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Jenga Pistol
115 points by antr  7 hours ago   12 comments top 7
ohazi 2 hours ago 1 reply      
If you haven't seen Mattias' website before, you should take some time to look at all of the other cool stuff he's built:


This guy is awesome.

hotgoldminer 7 minutes ago 0 replies      
Struck me that it's like a physics flash game (a la Blosics).
olalonde 1 hour ago 0 replies      
If you're interested in this kind of stuff, this German guy has a great channel on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/JoergSprave his slingshot cannon is especially impressive
patcon 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I've been half-joking with friends about going out to the desert and playing "gun jenga". Good to know the physics are in our favor :)
rtpg 2 hours ago 1 reply      
It's kind of interesting how the dynamics of the game completely change with the pistol. Since you can get rid of entire rows now, you have rows of same orientation stacked upon each other all of a sudden.
geuis 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Mattias has a great youtube channel. Highly recommend subscribing. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCckETVOT59aYw80B36aP9vw
pla3rhat3r 3 hours ago 0 replies      
A Jenga shotgun to be used with those oversized sets would be far more impressive. lol
Instagram users that geotag their #tree photos publicize where they live
28 points by thedg  2 hours ago   15 comments top 7
jzwinck 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Does anyone here remember those huge catalogs of everyone's home address? I recall they were full of yellow and white pages.

I'm not sure what the point is here...if someone knows your name they can often simply look up your home address online (or in an anachronism).

Even social security numbers are available online for people who have died: http://ssdmf.info/

I can sympathize with the idea that people should be able to live private lives, but what Instagram is doing doesn't seem particularly notable.

akerl_ 1 hour ago 2 replies      
So Instagram geotags photos when the user agrees to enable geotagging. And photos on public feeds are public.

I'm not seeing how this is unexpected or newsworthy. It just sounds like there are folks out there who don't consider their location to be a secret. Folks who do are able to communicate that by denying the geotagging permission.

userbinator 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I think geotagging, like other image metadata, is far less obvious to the general public than it should be because the location information isn't directly visible most of the time; maybe if cameras that geotagged photos showed their GPS coordinates in the same way that timestamps are shown, people would get the idea.

It's funny how many people will think you're a "hacker" and be very shocked if you reply to a geotagged photo they casually sent with a map pointing to exactly where it was taken. :-)

todd3834 53 minutes ago 0 replies      
You could probably easily tell where anyone lives with the geotagging feature just by looking at breakfast and dinner photos.
minimaxir 1 hour ago 0 replies      
It should be noted that it's extremely easy to scrape geotag information or any public hashtag feed via the Instagram API.


paulwithap 1 hour ago 0 replies      
So do people with numbers listed in the phonebook.
r109 1 hour ago 0 replies      
and for some reason instagram always has to grab my GPS location when I open it. hmmm gtfo.
Why movies look weird at 48fps, and games are better at 60fps
266 points by jfuhrman  12 hours ago   98 comments top 18
sray 10 hours ago 6 replies      
I liked the article, but, as a game developer who does not specialize in graphics, I really liked one of the comments:

Joe Kilner - One extra issue with games is that you are outputting an image sampled from a single point in time, whereas a frame of film / TV footage is typically an integration of a set of images over some non-infinitesimal time.

This is something that, once stated, is blatantly obvious to me, but it's something I simply never thought deeply about. What it's saying is that when you render a frame in a game, say the frame at t=1.0 in a game running at 60 FPS, what you're doing is capturing and displaying the visual state of the world at a discrete point in time (i.e. t=1.0). Doing the analogous operation with an analogous physical video camera means you are capturing and compositing the "set of images" between t=1.0 and t=1.016667, because the physical camera doesn't capture a discrete point in time, but rather opens its shutter for 1/60th of a second (0.16667 seconds) and captures for that entire interval. This is why physical cameras have motion blur, but virtual cameras do not (without additional processing, anyway).

This is obvious to anyone with knowledge of 3D graphics or real-world cameras, but it was a cool little revelation for me. In fact, it's sparked my interest enough to start getting more familiar with the subject. I love it when that happens!

bhauer 11 hours ago 11 replies      
This article is detailed and scientific.

However, anecdotally speaking, the concern I have with evaluating high-frame rate in film is that we have very little contextmost of us have only ever seen Peter Jackson's Hobbit films in HFR. In other words, I have never seen how other directors' work would be affected by HFR.

Speaking exclusively about the Hobbit series in HFR, I too observed an uncanny valley that traditional films intrinsically avoid with their low frame rate. The Hobbit films felt more like a play than a film. A play with elaborate stage effects, but a play nonetheless.

In fact, my chief criticism of Jackson's directing with HFR is that the feeling of watching a play is amplified by how he mixes the sound and directs his extras. The extras routinely just mumble nonsense in the background, leaving only the character you're intended to be focused on speaking clearly. It's the same thing you see in a play when there is background dialog, and it's completely unnatural. You find yourself sometimes distracted by the characters in the background and realizing they're not actually doing anything meaningful or having real conversations. For example, in the most recent film, I found myself more distracted by the unnatural audio in early scenes (such as the beach scene) than the HFR video.

Combine that with the poor acting by the minor characters in the first 45 minutes of the recent film and I think HFR gets a bad rap in large part because the Hobbit films alone are our point of reference.

dperfect 10 hours ago 2 replies      
The most interesting point made in the article (for me) is that the presence of noise/grain - which effectively reduces real detail in an individual image - can actually improve the perceived detail across time with high frame rates.

At first, I thought this extra "detail" could be explained as an illusion (since noise/grain can mask a lack of resolution), but then I read the abstract quoted near the end of the article:

"...visual cortical cell responses to moving stimuli with very small amplitudes can be enhanced by adding a small amount of noise to the motion pattern of the stimulus. This situation mimics the micro-movements of the eye during fixation and shows that these movements could enhance the performance of the cells"[1]

So if I understand right, since the biological systems are tuned to extract extra detail via supersampling across time, and a small amount of noise/grain can enhance that ability (mimicking natural movement of the eye), it actually helps our visual system extract more real detail.

It seems counterintuitive to add noise for more detail, but the explanation is fascinating.

[1] Stochastic resonance in visual cortical neurons: does the eye-tremor actually improve visual acuity? Hennig, Kerscher, Funke, Wrgtter; Neurocomputing Vol 44-46, June 2002, p.115-120

lchengify 9 hours ago 1 reply      
> At 48Hz, youre going to pull out more details at 48Hz from the scene than at 24Hz, both in terms of motion and spatial detail. Its going to be more than 2x the information than youd expect just from doubling the spatial frequency, because youre also going to get motion-information integrated into the signal alongside the spatial information.

I had a conversation with a friend at Pixar about exactly this topic.

The issue goes beyond just pulling more spacial information out of a shorter timeframe, it's also that all the current techniques for filmmaking assume 24fps.

Everything has a budget of time and money, and when you say, make 1000 extra costumes for a shot, you cut corners in certain ways based on your training as a costume designer. Your training is based on trade techniques, which are based on the assumption that the director of photography (DOP) and director are viewing the work at 24fps with a certain amount of spacial detail. Doubling the frame rate means some of those techniques need to be more detailed, whereas others might be completely useless.

Given everything that goes into a shot (hair/makeup, set design, lighting, costume design, props, pyrotechnics, etc), it's unlikely everyone working on a high-fps film is going to be aware of exactly which techniques do and do not work. As a result, you get lots of subtle flaws exposed that don't work with twice the detail. The sum of these flaws contribute heavily to making the shot look 'videoish'.

AndrewDucker 11 hours ago 3 replies      
So, basically, at 24FPS things are blurry enough that you can't see the fine details, which means that special effects and costumes look realistic.

