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Firefox deactivates Flash by default mozilla.org
381 points by cft  6 hours ago   155 comments top 31
TheWoodsy 39 minutes ago 1 reply      
velcro 4 hours ago 13 replies      
Bugs are always bad (and security bugs even more so) - but I've always felt that Flash gets a disproportional amount of hate/hype in the media. To some degree it should be normal that the more widespread a technology is - the more it gets targeted for security exploits.

If you run the popular browsers/plugins against the National Vulnerability Database, you'd get the following results (as of January 2014):

 - Internet Explorer 366 total vulnerability issues (314 high severity) - Google Chrome 235 total vulnerability issues (154 high severity) - Adobe Flash 207 total vulnerability issues (169 high severity) - Mozilla Firefox 190 total vulnerability issues (86 high severity) - Oracle Java 161 total vulnerability issues (69 high severity)
[source] https://nvd.nist.gov/

kozukumi 4 hours ago 3 replies      
God will Flash just die already. Firefox is my primary browser and I run it without Flash. On the very odd occasion I need it I have IE in protected mode which has Flash built in. If a site does use Flash I will seek an alternative though as I hate it that much.

On a side note Firefox without Flash is so much smoother. IMHO it is the fastest and most stable browser when it doesn't have Flash bogging it down.

vamur 9 minutes ago 0 replies      
Good riddance. Hopefully, they not only deactivate it but remove Flash and Java altogether. These two have been nothing but constant security and performance issues. And without Flash, Firefox can finally work on GTK3.
mrweasel 4 hours ago 4 replies      
I uninstalled Flash a few days ago, because I didn't want to deal with the updates anymore. Since Flash was unbundled from Mac OS X it has become a pain to update. I simply don't understand why I need to go to the Adobe site to get the updates.

Flash isn't super relevant anymore anyway, the main thing it's used for on my computer is Flash tracking cookies, and I can do without those. I do wonder how some of the tracking and retargeting companies will deal with the decline of Flash though. We asked a partner to stop using Flash for tracking, their response was that it's the best way to doing user tracking. Hopefully they'll change their mind soon.

stevenh 5 hours ago 0 replies      
The Flash plugin update fixing the RCE bugs is scheduled to be released tomorrow by Adobe, after which the block will be lifted.
sown 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I just noticed notice in the browser window. I didn't recall seeing it earlier so when I saw this headline, I clicked on the link.

I chuckled when I saw this: http://i.imgur.com/CHqRSEZ.png


jsingleton 4 hours ago 0 replies      
From the page:

"All versions of Adobes Flash Player plugin are currently deactivated by default, until Adobe releases an updated version to address known critical security issues."

This implies that it will be reactivated soon and this isn't a permanent block. It looks like the same mechanism that blocks old and vulnerable versions of plugins like Silverlight.

That said, I've not installed flash in years. I use Firefox as my main browser with no plugins and IE/Chrome have it embedded (both auto-update with no system restart required).

shurcooL 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I made it my new year's resolution in 2015 to have Flash disabled. For my use case, it works great. Longer battery, less heat, and the internet still works.

I do turn it on (enable) every now and then for some sites, but very few/infrequently and turn it off right after.

cousin_it 5 hours ago 4 replies      
When all browsers disable Flash, a ton of old artistic content will become unaccessible. I'm thinking specifically about Homestuck animations and minigames, but other people will have their own favorites. Is there a good transition plan?
AndrewDucker 4 hours ago 1 reply      
I have that setting already set - Flash is set to "Ask to Activate", which means it only runs on sites that I actually want it to run on.

Which prevents a lot of autoplaying videos, and also pages sometimes taking a long time to load on slow connections.

kailuowang 32 minutes ago 1 reply      
AFAIK, the only way for javascript on a website to copy something into your clipboard is through Flash. It might be a good thing to prevent such functionality, but I wonder if Firefox took this into consideration.
xmj 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been maintaining the FreeBSD port of the Flash 11 linux software for a year or so.

The one thing I have learned during that time is:

How to write a good VuXML entry.

I agree with the general sentiment of removing Flash, and will do my part in convincing others that FreeBSD (and, derived, PC-BSD and FreeNAS) should probably consider setting an expiration date for Flash, then at that date delete it.

bopf 2 hours ago 0 replies      
This is terrible for anyone who relies on Flash to get any kind of interactivity going inside the FB timeline.It would have been better if FF would just display a warning and then let the user decide if they want the Flash content blocked or displayed.Obviously it would be even better yet if FB would finally allow interactive HTML 5 content in its timeline.
HugoDaniel 4 hours ago 2 replies      
Unfortunately in this case avoiding the problem won't make it go away.

Many old sites will stop working (my first site was done in flash) as well as many games that are still heavily played today by millions of people. Also flash IDE provides a good introduction to programming for self-taught kids these days: many of them still do their first code in flash after clicking on "that strange icon next to photoshop".

Overall this is a good example of prolonged trusting a binary blob. IMO we will always tend to do what is more comfortable and we should strive for openness and transparency in the tools that most people rely for everyday.

The problem persists as long as there are people installing the plugin or "enabling" it.

We need a real open-source alternative to flash player.

jetskindo 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Flash always have security issues and Adobe do their best to fix them.

On the consumer side of things, flash is not so bad. Sure search engines couldn't read it but there is amazing content generated through it. The content is,what matters and unfortunately the Web is littered with abusive flash objects auto playing videos, audio, full screen ads and those won't simply go away with flash.

At least with flash I can easily disable it. But those auto playing html5 videos and audios ads are just as annoying. Now I need plug ins to disable native capability.

It's only a matter of time until all ads move to the medium and we find ourselves complaining.

erichurkman 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Good, just leave it there.
zeeed 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I hope this will be another push for content creators to abolish flash in the long term.
orf 4 hours ago 1 reply      
I uninstalled Flash about a year ago and haven't looked back since. Funnily enough only Facebook used to give me issues.
silon7 23 minutes ago 0 replies      
They should have made it load slower than Java a long time ago.
acd 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Flash is also shipped by default and enabled in Google Chrome.

Here is how to deactivate it

You need to go to chrome plugins and disable itchrome://plugins/

reidrac 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I find amusing that visiting that same page triggers the 'Firefox has prevented the outdated plugin "Adobe Flash" from running on support.mozilla.org.' warning.
darkhorn 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I wish Facebook and YouTube won't use Flash at all.
codewithcheese 5 hours ago 2 replies      
I've been trying to solve this on Ubuntu 14.10. There does not seem to be an update path. I've installed the deb on https://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/ which does not resolve it.
shocks 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I uninstalled/disabled flash on all my systems a few months ago, and have noticed barely any impact on my browsing. The only site I can think of that doesn't work is BBC News.
gendoikari 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Overall, it's a good thing. Flash is a proprietary technology from the past. Lets move on guys...
rockdoe 5 hours ago 2 replies      
Seems like only a temporary block. Mozilla isn't brave enough to put it out of its misery like it belongs. Still some big sites using it though, like Twitch.
thomasrossi 5 hours ago 0 replies      
it was about time!
xwintermutex 5 hours ago 2 replies      
What about Java?
w342 5 hours ago 2 replies      
Linux still struggles with HTML5 and flash
hendry 4 hours ago 2 replies      
One option was to go down the Click-to-Play route which offers a HORRIBLE UX. Especially on Youtube which still uses Flash by default.

Disabling Flash however, Youtube actually seamlessly falls back to HTML video. Well done. But I can't help but think, outside the Youtube world (BBC for e.g.). LOTS is going to break. I wouldn't take this tact with my parents or clients.

New Horizons: Nasa spacecraft speeds past Pluto bbc.co.uk
42 points by nns  1 hour ago   16 comments top 2
dingaling 54 minutes ago 7 replies      
That flag-waving and chanting of U-S-A U-S-A at the point of closest approach was one of the most appalling, jingoistic, alienating spectacles I've ever seen.

You'd think they had just planted the flag in the soil ( ice? ) and claimed Pluto for God and America.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Space Race is over. Grow up. You're doing this for all humanity.

lmm 21 minutes ago 0 replies      
> Nix is estimated to be about 35km across, and Hydra about 45km in diameter. Kerberos and Hydra are a lot smaller

Is one of those Hydras supposed to be something else?

New Horizons: Probe sends detailed view of Pluto bbc.com
20 points by kartikkumar  1 hour ago   1 comment top
struct 26 minutes ago 0 replies      
I remember reading about Pluto in dozens of space books when I was a child, all filled with beautiful images sent from Voyager I and II, I'm so excited that we can finally add Pluto to that roster

Also, it's so incredible that the New Horizon's team has managed to get to something so small and far away!

NP-Complete Problems and Physical Reality (Scott Aaronson) arxiv.org
36 points by andyjohnson0  2 hours ago   11 comments top 6
kenny-log_ins 2 hours ago 0 replies      
If you enjoyed this I highly recommend both his book, "Quantum Computing Since Democritus", and blog (http://www.scottaaronson.com/blog/). Tagline of the blog is "If you take just one piece of information from this blog:Quantum computers would not solve hard search problemsinstantaneously by simply trying all the possible solutions at once."
FeepingCreature 1 hour ago 0 replies      
On the point of anthropic computing: it is important to note that you have not accomplished any _improvement_ to your condition by killing yourself; before as after, you had found a correct solution with probability 2^-n. Anthropic computing is just "fancy guessing".

What is interesting about it to me is that the "true computational nature of reality" must be such that sufficient computation is available for you to run the _validation_ of your solution in logarithmic time an exponential number of times ("in parallel"), because otherwise you could not find yourself _at all_ in a universe where you knew you had found the correct computation. Which does make it strange that quantum physics does not seem to give us any way to "get at" all this computation that must be going on behind the scenes.

(Unless the "true nature" of reality is such that a subset of the wavefunction is being computed "for cheap". Collapse exonerated?)

sqrt17 1 hour ago 0 replies      
A point that has become more obvious over the years is this: there are "soft" instances of NP-complete problems where you can find good approximations in reasonable time, and there are "crunchy" instances of the same class of problem where you don't find a good approximation.

Commercial ILP solvers (e.g. Gurobi, CPlex) profit from the fact that quite often it is possible to formulate NP-complete problems and findgood solutions in acceptable time. Similarly, many of the "physical"ways of solving NP-complete problems work ok for easy instances andget unwieldly fast if confronted with difficult instances.

andyjohnson0 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I posted this link because (a) it seemed like a good survey of the subject, and (b) I felt like I almost understood most of it. Does anyone have any suggestions for accessible further reading at the intersection of computer science and physics?
dsfsdfd 1 hour ago 3 replies      
"But another reason we believe PNP is that otherwise mathematical creativity could be automated!"

I have a problem with this. Just because the thought is unpleasant does not make it true or false. Besides, perhaps this is the very difference between automation and intelligence, perhaps the point at which you can ask this of a computer is the point at which you should no longer consider it a computer.

nafets 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I remember a TED talk on the failed attempts to find cases in which nature solves a NP-complete problem. Paper must be an interesting read.
Starfighter, Summer 2015 sockpuppet.org
254 points by alain94040  10 hours ago   63 comments top 25
ropman76 3 minutes ago 0 replies      
I caught the crypto bug after messing around with http://cryptopals.com/ Now this. I should just kiss my free time away now....
ShaneWilton 9 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm super excited for this. Micro Corruption [1] literally changed my life [2], and I can't wait to see what the team at Starfighter have put together.

If you haven't yet, give Micro Corruption a try. It's the first thing I recommend when people ask me how to get started in application security, and everyone I've recommended it to loves it.

You don't need to know anything about security to finish the first level, but by the time you finish the last level you'll be a force to be reckoned with.

Best of luck to tptacek and co., the Samurai CTF team can't wait to play your next game.

[1] https://microcorruption.com

[2] I've since dropped out of school to work full time in security, and now compete on a top-tier CTF team. I couldn't even spell buffer overflow before Micro Corruption.

theunixbeard 9 hours ago 1 reply      
From the post it sounds like prop trading firms / hedge funds and other finance companies are a big target demographic for Starfighter to make placements at...

From Thomas's background in Chicago I predict the following firms as early customers:




jsingleton 4 hours ago 1 reply      
I initially thought that the subject of the email (Stockfighter Announcement) was some sort of auto-correct fail. This makes much more sense after reading it in full!

Pretty excited about this as I was on a team that built a trading system (won't say which one but it was a big one) and my education is in electronics. It will be refreshing to deal with a (fake) trading system that uses "JSON/REST" as most of the real ones use proprietary binary protocols or something even worse like FIX!

jsnell 9 hours ago 0 replies      
When this showed up in my inbox, I was so excited. I've got a few weeks of holiday starting tomorrow, perfect timing for once! For example with Microcorruption my problem was exactly that I did a few hours of it right when it launched, and then had forgotten everything a few months later when I next had time to look at it.

But then I got to the end of the email, and it turns out that it's the opposite :-) Guess it'll be playable just when it's back to the grind for me. But it does look incredibly interesting. And maybe having multiple separate things to do will make it easier to pick up after a bit of an absence; can just start on one of the other "tech trees" instead of having to redo old work to get up to speed.

gkoz 55 minutes ago 0 replies      
Looking forward to the list of recommended literature promised in the previous announcement.
minimax 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Stuff like when Tom called me and asked if he could have a truckload of pork bellies (CME ticker:GBP. And: I told him no.) delivered to our house.

Sadly frozen pork belly futures don't trade anymore and haven't for about 4 years (almost to the day), and the Globex contract was GPB not GBP. But whatever, that sounds like a cool story and you should tell the rest of it :)

Cogito 9 hours ago 2 replies      
It wasn't clear to me, but it sounded like the community might be able to contribute back to the core of the game, by improving tools/finding (unintentional) bugs etc.

