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What I learned from an unfortunate incident with the NYPD nickfarr.org
69 points by rdl  3 hours ago   27 comments top 11
chimeracoder 1 hour ago 1 reply      
> Is that a Muslim or Hipster beard? by a crew of three NYPD officers in Times Square.

I'm very curious to hear the full story behind this one.

On a separate note - I used to work in Chelsea[0]. Two or three days of the week, as I was leaving the subway, I would see NYPD questioning and/or frisking a young, black man or women. I saw this happen for months, and never once was the person being questioned/frisked white, east Asian, or any other race.

Oh, and by the way:

> The main I didnt file any kind of report or move forward at all was that I dont have badge numbers.

NEVER ask a police officer for his/her badge number. Look for it and try to memorize if you want, but don't let them know you're trying to learn it. I know someone who ended up doing ~18 months in prison for doing exactly this. (The official charge was "obstruction of justice" and/or "resisting arrest", but that's basically all he actually did. Once it's clear to the cops that you're looking to report them, they'll do everything in their power[2] to punish and discredit you).

[0] Affluent, primarily white, gentrified (former) gayborhood, for those unfamiliar with NYC.

[1] This is not the same as the NYPD standing by the tables asking people to let them look through their bags (which you can refuse, by the way!)

[2] And possibly even things not in their power

cup 1 hour ago 1 reply      
This has been the third article on HN recently about the police. Historically it has been minority groups that only see this side of police activity. Now that upper middle class white individuals have experienced it though Its interesting to read the comments people are leaving.

For the record: I believe his advice is terrible for any person of lower socio economic background and especially for a person of colour. The number 1 rule when interacting with police should be you have no rights. Only when you're safely away from that policemen are your rights returned. Countless victims of police brutality can attest to that.

rdl 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Part of the irony here is that Nick is one of the most respectable, least threatening, most "establishment" people I know -- he's worked in banking/gov security, and his goal in life is to be a CPA for startups.

If someone like that is getting fucked with by the biggest gang in NYC, you know there's a problem.

jrockway 6 minutes ago 0 replies      
Regarding the beard incident... ah yes, never go outside when there is any major event in NYC. The cops are unusually crazy. They bring in a bunch of auxiliaries who have no business doing crowd control or even wearing a badge, really.


(Regarding the park incident.. to be fair, most parks in the city close at 1AM. I've seen people asked to leave, but I've never seen anyone get a summons. I usually try to get an extra lap around Prospect Park in as it's closing, and haven't had any problems, but I do keep an eye on the time.)

shubb 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Very interesting video - a law professor and a police officer explain how to deal with law enforcement in the US, mostly by not saying very much. I learned a lot watching it.


r00fus 1 hour ago 0 replies      
De Blasio unfortuantely hired back Bill Bratton, who defends stop and frisk:


stox 38 minutes ago 0 replies      
Welcome to the Police State.

Avoid contact with the Police at all costs, otherwise you are going to have a bad time.

Justice means nothing, quotas mean everything.

ph0rque 40 minutes ago 1 reply      
Love the idea of a stop and frisk app: http://www.nyclu.org/app A more general "I'm being forced to do something against my will" app would be real handy, I think, especially on the 2nd or 3rd generation of google glass.
igl 31 minutes ago 0 replies      
They stopped him before checking for a suit??? Bastards.
kimonos 20 minutes ago 0 replies      
Great tips in here! Thanks!
pagekicker 1 hour ago 3 replies      
Another whiny "rules don't apply to me" hipster story. Becoming a tired meme, pls. stop upvoting.
New partition function record: p(10^20) computed fredrikj.net
46 points by edmccard  2 hours ago   13 comments top 3
wbhart 1 hour ago 3 replies      
It is estimated that in its existence the observable universe has performed no more than 10^120 operations on no more than 10^90 bits. Thus I believe the universe itself does not have the computational capacity to compute each one of the partitions of 10^5. As we are part of the universe, neither do we.

Edit: just to be clear, I'm referring to the obviously comedic comments about the Hungarian Pengo, not the computation that Fredrik reports having completed. Apparently the Pengo project is not only ill-advised, but actually impossible.

jjgreen 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Numberwang, classy.
ahassan 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Does anyone know what he used to generate the equations in HTML? Most of the tools I've used simply convert LaTeX equations to an image.
The Wikileaks cables that anticipated the Russian invasion of Crimea slate.com
11 points by colinprince  40 minutes ago   discuss
Laying Out iOS UIs in Code harlanhaskins.com
97 points by lyinsteve  5 hours ago   49 comments top 21
RyanZAG 4 hours ago 4 replies      
There's generally two kinds of iOS apps/devs and once you work out what bracket you fall into, choosing between IB and code is easy.

If you're making fairly standard apps that substitute largely for websites - eg, login screens, some data in lists, couple forms - then you will probably want to go with IB storyboards. For these types of apps, development speed is most essential and future changes are mostly just tweaking the UI a bit as a large part of the functionality of the app is just pulling data from web services or doing standard calculations and displaying the result. Storyboards will let you get a nice looking and fairly simple UI done very fast and allow for rapid UI changes.

However, if you are going to have 3+ devs working on your app because it's actually the basis for a business or is very complicated, storyboards cause a lot of merge problems. They're far harder to create automated test code for. Refactoring your app becomes an exercise in tracking down IBOutlets. The couple days you saved at the start with easy layout and transitions get eclipsed by the amount of time you spend fighting IB later for changes. Also, if you use code review tools and have a heavy peer review culture then storyboards are a particularly bad fit.

Honestly I believe most apps fit into the first option and storyboards are the way to go. 95%+ of the apps on the Apple Store are definitely in the first category, and there usually isn't a need to over engineer them.

bridger 3 hours ago 3 replies      
I would still recommend using Auto Layout, even if you are laying out your views without Interface Builder. (Full disclosure, I helped write Auto Layout.)

One advantage is that it makes sure things are pixel-integral, no matter the scale factor of the screen. For example, his code example,

button.x = self.view.width * 0.2; // Position the inset at 20% of the width.

has a pretty good chance at starting the button at x=21.845, or some other point in-between pixels and producing a blurry line. If you do this same relation in Auto Layout, the engine makes sure that the positions and widths are all pixel-integral.

This is not as simple as just rounding everything, either! For example, if you have two views

[blue][red], you want to make sure you round their shared edge either to the left or to the right. Otherwise, there will be a gap between them. You need to make sure you round their shared edge the same way consistently too, or it will jump back and forth as you resize a window and produce a noticeable jitter.

Also, in that same code example, they set a button's x position to be directly related to the width of a view. If you ever want to support RTL interfaces, this is a bad idea. It is relating a width to a position. In a RTL interface, the correct code would be

button.x = self.view.width - self.view.width * 0.2 - button.width

Complicated! In general, you shouldn't convert between positions and sizes. Instead, I would make an invisible spacer view and lay them out like this using the layout format language


Then make a relation setting the spacerView's width to be 0.2 of the superview's width. This will produce constraints that correctly work in a RTL interface, laying it out like [button][spacerView]|.

agildehaus 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Why not just use Auto Layout in pure code?

buttonView = [[UIButton alloc] init];

buttonView.translatesAutoresizingMaskIntoConstraints = NO;

[self.view addSubview:buttonView];

[self.view addConstraint:[NSLayoutConstraint constraintWithItem:buttonView attribute:NSLayoutAttributeTop relatedBy:NSLayoutRelationEqual toItem:self.view attribute:NSLayoutAttributeBottom multiplier:1.0f constant:0.0f]];

... etc

It's certainly better than the stress you'll have with UIView+Positioning or IB.

SimianLogic2 3 hours ago 0 replies      
If all of your layouts are created in code, every visual tweak requires an engineer. In general I will do almost anything to NOT have to lay out views by hand, as nothing slows a project down more than jumping into the tweak-a-magic-number-and-recompile cycle. It sucked when I was doing CSS, and it sucks even more when I'm compiling code.

For the most part IB mostly doesn't make sense for games, so I have a custom Photoshop script that exports each layer with metadata. A custom importer reads the metadata file and loads the whole view in the proper positioning. So I've basically swapped IB for Photoshop, but the work flow is essentially the same....

fomojola 30 minutes ago 0 replies      
As someone who has done a decent amount of Swing/Android development, I've often wondered: why hasn't iOS historically had decent layout manager support? I've used RelativeLayout for Android and quite frankly I've found very few instances where it didn't do what I wanted: the reduced number of iOS form factors makes it easier to do pixel-perfect layouts (than the thousands of Android devices) but even AutoLayout seems like a poor replica of what the Swing/Android layout manager-style libraries can do. I use it both from the Android XML and from code and it makes life REALLY easy. I've done a lot of work with storyboard/IB recently and it isn't as bad as I used to think, but always wondered about that.
Zigurd 1 hour ago 0 replies      
From an Android PoV I'm very skeptical of the benefits this. Unless you can round-trip between code and a visual tool, you are unlikely to get professional designers to touch a UI layout in code.

It's hugely valuable to get designers to adopt the SDK's design tools. Unless the designers on a project are obstinate about that, making that more difficult is usually a step in the wrong direction.

He also seems to be blaming the toolchain's refactoring and the declarative UI XML for being difficult to manage. It is really that bad?

supercoder 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I definitely side with the author. Any time we've used IB it's always ended up in regret. Refactoring, odd layout issues, iPad / iPhone management has always made it a headache.

It's probably a testate to how good UIKit is to code with directly that makes it attractive.

Though whatever side you fall on, I think it's worth appreciating you have the choice. I remember when doing some brief Windows Phone development, and seemed all you had to work with was some XML API to design your interfaces. It was awful.

chromejs10 40 minutes ago 0 replies      
The way I've typically worked is static pages are allowed to be done in IB, but everything else is done in code. The reasoning is that doing things in code makes for much easier diffs and merges and also allows you to easily edit code in things outside of XCode (I personally prefer AppCode). Doing things in code makes thing a lot more explicit and can be setup so that the view code doesn't have to interfere and floor the view controller's code. The main problem is there are lots of things you can do in code that IB can't do, but not much (if anything) the other way around. You should always be able to write your views using pure code.
k-mcgrady 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I think this is all pretty valid. However it's important to point out the time savings using NIB's and Storyboards. I do most of my UIs in code but occasionally use NIB's when I'm doing layouts that include lots of objects that would be very time consuming to code.

Recently I decided to give Storyboards a try on a project. I was shocked at how much time it saved (no more pushing/presenting view controllers, no more fighting tables to display custom cells) and for views that were only displaying information and a button to push another controller I didn't even need to create a class as the push could be done in Interface Builder. I don't think this approach is going to work well for all apps but when you've got something with a predetermined flow (a form for example) it saves a hell of a lot of time.

accatyyc 4 hours ago 2 replies      
I have some problems with this post.

#1 is saying that you're restricted to point based UI's in interface builder. This is absolutely not true. Wether you do you UI's in interface builder or code - use auto layout!

This way you get dynamic, resolution-independent UI's that can even work automatically with right-to-left text (realigning other elements according to text alignment).

The way the author is doing it is still point-based (just a bit more dynamic since he does some calculations) while auto layout has all this built in.

Yes, it is harder to get started with auto layout, but once you learn it, it is worth it.

#2, using things like UIView+Positioning still sets your frames. And it does so for each property you set. This means that the frame might be set 5 times instead of one (just for slightly cleaner code). This is not good since it might cause 5 calls to layoutSubviews instead of one (performance issue) and also it will ruin animations (dependent on a source and target frame).

mp3jeep01 3 hours ago 1 reply      
One of the bigger takeaways from this article should be to make a decision of where to set layout parameters, and stick with it. I'm sure we all have opinions on using the in-code method vs IB, and can debate 'till the end of time. As a relatively new iOS dev picking up an existing codebase, the biggest thing I could say is be consistent. The number of times I tried setting something in code only to find it was being changed in IB is far too many.
tejaswiy 4 hours ago 1 reply      
I see where this is coming from, but loosing the convinience of xibs + auto layout is too great to sacrifice for me. Just thinking of how much bigger my view controller code will get makes me shudder.
fecak 2 hours ago 0 replies      
As an aside, I think it's pretty impressive that a post by someone who graduated high school 8 months ago is being discussed and debated on the top of HN. He says he is looking for an internship, hopefully he will get some interest. Kudos.
austinl 4 hours ago 1 reply      

    I use UIView+Positioning, which exposes x, y, width,        height, right, bottom, centerX, and centerY as both     setters and getters.
IB/code aside, this is convenient. All of those properties are read-only by default, and that's always seemed counterintuitive to me (though I'm sure there's some purpose I'm missing).

smallsharptools 4 hours ago 1 reply      
No thanks. Just learn to Storyboards already. It is it that hard and Xcode can help anyone who maintains this app. If it all in code it takes a lot of the and effort to understand what is controlling the layout.
blazespin 3 hours ago 1 reply      
You don't want designers working in IB. You want them thinking colours, layout, UX, esthetics - not wrestling with XCode.
onmydesk 1 hour ago 1 reply      
It looks to me like ios7 and auto layout is partly about running on many screen sizes. Makes you think about future devices and how your code will fare. Worth thinking about.

