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A global movement to ban urban billboards theguardian.com
212 points by amelius  5 hours ago   108 comments top 35
rdtsc 4 hours ago 6 replies      
That is one nice thing about living around DC, there are no billboards around the highways around here. You don't notice it until you go to other states. Then it becomes obvious and it looks jarring -- "Hey, what is this crap everywhere? How can people tolerate this!?"

Kind of the same effect if you are used to watching Netflix and then at a relative's house and you see cable TV with commercials every 15 minutes. They probably don't even notice it, but to me it feels strange and annoying to have to put up with it.

blfr 4 hours ago 1 reply      
I block all ads on my devices, don't watch tv live, etc but I do like outdoor advertising. It's different. All the loathing here is a little surprising.

From guerilla stickers on the bus and posters on construction site fences to entire buildings wrapped, complete with props (like a car hanging from the side) it makes cities look alive. LED signs, especially the larger ones capable of showing graphics, and (my personal favourite) proper, old-school neons make cities look like cities. Billboards cover unfinished structures or designs from architects who should have never been licensed.

Maybe it's all the crappy communist architecture here but even places that evolved more naturally generally gain. Sure, there are some old towns, picturesque villages and so on but that is nowhere near the majority of the space inhabited by people.

josh64 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I would love to ban the audiovisual advertising in some Sydney train stations. You used to be able to avoid the static paper billboards but these days they have giant video screens and very loud speakers spread all around the platform so you can't escape hearing the constant pollution from advertisers.

I've started blocking ads on my devices again just so I can have a break from advertising in my life.

some-guy 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I grew up in Davis, CA, right dab in the middle of the Central Valley in CA. From a purely visual standpoint, billboard ads along those freeways were far more ugly to me. The ugliness of billboard advertising in cities can at least be mitigated by the visual "white noise" around it, whereas billboards in farmland stick out like a sore thumb.
mc32 3 hours ago 3 replies      
I can't imagine Tokyo or Taipei without large billboards and other signage draping over whole buildings.

As others have said, I neither miss them nor dislike them. The one thing I will say is that some do cover over otherwise useful windows --which since covered by advertising become useless and wonder how the inhabitants deal with diminished sunlight --but on the other hand you have places like France where you are (were?) taxed on window count on your flat and so people would board them up, so as not to count as "windows".

airza 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I can't really imagine Tokyo without the billboards. It's too wrapped up in the aesthetic for me. (Not that I think that should override the preferences of whatever people in tokyo want to do.)
ccvannorman 25 minutes ago 1 reply      
I will go a step further: Advertisement in general should be banned.

Yes, I realize how unpopular this is. "Advertising has been around since the dawn of time!" and "Who will know what to buy? Economy would crash." To them I say the following: If you could choose to live your life and never see another advertisement, would you?

If the answer is yes, do you believe it is technologically feasible to live as a human being without ever seeing an advertisement?

If the answer is yes, then we agree.

By the way, if you want or need something, google it or watch a dedicated "ads about X" channel. When was the last time you saw an ad for anything and it changed your life more than marginally?

veritas3241 4 hours ago 3 replies      
I was just thinking about this today. My proposal was to replace them with behavioral nudges[0]. Things like "Traveling the speed limit saves X lives and gets you home faster[1]." Basically, they'd be gentle ways of making people more conscious and aware of the road and themselves.

But of course, who gets to pick what the billboards say? And I'm sure nobody would go for it if it were slogans from the State Dept. of Nudges...

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nudge_(book)

[1] Real data of course. Citations needed.

iamthepieman 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Billboards are already banned in my state. I'm always struck by how ugly the roads and highways are when I travel to other states.
ThomPete 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't mind billboards it's whats on them that's horrible.

I Williamsburg where I live as far as I understand it's not legal to put up posters or billboard posters. Instead people paint the billboards.

Which is pretty cool.


kylebgorman 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't care about the presence of visual advertising, nor do I think cities would be nicer if it was all replaced with reproductions of Renaissance painting. It's not that I think I'm unaffected by advertising, it's just that I don't think my quality of life is affected by it in the least.

But I do care about (actual) environmental pollution, poor economic opportunities in the inner city, overly militaristic and authoritarian policing, mass government surveillance, and the deteriorating public transit infrastructure.

Nursie 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Sounds good to me. The amount of visual pollution created by advertising is mind boggling in some places.
gaetanomarano 26 minutes ago 0 replies      
often, billboards are ugly, but all them give "life" to our streets, so, I don't agree with the ban kapipal.com/newspace
dopeboy 4 hours ago 2 replies      
If you want to know what such a world is like, go to Cuba. It's a beautiful thing.
ekianjo 39 minutes ago 1 reply      
> Safe for eyeballs ... in a single year, So Paulo removed 15,000 billboards, many of which were replaced by street art.

so they replaced commercial crap by street art shite that never changes, and that is supposed to be an improvement for the eyes ? Seriously ?

RobinL 4 hours ago 1 reply      
What is better, billboards and a bike scheme, or no billboards? We shouldn't ignore that there are real tradeoffs at stake here (even if they don't involve bikes). https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vlib%27
mhb 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Leaf blowers next, please.
bryanlarsen 4 hours ago 3 replies      
A ban is pretty harsh, how about taxing them heavily enough that they almost disappear? $1MM/billboard/year might be about right.

The reason people are asking for a ban of billboards is that they impose heavy externalities: they're distracting, ugly, et cetera. Capture those externalities rather than ban them.

lemevi 3 hours ago 2 replies      
Another movement I'd like to see in the US is to take telephone poles down and put all that wiring under the ground. Would generate jobs and make the country much prettier.
SCAQTony 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I live in L.A. and Sunset Blvd would be so very dull without oversized billboards featuring super models, new albums and the latest movies.


jonah 4 hours ago 0 replies      
My city doesn't allow billboards in town. Billboards on the highways are also banned in my half of the county. I really appreciate it. Less visually assaulting and you can appreciate the natural and built beauty better.
roflchoppa 1 hour ago 0 replies      
How interesting that people within the afk space are beginning to dislike advertisements, while people in the digital space have been actively removing it for a while.

Does u-block allow for extensions?

stock_toaster 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder what impact self driving cars will have on billboards in the future...
wisty 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I suspect there are more people who sell and use web-ads than billboard ads here.

In fact, I'm bet a few people are wondering when they can all be replaced with giant QR codes, so they can automatically be replaced by something a little more "targeted".

revelation 4 hours ago 2 replies      
I'd much rather they ban obnoxious high powered LED animated displays. At least billboards don't blind you.
JesperRavn 5 hours ago 1 reply      
It makes sense. Advertising is inefficient, wasting people's time and attention for the gain of the advertiser.

Advertisements have long been used as a form of micropayment, to fund first TV shows and now websites, where a monetary payment would be infeasible.

There is no such reason to allow advertising in public property (private property is more complicated, but generally the outward appearance of buildings is considered a public good, and highly regulated). The person viewing the building or billboard is not a party to a transaction, so there is no reason to charge that person a hidden fee for viewing that space. In a way it is the ultimate hidden tax.

nicklaf 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I do often see PSA's from, say, the Ad Council, on billboards. I don't really think these should go away, even perhaps if it means living with the obnoxiousness of commercial billboards.
noonespecial 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Microsoft HoloLens and adblocking. Hmmmm....
justatdotin 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I live in a capital city with only one billboard. The cancel has a firm policy against any visual pollution. On one hand I hate that graffiti rarely lasts more than 24 hrs anywhere in this town. On the other, the lack of advertising is really nice. Once I saw a mcdeath logo go up on the back of a traffic sign so I called it in and it was gone the next day.
dba7dba 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Entire state of Hawaii bans all forms of outdoor ads. Some company tried to sell ads on bikes but were banned. Another company tried to sell aerial ads (banner pulled by small planes) in Hawaii. The company insisted only FAA can ban such ads, even AFTER FAA announced the state can ban aerial ads.

The pilot was actually arrested.


vhost- 4 hours ago 2 replies      
This might be an unpopular opinion, but fuck it.

I'd replace billboards with graffiti in Portland any day. I can't stand that billboards are plastered all over the place, but one streak of paint on a building left unscrubbed will result in the person owning that building getting fines from the city. I miss the feel of an real urban environment and having real graffiti on walls and over passes.

ddingus 5 hours ago 1 reply      
There are passive printed ones. Ugly, but often tolerable and often useful.

Then there are those active ones. Blinking lights, bright to the point of light pollution. I hate those things and they are everywhere now too with more sprouting up all the time.

Count me in for the latter. I'll gladly continue to tolerate the former to get some relief from the active ugly everywhere...

rokhayakebe 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I want billboards. Possibly more than now. However, like in Sao Paulo and France in the article, I would like to have them show arts, culture, interesting information. Not car ads.
itistoday2 4 hours ago 2 replies      
I am seriously confused by all the good news recently.

First U.S. decides to let nearly 6,000 drug offenders out of federal prison early. [1]

Then I hear CNN (!) was apparently talking about the rise of city-states. [2]

And now this about cities considering or already actively banning billboard ads??

So much sanity and good news in a short time period makes me almost suspicious.

[1] https://news.vice.com/article/the-us-is-going-to-let-nearly-...

[2] https://twitter.com/digitsu/status/653221388249993216

necessity 2 hours ago 0 replies      
So Paulo is filled with graffiti instead of ads. Not art, just tags, as most major Brazilian cities. It's not visually clean by any standards.

That said, the article is an ad in itself - "began to suffocate under a smog of signage", gimme a break. I find it funny how anti-ad folk often advertise massively against ads.

Effective Learning Strategies for Programmers akaptur.com
69 points by nicholasjbs  5 hours ago   8 comments top 5
hacker_9 2 hours ago 0 replies      
If you have a fixed mindset you believe that people are either smart or theyre not, and they cant really change that then you also tend to believe that if youre good at something, it should be easy for you, and if something is hard for you than you must not be good at it. Thats a fixed-mindset view. People who have a growth mindset believe that you need to exert effort and work hard at something to become better at it.

I fully agree with this, and I think the problem is schools too easily trap people into fixed mindsets. There are so many exams in school that if you constantly get medium to low scores it's easy to think you just aren't smart.

