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1
Microsoft Edge WebGL engine open-sourced github.com
91 points by aroman  2 hours ago   13 comments top 4
1
rossy 6 minutes ago 0 replies      
Well, that's interesting. The state of desktop OpenGL on Windows is pretty awful at the moment. The antiquated WGL APIs make it difficult to control when your application enters exclusive fullscreen mode, and as far as I know, it's impossible to control latency or get any kind of presentation feedback with them. You also can't make UWP apps that use WGL. Google's ANGLE, which is used to implement WebGL in Chrome and Firefox, is a lot better, and it lets you do fancy things like render OpenGL ES content to a D3D11 texture or to a DirectComposition surface. If Microsoft open-source Edge's WebGL engine (currently it seems like only the GLSL->HLSL translator is open-sourced,) it could become another modern way of using GLES on Windows.

Source: We rely on OpenGL to render video in mpv, and we are currently switching from using a WGL context by default to using ANGLE. Maybe this could be a third option?

2
wtracy 4 minutes ago 0 replies      
The README says the code is published without any build scripts "for reference only", so I expected this to be another "shared source" thing.

It turns out that the code is offered under the (very permissive) MIT license. Cool.

3
tracker1 23 minutes ago 2 replies      
Wow, 45 upvotes and no comments...

While I'm not entirely sure what the strategy is with this, I'm fairly surprised by the move. This is something that would have been unheard of from Microsoft even a decade ago. They've made a bunch of really huge strides in FLOSS, but they've all been centered around developer mindshare. I totally get open-sourcing your developer tooling, especially in consideration of their Azure ambitions, which isn't bad.

I really like VS Code, which has become my daily editor of choice, I keep meaning to try the integrated debugging, but haven't. The .Net core releases have me looking at C# again, in a fairly new light. The Linux Subsystem for Windows is impressive.

All of that said, this move still surprises me. I'm not sure if/how much it will benefit the larger developer community, but it is really nice to see a much more open MS. All I can say is that the next half decade will be particularly interesting in terms of software improvements as hardware has started to level off.

4
bobajeff 21 minutes ago 2 replies      
Hmmm, interesting choice to opensource just the WebGL engine without the rest of the browser's layout engine.
2
Why I turned down $500K and shut down my startup medium.com
116 points by jason_tko  3 hours ago   36 comments top 16
1
capkutay 8 minutes ago 0 replies      
"I was deciding whether this venture was worth committing to another year of 70+ hour weeks. I need a higher level of certainty than investors do because my time is more valuable to me than their money is to them. Investors place bets in a portfolio of companies, but I only have one life."

That's the key quote in the article. It's a fair decision from his standpoint but I wonder if saying that will lead investors to question his determination in the future (if he tries a new venture). I suppose the investors could also appreciate that he didn't want to waste more of their money if he didn't believe in the product.

2
zer00eyz 1 hour ago 2 replies      
The underlying idea behind what he did here is sometimes called Ethnography. There was another great article a while back on this going on at adobe/photo shop: https://medium.com/startup-study-group/my-two-years-as-an-an...

As far as tools go, ethnography can be very powerful in the right hands.

3
santoshalper 1 hour ago 0 replies      
It sucks when you realize you have built something that users like, but they don't really NEED. I like the good habits analogy - I built several great workflow apps for a Fortune 500 company in the past few years, but discovered most users don't really want the yoke of workflow and there wasn't enough immediate lift to tempt them.

Sorry man. Good call not to waste a year of your life.

4
encoderer 1 hour ago 4 replies      
I have to say, I don't agree with this part at all:

"But most of the time, customers dont really want the the features they are asking for. At least not very badly."

Customer feedback drives an absurd amount of our roadmap at Cronitor. We have a good idea of the many shortcomings of our product and are constrained primarily by resources in developing it faster. When a customer -- especially somebody on a trial -- puts their thumb on the scale of a specific flaw or deficiency, we look at it as an opportunity to seriously delight that user and at the same time level-up the product for all users after. We don't build everything asked for, but I would say "most of the time, customers know exactly what they need, and we try to give it to them within our ability."

A specific example for us would be Etsy, who uses Cronitor on a part of their business and during evaluation asked for a couple API endpoints to expose more advanced functionality.

5
Dwolb 23 minutes ago 0 replies      
If we're going with the whole human centered design approach here the writing doesn't sound as though you were thorough enough in the research, analysis, and synthesis.

There should have been some guideposts here: who were the power users? what did they love? who were the huge detractors? what was their big issue? how did ContractBeast fit into the ideal world? how were people splitting their work between the old system and ContractBeast? were there network effects for the old system?

Yeah we can look at some sort of short term win and long term gain framework, but it's pretty reductionist to a) only depend on that framework and b) not be able to come up with any solutions to fulfill short term wins.

6
reilly3000 49 minutes ago 0 replies      
Moving down market is tough. The reason why enterprise ecosystems can flourish is that consultants have a symbolic relationship with software, act as a silent sales force, drive legitimacy and solve the soft issues that make software projects fail. Creating a simple CRM system isn't that hard, but getting mass adoption AND offering a customizable product takes hand holding. Content alone doesn't hold hands, nor does (most) UX. Software that changes how people's jobs work (accounting, CRM, EHR, etc) naturally invites pushback because PEOPLE HATE CHANGE.

Maybe the next generation of UX will have change management built into the system, not just tours and tooltips. For now, the burden of software adoption is best served with donuts and somebody how cares enough to make it work for the business that is investing in it.

7
ztratar 1 hour ago 2 replies      
"It would have been different if we had been debating which plan among several to implement or how to shore up specific weaknesses, but we had nothing."

I don't really understand "having nothing" -- you're either creating value or you're not. You guys spotted a real problem, but your v1 solution was meh. There were certainly multiple ways out (and not just tack on gamification), and even if some were long-shots, the uniqueness of a startup is to place those bets.

8
selectron 2 hours ago 2 replies      
Quite interesting. Why couldn't you build in a reward system to using the product? Similar to how games like WOW do?
9
chalam 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Tim,

Interesting comment in there about 'Approvals' being one of the most used feature. Why couldn't you build around that? A more generic approvals solution for any kind of contract.

10
arcticfox 1 hour ago 1 reply      
It's pretty surprising to me that there was no way to shift enough of the value gain from "huge gains in efficiency" forward to keep people motivated about the product.

For example: use a chunk of the $500k as rewards to push people through the initial adoption. Then presumably the real gains would take over and they'd be happy customers.

11
pookeh 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Often times, the products we make should really be features of a larger offering. Did you guys explore building on top of your contract tech or getting acquired by a company that requires your tech? for example:1. Marketplace of services that need contract signing between parties.2. Project management app for SMBs or freelancers3. Legal document authoring app that extends to contract signing.

There are prolly more ...

12
vinceguidry 27 minutes ago 0 replies      
It seems like the marketing was all wrong. If you're selling to big business, you need a big business sales process. If you can't afford that, you're just pissing in the wind. He was focused on product when he should have been focusing on his sales and on-boarding.

Patrick McKenzie has demonstrated that you can do high-touch corporate sales as a small organization or even as a single person. He just needed to figure out how.

13
frozenport 23 minutes ago 1 reply      
Can't you just charge them $2.99 for each contract, and go with volume?
14
EGreg 32 minutes ago 0 replies      
People live lives. Companies create products.

Sometimes what you build becomes bigger than you. If you want to quit, and everyone else wants to keep going why not let someone else run the show?

If you started a chess club, or even a chatroom, and had no time (as the guy says, he only has one life) to be an admin, would you just close down the whole thing and kick everyone out? Maybe. If they really were so passionate they'd pick up the pieces and start their own thing. Your old group might have a way to transfer the accumulated wealth to the new group. Instead of just losing it.

I remember writing an article about this a couple years ago called the Politics of Groups:

http://magarshak.com/blog/?p=135

Here is an excerpt:

If the individual - the risk is that the individual may have too much power over others who come to rely on the stream. They may suddenly stop publishing it, or cut off access to everyone, which would hurt many people. (I define hurt in terms of needs or strong expectations of people that form over time.)

15
dnautics 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Why not make an open offer to anyone who thinks they can solve this problem and turn this around?
16
ChicagoDave 1 hour ago 4 replies      
After this, I'd never give this guy time or money and I doubt anyone else will either. No matter how shitty you feel about your start-up, if you have a willing team and cash, you should see it through. Being an entrepreneur isn't always about having all of the answers. It's very often about not knowing the answers and figuring things out. Especially if you have a team and cash flow and investors.

I think this guy needed to take a day off or seven and get his head back on straight. I'm nearly positive every entrepreneur goes through the "doubt" process many times in a given start-up.

It's the person that figures out how to renew themselves that ends up succeeding.

3
Being sued, in East Texas, for using the Google Play Store [video] youtube.com
1155 points by egb  13 hours ago   342 comments top 58
1
mdip 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Patent trolling issues aside (they're valid, but discussed and I'm just another one of the "software patents suck guys"), I'm surprised that Google doesn't provide protection for developers using the Play Store. It's a very critical service for developers writing code for Android -- though it's not always required it is if you want your app to be seen.

They certainly don't have to and I'm not sure if Apple or Microsoft do or not for their equivalents, but I know Microsoft offers patent indemnification for a lot of things these days. It would be in Google's best interest to have a patent indemnification policy for Google Play store.

I'd love to know what the actual numbers look like but I'd be willing to bet that the costs are extremely low since it works as a deterrent to these kinds of lawsuits. Patent trolls go after these lone developers because they'll settle rather than incur the cost. It's an easy buck. This guy didn't make Google Play, he didn't write the code that "supposedly" infringed on the patent. He simply used it because that's the only way for practical purposes to publish an Android app. And since the patent covers a large set of features that Play uses for licensing, he couldn't have published through Play and not infringed in the eyes of Uniloc. The law allows anyone in the chain (including the guy playing with the Flight Simulator) to be sued for infringement, but they'd be very unlikely to do this kind of garbage if they knew Google would bring their legal team into the fold. By not protecting their developers, Google has a deterrent to people using their platform.

2
hhsnopek 9 hours ago 6 replies      
I find it oddly funny how Google hasn't stepped in to support their "clients", I'd think they'd help shutdown patent trolls so developers can continue to improve and distribute applications
3
tomglynch 12 hours ago 7 replies      
A comment from a reddit thread states: The gist behind this case is that the Judge's son owns patent law firm in East Texas where they often represent both sides. This guy doesn't live in East Texas. However, the dad lets these stupid cases into the town to bring business to his son. Really shady.

I agree with clavelle's comment. It's not so much the laws, but the system that allows this to occur.

Link here: https://www.reddit.com/r/Android/comments/4n08jj/developer_i...

4
6stringmerc 12 hours ago 8 replies      
So, no attempts to bring Davis in front of the Texas BAR association for unethical practices?