Increase the frequency to 48FPS and the blur goes away, meaning that we can see the fine detail, and suddenly sets look like sets, costumes look like costumes, and CGI looks like a computer game.

baby 10 hours ago 7 replies      
I personally love HFR and have went out of my ways to watch the three The Hobbits in HFR (I traveled to Paris, the only place in France where they have it in HFR).

When people complain about 48fps being weird I just feel like they're just not used to it. It does look weird but after 20 minutes it looks amazing. I'm personally tired of not understanding anything in action movies that uses 24fps. It is kind of a luxury for the eyes to have 48 fps and I predict that in a few years we'll have the same debate we have with console now (60 fps is better than 30 fps).

We got used to 24 fps and so we're making justifications on why it looks better when it clearly doesn't if you take a step back.

EpicEng 12 hours ago 0 replies      
UhUhUhUh 11 hours ago 0 replies      
There's also a high-level processing aspect. The brain excels at extracting relevant information, which includes discordant information. Back in the days, a solo violin was tuned slightly off to allow the audience to hear it over the orchestra. Barthes also came up with the "punctum" idea, whereby an odd detail in a picture will generate an impression.What I'm saying is that higher-level processing is probably responsible for a number of "impressions" that might have little to do with fps.
Jyaif 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I disagree on both explanations:

1/ The "soap opera effect" explains the 48 fps issue.

2/ The lack of motion blur in games is the reason why higher fps are better (see https://www.shadertoy.com/view/XdXXz4 for a great visualisation).

Qiasfah 11 hours ago 3 replies      
Most serious FPS gamers swear by screens that have a higher update rate than 60hz.

In the past this was achieved by setting your CRT to a low resolution and upping the refresh rate. More recently you can get TN LCD panels that offer 120 or 144hz update rates.

Moving the mouse in small quick circles on a 144hz screen compared to a 60hz screen is a very different experience. On a 60hz screen you can see distinct points in the circle where the cursor gets drawn. With 144hz you can still see the same effect if you go fast enough, but it is way smoother.

This makes a huge difference for being able to perceive fast paced movements in twitch style games and is the reason there has been a shift to these monitors across every competitive shooter.

My thoughts on this is that this behavior is similar to signal sampling theorems. Specifically the Nyquist theorem talks about how you have to sample at at least 2x the max frequency of a signal to accurately represent the frequency. For signal generation this means that you have to generate a signal at at least twice the rate of the max frequency you want to display. If you want to accurately reconstruct the shape of that signal you need 10x the max frequency (for example two samples in one period of a sine wave makes it look like a sawtooth wave, ten samples makes it look like a sine wave).

So, if you're moving your mouse cursor quickly on a screen or playing a game with fast paced model movement even if your eyes can only really sample at something like 50-100hz the ideal monitor frequency might be 1000hz. There's a lot of complexity throughout the system before we can get anything close to this (game engines being able to run at that high of a framerate, video interfaces with enough bandwidth to drive that high of a framerate, monitor technology being able to switch the crystals that fast, etc.).

Yes, 48fps movies typically look less cinematic, but I think this is a flaw in movie making technology and not of the framerate. The fight scenes in the hobbit sometimes look fake because you can start to tell how they aren't actually beating up the other person. This detail is lost at 24fps and is why they have been able to use these techniques.

dsugarman 10 hours ago 1 reply      
I see the same arguments arise about HFR as I do with stereoscopy and the rhetoric follows the same as the switch from vinyl to digital music formats: it is no longer art. It feels like you lose the artistic effect when you add a multiple of information to your brain. The reality is artists need to learn how to be mindful of the new medium and the old tricks they used to overcome older medium defects need to be removed from the process. (Ex. Over use of makeup) I am excited because we have a bright future with better media technology and pioneers like James Cameron are leading the way.
jfuhrman 11 hours ago 0 replies      
suchow 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Does anyone know of a good demo of different frame rates that I can view on a laptop? Is this even possible with LCDs?
abandonliberty 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I dug into high FPS film when I read that 24 fps were designed to be viewed in a dark theatre, when human eyes blur images due to switching between rods and cones.

Most of us no longer watch content in darkness. James Cameron is of the opinion that improving FPS is more significant than moving up from HD. I figured I should trust the professional who devotes his life to this.

To truly evaluate high FPS movies and video content, you have to watch it for a while.

The SmoothVideo Project (SVP) is pretty awesome. Needs some good hardware, made by volunteers, and needs some work to get set up well.

It struggles in scenes with lots of detail, but panning scenes are incredibly beautiful.

Going back is a bit difficult.

anonymfus 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Can it be that description of 24 fps as "dreamy" is subjective? Because usually my dreams don't have such effect. I like plays and 48 fps Hobbit.

May be it's like in the days of monochrome media black-and-white dreams were a norm, but today they are exception.

nitrogen 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Is anyone else redirected to a 403 error on a completely different site (broadbandtvnews) when following the link?
leonatan 10 hours ago 0 replies      
But... UbiSoft said some games are better and more "cinematic" at 30fps. Derp!
How America Became an Economic Superpower
75 points by tokenadult  7 hours ago   53 comments top 7
alricb 6 hours ago 5 replies      
> The vast landscape in between Berlin and Moscow would become Germanys equivalent of the American west, filled with German homesteaders living comfortably on land and labor appropriated from conquered peoplesa nightmare parody of the American experience with which to challenge American power.

Er, the American push westwards was quite nightmarish and genocidal, and US homesteaders appropriated land much like Hitler planned to do.

chulk90 5 hours ago 3 replies      
Unfortunately, the author tweaks facts and statistics to make his claims more believable than they are.

For example, the author claims that Germany lost its chance to conquer Europe and the U.S. This is very misleading, and here's why.

Even though Germany rose to the Europe's most industrial and populous nation state following the unification of 1871, its production capacity was incomparable to that of the combined outputs of its western rivals. That is why Otto von Bismarck wanted the newly established Empire to stay out of any conflicts (and this is why he got fired by the more aggressive Wilhelm II).

The U.S. at that time was nobody. It was still undergoing the post-Civil War recovery and the Industrial Revolution JUST arrived on the continent. No European nation was interested in conquering the largely agrarian society.

Germany didn't miss a chance. It had neither the capacity nor the will to conquer the U.S.

vitobcn 4 hours ago 2 replies      
There is a great 2009 article from Stratfor [1] (The Geopolitics of the United States, Part 1: The Inevitable Empire) which outlines how America came to be the country it was in the 20th century.

The article attributes most of American strengths to geographical advantages and previous geopolitical moves. It's quite a long article, and even if you don't agree with Stratfor views, I would really recommend reading it.

[1] : http://www.stratfor.com/analysis/geopolitics-united-states-p...

pastProlog 1 hour ago 1 reply      
> European states mobilized their populations with an efficiency that dazzled some Americans (notably Theodore Roosevelt) and appalled others (notably Wilson).

Yes and no. People nowadays really don't even remember the end of World War I. Russian troops began shooting their officers and marching back to St. Petersburg and Moscow. Earlier that year were the massive Nivelle mutinies of French enlisted men. There were the German naval mutinies of 1918, followed by a powerful but ultimately failed revolution in Germany by communists (put down by the socialist-run government - echoes of the French communist party ending the 1968 left-communist uprising which caused de Gaulle to flee France). Hungarian workers had an uprising and established a Soviet republic in 1919, which lasted until it was defeated by an invasion by Romania. Italy saw the Biennio Rosso with factory occupations in Turin etc. which were finally ended when Mussolini marched on Rome in 1922. As late as 1976 the Italian communist party was getting over 1/3 of the vote in Italy, with the Socialist party (with a hammer and sickle emblem) getting 9% of the vote, and the left-communist Maoists getting over half a million votes (never mind the non-voting anarchists/autonomists).

