for each TV model.

However, TV based apps are still apps that are installed and controlled by the TV vendor. Which means Amazon has to strike a deal with Panasonic to get their generic HTML5 app on Panasonic TVs.

If HTML5 DRM (which, to clarify, I am opposed to) becomes a standard this whole mess could be avoided and Amazon could serve their videos on any TV with a modern browser.

8
josephlord 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I used to do business development work at Sony bringing content services onto the TVs although this is a few years ago now. It is complicated and messy and there are many aspects both technical and commercial[0] that can cause services not to be available.

Lovefilm were one of the most flexible and adaptable service providers although I don't know the extent to which this still applies with Amazon.

I don't blame Panasonic for not supporting Flash/Silverlight in the TV. Adopting either of these is likely to require unpleasant licensing terms AND opaque binary blobs into the TV software.

On the service provider side they cannot just drop the security measures (DRM or other security measures) as that would likely be breaching their own licenses from the content owners (film companies). If not supporting a major recognised DRM approach it can be a real sticking block.

[0] Including placement, branding, design and obviously any revenue share arrangements.

9
techsupporter 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm really beginning to think that views like this (which I share) are in the minority, at least so far as the "making astounding quantities of money" crowd are concerned. Even downloading an MP3 from Amazon--a process that used to just result in an MP3 link being presented after payment--needs a client and wants to sync to the cloud. Vendor lock-in has been a thing for as long as there have been computers, it's just that our interconnectedness has made it even more visible and incredibly more lucrative.
10
peterwwillis 35 minutes ago 0 replies      
Oh hey. It's a bitchy consumer with entitlement issues. Fancy seeing one of those on HN.

You know what ecosystem is nice? Earth's. Go outside and play in the snow for fuck's sake.

11
Tloewald 2 hours ago 1 reply      
The basic issue is lock-in. Ideally we'd have no lock-in, but that's a benefit balanced against other benefits (e.g. having a good UI, ease of setup and maintenance, enough scope for vendors to make money and stay in business). In practice this means we tolerate a certain amount of lock-in for other benefits.

But, the problem comes when everyone thinks that they can be the guy with the tolerable lock-in. Use MY video service -- anywhere, MY platform -- running on anything, MY app store -- on anyone.

Amazon's model is illustrative. It's hard to read non-Amazon content on a Kindle (harder than any other platform!) but easy to read Amazon content on any rival platform. They've been less successful with video because they aren't able to leverage their existing near-monopolies as well.

12
frik 57 minutes ago 1 reply      
HTML 5.1 will feature DRM ("Encrypted Media Extensions"): https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/10/lowering-your-standard...

Sadly Microsoft, Google, Netflix and BBC want this in HTML 5.1. We can only hope that Mozilla [1], Apple, Adobe, etc. won't support DRM in their products.

[1] https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=872125

13
javindo 1 hour ago 0 replies      
The thing I'm most pissed off about is having this rubbish bundled in with Prime at a non-additional extra cost. As a current Prime customer, I will not be renewing next year.

I generally respect Amazon, Bezos, most of what they do and their business strategy, but this is a real shitbag move towards paying Prime customers.

14
quasque 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Is this really that important? If you don't like it, don't use it (it being Amazon's video streaming service). There are plenty of competing services if you have a burning need to watch films via the Internet. No need to throw a tantrum.
15
skywhopper 54 minutes ago 0 replies      
As far as TV support goes, no one should expect their TVs to handle streaming media for them. That was and is a terrible idea. A TV should be a monitor, end of story.
16
brador 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Spread information. Just like you're doing with this article. Eventually, enough decisions will be made based on that information, that was previously unknown or hidden, that companies will change their practises.
17
staticshock 2 hours ago 2 replies      
> Even Microsoft, the technology's creator, sees no future in [Silverlight]

I don't understand the basis for making such a statement. The last Silverlight release is not very old; the linked "lifecycle search" lists mainstream support for the latest version of Silverlight until 2021; there are no announcement that the product is being abandoned. Is it just hyperbole?

18
Fuxy 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I think the smart TV is inherently a lock in platform like the old phone market use to be when Nokia phones were all the rage.

If the smart TV runs android I'm ok with it the apps are already there but if anything else i would rather have the "smart" part outside my TV and just get a regular old TV.

Say for instance using XBMC I know it's a lot less likely the apps will get out of date or I'm going to be forced by some vendors whims to use certain service because they need to increase their profit margins.

19
Qworg 3 hours ago 3 replies      
There is a misalignment of incentives.

You want to be able to consume X on any Y.

Companies want to sell you X on the expectation that you've bought their Y. Given that they've already been extremely successful doing this, X is only available on their Y.

Why should they change?

20
shurcooL 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Just to be clear, I upvoted this, but I thinking TVs being anything but a dumb display is a really bad idea. It wastes developer time trying to stuff support for proprietary technologies and reinvents the wheel.

Just... just be a display and let me connect whatever proper devices to it, instead of trying to put a crappy and slow YouTube app that gets obsoleted within a year.

21
alextingle 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Meanwhile, in the Pirate Bay ecosystem...
22
jokoon 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Part is how business is done when you have a patent system in place.

It's hard to innovate when you're an investor, so those who do manage to sell in a certain market tend to milk their users instead of trying to get more customers. They don't really understand very well why people use IT products, so they tend to take no risks and lock in.

This could be solved like this:

* Be a company who doesn't lose lawsuits to patent trolls. I don't really know the details of that. I don't know how the justice system technically manage those things.

* Fix the patent system to have an healthier innovation landmark.

* Have a business model where companies who do innovate refuse to be bought, and only agree to do partnerships with other companies so to avoid the lock-in between giants. If you get bought by google or microsoft, it will indeed change how your product will end up being used or not. This solution is naive.

23
tootie 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Amazon most definitely has an android app for instance video. That's how it runs on Kindle Fire devices. They just don't approve it (or enable it to work) on non-Kindle devices. You can find leaked apk files on various forums, but they don't fit most screens and crash frequently. On the flip side, you can stream movies via their website in Firefox for Android which still supports Flash.
24
DanielBMarkham 3 hours ago 2 replies      
This is one of the reasons why Net Neutrality is so important.

Everybody and their brother wants to lock you in to their platform (whether it's a phone or an ISP) then split, differentiate, and bundle the product in so many complex ways you'll be lucky if you even understand what you're purchasing.

Cell phone companies have already done this. Airlines as well. So have insurance companies. They make money by farming the walled garden in such a way as to make it look like you have increased choices, but, mirabile dictu, all the choices end up with you paying more money each month.

Enough is enough.

25
dankoss 2 hours ago 0 replies      
The problem here isn't ecosystems, it's standards. Standards that allow us to move MP3s, emails, books, etc. between providers.

I'd like to believe that HTML5 will eventually be the standard for video delivery, but this may never happen. There's no incentive to standardize streaming content delivery because it would increase competition and take power away from the corporations.

26
anabis 2 hours ago 0 replies      
As a TV developer, I say connect a PC to the TV already. Making a 37-in TV that sells for 479.00 is a major feat in itself. The panel leaves scant margin for a SoC. Porting various codecs and runtimes to run on the said SoC is easier said than done.
27
jotm 2 hours ago 0 replies      
The main problem is that most consumers don't really care about openness, functionality and anything that requires a bit of brain power to understand.

They get a TV, smartphone, PC - it works, cool. That feature is missing - oh, shucks, whatcha gonna do? It was probably too hard to implement anyway, right?

Which is why ecosystems exist - once people learn how to use that one simple system, they'll tend to buy stuff from the same company for convenience's sake. Most poeple don't want to figure out how to install apps, why this web page isn't displaying correctly, or how to make those mp3 files smaller.

28
scrittler 3 hours ago 0 replies      
They aren't ecosystems - they're biospheres. They look like a functional system but by operating independently of external forces they stagnate quickly.
29
nhangen 3 hours ago 4 replies      
This article is a misguided attempt to bemoan Panasonic for not enabling Amazon Prime video on their devices, which really has nothing to do with ecosystems and more to do with inferior technology and/or poor pre-purchase research.

I don't view Prime Video as an ecosystem but more as an added value type of thing. Beyond that, it's opt-in, therefore not limiting.

If the OP wanted Prime Video on their TV they should have purchased a TV that offered it, or buy a box that does it as an add-on.

30
ilbe 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Why not just get a $300 projector and plug your laptop in?
31
josinalvo 2 hours ago 0 replies      
maybe it would be good to have some sort of (general) index of compatibility for consumer products. A one-number thing. "how likely this product is to lock you out of something good".

If this information is valuable (and I think it is!) even small fluctuations on the index could push a given product up.

32
logicallee 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't mind being part of your ecosystem as long as I'm part of your family, you care for my needs, think about me, and the whole company is built around my lifestyle and serves it really well leaving not much to be desired. The loss in interoperability is worth it in this case.

If you're not going to be the above, then act like a pipe-able Unix process.

33
PaulHoule 3 hours ago 4 replies      
This reminds me of the bad old days.

Around 1980 you'd buy an Apple ][ or a TRS-80 or a Commodore VIC and they all were incompatible, although most of them still had Micro$oft BASIC.

34
arca_vorago 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Let just boil this issue down to what it really is: closed source vs open source. With the "in-your-face-doubters" revelations of Snowden that many of us have been raving about for years, it still boils down to the main issue which is control of data. Closed source and you never fully control your data, it's that simple. Stop making it more complicated than it really is, and once again, I say that RMS was a man that will be increasingly vindicated over time.

Also, fuck the "cloud".

35
beachstartup 1 hour ago 0 replies      
i have a panasonic viera from 2011 and it includes an amazon video player in its built-in apps (along with netflix, and a couple of other services). i use it all the time to watch movies and tv shows using prime, for free, and for pay. is the author talking about a different service?
36
RRRA 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Flash is such an ecosystem...
37
aet 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Roku
38
yuvadam 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Cory Doctorow calls it "the war on general-purpose computing" and it's a pretty damn good read [1] (or talk [2]).

