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50 Companies That May Be the Next Startup Unicorns bits.blogs.nytimes.com
31 points by dankohn1  2 hours ago   27 comments top 11
imh 47 minutes ago 2 replies      
Can we please stop calling billion dollar companies startups?
gjolund 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm writing a filter for my hacker news plugin that removes all references to "unicorn" from my feed.
joshu 1 hour ago 2 replies      
I think I am an early investor in five of these. Not incredibly fond of the term "unicorn" though.
arthur_debert 37 minutes ago 0 replies      
It's surprising how much of it relates to food delivery (the largest group, in fact).

Wrote my take at how the it's distributed here https://medium.com/@arthurdebert/2abb1df33f6d

ams6110 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Taboola is already in my /etc/hosts file.
ftrflyr 29 minutes ago 0 replies      
Vertical farming is going to be huge.
simonebrunozzi 30 minutes ago 0 replies      
I believe that Betterment is already past the 1B dollar valuation. Am I wrong?
iribe 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Out of all of these, only one stands out as a sure fire success: sonos.
mrdrozdov 1 hour ago 1 reply      
By Location:

 New York - 8 San Francisco - 16 Rest of CA - 12

11thEarlOfMar 1 hour ago 1 reply      
YC Firms:







qCOVET 1 hour ago 3 replies      
Vanity sizing: a size 8 woman's dress of 1958 would be smaller than 0 today washingtonpost.com
57 points by thanatropism  1 hour ago   46 comments top 15
ChuckMcM 21 minutes ago 0 replies      
Having 3 sisters, a wife, and three daughters, I have heard the litany all too often that they have to shop at a store because there is no telling what you are going to get from a catalog.

The engineer in me wants to figure out if one could codify hips, bust, waist, and leg length to get a 4! set of combinations but I can't imagine any store that would buy 24 alternates in small, medium, large, and XL, that is 96 copies of the item just to sell one to someone. Not really economical. The thing that really bothers them though is when a supplier has reliably supplied the same size for several years and suddenly changes manufacturers or something and wham it doesn't fit.

It certainly suggests that roboticly made to order clothes would be a winner (Google could try that with their robotics companies) and one of the big obstructions, the sewing machine, is slowly succumbing to automation

[1] http://motherboard.vice.com/read/automated-mini-factories-wi...[1]

paulcole 49 minutes ago 3 replies      
Men's clothes aren't that different. Measure the actual waists of a few pairs of chinos and jeans and compare to the sizing.

Also worth noting that quality control and variability in manufacturing is so scattershot that 5 pairs of size 32 Levi's 501s will fit very differently.

bmir-alum-007 34 minutes ago 4 replies      
Sadly, I think the only way for most Americans to maintain a healthy lifestyle would require significant, paternalistic education and intervention. One idea others have proposed would be clearly-and-emphatically warn of future denial of certain healthcare expenses and conditions for people that fail to achieve and maintain reasonable goals to curtail high-risk lifestyle choices, i.e., smoking, poor diet. The key is conditions which arise even with good lifestyle habits should have priority over people that don't take care of themselves and expect everyone else to clean up their mess.

(I'd be first in line because I could lose 20 lbs (9 kg).)

tesseract 13 minutes ago 0 replies      
A patternmaker's blog/commentary on this subject, that I came across recently: http://www.vanitysizing.com/
nikanj 10 minutes ago 0 replies      
I moved from Europe to North America and my shoe size went from 9.5 to 11.5. Amazing!
ufmace 32 minutes ago 0 replies      
I don't know about the absolute trends, but I do know that men's clothing isn't much better as far as standardized sizing. Probably the only saving grace of men's fashion is that it isn't nearly as unfashionable or important if men's clothes are poorly fitted.

If you actually care about how your clothes fit and the style, then prepare to spend hours shopping per garment, or go custom.

smegel 20 minutes ago 0 replies      
> the average American woman

Well I'm glad they clarified American women.

jinushaun 50 minutes ago 0 replies      
This is a problem for men's clothing too. I actually track my sizes per brand, per year in order to make shopping online remotely plausible.
jetskindo 21 minutes ago 0 replies      
I guess when we talk about dress size we have to adjust for inflation from now on.
zdw 42 minutes ago 2 replies      
I wonder how much taller/bigger framed people are today than they were in the past.

This isn't just all people packing on more fat - better nutrition leads to increases in height and bone density.

batiudrami 56 minutes ago 0 replies      
Strangely, a UK/AU size 8 is still about the same - it's comparable to a size 0 in the US.
pervycreeper 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Curious if there are any studies which have A/B comparisons of consumer purchasing habits relative to size labelling.
simplexion 46 minutes ago 2 replies      
"Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data show that the average American woman today weighs about as much as the average 1960s man."

That is a disgusting statistic.

smitherfield 23 minutes ago 0 replies      
Kinda puts into perspective the (inaccurate anyway) claims about Marilyn Monroe or whoever's dress size. The "standards of beauty" of the 1950s placed, if anything, an even greater emphasis on being slim than they do today.
asquabventured 43 minutes ago 0 replies      
A Brief History of Intel CPU Microarchitectures (2013) [pdf] apache.org
70 points by majke  6 hours ago   3 comments top 2
pcunite 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I went to visit my dad one day and he brought out a laptop to show me. Said he found it at the local car wash sitting next to the vacuum pillars. This was in 1996 or so. It was a Sceptre brand with an integrated trackball instead of a trackpad. I asked him if I could borrow it. I never gave it back.

I went back to see him again and he had bought a Compaq desktop system. Intel 266Mhz ... it was crazy fast ... compared to the laptop. It was so fast it could play Delphine Moto Racer. I remember feeling totally overwhelmed as each month (it seemed) that Intel was upping speeds in 33Mhz increments.

I started buying "Computer World" magazines to keep up with the speed of innovation. Soon I was a computer expert and Dad made sure to tell his friends that.

He let me use his desktop whenever I came over to visit. It was too big to carry out to the car, which I think he was glad about. I used Laplink and a null-printer cable to try and siphon off his files so I could get Windows 98 to run on my laptop. Eventually, I started a software company and today Dad is using a custom PC I put together for him.


trentnelson 30 minutes ago 1 reply      
I find it interesting the number of times they attempted a new ground-breaking architecture, only to continually fall back on good ol' trusty x86.

(Also, I wonder what the morale is like within the Itanium team.)

What's new in CPUs since the 80s and how does it affect programmers? danluu.com
49 points by AndrewDucker  4 hours ago   9 comments top 4
fiatmoney 1 hour ago 0 replies      
It's strange the extent to which programming interview questions reflect an 80s view of the cost of operations, particularly the overabundance of linked list and binary tree questions. Cache misses ain't free and memory scans are relatively cheap after you do the initial lookup.
userbinator 2 hours ago 1 reply      
"However, loads can be reordered with earlier stores. For example, if you write

 mov 1, [%esp] mov [%ebx], %eax
it can be executed as if you wrote

 mov [%ebx], %eax mov 1, [%esp]"
The confusing mix of Intel and GAS/AT&T syntax aside, this is not possible since it would give different results when ebx == esp.

hackuser 1 hour ago 0 replies      
mgrennan 2 hours ago 2 replies      
The New York Times Makes 17k Recipes Available Online openculture.com
161 points by edward  10 hours ago   72 comments top 17
bradbeattie 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Needs community tagging of recipes. The recipe of the day is vegan and vegetarian, but has neither tag (both of which already exist: http://cooking.nytimes.com/tag/vegan). No doubt this problem exists for other tags and other recipies in the database.

Edit: A cursory search through the BBC's recipe database shows their tags to be notably more thorough, though at times mistaken (butter labeled vegan in http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/sugar_and_spice_67172) and unfortunately just as immutable at the NYT site.

awhitty 7 hours ago 1 reply      
They also have great write-up detailing their use of CRFs to extract structured data from recipes.


chrissnell 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Mark Bittman (NYT Food columnist) has had an iOS app [1] out for a while, "How to Cook Everything". I can't remember why but this app was put on sale some time ago for $0.99 and I snapped it up. It's great--I've never had a bad meal from a Bittman recipe.

[1] https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/how-to-cook-everything/id409...

brokencup 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Their 53 videos on cooking techniques is nice too (the landing page only lists a few):


kqr2 8 hours ago 0 replies      
somberi 26 minutes ago 0 replies      
I highly recommend "The Silver Spoon", a compendium of 4000 Italian recipes and in Italy it has been popular from the 1950s. After 11 years of translating efforts, it was released in English a few years ago.


bmir-alum-007 1 hour ago 0 replies      
This is cool as another resource to get seemingly curated recipes, but there's not really a place comment, sort/filter/search recipes, make changes or see user reviews before viewing an individual recipe.

Usually, I use allrecipes.com and pick only 4.5+ star recipes. It's pretty good overall considering the zillion of recipes available of widely-varying quality, though it requires some filtering to find something near to what you want. The major limitation to allrecipes is it's hard to modify a recipe to make your own variant, which should be effortless as "forking" (pun intended) on github.