I'm also curious why numerous developers have not demanded an Insurance Protection Product / Plan that would take a premium in return for subrogation (defense) if a frivolous Patent Suit is filed. I'm rather certain the market exists and while it may be for larger businesses or players, developers forming a Mutual Company and writing on some big name AM Best A paper (or even going to Lloyds) could be helpful.

Anybody know of such an organization or idea?

I guess my line of thinking here is that "Yes, this is totally unfair and rigged" and then move on to "How do I work around the issues, at least to a limited extent, to avoid these pitfalls?" Sign me up for reform, sure, I'm all for it. Until then, I don't like banging my head against walls, I prefer to figure out ways around or over them.

5
mmaunder 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Also: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d8XknFl1l_8

He visits East Texas and shows that the 'offices' of the 'companies' that hold each patent are empty shells.

6
josaka 10 hours ago 0 replies      
The patent in the video is US 6857067. Claims 1, 20, 22, 30, 31, 67, 107, and 108 were invalidated by the Patent Office in an administrative proceeding, but claims 21 and 22 survived that particular challenge. See IPR2013-00391, Final Decision. Cost for these challenges is around $300k (and often much less for troll suits), rather than the $2-5 million that is typically quoted for district court cases.
7
vosbert 8 hours ago 2 replies      
Can these services just be disabled in East Texas to avoid their jurisdiction? At the very least, it would force the patent trolls into more neutral territory.
8
comboy 13 hours ago 5 replies      
Couldn't Google offer defense in such cases for its users? Every case is the same so it shouldn't even be that expensive (I guess, IANAL), and it would discourage future cases because the troll would know he will have to fight against Google.
9
kevinpet 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I happened to read this article about recusal recently and I don't understand how some of these allegations wouldn't be explicit grounds for recusal, specifically the son being a lawyer with a firm that tries cases in the father's court.

https://popehat.com/2016/06/06/lawsplainer-when-must-federal... Article is in the context of Trump, but you needn't let that turn you off.

10
corysama 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Here's a vid from the same guy last year: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NbyW_QS8Ef8

He had just won a three year litigation with the same group, after which they pointed out that even though he had won a battle, they had enough BS patents to keep him in court for several lifetimes. He is currently in year 4 out of a projected 450.

11
rwhitman 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Yet another example of the consumer software industry being completely impotent when it comes to defending itself.

Patent trolls file these frivolous lawsuits because they make millions and suffer zero consequences for their actions. Why? Because there is no industry trade group representing the software industry with any sort of teeth. They know software developers have money, and they know software developers are absurdly weak when it comes to defending themselves. Software developers are easy prey.

Other than the EFF who is out there to represent us with any measure of real leverage over the legal process? Who is out there with the muscle to make patent trolls and software unfriendly lawmakers have second thoughts when targeting developers?

With no lobbies or trade associations with any sort of power out there representing consumer software, anyone with even minor influence over government can simply walk all over software developers, again and again and again. The consumer software industry has enormous amounts of cash at it's disposal, surely a few cash rich companies can pool enough resources together to kick off a trade association worthy of punching back, hard

12
dingo_bat 12 hours ago 4 replies      
Someone with money and lawyers needs to sue the state of Texas for allowing a father and son duo to practice in such a conflict of interest fashion. This is a clear cut case of corruption.
13
FesterCluck 8 hours ago 0 replies      
14
dougmccune 9 hours ago 2 replies      
Is there a unified place one can donate to that people think is the best way to put some money toward real change in the system? I'm happy to send some money to the EFF, but I'd up that 100 times if I knew it was going 100% toward killing patent trolls and I thought it was the best organization to fight that fight.
15
Claudus 12 hours ago 2 replies      
16
eonw 11 hours ago 0 replies      
i was the victim of a patent trolling company called acacia research. they sent me a bunch of legal threats but had my name spelled incorrectly, which happened to give away who had sold my info to them(in exchange for dropping the case a certain entity traded all of their affiliates info to acacia). i was 19 at the time and laughed it off. nothing ever came of it, but in hindsight it certainly wasn't a laughing matter. in the end i think someone staged a pretty good defense and crushed their patent.
17
dak1 4 hours ago 1 reply      
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ric_Richardson

"Ric Richardson is an Australian inventor. He is the holder of multiple granted patents including the Uniloc patent US5490216 and the Logarex patent 6400293. Although he spent twelve years in California to promote and develop products produced by Uniloc, Richardson grew up in Sydney and currently resides just outside Byron Bay.

He is the founder of Uniloc, a company based on the technology he first patented in 1992."

Here's his picture from the Uniloc web site:http://uniloc.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/ricrichardson.p...

He's apparently insanely talented, having "invented" the panic button, the visual voice recorder, the 3G skype phone, the secure browser, the universal database, the carbon scrubber, the book dispensor, "media objects", the "Internet Computer", QR Codes, DRM, a password replacement system, TV muting, and several dozen other devices, just in the past 16 years alone.[1]

[1] https://sites.google.com/site/ricricho/ric-s-inventions

18
aurizon 11 hours ago 0 replies      
The only way you can deal with trolls is to slay them. Attribution of costs does not work. Most trolls consist of lawyers who create paper work and file it. They do not hire outside law firms at $500+ per hour - the ones their victims are forced to hire. The only tru costs they have are the file fees, which East Texas keeps low. That town is totally a parasitic town and they award wins to trolls to keep the town in cash that trickles down.

I say slay the trolls, slay the judges, slay them all - by legal means if possible. I would love to find an old Texas law that allows trial by combat with no substitutions...

19
JakeWesorick 13 hours ago 2 replies      
Really seems like Google/Apple should make some kind of statement calling out how ridiculous these lawsuits are.
20
barkingdog 10 hours ago 1 reply      
A while back, I did some research into patent trolls, and came across the history of NPE firms that do DPA (defensive patent aggregation), like RPX [0]. What surprised me from a game theoretical perspective was how murky things got. These situations can be tough on entrepreneurs and seem to create space for said entrepreneur to purchase protection in the form of patent aggregation to mitigate against potential devastation caused by this. On one hand, I can see how it can amount to a protection racket. On the other hand, the existence of patents and how they relate to property are pretty complex. This TechCrunch article about RPX does a good job of going into further detail about this, but truth be told, I am even more on the fence after reading this. I agree that patent reform would be necessary to rectify this situation, but in the meantime, I can't think of a better alternative. The cynic inside me can't help but think that business is always it's own kind of war, sadly.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RPX_Corporation[1] http://techcrunch.com/2008/11/24/is-rpxs-defensive-patent-ag...

21
kukx 10 hours ago 3 replies      
What about making an "anti patent troll" website that will allow users to share their legal approaches and documents and the rest of the defense materials. Some of them may be reusable. I guess it should significantly limit the legal costs for everyone and improve their position against trolls, right?
22
jiiam 12 hours ago 1 reply      
It's good to raise awareness, especially on the users of the play store (I mean, the developers).

For example I learned a lot from this video: in case I decided to sell an app on any store, I'd better contact my lawyer to get advised on where and how to incorporate my company.

I don't know if it can be easily resolved by incorporating in another country, but the difficulties of an international litigation should discourage trolls.

23
djsumdog 8 hours ago 2 replies      
America needs to follow New Zealand's example:

Ban software patents!

24
touchofevil 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Would incorporating your tech company in England instead of the USA protect your company from these patent troll lawsuits? It's extremely easy to start a company based in England, even as a US citizen living in the USA. With the patent trolling this out of control in the US at the moment, would basing your company abroad offer you any protection?
25
curiousgal 12 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm no advocate of violence but this makes you wonder about the ethics of beating such guys up. The legal system seems pointless.
26
masswerk 5 hours ago 2 replies      
What to do about this?

I'm told, you may be put to trial in East Texas, if you're selling your goods or services there. So, why not stop selling to East Texas and let them settle the resulting collision of interests themselves?

27
abrookewood 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Here's written coverage of the situation in case you don't have time to watch the video: http://www.technobuffalo.com/2016/06/07/x-plane-flight-simul...
28
fouric 9 hours ago 2 replies      
While I applaud what Austin Meyer is doing by raising awareness about patent trolls, does anyone here but me wish that the content had been made available in some sort of text medium instead? I can't think of any important parts of the video that couldn't have been reasonably conveyed through the use of text.
29
dematio 1 hour ago 0 replies      
If Peter Thiel could do it, why not Google? It does not cost much for Google to invalidate the patent.
30
jitix 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Somehow this all seems illegal. I'm not that familiar with the US law so can somebody explain if the defendant can claim that the judge has a conflict of interest and is not fit to handle the case because his son profits from it?
31
froo 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Someone really needs to create a patent that defines methods of patent trolling, so every time one of these scumbags starts a lawsuit you can sue them.
32
Sharma 3 hours ago 0 replies      
How about creating a petition here about this issue and we all sign it?

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/

33
captainmuon 6 hours ago 0 replies      
There's only so far a justice system can get dysfunctional before people say fukitall and it looses its legitimacy. It's not just patents, civil forfeiture is another thing that comes to mind and I'm sure there more.

I imagine if in future somebody gets such a patent lawsuit, they'd just rip up the letter and throw it away. Police comes to carry out court orders because they decided in absence? "Sorry officer, the reason you're here is just patent bullshit." - "Oh well, I won't lift a finger for these idiots. Sorry for bothering you, have a nice day!"

Or a more extreme reaction: already in this thread, a couple of people are fantasizing about violence, hiring a hitman and so on. I realize it is mostly meant jokingly, but self-justice is another effect of a justice system that's lost legitimacy.

Rule-of-law is a great thing to have, but it only works if these laws are somewhat reasonable and in accord with peoples moral values...

34
cft 8 hours ago 0 replies      
One practical thing one could do is to forward this to an influential tech journalist, ideally to a mainstream publication that has a technology section, like CNN or WSJ.
35
tronium 11 hours ago 2 replies      
Interestingly, the login button doesn't even work at uniloc.com, and if you look in the source, there's a ton of commented-out paragraphs that say stuff like "<h2>The spirit of innovation is alive and well at Uniloc.</h2>".
36
JustSomeNobody 10 hours ago 1 reply      
How has East Texas not been shut down already?
37
veeragoni 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Someone patent "the idea of having a patent" and Sue these companies in Hawaii.
38
tronium 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Question: Is a lot of the backend supposed to be available through going directly to the wp-content? If you go to uniloc.com/wp-content/, there's backups, images, plugins, and even a .sql file...
39
blubb-fish 9 hours ago 0 replies      
How about a patent about placing the right foot into a solid hollow object with three to four cylinder shaped objects (with low height to radius ratio) separating that hollow object from the surface of the earth - yeah - and well, then driving with it ... will have to think about how to make that sound smart and original.

How is this even for real - why is Google not putting an end to it?