[1] - http://boingboing.net/2012/01/10/lockdown.html

[2] - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUEvRyemKSg

39
peligoose 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm a fan of ecosystems.
16
Even Knowingly Taking A Placebo Seems To Help (2010) npr.org
51 points by fakenBisEsRult  7 hours ago   29 comments top 12
1
tokenadult 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Now why did I know that Ted Kaptchuk[1] would be the quoted "expert" (he is not a medical doctor) in this 23 December 2010 story even before I read it? Because he is always the guy pushing this line[2] in press releases[3] that get picked up by the popular media.

Meanwhile, the medical researchers who look at the issue with proper study designs and statistical controls know that placebos are essentially useless, as they at most have influence just on self-reported subjective symptoms, not on any sign that affects the progression of a disease or maintenance of good health.[4] Ladies and gentlemen, you know you aren't going to seek "placebo medicine" if you have cancer or congestive heart failure, and you know that no compassionate parent would seek "placebo medicine" for minor children who have a childhood disease. So why does this topic keep coming up over and over and over here on Hacker News, now most recently from a brand-new participant here? Take the time and effort to learn a bit more about the actual research base before assuming that this story is anything other than the outcome of carefully crafted press release.

Findings on placebo effects by researchers who have considered the issue carefully include

"Despite the spin of the authors these results put placebo medicine into crystal clear perspective, and I think they are generalizable and consistent with other placebo studies. For objective physiological outcomes, there is no significant placebo effect. Placebos are no better than no treatment at all."[5]

"We did not find that placebo interventions have important clinical effects in general. However, in certain settings placebo interventions can influence patient-reported outcomes, especially pain and nausea, though it is difficult to distinguish patient-reported effects of placebo from biased reporting. The effect on pain varied, even among trials with low risk of bias, from negligible to clinically important. Variations in the effect of placebo were partly explained by variations in how trials were conducted and how patients were informed."[6]

[1] http://harvardmagazine.com/2013/01/the-placebo-phenomenon

[2] http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/dummy-medicine-dummy-doc...

http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/dummy-medicine-dummy-doc...

http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/dummy-medicine-dummy-doc...

[3] http://www.phdcomics.com/comics/archive.php?comicid=1174

[4] http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/michael-specter-on-the-p...

http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/ted-kaptchuk-versus-plac...

[5] http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/the-rise-and-fa...

[6] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20091554

2
mikehall314 5 hours ago 2 replies      
The Placebo Effect is something of a misnomer, as there are actually many different placebo effects, which bias trial data in subtle and interesting ways. Effects like regression to the mean and the natural history of the disease, for example, will result in objective changes to a patient's condition even in cases where the patient is acutely aware they are only taking a placebo.

Analyses comparing placebo interventions to no treatment reveal that the apparent power of the placebo may be overstated. No placebo effects are observed, for example, when comparing placebo to no treatment for objective endpoints, or binary endpoints (Hrbjartsson et al, 2001). They are observed in subjective endpoints (e.g. pain, nausea) where the condition of the patient is filtered through the opinion and biases of the patient and/or the clinician - which makes it quite possible that this aspect of placebo action can be accounted for by the experimenter effect.

All of which leads to my primary problem with this paper. It is a comparison of open-label placebo to no treatment, with a relatively small number of participants (n = 80), studying only subjective end-points (hello, experimenter effect). The media coverage of this paper (c.f. the NPR article) makes the claim that an "honest placebo" was given, with the patients informed they were only taking placebo, which is true. But patients were also told the placebo could "present significant improvement in IBS symptoms through mind-body self-healing processes", which just as readily primes the patient for the experimenter effect as does telling them they're taking a drug.

On top of that, the clinical relevance of the IBS-GIS improvement seen in the placebo arm is questionable, improvement from "(4) no change" to "(5) slight improvement" on a seven point scale.

Small effect, small numbers, and potentially flawed methodology.

3
BoppreH 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I was under the impression "placebo" includes the effects of:

- the extra exercise of going to the medical center

- better behavior under monitoring

- talking to the test administrators (important for e.g. depression)

- better organization to follow the intake schedule

Which are not affected by knowing you are in the control group. Is this really a surprise to the medical community, or is the article just going for the "mind over matter" and general woo line?

Also:

    open a door toward ethical use of placebos in daily    medical practice
Haven't this been extensively discussed and ultimately rejected for a long time?

4
disgruntledphd2 6 hours ago 2 replies      
This is quite an old paper, and I actually wrote a blog post about it (back when I had a blog). However, my issue with this study is that there was no deceptive placebo condition (i.e. what normally happens). I actually attempted to replicate this finding and didn't find any effect when a deceptive condition was involved, suggesting that IBS may be a special case.

Interestingly enough, IBS patients have been found to have non-opioid mediated relief of pain, which is atypical (normally naloxone blocks these effects) so there may be something weird going on with this condition in more general terms.

Also, its worth noting that in modern conceptions of placebo, its part of every treatment. If you have ever felt the effects of a cup of coffee before approximately 30 minutes, that's probably a placebo. Ditto for headache tablets that work immediately, before the active substance could have gotten into the bloodstream.

Also, with respect to the drinking of water, that's unlikely to be an explanation as that quantity of water is typically not enough to provide relief from IBS.

5
NatW 6 hours ago 1 reply      
This study seemed to deal with people experiencing digestion problems. I wonder if it was the act of drinking extra glasses of water (to swallow the placebos) that helped the situation, rather than the psychology here.
6
CJefferson 57 minutes ago 0 replies      
I take homoeopathic medicine for hayfever. I was recommended it by a friend when I was much younger, and found it was very successful.

I now know it's homoeopathic and what that means, but I still find it greatly improves my symptoms, and assume it isn't having any negative side effects (as the pills are just tiny sugar pills). Part of me doesn't like taking it, but it does help, and it doesn't seem worth stopping at this point.

7
majc2 5 hours ago 1 reply      
BBC's Horizon covered the Placebo Effect last week and folks in UK can see here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b03wcchn/Horizon_201320...
8
k2enemy 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Here's a clever guess at why this might be true from an economics perspective (I'm not the author): http://cheaptalk.org/2010/08/10/blogging-something-i-know-no...
9
mihaifm 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Aha, this confirms my long time suspicion that people can get drunk with non-alcoholic beer.
10
nysv 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Short humorous video of Ben Goldacre talking about placebo studies and the weird effects found: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1Q3jZw4FGs
11
jaekwon 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Well, now it's known that a placebo works, and the mind being mysterious still, a placebo is only a known unknown.

But if you give a sugar pill to a person who had never heard of the placebo effect, and tell him/her that the pill is only sugar with no effect whatsoever, perhaps we might find that the placebo effect does not manifest.

12
sizzle 4 hours ago 0 replies      
*makes sense
17
Jeeves A Language for Automatically Enforcing Privacy Policies mit.edu
43 points by yiedyie  6 hours ago   26 comments top 9
1
dj-wonk 3 hours ago 1 reply      
From the papers section: "A Language for Automatically Enforcing Privacy Policies" http://projects.csail.mit.edu/jeeves/papers/popl088-yang.pdf I hope you like the lambda calculus!
2
jmnicolas 3 hours ago 2 replies      
It's not a programming language, but a DSL.
3
taybin 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Very interesting. Removing human error is maybe overstating the benefit, since you can still introduce bugs in your use of the DSL, but it's very interesting. The writeup is pretty opaque to me, but I'd love to see some libraries build on this.
4
jeanyang 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Happy to answer questions!
5
ape4 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I am sure Facebook's oversharing is due to a programmer error. /s
6
dj-wonk 3 hours ago 0 replies      
7
scotch_drinker 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Every time I see something like "Removes Human Error", I think of Nassim Taleb's Antifragile. This drive to remove errors is likely flawed from the start since we, as humans, are error prone. It's interesting from a theoretical standpoint but there will be human error, regardless of the language. Errors are part of human existence.
8
milliams 4 hours ago 2 replies      
Link to the actual project: http://projects.csail.mit.edu/jeeves/

This article tells nothing useful.

9
untothebreach 4 hours ago 2 replies      

  Please submit the original source. If a blog post reports on something they found on another site, submit the latter.
http://ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html

18
Happy ending: @N has been restored to its rightful owner thenextweb.com
254 points by owenwil  16 hours ago   70 comments top 17
1
acangiano 16 hours ago 7 replies      
It's interesting (and perhaps sad) how these days having a blog in which to complain, if needed, is one of the most foolproof ways to receive proper customer care from certain online companies.
2
photorized 13 hours ago 3 replies      
This isn't nearly as exciting as the story of @N, but I just had something strange happen to one of my Twitter accounts, too.

Registered "tweetcoin" handle awhile back for one of the projects I am working on, and posted on Feb 9 (my single tweet) - "Exciting things in the works" was my comment:

https://twitter.com/tweetcoin

Tried logging in today, couldn't log in. Ended up resetting pwd using my email account, and the reset link logged me in as 'tweetcoin1' - that's when I knew that my Twitter handle had changed from 'tweetcoin' to 'tweetcoin1'.

What's even more bizarre - another tweet appeared under that account. It was dated April 2012, and it simply said:

"This isn't your account."

3
andrewfong 15 hours ago 2 replies      
What I want to know is: what was the attacker thinking? A Twitter handle is something that Twitter can easily return to its rightful owner -- it's not exactly something you can steal. I could see some scenario where the attacker would use some information to extort Naoki into not telling Twitter, but that didn't appear to happen here.
4
gnicholas 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I believe this is called a "happy @N-ding".
5
jbinto 22 minutes ago 0 replies      
It also helps having inside contacts at Google, Twitter or Facebook.

"So I rang my friend at Twitter" tends to be a common theme in these blog posts. I believe this was the case here too.

