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1
Amazon Dash amazon.com
455 points by sheri  12 hours ago   210 comments top 50
1
dotBen 12 hours ago 15 replies      
HN'ers asking why this isn't a cell phone app take note - this exemplifies why we (geeks) don't make good use cases for consumer tech and we should always be careful looking to our own habits and values when in a Product Development role.

We're rarely the target customer and rarely behave like "average Joe". We're naturally resistant to superfluous redundancy ("My phone can already snap a barcode, I don't need a separate device") when consumers don't even see the duplication let alone the issue. They don't separate devices (or even apps) has having layers of similarity and just see things for their end functionality.

My mother would see a phone and apps as completely separate functionality to a physical device like this. She probably would have the Amazon Fresh scanner, the (theoretical) Google Shopping Express scanner and the (also theoretical) Whole Foods scanner and wouldn't even consider the duplication, let alone be frustrated by it. She doesn't care about the potential for an "open standard"/"common standard".

She also has an AppleTV and a ChromeCast connected to the same smart-TV that also has native apps within it (she mostly uses the native apps). Again, she sees no issue with that and might even buy an Amazon FireTV if she felt it was more compelling for one use.

Ultimately we shouldn't assume consumers value convergence, especially when it creates ever increasing complexity in user experience (eg opening an app to snap a barcode vs pressing a single button on an Amazon Fresh scanner)

ADDED: If you don't have parents that also work in tech, go visit them and just watch them use technology without prompting. Ask them about their experiences, their frustrations, their decisions behind purchasing specific equipment and downloading particular apps. It's very insightful.

2
dangrossman 11 hours ago 4 replies      
Based on the comments, I'm guessing few poeople here have ever worked retail and held a barcode scanner.

Break out your phone, load up your barcode scanning app (there's 20 seconds right there even if the phone is in your pocket). Now try to actually scan something with it. You'll spend another 30 seconds lining up the little on-screen window with the code, rotating things, waiting for the camera to focus, and even having to move to another location if you're not in bright lighting. It's a terrible experience and that's why you don't see stores checking people out using the camera of an iPad.

A barcode scanner, on the other hand, just works. You point it in the general vicinity of the barcode, press the button, and it's scanned. You don't have to perfectly align anything, be in specific lighting, or wait for a camera and an app. I'm sure you've seen cashiers run multiple things over a scanner in under a second.

Amazon Dash isn't just a subset of your phone's functionality. It's a dedicated barcode scanner, which is hardware you don't have on your phone.

3
olalonde 7 hours ago 1 reply      
My first thought: people are going to bring this to retail shops to get the benefits of brick-and-mortars shopping while benefiting from the low prices / delivery of Amazon.

A lot of people already kind of do this. They go to a shop, find the items they like and look up on the web if they can get a cheaper price by ordering online.

This version of the product might not be so practical for this use case though since it requires a WiFi connection and can probably only scan AmazonFresh barcodes.

4
bluthru 11 hours ago 4 replies      
Listening to a young child carefully pronounce words for the narration was a bit distracting and slightly irritating. A sentence or so would be fine, but narrating the whole video was an exercise in patience.

Or do I just have a cold, black heart?

5
chunkyslink 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Nice try NSA!

Seriously though, it worries me that there are more and more 'listening devices' in my home.

We've seen what has happened recently with the NSA listening to calls. What is to stop the authorities getting a back door into all these devices and just recording everything?

6
wehadfun 12 hours ago 4 replies      
For some reason this made me thing of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CueCat
7
donretag 12 hours ago 2 replies      
"Dash ... works directly with your AmazonFresh account"

Which means it is only available in three locations (SoCal/SF/Seattle).

8
revelation 11 hours ago 6 replies      
Why is Amazon gold plating their fresh service when they didn't manage to meaningfully expand it since 2007?
9
jameswilsterman 8 hours ago 2 replies      
So assumedly this will work in a store also? Could I go 'grocery shopping' at Whole Foods and end up having everything shipped to me by Amazon for cheaper?

Can easily see this evolving into an Amazon price comparison tool for mobile use. Maybe I get a flash discount if the GPS has me standing in a Best Buy already.

10
alaskamiller 12 hours ago 5 replies      
Number of steps to scan grocery by phone:

1. Find your phone

2. Unlock

3. Swipe left to home page three or maybe four

4. Visually scan for the AmazonFresh icon and tap

5. Wait for loading

6. Start scanning action

7. Confirm and pay

Number of steps to scan grocery by Dash:

1. Get device from drawer or pantry

2. Press one button and scan

3. Confirm and pay

For the target demo (30+, married, households with children), option 2 wins hands down. Because you will easily be distracted and stop using option 1 and not complete checkout.

Amazon knows CPG and commerce better than you do.

11
plg 10 hours ago 2 replies      
"Apples"

...

next day what shows up, exactly?

6 granny smith apples?

a 15 pound bag of golden delicious?

3 MacBooks pro?

ummm

12
aray 11 hours ago 2 replies      
Anyone know the battery life/lifetime of these? If it's months, that's a lot more convenient to keep in the pantry. As a kitchen appliance it makes a lot of sense, but I don't have any muscle memory for "charging" appliances.
13
asnyder 12 hours ago 2 replies      
I wonder if this will lead to showrooming of groceries, like Amazon's done with books. The only thing preventing this is the wifi requirement, but of course one can already do this with their phone. Though it does make it even easier.
14
joeld42 11 hours ago 2 replies      
I hope that's a bottle opener on the top.
15
mcintyre1994 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I've been expecting Tesco (UK) to do this for ages. They have supermarkets literally operating on this sort of device, you scan+bag as you go, and they have a decent national delivery service.
16
anigbrowl 10 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm surprised this exists to be honest. Not because of smartphones, but because I thought RFID chips would be sufficiently disposable by now that we'd have smart refrigerators and trashcans. I had to buy a new refrigerator last year and I was struck by how many different kinds of ice dispensers there were (a feature in which I have no interest whatsoever) vs smart refrigerators. I found exactly one of the latter - the unfortunately named T9000 from Samsung (Komm vith me if you vant a snack...), which is really just a refrigerator with a tablet stuck on the front, didn't do very much, was completely locked down (understandable) and cost $4000.
17
LeicaLatte 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Now this feels like the future.

I am curious what the upgrade cycles of these products will end up being. Can Amazon charge a subscription and keep giving me a new one?

18
mfrommil 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Amazon needs to scale Fresh in order for it to be more successful. On a micro level, scaling could come in one of 2 ways: (1)increase order frequency or (2)average order size.

(1) Order frequency - Right now, a typical customer likely picks up groceries when they're out and it's convenient. This very well could be on the commute home from work, later at night, etc. With Dash sitting around the kitchen, Amazon has now created a very tangible reminder in the form of the Dash device to order your groceries, rather than waiting until it pops into your mind (and possibly not buying on Amazon).

(2) Average order size - As someone posted above, it takes 1 or 2 button clicks to reorder an item using Dash. Compared to the current way of online grocery shopping, Dash eliminates a lot of possibilities of forgetting to reorder something you intended to, because it is so simple. Compared to on the PC when you may forget to browse the snacks category, for example, and you forget to order chips and cookies. Way less likely to happen with Dash.

This doesn't address price concerns, but in terms of convenience for Amazon Fresh customers & increasing Fresh orders/order size, this seems like a massive win-win for Amazon and their customers.

19
elleferrer 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I like how it's a separate device - it's too bad it's only available on the west coast though. AmazonFresh reminds me of "Webvan". Webvan failed during the dot com bubble, maybe Amazon is trying to start this kind of business model up again. I think the grocery delivery service is a great idea, especially now with everyone being so connected. Webvan only failed because they expanded rapidy and weren't able to attract customers at their speedy pace, plus back then not everyone was so connected.
20
justinpaulson 12 hours ago 2 replies      
Why would they make a device rather than an app to do this? Seems pretty awesome as a service though...if Amazon Fresh was available here.
21
binarysolo 12 hours ago 1 reply      
How does this differ from people using the mobile app? Mainly for Amazon Fresh integration?
22
jds375 11 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a cool service to integrate with AmazonFresh. A similar promising alternative is https://www.rosieapp.com ... It's a pretty cool startup with similar goals.
23
ngoel36 12 hours ago 9 replies      
I see absolutely no reason why this couldn't have been a mobile app with a bar code scanner and voice recognition...
24
babesh 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Wait till a 2 year old gets ahold of it and scans everything 10 times.
25
blobbers 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Has anyone else noticed that this completely rips off Hiku?Or is this repackaging the same product?

http://hiku.us/what-is-hiku/

26
lucb1e 10 hours ago 2 replies      
Does anyone know how they connect to WiFi? There's like two buttons and one beep for I/O.

(Half joking: Or is it a Speak Friend And Enter kind of thing, where you have to speak the WiFi credentials.)

27
mandeepj 10 hours ago 0 replies      
i think this is a big deal. When I am working in kitchen, i see lot of items needing refill, reordering etc...it is little cumbersome to stop your work, wash your hands and get the phone to take the note. Not to mention, once u pick your phone there are 100 hundred things going on - facebook, mails, texts etc to distract you for long time. Knowing this distraction, if I just say - "OK, I will just remember in my brain and will not pick up phone" then you know I never remember that task or things later. I think you can also use this device as your note taker incase you want to buy from somewhere else. Enjoy the convenience ;-)
28
vuzum 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Best idea ever, wow what a great product and functionality! This should be in every house! :-)

Amazon acts like a startup still. Good for them!

29
turisys 1 hour ago 0 replies      
disruptive innovation at it's best.........
30
joshdance 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Grocery stores should be worried. Amazon is predator that will take on any market it thinks it can win. Pretty soon they will not only be competing against the store next door, but the Amazon grocery warehouse with all the advantages of scale and convenience.
31
paul9290 10 hours ago 0 replies      
So you zap your grocery needs with dash and flying robot delivers it within 24 hours....
32
suyash 10 hours ago 0 replies      
If someone has an invite, can you please send me one as well. I don't have the Invite Code needed to participate.
33
tetrep 12 hours ago 2 replies      
Why was a separate physical device needed for this? It seems like a simple smartphone application would work just as well, if not better as I would assume virtually all of the target audience for this service already have a smartphone.
34
thomasmarriott 6 hours ago 0 replies      
When food became mp3's Amazon Dash / Fresh = Apple iPod / iTunes. Well done, Jeff.
35
elevenfist 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Sounds like this would only real be useful for packaged, processed goods. I'd have trouble trusting the quality of perishable items over the internet...
36
Dorian-Marie 11 hours ago 0 replies      
And when you go to somebody else place, you like something, "ok, I will add it to my Amazon shopping cart", etc... So many use cases this is amazing.
37
alanh 8 hours ago 0 replies      
The :cue cat lives!
38
beejiu 11 hours ago 1 reply      
How does the voice feature work? Is it computer voice recognition, or does your voice get sent to a person to interpret?
39
dgarrett 11 hours ago 0 replies      
It'll be interesting to see what Amazon does to continue to get more information on people's shopping habits.
40
ngoel36 12 hours ago 1 reply      
How do I get a code?
41
beamatronic 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Didn't see this pointed out so far - The existing Amazon app can already scan bar codes.
42
anandg 12 hours ago 1 reply      
If its real, this is going to revolutionize grocery shopping. Also, open up a new market for such devices.
43
cnaut 10 hours ago 0 replies      
This is the CueCat done right! Technology is similar but their is a clear use case.
44
redditmigrant 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I like the simplified dedicated device for creating a low friction experience, however one downside of having this as a separate device rather than an app on your phone is that you are more likely to loose it, forget where you kept it, etc. etc.
45
ahunt09 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I can't believe this is not an April Fools' Joke.
46
thebokehwokeh2 11 hours ago 0 replies      
What a time to be alive.
47
cpezza85 10 hours ago 0 replies      
hook it up with an invite code :)
48
jhprks 12 hours ago 0 replies      
People! amazon is known to be more sinister than google when it comes to april fools jokes, first it was using quad-rotors for delivery (which was stupid idea by the way) especially when it wasn't even april, now it is a little stick-like device automatically ordering food for you? what's next? a flying car? lol!
49
jhprks 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Nice april fools prank amazon!!! LMAO
50
lechevalierd3on 12 hours ago 4 replies      
Fruits and vegetables to not have a bare code, right ?How to make it simple for those fresh products then ?
2
Primer: Shaders underscorediscovery.com
77 points by hughsk  4 hours ago   21 comments top 4
1
neals 2 minutes ago 0 replies      
To me, the thing with shaders always is: I need them at some stage in a project. I have used them before, but too long ago to remember, so I need to look up most it. I work with it a for a few weeks. That part of the project is done and I move on.

A year later, a new project comes along. It requires shaders. I don't remember how to use then and have to look it up again...

Repeat.

2
sillysaurus3 4 hours ago 4 replies      
Part of the confusion is the confusing terminology. "Shader" is a bad name. How do you "shade" a vertex? That implies color, when in fact vertex "shading" is really about deforming the position of vertices. It has nothing to do with color!

"Vertex program" is a better term.

That brings us to "pixel shader." That's actually a good name in order for beginners to learn the concept, but it's imprecise. OpenGL insists on calling it a "fragment program" because with certain forms of antialiasing, there are multiple "fragments" per pixel. "Program" is also a better name than "shader" because there are things you can do per-pixel other than change the color. For example you could change the depth written to the Z-buffer, or you could cause the pixel to be skipped based on some criteria, like whether the texture color is pink.

Anyway, it's just a tiny program that executes either per-vertex or per-pixel. For example you could write a vertex program which moves each vertex in a sinewave pattern based on time. Or you could write a fragment program to change the color of each pixel from red to green and back based on time.

Then there are more advanced/recent concepts like a "geometry program," which lets you generate triangles based on vertices or edges.

Sometimes I wonder if it's overly complicated, or if the problem domain is just complicated. It took me years as a kid to finally grok this, but once I learned it, it turned out to be very simple. Honestly it wasn't until I got up enough courage to sit down with the OpenGL specs and read through them that everything clicked. They're dry reading but not difficult.

3
Jemaclus 3 hours ago 0 replies      
As someone who is not well-versed in graphics or graphics programming, this was a very well-explained primer. I very thoroughly enjoyed it, and learned something in the process!
3
linkstrasse.de
21 points by Ashuu  1 hour ago   11 comments top 5
1
ggreer 28 minutes ago 2 replies      
This post is from 2011. I can't remember any result in the past three years that used this trick, which makes me suspect that Google has fixed the issue. Still, it'd be nice to know more. I haven't found any posts on this topic besides the one already linked to.
2
alexdowad 3 minutes ago 0 replies      
I have zero interest in SEO, but as a developer, I am interested in how to write text-search and text-matching functions which treat "ordinary" and full-width Latin text consistently. Does anyone know how to do this?
3
Gigablah 23 minutes ago 2 replies      
Notice that if you search for the word "Unicode" on this page, Chrome highlights it with no problem. I presume it's the same for other modern browsers.
4
Jamie452 14 minutes ago 1 reply      
What amazed me the most was that the text works fine in the browser address bar!

I'm guessing we're going to see a torrent of HN posts using this trick to get more exposure in their titles!

5
xxxmadraxxx 23 minutes ago 0 replies      
Interesting. But, once for demonstration purposes is enough. Please can we not have every submitted headline on HN avail of this trick from now on. It's bad enough having to watch the evolution of headlines along the lines of "Meteorite Seen in Background of Sky-Diving Photo" into "OMG! Flaming Fireball Almost Decapitates Parachutist!" by click-junkie contributers without needing to buy a wider monitor, just so I can fit the damned headlines onto my screen.
4
Say no to import sideeffects in Python chrismorgan.info
29 points by chrismorgan  2 hours ago   4 comments top 3
1
aptwebapps 28 minutes ago 0 replies      
This in no way invalidates the point of the post, but I can't imagine going back to installing everything globally instead of using virtualenv. If you do that, at least you won't have every package you every looked at in your path.
2
taejo 59 minutes ago 1 reply      
Agreed. Twisted's behaviour of installing a reactor on import has caused me problems which could be worked around by importing conditionally or at a later time, but in cases like this, where one is importing modules dynamically, one doesn't know ahead of time which workarounds one needs.
3
jzwinck 58 minutes ago 0 replies      
Of course you should do this in any language. I once used a Ruby library that, when loaded, would try to connect to a database on a remote machine. Programs which required this library would take several seconds to display their --help output.

Because of that and similar incidents, I've learned to import argparse up front but nothing else unless necessary. Once argument parsing is done, then importing other modules begins.

5
Opal: Ruby in Your Browser the Basics sitepoint.com
23 points by bentanweihao  2 hours ago   7 comments top 4
1
davidw 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I'm not terribly convinced by these things that compile to javascript. I don't much care for javascript, but I'd rather take the bull by the horns than deal with a bunch of generated code, especially in any kind of commercial setting where it's going to be a lot easier to hire JS people rather than people who are both X-lang and JS experts.

That said, it's very much a cool hack, and worth doing on that basis alone.

2
nnq 18 minutes ago 0 replies      
If one needs to write code like:

    `#{context}.lineTo(#{x}, #{height})`
...you're doing it wrong. Please do figure out a way to "automagically" make things work without `...` or just don't bother.

`...` should be a last resort option for when you just need to do something that can't be done any other way, not something that should be peppered over the entire code.

3
Sovietaced 16 minutes ago 0 replies      
This is amazing but I agree with others, dealing with generated code can be tricky in production environments.
4
TheAceOfHearts 1 hour ago 1 reply      
One big problem with this is that you still end up having to use raw JS anyway. Debugging is usually a big hassle too.
6
Torvalds rails at Linux developer: 'I'm f*cking tired of your code' plus.google.com
6 points by xendo  35 minutes ago   2 comments top
1
return0 5 minutes ago 0 replies      
In other news, we 're still on Earth.
7
GridList Drag and drop library for a 2D resizable and responsive list of items ubervu.github.io
12 points by SergeyDruid  2 hours ago   6 comments top 2
1
dm2 1 hour ago 1 reply      
How do you make grid items occupy multiple lines vertically like box 3 and 13?
2
NewsReader42 2 hours ago 2 replies      
Shame it uses the bloated jquery UI
8
Can I delete my Skype account? skype.com
87 points by Splendor  8 hours ago   33 comments top 14
1
taspeotis 2 hours ago 2 replies      
As far as I know this is about the same process for HN?

http://www.accountkiller.com/en/delete-hacker-news-account

2
lyndonh 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Skype as software has a lot of issues. Before they were bought by Microsoft the software worked quite well; on my Mac I'm still running an ancient version. Why ? - it got replaced by a version that takes up half your screen, I think they were trying to make a single version for desktop and iPad. After a public outcry they reduced the size somewhat. The latest version has about 3 extra options about the amount of data you will be sharing with Microsoft/associate companies. What ? I want a phone service, I don't want my personal info datamined. OK, they give you the option to disable this but it doesn't fill me with confidence.

If you want to use Windows 8 Metro version you must "link" to a Microsoft account and change your login to use that method. It's the first thing that it does, but the UI is very subtle about it. IIRC, it even wants to change your desktop login settings. Phone software should not be changing system settings. Also the latest version removes the option to hide the fact that you have a webcam. With Skype you absolutely must read all the fine print and dialogues.

3
emeraldd 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Here's a question, would actually deleting the account lead to the possibility of someone later impersonating the original account holder? Especially since the "buddy" lists appear to be independent?
4
monsterix 2 hours ago 3 replies      
I recently deleted my Linkedin account. But their junk emails continue to dirty my email even now. Next in the line is Skype, and then probably Facebook.

Thankfully, I never shared my genuine data with Facebook or opened an a/c on Instagram or Whatsapp ever so I'm good at a certain level when it comes to Facebook.

In my opinion Twitter is the only option that is sane at the moment.

5
oakwhiz 4 hours ago 2 replies      
If you contact Skype's support, they can actually delete your account directly, but before they do that, they ask you to replace your profile information with gibberish.
6
kristiandupont 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I don't know, is this a problem? In some sense, it seems more honest to me than having a delete button that simply sets a "deleted" flag on you in a database.
7
granttimmerman 1 hour ago 1 reply      
This is extremely relevant:

http://justdelete.me/

8
jon_black 2 hours ago 1 reply      
The question I'm more interested in is why a sane delete option isn't built into the service. On the other hand, it's at least clear that your account exists forever, although it would be better if people were aware of that during sign up. Twitter claims to have deleted my account, but I cannot verify it.

As a side note, amazon affiliate accounts are equally bad.

9
emersonrsantos 2 hours ago 0 replies      
You never put information online, delete stuff, use anonymous accounts and VPNs, yet everyone is a victim of device fingerprinting tecnhiques. That's one way the governments finds "anonymous" TOR users.

Check the online test https://panopticlick.eff.org/ and the paper https://panopticlick.eff.org/browser-uniqueness.pdf for a good read.

10
acjduncan 2 hours ago 2 replies      
This is completely insane. How can a company with so many developers think this is anything other than completely unacceptable.
11
officialjunk 4 hours ago 0 replies      
and none of that is to actually delete the account. the closest thing is to remove your name from the directory...
12
asadlionpk 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Maybe this is because of the way they store the data. It might be an expensive query (in their case) to search all contact lists with your skypeID, and remove it.
13
cshimmin 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I guess Betteridge's law of headlines could have saved me from reading this:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betteridge's_law_of_headlines
14
joelthelion 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Very professional
9
Tesla Model S Ethernet Network Explored dragtimes.com
130 points by tty  10 hours ago   78 comments top 10
1
AceJohnny2 8 hours ago 8 replies      
I am very amused that people in this thread assume that this ethernet port allows tinkering with the automotive systems.