You might need to use IB.

vanwesson 3 hours ago 2 replies      
> I use UIView+Positioning...

Looking at that code reveals that it doesn't try to account for fractional positioning. If you set self.center on a view that is an even number of pixels wide, it will result in a non-pixel-aligned origin on non-retina displays, which results in in blurry rendering. If you're iOS-7 and iPhone only these days, that may not matter, but there are still millions of non-retina iPads out there, and in fact you can still buy new ones on the Apple store (both the original iPad mini and the iPad 2 are still for sale).

I've written lots of code for iOS and have generally always preferred programmatic layout over IB, but you have to be a little more careful than this post is implying. Beefing up your helper routines to take into account issues like the above is critical to making sure your UIs always look their best.

nteon 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I do this too, and agree. The benefits and straightforward version control diffs are fantastic when working on a distributed team with multiple devs touching the UI.
puppetmaster3 4 hours ago 2 replies      
Same issue in Android. But this does not work in real life, because Designers.

Designers don't do things in code, they use the UI panel designer. end of story.

indubitably 3 hours ago 0 replies      
oh so you mean like css
The perovskite lightbulb moment for solar power theguardian.com
88 points by AndrewDucker  6 hours ago   18 comments top 6
danmaz74 4 hours ago 0 replies      
An older but more detailed article about this: http://cen.acs.org/articles/92/i8/Tapping-Solar-Power-Perovs...
ars 4 hours ago 3 replies      
Is this going to be another one of those products that are cheap in small quantities, but are simply not available in large quantities?

The reason we keep going back to silicon is the planet (the crust) is basically made out of it. It's available in any quantity.

InclinedPlane 2 hours ago 1 reply      
The biggest roadblock to widespread adoption of solar as a baseload power source is the storage problem. Photovoltaics stop producing power when the sun goes down, that's not just inconvenient it's unworkable with the way power is used today. Until we can economically shift the output curve of solar power plants to match demand rather than supply it will always fill no more than a niche. Today the only way to do this is to work in concert with hydropower, but that is a very limited solution.

Also, it's not strictly necessary to solve the problem on a large scale, even at a small consumer-grade scale it could be helpful. If every house had a battery pack or supercap bank or what-have-you and it allowed for smoothing out power demand or perhaps enabled charging electric vehicles overnight, then it could have a huge impact on energy usage patterns. Even with the PV -> battery -> battery losses it would still be a substantial net win.

higherpurpose 19 minutes ago 0 replies      
This is why I never understood the argument "but solar is so expensive right now", when it was still very early days for solar investment. If you start pouring the billions of dollars nuclear gets into solar panel research, and bring it to a high enough scale, you eventually start getting not just a real alternative, but potentially a much better alternative to any other energy source.

Once we "fix" the cost of solar panels, then we need to figure out how to store solar energy cheaply and easily, too, and then it can be a source of energy that's not just for day time and sunny seasons, too.

aaron695 3 hours ago 1 reply      
These sorts of comments always set off alarm bells for me -

"If we could capture approximately 1% of the X on Y"

I think in a lot of countries the labour costs are the major factor in the price.

If this is true then what we really need is longevity and efficiency rather than cheaper panels.

af3 3 hours ago 1 reply      
RIP organic photovoltaics.
Nothing to Hide Game inspired by government surveillance github.com
130 points by jimicy  8 hours ago   18 comments top 11
ninjin 4 hours ago 0 replies      
A noble effort and looks like a decent game. As-of-yet though, I think "Papers, Please" is possibly the best take on a dystopian game. The oppression in that game isn't just some puzzle mechanic but the whole monotonous process and being a cog in a gigantic bureaucratic machine. Could something similar be made for surveillance?



krallja 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Holy crap.

I just finished the demo.

The mechanics feel like a Legend of Zelda puzzler level.

The ambiance and storyline are a mix between Orwell and a new Snowden file.

And it's open source. And crowdfunded. I'm in.

siculars 1 hour ago 0 replies      
25$ via btc on coinbase. no brainer. should be required gaming for all public school kids.
ncasenmare 4 hours ago 2 replies      
The devs are also running a crowdfunding campaign for this, with 10% of the donations going to the EFF, Demand Progress, Mozilla, etc:https://back.nothingtohide.cc
lukifer 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Not just a compelling political statement, actually a pretty clever puzzler. Reminds me a little of Portal.
shmerl 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Backed. Sharp and satirical idea for a game. Reminds me of Papers Please and Closure.
gridspy 1 hour ago 0 replies      
seba_dos1 1 hour ago 0 replies      
$20000 out of $40000 and 8 days left... hopefully he'll manage to raise it all. I played it soon after the demo was released and it got me super excited. Feels like Portal - when in some vlog entry the author admited to be a big fan of Portal series I wasn't surprised ;)
Kiyumars 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Really love the game. The puzzle mechanics are interesting, and I picked up the logics fairly intuitively. The ambiance and art sells it. The intro is cleverly set up, but the story about the father politician is a bit confusing.
GhotiFish 4 hours ago 1 reply      
e3pi 5 hours ago 0 replies      
The game already exists, titled Hacker News:


E.g., A play in today's game:



puppetmaster3 1 hour ago | link

<Using Baysian type on data is very damaging on society, for those with strong maths:

We'll move from causality( we noticed you are stocking up on baking powder, lets chat) to inference (according to our data there is 85% chance you are not compliant - w/o a cause).

<One outcome: The populace will be demotivated to do anything, just to be safe.>


Stardusts It Is Safe Law:

1> IIS1: To be unknown and invisible is to be safe.

2> IIS2: The Freedom Law:

     We enjoy the freedom of the press, 
the freedom of speech, and the FREEDOM to use neither in our Total Information Awareness digital surveillence state.

3> IIS3: "Oops! I did we again!%$%^$!" Law:


Hacker Newsnew | threads | comments | ask | jobs | submit | puppetmaster3's submissions

What Did Not Happen At Mt. Gox hackingdistributed.com
208 points by hamdal  9 hours ago   72 comments top 19
M4v3R 8 hours ago 4 replies      
I think that his points against transaction malleability are invalid:

- technical one - Bitcoin clients have a 100 ms delay before they relay messages. An attacker can compile a modified client that doesn't have these limitations and successfully outrun the rest. It was shown once that an attacker managed to successfully modify most of Bitcoin transactions on the network for some time in February

- social one - IIRC Gox had an automatic system, which reissued Bitcoin transfers if they failed. So you didn't need to phone them or convince in any way - Mt.Gox would send you a new transfer (and exhausting inputs has nothing to do here since they had no reason to use raw transactions API which lets you to use specific inputs, and instead they probably just used the more common sendto API) after it detected the old one failed (TXID not found on the network).

nwh 9 hours ago 2 replies      
> But elliptic curve crypto is not one of these topics. If the code can generate a handful of Bitcoin account numbers and corresponding keys correctly, there is hardly any reason why it cannot do so for all account numbers and corresponding keys.

Not totally true, not every input can yield a valid private key. The very upper ranges of the private key space are limited, as only integers 0x0 through 0xFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFEBAAEDCE6AF48A03BBFD25E8CD0364140 are valid private keys for Bitcoin.

You'd have to be stupid unlucky to randomly generate an invalid private key, but it can possibly happen.

> If one must pick a cryptocurrency, the lowly dogecoin, of all things, is doing everything right.

Yeah, an ancient fork of Litecoin with a meme name is going to save us. Has absolutely no relevancy to the issue at hand of course.

jordigh 8 hours ago 2 replies      
Haha, full of Magic: The Gathering cards. That's the kind of humour that I appreciate in a MtGox article.
ck2 7 hours ago 4 replies      
By the way have you seen Mark Karpeles public apology in Tokyo?

(20 seconds in) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15IZtzWOzRU

So he is French, educated in Paris and living in Japan since 2009?

Speaks French, English and Japanese. Sounds interesting, he's no dummy.

jeremyjh 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I think that there are only two real possibilities here: either Gox lost the money but doesn't know how they lost it, or they stole it. Theft is a much simpler hypothesis than many that are being proposed, but this doesn't really fit the pattern of the previous major thefts by wallets trusted by the community. The main difference is we that we know who these people are. It doesn't seem likely they could ever really cash-out without being observed. Even if they don't try to do that there are likely to be indictments and prosecutions that they will have to live through.
Jd 7 hours ago 2 replies      
<<The community has designated a Nobel leaurate as its nemesis, solely because he asked some inevitable questions every thinking person in his profession ought to ask>>

If I'm not mistaken the Nobel leaurate [sic] in question wrote an article entitled "Bitcoin is evil." That seems to be slightly more than asking questions.

jeffdavis 2 hours ago 0 replies      

If the bitcoins were stolen, and the thieves later try to trade them, will that be obvious from the blockchain? Or can they successfully spend them without anyone realizing they are stolen?

ama729 8 hours ago 2 replies      
> The community has designated a Nobel leaurate as its nemesis, solely because he asked some inevitable questions every thinking person in his profession ought to ask.

Does someone know who he's referring to?

Edit: Thanks!

vesinisa 33 minutes ago 0 replies      
If the CEO of MtGox Mark Karpeles is under gag order and he is on IRC, couldn't people confirm this by asking him while he is actively discussing some other topic on the channel, to publicly deny that he is under some sort of gag order. If he continues discussing other topics, without denying the gag order, it is an easy way for him to passively communicate that he is under such order without actually breaking the order.
spindritf 3 hours ago 1 reply      
There are many interesting points made and dealt with in this article but what's weird/wrong/suspicious about a CEO using IRC?

Did he say something specifically stupid there? Or is the very medium tainted?

SeanDav 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Of course this is wildly speculative but perhaps a simple answer is that someone internally at Mt Gox cleaned out the accounts and is blaming hackers and/or bugs. 100's of millions of dollars is easily enough of a temptation for someone to commit major fraud.
marshray 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I guess I don't see why the simplest explanation isn't that the US Feds seized the contents of the safe deposit boxes where their cold wallet was kept last year along with the $5m in bank deposits.
corresation 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Far too sarcastic for something that is almost entirely raw, unsupported speculation. Further, it is conflicted -- it disbelieves some statements by Gox, while fully believing others (e.g. "they were in cold storage").

The one element that seems believable are questions about the malleability attack. I do not understand how Gox or any exchange or service wouldn't have an up to the minute, blockchain verified knowledge of exactly what their positions are. Maybe they only did such accounting weekly, or even monthly...but at some point over the supposed multi-year exploit they would have seen that account balances > address holdings.

iancarroll 9 hours ago 0 replies      
FYI, you can't put <em> tags in your title, although I assume your CMS did that.
egor598 2 hours ago 0 replies      
How about all the passport + proof of address data, required for registering with Mt.Gox. Where is it stored and has it been stolen / taken by third party? No one seems to ask any questions about this.
ryanobjc 4 hours ago 0 replies      
The article is ok, and unsurprisingly did well on hn, but it's still the easy first level technical analysis. I learned nothing here.

I'd love to see a deeper analysis, but it probably can't come from a computer scientist.

ck2 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Just noticed this new website www.goxbux.com trying to form some kind of group action.
rdmcfee 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I would think that insider theft is one of the least damaging outcomes for the Gox depositors.

Unfortunately I don't know that the Japanese government is going to have the technical expertise to properly identify the theft and track where the coins have moved. I can't imagine that the thieves have managed to squander all of the 750k BTC.

drakaal 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Author put a lot of thought and work in to telling a great story, but...

Would be better if it weren't built on speculation, and limited by the things the author clearly doesn't understand about crypto.

Articles like this hurt the Crypto Currency movement because the things they get wrong about what did or didn't happen are speculation that just fuels fires of mistrust for what could happen. And the thing touted as solutions to it happening in the future aren't well researched so they give false security and opportunity for things to happen again.

I appreciate the authors effort to drive up the price of Dogecoin, and prevent further fall of BTC prices, but that's all this is.