6
adnam 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Thank goodness, now I can sleep easy again.
7
quackerhacker 10 hours ago 0 replies      
In case anyone wants to see the old discussion we had here on HN (before it was restored 27 days ago): https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7141532
8
jamesaguilar 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Does anyone know: what was the account used for in the mean time?
9
murtali 16 hours ago 1 reply      
I hope Mr.Hiroshima writes a blog post detailing what happened. I'm particularly interested in whether Twitter has implemented any changes in the way they handle high value handles/or all to prevent others who've experienced this with their Twitter account.
10
Frostbeard 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I've seen a few of these stories that assert Hiroshima lost his account. That misrepresents things a little. What actually happened is he was blackmailed into changing his username; his Twitter account, including his tweet history, followers and everything besides the single-character username, seems to have remained intact and under his control throughout the ordeal.
11
kcbanner 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Now he can sell it for $50,000
12
istvanp 16 hours ago 2 replies      
It's nice that Twitter merged @N_IS_STOLEN with his original @N account.
13
smackfu 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Interesting. Just a couple of days ago it had some spammy seeming name, instead of not existing like it had for the previous few weeks.
14
watermarkcamera 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't know this means @N!
15
KamiCrit 15 hours ago 1 reply      
You see now this is news!
16
zeckalpha 16 hours ago 5 replies      
The title is actually "Happy ending: @N has been restored to its rightful owner".

"finally" implies that Twitter was too slow in reacting to this. Please don't editorialize.

17
ch 12 hours ago 1 reply      
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_engineering_(security)

I don't know why but this comment makes me feel old. I wonder if it would make Kevin Mitnick feel the same.

19
When is it stealing? hanselman.com
60 points by fekberg  5 hours ago   57 comments top 18
1
spindritf 2 hours ago 3 replies      
Never. It's never stealing. It may be infringing, douchey, objectively wrong, illegal, despicable, plagiarism but, unless it deprives you of your copy, it's not stealing.

While I understand the rhetorical usefulness of calling copyright infringement stealing, it's simply not accurate and nitpickers will be right. Again, they may also be annoying, myopic, or outright stupid, but they will be correct.

However, the article is much better than the title would imply so if you were just irked by the headline, don't skip it.

2
mrtksn 3 hours ago 0 replies      
When you use the word "stealing" to describe anything other than shoplifting or burglary it instantly starts endless conflicts with each party with it's own definition of what is stealing based on their own definition of what is property and so on.

I would like to describe the situation as cheating in the game without trying to going down into the rabbit hole that the digital goods opened(or expanded, since before the digital era we already had goods that are valuable other than it's material and building value. Books, Paintings, Designs, Blueprints and more).

So, you are producing something with intention to gain money or maybe just reputation but often you already use other peoples work to do that - nothing is made out out of thin air.

Then somebody is building some other product with some intention like making money, gaining reputation or something else and his product is using your product and maybe many other people's products. Let's say a website with AI that awesomely curates the content of other people.

In this situation everybody produced a valuable product but the other guys product's success is on your expense.

Ideally you would have an arrangement where everybody wins. I will give an example from the movies and music industries:

a)When you have the arraignment it's iTunes store.b)When you don't have one, it's the Prate Bay.

or Defense industries:

a) When you have a contract it's joint venture and you exchange some information to build some product.b) When you don't have one and you spy on each other to create similar product its espionage.

or personal relationships:

a) When a couple are also seeing other people with the consent of the other one, it's open relationshipb) If there is no consent, it's called cheating.

It's not about stealing, it's about managing the resources in coordination with other parties so that everybody wins. Otherwise often one party wins in expense of the other, many time everybody loses in the long run.

3
ap22213 3 hours ago 3 replies      
Stealing exists at a culturally-defined threshold. One must be brought up (or assimilated) with an understanding of what is 'property' and what is not. Then, one has to also understand what is 'ownership'. Most of us learn this stuff implicitly, from the people around us, but in a globally connected world, this is much more difficult.

I know this first-hand because I grew up in poor Appalachia, in the US. There, property and ownership and rights were much differently understood than in metropolitan Virginia where I live now. Even though we were under the jurisdiction of local, state, and national laws regarding such things, we followed the norms of the people around us. But, as I became assimilated into the urban 'middle-class', I had to re-learn these things.

I think this is why file sharing in the US became so popular in the 90s/2000s. Kids (and adults) who were otherwise raised with an understanding of US 'property rights' were nonetheless stealing media. The media that was being shared just didn't have a cultural foundation as property, to them.

Anyway, there are a lot of people on the internet that don't necessarily have the same understanding of property and rights and ownership than us. Some people just don't know that what they're doing is bad and/or illegal.

4
lazyjones 4 hours ago 2 replies      
> What are your thoughts, Dear Reader?

Honestly? Like you wrote, everything's going to be copied anyway, better don't let it cause frustration. It's just information, something we've never controlled successfully before the digital age and haven't given up trying to control on the web yet.

If we didn't try to (pointlessly really) fight over attention from search engines and revenue from annoying ads where we ought to put our content, it wouldn't be such a big issue and the world would probably a better place if people published stuff because they thought it would matter to do so, not for ad revenue.

5
ds9 2 hours ago 0 replies      
For multiple reasons including those stated by mrtksn, "stealing" is an unsuitable term - it invites an ideological digression on copyright, property rights, law and justice.

However, the situation hanselman describes is certainly copyright infringement, and in my opinion he ought to look at the possibility of legal action. It might not be worthwhile, but might be satisfying and set a precedent for control of ripoff sites (modulo jurisdiction and other practical issues).

On the principles involved, IMHO copyright infringement can be justified and even admirable and virtuous in some contexts - but commercial exploitation of others' works, without the creators' permisssion, is not among them. In a just world Hanselman would get the all the profit the infringer realized plus the full cost of suing.

What's most egregious here is the relationship of economic power and enforcement of rights. Big, evil copyright-hoarding companies, that do not create anything but exploit the creations of others, are able to enforce their legal rights to an extreme and excessive degree, including interference with civil communications, taxes on blank media, false takedown orders and other abuses - while individuals subjected to exactly analogous, or even worse violations have no recourse. It's a two-tier system that deserves little respect.

'Scuze me for ranting.

6
programminggeek 3 hours ago 0 replies      
This is exactly why I came up with the idea of the Pirate License. http://retromocha.com/pirate-license.html

Not everything makes sense to put out as Creative Commons. Sometimes you want to actually sell something like software or an ebook, but you don't think it makes sense to go after people torrenting your stuff and giving it away for free.

My philosophy is there can still be an exchange of value. So, with the Pirate License, you make a version of your product explicitly licensed under the Pirate License which calls those who steal your product pirates, and asks them to pass it along to other pirates or potential customers.

I think it makes the expectations for piracy much more clear and should lead to better outcomes.

7
pbreit 35 minutes ago 0 replies      
With this line of thinking you'd never get things like YouTube or Uber. Switching to opt-in would basically imply shutting down so that's not really an option. I suppose they could default to computer-generated reads and wait for content owners to request a human-read version. We're likely in a gray area here but it's hard to get too objectionable (except for the part where Umano claims some future ownership).
8
krstck 2 hours ago 0 replies      
How does Umano make its money? Do they charge for the app or play ads? Sell data?

I've always felt it questionable ethical territory to take somebody else's work, slap ads on it, and pocket the money. "Aggregators" have been doing that forever, though.

9
joshvm 56 minutes ago 0 replies      
This came up quite recently with the twitter account that posted historical pictures without attribution. Arguably they're showing people wonderful photographs that they would otherwise not see, however they were basically lifting archive photos and publishing them without giving any nod to the photographers or the institutes that provided them.

http://petapixel.com/2014/01/24/make-money-twitter-ignore-co...

The attitude in most of these cases is innocent unless you can prove you own it and complain enough.

Extreme example - is Google stealing from you because it aggregates your content, stores it, makes it easily searchable and then serves adverts to make money from it?

10
qwerta 3 hours ago 0 replies      
It is never stealing, but unlicensed use or license violation!

Steeling would be taking away copyright ownership from author.

11
Thiz 2 hours ago 0 replies      
> When is it stealing?

Never.

A good read about IP:

http://mises.org/document/3582/Against-Intellectual-Property

12
psionski 2 hours ago 0 replies      
It's stealing when a company takes your hard-earned cash (not "copies", but "takes") and doesn't deliver a product you actually enjoy using.
13
robinwarren 4 hours ago 2 replies      
Call me non typically British but it's pretty obvious why they didn't ask. Even if 100% of people they asked were fine with it (Scott seems to imply he is) probably less than 10% would bother to respond, that then knackers their startup instantly. "Better to do something now and apologise later than ask for permission and not get it" as I think a saying goes.

Better attribution would have been good, and possibly reaching out to original creators asking them to opt out if they'd rather not be involved. Offering something in return (the embedded player for relevant articles) could have helped grease the wheels. Ultimately, if they get bug they may not need massive support from content creators like Scott but they do need not to be on the wrong side of them.

14
lukasm 4 hours ago 1 reply      
The whole problem comes down to definition of property. What is it, really?

People don't consider content to be proprietary. We treat a blog post in the same way we treat speech. Users ain't gonna pay for that. Period. Some of them may, but no the majority.

15
vrikis 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I clicked through hoping this would be about physical objects... I've always wondered, if I leave a bike unchained and someone takes it, it's considered stealing, right? But what about littering a box of cigarettes on the floor, and someone taking the last one in it, did that person just steal your cigarette?

Totally off-topic, so I apologize, but I've always wanted to read into this topic a bit more...

16
rjzzleep 3 hours ago 0 replies      
my Facebook stream has lately been filled with people copying and pasting 27bslash6 posts to their buzz feed clones.

i don't know, is them keeping the real names, such as david thorne in them without reference to the original fair use?

in academia this would be considered plagiarism i recon(but i may be wrong), while quoting the source wouldn't.

at the same time someone below said by the definition of the word it's not stealing because they don't take it away from you. but in a legal sense that statement might be incorrect since if they're getting more buzz they could be stealing the attribution. just like edison never really stole a light bulb, but he very well stole the fame of the light bulb.