I've also looked at recipe APIs-as-service like Yummly, but it's ridiculously expensive for anything other than massive, establish projects, so it's basically unusable. Most shops would be better off scraping from a bunch of AWS small instances for cheaper.

esaym 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I've enjoyed digging out older recipes from the 1700's and 1800's from "The Whole Duty of a Woman": https://archive.org/details/wholedutyawoman00unkngoog

Everything from main courses, soups, side dishes, pies, desserts is in it.

I might add that since there are no ovens back then, you have to improvise to the instructions of "hold over fire", and "bake 'till brown", ect.

pcurve 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Serious hats off to whomever designed and built this site. Fast, beautiful, and predictable.

The only thing missing is search recipe by ingredients I have on hand.

tbassetto 7 hours ago 5 replies      
I always fail at converting measurements from US recipes because it looks like there are many different varieties of "cups" :) What is the best known conversion table fore recipes? (I live in Europe, usually ingredients are measured in grams and millilitres depending if they are dry or liquid).
ericd 7 hours ago 0 replies      
It is generally excellent. We've been using NYT recipes for many years, and only very rarely had misses from it. It does sometimes ask for things that are a bit unreasonable, though - the one we made last night asked us to whip 4 tablespoons of heavy cream before folding it in, as well as making our own "corn broth".
rancur 50 minutes ago 1 reply      
recipes suck. They have no life in them. They're technology, man using memory in place of spirit to copy, not create.

there may come a time when I use recipes, but I prefer building pyramids to buying them.

WalterBright 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd love to see a similar thing for repairs for cars.

Many of the procedures detailed in the service manual for my car are useless because the manual has too many variants merged together, and omit mine.

j2kun 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Is the dataset available for download?
lucidrains 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Somebody go train a recurrent neural net to generate some random recipes for us =)
_delirium 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Sounds like bad news for operators of other recipe websites, likely to be pushed down one spot in the results across a range of searches. But nice for readers.
aiiane 7 hours ago 0 replies      
The NYT's backends (for saving recipes etc) appear to be 503ing right now...
ABCs of IBM z/OS System Programming Volume 1 ibm.com
55 points by emersonrsantos  6 hours ago   35 comments top 6
DigitalJack 3 hours ago 2 replies      
If your software stack has per core licensing, a z/architecture mainframe can make a lot of sense. They are extremely efficient at running virtual machines (with linux guests for example). Where an Intel cluster can handle 10-20 VMs per core, a z/arch mainframe can do 100s per core.

They have dedicated processors for offloading IO operations, which has a big impact on reducing pipeline stalls, and also part of why they are so much better at handling a multitude of VMs.

They have 4 levels of cache, with gigabytes of memory at level 4, data is kept close to the processors.

The hardware costs a lot, but if your software is licensed per core, there is a good chance you could save millions compared to an Intel solution. It depends on your usage scenario though. If everything is open source and you aren't paying per core fees, then there is probably no advantage for you.

nickpsecurity 7 minutes ago 0 replies      
Looks like an uphill, learning experience.
morenoh149 5 hours ago 9 replies      
Does anyone know what kinds of companies or applications make use of z/OS mainframes?
renownedmedia 2 hours ago 0 replies      
"... a 13-volume collection that provides an introduction ..."
wyclif 3 hours ago 3 replies      
What's the z/OS jobs scene like now?
joshbaptiste 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Airline GDS such a Sabre are on such systems.
Porsche 911: 52 years of staying true to its roots arstechnica.com
103 points by ingve  9 hours ago   69 comments top 14
sandworm101 5 hours ago 6 replies      
Roots? The reasons behind the design have all fallen by the wayside.

The need to keep weight over the rear tires to increase traction was killed off long ago by increases in tire performance and the development of limited-slip differentials. Design and market changes have rendered the once functional shape purely aesthetic. Today's cars are neither fuel-efficient nor speed daemons. And the engines are water-cooled. So the aerodynamic shape has lost it's function. If it is holding true to its mechanical roots, those roots are long dead.

So what's left? From a mechanical point of view it is a rear-engine car fighting to become mid-engined without admitting the change. The shape's only function is aesthetic. Anyone claiming its shape or design layout is mechanically relevant comes off like those poodle owners who insist the silly haircuts are to keep the dog warm while swimming. If you like the look then you like the look. Don't try to justify your taste with engineering gobbledygook.

zackelan 6 hours ago 3 replies      
Is it just me, or does the (otherwise well-written) article smell like native advertising?

"52 years of staying true to its roots" sounds a little too much like "David Miscavige Leads Scientology to Milestone Year"[0] for my tastes.

0: http://www.poynter.org/news/mediawire/200593/the-atlantic-pu...

smoyer 6 hours ago 1 reply      
One of my (bigger) regrets is not purchasing a '64 911 with a blown engine in 1982. It was a California car (with no rust which is rare here in central PA) and the paint was horribly faded but completely intact. As an 18 year-old, I couldn't fathom spending $2000 on a car with a blown engine. Now that I'm a bit older, and have rebuilt several cars from scratch, I wish I'd taken the plunge - back then you could rebuild a VW or Porshe engine for well under $500 in parts.
OldSchool 6 hours ago 4 replies      
If you appreciate great engineering as well as design, any one of the air-cooled cars is a remarkable car. I think most will agree however that the 2.7L engine was a low point in quality.

Yes, many completely ordinary cars today can match or out-accelerate a lot of the older cars mentioned in the article but that is only a single measure. If you're a "car person," you owe it to yourself to spend some time driving a 911 so that you can truly map that image to a physical experience.

That said for the 911, each of the cars that enthusiasts tend to love has its own character. You can give them all very similar performance specs on paper and driving something American, Italian, or German will still be a completely different experience; overall, the fastest car will not necessarily even feel the fastest; the slowest car that you can consistently drive the hardest might prove to be the most fun to drive.

galago 33 minutes ago 0 replies      
This really does feel like an advertisement. Maybe its in that grey area where the vendor really helps them a lot with the article.
chrisbennet 54 minutes ago 0 replies      
I can't find the quote to link to, but back in the 90's Harm Lagaay (head of Porsche design) was asked why the doors hadn't changed in 30 years. He said "It's a good door."
lotharbot 7 hours ago 3 replies      
I've recently been playing the old Need For Speed: Porsche Unleashed, which made this a really enjoyable read, and actually a bit useful for what it says about the handling and weight distribution of different models.
dmmalam 3 hours ago 0 replies      
There's a mid cycle refresh (992) to be launched soon ( frankfurt motor show) [1]. The timing of the article reeks of native advertising.

[1] http://www.worldcarfans.com/category/porsche

_mgr 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Urban Outlaw - https://vimeo.com/44410797

His garage is the dream.

cherry_su 7 hours ago 0 replies      
pg has mentioned the 911 (at least the vintage versions) in his essays about good design, which usually is timeless. While the upcoming 2017 revision will be disappointing to me due to ditching the naturally aspirated engines in all but the track (GT3) cars, here's to another 50 years of 911.

[1] http://www.paulgraham.com/design.html

[2] http://www.paulgraham.com/taste.html

njharman 2 hours ago 0 replies      
rokhayakebe 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Which one is your favorite?
ProAm 6 hours ago 0 replies      
curiousjorge 2 hours ago 0 replies      
FreeBSD x86 Assembly Language Programming: Using the FPU freebsd.org
22 points by majke  5 hours ago   5 comments top 4
throwaway_yy2Di 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Just to be clear, this is a historic document (2001), not a current introduction to x86 assembly. There's entirely new floating-point architectures introduced since this was written (SSE and AVX).
userbinator 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I wonder if the engineers at Intel were inspired by the HP RPN calculators, since the stack-based x87 is quite unlike the register-based x86.

The fact that it's stack-based also makes for some very high code-density; a lot of the tiny demoscene demos (<=256b) make heavy use of the FPU, like these:



101914 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Original source: http://int80h.org/bsdasm/

My recollection is this was published on the author's site years before being added to the "handbook" on the FreeBSD website. I could be wrong. Perhaps check archive.org.

feld 1 hour ago 0 replies      
The developers handbook is just rife with gems.
A Ghost Ship Drifting Through International Waters sobify.com
114 points by antimora  10 hours ago   37 comments top 13
stevewepay 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Articles like this really strike home how huge this world is. I feel ignorant when my first thought is that we should be able to locate a cruise ship in the ocean, but I clearly underestimate how huge this world really is. It's also hits home when entire planes like the Malaysian airline plane can disappear and literally no one knows what happened to it.
x0054 6 hours ago 2 replies      
Wow! So does this mean if I find it, I can claim it as my own, and build an evil layer on it? :) So cool!
chkuendig 5 hours ago 0 replies      
This ship already made headlines last year:



From the new article it looks like it finally sunk now.

paublyrne 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Reminds me of an X Files episode.