40
finstell 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Uniloc has this piece of Google Maps screenshot hosted at their web server. Isn't this not allowed? http://www.uniloc.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Screen-shot...
41
stevesun21 4 hours ago 0 replies      
WTF! This is ridiculous. later these people might start sue people use cell phone.
42
VonGuard 5 hours ago 0 replies      
OK HN, get out there and find this man some prior art so we can all just put this company out of business...
43
thinkcomp 1 hour ago 0 replies      
The docket for the lawsuit in question is here:

http://www.plainsite.org/dockets/sknqayqz/texas-eastern-dist...

44
KON_Air 5 hours ago 0 replies      
All the Mobile Marketplaces are on fire. Nice.

Posted from my Windows Phone 8.1

45
BuckRogers 1 hour ago 0 replies      
If Google won't step in and litigate the patent trolls into poverty, ruining everyone's life who is involved and possibly even promising to ruin their children's and grandchildren's lives long after the actual patent trolls are dead...

that would stop it.

But in the meantime, guess I'll just be writing webapps.

46
mholt 9 hours ago 0 replies      
"... defend myself for committing the crime of ..."

But a lawsuit is a civil case, not a criminal case, right?

47
nichochar 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Welcome to america
48
iLoch 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Is the process of filing a patent patented?
49
Alupis 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Judge Leonard Davis presides over a large amount of these "Patent Troll" cases, and his son (!!) Bo Davis is a Lawyer who represents these very same Patent Trolls in court!

If that's not a racket, I don't know what is.

50
superbatfish 7 hours ago 1 reply      
At least that totally rad cliff diving video that YouTube queued up afterwards was a nice chaser.
51
lintiness 9 hours ago 1 reply      
welcome to a political system (and indeed a world) run by lawyers.
52
johansch 8 hours ago 0 replies      
How do you americans still allow East Texas to be a part of the United States? They're clearly rogue?
53
clavalle 13 hours ago 8 replies      
People will mention the problem with patents but I see another, perhaps bigger, problem:

We do not have equal access to our judicial system in the United States.

If you have money, you have the power to legally hold people with less over a barrel. That exploitable inequality is poison for a well functioning society. That is the problem that needs solving.

54
joshbaptiste 11 hours ago 2 replies      
TLDW - Patent troll sues Xplane creator after he migrated his app to the Google play store. They claim they own the general idea of the Google play store. Law firms create these cases for billable hours for their lawyers and some of their parent judges in Texas. Patent trolls and law firms in the end want to receive a settlement by targeting app creators and not Google themselves who are well equipped to defend themselves, http://www.thepatentscam.com/ .
55
10 hours ago 10 hours ago 1 reply      
And this people, is what you get for $5 when you buy SEO services from UpWork.com
56
davemel37 9 hours ago 1 reply      
It's time to call in John Oliver...He's our last and only hope!
57
joshuaheard 11 hours ago 2 replies      
A couple of misconceptions in this video. Patent infringement is not a crime. A son lawyer appearing in front of his judge father would not be allowed for conflict of interest in most circumstances.

That being said, patent trolling is obviously a problem, and legislation to fix the problem is making its way through Congress.

58
slmyers 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm not sure if this would help, but I think we should all tweet a link to this video clip to John Oliver.

https://twitter.com/iamjohnoliver?lang=en

or maybe this twitter account

https://twitter.com/LastWeekTonight?lang=en

4
The Strange Birth and Long Life of Unix ieee.org
13 points by _acme  57 minutes ago   1 comment top
1
digi_owl 2 minutes ago 0 replies      
I suspect unix at this point in time is a "my grandfathers axe" kind of thing.

The concepts are there, and a lineage may be traced, but little of the original parts still exists.

This because the basic concepts that define unix allows it to be modular and adaptable.

5
R Passes SAS in Scholarly Use r4stats.com
63 points by sndean  3 hours ago   18 comments top 8
1
aabajian 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I think Python is the biggest hidden gem in statistics. It's had a tremendous impact on machine learning and algorithm development, yet traditional statisticians still rely on SAS/R/Stata/MATLAB.

All of these languages have libraries that produce the same results, the difficulty is mangling the data into the correct input format. Python's list comprehensions are much, much easier to use than MATLAB matrices, R's data frames, Java's ArrayLists, etc. I'd advise any new graduate student to learn how to plug data into traditional programs, but save yourself a headache and perform your data manipulation in Python. Eventually you can take the leap and do the analysis in Python as well.

2
uptownfunk 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Some reasons I love / use R:

Plenty of free high quality documentation and learning materials around R (just read anything by Hadley)

Package manager. Super easy to find, install, and start using packages.

Open source / Free

Large community of users

Extensive usage by the stats community. (If a new algorithm comes out, chances R there will be an R implementation)

Easy to build and share your own packages via Github.

Easy to link C++ code to your packages.

----------------------------------------------

I love R, but something about how the language feels syntactically, it's not as pleasurable programming wise compared to something like the Python data stack. But with all of the above advantages, I don't see myself switching to anything else in the future for my data science work, unless I have a really pressing need to. The other thing is that the language is so damn popular that the useR conference was sold out in pre-reg. rounds.. Seriously guys, stop using and learning about R so I can get in the conference....

3
sillysaurus3 1 hour ago 5 replies      
Mathematica isn't being used at all? That's surprising. Mathematica is wonderful. I wonder what's holding it back?

It doesn't seem to have a package manager. Could it be that simple?

4
rsrsrs86 48 minutes ago 1 reply      
Am I right to believe that there is no way that proprietary scientific software can keep up with open source?
5
benbenolson 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Just noticed that this was posted by my old (half) boss!

Finally! This is very encouraging, that such an excellent free software package is in such high demand. From what I've used it for, it worked very well. It's great for quickly creating nice-looking graphs and plots.

6
erik_landerholm 37 minutes ago 0 replies      
R? Everyone doing most anything interesting has been using Python for a while.
7
dredmorbius 1 hour ago 2 replies      
1. This is a good place for use of log or semi-log plots.

2. How do the authors unambiguously search for 'R'? Monocharacter language names are difficult search keys. (C, B, S, R)

8
thefastlane 1 hour ago 0 replies      
no mention of Incanter . . . is it really that niche?
6
How the Windows Subsystem for Linux Redirects Syscalls microsoft.com
265 points by jackhammons  9 hours ago   172 comments top 17
1
ataylor284_ 7 hours ago 3 replies      
> The real NtQueryDirectoryFile API takes 11 parameters

Curiosity got the best of me here: I had to look this up in the docs to see how a linux syscall that takes 3 parameters could possibly take 11 parameters. Spoiler alert: they are used for async callbacks, filtering by name, allowing only partial results, and the ability to progressively scan with repeated calls.

2
caf 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Since NT syscalls follow the x64 calling convention, the kernel does not need to save off volatile registers since that was handled by the compiler emitting instructions before the syscall to save off any volatile registers that needed to be preserved.

Say what? The NT kernel doesn't restore caller-saved registers at syscall exit? This seems extraordinary, because unless it either restores them or zaps them then it will be in danger of leaking internal kernel values to userspace - and if it zaps them then it might as well save and restore them, so userspace won't need to.

3
luchs 8 hours ago 2 replies      
>As of this article, lxss.sys has ~235 of the Linux syscalls implemented with varying level of support.

Is there a list of these syscalls somewhere? It would be cool to check it against the recent Linux API compatibility paper [0, 1].

[0]: http://oscar.cs.stonybrook.edu/api-compat-study/[1]: http://www.oscar.cs.stonybrook.edu/papers/files/syspop16.pdf

4
Maarten88 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I have installed the current fast ring build and have tried installing several packages on Windows. Some do install and work (compilers, build environment, node, redis server), but packages that use more advanced socket options (such as Ethereum) or that configure a deamon (most databases), still end with an error. Compatibility is improving with every new build, and you can ditch/reset the whole Linux environment on Windows with a single command, which is nice for testing.
5
emcrazyone 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I can't think of much that would benefit from this except for, perhaps, headless command line type applications. The one that comes to mind is rsync. Being able to compile the latest version/protocol of rsync on a Linux machine and then running the same binary on a Windows host would be nice but fun seems to end there plus with Cygwin, this is largely a no-brainer without M$ help.

What about applications that hook to X Windows or do things like opening the frame buffer device. I've got a messaging application that can be compiled for both Windows and Linux and depending on the OS, I compile a different transport layer. Under Linux heavy use of epoll is used which is very different than how NT handles Async I/O - especially with sockets. So my application's "transport driver" is either compiling an NT code base using WinSock & OVERLAPPED IO or a Linux code base using EPOLL and pthreads.

Over all it seems like a nice to have but I'm struggling to extract any real benefit.

Can anyone offer up some real good use cases I may be overlooking?

6
coverband 7 hours ago 1 reply      
With this feature, if you're a Linux developer, you're automatically a Windows developer as well. Almost like being able to run all Android or iOS apps on Windows phones.[1][2]

[1] http://www.pcworld.com/article/3038652/windows/microsoft-kil...[2] https://developer.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/bridges/ios

Edit: Now I am puzzled as to why this got downvoted?

7
Animats 9 hours ago 3 replies      
It's too bad that x86 hardware doesn't do virtualization as well as IBM hardware. You can't stack VMs. That's exactly what's needed here - a non-kernel VM that runs above NT but below the application.
8
kevincox 6 hours ago 3 replies      
> the Linux fork syscall has no documented equivalent for Windows

Emphasis is mine. I wonder if this is something that cygwin could (ab)use. Also I wonder why they would need this undocumented call.

9
smegel 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Funny they don't mention ioctl.
10
quux 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Interesting, I wonder how much overhead is added to syscalls to look up the process type. Does NT still do this check when no WSL processes are running?
11
bla2 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Does anybody know how fork() is implemented? This blog post kind of sounds like fork() would do the slow emulation of it through CreateProcess().
12
_RPM 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Does Microsoft document all system calls?
13
obnauticus 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Excellent post, Jack.
14
vegabook 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Next step is Microsoft basically needs to turn Windows into a flavour of Linux. If they don't, they're under massive pincer threat from Android and Chrome, which are rapidly becoming the consumer endpoints of the future. Windows is about to "do an IBM" and throw away a market that it created. See PS/2 and OS/2.

They should probably just buy Canonical. That would put the shivers into Google, properly.

15
dragonbonheur 8 hours ago 6 replies      
.
16
zxcvcxz 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I use to run Linux in a VM on windows and use Chocolatey for package management and cygwin and powershell etc, then I realized I was just trying to make Windows into Linux. Seems to be the way things are going and with the addition of the linux subsystem it kind of proves that Windows really isn't a good OS on it's own, especially not for developers.

I wish Windows/MS would abandon NT and just create a Linux distro. I don't know anyone who particularly likes NT and jamming multiple systems together seems like an awful idea.

Windows services and Linux services likely won't play nice together (think long file paths created by Linux services and other incompatibilities), for them to be 100% backward compatible they need to not only make Windows compatible with the things Linux outputs, but Linux compatible with the things windows services output, and to keep the Linux people from figuring out how to use Windows on Linux systems they'd need to make a lot of what they do closed source.