17
edw519 2 hours ago 1 reply      
When is it stealing?

As soon as you have to ask, "When is it stealing?", it's stealing, simple as that.

As much as people would like to believe otherwise, all the rest is hand waving, semantics, and window dressing.

18
betterunix 4 hours ago 1 reply      
s/stealing/copying/
20
Paco de Lucia, Renowned Flamenco Guitarist, Dies at 66 nytimes.com
31 points by trekkin  1 hour ago   7 comments top 5
1
muyuu 42 minutes ago 1 reply      
Together with Andres Segovia, he's the reason why Spanish (and classic) guitar is not considered merely a pop instrument nowadays.

It may seem strange nowadays because we are living in the musical aftermath of geniuses like these, but guitar wasn't taken seriously until the 20th century. It wasn't in the league of the piano, but rather in the league of the harmonica and the bongos.

2
fdej 36 minutes ago 1 reply      
Sad news. I wouldn't call myself a fan, but Entre Dos Aguas is one of my favorite instrumental guitar albums.

If anyone needs cheering up: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89zM9pZzt0U

3
anaphor 10 minutes ago 0 replies      
Okay, this is really sad. I got into his music a while ago when I was exploring classical and traditional guitar. His rendition of Joaquin Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez is absolutely brilliant.
4
gcv 34 minutes ago 0 replies      
Listening to de Lucia's Entre dos Aguas album now stunning work.

Meta: delighted to see a story about such a wonderful musician on HN. Sad that it's an obituary.

5
josh-wrale 54 minutes ago 0 replies      
"With the guitar I've suffered a great deal, but when I've had a good time, the suffering seemed worthwhile," he said in the documentary.

Well put. I feel this way about computers in general (and the guitar).

21
Famous tech acquisitions cost per user brightside.io
235 points by RougeFemme  19 hours ago   88 comments top 41
1
simonsarris 17 hours ago 9 replies      
I do not like charts like this because their existence implies that cost per user somehow matters, or is a deciding factor even, in the price of an acquisition.

Even if that was the major metric in determining a price, there's often a very large difference between the number of users currently and the expected number 1 year or 5 years out.

You don't buy a company because of the number of users it has right now. You buy it because you think you can do something better with it, or to be defensive in a field, or to expand your own customer lists.

What's more, not all users are created equal! When Flickr for instance was aquired, what percentage of users were paying users?

I think its hard to make any real generalizations here, but better than a chart of cost per user, I think this is probably closer to a chart of how badly Company X feels it needs some audience. It's some formulation of growth, panic, defensiveness, etc.

2
oskarth 18 hours ago 4 replies      
Wow. This graph is certainly illuminating: https://public.brightside.io/v1/chart/321ef2c603e8d67080afcd...

450000000 is a lot of users. Metcalfe's law says that the value of a communication network is proportional to the square of the connected users. Then add to this the amazing growth they are seeing. I don't think people quite realize what this means.

EDIT: In general, it baffles me how many armchair opinionators there are. Isn't it more interesting to try to understand why FB paid $16B, rather than saying why they shouldn't have?

3
hankScorpi0 1 minute ago 0 replies      
Cost per user is moot when compared against companies which inherently have different users, across different types of devices. Take our latest spot of head-scratchery ala WhatsApp, it's easy to do math and say: "oh right they paid about 40$ a user." Did they really?

WhatsApp has a huge set of "new" users on new and old devices. So, how again is a WhatsApp user on some random (non-smart) phone in India, as "valuable" to Facebook as one sitting in the Valley with their iWhatever.

4
chavesn 17 hours ago 4 replies      
All this shows to me is how useless it is to compare by "cost per user". The note at the bottom says "Facebook acquired WhatsApp for 16 billion dollars, the largest startup acquisition to date. Cost per user was comparable to Google's YouTube acquisition.".

It's sort of close, but we're still talking about a swing of >30% there -- $5 billion dollars in WhatsApp's case.

There are many things missing from "cost per user" but I think the first thing to ask is "user doing what"?

5
ig1 5 hours ago 0 replies      
So this story has 210 points, 80 comments and has been up for 13 hours and yet no-one has mentioned that the data is completely wrong.

There's no accounting for inflation. Comparing a nominal 1999 dollar amount with a nominal 2014 dollar amount is like comparing a euro amount with a dollar amount without doing an conversion (which would actually still be more accurate).

6
ghayes 18 hours ago 2 replies      
Uh, is it just me or is this chart having a hard time with comma versus period for "thousands separator"? Broadcast.com is listed as having $10,961 cost per user, but comes up as $10.961 on the chart. [Sale price of 5.7B for 520K active users]
7
mmanfrin 18 hours ago 3 replies      
Broadcast.com's bar is incorrectly scaled down 1000x -- overlay shows cost per user is over $10k, but it lists at $10.
8
bicknergseng 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I think the cost per employee is even more interesting. $320 mil for every WhatsApp employee, compared with ~$76 mil for everyone at Instagram.

Now is a good time to be in the yacht business.

9
nl 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Some of these acquisitions weren't done for the users.

Aardvark, Jaika, Dodgeball, Picasa, Broadcast.com, FriendFeed (missing), maybe Flickr as well as more recent acquisitions like DeepMind ($900M to Google, zero users) were bought for some combination of the team and the technology.

10
dman 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I think the more fascinating metric here is cost per employee which gives us an idea of economic value created per employee. Whatsapp destroys the other acquisitions on this metric.
11
arasmussen 18 hours ago 1 reply      
There's this thing called sorting which makes stuff a lot easier to read and more informative.....
12
chaz 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Interesting dataset, though I do have some quibbles. For example, registered users aren't the same as monthly unique visitors, which is how CNET is best measured. And ecommerce like Zappos have completely different metrics. One thing I would like to see is the user numbers normalized against web users at the time, which helps put late 90s acquisitions in better perspective.
13
rm999 17 hours ago 0 replies      
It would be interesting to compare this to the equivalent metric for companies that went public: the market cap per user at IPO (or maybe X days after the IPO if there's a lot of volatility?). I'm curious how the valuations differ between IPOs and acquisitions. On one hand IPOs are determined by the open market instead of opaque decisions by a small handful of people. On the other hand, private acquisitions are probably less regulated and allow for more insider information in the pricing (?).

Some other dimensions I'd be interested in are the number of employees, year, current number of users, and (for public companies) current market cap. For acquisitions I'd be curious if there are any decent objective metrics of the "success" of the acquisition.

14
Grue3 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Absolutely useless metric, both mathematically and economically.

When a service has a lot of users, it has no room for growth and cost per user will be small.

When a service has a few users, but has potential to grow exponentially, it will have high cost per user.

Economically there's a large difference between services with respect to their monetization. A service where each user pays $1000 will have higher cost per user than a free service.

15
TorKlingberg 17 hours ago 0 replies      
For many of these each active user drives many passive visitors. Examples: Geocities, Flickr, YouTube.
16
sek 8 hours ago 0 replies      
A FeedBurner "User" is not equal, this was a publisher service.

The real target were the feed subscribers, or maybe they are where can I check the data?

The same goes for Youtube, how many visitors did they have? They bring in the ad revenue.

Compared to Facebook/Whatsapp where you can usually only participate by being a user.

17
jiggy2011 17 hours ago 0 replies      
How are we defining a user here? For example in the case of youtube, do we count people who watch videos? People who sign up and comment? People who upload videos?
18
rubyn00bie 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Uhhh... neat, but can we see profit/revenue per user in that list? I think this is pretty much useless without that context.
19
rayiner 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Kind of dumb to compare U.S./Western Europe users to primarily non-U.S. users as is the case for Whatsapp. I'd bet a 19 year old in India is an order of magnitude less valuable from an advertising standpoint than a 19 year old in America. Not only because people have less disposable income in those countries, but because kids have less control over their parents' disposable income.
20
FigBug 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Most of those were a complete waste of money. Seems like the majority of the big money acquisitions did not live up to the hype.
21
joelthelion 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I think a more useful coloring would be by period: "first internet bubble", etc.
22
allochthon 17 hours ago 0 replies      
One remarkable thing about this list -- with the benefit of hindsight, I only like five or six of the acquisitions all that much.
23
dustcoin 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Relevant to yesterday's news: Acquiring MtGox for "free" would cost ~$336 per user if the leaked crisis document is accurate.
24
rtpg 18 hours ago 0 replies      
it's odd that we focus so much on just user numbers yet talk so much about aqui-hiring.

In most cases it's not just the users they're trying to get, but also the talent (with the idea that most of them aren't one hit wonders).

Acting like startup acquisition is a single-metric game seems like a gross oversimplification. This chart only proves it by showing there is little correlation between user count and buy price.

25
_sentient 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Interesting analysis, but that flickering tooltip issue is beyond annoying. A quick UI fix would be a big improvement.
26
pedalpete 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Would be interesting to see this go one step further to list annual revenue per user at the time of acquisition.
27
thrush 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Another interesting metric would be cost per user minute (would probably need to be normalized over a time period like day, week, month, or year, or quarter).
28
bedhead 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Cost per user makes EV/Sales look like an ultra-precise and dependable measure of value.
29
brianbreslin 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Can someone remind me what aardvark did?
30
malcolmmcc 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Ironically, I only make Google money through YouTube when I'm not a registered user, because when I am I have AdBlock on and it's only when I'm in an incognito mode or different browser/profile that the ads get shown.

So yeah, users not necessarily the most relevant metric there. Which, upon reflection, makes YouTube even more of a steal than it looks in the chart.