It was one of those lovely standalone episodes built on a What if premise, that is never mentioned again.

steinnes 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I remember this being all over the local (Icelandic) news media a couple of years ago. Pretty interesting story: http://www.mbl.is/frettir/erlent/2013/02/28/hefur_thu_sed_ly...
mrestko 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I'm highly ignorant about sea travel, but I wonder why the towing vessel didn't hook back up to the ship when the line broke. Maybe someone here can explain.
mikewhy 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Cool, I'm from St. John's, NL and remember the years that was just stuck in our harbour. Had no idea that's what happened to it afterwards.
itsbits 2 hours ago 0 replies      
A ghost ship & cannibal rats!!! I can make a story for a scary movie out of this.
ZanyProgrammer 4 hours ago 2 replies      
It looks like smoke is coming from the funnel on one of those photos? Did people board it while it was adrift and start up a boiler (presumably there was fuel still on board?)
facepalm 4 hours ago 3 replies      
Wouldn't that ship be bigger than the resolution of modern satellites photographing earth? So in conclusion, not all parts of the world are being monitored from space, or at least nobody wants to admit to it?
speeder 5 hours ago 0 replies      
This made me remember of Battleship So Paulo

Battleship So Paulo was a ship that... sort of fought on WW1 (it started the war as active, but the British complained it had poor fire control, the ship was sent to US for refit, but the refitting ended after the war ended). And fought on WW2 (during WW2 the ship had problems with mobility, having a top speed of only 10km/h, that was nowhere close of the original design speed, so it was decided to use it as stationary defensive platform in Brazil's northeast, where a couple of U boats were attacking transport ships).

In 1951 it was sold to a british scrap company, the tug line broke mid-transport and the ship was lost very hard (as in: people have no idea where to look for it, they don't even know the initial direction that the ship went after the tow line broke).

jkot 7 hours ago 4 replies      
Perhaps more exact would be 'Canadian' ghost-ship. It was build in Russia, but Canadians are to blame here.
everyone 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Q: Are you being sarcastic?

No: Ok cool!

Yes: This is the sort of random cool article I visit HN to see. I honestly couldnt give a shit about so called startup culture and the latest trendy javascript library or whatever. I am not web-app developer. I (like many other HN visitors it seems judging on the comments) am just interested in tech/science/computers/interesting miscellanea, and HN is a great quickly updating source of this sort of thing. Also I really appreciate the sites magnificent design. Also stuff gets on the main page here via upvoting, so obviously enough HN viewers liked this particular article.

ps. Sarcasm is not very easy to detect via text!

Met Office loses BBC weather forecasting contract after 93 years theguardian.com
90 points by edward  10 hours ago   60 comments top 13
binarymax 9 hours ago 5 replies      
I've lived in the UK for the past 8 years now (having lived in various places in the East Coast USA for the rest of my life).

I learned quickly that English weather forecasts are useless past the current day. It is probably due to the geographical location. East Coast US was accurate to 3 to 5 days. I just use Dark Sky[0] to get weather for the next several hours, which is mostly accurate.

Given the situation with the contract I see lots of back and forth noting accuracy - but Met Office does just as good a job as anyone else, for probably a much higher fee.

[0] http://forecast.io

rikkus 10 hours ago 4 replies      
I half-jokingly tell people that if they get their forecast from the BBC (via the Met), they should expect the inverse weather.

I wonder if the BBC has checked the quality of the forecasts based on what actually happens? I use AccuWeather and the Aix Weather Widget (for Android) because they're nearly always right (where I live, at least) - and gives me much more useful information.

For example, I can't translate the Met's '50% chance of rain' - for a whole day - to real life. To me, that means it could not rain, or rain heavily all day, or anything in between.

ablation 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Rags like the Daily Mail are FUDding the hell out of this story. The Guardian's take is at least a bit more balanced.

Personally, I think it's a good thing. I like the Met Office (and in the interests of disclosure have worked with it on a couple projects) but it shouldn't have an entitlement to providing weather data for the BBC.

I'd like to see something like MeteoGroup get the contract. Would be really interesting to see what it could bring to the table.

noir_lord 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Next up, Privatisation of the Met Office then.

Shame as while the BBC websites presentation of the data is pretty poor the MET provide open data feeds (hard to see that continuing if they are privatised) of 3 hourly forecasts out to 5 days for 5000 locations that are considerably more accurate and detailed.

http://i.imgur.com/vuCklmn.png is their example usage of the data.

rwmj 10 hours ago 1 reply      
I've been using the Met Office Android app for some time. The app could use polish, but the data is superb. If you want to know if it's going to rain in the micro-region where you are now, there's nothing like it.

Edit: It's this one: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/services/mobile-digital-services...

simonswords82 9 hours ago 3 replies      
I'm a techie and I've been using the Met Office service more recently as part of obtaining my private pilots license.

Before I get to their ability to forecast correctly I need to say that their tech appears disorganised to say the least. Check out this garbage: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/aviation/ga. Specifically the text under General Aviation services. They attempted to release a new version of the General Aviation interface, sending all the pilots at my local club in to a tizz. They fluffed the launch of this new interface so badly they were forced to hit reverse and reopen the old app. Looks like you can still register for the new app, but they're now supporting and maintaining the old app too. Oh and to use the new app you need to create a new account...I've no idea why.

If this is at all representative of the overall state of the Met Office websites and systems I'm not surprised they're not the first choice for the BBC.

Ok so that's not great. What about the weather predictions? Well, accepting that we live in a somewhat changeable part of the world here in the UK, and given that I'm not a meteorologist take this next bit with a pinch of salt. I was due to fly at 1pm today. I shit you not the Met Office website stated severe weather warnings with heavy rain due to hit at 3pm. I checked the forecast all morning and rain was pretty much guaranteed at 3pm. The forecast was so bad I warned my other half about it as she was due to drive long distance. 1pm rolls around and it starts raining lightly. Okay - this must be the start of the heavy rain, so I write off my flight. 3pm comes around and I shit you not, bright sunshine and it's stayed bright and sunny ALL afternoon. Literally the opposite of what was forecast. Apparently the heavy rain is now due tomorrow.

Obviously the Met Office site now shows sunny with clouds. Thanks Met Office, how very kind of you to update the weather forecast to match what you can see out of your windows.

sago 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I couldn't find anywhere that said the BBC were dropping the Met Office. Is this FUD / standard media hype? From what I gathered the BBC has decided to put forecasting out to tender. To which, the Met Office is very welcome to bid. It may end up meaning that the Met Office is gone, but not necessarily.

So while the Guardian headline is strictly true, some bits of the report make it sound like it is a done deal.

gioele 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Will the main requirement of the tender be being at least X% more accurate than the current provider?

Or will it just be a matter of who will offer the cheapest service?

tezza 9 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm sure the 4.5M bonus pool paid for 'improved performance' really stuck in the craw.


dtf 6 hours ago 2 replies      
jkot 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Czech MET lost contract with major televisions long time ago. Not much has changed, except science is now sponsored by state, not TVs.
SixSigma 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Here's my prediction:

30% chance of more than 1mm of rain tomorrow.

Just like every other day.


 Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Rainfall 1 mm days 13.2 10.4 11.5 10.4 9.9 9.6 9.5 9.9 9.9 12.6 13.1 12.7

Kenji 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Up in the Air: Escaping from East Germany damninteresting.com
185 points by vinnyglennon  14 hours ago   75 comments top 21
douche 6 hours ago 1 reply      
If you ever get a chance to visit Berlin, make sure you go visit the museum at Checkpoint Charlie. Big sections of the museum are devoted to the outlandish and ingenious ways that East Germans went over, under, around or through the Iron Curtain. If I recall correctly, there may actually be the remains of this home-made balloon, or at least a replica. Two others that I remember in particular:

A West Berliner happened to own a convertible sportscar, and was dating an East German woman. One weekend, on returning from the East after visiting his girlfriend, he realized that if he put the top and the windscreen down, his vehicle was low enough to pass under the bar that was used at the East German checkpoint (this was relatively early, possibly before the Berlin Blockade, so security was laxer.) The next weekend, when he went to visit, he brought his girlfriend with him, and just gunned the car through the barricade, passing under the barrier into West Berlin.

Another was a former aeronautic engineer who built a home-made aircraft in his barn, and flew over the wall to the west.

peckrob 12 hours ago 2 replies      
Disney actually made a movie out of this; they touch on it briefly at the end of the article. I watched it as a kid in once in school. It was called "Night Crossing" [0]. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like it's on any streaming service, but if you look around you might be able to find a DVD copy somewhere.

Also, as a side note, it's nice to see Damn Interesting on here. It's one of the better blogs out there even if they don't update as much as they used to. The article about the race to liquefy helium and chasing the lowest temperature ever was really, really good [1].

[0] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0082810/

[1] http://www.damninteresting.com/absolute-zero-is-0k/

BJBBB 12 hours ago 2 replies      
There is still much suspicion in Germany. Families still remember their 'missing' members.

One the way home, stopped in Germany early 1991 to see a good friend. While sitting at sidewalk table, my friend abruptly arose and got in the face of another patron. Words were exchanged, and they went behind the building. My friend returned later, with blood on his sleeves and hands, with his pocket notebook out. With a grim smile, he indicated that he now has a "list of people to talk to...".