So I don't see a Linux+Windows setup being deployed for production. It's cool for developers, but even then you can't do much real world stuff that utilizes both windows and Linux. If you're only taking advantage of one system then whats the point of having two?

I went ahead and made the switch to Linux since I was trying to make Windows behave just like Linux.

17
l3m0ndr0p 8 hours ago 2 replies      
Pretty neat stuff. I think that MS should just create their own Linux Distribution & port all MS products. Get rid of the Windows NT Kernel. I believe it's outdated & doesn't have the same update cycle that the Linux Kernel has.

Why run a Linux Application/binary on a windows server OS? When you can just run it on Linux OS and get better performance & stability.

7
Computer Vision Research: The deep depression linkedin.com
28 points by nhegde  2 hours ago   10 comments top 7
1
drcode 24 minutes ago 1 reply      
Deep learning is getting all the attention because it gets the best results- If you don't like this, you either have to provide (1) a different measure for results, or (2) give an objective mechanism for evaluating the "worth" of a technique that doesn't involve looking at results.

I would still like to hear what the author of the post recommends as a course of action- Maybe he can write a followup post that provides these details to clarify this.

2
goalieca 1 hour ago 1 reply      
> Other than a handful number of people doing some fundamental research towards understanding the theoretical concepts of these methods, almost all the community now seems to target the development of more complex pipelines (that most likely cannot be reproduced based on the elements presented in the paper) which in most of the cases have almost no theoretical reasoning behind that can add 0,1% of performance on a given benchmark. Is this the objective of academic research? Putting in place highly complex engineering models that simply explore computing power and massive annotated data?

I last dabbled in image processing research around 2011. Probably most of the papers i read during the previous 5 years were small little epsilon papers that added no real value. I did some work in other fields and noticed a similar trend there. I always attributed it to the trend of PhDs being pumped through the system in ever greater numbers and the need for researchers to publish a paper every few months.

3
paulsutter 12 minutes ago 0 replies      
He should come up with a better benchmark then that requires the methods he fears are underexplored. Perhaps demonstrate something important that's being overlooked by the trendy crowd. If he can't come up with that, he's just being sentimental.
4
daix 21 minutes ago 0 replies      
Research paper needs more creativity than improvement. But it's quite difficult to come up with an innovative method, especially when the field is more explored and developed compared to decades before, and nowadays people need to publish a paper every few months.
5
alayne 21 minutes ago 0 replies      
CV seemed stalled out before deep learning, at least in the late 90s. By that I mean classifiers had hit performance limits and weren't improving, and so on. As a non researcher, I'm glad to see it moving again.
6
powera 24 minutes ago 0 replies      
So he's upset that something successful is happening in computer vision, at long last?
7
frozenport 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I've seen the exact trend in the field of optics where engineering work has replaced science.

The fundamental problem is that funding is given to those who promise the best outcome ("device that can recognize cancer") rather than the truth ("Where is the data located in an HBM").

Now, engineering work isn't bad, but today's university still has relics from a previous generation, like research papers. Hence, we're left with a bunch of research papers with little scientific content. The only fix I can think of is to offer useful alternatives to the PhD and prefer or mandate other markers of achievement like patents instead of research papers.

8
How Netflix Reinvented HR (2014) hbr.org
33 points by tim_sw  2 hours ago   8 comments top 2
1
Jun8 1 hour ago 3 replies      
"Despite her work ethic, her track record, and the fact that we all really liked her, her skills were no longer adequate."

I guess I'm too soft-hearted to be successful as a C-level manager, but I find the pragmatic, calculating nature of this approach appalling, even though I agree with many parts of the argument.

I had recently listened to the Planet Money episode about her work (http://www.npr.org/sections/money/2015/08/28/435583328/episo...), at the end she was let go from Netflix abruptly, too, probably using the practice she installed. Maybe I was biased with a Robespierrean expectation of karma returning, but she sounded like that was quite a blow to her, despite all her earlier rationalistic rhetoric. Now, reading it again, brought to mind this:

 "It couldn't be called ungentle But how thoroughly departmental"
(http://allpoetry.com/Departmental)

2
schwap 47 minutes ago 1 reply      
> the generous severance would let her regroup, retrain, and find a new career path.

Now I'm no executive, but is there a reason the blindingly obvious strategy of investing the money they're clearly willing to expend in training so that this individual's skills did fill a need they had?

9
Police use new device to seize money in bank accounts or on prepaid cards news9.com
466 points by jonstokes  13 hours ago   403 comments top 81
1
joveian 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Radley Balko talks about this article and has links to more details of past asset forfeiture abuses in Oklahoma:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2016/06/08/...

2
downandout 7 hours ago 3 replies      
Here's a fun little video from the manufacturer extolling the virtues and showing a demo of their device: https://youtu.be/XYbgnCi7NYI

These are some truly evil people. Apparently they can only target prepaid cards with this thing, which unsurprisingly will disproportionately affect people with lower incomes (the "unbanked"). According to the manufacturer's FAQ [1]:

Intel and ERAD-Recovery will only retrieve balances from open loop prepaid debit cards. Debit cards attached to a valid checking account or valid credit cards cannot be processed using the ERAD-Intel or ERAD-Recovery system.

Law enforcement already depends heavily upon lower income neighborhoods to justify their existence, and upon criminal convictions of poor people that can't defend themselves to keep up demand for prison and jail guards. Now they want to take the money of those they can't arrest, knowing that their targets cannot afford to hire lawyers to get it back.

[1] https://www.erad-group.com/faqs

3
linkregister 12 hours ago 5 replies      
From the article:

 State Sen. Kyle Loveless, R-Oklahoma City, said that removes due process and the belief that a suspect is presumed innocent until proven guilty. He said we've already seen cases in Oklahoma where police are abusing the system. "We've seen single mom's stuff be taken, a cancer survivor his drugs taken, we saw a Christian band being taken. We've seen innocent people's stuff being taken. We've seen where the money goes and how it's been misspent," Loveless said.
If State Sen. Loveless's statement is accurate, it appears that these victims were unable to get the charges reversed by their banks' fraud departments.

So what would this device look like? Is it performing ACH or wire transfer transactions? Or is this just sending card information to the company, which then automates the state government's garnishment process?

I'll be interested to get the full story when details are available.

I'm glad there's some pushback from the state legislature!

4
rm_-rf_slash 11 hours ago 5 replies      
Symptom of a bigger problem: nobody in the criminal justice system is punished for making the wrong move. There is no law enforcement downside to civil asset forfeiture. Officer-involved shootings are discouraged from prosecution or otherwise involve highly-paid "expert" witnesses saying the officer had no other choice - at taxpayer expense.

Prosecutors are valued by the number of wins, not by how many innocent people are spared the gauntlet of the American justice system.

Prisons (especially private prisons) are rewarded for high recidivism rates, instead of being punished for wasting taxpayer money on an expensive and brutal daycare.

If the state does badly enough it can get sued. So the taxpayers foot the bill while the offenders are free to do as they do.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: prevent this kind of garbage from happing without consequence by mandating docked wages/pension benefits to pay for all or part of lawsuit damages. Change the incentives and people will change themselves.

5
wccrawford 12 hours ago 4 replies      
This reads like The Onion. I can't believe they're serious.

>"If you can prove can prove that you have a legitimate reason to have that money it will be given back to you. And we've done that in the past," Vincent said about any money seized.

... Legit reason? How am I supposed to prove where every cent came from? What happened to "innocent until proven guilty"?

6
DickingAround 12 hours ago 4 replies      
And the scanner maker gets a 7% cut. What could go wrong: "the state is paying ERAD Group Inc., $5,000 for the software and scanners, then 7.7 percent of all the cash the highway patrol seizes"
7
molecule 12 hours ago 2 replies      
> Here's how it works. If a trooper suspects you may have money tied to some type of crime, the highway patrol can scan any cards you have and seize the money.

Given the low-threshold for seizure and how we've seen civil-asset forfeiture exercised by law enforcement, that's terrifying.

8
imroot 10 hours ago 1 reply      
This is a copy of the contract that the OHP with ERAD Group:

http://oklahomawatch.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/files/2016/06/E...

Highlights:

* ERAD is taking 7.7% of all funds seized.

* Anywhere between 9.95 and 14.95 per each virtual terminal used to scan for the funds.

* $1000-ish per physical terminal used.

9
50CNT 12 hours ago 2 replies      
That is physically revolting.

First you have civil-asset forfeiture that let's police seize money from you when you are carrying large amounts of cash (with a generous false positive rate potentially disastrous to victims).

Now to get around that, you could try handling everything by card or bank transaction (unless you're one of the unfortunate few without access to a bank account due to low credit rating or other legitimate reasons). And now they can seize that too?

That's not ripe for abuse, that's designed for abuse.

As a non-American, what's wrong with your country?

10
ikeboy 12 hours ago 3 replies      
>The largest part that we have found ... the biggest benefit has been the identity theft,

Oh, so if I have a card in someone else's name, you'll charge it, thus causing someone who doesn't even know about it to lose?

Any lawyers here want to weigh in on whether this would be identity theft/credit card fraud/etc on the part of the police and hence illegal? Isn't scanning/charging a card without authorization illegal?

11
wwweston 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Civil asset forfeiture needs at least these reforms:

1) Police departments cannot keep anything they seize (or proceeds from its sale/liquidation). Incentives matter. If the funds need to go somewhere, they should be assigned by lottery so they're not a solution to anyone's problems. Or, perhaps have them go to the public defender's office, which is going to need them because...

2) There absolutely has to be due process here. "Civil" is a loophole-technicality if the reason for the seizure is a suspicion that the asset was involved in a crime. PDs should be provided for those who don't have their own counsel, and burden of proof should be on the state.

(I know, sending the funds to the PDs office could create a conflict of interest. A straightforward arrangement wouldn't work; there'd have to be a likely state-level layer of indirection and some stipulations incentivizing the hiring of more staff rather than inflating existing staff salaries much beyond the current exorbitant premiums PDs command. :/ )

12
kstrauser 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Do you want to be called pigs? Because this is how you get called pigs.

I'm a very law-and-order guy, but I have zero sympathy for police departments who pull shenanigans like this and then bitch and moan that their communities don't respect them. This gives limitless ammo to critics who want to paint police as noncaring, profit-driven thugs, probably endangering officers' lives in the process.

What an utterly despicable, contemptible move. It's simply not defensible in any way.

13
Digit-Al 8 hours ago 6 replies      
As an Englishman, I have a couple of questions for you Americans on here.

1) Does anyone know who came up with these "civil asset forfeitures"? (Personally, they seem most un-civil to me.)

2) Can any of you defend America as "the land of the free" when more of the population are in prison than in almost any other country in the word and the police not only have the power to strip you of your property and assets without even needing a solid reason, but can shoot you dead and barely get a slap on the wrist?

Not having a go at America or Americans, but it seems to me that those who truly believe it to be a land of the free are deluding themselves.