I learnt programming as a hobby outside of school and fast forward to today and I am a software developer with a 1st degree in compsci. When I look back and wonder why I found programming so much easier than school subjects like math/geography I realise I hated the system more than the subject. The constant dull drills, working through equation after equation. All to pass the next exam and then forget. As I wasn't good at them I just decided that I never would be.

Now that I am older I realise that mindset is ridiculous. So as a test, about a year ago, I started practicing memorising all the countries in the world (using Anki[1] flash cards, which I flick through at work whenever I am waiting for a build to finish!), and these days I can literally zoom over the world in my mind and name 90% of the countries. I also started using an abacus to see if I could get my brain to instantly solve math equations just by looking at them [2] and am having some success. I sometimes wish I could go and tell my younger self to skip school but there you go hindsight is 20/20.

[1] http://ankisrs.net/

[2] http://www.theguardian.com/science/alexs-adventures-in-numbe...

tbrownaw 19 minutes ago 0 replies      
Fixed vs growth mindset is BS. It completely misses the point. Find a way to play with whatever it is that you want to learn. The more fun you have, the more you'll almost-magically get better at it. No need to have personal pep talks to convince yourself to go bash your head against the wall one more time.

Whether you can learn isn't the issue, whether you do learn -- and how much time and annoyance you have to put in -- is what matters.

tunesmith 2 hours ago 1 reply      
A lot of this advice seems mental/emotional, but as far as tactical approaches go, I think it's important to actually practice, like how a musician does. Like when you're not at work, actually practice doing things like set up a git repo, create a random silly MVP from scratch, solve a one-hour problem in a new language, practice a new programming technique, etc. Or, practice while pretending you have an audience, and if you get hung up on something, learn it until you wouldn't get hung up the next time.
ryancox 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I've found Richard M. Felder's [1] research in this area useful. He makes a compelling argument [2] that one size does not fit all and describes a taxonomy of learning styles. Understanding my own learning style [3] has helped me optimize the way I go about coming up to speed on new topics.

[1] http://www4.ncsu.edu/unity/lockers/users/f/felder/public/

[2] http://www4.ncsu.edu/unity/lockers/users/f/felder/public/Pap...

[3] https://www.engr.ncsu.edu/learningstyles/ilsweb.html

invisible_dust 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I doubt very many people on this site need to be told how to study effectively.
A former mentor recalls the early career of Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata gamasutra.com
20 points by danso  2 hours ago   3 comments top
0xcde4c3db 1 hour ago 2 replies      
The article mentions a "6502.7" CPU core that Ricoh had. I don't think I've ever heard of this designation before, and Google doesn't seem to find any relevant hits other than this article. Does anyone know something about it? I guess it's probably just an internal designation for a specific layout variation/revision, but it seems like it might be a new detail.
Urban activists set out to sue San Franciscos suburbs grist.org
115 points by apsec112  4 hours ago   79 comments top 10
jinushaun 3 hours ago 6 replies      
Love this quote:

Most people would be very uncomfortable tearing down 315 houses. But they dont have a similar objection to never building them in the first place, even though I feel theyre morally equivalent. Those people show up anyway. They get born anyway. They get a job in the area anyway. What do they do? They live in an overcrowded situation, they pay too much rent, they have a commute thats too long. Or maybe they outbid someone else, and someone else is displaced.

Its easy to see the problem when youre tearing down someones home. But when youre not building, its hard to see whose home it is.

mc32 2 hours ago 3 replies      
I hope she wins. I hope other people see her insight. I have not seen this kind of attitude against development in other countries. Sure, some speculators will make out on some locations near transit,and some will lose out a bit. Who cares, what we need are more units, in SF, down the Camino corridor from SF to san Jose. Build up, have BART go all the way down the el cam, and have local Surface-bahns. I'm tired of the homeowning middle class as well as the poor (or more accurately, those advocating in the name of the poor) for being so utterly against development.

It's time for change. I'd welcome a housing glut, it'll benefit most, but those who see real estate as investment for retirement.

In the end, I think people will discover that mid density isn't so bad after all. You get convenience, but you lose some of your feeling of living in an enclave.

From communist china to capitalist Korea, when housing is in short supply, buildings go up.

musesum 3 hours ago 3 replies      
Here's Scott Wiener's post about meeting 2040 housing growth plans: https://medium.com/@Scott_Wiener/want-to-know-why-the-bay-ar...

Looks like East bay is falling behind schedule.

Here's housing prices since crash peek:http://west.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/hugolefebvre-ch...

I live several doors down from the old KFC. I miss the old Sugoi Sushi that was there - but am fine with the new construction. Am lucky to have rent control. Right now, if I move away, I wouldn't be able to afford moving back.

spiralpolitik 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Good luck to her. Although unless you also fix the Bay Area transport infrastructure then building more housing in the suburbs isn't going to solve anything. BART is already at capacity, Buses are constrained by the lack of bus lanes on the major freeway interchanges leading to the bridges. Congestion inside the city is choking things.

So yes we need more housing, but that is merely the first step.

teen 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Ha, the first SFBARF meeting was actually held in my apartment, when Sonja was still not sure if it was something people were interested in. Crazy to see how much it grew.
gavazzy 2 hours ago 3 replies      
Is she suggesting that land be taken through eminent domain? Or is she merely suggesting that developers who own land should be allowed to build on it?

Their DSP proposal is so clouded by the political language that it is difficult to determine their true intentions.

Also, I'm quite troubled by their suggestion that tearing down homes is morally equivalent to not building them in the first place. Tearing down homes immediately destroys value; hundreds of thousands of dollars are put into a home with the expectation that at least part of it can be recovered after a sale. A government that destroys homes without taking into account this investment destroys the value that the developers put into it. On the other hand, having the homes not be built in the first place does no such thing.

SonjaKT 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Guess what - suethesuburbs is applying for Y Combinator for non-profits. Sooo....... get ready
7Figures2Commas 2 hours ago 1 reply      
It's disappointing that this type of activism is only gaining traction in places like the Bay Area. For years, I pushed for more affordable housing in Aspen, but nobody listened even though I was willing to walk 1.7 miles to get to the nearest lift.
hugh4 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Handy hint for people who want to live in the Bay Area and can't afford to: tough cookies. Have you considered living somewhere else?

I'd like to live on a private island in the Whitsundays, but there aren't enough to go around. It has never occurred to me to whine about this fact.

Structural and semantic deficiencies in the systemd architecture darknedgy.net
117 points by vezzy-fnord  6 hours ago   20 comments top 9
dang 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Since it looks like this article is trying to treat a controversial topic substantively, let's see if we can do the same. If you comment, please stick to the substance and avoid dismissive comments and rudeness. We should all do so anyway, but when the topic is polarized it can take more conscious effort.


geofft 4 hours ago 2 replies      
This is a very detailed article, and I appreciate it and will need to study it carefully.

But I think that the major argument it is making is "systemd is a mediocre service manager; similar tools existed before systemd, and were better." That is a very different argument from "we would be better off with sysvinit," which seems to be the primary argument I see in practice: if you're arguing things like "do one thing and do it well," "shell scripts are great and debuggable," "init should reap children and nothing else," "there's too much code in pid1," "I don't want to learn something new," etc., you're making that form of argument.

If there is general consensus from studied opponents of systemd that something systemd-like is an obviously good idea, great. Let's move on, acknowledge the network effects of systemd, and build something that can feasibly be the shinier, newer, better, securer systemd. Which might even be based on an existing system like s6. But then the path forward has to be either improving systemd or replacing it, not continuing with sysvinit.

I am in practice a pro-systemd person, but that's only because my realistic alternatives, for my use case, are sysvinit and Upstart. I have no idea how I'd start to build a system that used something like s6. I would happily admit there is extensive room for improvement in systemd, but we UNIX folks have been working with worse-is-better and rough-consensus-and-running-code for decades.

If the general consensus is that a systemd-style service manager is great, but it should not be pid 1, that's an argument worth making, but I don't see much focus in this article on that.

If the general consensus is that everything can be done with sysvinit, this article doesn't make that case at all. (But I suspect that's not the general consensus.)

ncraun 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Very interesting article, refreshing as well to see a criticism of systemd based on technical details. Unlike most other criticisms of systemd, this author does not resort to personal attacks and insults against Lennart Poettering or fear-mongering appeals to tradition. I still think systemd is an improvement over the previous sysvinit, but the author seems to have found some real conceptual flaws with systemd that are somewhat unsettling.

I hope this article can start some actually useful conversations about init systems that do not fall into the pitfalls of FUD and negativity that seem to have surrounded this topic in the past.

ausjke 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Read it through but hard to grasp all the details. One thing I'm sure is that for non-systemd "legacy" init systems I know what I'm doing, for systemd I most of the time don't know what's going on there, it's still like a blind art after using it for a while, overly abstracted might be one reason for that.
nextos 4 hours ago 1 reply      
The major problem right now if one decides to use a systemd alternative is that most packages are shipping with systemd unit files, but will obviously lack support for other init implementations.

I like dmd, implemented in Scheme, which is part of the GuixSD distribution.

hueving 4 hours ago 1 reply      
The article that lies herein, was, in a manner of speaking (but not literally speaking - 'in a manner of speaking' is just a phrase), so overly verbose in many places that it drowns the reader in verbal diarrhea as thick as pea soup. That is to say, I, as a reader, felt that the author (of this article) could have made these points in a more reachable, succinct fashion.
colin_mccabe 3 minutes ago 0 replies      
tl;dr: the author argues that:

* systemd is more similar to a traditional job scheduler than a traditional init system.

* systemd should not parse text files in pid1 because it might be a security risk.

* Because systemd handles order dependencies, it is sometimes susceptible to "ordering cycles" where a clear ordering cannot be established, "dependency loops" where jobs are continuously dropped and requeued, and race conditions if dependencies are accidentally underspecified.

* "Imbalance between promoting laziness or eagerness": launchd, a predecessor of systemd, operated purely "lazily," launching services only when other services needed them. systemd also supports launching services eagerly, which the author argues is more complex.

* Checkpointing a process image could have been used instead of systemd's readiness notification mechanism (?)

* Systemd does not have a plugin system

* Journald is criticized because it does too much

I would counter that:

* I agree that systemd is similar to a job scheduler, but I don't necessarily believe that that is a bad thing. Manual scheduling of jobs for startup and shutdown like we did in the rc.sh days is complex and error-prone.

* The text files systemd is parsing are owned by root, so even if the parser is exploitable, only root can take advantage? Seems like a weak criticism.