31
carlosrt 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Revenue Multiple would make a more useful chart to me. Broadcast.com had $60M in revenue when they sold. Knowing they sold at ~98x revenue seems more useful to me when pricing a stock.
32
kamilszybalski 16 hours ago 0 replies      
You forgot about how much Microsoft paid for Hotmail.. i think it was $40/user.. $400 million for 10 million users
33
selectout 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Didn't realize Aardvark only had 90,000 users. Huge win for the Aardvark team with that sale.
34
bungabunga 18 hours ago 1 reply      
I am surprised Google's acquisition of the thermostat company is not included. $30,000 per user.
35
msoad 18 hours ago 0 replies      
We can add Viber for compression too: $3 per user
36
joshconstine 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Who made this? I want to cite it properly on TechCrunch?
37
abbott 18 hours ago 1 reply      
PayPal was a steal.
38
michaelochurch 16 hours ago 0 replies      
The cost per employee numbers are what have me raging. Given how much value engineers produce (even mediocre ones, much less us closer to the 10x persuasion) how the fuck did we end up being so lowly valued?

I think the answer is that we suck at fighting for our own interests. A traditional union might not be the answer, but something like the SAG might be the way to go. It's absolutely inexcusable that computer programmers don't, for example, have the right to have a representative when negotiating with management or HR.

39
vishrad 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I really want to see Txn Size / Employee. Equity never gets meted out equally across employees. However as a worker bee I am the 'dog that eat the scraps from the table'. When the $/employee is high, even non-founder, non-dev#1 employees make out well.IMHO, the last such exit was YouTube, before WhatsApp ofcourse.
40
watermarkcamera 13 hours ago 0 replies      
No wechat or weixin on this chart ?
41
talon88 17 hours ago 0 replies      
No Tumblr on this chart?
22
Why Did Symbolics Fail? (2009) danweinreb.org
57 points by pjmlp  9 hours ago   34 comments top 8
1
mjn 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Good article I hadn't run across before; thanks for linking it.

One interesting side story is the odd Symbolics foray into animation and video through the Symbolics Graphics Division, which afaict was reasonably successful for a few years. It seemed like the sort of application-oriented business that might let the Symbolics machines break out of single-purpose "AI machines" into being seen as general workstations, or at least dual-purpose AI/graphics workstations. But that business seems to have sort of evaporated along with the rest of their business, despite not being AI and there being no "graphics winter". Perhaps steamrollered by Silicon Graphics, and the same trends towards Unix and commodity CPUs? Or not marketed well enough, by a company whose public materials focused too exclusively on Lisp+AI?

Some bits from that era: the S-Package 3d modeling/animation system (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gV5obrYaogU), the PaintAmation package (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cwer_xKrmI4), and the first HDTV processing on a workstation (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KppVP8PiZag).

2
Zigurd 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I knew several of the Symbolics founding group, especially the engineers, but several of the management team as well. The tl;dr in the article comes here:

Meanwhile, back at Symbolics, there were huge internal management conflicts, leading to the resignation of much of top management, who were replaced by the board of directors with new CEOs who did not do a good job, and did not have the vision to see what was happening.

Symbolics was supposed to be the consensus Next Big Thing. A rival to Sun. A gravy train.

There were titanic egos and divas among the engineers, too. A physical expression of which here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space-cadet_keyboard But several of them are also remembered for big contributions to the industry.

3
nathell 7 hours ago 4 replies      
The dates on Dan Weinreb's blog are all wrong for some reason. This post likely dates back to 2011 or before. (EDIT: Ah, corrected by the moderators, thanks.)

I had the pleasure of meeting Dan at ECLM 2008, four years before his death. He was hacking away on his XO-1 and showing around fancy things. A very memorable man. He's missed.

4
CurtMonash 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Dan was the guy at Symbolics most commonly tasked with making me believe Symbolics would succeed. He succeeded at the task. I forgave him.
5
dschiptsov 6 hours ago 4 replies      
Exactly why Java succeed - the world is dominated by mediocrity while idiots are mostly on management positions.This is why all we got nowadays are Windows PCs with Java. It "worth us" or "suits us well".

Designers were too smart (consider David Moon) while management was "as usual".

6
rurounijones 8 hours ago 1 reply      
For those that had no idea what the hell symbolics are/is (As I did) I think it is referring to the company: http://smbx.org/ has info
7
cafard 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I highly recommend the book Patterns of Software for which the link is given here. It includes the story of Lucid's troubles, which were similar to Symbolic's, though Lucid was not in the hardware business. Quite apart from that, it is well worth reading.
8
tsmith5432 3 hours ago 2 replies      
I worked in an expert systems company in the 80s (one mentioned in the Phillips thesis referenced in the danweinreb article). Take all this with a dose of IIRC.

As part of out work, we evaluated and benchmarked Xerox Interlisp machines, Symbolics systems, VAXen, later Gold Hill etc. to find a cost-effective delivery platform. We even eventually funded the development of a delivery-focused subset of Common Lisp.

One aspect that Symbolics didn't seem to understand back then was cost of entry and deployment: the Xerox D-machines were (IIRC) around 1/3 the cost of the Symbolics. Perhaps not as speedy, but adequate for our day-to-day development work as well as for the end customer's needs.

Symbolics had great development systems, but the delivery answers were late in coming; too late to help us.

There's lots more to be said about the late 80s collapse of AI (ES) applications and expectations, but the margins here are too small to contain it....

23
Overkilling the 8-queens Problem davidad.github.io
173 points by AndyKelley  17 hours ago   52 comments top 14
1
colmmacc 16 hours ago 2 replies      
People often think that the N-queens problem is just an abstract exercise, good sample work that stretches the mind. But when we were building Route 53, we actually use the N-queens problem, it's part of how we assign Shuffle Shards;

     https://github.com/awslabs/route53-infima#shuffleshard
The solution we included in Infima is a recursive search with backtracking because of some other needs;

     http://git.io/332VLA
but it's the N-queens problem, in a real practical setting.

2
mjn 15 hours ago 3 replies      
As an asm tutorial / case study, I found this neat. In terms of a conclusion, I found it potentially neat, but found myself wondering: cool, but how much of a win is all this special-cased effort, versus some kind of off-the-shelf constraint solver written in portable code? It'd be interesting to see a benchmark so we could have an idea if we're talking about a 50% win, orders of magnitude win, etc.

To get a rough baseline for what a generic solution could take, I took nqueens in Answer-Set Programming [1], set n=8, and ran it through clingo [2] on an Amazon micro instance, which gets me 15ms.

Another interesting question might be whether the two solutions have different scaling properties as n increases. The ASP solution scales like this (averaging a few runs and rounding):

   n   time   8     15ms  10     19  15     50  20    130  25    290  30    600  35   1050ms [1.05s]
[1] http://www.hakank.org/answer_set_programming/nqueens.lp. This encoding can be optimized a bit as well, but is a decent starting point.

[2] http://potassco.sourceforge.net, a menagerie of logic-programming tools, written in C++. 'gringo' takes a high-level encoding and turns it into something more SAT-like, 'clasp' solves the SAT-like (variable-free) programs, and 'clingo' staples the two steps together into one binary. I used the version in Debian stable package 'gringo', which reports itself as "clingo 3.0.4 (clasp 1.3.10)"

3
adwhit 16 hours ago 1 reply      
I am said Hacker Schooler who issued the challenge. I thought I'd done well with a Rust solution that ran in 42ms [0].

I was well and truly pwned, as they say (but at least I got some sleep last night).

[0] http://rosettacode.org/wiki/N-queens_problem#Rust

4
JoeAltmaier 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Beautiful! I derived this solution back in 81 when Byte Magazine had a contest. It took 20 minutes to run in Basic on an HP 2000.
5
userbinator 14 hours ago 1 reply      
This is the sort of thing that really shows why someone who knows Asm well can beat even the best compiler - because high-level languages, in hiding the details of the machine under layers of abstraction, are also hiding those details that make it possible to write efficient code. Examples include using the flags and the stack in "unusual" (to HLLs) ways, no requirement to conform to any calling conventions, etc.

That said, the size optimiser in me sees a noticeable absence of rbx, rsi, rdi, and ebp; those registers should be used before going into the r8~r15, since the "extended" registers require a prefix byte to the instruction every time they're used. In fact since only r8, r10, r13, r14, and r15 are used, this code could be rewritten to use only one extended register and you wouldn't need the "mov rdi, r8" at the end.

6
curiousDog 16 hours ago 3 replies      
Would it have been easier to code it in C, compile with -O3 and then further tweak the assembly?
7
deutronium 16 hours ago 1 reply      
That's a really fascinating article! I'd love to see how a C implementation would match up to that.

As an aside there seems to be lots of really interesting concepts involved involved in implementing chess engines.

From representing the chessboard in a highly compact manor through the use of bitboards (http://www.frayn.net/beowulf/theory.html#bitboards) to searching for 'best' possible moves.

8
dfc 16 hours ago 1 reply      
I do not think I have ever seen so many stylistic/rare/historic ligatures used on a web page. Does anyone know if something changed in Iceweasel Aurora? Is this something that can be turned on in css?

UPDATE: If I allow javascript the web page is rendered using some google fonts which probably do not provide any ligatures. However if I do not allow JS and Iceweasel uses my default serif font (Minion Pro) the page is littered with all sorts of contextual/historic/stylistic ligatures.

9
zurn 10 hours ago 0 replies      
It would be interesting hear from a compiler guy why it's hard to produce this sort of code on x86 compiling from C or OpenCL. Bonus points for GPU version :)
10
IbJacked 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Hard to believe I wrote anything useful back in the day, having just an A, X, and Y.
11
mar77i 4 hours ago 0 replies      
reminds me hof how I taught the c64 one of wolfram's 1d automata (as in http://www.mathpuzzle.com/MAA/42-From%20Keyfobs%20to%20Ringt... ) by heavily relying on lookup tables and bit shifting which got down the calculation times to about 30s for the whole 320x200 hires screen. Fun times.
12
djvu9 14 hours ago 2 replies      
I feel nowadays to meaningfully talk about performance of N-queens problem N should start with 18 instead of 8.. Here is a C++ solution with 40 lines of code and can solve 18-queens in less than a minute on a laptop:

https://gist.github.com/jdeng/7915749

13
Patient0 10 hours ago 0 replies      
This looks like a great blog. The previous entry on virtual memory is also pretty informative.
14
plumeria 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Fellow wikipedians: Curiously, there is no English Wikipedia entry for MCPL.
24
Apple releases OS X Mavericks 10.9.2 with SSL fix 9to5mac.com
296 points by davidbarker  22 hours ago   233 comments top 40
1
ecmendenhall 20 hours ago 4 replies      
This bug was pretty serious. I'd better be extra careful and install and verify this myself.