[edit: damn keyboard]

14
technofiend 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Thus begins a new round of escalation and avoidance - cash is seized? No longer carry it. Credit Cards maxed? Keep it in a separate account and load only as required. In an account but you can direct funds from your phone? Hand that over.

At some point you just rely on biometrics for every transaction, it turns into an automated shakedown scheme or you just learn to avoid the state of Oklahoma.

15
diyorgasms 12 hours ago 5 replies      
I've seen it said before and I'll say it again. Anyone who works for companies who make products like this in any capacity should be blacklisted in the industry. The missing scruples here could fill several large containers.
16
maxaf 12 hours ago 5 replies      
This can't possibly be legal or even technically feasible. The victim can call her bank and report a fraudulent transaction, which pits the bank against a warrantless seizure that's impossible to defend in court. Surely banks can catch on and frontload an "identity protection" mechanism that'll simply block transactions from anything matching "ERAD" or however they identify themselves to the ACH.

It's doubtful that local or state PDs have enough political pull or money to battle banks over this through the court system.

17
solotronics 8 hours ago 0 replies      
One more reason to keep a reserve of Bitcoins. With a hardware wallet like a Trezor your bitcoins are secured on a physical device with a PIN and password. The police in the US can do civil asset forfeiture on gold, cash, and now bank accounts so obviously a more secure asset is needed. Bitcoin is that secure asset that can be moved in a few minutes in any amount to anywhere.
18
unimpressive 8 hours ago 0 replies      
"News 9 obtained a copy of the contract with the state.

It shows the state is paying ERAD Group Inc., $5,000 for the software and scanners, then 7.7 percent of all the cash the highway patrol seizes."

This is truly disgusting. I have no words.

19
rando444 12 hours ago 1 reply      
You have to wonder how this works.

Like how does the officer know how much you have and how much is 'appropriate' to confiscate?

I wonder if it does a series of authorizations looking for some sort of upper limit to figure out how much money is in the account and then they determine what to take from that?

Either way, this goes way beyond reason for what a trooper should be able to do on the side of a road during a traffic stop.

20
rrggrr 7 hours ago 0 replies      
This is the worst systemic abuse of police authority in contravention of the constitution - ever. Innocent accused will have to spend money in attorney's fees, lost work, lost interest, opportunity costs ... to retrieve their property. This is essentially an unlawful seizure.
21
nfriedly 11 hours ago 1 reply      
> News 9 obtained a copy of the contract with the state. It shows the state is paying ERAD Group Inc. [...] 7.7 percent of all the cash the highway patrol seizes.

I think that might even be worse then the police being able to sieze all of you money.

22
FreedomToCreate 12 hours ago 0 replies      
This seems looks like it was designed to be abused. If this is used, their must be additional training for cops on how to make a seizure decision, and major repercussions if they seize money from a person who is then proven to be innocent.
23
moribondus 3 hours ago 2 replies      
The police will keep encroaching until they meet some kind of resistance, which will not easily materialize because people here would be the first ones to utterly condemn respect-instilling reprisals.

If everybody else around you accepts to get arbitrarily molested in the butt, you either accept it too, or else you move out.

I have personally chosen to move out. Unfortunately, you can see the United Nations, USAID, international NGOs and similar organizations coming over here to convince the locals to accept similar abuse from their own government, by advocating "the rule of law". Of course, there are also the Christian organizations advocating to the locals to offer their other cheek to such thefting police.

Since I cannot keep "moving away", at some point I will have no other option than to finally make a stand.

The Art of War says that the secret of success consists in never letting the enemy choose the time and the place. You must always choose the time and the place by yourself. Therefore, it suggests that it is us who must schedule forceful attacks against the police. Seriously, I am all for it.

24
andyjdavis 2 hours ago 0 replies      
>We've seen where the money goes and how it's been misspent

Serious question, where does the money go and how is it spent? Who is it spent by?

We do have a process for the confiscation of proceeds of crime here in Australia. I believe the money goes into a big pot controlled by a federal government department (https://www.afsa.gov.au/ ie not the police) to be spent on community projects. I am sure that there is plenty of scope for waste etc but if nothing else the system would seem to do a good job of removing any financial incentives for the police to seize stuff.

25
l3m0ndr0p 11 hours ago 1 reply      
This is outrageous. The police can get away with this because they have a weapon, a gun, which can kill you if you resist. Or at the very least, call other cops, arrest you and throw you in jail and ruin your life while you have to prove your you are not guilty & try to get your money back.

This defies all logic and is a clear example of the corrupt state this country is in (USA).

26
nappy-doo 12 hours ago 4 replies      
My understanding with asset seizure is that you can show why the money was yours, and it is returned. What happens to the 7.7% taken by the servicer? Is it automatically returned as well?
27
quickben 8 hours ago 0 replies      
As a canadian reading this, my instinctive reactions were:1. Is this a parody of some kind?

After it turned out it's legit news:

2. So why they simply aren't maxing out people credit cards too?I mean, by the same flawed logic, it would stop crime if people are more in debt. You can of course prove you aren't going to use your credit card for further crimes and have the money returned.

Then again, I should stop giving people ideas.

28
jmuguy 12 hours ago 4 replies      
I think part of this is just shoddy reporting from a local news source, I believe this is tech they're talking about.

https://www.erad-group.com/fci

While the implications here are certainly pretty creepy, this seems more like something to use in investigations of money laundering, etc.

29
cmurf 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Turning law enforcement into highwaymen.
30
jmuguy 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Are you required to surrender your credit carts, etc to the cops during a traffic stop? What if you refuse?
31
jschwartzi 12 hours ago 1 reply      
I can't think of a better reason to stay out of Oklahoma.
32
ifdefdebug 9 hours ago 2 replies      
"If you can prove can prove that you have a legitimate reason to have that money it will be given back to you."

- Well my grandma saved it for me when I was a child. - Prove it. - Sorry but she's dead and I moved it to a new bank account two years ago. - Yeah sure.

This is just disgusting.

33
dmitrygr 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Repeat after me:

"No, officer, you may not see my wallet. I do not consent to a search of myself, my vehicle, or my property. I furthermore, refuse to have any further conversation with you. May I go now, or am I under arrest?"

Works every time for me.

34
adrenalinelol 5 hours ago 0 replies      
So they can drain your bank account... Then you'll need to hire a lawyer (after you've lost all your money) to prove you're innocent? Does ERAD give back the 7% fee? This has turned policemen into highwaymen.
35
_audakel 7 hours ago 0 replies      
>It shows the state is paying ERAD Group Inc., $5,000 for the software and scanners, then 7.7 percent of all the cash the highway patrol seizes.

If your cash is seized the police will go ahead and keep the full amount less the 7.7% fee. So what happens if the person is proven innocent? Does the police dept have to use its own funding to repay the 7.7% fee?

This seems unlikely to me (but that is based on no facts). Or does the company have to repay the money? It would seem like they could legally say they preformed a service and should not be required to refund the money.

Sadly it looks like if you are seen as "potential guilty" and your assets are seized, even if you are proven innocent you still lost 7.7% of your money. Then tack on legal fees associated with proving your innocent.....

36
sundvor 7 hours ago 0 replies      
As a Norwegian/Australian, I'm just shaking my head reading this. Sorry, I have nothing but reactionary drivel to add - but I wouldn't be surprised if this was to further (if that's even possible) increase US gun violence. For personal protection against robbery. This now appears as a marginally valid reason for your gun ownership; if they're going to take all your assets on a whim, leaving you with nothing to fend for, what have you got to lose? I mean, how do you survive in the "no handout" US with no money anyway?

This is the rich looking after the rich in the most corrupt and reprehensible way possible, see how this is going to work out for you as resentment grows in the population roots.

37
jitix 8 hours ago 0 replies      
This is physically repulsive and literal theft by the state. Do other developed countries (EU, Canada, etc.) have similar laws?
38
ible 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Cops and robbers really means something different these days.
39
x1798DE 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I think this is the first time I've thought it would be useful to have a device like the ill-fated Coin. Not that I keep money on prepaid cards, but if I did, it would be nice to back up my cards at home so that if stopped by the police I could pre-emptively delete the memory of the meta-card.
40
lasermike026 12 hours ago 1 reply      
What does this say about the security of our electronic funds? Gold bugs are going to have a field day with this.
41
pklausler 11 hours ago 1 reply      
What are the practical means of defense against these thieves with badges?
42
elliottcarlson 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Does anyone know if pre-paid cards will be required to go chip-in-card due to the EMV liability shift?
43
kyleblarson 12 hours ago 0 replies      
It's called a flyover state for a reason.
44
trbvm2 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Booster for crypto-currency
45
balls187 7 hours ago 0 replies      
> If you can prove can prove that you have a legitimate reason to have that money it will be given back to you.

I am dumbfounded by this statement.

46
visarga 11 hours ago 0 replies      
>"If you can prove can prove that you have a legitimate reason to have that money it will be given back to you."

The so called presumption of guilt. I am sure everyone has the proofs and doesn't need the money while they are held by the police.

47
retube 11 hours ago 0 replies      
It blows my mind this is even technically possible. Surely the target needs to enter a pin or something in order for the bank to authorise the transaction.

That said seizing cash whether physical notes or electronic must be subject to due process and a court order.

48
programmarchy 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Seems like a good use case for Bitcoin.
49
gherkin0 11 hours ago 1 reply      
This is total, corrupt bullshit. How the fuck is a traffic cop supposed to ascertain the origin of the money in your accounts, let alone if it was from the "the commission of a crime?"
50
awqrre 9 hours ago 2 replies      
They figured that if they can steal your cash without any consequences that they should go further, wow. What will it be next, your home?
51
Havoc 4 hours ago 0 replies      
>"If you can prove can prove that you have a legitimate reason to have that money

aka Guilty until proven innocent.

52
Scoundreller 4 hours ago 0 replies      
> We would be happy to introduce you to some of our clients. Please call us at 571-207-ERAD (3723)

Call now!

53
masmullin 9 hours ago 1 reply      
If citizens united proved that money is speech, does civil forfeiture not impede on the first amendment?
54
zyxley 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Sounds like there's now a market in Oklahoma for cards that are debit-only and will automatically reject all credit transactions.
55
oolongCat 12 hours ago 2 replies      
I come from an Asian country, we are used to bribes, crooked politicians, government workers etc etc.

To me the USA was the place where Neil Armstrong lived, it was the country that gave me so much that I was thankful for, it was a country where the words "Freedom of speech" ruled above everything. To me it was the country I wanted to be in if I had a wish.

Little by little, that idea I had of the united states is being changed, may be its my fault since I idealised the USA too much. May be its the news I read about, large scale surveillance, government officials who has no regard for civil liberties, people more powerful than the FBI, people above the law, power crazed security guards at airports etc etc.

I really really dislike this, wish I would once again get to believe that there is a place where people are treated right.