Is that an intended aspect of the game, and how do you see it fitting in with the game's ecosystem?

Perhaps by corollary, will there be a significant open-source community built around the game; will there be open-source assets, but also the ability to contribute to those assets?

NamTaf 9 hours ago 1 reply      
I am going to be like a rat pressing an endorphin button playing this.
jakemask 9 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm excited that all the AVR I learned reverse engineering mouse firmware isn't going to go to waste. I honestly thought it was knowledge I would never use again.
wcarss 9 hours ago 2 replies      
Knowing just a teensy bit of 68K and x86 assembly, I still am shocked to hear that there are "something like 16 load and 13 store instructions". Super... cool.

This post has given Starfighter a lot more flavour in my mind. Thanks, Erin!

edit: For anyone interested, here's a link to that ATmega8515 data sheet: (caution, pdf) http://www.atmel.com/images/2512s.pdf

viraptor 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Atmega chips are great. It's not really because of AVR architecture, but the options they provide are amazing - from standard built-in UART to a proper RF TX/RX. All on one chip.

I really liked working with Atmega (and AtTiny) hardware. So if you get a compiler chain that works for AVR because of the competition, you may as well continue and get a starter kit ;)

noonespecial 9 hours ago 2 replies      
Heh, if you think AVR's are weird, try a PIC sometime if you really wanna get buck wild.
LTailor 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Great news! I played with matasano crypto challenges and Microcorruption. And as I understand this one is more greater and more enveloping. I was so excited when read "compiler theory" in the letter because I realized the LR(1) compiler engine in JavaScript, and these skills will help me in Starfigher I think.
MichaelGG 9 hours ago 1 reply      
I wish I didn't need money, so I could just play this game. Unfortunately I'm starting a new venture right now, so it's terrible timing :( And in real life, at least in telecom, far less people seem to care about security and exploits.

Starfighter sounds incredibly ambitious and fun. Patrick's part sounds like it'll be making fun of Bitcoin exchanges. And there's probably going to be a rush to build higher and higher level compilers for this emulator.

This is gonna be awesome.

aptwebapps 8 hours ago 1 reply      
General question about Starfighter: Will player profiles be public? I seem to recall something about curation that made me think otherwise.
jorgecastillo 9 hours ago 0 replies      
If it comes out before next semester starts I'll be sure to give it a try. Otherwise I think I'll have to wait until winter.
nsxwolf 8 hours ago 0 replies      
If you've ever programmed assembly on the TI-99/4A, the TI MSP430 instruction set is an obvious evolution of the TMS9900 microprocessor. Looking forward to that being relevant to me again when playing Microcorruption, which I have not had a chance to get into.
djloche 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I was mildly interested previously based on the initial pitch. Now, I am pretty sure I'll be playing.
serve_yay 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I am looking forward to this so much.
dcgoss 9 hours ago 1 reply      
They must have written a s* load of code for this. Can't wait!
simonebrunozzi 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Great job! I wish I had serious time to play with it (and that I sucked less at this stuff)
pnathan 9 hours ago 1 reply      
does this support gcc-avr?
jack9 8 hours ago 4 replies      
> I dont really like games.> Yeah, so I was planning on telling you more about our game.> Just two months ago, Tom and I were driving to the grocery store

The announcement read like a mentally disturbed love letter about the typical idea guy stream of consciousness. Good luck, but I had to unsubscribe to prevent the arrival of any more...whatever that was.

How I got XSSd by my ad network troyhunt.com
35 points by rubikscube  2 hours ago   17 comments top 6
jon-wood 15 minutes ago 0 replies      
The throw away comment on how ad networks are a cesspit at the end of that article really spoke to me - if it weren't for the abundance of "Recommended Stories" and "From elsewhere on the web" crap selling weight loss pills and click bait I'd be far less inclined to run with an ad blocker.

The fact that these ads disguise themselves as content that the site owner is recommending is particularly insidious, since it will likely encourage people to click through thinking that they can trust the content.

proactivesvcs 1 hour ago 1 reply      
"When you allow third parties to run script on your site, youre entirely beholden to them; they can run anything they like in the context of your site"

I've seen a fair few Internet banking web sites pulling scripts from over a dozen third parties, mostly for tracking and advertising, but even for trivial things like social media. On their customer login pages. It's beyond me how they can consider this to be an acceptable risk.

nicboobees 54 minutes ago 1 reply      
If you're going to put adverts on your site, always put them within an iframe, pointed at a separate "adverts" only domain. This will ensure they can't execute javascript within your own website context.
cm2187 1 hour ago 3 replies      
This is why browsers should have an option "Block third party javascript" similar to "Block third party cookies".

With http2, relevant javascript files will be increasingly hosted on the same domain anyway and that option would become increasingly relevant.

pki 1 hour ago 0 replies      
as far as i can tell, adsafeprotected isn't actually for your or your visitors' protection, but for the advertisers (it seems to run a huge gob of incredibly slow scripts to "ensure" visibility, that there is actually an eyeball on the ad and that it's not hidden or collapsed or something)
0x0 1 hour ago 0 replies      
What a shame he didn't actually pull the plug on the ad network :(
Show HN: Markdown-UI Write UI/UX with Markdown Syntax. [WIP] jjuliano.github.io
25 points by jjuliano  2 hours ago   5 comments top 5
prezjordan 34 minutes ago 0 replies      
Please don't ever make buttons with <div>s! [0]

Focusable should be the default, as many folks can't (or don't want to) use a mouse. Use the semantic <button> tag or even just an <a> with role="button" and you'll get accessibility for free.

[0]: http://thatjdanisso.cool/a11y/clicking-with-a-keyboard/

raphael_l 0 minutes ago 0 replies      
Maybe I'm not getting something quite right, but why is there a "UX" in the title?
erikb 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I like the idea of using something like Markdown to write GUI descriptions. But I don't think pressing a meta-language into Markdown is the way to go. Better use the same principles and create your own language. The principles are: text is formatted nearly the same way a plain text email would have been formatted, overview of the grammar is more important than complexity.

Don't be disappointed though if the result is not better than the solutions using XML, JSON or YAML that already exist.

Maybe something like funciton would add a new perspective to it: http://esolangs.org/wiki/Funciton

RubyPinch 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Why not just inline html? doesn't conflict with pre-existing markdown specifications, more usable for breaking out of document flow (if one is making a proper form, this helps a lot)

> Focusable Button

why not just have all of them be focus-able? I mean, unless you have a strong dislike of people who don't use mice, this shouldn't be an option

waynenilsen 59 minutes ago 0 replies      
Match Group Buys PlentyOfFish for $575M to Bag More Singles techcrunch.com
4 points by funkyy  11 minutes ago   1 comment top
x5n1 2 minutes ago 0 replies      
i thought it would be worth more. congrats markus. not that markus needs any more money than that. i thought he would enjoy being a billionare though.
LHCb experiment reports observation of exotic pentaquark particles interactions.org
58 points by suprgeek  5 hours ago   6 comments top 5
filmor 4 hours ago 0 replies      
The two most interesting links from the article:

- http://lhcb-public.web.cern.ch/lhcb-public/Welcome.html#Pent... LHCb website)

- http://arxiv.org/abs/1507.03414 paper)

lucianp 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I think the submission should link to the actual press release: http://press.web.cern.ch/press-releases/2015/07/cerns-lhcb-e...
betatim 4 hours ago 1 reply      
A little history on previous pentaquark discoveries http://link.springer.com/article/10.1140%2Fepjh%2Fe2012-2003...
soulsurfer 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Ingress Agents already know that as exotic matter (XM) ;-
naturalethic 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Iran Nuclear Deal Is Reached After Long Negotiations nytimes.com
71 points by Expeditus419  1 hour ago   75 comments top 9
acjohnson55 48 minutes ago 2 replies      
I think the future of the Middle East is a tense balance between Saudi and Iranian poles, with both countries being normalized in the international community. The USA can't bring either country to heel, but it can hopefully prevent the stalemate from being nuclear along Sunni-Shia lines. But what's also changed is that the US needs a normalized partner in Iran to fully isolate ISIS, the Taliban, Al Qaeda and other far worse actors. I think we can also be encouraged by the demographics in Iran, which are moving younger and more liberal. I'm cautiously optimistic.
mavdi 52 minutes ago 3 replies      
Sceptical Iranian here. There are groups that profit from an ongoing tension and conflict on both sides. This time around it seems they have lost the hand, but we would be a fool to think that this agreement settles things for good.

This has always been and will always be a fluid situation. I think the work has just begun now, let's hope the sane people inc charge on both sides will keep things positive. Otherwise it only takes one delayed inspection permit, or an angry military general to take things back right to the start.

DiabloD3 1 hour ago 5 replies      
If you had told me that would be today's headline at any point over the past decade, I'm not sure I would have believed you.

If this works out, the President has another thing to add to his list of "things no President before me achieved".

m4r71n 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I'm in the middle of reading "Countdown to Zero Day", the book about Stuxnet. It contains a very good summary of how Iran started enriching Uranium, where they acquired the technology to build the centrifuges, and how most countries that signed the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons attempted to reason with Iran to stop enriching Uranium.

I highly recommend it for anyone interested in this topic. And of course the detailed analysis of Stuxnet is great as well.

bsaul 1 hour ago 8 replies      
Am i the only one amazed at the fact that we actually had to wait for iranians to accept to stop going toward nuclear weapons ?

I mean, why did EU and US insist so much on wanting a deal ? It seemed to be that one side has all the leverage in the negociation and the other has none. We could have simply waited for the iranian regime to get so weakened that they'd simply surrender and accept every measure.

So I don't understand what's the counterpart that the US and EU wanted from Iran, that could get Iran get leverage in the negociations. Anyone ?

thescrewdriver 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Let's hope this works out better than the North Korean nuclear deal.
seivan 46 minutes ago 5 replies      
My God, why didn't Roosevelt and Churchill think of giving billions in relief to the Third Reich.That would have solved everything. Chamberlain was a forgotten hero!

Giving Mullahs access to create nuclear weapons. Taking their word for it that they won't. Yeah, this will end well.Just yesterday their Iranian proxies in Baghdad were burning American and Israeli flags. Vowing to destroy The Great Satan(s), why do we downplay that?

I simply just loooooove how (western) leftists are so accepting of this. You shit yourself when Christians don't want to bake cakes. But killing apostates, hanging "sodomites", that's all good.

Yeah, this will make everything better and not worse at all.

dbcooper 1 hour ago 1 reply      
hodwik 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Iran agreed to provide "Managed access". Iraq inspections all over again.
After the Layoffs 42floors.com
305 points by juanplusjuan  15 hours ago   149 comments top 24
dewitt 14 hours ago 6 replies      
Amazing how much of that post was about the CEO's personal relationship with the layoffs, considering the #1 bit of advice in every comment on yesterday's thread about layoffs was "whatever you do, don't make it about yourself." [1]

I don't know if it's good advice or bad advice, but the dissonance was strong.

PS: I still respect the CEO. The actions (severance, health care, references, etc.) speak loudly, even when the words, no matter how heartfelt and sincere, aren't always the right ones.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9876009

42floorshater 8 hours ago 4 replies      
I don't want to be such a hater, but every time I see this company and this guy posting something, it's not about what they do, it's about the trials and tribulations of being a startup.

They don't seem to care - at all - about their industry, their space, whatever their value proposition to their customer is. They just care about being a startup. It's super annoying to be honest.

Weren't these the guys that famously wrote a blog post saying that culture is everything, and that people that come to interviews in suits are automatically denied?

jedberg 14 hours ago 3 replies      
I've been at the receiving end of a layoff before. I guess I'm more rational than most, because when it happened I went in and said, "yeah I'd lay me off too, the current strategy here isn't working". I know the boss took it hard -- he couldn't come back to the office for months afterwards he was so depressed.

I'm glad that 42floors was decent enough to provide what sounds like a great transition -- health care, severance, job placement, etc. That certainly helps soften the blow and it's really only fair to those who basically changed their lives to partake in the experiment with you.

I think it's totally fine to do an experiment that may end up with you having to let people go, as long as you acknowledge that and take good care of them. And plan accordingly. Don't call it off when you have no money left and then use that as an excuse to screw everyone.

philbarr 13 hours ago 2 replies      
This is a FAR better situation for the people being laid off here than in an ordinary scenario. The CEO did what's right for the company, nothing wrong with that, but at least he tried to do it in the right way.

My experiences of layoffs are:

1. A job in a huge software house. The company didn't hit the 12% profit margin it had promised it's shareholders, making a "measly" 10%. People knew when they were being laid off when the person going round with some fold up boxes dropped one at your feet and said, "pack your stuff". I wasn't laid off at that time but plenty of people I worked with were.

2. A minimum wage job when I was 19 years old. The owner calls us in and sacks a bunch of us in one go, with a big fat "sorry". I asked what the severance package was, since no-one else wanted to ask. He said, "erm, er....", and when it became clear there wasn't one because he hadn't enough empathy to even consider the proposition I said, "you can at least give us some money to go to the pub." He laughed, others nervously laughed. I said, "12 of us multiplied by a tenner each is 120". I eventually got 60 off the miserable excuse for a cunt who had his new Aston Martin parked on the carpark directly outside the window. (Yes I made sure everyone who got laid off got an equal share of that 60 at the pub).

bbarn 13 hours ago 1 reply      
I've been through this same exact scenario before, twice. Once as a manager having to cut half my staff, another time as the leftover manager two years later. Both times for the same reason. The company got expand-itis, and started grabbing for more, more, more, and "hey let's be the pipes instead of servicing the stuff coming in and out".