Europe mobilized its population twice in the twentieth century. The first time Russia became communist, the second time everything east of Steppin to Trieste became communist. With Europe needing the US with NATO, Marshall plan, Gladio etc. to keep post-WWI western Europe (Spain, Italy and France) from becoming communist. Eventually Europe's capitalists learned going to war with one another's countries didn't help them all that much.

vorg 5 hours ago 1 reply      
> the U.S. thrust upon every country that wished to return to the gold standard (and what respectable country would not?) an agonizing dilemma

What about the silver standard that was used in previous centuries? Oh, the West spent it all buying spices from China. They tried getting it back by getting the Chinese addicted to opium and selling them that, but that didn't last long. So change the rules: use gold instead of silver as the standard! Until the 1970's anyway when the standard had changed to uranium.

elberto34 4 hours ago 6 replies      
In 2014, much like 2014, we saw America only solidify its economic dominance http://greyenlightenment.com/?p=1556

The US dollar and S&P 500 has outperformed all peers

US GDP growth has exceeded nearly all counties, including emerging markets (adjusted for inflation). Meanwhile Russia, EU, Australia, Canada and Japan all having problems due to falling oil and stagnation.

Yields still rock bottom due to huge demand for low yielding debt

America is not just pulling ahead of the rest of the world, it's running circles around it.

I hate to be the bearer of good news, but America, for all its flaws, is still the envy of the world. Its fastest-growing, most innovative tech companies and its most prestigious institutions of higher learning, such as the Ivy League, Caltech and MIT, are inundated with applicants from foreigners. Foreigners also cant get enough of Americas most expensive real estate, nor can they get enough of Americas low yielding debt. If we really were in a post America era as the left insists we are, none of this would be happening.

The US economy has hardly been in a slog, especially compared to the rest of the world. The last quarter of GDP was revised to 5% the fastest growth since 2003.

lifeisstillgood 4 hours ago 1 reply      
> America was a byword for urban graft, mismanagement and greed-fuelled politics, as much as for growth, production, and profit,

Given my laypersons knowledge of Tammeney Hall, the early 20th century labour gangs and so on, it seems incredible that America is not subject to more such problems - but what did it do right - and is it still doing it right?

Each New Boot a Miracle DOSBOX in the Browser
53 points by ingve  10 hours ago   4 comments top 3
nitrogen 4 minutes ago 0 replies      
This was a delight to read. The nostalgia and writing style combined to let me feel the author's excitement about the emulator. Great work.
bane 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Once again, Jason Scott and archive.org demonstrate why it might just be on of the crown jewels of the internet.
cardiffspaceman 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Get wordperfect 5.1 in there and you might make money. Not legal advice.
Long-Term Culture of Stem Cells from Adult Human Liver
18 points by signa11  3 hours ago   discuss
Adventures in Piano Building
105 points by cevn  9 hours ago   19 comments top 11
josh2600 5 hours ago 3 replies      
Wonderful piece, but the author is wrong about one point.

The idea that Piano rolls predate all other programmable storage medium is factually incorrect. Surely the Jacquard loom and its punch-card system, patented in 1801, pre-date the piano rolls of the 1900's?

Other than that, a great piece, but I would be remiss if I missed a chance to remind people of how amazing (and early) the Jacquard loom must've been at the time.

userbinator 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I also found some very hard and crusty pieces of cotton wedged between a few of the hammers that didnt look like they were supposed to go anywhere and were blocking some of the parts

Those were the dampers, without them the sound will be "harder" and more percussive:


With such a big LCD I think it would be a fun addition to embed a PC inside it, with the keyboard of the piano acting as its... keyboard. After all, the original PC/AT keyboard only had 84 keys.

...and those who liked the article might find this interesting too: http://www.linusakesson.net/chipophone/

qdot76367 1 hour ago 1 reply      
If you're interested in getting into the nitty gritty of piano building and maintenance, check out this book: http://www.pianosinsideout.com/

It's basically an engineering textbook for pianos.

tunesmith 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Bravo! It's so fun and... whatever that word is that is a mix between inspiring and intimidating... to see journals of projects like these where so many different interests and passions come together. I loved the visualization exploration, too - aside from the lines, most of them didn't really communicate anything to me but I was surprised at how well the circles one worked.
callesgg 2 hours ago 1 reply      
One thing i know from my own Digital Piano is how important the force and speed of the key strokes is.

Something that the article did not mention accounting for.

sizzzzlerz 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Fantastic! I love your integrating the display into the whole experience. Its really surprising how nice the tuned piano sounded. Your tuner worked some real magic there.
jacquesm 7 hours ago 0 replies      
That's one of the best posts for the year. Thanks cevn!
dangoldin 7 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a great post! Thanks for sharing. Makes me want to pick up a hobby that involves something other than staring at a computer screen.
Avitas 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I have no interest in pianos. How interesting could this possibly be?

WOW! This is something that would bring a smile to... hmm, I would guess, damn near everyone.

peapicker 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Fantastic work, really enjoyed the article.
fit2rule 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I've seen the same shiny-eyed ethos in piano builders as I have in computer makers. There's something very aesthetic about both sciences, which makes them so valuable - at a spiritual level - to us all. Piano's will never feed you, nor computers - but both can be used to motivate our fellow man into the effort, and thats all that matters I suppose.
Introduction to Modern Brain-Computer Interface Design
50 points by MichaelAO  6 hours ago   7 comments top 3
kcoul 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been looking for a good modern overview like this since I became interested in the OpenBCI project that finally has some devices shipping.

During my CS degree I wrote one paper with numerous citations from the field of neuroscience, as I was trying to make a case for ways to change the way we teach and learn so as to build more robust memory models of the things we are trying to memorize. The case I used in my paper was pieces of notated sheet music, but I believe the same principles could hold in areas like language learning (whether computer languages or human) or mathematics equally well.

I'd like to build/buy a good enough EEG to show that specific patterns emerge when we achieve the specific kind of focus that allows for this optimally efficient kind of learning to take place. (The implication being that if we are able to induce this type of brainwave pattern rather than expect the individual to achieve it on their own, then we might be able to make a significant step forward in the field of educational neuroscience).


MichaelAO 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I came across this while taking a look at the Muse SDK. I've been practicing daily meditation/qigong and my western mind wants to augment my efforts with some type of biofeedback device. My first thought was to use the Muse with the Oculus rift. Regardless, the brain-computer interface seems important. We might look back 10 years from now and consider it strange that our devices didn't explicitly take into account things like our emotional state.

After watching Bret Victor's most recent talk, I thought, "This is awesome. I totally get where you're coming from, but show me something tangible." Maybe brain-computer interface can point us in the right direction.

etrautmann 2 hours ago 1 reply      
This course appears to ignore a large portion of the field, such as the intracortical recordings used by Braingate [1] and all of the neural prosthetics work using implanted electrodes. The methods are quite different since EEG is incredibly noisy and low bandwidth in comparison to more invasive sensors.

[1] http://braingate2.org/

Intels e-DRAM Shows Up in the Wild
82 points by jacquesm  8 hours ago   15 comments top 3
baq 8 hours ago 0 replies      
note - this is from February. those chips are in lots of places right now.
aristidb 6 hours ago 0 replies      
This is Crystalwell, right? Which is shipping in some laptops to power the embedded graphics.
deegles 7 hours ago 4 replies      
I wonder if in the future we'll have motherboards with two cpu-like sockets, except the other has an e-dram only chip. I assume the performance is better than regular dram.
Why the Best Places to Work Often Arent
68 points by frostmatthew  4 hours ago   29 comments top 11
nostrademons 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Ex-Googler here, now working on my own startup. I had weeks at Google with 14 hour days and time in on the weekends. I also had weeks where I worked 4-6 hours/day and put away the phone & laptop on the weekend, or even ducked out at 2:30 on a Friday afternoon so I could celebrate my anniversary with my girlfriend.