The wounds of Germany will not heal until their people of my generation have been buried.

jacquesm 13 hours ago 4 replies      
Super account of an extremely dangerous and imaginative way to escape the East. They were extremely lucky, the prevailing winds there are West-to-East.

Every time I crossed back from East Germany into West Germany after spending time in Poland I had my car pretty much taken apart at the border (the head of the 'corridor', at a place called Helmstedt, if you drive by there today you can still see the watchtowers and the old border to the right of the highway) to make sure I wasn't hiding anybody in the strange bodywork of the car (a Citroen model DS which has a lot of weird curves and spaces).

Very frustrating because the border guards would be very diligent about ripping everything up but they would definitely not help putting things back together again.

One day I had my engine overheating on the Eastern side at the border and was greeted by rounds of tracer behind the car when I tried to back out of the cage that the car was in in search of water.

Another time I got arrested at 'Checkpoint Charlie' by one Oberwachtmeister Krause because I wasn't supposed to be there (on the Eastern side). He was entirely correct that I shouldn't be there, the reason was that I'd helped a bunch of people that were stuck in their car (a Trabant, a small two stroke car with an extremely small engine that was prone to stop working for no particular reason) by the side of the road (East Germans were allowed the use of the corridor as well, but visitors and West Germans could not leave that road except with special permission) and I couldn't find my way back to the corridor. I had followed the signs back saying 'Berlin' but did not realize soon enough that this would not work. After many hours waiting and interviews and threats we were finally allowed to leave again. The Americans were quite surprised that a car with Dutch license plates approached from the East German side of the most guarded border in Europe, probably a first for them.

No fond memories of the officials in 'The East', I hope their children and grandchildren will remind them periodically that they were part of the problem.

Many of them went on to positions in the current German police force and military, not without resistance of their former West German colleagues who saw them (rightly) responsible for the many deaths on the East German side.

Fortunately these families made it, many did not and it is good to remember that this was only a very few short years ago. Especially worth remembering given that if the East German authorities had had access to the kind of information that current governments have access to that these families likely would not have made it out at all and/or would have been killed in the attempt.

brc 55 minutes ago 0 replies      
It's a great story.

The introduction though - this took place in 1979. The Marshall plan was a limited program in the immediate postwar era. The rise of the West German economy was much more to do with the liberalization of the economy, restriction on government and of course the personal economic, speech and actual freedoms of the West Germans. By 1979 they were already exporting products to the USA and everywhere else by the container load. 'Mercedes Benz' by Janis Joplin was released in 1970 - the West German economy was in good shape by 1979, all from the work of the West German people.

weinzierl 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Actually there are many stories like this. German newspaper Der Spiegel once had a whole series of articles.

My favorite is about two guys escaping from East Germany an surf boards[1]. They built their own equipment, they never surfed before but still successfully crossed 70 km Baltic Sea in about 4 hours.

The article link is just Google translated, the photo gallery is also interesting[2]. It has images from the trip of the surfer guys as well as other escapes including the balloon of Strelzyk und Wetzel.

[1] https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&js=y&pr...


hauget 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of the story of German actor Thomas Kretschmann (you might know him from playing Baron von Strucker in Avengers: Age of Ultron & Captain America: Winter Soldier). From his Wikipedia page: "At the age of 19, he fled East Germany and began a month-long trek to West Germany to escape the East German state. During this trek, part of his finger was lost but surgically reattached. Kretschmann crossed four borders (Hungary, Yugoslavia, Austria) with nothing other than his passport and the equivalent of $100 in his possession." Pretty incredible!
nsns 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Escape by swimming caught on camera - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K7CWajaOx4E
DamnInteresting 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Thanks for the link! I am not the author of the article, but I am the Managing Editor of the site and I worked with the author in getting it ready.

The funnest part was exchanging emails with one of the fellows involved (Gnter Wetzel). His English is poor and my German is rustier than a tetanus factory, but with the help of Google Translate we were able to stumble through a conversation. He ended up sending me scans of a bunch of photos from his personal collection, several of which appear in the article (though a few required some restoration). Gnter's a swell guy.

k__ 13 hours ago 1 reply      
My father got thrown out.

My uncle was in prison because he wanted to leave and after his release the administration told his family (my father, my aunt, my uncle and their parents) they should leave on the next day. They grabbed everything they could carry, packed it in their car and got out.

geoka9 11 hours ago 0 replies      
There's a book[1] written by a Russian guy in the US about his efforts to escape from the USSR by... swimming the ocean! It's a highly entertaining book, although there's a chapter in which he describes his incarceration in a Soviet mental facility, and that one is pretty gruesome.

[1] http://www.amazon.com/Inclined-Escape-Yuri-Vetokhin/dp/B0006...

willvarfar 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Another escape story is Bernd Boettger, who built a mini submarine:


endymi0n 8 hours ago 0 replies      
If you like this story, you'll love this one:


All ingredients hackers will find interesting:

Surveillance, suspense, number stations, encryption, a human touch - and on top it's true as well.

Amazing read.

rgbrgb 9 hours ago 1 reply      
The toggle animation combined with the click at the beginning of the audio is wonderful. Anybody know any non-game UIs with great sound like that? They're pretty rare but it could be cool if they come back in really subtle ways. Off the top of my head I think of iPod scroll wheel, iOS keyboard, and Facebook message alert sound. The first 2 are extremely subtle and well done, alert sounds are kind of just a necessary evil.
e15ctr0n 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Another story of escape from East Germany that took place in 1972.


euroclydon 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm only a third of the way through the story, but I'm struck by the contrast between the intro's description of poverty in East Germany, and this family's ability to procure such vast amounts of fabric, and they fact they owned a car.
louwrentius 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I would recommend everybody to take some interest in the 'damninteresting' podcasts. They are absolutely fabulous.

If you donate a bit, you get 8+hours of stories like this.

rwmj 9 hours ago 1 reply      
How far did the wall / barrier go? Could it be walked around? Were there any weak spots in obscure fields in the countryside?
CroCroCro 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Naila resident here. Ask me if you want to know something :P
stefantalpalaru 6 hours ago 1 reply      
> However, the Soviets were still angry with the Germans for having done so much damage to their homeland in the Second World War three decades earlier, so they did not care about East Germanys bleak economic prospects.

Not true. East Germany was socialism's window to the west so they were supposed to look their best all the time. As a result, they had the best lives in the Soviet Bloc. The rest of us had it much worse.

mercurial 8 hours ago 3 replies      
Well, you know, speaking from the totalitarian hell of Northern Europe, thoroughly impregnated by the "sickness of socialism"... a lot less people are in prison than in the Land of Freedom, and people are not afraid of the police (Denmark is consistently rated as the happiest country in the world). As for the surveillance state, it certainly exists, but not worse than in the US.

To a European, it's always weird to see people start foaming at the mouth whenever the word "socialism" or "state-provided healthcare".

Neural Transformation Machine: Sequence-To-Sequence Learning arxiv.org
27 points by groar  8 hours ago   discuss
Linux-insides: Introduction to system calls github.com
77 points by 0xAX  13 hours ago   4 comments top 3
craneca0 25 minutes ago 0 replies      
vezzy-fnord 8 hours ago 0 replies      
See also LWN's "Anatomy of a system call": https://lwn.net/Articles/604287/
fintler 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Are you planning to put out a Kindle version of this when it's done? I'd pay for it.
A Western Kid Living in Communist Poland (2014) jacquesmattheij.com
112 points by ash  11 hours ago   64 comments top 11
tinbad 10 hours ago 4 replies      
Growing up with my grandparents in the 80s in Moscow, I remember standing in line in front of a place literally called 'Store' for hours. Nobody knew what the line was for or what it was the store was getting in that day. Some people spend the night waiting just to be in front. After standing in line all day, finally by dusk a truck pulls up. Everybody looking in anxiety and worried about not being enough merchandise, still not knowing what was inside. A few men start unloading the boxes inside the store. All of a sudden people at the front of the line start spreading the rumors, "it's bananas!", "what is a banana?" I thought to myself. I was 5 years old and had no idea what it was. We made our way from outside, into the store. The store was full of empty shelves, there was literally no inventory. Finally we got the cashier, it was our turn and my grandpa got handed a big box and he handed the clerk money. "Hurry" my grandpa said, we rushed out of the store and started walking back home. "There's no more!" I heard somebody shout out of the store. There were still at least a hundred people in line. We kept walking, not looking back. We got home and opened the box. It was full of green bananas. We tried to eat them, I loved it. Only later in life I found out bananas supposed to be yellow and not bitter :)
rasz_pl 7 hours ago 3 replies      
The bit about getting a work permit is a little weird. At that time average monthly salary was ~$5. His Dutch parents could literally just send him lunch money, and it would be enough to for an upper class lifestyle at the time.

Flower/grape/whatever picking for a month in the west was enough to finance rest of the year.