This is a classic example of overextending a company. If this new vertical was that risky, then it should have been said every day to those people hired to do this job. "This is a new venture for this company and if it fails we can't support your role. Are you still interested?"

Oh, and the "I feel terrible" bit, as much as you may feel terrible, comes off as insulting to those you are sending home - good severance packages or not. If you really care about them, you give them complete transparency in what's happening WHILE it's happening, and give them the chance to correct the ship for you or get out. Holding on until you can hold on no longer and have to do a massive layoff is a huge failure.

jriordan 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I think that these layoffs were made significantly less burdensome because of who was laid off -- i.e. real estate brokers.

Almost all real estate brokers in the non-tech world work as 1099 contractors anyway, paid completely on commission -- no salary and no benefits. This has always been the "standard" in real estate, and pretty much everyone gets into the brokerage business knowing that. Sure, there have been some innovative exceptions over the last couple of decades (limited-service residential brokerages like HelpUSell or Assist2Sell, for instance), but full-commission is the general rule.

So... you are a broker and you take a salary or semi-salary job with a tech start-up... You ought to realize that you are stepping outside the way your business normally operates. You are much more likely to be standing on shaky business ground, much more likely to be discarded when the boss changes his mind about the deal he signed (which happens in real estate all the time!).

Laid off from that company with the snazzy HN post "42 Floors is Hiring!" from a short time ago? If you are a competent broker, you have a career path available that has always been there and will be there for the foreseeable future-- back to being a commissioned salesperson. If you can produce sales, you can get a new spot quickly and without much hassle.

If it were any other demographic, the boss would have had a harder time.

bane 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I've survived layoffs 3 or 4 times (depending on how you count them).

I survived because I had some specific value to the company that the laidoff employees didn't have. This was a plus.

I now knew that I was a better candidate for better jobs.

So as soon as layoffs started, in my mind, I was already out the door, only now I had time to look for a better, more stable, job.

Each time, I found such a job and quickly left.

Side note: the first time I went through layoffs, people were zombies afterwards, even though most of the people who were gone were dead weight. There were enough people who were also let go who were covered under contract that we knew that there was the chance of more to come.

So it made sense to look for someplace else to go.

lemevi 14 hours ago 4 replies      
> The night before the layoffs, after talking with my cofounders and the Board, I called up each of the people who were going to be invited to remain with us and told them what was about to happen.

So the people who were not getting laid off found out before those who did? And they knew who was getting laid off too? That seems kind of wrong to me. Like I get that managers would know that, but why would everyone know that? I think the people affected by the layoffs should be the first to know, right?

shawnee_ 10 hours ago 0 replies      
The brokerage model failed because the brokerage model itself is inherently flawed as a business model. Nowhere does this become more apparent than in the real estate industry. Its natural inclination is toward Bernie Madoff-like pyramid, where consolidation and cartel-like cooperation among "a few" (the Brokers and Agents) hurts "the many". Agents are forced into paying brokers for the "privilege" of association and access to the MLS... agents pass those costs on to clients by forcing those clients to sign on the dotted lines ("closing the deal"). Clients end up paying inflated commissions, as each person (or entity) up the chain takes their cut in larger and larger portions.

42Floors was trying to be the Redfin of commercial real estate? Well of course that doesn't solve the problems created by the existence of brokerages, especially when we're talking about renting or leasing a space, where ROI is already ridiculously negative from the get-go. Where commissions are just unnecessary garbage expenses. Why would it ever have been a good idea to involve brokerages at all?

Were going to step decisively away from that model now and focus only on providing a great search experience. Well leave the deal closing to the professionals.

Over time, well develop our new business model, which will be based around premium listing opportunities for those that want greater exposure to tenants

So the idea is to package the potential client list from a "better search engine" and sell it to those poor, struggling brokerages like it's insider information? Sounds like the MLS on steroids. Doesn't make much sense.

jftuga 14 hours ago 2 replies      
Extending health care coverage for three months was extremely nice of him to do for the people he had to let go. I can't imagine being in that situation.
gk1 12 hours ago 2 replies      
Couldn't help but notice that after such a serious post, he still ended with a link to the homepage that's entirely for SEO purposes.

(The link to the homepage in the final paragraph is phrased intentionally to boost search rankings for keywords like "search for office.")

chadnickbok 13 hours ago 0 replies      
The part of this story I liked the most was the team's reaction; gathering up their desks into one part of the office, and breaking down the old desks that were now unused. Seems like a kind of mourning process, and makes me feel like this team must be really special to be a part of.
dandanisaur 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I love the transparency here, especially for the situation. Maybe this could be good for the people who were laid off (closure?). Taking good care of your employees even after they are gone/admitting your mistakes goes way farther in marketing than some think.
kriro 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't get all the bad sentiment. It's written respectfully and he clearly assigns blame to himself.I completely disagree with the whole "it makes people that got layed off feel worse so don't post it"/"this is too selfish" line of reasoning. He's a human being, too. It's probably therapeutic to post his point of view.

And personally I'd rather read this blog post after being layed off than nothing at all.

+it seems like they handled the layoffs pretty well

codeshaman 3 hours ago 0 replies      
justonepost 13 hours ago 1 reply      
He should have spent time talking about the severance. Honestly, if I was going through a layoff, that's all I'd care about at that point.
Taek 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Were the employees aware of the risks of their role? Did they know that success was uncertain and that failure would mean termination? Did they know their severance package when they agreed to take on the risky role?

If the answer is yes to all of these questions, than no wrong was done. It's just business, and they knew what they were in for. The company did the right thing.

jakejake 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I went through a layoff round once. The company was about 40 people and I worked in a small room with 3 others, including my supervisor to whom I reported. Everyone being laid off got notified in a private meeting at once.

Everybody but me in that room got laid off and the next day I was in the office by myself with no instructions, no tasks and nobody to report to! I was a young guy without a ton of experience so it was bizarre and I didn't know what to do.

I did busywork for about 2 months until I joined one of my former co-workers at a new place. Two weeks later the former company shut down, letting everybody know by posting a sign on the front door that the business was closed.

davidgrenier 13 hours ago 1 reply      
"and we supported them all the same."

What does this mean?

"I wouldnt fault them if they chose to leave."

What would it mean if you did?

rmason 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I've both had to lay off people and been laid off myself. The former, believe it or not, is much harder than the later.

I know what is going through his mind when he spoke of breaking down desks because I've had a similar experience.

If there's a bigger gut punch for an entrepreneur, I don't know what it could possibly be.

xacaxulu 7 hours ago 0 replies      
> I cried and many of them cried. It was emotional for everyone. Some were angry and some were already focused on what to do next.

I don't find this behaviour particularly galvanizing in a leader. Your feelings and tears aren't worth much to me but your business acumen is. I'd prefer you spent more time analyzing the business strategy that apparently lacked careful scrutiny and cold logical evaluation so we could have avoided this situation altogether.Give me the Steve Jobs and Larry Ellisons of the world so we can stop the group crying/healing session and get back to work innovating and generating wealth.

ElComradio 11 hours ago 0 replies      
tl;dr summary: "We figured out that we will still need to hire in the future, so we crafted this post to get the message out that it's ok to still come work for us- should things not work out again, you can rest assured we will feel bad again."
geuis 14 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a great way to handle a bad situation.
sytelus 12 hours ago 1 reply      
While this sentiment and gesture is appreciable, this is also a potential example of rackless irresponsible hiring. When you hire people, you better damn make sure there would have something to do for them in foreseeable future as much as possible. Otherwise, go hire contractors. There is always some risks involved for employees however you don't want to bring in ton of people just to execute on one specific strategy with no backup plan if that strategy failed. Hiring should be sustainable in the sense that company should be making enough money to support all that extra hiring. If project A failed, we can start working on project B and so on. If that is not the case, candidates should be informed at the interview that if the project that they would be working on fails then they would be out of job.
Match Group Buys PlentyOfFish for $575M techcrunch.com
3 points by prostoalex  12 minutes ago   discuss
iTerm2 Shell Integration iterm2.com
308 points by rayshan  16 hours ago   79 comments top 22
xtacy 13 minutes ago 0 replies      
I just love iTerm2, but I feel it's slow and unresponsive at times (Garbage Collection?) compared to Apple's Terminal. I still keep using iTerm2 because of its features. If there is any way I can profile these slowness and submit a bug report to have it fixed, please let me know!
gnachman 15 hours ago 6 replies      
I'm here to answer questions anyone has about this. It's a newish feature so feedback is welcome, and bug reports are greatly appreciated.

Also, credit goes to FinalTerm for the inspiration. RIP.

DavideNL 40 minutes ago 0 replies      
Does this update speed up things as well by any chance?

I like iTerm2 a lot, but one day when i coincidentallystarted using the normal Terminal i noticed how fast it was/how slow iTerm2 was, which is the reason i stopped using iTerm2 and switched to TotalTerminal (a plugin for Terminal.app).

neuropie 4 hours ago 0 replies      
The script downloaded over HTTPS then downloads further scripts over HTTP. Watch out.
x0054 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I use iTerm2 a lot in the "visor" (pop up from the top) mode. I have my iTerm2 plist file edited so that it displays no bar icon and pops up even over the full screen apps. It would be really nice to have a feature where instead of a popup alert, the visor window would just slide out, to let me know that it's done.

But all in all, sounds like an awesome set of features, will have to try tonight. Thanks!

PS: On an unrelated note, if later on you could add native support for pop out window to appear in full screen apps, and maybe do a check, so that if you are in full screen app mode, it pops over with 0 y offset, but if it's in a norma screen, it pops up with offset to accommodate the menu bar, that would be awesome. But no rush :), thanks for all the awesome work!

hiroprot 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I really like this, but am wondering if something like ZModem over SSH would make the file transfer stuff more convenient...I feel like some things have become more complicated since the BBS days.
pixelbeat 15 hours ago 0 replies      
The popup on command completion is a neat feature actually which I've appreciated in gnome-terminal on Fedora 22, nicely integrated into the notification system
kzhahou 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Congrats, team! iTerm2 (esp in fullscreen mode) is THE reason I could never go back to windows development.
themodelplumber 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Funny how we just finished a discussion about "why haven't you switched to Fish yet," and now this comes along with not-fully-baked Fish support. :
msoad 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Click to download or drop in to upload is really nice! I'm excited for this!

BTW if you're using iTerm, be aware that +clicking on a link will open the link in browser or +clicking a file in `ls` result will open the file with default app.

jrcii 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Speaking of shell integration, I use this Automator app with "Open with" to open Finder files in a new tmux vim window http://pastebin.com/rxyB8c8k

I use a similar script/Automator app to "Open this directory in iterm" by dragging it into the Finder toolbar http://pastebin.com/1at3CXvPhttp://i.imgur.com/QGqQSOJ.png

hesslau_ 15 hours ago 3 replies      
I'd love to use a terminal with similar features on linux
JustinAiken 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow guys, this is great... I'd manually tried setting something up with PushBullet for a few long running commands, but just hitting a shortcut combo is much nicer...

brew installs and bundle installs and the like will be a joy now!

sgarrity 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Does it work with mosh (https://mosh.mit.edu/)? Thanks.
soundjack 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Great stuff, I've been using iTerm2 for a while and it's really good to see it evolve like this.

I use screen a lot (yes I know, I should switch to tmux one day!) and shell integration doesn't seem to work properly with sessions inside screen. Works perfectly if I ssh directly. Is it going to be supported eventually or is this the ultimate signal for me to switch to tmux?

taternuts 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I didn't know about the Toolbelt, that's pretty useful. It'll be really awesome to have history + recent directories integrated
tonyedgecombe 15 hours ago 3 replies      
I'd love to see something like iTerm for Windows.
baconhigh 13 hours ago 2 replies      
I like the idea of these features, but the "run this random shellscript from the internet" part really bugs me.Could / will you integrate it another way when it comes out of the nightly releases?
DiabloD3 14 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm concerned about the wget to an external server part. This file should be local to prevent excessive slowness and potential security issues.

Also, is there a zsh version of this file? zsh is extremely popular on osx.

callesgg 16 hours ago 0 replies      
That is actually some really nice features that i could see myself using on a daily basis.

However i feel that it might somehow fuck up some things, as it is using some rather unconventional stuff.

s800 16 hours ago 1 reply      
right-click to scp is particularly neat.
nvk 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Thanks for this.
Hacking Team Uses UEFI BiOS Rootkit to Keep RCS 9 Agent in Target Systems trendmicro.com
58 points by apaprocki  11 hours ago   18 comments top 6
gesman 6 minutes ago 0 replies      
UEFI BIOS - Road to hell that was paved with good intentions
acd 2 hours ago 3 replies      
This is what I thought when viewing my latest computer that came with an UEFI bios. That the UEFI BIOS is to large and too complex and has way to many functions to be a BIOS device, hence a perfect place to put advanced malware.

It's like an operating system before the operating system, has its own FAT32 system partition where you can store stuff.

Also after a few years your manufacturer will stop shipping uefi BIOS updates for your computer due to their interest in selling new computers and then there will be a lurking security whole laying around.

z3t4 2 hours ago 1 reply      
All it takes to install a (BIOS) rootkit is root access ... In windows this means answering Yes on the question "Do you want to allow the following program to make changes to your computer".