Automotive systems communicate over a CAN [1] bus, not ethernet. In fact, this bus is usually physically separated between drive-critical bus (which controls things like ABS) and "comfort" bus (such as electric window controls, central door locks, wheel-mounted audio controls). Ethernet has none of the industrial strength qualities that make CAN a valid automotive control bus, such as signal hardening and real-time guarantees.

As far as these users have found, this ethernet port is connected to the infotainment system: the 17" display.

I would be deeply disappointed in Tesla if the infotainment system can modify drive-control devices with anything less than signed binaries and commands. As an aside, I wonder what the legal requirements of such safeties are.

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

2
mitchellh 10 hours ago 4 replies      
The cool things: Tesla is running Linux (!) and standard technologies/protocols such as SSH, NFS, X11, HTTP, etc. to do things in the car. That is cool, and probably highly efficient since developer test labs can probably just be basic Ubuntu-like virtual machines.

The sketchy things: Jailbreaking a car seems pretty dangerous, especially since as far as I'm aware, the electronic systems control things including the brake. I know this only because Tesla recently released a software update that added "hill assist" which will hold the brake in place for 1 second when at a certain incline to avoid rolling back. Imagine a malicious software update that disabled the brake! Personally, I would jailbreak a phone, but not a car. :) HOPEFULLY the system the ethernet port provides access to is firewalled out of being able to update any software (i.e. the software update mechanism is some other device), but who knows.

The phone home can also be considered sketchy, but any Tesla owner is well aware the car pings home and relays diagnostic data to Tesla. At the very least, Tesla owners know it must ping home to check for updates periodically.

If anything, I thought it was kind of cool that Tesla engineers detected it and reached out so quickly. Imagine if you weren't tampering with your car and it WAS a high-tech attacker. It is good to know that they can detect the basics.

3
jwise0 9 hours ago 0 replies      
The original thread that this came from:

http://www.teslamotorsclub.com/showthread.php/28185-Successf...

Interesting in particular is one poster's claim that Tesla gave him a seemingly-dismayed call...

http://www.teslamotorsclub.com/showthread.php/28185-Successf...

4
driverdan 10 hours ago 2 replies      
Tesla USA engineers have seen a tentative of hacking on my car., can be related to industrial espionage and advised me to stop investigation, to not void the warranty.

So long as you don't cause any damage they can't void your warranty in the US thanks to the MagnusonMoss Warranty Act.

5
mschuster91 10 hours ago 1 reply      
A quick google for the source code only revealed http://www.teslamotorsclub.com/archive/index.php/t-10748.htm... - apparently Tesla has never released the source code of the "modified Ubuntu" they're using.

Whoops.

Also, looks like Tesla has got international deals with mobile carriers for data flatrates. I'm looking forward to see the first guy stream youtube or youp*rn on the dashboard :D

6
scotty79 7 hours ago 0 replies      
So, inspecting a product you own is industrial espionage now?
7
rrouse 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Interesting that it phoned home
8
dm2 9 hours ago 2 replies      
Can Tesla detect if settings or the files for one of their cars are modified?

I would like an option to contact home base to verify that all files and configurations in my car are exactly like their suppose to be, else either disable the car or download the correct software.

Maybe a way to enable a developer mode which can only be used on a non-public road.

I just can't imagine modifying an electric vehicles computers and settings for anything useful. Please offer some suggestions if you can.

9
Theodores 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Onto more important matters, does anyone know the track being played?

The title is 'All the things she said', which originally was a #1 Top 40 song by the Russian pop group 'Tatu'. However the picture is definitely not the Russian duo. Is this a German cover version of some sort?

10
afhsfsfdsss88 10 hours ago 1 reply      
As a hacker...Cool!

As a driver who will have to occupy space around people playing with this while driving...F#&*!

10
2048 implemented in 487 bytes of C github.com
73 points by adamnemecek  7 hours ago   27 comments top 12
1
nullc 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Like the small JS version this also has the bug where you can summon more tiles by pushing again in a direction where movement isn't allowed.
2
deletes 4 hours ago 2 replies      
Doesn't run correctly under windows. The code relies on the system call "stty cbreak", which is linux specific.

'stty' is not recognized as an internal or external command,operable program or batch file.

I would love to read comments instead of downvotes. Where am I wrong?

3
mden 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Huh, was not aware of the "Implicit Int Rule" - http://stackoverflow.com/questions/11064292/declaring-variab....
4
jevinskie 5 hours ago 0 replies      

    puts(W&1?"WIN":"LOSE");
Shouldn't exit(W&1); be "good enough" while saving some bytes?

5
3327 4 hours ago 1 reply      
well, bugs or not, 487 bytes is a new high bar... I guess the lisp lads might need to curl up their sleeves.
6
ika 4 hours ago 1 reply      
7
brandonbloom 4 hours ago 0 replies      
While 487 bytes is impressive, it feels like you should round up to the nearest power of two...
8
sawmebabe 55 minutes ago 0 replies      
wow. im more than impressed 0.0 wonderful
9
ghewgill 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Unfortunately it's the same every time it is played. It needs some srand() love in there somewhere.
10
mariuscoto 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Can I build this using gcc ?
11
randv 3 hours ago 1 reply      
nothing is returned from function s?
12
BorisMelnik 4 hours ago 1 reply      
11
Learn C and build your own Lisp buildyourownlisp.com
506 points by p4bl0  23 hours ago   129 comments top 44
1
tomp 22 hours ago 3 replies      
In the last chapter, Bonus Projects, the author mentions Static Typing & type systems. If anyone's interested in learning more:

I've implemented a few simple implementations of basic (and not so basic) type systems[1]. Currently, only 3 type systems are finished (Hindley Milner's Algorithm W, and Daan Leijen's extensible rows and first-class polymorphism), while gradual typing is almost done (based on [2], in branch 'dev').

[1] https://github.com/tomprimozic/type-systems

[2] Jeremy G. Siek, Manish Vachharajani - Gradual Typing withUnication-based Inference - http://ecee.colorado.edu/~siek/dls08igtlc.pdf

2
sanxiyn 20 hours ago 2 replies      
This is a good stuff. 4 years ago, I wrote a Lisp in 500 lines of C in one day after finishing SICP. Typing it out did made what I learned more concrete.

https://gist.github.com/sanxiyn/523967

3
anateus 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Sounds like this may subvert Greenspun's Tenth Rule:

"Any sufficiently complicated C or Fortran program contains an ad hoc, informally-specified, bug-ridden, slow implementation of half of Common Lisp."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenspun's_tenth_rule

4
unwind 22 hours ago 2 replies      
I always find it so hard to help out proof-reading code for causes like this.

Often, the code is more complicated than I find reasonable, while omitting things that make a lot of sense in "real" code, and it's very hard to know as an outside reader what the exact motivation for each decision was, by the author.

A few such things that caused me to WTF:

The initial few examples use a pointlessly static and global line buffer, instead of declaring the line buffer where it's being used.

There is hardly any const in the code, even for cases where it obviously should (to me) be used, i.e. for variables that are never written once given their initial value.

A magic number (the buffer size 2048) is repeated in the code, and even encoded into a comment, instead of just using "sizeof buffer".

I do think I found an actual bug (on http://www.buildyourownlisp.com/chapter4_interactive_prompt)... the readline() implementation ignores its prompt argument and uses a hardcoded string, instead. The same function also does strcpy() followed by using strlen() to truncate the string it just copied; that really doesn't sit well with me.

5
mkhattab 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Thank you for writing this and sharing it for the common good. I've been wanting to relearn C since I've switched to Python for work. Hopefully this book will be good practice because I've been wanting to implement a Lisp interpreter on a micro controller for quite sometime. I have plenty of PIC18F4550 micro controllers lying around.

Also, I liked the cat pictures and hope you'll add more of those in the next edition, perhaps.

6
JasonFruit 20 hours ago 2 replies      
If I decided to work through this, and thought it was really good, I'd be unable to make a donation because I don't dabble in cryptocurrencies. Why not make donating "real" money possible, as well?
7
blt 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I dislike the use of a parser generator libary. If it were any other language, sure. But Lisp is so easy to parse. Writing parsers is fun, and it would be a good exercise. I applaud you for wanting to teach beginners how to install libraries, but this seems like the wrong choice.

Props for mentioning conditional compilation early. It's underrepresented in books but essential for real life.

8
EdwardDiego 16 hours ago 0 replies      
If the author is reading this, thank you very much - I've always wanted to experiment with C, but never had a project to use it on. Writing a Lisp interpreter (compiler?) is not one that occurred to me, but it definitely interests me.

Cheers for your hard work. :)

9
lispm 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Fine to implement something. But I would wish that the language implemented actually looks like Lisp or Scheme.

Currently this claims to be Lisp, but it is some strange version of it.

Using a Scheme or Lisp has a lot of advantages:

* one can compare it with other actually working implementations

* there is already a wealth of material to learn from or where code could be reused

* many books exist

* the language actually has already got some thought

A good example is the book on Scheme 9:

http://www.t3x.org/s9book/index.html

10
gmfawcett 20 hours ago 2 replies      
If you're interested in this, you might also enjoy "Write yourself a Scheme in 48 hours." It uses Haskell rather than C as the implementation language.

https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Write_Yourself_a_Scheme_in_48_...

11
akkartik 17 hours ago 0 replies      
In similar vein to tomp's comment: if someone's interested in the bonus project of implementing macros, I've implemented a simple lisp with first class macros (fexprs): http://github.com/akkartik/wart. Moreover, you can write anonymous macros out of more primitive constructs.

Over time it's accumulated other features: http://akkartik.name/post/wart. But hopefully it's still easy to understand, because it has thorough unit tests. If you have a question about some line of code you can try changing it. Seeing what tests break is a great way to get feedback as you learn, in my experience.

12
SixSigma 12 hours ago 0 replies      
On the compiler course taught by Brucee (Bruce Ellis - one half of Mark V. Shaney - the other half being Rob Pike) he got you to do two projects : write a Lisp implementation in C, and a C compiler in Lisp. Most instructive.

If you have an HP printer with a Postscript renderer and you can get an image of it, you can find a digitised photograph of him too :)

13
adamcanady 14 hours ago 0 replies      
At my undergrad institution, we have a class that does a project very similar to this. I recently completed the class and project and have a bit of advice for anyone looking to take up this challenge on their own.

First off, a small note: our project used C to implement Scheme (a lisp dialect), so it's similar but not exactly the same as this.

I'd recommend starting off with reading about the principles and coming up with a solution to each of the problems on your own instead of following a specific pattern as outlined in the book. For example, in our project, we decided to learn about the C basics, then just figure out how to make it 'act' like Scheme if given an input. Eventually, we thought of doing everything in a linked-list style to make organization and recursion easier and more natural, but coming to this conclusion on our own was very helpful.

Another thing is valgrind. As far as I could find, the text only mentions valgrind in one paragraph, but it's an excellent tool to check for memory leaks and errors.

Also, as mentioned in the book, a bonus is adding in GC. This turns out to be a pretty easy and a fun exploration of the different techniques available if you try a couple out for performance.

Our code in case you're interested: https://bitbucket.org/adamcanady/cs251_interpreter/src

14
z3phyr 17 hours ago 0 replies      
There is one excellent book I would recommend to everybody -> http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Write_Yourself_a_Scheme_in_48_H...
15
mcescalante 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I've already programmed quite a bit of C and C++, and this seems like a great read + resource. I'd be curious to know how a non-developer or somebody coming from something like Ruby or Python that had never developed C felt about this.
16
userbinator 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Someone needs to make a complementary "Learn Lisp and build your own C."
17
pflanze 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I've just begun starting a group to create a Scheme implementation from scratch in London (UK). If you're already somewhat proficient in Lisp/Scheme and interested in participating, see [1] for further info and send me a message through meetup.com or through the link on my contact page.

[1] http://www.meetup.com/London-SICP-Study-Group/messages/board...

18
rui314 13 hours ago 0 replies      
If you are interested in this, you may find one of my Lisp implementation interesting too. It's implemented less than 1k lines of heavily-commented C, but it even supports a macro system and copying GC in addition to the common features you would usually see in small Lisps.

https://github.com/rui314/minilisp

19
arcatek 21 hours ago 0 replies      
PL101[1], from Nathan's University, is also a pretty good way to learn the basics of programming language compilers.

[1] http://nathansuniversity.com/

20
CGudapati 22 hours ago 6 replies      
How good is this book for a complete beginner? I am starting to learn C in my free time and I have no objective way to judge this book.
21
zafka 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Very Cool, I don't want to spend much time here now as I am at work......, but I love the concept. I have been using C for almost twenty years, and I think this would be a fun check.
22
wedesoft 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I was trying to implement an interpreter for a minimal (lazy) language in C [1]. It uses Church encoding and other encodings. E.g. here are the definitions of false, true, identity, and pair:

    f_ = proc_self(lambda(v0));    t_ = proc(lambda(v1), f());    id_ = proc(v0, f());    pair_ = lambda3(op_if(v0, v1, v2));
For the moment I gave up on it though but maybe it might serve as inspiration ;)

[1] https://github.com/wedesoft/blc/blob/master/src/x.c#651

23
codemonkeymike 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I had made a lisp interpreter using this book I found in my schools library. http://www.amazon.com/Data-Structures-Advanced-Approach-Usin...
24
swah 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Would tcc be good enough a compiler for this? Its very easy to install on Windows compared to Mingw/cygwin etc.
25
kyllo 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Thanks for sharing, this is really helping me to understand in a little more detail how compilers work. And the doge example gave me a good chuckle.
26
matt_heimer 18 hours ago 0 replies      
There is also a pretty good Compilers MOOC going on right now https://class.coursera.org/compilers/lecture/preview
27
skittles 17 hours ago 1 reply      
Anyone know why clang on mac os x doesn't know about edit/history.h? The line editing portion of the book requires it.
28
gregburd 9 hours ago 0 replies      
My favorite small and understandable implementation of Lisp in C is by Ian Piumarta. [1]

[1] http://piumarta.com/software/lysp/

29
stantona 11 hours ago 0 replies      
This is extremely cool, for someone with some C experience but wants to dig into writing a lisp.
30
yk 17 hours ago 0 replies      
You should perhaps submit it to r/C_Programming/ since you looked there for beta readers.
31
ilbe 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Wow, very timely, yesterday I needed to brush up on C and was wondering how I would go about it. Thanks. Very minor note: the link to "Learn C the Hard Way" on the faq page links back to the faq page.
32
quantabytes 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Your Bitcoin and Dogecoin addresses are mixed up.

EDIT: Fixed now.

33
NAFV_P 13 hours ago 0 replies      
> Cat cannot speak or program

A caption for a picture from chapter 5, preceding a look at the grammar of Doge - DogeLisp anyone?

34
halayli 12 hours ago 0 replies      
lval* v = malloc(sizeof(lval));v->type = LVAL_QEXPR;

For goodness sake, when teaching C, make sure to check alloc's return values.

35
donniezazen 19 hours ago 4 replies      
I am new to programming. What is it so special about Lisp that I keep hearing about it in Hacker's News (often in Machine Learning and from old programmers)?
36
sgy 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Of course C is not the only option, and perhaps not an option at all for newbies.JavaCC can be a good medium to build your own language too. They recently added the ability to generate C/C++ code (https://java.net/projects/javacc)

Is there any tree building capabilities using C?

37
elwell 16 hours ago 1 reply      
This looks really cool. I wish I had the time to read it.
38
crnixon 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Is the source of the text on GitHub or elsewhere? I'd love to send pull requests for some of the things mentioned in these comments, like magic numbers not being in constants.
39
jameshk 21 hours ago 0 replies      
This is awesome, I will certainly be using this to learn more Lisp.
40
SneakerXZ 20 hours ago 2 replies      
Does it use a generator to generate lexer and parser or author is suggesting to write them manually?
41
osho 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Can i get an pdf/epub version of this book?
42
notastartup 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Using this guide, is it possible to create a programming language in a non-English language?
43
JoelMcCracken 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Can anyone briefly explain what makes the lisp that the author develops unique?
44
pjmlp 21 hours ago 2 replies      
Please don't. Rather pick something like "Compiler Construction" from Niklaus Wirth and learn how to write compilers using memory safe system programming languages.

http://www.ethoberon.ethz.ch/WirthPubl/CBEAll.pdf

12
Apache Wave apache.org
324 points by ConceitedCode  18 hours ago   104 comments top 20
1
bane 16 hours ago 4 replies      
I used Wave on a number of projects as well as some of the biggerish discussion "waves" back when it was still with Google.

For the projects, it was awesome. This was a long time ago, so I don't remember all the excruciating details, but it made coordination and collaboration on big documents pretty trivial. We also had some group messaging and file-storage accounts that went virtually unused because of Wave.

Our use-case was in writing large-ish documents (a few hundred pages each) as a committee. And it was pretty trivial to just create a wave for each section of each document, then use top level comments in the Wave for each subsection, and capture everybody's brainstorming for each section. It was like a living collaborative outline that eventually filled itself in and turned into a section. We used links off of the discussions into Google docs for collaborative editing of the documents and when we felt everything was good, somebody would simply go in and copy-paste all the text into master good doc for final cleanup.

Having worked on similar projects in the past, coordinating this kind of activity with email and word docs (or even google docs) is a huge PIA. When we decided to move it to Wave for a small trial (to figure out the workflow) it was pretty trivial and sort of worked naturally. There was a minimum of document syncing issues, or confusion about who said what in which meeting or email. The entire past history of discussion, with threading and everything was open for review. It was amazing despite many of the obvious issues with the Wave client.

The big discussion "groups" on the other hand were mess. It was impossible to find where new comments in old threads were posted, and once the conversations got big enough, the UI slowed to an unusable mess. Wave didn't last long enough for anybody to figure out how to deal with this.

Outside of those two use-cases I really didn't use Wave for much else. I suspect I would have found other uses as time went on if it had survived (and especially if it had flowered and federated).

I've thought long and hard about why Wave failed and it really does come down to 2 things:

- lack of focus

- poor user experience that never seemed to get any better

Wave tried really hard to be all things to everybody, with some really neat tech demos to show use cases (arranging a group meeting by embedding a poll and a map etc.). I think it was kind of like the C++ of communication mediums. It's sort of everything, but you can only realistically use some subset of the functionality in practice and the parts you don't use just end up seeming useless and weird.

On the user side, carving out just the functionality for your use-case was also hard. And the slow as syrup client really was a huge turn-off. Weird, non-standard scroll bars everywhere (which never got fixed and never worked like anybody expected), nobody liked real-time global echo as they typed (brought about by a confusion of how IM actually worked in practice), and way too many half-baked widgets and bots and things.

I think Wave should have simply focused on a few simple use-cases, nailed and refined those, then grown all the other awesome ideas organically so the user-community could start to slot those into their workflows.

Wave might have worked better if it was launched simply as a threaded messageboard with real-time replies showing up in a post. Users would have also needed 1 more layer of organizational abstraction, a "Wave container" to carve out different groups of Waves. In my use-case above we really needed to have a container for each document, with each Wave for each major section. But in the most general case, a "pg" type person could have created a "Hacker News" container, and each submission and comment history would have been the individual Waves.

When Wave launched, everything was a wave and there was no way to organize them, so people ended up using top-level comments in the waves as the "topic submissions" and the Waves went on for thousands of comments across dozens of topics before they started to break. It just wasn't a good organizational metaphor, but the system and the client didn't offer a good alternative.

Then the client was clunky and slow, nothing else on the web felt as slow even with such little graphical sparkle. It was basically a side-by-side email client by look, yet acted like it was folding proteins or mining bitcoin in some worker thread.

2
StefanKarpinski 17 hours ago 4 replies      
The crucial tactical error the Wave project made was not integrating with existing systems like email and chat. This forced people to either jump fully onboard with Wave or ignore it. Predictably, when faced with an ultimatum like that, everyone just kept using email (and IRC and wikis). If the Wave team had instead spent a fraction of their development efforts on seamless integration with email, IRC, and other relevant protocols, even at the cost of some simplification of Wave itself, the project might very well have been a success and more advanced features could have been added later once adoption picked up.
3
shadowmint 8 hours ago 2 replies      
The current Apache Wave code base is a vast complex tangle (GWT wasn't the right decision, I doubt web sockets was either), and there's virtually no life on the developer list.

To be in any way seriously useful, this should be reimplemented as from scratch with a strict separation of UI and wave server back end, with a massively simplified deployment process. (Go would be a good choice imho).

The ideas behind wave are interesting, but the technical debt that Google dumped out when they abandoned wave is so massive, I consider the current wave code base a completely lost cause.

Seriously; interested developers drop into the mailing list form time to time; look at the code base, then run screaming. The reports barely even get done.

4
gyaresu 16 hours ago 7 replies      
In terms of a modern day 'Wave' I don't understand why I had to find out about Slack https://slack.com/ from a Quartz article: http://qz.com/192948/slack-the-best-way-to-organize-your-bus...
5
bokchoi 17 hours ago 2 replies      
Any particular reason why this was posted today? It seems to have been incubating at Apache since 2010. Is there a roadmap?

http://incubator.apache.org/projects/wave.html

6
jdp23 17 hours ago 2 replies      
Back in 2009/10, we ran our startup primarily on Wave for several months. Several of us found it very useful; I thought it was a promising combination of email, Google Docs, and chat. On the other hand, the usability was horrible and it was ridiculously buggy; several people hated it with a passion.

I can see why Google gave up on it but it's disappointing that they haven't incorporated these ideas into other products. And it doesn't seem like Apache Wave ever gained enough momentum to move forward.

What other projects are looking at similar chat/email/collaborative editing hybrids?

7
vertex-four 13 hours ago 3 replies      
My opinion of where Wave went wrong is that it was completely non-extensible past a couple of fairly limited extension points. You couldn't build brand new real-time applications on top of Wave.