* I agree that dependency ordering makes things more complex. But upstart and launchd have the same issues. It seems to be a tradeoff worth making.

* I don't understand the argument against supporting both laziness and eagerness in dependencies. It seems like some things are naturally modelled eagerly, like needing to perform a bunch of somewhat unrelated actions to suspend the system. And some things are better handled lazily, like setting up a FUSE filesystem when a USB stick is inserted that needs it. Shouldn't we use the model that makes the most sense?

* I don't think checkpointing a process image can ever really replace having a notification system. Even if the checkpointing code could be make bulletproof somehow, some processes deal with state in the external world, or with hardware, that makes checkpointing infeasible.

* Regarding a plugin system: Systemd has the ability to run shell scripts, which can be useful in filling in gaps in functionality. I don't think a more complicated plugin system would be a good idea since it would add a lot of complexity (and potentially instability.)

* I didn't understand the criticism of journald, maybe someone can elaborate. The author presented some alternate approaches but I missed why these were better (other than the handwavey argument that journald was "a bottleneck")

I enjoyed reading this, and it's nice to see some more reasoned criticism of systemd. I feel like the prose got a little bit purple at times. We had to spend 10 paragraphs "descend[ing] into an inferno with the same dead horse talking points", "culminating into some rather heterodox conclusions", and "progressively introducing and elucidating on concepts, applying some a priori reasoning at times, and backtracking to derive conclusions or reiterate on prior stated knowledge" before we even saw a word of argument! This needed an editor...

tadfisher 15 minutes ago 1 reply      
My response from another discussion on this article:

Much of these deficiencies boil down to the design criteria for systemd, which is basically to avoid forcing the system administrator to perform dependency graph resolution. This was a direct response to Upstart, which pushed this work to the administrator (or distro packager) by design.

Thus the declarative syntax for unit files, which do not explicitly control dependency resolution, parallelization, or startup order, which is simply not necessary or cared about for 99% of use cases. The 1% case there is for situations where you should not use a prebaked init system in the first place, such as when you absolutely need deterministic boots, i.e. in an embedded or realtime context.

> In systemd, however, the execution state is not based on explicit chain loading, but on serializing unit file options to a private ExecContext structure overlayed into Unit objects and set for service unit types.

This is not a problem with systemd's design. This is a problem with software written without the assumption of reliable process supervision, which is a reasonable assumption given the history of UNIX daemonization. systemd takes the (apparently controversial) stance that processes should not manage their own execution environment, or that of their dependencies. It provides numerous prebuilt hacks to make things work for broken software, but nobody should expect systemd to design for 100% of situations where processes do Weird Shit.

And yes, I'm including "delegated service restarters" under this umbrella. The need for something like this absolutely smells of poor design. It also flies in the face of the author's preference for deterministic execution behavior, because by definition your process will execute differently depending on if it was started or restarted.

The link to "systemd house of horrors" [1] only proves this point.

> A supervisor insisting on programmatic accommodations from service writers is not the most desirable state of affairs. A rarely discussed alternative to the two common approaches is, again as with startup speed optimization minus parallelism, checkpoint/restore: checkpoint a process image from a point where initialization is known to be complete and overlay it on startup, using a tool such as DMTCP or CRIU.

I don't know about anyone else, but this sounds like an absolute nightmare. For one, it relies on the service exposing enough information to be checkpointed at the right time; at which point, you might as well call sd_notify or hook in a script to do it for you, so this is not a reduction in requiring programmatic accommodations from service writers. Two, process-snapshotting is not a panacea, and is a nightmare to debug when it breaks your expectations; you'll need to test all sorts of process state, including open pipes/fds/sockets, signals, system calls (!), shmem buffers, etc. At which point it's best to just let the service notify you directly when the process is done. Which is a facility that systemd provides.

> Of course we also have the issue of circular dependencies in the systemd architecture itself. We have the init, process manager, process supervisor, cgroup writer, local service tools, the Unit object structure (which might benefit from being made a protocol), timers, mounts, automounts and swaps all in the same module with ill-defined boundaries.

A worthy criticism. I would also like to see a bit more modularization from systemd, but I can also see the point of systemd developers not expending effort to do so. For one, it would drastically increase the number of contexts for testing (i.e. can we verify the service manager works without the cgroups module loaded, etc). I think systemd is at the point where it's rock-solid for all of its use cases, and a pluggable/composable architecture would have delayed this situation for not very much benefit.

In short, systemd imposes its opinions about process init and supervision. Whether or not this is reasonable is up for debate. However, it is very useful to have both a strong opinion and a solid implementation of this opinion.

IMO, the idealized world that systemd supports (i.e. non-forking services, initialization notification, strict execution environment and dependency declaration, centralized and opaque init/dependency-resolution/parallelization) is a vast improvement over the status quo and actually improves the lives of service writers (by removing an entire class of responsibilities), so I think it's a reasonable opinion and thus I think systemd has a reasonable design and architecture.

There are many known technical deficiencies with the implementation that are mostly being worked on, but I'm not seeing anything damning of the whole idea.

[1] http://homepage.ntlworld.com./jonathan.deboynepollard/FGA/sy...

ised 4 hours ago 1 reply      
"a controversial topic"

My observation: The "discussion" never seems to focus on systemd. Instead it usually turns to comments on the former sysvinit system or other init systems.

That avoidance is perhaps something to ponder. And maybe it's why this author felt the urge to put some focus on systemd itself.

Love the quote from djb. In sum, the best interface is no interface. Parsing amounts to high margin for error and often an incredible nuisance.

In another thread today I wrote about the command line interface and "expecting a reponse". Truthfully, djb's utilities that simply return an exit value and no output are the best ones I have ever used.

(It seems djb himself is a systemd user. Not sure what if anything that means.)

Imagine if the information dissiminated via www was as easy to "parse" as text0. Writing a simple "web browser" might be easy enough that programmers would not need to be paid to do it.

How a Battery Cut Microsoft Datacenter Costs by a Quarter theplatform.net
26 points by victorbojica  3 hours ago   16 comments top 6
stephengillie 1 hour ago 2 replies      
> In a typical UPS backup scenario in a normal datacenter, the incoming power is converted from AC to DC so the battery can be charged, then converted back to AC coming out of the battery to be distributed out to the power distribution units, where it is stepped down to the 120 volts where the servers consume it. By putting the batteries in the servers, Microsoft can do one AC to DC conversion and distribute 380 volts DC directly to the Open Cloud Server power supplies and then step it down to 12 volts for the server and storage nodes.

This is a huge point of efficiency that's been missed for a very long time, mostly because it's right along the border between the datacenter provider and the server customer. The datacenter traditionally agrees to provide filtered 120/240v AC.

Converting the power loses efficiency. And we convert the power 4 times. They may be regaining about a 6.25% loss from each conversion, my math is probably incorrect.

Of course, all parties could agree to change the standard, and provide clean, filtered 12V DC to servers, and redesign PSUs to accept this input instead. But then they wouldn't be wall-pluggable anymore.

mockery 11 minutes ago 0 replies      
$0.25 doesn't really seem like that much of a savings...
skywhopper 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I remember reading about Google doing this years ago. I've been disappointed ever since that Dell et al haven't adopted a similar option for their commodity hardware.
dfc 1 hour ago 2 replies      
I do not understand the new dupe detection system. The same user posted the same link 10 hours ago: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10368978
powertower 2 hours ago 1 reply      
So the function is for 4 of those batteries to run the power supply for 1 minute?
pedrocr 2 hours ago 2 replies      
Hasn't Google been doing this for a very long time?
Kiddicraft, the Company Lego Ripped Off to Make Plastic Bricks (2014) birthmoviesdeath.com
45 points by jacquesm  4 hours ago   16 comments top 5
Luc 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder if the person who wrote this article understand patents, at all. I don't see any indication of that. He seems to be implying something untoward happened.

EDIT: I didn't see the comments before (they take a while to load) - the first comment on the article sums things up pretty well I think.

ig1 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Kiddicraft was infact a variant of Minibrix[1]. None of these were "big-bang" inventions but rather a series of iterations that resulted in the bricks we have now.

[1] http://www.powerhousemuseum.com/collection/database/?irn=108...

keithwhor 3 hours ago 3 replies      
Kiddicraft -> Lego -> Infiniminer -> Minecraft

Even if it's just in namesake, the world does have a funny way of coming full-circle.

ekianjo 48 minutes ago 0 replies      
Another reason why patents are irrelevant.
dang 1 hour ago 1 reply      
We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10371039 and marked it off-topic.
Twitter's Moment stratechery.com
42 points by aaronbrethorst  8 hours ago   8 comments top 5
mschuster91 45 minutes ago 2 replies      
Twitter lost a decent chunk of its ecosystem and its users when imposing ridiculous API limits for 3rd party clients and killing them off.

Also, they arbitrarily told Instagram to fuck off by only banning their image embeds, which pissed off even more users.

Now I'm just praying that their new "while you have been away" crap doesn't get default (or if it does, make it opt out). I'm fairly capable of reading an entire day worth of backlog (though, again, provided it is not more than 800 tweets, once again a pointless API limit).

Getting new users all right, do whatever the fuck you want, but do not drive away even more of the most hardcore users unless you want to have a Twitter filled with brainless 12y kids and #cut4bieber/#cut4dagibee and similar junk.

swanson 5 minutes ago 0 replies      
I'm not sure I get why "Moments" are any different than putting a hashtag into the search box and hitting "Live". The only difference I can tell is there are a bunch of auto-looping 3 second video thumbnails when I view "Moments" on Twitter.com

So for me, it's another swing and miss. I'm in the Android beta so I get early access to new stuff and the past 2-3 new features haven't interested me at all: the "While you were away" just gets in my way as I try to scroll, the weird lockscreen "Highlights" tweets are poorly done and unwanted.

The only new thing I've liked is that one twitter account that you follow and it DMs you when a bunch of people you follow all share a tweet or follow a new account; that is actually okay and feels like I'm being summoned to check something out that I'll actually care about.

sparkzilla 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Much as I respect Thompson's insights (his Stratechery newsletter is worth subscribing to), I think that he's off base with this analysis. Moments seems to be one of those products that media-watchers like, but that actual users don't really care for. I wrote a post on the reasons why I think Moments will fail (or at least not contribute meaningfully to user acquisition) [1], the main points being that Twitter users are not interested in curation, they are interested in sharing real-time information; and the tweet format is not good for curation -- it's designed for real-time information, not for the past. Curation implies context, and there's little context in 140 characters. In defending Moments others have said it's like Circa. The only problem with that argument is that Circa failed. Twitter needs to concentrate on product extensions that work with the real-time nature of the content.