I appreciate the sentiment of the article, but there's a lot of complexity to the issue that it ignores. For one, most of the time that I was working crazy hours was because I a.) wanted and b.) needed to. I believed in the project's mission, the work was fun & challenging, and there was a lot to do that just wouldn't get done if I didn't put in the hours.

Similarly, when I worked very light hours, it was because there wasn't much work that I had to do. I was blocked on other teams, or in-between projects and my manager didn't have a good idea where I'd be productive at the moment, or "held in reserve" so that if we needed to react quickly to market opportunities I'd be well-rested and not occupied by other projects.

Working hard is not always a bad thing, or onerous, or exhausting. Sometimes employees work hard because they believe in what they're doing and want to do a good job; that's part of what makes a company a good place to work, after all. And sometimes it is, and creates a very unhealthy competition where everybody tries to outdo each other. I think that one of the things that Google in general and Larry Page in particular realizes is that people will have different desires for work/life balance at different stages in their life, and that within a large company, there should be places that can accommodate everyone from the achievement-oriented new Ph.D grad to the family with a young kid.

xigency 1 hour ago 1 reply      
From interviewing at Google, I had a really robotic impression of employees and life there. The entire process was disorganized. I drove four hours across the state to get there, navigating all sorts of construction, and found my own accommodations. When I arrived on site I was repeatedly asked to solve the same Java/C problems on whiteboards for a new person each time.

No one bothered to ask me what made me unique or interesting, even though I have amazing stories to tell from traveling around the world and from projects I've worked on in the past. The free lunch thing is sort of over-blown, when you have to fill out a form and shout over a line of people to get a BLT sandwich made. And then there were a bunch of bicycles strewn out across the campus, mostly toppled over, for no explicable reason.

Honestly, the only reason I would want to work there is for the money, and for that reason employees should not really expect to enjoy their time there.

glesica 2 hours ago 3 replies      
I once worked in a very, very low-on-the-totem-pole position for a company ranked highly on the Fortune "Best Companies to Work For". The reason their employees said such nice things about them is that they went to great lengths to only hire people who would "drink the Kool-Aid", so to speak. If you only hire people who can be convinced that you are wonderful, your employees will surely say that you are wonderful.

That being said, it was not a completely terrible place to work. There are much worse. It would have been hard to convince even "suckers" that it was a good place to work if it had, in fact, been a truly awful place to work. But it definitely wasn't great. The pay was mediocre, and the expectations were through the roof. And if you didn't act sufficiently grateful, if you didn't appear thrilled to be there at all times, then it actually became a pretty hostile place to spend time.

WalterBright 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I work for myself. The only problem is my boss is incompetent.
tonysuper 2 hours ago 4 replies      
So, for those of is trying to start companies, how do you create an effective work-place environment?

It's obvious from articles like this that you can't just dump a bunch of cash on slides and ping-pong tables, but it also isn't fesable (for most companies) to have 4-hour workdays. How can you balance the need for breaks with budget concerns?

I'd really appreciate somebody with experience in the area weighing in.

7Figures2Commas 2 hours ago 4 replies      
This is timely in light of the "Dear Future Homejoy Engineer" job posting[1] that is currently on the front page. It starts off with "so it's xmas eve and i'm in the office with several other folks who didnt have plans for xmas either. everyone is cranking away. weve decided to watch the interview later and then get dinner and drinks together" and gets more depressing from there.

This article speaks about "four core needs" of employees ("physical, emotional, mental and spiritual") but the author doesn't seem willing to consider the possibility that employers aren't capable of meeting these deep personal needs in the first place.

Personally, I think the imbalance, chaos and unsustainable pace you see in even the supposedly "best" workplaces is more often than not just a reflection of the fact that large numbers of individuals don't set boundaries, prioritize or make a dedicated effort to invest in their own health and well-being. These people are not going to go to the Googleplex or a hot startup's swagged-out SOMA digs and suddenly find enlightenment. Unhappy, unbalanced people are going to be unhappy and unbalanced wherever they go and in many cases, they'll seek out environments that are unhappy and unbalanced.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8794956

ryan90 2 hours ago 0 replies      
This topic is very valid, but far to complex and nuanced to be addressed in a single article.

Long hours at Google? Please. The long hours argument would certainly hold up at many of the other companies on the list, however. Point being that no generalization can define why these rankings are misleading (though they certainly can be).

defenestration 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Quote from article: "But these lists dont really measure something even more important: the quality of their employees lives." But the article isn't showing that the quality of life at lower ranked companies is better. In the end you are responsible for your own quality of life. You can achieve amazing things at Google, Facebook, etc, but it comes at a price. Key question is: what do you value most?
bane 18 minutes ago 0 replies      
I work for a "best place to work".

Before that I worked at a place I could charitably call a "bottom place to work".

I've worked at a few very mediocre places as well.

So I've been around the block so to speak.

About a decade and a half ago, I worked at a place that doesn't show up on any of these lists. The main day-to-day difference it seems from where I work now and this place I worked at long ago is that I get free candy and juice. The other place had more interesting work. Almost all of my professional acquaintances come from the former place.

We have a badass cafeteria, but I still have to pay for it. So I guess that's better than the Amazon gig and the mediocre to decent food I was offered?

One of the chefs here is a former Google executive chef, his Polenta with mushroom sauce is pretty good, but a bit tart.

I get whatever hardware and resources I've asked for so far. So far I've gotten a large format printer with staff, 3 developers, a new rMBP with top of the line specs, a new monitor, travel expensed and have $100k worth of rack mountable GPUs on order.

I've found not-for-profits to be consistently decent places to work, plus I can take pride in working at them for all kinds of principled reasons. Even if the pay sucks, the offices tend to be nice and its nice knowing you're helping the species move forward a little every day. The unofficial motto where I work is "fuck the money, do the right thing by the client". I like that.

But I know from long-timers that work-life balance kind of sucks and there's been some lean times recently that have left some old-timers hungry with a thirst they can't quite get rid of. There's a yoga class I can take, $60/season. We have a Gym, the showers are cleaned twice a day.

I've found that for-profits make me a heck of a lot more money, but range from miserable to mediocre.

I've almost worked at Google, Amazon and a few other bright stars on these kinds of lists, but the problems didn't seem terribly interesting even if the cafeterias were cool. I guess pushing ads, on-line retail or some other kind of kool-aidery is hip. I like my Android phone well enough. Maybe if I could have taken that salary and moved cross country and displaced my life, the free catered meals would have been worth it. The quiz-show interview was lame and completely irrelevant for the job they wanted me to do.

I've interviewed with a few places that think they're best places to work. 3 catered meals a day, game room, casual dress code, whatever. It's fine, but then they're supporting 10 year old application cruft and the hardest problems they have to solve is supporting the new release of Java.

The most I've ever learned, and thus the most rewarding job I ever worked was for a small and scrappy startup that failed. The lessons I learned there have earned me nonstop promotions at better places. I would absolutely do that again if I had a time machine even though it had really sucky aspects to it. It didn't even come close to being a best place to work...though I also got free candy and juice.

The best problems I've ever worked was for a shitty shitty mega-corp. They sent me around the world 4 times in two years, to active war zones, where I got shot at. Coding under fire is amazing. Saving people's lives is amazing. Dealing with corporate bullshit back home where none of that is recognized for any reason sucks. I recently was contacted by an employee to answer questions about code I hacked out 7 years ago while taking mortar fire. The stories I'll tell my grandkids come from this job. Also not a best place to work.

It's interesting McKinsey is in the top-10. I've only ever heard terrible things about working there. The average rate of burn-out is under 2 years for new hires, so the suck factor must be incredibly high. But then again, a McKinsey bullet on your resume opens lots of doors.

In-N-Out and Costco are probably great to work if you don't have options. But I definitely need more than $12/hr for the lifestyle I've become accustomed to.