Remember to flash the BIOS if you've been hacked!

paulmd 5 hours ago 2 replies      
Hey guys that BadBios is totally impossible, agreed? What a scrub, UEFI viruses are impossible. lol psychotic break amirite

I caught a message on the Windows install rebooot about "Intel AMT activated" during a clean reformat - but in BIOS it shows deactivated on reboot. Kaspersky/Malwarebytes/CCleaner shows clean on every scan for system files - I'm seriously wondering whether I need to dump this machine hardware and all. The cause for the reformat in the first place was a potential virus infection, maybe a rootkit. I didn't want to let it back on my network after I scanned a cryptolocker variant in my temp folder.

defective 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Luckily, this at least requires physical access.
TPP Leak Reveals Take-Down Measures Softened But DRM Rules Remain Harsh forbes.com
55 points by walterbell  7 hours ago   28 comments top 7
moonshinefe 5 hours ago 3 replies      
"require intermediaries to pass on notices of alleged infringement to their users" aka they can intimidate and mislead gullible users into paying penalties for copyright infringement even if they aren't legally required to.

As someone outside the US, this trade agreement seems like the US trying to impose its poisonous, backwards copyright and intellectual rights laws on the rest of the Western English speaking countries.

All behind closed doors of course, with no open debate, to the massive boon of greedy corporations and at the expense of the common man as per usual.

crdoconnor 2 hours ago 1 reply      
If anybody wants to help, you can try digging up dirt on any of these 14, err, traitors:

* Bennet (D-CO)

* Cantwell (D-WA)

* Cardin (D-MD) (Given a free No vote, but stood ready to vote Yes.

* Carper (D-DE)

* Coons (D-DE)

* Feinstein (D-CA)

* Heitkamp (D-ND)

* Kaine (D-VA)

* McCaskill (D-MO)

* Murray (D-WA)

* Nelson (D-FL)

* Shaheen (D-NH)

* Warner (D-VA)

* Wyden (D-OR)


icanhackit 3 hours ago 2 replies      
Can we just have a breakdown of companies who played a large part in the TPP formation so we can boycott them? Money seems like the only way to speak to these dickheads.

Here's something close - a list of supporting businesses on the US side: http://tppcoalition.org/about/

What do we have here... Apple, EBay, Facebook, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Oracle, Xerox. This is going to be hard - I use every one of these companies every day. But what part did they play? If the press can find out, that will help the user make an informed decision.

narrator 4 hours ago 0 replies      
A good article for establishing an anchoring bias in the naive masses. They'll be so relieved that it's not as bad as it COULD have been. Just like a flea market bargainer who quotes you an insanely high price then sells it to you for a 300% markup, but you think you're getting a discount. Reels em' in every time.
vonklaus 5 hours ago 1 reply      
> the section on DRM circumvention is apparently pretty much unchanged from previous versions. Previous leaks showed it criminalizes those who bypass technical measures aimed at restricting copyrighted content even if theyre being bypassed for reasons that dont contravene copyright law.

can someone explain how DRM would be enforced, and how someone could bypass it with "technical measures"?

jsprogrammer 6 hours ago 2 replies      
Free Trade Negotiated In Secret
noja 5 hours ago 0 replies      
So they asked for more, and settled for less.
Yanis Varoufakis opens up about his five month battle to save Greece newstatesman.com
40 points by jacquesm  2 hours ago   22 comments top 7
chappi42 6 minutes ago 0 replies      
Egoistical showman. Not able to listen. Not able to compromise. Using inapropriate language (waterboarding, terrorist - insulting people who endure real waterboarding and/or are hurt by terrorist). Doesn't stop shooting at Schuble (Germany), but in truth he was opposed by 19 European countries. External pressure is needed.

Stoneage lefties like to discuss, well, preach, all day long while spending other (EU) citizen's money. Greece will be saved when he and the anarcho-communist-syndicalist grufties start to modernize greece, e.g. do something again the blatant corruption, burocratie and tax evasion instead of hindering startups, business and innovative people. Imho.

adamc 36 minutes ago 2 replies      
I wonder what effect the current EU "offer" to Greece will have on Britain's vote down the line, or on other states that may now have second thoughts about joining the euro. From my (American) perspective, it looks like being part of the Euro means giving Germany an awful lot of influence over your fiscal policy.
_ph_ 36 minutes ago 2 replies      
While I am not a big fan of austerity, one can ultimately only spend what you got. There were several months in which the Greece government had broken with the austerity agreements but in exchange did not manage to achieve anything which could be called an improvement of the country income situation. As a consequence the gap between income and spending even widened without giving positive impulses to the Greek economy.
xae 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Difficult not to love how he discusses everything with a very different language from traditional politans (or I would say, professional polititians). He sounds true and honest, and by no means a radical inciendary that wants to destroy the EU and the Euro. His political career has been cut short by massive pressure from all sides but he has gained sympathy for Syriza's cause worldwide in a very short time and nonetheless make progress in negotiations despite having everyone against his ideas in economic institutuions.

I'm sure we'll miss Varoufakis and I hope his style - be like a common mortal - permeates politics everywhere.

StavrosK 44 minutes ago 0 replies      
What he says is very damning. If true, it shows that the EU leadership is not interested in the welfare of the members at all, and is very worrying.
theseatoms 17 minutes ago 1 reply      
For those who are just catching up, I found the following article enlightening on the Greece situation:


..especially the following line: - The EMU is a single currency system just like the USA is. The reason the USA works and the EMU doesnt is because the USA has a system of rebalancing whereby poor states get more federal funding than wealthy states.

lhnz 10 minutes ago 0 replies      
Does this mean that Democratic countries that are part of the Euro are rendered unable to listen to the wishes of their citizens and must instead act as despots on behalf of Germany?

If so, I don't see this ending well.

The Electric Car geoffralston.com
180 points by katm  15 hours ago   297 comments top 47
harshaw 11 hours ago 5 replies      
I wish people would be slightly more honest about technological change. Smartphones are very special. They are very cheap, easy to mass produce, and you can iterate on them very quickly. Cars on the other hand have a much longer life cycle, involve much more capital, and in general are going to follow an elongated investment / replacement cycle. Comparing these two systems, while enthusiastic and great for a college term paper, seems premature.

I am really excited that there may be a fleet of self driving electric cars in urban areas in 10 years. It's going to be awesome. But I am willing to bet for the rest of us its going to be a more conservative change that is going to evolve over decades.

reedlaw 11 hours ago 9 replies      
I can't believe he's comparing a $70,000 electric car to a huge bucket labeled "old-fashioned gasoline cars". Of course the $70,000 car is better in almost every way. I've driven a lot of electric cars in the $5,000 to $10,000 range and I assure you they are not better than "old-fashioned gasoline cars". Our last gas-powered car was a used Lexus that cost us $8,000. It's an extremely comfortable luxury car that seats 5 and can easily be driven across the country. A new electric car [1], on the other hand, costs approximately the same but can only seat 2 people and can travel 160 km on one charge. It's top speed is 80 km/h. It takes 6 hours to fully charge. The costly lithium-ion batteries will have to be replaced at some point. True, it is convenient for trips around town without much luggage. I'm fairly confident that the used Lexus will outlast and outrun the new electric car.

1. This is the car: http://chinaautoweb.com/car-models/zotye-zhidou-zd-e20-ev/

JTon 14 hours ago 3 replies      
> The reason electric cars will take over our roads is because consumers will DEMAND them. Electric cars will be better than any alternative, including the loud, inconvenient, gas-powered jalopy. The iPhone demonstrated that smartphones are infinitely better than the feature phones which dominated the world in 2007.

The smartphone revolution analogy makes me cringe. Electric cars are currently playing catch up to their gasoline counterparts in almost every metric except emissions. When the iPhone was released it quite literally leapfrogged the competition (with the exception of battery life). What gives author?

erikpukinskis 14 hours ago 2 replies      
I don't think people full comprehend the price drop that is imminent. The total cost of ownership per mile for a car in the U.S. right now is about $0.60. I was watching a panel the other day where someone calculated the cost per mile of a fleet of self-driving on-demand electric cars at $0.08.

That an 86% reduction. People might have their misgivings about any of this stuff... electric, self-driving, carshare, and of course many people will go their own way. But for an 86% reduction in your monthly auto bill, it's going to be an avalanche.

hackuser 14 hours ago 8 replies      
The real story my be that car sales may decline, gas or electric:

* People drive less; I saw a study showing that significantly fewer millenials are licensed to drive than their predecessors.

* More people live in cities, where the cost of cars is higher (insurance and parking) and the demand for them is less due to the proximity of destinations and the availability of alternatives (public transport, taxis, ride-sharing, car sharing, bicycling)

* Energy costs likely will increase.

* As awareness of climate change grows, people will be less willing to cause greenhouse gas emissions (and the energy in your electric car battery must come from somplace, probably a fossil-fuel in a power plant).

tikhonj 12 hours ago 1 reply      
> The Tesla Model S has demonstrated that a well made, well designed electric car is far superior to anything else on the road.

I think this is a bit of an exaggeration. What the Tesla Model S has actually shown is that a startup-designed $100k electric car can be comparable to $100k luxury cars (S-class, 7-series... etc) and that classic car makers got complacent on certain features (like electronic UI elements). Much of what he said is true, or could easily be true, for $100k gasoline cars too!

In fact, I think that's enough of an exaggeration for me to question his whole conclusion. He made a good case for why Tesla could be the next big thing, but just like Android popped up against the iPhone, I could see gasoline cars copying many of the advantagesanything that's not a direct result of an electric drive-train.

This isn't to say that electric cars won't take overI think they very well mightbut the blog post doesn't make the best case for it.

I also really dislike that whole argument style of cherry-picking a "disruptive" innovation that happened to succeed but ignoring all the others that either failed or didn't deliver for decades. You can't generalize the smart-phone's success that easily! It feels like a pernicious case of what poker players call "results oriented thinking"[1], which is something I see a lot in business analysis.

[1]: http://www.toppokersites.com/strategy/results-oriented-think...

swombat 15 hours ago 3 replies      
Interesting article, though it forgets the elephant in the room: self-driving cars.

The two will probably work hand in hand, but it is unlikely, in my opinion, that any electric cars will be charging at home very much, because most electric cars will be owned by companies, not individuals. Why own a car when you can pay a tiny percentage of a cab fare to go anywhere? When a journey that currently costs $50 costs 20 cents, private car ownership will plummet.

curiousjorge 14 hours ago 5 replies      
I think the article is overly optimistic and derives some sort of future prediction based on a simplified past performance of a totally different market. Tesla is a luxury , many of us can't afford it and if we could we would most likely opt for BMW or Benz.

The reason these other car makers aren't moving yet is they are learning from Tesla. You don't want to be a first mover in this industry, you want to move so slightly close to what everyone is doing but still differentiate yourself on brand. Cars today have vastly improved across the board regardless of make. To say gas stations will go out of business is ludicrous at best, Tesla will go out of business sooner as established car brands move in and hurt bottom line for Tesla. In the short while the euphoria towards Tesla will continue but it's headed for a not so pleasant ending. Great for humanity, bad for Musk.

Corrado 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I have test driven a Model S and I will strive to never purchase a ICE driven car again. I, quite literally, changed my perspective on transportation and my life. Previously, I've been lusting after a used 911 or S4 but no more.

Tesla has my business, especially if they can pull off a ~$35k in a couple of years. All I have to do is make my current A4 & Honda Odyssey make it a bit longer. :)

vamur 43 minutes ago 0 replies      
Without cheap batteries, electric cars are a niche product, unfortunately. And with the Iran deal, oil and natural gas are going to be even cheaper so electric cars would become even more expensive.
stuaxo 14 hours ago 1 reply      
"Ten years ago a prediction that this would be the future would have been met with scorn or laughter"

... this sounds like bollocks, I guess I am an outlier as I worked on J2me apps at the time, but mobile phones where everywhere in 2005, the US was a bit behind, but certainly in the UK mobile wasn't the future, but the present - many of those people used apps and games, they just didn't know what an 'app' was although they used them.

skc 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Must be nice to live in the first world.

I've always wondered if the realization of this electric car utopia in the first world will eventually lead to Lamborghinis and Porches being dumped on us poor people in the third world like hand me down clothes.

JacobAldridge 11 hours ago 1 reply      
One element Geoff doesn't cover in the comparison, which I think will slow the take-up, is that the lifecycle of a phone (<2 years) versus the lifecycle of a car (4-5 years?).

And those (from memory, please correct with data) are median averages. For every person still toting an iPhone3 I imagine there are scores still driving a 1993 Camry.

Smartphones exploded in use over the timeframe described, because the technology improved rapidly AND consumers upgraded 2-3 times so could choose the newest and best. Even if cars had similar tech trajectories, the market is moving more slowly.

Of course, electric cars have a secondary market that's much stronger than used phones, which will work against my numbers.

mschuster91 12 hours ago 6 replies      
While I agree with the author that electric vehicles will in not long time dominate the car market, I strongly disagree with point #3:

> Gas stations will start to go out of business as many more electric cars are sold, making gasoline powered vehicles even more inconvenient.

Gas stations even today don't make money with gas, it's next to a loss leader to get customers into the store and spend money on snacks and car parts that won't go away with e-cars (windshield wipers, wiper fluid) - and in many regions gas stations are exempt from normal store opening hours and serve as 24h-supermarket. The convenience of a readily available store, even with a hefty markup, simply is too good to avoid it.

SQL2219 2 hours ago 0 replies      
One point not addressed in this article: gas will get cheaper and fuel efficiencies will rise. Internal combustion will not just lay down and disappear.
beamatronic 14 hours ago 1 reply      
I see a very simple story: Among friends and family, I don't know anyone who would not get a Tesla, who doesn't already have one, once it reaches their price range. I also want to add that most folks I know are planning to make their cars last until such time as they can switch them out for a Tesla ( Model X preferably as a minivan replacement ).
staunch 12 hours ago 1 reply      
I find even this view to be pessimistic and limited, because it assumes we need to keep fairly conventional (but electric) cars around, which we don't!