College, the Great Unleveler opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com
45 points by lkrubner  5 hours ago   22 comments top 9
JPKab 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Not too long ago, I took advantage of my large, corporate employer's training benefit and took a week off for hands-on Hadoop/Hive/Hbase training. My company required I get a cert as part of the benefit, so I went and bit the bullet to take a cert test. The location of the cert test was at a local Westwood College campus. Westwood is a for-profit institution. This particular campus earns extra money by acting as a testing center for certifications. The first thing I noticed was the staff was overly-numerous and hugely, unbelievably unprofessional. Despite an appointment made two months in advance, the staff member in charge of administering the tests was nowhere to be found. The staff member present simply told me "She hasn't called. She was here but she went to get lunch." This meant that I had to wait in the admissions office waiting room for an hour. What I saw deeply disturbed me. Person after person was shepherded in, and guided through the entire student loan application process. The awful part was how completely, utterly unprepared and unequipped these folks were for any kind of academic learning. A young man came in desperately begging the receptionist for help with his Metro fare, telling her that he "had to jump the turnstile" because he couldn't afford to pay for the fare. He was in his 20s and was profoundly ignorant and juvenile in his behavior, at a level one would expect from a middle schooler. I saw a lot of that. This institution has zero consequences if the hundreds of students walking around that campus are unable to get jobs with the skills taught to them. No, the burden is entirely on the student and the US taxpayer. These for-profit institutions have no admissions requirements. They are nothing more than a giant machine designed to pump subsidized student loan money into their coffers. And in the grand fashion of "iron triangle" style politics in the US, they have huge swarms of lobbyists crawling DC (financed with government loan moeny) to ensure they keep getting the government loan money.
tokenadult 3 hours ago 3 replies      
I read through the whole article before asking myself, "Just who is this author, and what is the author's background?" The article byline reports, "Suzanne Mettler, a professor of government at Cornell University, is the author of Degrees of Inequality: How the Politics of Higher Education Sabotaged the American Dream."

These days, when I look at suggestions for national policy for the United States (which show up here on Hacker News with alarming frequency, even despite the differing topic emphasis of this online community), I really like to hear from other countries about what is already working in public policy on the same topic. Is there some country in the world that does a better job in setting higher education policy than the United States? If so, which one? What improvements can United States policy gain by studying the example of other countries? As an American who has lived abroad for years during my adult life, I find it tedious to consider policy suggestions here in the country of my birth without reality-checking them by the experience of other countries. In this light, what we should consider as we ponder the suggestions in the article kindly submitted here?

(Disclosure: I have a college degree, gained at a state university in the United States at the time the article author identifies as a time of policy transition. I have close relatives who have never completed college degrees, and I wonder what factors matter most for college degrees being accessible, and also what factors matter most for college degrees being useful to their possessors and to the broader society.)

com2kid 1 hour ago 4 replies      
Ugh I'm sick and tired of this.

> but for those in the bottom half, a four-year degree is scarcely more attainable today than it was in the 1970s.

As someone who came from a working class background, college has enabled me to move up multiple socio-economic classes.

I'll admit I was lucky when I attended, graduating in 2006 right before huge price increases went into effect. Even so, I believe college offers a huge opportunity for social and economic mobility.

> In the bottom half of the economic distribution, its less than one out of five for those in the third bracket and fewer than one out of 10 in the poorest.

So what I am seeing here is that college does offer opportunities at mobility. Compared to the almost 0 opportunity so many would have had otherwise.

Let us remember here that we are talking about fifths and tenths of hundreds of millions of people. Ok discount that to only college aged, and we still have tens of millions of people we are talking about.

> Nearly three-quarters of American college students attend public universities and colleges, historically the nations primary channels to educational opportunity. These institutions still offer the best bargain around, yet even there, tuition increases have bred inequality.

Ah now, here is a real problem! The cost of in-state tuition has sky rocketed. Let's do something about that, rather than say "college is useless".

As for private educational institutions, the problem seems to be that they have better advertising. They sell a slick message. (Though I have had positive encounters with a few of them that have convinced me that private education does have a role in the overall educational system, sometimes direct skill training is exactly what is needed!)

Bahamut 2 hours ago 0 replies      
From my time in the military, I've noticed that many who leave the military and have the GI bill available for them for use don't end up using them at good schools, causing it to be a waste of their time, education, and the government's money.

I strongly agree that more regulation of the higher education industry is needed.

mindvirus 1 hour ago 2 replies      
I feel like if we want to start addressing inequality in education, we have to start with private grade schools. In particular, I think that private high schools and grade schools should be stopped, and everyone should be forced to use the public system.

Private schools let the wealthiest, most influential people take their children out of the system, and so have no motivation to fix the system. Meanwhile the people who are least able to fix the system are left stuck with it. Take NYC as a great example of this - extremely high incomes, $45k/year private schools, and some of the worst public schools in America.

It's not that people are bad for using private schools - it's hard to take a moral stance when your children are the cost (I will certainly send my future kids to private school). But by having an easy out, it lets people avoid fixing the system.

Jare 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Universal demand and lack of accountability for supply create cancerous markets and bubbles. This is true for any market, including education, health, housing or internet portals.
fredgrott 46 minutes ago 0 replies      
a question, in Germany there are coops between gov and industry to have both vocational and college programs result in 2 year and 4 year degrees.

An example is Siemens, if you get into a training program at Siemens you will if you complete it end up with a 2 year tech degree or a 4 year college degree complete with several years of on the job training paid both by the German gov and Siemens.

IS there any movement towards such a partnership between industry and the gov in the US towards education?

bottled_poe 2 hours ago 1 reply      
So... kids from affluent backgrounds have been given better oppotunities than the have-nots. I'm shocked!
rayiner 1 hour ago 1 reply      
What bothers me is that we have a very nebulous idea here in the U.S. of what it is that we hope to gain from educating people in colleges. I met someone a number of years ago (mid 2000's, before the recession), who had done his degree in aerospace engineering from a regional state school (not bottom of the barrel, but not an MRU). He was working as an HVAC technician. Not a bad living, of course, but I couldn't help but think it was overkill considering that a 2-year degree is an entirely adequate preparation for such a job.

In my opinion, Americans are overeducated. We shuffle people through colleges, but the jobs waiting for them at the other end hardly merit all that preparation. We're drowning in college debt because we're spending vastly more to educate people than is warranted by the sorts of jobs available in the economy.

Dismantling Fukushima: The World's Toughest Demolition Project ieee.org
34 points by sasvari  4 hours ago   21 comments top 7
timr 35 minutes ago 0 replies      
At Fukushima you have wrecked infrastructure, three melted cores, and you have some core on the floor, ex-vessel, Barrett says. Nothing like Fukushima, he declares, has ever happened before.

I distinctly remember the HN conversation at the time. The pro-nuclear crowd was arguing, as it was happening, that this could never occur. The cores would never breach the containment vessels, they said. Guess you folks got that one wrong.

I bring this up only because a lot of pro-nuclear arguments comes down to bold assertions from experts that certain things could never happen. Yet, here we are. A big helping of modesty seems like a good thing in this field.

chaffneue 1 hour ago 0 replies      
On a 40+ year time scale for clean up, there's only so much that can be planned and executed - I'm impressed that they have produced some kind of public update like this. Japan itself may undergo political, technological and ecological/geological changes in the timeframe that will impact this work. The fact that the technology they propose to use needs to be invented, researched, built and tested in the first place gives me enormous concern that this situation is still very much out of control and responses will be largely reactive to changes in the situation of the current site.

The timeline also can't foresee issues of mistakes in the remediation process, which seem to be likely given that no country has fixed a problem like this and the material inside a melted core is a big unknown and probably can't be worked on directly by human beings. Step 5 in that illustration on how to take apart a melted reactor states "drill down to break the melted fuel into chunks, pack it into casks, cart it away and you're done!" I mean that almost feels tongue in cheek. The chances for serious casualties and tremendous radiation releases exist in each attempt to drill into a reactor containment and there's 4 damaged reactors at this time. The project risk, unknown variables and the scope of proposed solutions leaves me wondering can they truly put a price tag on the work at such an early stage. It's absurd to think that I may not see Chernobyl or Fukushima's remediation happen in my lifetime.

PythonicAlpha 2 hours ago 0 replies      
We can all only hope that now goes everything according to plans.

I fear, a second Tsunami in the region would be a second (maybe bigger) disaster and free even more radioactive material.

They still have enough problems. There is for example the trouble with huge quantities of radioactive water -- that is anything else than solved.

Spittie 1 hour ago 3 replies      
This rises a question in me: What did we do for Chernobyl? It was decades ago, so most of this technology didn't exists yet. Or it was not nearly as bad as Fukushima?
drdeadringer 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I remember "older" // "elderly" Japanese folks volunteering themselves as available to help deal with Fukushima, along the lines of "What to I care of radiation, I'm old and have already had children? I want to still contribute, call me up". I wonder about this as a source of labor for demolition.
iterationx 2 hours ago 2 replies      
This is the most interesting fukushima news I've heard in a while http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EOtxx7zpyz0&list=WL8CB60B177D...
subdane 2 hours ago 1 reply      
tl;dr Site's a shitshow, 40 year cleanup plan.
No-bullshit guide to linear algebra gumroad.com
20 points by Irishsteve  3 hours ago   3 comments top 3
shubb 12 minutes ago 0 replies      
This looks like a very readable take on linear algebra - the kind of book that you could leave with a really firm understanding of how all the bits fit together.

It looks theoretical and very deep - not what you need for passing an undergraduate math course. Maybe exactly what you need to pass a graduate level statistics course.

pikachu_is_cool 15 minutes ago 0 replies      
Thank you! I'm taking this next quarter, and was kind of freaking out because my employer told me failed this class. Couldn't have been more perfectly timed.
ggauravr 1 hour ago 0 replies      
will try it out to see if there's anything in store for a beginner in Machine Learning !
A Brief Rundown Of The Spying Questions Intels CEO Won't Answer fastcolabs.com
59 points by danielsiders  6 hours ago   21 comments top 5
tptacek 1 hour ago 1 reply      
The article's title is misleading; Intel has answered this question. They deny collaborating with NSA.

To that, add that there's no evidence anywhere of any such collusion, and that Intel retained Cryptography Research to assess their CSPRNG design.

By pluralizing the word "question", the article injects further misinformation. There's one question people are asking about Intel: "why should we trust the RDRAND instruction?". The question is asked not because there's any evidence that RDRAND is compromised, but because CSPRNGs are a uniquely powerful point in a cryptosystem to insert a backdoor. Backdooring the AES instructions is harder; AES is deterministic, so there's not much you can do with an "evil" AES. Not so with an RNG.

But RDRAND is a stupid backdoor. On every mainstream OS, including the two mainstream mobile OSs, RDRAND is (at best) one of several sources of entropy. In the Linux kernel CSPRNG, in FreeBSD's Yarrow, and in WinAPI's CryptGenRandom, controlling one entropy input (or even all but one of them) doesn't make the CSPRNG's output predictable. So even if it is backdoored --- which would be silly --- that backdoor probably doesn't impact you in any meaningful way.

Cryptographers are wary of RDRAND. It's a closed, proprietary design. Cryptographers would rather you use urandom to get your randomness, and if the OS wants to use RDRAND as one of its entropy sources, whatever. Cryptographers would say this whether it was Intel's hardware RNG, Apple's, Samsung's, or Broadcom's.

ama729 2 hours ago 3 replies      
I'm not knowledgeable in the intricacies of cryptography, so this is something that bug me, how can the Random Number Generator be backdoored in a way that would be usable for the NSA without being detectable?

Surely you could graph the numbers that the RNG output and see if it's random or not, no?

bananas 5 hours ago 2 replies      
But he did answer them:


The wording is carefully chosen so I'll let people draw their own conclusions from it.

conformal 1 hour ago 0 replies      
a favorite song of mine by kool keith comes to mind: "i don't believe you" ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bc5cOohfHhA ).

the world's largest cpu manufacturer, which also happens to be based in the US, _not_ having NSA-mandated backdoors is entirely out-of-the-question. even if the cpus are not backdoored, you can bet all the NIC firmware "happen" to have a remote update path enabled, despite it not having a legitimate application in non-development environments.

intel is tre-owned and always has been.

yuhong 5 hours ago 2 replies      
Personally, I asked about early Pentium Ms lacking PAE.
Inside the Billion-Dollar Hacker Club techcrunch.com
127 points by oBeLx  8 hours ago   70 comments top 16
tptacek 6 hours ago 4 replies      
2000 words of post-hoc fallacy about an IRC channel.

We're discussing here a group of people who started their careers dead smack in the middle of the dot-com bubble, practically all of them in software/network security, a field that has stayed valuable since its inception. Of course they've done well for themselves.

This would be interesting if the denizens of #w00w00 had, say, invested in each other's companies. But as I understand it (I was a #!r00t person; our biggest win was ISSX) that's not at all what happened.

Sorry to sound pissy. I'm just hoping to forestall another goofy HN conspiracy theory; the idea that w00w00 is, like, the Internet's "Skull & Bones". No.

Also, I suspect the stories about w00w00 as a "hacking group" that broke into people's machines: total BS.

swang 6 hours ago 3 replies      
Shawn Fanning was part of tons of "crews" on EFNet. Just like anybody else who was on irc at the time.

Before WhatsApp's purchase, the "napster on irc" byline was, #winprog taught him all he knew about winsock programming and without #winprog napster would never have been made.

Now suddenly it's "without #w00w00, napster would never have been made" because this combined with WhatsApp's purchase lets someone write some 1500+ word article about nothing.

I wonder what would have happened if TetriNET ended up selling for millions back in the day, would that have suddenly become the irc hackers made bajillions byline?