I know of Googlers who take month-long spur of the moment vacations 3 times a year and keep advancing. I know others who are on-call and put in hard 14-16 hour days constantly and fight with their managers for their pay increases.

It really is relative. If the work doesn't interest you, or the politics suck, or you like getting paid on time, and that matters to you more than anything else, then you might have a terrible time. You want dry-cleaning, catered lunches and work-life balance? Then maybe this list is a good one for you.

Google does have interesting problems, but it's likely that you won't be working on them.

trhway 1 hour ago 0 replies      
best places i worked at i'd not call a "Best Place to Work" as it was about successful work and not about being a "Best Place". Currently i work at a typical BigCo, mindless work, mindless management, one of those highest rated "Best Places to Work" for those who care :)
michaelochurch 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Different take on this: being perceived as "the cultural leader" is actually detrimental to a company.

Let's take Google as an example, although any large company with a strong reputation would do. Take technical or cultural or managerial attribute Q (say, which programming language to privilege). Ask "what is the best Q option for Google?" Most people will admit that they don't know. There are lot of variables. Ask "what is the best Q option for the cultural leader? Suddenly you get a bunch of bikeshedding product executives trying to throw their weight around. Now that it's not "Google" being discussed but "the cultural leader" hanging in the balance, peoples' opinions get much more entangled and politicized (if less relevant to the specific needs of the company, Google).

The concept of "the cultural leader" in technology is flawed and dangerous and it attracts people for the wrong reasons. You should hire the people who want to make a cultural leader by doing great work and, um, leading... not people who want to hold high positions at an organization already recognized for leadership.

Atom Shell: Cross-platform desktop application shell
128 points by kartikkumar  12 hours ago   41 comments top 16
gnufied 11 hours ago 3 replies      
At my workplace we evaluated atom-shell for couple of desktop apps we were building but we found various shortcomings:

1. Limited integration with desktop environment. Have a look at System tray integration for example, https://github.com/atom/atom-shell/blob/master/docs/api/tray... in many cases it is just too simplistic.

2. Another thing we learnt the hard way is, a lot of JS charting libraries are not meant for plotting streaming data for long period of time. We for example found that, most d3js based charting libraries start to balloon in memory usage if left running for > 1 hour or so.

3. Large executables.

It is still a nice platform to develop on! But if you are stuck with performance problems or something, coding your way out of it is way harder (unless you are willing to get your hands dirty with atom-shell code itself).

EDIT: So we ended up using Qt. in fact, a lot of JS libraries can be used in Qt via QML, for example - https://github.com/jwintz/qchart.js/tree/master.

seivan 22 minutes ago 0 replies      
Looks like https://github.com/appjs/appjsand https://github.com/sihorton/appjs-deskshell/

(If you want to look at alternatives)

heavenlyhash 7 hours ago 0 replies      
How portable is this, exactly?

Previously, node-webkit looked like a great contender for a universally shippable desktop UI system, but it actually falls on several platforms due to invalid presumptions about locally available dynamically linked libraries [1]. It would be great to see an up-front document about portability promises.

Is it possible to use other languages to drive the rendering via a linked API? Thrust [2] did a good start on defining an API for using the UI components from multiple languages, but it still relies on TCP sockets -- as far as I can tell, there's no way to make my application load assets from "bundle://" and redirect that to custom handler code while forbidding other network access, and the use of a local TCP socket to communicate between the UI and the main application means there's also major reason to be concerned about CSRF attacks on localhost. We should be able to build desktop UIs without these problems. Is atom-shell pushing forward on any of these issues, and if so is there any documentation on how?

[1] https://github.com/rogerwang/node-webkit/wiki/The-solution-o...

[2] https://github.com/breach/thrust

xtrumanx 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Previous discussion of atom-shell and other similar software here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8729791
mattdesl 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Tools like atom-shell and thrust[1] may not integrate into the OS as smoothly as Qt/etc but they do show a lot of promise for web tooling. e.g. shader authoring tools, motion/animation editors, WebAudio API editors, etc.

Summed up my thoughts here: http://mattdesl.svbtle.com/motion-graphics

[1] - https://github.com/breach/thrust

Rotten194 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I been using node-webkit + THREE.js for an app, and really enjoying it. This looks interesting, but are there any major differences between in and node-webkit that would interest me in switching? There doesn't seem to be a comparison section in the readme.
thomasfoster96 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I initially started using node-webkit a couple of weeks ago but I decided to have a look atom-shell last week.

I miss how thorough, relative to atom-shell, the docs are for node-webkit, but atom-shell does seem more mature and thoughtful in the way things have been implemented. Nide-webkit's iframe changes are a bit ugly, but atom-shell's webview element is nice and clean, plus it looks as though Mozilla want to standardise something similar.

Has anyone seen issues with the separate browser and application processes? I haven't had any yet but I feel that I might run into issues soon.

frankwiles 11 hours ago 2 replies      
We've been busy developing a product with atom-shell that will be released next year. Works great, no complaints so far anyway!
pjmlp 10 hours ago 2 replies      
It just feels wrong. Better go with Qt/QML or JavaFX/Nashorn.
markus2012 7 hours ago 2 replies      

FYI atom-shell seems to work better with node v0.11 than node-webkit if you're trying to build little admin/maintenance utilities that need sudo.

node-webkit gets in the way of the sudo working.

WhiteNoiz3 10 hours ago 2 replies      
How does this compare to Node-webkit?
WorldWideWayne 10 hours ago 1 reply      
It seems like a very nice kit, but I think I'd rather just use the native WebView that comes with the OS. Once you embed the browser engine, everything else is easy and you have a lot more flexibility with what can be done natively.
incanus77 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Mapbox built their latest map design studio on Atom Shell: https://www.mapbox.com/mapbox-studio/
BruceM 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Make sure you also check out the starter app!


yumraj 10 hours ago 4 replies      
Does something similar exist for iOS and Android apps? In other words, could someone opine on what's the best way to create mobile apps that are wrappers around web apps. Is the common approach to create a native app with embedded browser or is there some other way?
niutech 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Cool, but why reinvent the wheel rather than use Brackets Shell, Node Webkit, CEF or QtWebKit?
Slur, a decentralized, anonymous, Bitcoin-based marketplace for information
80 points by pervycreeper  9 hours ago   33 comments top 16
hellbanner 2 minutes ago 0 replies      
Woa, when I visited the link Chrome downloaded a file called FQwWHM735zm and then prompted me "this site is trying to download multiple files". ???
fabulist 5 hours ago 1 reply      
This is really disappointing and almost seems engineered to proliferate Bitcoin's reputation as a technology to service criminals.

I also think that they misunderstand the needs of their potential customers. They are trying to introduce a public, crowd-funded service to a market for covert information without any sense of irony. In broad strokes, a third of the value of a stolen secret is in knowing it; another third is having exclusive access; and the last third is that your competition does not know they've been robbed. When they realize that you have their IP, they will pour money into R&D. Since they are already familiar with their work -- and you are not yet -- they are likely to beat you to market.

For that reason I'm skeptical this venture can compete with existing black markets.

yourad_io 36 minutes ago 0 replies      
How would you arbitrate unverifiable data? How about if I auction "I know who hacked Sony" and the "data" is simply a name and address, without (or with fickle) proof? Or "Identities of 5 CIA agents in $region"? In fact, most military secrets.

And - how would you arbitrate misleading data? "0-day Flash Exploit For Windows", "...NT4".

Maybe we're missing the irony.

edit: more ranting (won't dupe) https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8795427

olefoo 6 hours ago 2 replies      
How are they going to enforce the exclusive sale model?

I can think of three or four ways to defeat even a relatively sophisticated attempt to do so in an automated manner. And if you're going to make money off selling secrets, what could be better than selling the same thing to a dozen purchasers each of whom thinks that they have an exclusive on the deal.

krapp 3 hours ago 0 replies      
They seem to believe they are more revolutionary and disruptive then perhaps they are.