It's likely we'll rapidly end up with something like the computer controlled "carpods" Google is building, which could be radically cheaper than any car people have to be able to drive. Even if they can only go 45mph, that's enough to navigate most major cities at an optimal speed.

toephu2 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Seems that this article fails to mention that owning a house is a prerequisite to buying an EV (electric vehicle). If you rent a room in a house, it's unlikely the landlord is going to install a charger just for you, and the same goes for apartment complexes. So that already excludes a large portion of the population from buying an EV. I bet 90% of EV owners are not renting their residence. (The other 10% can charge at work or other places, but relative to the number of parking spaces, count how many charging stations there are at BigCo)
reustle 8 hours ago 1 reply      
> Thanks to Sam Altman for having read an earlier version of this post.

Does this add anything to the article, or is it just a way to say "I'm friends with Sam". Do people proofreading a short article expect this sort of thing?

sgustard 13 hours ago 0 replies      
An excellent but longer and more detailed piece in the same vein is "How Tesla Will Change The World" at


aabajian 11 hours ago 0 replies      
The original iPhone had a lot going for it, but I think it was the call-the-Starbucks example that really sold it for me. Remember Steve Jobs on stage looking up the GPS walking path to Starbucks, and having the phone number ready with one-push? It just made perfect sense - a smart phone eliminates the yellow pages.

I don't know if I can find such a feature for an electric car. It's nice that you can plug it in at home, but this is just replacing one need (visit a gas station) with another (remembering to plug it in / staying close to home).

jebblue 8 hours ago 0 replies      
"The iPhone demonstrated that smartphones are infinitely better than the feature phones which dominated the world in 2007."

The iPhone had predecessors, some Apple, some Microsoft, many tiny companies with good ideas but no business brains. It like the electric car stood on the shoulders of giants.

The electric car still has two major hurdles (I wish it weren't true I really wish that the prediction comes true): 1) the Oil industry is powerful 2) batteries.

With a car, if I want to take a short trip to the local gas me up station then decide to drive 300 miles just to say hey to a friend...I could do that. With an electric car and today's batteries, each "filling" station would have to be able to provide a fully charged, safe battery pack that is compatible with my vehicle.

If better batteries could be made with oil, adoption for electric cars would be overnight and the prediction manifested.

elorant 14 hours ago 2 replies      
If electric cars are going to become mainstream we certainly need something far more affordable than Model S. With the money it costs I could buy a Mercedes S-Class which is unparalleled in terms of quality and ride comfort. Furthermore in regions like Europe you can run in all short of inconsistencies with incompatible sockets/recharge stations. Just the other day I was watching a video [1] of a car journalist who tried to make the trip from UK to Amsterdam in a BMW i3 Rx and it took him twice the time it would with a conventional car.

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0f0_hqWdTk

martinald 14 hours ago 1 reply      
To be honest, this misses the point in urban areas (which is increasingly where everyone wants to live).

There's too much congestion for cars to work in urban areas, at least for commuting. It doesn't matter whether they are autonomous, electric, petrol, hydrogen or whatever. The capacity of a multi-lane freeway vs a heavy rail commuter line or metro is so small, even with carpooling.

Unless suddenly this trend reverses and everyone wants to live in the suburbs, the car is really in trouble.

I use public transit nearly all the time and for the times I don't, I take an uber. I tried uber once when there was a problem with transit, and the door to door time was something like 4x the metro due to traffic. Never again.

laurentoget 11 hours ago 1 reply      
If this prediction is right, the electric grid will have a tough time catching up. Power plants take a long time to plan, fund and build.
SQL2219 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Then there is the whole theory that car ownership will go away as driverless cars take over.
darkstar999 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Someone has to be working on battery swaps instead of charging, right? That seems like such an easy solution to what most people consider the biggest problem with electric.
rickdale 14 hours ago 8 replies      
My big qualm with the electric cars that I don't read about is the 40minute-1hour charging. People complain that charging stations aren't near them, but the convenience of pulling into a gas station filling up and being ready for another 400 miles in less than 5 minutes is hard to beat. Even if the charging stations were all around, 5 versus 40-60 min is a big difference.
dangrossman 12 hours ago 1 reply      
The future's already here. A 2-3 year old Nissan Leaf, top trim with all the features, with 10-20K miles on it and a 7-year factory CPO warranty, costs just $10-12K. That's thousands less than the average price paid for a used car last month. If your commute's less than 40-50 miles each way, you can have all the advantages of owning an EV today, not X years down the line. Zero gas, zero maintenance, zero emission inspections, and damn fun to drive. And you don't need any special charging hardware; you can plug it into any old 120V wall socket overnight.
kumarski 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I think this is a tough discussion to have without discussing the following engineering realities and understanding how the needle moves for each of them over time.

Key Metrics:

Specific Energy Density

Cost/ Unit of Specific Energy Density

Liquid Hydrocarbin Energy Density vs. Galvanic Battery Density

Simplicity and Maintainability

http://qr.ae/7L89on everyone should read this post.)

lvs 14 hours ago 2 replies      
I can't imagine what the iPhone has to do with an electric car. The post just refers to a software interface (which all cars now have), a network conncetion, and automatic updates. None of these relies on the powertrain of the car.
stellar678 14 hours ago 1 reply      
While I'm all on-board for the importance and awesomeness of a wholesale transition to electric transportation, I think this essay leaves out some important considerations.

The primary one that pops to mind for me: people replace their phones every 2-3 years. (http://www.phonearena.com/news/Americans-replace-their-cell-...)

How often do people replace their car?

sharemywin 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Part of the iPhones success was the base of iPod users with music collections in the ecosystem that could only get it on the their phone with an "upgrade". No such thing exists for Telsa. Now when someone figures out drive as a service and it cost <$200/mo for the average user with a commute. You have a disruptive scenario.
roflchoppa 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Eh. i would like to see independent garages retrofitting batteries into classic cars.

but man, theres nothing like hearing carburetors on v8's.

tomtang0514 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I can't believe he said electric cars are more fun to drive. There're fun to drive electric cars such as tesla and fiat 500e, but they're never more fun to drive than most (if not all) other cars in it's price range. The only advantage of an electric car in terms of performance is torque. And it doesn't necessary has more torque. Yes electric cars has maximum torque at 0 rpm, but do anyone actually bother looking at it's torque curve? Different from gasoline cars, the torque of electric cars goes DOWN when rpm goes up. I do believe electric cars make a lot of sense for normal people, especially commuters, but please do not say it's more fun to drive because it's absolutely not.
joars 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I though the lesson from the iphone's success was that a product with less features, easier to use and more integrated make great products. With that reasoning plug-in hybrids are the future, although I'm personally rooting for pure electric to win in the end.
Istof 13 hours ago 0 replies      
To me the best parts of an electric car is that the power-train assembly is much simpler then with a gas powered one and it can be powered with pretty much any kind of energy... whatever feeds your home. and the downfall is of course the range.
sosuke 15 hours ago 1 reply      
We just need to add outlets everywhere. I'd love one, but I don't have a place to charge it.
dnautics 13 hours ago 1 reply      
> In fact, in 2005 few if any of the futurists would have even been able to imagine the kind of device most of us now depend upon.

Well, let's be honest, mod the implementation details, Star Trek pretty much got this correct with the PADD.

callesgg 14 hours ago 1 reply      
A big problem is that battery's require lithium, which is quite rare(not supper rare but still rare enough for it to be a problem).

My prediction is that sales if electric cars wont become exponential until we get cheaper and greener battery technology.

philwelch 14 hours ago 2 replies      
This might happen, but I think Geoff is a little too breathless here. Smartphones cost up to $200 with contract. (Approximately nobody buys unlocked phones in the US.) Almost anybody could scrape up $200, and for those who can't, there are $0-with-contract smartphones by now and <$50 prepaid smartphones.

The Tesla Model S costs $69,900. That is a hilarious amount of money to spend on a car. That's $18,000 more than a Mercedes-Benz E-Class. $20,000 more than an Audi A6. $45,000 more than a Toyota Prius. $50,000 more than a Volkswagen Jetta. You could buy a different, damn good used car for every day of the work week for the cost of a single Tesla Model S.

OK, you say, but the iPhone launched at a high price too. The difference is, the iPhone's price came down in a couple of years and the Tesla's price is still extremely high, even for a luxury car, seven years after the launch of the Roadster. Is the price of a Tesla going to drop $50,000 in the next five to ten years?

Has the Tesla sold well? About 50,000 Teslas have been sold in the United States since 2012[1]. In contrast, Toyota sold over four times that number of cars in June 2015 alone.[2] "Struggling" Volkswagen sold 30,000 cars in April.[3] Even in the luxury category, BMW, Mercedes, and Lexus all sell in excess of 300,000 cars a year[4]. 300,000 cars a year, vs. 50,000 cars in three years.

The author also notes a number of advantages of the Tesla:

> Its more fun to drive, with smooth, transmission-less acceleration. For most of us it is the fastest car we have ever owned.

> Its quieter at all times and nearly silent at low speeds.

> It allows you to drive in the carpool lane

> Its more roomy and has a trunk in the front (the frunk) AND a spacious back.

I agree with these.

> [It allows you] to sign up for a cheaper energy usage plan at home.

> It is always full every morning one drives it and you never need to go to a gas station.

This is true for people who live in detached houses. People who are ecologically conscious often prefer not to do this, and that makes it harder to gain a foothold among early adopters. In fact, among this segment, and among the younger segment overall, Tesla's biggest competition isn't going to be other car makers; it's going to be the decision not to own a car in the first place. Once Tesla reaches a point of economical mass production, they should seriously consider partnering with Zipcar to install charging stations at Zipcar lots and provide Teslas as Zipcar fleet vehicles; in the long run, they might get more Tesla drivers that way than they ever would selling vehicles to individual buyers.

If electric cars are the future, I'm going to despair that in the 21st century, we're still hauling around individual 300 pound Americans in 4,000 pound, 16 foot long cars. The trends towards young people returning to the city center and not owning cars are both better trends to encourage and more powerful trends than the trend of selling a really nice, $70,000 electric luxury car.

> It has a user interface - including, notably, its navigation system - as superior to that of other cars as the iPhone was to earlier phones.

> It is connected to the Internet.

> It continuously gets better with automatic updates and software improvements.

> It comes with an app that allows you to manage the car from your phone.

None of these are inherent to electric cars, and any luxury marque should be able to copy these, just like they've been copying from each other for years. And once the luxury marques copy these features, they will filter down to all new cars. (This is even assuming that the last three points are a positive, which I don't think they are.)

> Gas stations will start to go out of business as many more electric cars are sold, making gasoline powered vehicles even more inconvenient.

On the contrary, I think not actually having to sell as much gas would be a boon to the gas station. Gas stations make next to zero margin on actual gasoline, and all of their margin on the convenience store. People on road trips will still have to take breaks, use the restroom, and buy a Red Bull. The gas station doesn't really care whether you refuel your car along the way, but as long as they still exist and provide the service of refueling the driver (and how hard is it to set up some sort of metered power jack for your electric car at the gas station, too?), the business of actually selling fuel will be subsidized.

In fact, here's another way to look at it: diesel-powered cars are fairly rare in the US, and yet it's still easy to find a gas station that pumps diesel. Not every gas station does it, but it's not a barrier to diesel fuel sales.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tesla_Model_S#Global

[2] http://toyotanews.pressroom.toyota.com/releases/toyota+lexus...

[3] http://media.vw.com/release/976/

[4] http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/01/05/us-usa-autos-luxur...

suprgeek 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Shell, Exxon, BP will pour massive lobby dollars to slow down the spread of electric cars. GM, Ford, Honda & Toyota (and the Dealer network) will get in on the lobbying action against electric cars when they see their current monopolies eroding.

Comparing the spread of the Smartphone (digital device by definition) to the Spread of the Car (physical) and then extrapolating a best case future is wishful thinking.

MattHeard 12 hours ago 0 replies      
> Current predictions of the future of electric cars are as wrong as any predictions about the future of mobile phones made in 2005.

I find it odd that Mr. Ralston says this while predicting the future of electric cars. Surely he meant "Everyone else's current predictions"

pierotofy 15 hours ago 2 replies      
I would still buy a gasoline car just because there are no charging stations near where I live. Yeah you can charge at home, but if I have to take a longer trip? At least for me, I will wait until charging stations become more available. Could be a chicken and egg problem.
gambiting 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Eeeeeee, coming from a country where average age of a car on the road is 10+ years, I would say absolutely no. And about fuel stations becoming less profitable and closing...how do you think stations survive in remote places of the world where there is very few cars? They increase their prices. And some of us will still gladly pay those prices,because we have to drive petrol/diesel powered cars(trucks are not going to be electric powered for a long time).
darkstar999 14 hours ago 0 replies      
> The future of automotive transportation is an electric one and you can expect that future to be here soon.

The future is electric driverless cars. How long until they are mandatory?

higherpurpose 15 hours ago 0 replies      
> Gas stations will start to go out of business as many more electric cars are sold, making gasoline powered vehicles even more inconvenient.

That's a great point that I've never considered before.

> On the other hand, the potential exists for a huge rollout of home solar power over the next decade.

Electric cars will convince their owners to install rooftop solar panels, too, which will then convince them to get Powerwall-like batteries for backup, which will then decrease the price of batteries, which will then make electric cars cheaper and more appealing to more people.

It's a beautiful feedback loop.

And wow DOE's predictions are terrible (first source). It's almost as if they went around surveying car manufacturers about their plans to make electric cars in 2013 and then made their predictions for 27 years later based on that. Just terrible.

And 11% cars will be using ethanol in 2040? Really? I'll be surprised if 0.11% of them will use ethanol by then.

> The current range of a Model S tops out at about 300 miles. Even GM is extending it's Volt to 200 miles to effectively compete with Tesla.