It was as bad as in Greece right now, everything worth something got sold to multinationals for pennies on the dollar. All the famous polish brands absorbed into mcdonalds/cocacolas/pepsis of the world.

V-2 8 hours ago 2 replies      
> The Polish secret police (the UB or MBP) was quite active and if you didnt know someone personally you could not trust them

I don't mean to nitpick, but UB was renamed to SB in 1956. MBP ceased to exist in 1954.

And by the way, knowing someone personally didn't mean you could trust them, either.

Pretty much everyone could be a police informant, especially if you were a person of interest : your husband, or your doctor...

The number of informal collaborators approached 100 thousand people in the 80s, which means about 0.5% of the nation (only counting adults).

twqqis 9 hours ago 3 replies      
For as long as I can remember I've had an interest in going to live in another country. But the older I get and the more I get to understand people and the more I travel, the more I start to hold myself back from actually moving to another country. Even if just for a year or two. I think I realise more and more that cultures really are different, vastly more than I once thought. It has me wonder what I would actually end up gaining from such a move, countries with language barriers even more so. Yet, I cannot stop thinking that by NOT doing it, I'm missing out greatly...
_mgr 5 hours ago 2 replies      
I've read this before. Has this already been posted to HN?

I am trying to convince my native born Polish girlfriend to move back for a year to live/work/travel. I figure I will pick up the language far quicker than my current pace.

She's a little apprehensive about our earning potential there. The Polish Zloty does not appear to be the strongest currency and the average wage is half of some of it's other EU cousins.

ekr 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Jacques, may I ask what brought you to Romania (are you still there)?
fapjacks 4 hours ago 0 replies      
When I was just a couple months into being a teenager, I went to Russia in 1993. We were the first group of Americans allowed into the Udmurt region, and we traveled from Saint Petersburg to Izhevsk to meet our host families for a short stay, and then to Moscow before leaving the country. It was the first time in my life when I saw anything like that. I remember a few times when I said things that I still cringe at saying to this day. Prior to entering Russia, we stayed in Stockholm. Stockholm was a shining jewel compared to Saint Petersburg, which itself was a shining jewel compared to Izhevsk. I remember I asked out loud if a hotel was going to "be like Sweden", completely oblivious that I was embarrassing the Americans and Russians around me. Things like this that still make me cringe today. The city of Izhevsk was famous for being the home of the inventor of the AK-47, as well as the Baikal munitions plant, which supplied a lot of the world's Soviet ammunition. I remember seeing a group of children, perhaps six or seven years old, running through the street and drinking from a bottle of vodka. A few months later, our Russian host-family counterparts came to stay with us in the States for about as long as we were in Russia. My grandmother gave me a hundred dollars (kind of a big deal in '93 heh) to take my counterpart shopping. When we were at the store, I remember talking about buying some toys and taking my counterpart to the toy section at Walmart. You know what he did instead? He bought Levis and cans of coffee for his family. I still cringe every time I think about how I behaved back then, but for sure it taught me an enormous amount about the world in a very short time.
stretchwithme 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Great story, Jacques.
rmchugh 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Sweet story.
kome 10 hours ago 0 replies      
ouch... I must have something in my eye...
ilaksh 9 hours ago 2 replies      
I think its important for Hacker News readers to read this because techno-communism is becoming a very serious force in western politics. It needs to be tempered with a historical context.

The problem we should focus on is over-centralization, which comes easily out of a competitive OR cooperative society.

Yes to holistic measurements, efficiency and equality. But do that on a meta, protocol level that allows for diverse decentralized systems to evolve while still integrating information.

Twitter has killed Politwoops, which monitored politicians' deleted tweets thenextweb.com
126 points by cgtyoder  6 hours ago   60 comments top 11
gruez 4 hours ago 3 replies      
>Imagine how nerve-wracking terrifying, even tweeting would be if it was immutable and irrevocable?

Then don't tweet dumb stuff? The implication that tweets - and by extension, history - should be mutable feels like 1984.

danso 1 hour ago 0 replies      
For those unfamiliar with the Twitter API: the Streaming API pushes out notifications of when users who are eligible to show up in your timeline (i.e. users whom you follow) have deleted a message:


Politiwoops used monitored this to see which tweets it has previously collected were now deleted. You can peruse the Politwoops source code to see the details:


Twitter's complaint is that its terms of service forbids ignoring those deletion messages...but in the past, Twitter had turned a blind eye to what Politwoops was doing. Whatever the reason for the crackdown now, it doesn't mean you can't manually try to track these embarrassing tweets and then publish them under fair use protections...in fact, the Anthony Weiner scandal, in which a user noticed an accidentally posted DM, was what sparked Politwoops in the first place. It's just you can't do it on a wide-scale, automated basis via API.

I'm kind of surprised Politwoops informal waiver lasted this long...or rather, that no one else has applied its open source code to the tracking of celebrities...if that had ever happened (say, as an informal service of TMZ or Gawker), I have no doubt Twitter would shut that down, as celebrities would be spooked by having their mistakes be essentially non-deletable...and their protests would carry a lot more notice than politicians'.

edit: Another relevant link: the unitedstates/congress-legislators repo, which is a crowdsourced listing (augmented by a automated framework) of Congress social media accounts: https://github.com/unitedstates/congress-legislators

krisdol 4 hours ago 4 replies      
If you've ever worked with Twitter's API, you should know that not honoring deletes on your app is against the TOS. It doesn't matter what accounts are being monitored, when a tweet is deleted by the account, you have to delete it from your server.
everyone 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Politwoops could circumvent this problem by just not publishing the tweets to twitter. They could just put them on a website, and maybe even aggregate the politicians other communications. No?

Though generally I feel that anyone at all being judged on an instant 140 character message is pretty sad state of affairs. Meaningful debate (political and otherwise) with evidence based arguments and so on seems like a naive fantasy these days.

gjolund 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Yeah but they didn't kill the api's that ran the service. Seems like a someone on the twitter board got a call on a red phone.
tptacek 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I can't blame them. These things are incredibly toxic to the Twitter community. Already, you have to warn everyone who joins the site not to delete anything because people run services that highlight things that get deleted.

I mean that descriptively, not normatively. I mean: no matter how you slice the public interest, these things are clearly harmful to Twitter itself.

Obviously, blocking them doesn't actually help the situation; once you publish something on the Internet, it's out there, and people can come up with 100 different ways to get around Twitter's restrictions.

smegel 5 hours ago 1 reply      
> was extensively used by the media to investigate instances of deception, corruption and ineptitude.

Because getting an intern to hack up a 5 minute Python script to do the same is too much effort? OK maintaining a list of current politicians current Twitter accounts is probably where the work is, but if you are interested in a number of prominent accounts this is not that hard a task.

kelukelugames 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm 100% for non public figures to have their tweets deleted. Different case for publicly elected officials.
linkydinkandyou 5 hours ago 1 reply      
And twitter wonders why they can't find a revenue model that works.
brlewis 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I reworded Twitter's statement to make its nonsense more obvious:

Imagine how nerve-wracking -- terrifying, even -- making public statements would be if it was immutable and irrevocable?

r721 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Can't one manually archive "interesting" tweets with archive.org or archive.is? Or their problem was with the scale of operations?
SnoPy Snobol Pattern Matching Extension for Python sourceforge.net
54 points by curtis  10 hours ago   7 comments top 2
stuaxo 10 hours ago 3 replies      
Needs uploading to pypi, lots of devs brought into python via django etc 'pip install' basically everything.
nickpsecurity 15 minutes ago 0 replies      
There was a SPITBOL/SNOBOL thread recently. I thought: no need to use the language as we could probably do it in Python, LISP, or something similarly flexible. Just steal the good parts of the past language while having all the good parts of the current one. And BOOM. :)
Ordered Graph Data Language ogdl.org
19 points by jasonhansel  6 hours ago   discuss
Show HN: The prime knots in 3D prideout.net
28 points by prideout  5 hours ago   8 comments top 4
prideout 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I was inspired to make this after reading "The Knot Book" by Colin Adams. If you click "Rolfsen Table" at the bottom, you'll see the entire gallery.
jonahx 2 hours ago 1 reply      
This is beautiful and really well done. I especially like how the light reflects naturally as the knot rotates. How did you achieve that effect?
pimlottc 4 hours ago 1 reply      
This is cool, but what's the point of using the bounce easing? It just makes you wait an extra second before you can get a good look at the new model.
ragnar123 3 hours ago 0 replies      
They are pretty
Matrices in Julia alexhwoods.com
45 points by alexhwoods  10 hours ago   24 comments top 5
ced 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Having only been around since 2012, Julias greatest disadvantage is a lack of community support.