Oh, good: there's a standalone installer available (http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1726). But the download is served over HTTP. Maybe I can just try the same URL with HTTPS:

  $ curl --head https://support.apple.com/downloads/DL1726/en_US/OSXUpdCombo10.9.2.dmg  HTTP/1.1 302 Moved Temporarily  Server: Apache/2.2.24 (Unix)  Location: http://download.info.apple.com/Mac_OS_X/031-3279.20140225.Zzasf/OSXUpdCombo10.9.2.dmg
Nope. Well, at least I can verify the SHA1 sum displayed on the download page. Wait, no, that was served over HTTP, too.

Okay, I'll follow Apple's instructions for checking the certificate fingerprint in the installer (http://support.apple.com/kb/ht5044).But that page (Last modified November 2011) displays a different fingerprint (9C864771 vs FA02790F)...and that fingerprint was also served over HTTP.

Gives up and opens the App Store.

2
e1ven 21 hours ago 16 replies      
Forgive me, but I'm not really sure why this is getting so much attention.

It's certainly a bad bug, and it ought to have been caught.But it feels like this would be much harder to exploit than many other bugs which have had far less hoopla.

As I understand, this SSL bug makes it rather trivial to perform MITM attacks against apps which use the default system SSL libs.

That's certainly a problem, but most people are using trustworthy ISPs (at least in this sense). Comcast seems unlikely to try to steal your bank password, and Verizon is unlikely to try to harvest your HN cookies.

It seems like this primarily affects people connecting to untrustworthy access-points, such as Coffee Shops, or Airport Wifi - While that's certainly something that needs to be fixed, it seems far less crucial than remote-code-execution [1], or many other bugs we see regularly.

I'm sure I'm missing something here, can someone help me understand?Is it just the "Ick" factor of having something you thought was encrypted actually being fairly open?

I don't understand why this is getting more attention that other (seemingly) more dangerous exploits.

[1] - http://msisac.cisecurity.org/advisories/2013/2013-088.cfm

3
sneak 22 hours ago 5 replies      
Ahh, so they probably had to restart the QA on the whole release a few days ago (including FaceTime Audio and associated features) after adding the TLS fix at the last minute.

It makes a bit more sense why they'd make us wait a few days, now.

4
jtokoph 20 hours ago 3 replies      
The fun thing to think about is whether or not you can guarantee that the update you receive is actually from Apple and not someone sending you a fake via MITM.

Sure, they show a SHA1 on this page: http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1726 but that could be MITM'd as well.

5
dmboyd 21 hours ago 3 replies      
This should really have been a separate fix & installed without user interaction. Instead this is 450 Megs & requires a restart. It'll take days for it to get out to those at risk.
6
nextstep 22 hours ago 3 replies      
>> Adds call waiting support for FaceTime audio and video calls

Cool. Someday I'd like to be able to leave a FaceTime voicemail message if the receiver declines the FaceTime call.

7
rmoriz 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Damn, I was close :-)

http://i.imgur.com/vKnXhJ8.png

8
millerm 16 hours ago 0 replies      
To all those who say "it was so easy to spot", congrats on finding the flaw and letting us all know first thing. /s
9
SmileyKeith 21 hours ago 2 replies      
I cant believe they don't even mention the SSL bug in this. That's just insulting.
10
pje 22 hours ago 3 replies      
> The release notes, however, do not make mention of the SSL security bug that was squashed on iOS late last week.
11
gwu78 13 hours ago 1 reply      
A compelling way to get holdouts to upgrade iOS/OSX. Get those iPhone 4 folks who are content with iOS 6.x to install iOS 7.x.

God only knows what incompetence and disregard for user privacy and sanity awaits in these "new" versions. What are they adding that we really need? Oh, the ability to use SSL PKI. Yeah, I guess you have to upgrade.

Why isn't HN discussing the effects this screw up has on email? Email is bigger than the web, belive it or not.

And most of the world appears to use webmail.

With this "bug" HTTPS for your webmail is futile.

You have no way to know you are connecting to the real googlemail, yahoomail, hotmail, etc.

The "authentication" functions of SSL need to be made an compilation option, not a default.

It's obvious almost no knows or cares how to use SSL's PKI mechanism properly.

SSL's encryption capabilities have been useful, but using SSL to do server authentication causes more problems than it solves.

History has shown it's just not easy enough to use.

SSH can do authentication without PKI. Alas, it is embedded into a program that only nerds use.

I'm using the authentication framework in CurveCP. I'm working on making it very easy to use.

12
brown9-2 21 hours ago 3 replies      
What about non-Mavericks versions of OS X?
13
lelf 22 hours ago 2 replies      

  PHP  Available for:  OS X Lion v10.7.5, OS X Lion Server v10.7.5,  OS X Mountain Lion v10.8.5, OS X Mavericks 10.9 and 10.9.1  Impact:  Multiple vulnerabilities in PHP  Description:  Multiple vulnerabilities existed in PHP, the most  serious of which may have led to arbitrary code execution <>
Didn't know it's in Mac OS X But yeah, it is /usr/bin/php

14
plg 22 hours ago 0 replies      
confirmed here as well, it's fixed

https://gotofail.com

15
chrisBob 4 hours ago 0 replies      
But will this fix the bug where my mail doesn't update for hours at a time?!!
16
johnny635 1 hour ago 0 replies      
How many more backdoors will be discovered?
17
pivo 22 hours ago 1 reply      
Hope it also fixes the "issue" where my 2013 Macbook Pro reboots when it wakes up from sleep if there's a USB drive attached.
18
chmars 20 hours ago 0 replies      
In 10.9.2. Apple did also fix a sadly impressive number of other security-related bugs:

http://support.apple.com/kb/HT6150

19
eik3_de 22 hours ago 2 replies      
Is it possible to manually verify the code signature with Apple's built-in public key before installing?
20
0x0 22 hours ago 1 reply      
Finally.

Unfortunately we'll probably always be in the dark about the HOW, WHO and WHY. :(

21
rdl 22 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm confused -- the osx dev center doesn't have 10.9.2 at all (any build), only the original October 10.9 release. I guess that happens whenever they push a new release?
22
calinet6 22 hours ago 3 replies      
Does it fix the networking stack also? Please dear god let it fix the networking stack. (https://discussions.apple.com/thread/5551686?start=0&tstart=...)
23
jcampbell1 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Just installed this. Now I get a HSTS error on github for both Chrome and Safari.
24
jasey 19 hours ago 0 replies      
edit - oh wow I just read what this fix's. Will be updating asap

I haven't upgraded to Mavericks at all yet because I'm worried that it will break software I depend on a daily basis. Can some please confirm if upgrading has a significant risk of breaking compatibility with things like rails, mamp, netbeans, android studio, golang, vagrant, virtualbox, docker etc.

Thanks

25
cajueira 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I have not read much in regards to WHY this exact same bug was also found in OSX. Can anyone shed some light on this?

Do they use the same code stack for iOS and OSX? This seems weird to me - even though parts of code could be used in both operating systems, I would imagine separate teams would be on iOS and OSX, each reviewing code bases on their own, running unit tests and whatnot. Still, this major flaw has been present for 2.5(?) years - all the more reason for paranoia about its presence.

Add to this, why wait so long with the OSX update? A security issue THIS serious MUST be patched instantly and rolled out as an individual/separate update as soon as possible, even if that means pushing back OSX 10.9.2. Or did they need some time to introduce a new flaw somewhere? o_O

26
vardump 18 hours ago 1 reply      
OS X Mavericks audio problems are still not fixed. Audio dropouts in Google Chrome more often than once per second when a lot of tabs are open. Makes for example Youtube unbearable to watch. Chrome audio worked fine in OSX 10.8 with a lot more tabs.

Mid 2012 MBP (MacBookPro9,2).

27
volume 3 hours ago 0 replies      
i wonder how soon a metasploit plugin will be available?
28
dola 19 hours ago 2 replies      
What I wonder, is if Apple can be held responsible (to some extent) for damages that resulted due to this bug for app developers like a bank whose customers were robbed because the bank relied on the secure connection as it should have been provided by the Apple API.Clearly, the attacker is still the person to have exploited the bug but I think a developer should be able to assume that Apples security relevant API functionalities are indeed secure.
29
QuiteMouse 15 hours ago 1 reply      
So are they going to release this fix for Snow Leopard ? Not all of us are on the latest and greatest hardware.
30
cs02rm0 21 hours ago 0 replies      
No sign of 4k@60Hz on the rMBP for the 32" Dell then?
31
protomyth 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Well, the bugs I reported in Finder are still there and it still crashes. I am very much missing Snow Leopard.
32
therealmarv 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Yeah. Finally they fixed this ssl bug and also important to me this annoying webcam bug on Macbook Air for Skype and Hangouts.
33
flatdeviant 21 hours ago 2 replies      
Apple has also changed the behavior of the power button on notebooks. Previously, pressing the button made the Mac instantly go to sleep. Now, just pressing it doesn't do anything. You can still hold the power button for 3 seconds to get the usual "Are you sure you want to shut down your computer now?" dialog box.

Awesome for those of us using FileVault who have to enter their login password each time they wake up their computer.