What they should've done was simply expose their real-time technology stack, then let people create documents backed by whatever (sandboxed) Javascript they want. When you open a wave, the Wave client would download the relevant Javascript, then use that to generate the user interface for the document, while managing the complexities of operational transforms and federation itself.

8
kylemaxwell 16 hours ago 1 reply      
I wish every day for this to finally become usable and deployable. A bit of GitHub integration and I have tons of places I'd get Wave going again.
9
ecspike 17 hours ago 1 reply      
I created one of widgets that launched with Wave to use VOIP services to make a conference call from inside the gadget.

Part of me wished it stayed because I had a single letter user id.

Anyways, meeting minutes were something that it did well in my observation. Liveblogging was also interesting with it especially if you had maybe 2-3 editors and everyone else was view-only. Live tweeting events is rather feeble compared to what could have been done with Wave.

10
tomphoolery 11 hours ago 0 replies      
> Allthough Googles own server was never released as Open Source itself, they did release FedOne as a reference implementation of it. It was open source, and allowed people to both run and federate their own wave servers together. It did not connect to Googles main wave.google.com server, but did connect to a special sandbox server allowing testing of the protocol, server and clients.

What idiot greenlighted that feature? :P

"Yeah let's make a distributed social network but don't let them connect to the one EVERYONE IS ALREADY ON"

11
DomBlack 17 hours ago 2 replies      
I used Wave quite a lot, it was great to arranging meet ups of groups of people as you could all have an active conversation and use the "Poll" widget to say if you where coming or not.

I also used it for other things, but organising groups of people was the main use. Once it was discontinued I tried to run the open source version, but it was never really that stable and in the end we swapped back to emails.

It's a great shame to see this dead

12
lawnchair_larry 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't understand this submission. There's no news here, it's an "about" page from 2010. What am I missing?
13
jlebar 15 hours ago 3 replies      
> Wave a real-time communication and collaboration tool.

Serious question: Am I a bad person for closing the tab as soon as I noticed that the first sentence is missing a verb?

Programming is all about details, and I guess I see it as a strong signal if a project can't get details right on their landing page.

On the other hand, maybe this unfairly biases me against projects maintained by non-native English speakers. And even among native speakers, perhaps I shouldn't be biased against people who choose to spend their time on pursuits other than writing perfect English.

14
mark_l_watson 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I liked Google Wave, and really liked being able to write software robots on AppEngine that joined waves like humans, and could read and write to waves. Potentially a nice platform to develop for, until Google Wave was cancelled.

I have run Apache Waves a few times, easy to set up and the simplified UI is very nice.

What I am missing from Apache Wave is a platform for writing software robots. Does anyone know of any useful options for this?

15
ozten 17 hours ago 0 replies      
At Mindcamp in 2009 we had a session to try to figure out how/why to use Wave. We tried to use Wave to facilitate said conversation. In my opinion, it was a wash.

Wave had amazing technology and perhaps a "before it's time" communication model, but it needed a better narrative or training step.

16
Zenst 16 hours ago 1 reply      
I always wondered why Wave was not intergrested with Usenet as could of brought usenet into the modern World interface/interaction wise. Beyond that it reminded me of many Web 2.0 Nortel project, great technicaly but pushing the resource boundaries of the time. Hence had its sluggish moments, as in on a fat pipe was great, but consumer pipes was meh.

Still, it moves on.

17
jo_ 17 hours ago 2 replies      
Strangely, every one of the links in the downloads page has 404'd for me. I was quite disappointed to see Wave die, since I think it was both incredibly forward looking on Google's part and, all things considered, immensely useful. I wish it could have become the email replacement it wanted to be. It suffered greatly, though, from higher latency, intermittent bugs, and lack of (very) widespread adoption.
18
harveylee 17 hours ago 2 replies      
I remember when Google Wave was hyped up to the point where people were begging others for a beta invite. When I first got access, it seemed pretty interesting but oddly enough, nothing really motivated me to use it again.
19
0xdeadbeefbabe 17 hours ago 1 reply      
Wouldn't you prefer this for a forum instead of phpBB?
20
pearjuice 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I remember back in the day people would kill for a Google Wave invite. It felt like all the cool kids were using it and if you weren't on it, you meant zero. When you actually got on it after reading all the praising reviews and begging for invites on googlewaveinvites.org or whatever shady site you stumbled upon, it was a massive anti climax. Sure, it looked really good but it felt so... I don't know... void?

I think we all just wanted to be part of the "Google Wave croud" and the hype was more of a focus than the actual product. Thinking about it, I don't even remember what Wave actually was or why Google dismissed it.

13
Show HN: InstaMotor Taking the pain out of selling your car instamotor.com
200 points by ValG  15 hours ago   190 comments top 51
1
nlh 11 hours ago 5 replies      
Great idea - good luck guys! Related note for the HN community, while we're on the subject:

Unless you have time & money to burn, you really should never never never trade your car into the dealership. It's the worst price you're going to get along the used car supply chain. And even if you think you're getting a good price, it's because you're probably pairing it with buying a car (and paying too much for the car you're buying).

The worst-case used car dealer supply chain works like this (going backwards):

* You buy a used car for $20,000.

* The used car dealer bought it from a wholesaler for $19,000

* The wholesaler bought it from a wholesale auction for $18,000

* The dealership who sold it at auction paid $16,000 as a trade-in.

(*I saw worst case because not all of these steps happen each time)

Note the chain begins with trade-in -- because dealerships know that people who are trading in are pressed for time and want a no-hassle deal. But in doing that, they're giving up $thousands to each step along the chain.

So when selling a car - going direct (or using a service like InstaMotor) is always going to net you more $$ than trade-in.

And now ya know :)

2
chadwickthebold 14 hours ago 4 replies      
One point - take a look at the copy on your pricing slider. 'You Earn' makes it sound like that's all I'm going to get out of this deal. It took me a second to realize it was the difference between the dealership and instamotor.
3
carlypso 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Hi Guys,

Nicholas here. I started Carlypso.com last summer when Chris (my co-founder) and I had helped a number of our classmates sell their used cars after graduation.

About 9 months ago, I had the pleasure of dealing with Instamotor founder Sy when he bought his Audi A4 with our help. His feedback over email was really encouraging:

"About your idea:

1. I was looking a bit at ways to remotely unlock a car over a network connection. It seems to me that the technology story around that is a bit weak, but not completely infeasible. First, there's automatic (http://www.automatic.com/) though i don't know if they'll ever ship a product, but in theory it's really what you guys want. Second, there is a myriad of small stuff like this http://www.text2car.com/

2. I really liked the concept of being able to take the car for a drive, free of any awkward conversation with the owner. It's really pleasant actually, and it gave me the time to think about the purchase and inspect the car. The user psychology is really nailed on that one. That's the way I want to buy every used car from now on."

Long story short, Sy and Val liked our service so much that they decided to just copy it. I'm all for competition and welcome Val and Sy into the used car market. It is sorely in need of a better solution, one which will make buyers and sellers happier and eliminate the inefficiencies and scamming of the dealer model.

I'm not a big fan of plagiarism but different people are different I guess.

If you'd like to stop by our offices, meet our team and see how we're doing, just PM me and we'll hook it up. Chris might even let you drive his 500 hp formula car, which he's been building over the last couple of years! :)

Cheers,

Nicky and the Carlypso team Nicholas@carlypso.com

4
kareemm 12 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm in the process of buying a used car and wrote a note to my business partner about how I wish a service like this existed.

There's often a ton of communication between me and sellers to determine things like:

- mileage

- automatic / manual transmission

- whether car has been in any serious accidents

- whether there's any major upcoming maintenance

- whether the driver smoked

- whether the title is Clean

Then I need to get the VIN and run a CarProof (Canadian equiv. of CarFax).

Then, assuming it checks out, schedule a test drive.

Then, assuming the drive is good, get a mechanic's inspection done.

Then, pay and sign papers.

It's a royal pain, compounded by the fact that CL and Autotrader individual sellers seem to be a generally sketchy or uncommunicative lot: no email replies, missed appointments, lying about the title, etc. are all common.

Car buying won't be done like it currently is in 10 years from now; glad to see you're doing something to improve the experience.

5
darrenkopp 12 hours ago 1 reply      
"We charge <5% of your vehicles sales price""Simple 5% commission."

As an engineer, that really bothers me.

6
greggman 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I thought this was an awesome idea and tried to post it in my facebook feed to show my friends. Unfortunately http://www.instamotor.com/ ends up with the excerpt "Landing Page Template for Bootstrap" and http://www.instamotor.com/#/ has no picture. I've found, or it least it seems to me, when there's no picture none of my friends click the link.

Apparently you need to add these tags?https://developers.facebook.com/docs/web/tutorials/scrumptio...

7
ValG 15 hours ago 12 replies      
Hi Guys, Val here from InstaMotor. Were trying to be to car dealerships what airbnb is to the hotel industry.

Wed love to get some additional feedback on the service. Any feedback provided is super beneficial. Were specifically looking for some feedback on:

1. When you get to the site, within the first 30 seconds, do you understand what we do. Why or why not?

2. If you do understand what we do, would you ever use a service like this? How much would you be willing to pay for this service?

3. Whats the biggest benefit to the service that you see?

4. Any general feedback on the site the content, the service as a whole would be great.

Thanks for the help guys, We always appreciate it!

8
afhsfsfdsss88 12 hours ago 2 replies      
Most dealer trade offers are so low because they don't even keep your car on the lot, they sell it at auction...at wholesale prices.

That is a lot different than individual sales...which is how this service sells your car. So yeah, you get a better price for your car, but the service still eats a good chunk of the sale price difference between dealer-trade and individual sale.

And "all the paperwork" amounts to downloading a bill of sale form and title transfer online with the DMV. It's not rocket science, nor time consuming. Certainly not worth hundreds of dollars.

9
callmeed 14 hours ago 2 replies      
You should really move the "Now Serving The Bay Area" message above the fold. I would have signed-up and used you right away (want to sell my Honda Element).
10
exue 14 hours ago 3 replies      
Great service! A lot of people don't have experience or simply don't want to deal with the Craigslist experience. Putting another option between a private party sale and the dealer is great.

Questions that immediately come to mind - how do you handle negotiations, and how do buyers pay? How do you pay the seller afterward? (cash, verifying a cashier's check - other comments point out the common scams etc.) (Or is Instamotor just a transaction facilitator)? Where is the vehicle listed? Do you handle smog checks as well (for California)? <- Those are the most common things I go through the used vehicle process.

Also, how do you filter out non-serious buyers, especially for performance vehicles? A lot of sellers ask for some sort of proof of payment or cash ready before a test drive. It seems like you're mainly handling high-end cars where the 5% commission will pay off too, how does the model change for say a $5K vehicle?

Finally as a buy I would want to do my own inspection unless the inspection is at a mechanic I already trust - there is way too much conflict of interest having the selling side do an inspection.

Some ways to get it more buyer-friendly would be to offer a CARFAX as well.

11
mattsfrey 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Having to enter a phone number to create an account resulted in a closed browser tab. Might want to consider this factor, can guarantee theres plenty more where I come from.
12
everettForth 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Just curious, I actually have a car valued at around $20,000 that I want to sell. I posted it on craigslist, and realized that I don't have time to deal with all the crap.

Some dealer called me and left a message saying that they would sell my car for me for $200. Are they lying? Are there other hidden fees? Why should I pay InstaMotor $1000 instead of $200 to this other guy?

One advantage, I see is that I get to keep and drive my car. Except my car is parked in a lot, and I only have 1 keyfob to get it out.

13
ufmace 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Thoughts:

Wish it was more prominent that this is Bay Area only for now. I doubted that it would be in my area, since it sounded like something that required local personnel and nobody seems to do startups in Houston, but you have to scroll to the bottom to see it stated.

Some of the text looks terrible on my Windows 7 - Chrome environment. Especially everything in How It Works.

The website is all about the sell side, and you say the buy side is ebay, craigslist, autotrader, etc. Why not post the cars in a store on your site too? Last time I checked those sites, they had a terrible UI.

In fact, that idea expands the business from a seller's assistant kind of thing to more of an online-focused CarMax. I think that could be really useful to everyone. I'm thinking kind of a cross between AutoTrader and CarMax. On the buyer's side, it could be like the existing online sites, except that the photos and details are collected by your people, so they're consistent and high-quality. Maybe you take the car for a few hours, have a mechanic check it out, wash it, and take high-quality high-res photos in a controlled environment. The buyers can know and trust that you've done all this, and that they're getting a good representation of what they're thinking of buying.

The sellers get pretty much what you're already doing, all of the legwork done for them, a better price, and hopefully buyers who know what they're getting, and are vetted as serious buyers before a test-drive is set up.

I suppose the main difference between you and Carmax, then, is that you are all online, thus have a much better online presence, and don't need to maintain a car lot. Does that translate into enough of a cost savings to offer a better deal to the customers than the current incumbents, though?

14
AndrewKemendo 13 hours ago 2 replies      
I like it and would like to use it here in D.C. please.

I would suggest making the sell price in the big red letters instead of the "youll earn" part. That whole section is a little confusing and I thought it was telling me I would only get 2k for my 20k car. I only really care about how much I would be getting for my car, the comparison to the dealership is important but secondary, and oh by the way I will have already probably looked that up on kbb.com.

15
orky56 12 hours ago 1 reply      
This is a great service. Although eBay Motors and Craigslist exist for this opportunity, they are very impersonal and create just as many issues as they try to solve. Here's some feedback on the website and service. Hope it helps!

1. Redundant content: I felt like you repeated the same value proposition in nearly every section of your website. However, each section had one small tidbit that wasn't addressed anywhere else (e.g. only available in bay area).

2. Excessive calls to action: Although it's great that you have placed many calls to action (various buttons, sliders, etc.), it really confuses the user. Having one consistent message and/or placement might improve conversion. Just a hypothesis and one you should definitely A/B test.

3. Poor navigation: The "home" button in the footer navigates the user to an awkward anchor tag on the home page. The About page has a large image that makes it seem like a homepage rather than getting in to the actual content of the page. The Contact page is an overlay modal and may not even be worth creating as a separate page. Perhaps placing it in the footer is sufficient.

4. Commas: In your slider showing the different amounts you can save, you should be sure to a comma as a thousands separator or a decimal point + "k" or "thousand". This will increase impact and hopefully conversion as well.

5. Reposition: Seeing this on "Show HN" and seeing lots of copy/images in the beginning made your site seem like it was a just placeholders. It wasn't until I scrolled to the bottom did I see there were testimonials and cars that were actually sold. This content should be placed further up since it demonstrates some form of validation/social traction. It would be great to have a ticker or some other indicator of cars sold at some point when it gets bigger.

Best of luck and feel free to reach out for any clarifications.

16
jlees 9 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm your target user right now. I'm desperately trying to sell my car without using Craigslist - I have a loan still, and I'm afraid of risk and scams. Feel free to ping me for a user study if you need.

I've tried another service but due to a small dent in the car I couldn't sell it - the car's actually in the shop right now getting that fixed, because using a service to sell is so much better than the alternatives. My current plan is to go back to them when it's repaired.

17
petercooper 14 hours ago 1 reply      
It's a totally different business model to this but http://www.webuyanycar.com/ is a pretty big deal here in the UK. You get a valuation, take your car to them, they buy it. To my surprise it worked pretty well too and I got almost as much for my car as I'd have realistically got waiting for months on a classifieds site or whatever. I imagine the way the British used car market works has a big impact on the idea actually working though.
18
deegles 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Could you please add a form for "Notify me when InstaMotor is available in my area"? Just with email and city. I almost signed up before I saw it was only available for the Bay area.
19
Ellipsis753 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I like the idea but wanted to point out something that confused me.Car value:$100000Average Dealership Trade-In Offer:$80,000 $85,000With Instamotor:$95,000You Earn:$10,000

The way it says "you earn" I can't help but think that that is the total amount you will get. I would prefer it to say "you earn $95,000. $10,000 more than you would have with a dealership". Or something similar.

20
alasdair_ 12 hours ago 0 replies      
"How much is your car worth?" on the main page: I have no idea. Isn't that the point of your service, to tell me how much I can get for my car?
21
canistr 14 hours ago 0 replies      
From the looks of the responses here, looks like you guys should get up a "Notify me when you come to my area" up on your site.
22
dm2 9 hours ago 1 reply      
My biggest question is about the test-drive. How do those work?

What stops someone from taking a 1 hour test-drive? (and wasting you gas on their errands)

If someone gets in an accident during a test-drive who is liable? Do all insurance plans cover this?

What does remote-key access mean? "We verify all buyers and schedule flexible test-drives with remote key access."

How quickly do you plan on expanding to other states?

Your site has a 1px left margin which is making a horizontal scrollbar which is annoying me.

@media screen and (-webkit-min-device-pixel-ratio: 0)html {margin-left: 1px;}

23
MortenK 12 hours ago 1 reply      
I hate selling cars. It's troublesome and time consuming, so you I'd gladly pay for the service. The pricing turns me off though. Selling a 50K car, the commission would turn out to 2.5K. That's net. So with 50% income tax rate, I'd have to earn 5K to pay the commission.

That's much too steep for me. If there was a cap of say 1K, I'd be a customer in a heartbeat. But 5K gross is certainly worth the inconvenience of selling it myself.

24
joshmlewis 13 hours ago 2 replies      
I've bought and sold a lot of cars the past few years. I have never once considered a dealer trade in offer. I've had relatively easy and good luck with selling my car online through Craigslist and Autotrader which I imagine is what they will probably do to unload the cars.

I like the idea of the service but I'm wondering what the difference is between dealer trade in pricing and market pricing. Even if I have to sacrifice a couple grand to not have to do the whole process, I'm ok with that but I'd rather know pricing from that point of view.

I'm also curious how you plan on doing the legal paperwork as I've done a lot of this too and it's not easy getting setup to handle all the paperwork especially if it's between two parties.

25
enscr 4 hours ago 0 replies      
> Transferring vehicle ownership is confusing; that's why we take care of it.

Care to explain. I've found it extremely straight forward.

26
balls187 12 hours ago 1 reply      
As soon as you come to Seattle, I will sell my GTi with you (srsly)!

Ofc, you'll be awesome, so then the Seattle Government will issue legislation banning your awesome idea because Used Car Dealerships won't be able to compete, and they'll use their Good Ol' Boy network to shut it down.

27
giarc 12 hours ago 2 replies      
How long have you been running this service?I recall about 3 months ago, a post on HN where someone posted a bunch of idea's they had but didn't have time to execute. This was one of them. Did instamotor flow from that?
28
elyrly 8 hours ago 0 replies      
InstaMotor does put a valiant effort in changing the mundane process that filled with disagreements from the seller side. The end product will solve minor inconvenience but doesn't look kindly from the OEM's point of view. They will see this as a threat to the dealers and sustaining a flow of walk-ins to market their new models. Its generating a buzz here thats all a post like this can ask for: opinionated tech individuals that look forward to innovating various industries.
29
m52go 13 hours ago 2 replies      
Kill CarMax. Decentralize it.

The sheer number of resources one dealership consumes boggles my mind: all the people, the mechanics, the land, the land, the land, oh, and the other acres of land.

30
vishaldpatel 14 hours ago 1 reply      
This might just work! How much would it cost you to offer a free car-wash coupon that's redeemable at local full-service car washes?

I would write blog posts on interesting success stories with different types of cars and seller stories -- often cars are hard to sell for various reasons.

Offering to take a professional picture is your ultimate in.

31
petersouth 8 hours ago 1 reply      
In addition, could you make a service where I can go into a new car dealership and buy a car in five minutes with financing. I just bought two brand new cars in the last six months and had to wait around for hours and leave dealerships after calling them up before I even left my house and telling them I want to buy x car at x price at x time of the day and they agree, but when I get there it's a nightmare.
32
ryan_j_naughton 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Your "Get started today" form is failing for me.

Instead I am getting this error: Sorry, we're not able to save your info at this time. And the div with that error is added each time I submit the form so you can get them to start stacking on each other.

<div class="alert ng-isolate-scope alert-danger" ng-class="&quot;alert-&quot; + (type || &quot;warning&quot;)" ng-repeat="alert in alerts" type="alert.type" close="closeAlert($index)"> <button ng-show="closeable" type="button" class="close" ng-click="close()"></button> <div ng-transclude=""><span class="ng-scope ng-binding">Sorry, we're not able to save your info at this time.</span></div></div>

33
delive 12 hours ago 1 reply      
I was curious on how the test drive scheduling worked. It says "schedule flexible test-drives with remote key access." It sounded a bit unclear to me, and I'm not sure how that works.

I think the idea is excellent and would use it when I decide to sell my car.

34
Gracana 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Haha, my car isn't worth enough for you to sell it. :|
35
theflubba 10 hours ago 1 reply      
1. Take pic of your white van. 2. Post pic with description and mileage on craigslist.3. Don't mention what happened in the back of the van in '99.3. Get a couple emails.4. Sell it to the highest bidder.

Who's too stupid to not figure this out and needs a service?

Okay, so they pay you more than the dealership. That's a selling point. But I could find someone on Craigslist and sell it to them for more.

36
BorisMelnik 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Excellent idea - we are all looking at it right now in our office. 1 person said he would definitely use this right now for his used car he is selling. Really well done, very well explained & designed.
37
chenac 14 hours ago 2 replies      
Seems like a really cool service!

Do you guys have a geographic limit that you are restricting service to?

38
TulliusCicero 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Definitely a cool idea. Where's the buying side, though? Do you guys just list on craigslist?
39
cianclarke 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Oh hi, I fixed your pricing pagehttp://i.imgur.com/N90HwsK.png
40
bnzelener 12 hours ago 0 replies      
If you can get this working on cars, I would love to see what you can do with residential real estate. 42Floors might beat you there, but they seem pretty focused on commercial.
41
radnam 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Do you plan to have a listing page for the cars with a email service which intimates me when a car I am interested in (e.g., brand, price range etc) is now available through you.
42
SimpleXYZ 13 hours ago 0 replies      
What a great idea. I once scrapped a car for a couple hundred bucks instead of selling it because I didn't want the hassle of selling it.
43
kfd1 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Love the idea. This tackles a real pain point for many sellers. Good website. I like!