[1] http://newslines.org/blog/a-momentary-lapse-of-reason/

jlas 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I knew Moments was doomed when I opened it for the first time and the top card was Astros beat Yankees. I don't think I've ever tweeted about sports, why on earth would you show me this?
jmduke 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I'm not the biggest fan of Moments from a product perspective. It feels too much like Facebook Paper; while I'm sure there are people who want to use their social networks as a general news aggregation feed, I'm not one of them.

Still, it does give me faith that Twitter is focusing more on the "What matters?" side of their product, rather than the "What's happening?" side -- a dichotomy brought up by Thompson two years ago in a post worth reading as a companion piece to this one:


The Oh, Shit Moment When Growth Stops a16z.com
60 points by Rifu  9 hours ago   27 comments top 4
kylebrown 1 hour ago 1 reply      
> But if the startup gods arent smiling, and you cant either figure out the cause and/or figure out how to correct it, its time to start working on a Plan B for the business. Plan B often includes kicking off a strategic process that ends up in the sale of the company before it becomes as obvious to others as it is to you that youve got a dying shark on your hands.

That sounds not entirely ethical / honest..

werqqr23 2 hours ago 3 replies      
If a business is not growing, but you're paying all the bills and still making money, why is that such a terrifying situation?

There are two reasons I can see for this fear. First, investors who are afraid to lose a lot of money that they put into the company. Second, leaders who are afraid to have to lay off a whole bunch of people because that's very painful. Are there other reasons that I'm missing?

Seems if you're bootstrapped and hire slowly, it's easier to keep balance in this situation.

danieltillett 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Dang, shouldn't this be pointed towards the original source?


Edit. It is interesting that market saturation is not raised as a possible cause.

7Figures2Commas 2 hours ago 2 replies      
> So, when growth slows or stops, feel free to freak out.

Or you could just save yourself the mental angst and build a profitable, sustainable business that doesn't require perpetual growth to keep the wheels from falling off.

The Age of Infection foreignpolicy.com
15 points by fraqed  3 hours ago   discuss
Is Diet-Induced Alzheimers Disease Type 3 Diabetes? buckinstitute.org
35 points by fasteo  5 hours ago   12 comments top 3
rhondapatrick 3 hours ago 0 replies      
It's really important to not forget the genetic factors at play in Alzheimer's. Between 65-80% of all Alzheimer's patients have at least one genetic version of the ApoE4 allele, a genotype found in around 25% of the population [1]. ApoE is made in astrocytes and is involved in cholesterol transport to neurons and in repairing damage done to neurons that occurs with normal aging. That isn't to say there isn't a dietary link or that critical lifestyle factors don't interact with these genetics, however! Insulin resistance leads to inflammation (which has been shown to accelerate brain aging) and may be one way in which type 2 diabetes is linked with Alzheimer's. I think calling Alzheimer's disease "type 3 diabetes" may be a somewhat dramatic oversimplification and a bit misleading, though, since the mechanism would be a bit more general (in this case).

[1]: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21787325

0xcde4c3db 4 hours ago 2 replies      
Is diet-induced (or even diet-associated) Alzheimer's Disease a proven phenomenon in the first place? The article seems to be pretty speculative on the whole thing, and I'm under the impression that the research on lifestyle risk factors is quite inconclusive (e.g. risk factors show up in ecological studies but produce no significant difference in controlled intervention trials).
fallous 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm willing to consider that Alzheimer's Disease may be affected by diet, but this article seems awfully slim on real data and in one instance seems to diverge from actual experimental results.

They claim that Type-2 diabetes and AD are "exacerbated by high fat diets", but the link with regards to the diabetes study specifies diet-induced obesity, not "high fat" diet. Dietary fat has much less effect on blood glucose levels than carbohydrates, so insulin's role is markedly decreased.

Will You Ever Be Able to Upload Your Brain? nytimes.com
44 points by andres  5 hours ago   60 comments top 15
nradov 10 minutes ago 1 reply      
While I have no hard evidence for this, I expect we will eventually find that human intelligence and consciousness depends heavily on quantum effects. Thus it will always be impossible to scan and upload a human brain in a way that captures the essence of a person's mind.

Even though I don't think it will ever happen I enjoyed reading the hard science fiction novel "Hegemony" by Mark Kalina. It presents an interesting vision of what life would be like in the far future with mind uploading.


bitL 1 minute ago 0 replies      
How would you program mind if you were writing a simulation?
rl3 2 hours ago 0 replies      
The author seems to have written the article on the assumption that it will be humans figuring out a brain upload mechanism.

While his time frame estimates might be sound given that context, I'd argue they're wildly inaccurate given a more likely scenario: such things will be brought into existence first via a super-intelligent agent, if at all.

If that proves to be the case, the time frame for brain uploading becomes roughly bound to the advent of AGI. When that happens, the same entity capable of creating our brain upload mechanism would likely be capable of endowing humans with effectively immortal bodies just the same.

In other words, technology like this is almost certainly going to be part of a post-singularity world (assuming there is a singularity in the first place), and who knows what that will look like.

0xcde4c3db 3 hours ago 4 replies      
I think discussions around this are ill-served by the "upload" metaphor, as it somewhat implies that the new brain, the original brain, and the uploading process are all largely separate things. It seems much more likely to me that the new brain will take the form of an augmentation that survives the death of the original brain. The personality would be "uploaded" not by deliberately sampling parameters to feed a model, but by the new brain organically (heh) becoming a component and embodiment of the existing personality. I'm sure this isn't a new idea, but I don't know what it's called.
MichaelGG 3 hours ago 3 replies      
> We all find our own solutions to the problem death poses.

No! No body does this. People make up excuses. People spin death to be a positive, often under some guise of Deep Wisdom. People come up with all sorts of ways to cope with death, but calling any of them a solution is just false. Death is a vile, atrocious thing, the biggest enemy humanity has.

We don't say that slaves all found solutions to slavery. Or that everyone finds solutions to domestic abuse. Or solutions to dementia or Alzheimer's. Death is a far greater evil.[1] So how disgusting is it to say everyone finds a solution.

I admit the author probably didn't intend to imply this, but it's exactly that kind of thinking that we should be aware of and fight. Just because it seems inevitable, we should not make it socially acceptable to give up and view death as anything but the wickedness it is.

1: Yes there are atrocities worse than death, but many of those involve death, or are worse because of the limited timespans caused by death. Apart from having your mind destroyed, I'm guessing most things would be healed by rather long periods of time, than sufferers would prefer a period of suffering+long OK life, vs suffering+death.

jacquesm 4 hours ago 1 reply      
'When the construct laughed, it came through as something else, not laughter, but a stab of cold down Case's spine. `Do me a favor, boy.'`What's that, Dix?'`This scam of yours, when it's over, you erase this goddam thing.'
mrdrozdov 2 hours ago 0 replies      
What would I do with an uploadable version of my brain? I'd send it off to an accelerated university where it can learn at a rate far faster than I ever could. Plus, if we could upload a brain, then there's a good chance that we understand how to manipulate the state of an existing brain. So after my brain has graduated, we'll simply upload that virtual brain's state back into my skull! All this would take about 2-3 min tops? But somehow I imagine this will still cause university enrollment prices to climb. It's student loans all the way down.
geographomics 1 hour ago 0 replies      
An additional complication is the role of the billions of glial cells that are present in the brain. Their function of supporting neurons is quite well characterised, but they can also more specifically modulate neuronal function, so their place in a comprehensive connectome model shouldn't be ignored.

Then there is the network of vasculature, the flow of cerebrospinal fluid, interactions with hormones, and just generally all the interfacing with other bodily systems. All this would have to measured and modelled somehow too, in addition to all the billions of neurons.

I agree with the author, there's no way all this is going to solved any time soon.

tim333 3 hours ago 0 replies      
A couple of quibbles with the article:

>While progress is swift, no one has any realistic estimate of how long it will take to arrive at brain-size connectomes. (My wild guess: centuries.)

It's not so hard to estimate. Just extrapolate progress on scanning, computing etc. About 2050 plus or minus a couple of decades. We had a 20um scan in 2013 and you'd probably want to get that down to 20nm for a connectome so if you assume resolution doubling every couple of years that would be about 2035.

(2013 scan: http://io9.com/see-the-first-ultra-high-resolution-3d-scan-o...

Images showing neural connections: http://book.bionumbers.org/how-big-is-a-synapse/)

Of course as the article points out a connectome misses a lot of chemical detail.

>It will almost certainly be a very long time before we can hope to preserve a brain in sufficient detail and for sufficient time that some civilization much farther in the future, perhaps thousands or even millions of years from now, might have the technological capacity to upload and recreate that individuals mind.

Or quite possibly we can do it just now for $30k or so by sticking the body in liquid nitrogen. (http://www.cryonics.org/membership/ ). Maybe that won't work but maybe it will.

mrdrozdov 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I sense this will be one of those articles that will be a perfect example of someone who had a very firm position against progress is clearly proven wrong. I wonder if we could automatically flag articles like these based on the number of tautologically negative arguments that appear...
roflchoppa 3 hours ago 1 reply      
i find it hard to imagine how to replicate the smaller connections of my brain, and the inter-connections that they all have.With that being said, i hope that it could be done, because i would be super down, and would want to be uploaded into the net.
comrh 41 minutes ago 0 replies      
Permutation City by Greg Egan explores what it would mean if you could easily upload your consciousness but wealth meant access to better, faster, hardware to store it.
anonmeow 3 hours ago 2 replies      
With modern ML techniques it looks feasible to recreate at least online behavior of an individual - facebook likes, comments etc. The datasets are here, in facebook/google datcenters, and DL models are already used to model conversation.It would be interesting to know just how many megabytes of logs of your online activities is really necessary to extrapolate your behavior into the future.