That is true, but if you post a question to their forum, you will get swift answers, often from the core language team:


Unfortunately these posts don't always show up at the top of a google search, so it's sometimes better to search the user group directly.

contravariant 5 hours ago 2 replies      
My favourite trick in Julia using matrices is the following one liner:

fib(n) = ((BigInt [1 1; 1 0])^n)[2,1]

Which defines a fast, exact, Fibonacci function. It's so far the easiest and only way I've managed to calculate the 10^9th Fibonacci number.

leni536 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Right now I'm using the armadillo c++ library for linear algebra. It's quite fast (can use openBLAS too + it does some optimizations with template metaprogramming) and quite convenient to use. Julia seems really interesting though.
andrepd 7 hours ago 6 replies      
What does this offer me that Numpy doesn't already offer, with the advantage of not having to learn a new language?
amelius 6 hours ago 2 replies      
Is it possible to make one of the items in the matrix a variable? (And then e.g. put the matrix in an equation, expand it, and solve for the variable).
Ask HN: What do developers earn on toptal.com?
33 points by MCRed  2 hours ago   21 comments top 9
hijinks 3 minutes ago 0 replies      
So I'm a "member" there. I'm on the Devops side and my hourly price is half what I charge clients normally (I live in the SF Bay area)

I generally apply for jobs there when I have some spare time but the devops jobs are few and far between. Most of the time my rate is too high.

From the slack channels I'm in, there's mostly non-US members that can undercut my price.

I've always been paid on time for the few jobs I did for them . The one thing I like about them is they deal with getting the money and from what I know if the client doesn't pay them, they still pay the worker.

I don't do it full time so I have a different view on things.

lgleason 51 minutes ago 0 replies      
Having met the CEO I would say avoid like the plague.... Interestingly nobody is posting what they are earning on it...I'll be you they are trying to keep that under wraps with onerous legal documents.
kentrado 2 hours ago 0 replies      
They made me do a "coding challenge" that took 90 minutes, plus the time it would take to prepare to take a test that has nothing to do with anything I have ever done as a developer.

So I didn't do it. I can get other offers where I will not be made to dance like an unpaid monkey.

throwbwby123 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I approached them as a data scientist. 18 years professional experience, working on military and finance projects. Spoke with a salesman on the phone for a few minutes. I explained I was taking on data science projects, but they thought there might still be a fit there.

They asked me to do a fizz-buzz/filter test in a cut down web based IDE. I did the questions in a language appropriate to my trade - Mathematica.

Their entire filtering process is automatically scored. I got back a nice form letter saying I'd failed.

Executive summary: Words don't match actions. Nice website, but you're still a piece of meat.

bliti 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I've learned to avoid such services and outright hire somebody to help with project administration. Its easier and less costly. This person would help with sales, marketing, proposals, etc. Mind you, "freelancing" is a business. it has to be treated as one. When you offload it to someone else you are going to get short changed. Programmers seem to have an issue with getting projects. Which is understandable given how most of us don't care about sales or marketing.

Having patents and lots of experience makes closing a project a bit easier. But it doesn't really help when talking to the decision makers. There is an episode[1] of .NET Rocks podcast where they discuss marketing for programmers. Its full of good stuff and you will definitely get great insights from it. Go listen to it and go from there.


johnparkerg 1 hour ago 2 replies      
They can say that they only hire the "top 3%" because their application funnels only allow 3% of the people that apply to work for them. This has a two important implications, 1)They are the "top" by their standards and 2) They are the "top 3%" of the freelancers that apply to the site. I am sure that the real top 3% are busy dealing with job offers and referrals.
acbellini 39 minutes ago 0 replies      
I've been working with Toptal for two years, and it's a fair marketplace. As a developer, you get a completely different service from Toptal than from other freelancing sites: as developers are vetted, so clients are selected to make sure you don't end up working on unsubstantial projects or clients that cannot pay. You don't have to pitch yourself to clients to get a job: when you have the qualifications for a gig, a dedicated recruiter will introduce you to the client, and follow through the interview process. Once you get a job, Toptal guarantees your payments against non-paying clients, on a NET20 term, and takes off of you all the hassle of the extra work you have to face as a freelancer, like contracts, NDAs, invoicing, getting paid.

There is a very well documented screening process, that requires surely a bit of your time to go through, just as any other application to any company you'd like to work with. In my career I've interviewed with several European and U.S. companies, and the more the company is cool, the more they will test you, Toptal does just the same. Three steps out of four of the process are live interviews. I took my testing in August 2013, it took less than a couple of weeks and in total I spent a couple of days' worth of my time. It's definitely been worth it.

The algorithms I got tested on were of the same difficulty of the ones detailed in many books that prepare you for coding interviews, the same ones you'd go through if you were applying for Facebook or Google or other similar companies, nothing out of the ordinary in the tech world.

You can ultimately set your rate as you like, but recruiters will give you advice so that you can be in line with the market: I have about 20 years of professional experience and I live in Italy, my rate takes both those factors in consideration, and I am more than happy about it. If you have very niche skills, and as such ask for a high rate, Toptal will allow it, but then it will be harder for you to get hired. But you're not doing the price war with unqualified developers that ask for $5/hour, that's not how it works! Simply, if you have several patents and say your rate is $100/hour, and you want to apply for a 1 week Wordpress theme gig, it will not work out, but that's just common sense.

After several months of working as a developer, I joined the recruiter team, and I can witness that Toptal developers are all qualified and smart: for as experienced as I may be, I am surely not the one with the most years. I have spoken with Toptalers that worked at Apple and then NEXT in the 80's, researchers that work at CERN, creators of famous frameworks, that's who you are competing with, especially if your rate is above the market average. It's your call in the end.

All in all the experience is very personal, very human, the projects are great and, as long as you work well, are reasonable with your rate and have skills that are in demand, you will hardly be without work.

pakled_engineer 2 hours ago 2 replies      
They set your hourly rate, many other clauses you need to ask about like the $30k referral fine, being spied on, agreeing to refund all your fees ect. http://yuriybabenko.com/blog/my-experience-joining-toptal
Jake232 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Coming at this from the other perspective, we currently work with a US based designer and 3 Russian python programmers that we found on TopTal, and they have been great. I'm not aware of the financials (I don't deal with that), but there's certainly some talented people on TopTal.
Summernote Super Simple WYSIWYG Editor on Bootstrap summernote.org
65 points by arm  10 hours ago   18 comments top 9
jzig 5 hours ago 2 replies      
Ended up having too many customization problems with Summernote and Angular on our current project and switched to Quill (http://quilljs.com/) instead. Both are pretty good projects though, and each have room to grow into something bigger.
primaryobjects 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Nice editor. I also recommend taking a look at inline editors, like Aloha http://www.alohaeditor.org/demo/aloha-ui/

I had previously written a node.js module that uses it for embedding little CMS content blocks on a web site http://contentblocks.herokuapp.com

joshmarinacci 5 hours ago 2 replies      
There's a bunch of new WYSIWYG editors popping up lately. I'm working on my own here:


Questions: What do you look for in an editor? Where do the existing ones fall down? What would you like see done differently?


Implicated 8 hours ago 2 replies      
I was in the market for an editor on a new side-project a few days ago, ran across this and was going to use it until I took a look at the integration details.

I've been using TinyMCE for a while (bunch of projects) and had gotten pretty used to the editor replacing a <textarea> element, and submitting with forms. It doesn't look like Summernote takes this route?

Add div into body; this targeted element will later be rendered to summernote editing tool.

> Add div into body; this targeted element will later be rendered to summernote editing tool.

> <div id="summernote">Hello Summernote</div>

If this project needed to be ajax-y this would work fine, but I'm not capturing the form elements with JS, instead using traditional form submits, and I'm not seeing that this would work?

Looks great otherwise, love to see some good alternatives being developed.

hyunuck 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I personally know summernote developer.He is really eager to make it to world best stuff.Congrats. I cheer you up.
mariusmg 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm using this on a ecommerce platform http://shopkeeperplatform.com i'm working on . Summernote is pretty good : it's small, fast and very easy to integrate.

Also it deals with uploaded files a bit different because by default it encodes the file in base64 (instead of posting them separately to server).

buf 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Looks solid. I, for one, am glad to see an alternative to the paid ones out there that don't offer free versions when you don't want to use their extra features.

I will use this in my next project.

skazka16 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Good editor. I also like Medium's clone - https://github.com/yabwe/medium-editor.
joaq 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Amazing, I've always despised TinyMCE. Great share.
Interview with Dennis Ritchie, Bjarne Stroustrup, and James Gosling (2000) gotw.ca
46 points by ingve  14 hours ago   18 comments top 3
siavosh 8 hours ago 5 replies      
"It just feels like there's so much territory out there that's beyond the bounds of ASCII text that's just line after line, roughly 80 characters wide, mostly 7-bit ASCII, something that you could type in on a teletype. That's still where programming basically is these days, and it's proven to be a very hard thing to get anything beyond that."

Few things in programming are as stupefying and obvious as to why we all essentially still use glorified text editors to do "high-end" programming. I wonder if in a 100 years programmers will still be editing text. I'd like to think there's a paradigm shift out there but no one's found it yet.

gp7 8 hours ago 0 replies      
> Stroustrup: Without supporting libraries, most serous applications are unnecessarily hard in C++.


w0000t 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I also wish C++ had a large Standard library. Including <vector>, just works, you don't even have to think about it. Now imagine doing the same for <sound> or <window>.
Corners Don't Look Like That: Regarding Screenspace Ambient Occlusion (2012) nothings.org
54 points by epsylon  14 hours ago   17 comments top 7
rchoetzlein 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Having more of the history of SSAO, and measuring some rendered images in the same way, would help this article..