What are the challenges of expanding to different locations?

44
johnatwork 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Let me know if you guys ever come to Canada.
45
mellery451 13 hours ago 1 reply      
where do we go to see what cars you currently have for sale?
46
sharemywin 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Why wouldn't you need a dealer license for this?
47
stefap2 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Is minimum car price $5000?
48
pwrfid 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Super nice website & really cool product. Congrats
49
ztratar 12 hours ago 1 reply      
5% is a lot. I would expect this to be more around 2%.
50
rasz_pl 12 hours ago 0 replies      
whatr pain and agony?
51
dang 14 hours ago 1 reply      
This post got nailedhardby the voting ring detector, but I'm restoring it because we want to see original work on HN.

A "voting ring" is when people get friends to upvote their stuff. This is against the rules. We want stories to be on HN because they're good, not because they were promoted.

It's sadly common for a great Show HN post to get demoted because its creators, eager to get it on the front page, tried to game it. I've noticed a pattern, too: usually their gaming technique is pathetic. Perhaps that's because they're creators, not promoters. Unfortunately, it has the side-effect of making it certain that the ring detector will nail their otherwise good post, while we carry on the real cat-and-mouse game with people pushing crap.

I've got what I believe will be a sweet solution to this problem, but it awaits time for implementation.

Please everybody, don't ring-vote your posts; just take your chances with HN's randomness. If a post is solid and hasn't gotten any attention yet, a couple of reposts is ok. Be careful not to abuse that, though, since we penalize accounts for reposting too much.

I'm going to demote this comment as off-topic so it won't get in the way of the real discussion. Send any moderation questions to hn@ycombinator.com.

14
Scala.js Ray Tracer lihaoyi.github.io
15 points by lihaoyi  3 hours ago   discuss
15
Facebook CPC Don't Waste Your Money jamespanderson.tumblr.com
379 points by ry0ohki  21 hours ago   158 comments top 53
1
napoleoncomplex 19 hours ago 4 replies      
Like others have said, it really depends on what you're selling and who you're targetting.

Our example (country specific mobile app for doctors), spent 100 on AdWords, end result was literally 0 app installs, 0 sign-ups, 0 everything. Medical keywords are expensive, no chance of sending them directly to the App Store/Play Store (that we saw at least), and no other useful targetting.

Here come Facebook mobile install ads. 40 spent so far, 500+ app installs, 200+ sign-ups, great retention. We can roughly target medical professionals, take them directly to the app stores, and the clicks are cheap as hell.

I have no doubt that AdWords work much better in other cases, and that FB can be useless, but it's not black and white, you need to know which tool fits the purpose.

2
will_brown 19 hours ago 6 replies      
Within the last week I performed a similar "experiment" for newly created facebook.com/AmeriStartup.

I created two FB mobile advertisements to direct traffic to the website, though the website is more eCommerce/service than any type of sign up. Budget $50 over 3 days reach was ~20,000+; the click through rate was .5% and .4% for the 2 ads; just under 100 clicks to the website with none resulting in conversion.

More disturbing was the fan page promotion through FB (paid "Likes" in my own words). $10 budget per day over 3 days; reach = 3,000+; total likes 34. What disturbed me though was when I would go to the profile page of the users who "liked" the fan page as a result of the promotion, many of the user profiles did not appear to be legit. Moreover, the majority of these users who liked the page had a single facebook post in their entire facebook timeline. As unlikely as it is that of ~30 paid likes nearly all were were inactive facebook users who were otherwise compelled to interact with my paid promotion, it is equally unlikely that facebook would be so brazen in committing fraud on advertisers by creating and managing fake accounts to click paid promotion/ads which could easily be proven. Nevertheless is begs the question what are these accounts (fake, bots, ect...) and who controls them and why?

3
austenallred 19 hours ago 2 replies      
This is a single campaign, and a single test, with one set of variables. Concluding something overreaching like "Facebook CPC ads don't work" after a test like that is like saying, "I tried mixing two chemicals, and there was no reaction, chemicals must not cause reactions."

Think of it like a computer program. If 99% of the program is right but one thing is broken, the entire thing won't work. Marketing is, in a lot of respects, the same way. You can be missing one single variable and your entire campaign falls apart.

Look at all of the variables in this campaign - title, image, targeting options, whether you do sidebar ads, newsfeed ads, or mobile newsfeed, and most importantly the product/service offered on the other side (not to mention the conversion rate of the specific landing pages). Apparently this campaign wasn't profitable, but I run a half dozen profitable campaigns on Facebook at any given time (most of them CPC), and I know people who spend $10,000/day on Facebook ads.

Facebook ads do work under the right circumstances. Concluding that they don't after one try is a little absurd.

4
netcan 19 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't know about the bot/fraud accusation, but do not listen to the conclusion here. Those bounce rates are not the overall average and it's irrelevant anyway. With any online advertising you need to track conversions. Optimize & spend based on those, not based on hearsay or anecdotes. Hearsay and anecdotes are for deciding to try it and Facebook is so big that you should try it anyway.

There are unlimited examples of failed advertising campaigns on every single medium where failure can be seen measured. Most campaigns fail. They are a cost of doing business. Generalizing based on those would be very mistaken. Facebook is a new but giant ad program. The tools are still rough and "best practices" are even rougher. The consultants...

That doesn't mean that good campaigns can't be run on facebook. Facebook allows campaigns to be run that would be impossible to run anywhere else. In some cases the ROI is ridiculous. In others it's one of few things that works.

The number one reason for all these Facebook sux rants seems to be "it's not adwords." People want their adwords campaign to work on Facebook. If Coca Cola wanted to tell you that they're "the real thing" on adwords, it would be an uphill battle. A budget app on Facebook might be hard going on fb. Maybe not impossible, but it's a squeeze.

If you want to advertise a local children's art exhibition taking place this weekend, Facebook ads will work like magic. 'Friends of friends of the gallery who live close by and have kids.' There is no other platform that gives you anywhere near the reach, relevance and context that FB gives you for a campaign like that. I would expect the "ROI" to be under a dollar per physical ass-through-door.

5
babs474 19 hours ago 1 reply      
I made this comment the other day in a thread about children accidentally clicking on google display ads, but I think it also applies here. The problem is measuring the effectiveness of early funnel ads from clicks.

Here is a good presentation from the quantcast guys about the "natural born clicker" problem. The people clicking on your display ad are probably anything but actual potential customers.

Clicks is just an easy holdover metric from the paid search side of digital advertising. It doesn't make sense in the context of early funnel ads. You need to measure the effect your display ads are having on your purchasing endpoints. Which is what the whole cross channel attribution industry is about.

Its quite possible your are getting good value from facebook ads, you've just inadvertently focused in on the worst subpopulation, the clickers.

[1]http://www.slideshare.net/hardnoyz/display-ad-clickers-are-n...

6
kposehn 17 hours ago 3 replies      
The problem with the article is that the author draws a conclusion with far too little data, akin to signing up for NetFlix and saying it is a terrible service when the first movie doesn't buffer fast enough.

I've spent mid six-figures on Facebook CPC ads over the last several years and can definitively say that they work very, very well - depending on your use case. Mine is not the OP's use case (though I've sold a metric a-ton of SaaS on FB).

I advise everyone here thinking about FB ads to do the following:

- If you try it, dedicate a serious amount of money. Nothing less than $500 will suffice as you need to get statistically significant data across all your targeting sets.

- Focus very narrowly on your target market. Trying women age 22-29? Do that in your metro area only. Keep your targeting sets small so you have fewer variables to contend with.

- Don't lose your nerve. If you give up too quickly you'll know nothing.

Finally, I do understand the OP's frustration with click numbers from FB vs. GA. Don't let it get you down, as this is common on every platform. Optimize for your actual logged data and you'll profit.

7
unreal37 20 hours ago 2 replies      
I think the evidence of something being wrong is very compelling. But one of the problems I see is that if Facebook even attempts to fix the problem, their revenue drops by 30% and investors/advertisers sue for fraud.

They're in a tough spot. But they should at least start to turn the ship in the right direction before their total ad business collapses as "ineffective".

8
hagbardgroup 16 hours ago 2 replies      
Oh boy. Another one of these posts.

While you can self-serve advertising, it is not necessarily a good idea, in the same way that representing yourself in court is not necessarily a good idea.

Facebook cares much less about fraud than Google does, because FB has been under much less external pressure from shareholders to do it. That is not to say that various Google properties do not have fraud issues still. This is reflected in the price differentials.

After all, entire IPOs built around Adsense fraud occurred in the mid-2000s. There have been countless small businesses built around link fraud. It is quite likely that some of the major media names built on social traffic are also based in part upon defrauding social advertisers, because as of yet, few have cared about it, and many investors will just reward companies based on trivially faked traffic metrics.

But guess what? Circulation fraud is a problem that has been with us for over a century in media. Some combination of the price system, auditing, direct response ad testing, corporate incompetence, the good ol' boy network, and other methods have kept it from making advertising either totally useless or totally risk free.

Despite this, here are some issues that could help you advertise better in the future:

1. This is not a good ad. The copy is bad. The illustration is bad. The call to action is unwieldy. The logo placement is haphazard. The headline is Wrong. The human figure is in the wrong position. The button placement is haphazard. You would be better off plagiarizing ads from Mint and swapping out the logos and colors. If you want to keep the lady accountant mascot, put her to the left of whatever copy you want the visitor to read, and make her look at it.

2. The demographics you selected might as well have been at random. Market research is not throwing a dart at the entire planet and targeting whatever the dart landed on.

3. FB != Adwords in the same way that a newspaper != the yellow pages != a niche interest magazine != radio != flyers != e-mail spam != direct mail != a catalog and so on and so on and so on.

4. Your budget is so small that it barely qualifies as a test campaign. You ran a test campaign and discovered a hazard to avoid. That is the point of the early tests. If you run out of budget before you can discover a profitable marketing strategy, your tests will uncover that you are out of business.

In this case, you are dazzling yourself with your measurements because it is easier for you to do so than it is to think at a higher level about your objectives and the methods that you want to use to achieve them given your resources. You could call this Silicon Valley Degenerative Metrics Dementia. Sadly, there is no known cure for SVDMD.

I could personally care less if Facebook goes out of business, but as long as real people with wallets continue to use it, it will have some utility to advertisers, so long as they put forth at least some good faith effort to control their bot/fraud/misclick problems.

Considering some of the things that I have seen with Facebook, I am not confident that they really care, because many investors will reward them when they count bot users (or human users living in third world conditions) as if they were humans with first world bankrolls. There is no comparable Matt Cutts figure for Facebook. I think the real money on the platform, like was the case with Google for a long time, is on the criminal side.

Hopefully some short sellers are paying attention to these stories, because terror is the only thing that will induce Facebook to stop its absurd gyrations on the product side and actually police their platform. Short sellers can orchestrate a PR campaign and either pressure Facebook to start caring or can just make a lot of money by torpedoing the firm through aggressively publicizing its failures.

All that being said, I hope that this is helpful to you, and I am glad that more businesses are learning that online advertising is difficult, complex, and risky (like advertising everywhere and always in all mediums over all time periods using all sorts of technologies).

9
ShaneOG 20 hours ago 4 replies      
> Google also lets me target only Desktop users. If Facebook would allow this same control, I could run this test again with more confidence.

FB do let you set a Desktop Only audience for ads. You need to use Power Editor (Google Chrome only) and select Desktop under Placements.

I'd like to see a re-run with Desktop targeting only.

Edit: https://developers.facebook.com/docs/reference/ads-api/targe...

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paul_f 20 hours ago 4 replies      
CPC is just the wrong model for Facebook. It turns into "spray and pray". In this case, nobody is looking for a personal budget app, it just shows up uninvited. Whereas with Google, we know someone is likely looking for it when the ad appears.

I don't know what Facebook's long term business model is. IMO, this isn't it.

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willholloway 17 hours ago 0 replies      
The fraudulent clicks are a fact now, and they were in 2009 too, but if your earnings per click margin is high enough FB ads can definitely be worth it.

I did really well running dating ads in every English speaking market, and a lot of Spanish speaking markets as well.

FB ads were the second step in my post-college process of bootstrapping myself as a viable economic entity amidst the fallout and financial devastation of the sub-prime mortgage crisis.

So thank you Mark Zuckerberg, if it wasn't for your creation I might have had to get a real job.

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NoodleIncident 19 hours ago 1 reply      
How much of Facebook's traffic is mobile these days? I personally prefer the desktop version, but I spend unhealthy amounts of time at the computer anyway. I know that my mom uses FB almost primarily through her iPad since she got it.

If FB's traffic is almost or even largely from mobile devices, paying to show ads for a non-mobile site to that traffic seems just silly. The site is downright hostile to mobile users; the text loads last, it starts with a video and a worthless image, and the actual text ping-pongs across the page to accommodate the clip art and screenshots.

Given this exact same data, the OP could spend a week making at least his landing page mobile, run another FB ad, and make a blog post about A/B testing your landing page for mobile users. But no, it's all Facebook's fault, because bashing Facebook will always, 100% get you upvotes on this site...

13
DivByZero 19 hours ago 0 replies      
The article raises some great points and it's very frustrating to read these articles as the founder of a Facebook Ads Optimization tool aimed at SMBs (AdEspresso - http://adespresso.com - Shameless plug :P).

I'm not going to say that copy was not good or that the number Facebook tracks are correct. I find the copy of the ad used pretty good overall. However I've some consideration about it:

- I totally agree that Facebook must improve its tracking and must do more to prevent clicks fraud ... a problem which is still very relevant

- Lot's of Facebook Ads traffic comes from mobile nowadays. This can be good or bad. If you're promoting a website and aiming at conversions on a non mobile-friendly website you MUST disable mobile targeting.

- Overall $50 budget is not enough to get to any relevant conclusion.

- On a product like this (budgeting, finance, etc.) it's critical to find a very good audience to target. I'd suggest using a lot custom audiences.

- Facebook Ads bounce rate & overall quality is very often lower than Google, Yahoo & Bing, this is implicit in the nature of the platform. On Google you're getting traffic from people who are actively searching for a keyword strictly related to your product. On Facebook you're targeting people based on demographic profile and a vague interest. However Facebook is very often much cheaper than Google.

- CPC & CTR are meaningless metrics. You should always have conversion tracking and measure the overall CPA to acquire a customer. Click frauds, wrong reportings etc. ... they exists. You cannot do anything about it. You should not give a crap about it. Just check your Cost to acquire a customer and see if it makes sense.

- Sometime for some markets Facebook Ads for direct conversions simply don't work. Create valuable content like eBooks, webinars etc. to get cheaper leads and then close the sales funnel with targeted emails.

My 2 cents, hope it's useful for someone :)

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fabiandesimone 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Not sure why all the hate towards Facebook lately in HN. I do FB ads exclusively ALL DAY and I can pretty much tell you it works.

FB Ads is a very stubborn creature. There's a lot to learn in order to make it work, their editorial team is trigger happy with account bans... but the volume is massive and the targeting options are amazing.

Running a 60$ is nothing on FB, you need to run volume and optimize.

I"m doing a lot of mobile right now and you can go anywhere from .10 to .50 per install and basically scale to infinity if you like.

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jonathanjaeger 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't know enough about your business to know whether you will ever get a positive ROI on Facebook ads, but a clear call to action and more targeted copy will have a world of difference in terms of conversion.

Compare the author's: "Easy to use, free online budget" to"Scared of being in debt? Get your FREE budget report instantly. Click here to request info."

I'm not saying that's the ideal copy, but you have to get people's interest and explain more. Make it specific to a location like "Virginia" or "Sydney" or "Melbourne" or "Kentucky" and target those specific places you'll get a higher CTR and conversion. The mobile vs. desktop part is a whole other discussion.

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rfergie 19 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm getting fed up with these post saying "Media X" is bad (where X is usually something to do with Facebook or Google display).

Two comments:

1. This media is sold in an auction. If the quality of the traffic vs what you pay for it is bad value then the bids are set too high. If I pay over the odds for something on ebay it isn't just ebay that is at fault.

2. Doing online advertising well is harder than Facebook and Google are incentivised to make clear. In some cases this stuff is very hard which is why there are people whose full time job it is to get it right.

As someone with some expertise in biddable media reading posts like this must be like a coder reading about how a programming language is flawed because the Todo app scaffolding doesn't quite do what the author expects.

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danielsju6 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I just tested the water with Facebook Ads for my startup AppBlade.com as well, budgeted some $500. Did my best to target mobile application developers, this was my exact experience. Thousands of clicks, not a single sign-up. Also the CPC was higher than Google for our keywords.

Google in the same timeframe has had a measurable ROI and is converting at ~10% for us; even mobile clicks.

This is just data, it's worth experimenting for yourself but I definitely feel that something sketch is going on. Make sure to use utm_ codes and something like MixPanel so you can track the originating source for your paying customers.

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cmstoken 19 hours ago 1 reply      
>I created a Facebook CPC campaign (Clicks to a Website), and targeted females aged 22-40 in the USA and Australia who like several of my competitors pages and have an interest in Personal Finance.

(Sorry, this is a little off topic.)

Can the OP or someone else fill me in on how he was able to target people who like other pages (that he doesn't own)? Is it through lookalike audience or is there a more direct way to do it? I've been trying to do the same (target similar pages) but I'm clueless as to how to do it.

19
acoyfellow 12 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm baffled that no one has realized a simple solution to the "click farms".

Simply exclude the countries that are known to be click farms from seeing your page at all.

On your page settings, you'll see a "Country Restrictions" section. http://i.imgur.com/snkv77Q.png

When your page is not visible to a certain area, Facebook will not serve ads to people in that country.

Bam?

21
rubyn00bie 15 hours ago 0 replies      
So to sum up the article: advertising in an information cesspool renders bad results.

Call me a hater, I am one, and completely revel in the privilege :)

22
easy_rider 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Those visitors probably didn't make it to your server, and got lost during redirects (canceled the request).This makes sense if they are using 3G.As there are at least 1 (sometimes 2) redirects between the click and your site.They track the visitor before they get redirected obviously.

I have dev'd for an advertising company, have worked with several campaigning networks like HasOffers, and have found similar results. This is more than common.

Still very interesting that the bulk seems to be Android (mobile traffic). A must know if you are not targeting mobile..

23
shadowmint 18 hours ago 0 replies      
This is vaguely interesting I suppose, but while 123/21243 (click through rate) is significant, 61/92 (lost clicks) is not.

...and therefore every single derived stat is completely nonsense. A percentage you say, on a sample size < 100?

Whats your confidence level on that?

(I also think that Facebook ads are a waste, and the conclusion is plausible; but the stats in the post are meaningless and probably deceptive)

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gburt 18 hours ago 1 reply      
My very rough and sloppy analysis gives you a credible interval of a conversion rate between 0.28% and 5.61%. At the upper bound of that conversion rate (5.5%), I would handwave and suggest this is comparable to your Google CPC results (depending on the actual cost per click). If I were you, I'd collect more data.

And try different ad text. Acknowledge that this is a different platform than search and you need to advertise differently. Don't be so quick to dismiss it.

Edit: and I was comparing apples to oranges anyway. If I use your Google Analytics data for both measures, we get a range of 0.39%-7.7%. This upper bound actually exceeds your Google CPC result. You don't have enough data.

25
jliptzin 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Facebook ads don't work for us anymore because they disabled them, without warning, without explanation, with no apparent recourse. The ads aren't against any TOS and our competitors continue to advertise without issue.
26
chromaton 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I've had good luck with Facebook ads. I think the targeting is key. If you target people who are already familiar with your brand, it helps a lot. You can target, for example people who already "Like" your page. And you can target their friends as well. Facebook also has a feature that lets you serve ads to people by their e-mail address.

If you stick with those, you're pretty much guaranteed to be targeting real people, and not bots or fraudsters.

Also, learn to use the Facebook Power Editor, as you get a lot more control over how your posts appear, how your ads work, etc.

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grimmfang 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I have used Facebook CPC extensively for my e-commerce company and it has worked wonderfully ( with the right settings ). I have had over 5% of clicks convert in certain months.

However, I have had little luck with adsense for the same company. Honestly I think picking an ad network for your market is a much bigger decision than "tuning" a network you are set on using!

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Kiro 20 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm getting pretty good results from Facebook CPC. I pay $0.12 per click and get around 50% "conversions" from that. I run a service which doesn't require any registration though and a conversion is just someone doing anything in it.
29
danielweber 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I grepped here and the target page for CPC but I didn't get a critical question answered:

What is Facebook CPC??

30
jsonne 17 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm a huge fan of only using FB for retargeting. You know you aren't targeting spammers, and there's some sort of legitimate interest there. The only risk here is some cannibalization and duplication, but if you use some higher end analytics and pay attention to it that shouldn't be too much of an issue.
31
amaks 15 hours ago 0 replies      
"First, note that Facebook seemed to have charged me for non-unique users clicking the ad, as well as myself clicking the ad."

This sounds like a bug (or a feature, i.e. fraud).

32
AznHisoka 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Why are you wasting your money sending mobile users? Even mobile web users are useless as most are drive-by visitors that might not get the FULL impression they'll get through a desktop browser.

Even if you optimize for mobile web, I'm sure they won't experience the true power and wow-ness of your app unless they visit it thru a desktop.

33
arbuge 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Paying for traffic by the click/impression/<anything other than conversion> is the most dangerous thing to do on the internet if you don't fully trust the integrity of the payee or the quality of its network.
34
hazelnut 17 hours ago 0 replies      
You should try out the Facebook Power Editor for Facebook ads. There you have the option to target just desktop users.