Facebook AI research is probably playing with such models right now.

nostomo17 4 hours ago 4 replies      
seems hardly worth the trouble. don't flatter yourself your brain needs to stay around - highly unlikely and very un-ecological to power up a machine to maintain a presence of virtualitzed shit for brains. -Just saying. Next Question?
Is Economics Research Replicable? Sixty Published Papers Say Usually Not [pdf] federalreserve.gov
40 points by Gimpei  8 hours ago   9 comments top 5
stdbrouw 3 hours ago 1 reply      
> The most common reason we are unable to replicate the remaining 45 papers is that the authors do not provide data and code replication files.

> We define a successful replication as when the authors or journal provide data and code files that allow us to qualitatively reproduce the key results of the paper.

Well this is underwhelming. I mean, sure, they're talking about papers in journals for which sharing data and code is required when asked for, and so they have definitely exposed widespread ignorance of the rules, maybe even a refusal to adhere to them... but the replication that is being talked about is "can we download the data, press a button and get the same results the original authors did?" and not "can we run the experiment again or run the analysis independently and get similar or the same results?"

Personally I like the the distinction between replication (a new experiment but with the same setup), reproduction (corroborate using different methods) and re-analysis (download the data, run the code, maybe do some additional analysis). This paper is entirely about re-analysis, not about replication or reproduction. (Cf. http://sequoia.cs.byu.edu/lab/files/reser2010/proceedings/Go...)

In one sense, failed re-analysis means research cannot even clear the lowest possible bar: you can't even check if the analysis produces the numbers that are mentioned in the research. But in another sense, whether or not researchers manage to release their code or not is only very weakly associated with how good that research is. Research might "fail" re-analysis because no code was provided, but survive both replication and reproduction.

The authors compare their work with the Open Science Collaboration which recently pointed out so many unreplicable studies in psychology, but this is not a fair comparison at all. The Open Science Collaboration was a huge endeavor and redid a bunch of experiments from scratch. This is just asking authors "give me your data" and checking a mark "did not replicate" if they didn't.

jjoonathan 3 hours ago 0 replies      
One of my favorite meta-analyses in this vein is the inverted funnel of Doucouliagos and Stanley [1] which investigates elasticity in the employment market. In particular, fractional change in employment / fractional change in minimum wage. The idea is that so many studies have been conducted on this topic that if you construct a scatterplot by putting N (study size) on the y axis and elasticity (outcome) on the x axis, then you get a funnel (wide at low-N, narrow at high-N) that can (arguably) reveal selection bias since selection bias will disproportionately affect the wide, low-N side of the funnel.

Of course, this technique can only be performed if you have not only large studies, but a large number of studies -- so large that you can resolve an empirical distribution of outcomes at several different N bands. It's therefore limited to a small number of topics. Still, it's neat to get quantitative insight into an effect that is usually unobservable.

[1] pdf page # 33 of http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=

Mikeb85 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Of course it's not replicable. There's simply too many external factors that can mess up any well meaning experiment.
dang 4 hours ago 0 replies      
baxter001 3 hours ago 0 replies      
dismal science
Egypt's Startup Scene kerningcultures.com
26 points by amplified  4 hours ago   5 comments top 2
kerningcultures 3 hours ago 2 replies      
We spent a few weeks researching for this piece, happy to answer any questions you might have!
cup 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Do you think you caught a good representation of Egyptian entrepreneurial society?

Most Egyptians I know have given up on Egyptian society and politics following the Sisi led coup and now see their future either outside of Egypt or within the 'internet culture'.

In many ways, Sisi indicates to the youth that the democratic system doesn't work in Egypt and that the only way to survive is to leave.

Disrupting society online carries it's own risks under the military government (i.e. disappearing.)

What are your thoughts?

Show HN: Demo of live container migration using Virtualbox, Vagrant and ShutIt zwischenzugs.wordpress.com
9 points by zwischenzug  3 hours ago   1 comment top
benologist 2 hours ago 0 replies      
"Show HN" is reserved for usable stuff not content:


Curtain Antenna antenna.be
16 points by jhallenworld  3 hours ago   2 comments top 2
etimberg 0 minutes ago 0 replies      
Antenna arrays are immensely powerful. The described design is a special case of a general phased array where the phase difference between elements is 0 degrees. With electronically controlled delays between elements, it is possible to make an electronically steerable antenna. The are lots of possibilities for using beam steering antennas, especially for power optimization.
madengr 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Now here is a dipole array:


Notes on a Pulse Generator Circuit cushychicken.github.io
15 points by cushychicken  3 hours ago   3 comments top
deutronium 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I thought this was pretty damn impressive https://www.reddit.com/r/electronics/comments/3m1bao/13ghz_o... I didn't know you could make a fairly simple oscillator to generate ~1GHz frequency.
What Really Keeps Women Out of Tech nytimes.com
52 points by jmcohen  7 hours ago   179 comments top 28
omonra 16 minutes ago 3 replies      
I don't get something.

There seems to always has been a problem of diversity in tech. Yet US has done just ok with males (white and asian) doing this stuff. Ie better than anybody else in the world.

Why is this a problem (something the writer - who is a literature professor, by the way) considers a given? Is there any proof that increased diversity has any effect (except employment opportunities for the otherwise underrepresented)?

yummyfajitas 3 hours ago 4 replies      
Is it true that there is a "rise of pop-culture portrayals of scientists as white or Asian male geeks"?

I've seen a little bit of TV this year - every hacker I saw was female, and most were goths. Doing a google search of "top TV 2014" and looking up the ones that are likely to have a hacker as a character, I discover "Arrow" (female hacker), NCIS (female hacker), 24 (female hacker), Criminal Minds (female hacker), Person of Interest (male and female hacker), Agents of Shield (female hacker) and The Strain (female hacker).

Why do we believe that pop culture portrays scientists or computer people this way at all?

natvod 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Ok so I'm a girl who codes/programs and I'm my take on the issues she raised:

Stereotypes about STEM fields putting girls off

I can only talk about my own experience but I saw very few negative stereotypes about STEM fields growing up. Definitely not enough to put off girls.

However, while I did start coding at a young age, I didn't apply my skill to a work/business purpose until my twenties.

Why? I think this issue affects both genders actually. I was simply never exposed to people or situations that showed me you could built really cool projects/businesses with code. I never encountered anyone/anything until ~20 that inspired me to take it seriously.

Maybe it has something to do with my gender but I think a lot of people these days are being forced way too early to commit to an education/work track without being given to chance to explore what their options are.

It's hard to discover you like a topic by learning it a classroom. I think co-ed / internship programs at a much younger age will help a lot. It definitely would have helped me discovered my true passions younger.

About being feminine

I don't feel un-feminine in any environment where there are more guys than girls. Rather, I think the problem is, the professional/business world as a whole rewards and values masculine traits (competitiveness, talking highly of yourself and accomplishments, etc.) much more than feminine ones.

Even in dress, women are encouraged to dress like a man (power suits, solid colors, etc.) in professional settings to be taken seriously.

Thus as a girl, you're forced to act more masculine to achieve business goals. But it's hard to suppress your natural state of being. Additionally girls are still expected to (and want to) act feminine in their personal relationships so women "who want to have it all" have to toggle back and forth between being masculine and feminine. It can be exhausting.

zamalek 4 hours ago 10 replies      
We've known this for a while, it boils down to: barbies.

Fixing this problem is really, really hard. Assuming I gave my daughters equal access to both barbies and chemistry kits, which would they choose? Kids want to fit in with their friends. Boy nerds get beaten up, girl nerds get ostracised. What does that lead to? The child choosing their gender stereotype (applies both ways) so that they can fit in. It's what the herd is doing and results in girls avoiding engineering and boys avoiding, say, nursing.

It's a systemic disease and is highly contagious. One possible solution is an elementary school where the entrance requirement is determined by the parents: girls get barbies AND chemistry kits. Boys get toy cars AND sewing kits. Their social group shouldn't be determined by gender, rather interest.

JesperRavn 4 hours ago 1 reply      
This was a very well written and balanced article. I want to contribute a reason why I think that many men in tech hold back from fully endorsing this viewpoint.

The reason is that there is a very fine line between saying that you don't have to be nerdy to be in tech, and failing to acknowledge that in general being nerdy is a disadvantage in society, and many people found a refuge in tech where they were mocked and often bullied outside[0]. To fail to acknowledge this is to risk promoting the same negative attitudes towards nerds within tech, as exist outside it.

So I would say that we should all encourage tech to be as open an welcoming as possible, and to avoid any implication that you have to have a certain personality, appearance or interests to succeed in tech. But we shouldn't dismiss the traits of people who currently are overrepresented in tech as a "stereotype", much less a "negative stereotype". I also don't think this is what the author was suggesting. As the article says, "stereotypes are only partly true, and women who actually take classes in computer science dont hold the same prejudices as women who get their ideas from pop culture."

[0] E.g. see http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/mar/08/programmin...

gaius 4 hours ago 6 replies      
if they are shown a classroom (whether virtual or real) decorated not with Star Wars posters, science-fiction books, computer parts and tech magazines, but with a more neutral dcor art and nature posters, coffee makers, plants and general-interest magazines

This would seem to be a bit of a bait-and-switch... If you aren't interested in "computer parts and tech magazines" then what exactly is it about computing that makes you want to do it?

"For the money" is a valid answer of course, a job's a job for most people, but let's call a spade a spade.

Mithaldu 4 hours ago 1 reply      
So the salient point to me seem to be:

Girls are put off by how computer culture styles itself in nerdy ways.

Ok, i can kind of get that. On the other hand, i don't like it much because she seems to be saying "hiding positive expressions about things you like could be helpful".

I'm all for increasing diversity, but that should happen by bringing in more things and widening horizons. If that means "Sex and the City", then yes, please.

The article does also kind of lose its red thread when she compares offputting styling with outright attacks against her. Maybe she's trying to be less contentious by not outright calling them out as bullshit that should get people shitcanned by HR. But really, that's what should be said about that, not comparisons with star wars posters.

All that said, i like the bit she mentions at the end, about introducing computing earlier. If done emphatically it can have a real chance of leveling the playing field.

forgottenpass 3 hours ago 3 replies      
Am I the only one here that finds more issue with the open secret embedded throughout this article? The article is written from an assumption that we're powerless to overcome the desire to brand ourselves by the outward facing image of our chosen interests.

I should be careful not to state I'm not taking the position covered by the well-worn pre-rebuttal in the article. I'm not scoffing at this phenomenon. It's real and I'm wondering: why aren't we trying to make kids immune to it?