And surprise surprise, people who used one of the more technical communications medium back in the 90s end up being technical people when they grew up.

csl 8 hours ago 19 replies      
As an aside, do anyone here still use IRC regularly? It seems some open source projects have permanent channels, but I don't know how active these are.

Haven't really used IRC since the mid-90s, but perhaps it's a good way to connect to other developers? Is there a representative YC channel?

dangrossman 8 hours ago 1 reply      
It's weird the way like-minded people somehow all find each other. There are several HN members along with myself who have ended up running bootstrapped SaaS businesses to make their living, who all played the same MUD (the text-based precursor to MMORPGs you could telnet into) in the 1990s/2000s. Creating "zmud triggers" to automate parts of that game was probably some of the earliest programming we all did.
msie 7 hours ago 2 replies      
After hearing about WhatsApp's security problems I gather that Jan didn't learn much about security from w00w00.
joewee 3 hours ago 0 replies      
1/2 of my full time employment opportunities came from other w00w00 members. I was also a member of ADM.

I was 17 and managing servers during the first dotcom boom when you needed more than just smarts to create a startup. You needed a boatload of VC money.

If w00w00 was formed in present day, half of us would have been funded by YC. We were just smart and young people at the start of this internet thing. Not surprising we went on to make internet companies.

This article does leave out a lot of people and includes someone that shouldn't be included.

danielweber 6 hours ago 2 replies      
> $19 billion dollars

Great editing standards.

mitochondrion 8 hours ago 3 replies      
What if I want to join the modern-day equivalent of this group's beginnings?
thom 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Can't wait to find out who'll be the first alt.teens billionaire, but I suspect we were just wasting our youth.
rachellaw 8 hours ago 0 replies      
my co-founder and myself met similarly through IRC, but we never exchanged irl names. Much much later, by coincidence, we ended up in the same grad school program and that's how we started our company

I think at a certain age/time, you tend to spend more time with friends rather than family and that's when it begins to happen. For non-hackers it's when they develop lifelong friends in work or school, for hackers/internet-people that's when you start thinking of your ICQ/IRC/fandom/LJ/pick your ancient platform as your true friends even if you've never met in person.

steeve 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Upvote if you used SoftIce and W32Dasm :)

Ahhhh, the memories!

pothibo 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Kinda shows how important your social circle is to your future success even at lower age.

It's not mandatory but it surely helps.

kartikkumar 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Am I the only one that senses a Hollywood movie in the making?
kayoone 6 hours ago 0 replies      
i literally spend years on irc in the late 90s/early 00s but it was mostly gaming related (quake). Still have some contacts from that time though and since a few years i use irc again for several open source projects, which is often great to get quick feedback on questions.
kclay 5 hours ago 0 replies      
reminds me of the paradox days,good times.
joshlegs 4 hours ago 0 replies      
hey can i join the channel? what's the pw? .....
Jonathan Lebed: Stock Manipulator, S.E.C. Nemesis, and 15 (2001) nytimes.com
29 points by Sujan  4 hours ago   7 comments top 5
Aqueous 2 hours ago 1 reply      
It's very gobsmacking that the SEC finds the time and energy to make an example out of a 15 year old but can't muster the backbone to prosecute actual players in the investment banking industry, who regularly engage in pump and dump schemes exactly like the one this kid was doing!

it's almost as gobsmacking that the kid's Yahoo Finance stock pitches are completely indistiguishable from the blather on CNBC that occurs every single day of the year. WHO THE FUCK IS TRADING ON STOCK TIPS FROM YAHOO FINANCE MESSAGE BOARDS?

lutusp 3 hours ago 0 replies      
The linked article is a terrific inside look at the S.E.C.'s efforts to define illegal market manipulation -- and failing.
tomf99 2 hours ago 0 replies      
He's stopped tweeting a year ago and his website is gone, but he grew up to be a professional stock manipulator:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFcgwZ3xjJg Fox Business host confronts him (2010)



pmorici 2 hours ago 1 reply      
This story would make a tremendous satirical comedy.
yetanotherphd 14 minutes ago 0 replies      
The main point of the article: that all stock prices are artificial, and so there is no such thing as market manipulation, is wrong.

Stock prices reflect the expected future dividends of a stock given current information. If a person intentionally gives wrong or misleading information to the public, and this results in shift in the stock price, then this could be market manipulation.

The author is correct in stating that it is hard to distinguish a person giving their honest opinion about a stock they own, and market manipulation. However, that doesn't mean that the concept of market manipulation is ill-defined.

What Is the Time Signature of the Ominous Electronic Score of The Terminator? slate.com
13 points by jipumarino  2 hours ago   4 comments top 2
Aardwolf 3 minutes ago 0 replies      
If you would have one beat a few milliseconds off, would that turn your 6/8 into e.g. 619/824?There is no strict boundary between which streams of sound are music and which are not, so have fun analyzing whatever else will come up.
gonewest 1 hour ago 1 reply      
As a drummer I really like odd time signatures, for example the Pat Metheny Group song entitled "First Circle" is in 22/8... For fun, try memorizing and clapping the pattern at the opening of the piece.



Windows 8 and the Microsoft Surface ignorethecode.net
147 points by jfb  10 hours ago   126 comments top 19
nextstep 9 hours ago 4 replies      
"There are artists who draw on iPads, and musicians who make music on iPads, and writers who write novels on iPads, and movie makers who cut their movies on iPads. But the fact that you have to point to these people, the fact that there are articles about these people, shows that theyre unusual."

Unusual in a relative sense, the same way artists and musicians and movie makers are unusual in any segment of society. There are millions and millions of iPad users; of course most of them are going to use their iPads primarily for consumption.

Using a Microsoft Surface is in itself unusual. I remember clearly the one time I saw someone using a Surface. It was an usual event. But on my way to work I see tens (hundreds?) of iPads and an assortment of android tablets and kindles.

My point is, I don't believe there is a large difference between the use cases and potential offered from the many consumer tablets currently available (despite Microsoft's marketing that would lead one to believe that a Surface can truly replace both and iPad and a laptop). Maybe the Surface is better for productivity, but I suspect that for every tech blogger who tried the Surface and found it to be a better laptop replacement than their iPad, there are tons of Surface owners who's use case resembles the stereotypical iPad consumption use case.

bitwize 6 hours ago 0 replies      
> Its not an accident that the best selling, highest grossing iPad apps are almost exclusively games.

The story goes that Gabe Newell was doing market research for Microsoft, collecting data about which programs were installed on business users' PCs to get a feel for the installed base of programs like Windows (which, at the time, was not standalone and sat on top of DOS).

Turns out Windows was pretty widely deployed -- the second most installed program on the DOS machines they surveyed.

The first most installed program was Doom.

That's what prompted old Gaben to reassess what business he should be in. :)

bunderbunder 9 hours ago 4 replies      
's funny; one of the screenshots is used to call out the Charms bar as an example of great UI. For me - as a user of Windows 8 on a desktop - it has become something of an icon of just how poor Windows 8's UI is.

On a tablet, you swipe it out from the left edge of the screen. Makes sense - so much sense that Apple copied the idea in iOS 7.

On a PC, you bring out the charms bar by frustratedly wiggling your mouse against the right edge of the screen for a few seconds before remembering that to make UI widgets appear out of the middle of the screen's edge, you inexplicably need to move the cursor all the way up or down to one of the corners.

Ologn 9 hours ago 1 reply      
> Preventing apps from interacting with each other cuts down on complexity, but it also means that it is difficult or sometimes even impossible to use multiple apps in conjunction on the same task.

Which is why Android has a full-range systems of Intents, BroadcastReceivers etc. to deal with this.

The blog post talks about how the iPad does not solve his problems, but Android is only mentioned once in a footnote.

Terretta 1 hour ago 1 reply      
You might want to send your letter to a friend to read. Maybe that friend will send back some suggestions. On an iPad, you cant see the email with the suggestions and your letter at the same time.

Multitasking gestures on iPad and Macs let you slide back and forth between adjacent full screen apps.

Your CV probably includes a picture. Maybe you went to a photographer who gave you a CD with copies of the pictures she took. You cant easily copy them to your iPad.

Can't easily copy CD to my current computer either. But I have both a USB adapter and card reader adapter for the iPad.

Once there, you probably want to touch them up a bit, and crop them. It might be inconvenient to move the image file between all of the apps youll use to work on it.

You're unlikely to need more than the pretty amazing version of iPhoto on an iPad. If you prefer, there are multiple alternatives from the free SnapSeed to relatively expensive pro options.

Finally, you might want to export your letter and CV as PDFs, maybe combine them into a single PDF, or maybe ZIP them. You want to attach the resulting file to an email. Its reasonably simple on a Mac or PC, but Im not sure if some of these things are even possible on an iPad.

Check out Documents 5 from Readdle, along with PDF Expert, and you don't have to leave the apps.

I use iPad for contract work (round trip MS Word with track changes) all the time, and when not doing Word, PowerPoint, or Excel using iWork apps, I'm importing and editing and posting pro-size photos from a Nikon D3.

From your article, I'm guessing you're missing the excellent Logitech ultraslim keyboard case, have multitasking gestures turned off, and aren't that familiar with the productivity applications available.

stcredzero 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Another difference between the Surface and an iPad is the Surfaces split screen mode...people often need multiple apps to work on a single task. I cant count the instances where Ive used split screen mode just in the last few days

Called it! In fact, I called it right here from before the Surface existed as a tablet when Microsoft put out the vaporware tablet commercial!

Split screen is one of those things like cut and paste. It might seem inelegant to some, but it's powerful and widely understood and can be used to share information between tools in very useful ways.

For a system to be powerful, it needs facilities like this.

kayoone 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I think the Surface2 Pro is really great and shows the strenghts of Windows 8, except for its battery life maybe. But the idea to carry around one device that is a good tablet, laptop and can even be used as a full desktop computer with keyboard/mouse and 2 huge screens if you like is pretty fantastic and the OS scales well to all those different usage patterns.Now you might say, it does all that, but none of it really good and that might be true, but its already good enough for most people. Sadly Apple seems to want to unify everything into iOS down the road, which could go horribly wrong for professional users and Linux ? Well, the community was totally divided about where to go in desktop computing for the last decade and that will probably never change, so i don't except them to solve this as the current state of a dozen half-baked desktop environments is a disaster.
wmnwmn 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I bought a Surface for three reasons mainly. First, it supports Flash, and when I tested tablets out in the showroom, I was able to watch online lectures on the Surface and not on the iPad. Second, it gives access to the file system, so I can organize my large collection of scientific pdfs on disk the way I want to. Third, it has a USB port. I was rather astounded that the iPad did not, and perhaps Apple has changed this, but that alone was a showstopper for me.

What it all adds up to is that Apple created their usual walled garden for the iPad, and in this instance the walls eliminated much of the value of the product, even for such elementary uses as reading scientific pdf's, and watching scientific lectures online.

I will say that the Surface also had some restrictions on Flash originally, which I quickly discovered when I got it home, leading to a rather testy email from myself to Steve Ballmer. This was very quickly answered by the head of the appropriate department, and they have changed their Flash site approval model in IE to be much more open.

RexRollman 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I have been wanting to give another tablet a try after getting rid of my iPad. I liked the iPad hardware but the device was too hobbled in regards to file management (IMO).

A couple of days ago, I played with a Surface 2 at my local Staples and was pretty impressed by it and its type cover. The touch interface, which isn't particularly nice on a desktop computer, was pretty cool on a tablet. I also liked that is has a micro-SD slot for storage expansion.

Perhaps the only thing I don't care for it that Microsoft is only allowing Metro apps for ARM into their app store. That seems a bit one-sided considering that they are bundling non-Metro Office apps with the device.

winfred 8 hours ago 3 replies      
Typing this from my T100, That incidentally quite meets my needs for around 1/4th of the cost of a Surface Pro 2.

Some of the criticism is just plain wrong, like the "install software for USB booting install media." Yeah, I can write quite a bit too, about how hard it is to use the operating system, when I'm the one who randomly downloads crapware and tries to install it, instead of just doing a search and using the build in commands to make a bootable usb stick.

Then the whole thing about how the disk manager looked? I mean really? I'm a sysadmin and I probably stare at that UI likely more than any of you here (even when I have 90% of repeating work scripted with diskpart - do you notice the difference in usage scenarios here?) and it never even occurred to me there was something wrong with it? What do you want, a couple of flowers along the edges or something?

bcjordan 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Great writeup, good points about the culture of those building on the platform, and lovely software gore[0] screenshot.

In terms of productivity, what kills my efficacy on iOS versus OS X (and even locked Android versus desktop) is the inability for platform devs to build things that reach outside of the app sandbox. TextExpander and LastPass on iOS are near useless compared to their desktop counterparts, but are even more powerful for getting work done with a slower typing speed.