It is a bit more complex but you will get more possibilities with this editor: https://www.facebook.com/ads/manage/powereditor/

35
danra 18 hours ago 0 replies      
While it's definitely possible that OP's ad campaign sucks, that's not the main point in the article, so how come many comments focus on that?

The post's conclusion is that there's a strong indication of Facebook charging for mis-clicks and double charging for non-unique clicks.

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flibble 20 hours ago 0 replies      
This isn't a problem. A problem occurs only if people assume a click is worth one amount when really it is worth another amount.

Simply run your campaign for $X and measure your resulting sales, $Y, and now you know if you are wasting money or not.

If Facebook 'fix the problem' then the CPC rate will simply increase.

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bigmario 17 hours ago 1 reply      
Running an ad on mobile for a site that's not optimized for mobile is a HUGE red flag, not some afterthought that should be mentioned in the conclusion. I'd wager anything most of Facebook's traffic comes from smartphones and tablets nowadays.
38
spamross 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Desktop and iPhone traffic are better converting than Android traffic, so advertisers bid higher to display on these platforms.

For this type of website, he should be bidding desktop - will pay maybe 40% more per click, but much better site engagement.

FB Ads still have a long way before the tools are as robust as Adwords, but learn the platform and run more tests before you trash it. Unless you're going for something ultra-targeted it's rare to nail a CPC platform on the first go.

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pyrrhotech 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm loving my FB short. What a terribly managed company. So frivolous with their cash, and immature overall
40
skavish 18 hours ago 0 replies      
we had very similar experience with facebook ads and stopped it completely. here is our post on that http://blog.animatron.com/post/79877876767/the-mysterious-ca...
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joshdance 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Try both, double down on what works. Why wouldn't you try fb ads? Many companies have success, see if you can be one.
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bwb 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Ya we stopped all ads as well, they just had shitty results. And most of the likes for those campaigns were from people who looked fake.
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nigo 17 hours ago 0 replies      
For my travel startup DealScoopr, we saw similar similar results from Facebook CPC Ads - low conversion rates, mostly Android traffic. Google Adwords turned out to be much more effective.
44
bigbugbag 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Interesting post but it's hardly news, a few years back when facebook was struggling to make money I remember reading a detailed article about how facebook delving into advertisement could mean the end of the web as we know it and by that it meant the end of ad-supported websites.

First facebook ads would drive online ads pricing towards the bottom, then it would make obvious something almost all of us know: online advertisement is mostly an overpriced scam that doesn't work and most netizens despise.

Then the usual business model to support costs for running a website would crumble and disappear.

Sadly I can't find this article now (thanks to google tweaking its search engine, it's now hardly possible to find an old results or anythine relevant past the first half of the first results page), but I remember it pointed out that facebook users are much less receptive to ads than google search users. People using a search engine are actively looking for something and ads can be actually be useful to them, but for people looking for social interactions with people they know ads are quite useless and an annoyance.

Right now facebook lack of transparency and accuracy in their ad business means more profit and less trouble for them while hiding the elephant in the room, so don't expect the situation to change soon unless they're given incentive to do so.

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interstitial 20 hours ago 2 replies      
Let's fix the title: "Facebook - Don't Waste Your Time or Money." Who wants in on the Facebook cash cow? Well, you need to be on the other side of this international scam. The click farms, the fake likes, the fake pages, the dark side that actually MAKES Zuck rich and he has no incentive to block.
46
southflorida 16 hours ago 0 replies      
with the traffic this cat is getting now for running a crap campaign on FB i think ill do a bogus writeup on how bad my campaign was put together and put it in HN too :/
47
notastartup 19 hours ago 0 replies      

    How can Facebook fix this? They need to work like Google.
but they simply cannot/unwilling to do this because they are NOT google, otherwise they'd already have done this. I think come earnings report, they will have a lot to answer to, possibly lawsuit or investigation happening.

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viggity 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I think it highly depends upon how you're targeting and what kind of product your selling. I've got a friend who is using fb CPC for physical products (that includes a concierge service) and my jaw hit the floor when he told me the ROI. Admittedly, they have a pretty high revenue per customer, but my point stands that it depends on what you're selling.
49
interstitial 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm not saying Facebook is astroturfing, but there seems to be a lot "new" accounts when these thing come up.
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whatevsbro 18 hours ago 0 replies      
> I think half of the Facebook business model is based on people accidentally clicking things .. How can Facebook fix this?

- Why fix something that's not broken? It's working exactly as Facebook intended it.

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mpeg 20 hours ago 3 replies      
Why would you send mobile FB clicks to your website? Send them to a mobile app on mobile (!!!)

You can target only desktop users, if you want to send people to a website

53
jyu 18 hours ago 0 replies      
People with no idea of how to run ad campaigns should not be bad mouthing X ad platform.

There are so many ways this post is wrong. First, a .4% CTR for a newsfeed ad sucks. That means either your demo targeting sucks, or your ad sucks, or both. Second, if android visits don't convert, change targeting to desktop visitors only. Third, traffic sources behave differently. You can't jump to the conclusion that they're scamming you just because one traffic source worked and another one didn't. Another possibility is that you haven't tried hard enough.

16
Microsoft Open Sources C# Compiler codeplex.com
1250 points by keithwarren  1 day ago   434 comments top 69
1
keithwarren 1 day ago 10 replies      
They also announced as part of this that they are putting a large swatch of their .NET Source code under Apache 2 and accepting pull requests.

Folks, this is a very big deal for Microsoft. Who would have imagined this 10 years ago?

Here is an image that shows what they are putting into the communityhttps://pbs.twimg.com/media/BkT9oBcCQAAHIAV.jpg:large

2
Locke1689 1 day ago 4 replies      
Everyone on Roslyn is really excited about this and we hope that it serves as a signal that big things are happening in .NET to make the entire platform more open and agile!

P.S. We're the Visual Basic compiler too :)

3
Pxtl 1 day ago 4 replies      
As a C# developer who genuinely likes the C# language (although I loathe vast swaths of the .NET framework libs) I'm actually super-excited about this.

C# is a great language, and I hope to see it flourish outside of the MS walled garden. Miguel de Icaza does what he can with Mono, but it can be so much more.

4
McGlockenshire 1 day ago 2 replies      
5
sergiotapia 1 day ago 3 replies      
Microsoft, you're seducing me again. I cheated on you with Ruby and Rails development a couple of years ago, but you're making me consider coming back in full swing.

Competition is great for everybody and Microsoft is making all the right moves!

6
dangero 1 day ago 1 reply      
Wow these contributions are a huge deal for Mono. I've spent the last few months making sure C# code works well in Mono and there are a lot of things that are missing or buggy. WebClient for example on Mono is missing DNS refresh timeout which means your app will never update a dns cache entry. If the ip of a server changes, you're pretty much screwed in Mono.
7
fournm 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm not sure who this new company is going by the name of Microsoft, but I'm glad they seem to be running things now.
8
ChuckMcM 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is great. There is a really interesting lesson/insight here. Programmers are expensive.

There are a number of things people are doing, based on Linux, which are basically using Linux as an OS and then layering on some custom drivers or such into a product. Whether its a web 2.0 company using it as the server OS or an embedded signage company. All of these were "impossible" when you had to have your own OS team to support them, and Microsoft benefited from that. Now the OS "maintains itself" (such as it is) and so businesses get everything they got from employing Microsoft tools but at a much lower effective cost. They don't need to pay big license fees, they don't need to hire programmers to maintain a lot of code that isn't central to their product, and they don't have to spend a lot of money/time training people on their own infrastructure. That is a pretty big change.

Its nice to see folks realize it isn't the software that is valuable, its the expertise to use it that has value. By open sourcing the C# compiler Microsoft greatly increases the number of people who will develop expertise in using it and that will most likely result in an increase of use.

9
ak217 1 day ago 0 replies      
Nice. For some reason I can't clone the repo, though.

    Cloning into 'roslyn'...    remote: Counting objects: 10525, done.    remote: Compressing objects: 100% (4382/4382), done.    remote: Total 10525 (delta 6180), reused 10391 (delta 6091)    Receiving objects: 100% (10525/10525), 16.94 MiB | 1.69 MiB/s, done.    error: RPC failed; result=56, HTTP code = 200
Edit: This looks like an incompatibility between GnuTLS and whatever Microsoft is using for TLS. Using git+libcurl linked against OpenSSL works fine.

10
tdicola 1 day ago 0 replies      
What kind of patents do they have on the compiler tech, and is there any guarantee they won't go after you for using it?

edit: Ah nice, Apache 2 license explicitly calls out a patent license is granted for use. I wonder how much cajoling it took to get the lawyers to agree to that!

11
stcredzero 1 day ago 6 replies      
If Microsoft starts working on its own Unity-clone, with a functional language, advanced concurrency features, and good incremental GC, they could be sure to capture a big chunk of the mindshare of game developers. This could then be parlayed into mindshare of soft-realtime development, which will become ever more important.
12
iamthepieman 1 day ago 0 replies      
For the first time in a long time I'm excited to be developing with Microsoft technologies.
13
revelation 1 day ago 1 reply      
Really confused about the Xamarin/MSFT situation. I see Miguel everywhere on Build, and other MS teams casually mentioning cooperations with Xamarin.

Certainly Microsoft wouldn't mind just throwing some millions at them and buying them outright, so are we to deduce that any such offer was rejected?

14
plg 1 day ago 2 replies      
The changes in company behavior have been absolutely stunning since Ballmer left. Hopefully these changes signal a more modern, forward looking Microsoft going forward.
15
quux 1 day ago 3 replies      
Anyone else getting deja vu?

Makes me think of Sun open sourcing Java.

16
acqq 1 day ago 1 reply      
Note that the C# compiler being open-sourced now is not the one used in Visual Studio. The open sourced one is called currently the "Roslyn C# compiler."

See Locke1689's comments here, especially:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7524722

"the native C# compiler (that's what we call the old C# compiler that everyone's using in VS right now)"

17
mixmastamyk 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wow, this feels like the end of Return of the Jedi where Darth takes off his helmet, having realized he was on the wrong side.

Is this the return of the original MS?

18
tolmasky 1 day ago 1 reply      
I really hope Unity is able to incorporate this somehow so we can finally get a solid update to C# and .NET.
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weavie 1 day ago 2 replies      
Interesting to see that they don't shy away from using goto in their code.

http://roslyn.codeplex.com/SourceControl/latest#Src/Compiler...

Something I've just learned from looking at the code is you can jump between cases in a switch statement :

    switch (a) {       case '1':         ...       case '2':         goto case '1';    } 
Never realised you could do that.

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euske 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's interesting that they made their own lexer/parser for this (cf. Microsoft.CodeAnalysis.CSharp/Parser/LanguageParser.cs). It seems that it has a lot of advanced technologies (e.g. error recovery) here. I'm curious if it's possible to create a more general parser framework out of this.
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csulmone 1 day ago 2 replies      
Wow, this is impressive. Does this mean the .Net framework is next?
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noelherrick 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wonder if Mono will use this to replace their compiler and just focus on the runtime / VM. They'd be more focused on making it performant, vs. trying to keep up with the latest C# features. They'd have to keep up with .NET, of course, but I'd guess that not having to worry about a C# compiler would be quite the load off their shoulders.
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j_s 1 day ago 2 replies      
Is this the 2014 edition of the Rotor Project[1], where Microsoft dumped a bunch of code to run .NET on XP/OSX/FreeBSD and then almost nothing happened? Hopefully the choice of a standard license this time will give this release a chance.

[1] http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=1412...

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imarihantnahata 1 day ago 0 replies      
May be in the next few years, Microsoft will be one of the biggest players in OpenSource :)
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elwell 1 day ago 0 replies      
Commit history only goes back to Mar 18 [0]. Presumably, to hide code that needed to be cleaned up before the release. Would've been interesting to see the full history, mistakes and all; a full view of their dev process.

[0] - http://roslyn.codeplex.com/SourceControl/list/changesets?pag...

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cwt137 1 day ago 4 replies      
What does this mean for the Mono project?http://www.mono-project.com/Main_Page
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guiomie 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Is there any blog post/documentation/diagrams to help understand the compiler and how each modules interact between each other ? I'm going thru the code and its cryptic for me.

Also, I read a lot of comments saying this way good for mono ... how is this ? Wouldn't an open source CLR be more useful ?

28
lovemenot 1 day ago 0 replies      
Is it in the realm of possibility that XP could go the same way? I can imagine why Microsoft might want to release that albatross, but I have no idea whether or how they could contain the damage due to leakage of their IP.
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_superposition_ 1 day ago 0 replies      
Nice start, but the real power is in the open platform, not the language IMHO. This becomes less of an issue as things move to the cloud and paas, but we're not there yet. Yes, there's mono, but its still the red headed step child.
30
JackMorgan 1 day ago 0 replies      
I hope for a C# and F# plugin to Intellij IDEA! Please add it JetBrains!
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aceperry 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wow, you know that the times are a'changing when something like this happens. Ex-chairman Steve Ballmer used to call linux a cancer and MS had nothing but disdain for open source software. Open source really has made a difference, and Microsoft is reacting in a big way.
32
marpalmin 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think that Microsoft is doing a really smart move. Xamarin is towards being the main framework for cross platform mobile development and Microsoft is positioning itself very well there.
33
kclay 1 day ago 0 replies      
Man Microsoft is changing, this is great news.
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NicoJuicy 1 day ago 0 replies      
Microsofts decision to opensource is not suddenly.

It has actively been pushed by some of Microsoft's evangelists (Phil Haack (ex employee, works at github now i think) and Scott Hansselman to say the more popular names).

I believe they got some playfield to do things and now the community has more and more impact (eg. Nuget and software like myget which is based on Nuget (Nuget for Enterprise))

Also, the CEO isn't Balmer anymore, that probably helps to.

35
pekk 1 day ago 0 replies      
I guess they are about done promoting C#, then
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damian2000 1 day ago 0 replies      
Great news. A 180 turn since Ballmer compared linux and open source to communism 14 years ago ... http://www.theregister.co.uk/2000/07/31/ms_ballmer_linux_is_...
37
sytelus 1 day ago 1 reply      
Does this mean one can now take this code and build compiler that targets Mac/Linux platforms? How about forking this to build new variants of C#?
38
Tloewald 1 day ago 0 replies      
Is the CLR runtime open-source too? Because open sourcing the C# compiler isn't such a big deal without it.
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vanilla 1 day ago 0 replies      
I fell that they are doing it because of a growing threat from Linux as a Windows alternative.

With Valve pushing their Debian fork and more gaming support for Linux in the last time, Microsoft wan't to appeal to the Open Source community the reduce the "bashing" which ... which could actually loose some force behind it. Not that it could actually benefit Linux with better Mono support etc.

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novaleaf 1 day ago 0 replies      
lots of positive sounding stuff comming from msft in the last week.

But, I dunno. I'm extremely skeptical of Microsoft's ability to put long-term momentum into any of their non-core strategies. All these things are one re-org away from becoming basket cases.

Case in point: XNA

41
chj 1 day ago 0 replies      
Is it possible to get it run on Linux/Mac?
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jestinjoy1 1 day ago 0 replies      
Open Sourcing everything! Today read they will be releasing Windows os for IoT free! Looks like Opensource is the next business model! :)
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az0xff 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm stupid, so I must ask:

What does this mean for the future of C# on Linux?

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Illniyar 1 day ago 0 replies      
Go Nadella go!
45
nodivbyzero 1 day ago 1 reply      
Microsoft uses Git. Is it not cool?

Microsoft, please add unix terminal instead of start button in Windows 8.

46
ckaygusu 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is just the beginning. While I hate their business model and corporate mindset, Microsoft has really well thought out products that can easily make an impact outside their ecosystem. I'm glad they are realising this, and %100 sure there will be more coming from this direction.
47
Yuioup 1 day ago 1 reply      
This means that you can compile .NET code on a non-MS platform (like Linux) but you can only deploy it to ... Azure.

Microsoft's endgame is in sight.

48
ilitirit 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Who is going to break the news to Slashdot?
49
GFunc 1 day ago 1 reply      
No more ".Net magic" now that the curtain's dropped.

I think this will help .Net devs make smarter decisions about their code now that they can see what's happening in the background.

50
sgy 1 day ago 0 replies      
Now with Windows free and many of its work is open-sourced, Microsoft is going to try to make money on services and other software that comes with Windows.It's a risk, but better than the alternative: watching Android completely takes over the planet.

It's not an advertising company like Google. Google makes money when you use the Internet; Microsoft makes money when you pay for its software.

51
pritambaral 1 day ago 0 replies      
What about the AOT compiler recently announced?
52
jimmcslim 1 day ago 2 replies      
I wonder what the impact of this is for Resharper, Jetbrains .Net refactoring tool, and their Nitra effort?
53
Yuioup 1 day ago 2 replies      
Yes! I hope somebody will create a VB.NET to C# convertor with this.
54
arjn 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wow, big changes at MS.
55
sagargv 1 day ago 0 replies      
How does Microsoft benefit by open sourcing the C# compiler ? How will this drive users/developers towards Windows ?
56
irishjohnnie 1 day ago 0 replies      
I was hoping they would update Rotor to reflect the new CLR
57
matheusbn 1 day ago 0 replies      
Microsoft should have done this announce two days ago! :)
58
copter 1 day ago 1 reply      
I suspect Scott Hanselman has huge impact on this. Thanks for pushing it Scott.
59
vmmenon 1 day ago 0 replies      
i wish they would post the sources of the initial basic that bill and paul wrote.
60
jhprks 1 day ago 1 reply      
I think we're all very lucky to have a corporation as innovative, open-minded, and generous as Microsoft. Microsoft is a company that every company should look up to.
61
notastartup 1 day ago 0 replies      
What sort of changes can we see from this move? Could we generate ASP code by writing it in PHP first? Can .NET be run on Apache and linux servers?
62
faruzzy 1 day ago 0 replies      
Now we're talking!
63
duongkai 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's a good sign.
64
duongkai 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's a good sign
65
leccine 1 day ago 0 replies      
RIP Java! :)
66
anaphor 1 day ago 0 replies      
Great, now GPL the entire windows kernel :)
67
paulftw 1 day ago 0 replies      
What about the past statements of MS executives?e.g. "A Microsoft legal representative has said during a hearing in the European Parliament that open source actually presents a higher vulnerability risk."
68
ndesaulniers 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's great to see M$ embracing open source. If you think Open Source is important, let me know! https://github.com/nickdesaulniers/What-Open-Source-Means-To...
69
Touche 1 day ago 3 replies      
Step in the right direction. I'm still waiting for

  git clone https://github.com/microsoft/windows.git
to happen

17
Contributing to Open Source on GitHub github.com
81 points by pytrin  12 hours ago   23 comments top 8
1
lawl 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I think it's interesting how GitHub is trying to push open source contribution.However, we shouldn't rely too much on GitHub for (open source) collaboration.Git is decentral after all. Open source should remain too.
2
jarofgreen 3 hours ago 0 replies      
GitHub can be a little to good at pushing this. I've been taken to task for not having docs for my Open Source project which is on GitHub.

"But I do, they are on this website here and there is a link to them at the very top of the README!"

Didn't matter, I got told off for what was really "you don't have docs in the usual place on GitHub."

Very frustrating.

@patio11 I think it was made a comment in a blog about don't put Open Source on GitHub because you really build up GitHub's name not your own, which is an interesting point to discuss. EDIT: found it https://training.kalzumeus.com/newsletters/archive/do-not-en...

"This is one reason why, while I love OSS, I would suggest people not immediately throw their OSS on Github. That makes it very easy for developers to consume your code, but it does not make it easy for you to show the impact of that code to other people, particularly to non-technical stakeholders. To the extent that people's lives are meaningfully improved by your code, the credit (and observable citations) often goes to Github rather than going to you. If you're going to spend weeks or months of time writing meaningful OSS libraries, make a stand-alone web presence for them."

(For my project I'm using GitHub Git, Github issues, but everything else is on a website on a domain I control.)

3
olalonde 8 hours ago 2 replies      
Tip: if you are not sure who the committers to a project are: https://api.github.com/repos/:user/:repo/collaborators. For example: https://api.github.com/repos/bitcoin/bitcoin/collaborators

This can be useful when people are commenting on your pull request and you are not sure whether they have a final decision on the merge.

4
orta 11 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a lovely overview. Good work githubbers.
5
wise_young_man 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I wrote a similar, but maybe less detailed post about getting started in open source on my blog. http://derekmyers.com/posts/getting-started-open-source/
6
eik3_de 10 hours ago 1 reply      
great.

next up: a well-written & concise guide on writing proper commit messages. could be based on http://tbaggery.com/2008/04/19/a-note-about-git-commit-messa... and http://robots.thoughtbot.com/5-useful-tips-for-a-better-comm...

7
shurcooL 10 hours ago 2 replies      
What should I do if the open source project I want to contribute to isn't on GitHub?
8
pyrohawk 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Open source tacos. I would love to debug those.
18
Leslie Lamport: Thinking for Programmers [video] msdn.com
87 points by mfn  14 hours ago   14 comments top 3
1
jeffreyrogers 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I've read a number of papers recently discussing various software design techniques for improving the ease with which bug-free code can be reduced. Most of these papers are infeasible in practice because they rely on new language features that aren't found in any mainstream language. For example, the paper "Out of the Tar Pit" suggests "Functional Relational Programming" as a method of reducing complexity in software. Unfortunately, I can't evaluate the efficacy of FRP in practice because there is no language allowing for it, and even if there were, it wouldn't be a language anyone would use since there would be no support for it.

In contrast to those approaches, Lamport's ideas seem quite reasonable and have the benefit of being language agnostic. He definitely has a lot of interesting ideas here!