Instead all I see is people that want to exploit it and steer people into selecting careers such that the superficial representation found on a spreadsheet makes the commentariat happy.

e: It just comes across as working to makes your metrics look good, without reaching the underlying goals the metrics are less-than-perfect at measuring. If there really are societal issues keeping people that would have otherwise entered a "tech field" out, shouldn't fixing it be about helping everyone overcome the obstacles in achieving that step of self-actualization? Instead I just see social engineering designed to balance the gender ratio.

bjornstjerne 4 hours ago 2 replies      
> In fact, Dr. Cheryans research shows that young men tend not to major in English for the same reasons women dont pick computer science: They compare their notions of who they are to their stereotypes of English majors and decide they wont fit in.

I wonder how long it will take for humanities departments to adopt a more inclusive culture? Why must our obsessive hand-wringing be be reserved exclusively for computer science and engineering, which are mostly hidden and do not set the wider cultural narrative (for the most part).

dclowd9901 3 hours ago 2 replies      
> Over and over, Dr. Cheryan and her colleagues have found that female students are more interested in enrolling in a computer class if they are shown a classroom (whether virtual or real) decorated not with Star Wars posters, science-fiction books, computer parts and tech magazines, but with a more neutral dcor art and nature posters, coffee makers, plants and general-interest magazines.

Sans the "general interest magazines" (so vanilla, it makes me want to barf), this sounds like a rather pleasant work environment. I'm so used to working in a dark cave with Boba Fett stand-ups everywhere, it'd be nice to work in a place with more greenery, natural tones and airiness. Nest's offices were a lot like this, and were one of the factors I liked about working there.

0x49 4 hours ago 1 reply      
if i wanted to become a hair stylist (an occupation primarily done by women), i would need to accept a culture that was different than my own...so why cant the same happen with geek culture?

The article also goes into many stereotypes and many women arent going into computer science based on these perceived sterotypes. If we were talking about any other group, the words "racist", "sexist", Or "bigot" would be thrown around and used to describe the group not accepting the culture.

This is a tell-tale sign that it is a power-play move to gain control over another group of people.

I also thought that we were supposed to be accepting of everyones culture. Does this only apply to the privileged few???

pavornyoh 4 hours ago 2 replies      
> What really keeps women out of Tech?

It is because they don't want to be there. The opportunity is there for everyone to take thus men and women. I actually think women have an advantage in this space and it is up to them to see it and advantage of it.

As a woman, I am tired this. If you want it, go and get it. There shouldn't be any special treatment. Prove you deserve to be at the table, prove you deserve to be there based merits etc.. Not because of gender, race etc.

People are going to wonder why this conclusion? Because when people see you as a women trying to achieve something, a lot are willing to help and push you. Don't moan about it, go ahead and just get into Tech if you want it that bad.

rayiner 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I had a hard time with this when I was in software, because I didn't enjoy video games or sci-fi or a lot of the things my coworkers did. I have nothing against those things, but I feel like in the industry it's pretty common to adopt these things into the work culture instead of trying to keep the workplace more neutral.

I would liken it to working at an office where everyone is really into sports. I'll watch the occasional college football game, but I'd be pretty alienated working at an office with sports stuff hanging on the walls where people expected you to watch the game every weekend in order to fit in.

nn3 18 minutes ago 0 replies      
It started off well, until she started talking about mainframes. So her experience is from the 80ies?Sounds like bleeding edge commentary.
dang 4 hours ago 2 replies      
This is a solid article that deserves a reasonable discussion, so we've turned off flags on it. Please keep the thread substantive and respectful.
hueving 4 hours ago 0 replies      
This article is discursive. It talks about modern issues we need to deal with (current image of computer scientists), but then goes into an outdated story of direct harassment she received at Oak Ridge. The latter is irrelevant to discussion at hand.
maus42 3 hours ago 0 replies      
>Over and over, Dr. Cheryan and her colleagues have found that female students are more interested in enrolling in a computer class if they are shown a classroom (whether virtual or real) decorated not with Star Wars posters, science-fiction books, computer parts and tech magazines, but with a more neutral dcor art and nature posters, coffee makers, plants and general-interest magazines.

Art and nature posters, plants and general-interest magazines do not sound neutral to me.

jkyle 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Computer Science is now the top major fro women at Stanford.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10366681

jkyle 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Upon hearing de Blasio's announcement, my initial reaction was mandatory programming classes for high school is as unnecessary as mandatory calculus.

After reading the article, I'd update that opinion. I still don't feel it should be mandatory for a basic High School degree, but perhaps forming a track for college bound students that includes programming (and calculus, AP english, etc.) and requiring that track to graduate with honors would be a good positive incentive.

Programming & algorithms is a pretty advanced academic topic. Requiring it for graduation would set up a lot of students to fail or become disillusioned with what education has to offer them. Much like if Calculus were required.

briholt 4 hours ago 1 reply      
> female students are more interested...if they are shown a classroom...decorated not with Star Wars posters, science-fiction books, computer parts and tech magazines, but with a more neutral dcor

> If the actor wore a T-shirt that said I CODE THEREFORE I AM and claimed to enjoy video games, the students expressed less interest in studying computer science than if the actor wore a solid shirt and claimed to enjoy hanging out with friends

So all we need to do is overhaul computer science's anti-women culture is remove computer magazines, computer parts, computer games, futurism, and coding.

sonabinu 4 hours ago 2 replies      
I know I am in a great work place when I don't know all the characters in Star Wars but still feel included.
drakonka 4 hours ago 0 replies      
"female students are more interested in enrolling in a computer class if they are shown a classroom (whether virtual or real) decorated not with Star Wars posters, science-fiction books, computer parts and tech magazines, but with a more neutral dcor art and nature posters, coffee makers, plants and general-interest magazines."

The "neutral decor" sounds awfully boring for a computer classroom. I love art, nature posters, coffee, and plants; but when I imagine a computer classroom in both of these styles the former is infinitely more appealing.

lexcorvus 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Over and over, Dr. Cheryan and her colleagues have found that female students are more interested in enrolling in a computer class if they are shown a classroom (whether virtual or real) decorated not with Star Wars posters, science-fiction books, computer parts and tech magazines, but with a more neutral dcor art and nature posters, coffee makers, plants and general-interest magazines.

"Tech" isn't a single thing. If you want to make non-geeky spaces for tech, go ahead and do it. But lots of geeks do like tech, and they understandably make geeky environments. Why can't everyone, as the bumper sticker helpfully puts it, coexist?

I think they can. But I also think that the association of geekiness with tech isn't a random quirk of history, but rather indicates a common origin. The kind of personality and psychological profile that predisposes one to an interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics also predisposes one to geekiness. Moreover, geekiness isn't gender-blind: men are simply more likely than women to be geeks. Indeed, people on the autistic spectrum are especially likely to be geeks, and the overrepresentation of males among autistics is incontrovertible. [1]

There's nothing wrong with creating non-geeky tech spaces that cater to non-geeks (male and female alike)indeed, I think it's an excellent idea, and not only because it's generally more welcoming to womenbut let's also let geeks be geeks.

[1]: http://www.autism.org.uk/about-autism/introduction/gender-an...

rewqfdsa 4 hours ago 3 replies      
This gem is in the comments:

> The average programmer spends only about 30 percent of his/her time working alone.

That's nowhere close to my figure. In fact, I can pretty much _only_ program alone. Individual investigation and discovery is most of the fun in the field.

natmaster 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Female students are more interested in enrolling in CS if they think it doesn't involve computers or science... maybe instead of trying to trick them encourage them to like computers and science? If you think solving problems by looking pretty rather than thinking is 'being female' then you don't think being a Computer Scientist is very 'female'.

(Obviously I think being female is orthogonal to such concerns.)

vacri 3 hours ago 0 replies      
> Yet I wonder how many young men would choose to major in computer science if they suspected they might need to carry out their coding while sitting in a pink cubicle decorated with posters of Sex and the City, with copies of Vogue and Cosmo scattered around the lunchroom.

Vogue and Cosmo!? As a 'feminine' counterpoint to the supposedly masculine 'computer parts' and 'tech magazines'!?

This is "Science. It's a Girl Thing"[1] all over again: "To get women into STEM, you have to show makeup and fashion". Fuck this view of fashion being a fundamental part of the female psyche. The article has some good points in it, but I think it overplays "women like fashion" and underplays "my computer time was gatekept by sexist arseholes".


mwhuang2 4 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm a hardcore fan of My Little Pony. Gender stereotypes mean nothing to me.
ElComradio 4 hours ago 1 reply      
I see this as an echo of the makers and takers debate.

"Give me a job." "MAKE me feel comfortable." "I am at your mercy." ... This the subtext I read. Other people want to create their own world; when someone tells them no or gets in their way, the attitude is "fuck you" not "change to accommodate me."

This reaction may be biologically ingrained as a difference in the sexes; I am not sure- But I rarely, if ever, come across articles about women who have been fed up with some job and formed their own companies with other fed up women and strove to put their former coworkers/employers out of business, whereas for hackers "I'll show you!" seems a very common motivator.

We should be trying to give women (and men) more confidence, integrity and fortitude, and quit with the shaming and guilt tactics.

A Student Loan System Stacked Against the Borrower nytimes.com
56 points by guiseroom  4 hours ago   51 comments top 8
ChuckFrank 1 hour ago 2 replies      
The student loan system is propping up weak real estate markets in college towns by using guaranteed student funds from student loans to pay for outrageous rents. Many of these communities would not be able to afford their lifestyles (see. Davis, California vs. Woodland, California rental rates) if it was not for the fact they the student loan money is being laundered through attending students, and funneled directly into the local economy through increased rents and cost of services.

At this level it's a scam.

As anecdotal evidence, my father went to Berkeley when there was no student loan structure, and the community was considered a poor real estate investment, since it was commonly known as a 'Student Ghetto'. A term which has since disappeared as rents in Berkeley are among the highest in the East Bay. All on the back of the students financing their housing costs on student loans.

Again, it's a scam.

The students don't get a better education than my father, and while the housing might be nicer, it's debt that they have to pay well into their later years, as opposed to being able to graduate debt free.

My father thinks this is directly attributable to the death of the student free speech movement and other student political enterprises, since being forced to accommodate ones debt takes priority over trying to change the world, or fix the system. In short it becomes a type of indentured servitude, where lower and middle class people are unqualified for good paying jobs without the debt, and with the debt, they are forced into high level debt maintenance, and can't have any other discussions about where society is going, or how it is getting there.