[0]: http://reddit.com/r/softwaregore

AndrewGaspar 8 hours ago 2 replies      
"The way I want handwriting recognition to work is to take notes by jotting them down inside an app like OneNote, and have Windows recognize that automatically, behind the scenes, optionally without replacing my handwritten notes with printed text. Then, I want to be able to search my handwritten notes using full-text search."

OneNote actually already does this! Try searching in OneNote for things you've written in pen and it will show those notes.

radicalbyte 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I really wanted a Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga: it's the ideal combination of notebook and tablet. At 12.5 inches it's just that little bit more usable than a Surface Pro.

In the end I bought a MBP13 because the TPY has a lead time of 6-12 weeks, and Lenovo are extremely bad at telling you this. So far I'm happy with the Apple, but I can see myself picking a TPY up at some point..

pnathan 5 hours ago 0 replies      
IMO: Neither iOS or Android really nail what a touchscreen could be. The Surface Pro seems to be the closest real step in this area.

But I'll pass on buying it - it's spendy and I don't have any other Windows tech to interop with it.

GSimon 8 hours ago 3 replies      
I think this year and the next few years should be promising for Windows in the Tablet/Phone market. They were behind in specs for a while but their products are improving and are getting harder to ignore.

I recently ordered Lenovo's ThinkPad 8 and can't wait for it to arrive. I think this is the first good alternative to the Windows Surface (it's lighter, higher res, better battery, smaller bezel, usb 3.0, sd card slot + hdmi out). There should be more to come after this as well.

I really think the tides will start to turn in favor of Windows' mobile devices if they continue to improve they way they have recently.

satyrnein 8 hours ago 3 replies      
I definitely concur about the handwriting recognition being terrific, but the interface being terrible. I wrote a little prototype of how I thought it should work a few months ago:


joshvm 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Surely the comment about hardware variability is moot on the Surface. It's designed by Microsoft..
kzahel 9 hours ago 2 replies      
It is a very thorough exposition. However, I have to ask, what does this "burrying" mean?
higherpurpose 8 hours ago  replies      
> Its not an accident that the best selling, highest grossing iPad apps are almost exclusively games.

Yes, it's not an accident, but not because of the reason you give. Gaming is one of the most popular, if not the most popular and highest grossing category on any popular consumer platform. That's just the way it works. Some of these platform vendors (like Apple), and unlike others (like Google) realized this is true from early days, and they have actively encouraged gaming on the platform, by promoting the use of high-performance GPUs, partnering with game companies, and so on.

> As Joanna Stern puts it, if Im writing long emails or working on office documents, I want a larger screen, a roomy keyboard and the ability to easily juggle programs.

A larger screen, which the Surface doesn't really have either. That's why I can't seriously consider the Surface a "productivity" device. I've used 10" netbooks before, and I know just how cramped they feel.

Metro is "so easy to use", that you used almost half of your article to describe how to use it.

One OS to rule them all - I'm tired of this stupidity and brainless parroting of one line made popular years ago in comments. By definition, you can't "optimize" something for everything.

Yes, it is an execution problem, because it will never work. It's like trying to build the perpetual motion machine. Sounds great in theory, "if you could do it". Will never work.

Inventor stumped by 43-year patent delay chicagotribune.com
48 points by wglb  8 hours ago   32 comments top 7
jdreaver 6 hours ago 6 replies      
I've become extremely jaded against intellectual property recently. Far too often, IP law is used to for long, drawn out legal battles that do nothing to help society, while costing the tax payers a ton of money.

Property is a way to deal with scarcity. Two people cannot simultaneously wear a shirt, for example, so one of them "owns" the shirt. Two people cannot both drive a car to different locations at the same time, so one person "owns" the car. Of course, you can lend your shirt or car to someone else, but the final say as to how those two resources are used belongs to the owner.

The product of intellectual labor, using this scarcity condition, cannot be considered someone's property. The only tangential relationship IP has to property is that one person uses force, namely, the government, to prevent others from using "their" idea for economic gain. This scarcity is artificial because absent that threat of force, everyone would be able to use the idea freely. Physical goods are subject to scarcity as a consequence of physical law; a car acn't be in my driveway and your driveway at the same time. (This argument applies directly to patents and copyrights, but also to trademarks in that a word or phrase can't be used to market something for economic gain.)

Besides the moral argument, which I know some people don't care about (it is subjective, of course), there is a utilitarian argument. Some act as if, without IP law, no one would be willing to create new ideas; it's as if the only incentive for creation is economic gain from a government-granted monopoly on an idea. Just take a look at the news to see that IP law is more commonly associated with patent trolls and corporate legal battles than protecting Joe Inventor's new idea.

At the very least, I wish people would stop comparing downloading movies and music from the internet as stealing. If I steal your car, you can't use it. If I "steal" a song from the record label by copying the exact sequence of bytes that represent a song from my buddy's hard drive to my hard drive, we can both still listen to the song. I understand that some people support the song creator's claim to the song as "property," in the form of IP. However, even then, there has to be a middle ground between copying against the wishes of the song's creator, and theft in the eyes of the law.

sehugg 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Hyatt's microprocessor patent was invalidated in 1996, but not before he extracted $70 million or so in royalties from Japanese and European companies.

More context:



loceng 4 hours ago 1 reply      
'"I respect Gilbert Hyatt's work the process of engineering is difficult," Bassett said in a telephone interview. "But innovations are more than ideas. The broader context matters. If Gilbert Hyatt had never existed, I believe the microprocessor would have developed in the same way that it did."'

This pretty much goes for every innovation..

EGreg 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Copyright protects work that people did from being copied. It is fairly narrow.

Patents protect "ideas". It is much more likely that someone may come up with the same or similar idea completely independently, than someone would come with up the same exact computer program or book. Patent protection is very broad. Especially in the US due to the Doctrine of Equivalents.

Soo... I am for copyright protection and not patent.

semisight 6 hours ago 1 reply      
My grandfather helped Hyatt to write his patent. Interesting to finally see any press about him.
marincounty 2 hours ago 0 replies      
The biggest problem I have with the U.S Patent systemis cost. They should price the fee for issuing a patient on yearly income. This would level out the playing field. It just might prevent some entities trying to patient rounded edges? And it would allow the poor investor a fighting chance of protecting their idea. The Internet has changed Everything. Brilliant ideas will be lost because of lack of funds.
thinkcomp 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Gilbert P. Hyatt's patent applications, assignments and lawsuits can be found here:


Ford Invites Open-Source Community to Tinker Away eetimes.com
12 points by pwg  3 hours ago   discuss
Tor Instant Messaging Bundle torproject.org
121 points by nsomaru  15 hours ago   39 comments top 10
zacwest 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours[1] have gone into security audits and improvements of Pidgin[2] and are not one-time things; this Google donation has recurred.

It makes little sense to me to pick up and move to another platform and product because it's written in JavaScript. The remaining bullet points in this wiki page appear to be fixable with a lot less directed effort than adopting and drastically changing an unpopular application.

[1] https://blog.wasilczyk.pl/en/2013/google-donates-pidgin-to-i...[2] http://pidgin.im/news/security/

rjzzleep 13 hours ago 3 replies      
for anyone clicking around like me searching for the code, and more description on the bird name(assuming it's some mozilla thing), it is[1] (and the repo [2])

i was assuming this would be some sort of xulrunner app(for some reason a non native chat client strikes me odd for some reason, but meh). it's actually an old seamonkey "fork" from what i gather, but i'm not sure if that's still the case.

can someone comment on why a browser is more desirable? i'm guessing it's, because of random bugs appearing where dns or other things may be leaked, and crossplatform support.[3]

i'm starting to think that the "right"(there i said it) way to deal with all this is if we follow with the portal approach[4](someone had a debian version, feel free to post the link). but instead of running portal on a seperate device it'll be a container in a container(or light vm). that way the outer container(vm) is the sandbox(portal), then you can run whatever app you want. and yes, i really what i propose is a major pain in the ass to setup, and won't work in windows that well, but meh i don't see why we couldn't make it easier. the main issue in my opinion would really be the privileges it might need.

[1]: https://wiki.instantbird.org/Instantbird:related_links#Thing...

[2]: https://hg.instantbird.org/

[3]: https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/ticket/1676

[4]: https://github.com/grugq/PORTALofPi

yownie 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd ask everyone to go back and give jitsi another try. Recently they've implemented all three OTR authentication methods. I've switched away from pidgin to jitsi for the past week now and noticed no major problems. Yes it uses java but finally we have a recommendable skype alternative that is truly cross platform. I even played with the (alpha) android port on a tablet and it handled ZRTP voip/video fine. Let's stop fragmenting every great idea into 12 competing idealogies and develop at least one tool we could point the layperson concerned about privacy at.
matznerd 8 hours ago 3 replies      
I would welcome this, as I have struggled to find a secure chat. In the meantime I've been using bitmessage, but it takes 3-5 minutes for a message to be processed (similar protocol to bitcoin). https://bitmessage.org/bitmessage.pdf
quasque 10 hours ago 2 replies      
In the meantime, TorChat (https://github.com/prof7bit/TorChat) is usable.

Though it doesn't fit the specification of the linked project as it uses its own custom protocol based around Tor hidden services, rather than implementing XMPP, Twitter, Facebook messenger, etc. This may be more secure as it is keeping everything within Tor rather than using exit nodes, but perhaps less usable if everyone else you know is using more popular IM software.

SmileyKeith 10 hours ago 1 reply      
What am I missing here, aren't these two comments conflicting?

> Audit the Pidgin chat client, fixing security bugs


> we don't want to use Pidgin/libpurple

mikemoka 12 hours ago 1 reply      
What is Sponsor O? Why is the interface localized only in those particular languages?
higherpurpose 12 hours ago 1 reply      
If Mozilla would fulfill my request about building/funding a TextSecure client for their browser, Tor could also just take that into their browser and wouldn't need to build another one with their own money, which I think is already pretty short:


chris_wot 11 hours ago 0 replies      
What's wrong with libpurple?
MzHN 12 hours ago 2 replies      
Does anyone have an idea on why Pidgin was dropped?

Apparently the decision was made at a meeting last month[1], but I can't find much discussion on it, even on the mailing lists.

[1]: https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/wiki/org/meetings/2...

Freescale Shrinks Worlds Smallest ARM-Based MCU by 15% freescale.com
65 points by brchen  10 hours ago   52 comments top 8
Qworg 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Small enough to be installed in the cables of your device.

Freescale's best trick with these is putting them in business cards (between thin plastic).

hershel 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Another interesting small mcu is the nrf51822 which is 3.5x3.8mm , it includes bluetooth low energy transceiver and dc-dc converter + 256K/16K flash/ram and it supports the mbed/arduino. It would be also possible to write/adapt a low energy mesh protocol for it.

Another interesting one: stm32f401, cortex-m4 ,84mhz,512KB flash, 96 KB ram, low power and can run python(micro python) - at only 3X3 mm.

jmpe 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Notice that they explicitly mention IoT, a week after Atmel announced a similar controller for an IoT module:


ambrop7 2 hours ago 0 replies      
For anyone wishing to play with Freescale ARM, a cheap way to get one is the Teensy boards, https://www.pjrc.com/teensy/
dman 10 hours ago 6 replies      
What os do people run on this?
zeckalpha 9 hours ago 2 replies      
How does this compare to an AVR (other than being a Von Neumann computer)?
ksec 10 hours ago 7 replies      
Suggested Price @ 0.75 Per Unit at 100K Batch.

Would Love to get one to play with :D.

pasbesoin 6 hours ago 1 reply      
These recent developments keep reminding me of the "dust" in Vernor Vinge's "A Deepness in the Sky". Powered by microwave pulses.

Granted, that dust as described is more capable. But we know how that curve tends to go.

It seems that the science fiction writers are barely keeping ahead of "reality", these days. Kind of amazing.

Most creative way to display 42 stackexchange.com
4 points by lucb1e  1 hour ago   discuss
Hum letshum.com
218 points by jonkratz  21 hours ago   125 comments top 17
peteforde 20 hours ago 6 replies      
Putting aside my own aversion to yet another opportunity to ramp up my continuous partial attention deficit, this strikes me as a solution looking for a problem.

One of my smartest friends noticed that when his support team answered emails quickly, the customer would treat this as an implicit invitation to shift the support thread into a support chat, via email.

They added a 3-hour delay before support sees any email, specifically to prevent threads from becoming chats. Note that phone support is also available; people with time-critical issues are encouraged to call in for immediate help.

The delay has been a huge success because people correctly assign priority to their concerns by selecting the medium. The back-and-forth is more focused and does not get off-track.

An unexpected bonus is that before the delay was introduced, people would often remember how one particular support rep helped them in the past and would hit reply on an old thread to pose a new question, unrelated to the original request. This was confusing (support people leave) and would mess up their issue tracking and happiness metrics.

After the delay, this behaviour went away almost completely and they didn't experience a statistically significant drop in incident satisfaction.