Several corrections here:

1) Historically, SSAO was never intended solve wall corners. That was already being done with baked textures, in games like Doom and Quake. It was first used in CryEngine to show deep crevices in fabric folds, and plants. Objects that capture light.

2) The examples of 'ugly' artifacts are just that, incorrect implementations. There should be no halo or shadow around objects, which is caused by not implementing a smart-blur, which is required for SSAO.

3) Even in scenes containing walls, SSAO is often better because - other than baked lighting - the alternative was just straight Phong illumination, which gives essentially a straight line profile using the technique the author describes. Analyze corners for regular Phong and SSAO in the same way, and you'll find Phong is the worse of them.For example, regarding the images where the author says "And sure enough, the darkening is way less prominent here than I think it is visually.." What is not realized is that, with basic phong rendering, those gradual curves >would be flat lines< since the surface normals are constant. So yes, the effect is quite subtle, but we are still seeing a profile curve which has a 'curve' to it, and we notice (feel/see) that.

4) SSAO is now replaced by HBAO, and even further by VXGI (Voxel cone tracing) and other GI methods that truly solve wall corners in the correct way. Most of what the author is measuring here is multi-bounce lighting, which is correctly simulated by these new techniques.

Each method has its particular uses, and SSAO fits into that history for specific needs.

(Full disclosure: I work for NVIDIA, but the thoughts expressed here are my own.)

Animats 6 hours ago 1 reply      
If you run a real radiosity renderer, you get proper darkening at corners. Here's a Blender rendering with a good radiosity renderer. Note that some inside corners have darkening, and some don't, depending on how they're lighted.[1][2]

Full radiosity renderers are slow. The image is rendered over and over again, each pass using the previous result, with all surfaces now being light sources. Each pass thus shows the result of light being reflected one more time. The corner-darkening effect comes from indirect lighting from the opposite face, an effect which gets smaller as you approach the corner. With some renderers, you can watch the passes, as the image changes from starkly lit to very realistic. Render farms for movie production spend most of their time doing just this.

Game hardware cannot yet do true radiosity in real time, so there are many ways to fake it. Some better than others.

[1] http://s10.photobucket.com/user/RCRuiz/media/3dTest/Illumina...[2] http://wiki.blender.org/index.php/Doc:2.4/Manual/Lighting/Ra...

overgard 7 hours ago 1 reply      
These graphs make things look more official, but the fact that he's judging luminosity in sRGB (a non-linear space) makes me think they're basically rubbish.

I mean, yeah, SSAO is a gimmicky trick... but so what?

exodust 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I think HDR photography has some influence too. "Normal" photo-realism isn't necessarily the benchmark for renders anymore. Not when HDR looks so good when done right (subtle).

Take this photo of a room. The HDR is subtle, and reveals shadows in the corners that wouldn't be there without HDR.


Game graphics aren't known for subtlety. So the cheesy overdone HDR photography that burns our eyes, has found its way into gaming graphics. GTA5 generally looks great, but I noticed the overcooked corner shadows.

bhouston 11 hours ago 3 replies      
You can criticize SSAO/SAO as much as you want, but it can add spectacular details.

Here is a Viking Shield that I setup shading on:


Then I added this SAO/SSAO pass:


And the result is this, which I think is dramatically better than what I began with:


I find the end result has significantly more detail and feeling of depth than what I started out with.

gavanwoolery 11 hours ago 1 reply      
A common abuse of SSAO I see among early users: using it everywhere. SSAO is technically only supposed to occur where there is a lack of lighting (where there is only ambient lighting). That said I think it is still fine to apply it unrealistically if the results look "good" -- maybe even preferable for some people as I tend to enjoy stylized rendering over totally realistic rendering.
unoti 11 hours ago 0 replies      
If I were a neural net learning to tell real light vs ambient occlusion, I'd immediately learn to look for the spider webs. I was fascinated by this article and loved the author's approach of graphing real photos. But I got a giggle when I started seeing the prominent spider webs.
MiningZinc: A Language for Constraint-Based Mining cs.kuleuven.be
7 points by brudgers  8 hours ago   3 comments top
tlarkworthy 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I think this is a probabilistic modeler with global constraint support, but I am not sure :s mining is an overloaded term
Why Yale Library decided to preserve 3000 horror and exploitation movies on VHS theatlantic.com
46 points by benbreen  13 hours ago   29 comments top 6
A_COMPUTER 9 hours ago 1 reply      
The success of Blockbuster video may have in part been due to its cleanliness, but from my experience it was because your mom 'n pop shop would have two copies of a new blockbuster movie so you'd never get to see it, and Blockbuster would have a hundred waiting for you. These old movies are awesome, they bypassed the MPAA and touched topics that a studio would've considered too risky for general distribution, indie VHS really took over where drive-in movies left off. But in the end most people didn't care, they just wanted to watch the Matrix and Blockbuster had two shelves of it stacked two-deep. I don't know what's taken over since VHS. Maybe crowdfunding could fill this gap, but nothing will have the "feel" that these movies did, because nowadays with the Internet nothing can be truly "obscure" for very long.

When I lived in Iowa City in the 1990's, I used to go to a tiny video store called The Tofu Hut (How's that name for a deep 90's culture reference) which did a marvelous job of picking a selection of foreign movies, anime, fetish pornography and independent and exploitation films. There will never be places like that again. They existed in a small gap when VHS was thriving and Blockbuster wasn't dominant.

njharman 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Um duh, cause it's a Library. (One of) Library's jobs is to preserve our culture as expressed in the media arts. Library's don't judge that culture. They maintain it so current and future society have a chance to.
copsarebastards 9 hours ago 2 replies      
It cites controversy about the collection but doesn't really go into what the controversy is. Why is it controversial? Or is it just not controversial?
mrob 10 hours ago 0 replies      
There's a documentary about VHS movies:


It's somewhat reliant on nostalgia for the medium, which I don't have because I didn't have a VHS player, but even so, I found it interesting. It makes it clear why VHS is culturally important and why so many people care about it.

spullara 10 hours ago 2 replies      
I don't really get it. Digitize the movies and their boxes. Keeping the actual physical items seems like overkill.
antidaily 11 hours ago 0 replies      
There's a great (and possibly NSFW) tumblr dedicated to this genre: http://the-scandyfactory.tumblr.com/
One-Time SSH Keys fwei.ml
68 points by theunamedguy  12 hours ago   26 comments top 8
DblPlusUngood 8 hours ago 2 replies      
There seems to be confusion about the purpose of one-time authentication; the purpose is to protect against key leaks after the key has been used. For instance, suppose I want to SSH to my machine from an Internet cafe but am concerned the key will eventually found by someone after me.

SSH in fact already has support for one time passwords: skey. See http://www.openbsd.org/cgi-bin/man.cgi/OpenBSD-current/man1/...

atoponce 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Interesting, but unnecessary. First, if a private key is protected with a passphrase with sufficient entropy to withstand a sophisticated attack, then even if the key is on a USB thumb drive, access to the remote system where the public portion is installed is not compromised.

Second, if the key was unprotected on a USB drive, and the drive is lost, what's stopping you from taking the key out of the authorized_keys file on the remote server?

Lastly, if there is a need for a single use SSH key, then it should be indicated as such in the key's comment, so when the scenario is over, it's easily identified as which key it is.

I guess I don't understand the practicality of this script, let alone one-time SSH keys.

bascule 9 hours ago 1 reply      
This is a neat hack, but beyond that, I'm not sure what the practical usage is.

If '.authorized_keys` can be modified by the user, then one-time access is easily escalated to many-time access.

If not, they can still leave a process running on the host to obtain access later. After all, you're giving them remote code execution.

You could try to prevent them from obtaining shell access and use SSH as an encrypted transport and AuthN system. That's not really discussed in the post at all.

This post is really more like "Look ma, .authorized_keys can run commands!"

dantillberg 11 hours ago 3 replies      
This is a neat idea, and I like innovative sound to it.

But what happens if the key is compromised during this single use? Isn't that just as problematic from a security perspective?

I'm guessing by "untrusted system" that we're talking about an SSH host for which you do not already have and verify the SSH host fingerprint (see side note below). And so, for example, you try to connect to that host, but instead your request is MITMed and the attacker has control of your session with that remote host.

Or put another way: what attack vectors are prevented/mitigated by disabling the key on use? (and this is separate from the very inconvenient aspect regarding: how do I connect back to that host after my one session is over?)

(side note: I believe that if you don't verify host keys, then SSH is completely, 100% useless against MITM/proxy attacks, whether you allow the key to be used 1 or infinite times. Please correct me if I'm wrong on that.)

skarap 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm not sure I get it. Looks like the idea is to protect form private key compromise. In which case why is having N instead of one private keys sitting in the same directory more safe? It's not that you are more likely to leak the used ones...