We already have darknets and assassination markets and... and places to find scandalous celebrity photos and dox. The amount of ego they throw into their copy doesn't inspire a lot of confidence to me.

runn1ng 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Judging by their github, they have a lot of work to do.


dantiberian 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Starting a project like this in C seems like a dangerous proposition. Anonymity would be essential for all parties in the operation, and starting a project in a memory unsafe language doesn't seem like the strongest foundation to build on. It sounds like all of the people involved are experienced, but it still seems like unnecessary risk. Especially as I don't see which part of this would need to be so performant that C is the only option.

However the people behind this have been thinking about it far more than I have so I'm sure they have their reasons for doing it in C.

altoz 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm not sure how the exclusive sale model would work with information. Some problems I see are:

1. You can't prove a negative. The seller cannot prove that there's not a copy of the same information elsewhere.

2. If you prevent the same data from being sold again, the exclusive owner is also prevented from selling. What if that person wants to sell bits and pieces of the information as an arbitrage play?

3. Doesn't this obligate the police to bid for any child pornography whatever the cost?

tlrobinson 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Also: Bitmarkets http://voluntary.net/bitmarkets/

It uses Bitmessage and two party escrow Bitcoin transactions.

ademarre 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Is slur really a good name for this type of thing? I generally want my information to be clearly spoken, not slurred speech.
declan 8 hours ago 1 reply      
This is a good place to reference cypherpunk co-founder Tim May's email from 1992:http://www.activism.net/cypherpunk/crypto-anarchy.html

Took the world long enough to catch up.

PhasmaFelis 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I see comments talking about protecting privacy and fighting the police state. Is it not immediately obvious that the whole point of this service is to facilitate blackmail? I mean, they named the thing "Slur."

"Zero day exploits. For the market defined value rather than a price determined by the corporations under the guise of a bounty with the veiled threat of legal action should the researcher choose to sell elsewhere."

"Stolen databases. Corporations will no longer be able to get away with an apology when they fail to secure their customers confidential data. They will have to pay the market value to suppress it."

This isn't about exposing corrupt secrets for the public good. This is about giving data thieves a way to squeeze more money from their victims (deserving or not) by letting others bid against them. They're not trying to hide it, guys.

mb0 4 hours ago 0 replies      
How will anyone verify that the information being sold is valid?
dlss 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I wish they hadn't used illegal example use cases (stealing trade secrets, etc). I would have donated :-/
ntonozzi 6 hours ago 1 reply      
It seems completely wrong that arbitration requires revealing the content of the secret.
obilgic 5 hours ago 0 replies      
So there is an incentive for volunteers to decline the content?
Dataframes Julia, R, Python
64 points by ajinkyakale  9 hours ago   20 comments top 8
jzwinck 1 hour ago 0 replies      
The example which claims to get "all the rows from 50th row to the 55th row" is broken, since Python is zero-based whereas Julia and R are one-based. The 50th row in Python is at index 49, so the code is not equivalent between the examples.
sebastianavina 4 hours ago 3 replies      
I've seen a lot about Julia on the last months, it seems like a good language (performance and kind of a nice syntax), For me, what makes R a very good choice is because of RStudio. Being able to play there with your data and save it all for later is one of the biggest reasons to use RLang. The Python equivalent would be emacs org-mode, which is great, but not as graphical as RStudio.

Julia seems like a good language, maybe someday i will jump on it, but for the evil mind out there planning to write another language. Please stop, we already have great languages! I can't keep up with the learning! and is so damn difficult to even start a project with so many choices!

Fede_V 7 hours ago 1 reply      
There was a very interesting design discussion by JMW on the julia-dev forum about nullable arrays, and column dtypes:


Even so - right now Pandas is miles ahead of the Julia equivalent. Pandas was the brain child of Wes McKinney - an amazing coder, who really, really cared about speed (who recently also made a lot of money selling his start up to Cloudera - good for him!). The things you can do in Pandas with multi-index selects, joining dataframes on multiple axis, etc, are outright incredible.

peatmoss 6 hours ago 2 replies      
For dataframe-like operations, I've started wondering why more languages don't take the dplyr approach and simply default to using something like SQLite under the hood. Granted, I are no super data genius, but every time I start cracking a little into the internals of a dataframe implementation, I get the sinking feeling that SQL databases have already done the hard work of indexes and efficient data structures.
kldavenport 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Glad they added .query() to Pandas in .13. In general I find the methods in Pandas/NumPy much more consistent with general programming constructs than most of what I see in R. No doubt Hadley has bolted on a lot of great functionality to R, but the Rcpp dependency/GPL license is a turn off.
smu3l 7 hours ago 1 reply      
In Julia, you can create symbols with e.g. :user_id as in Ruby, which looks a lot nicer than symbol("user_id") and doesn't require mapping over an array of strings.
baldfat 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Good showing of what are three good data languages. Strange I was a Python guy for a long time. Pandas just looks strange to me now since I switched to R two years ago.

Seems like I need to dive into Julia again. Haven't for over a year.

IndianAstronaut 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Interesting. Although after spwnding a lot of time on data frames, I have grown to like the csv parsers in postgres where I can do a lot of the same things as data frames, but with clean sql instead of the sometimes odd data frame syntax.

R also stands out because it is so easy to run a wide variety of statistical methods easily on a data frame.

What happens when a software bot goes on a darknet shopping spree?
43 points by DeltaWhy  10 hours ago   12 comments top 3
dyadic 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I find the legal culpability of this fascinating.

Right now it is an extremely concrete example, and really easy to say that the originator of the bot is at blame and should be prosecuted for buying illegal items.

But, how advanced does a bot have to be before it itself is at blame? What if they'd programmed it to reach out and purchase from any vendor it could find? What if it wasn't programmed to do anything but made random acts, took feedback and then learned from it?

andrewfong 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I doubt there's any serious risk of criminal liability here. The key for most crimes is showing (human) intent (by the coders, the operators, or someone). The intent to purchase random items for art via some automated process isn't the same as the intent to purchase drugs for personal use.

That said, if you decide to keep any drugs you get from the not rather than immediately disposing of them, you've demonstrated the requisite intent to be guilty of possession, so there's that.

delinka 4 hours ago 3 replies      
In the US, I suspect a prosecutor would successfully gain a conviction against the bot's operator. This verdict would be repeated several times over a dozen years before any judge or jury ever tried to see it another way. And, IMHO, the only other way this could possibly result in anything other than trouble for the operator is if these bots were not only self-replicating, but also self-funding. They'd have to earn funds, open bank accounts, start VPS accounts, etc, and bombard lots of innocent people with illicit goods before any court would entertain the idea that no human was responsible.
Google and Microsoft Oppose Hotels Effort to Block Personal Wi-Fi
48 points by ademarre  8 hours ago   14 comments top 6
cge 4 hours ago 1 reply      
The arguments being made here are absurd.

There's a huge difference between "causing interference to other signals" or "managing [a hotel's] network in order to provide a secure and reliable Wi-Fi service," and willfully sending malicious packets designed to disable other wireless networks. The latter is buried in the text, but is what they are asking for permission to do. It's somewhat unclear how such behavior is an FCC interference issue rather than a criminal matter.

It's amazing that this is compared to "a homeowner using her cordless telephone that interferes with a neighbor's phone" and "a housewife whose use of a baby monitor device causes interference to a neighbor's garage door opener."

It does lead to an interesting question: if seeing a wireless network, which an automated system will not be able to confirm is actually on their property (consider the plight of nearby homes and businesses!), constitutes a threat that can be attacked, is it allowable for an adjoining property owner, or a guest with a wireless network, to see the hotel's network as a threat, and attack it in the same way?