In conclusion, use email for email and use chat for chat. Email starts to feel like chat if you reply too quickly, and that's not a good thing.

mjackson 19 hours ago 7 replies      
Hey all! Co-founder of HUM here, and happy to answer any questions you may have about it. We've been cranking away on this product for the better part of the past year and are very excited to be rolling it out over the coming weeks.
fournm 19 hours ago 2 replies      
In Firefox, scrolling down the page below the cover image causes a Youtube embed of what I assume is the trailer to get stuck blocking a large portion of the content of the page.
coldtea 6 hours ago 2 replies      
Generic chat UI, check.

Generic marketing copy, check.

Generic video with uplifting folky music and hipsters dressed like hipsters doing hipstery stuff, from sitting at a minimal wooden desk to surfing, check.

So what exactly does this bring to the table that we don't already have or does better?

gavinpc 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Sometimes I wonder if dogfooding has gone too far. With respect to the OP, I see so many... products like this which seem very oriented towards the teams building them. Witness the example page. I'm trying to imagine another field where co-workers could conceivably feel unsatisfied with the level of real-time connectivity they have now. Ranchers? Astronauts? I can't think of one.

But I guess I'm something of a Luddite, with my flip phone.

eaurouge 17 hours ago 3 replies      
Why are there so many negative comments? And most of these aren't even constructive criticisms.

Do you have any suggestions to give the founding team? Any constructive criticism to offer? I'm sure they'd like to hear it. On the other hand, snide remarks provide hardly any value to anyone.

pazimzadeh 19 hours ago 3 replies      
Why announce the product before shipping? I added my email to the list, but I probably won't remember what the product is when you finally release it.

The copy could use some work, you should be able to pare down a lot of the text. Also, you could increase the font size for maximum comfort. Why is the product name capitalized? When I see HUM I think "H. U. M."

rquantz 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I accidentally upvoted this with my big fingers. Now, having seen the video, I wish I could take that upvote back.
zyxley 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Given that I started using Slack (slack.com) last week, what in Hum would tempt me away from it? Slack fits pretty much everything I would want in team communication (being more or less private IRC with persistent history, full history searching, file uploads, etc), and has straightforward APIs and preexisting integration with assorted software and services.

The only thing I'm seeing Hum offer that Slack doesn't have any equivalent to is the email integration, and if I'm emailing somebody external to my team or company I'm not going to want to treat it like a chat anyway.

nickjackson 13 hours ago 1 reply      
While the app looks pretty cool and I have no beef with the app specifically, introducing yet another IM app is just going to fragment the market further and cause more issues than it solves.

There are so many different ways to communicate currently, that soon we aren't going to be sure what app to best contact a particular person with. You've got Email, SMS, iMessage, Facebook (Chat), WhatsApp, Twitter, and those are just are some of the top ways.

Everyone has their favourites and because of this, communication is getting more annoying and difficult purely because of the diversity of choice. Its not helped by large companies vendor locking their customers into a specific way of messaging, fully knowing that not all of the people they contact are there.

I have a strong opinion on this yet I have no real solution.

Whats the chances of the top tech companies coming together to create and implement a secure open protocol and/or app allowing end users to message anyone regardless of platform? I guess its pretty bonkers.

verelo 17 hours ago 1 reply      
Sounds like Google wave, but a little less intense and a lot more lean.
ilyanep 16 hours ago 1 reply      
It appears that you're targeting corporate users, am I right? I would guess that individuals would probably just use something like Google Hangout or e-mail or some other chat client.

For many corporations, I think one of the biggest issues is having their internal chats hosted in the "cloud". Maybe I'm assuming too much here, but i'm guessing all of this is happening on your servers. I'd highly recommend allowing people to deploy this service on one of their own servers and also providing some sort of security guarantee. Then some of the bigger companies might be willing to move to it, and I could see how this would be a joy to use over IM/e-mail/IRC/maybe even HipChat?

Anyway, good luck on your product. Hope your launch goes well! :)

muppetman 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Are there any startups these days that don't include words "features a beautiful, simple design"?

It's web 3.0's blink tag.

grej 19 hours ago 1 reply      
The application is quite nice looking, and I really like the @ integration/notification.

That said, I really hope 11MB splash videos on home pages doesn't become a trend.

rafifyalda 3 hours ago 0 replies      
There's some elements that remind me of Moped (http://blog.moped.com), which has since been bought and shut-down. It's actually quite more enjoyable to keep this stuff out of your inbox, and if you really wanted to, you could use Moped as your email client. I don't use Hangouts, but doesn't that require other people you send messages to to also have Hangouts etc?

Disclaimer: I wrote the Mac client for Moped.

elf25 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Looks like another closed communication system that won't work for me until all my friends DL the app - and they won't.
huhtenberg 16 hours ago  replies      
I wonder if the same idea can be adapted for online forums. Think - something like standard PhpBB, but with each thread being its own IRC channel with full archive. Has anyone seen anything like this done already?
The psychology of hate: How we deny human beings their humanity salon.com
54 points by yiedyie  9 hours ago   28 comments top 5
kingmanaz 5 hours ago 2 replies      
While hate can be examined, analysis should also be made of the over-humanizing of certain peoples while blatantly ignoring others. While the proverbial fiddle plays during any Shoah reference, hardly anyone notices that Knigsberg is not found on maps anymore and that its people have been scattered to the winds.

Many people suffer but scant few receive condolences. Rather than being blinded by preoccupation with historical "recognition" of hate, focus might instead be placed on justice in one's everyday life.

rgrieselhuber 7 hours ago 3 replies      
This reminds of a TED talk about the expansion of empathy throughout history and how the reduction in mass cruelty over the centuries correlates directly with our ability as humans to include others (other villages, cities, states, nations, ethnicities, religions) in the same sphere as themselves and are thus able to empathize.
christkv 4 hours ago 1 reply      
If you are interested in history you might be interested in


He's got some very good audio episodes on ww1, ww2, the mongols. He gives a very good telling of the horrors of the conflicts and the passions that drove the wave of murders.

stcredzero 5 hours ago 2 replies      
This lesser minds effect has many manifestations, including what appears to be a universal tendency to assume that others minds are less sophisticated and more superficial than ones own.

A lot of the stuff in this article runs rampant in various forums on the Internet and especially in interactions between programmers.

altero 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Why go so far? 1% of Americans are in prison or some form of detention. But yeah, they do no count.
Show HN: Learn Ruby by Example with Challenges learneroo.com
37 points by arikrak  10 hours ago   15 comments top 6
jeffrwells 7 hours ago 2 replies      
This might be a fun challenge for experienced rubyists, but I do not think this is a good way to learn Ruby.

I only looked at Ruby Basics, but here's my feedback:

The challenge is to solve: 'true and 0 && !nil and 3 > 2', but this is not a real-life application.

The words 'and' and 'or' should not be used for boolean comparisons, they are intended to be used to join two separate clauses such as "render 'template' and return" in rails.

Comparing a number and bang-nil is not good code. This could actually come to be if you were doing something like: "object.value && !object.value". However, you wouldn't ever want to hardcode "0 && !nil". If you were really checking for nil, you should use "!object.nil?"

I'm afraid that these challenges will teach bad code techniques to newbies who don't know the difference. But again, as someone with more familiarity with Ruby, I think these types of challenges are fun, but if that is the goal there is no need for the tutorial beforehand.

jader201 8 hours ago 2 replies      
I don't know Ruby, but this caught my eye:

  true.class #=> TrueClass  false.class #=> FalseClass
Why would they have two different classes (types?) for what I consider values of a boolean/bit type?

chucknelson 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Ah, made me think of the good ol' days => http://rubyquiz.com/

Although this is definitely more tutorial-ish.

kartikkumar 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Great! Diving head first into Ruby so this will come in handy.
cabbeer 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Is there anything like this for Javascript?
marsay 9 hours ago 2 replies      
The design of the site looks strange to my eyes. Colors and fonts doesn't make sense. I'm no expert on design so I can't explain why.
The Job After Steve Jobs: Tim Cook and Apple wsj.com
56 points by spking  11 hours ago   47 comments top 15
caycep 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Here's the rub, there's a lot of "Cook is an unknown", "Jury is still out on Cook" type memes being populated by the media.

Cook has been running the company since the late '90s. I'd say he's a pretty well-known by now. Ruthlessly competent operations chief, who saved Apple from operational incompetence (by the "Adult Supervision" who fired Jobs in the first place), and probably the biggest reason why the iPod, iPhone, and iPad are successes - by giving Apple the capability to design (through operating capital), market and produce them, and make a margin on every unit they sell.

Apple being a black box due to secrecy, it's hard to tell what's going on inside, but by all we have seen, it's been pretty confident at doing what it feels it's good at. I doubt there's a "Jobs haunting" mentality there. But hey, if Yukari Kane wants to sell books...

mwfunk 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I don't understand why an established company failing to create new product categories by some arbitrary deadline ("they better have something completely new by the end of the year!") is seen as a sign of failure. If a company is hanging onto old businesses that are withering away while failing to rejuvenate those businesses or create new ones, that's failure, or the road to failure at least (Blackberry being one example). But that's not what's happening here.

For that matter, I don't see failure to maintain explosive growth as a failure of any company. It might be a failure as far as the stock market is concerned, but it's deeply screwed up that this is the dynamic driving the stock market.

The stock market for much of the tech industry is completely driven by growth (or the promise of future growth). This is bad, this does not lead to a better tech industry, and this is not healthy for any of the companies involved. It's only healthy for short term investors, who unfortunately seem to be way overrepresented in the tech industry.

The Greater Fool Theory (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greater_fool_theory) drives stock prices far more than the fundamental health or outlook for most tech companies.

Anyway, whenever I hear a complaint about company X because they haven't created some completely new product category in the past 12 months, I don't hear a complaint about the company. I hear a complaint about the stock price, which is driven by continuous (and possibly unhealthy for the company) growth, which drives the stock price due to the Greater Fool Theory as much anything else.

Such an opinion isn't even a commentary on the company- it's a commentary on a number (the stock price) that is most likely to go up when companies do risky and dangerous things (blow a ton of money trying to enter new markets or create new markets), and is completely disconnected from the fundamentals of the company, its profits, projections of its future profits, customer happiness and loyalty, and any number of other things that really ought to come in front of "short term explosive growth potential" when attempting to answer questions like, "is company X performing well?" or "is the CEO of company X doing a good job?".

What's worse is that when that number (again, the stock price) goes down due to a lack of growth in new product categories (Microsoft being the prime example here), it can force such a company to do things that are actively bad for it, because it is compelled to expend tons of resources floundering around trying to reinvent itself when no such complete reinvention is really necessary.

Just look at two companies that the stock market has been very kind to over the last 10 years: Amazon and Apple. Did Apple's stock go up because of its profit margins? Maybe somewhat, but I'm guessing that the market was really just responding to growth. Obviously Amazon's stock hasn't benefited from fat margins; growth is the only thing it has going for it, and it's done quite well.

In the Amazon case, I don't think there's even any concept anymore that someday it will slow down the growth and start fattening its margins. People used to say this like 10 years ago to explain the disconnect between Amazon's stock price and their margins, but I think at this point no one's even making vague allusions to that theory anymore. People buy Amazon stock because they think other people will buy Amazon stock based solely on growth. Someone might buy Amazon stock thinking that the whole growth thing is a scam, but they don't care because the stock price isn't based on Amazon's performance- it's based on how the buyer thinks other people will perceive Amazon's performance, scam or no. This is the Greater Fool Theory in a nutshell.

stcredzero 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Meetings with Cook could be terrifying. He exuded a Zenlike calm and didn't waste words. "Talk about your numbers. Put your spreadsheet up,"

Okay, why in the world are we, supposed 21st century intellectuals, supposed to be looking at a leader who asks for quantification and hard data as somehow unusual and harsh? If I assume that the writer knows his audience well, implications of this for how WSJ readers generally think is, frankly, breathtaking.

We don't live in the world wishfully imagined by the Romantic Era! We live in a world ruled by mathematically-based laws best understood from first principles. The "Rule of Cool" is not going to suspend the laws of physics and economics for you just because you greatly impress a bunch of bipedal primates on a particular planet. < https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NV3sBlRgzTI >

This is especially true for startups! However many of us fail to comprehend this because we forget that human beings are not omniscient. Just because we don't yet understand how market forces are going to respond to an entirely new product category or an entirely new class of transaction or entirely new kind of company doesn't mean that the laws of nature and economics have been suspended for the rule of cool. It just means our squishy little chemical-bag brains haven't processed the new situation enough to codify it and share the information through our culture. Not fully understanding something Does Not Justify Woo! (And disturbingly, you don't have to search very hard in the startup scene to find some programmer-branded or startup-branded woo!)

Ignore this at your peril. The Rule of Cool won't protect you any more than respecting pilot seniority kept Asiana Airlines Flight 214 from crashing. (Korean American here, and yes, the example makes me get angry and cringe.)