56
twinkletwinkle 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Reason #19836 not to go to Oklahoma...
57
BrittTheIsh 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Isn't there a limit to what police can ask you to provide during a traffic stop? How is it legal that they can ask to see your debit / credit cards?
58
apo 8 hours ago 0 replies      
59
japhyr 9 hours ago 1 reply      
So a highway patrol officer can ask to see my license, and I'm supposed to show it.

Now they're asking to see my entire wallet?! I'm assuming we're all well within our rights to refuse to hand over our wallets?

60
joesmo 12 hours ago 0 replies      
This should firmly cement law enforcement's status as thieves rather than civi servants. As if civil asset forfeiture didn't do that already, already making police the #1 class of thieves in the US: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/11/23/cops-...

To steal and murder! The correct police motto.

61
Negative1 10 hours ago 1 reply      
7.7%!? WOW! They really hustled those cops. I always hear how difficult it is to work with schools, law enforcement, basically most gov agencies. Surprising to see how well that company played the cops in this instance.
62
orbitingpluto 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Remember, tribute is required when traveling through the United States.

Wow, so it's now safest to travel around the country with your encrypted Bitcoin hid steganographically....

63
DanielBMarkham 11 hours ago 1 reply      
As a libertarian, I've seen a long line of articles that make me go Holy Cow!

It's gotten so I feel bad about it. I even apologize. Each time, I think "Well that's it, there's nothing that could go beyond this."

Holy cow!

Several years ago I sold a small lot which had an office on it. The guy who bought it paid cash. Cash is kinda unusual for this kind of transaction, so I asked him where he got it. He told me that he was a general contractor and had been saving for over ten years.

Then he told me that the previous month, while he was moving his savings to his mom's house, he got pulled over for a bad taillight.

They almost took all of his money. Holy cow! This was my introduction to Civil Asset Forfeiture.

There are many parts of this story that are amazing. Right away I note that if you're truly wealthy? You have nothing to fear. You have enough assets to pay the one lawyer who golfs with the local DA and get this thing fixed quickly. But if you're not? If you're like my friend saving up for a large purchase? Good freaking luck.

Read an article once from a former LE guy. I remember one of his points. He said that cops are hunters. They hunt bad guys. We are their prey.

As we are finding out, the definition of "bad guy" is wonderfully malleable. Just about anybody can be one. The more political power you have (whether through contacts, as a politician, or by having money), the less likely you are to be one.

There has been a long tradition in the states of assuming the best when dealing with the local constable. They have tough jobs, usually the training isn't terribly difficult, it's a good spot for people who like guns and violence but want to be one of the good guys.

This tradition is coming to a close. While the constable himself might be a nice enough, stand-up guy, the system as a whole is terribly corrupt and overbearing. I might go so far as to say evil.

This cannot continue. Reforms are desperately needed.

64
Zikes 12 hours ago 3 replies      
So we can't carry cash, because they'll seize that directly. This device could probably do some sort of run around the new chip system in cards. Bitcoin is nearly useless in the real world. So where does that leave us? Google & Apple Pay on our phones? At least our phones can be password protected.
65
ivanstojic 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I guess I'm never visiting Oklahoma.
66
moosetafa 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Yet one more reason to stay away from a shithole like Oklahoma. All that jesus worshiping has completely fried their brains.
67
Zikes 12 hours ago 0 replies      
> "If you can prove can prove that you have a legitimate reason to have that money it will be given back to you. And we've done that in the past," Vincent said about any money seized.

Literally the opposite of how presumed innocence is supposed to work. Furthermore, good luck mounting a decent case now that they have all your money.

68
agoa 10 hours ago 0 replies      
If only we could get similar technology in London?

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/london-is-now-the...

69
ck2 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Remember this is without trial, without immediate oversight.

Hopefully the incredulity of this will put a spotlight on civil forfeiture and end it once and for all.

But it probably will take a decade to get to the supreme court and this will ruin lives in the meanwhile.

And then there is who is going to fill the next three supreme court judge slots and how they feel about "the police can do no wrong" authoritarianism.

70
millzlane 9 hours ago 0 replies      
From my cold dead fingers.
71
googletazer 9 hours ago 0 replies      
"If you can prove can prove that you have a legitimate reason to have that money it will be given back to you. And we've done that in the past"

Absolutely terrible. Finally bitcoin et al have a legitimate use - protecting your property from grubby government hands.

73
hackaflocka 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder if the same companies that make these cards also make the devices that allow extrication of money from seized cards.
74
mrhargro 4 hours ago 0 replies      
puke
75
alistproducer2 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Seems legit.
76
jbigelow76 7 hours ago 3 replies      
They took a whole Christian band? Are they going to be shackled and forced to play county fairs and police fund raisers for the rest of their lives?
77
PhrosTT 12 hours ago 2 replies      
What the fuck is happening to this country?
78
eonw 11 hours ago 7 replies      
From Article:"If you can prove that you have a legitimate reason to have that money it will be given back to you. And we've done that in the past," Vincent said about any money seized.

Under no circumstance should i have to PROVE where my money came from nor how i got it. this is assumed guilt and utterly unamerican IMO. Where is the burden of proof that must be reached before taking my assets and forcing me to prove that i have the right to have them. OK = backwoods state full of backwoods laws, and apparently backwoods people that keep voting for these types of idiots.

79
fapjacks 8 hours ago 3 replies      
This is the crux here. The "rule of law" is equivalent to "rule of men in black with automatic weapons". If you call the police, you are just outsourcing your violence to the men in black uniforms with automatic weapons. Because at the end of the day, they will use force. The "rule of law" is not "let's have a reasonable conversation about the issues".
80
iancarroll 12 hours ago 1 reply      
The DHS says this is only for prepaid cards, which are more likely to be fraudulent: https://www.dhs.gov/science-and-technology/prepaid-card-read...
81
Roboprog 11 hours ago 3 replies      
Welcome to the post-Reagan era, kids. This stuff really took off during the 80s war on drugs. (which is about as successful as the war on alcohol was - for gangsters dealing)

If only Thatcherism / Reaganism never happened... (and Laffer, Friedman and all the other related right wing propaganda that's been catapulted down our throats)

I suppose things will eventually get bad enough that people will eventually realize "Everything that demented old man proposed was wrong?!?" (demented as in literal "alzheimer's patient")

10
How Two Seattle-Area Brothers Made Dwarf Fortress seattleweekly.com
200 points by robinhoodexe  8 hours ago   57 comments top 16
1
Natsu 6 hours ago 0 replies      
> The brothers find most of their data online, but it is only because of Dwarf Fortress that you can find the density of saguaro cactus wood on the Internet. When Tarn and Zach couldnt find the number, a fan ordered cactus wood from a dealer, empirically determined the density using liquid displacement tests, and relayed back the results, which ended up in the game.

I suspect this author reads HN :) If anyone was curious, the thread where Saguaro wood's solid density was determined can be found here:

http://www.bay12forums.com/smf/index.php?topic=80022.0

> NEW: The guesstimate of 300 kg/m^3 for Saguaro density in the V2 raws was probably wrong. I have a 6g piece of Saguaro wood with a volume of approximately 14 cm^3, which indicates that the density of Saguaro wood is approximately 430 kg/m^3. This number appears very reasonable when compared to all the other densities I have researched. I have more ~1 ft pieces of Saguaro rib wood than I know what to do with right now and I'm more than willing to ship them to people willing to do further research on the matter, or those who wish to duplicate my experiments.

In fact, there are two approximately 1" saguaro wood cubes sitting on my desk directly in front of me at this very moment.

2
epaga 6 hours ago 3 replies      
Dwarf Fortress is a truly unique game and really worth putting in the effort to learn simply due to the stories it generates as you play - and it is amazing how the stories emerge from the ASCII symbols.

Here's an example of a story that happened to me. https://www.reddit.com/r/dwarffortress/comments/1mb0cw/the_s... Note: this story is in NO way embellished by me. Everything described there was actually fully simulated within the game.

3
phil248 3 hours ago 3 replies      
I'm a dedicated gamer who has found countless hours of enjoyment from games like Minecraft and Crusader Kings 2. But in my attempts to play Dwarf Fortress, I felt like I was being trolled. Like the entire thing was some 'in' joke and by spending hours attempting to figure out the UI, I was the butt of said joke. I find time to play games like CK2 despite the poor UI and serious time commitments, but I'm a grown man with a job and I don't have time to play a game with what is quite possibly the worst UI in gaming history.
4
faide 7 hours ago 3 replies      
I find the UI of Dwarf Fortress completely impenetrable, but am fascinated by the level of depth and granularity in the systems underlying the game.

If anyone is interested in the game, I recommend grabbing the Lazy Newb Pack[0] which comes with a few utilities that will make your experience slightly less infuriating.

[0] http://lazynewbpack.com/

5
mundo 5 hours ago 1 reply      
If this piques your interest and you have a few hours to kill, you might enjoy reading the Roomcarnage saga: http://imgur.com/a/xhQHE/layout/horizontal#0

Briefly, it's a very experienced DF player trying to conquer a frozen volcano who has written up his exploits in narrative form. Fun read and will give you a good idea of what DF is allabout.

6
cryptoz 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I guess this is the article that makes me realize I'm out of touch. I was super excited to see what kind of small castle they built, how they did it with just two people, and I also had lots of legal questions about building castles. Oh well, this looks neat too!

Edit: was expecting something like this, for those of you now interested in home-castle-building-stories: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2280764/Farmer-told-...

7
robohamburger 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Some other interesting articles form the past:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/24/magazine/the-brilliance-of...

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/131954/interview_the_m...

I have played quite a bit of the game and it is amazing despite its insane and sometimes frustrating UI.

8
curiousgal 6 hours ago 2 replies      
I always play Dwarf Fortress when I am waiting in the airport and there's always someone near me who thinks I'm "computer hacking".
9
overcast 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I had no idea that this game is essentially their life's work. Playing that looks like the equivalent of reading raw Matrix code.
10
alyandon 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I've had so many hours of entertainment playing Dwarf Fortress I usually donate $10-$20 every major release. Well worth it if you can get past the UI.
11
Olscore 7 hours ago 4 replies      
If you like Dwarf Fortress, you might like a game called: Factorio
12
cpeterso 5 hours ago 2 replies      
Given the game's huge following, they should pledge to open source the code before they die so the saga can continue. :) If they don't make money from direct sales, why not open source the game now?
13
Jordrok 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Dwarf Fortress is truly an inspiring project, not only because of how amazingly fun and engrossing the game is if you can get into it (granted, it's not for everyone), but also because of the sheer amount of dedication and love that is put into it by Tarn and Zach Adams.
14
chrisdbaldwin 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Tarn's dissertation "Flat Chains in Banach Spaces" is truly awesome, if you have enough domain knowledge to understand what it's talking about. I love those guys.
15
khalilravanna 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Truly awe-inspiring and inspirational work. Over a decade spent working on that one game. A bit over two years ago I started working on my own similar type of game (a Dwarf-Fortress-like or DF-like if you will) and it's given me so much appreciation for the insanity that is game development. The sheer amount of time it takes to build out a system with so much depth is incredible. I've probably been working an average of 8-10 hours a week for 2 years and I have but a fraction of the functionality. Dwarf Fortress stands as a bastion of inspiration I can look to any time I feel like quitting.
16
exratione 2 hours ago 0 replies      
So: Dwarf Fortress in a forest with an aquifer down in the soil.