2
brianmwaters_hn 12 hours ago 2 replies      
I think the way they choose to introduce him in the blurb below the video is funny: "inventor of Paxos and developer of LaTeX." But Leslie Lamport has a Turing Award!
3
hatred 13 hours ago 2 replies      
Is anyone else having issues seeking across the video i.e. moving to a particular time in it ?
19
The right way to ask users for iOS permissions techcrunch.com
153 points by pwrfid  18 hours ago   53 comments top 19
1
notdonspaulding 17 hours ago 4 replies      
This is the only way that permissions should be implemented by any mobile platform. Without it, users are forced to decide at install time whether the payoff of having the app installed is worth the associated risk of granting ALL permissions the app requests. It's a hard choice to make before you've even installed the app.

Jeff Atwood describes the app-installation-headaches nicely here: http://blog.codinghorror.com/app-pocalypse-now/

2
Gracana 16 hours ago 1 reply      
This is fantastic and I wish everything did this. As an android user, I'm often at a loss as to why an app needs a certain permission, and there's simply no easy way to figure out the answer. An initial dialog that explains the feature before it is used/enabled seems like the perfect solution.
3
theelfismike 17 hours ago 1 reply      
Makes me wish Android could request some permissions at runtime.

It's painful to have a bunch of permissions in the manifest that aren't used by 100% of users, but 100% of them have to allow them if they want to install the app.

4
habosa 12 hours ago 0 replies      
This is great, more developers should think this way. When I worked on Google+ Developer Relations this summer there was no way to do incremental permissions, but it has since been added and makes Sign-In With Google way less scary for a lot of use cases.

Android needs this desperately. One of my apps has ~15% of users never updating because I added an additional permission and when you do that you can't auto-update. I wish I could just ask for it at runtime, since it's a Camera permission and I added picture-taking to my app. I'm sure 100% of users would say yes at that time.

5
ajanuary 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Really interesting to see the iterations from obviously awful through acceptable all the way to obvious in retrospect but takes a non-obvious amount of thought and design.
6
click170 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I find I'm often surprised by the permissions an app is requesting, which turns me away from the app.

I'm an Android user, but I prefer the unix philosophy, I just want an app to do one thing and to do it well. It's hard to find apps that do that I find.

Examples that have turned me away from apps before: a filesystem viewer doesn't really need the ability to control my wifi. An ebook reader doesn't really need access to my contact list.

7
dclowd9901 15 hours ago 2 replies      
One of my apps accesses a persons' contacts. The approach I took to this was to notify the user ahead of time that I would be asking for permission to use the app, and that we would never use the contacts for anything but in app convenience. It feels great and is very informative. Only thing is the code is a bit wiry, but I'm working on that.
8
ecesena 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd be interested if anybody also analyzed the permissions for social accounts (Facebook, Twitter).

Our experience at Theneeds is kind of strange in this regard. We have the "classical" initial join page with social buttons, and we ask for permissions when the user tap one of them. Surprisingly, we realized that many users click on Facebook icon, but next they "Don't allow" permissions. This forced us to implement a web fallback to still be able to authenticate the users (without forcing them to go to the iphone settings).

9
heywire 16 hours ago 2 replies      
Part of me worries that an app could use this in a bad way as well. If an app asks a user for a permission, and the user says no, the current expectation is that they won't be asked again. However, with this pattern, the app could bother the user until they finally gave up and granted permissions. Of course, this could also backfire and cause the user to uninstall the app.
10
lukejduncan 11 hours ago 1 reply      
The answer at install is always no:

"SuperApp would like to send you push-notifications"

11
sizzle 6 hours ago 0 replies      
for anyone who wants apps to request permissions or the ability to deny permissions I highly recommend rooting your phone then installing XPrivacy; https://github.com/M66B/XPrivacy
12
matznerd 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Pretty good article, and I've definitely noticed that it works better when you ask people at the time of usage vs on first open.
13
spike021 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Seems like a better workaround for the time being. I know from personal experience that I tend to either: a) somewhat trust the app I'm using, so I just blindly accept to get it out of the way, or b) don't trust the app at all since it's completely new to me, so I tap to deny immediately.

If you can make your users feel more comfortable about the legitimacy of your app and help them to feel more at ease with giving away those permissions, then you're doing a good job.

14
username223 8 hours ago 0 replies      
A modal "do-what-I-want/pester-you-later" dialog is not the right way. The right way for Vegetable Knight or what-not to ask for permissions is to give the option to say "no, and don't ever ask again," and enforce that at the system level.
15
nirkalimi 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Very intuitive. People just need a context for permissions to make sense. I feel like this is similar to anything online. Don't ask for something right away until someone understands what the benefit of doing so entails. These rules hold true in sales, pitching, etc.
16
bmull 17 hours ago 0 replies      
17
lauraglu 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Super helpful. Thanks for writing.
18
suyash 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Most annoying persmission is Geo-Location for apps that don't really need it.
19
fjcaetano 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Fantastic post. This is a major problem with Android, when oftenly users are asked to grant permissions that apparently have nothing to do with the app.
20
Node.js Tools for Visual Studio codeplex.com
75 points by GravityWell  13 hours ago   53 comments top 13
1
smortaz 10 hours ago 3 replies      
(group lead here) Thanks GravityWell for posting.

We just got done giving a talk on NTVS & PTVS at Build in SF. The reception was great (given this is a primarily .net conference). I did an informal poll of the audience (180 or so), asking whether they were planning on deploying node/python in their enterprise. The response was around 75-85% Yes to both, which was somewhat higher that I had expected.

The cool new feature is this Beta are TypeScript integration, Remote debugging (inc. linux), Edit&Continue (no server restart), free edition (NTVS + VS Express), etc. and numerous bug fixes.

To address a few comments regarding strategy - most are correct, though some are over thinking it a bit :). The project was proposed & started by the PTVS (python) folks, and mgmt was rather lukewarm about it. It was definitely not part of some uber P1 strategy. I wish it was. However, since then it's gained some momentum thanks to the community and it's become important enough that Scott Guthrie mentioned it in his keynote, and Soma (SVP for developer division) just blogged about it.

a few new videos (pls excuse the production, we do our own videos...)

new npm UI (community contributed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AwSzxFY5CMI

twitter sentiment app -- https://youtu.be/9tf6HmG9VAA

remote debugging https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAroJmb6XY4

2
jw2013 12 hours ago 1 reply      
It's better late than never. It's just easier to say 'I quit' because it's likely none of Node.js developers will switch to using Visual Studio rather than give it a try. Though I probably will never use Visual Studio for writing my Node.js project, kudos for MS not being the old MS.

So what's next for MS? I think they are getting the direction right for opening up for external MS product users, and now it's time to recruit top talent again. There are just too many great hackers think MS is old (just look at some of replies in this story), which to large degree is true, and it will take time to fix that, but it can be possible done with: 1) create openness [culture, keep taking more open-source project like open-day-light, keep opening tech inside MS to others, etc.]; 2) buy early-stage companies through acqui-hire. It will be an uphill-battle and I am not an expert on this, and I am very interested in what other people here on HN thinks.

3
GravityWell 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Note for those visiting the thread, I found one of the big things with this release is the support for Edit & Continue:

http://nodejstools.codeplex.com/releases/view/104141

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAroJmb6XY4

It was in the original title, but has been edited out.

4
GravityWell 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I had to see it to believe it, but here it is.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAroJmb6XY4
5
balls187 12 hours ago 4 replies      
Until they can address the problem with building certain NPM modules on windows (ie `node-gyp` related ones), this is a bit of a non-starter.

Sadly the only reason I keep my windows based desktop around these days is PC gaming is still very much windows based.

6
egeozcan 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been following this project since the earlier times and the progress is really impressive. Thank you for the amazing work.
7
nevi-me 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I tried the alpha a few months back, and found it to understandably be lacking, My biggest frustration with it was trying to profile the performance of a complex piece of code with a number of callbacks and such. NTVS would only look at the first iteration, and not tell me anything useful (at the time I was tracing a memory leak). There were a few other inconveniences which I noticed that issues were raised for, hopefully most were fixed.
8
pingec 12 hours ago 3 replies      
Does anyone else get the impression that MS shifted a lot of its attention to web developers?

There is an incredible amount of web technologies and dev tools coming from ms that are being presented at Build 2014. In fact so many that I'm having a hard time keeping up...

9
bananas 12 hours ago 4 replies      
Perhaps I'm paranoid but I'm seeing a lot of tentacles extending around a few ecosystems from Microsoft. I see lots of praise but some rational analysis and caution might be worth considering.

For ref, I deal with Microsoft a lot and wrote a ton of c# over the least decade (more than anything else probably) so I'm not biased against necessarily but all-encompassing announcements like the ones over the last couple of weeks make me suspicious.

Edit: to extend my thoughts on this some more:

I don't think we're seeing embrace and extend. I think we're seeing "go on - use our tooling". Once you're in a tool ecosystem it's hard to get out of. I mean really hard. Same goes with cloud ecosystems which neatly integrate with their tooling. Their offering is to host all of your stuff (Azure) and mediate between you and what you're working on (Office/VS/Xamarin potentially).

A fully heterogenous system with a sole vendor mediating your access becomes an interesting situation when for political, financial or legal reasons you want or need to leave.

10
preavy 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Without going too far off-topic, does anyone know anything about a SQL Server driver for Node.js? There was this, but it hasn't been updated in a while.https://github.com/Azure/node-sqlserver
11
angersock 12 hours ago 1 reply      
I'd sell a good friend of mine if I could debug my node extension native code and javascript server code from the same IDE.
12
notastartup 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I like the direction MS is going. At this rate they can possibly shed themselves out of the shadows of Google and Apple and truly emerge as an open, innovative company. Why not, they got the cash to do so.

Now on this Node.JS IDE, it actually makes me want to use Node.js because it's on Visual Studio, however, I'm also open to alternative IDE.

My favorite is Jetbrain's IDE products, I use webstorm and phpstorm, and pycharms. I love them all, would be nice if they had one for Node.js, as I'm not sure if webstorm has extensive support for it.

13
mavdi 12 hours ago 4 replies      
It's an attempt to bring back developer to windows platform. I personally don't know a single serious web developer using windows unless they are coding in .NET.
21
Michael Lewis: shilling for the buyside? scottlocklin.wordpress.com
168 points by nbouscal  20 hours ago   175 comments top 21
1
drcode 18 hours ago 4 replies      
Yeah, Michael Lewis' recent interviews do seem a bit suspect. He is yelling "Hey joe sixpack, Wall Street is eating your lunch!" and then when you hear the details of the supposed "fraud" it all revolves around companies like Goldman Sachs (who work with Katsuyama) whining that they're not getting a fair shake in the world. (Oh right, Goldman Sachs is managing Joe Sixpack's pension fund via two levels of indirection- Oh noes, poor Goldman Sachs!)

Plus, the interviews he's given on 60 minutes and Fresh Air never once mention the terms "market order" or "limit order". If you don't explain those two basic terms at the heart of the HFT controversy, you're not giving people information, you're only giving them disinformation.

That said, there's obviously lots of shady ass shit happening on Wall Street every day, but Michael Lewis is not helping the situation one iota, from the looks of it.

2
elecengin 18 hours ago 9 replies      
I think "shilling for the buyside" is a bit strong. Lewis aggressively pursued a compelling and simple narrative in a market that doesnt have an easy story. I get the impression he didnt even recognize that the field he decided to plow was a minefield. The HFT debate is complicated and has serious implications: his treatment didn't respect it.

From acquaintances that knew Katsuyama personally, he was described as a genius marketer, not a technologist. Before even Lewis came along, he had crafted a large part of this narrative: the Thor matching technology succeeded on a compelling story. Lewis got sucked in.

The personal reactions you may have seen (William O'Brian on CNBC) are authentic: HFT participants (and those who deal with them) have been villified in an industry already viewed in a negative light. There are some bad apples, but there are also many who genuinely believe that they are doing a service for the market.

I don't blame Lewis for this. I just hope that there is an author that can create a compelling story that doesnt fall for the tired trope of the evil HFT trader. The story exists - it is just very technical and nuanced at times. Unfortunately, many HFT participants have been shamed away from standing for what they believe in so there are very few left to tell the story.

If you want to read a rebuttal and learn more about the markets at the same time, check out this analysis by Larry Tabb - a market research consultant prominent in the US execution technology market:http://www.scribd.com/doc/215693938/No-Michael-Lewis

3
RockyMcNuts 17 hours ago 3 replies      
The market exists the benefit for the 'buyside' e.g. people who own stock, not for the benefit of the middlemen like exchanges and HFT marketmakers.

You may not like homeowners and think some of them are or should be convicted, but it's ridiculous to say someone is 'shilling for homeowners' when they point out that real estate brokers are overpaid and skimming.

Some more balanced discussion - http://streetwiseprofessor.com/?p=8333

http://blogmaverick.com/2014/04/03/the-idiots-guide-to-high-...

http://blogs.hbr.org/2014/04/high-frequency-trading-threat-o...

In a nutshell, people who run big portfolios don't want to give away information about what they're doing, and they don't want HFT types to be able to pay exchanges to get first crack at front-running them.

On the other hand there is a legitimate market-making function, and there's a tradeoff between transparent markets and forcing people to share info that lets other people trade against them.

4
forgotAgain 16 hours ago 3 replies      
This article seems like nothing more than an overly long ad hominem attack.

The only critique that matters is whether or not front running of buy orders by HFT traders is real or bull. Anything more is just an attempt to cloud the waters.

5
matthewmcg 17 hours ago 2 replies      
I am still reading the book, but it seems like Lewis' main criticism in the book (vs. interviews) is against the so-called HFT front-running of orders that get routed to multiple exchanges. He is careful to distinguish market-making/liquidity providing functions from the multi-market latency arbitrage and spends a good part of Chapter 4 exploring this distinction.

Perhaps his public statements in interviews haven't been so nuanced.

Also, these rebuttals to the book don't really address the front-running issue. Is it simply an unavoidable consequence of the physical reality of separate markets? Should anything be done about it? Is it even still occurring or has competition among HFTs and savvier buy-side order routing eliminated it? I would like to read a rebuttal that discusses this.

6
lmg643 18 hours ago 1 reply      
This was a great article. I started reading the book. Early on, one of the examples given was "Brad talked to a friend of his at SAC Capital" about how HFT firms were taking advantage of information in the markets.

That is the kind of unintentionally ridiculous anecdote which undermines the moral center of this book. SAC Capital, after all, is the same fund which ran into one of the largest insider trading cases in history, which is also about taking advantage of information in a, let's say, special kind of way.

I know a lot about this subject, probably too much to let the judgment fall cleanly in one camp or another on HFT, but with all the hubub right now, I find it might be useful to get biblical for a second - let the person who is without sin cast the first stone.

7
tpeng 17 hours ago 1 reply      
People ITT are not making a distinction between different types of HFT. Katsuyama and Lewis do not criticize all forms of computerized trading, but specifically computerized scalping that is aided and abetted by exchanges. Their chief complaint is that HFT uses more current prices than the exchanges themselves and they use this to scalp other traders.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-04-03/bats-admits-ceo-lie...

This is actually very simple. Natural buyers and sellers do not need intermediaries, but intermediaries do need the natural traders. So if the natural traders can coordinate, they should be able to set rules that favor themselves and disfavor intermediaries. I won't say that what HFT does is "unfair" (capitalism does not contemplate fairness), but I think it's highly ironic that HFT and their supporters are complaining how "unfair" it is that natural traders are working together, and yes, marketing their new exchange.

8
nbouscal 18 hours ago 0 replies      
An interesting study on the topic concluded that HFT helps retail investors and hurts institutional investors: http://qed.econ.queensu.ca/pub/faculty/milne/322/IIROC_FeeCh...
9
aasarava 17 hours ago 8 replies      
Can someone explain how HFT would "provide liquidity", which seems to always be the pro-HFT response? To use an analogy, if I want to buy a house and someone is selling a house, how does a third-party buying the house first and selling it to me a slightly higher price provide liquidity?
10
skywhopper 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Always good to start out an article critiquing the argument in a new book by showing a picture of the author and making a snide remark about his appearance. Immediately gives you credibility.
11
scottlocklin 13 hours ago 0 replies      
If you think I'm a dork, or too much of a Michael Lewis hater, I encourage people to read this Amazon review, which gets into a lot of interesting small details Lewis got wrong:

http://www.amazon.com/review/R3PJO6KJGRMWUE/ref=cm_cr_pr_vie...

12
stygiansonic 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Seems like this book is causing quite the ruckus with certain brokerages:http://pressroom.aboutschwab.com/press-release/corporate-and...

Yet they are more than happy to sell their order flow to market makers who use HFT. (To allow them to trade against it before going to the exchange - as is customary - nothing wrong with that)http://www.schwab.com/public/schwab/nn/legal_compliance/impo...

Seems like they are jumping on the populist bandwagon by claiming "HFT bad!" but I think what they mean is "HFT bad - unless it's from one of the firms we sold our order flow to!"

13
JackFr 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I suppose one could add this book to

The Blind Side -- the story of how one of Michael Lewis's classmates as an Ole Miss booster, gave impermissible benefits to a high school recruit and got away with it.

Moneyball -- the story of a GM with 0 World Series appearances and a .530 WP.

14
blue11 12 hours ago 1 reply      
You don't have to agree with Michael Lewis' views or buy into the story line 100% in order to enjoy the book. The fact is that this is a well-written book that is full of mini-stories and anecdotes that present very realistic descriptions of how electronic markets and Wall Street in general work. Statements like "the market is rigged" are obviously over the top but that doesn't mean that the book on average is not true to reality. Most books about electronic trading suffer from extreme sensationalism, poor writing, and the inability of the authors to understand the subject matter that they are writing about. Michael Lewis does a better job than everyone else. He is a great writer and he is a smart guy who has some financial background and has a pretty good understanding of financial markets. Yes, there is some sensationalism here (he has to sell a good story after all) and there are many errors in the book, and, yes, the author's biases are quite evident, he's picked a side and he's sticking to his story. On aggregate, though, this is probably the best book about the world of electronic trading that I've read.

(Some people mentioned "Dark Pools" by Scott Patterson. Although also interesting, that books was often quite painful to read because it was quite clear that the author did not understand basic financial and programming concepts. "Flash Boys" is much better, in my opinion. Although if you are really interested in the subject, you should read both.)

15
stevewilhelm 9 hours ago 0 replies      
As an aside; I have been thinking it would be useful to have two new levels of capital gains taxes.

In addition to long term capital gains, and short term capital gains, there would be "intra-day" capital gains and "sub-second" capital gains.

I was thinking the intra-day gains Federal tax rate would be 50% and sub-second capital gains Federal rate would be 90%, but these values are arbitrary.

For both new types of capital gains, LIFO trade accounting would be used.

16
anonu 16 hours ago 0 replies      
My concern is that Michael Lewis and his books have great popular appeal. Furthermore, he is jumping on the popular bandwagon of bashing HFT. They lay person will look at these facts and simply conclude that he's right. The problem can easily extend to other buy-siders who dont really full understand (or care to understand) how market microstructure works in the US.
17
joosters 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder how many people commenting here have actually read the book? Or have they just been reading articles about it?
18
001sky 18 hours ago 0 replies      
If your ISP packet sniffed your network and traded against your positions in advance of them coming to market would you have a problem with it? How about if they put up an MITM to get your credntials and then installed a key-logger to make it more effective and faster? One could argue that once you hit "sell" or "buy" your electrons are public information. But others might consider them NPI. I don't think that the issue is completely cut and dry, at least no just yet.
19
lotsofmangos 17 hours ago 1 reply      
I stopped reading at 'potato-wog'.
20
cwisecarver 18 hours ago 2 replies      
It seems this guy isn't the intended audience for the book. I, for instance, know that Netflix performance is bad on certain ISPs because of throttling and peering agreements but if someone wrote a narrative about this I wouldn't berate them for telling the public at large about it in words they would understand.
21
whyme 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I haven't read the book, but I've followed the chatter and have been listening to Lewis on Bloomberg. I get the impression that many justify HFT by comparing current or past alternatives, however his argument is that HFT is corrupting an otherwise fairer market place. In other words the market should improve and lessen these side businesses that victimize participants and add to the discredit of the exchanges.

If anyone thinks that these side business do not victimize participants you should look back to examples like Knight Capitals glitch that most certainly caused retail investors to lose trust and pull their money from the market, taking a loss. The introduction of non-relevant code is an unnecessary risk that does corrupt the system and does victimize your average investor.

1. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/banksandfina...

22
Night Walk in Marseille [video] withgoogle.com
99 points by WikiChen  15 hours ago   62 comments top 25
1
cclogg 14 hours ago 3 replies      
I wonder if someday we can get to the point where StreetView is a continuous flow... like instead of tapping the arrow and waiting for the next slide to load, you would just smoothly walk forward or backwards along a track using up/down arrow.

I guess it would be technically possible already, but Google would have to snap their images with much smaller distances, and make them load in much faster... space requirements would be huge lol.

2
hawkharris 12 hours ago 2 replies      
A few weeks ago I purchased a Leap Motion Controller: one of those devices that tracks your finger movements and translates them into actions on your laptop screen. I was pretty impressed with the device's accuracy, but I ended up returning it because I didn't see how it had practical applications for my own work. After the initial excitement of moving windows with your hands (pretending you're in a sci-fi movie) fades off, the old-fashioned method of clicking is simply easier and more convenient.

Viewing this "Night Walk" demonstration, I felt an inkling of regret about returning Leap Motion. As others have noted, the experience is very immersive and exciting. The only thing holding it back, in my opinion, is the medium of mouse and keyboard. I wanted to move fluidly through Marseille instead of incrementally, through clicking and jerky motions of the mouse. If this kind of 3D / WebGL / geospatial content becomes more prevalent on the web, I can see a stronger practical use case for everyone owning Leap, or something like it.