The "alternatives" that hotels might be forced to implement if hotels aren't allowed to attack other networks are similarly entertaining:

>For example, a hotel could decide to prohibit guests from bringing Part 15 devices on the hotel's property. Alternatively, a hotel could limit the areas where Part 15 devices may be used, for example, by restricting their use to guest rooms or common areas.

I would love to see any hotel attempt this, even for one day.

jzelinskie 4 hours ago 1 reply      
>"We remind and warn consumers that it is a violation of federal law to use a cell jammer or similar devices that intentionally block, jam, or interfere with authorized radio communications such as cell phones, police radar, GPS, and Wi-Fi."[0]

Why should this be any different?

[0]: https://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/jamming-cell-phones-and-gps...

revelation 5 hours ago 1 reply      
That's awkward. Marriott had to settle with the FCC, and as part of that settlement can't jam peoples WLAN, but suddenly theres a decision to be made, petitions considered and Google and Microsoft have to beg for the law to be applied?

How did that happen, exactly?

seanp2k2 5 hours ago 2 replies      
Another option: refuse to stay at Marriott-owned hotels. There are lots of other awesome hotels out there, and a lot are cheaper and/or nicer than Marriott brands.

Related: http://fortune.com/2014/09/16/marriott-tips-worker-wages/

They're not exactly the best company out there to be supporting.

ademarre 8 hours ago 1 reply      
> Marriott has said it had an obligation to protect guests from rogue wireless hotspots that could lead to hacking.

Oh please. It's too easy these days to hide behind security and user protection as a motive. FUD mongering.

javajosh 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Balls. Big, swinging brass balls. That's what the "hospitality" industry has to petition the FCC to allow them to block people's personal wifi.

No doubt they'd also like to block cell phone service so that you have to use the room phone.

Getting Started with Elm
36 points by corysama  9 hours ago   2 comments top 2
wyclif 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Whoa, Elm is a language? And here all along I thought it was an MUA: http://www.instinct.org/elm/
deadfoxygrandpa 1 hour ago 0 replies      
In it, voted 5
The Second Wave of Blockchain Innovation
21 points by Jd  7 hours ago   4 comments top 2
wtbob 35 minutes ago 0 replies      
Argh, 'i.e.' means 'that is'; in the text, it is used to mean 'for example,' which is of course abbreviated 'e.g.'
forgot_password 3 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm not trying to be snide but that article is very difficult to read b/c of the white text.
Julian Assange: Why I Founded WikiLeaks
93 points by CorsairSanglot  13 hours ago   28 comments top 4
xnull2guest 11 hours ago 2 replies      
This goes to some lengths to explain why Assange is willing to publish anything, no matter how damaging in the short term it may be to particular interests.

He doesn't want to be a curator or a decision maker about what information is or is not available. He is interested in solving the architectural problem of removing the ability to having political interests or personal bias influence control what gets published. From his perspective, he is merely a cog in that system he's trying to create - an automaton who doesn't get to make decisions about the content of diplomatic cables, etc.

In this sense it's probably better to think of Assange as an engineer as opposed to a journalist, dissident or politician. It's just that this system he's been trying to create crosses those circles - when the system effects knowledge/power relations and to the degree his system is successful what's left to do is to effect Wikileaks.

Another note: I am in agreement with and happy that Assange recognizes that Wikileaks in a young and incomplete prototype. There are tons of operational questions left: Who gets Wikileaks when Assange passes away? How do you vet a new member? How do you prevent bribery? Isn't it a problem that there is any centralized control of Wikileaks to begin with? Countries have been successful in preventing journalists from partnering with Wikileaks - how does one secure that pipeline?

Sniperfish 11 hours ago 2 replies      
The parent article links to Assange's comments after meeting with Schmidt "Google is Not What it Seems" [1] which has some interesting discussion of the links between Google's senior level and politicians. Published yesterday, I don't recall seeing it linked.

[1] http://www.newsweek.com/assange-google-not-what-it-seems-279...

kauffj 11 hours ago 2 replies      
Therefore the only playing field left is: what do they have and what do they know?

This portrays people as something akin to a Markov process: if you know these two properties, you can make meaningful predictions about the future. Are people so memoryless? It strikes me that at a minimum, history, experience, and culture would all influence behavior and aren't so neatly stateful.

ridgewell 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Assange is an arsehole who's only interest is in publishing documents to damage short-term political interest without interest for morality, the safety of other human beings and the disregard for all things right.
Turf A modular GIS engine written in JavaScript
106 points by uptown  12 hours ago   21 comments top 10
mattdesl 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Re-posting what I said in r/javascript. I'm digging the modularity.

My only complaint would be that some of those modules do not really need to be "turf" specific. For example, "turf-is-clockwise" would be more Unixy if it was just "is-clockwise" or "is-polygon-clockwise". This would help improve discoverability and make them nicer to use alongside other generic npm modules, like:

simplify-path, delaunay-triangulate, triangulate-contours, chaikin-smooth, convex-hull


I also think the turf modules would appeal to other uses than just GIS. They are generic enough to be useful in games, interactive apps, etc. :)

ldng 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Has anyone tested this with a ~500 MB dataset ? Say the parcels of a city. How does it perform ?
thomasfoster96 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Does anyone know how widely this is being used in production? Turf looks pretty good and I've had my eye on it for a while, but I'm not willing to get too attached to it if it has performance issues, and I'd like to hear about other people's experiences.
mrec 10 hours ago 1 reply      
All examples currently failing, getting an error page instead of turf.min.js:

"This request has been blacklisted for sending too much traffic to rawgit.com. Please contact the owner of the site that sent you here and ask them to use cdn.rawgit.com instead, which has no traffic limit."

rektide 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd just started learning about what's offered in Geotools.JS (https://github.com/jillesvangurp/geotools-js). This looks way way more comprehensive; very cool.
mbq 4 hours ago 1 reply      
It is sad that substantial part of this lib assumes flat Earth; it will work well on a city scale, but one has to expect spectacular fails on a longer distances and near the poles :/
metastew 11 hours ago 2 replies      
Have you thought about porting it to Meteor's Atmosphere (https://atmospherejs.com/i/publishing)? You'd only need to set up a Meteor Developer account and then create a Meteor package file and export the library for Meteor's usage (afaik).

I'm curious if this supports Leaflet too?

noer 10 hours ago 0 replies      
wow, that looks beautiful! i used GIS pretty extensively when I worked in the public sector. I've sort of stopped doing any kind of mapping work, but this makes me want to find a project!
whalesalad 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I wish I had a use for this because the documentation is beautiful.
elinchrome 12 hours ago 1 reply      
In the demo wombats code, shouldn't 'miles' be in a constant somewhere? That seem messy.
Music Visualizer Using Python and Numpy for DSP
21 points by wyager  9 hours ago   2 comments top
peter_l_downs 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Looks awesome, I've been wanting to do something like this for a while. Thanks for putting the code online!
Uber slapped with suit by 45 city taxi companies (Philadelphia)
17 points by larrys  4 hours ago   12 comments top 4
meesterdude 1 hour ago 2 replies      
I recently took a cab home in philly, and throughout the ride home the cab driver was telling me about uber and the impact its had on him. He works 2 shifts and makes $70 but the cab itself is $80/day. He used to own a gas station and other real estate but the economy screwed him and he resorted to driving a cab to try and support his kids, which he was barely able to do.

equally, there was a time I had to take my cat to the vet and could not get a cab home. I called every company I could find, tried the apps for the ones that required it, but nothing. One of the people that worked at the clinic drove me about 2 blocks and there was a cab of one of the companies I had tried, sitting in the parking lot of a gas station. That was frustrating.

So I think its unfair what cab drivers are going through. I think Uber and other services bring innovation to the market and consumers have expressed an interest in this. While its true advances in technology often leave a given workforce obsolete, this is more subtle and "technical" in a legal sense; and not nearly as dramatic as self-driving cars will be.