Volt is the range-extender, and it doesn't come near that (for battery mileage). You're thinking "Bolt" which is not really meant to be the successor to Volt, because it's a full EV and doesn't have a range extender. That's what they claim it will do on battery alone. It will compete with Model 3, not S.

> Battery technology is difficult, but it would be extremely surprising if the available ranges don't double again in 5 years or less.

I agree. Part of it will be from the natural evolution of Li-ion batteries, and part from Tesla's Gigafactory coming online. I expect battery prices to drop in half again to around $100 in another 5 years, after Apple has launched its electric car, too, and Tesla has made a couple more Gigafactories + the natural progress in density of the batteries. After that we might need some breakthroughs to go to $50 or less per kWh.

$100/kWh should be enough to switch the "Early Majority" to EVs, which is half the population. The other half will need batteries to be $50/kWh (or less) to make EVs cheap enough but also with long enough range for the more conservative gas-powered car drivers, who probably won't accept anything less than a (real) 500 mile range on an EV.

The General Video Game AI Competition gvgai.net
56 points by fitzwatermellow  12 hours ago   discuss
Official Sneak Peak of NASA's Latest Pluto Photo instagram.com
30 points by adventured  1 hour ago   4 comments top 3
huuu 1 hour ago 0 replies      
It seems Pluto has much less craters than our moon. Is this because our moon is much closer to a heavy body which attracts all kinds of objects?

Anyway: wow! The quality of this preview is already amazing. Waiting for the high res version :)

StealthMountain 28 minutes ago 0 replies      
Is there a mountain hiding on Pluto?
adventured 1 hour ago 1 reply      
A larger image was just posted to the New Horizons Twitter account.





Cincinnati Subway wikipedia.org
60 points by jmduke  11 hours ago   11 comments top 8
someremains 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I explored this in 2002 with a group of friends while on Christmas break from school. We had to slide down the side of I-75, pry open a grate and drop down onto the top of the water mains running through. We walked almost the entire length of the system before popping out of a manhole in the middle of down town Cinci. The stations and tunnels seem to have been used as some sort of shelters during cold war as there was large amounts of "artifacts" left over from the Civil Defense era (water canisters, beds, etc.). A great experience.
anonu 45 minutes ago 0 replies      
Reminds me a bit of the Second Avenue Subway in Manhattan. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Avenue_Subway At least this one they're about to complete after 80+ years of on/off work...
macNchz 6 hours ago 0 replies      
It's a shame that something that got this far would be lost to 'political bickering'though as a project it does seem to have also fallen at just the wrong moment in history as well. It's interesting to speculate about how it could have affected the development of Cincinnati as a city if it had been completed.

I was also amused to notice that the owner of the semi-finished subway system is 'SORTA'...Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority.

rmason 5 hours ago 0 replies      
After twenty years of political battles Detroit started to build a subway in 1928. They got two stations built before the depression killed it.

I can't find much of anything on the net but my Dad remembers it being built. In the seventies there was an entrepreneur who started running tours of the stations but he did so without city permission and they forced him to stop.

AntiRush 5 hours ago 0 replies      
There are annual tours of the unfinished tunnels. You used to be able to get in, but 5 or 10 years ago a more substantial barricade was put in place.

Also of interest, the current (and long beleaguered) Cincinnati public transit project, the streetcars: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cincinnati_Streetcar

Hopefully we'll actually get them this time.

xenophonf 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I used to work in some offices near the old Sears department store by I-71. One day a co-worker asked me if I wanted to go exploring. Apparently, two of the old subway tunnels---short tunnels through the hillsides---run along the eastern side of the highway (https://www.google.com/maps/@39.129868,-84.4952788,769m/data...). We parked on Oak (or was it Lincoln?) and walked down to the entrance in hip-waders and hardhats. If I remember it correctly, we ended up on the other side of Taft or McMillan (https://www.google.com/maps/@39.1256898,-84.4971403,140m/dat...). Not many signs of human habitation. One of the tunnels was pretty flooded. The other had what looked like the remains of a campfire, maybe a few bottles.
ilikepure 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I lived in Cincy and didn't know this existed.
kozak 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Almost a hundred years, wow.
Ask HN: Do you get impatient when learning new things?
58 points by csbro  2 hours ago   41 comments top 29
batou 1 minute ago 0 replies      
Sounds like you're broken. I was once too. Couldn't focus on anything. This is a good cure from experience:


drivers99 2 minutes ago 0 replies      
Progress is made by consistently working at a thing every day. If I were you, I would keep track of what that one thing is that you make progress on every day. That would be the thing that you want to learn the most. If you try to learn other things the rest of the day, and those things change with your mood, that's fine. Just have that one topic you're learning be something that you don't change, or at least change consciously when it's the right time. Spend at least 1 minute every day on that. (I mention only 1 minute because it builds the habit, and you'll usually end up doing more. But if you don't do at least 1 minute, you could go years without doing it, or not do it at all.
OrangeTux 2 hours ago 0 replies      
TL;DR: Just start.

I've this too. When I learn something new like a language I often want to do it right, like be "pythonic" when learning Python. It can take long for me to write some simple piece of code because I'm constantly doubting if my code is pythonic. And when it takes to long I lose focus and I stop.

The same thing applies when I started a little Go web app, Go was rather new for me. I decided to use Docker and wanted to have a perfect solution with 3 containers(Nginx as reverse proxy , web app and API), auto rebuild and autoreload in developement mode etc. Than I started with writing in Go and everyone had to be tested perfectly, so I was looking for how to test things and how to run tests automatically after saving a file.

These things slowed me down to a point I where stopped. What did I want? I wanted to learn Go. What did I achieve? I learned how to create have production setup for a web app and api in Docker, I learned something about test suites in Go and I was frustrated because another learning project failed.

My advice, just start your project. You can't do it perfect because you want to learn it!

onion2k 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Stop thinking of learning as something you do before you can do what you want to be able to do. Think of it as a range of things you practise over and over again in order to develop a skill. For some skills that learning process is something you might do forever (in my opinion coding is firmly in that category).

For example, if the skill you want to learn is mountain climbing it's useful to read a few books before you climb a mountain - but what you get from a book is information to think about, not the skill to actually go out and do it. You learn mountain climbing by practising climbing mountains over and over again (preferably with a mentor). Every skill is like that - if you want to be good at it, keep doing it.

One more thing: If you really enjoy something you'll enjoy the process of getting better more than the end result, so if you don't enjoy it while you're rubbish at it you won't enjoy it when you're good at it either. Don't struggle with learning something hoping that you'll love it later. You probably won't.

ssantic 5 minutes ago 1 reply      
I have a problem with doing the exercises, either in a textbook, or for an online course. I always expect to have the right answer straight away (whether a quiz or a coding problem), and get really frustrated if I don't. I guess 16 years of school conditions you to think like that. I also get a lot of anxiety when learning new stuff, wondering "what if I just can't understand this subject matter, period".
prakharmohan 7 minutes ago 0 replies      
Just calm down, sit your butt down and read (pertinent to a book). I can understand a million other ideas bouncing up and down constantly but then to make other million ideas happen, you've got to do this.


Well, logically, if you've started learning something I'm guessing its because you want to do something with it? So have some patience.

imron 29 minutes ago 0 replies      
I get impatient with learning materials in video rather than text form.

I can read considerably faster than you can speak. Please just give me written materials.

arc_of_descent 16 minutes ago 0 replies      
I'm currently learning Clojure by reading the Clojure Programming book. Its really been a struggle. You're right about the impatience part. I think everyone goes through it at one point or another.

Especially with learning a Lisp language, you can be really frustrated by having to read so much before you can actually create something.

But slowly and surely I'm learning. I just re-read the chapter(s) I don't understand over and over again.

So my advice is don't try to skim over a whole book. Try reading as slow as possible, and if you don't understand something, take a break and then get back to that same shit once more. And of course, write some code as soon as possible.

2color 5 minutes ago 0 replies      
It has a lot to do with the wide choice you have.A lot of research has covered this topic. Look up "The Paradox of Choice".
ninjakeyboard 21 minutes ago 0 replies      
my 2c - I'm a very passionate learner - a softtop engineer (eg no education) who got where I am through the blood sweat and tears of personal drive and learning on the go. I'm a decent engineer now, and have really figured out what works for me so this is my current perspective on approaching learning.

The practice is important. I plow through books too but you need a project to become proficient. I bought a laptop and started working on some small scala projects on my laptop and reading books. That was enough to let me submit some janky scala for an interview and land a job as a scala engineer.

Some material is harder to learn, some of it is easy. I think it's better to defer reading books for a bit and get some familiarity with the basics so you have a point of reference while reading. The other day I was assigned a pretty big feature with a piece of the domain I wasn't too familiar with. I spent a few days writing a parser to get closer to the spec before starting to work on design docs etc. Having the familiarity then allows me to make sense of the research and existing design documentation so I think having a point of reference is a really important part of the reading/learning. If it's too far away from my current experience, I can't draw new pathways so it just falls out of my head. If I have that basic seed, I can grow some new pathways and expand my position with reading etc.

Ultimately, I think the best way to learn is to actually present the information again to other people. This is the culmination of practice and research together. To write a detailed article on a topic, you'll have to both write the code and also do a lot of reading. Any gaps in your knowledge you'll identify while you're writing and then it's a simple bit of google-fu to get a really solid level of understanding on a topic as you fill out your article.

Re-implementing things is also a terrific way to expand your knowledge. If you read a pattern book, you'll have some high level understanding of how the patterns fit together. Once you apply the pattern once, though, you'll never forget it and you'll see how it works at a very different level. So couple that with writing an article, etc, and it's a super effective approach to learning.

nicky0 2 hours ago 3 replies      
Find a little project you want to do using the technology. For example if you are learning Python, come up with a little program/website idea you want to make, and do it in Python. It's always easier to learn "as you go" rather than just reading a book in isolation.
utefan001 30 minutes ago 0 replies      
It really helps me when I am learning something that is a ton of fun to learn. The OSCP cert may not be exactly your area of interest, but I guarantee you will have fun and gain a ton of confidence in your technical skills. OSCP teaches you how to do security pen testing. It has been so much fun and so addicting that I often struggle to pull myself away from the computer until 3AM. Many of the tools I use are written in python and ruby. It will also teach you to take the responsibility to write secure code very seriously.


ajuc 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I have sth similar. Only noticed after I've seen how my wife learns. She does it depth-first (won't move to another subject till she knows every little detail from the first subject), I learn breadth-first (a little of everything, skimming the books, then I try to do sth and look up the details as needed).

I think for IT breadth-first is better at the beggining, but you can stay half-competent for too long if you never bother to look up the detais that weren't needed so far (my main problem).

erja7050 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I have the same problem. What I do when learning new techniques by studing a book I progress a project in the same pace as I read the book. For example right now i'm learning about the MEAN-stack, so I picked up a book that seemed good and read the first chapter about setting up and creating a dynamic site with express and node and I didn't continue reading before I was done with my own site for my project. This forces you to really studie each chapter and it's more fun then just reading the book!

When studying more general subjects it's not always easy to come up with a fun project and the books are usually not structured in a way that this techniques works. In those cases I try to find a good course online with a lot of reading material or a recommended course book because just watching videos and doing exercises is usually not enough to really learn the subject for me.

falcolas 18 minutes ago 0 replies      
If this is a common pattern in your life, a doctor or counselor might be able to help provide a plan of action tailored to your more precise needs.

Somewhat expensive, but worth it, I've found.

Davetron 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I did a great course earlier this year on Coursera called "Learning How To Learn"

It's pretty short but covers some good strategies for learning that are backed up by current Neurobiology research.


fsloth 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Sounds familiar. Nowadays when I really want to learn something I write everything down to a notebook, sometimes copying paragraphs verbatim. Seems to work for me.
adamc 41 minutes ago 0 replies      
I don't necessarily do the practice exercises, but I'm not impatient. For me, the only good way to learn something is to start playing with it, using it. I learn from struggling.
__m 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I would try to reduce the pressure. Are you genuinely interested in the things you need to learn? Doing the exercises will significantly increase the things you'll be able to recall.Maybe Mindfulness meditation can help you https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3nwwKbM_vJc


drcross 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I'm studying for the CCIE exam at the moment. A solution I have found is- if you are in flow state keep working until you burn out. That can be at 2 at night or 7 in the morning. Also try to take on information from different media types- video, books, notes, practice questions, reading blogs. I think the various approaches to problems is what forms the cross networks in your head.
happyhippo 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Same problem here. I want to read so many things that i come to learn nothing :(
amelius 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Just pretend that you are back in school and have exams at the end of the semester.
angdis 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Why are you thinking of "a million other things" you need to learn?

That's the core obstacle these days to picking up new skills and knowledge.

Mastery of any subject-matter ALWAYS takes practice and repetition. Simple, but those things require sustained repeated investments of your time and attention.

h_o 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Yeah I get that daily too. I find reading is just a difficult task for me, so I try and watch lectures when I can (e.g. on my lunch break in work).

At home, I just try to work on my own projects as much as possible, but I don't have much time every day. It is hard. I exercise (gym) religiously as I find it helps to keep my mind somewhat in check.

Time is my biggest problem really, so this leads to the frustration you have described.

I also like to play challenging games (LoL) - and that is a HUGE time warp... :(

lourinaldi 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Maybe book learning isn't for you? Try an online resource such as Code Academy or Coursera. You might enjoy the immediate feedback from each lesson as you make progress.
logicallee 44 minutes ago 2 replies      
I get incredibly frustrated with 1) people who "design" (and I use the term very, very loosely) the actual tools you're learning, and 2) then even more so for the people who teach the tools, as though it's the only thing that existed - even though any member of the target audience has to know a thousand very closely related things, so that honestly you could just point out the 5 tricky things.