3
bemmu 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Did my own graffiti spotting during this walk: http://i.imgur.com/JX9uJLn.png

Same guy disappearing into the wall in two different places, I wonder if there is more of him?

4
p4bl0 1 hour ago 0 replies      
This is awesome even if you know the place pretty well, and the sounds and music totally enhance the experience! Thanks for sharing.
5
Magi604 13 hours ago 0 replies      
This was great.

I didn't care much for the narration, but perhaps that's because when I travel I prefer to explore things on my own. The captions and videos were helpful though.

I was pleasantly surprised to discover that you didn't have to follow the green track (though you miss out on the pictures and videos). I discovered it by accident, actually. At some point in time I found out that I had become disoriented and had been going backwards for some time. Rather than go through the entire track again, I wanted to see if I could take a shortcut. It works.

You know what would be cool? Incorporating some sort of "Choose Your Own Adventure" elements into something like this. Kind of like Myst, but in real-world settings.

6
sehr 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Most immersive experience I've had on the internet so far, the added videos & interviews absolutely made it.
7
doe88 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Sweet, it's great to see his hometown in a post on HN :)
8
sethbannon 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Totally engrossing.
9
ISL 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Page seems non-functional, wants me to plug in headphones? Chromium Version 33.0.1750.152, linux box.

Edit: reloading made it work.

10
mikkom 14 hours ago 2 replies      
> Ah snap. The Night Walk experience is not optimised for your device or operating system.

Great. Please don't tell me what's wrong with my browser or os.

11
leoc 12 hours ago 1 reply      
A camera taking lurching steps through the Marseilles nightlife? Meh, it's been done. ;) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuOecH5NoXs
12
ebabchick 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Does anyone know what team(s) are responsible for these kinds of projects at Google?
14
mentos 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Cool! Very immersive and this is coming from an oculus rift owner.

I was thinking the next step up from this would be to setup 360 degree cameras every 10 or so feet along this path and have them all record for say an hour. Then you could 'walk' from point to point and see/hear/track the city.

But I actually think this curated approach is much better as it helps you cut out the noise and tell a better story.

15
stblack 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Nice implementation.

Marseille has a severe graffiti problem, doesn't it? Mais c'est dgueulasse!

16
evanlivingston 13 hours ago 2 replies      
This is pretty cool.

Neal Stephenson's "Command Line" comes to mind, where he talks about how experiences are distilled and summarized for an end user. I have a vague negative feeling toward this, but I can present no argument.

17
tommydiaz 14 hours ago 3 replies      
Anyone know what this is and why it's blurred out?http://imgur.com/yi0sCEC

Also, videos are not playing right for me on firefox (audio only).

18
Nux 11 hours ago 1 reply      
"Ah snap. The Night Walk experience is not optimised for your device or operating system."

No night walk if you're not in the googleverse.

19
leoc 13 hours ago 2 replies      
"Your headphones will give you the best experience." I'm wearing my headphones, thanks Google. Can I watch this now?
20
ilbe 4 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a taste of augmented reality. I like it. I'm left a bit unsatisfied though. I want to experience the real thing now.
21
amgin3 12 hours ago 2 replies      
I think it is broken in Chrome on Linux.. unless it is supposed to be a series of stretched out looking pictures taking up a small portion of the screen that spin around on their central axis and flip upside-down when you drag your mouse, and you can only navigate with keyboard arrows..
22
faddotio 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Very engrossing.
23
robertfw 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Would love to try this out in VR!
24
hauget 10 hours ago 0 replies      
can anyone give me ideas\links on what HW & SW I would need to make something like this? Would love to make an adventure game with this concept! Cheers!
25
itsbonczek 11 hours ago 0 replies      
This is the type of thing that Google Glass was made for.
23
American Chemical Society bans university after "spider-trap" is clicked cam.ac.uk
166 points by danso  21 hours ago   82 comments top 24
1
freshyill 21 hours ago 4 replies      
It's worth noting that many journals don't control the platform their scholarly content. It looks like ACS uses this [Atypon](http://www.atypon.com). That's the likely source of this spider trap, not ACS.

Atypon has [a relatively small client list](http://www.atypon.com/our-clients/featured-clients.php). Compare it to [Highwire](http://highwire.stanford.edu/lists/allsites.dtl). I'd be willing to bet that all journals hosted with Atypon share this spider trapeven journals that are supposed to be open access where spidering should be OK.

Scientific publishing is weird. Source: I work in scientific publishing.

2
s_q_b 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Is it bad that I'm just as insulted by the so-called "spider trap"? It's so technologically simple as to be useless against anyone who could deploy a web scraper in the first place.

I mean, it's marked by comment tags that say "spider trap" right on them! Its the worst type of disambiguation system: likely to generate false positives, unlikely to catch real violators.

3
Kliment 21 hours ago 3 replies      
Note how this means that anyone who is tricked into clicking that link has just blacked-out their entire institution. This has massive potential for abuse.
4
danso 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Reporting the content since site is down:

Tl;dr: researcher is browsing source code of a research paper's web page and finds a strange link (but same domain). She clicks and is informed that her IP is banned for automated spidering.

Apparently, this research site is meant to be open-access...

-------

Pandora is a researcher (wont say where, wont say when). I dont know her field she may be a scientist or a librarian. She has been scanning the spreadsheet of the Open Access publications paid for by Wellcome Trust. Its got 2200 papers that Wellcome has paid 3 million GBP for. For the sole reason to make them available to everyone in the world. She found a paper in the journal Biochemistry (thats an American Chemical Society publication) and looked at http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/bi300674e . She got that OK looked to see if they could get the PDF - http://pubs.acs.org/doi/pdf/10.1021/bi300674e - yes that worked OK.

What else can we download? After all this is Open Access, isnt it? And Wellcome have paid 666 GBP for this hybrid version (i.e. they get subscription income as well. So we arent going to break any laws

The text contains various other links and our researcher follows some of them. Remember shes a scientist and scientists are curious. Its their job. She finds:<span id="hide"><a href="/doi/pdf/10.1046/9999-9999.99999"><!-- Spider trap link --></a></span>Since it's a bioscience paper she assumes it's about spiders and how to trap them.

She clicks it. Pandora opens the box...Wham!

The whole university got cut off immediately from the whole of ACS publications. "Thank you", ACS

The ACS is stopping people spidering their site. EVEN FOR OPEN ACCESS. It wasn't a biological spider. It was a web trap based on the assumption that readers are, in some way, basically evil..Now I have seen this message before. About 7 years ago one of my graduate students was browsing 20 publications from ACS to create a vocabulary. Suddenly we were cut off with this awful message. Dead. The whole of Cambridge University. I felt really awful.

I had committed a crime.And we hadn't done anything wrong. Nor has my correspondent.If you create Open Access publications you expect - even hope - that people will dig into them. So, ACS, remove your spider traps. We really are in Orwellian territory where the point of Publishers is to stop people reading science.

I think we are close to the tipping point where publishers have no value except to their shareholders and a sick, broken, vision of what academia is about.

UPDATE:See comment from Ross Mounce:The society (closed access) journal Copeia also has these spider trap links in its HTML, e.g. on this contents page:http://www.asihcopeiaonline.org/toc/cope/2013/4

you can find

<span id="hide"><a href="/doi/pdf/10.1046/9999-9999.99999"><!-- Spider trap link --></a></span>

I may have accidentally cut-off access for all at the Natural History Museum, London once when I innocently tried this link, out of curiosity. Why do publishers booby-trap their websites? Dont they know us researchers are an inquisitive bunch? Id be very interested to read a PDF that has a 9999-9999.9999 DOI string if only to see what it contained they cant rationally justify cutting-off access to everyone, just because ONE person clicked an interesting link?PMR: Note - it's the SAME link as the ACS uses. So I surmise that both society's outsource their web pages to some third-party hackshop. Maybe 10.1046 is a universal anti-publisher.

PMR: It's incredibly irresponsible to leave spider traps in HTML. It's a human reaction to explore.

5
gmisra 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Seems like an easy way for a university-based "conscientious objector" to have this issue addressed would be to intentionally click on the spider trap link once a day?
6
PaulHoule 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Funny, we used to do this when I was working at arXiv.org. We had incessant problems with robots that didn't obey robots.txt so we needed spider traps to keep the site from going down.
7
dalke 20 hours ago 1 reply      
arXiv.org, back when it was still xxx.lanl.gov had a similar trap. Yes, I clicked on it. It gave a warning of the sort "don't this again, here's what's happening, if we see many more requests from your site then we'll shut off access."

This was in the late 1990s.

8
DangerousPie 20 hours ago 1 reply      
This is an important topic, but that blog entry was not very well written. If I hadn't heard about this before already I would have been very confused what they actually wanted to say with this convoluted story.
9
SixSigma 21 hours ago 1 reply      
That's some level of incompetence - the trappers I mean. A half arsed solution because they couldn't think of a better one. A registration system with abstracts and unlock-this-article links would be a better one, off the top of my head.
10
k2enemy 20 hours ago 2 replies      
The warning message returned by the spider-trap says that it banned a particular IP address. How does this cut off the entire university? Is everyone behind a NAT?
11
keithgabryelski 1 hour ago 0 replies      
It's odd that at the top of the article the author claims Pandora might be a scientist or a librarian (but they won't reveal such things)Then later claims they looked at the hidden link because they were curious (because scientists are curious).Maybe someone should have re-read their text for consistency.
12
specialp 19 hours ago 1 reply      
I work for a (non profit) journal publisher and we do indeed cut off robot downloading but not after one click of a link. We analyze traffic to determine robot downloads. I suspect though that the whole entire university did not get cut off in this incident. Usually it is on a per IP basis and unless the University proxies all of their journal traffic through a single IP which is not common I think saying the whole university being blocked may be an exaggeration. I personally wish we had no robot monitor but then again we would get heavy spidering then of large files.
13
raverbashing 21 hours ago 2 replies      
Doesn't Chrome pre-load links as well?

Not sure it checks for styling before prefetching them.

14
gcb0 13 hours ago 0 replies      
1. get university with good ties to ACLU and other such movements.

2. subscribe

3. click link

4. sue them for breach of contract and damages. (they didn't deliver the content you paid for, it damaged your main source of income: providing knowledge to paying students)

5. repeat.

15
a3n 20 hours ago 0 replies      
It would be interesting to see what conversations might happen if lots of people from lots of universities clicked on these traps.
16
userbinator 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I sometimes get a similar message from Google (maybe it's due to the search queries I use...), but they provide a CAPTCHA so you can (reasonably) show that you're a human.
17
owenversteeg 21 hours ago 2 replies      
For anyone that can't load the page, here's the site from Google's cache: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:_EBW_po...
18
patcon 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Some asshole just discovered a whole new reason to wardrive...
19
fit2rule 19 hours ago 0 replies      
This is only interesting for as long as ACS is asleep at the wheel.

Lets wait and find out how long it takes them to respond to the inevitable interest that 999999.99999 people will have sent their way ..

20
joshdance 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Tack spider traps and booby trapped documents to the long list of scientific publishing problems.
21
notastartup 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Trying to stop spidering or web scraping or making it criminal is asinine. Do not publish it online. Even if you put content up as Flash or Java applet, someone will find a way to crawl/scrape it.

This goes against the nature of the internet and information, it is bound to be free.

22
nathanvanfleet 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I work at a university and just clicked on it.
23
obastemur 21 hours ago 1 reply      
last 5 mins I'm trying to reach this link. the website is not reachable any more. How many people are trying to do the same ?
24
ChuckMcM 15 hours ago 3 replies      
Sigh, did no one notice that the link is in a <span id="hide"> ? Look at the style sheet and note that class 'hide' sets the link to be the same color as the background (it makes it invisible to humans) and yet it got clicked on anyway.

There are bad actors out there, they exploit services, and one of the ways the services detect them is to create situations that a script would follow but that a human would not. When they do something bad you've got a couple of choices, cut them off or lie to them (some of the Bing markov generated search pages for robots are pretty fun))

So she sends an email to the address provided, they talk to her, she gets educated and they re-enable access. If it happens again the issue gets escalated. Its the circle of fraud.

24
Can Namecoin obsolete ICANN (and more)? theumlaut.com
112 points by hoggle  17 hours ago   68 comments top 17
1
elidourado 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Article author here. Just wanted to add that if any of you work for companies that send engineers to the IETF, there is an Internet-Draft RFC that would normalize the use of several P2P pseudo-TLDs such as .gnu, .zkey, .onion, .exit, .i2p, and yes, .bit, which is what Namecoin is squatting on. Would be great to see everybody supporting it.

http://tools.ietf.org/html/draft-grothoff-iesg-special-use-p...

2
doctoboggan 16 hours ago 3 replies      
I am using namecoin to resolve bittorrent sync secrets in my distributed browser Syncnet:

https://github.com/jminardi/syncnet

It was fairly easy to integrate

3
quasque 15 hours ago 1 reply      
I expect it will obsolete ICANN as effectively as AlterNIC, New.net, OpenNIC, etc.

The technical fact that it is blockchain-based really doesn't make much difference as it's incredibly unlikely to be adopted worldwide, due to the network effect of the already-established domain name system.

4
unlimited_power 14 hours ago 2 replies      
I'll plug BitShares DNS--a Namecoin competitor I am working on--here: http://nmushegian.github.io/dns/

Whitepaper and FAQ are not quite up to date but you get the idea. From: https://github.com/nmushegian/dns/blob/master/whitepaper.md#...

- Namecoin issues new coins to miners as a reward for performing merged mining with the Bitcoin network. The namecoin supply is being inflated at nearly 30% per year for several more months, then over 10% for the next several years. Domainshares only ever shrink in supply, when fees are destroyed as implicit dividends.

- Namecoin attempts to service multiple namespaces at once. .p2p is highly specialized for servicing the .p2p TLD namespace. The use case is the same as Namecoin's "d/" namespace, which is used for the .bit TLD.

- Namecoin's name registration price is fixed at any given time and is independent of the name itself. Domainshares utilizes an auction-like mechanic to incentivize price discovery for names, making sure the final owner pays what it is actually worth. The majority of the final cost will have gone to the network as dividends by the time the auction is over, with a small fraction having gone to bidders as a reward for price discovery.

- As a result of the fact that domains are expensive and there are dividends on shares but not domains, there is a high opportunity cost to squatting: holding a domain without making good use of it.

5
ChuckMcM 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Given the news around bitcoin one could imagine that stealing 'google.bit' out of the google wallet[1] would be a pretty lucrative target.

[1] No I don't really think Google would let that happen but Bob's Bakery Buns might and it could cost him his business.

6
chime 16 hours ago 2 replies      
Can I register google.bit, facebook.bit, apple.bit, oracle.bit, and microsoft.bit for a total of $0.25? Can they do anything to get it back?
7
zimbatm 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Do namecoins have to be renewed or are we going to have old good domain names infinitely unavailable because someone forgot their key ?
8
gomox 16 hours ago 2 replies      
I have been looking at *coins for a while and the implications of the blockchain-based concensus system are interesting.

The system really maps the real world onto computers very well, in that it reduces what used to be technical issues to "political" issues. These systems work on concensus, and as such, require a significant amount of interested parties to work in the expected way. They are very much subject to network effects that only occur after critical mass is reached.

Namecoin, in particular, was subject to a major security issue last year: http://www.reddit.com/r/Bitcoin/comments/1ohyom/fatal_flaw_i...

Blockchains are being used to implement solutions to different problems, and they could really solve some significant problems such as decentralized identity and reputation management (!). The difficulty lies in creating a significant enough "currency" so that miners will become involved and make the blockchain stable and reliable.

Bitcoin is a currency in a much stronger sense than namecoin or any other of "not-really-money-coins" around. I wonder if piggybacking on bitcoin might actually be the solution for this situation (i.e introduce other information in the bitcoin blockchain instead of using a brand new one).

Sadly, adding external information to the blockchain could be construed as "spamming the blockchain" and therefore not deemed worthy for inclusion in the bitcoin blockchain by miners. So there is a big challenge there.

If you are interested in this topic and want to work on related projects feel free to reach out (google my username).

9
rakoo 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Note that you can use namecoin blockchain with your DNS and HTTP tools with dnschain [0]. Check this out:

$ dig @dns.dnschain.net okturtles.bit

$ curl http://dns.dnschain.net/d/okturtles

Both of them will resolve to whatever info is stored in d/okturtles domain.

With the (soon-to-be) DANE support (for those who forgot: DANE is about distributing TLS keys through a channel you trust (it comes from the domain you're visiting) but that is not the same as the final application (it's DNS, not HTTP/SMTP/IMAP/XMPP/etc), so you can prevent MiTM), I don't see what's missing technically to have our own internet.

[0] https://github.com/okTurtles/dnschain

10
ericmsimons 16 hours ago 5 replies      
How long does it take to resolve a namecoin key=>value pair? Considering the variable speed in these sorts of decentralized networks, is there a noticeable lag when you initially request a .bit website?
11
stormbrew 13 hours ago 1 reply      
To me the real problem with namecoin for the purpose stated in the title of this post is that it doesn't emphasize delegation to near the degree necessary to achieve it. The current implementation is much more like the older name system in that it requires the list of canonical names to be distributed as widely as possible.

There is a reason the root nameservers only delegate the act of name lookup at the top level. It's just not practical for them to have a complete list, and it's not even particularly desirable for users of it to have their list of names completely public (think internal servers).

It is possible to name a delegate nameserver through namecoin, I believe, but last I looked it was a bit iffy and it doesn't require any kind of authentication of results from the delegated nameserver a-la dnscurve.

12
mrfusion 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Has anyone created an easy to use name coin registration system so non-technical people can register names?

It seems like that would be a good opportunity?

13
transfire 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Could we just get rid of naming authorities all together? Why not just let trusted listing agencies handle it and users can simply pick the one(s) they wish to use. For instance, let's say I want to publish a website under the name "sony". Okay, that's fine, but it's going to get a lower priority then the offical Sony, Inc. site b/c any listing agency is obviously going to serve up that site when a user puts "sony" in their browser's address bar. However, a user could opt for an alternate listing agency --maybe one the offers no commercial listings, and then maybe my site would come up through them. Browsers could make it easy to switch between listing agencies and prioritize them.
14
bikamonki 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Why do we asume that domains have to be 'unique' like trade/brand names? I have a name, shared with my grandfather, father and son; in the right context, you would never confuse one for another. Furthermore, my name is shared by probably thousands in my country; again, I have never been confused with any of them. So, if the whole point is to translate human readable (and memorable) words to IPs, and in the event that the DNS returns more than one result, can't the browser display a search-results-like page letting one know there are options? Wikipedia does it and that is THE descentralized knowledge store of the planet. Maybe if I type homes.com I mean local homes first, like Google rankings, but is ok if someone else is using homes.com elsewhere.

Think about it...

15
cordite 15 hours ago 1 reply      
So, what happens if your domain gets hijacked?
16
thisiswrong 13 hours ago 0 replies      
"(...) the cryptographic-decentralization Zeitgeist makes it an exciting time to have and use names"

Yes. Very true. For anyone interested in the above statment i'd highly recommend checking out http://twister.net.co/ - a decentralized micro-blogging spin-off of bitcoin. Unbelievable innovation is happening!

17
gdh73 14 hours ago 2 replies      
Why is it called Namecoin and not something like Bitname or Bitdomain?
25
Caloric restriction reduces age-related and all-cause mortality in rhesus monkeys nature.com
127 points by efficientarch  19 hours ago   78 comments top 19
1
tokenadult 17 hours ago 3 replies      
What's interesting about human all-cause mortality trends is that human beings in the developed countries have been gaining three months of lifespan for every year that they live (sometimes described as "six hours each day").[1] Girls born since 2000 in the developed world are more likely than not to reach the age of 100, with boys likely to enjoy lifespans almost as long. The article "The Biodemography of Human Ageing" by James Vaupel,[2] originally published in the journal Nature in 2010, is a good current reference on the subject. Vaupel is one of the leading scholars on the demography of aging and how to adjust for time trends in life expectancy. A lot incremental improvements in both public health and in medical practice, as well as much better nutrition than in the old days, are steadily increasing life expectancy.[3] This is happening for people of all ages; life expectancy at age 40, at age 60, and at even higher ages is still rising, and all-cause mortality and morbidity declining, throughout the developed countries of the world.[4]

So the monkey research needs to be meshed in with human research that shows that mildly "overweight" (if fit) human beings have better mortality outcomes than human beings of normal weight[5] to tease out what the causation is for health outcomes of different patterns of nutrition. The example of Rimonabant[6] shows that sometimes an animal model doesn't adequately predict treatment effects in human subjects.

[1] http://www.prb.org/Journalists/Webcasts/2010/humanlongevity....

[2] http://www.demographic-challenge.com/files/downloads/2eb51e2...

[3] http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science_of_...

[4] http://www.nature.com/scientificamerican/journal/v307/n3/box...

[5] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23280227

[6] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19578688

2
naterator 18 hours ago 1 reply      
It should be noted that a parallel study[1] at the National Institute for Aging (NIA) found that this was not the case. The authors of this study (UW) claim (as far as I understand) that the NIA study was flawed because both Control and Calorie Restricted (CR) monkeys were fed diets that were both restrictive, and not sufficiently different. There also seem to be some debate about the composition of the diets. The controls in the UW study were allowed to eat as they pleased (i.e. become fatties if they wanted). They claim that if both "modest" or "moderate" CR are equivalent, it would be a very important conclusion. The practical consequence, if true, would be that we wouldn't have to starve ourselves too much.

Mouse models had suggested years ago that calorie restriction could lead to ~%50 increase in lifetime. However, the problem with mouse studies is that they are pretty different, and also the mice they use are really inbred and perhaps non-ideal examples. The conclusion from the primate studies is really stacking up to be a common sense "eat in moderation, healthy, and you'll live at least a little longer, maybe a lot". Not really groundbreaking stuff, to be honest. And still not conclusive when you consider the resources that went into these studies. This also teaches us nothing about mechanisms, which would be really useful. Just my cursory assessment so far.