PakG1 7 hours ago 0 replies      
This reminds me of Ben Horowitz's article, Ones and Twos: http://www.bhorowitz.com/ones_and_twos

I have to say that it seems darn hard to be a One. Not that it's easy to be a Two, but Ones have this mystical aspect about them that seem to ascribe their traits and success to something almost like genetics/luck/natural talent that hard work can never touch.

As creative as I think I am, I know that I lack the vision for being a really top-tier One. I'm good at analyzing problems, finding solutions for them, streamlining stuff, etc. So you could say that I'm a Two. And yet, here I am running a bad startup (and maybe it's because I don't seem to be a One that it's not going amazing? :D).

That being said, I'm really impressed with what Tim Cook is doing so far. Wooing and hiring the Burberry CEO seemed like a total upgrade on trying to get back the guy they lost to JC Penney (who later was fired anyway) to run their retail operations. All the medical-oriented rumors about the iWatch make me think that Apple hasn't yet lost its touch for making something mindblowing; it will be really interesting to see if they truly are introducing a totally new product category yet again. And the fact that Tim Cook can get all fiery during a public shareholder meeting to defend what many people will agree is the right thing to do demands respect.

Tim Cook may be a Two, rather than a One. But so far, I would not yet count Apple out just because he's a Two. I get the impression so far that he really can keep it together. I'm not making a prediction here, I'm just saying that I wouldn't count him out. So far, he has not done anything significantly bad enough to make me think he's the wrong guy for the job. In fact, I think he has done some good things.

And let's face it. I don't think even Steve Jobs would have been good enough to consistently introduce new product categories for the rest of his life, were he still here. That kind of track record is really tough to match for a single person. I may be wrong, but I think you need to ingrain that way of life into an entire organization for there to be any chance of continually doing it. And hopefully, that's what Tim Cook inherited.

allochthon 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Jobs, Cook, other CEOs -- we fall into fundamental attribution error [1] when we give them too much credit for the success of a company, something Americans are particularly susceptible to (which I say as an American). Not infrequently the best thing they can do is to get out of the way. By contrast, a bad CEO can do much to sink a company.

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

EDIT: clarify meaning.

simonh 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Apple doesn't need to be as good as or better than it might have been if Steve Jobs had survived, it needs to be better than the competition. Which other company does anyone here think does a better job at competing in Apple's markets than Apple? That's what matters.

Yes I'd love to see Apple move into new markets with new original products and services. I don't see any reason Apple today is any less likely to be able to do that than any other company.

37prime 6 hours ago 0 replies      
The article to me is like an empty can that rattles really loud.There is more of the authors wishes than reality.
snowwrestler 6 hours ago 2 replies      
Apple will never be the same as it was under Steve Jobs. Period. In a world of A, B, and C players, Jobs was an A+++ player; you can probably count them on one hand.

The thing is, no one can bring him back to life. He's gone forever and it seems like a lot of folks have not yet reached the "acceptance" stage of grief. And if I can be cynical for a moment, writers and reporters can make a nice living off exploiting that, by writing articles and books like this one.

Apple can still be a great company. It does not need to change the world every 4 years to accomplish that goal.

Life is not black and white. There is a huge range between best company in the world (how some people saw Apple toward the end of Jobs' 2nd tenure), and failure.

bigmario 8 hours ago 0 replies      
To be honest, I think Cook is doing a damn good job considering the big shoes he had to fill when Jobs left. Tim Cook will never be the dictator that Jobs was, nor will he command the same "respect" that Jobs had. When you not only founded a company, but also brought them from the brink of bankruptcy to the most valuable company in the world (a few months ago), you have a certain gravitas that your successor will never have.

Also, Tim Cook seems to be passionate about the company, especially given his emotional rebuttal of activist investors at the last shareholders meetings.[1]

[1] http://www.macobserver.com/tmo/article/tim-cook-soundly-reje...

capkutay 7 hours ago 4 replies      
I think the jury is still out on Tim Cook..and that jury will report the verdict some time early 2015. If Apple does not break into a new product category this year, it's clear that Tim Cook cares too much about operations and too little for innovation and pushing Apple products to the next level. You can tell by the particularly insignificant iterations of the iPhone. Either he has an excellent poker face and is keeping their new products a secret, or he just set out to turn Apple into a cash cow: sandbagging existing products to maximize profit.
twic 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I rather like the way the WSJ's stock price annotations add a shade of meaning to this quote:

> "Without the arrival of a new charismatic leader, it will move from being a great company to being a good company," George Colony, the CEO of technology research firm Forrester Research, [FORR -0.08%] wrote in a blog. "Like Sony, [6758.TO +1.31%] Polaroid, Apple circa 1985, and Disney, [DIS +0.41%] Apple will coast and then decelerate."

So, the guy who runs the company whose price is falling says that Apple is heading for trouble, just like those other companies whose prices are rising.

exo_duz 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Obviously everyone has differing opinions about Cook, his management style and ideas but I think that since taking over Apple has lost a lot of its ability to be exciting. A lot of the things coming out has been quite textbook and boring and didn't command the excitement it did when Jobs was at the helm.

Is this just way Cook is? Or is this a forecast into the way Apple is? Everyone has said that Jobs was the visionary behind Apple, can Cook be the visionary after Jobs?

I think that Apple needs another visionary to drive the way it innovated in the late 90s and 00s when Jobs was there.

I know it might sound one-sided towards Jobs but I'm still yet to see the kind of innovation Apple had ever since Cook took over.

ufmace 7 hours ago 0 replies      
That's interesting, and makes me want to read more about Apple and Steve. Cook seems to still be a big unknown in a lot of ways. My biggest question about the future of Apple is whether they'll be the first with the next revolutionary device. The iPod, iPhone, and iPad didn't have any fundamentally new technology, but instead put together existing technology in a way that redefined how we used and thought of the whole class of devices. Nobody made a music player that was simple to use and just worked before the iPod. Nobody made a truly finger-friendly touch-screen device before the iPhone. Nobody made a tablet that was really practical until the iPad. I don't own or use any of either of them regularly, but I can appreciate the effect they've had on the market.

There will be more revolutionary devices in the future. Will they be created in Cook's Apple? If they are created, is Cook the man to bring the right device to the market at the right time? That's what'll be interesting to see.

LukeB_UK 9 hours ago 0 replies      
A very good read. I've read Jobs' biography so I gained an insight into his style, it's nice to be able to see Cook's style and how it contrasts.
reovirus 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I just wanted to chime in and say "The Job After Steve Jobs" - well played on the title of this article.
Dear Recruiters dearrecruiters.com
31 points by Flopsy  4 hours ago   20 comments top 9
sharkweek 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Or if you're a company being repeatedly contacted by recruitment agencies:


(and also kind of an ass - try just spamming a few letters in each text box)

msr101 1 hour ago 4 replies      
Recruiter here.

We do not tell you the company name for a few reasons:

1. If we tell you the name of the company straight off the bat, the next recruiter will ask you some sneaky questions and get the details of the role under the guise of trying to find out where you are in the process of looking for a job. This works more times than you can believe.

2. Candidates will apply for the role directly because they hate recruiters or they think they can get a better rate.

3. Company has specifically mentioned not to disclose the name of the company until we are sure we have found the right candidate because of reason one, imagine getting calls from 10 recruiters in a day, not just that IT recruiters the worst kind of all!

Please note as well that most of these emails are not about this specific opportunity or getting to interested or compelled to apply its about finding out if you are looking for new work or open to new roles.

It works and its easy, its not right and it can be annoying but just email back the recruiter and mention you would like to see all the information you have on them as per the privacy laws in your country and they'll stop dealing with you pretty quickly.

hacknat 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I don't even understand why you're trying to help them. Good recruiters don't need your help and the bad ones can leave.

Unless I can tell that an email has been custom tailored to my personal profile and experience I don't give it the time of day.

A recruiter, in one or two paragraphs, should be able to tell me about the company (without mentioning the name) and why several items in my personal history (work experiences, patents, articles written, code bases committed to, etc) are relevant to what they are trying to do. Anything short of this is garbage and should be treated as such.

stox 27 minutes ago 0 replies      
Or better yet, demonstrate that you have done the most basic research into what the real job entails rather than a vague paragraph submitted to you by HR. You know, something silly, like spending 5 minutes on the phone with the manager being recruited for. 10 minutes for extra bonus points.
nsmnsf 28 minutes ago 0 replies      
> Seriously, we like you.

I don't. I'm not looking for a new job currently. Recruiters aren't any different than Viagra spammers to me (I'm also not looking for Viagra).

dredmorbius 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't expect a recruiter to lead with the name, but if asked, they'll provide.

Hell, I'd be happy if they'd lead with the city, state, or country, half the time.

gfosco 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I was expecting something different, although the part about desperation rings true.. My "Dear Recruiters" letter would beg them to just Google me, or look at my LinkedIn... something, anything, spend 10 seconds to find out that I have a great job at a huge company... then think twice about sending me a lead for a short-term contract opportunity using a technology I haven't touched in years at a no-name company in some other random state.
hackdays 36 minutes ago 0 replies      
Its annoying when recruiters email you especially when the job description doesn't quite match your expertise but they think all 'backend roles' mean the same and you are a perfect match!

The best people to connect talent to job roles are the ones who work in the same field. aka Referrals!

With that in mind we are creating a platform where you can can bring right opportunities to talented folks you admire and earn a referral bonus for it (instead of the recruiters getting rewarded for spam)

Checkout the initial version of http://referralhire.com

crorella 34 minutes ago 0 replies      
Only in the valley...
Y Combinator Female Founders Conference LiveStream youtube.com
177 points by ggreer  1 day ago   242 comments top 5
beambot 1 day ago 4 replies      
To all the people kvetching in the comments... this is the live stream for "YC's Female Founders Conference" [1]. That's why "female" is in the post title.

I'm an ardent supporter of the effort, and I hope (much like startup school) that YC is able to make it into an annual event! Very inspiring! Also, my wife is in attendance. I look forward to hearing her reactions later tonight. If the live stream is any indicator, it looks like a really great event.

[1] http://blog.ycombinator.com/announcing-the-female-founders-c...

jblow 9 hours ago 3 replies      
Note the extreme lack of women commenting in this thread, as well as the lack of discussion of any of the substance of the livestream.

This thread is 100% nerdy dudes feeling offended by this event, plus other dudes attempting to counter this.

Is not this thread itself indicative of a giant problem?

pg 22 hours ago 2 replies      
The event starts at about 37:20.
staticelf 1 day ago 6 replies      
I dislike the fact that females get a lot more attention because of their gender. If you want true equality you've to start treating everybody as equals and giving extra space for some just doesn't cut it.

I see this all the time in my country (I don't know if this is the case here) but females get a lot more attention in basically all areas of society and I don't think much good can come from that.

Well, I guess I'm just trying to write as a man in the extremely feministic country of Sweden I kind of feel left out and viewed as "not as important" as the counter gender. Since I am quite young and the feministic views here just has grown stronger with the years, this feeling has grown on me since I started elementary school.

Now in my twenties, I don't think it's that weird I think feminism is possibly one of the worst phenomenas in my country and the world in general.

namenotrequired 1 day ago  replies      
For those who wouldn't click cause it's "Female Founders" - so far it's been just as inspiring as Startup School (even for me as a man).
A brief history of one line fixes tedunangst.com
241 points by coconutrandom  1 day ago   151 comments top 10
chimeracoder 1 day ago 6 replies      
> What do all these earlier mistakes have in common, apart from the obvious: being exemplars of catastrophic loss of structural integrity? They all date from before 2013. Thats how we know the NSA wasnt involved.

I get that this is trying to make fun of the response to Apple's "goto fail;", but this logic ("These similar errors predate 2013 Apple's similar error was not an NSA backdoor") seems rather faulty. There are a number of flaws with this line of reasoning. To name a few:

* The NSA could have been involved with backdoors before 2013 (unlikely in Debian, but mentioning 2013 is a bit of a red herring)

* Apple could have been encouraged to insert a backdoor and did so in a way that gave them plausible deniability (either because the NSA specified that, or because they wanted to cover their behinds)

Whether or not this incident was the result of the NSA's prompting is something we'll probably never know[0], but this article doesn't do much to argue one way or the other.

[0] The only way we could know is if someone literally came out and admitted it (or someone like Snowden were to leak it). It's possible to prove the existence of something (ie, a backdoor attempt), but impossible to prove the absence of something.

fjarlq 1 day ago 2 replies      
A favorite of mine, in C:

  ASSERT(apples = 1);  VERIFY(oranges = 2);
(Note the '=' means assignment, not comparison.)

Both are assertion-testers resulting in a core dump if the test fails, but ASSERT is only defined for DEBUG builds.

Since the assignments are to nonzero (true) values, buggy values of 'apples' are silently corrected -- but only during test runs. Buggy values of 'oranges' are always silently corrected.

Hilarity ensued. Afterwards, 'gcc -Wparentheses' became mandatory.

mindslight 1 day ago 5 replies      
Cough, there's one major thing all of these bugs have in common - they're all in C code.