It takes a year to build a wooden hall large enough for most of the workshops, on one side of the river, while on the other side digging out a collapse to drop soil into the acquifer. A lovely wooden bridge and wooden tile road is the meeting area to keep the dwarves happy while they have no stone.

The dwarf with the only pickaxe falls into the watery pit under the collapse and drowns. I have to wait half a year to trade for another while the dwarves live on fish and berries in their hall. They are haunted by the ghost of the miner, as there is no stone for for a engraved slab in the graveyard. Cherry blossoms litter the ground, and blow into the half-finished excavation.

A crafter is possessed and wants stone, the one thing we don't have. What little the drwarves traded for had to go to other uses. A great pile of wooden crafts is building up. Just as well there are no elven neighbors. The crafter becomes melancholy, and wanders about the fisherdwarves, watching them. Sometimes he stands in the middle of the river.

After trading a new pick, the next miner knocks out the remaining support, and the collapse happens. But, alas, the aquifer is two levels thick! Only one level is smushed dry with the collapsed soil. We trade for rock, build a new structure in the now open watery pit. Two dwarves fall in that season during the construction, adding more drowned victims and wailing ghosts.

The construction of stone walls in the pit is knocked down at the cost of yet another dwarf - yet it isn't enough to breach the aquifer. Woe. The pit is now littered with rock and bodies and materials.

There is only one other thing to do; build a stack of wooden pumps, stairs, landings down into the pit, and an aquaduct to the river. Pump it dry and send in dwarfs to build walls and lock away the water.

All of this and still not at the point of the exercise - to raise a great hollow tower of stone over the river and a deep pit of stairs beneath, and tear down the hall of wood for charcoal. So it continues.

11
Bias Against Novelty in Science nber.org
76 points by wyndham  6 hours ago   33 comments top 12
1
jrapdx3 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Having experienced bias against publishing truly novel findings, I can testify this form of bias is a potential hazard re: scientific progress.

Back in the early 2000's, in the course of clinical practice I encountered some unexpected outcomes of treatment which correlated to a particular, if unexpected diagnosis. I tried to find info about this, but to my surprise a thorough search of the literature came up empty.

I felt a duty to report my observations. Putting it into a formal paper was difficult for me to accomplish, but did get it organized. Believing in the idea of open access, I decided to submit to a newly established open-access publisher.

Peer review did not go smoothly. Because the subject had never been reported before, at least in a peer-reviewed journal, the reviewers expressed doubt about the reality of the data. One "peer" was determined to disparage the report to the extent of making glaringly inaccurate, distorted comments about the nature of the condition in the subjects of my report. After a rigorous defense of data and procedure the editors decided to ignore the negative review and the report was published.

Novelty is not only apparent in terms of methodology or cross-discipline application of ideas, but also arises when attempting to share previously unreported observations. The closed-mindedness of many in the academic community (who are the predominant peer reviewers) is apparently a pervasive problem in the sciences, and possibly endemic in academic culture in general.

2
rtpg 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I feel like if you break down what's being said here, that it's just a consequence of having to communicate ideas to people.

I publish "Gravitational constant is actually (some slightly more specific thing)", with extension of existing methods. Someone sees that and already will be convinced just by the title!

I publish "Gravity is actually caused by micro-gnomes pushing things around with walkie-talkes", and it's pretty novel. I don't really have existing work to base it on.

Why should anyone believe my work has any basis in reality then? The burden of proof is on me to convince people. Fool-proof methodology, simple explanations. Bringing it back to current understanding helps. But I'm the person saying everything is different, the world owes nothing to me just yet.

Not to mention that the header graph is totally confirmation bias. Yes, you're going to cite the original paper citing the effect you're studying. You probably won't cite most incremental research. Definitionally novel papers that get any traction will collect references.

---

I actually have an example of my own novel research! I'm the first person to post about a bug with Ubuntu's (at the time) new IME manager[0] on Ask Ubuntu. Turns out there was a real thing (and it wasn't me being silly). So now I have 550 points on Ask Ubuntu because of this question, and get notifications about it all the time.

I have cornered the "Ubuntu 13.10 keyboard bug" citation space. Mainly for being first. And I have gotten extra rewarded for it. Novel papers enjoy the same perks when they get any traction.

[0]: http://askubuntu.com/questions/356357/how-to-use-altshift-to...

3
0xcde4c3db 2 hours ago 0 replies      
It's likely not the same phenomenon, but I'm reminded of the story of Millikan's oil drop experiment and how the accepted value slowly changed from Millikan's reported value to the curent accepted value.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil_drop_experiment#Millikan.2...

4
untilHellbanned 5 hours ago 3 replies      
Yep. Professor in molecular biology here. Been at numerous universities you know. I can confirm very unscientific groupthink as the main driver of science progress nowadays. Being a lone wolf, rogue isn't really a viable option given the funding climate. Perfect sheep extends all the way from college to the professor level. Think this would surprise most lay people given the conception of scientists as off in their own world.
5
rcpt 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Their full paper is here http://cepr.org/sites/default/files/news/CEPR_FreeDP_180416.... . If I followed it correctly they measure "novelty" by:

- bucketing citations into journals

- building a network of journals with edge weights defined by the number of papers that cite both journals

- Using cosine similarity between journals (cf https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Similarity_(network_science)#C... ) in this network to define how banal it is to cite them together

- For a new paper, they recompute this matrix and define novelty by summing 1-banality over the new edges

I don't know if their method reduces to a standard thing from network science (eg. betweenness, centrality, ?) but I would not be surprised if it did.

A closely-related paper with a totally-different writing style did something like this a few years back:

"Citing for High Impact" https://cs.stanford.edu/people/jure/pubs/citations-jcdl10.pd...

6
Jozrael 5 hours ago 2 replies      
My preconceptions here are the reverse - that mundane studies seeking to replicate existing studies to confirm their findings are boring, and as such are not pursued or funded, despite their importance. I understand that 'novel' is being used in a slightly different context here, though.
7
yk 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Intuitively this sounds like confirmation for the current system. The thing is, that it takes time to understand truly novel research, while a measurement like the discovery of the Higgs has a immediate impact, because the Higgs mechanism was studied for 40 years.

(To be clear, I believe that the focus on citations is stupid for other reasons, but this does not seem to be a failure of the system.)

8
beloch 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Is this bias, or does it just take time for other researchers to go into areas opened up by novel papers and then publish other papers that cite those novel papers?
9
ploplop 3 hours ago 2 replies      
My aunt's been studying the sun magnetic field for decades. She has measured (yes, measured) parts of the sun inner magnetic field (quite complex to do actually). Div(B) not null there. She can't get it published because Maxwell's equations and it's a "new" discovery. Maxwell starts with "in the void", I think we can agreed that centre of the sun is not the void. It is incredible that scientist MEASURING stuff can't get its measures published in recognized science papers.
10
byroniczero 5 hours ago 1 reply      
11
powera 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Good! There should be a bias against new things until the new things are proven to be correct.

Optimizing science based on "what do people who want to get tenure want" seems like a great way to be bad at science.

12
mathattack 4 hours ago 1 reply      
If anything I've heard the other thing - that it's hard to get published unless something is novel enough. There's not much interest in studies that just confirm or slightly extend, which is why reproducibility becomes an issue.
12
US Cellular Now a Part of Project Fi's Network googleblog.com
158 points by Navarr  9 hours ago   75 comments top 15
1
sumitgt 7 hours ago 4 replies      
I must say Project FI has worked out really nice for me. I'm usually in Wifi range, so my data usage is very low. Works out to around $27 each month. And the service is really good.

BUT, I live in the constant fear of Google shutting down the service. In fact I'm slowly finding myself skeptical of adopting new Google products because I'm worried it will go away.

2
plusbryan 8 hours ago 2 replies      
Good to see the network growing!

Looking at US Cellular's coverage map (https://www.uscellular.com/coverage-map/coverage-indicator.h...), this news won't benefit the sf bay area, but help users in the northwest, northeast, and midwest.

3
Analemma_ 8 hours ago 3 replies      
Huh, I did not know until just now that US Cellular owned their own network. I could've sworn that Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint were the only four network owners in America and US Cellular was an MVNO. Guess that says something about either the quality of their network or the quality of their marketing.
4
AcerbicZero 8 hours ago 2 replies      
Its good to see them expanding the networks, if only a little. I've been on Project Fi for ~6 months or so and its been a fairly mediocre experience so far, but it works well enough for the price point I suppose.
5
Fej 7 hours ago 4 replies      
This is cool and all, but I'm worried that Google will just pull the plug during one "spring cleaning" event. Plus T-Mobile's $100/4 lines/2 GB per line is just unbeatable right now... cheaper and more data.
6
benmcnelly 8 hours ago 1 reply      
This is great news, as we have quite a bit of coverage by them here (Midwest). I feel like I see a lot of people mention issues with Fi on the web, I must be one of the lucky few that have not only had no issues, but stellar performance all around.
7
danellis 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Unless they offer LTE in Canada, this doesn't compare well to my T-Mobile plan, other than diverse networks. That's the one thing that definitely put me off trying it.
8
douche 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Oh, US Cellular... Somehow I can be near line-of-sight to one of their towers, and barely get two bars of service.

At least its cheap, although I am still grandfathered into my parents' family plan for around $20/month. I think an equivalent individual plan from ATT or Verizon in this area would run over $100, which would be ridiculous for the 3-4 phone calls a month I make.

9
betaby 3 hours ago 1 reply      
How does it work? Is this VOIP via LTE and Wi-Fi? How it wakes up to receive a call? Does phone constantly have Wi-Fi on? Would it drain battery quickly? Any good write up about tech detail? I have read some reports from people switched their phones to data only and having VOIP over that LTE. Somewhat doubtful how reliably can VOIP work on Wi-Fi while phone is locked.
10
rabble 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I love Project FI, but nobody who tries to call me ever gets through. Not nobody, but really like %75 of the calls don't go through. The data and international roaming are wonderful.
11
wnevets 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I wanna switch to project fi but I just can't get over how cheap tmobile's 5GB LTE for $30 is.
12
DiabloD3 8 hours ago 0 replies      
This is really great, but I'm still not really wanting to switch because I'd have to replace my Nexus 5.

It isn't dead yet, and I can't really justify the cost.

13
mdip 3 hours ago 0 replies      
This is fantastic. The statements they're making about multiple networks providing superior coverage have rung true for me, personally. I've been a Project Fi user in Michigan since shortly after they announced its availability (I was in a well covered area for T-Mobile and Sprint and got in early on the invite list, I guess).