[1] http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/30/science/low-calorie-diet-d...

3
jasonkolb 18 hours ago 2 replies      
Caloric restriction is absolutely fascinating in all forms. I think intermittent fasting might be the best-known variant of this, but there are others. All of them cause dramatic changes in the way bodies function, from changing the hormones secreted to changing the form of fuel it uses to run itself (e.g. ketones in low-carb diets instead of glucose).

Caloric restriction has a whole bunch of knock-on effects, any one of which could have a huge impact on health and aging. For example, restricting calories means that you're restricting protein. Most people think of protein as a good thing, but that's what stimulates the hormone IGF-1 to be secreted, which is necessary for growth of all kinds--muscle growth (which is why bodybuilders eat as much protein as possible), but also including cancer.

I've seen research that suggests that cells don't go into "repair mode" in the presence of IGF-1. This is just one example of a possible mechanism that caloric restriction could have a hugely beneficial effect on aging and illness in general.

I have a half-written blog post about this I should push out. I'd love to get some more conversation going around this.

4
gregwebs 18 hours ago 0 replies      
This paper rehashes 2 studies. In the original Wisconsin one that showed a great benefit to CR

    ... were fed a semi-purified, nutritionally fortified, low-fat diet containing 15% protein and 10% fat. 
The monkeys without CR ended up getting diabetes and they were giving them insulin. This study made a big splash, but as others point out it probably really only helps prove that eating less crap is good for you.

This paper appears to include some of the same authors of the Wisconsin study and tries to explain why the NIH performed a study that did not replicate their results. This paper claims that the control group in the NIH study actually underwent CR by comparing them to a database of captive primates. If that is true, then the title still seems strange, because it doesn't mean the NIH study provides meaningful supporting evidence, it means it was an invalid test of the CR hypothesis and instead it provides some extremely weak supporting evidence of the CR hypothesis.

As a side note, there is evidence that the CR benefit is from protein restriction and possibly just avoiding protein imbalances.https://chriskresser.com/do-high-protein-diets-cause-kidney-...(scroll to Is protein to blameor is methionine?)

5
mrfusion 18 hours ago 3 replies      
People are mentioning caloric restriction not being worth it for humans because of quality of life vs length of life.

However one thought that I find interesting, is that for our generation, living just two or three extra years could potentially make a huge difference.

If you subscribe to the idea of a coming technological singularity, or even to the idea that we're a few decades away from SENS escape velocity, you'd hate to miss it by just a couple of years.

6
harj 15 hours ago 0 replies      
There is lots of interesting research on the links between caloric restriction and the ageing process. It's the impact on the insulin and insulin like growth factor (IGF-1) pathways that seems to be important:

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0092867412...

http://kenyonlab.ucsf.edu/Kenyon_2010_Nature_rev.pdf

7
didgeoridoo 19 hours ago 4 replies      
So if you don't eat much you may live longer.

It will certainly FEEL longer.

8
dfc 10 hours ago 1 reply      
According to the Nature Comms Open Access guidelines somebody paid $4,800 for this article to be published under a BY-NC-SA license. In general who ends up paying, the authors or the authors' respective institutions?

Open Access fees:[^1]

  (CC BY)    (CC BY-NC-SA)   Region  -------------------------------------------------  $5,200     $4,800          (The Americas)  3,700     3,425          (Europe)  661,500   612,150        (Japan)  RMB33,100  RMB30,600       (China)  3,150     2,915          (UK and Rest of World)
[^1]: http://www.nature.com/ncomms/open_access/index.html

9
Beliavsky 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I prefer this conclusion: "Study Suggests Lower Mortality Risk for People Deemed to Be Overweight" http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/02/health/study-suggests-lowe... .
10
ca98am79 18 hours ago 2 replies      
I thought about doing CR for a while - I read the "120 Year Diet," and was considering giving it a try. Then I met up with a couple who was into hardcore CR. I had dinner with them. Two things made me decide not to do it:

1) they seemed frail and weak - the man seemed to have a constant runny nose. I felt that if he fell down he would break his hip. The risk of injury and death from physical weakness seemed like it would counter any benefits from CR for lifespan.

2) They put so much effort into measuring every ingredient, and running computer programs with recipes to get the optimal nutrients with as little calories as possible. It seemed to take so much time in preparation, and you could mostly only eat at home.

11
salimmadjd 18 hours ago 4 replies      
>Received 12 October 2013 Accepted 05 March 2014 Published 01 April 2014

Am I the only one who finds this crazy? It takes 6 months from submission date till publication!

The peer review process should move faster and become modernized. I undrestand, you want to be published on prestigious journals, but Nature and others can modernize to publish more. You can argue, we lost 6 months or half a year of progress because of the pace of antiquated publication process.

12
netcan 18 hours ago 6 replies      
Am I the only one who finds this caloric restriction stuff depressing? If starving for 50 years will increase my life I don't even want to know about it. Stupid science. Next they're going to tell us that a combination of caloric restriction & celibacy will do even more.
13
fatjokes 18 hours ago 1 reply      
A lot of people are jumping to extremes. I don't take this to mean I should starve myself. Instead this does encourage me to stop eating until I'm full, just until I'm no longer hungry.
14
RighteousFervor 18 hours ago 1 reply      
I think these scientists should starve themselves instead of animals. It's called having skin in the game.
15
neves 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Isn't this an year old published research that was widely reported?
17
cliveowen 19 hours ago 3 replies      
If I'm reading this correctly it says that the findings apply to 1) short lived species and 2) rhesus primates. It also says that the effects of CR may or may not be preserved on humans.

So the only real finding here seems to be that we are now able to extend the lifespan of some monkeys.

18
a8da6b0c91d 19 hours ago 2 replies      
The test is lab grade monkey chow vs. less lab grade monkey chow. I don't think one can extrapolate that eating less calories on a very high quality and low toxin source of calories is better.

Monkeys do best on perfectly ripe and fresh tropical fruits. Is that what they were eating? I really doubt it.

19
plg 16 hours ago 1 reply      
'cause who really likes _eating_, anyway. A no-brainer to just reduce food. Yeah that'll work.

Lots of things might reduce mortality and prolong lifespan. It's quite another thing to ask whether these things are viable options for modern human beings.

26
Contributing to the F# Language, Library and Tools codeplex.com
179 points by mands  1 day ago   63 comments top 7
1
skywhopper 22 hours ago 2 replies      
It sure feels like there's a strong force within the MS dev tools team to be far more open, and the only thing holding them back was the CEO. I sincerely hope Microsoft continues to open more and more products and truly integrate the open source philosophy into their culture.
2
untothebreach 21 hours ago 4 replies      
Can someone give reasons why you would want to use this over, say, OCaml, when on a non-MS platform? My understanding is that the Mono runtime on *nix is significantly less {mature,performant,stable} that the Windows .Net runtime.

Are there any benefits besides the obvious 'write-once, run-anywhere' one?

EDIT: I just want to be clear that I don't have any negative opinion of F#, I am genuinely curious why someone would want to use this on a platform that is not Windows.

3
rjzzleep 1 day ago 3 replies      
can someone explain this to me? i thought f# was open source for years? isn't that how most people compile it on their machines?

is it just that people don't know that half the things that were open sourced have already been open sourced(like the asp.net stuff) or do we just copy and paste microsoft press releases here?

OR am i missing something crucial that someone can elaborate on please?

https://github.com/fsharp/fsharp/

EDIT2: thanks to the responses, it's about accepting contributions

EDIT: for those that don't know the asp.net developments had a lot of influence from the alt.net movements. it was ms' attempt to keep the c# web developers from moving to other frameworks that let you do similar things much easier.

4
Flenser 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Now that they're dogfooding codeplex for such high profile projects I hope we'll see some improvements to it.

[edit]

I suppose if I'm complaining I ought to make some constructive suggestions:

   * central page listing my subscribed/voted issues/discussions.   * The only history link on a projects homepage is for the wiki.     It should have a prominent link to the latest changeset     with a date or age.   * Project wide search: issues, code, wiki, discussions   * In fact, remove discussions completely, everything should be an issue.

5
rch 17 hours ago 1 reply      
I haven't looked closely -- my assumption is that despite this string of announcements we are not really any closer to simply running pkg_add or apt-get to install a real MS development environment (i.e. not Mono). I could be wrong though, of course.
6
cjbarber 5 hours ago 0 replies      
If anyone on HN works in F#.. then you should definitely check out Tachyus.com

A few of the top contributing F# devs are there, it's an amazing company. Investors include Joe Lonsdale (founder of Palantir).

They are helping oil companies optimize oil and gas production - not your average startup problem.

7
mands 1 day ago 1 reply      
Pretty great news to complement the open-sourcing of Roslyn I think - was hoping to hear something about F# at Build.
27
Climbing down the tree bannalia.blogspot.com
3 points by joaquintides  1 hour ago   discuss
28
Response to systemd's use of the debug flag plus.google.com
22 points by asimov42  3 hours ago   17 comments top 6
1
rdtsc 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Hmm, I was expecting "Sorry we made a mistake, we'll switch the option to systemd.debug".

> At that point there is simply no other option for that, because persistent storage is not available

This was about overloading an already used option by another team building a core system component -- the kernel. A debug for kernel's command line is for the kernel.

> It's the option an admin can specify which tells him why the system doesnt boot,

Ok so he does and now his system also doesn't boot but now it is either because of the original problem or because it gets flooded by systemd logs.

And then, he goes and posts to the kernel mailing lists saying how kernel is a piece of shit.

> That turns this into some kind of power game, which I am totally not interested in.

also

> We are putting together an OS here after all, not just a kernel, and a kernel is just one component of the OS among many, and ultimately an implementation detail.

I think due to their attitude towards both testing, towards the kernel community, they shouldn't be building core system components. And did he just write that kernel is just "an implementation detail?".

Maybe systemd was a mistake. Integrating and dumping socket acceptors, logging, and the whole kitchen sink into one component. So when it breaks it really breaks.

2
macrael 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Google+ really doesn't get retweeting, does it. That whole post is written by someone who isn't the one in the photos at the top. A single "originally shared" link points to the original.

Retweeting was a genius move by twitter, a post by someone you don't follow appears in your timeline and it looks like any other and attribution is perfectly captured.

3
Gigablah 12 minutes ago 0 replies      
"Here's a nice note for all the reporters who are emailing me, go suck it."

"Yes it's titillating, and drives page views, but really, is that the best use of an Liberal Arts degree?"

Ah, the perfect guy to represent our profession.

4
Orangeair 2 hours ago 3 replies      
I have a fair amount of experience with Linux, but I'm a little lost by what's going on here. Can someone out there dumb this down a bit for an init newbie?
5
sprash 1 hour ago 1 reply      
> A kernel is just one component of the OS among many, and ultimately an implementation detail.

-- Lennard Poettering

6
anon1385 2 hours ago 1 reply      
>Correct. I don't mind people piggy-backing on some fairly obvious generic term like "debug" per se. I don't know if the old init scripts did that, but I do know they did it for "quiet", which is basically the reverse of "debug".

>What I mind is people closing bugs and not admitting mistakes. If Kay had even said "sorry, the excessive output was a bug in systemd, it's already fixed in current -git", that would have been a valid reason to close the bug.

So Torvalds is saying he doesn't like dictatorial project maintainers who reply in an abrupt and abrasive manner to contributors? He is so concerned about the lack of politeness and professional discourse that he just had to raise this issue? Hilarious.

29
Automating Threes [video] twitch.tv
60 points by felixmo  15 hours ago   10 comments top 6
1
matthew-wegner 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Hey everyone! I wrote the robot integration here, but not the AI core, which was https://twitter.com/waltdestler . He's going to write up a piece on his AI stuff at some point soon. I'm actually not super familiar with it, despite hooking into it, so I can't speak too much about it.

The physical integration is pretty simple. I'm using libimobiledevice to get a screenshot over the cable: http://www.libimobiledevice.org/ . Recognizing the board isn't very hard.

An Arduino and Adafruit motor shield are controlling two stepper motors with cardboard/tinfoil arms. Stepper motors are important because they won't drift over time.

The AI gets 3k tiles ~30% of its games, and 6k tiles ~3% of the time. These are simulated games--currently the robot is streaming its 5th complete game.

2
yeldarb 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I felt good that my top score was higher than the machine's failure point.. then it swiped to its top score of 205,824 and I realized how woefully inadequate my feeble human mind truly is.
3
Frozenlock 11 hours ago 0 replies      
This is only remotely related, but I figured this might be worthwhile.

I was an everyday Twitch consumer, but I practically stopped watching it overnight. Not because I don't enjoy the content anymore, but because my Chromium crashes every time it tries to load Flash.

Now, while this shows how lazy I can be in this regard, this is also a great insight. Sure, I could just fire up Firefox or even try to fix the Flash issue, but this is one step too much for my taste.

From watching Twitch everyday to watching practically never, only because of this issue.

So if you spend months developing an application and say to yourself "The user just has to do the little step X to fully enjoy my work...", I'd beg you to reconsider. Sometimes, the smallest friction can stop a user.

4
DEinspanjer 14 hours ago 1 reply      
It is cool and fun, but I really wanted to see his AI code. :/
5
cousin_it 9 hours ago 0 replies      
"You missed it."
6
kencausey 14 hours ago 1 reply      
This should be marked with a [video] if not [video stream] tag.
30
The Other Side of Depression annewheaton.com
154 points by ColinWright  1 day ago   69 comments top 12
1
tokenadult 21 hours ago 3 replies      
I had better jump in here right away, because the last thread about depression on Hacker News basically got swallowed up by an n=1 anecdote, and while anecdotes are wonderful (we all prefer to make decisions based on anecdotes we feel we can relate to rather than based on statistics), it takes a lot more than one anecdote to represent a complicated subject.

As my last keystrokes about depression here on Hacker News pointed out, there isn't just one disease known as depression. Depression is a symptom pattern (prolonged low mood contrary to the patient's current life experience) found often in the broad category of illnesses known as mood disorders. Behavior genetic studies of whole family lineages, genome-wide association studies, and drug intervention studies have all shown that there are a variety of biological or psychological causes for mood disorders, and not all mood disorders are the same as all other mood disorders. I know a LOT of people of various ages who have these problems, so I have been prompted for more than two decades to dig into the serious medical literature[1] on this topic. (I am not a doctor, but I've discussed mood disorders with plenty of doctors and patients.) I've seen people who tried to self-medicate with street drugs end up with psychotic symptoms and prolonged unemployment, and I've seen people with standard medical treatment supervised by physicians thrive and enjoy well off family life. The best current treatment for depression is medically supervised medication combined with professionally administered talk therapy.[2]

The human mood system can go awry both by mood being too elevated (hypomania or mania) and by it being too low (depression), with depression being the more common symptom pattern. But plenty of people have bipolar mood disorders, with various mood patterns over time, and bipolar mood disorders are tricky to treat, because some treatments that lift mood simply move patients from depression into mania. And depression doesn't always look like being inactive, down, and blue, but sometimes looks like being very irritable (this is the classic sign of depression in teenage boys--extreme irritability--and often in adults too). Physicians use patient mood-self-rating scales (which have been carefully validated over the years for monitoring treatment)[3] as a reality check on their clinical impression of how patients are doing.

As the blog post kindly submitted here points out, a patient's mood disorder influences the patient's whole family. The more other family members know about depression, the better. Encouraging words (NO, not just "cheer up") are important to help the patient reframe thought patterns and aid professional cognitive talk therapy. Care in sleep schedules and eating and exercise patterns is also important. People can become much more healthy than they ever imagined possible even after years of untreated mood disorders, but it is often a whole-family effort that brings about the best results.

[1] http://www.amazon.com/Manic-Depressive-Illness-Disorders-Rec...

[2] Combination psychotherapy and antidepressant medication treatment for depression: for whom, when, and how.Craighead WE1, Dunlop BW.

Annu Rev Psychol. 2014;65:267-300. doi: 10.1146/annurev.psych.121208.131653. Epub 2013 Sep 13.

[3] http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1859039-overview

2
flatline 21 hours ago 3 replies      
> They talked extensively about how brain chemicals work and how medications help to balance out those chemicals

The only problem with this is that it's essentially a PR line that both doctors and the general public have mistaken for science. We don't know all that many facts about how brain chemicals work with regard to mood disorders. We have empirical results from clinical trials and broad use of antidepressant and antipsychotic medications, but there is no basis to believe that medications "balancing out those chemicals" serve to repair mood disorders.

If the medications helped, then great, I know they have helped a great number of people, but they also fail to help a great number more and these success stories have an unfortunate tendency to marginalize people that do not get good results from medication. It often results in victim-blaming, to make sufferers of depression wrong for stopping their medications for legitimate reasons (let's face it, all of these results are highly subjective), and for overstating the ability of our current medications to cure all mental ills.

3
rickdale 21 hours ago 6 replies      
Damn, I know of a similar story, but very different ending. I had a family member with depression try to get help. He started on Lexapro, and ended up committing suicide a week later. I had to sit there and read testimonials of people that lost friends and family attributed to taking lexapro to the mother of the deceased while she was beside herself, yet in insistent that I read.

I self medicate with marijuana. And more than just using it to make me happy, smart, excited and hungry. I grow pot medicinally as well and that makes me feel really happy. There is loads of scientific evidence that points to having a garden and lessening depression. From my experience, I can say that growing marijuana really lends itself to a lot of the benefits of having a garden. Because you can harvest 5 to 6 times/year it makes it something you need to work on every day. Progress is relatively fast, and if you do a good job, you can take it to a shop and get enough spending cash for that new macbook apple just announced. And if you are a champion, you can find your nugs in magazines. (my ghost og kush is featured in culture this month...) But ultimately nothing feels better than smoking my own herbs on Friday night after a long week of gardening and programming.

Just throwing it out there as another alternative for someone that is struggling. Been there, you just gotta find the light.

4
robg 21 hours ago 1 reply      
The brain is an bodily system, just like any other. Disease can strike its workings and doctors can help with modern science.

That said, we're still understanding how the brain works. One recent study showed that depression often has an associated and underlying, undiagnosed, sleep disorder [1]. Treat the depression without treating the sleep disorder and the depression comes back. FYI: This work has not been published yet.

Given that scientists have just figured out that sleep clears the brain of toxins [2], similar to the lymphatic system clearing the rest of the body of waste, these results shouldn't be surprising. We don't know the exactly reasons why people get depressed, but the evidence is clear. Depression has a root physical cause just like any other illness.

[1] http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/19/health/treating-insomnia-t...

[2] http://news.sciencemag.org/brain-behavior/2013/10/sleep-ulti...

5
cordite 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I had been on medication for a full year and it really helped me become more stable and content with life. I asked my doctor to increase my dosage because some days it just did not seem to be enough. He did, however it did not have the benefits I had hoped and it became harder to do things. So I started to ween myself off and now I am not dele dent on it.

However, like Wil, I seem to be getting angry at the most trivial things. I am considering starting again, but I am about to graduate and take my last finals in a week or two.

I have been scared of taking medication because of what ADHD meds did to me in my youth. Though now, knowing everybody on my mothers side and my sisters needed help for depression at some time or another, I highly support getting help in this domain.

6
yawgmoth 20 hours ago 6 replies      
What do people do when they're unsure if they're "depressed enough" to be depressed? What about people who are "used to it" and consider themselves good at "dealing with it"? Go to a doctor anyway? Where do people start? With their regular physician? How do people find a therapist that won't jump at medication unnecessarily, and won't ignore you if you think you need it?
7
josh-wrale 20 hours ago 1 reply      
I wish she would not have mentioned the kids' issues without their permission. Just the mention of such potentially brings social stigma to their life.
8
greatdox 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Since 2001 I have had schizo affective disorder. I has destroyed my career.

I tried to write about mental illnesses and the startup community, which I think is something that needs to be talked about. But my submissions get deleted and censored.

Sometimes your best talent has a mental illness, how do you manage them? Most just fire that talent when they discover they are mentally ill. It is something that has to stop!

9
trvd1707 17 hours ago 1 reply      
I liked the post because it shows the other side of a couple living with depression. I suffer from chronic depression and it is not easy to depend on medication every day with no prospect of "cure". The hardest part is dealing with the stigma associated with it, with people insisting that you are not doing the right thing and finding a way to get over it and free your self from medication.

I know that the "chemical imbalance" explanation is a poor excuse for "we don't know exactly how it works". But there are so many progresses done in our quality of living that were done because someone had a hunch and some practical, reproducible results showing that it worked. Think about the practice of washing hands when going from one patient to another in a hospital? When it was suggested, people couldn't see a connection with dirty hands and spreading diseases.

I lost a son that suffered from a mood disorder to suicide. It is heartbreaking and it happened when he was apparently getting over the hump of his darkest moments... I have other two children that also struggled with depression and what I found that worked the best for us so far is communication. Being opened about our struggles, talk therapy in conjunction with medication.

10
doki_pen 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Is this astroturfing? It reads like an ad.
11
ajarmst 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Unfortunately (and especially because of the evidence of the cycle that begins with "the doctor increased has dose" and "added another medication"), Wil has a pretty good chance of having a poor outcome. Especially because his medical advice seems to include the deeply problematic "chemical imbalance' theory.

Reading Whitaker's "The Anatomy of an Epidemic" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anatomy_of_an_Epidemic) should be required for anyone considering long-term use of neuroleptics, benzodiazepines, or anti-depressants. And for those who care for them.

12
Theodores 21 hours ago 2 replies      
I cannot help but feel sorry for Will. It would be my worst nightmare to be processed by American psychologists to be placed on Big Pharma's latest medications.
       cached 5 April 2014 10:02:01 GMT