This is mostly due to the volume and prominence of C. But a language with the same fundamental semantics of C but lacking the cleverbait syntax and weakened types would have prevented over half of these mistakes.

_pmf_ 1 day ago 2 replies      
> How is this possible? Does nobody use a compiler that warns about comparisons always being false?

External symbols are resolved at link time; as far as the compiler is concerned, setuid might be a symbol declared as __weak.

I don't particularly like the snide remarks towards the maintainers of these libraries.

MBlume 1 day ago 1 reply      
Lint tools exist.

My number one take away from this is that we should all be using them more.

yeukhon 1 day ago 2 replies      
I have done similar thing to myself in Python, sabotaging my own little project. The following is not a rare thing. Imagine this were initializing random key in TLS... But since Python syntax is arguably cleaner and more readable, it's easier to catch.But that's a bet we have to put up with...

    >>> def f(a,b=[]):    ...     b.append(a)    ...     return b    ...    >>> print f(1)    [1]    >>> print f(1)    [1, 1]    >>> print f(1)    [1, 1, 1]    >>> import random    >>> def key():    ...     return random.randint(1,10000)    ...    >>> def f2(a, b=key):    ...     return b()    ...    >>> def f3(a, b=key()):    ....    return b    >>> f2(1)    3974    >>> f2(1)    8684    >>> f3(1)    2867    >>> f3(1)    2867

claudius 1 day ago 1 reply      
Regarding the Debian OpenSSL disaster, the question was brought up on the OpenSSL mailing list (and read there); regarding the Tarsnap bug, it is not an unbraced if but a non-incremented nonce. If two of the five comments in an article are obviously wrong, how much trust should I possibly put into the remaining 60%?
IvyMike 1 day ago 2 replies      
Maybe that will be my new way to measure the effectiveness of my test suite.

"Imagine the NSA snuck a one line 'fix' into your software overnight. Do your tests quickly and accurately detect the problem and point to the code that is broken? If not, your unit tests are broken."

jodrellblank 1 day ago 0 replies      
Another thing they have in common is trying to reason about security of SSL certificate chains and other high abstraction concepts in terms of C pointers and function return values.
mpetrov 1 day ago  replies      
The commentary on last example from Tarsnap seems wrong. The error was that the nonce stopped being incremented (see the linked Tarsnap blog post), but the author suggests the issue there is the unbraced if. The unbraced if is still not great style, but it wasn't the cause of the security blunder.
The rise of OpenStreetMap: A quest to conquer Googles mapping empire thenextweb.com
339 points by Vik1ng  1 day ago   183 comments top 3
4ad 1 day ago 9 replies      
FWIW, where I live and where I travel OSM maps are much better than Google Maps. Google Maps just lack the data.

OSM: http://www.openstreetmap.org/#map=15/48.2509/16.2533

Google Maps: https://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q...

beering 1 day ago 3 replies      
One thing us hackers should be especially aware of is that it is a violation of the free Google Maps API terms of service to embed Google Maps in anything that makes money.

Read that again. If you make a classifieds website but charge businesses to list, it's a violation of the free Maps API TOS and you need to purchase an Enterprise license. Enterprise licenses start at 5 figures/annum for low-volume usage.

This is not some abstract ideological nitpick. Google has ramped up its attempts to monetize Maps ever since they introduced quotas a couple years back, and they are actively pursuing businesses to force them to buy an Enterprise license. So there is a very real risk that you could be targeted if you embed Google Maps, especially if your website gets big. This is no doubt one reason why companies like Foursquare, Craigslist, etc. use OpenStreetMap rather than Google Maps.

huskyr 1 day ago  replies      
One thing where OSM really shines is the ability to downloaded maps for offline use. When i was travelling in South East Asia for two months i had an iPhone with an app that allowed me to download a part of any OSM map. Because every hotel had Wi-Fi access i just downloaded the parts where i was travelling and used that instead of finding a local SIM card. Even in pretty remote parts the maps were usually good, and in some cases they were even better than the Google Maps equivalent (e.g. Laos).
User stylesheet support removed in Chrome 33 chromium.org
62 points by hk__2  8 hours ago   70 comments top 14
pcwalton 7 hours ago 2 replies      
CSS 2.1 defines a specific order in which user-supplied style sheets' declarations must be honored [1]. This ordering makes a lot of sense to me: author normal overrides user normal, but user !important overrides author !important. Can extensions easily replicate this behavior if the spec-compliant code is purged from the selector matching engine?

[1]: http://www.w3.org/TR/CSS2/cascade.html#cascading-order

leobelle 7 hours ago 4 replies      
It's trivial to write your own stylesheet. Create a directory, put a manifest.json with a content_scripts and a css attribute plus a matching attribute and then your css file. Like this:


Then turn on developer mode in extensions and load the directory. I made this while writing this comment, that's how easy it is.

DanBC 6 hours ago 4 replies      
Is this hostile to users who need custom CSS for accessibility? Or do those users do something else entirely?

I sometimes wish Google would release numbers when they make changes. Finding out how many people used the plus operator (and how many of those used it correctly) made Google's removal of it slightly easier.

Edit: the + operator for searching, apologies for not being clear.

dchuk 6 hours ago 2 replies      
Here's something that has seemed to change in the newest Chrome: When I click the "+" (New Style Rule) in the inspector to add a new style to an element (let's say the element has a class of ".my-element"), in previous versions of Chrome, it would create an empty style like .my-element {}.

Now, when I do that, it creates "body > center > table > tbody > tr:nth-child(3) > td > table:nth-child(4) > tbody > tr:nth-child(1) > td > table > tbody > tr > td.default > span > font > p > a"

What happened here? Does that have anything to do with this User Stylesheet stuff? Because this new functionality is infuriating and I don't even really know what to search for to fix this change.

johnchristopher 5 hours ago 1 reply      
> -The user-stylesheet feature requires the user to put a CSSstylesheet in the right location in their user-data-dir.Extensions are a much better way of doing this.

Uh ? Why remove that feature ? It's not buggy, unmaintainable or resource hungry.

ams6110 7 hours ago 4 replies      
From the commit log message: "Extensions are a much better way of doing this."
jccalhoun 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Maybe Opera can maintain some relevance by keeping the chrome features that google has removed.
barrkel 1 hour ago 0 replies      
My own custom stylesheet:

    * { cursor:auto !important }    a { cursor:pointer !important }    a * { cursor:pointer !important }
Another reason not to use Chrome beyond tree-style tabs.

jamesaguilar 7 hours ago 5 replies      
There are plenty of extensions to satisfy this use-case. The only question is: how can I trust one?
jebblue 4 hours ago 0 replies      
You could download the Stylizr Extension. I just did and it works, puts a nice Wizard Wand on your Chrome Bar or whatever it's called:


josteink 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Yet another reason to prefer Firefox.
dalek2point3 2 hours ago 0 replies      
and this has nothing to do with Adblock? I feel like it must ...
fiendsan 5 hours ago 0 replies      
google givet, google take it away...
ezequiel-garzon 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Somewhat related, I've noticed not just Chrome, but most mobile browsers apply some sort of font boosting, inflation or some such... Isn't this breaking standards flagrantly? I know all these clever developers mean well [1], but still...

[1] Though I can't help feeling total arbitrariness when skipping from one first-level HN comment to the next.

The SAS vs. R Debate inside-bigdata.com
42 points by ulam2  15 hours ago   39 comments top 11
zmmmmm 34 minutes ago 0 replies      
The problem with R is that it's just not a very good programming language. It's great for interactive analysis, but dismal for building higher level abstractions. It's like the PHP or MySQL of the data analysis world. Data types get magically converted all over the place, the global namespace is just a giant playground for every module to pollute, it has something like 5 different object systems all with subtle differences. All the defaults that are set for the convenience of interactive use undermine any kind of reliable use for building on as a platform (for example, the "simplification" concept where a 1 column data frame often magically turns into a vector).

I've forced myself to use R intensively for a couple of years now, but I must say it's still a relief every time I bail out and get back to a "real" programming language.

jzwinck 11 hours ago 4 replies      
The article says this particular instance of the debate started in 2011. Things have shifted a little since then, and I think Python has won more mindshare with Pandas, SciPy, NumPy, and all the rest. I've used both Python and R, and think the next debate will be between those two, as people find that R is not a very good programming language and lacks decent libraries for things like web scraping.

Python can be a single tool that integrates with every part of your workflow. R right now still wins in the number of algorithms implemented in it (there are statistical methods not available in R but not Python), and R has more terse syntax which some people like for interactive use. But for really Big Data, terse syntax and an endless variety of esoteric algorithms are not as important as, say, robust error handling and debugging (a weak area in R, but a strong one in Python).

RobinL 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I use of both Python (pandas) and base SAS at work for UK government.

I have lots of experience in SAS, and enjoy using it. The macro language allows for very succinct solutions to difficult data manipulation problems.

However, given SAS's huge expense it's difficult for me to identify any 'killer' areas where it's significantly better than open source tools. Indeed, I find pandas faster and easier to use for many problems.

I find it hugely frustrating that the government pays so much money for SAS licences and training when most people use it for simple use cases, where they would be better picking up transferable skills (e.g. Python, SQL, R).

My understanding is that that SAS supposed to be good at processing very large datasets because it uses RAM efficiently (only the PDV is stored in RAM). But in reality, a small minority of users are processing datasets that are too big for RAM (e.g. 16gb+) and there are probably better tools for the job in this use case.

One user here comments that SAS is like an 'improved Excel'. In fact, I find pandas much closer to Excel than SAS because (in ipython notebook at least), you get nice visual representations of your tables, and it usually isn't difficult to translate an Excel operation into a pandas one. I especially like the multi-index and pivot table based capabilities. With a background in VBA for Excel, it's also relatively easy to pick up Python.

None of this is quite so obvious in SAS, which has quite an unusual data step and macro programming language. It's very powerful, but is quite unintuitive to begin with due to a complete reliance on the program data vector.

dekhn 10 hours ago 0 replies      
My favorite part about the SAS v R debate was the conclusion of this article:http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/02/16/sas-warms-to-open-s...

"""In the article, Ms. Milley said, I think it addresses a niche market for high-end data analysts that want free, readily available code. We have customers who build engines for aircraft. I am happy they are not using freeware when I get on a jet.

To her credit, Ms. Milley addressed some of the critical comments head-on in a subsequent blog post."""

(Boeing uses R heavily and when you fly on their aircraft, you're flying on open source)

JasonCEC 4 hours ago 0 replies      
My company uses R, Shiny, and Rserve for nearly everything. R is a great programing language - if you need to quickly and efficiently develop stat's based features for medium sized data.

R excels (get it?) at creating reproducible, fault tolerant, consistent functions that can be automated, packaged, applied to a variety of data types, and then extended later.

Our web-stack is Shiny on AWS and we call our API's built in R (ML, images, data, etc) from Android using Rserve.

A lot of the (programing?) criticisms of R will be 'solved' or become non-issues in the next few years. Multithreading, implicit vectorization, better memory handling, gpu functions, among other things are all in the pipe :) (That said, the syntax _is_ a little weird to get use to)


* We're hiring for very senior positions in data-science and more general R programers. Contact me if you're interested (JasonCEC [at] Gastrograph.com)

[edited for spelling]

opensandwich 4 hours ago 2 replies      
Since SAS is a relatively simple language, why can't someone just write a transcompiler that supports a subset of SAS and move it to R? That way you have the best of both worlds (sort of).

The most difficult thing about that is how you would treat "by" statements (SAS) vs the split-apply-combine (R).

Self-plug: I sort of made a quick hack about a month ago for SAS-Python, I'm sure someone with more programming experience than mecould produce something much better (I come from a maths background).

http://nbviewer.ipython.org/gist/chappers/8747253/stan_examp... https://github.com/chappers/Stan

mbq 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Questions on StackOverflow: 49 878 R, 2 191 SAS; on Stats StackExchange: 5 524 R, 260 SAS.
stcredzero 10 hours ago 2 replies      
Where does Stata fit into all of this, and why is it never discussed on HN?
pistolpete20 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I used to work for one of the largest U.S insurance companies. They were always behind in transitioning to new technology (Excel 2003 could be found there in 2013). That being said, the entire staistical modeling team and research department made the switch to R and Python. Only a few clung to SAS but realized they would be forced to move to R as any collabration would need to be converted to R and not to SAS.

I believe it will be R verus Python future and SAS will not be a part of it.

ropz 10 hours ago 1 reply      
These people:


produce a compiler, tools etc that run the language of SAS.

(disclaimer: I interviewed there last year)

Fede_V 13 hours ago 3 replies      
Is this even a discussion? Anyone serious about analyzing data will use either R, Python (with Pandas/SciPy, etc), or Julia. For truly immense data sets that require pipelines, you'll use tools like spark, hadoop, etc - but SAS is basically a slightly improved excel.
       cached 3 March 2014 02:02:01 GMT