For point 1 - things should be like Python, not like resolving dependency hell in the 90's. Installation should be a double-click. Errors should not be easy to make, it should be obvious what things do, and error messages should be obvious. The people who design tools don't care about any of this stuff.

For point 2 - honestly, 99% of people - as in, 99 out of 100 people, who pick up a Rust tutorial have programmed literally 4 other languages - they have written working lines of code in 4 other languages. Look at this shit: https://doc.rust-lang.org/book/ open the menu at top-left) - Guessing Game! The Dining Philosophers! "Lets set up a new project. Go to your projects directory. Remember how we had to create our directory structure and a Cargo.toml for hello_world?" in just as many words that your poor audience has to read through you could have said: "semicolons terminate statements; blocks in curly braces; module import is use module::submodule::symbol; comment with // or /* */ which can nest." Look very very closely at my two strings in this paragraph: they contain literally just as many characters.

You could start by summarizing go in a sentence and get people going, not trace it back to the ENIAC. I hate this GOBS and GOBS of time people assume we have.

And back to point 1, tool writers assume we have like infinite time to follow 27-point directions that could be 100% automated. And tutorial writers assume we have infinite time to read all about the history of the world. I have to watch YouTube videos at 2x speed so that they're sounding like they're rapping, just so I can get to all the stuff I don't need.

Get to the point, people. Not everyone has a picnic following directions that shouldn't even exist.

damcedami 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I guess you need to watch Scott Hanselman talk "It's not what you read, it's what you ignore" very good description about your situation.
smegel 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Do, or do not - there is no "learn".
maqbool 2 hours ago 0 replies      
i have the same problems rather than reading i start thinking i will finished first 5 chapter than next days another x chapters and i end up reading and learning nothing.
Telegram Suffers DDOS, Criticism For Enabling Human Rights Lawyers In China techcrunch.com
76 points by pmatrix  11 hours ago   22 comments top 7
JohnyLy 9 hours ago 0 replies      
You can't be big in China if you don't have local contacts. If you are a small startup or a small company, you are fine. But if you are a big one, you will be blocked unless you have political contacts. Then, once your company is blocked; a Chinese company is going to create the exact same service but with a lot of censure added to it.
themeekforgotpw 4 hours ago 2 replies      
The United States censors links to foreign propaganda as well. They DDOS sites sometimes, especially ISIL-active forums, etc. I don't know if they DDOS state sponsored sites - they are probably more stealthy (something the Chinese don't care about).
sschueller 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Maybe it is now time for them to open the server side so we can run our own federated nodes.

They did say that they may open up the server side. Maybe this is the only way to keep the network from running and preventing governments from blocking it. [1]

[1] https://telegram.org/faq

jsingleton 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Not much they could do about this but it's resulting in a lot of bad reviews on the app stores. It would be in their interest to do better with communication to users. They are in the communication sector after all!

Maybe they should respond to the reviews directly in the app stores or put something in the app which explains what is going on. Not sure if they have the ability to broadcast message affected users but it could be as simple as implementing a better connection error message. Most of their users aren't going to read their blog or the tech press.

dnqthao 7 hours ago 4 replies      
If China wants to do it, they will just block Telegram servers. Why bother to DDOS?
higherpurpose 1 hour ago 1 reply      
To me the more interesting thing is that the Chinese government is making such a big deal about a relatively unknown app such as Telegram, but isn't saying or doing anything at all about iMessage, which is supposed to be end-to-end encrypted (by default even, unlike Telegram).

Are you telling me that those same lawyers don't have iPhones and don't use iMessage even more than they do Telegram? Because I don't believe that.

So either the Chinese government has just recognized there's nothing they can do about banning Apple's iMessage - or Apple already provides them with a way to look at iMessages.

I'm inclining to believe it's more the latter.

cpncrunch 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm surprised Telegram hasn't done anything about this yet, as they have been having DDoS attacks since September 2014.
Rotterdam to consider trialling plastic roads theguardian.com
32 points by prawn  9 hours ago   22 comments top 9
emp_zealoth 2 hours ago 3 replies      
As a person that rides motorcycle avidly I'm always distressed when the most important metric of a road gets a tiny mention, when discussing those new technologies.

Traction. If it's not at least as good as current best asphalt then don't bother.

Cities are already turning into motorcycle deathtraps, with all the "safety" nonsense generously painted everywhere (Which is slippery as hell, even during sunny weather)

Tharkun 1 hour ago 1 reply      
What's wrong with asphalt? It can be easily recycled, it's an otherwise pretty useless component of crude oil of which we have plenty. It can be repaired with relative ease.
im3w1l 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Wouldn't that leak significant amounts of endocrine disruptors into the environment?
ekianjo 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Plastic in large quantities can become very, very expensive. It's cheap when you make a bottle or any kind of thin package, but as measured in kg, plastics are not cheap at all (but have interesting properties).
vacri 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Note to marketing guys: find a better word than 'plastic'. You lose out because it sounds unenvironmental and is also associated with cheap, shoddy products. Go for something like 'polymer' instead.
j_lev 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Would be interesting to see how potholes look and how they are repaired.
amelius 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Will this make us run out of oil even faster?
dang 7 hours ago 0 replies      
neals 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Great to see the massive amounts of plastic that I put out every 2 weeks are being put to good use.
Pure UI rauchg.com
537 points by brbcoding  19 hours ago   93 comments top 18
escherize 18 hours ago 5 replies      
I've noticed the f(data) = view paradigm dominate the clojurescript landscape ever since om and reagent[1]. There's also a library that literally uses function calls and parameters for every piece of UI called re-frame[2] (which also has a badass readme).

Using pure functions to compose a UI along with keeping all the data in one place have been a huge win for our project for a few reasons.

1. All it takes to debug what a handler is doing is what effect it has on the DB. Our handler functions are also mostly pure functions which take the current-db as a parameter.

2. We can serialize the state to local storage (or a string) and reload it from local storage (or a string).

3. Using the repl, we can investigate the state of the application while it's running.

[1] http://reagent-project.github.io[2] https://github.com/Day8/re-frame/

austenallred 18 hours ago 9 replies      
I just think that automatically-updating "views" counter is awesome. A little distracting, but cool to watch it update in real-time.
ilyagr 15 hours ago 1 reply      
This is exactly the approach Elm takes. The recommended way to structure the application is so that the view is a pure function of the Model (application state). Moreover, the change to application state is also pure: there is a pure function that takes an event and an old model, and then returns the new model.


Aleman360 19 hours ago 3 replies      
What's old is new. Silverlight had a big focus on declarative UI that continues to today with XAML:https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/expression/cc941385.aspx
TeeWEE 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I like the idea of having pure functions f(state)=view,however, wouldnt this be very slow for very big ui applications? Also the only reason todo this on web is to use some sort of double-buffering and prevent redraws before everything is updated. On mobile native you have control over these things. But thinking about it, doing purely functional UI for native apps would never work, right? You need todo a dif each and every time the ui updates. And this happens a lot for example for sliders, or animations.

Is the approach inherently flawed for fast UI applications?

tomaskafka 18 hours ago 1 reply      

1. Create pure UI component

2. Describe allowed state space as DSL/type - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8963000

3. Plug in fuzzer

4. Watch till you catch an undesigned state

5. Fix & repeat

brucehauman 17 hours ago 1 reply      
This ability to concretely display a component in all of its different states is one of main reasons I created devcards (ClojureScript, Figwheel). One can use it to create storyboards live as you are programming.


I have been putting a lot of work into devcards lately so forgive me for being so focused on it.


mshenfield 17 hours ago 0 replies      
>In general, comparing frameworks in terms of features seems inferior to examining the model it imposes on the programmer. The latter will inform you about how well the code will fare over time as the product matures and the team grows, but the former wont.

I feel like this is a much more semantic interpretation of frameworks than trying to compare the likes of Angular, React, or JsBlocks on speed, data-binding, and whether they support x,y,z use cases. Kudos rauchg.

ridiculous_fish 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Help me understand some of this stuff:

> the definition of an applications UI as a pure function of application state

I presume "application state" means the stuff that the app cares about, and not the stuff that it doesn't.

But the app's actual, rendered UI incorporates state from multiple sources. For example, if you have a text field, it has "application state" like its positioning, "framework state" like where the text selection(s) are, "user state" like what size the user dragged it to, etc. And your "pure function of application state" necessarily discards this non-application state.

So then how does this state ever get preserved? The answer must lie in the "diffing algorithm:" the thing that determines what has changed, and attempts to reuse as much of the old UI as possible. A good algorithm will reuse an element and preserve its state. A naive algorithm will drop state and result in bad UI.

So in this model, aren't you taking a huge and hidden dependency on this diffing algorithm? What's the right way to ensure continuity of non-application state across updates?

dhruvio 17 hours ago 2 replies      
Thanks for the essay, it was a great read. Maybe my understanding is wrong, but I am slightly perplexed by one idea. I really like the link you have created between the designer's and developer's workflow, and I think your essay touches on an ideal. But, from an applied perspective, this may be difficult to attain when creating components that need to visually transition between state within the original element.

Using your video player example, if the video is loading (state 1), and once loaded, it starts playing (state 2), wouldn't a pure functional approach imply the entire <video> DOM element is replaced by a new one in the change from state 1 to state 2? What if I only wanted to animate the loading bar away and fade out the thumbnail when leaving the loading state, while maintaining the original HTML element?

I'm curious to know if you've thought about this, and have any insight, because it's something I hope to understand. Thanks.

WA 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Now, it would be interesting to see how function pay() should be written with the new approach and how it evolves when the new states ("network went away error", "must be logged in", "certain role", "pre-existing data") are discovered.
sergiotapia 18 hours ago 2 replies      
Reminds me heavily of React. Components that render 1 single thing based on the current state of the component.

Building out my UI with Meteor and React was so cool, I found myself having fun again.

AdieuToLogic 8 hours ago 0 replies      
For those cordial with CoffeeScript, there's Hamlet[1] (which is based on/inspired by HAML[2]). It's a pretty nice declarative-esque UI library. From their home page, here's a sample:

 %label Search: %input(value=@search type="text") %label Sort by: %select(value=@sortBy @options) %ul -each @sorted, -> %li.phone(@class) %img(@src) .name= @name .description= @snippet
1 - http://hamlet.coffee

2 - http://haml.info

amelius 15 hours ago 1 reply      
How would one code, e.g., a rich text editor using such an approach? And would it be able to handle texts, of say, hundreds of pages?
zkhalique 15 hours ago 2 replies      
Indeed. You can roll your own without React. Simply indicate when something changed in your model, and update the DOM on the next frame using a PURE state -> DOM mapping function.

What do you y'all think of something like this?


CuriousSkeptic 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Another take on the idea of finding the complete specification is Parnas Tables. https://cs.uwaterloo.ca/~jmatlee/talks/parnas01.pdf

I'm thinking it could be interesting to combine some agile technique like ATDD and user story mapping with such a disciplined formalism.

applecore 18 hours ago 0 replies      
The convergence of the designer and programmer roles feels, if you'll pardon the pun, like React's one-way data flow: moving from design to programming.

Of course, the ecosystem will build better tooling to support less technical folks, but for now it's still heavily engineering-focused.

smt88 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I wasn't able to read any of this because of the stupid fucking flashing view counter at the top of the page.

View counters have been dead for a long time and need to stay that way. No one cares how many views you have and certainly no one wants to have a flashing box at the top of the page they're trying to read.

We dont trust drinking fountains anymore, and thats bad for our health washingtonpost.com
121 points by sergeant3  17 hours ago   161 comments top 24
secabeen 16 hours ago 3 replies      
I grew up in LA, where water is scarce, and valued. Water fountains are around, but they have valves, which break, stick, or otherwise cause problems. When I lived in Chicago, I was shocked to see that their water fountains have no valves: They run full flow 24x7. Given the weather (frozen pipes) and the water resources available to Chicago (Lake Michigan), it makes sense for them to do it this way, but I had a lot of dissonance when I first saw it.
teekert 4 hours ago 4 replies      
I always drink tap water here in the Netherlands, in the US where I have been (Houston, New Orleans, Boston, Long Beach) the water just tastes like it came from a swimming pool. So much chlorine, I couldn't drink it. In San Fransisco it was relatively ok though, still a faint chlorine taste but drinkable. I understand the difficulty of maintaining such a large water distribution net but I certainly switch to bottled water when I'm in the US.

I do like the fact that you can get free water almost everywhere, there was often a large can and cups on the bar, free to take. Here a tap water is sometimes as expensive as a beer (in a bar obviously).

davidw 15 hours ago 4 replies      
I've always found it kind of funny that in "capitalist" US, there is free water all over the place. It's one of my favorite things to drink good, clean water for free in Portland after getting off a long flight from Europe. In "socialist" Europe, you're pretty much stuck with expensive bottled water in places like airports, unless you have a cup or something and don't mind drinking from the bathroom faucets.

OTOH, one of the great things about cycling in Italy is that every little teeny tiny town has a water fountain, usually near the church or town square. Even on the hottest days of summer, you could probably get by with one small water bottle if you're willing to stop regularly.

allendoerfer 14 hours ago 3 replies      
European capitalism destroying old American traditions and cultures just sounds wrong to your ears when you are so used to the narrative of McDonalds and Hollywood taking over the world.

In Germany I think I saw a dedicated drinking fountain only once. There are of course fountains, but most of the time there is a sign on them saying "Kein Trinkwasser" ("no drinking water"). We have exceptionally good tap water and I think only very few Germans fear to drink it. I notice it every time I brush my teeth in another country, it just tastes bad. So they got us with another trick: Germans are just used to sparkling water.