34
bkmrkr 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Still no handling for hidpi and dell 2815Q
35
guid 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Interesting: After the update, ocspd downloaded roughly 40MB of ... certificate revocation lists?

ocspd/usr/sbin/ocspdTotal: 196 B sent, 45.8 MB receivedOutgoing to devimages.apple.com (92.122.207.101), Port http (80), Protocol TCP (6), 196 B sent, 45.8 MB received

36
emocakes 18 hours ago 0 replies      
took me 4 reboots and 15minutes of waiting at something do with SD cards to get this crap installed. Even windows update works better these days.
37
joelmbell 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Its fixed
38
watermarkcamera 14 hours ago 0 replies      
At last fixed SSL bug at OSX Mavericks 10.9.2
39
LeoNatan25 21 hours ago 1 reply      
I hope for a iOS 7.1 beta soon with this fix.
40
rch 21 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm still not upgrading to Mavericks. I have a lot of work to do, and I dislike being asked to upend my system on somebody else's schedule.
25
'Contagious' wi-fi virus created by Liverpool researchers bbc.co.uk
15 points by choult  4 hours ago   16 comments top 3
1
tfinniga 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Seems like a worm, not a virus.

Technically correct, the best kind of correct.

2
forcer 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I think it makes nice story but I would be very surprised if such a virus could spread. You have many router brands and versions and you would need to develop and test your firmware on many of those to make sure it can spread. Also, correct me if I am wrong but not many routers have easy way of uploading new firmware.
3
Derpdiherp 4 hours ago 4 replies      
Interesting, but it still relies on the default username and password on the router. I think this points at a glaring hole in router security, why aren't password and username changes forced on the first bootup of the device? Having the password as "changeme" is not good enough for your everyday user, they are very unlikely to ever use them without being forced so will plain not know they are meant to at all.
26
Portal 2 Beta for Linux officially released steamcommunity.com
192 points by neur0mancer  19 hours ago   63 comments top 14
1
lvs 18 hours ago 4 replies      
The Enrichment Center is required to remind you that you will be baked, and then there will be cake.
3
archagon 17 hours ago 4 replies      
Curious: how is performance compared to the OSX port? All the Source games I've tried run horribly on OSX compared to Windows on the same machine. Strangely, they play just fine through a Parallels Windows VM running inside OSX, so it can't be the OSX graphics driver's fault. What's going on over there?
4
wikwocket 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of http://xkcd.com/606/ ... Clearly, there are no downsides!
5
Ellipsis753 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Awesome.I've already played through it on my Gentoo computer using wine but will enjoy playing through it again and doing the online co-op missions when this version is out of beta.It's a great game, very worth playing if you haven't already.
6
2mur 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Awesome. I already played through on xbox, but I've been buying/playing the linux ports of the valve games as they come out to support them.
7
abvdasker 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Better late than never I guess.
8
optymizer 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I would like to see the SDK and the 'Authoring Tools' working on Linux.
9
mpnordland 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Best news I got all day. Downloading now. It worked pretty good in wine (atop Arch) for a while, then developed keyboard issues. Hoping to say goodbye to those.
10
ekianjo 17 hours ago 3 replies      
nice, but i wonder why they took so long to release it after all the other source engine games.
11
notthemessiah 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Has anyone tested to see if it would work with co-op with non-beta players?
12
alexeyza 17 hours ago 1 reply      
Great news, now just waiting for a Humble Bundle deal with Portal in it.
13
Berrywt 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Got it working on my arch linux laptop with Intel HD 4000 it is super smooth.

This is great news.

14
vezzy-fnord 18 hours ago 3 replies      
Misread that as Postal 2 beta (with an "s"), even though Postal 2 for Linux on Steam has been around for a while now. RWS is planning a big update this year, too.

This is good, too, though. I might consider checking it out, though I'm hardly a gamer.

27
Consumer Reports Calls Tesla Model S The Best Car Of 2014 time.com
231 points by josh-wrale  21 hours ago   125 comments top 10
1
tlb 18 hours ago 9 replies      
I've got nearly 20,000 miles on mine. One thing I just discovered is that the tires, 21" super-soft compound high-performance Michelins, only last 20,000 miles and cost $2900 to replace. This works out to $0.145 / mile, which is 3x more per mile than electricity costs me. And about what you would spend on gas for a 25 MPG car.

I didn't really buy it for the savings, though.

2
k-mcgrady 20 hours ago 5 replies      
Here's a link to Consumer Reports article on it. http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2014/04/top-pick...

Edit: They split it into categories a pick a winner in each and then somehow pick a 'best overall'. I like the Tesla but I don't understand how they can pick a 'best overall'. It doesn't seem like something that can easily quantified fairly. It's also worth noting the Tesla is over $30,000 more expensive than the most expensive winner out of the other categories.

3
mrfusion 2 hours ago 1 reply      
So here's what's been bothering me about electric cars. The battery life. I'm lucky to get 2 or 3 years of battery life out of a laptop or iPhone battery. So it scares the bejezess out of me to have similar technology as half the value of my car.

Can anyone re-assure me? Is there anything that lets car batteries last significantly longer than phone batteries?

4
bane 16 hours ago 1 reply      
thetruthaboutcars.com calls the 2014 Accord Hybrid the best car of 2013 if that matters.

http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/review-2014-honda-a...

5
SilasX 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Wow -- no matter what car is available over the next 10 months, it can't possibly be better than this one!

Anyone else hate "year inflation"?

6
deletes 20 hours ago 3 replies      
But isn't the result at least somewhat biased, as the car is mostly sold to environmentally conscious consumers, who might knowingly or not ignore car's potential problems to promote the nature friendly aspect of it.
7
ck2 19 hours ago 3 replies      
Now please make a $10k model so I can get one.

Either that or I'll have to wait a decade for one with a depleted battery and rebuild the pack myself.

8
goeric 19 hours ago 3 replies      
Tesla will reach $500 per share within 3 years, if not sooner. When Gen3 comes out, it'll basically be the iPhone of cars. Everybody will want one.

The stock does seem a bit overvalued currently and I wouldn't be surprised to see some drops in the coming weeks. But regardless, $500 within 3 years. Mark my words.

9
goggles99 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Well how political...
10
larrys 18 hours ago 3 replies      
I wondering how many people on HN own a Tesla?

HN appears to have true love for any story surrounding Tesla.

28
Working Backwards to the Technology daringfireball.net
76 points by webwielder  11 hours ago   29 comments top 10
1
smacktoward 10 hours ago 6 replies      
I would generally agree with the overall thrust of the post, that successful products come from looking at the customer's problems first rather than what technologies you happen to have on hand to sell them. But the bit about how basic, non-product-oriented research is a distraction and a waste of effort leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Look at one of the cited examples:

> AT&T had Bell Labs, created Unix, and never made a successful product out of that work.

Which, sure, OK. But on the other hand, ask yourself where Apple (since we're talking about them here) would be today if Bell Labs had never existed. Bell Labs invented UNIX; no UNIX means no BSD, which means no NeXTSTEP, which means no OS X. Bell Labs invented C; no C means no Objective-C. Bell Labs invented the freaking transistor, without which the idea of a "personal computer" would have been utterly ridiculous. These are all fundamental inventions that made entire generations of tech businesses possible.

So one way to look at it is Gruber's way, that skipping out on R&D means that Apple is "focused." Another way to look at it would be that Apple is a freeloader. That they cheerfully take useful things that are only available to them due to the generosity of others to build products on, without seeing a need to ever be the generous ones themselves -- to replenish the commons that made their own fortune possible.

That's probably good business, at least in the near term. If there's a pile of gold sitting out in the town square, you'd be a fool not to grab as much of it as you could for yourself. But unless someone's throwing new gold onto that pile, eventually it's going to run out. And if you've used the gold to set yourself up as a goldsmith, that's going to be a pretty bleak day for you. You know?

2
gilgoomesh 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Apple's approach since 1997 has shown where Apple thinks "Advanced Technology Group" technology should be developed: small startups. When Apple need that type of technology, they acquire smaller companies.

Apple made just 5 acquisitions in 20 years to 1997. In the 17 years since, they've made 49.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mergers_and_acquisitio...

And that's not counting open source adoptions or developer hirings like LLVM, KHTML, CUPS, etc.

This makes sense when you think about it. Large companies are too expensive, too inefficient, too concerned about their existing market and too risk averse to lay the groundwork in interesting technology. But large companies do have lots of money and can afford to pay small, innovative researchers and developers handsomely when they need the technology.

3
cromwellian 10 hours ago 2 replies      
Someone has to do the basic research. If everyone was "product focused", there would be no long term research. Sometimes researching stuff just for the hell of it yields serendipitous benefits, positive externalities for all of society, including your competitors.

Gruber spends an awful lot of time trying to justify and enshrine every action Apple takes. My guess is, if Apple got an Advanced Tech Group again, we'd have a blog article talking about how it's a masterful bit of Apple strategy.

The other thing is, is Apple reallty so different? We see on the Patently Apple website, that Apple is constantly patenting all kinds of crazy stuff that never becomes products.

The only difference between Apple and Google here is that Google will expose the prototype to the public and let people play with it, and Apple will just file patents on it.

4
Marazan 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Remember, in Daring Fireball world when Apple repeatedly rejects an idea before embracing it then that's demonstration of their incredible savvy. When "Apple competitor" rejects an idea before embracing it then that's claim chowder.
5
e28eta 8 hours ago 0 replies      
When I see R&D spending comparisons, I wonder if certain companies are more liberal about what they account as R&D.

Every year at work we fill out a survey where we estimate what portion of our time was spent on R&D vs other things like maintenance. We're told it's important because there's a tax credit for R&D. My (probably faulty) memory says that our guidelines classify all development on new features and products, as well as any research necessary in executing my job, as R&D. Which is very different from something like Bell Labs or ATG.

There're clearly also companies with divisions purely focused on advanced technologies unrelated to products for this year or the next, and I'm curious where the majority of spending falls.

Edit: or, maybe it comes down to very different numbers of employees making products. A quick browse online suggests that Nokia has more employees, does some (all?) of their own manufacturing, and that many of Apple's employees work in the retail stores.

6
himangshuj 44 minutes ago 0 replies      
Another POV could be that since the death of proper R n D at apple, they have made amazing products but they have not created anything that advances the technology landscape. Google is making self driving cars, they are working on quantum computers. Apple has created an ipod which gave lots of profits for half a decade.
7
scj 1 hour ago 0 replies      
8
logicallee 5 hours ago 1 reply      
The problem is that engineers, including the people here, hate elegance.