DDickson 3 hours ago 1 reply      
"It brought a case against Discover Bank last summer, saying it inflated the amounts it said borrowers owed on their loans.

Discover Bank paid $18.5 million without admitting or denying wrongdoing."

These fines are just a calculated cost of doing business for companies like Discover, Sallie Mae, etc. They take the likelihood of getting caught breaking the law, multiply it by how much they'll have to dish out when they get caught, and subtract that from what they'll make by extorting their "customers."

In this case, Discover made a good financial decision on their part. Hooray for creating value for the shareholders.

cryoshon 3 hours ago 1 reply      
"A report issued late last month by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau supports this view. Even though the economy and labor market have improved, student loan borrowers are experiencing high distress levels compared with borrowers with other types of consumer debt, the government report found. More than one in four student loan borrowers are delinquent or in default on their obligations."

1 in 4 are delinquent or in default. Read that again.

This situation is a failure mode, and is only fail-safe for the lenders who forced it there. This means that on some level, the lenders knew their interest rates were impossible to keep up with, yet knowingly went forward anyway because they knew they could get away with it. The USA's system is utterly bought out against the common good. At this point, I think we'd be better off with a widespread boycott of student loan payments in order to bankrupt the lenders. They can't call collections on all of us, and there would be riots if they tried.

I know that a lot of people are jaded as a result of societal failure to address the student loan crisis. These intentional failures for the sake of profit have long term consequences, as nearly everyone can blatantly see.

"Some 41 million Americans owe $1.2 trillion in student loan debt. The median debt burden among borrowers was $20,000 in 2014, up from $13,000 in 2007."

This is an entire generation worth of people that have been cursed to start their adult lives with an anchor around their neck. As though the brutally competitive ultra-hostile economic depression they graduated into wasn't enough to weigh them down to begin with.

To top it off, the boomers find a way to hold us in contempt.

ChuckFrank 2 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm in arrears on my student loans. I'm one of the millions that is.

The first few lines of this article sums it up completely as to why.

"Between misdirected payments by one of the companies servicing his loan and the abusive collection tactics he encountered when he fell behind ..."

These companies that bought the loans on cheap from the secondary market, make more money from penalties they they do from loan servicing. And they have as many tricks up their sleeves as they can discover to help make that fact true.

They are the true sharks in the whole equation, with guaranteed support from the government and the tax payers.

I recommend that every last student default as things are now. If I were in charge of writing new laws for new student loans, which I am definitely not, I would allow them with three additional conditions. 1. They qualify for personal bankruptcy like any other consumer or investment loan, 2. they could NOT be sold off but would be held in a public trust fund, initially funded by public money, and topped up as needed, and 3. (Scandinavia does this) make repayment a modest surcharge in one's income tax. Make a lot, pay a lot and pay off fast. Make a little, pay a little and maybe never pay it off.

heapcity 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Laws preventing bankruptcy on student loans is tantamount to indentured servitude imho; ergo a violation of Thirteenth Amendment. See Debt Bondage.
fiatmoney 2 hours ago 2 replies      
Why is the face of these stories always someone who majored in something like "media arts"? Can the reporters not do better? Are they just mining their social circle? Does making it intentionally representative of the kind of person who makes poor life choices to begin with generate extra hate-links?
steven2012 4 hours ago 5 replies      
Does the fact that you can't get rid of your student loans via bankruptcy mean that students should get the lowest rate possible? Since the creditors will get paid? It seems ridiculous that not only can you not get rid of the loands through bankruptcy, but also that you're not charged lowest-interest-rate deals for them.
pbreit 11 minutes ago 0 replies      
Student loans have low rates, slow payback lengths, lenient default terms and government assistance. How are they stacked against the borrower again?
The oil bust is exposing weaknesses in the Norwegian model economist.com
34 points by livatlantis  3 hours ago   27 comments top 9
Gustomaximus 2 hours ago 2 replies      
I found it interesting how they praise the privatisation route for schools and hospitals etc. We clearly see this doesn't benifit the masses from the US model.

And to criticise Norway for paying out more in benifit to the lower end of society compared to other OECD, why is this bad? It simply means they are paying out less in other areas but what are these and why is it a negative?

Personally I found this a weak article. I expect better fact driven discussion from the economist rather than a piece that seems to want to find a reason to bash a country for popular reading.

dharma1 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Agree with all the other comments, super light on facts and tried to apply an ideological "solution" where there is no issue. Surprised The Economist printed it.

The Norwegians are sitting pretty on top of world's largest sovereign wealth fund, which holds 1.3% of the world's listed stocks. Their oil&gas tech industry is taking a beating, yes, as are every nation and business who depend on the oil&gas industry, but I don't think the Norwegians will starve any time soon. If new revenue from their oil industry stoppe tomorrow they would still be alright.

I don't see how there is a "weakness" in their model or how this calls for privatisation of anything. If anything, their SWF's exposure to QE inflated stock markets is a bigger risk.

tormeh 1 hour ago 0 replies      
While there's no doubt that there's a lot of fluff that has built up simply because we can/could afford it, this article doesn't really touch on any of them. Instead it seems to, among other things, bash state-owned corporations that are doing very well and are in no need of reform.

In general, it's a very weak article. Someone opened Wikipedia and saw some numbers that don't agree with how they think economies should be run, and then wrote about that. It's hard to fire employees who are slacking off, especially in government, but there's not a mention of it. But I guess that wasn't on Wikipedia, but the work-week was.

The turn to the left is mostly aa swinging pendulum thing, but I don't dread it, as the Labour party usually has a better grasp of economics than anyone else.

What's happening is a restructuring born of the decline in one sector with a time-delay until the others can absorb the sacked employees. It's not a crisis in government.

samfisher83 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I think norway was super smart. They took their oil money and invested in non oil things. Now when oil prices are low they can use the reserve to help pump their economy. I think they are actually doing things right.
littletimmy 35 minutes ago 0 replies      
What rubbish. The article talks about the welfare state as if it is inherently bad. Their solutions? Surprise, surprise! Freer markets. Obvious bias here.

Unsurprising, of course. The Economist is owned wholly by a few billionaire families.

kristofferR 2 hours ago 0 replies      
It's weird that the article didn't mention the large tax reforms and other measures in the recently announced 2016 budget, seems like that would be obvious to include in an article like this.
caminante 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Weird article.

That said, the NOK, a petrocurrency, has been hit hard relative to other petrocurrencies. Over the LTM, USD's up 24%, 18% and 15% v. NOK, AUD, and CAD, respectively[1].


dools 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Yeah I didn't really see much in this article but neo-liberal dogma. Shit article.
jdbernard 2 hours ago 4 replies      
I stopped taking this article seriously when they cited a 37-hour work-week as an indicator that the state is "undermining the work ethic." After finishing the article, it really sounds more like the author is prescribing their favourite solution for something that may not even be a problem. This is one third party talking to another third party about someone else's "problem". Basically gossip and just as useless.
From SimCity to SimCity: The history of city-building games arstechnica.com
55 points by doppp  11 hours ago   16 comments top 2
exDM69 5 hours ago 4 replies      
If you like city building games and have not tried Cities: Skylines yet, you definitely should! It does all the basics right, is truthful to the genre but has a modern feel to it. Not too complex but rich and versatile. In particular, the traffic simulation is very impressive! And it's one of those games my wife enjoys playing so we can have some quality time together.

Only negative thing I have to say about it: once my city starts getting bigger, it gets a bit sluggish on my old crappy PC. It is one of the two games that is forcing my hand to buy a new gaming PC.

api_or_ipa 5 hours ago 2 replies      
Any discussion about city builders without discussing Cities:Skylines is crucially out-of-date. The game set a new, extremely high standard for the genre. Each denizen has a family, a career and travels around the city as an autonomous entity fulfilling his day to day errands. The consequences, especially on traffic, is a fascinating thing to comprehend.

Where the latest Simcity was a low quality sham, Cities:Skylines was a wonderfully put together game that anyone interest in the genre needs to play.

The Home Information Terminal (1970) [pdf] stanford.edu
11 points by unimpressive  4 hours ago   3 comments top 3
PaulHoule 3 hours ago 0 replies      
It is forgotten that futurists around 1970 assumed that something like the WWW was going to come in the early 1980s; for instance there was a lot of excitement about two-way communication over CATV system that would not be commercialized until the mid 90's. The real story is "why was it so slow?" rather than the "it happened so fast" that people who lived through it perceived.
unimpressive 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Paper written by John Mccarthy that shows the projected future in the 70's of users remotely logging into large computers to use the Internet and applications.

It's in the small handful of papers in this genre that make you laugh because of how true the predictions turned out to be rather than how far off the mark.

From the abstract:

"This article was published in Man and Computer. Proc. int. Conf., Bordeaux 1970, pp. 48-57 (Karger, Basel 1972). It is interesting to compare its 1970 proposals with the current situation, 30 years later. I have decorated it with footnotes commenting on the 1970 situation and making comparisons. Some of the improvements advocated in the paper are still yet to come. I claim quite a few prophet points for it."

Some notable mentions in this paper:

+ Worries about ways that the Internet as we know it might not have happened. (eg. Getting stuck in the compuserve trap.)

+ Paid for publishing model that we still don't have because micropayments are broken.

+ Self publishing for authors in the vein that Amazon now allows

+ The possibility of the system allowing for Orwellian editing because of centralization.

+ 3D printing/computer controlled manufacturing as a service.

+ In-depth discussion of the realities of resource usage and costs of computer hardware at the time of writing. (Eye opening if nothing else as to how indebted we are to Moore's law.)

RiversHaveWings 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Witty as hell, to boot:

"...perhaps we may have to compromise with sin and provide a hard copy terminal after all."


"In the second place, you will see that the new information system will make the public more responsive to the careful reasoning of you good guys and more immune to the blatant propaganda of those bad guys."

Up with Good! Down with Bad!

(But seriously, futurism generally isn't this uncannily accurate. I know hindsight lets me select the best predictions a posteriori - anyone know any way of improving this? - but it's still interesting.)

A $200M Shell Game in Seychelles thedailybeast.com
49 points by nols  8 hours ago   8 comments top 3
hackerboos 4 hours ago 1 reply      
I did a lot of research on offshore corporation structures when I was planning to freelance whilst travelling.