I think philly should give these cab companies a break, or tighten their grip on Uber. Both should be allowed to compete, and do so fairly. Its not in the consumers interests for one or the other to go away.

Also, I think the "uber is just an app" is BS, because they're setting the rates and getting a commission from the ride (someone correct me if I'm wrong on this) so in reality they're operating an automated dispatch service. But I think their entire business model revolves around that talking point, and doubt they would be able to compete with taxi's if forced to play by those rules.

Punoxysm 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I use and enjoy the services that uber offers. That said, it uses dubious loopholes to evade the (misguided, anti-competitive) regulations taxi companies operate under.

Letting uber evade the bad regulations instead of fixing them is a poor solution (same with tesla and dealerships).

colinbartlett 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Edit: Nevermind. I was confused when the article said, "Pennsylvania's Public Utility Commission recently allowed UberX to operate in the state, but not Philadelphia." I took that to mean they were not operating UberX in Philadelphia. But maybe it means they are? Illegally?
FallFastForFun 1 hour ago 1 reply      
goes to show that the only ones upset by Uber are those in competition with them
Rise and fall of our first startup, Epiclist
30 points by theone  12 hours ago   5 comments top 4
mgkimsal 18 minutes ago 0 replies      
> We truly believe in storytelling, but we dont see a working long-term business here.

Lots of thoughts on this one point. Could they not have done some market analysis beforehand? Given the pace of change over the last decade, when you see something with lots of competition and still no one having an actual viable business with profits yet, what drives someone to think they can just "make it happen" (yes, obviously with a lot of work)?

If it's a "highly competitive market" there should be some profitable company by now that you can simply copy. There isn't. I sort of suspect there won't be for a long time - perhaps ever. Or... at least not 'profitable' to the degree that VC/investors want to see.

Why should storytelling have a business model? We have business models around 'storytelling' in the form of book and music publishing, and they're going through dramatic changes. Loads more people can self-publish - very few are profitable, and most aren't really doing it to be profitable in the first place - they're doing it to express themselves.

One of the few ways to do storytelling on anything other than a very local scale had to involve those with access to the publishing tools, and therefore many more 'stories' (music, books, poems, etc) had to fit within the business model of a publishing middleman. That's model is dying/morphing, and 'storytelling' facilitators may never be the business model that it once was.

danso 5 hours ago 0 replies      
A truly epic writeup of the building and closing of a startup...and it's especially a must-read for anyone hoping to go into the content-creator/provider route. This is a good line:

> Observing the user behaviour we have realised that there is no community feeling in the app. People simply did not share a common interest to create networks with new people they did not know, because everyone had different personal goals in mind (from running a marathon to climbing everest to mastering guitar or cooking skills). We werent able to focus ourselves on one direction, let alone focus our users on achieving their dreams.

One of the takeaways is that you can't build a business on such lofty, farwaway goals (e.g. users "achieving their dreams"), just as it's a bad idea to live your life with vague dreams ("I want to be the world's most famous scientist!", "I want to be beautiful and marry a beautiful person")...the success stories we know about came through having and reaching step-by-step concrete goals...Facebook's mission may now be to "connect the world", but it started out as a way to better hookup with Harvard co-eds.

And with content specifically, you're just at a major, if not crippling disadvantage. Content is not scalable. Either in its creation or its consumption. I love reading great stories once in awhile...but it's not a daily need. I don't build a habit for it. And Epiclist, being just an app as opposed to a website, even when I want to discover great stories, there's more friction to discover those stories via a narrow app like Epiclist than there is by just opening up Facebook/Twitter/Google.

joyrider 1 hour ago 0 replies      
A very informative heartfelt write up. Lots of great insights from battle-hardened entrepreneurs here. Thank you.
_almosnow 3 hours ago 1 reply      
The things I'do w/ 200K dollars...
Generating shell scripts from haskell using a shell monad
24 points by joeyh  7 hours ago   3 comments top 2
jweese 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Sadly, this monad can't stop you from doing dangerous stuff in the first place, like iterating over the output of ls:


tobias2014 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Interesting, why not try to build this based on Shelly? (http://hackage.haskell.org/package/shelly)
Show HN: Flux and ReactJS implemented in TypeScript
13 points by mot0rola  7 hours ago   5 comments top
btown 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Does this actually catch any more types of bugs than vanilla JS React would? (Besides simple things that would be caught in an initial run, like not returning an element from render? Does it catch misspelled props, for instance?) It seems like a lot of increased verbosity to justify any gains.
Spreading a little Christmas job-hunting hope
9 points by throwawaybcporn  1 hour ago   3 comments top 3
jamesturn 2 minutes ago 0 replies      
Just curious, so this is a university staff position or are you enrolling in a business school as a student? Either way, congrats!
gmoneynj2000 1 minute ago 0 replies      
Just what I needed to hear! Thanks!!
orliesaurus 11 minutes ago 0 replies      
Glad to hear a good story on Xmas day :) Well done you!
Show HN: Fireplace, a Hearthstone Simulator
24 points by scrollaway  7 hours ago   15 comments top 5
scrollaway 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Over the past few months, I've been hard at work on a simulator for the Hearthstone game by Blizzard.

This turned into a full-blown reimplementation of the game logic pretty fast.

As it turns out, working on this has been the most enlightening and rewarding experience I've ever had in programming. Hearthstone is a very well designed game with very few hacks (much unlike other Blizzard games) and extremely logical rules it has a lot of respect for.

Working on this, more than anything else, has been the most fun I've ever had working on a project. While it is still incomplete, I'm hoping it is of interest to someone as I would love to welcome others to the project. I'm available to answer any questions about it or the Hearthstone's internal design.

Edit: For those looking for an entry point to what this all looks like, since this is very much programmer-oriented for now, the docs I wrote on the wiki (https://github.com/jleclanche/fireplace/wiki) and the tests (https://github.com/jleclanche/fireplace/blob/master/tests/te...) are the best ones.

seanalltogether 2 hours ago 0 replies      
One immediate idea that comes to mind is the ability to create and share quick puzzle games for other HS players. You could define parameters like "clear the board", "find lethal", "minion x must survive", etc... Some players have already been trying to make them by hobbling together screenshots, but they're not as effective.
147 2 hours ago 2 replies      
Could you document the rules of the game somewhere?

Blizzard doesn't make it clear. I was going to embark on a simulator just like this, except I had a hard time figuring out the weird interactions and edge cases.

For instance, I just played a game last night where there was an enemy mad scientist on the board. I play a madder bomber and it kills it, playing a secret for the mage, which turned out to be mirror entity, proccing that secret, and the board was left with me and him having a madder bomber.

I wanted to make AI for hearthstone to test and simulate things, but these weird interactions was preventing me from making a simulator like this.

jc4p 3 hours ago 0 replies      
This is awesome dude. I actually found it via your hearthstone-data repo yesterday since I'm working on a related application (obj-c app to screen-capture arena and tell me which card I should draft), I'm excited to play around with this.
dsjoerg 6 hours ago 2 replies      
Very cool! Have you looked into the legal issues, for example ToS and copyright? I wonder if Blizzard would be within their rights to force a takedown of the code whenever they want.
Partial Recall: Can neuroscience help us rewrite our most traumatic memories?
9 points by chesterfield  4 hours ago   discuss
The Missing Borges
25 points by pepys  7 hours ago   1 comment top
xaritas 5 hours ago 0 replies      
This article contains so many elements of a Borges story that by the second paragraph I assumed I was reading a work of fiction. Upon further reflection, it seems plain that, while every word of it is without doubt true, the story is a hoax.
The Accidental Lobster Farmers
34 points by daddy_drank  9 hours ago   2 comments top
code_duck 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't think we need to resort to analogies like 'Herring was acting as a sort of Miracle-Gro' to understand that feeding wild animals makes them grow faster.
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