If step 1 is identifying a customer problem. (I still have to cook myself eggs every morning.)

Step 2 is identifying a solution. I know - what if a robot can cook breakfast.

Step 3 is proof of physical concepts - is it possible for a roomful of expensive equipment to cook eggs? How do you even cook eggs - I've never really thought about it... I just kind of do it.

step 4 is prototyping - how could we get this down to something integrated that still works

step 5 is even more prototyping - can we make this any simpler?

step 6 is simplifying - how could we make this EVEN simpler and more foolproof. We need a breakthrough.

step 7 is wowww is that ever elegant.

steps 8-10 are simplifying even more and getting down to the smallest thing that could possibly work.

step 11 is sourcing market-available chips and components

steps 12-15 are programming them.

Then you announce step 15. It's just a magic fucking box that cooks you breakfast in the morning.

Then the tech reaction will be - "This is just a hot plate in a minifridge - the electronics are just a temperature sensor, and power relay, driven by a $0.50 8-bit chip. It's probably less than 200 lines of code. Cute, but worth maybe $1.5 over the cost of a hot plate and a minifridge, if we're generous. This thing maybe takes an hour to make. Now what was done by Doc Brown in the intro to Back to the Future - 29 years ago; THAT is cool. That actually had motors."

copy

Solution? Stop at step 3, back when it was a complicated solution with stepper motors and pumps. Or if step 3 wasn't complicated enough, abandon project - as it's obviously trivial.

On the other hand, if it involves a novel application of a completely impractical physical phenomenon - maybe directed 2.4 Ghz radiation while backscatter levels are monitored.

Well that, you can announce.

9
xzkakjel 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Not for me. It makes sense business wise but I need to come from the technology side and then find a problem to solve it. I'm a dabbler unfortunately. If I look at problems first I lose interest pretty fast.
10
somid3 10 hours ago 2 replies      
This is one of the best blog articles I've read. Thank you.
29
MPAAs latest anti-piracy move accidentally screws Hollywood studios pando.com
73 points by ghosh  11 hours ago   38 comments top 15
1
netcan 6 hours ago 0 replies      
This article is a little rambling and is only loosely related to anti-piracy

(1) There are all sorts of subsidies internationally for movie related industries/services. (2) US studios are "exporting jobs" by taking advantage of these subsidies to to various editing tasks overseas. (3) This is unfair because of various WTO rules and principles of free trade. (4) US states are responding by doing the same (5) Anti piracy is a higher priority for the US industry.

I don't really see the last point as related to the first 4. The other points are part of a bigger picture in the ongoing globalization process. Countries are "competing" with each other in all sorts of ways. They compete for jobs, FDI & tax revenue in ways they didn't previously, at least not as much. This gets translated into tax breaks, subsidize and lots of other things.

IMO the most interesting part of all this is that a movie cannot be said to be a US, French or South African production anymore. Shooting takes place all over the place. Editing and post production now happen place all over the place too. "Quality" in the form of the best actors or best special effects people is important. Money always flowed more freely than goods, services or labour so that comes from everywhere too as it always has.

IMO the industry is in a unique position. Much of the work is easy to parcel. The 'firm' comes into existence to make a film and then goes away so personal relationships, buildings, equipment and other things that keep firms monolithic (reduced transaction costs is usually considered the biggest advantage large firms have over individual actors transacting in spot markets, Ronald Coase's theoroms) are not much of a factor.

2
steve19 10 hours ago 1 reply      
If the states compete with subsidies, I cannot see how small countries with small populations and economies (such as new zealand) cannot also offer tax breaks. They would be laughed out of court. Not to mention all the farming and energy subsidies paid by the federal government at the detriment of other countries.

This is just a flimsy case for protectionism.

3
zacinbusiness 4 hours ago 0 replies      
So how does this affect other people? Let's say I do work for a European company, but I live and work in the US as a freelancer. Are the services I provide and the files I transmit now considered exports? Do I have to deal with yet more complexity come tax time? Sounds like it could be a huge pain in the ass.
4
nodata 10 hours ago 1 reply      
If the administration wants to do something about this, three little words will do it: investigate hollywood accounting.

And then go after the amount lost in tax revenue.

5
NKCSS 7 hours ago 0 replies      
What a horrible article. I've stopped half-way through because it would just refuse to report the 4 lines that make up this news, instead making it look like a clip-show in a cartoon, going off on a side road after every 2 words of content.
6
zaroth 11 hours ago 3 replies      
Classification of digital goods as imports? Apparently, now we should we start getting ready for the email tax.
7
raldi 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Can someone post a short summary explaining:

(1) What the MPAA's move was

(2) How it screwed the studios

8
waynemr 1 hour ago 0 replies      
This is interesting. Essentially, if offshore development work is done somewhere that a significant subsidy is involved, it may be illegal according to WTO and US trade rules, if the digital product itself is defined under the same regulations as "manufactured goods." It seems that the MPAA has actually weighed in on a separate anti-piracy measure regarding 3d printers, where they argue that digital works should be regarded as manufactured goods with the same protections.
9
MWil 7 hours ago 2 replies      
If it's true, I don't understand why it took one guy hiring a lawyer on his own who did the detective work necessary to help out the rest of the industry.

You know, instead of like the concerted efforts of the industry itself. Does the VFX arm of the industry just not care to get involved in lobbying/lawyers?

*understanding I read the part of the article that mentioned it's "difficult" because they have no union. If you don't have jobs, you don't have union busting employers - it's literally the best time to make a union.

10
l33tbro 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Anyone got a source for this comment referenced in the article?

"In 2006, Princeton economist Alan Blinder famously warned that the critical economic divide in the future will 'be between those types of work that are easily deliverable through a wire or via wireless connections with little or no diminution in quality, and those that are not.'

11
cinskiy 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Say, if someone posts some text on a website like Pastebin, and another person copies and pastes it in another country, would it be considered as an import?

(Additional irony if text is a Python computer language program)

12
mschuster91 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Haha, serves the bastards all right. I'm with the VFX artists on that one, even if I live in a German city with a fairly prominent movie studio.
13
Kiro 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I thought visual artists were in super high demand and could get a job anywhere. I only skimmed the article but is this not the case any longer?
14
nl 7 hours ago 1 reply      
So protectionism is now the next cool thing?
15
himangshuj 8 hours ago 0 replies      
reminds me of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Junger_v._Daley. Need to write digital content on paper and claim 1st amendment
30
360 million newly stolen credentials on black market reuters.com
56 points by Varcht  11 hours ago   37 comments top 12
1
jfc 4 hours ago 2 replies      
He said he believes the credentials were stolen in breaches that have yet to be publicly reported.

This really bugs me. It seems like many companies are either completely unaware that a breach has occurred, or know about it and are taking their time notifying customers (for PR or other purposes). Either way, customers are not getting this information in a timely manner, and that needs to change.

2
welder 7 hours ago 2 replies      
The "cybersecurity" firm says they are unsure what they can be used to access, but that the usernames are email addresses. If they just look for emails with an appended plus sign they can probably find out what service the account is from. For example, john.doe+cloudservice@gmail.com [1]

Anyone have a copy of the dump?

[1] http://gmailblog.blogspot.com/2008/03/2-hidden-ways-to-get-m...

3
allochthon 1 hour ago 0 replies      
> After recent payment-card data breaches, including one at U.S. retailer Target, credit card companies stressed that consumers bear little risk because they are refunded rapidly for fraud losses.

This is not exactly the case -- the amount needed to pay the fraud detection services will surely be passed on to the credit card users in the form of higher APRs.

These days I'm wondering how to go about changing my Internet to a new, secure one, where there are no financial predators.

4
joshfraser 7 hours ago 0 replies      
The post on the Hold Security site has a very different tone than the Reuters piece. It reads more like a sales pitch than anything.

http://www.holdsecurity.com/#!news2013/c13i1

5
scrrr 7 hours ago 0 replies      
It's sensible to assume that everything you ever put into the cloud can be leaked at any moment. So act accordingly.
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rahimnathwani 9 hours ago 4 replies      
In addition to the 360 million credentials, the criminals are selling some 1.25 billion email addresses, which would be of interest to spammers

I used Google Apps for my personal email, and I'm pretty happy with the spam protection. (Although I don't check my spam folder for false positives, so who knows?)

Anyway, can anyone who has switched from Gapps/Gmail to their own installation of SpamAssassin comment on how that worked out for them, and how much time they spend maintaining their setup?

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NamTaf 10 hours ago 2 replies      
I'd like Hold Sec. to release a way to at least check if any of your details are present in the trove they have, even if they don't know where the source of the leak was.
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linux_devil 8 hours ago 2 replies      
Is it just me who believes if you are online then your privacy is breached already ? For e.g.: How can we trust Gmail or Facebook with our data either , where ads are displayed based on search done and cookie tracking . Even on smart phones , who knows if they have voice samples for individuals based on Google search , sometimes I think they know more about me than myself. And single breach while accessing such services can cost us . I am over such stories of accounts hacked and security breach.
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nly 6 hours ago 1 reply      
It's quite clear at this stage having technological solutions to password authentication simply isn't enough. We need to make it a criminally prosecutable offence for services of a certain size not to use them. The company that produced that 105 million record database, regardless of whether this turns out to be infiltration by an outsider or an inside job, should be sued for gross negligence.

Why can't we do this when the EU can pass useless cookie directives?

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Varcht 10 hours ago 0 replies      
These are usernames and passwords but your sentiment is correct. Something needs to be fixed there too. First thing is for us to develop good password habits and stop using the same one on several sites.
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yeukhon 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Does anyone know how much each credential would worth on average? I also imagine they will filter out "possible celebrity" credentials for higher bids/price.
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einhverfr 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Not to worry, I am sure they will be purchased with stolen bitcoins :-P
       cached 26 February 2014 17:02:01 GMT