The Seychelles consistently came up as the cheapest location to incorporate and their reporting requirements are basically non-existent.

> "The identities and personal details of the beneficial owners, directors and shareholders are NOT part of public record for a Seychelles IBC. At registration of a new IBC, the Registrar of Companies does not require any data whatsoever on who is the actual beneficial owner of the new company. This information is only known to the licensed Registered Agent of the company and is kept on internal file by the company."

Combined with nominees makes you virtually anonymous to authorities around the world.

>The Republic of Seychelles is an independent country. As such, it is not sharing or reporting information to any overseas "principal", or organization. Seychelles is not subject to the EU Savings Tax Directive, unlike some other offshore financial centres, which are related to the EU member states (primarily, to the UK and its overseas territories). The offshore financial services sector contributes significantly to the country`s GDP. There is an inherent interest with the government and with the general public to maintain and develop the country`s status as a competitive offshore financial centre.

They also, at the time, allowed bearer shares which are very useful tool for money laundering. It looks like they don't allow this anymore.

ccvannorman 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I was really, really hoping this was about a well-produced terminal based video game
Albright 5 hours ago 2 replies      
"A Two Hundred Million Dollar Dollar Shell Game"
Chromium/Blink Intent to Implement: Experimental Framework groups.google.com
29 points by lucideer  7 hours ago   7 comments top 3
andrewstuart2 3 hours ago 0 replies      

As far as I can tell, the only meaningful thing this adds is the ability to require developer registration in order to use experimental APIs.

> The ultimate goal is to enable experimentation and iteration on pre-standardization APIs, in a way that gathers meaningful feedback, but without burn-in of the APIs.

I'm not sure what's broken about the "experimental" label except that it can't trace usage back to specific developers. If it's experimental, it will probably break or disappear. "Burn-in" doesn't have to be a problem if you actually iterate and yank or change stuff. API keys don't solve anything that code removal doesn't solve (aside from developer tracking).

Want to curb "developer abuse" of vendor prefixes? Remove the API. Train developers to understand that experimental features are experimental by actually following through. If you don't want users to think the browser is at fault, maybe alert the user to that fact. "Oops, looks like this website's developers were a bit careless with their code. Sorry about that; some people like to take big risks and it stinks that you the user had to suffer for it."

If you really want to ensure that only specific devs are allowed to use some features, presumably to limit impact on users and loss of browser market share, then just ship those devs a custom release. Protect usage of the whole browser with a key, if you want.

Personally, I'd rather we leave things open to experimentation (with an established and valid understanding they may break) over locking it down to devs willing to give you their phone number so you actively approach them for feedback and turn off the tap on a per-developer basis if you so desire.

thristian 3 hours ago 1 reply      
The requirement to register for an API key (presumably with your Google account) seems a bit weird. Do they expect other browsers to share a Google-controlled API key service, or do they expect developers to sign up for multiple developer accounts, or to deal with four radically different systems for Chrome, Firefox, Edge and Safari?

Last time I heard something like this discussed, one of the suggestions was "browsers automatically disable support for experimental features on Tuesdays", which should allow people time to experiment but should prevent them from depending on it in production. Also, it's a simple rule that can be shared through the web development community by word-of-mouth[1], and many browser vendors can share it without having to coordinate infrastructure, etc.

[1]: Obviously this wouldn't be the only way to share it, but when one developer can turn to another and say 'why doesn't this work' and get a one-sentence answer that contains an accurate model for predicting future occurrences, it's a lot more likely for that model to be reliably propagated via Stack Overflow, Twitter, the random mailing-lists-reformatted-as-web-forums content farms that crop up in search results, etc.

jamesrom 50 minutes ago 1 reply      
No experimental feature is cool enough to require you:

 1. To register 2. To Use an API key 3. To detect support for (and presumably fallback) 4. To provide feedback for
You have a problem with burn-in of your experimental APIs? How about you semver your APIs and console.warn when it's deprecated.

This problem has been solved many times before.

A close look at an operating botnet conorpp.com
16 points by conorpp  5 hours ago   1 comment top
coldcode 2 hours ago 0 replies      
It would have been interesting to discover who the other "users" were.
Attention K-Mart Shoppers: Recordings of K-Mart In-Store Music from 1992 archive.org
40 points by tintinnabula  12 hours ago   12 comments top 8
zipop 1 hour ago 1 reply      
For some reason I still remember the Kmart in-store ad from the early 80s. It was about the photo development at the Camera Bar. It went something like "Kmart now offers the Goof Proof Picture Perfect guarantee..." I'd love to hear that again.
rocky1138 26 minutes ago 0 replies      
The same but from a few decades earlier: http://www.oddiooverplay.com/ears/kresge.html

These are MP3s of muzak played in Kresge stores (K-Mart) from the early 1960s.

zenocon 1 hour ago 0 replies      
The whole vaporwave community is going to have a field day with this stuff.
asd 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Here is a video of Mark Davis showing off the cassettes before they were digitized. Interesting collection.


pcunite 3 hours ago 0 replies      
"Stop by the men's department where a wide assortment of sweaters and shaker knits, cottons and jacards are available in the newest colors and styles."

The pre-recorded announcer said things to this effect. Listen here:


jaysonelliot 1 hour ago 0 replies      
The announcer makes a point of touting their "made in the USA" clothing at "low K-Mart prices."

How much things have changed in such a short time.

rocky1138 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I can download them individually, but how do I get the torrent of all of them together?
darylteo 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Why am I willingly listening to in store advertising? Some of these tunes are groovy.
Show HN: PJON_ASK Radio multimaster communications bus system for Arduino github.com
21 points by gioscarab  4 hours ago   13 comments top
gioscarab 3 hours ago 2 replies      
What you think about it?
Run your own dnsmasq in tandem with libvirtd and NetworkManager grobinson.net
41 points by georgerobinson  9 hours ago   9 comments top 5
rasz_pl 4 hours ago 2 replies      
Apparently I was the first person ever to attempt using dnsmasq to block ads (Fri, Oct 27, 2006). In 2006 I reported a bug named "reading /etc/hosts takes 6 minutes" :-)


Before every new dns entry was naively compared sequentially with current dataset, the fix was probably a hashtable.

solidangle 6 hours ago 1 reply      
If you're doing this then make sure that your router uses your DNS server so you don't have to manually enable it on all your devices (especially those pesky Android devices that don't allow you to have a custom dns server with a dynamic ip).

You can also replace your routers firmware with OpenWRT. OpenWRT uses dnsmasq by default (and allows you to customize the configuration, of course), so you don't even have to use a separate server.

Klasiaster 7 hours ago 0 replies      
For Debain unstable with also systemd-resolved enabled I needed these:






DNS= ::1


passwd: compat

group: compat

shadow: compat

hosts: files mymachines gw_name myhostname mdns4_minimal resolve [NOTFOUND=return] dns mdns4

networks: files

protocols: db files

services: db files

ethers: db files

rpc: db files

netgroup: nis

They are so many as I also have the packages libnss-myhostname libnss-mymachines libnss-gw-name libnss-mdns. Important to note is the NOTFOUND=return directive after resolve, because libnss-resolved is not available on Debian yet and thus it's going to query dnsmasq directly instead of first resolved (which is also using dnsmasq anyway).

9248 6 hours ago 0 replies      
At first, when I switched to Ubuntu and saw dnsmasq I was a little happy. I thought I could finally have something lightweight and slightly more powerful than a hosts file plus more control over what happens with my queries.

But then I tried to search online and at least try to understand what it actually is, what it does or is supposed to do, or what it doesn't do and so on. Then I thought that running bind9 might be easier, at least I know what it's supposed to do.

I finally decided to leave it the way it came with my Ubuntu. Some articles say it's there to act as a dns cache and something else with VPNs while other articles claim the caching functionality is turned off by default. Really confusing for somebody who's not that experienced.

chronid 3 hours ago 1 reply      
It seems only OpenBSD got this right (in my opinion) from a cursory inspection of the man pages for resolv.conf - they allow for not-default port in it. There is a bug in glibc around since 2012 [1] for this!

Oh well.

1. https://sourceware.org/bugzilla/show_bug.cgi?id=14242

Sculpin PHP Static Site Generator sculpin.io
32 points by knorthfield  11 hours ago   26 comments top 4
jmadsen 2 hours ago 2 replies      
Freelancer Tip: This is a really good option for that professional who just wants a business card site & thinks they need WP so they can "update the content" on their $10,000+ professional design.

Explain they are a doctor/lawyer/trader/etc & they don't want to spend hours getting their site just right & keeping it updated & hacked-free. Put them on a monthly retainer for $X and now you're building up repeat business.

WP is over-used in our industry and I like to see people looking at other options & explaining these to non-tech clients.

lucideer 2 hours ago 1 reply      
For software that embeds Composer, it's a little odd that it's "quick start guide" and general installation instructions don't include a typical Composer-based installation option, or mention Composer usage at all, instead seemingly opting for quite a non-standard "sculpin.json/sculpin.lock"-based approach.
iamdave 4 hours ago 5 replies      
So I haven't done web development since the early 2000's when I transitioned into becoming a technical PM and recruiter full time, nothing more than tweaking something in my blog theme (changing a font or a link color). Therefore, I am way behind the times.

Here's my genuine question: it seems like the term 'static site' means something different from my understanding of it in the 00's-a plain HTML page with no server side processing (PHP, ASP, Coldfusion, etc). Is this correct? What exactly are these static sites and why does one need to be "generated" versus crafting your own markup? Time and efficiency or is there more under the hood than I understand?


bdg 3 hours ago 2 replies      
I love sculpin! I'm biased (I wrote the original getting started guide).

Modern PHP is one of the best places to be doing web development in 2015.

PHP has a huge external perception bias from how awful it was up to 2011, and it doesn't help that 80% of PHP programmers you will run into are woefully unaware of modern PHP tools and techniques so they keep writing mangled messes.

Sculpin wraps the really nice templating engine Twig and you basically get all the features it provides, and the extensibility is really powerful. Sculpin let's you leverage all the components and packages for templates, i18n and perhaps more complex use cases.

I'm not sure why you want speed for generation of static content but if that is a constraint... I doubt that you will find better performance in node or ruby over PHP5.6 or PHP7.

So... PHP has the features, speed, and packages. What's the reason not to pick it? The syntax?

       cached 12 October 2015 01:02:02 GMT