If this did automatic key rotation, it might be quite useful!

tangent128 10 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't think you have to sacrifice a meaningful key comment to make this work; "MYMH_user_DONOTMODIFYTHISCOMMENT_onetime0" is already on the key's line as part of the sed command that deletes the line with "MYMH_user_DONOTMODIFYTHISCOMMENT_onetime0"
Gladdyu 9 hours ago 2 replies      
What would prevent the user from simply adding another key once they are logged in for the next time or disabling the script. '~/.ssh/authorized_keys' can be can be read and modified by the user which is currently logged in...
mykhal 10 hours ago 1 reply      
an attacker might already have stolen his keys (why only one?), because the script checksums do not match :)
Surfboards and submarines: the secret escape of East Germans to Copenhagen theguardian.com
19 points by monort  9 hours ago   2 comments top 2
sandworm101 7 hours ago 0 replies      
"...surfing boats with handmade sails." ??

I've read about this many times before. They were using windsurfers and were part of a local windsurfing club. Germans say "Windsurfbrett", literally wind-surf-board. I don't know where the author got the boats language. It's more than semantics. Boats are something you sit 'in' rather than 'on' a board and that makes a big difference in cold water.

Story + interviews (in german) + pics showing gear.http://cdn2.surfertoday.com/windsurfing/11355-the-greatest-w...

Fyi. The big stealth advantage of a windsurfer is that, with the sail flat on the water, the entire craft is only a couple inches high. In any waves you cannot see them until you are right on top. Hard for search and rescue, but excellent if you want to hide until the cops move away. They have been used for smuggling.

aembleton 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Swimming out of East Germany: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K7CWajaOx4E
Lively Kernel lively-kernel.org
44 points by gull  13 hours ago   13 comments top 5
planckscnst 11 hours ago 1 reply      
And now that I'm past my surprise, I can evaluate. It looks like it's really not ready for production. There are all kinds of weird issues. For instance, in the webworkerstatt sandbox[1] (and I was using Chrome as they asked), the text box rendered far-right more than a page of scrolling was required. Upon refreshing the page, the text box was where it was supposed to be, but there was lots of additional empty space (empty content that cause scrollbars to be present) below and to the right of the application. Also in that app, positioning the cursor inside the textbox then clicking on the "car" (that cluster of ovals) causes text to be selected between the two points you just clicked.

Aside from that, I'm sure this is all controllable in the framework, but there are maddening design choices. They are intercepting right-clicks. They are by-default opening links in new windows. Every bit of text is in carat mode. The loading animation is rather annoying. With all of this, I'm not even going to look at what it's like to develop in the environment.

[1] http://lively-kernel.org/repository/webwerkstatt/sandbox/san...

fu86 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I've analyzed the codebase a couple of years ago (see https://aaron-mueller.de/projekte/lively and http://data.datenhalter.de/lively_analyse_morph.pdf in german). It's basically a proof of concept to bring Squeak to the web. It was a hype back in 2007 because Dan Ingalls pushed this as a research project by SUN.

The whole codebase is a mess and so damn slow that this is not usable at all (see https://aaron-mueller.de/blog/bestof-lively). The architecture however is pretty smart, but most of it are stolen from Squeak. So the projekt itself is not much more than a bad port of Squeak in spathetti JavaScript.

rmetzler 11 hours ago 0 replies      
When I studied at HPI I had a course where we would hack on features for the Lively Kernel. I'm not sure how far they've come and if they got the performance problems solved. (Lively used to work at halfway acceptable speeds in Chrome and Safari only, but I'm not sure if this was because of Webkit or the JavaScript engine.)

I have to admit, I didn't like it much. I couldn't wrap my brain around why I should create a live coding environment which would be destroyed on a reload. Then it is only used as a fancy REPL.

For my day to day programming I prefer regular JavaScript or languages which compile to JavaScript.

nickpsecurity 11 hours ago 0 replies      
It's pretty interesting how they use SVG to draw it all on-screen to emulate desktop UI's. That's basically how I did cross-platform in late 90's with OpenGL as my targets supported it. I also tried Java, which they [1] did too. That they reused Morphic was clever as most would've tried a vanilla interface framework. The use of SVG would seem to be both a strength and a weakness. Strength for reasons they outlined but weakeness in terms of speed and browser interactions. I saw both problems in the demo, with the latter being text highlighting when dragging a window.

So, I still push native apps and plugins over web where possible. This one is clever but I'd like to see some smooth demos. However, the WebGL standard might be a solution to this as I haven't heard anyone complain about it lagging on simple 2D operations. Maybe they try that out.

[1] http://www.svgopen.org/2008/papers/93-The_Lively_Kernel_Web_...

planckscnst 11 hours ago 1 reply      
The word kernel is so espoused to operating systems for me that seeing the nature of the project was surprising. In fact, I specifically expected to see some modified Linux kernel and was wondering if someone made use of some liveliness-guaranteed locking system of some sort. After the surprise, I thought about my personal definition of "kernel", and it turns out it's as outlined below (ones in parentheses would never be expected, but would be concessions after having been surprised, as I was with this article).

1: Linux Kernel. 2: BSD-derivative kernel. 3: Some other Unix kernel. 4: Some other OS kernel. ( 5: Maize seeds. 6: Some core part of other software. )

Dinner and Deception Serving meals to the super-rich left me feeling empty nytimes.com
67 points by JSnake  5 hours ago   58 comments top 10
roymurdock 3 hours ago 1 reply      
From the comments section:

This article is absurd in that this type of work is neither as good or as bad as anything remotely described here. Being a waiter, myself for 24 years including 3 star Michelin (NYC), was a practical, enjoyable professional job in which I dealt with the public. Guests were almost always friendly people looking to have an enjoyable time. This type of writing is bombastic and provocative but lacks any true substance. Every industry deals with the cult of personality. I'm sorry to say it but there's nothing to see here. It's just not that big a deal. - Chad Murdock

I have to agree...there are a couple of anecdotes of "inflammatory 1% behavior" and the overall style of the writing was nice, it just seems like the author is making a big deal out of basically nothing so that the NYTimes can stoke the anti-1% flames and generate more views.

A_COMPUTER 3 hours ago 3 replies      
I love the commenters describing it as being like a scene from Bonfire of the Vanities or serving Egyptian pharaohs. Speaking from experience, there are plenty of poor people that are at least as aloof, entitled and rude to service staff as rich people, often times even worse. And corporate restaurants/stores mimic the same patterns as shown here, you just get paid less and treated worse.
emmett 3 hours ago 2 replies      
It's interesting how much it really is a problem of alienation, not of the work itself.

Stage magicians who obsessively practice the same motion over and over own their work, own their output, and feel empowered by the hard work and the success it brings.

Waiters who do the same thing because a larger machine they do not identify with dictates it feel disconnected.

The work itself is a distraction from the real problem, which is that the employee does not believe that what they are doing is important or valuable and that they don't feel ownership over their own actions.

bbanyc 2 hours ago 0 replies      
The article doesn't name the restaurant, but the author's LinkedIn profile says he worked at Eleven Madison Park. This makes some of the details seem more believable. Felix Salmon: "theyre IN THE CREDIT SUISSE building ferchrissakes of COURSE there were douchebankers at the bar"


unabridged 3 hours ago 0 replies      
The ending reminds me of one of my favorite scenes from Brazil:


xg 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Fun dialogue between Pete Wells (former Editor of NY Times Dining) and Helen Rosner (features editor for Eater):


wpietri 1 hour ago 2 replies      
For those who love the stories of people behind the scenes, it's worth digging around in the Wayback Machine for Bitter Waitress's archives. E.g.:


And my favorite San Francisco story in this vein is "Ice Balls":


everyone 1 hour ago 2 replies      
My main feeling reading about this is that in a well designed society there is no logical reason that such opulence should exist.
logicallee 1 hour ago 0 replies      
It wasn't a hard routine to master. You showed up. You read the article. Then you clicked on the text box, and you write one of a few thoughts: "I love how this exposes the vacuousness of the fine dining experience". Or: "The story about the Chinese businessman confirms something I have long suspected, that paying more for a meal is no an evidence of a soul." With a little practice, you can almost pass it off as original. You act surprised. You act indignant. You act informed.

Then you click add comment. That's it. Simple. Mechanical. Of course, beneath the mechanical gestures lurks an ugly truth. It was something you didn't talk about. You just did your job - occasionally, you would get some karma for it. That soon wore off. I wondered: is this what it feels like to be one of the liberated intelligentsia? Would Engels have strained his relationship with his mother so that he could defend my right to "take it easy"? Is this what we have fought for?

To be sure, I was a glorious member of a liberated proletariat: nobody got "surplus value" from my comment. The karma was mine.

But sometimes, for just a glimmer of a moment, in those seconds after I clicked "add comment" I was left facing the ugly truth, there in black and white. It was because there was no value there at all.


(I am satirizing this awful article)

WalterBright 52 minutes ago 0 replies      
That article left me feeling empty.
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