That is a valuable lock-in lesson: Add an unimportant but prominent usage-detail to your product as long as your customers need it so when an alternative comes along they are just used to it and too lazy to switch. Works best when your customers are children.

brohoolio 11 hours ago 1 reply      
The primary reasons I don't drink from water fountains often are there isn't enough water pressure and it feels like you have to kiss the fountain to get water or someone spit in the fountain.

Solve those two problems and people will use them like crazy. At U of M the fountains are everywhere. They even have little Counters saying how many bottles of water they have saved.

nosuchthing 15 hours ago 5 replies      
Been seeing these water bottle refill stations pop up around:


skriticos2 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Tap-water is very much a hit-or-miss here in Germany. In some cities (like Berlin) it's almost hazardous, while in other cities it's very drinkable. The tubes the water passes also make a big difference (there are still lot's of lead tubes lying around in old houses).

We got our-self a home reverse-osmosis filter system that clears water of most particles and drink very clean water with abandon (~1 ppm non-water particles). It's really a luxury worth having, especially with kinds. Plus, no carrying around bottled water.

And no, the lack of minerals in the water did not kill any of us.. that's a fable. In fact, your body will only absorb minerals from water it if it can't get it from other food sources that have them in a more optimal chemical bounding.

gingerlime 15 hours ago 0 replies      
When I visited Sofia, Bulgaria, it was amazing to see people carry bottles over to this square where there's natural hot spring water. The water really tastes great and it was so much fun just being around there. People don't seem to feel awkward about bringing lots of bottles with them and stocking up on water.

In Berlin, where I live now, there are fully functioning manual water pumps in some streets. People don't really use them much, but there's something quite charming about them too.

freditup 15 hours ago 2 replies      
Let's start with the assumption (not necessarily true) that one who drinks from a public water fountain consumes significantly more germs than one who drinks bottled water. Is this even a bad thing? I would think that this regular exposure could help strengthen the immune system.

I'm personally uncertain if anything like this is backed by research.

NhanH 16 hours ago 10 replies      
When I first came to US, I didn't mind drinking public fountain. But one day, I walked by one and a dog was drinking from it, licking all over it in the process. From that day onward, I stopped.

Still, I have to wonder: is that reasonable of me? And otherwise, is it expected to let your pet sharing the same water source with human?

mironathetin 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Here in Germany, water is the best protected good that we have - maybe apart from beer :o) - and that is as it should be. It usually tastes good and I use it all the time (stopped buying bottled water long ago).

In a bar or restaurant, tap water has to be free. They don't like that and try to sell you more expensive stuff, but the law requires free water. Great, isn't it?

I was indeed shocked by the amount of chlorine that I tasted in Californian water (I regularly work in Pasadena).

dandanisaur 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I think it might be impossible for those of us who have used fountains, but now don't trust them anymore. I've seen people urinating/vandalizing fountains in Metro Detroit and would never use them again.

*I think someone mentioned this below too.

Tehnix 9 hours ago 1 reply      
In Denmark I rarely, if ever, see water fountains. If I saw one, I would never drink from it. For me, personally, it's a sanitary issue. There also seems to be studies that link them with pathogens and bacteria, wikipedia links to some[0].

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drinking_fountain#Cleanliness

VLM 24 minutes ago 0 replies      
How sterile are water reservoirs and lakes? My guess is they're full of pooping and dying fish, bugs, god knows what. The big city nearby me pump drinking water out of the same lake they pump treated and untreated sewage into. The suburb I live in at least uses well water. My point is if the source of the water is full of living and dead animals and bugs then worrying about homeless people peeing on the fountain remains gross but is no longer a serious concern. Pumping that same water into a bottle and charging a large amount of money for it doesn't make the problem go away either.
deathhand 4 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't trust municipal water sources because of the endocrine disruptors. http://www.hhs.gov/asl/testify/2010/02/t20100225a.html
spodek 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Besides health, there's pollution.

The opposite of a drinking fountain is The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, according to Wikipedia: The Great Pacific garbage patch, also described as the Pacific trash vortex, is a gyre of increased marine debris particles in the central North Pacific Ocean located roughly between 135W to 155W and 35N and 42N. The patch extends over an indeterminate area, with estimates ranging very widely depending on the degree of plastic concentration used to define the affected area.

If you wonder where these huge collections of garbage come from, drinking bottled beverages contributes.


leni536 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm currently staying at Switzerland and they have water fountains like at every corner (with a little bit of exaggeration). I absolutely love it.
jscheel 15 hours ago 3 replies      
Yeah, I stopped drinking at water fountains after I realized that half the kids I saw drinking from them were practically swallowing the spigot whole. It's not tap water I'm afraid of, it's the distribution device. It's a attractive breeding-ground for every form of nasty.
pbreit 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder if San Francisco's ban on water bottle sales (at public events) will encourage more water fountains?
Sleaker 15 hours ago 1 reply      
hmmm article sites Causation but really means correlation.

"The disappearance of water fountains has hurt public health. Centers for Disease Control researcher Stephen Onufrak has found that the less young people trust water fountains, the more sugary beverages they drink"

- That doesn't sound like an actual study to me, just a hunch....

cjensen 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Not mentioned is that much of the tap water in the US tastes much worse than it did 30 years ago due to increased standards which require water districts to add more and more cleaning agents to the water. Cleaner tap water leads to greater use of less-clean bottled water.
jest3r- 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Nestle hires the homeless to pee in water fountains?
contingencies 10 hours ago 0 replies      
In some parts of China, (frequently older) people routinely spend an hour or more lugging empty bottles up mountain paths to natural springs in order to gather spring water for drinking. (The character for a spring is which is water beneath a which means something like white/clear/plain but was allegedly originally a pictograph of an acorn!
sliverstorm 12 hours ago 0 replies      
So much for drinking from the hose, I guess.
Wargames overthewire.org
130 points by nullgeo  22 hours ago   12 comments top 9
thefreeman 16 hours ago 0 replies      
If you are looking for more wargames like this, https://www.wechall.net/ has a large index and allows you to keep a persistent score based on which challenges you have completed.
Ephem 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Quite a few of these wargames has an interesting history. I think at least Leviathan, Narnia, Behemoth, Utumno and Maze originates from a site I believe had the url wargames.net about 15 years ago. That site got transformed into dievo.org (Digital Evolution) which later closed. intruded.net picked up the wargames to keep them online and they then ended up on overthewire.org.

I have very fond memories of hanging around the wargames.net and later dievo.org irc-channels in my late teens talking to the wonderful and talented people there (lots of swedes if I remember correctly). While the late night talks might have messed with my school grades somewhat I'm pretty sure I learned more from those people than I learned from school anyway. :) I probably wouldn't work as a developer today if it weren't for those communities so a big shoutout from Woodman if any of you are reading this! :)

caffeinewriter 16 hours ago 0 replies      
OverTheWire has some really fun wargames. I made it through Bandit and Leviathan not too long ago, and I only have one more challenge in Natas. They do a good job on the difficulty overall, not too difficult to start, but it ramps up pretty steadily, giving you a chance to learn. I'll have to get back on this over the weekend.
abapat 6 hours ago 1 reply      
These are amazing.. finished a bunch over a night out.Although I feel they might have to prepare for the HN/slashdot effect... Lots of people might be trying to ssh. :D
Retr0spectrum 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I had a lot of fun on this site. IIRC this is where I first learnt to exploit a buffer overflow.
unknownzero 15 hours ago 0 replies      
This is awesome stuff. I've blown through the majority of the Bandit levels pretty quickly but looking at the other games it seems they easily go way beyond my skill level. Easy to get started and keep going through the levels since it's all ssh. Would highly recommend anyone thinking about it checks this out.
fapjacks 13 hours ago 2 replies      
I did these years and years ago when it was called something else, but I can't seem to remember the name.
thorn 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Nice idea and progression of difficulty. I second this as very good and smooth intro.
vshubh123 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow this is awesome!
FanDuel Raises $275M, Births Unicorn recode.net
22 points by prostoalex  6 hours ago   22 comments top 8
downandout 6 minutes ago 0 replies      
I would like to see the term sheet for this. My guess is that these investors are going to be extracting returns from revenue as it comes in. Here's why...

UIGEA, [1] the legislation that was used to take down the online poker sites, contained an exemption for fantasy sports. However, that exemption is only valid if the business is operating in compliance with individual state laws. There is an increasing sentiment that DFS is sports gambling under a number of state laws, and many people are just waiting to find out which state will prosecute first. At the time the UIGEA exemption was created, legislators hadn't even contemplated the concept of DFS, and the very legislators that wrote the exemption have expressed concern over it.

Since investors with this kind of money have done their due diligence, my guess is that they just want to ride the revenue train until the inevitable state-by-state crackdown occurs. It's no coincidence that this investment is occurring just before football season, which is their biggest revenue driver by orders of magnitude.

[1] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unlawful_Internet_Gambling_E...

doctorpangloss 4 hours ago 2 replies      
In case anyone is puzzled about what FanDuel and Draft Kings do, Recode is definitely being very pedantic with its description "daily fantasy sports."

These are a form of real-money-payout online gambling. They're legal. How quickly they evolve into pure casinos, as opposed to just 95% casinos, I don't know. They can't do something as clinically addictive as virtual slot machines and give payouts, but I bet they can come pretty close.

drsim 4 hours ago 2 replies      
First Scottish unicorn? Perhaps Skyscanner is up there too after a $800m valuation in 2013.

...and a rare success story for public funding from Scottish Enterprise. I worked at a spectacularly bad startup funded to the tune of $1m by Scottish Enterprise.

theklub 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Anyone else hate the phrase "Unicorn"?
prawn 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I suspect we'll see another class of fantasy comp develop soon for less-interested and more time-poor players where you don't even pick your team, but are given a random team.

If fantasy or daily fantasy is sports betting, then this underclass of fantasy sports would be something akin to a lottery ticket or "scratchie" rather then these head-to-head games. If you ask me to play daily fantasy, I'll say "No time, sorry" and ignore it. But if you give me an app/page with a pre-picked team and moderate financial interest in it doing well, I may watch the game and track stats.

You could send out random teams ("Your team for tonight is x, y and z!") with an adjusted under/over (for stats, totals, etc) and then give people the option to double-or-nothing with a bet, or whatever. "Win a $5 Amazon voucher, or bet 10 tokens now to have a chance at a $50 voucher!"

The sports leagues are actively interested in gambling as something that gives people another incentive to watch games. If you have no-name in your fantasy team, you suddenly care about every time they touch the ball.

skaplun 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Online poker 2.0, and I will bet that they follow the same route. Enter regulation, margins go down and casino comes into place
gojomo 3 hours ago 0 replies      
"FanDuel, which still isnt profitable, has now raised $363 million since 2009. The company has a fast-growing revenue stream, though, and made nearly twice as much as rival DraftKings in 2014."

Danger ahead. If payouts are even a little subsidized by investment/marketing dollars, into slightly-positive-expectation territory, this sort of business can achieve almost arbitrary revenue growth. (Plenty of smart money, or even just intuitive-do-whatever-works-until-it-stops-working money, will be happy to buy $10 bills for $9.50, over-and-over. Lazy susan revenues.)

But when the promo subsidies end, or the happy-to-lose-for-a-while fish who are attracted by mass advertising reach 'extinction', the bulk revenue can disappear just as quickly.

Will this remain a favored form of negative-expectation gambling afterwards? Maybe, but probably at a size way below its novelty/subsidy-goosed peak.... which might already be behind us.

fmsf 4 hours ago 1 reply      
They have been very active across the UK sponsoring conferences (.e.: ScottlandJS) and attending events (i.e.: Silicon Milk Roundabout).
Amazon backs large-scale wind farm newsobserver.com
33 points by prostoalex  9 hours ago   1 comment top
7952 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I wonder if spot instance pricing could be tied to excess power availability? Could be a good way to increase power usage when their is high wind resource and low usage.
An open source Xilinx Spartan 6 miniPCIe development board github.com
85 points by polysome  15 hours ago   41 comments top 9
TD-Linux 14 hours ago 4 replies      
Really nice design! Impressive routing, I was surprised you were able to fit two DDR chips on there as well.

It's still too bad that all the tooling for this is closed source (Altium, Xilinx ISE / Vivado, with the latter being far more offensive). But the Spartan 6 is a really nice chip otherwise.

It seems like the target application is compute acceleration. Do you have any particular applications in mind?

imrehg 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Oh, nice! On the other hand, seeing this on HN now I feel really inadequate, having just finished the prototype of my miniPCIe Arduino clone last weekend... Really need to level up too!

KiCad source of the PCIeDuino: https://github.com/moonpunchorg/pcieduino

Pictures: http://imgur.com/a/XiJ12

Smushman 14 hours ago 3 replies      

The manufacturer.

What purpose is this useful for?

Can someone elaborate?

vardump 14 hours ago 1 reply      
So there's a serial flash on board? How many milliseconds max it takes to load the bitstream to FPGA after power on? Can you load PCIe endpoint within PCIe spec alotted time, 100 ms?

Is partial bitstream reprogramming possible?

userbinator 6 hours ago 0 replies      
The FPGA itself is around $160. Not cheap, but not expensive either (look at some of the high-end Virtex devices for an idea of how much expensive FPGAs cost...)
aceperry 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Excellent looking design. This could become a big deal for the maker community. I'm glad to see so much open source stuff coming out for hardware.
acd 2 hours ago 2 replies      
What is the speed of a Xilinux Spartan 6 compared to an recent Intel i5-i7 series cpu?
vineeth 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Pretty cool. Does the board show up as PCIe endpoint if it's plugged into a laptop?
AdieuToLogic 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Way cool hardware! Kudos to the team putting this out.
       cached 14 July 2015 13:02:04 GMT