My parents have a home "up north" (the thumb area of Michigan) and I've had service with both T-Mo and Verizon since I've been spending a lot of time up there. Coverage from VZW/T-Mo, despite being vastly different networks, suffered from a large dead spot in Fort Gratiot and coverage on the property was also terrible (low lying, beach front property results in a very obstructed situation). I switched to T-Mo because I'd pick up Canadian towers on the property with Verizon which would cause me billing problems[1].

The statements they're making about choosing the best provider from multiple providers is not marketing. I get 4G coverage all the way up to through the most rural areas and can pull a signal on the property (2G, sometimes Canada, but it's there if I need it). T-Mobile and Sprint's network is different enough that no other MVNOs that I know of support both. Because Project Fi does, I get excellent coverage -- where T-Mo lacked, at least in the areas I travel, Sprint has a great signal and my 4G performance is so consistent that I haven't had occasion to even look to see if I'm in LTE or not (that would only happen when the music would stop or a browsing session would die -- "oh, I'm 2G/3G, no wonder!").

Nobody in my family has reliable service except for my wife and I (she's on Fi, now, too). The Wi-Fi features work seamlessly and are much more intelligent than I experienced on T-Mo. Due to one of my APs being wonky at home, Project Fi automatically uses 4G for calls when I'm attached to it. When I'm connected to my properly functioning AP, it uses WiFi (internet works on both, but no VoIP service from mobile phones has ever worked on the one). With T-Mo, I had to turn WiFi calling off because I'd just stop being able to make/take calls when connected to the broken router. It hands off calls without issue, as well (there's a brief period where audio is dead when this happens but I usually don't notice it).

It's a well thought out service and the pricing was perfect for me. I'm on WiFi 99% of the time and my mobile data is often below 1G/mo, however, with the work I do I can have a month or two a year where my data goes well beyond 6GB, so I always kept my plan at that level and just donated that money to T-Mo/Verizon. The prices aren't the lowest in the area when pre-paid offerings are included, but with the service being what it is, I'd pay more for this kind of reliability.

[1] T-Mo doesn't charge for Canadian data or texts and allowed WiFi calling (I'm not sure if Verizon does, yet, or not) so this resolved the problem for me. Coverage wasn't as good, especially a few years ago with 4G, but it was good enough.

14
kmiroslav 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Does anyone have any experience of using Google Fi with Google Voice?
15
dang 8 hours ago 0 replies      
13
Typosquatting programming language package managers incolumitas.com
398 points by xrstf  14 hours ago   134 comments top 24
1
wbond 12 hours ago 5 replies      
We've gotten flack from package developers submitting new packages to Package Control [0] because all additions to the default channel are hand reviewed. Part of this process is to prevent accidentally close package names, to try and encourage collaboration and to encourage developers to actually explain what their package does and how to use it.

My hope is to be automating a large amount of the review in the next few months, however I think this is a good argument for never having it be fully automatic. Having a human sanity check submissions isn't a terrible idea if we can keep the workload down.

Certainly this doesn't prevent a malicious author from posting a legitimate package and then changing the contents to be malicious, but that can be somewhat solved by turning off automatic updates.

[0] https://packagecontrol.io

2
Mahn 12 hours ago 1 reply      
> In the thesis itself, several powerful methods to defend against typo squatting attacks are discussed. Therefore they are not included in this blog post.

http://incolumitas.com/data/thesis.pdf section 5 "Practical implications". Just wanted to point out that in case you skipped it it's worth a read, some interesting proposals there that are worth discussing with package manager maintainers.

I particularly like the preemptive approach of auto-blacklisting common typos by simply monitoring the number of times a specific unexisting package is requested over time (5.10). So if a lot of people regularly attempt to install the unexisting package "reqeusts", it could signal that it's a common typo and should be blacklisted to prevent malicious use in the future. False positives could always be sorted out manually by communicating with the package manager maintainers.

3
zeveb 12 hours ago 2 replies      
Reminds me of the quote, 'there are only two hard things in computer science: naming things, cache invalidation and off-by-one errors.'

I think that this clearly falls under the heading 'naming issue.' People know what they want, but do not enter it properly.

I can't think of a 100% off-hand, which isn't surprising, because it's a hard problem.

pmontra's suggestion to use typo blacklisting ain't a bad idea. Maybe some sort of reputation-per-name could help?

4
szx 12 hours ago 2 replies      
When you think about it, how different is the destructive potential of an npm/pip install from curl | bash that (some) people tend to froth at the mouth about?

It's pretty mind blowing how big of a blindspot package installers are. I guess running everything inside a e.g. Docker container/VM would be a partial interim solution for the paranoid?

5
eudox 13 hours ago 4 replies      
I'm a fan of the approach of personally submitting projects to the repository maintainer (e.g. through GitHub issues), and having the maintainer personally approve them.

It does raise the barrier to entry, but it would prevent typosquatting and regular namesquatting.

EDIT: Does any major package manager provide a "did you mean" functionality, offering a list of actual package names similar to what you typed?

6
baby 12 hours ago 0 replies      
After watching this awesome Defcon talk https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YqxaKGA9Lnc I wondered if there was any use cases for bit/typo squating in crypto. This is a pretty cool one! Not crypto but interesting none-the-less :)
7
Mizza 12 hours ago 6 replies      
This seems like pretty unethical research to me.

Also, doesn't point out that the bigger threat is that this is wormable.

8
pmontra 13 hours ago 3 replies      
Probably the maintainers of the package managers know which typos their users do, because of the 404s in the logs or equivalent errors. A preventive action could be starting to blacklist any name resolving to 404. If somebody eventually tries to upload a package in the blacklist, a maintainer should check the code and whitelist the name. Obviously people can be very crative with typos and with squattinq and there is no real protection against mistakes.
9
cormacrelf 12 hours ago 0 replies      
And 'npmjs.org' is misspelled as 'npmsjs.org' in the introduction. Nice.
10
nichochar 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Wow, this a very good study and explanation of what typo squatting is, and I really liked how he proved it's effectiveness.

I wonder what kind of steps we can take to prevent this risk.

11
PeterisP 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Part of the problem is the many packages that require sudo permissions to install - IMHO that should be an exceptional case, but it isn't.
12
ysavir 11 hours ago 2 replies      
Instead of blacklisting, why not respond with a "You requested package ABD, but we think you might mean package ABC. Enter 'yes' to continue or anything else to start over."

That way authors can continue to use any name they want, and the emphasis is on letting installers know that they might be installing the wrong package.

13
airless_bar 11 hours ago 5 replies      
This only seems to be an issue for languages where packages reside in a global namespace, like Python, Rust etc.

I think most languages these days are a bit smarter and avoid this beginner mistake (for various reasons).

14
zmanian 7 hours ago 0 replies      
We need operating system vendors to give us a mechanism for easily creating and managed sandboxed dev environments.

Ones dev environment should be a place where remote code execution is a high probablity and we need better tools to partition that from high value data.

15
bennofs 12 hours ago 5 replies      
Did anyone else find it surprising the the number of total requests (45334) is so much higher than the number of unique total requests (17289)? It is more than twice the number of unique requests!

Possible explainations:

* Perhaps many of those are automated build systems, which would also explain the high number of systems with admin access (for example, if you use travis without docker, every build runs in a clean vm with admin access).

* People download one package and install it multiple times? Seems unlikely

Any other ideas?

16
jogjayr 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I thank my stars every time I get a "Package not found" error due to a typo, because I'm reminded that it could have been much worse.
17
mirekrusin 11 hours ago 2 replies      
with npm there should be at least an option which prompts for Y/N/A when package has preinstall hook.

but even this just tries to put the problem under carpet. you could still for example have requests package which just installs request package, works as expected, just sends request/response to your own server from time to time. ie. when there's http basic auth used only.

18
andrewstuart 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Ouch. This really hurts. So hard to protect against human error.
19
mbroshi 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Maybe this is overly naive, but when I make a typo in the Google search bar, it doesn't even search for my typo-ed term (even if it would have gotten some hits), it searches for what I actually meant to type. Can't package managers have a similar feature?
20
ryanmarsh 13 hours ago 1 reply      
So last week my client discovered there's a gem named bunlder... sigh
21
tbrock 9 hours ago 0 replies      
The homebrew model where packages and changes to packages are reviewed takes care of this problem quite nicely.
22
sheerun 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Glad to hear bower is stated to be safe in this regard :)
23
irremediable 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Really cool applied research. If I get the time, I'll check out the author's thesis.
24
optimuspaul 12 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm confused.. is it 17 computers or 17000 computers? inconsistent use of decimals in this article.
14
Coming changes to Apple's App Store theverge.com
211 points by jontayesp  10 hours ago   208 comments top 38
1
AlexandrB 9 hours ago 8 replies      
As someone who buys a lot of apps this is very disappointing. Things that would make me buy MORE apps (demos, upgrade pricing, better support) are still not in the app store, meanwhile the one pricing model I detest (subscriptions) is being added.

I suspect I'll be buying far fewer apps if there's a mass movement from a purchase model to a subscription model among app developers. I'm perfectly happy to pay $20-30 for an app (even a simple app) if it provides value and I'm happy to pay for major upgrades or additional content/features, but I won't pay $20-30 a year just to maintain the ability to launch an app on an ongoing basis.

In addition, after years of terrible search in the app store, coupling search improvements with search-based ads is just a kick in the shins.

2
localhost3000 8 hours ago 1 reply      
As an indie developer my single biggest gripe with the app store (after the obviously asinine review process) is the resetting of visible app reviews any time an app is updated. This is an incredibly expensive tax on shipping app updates which creates a strong disincentive to not incrementally improve your product and a strong incentive for sleazy developers to buy fake reviews when they do ship an update. I detest this part of the app store. DETEST.
3
adrianhon 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Almost exactly one year ago, we switched Zombies, Run! - a fitness game - from being a paid app ($4-8) to a free-to-play app with subscriptions ($4/month, $20/year). Unsurprisingly, I'm delighted by this announcement, because it rewards apps like ours that provide long-term value and entertainment for our users.

Clearly a subscription model isn't for many apps - probably most apps. But it was right for us, as we've been maintaining and improving Zombies, Run! for over four years now, and every week we add new content. With a subscription model, we only get paid if people decide we're good enough to commit to over a long period of time. Since we're about helping people exercise, I think that's fair enough.

4
surds 10 hours ago 3 replies      
Subscription model for all apps...

I don't see a reason to subscribe for apps that are one-time pay and periodic long term use. There is a fine line here that developers will have to be cautious not to cross. A lot of apps have no reason to be subscription model, but the prospect of recurring revenue is too tempting.

Edit: On the other hand, this is totally awesome for services and products that already offer subscriptions on other platforms or on the web, like online streaming, education, and as someone mentioned here, tools like Sketch.

5
intrasight 41 minutes ago 0 replies      
Reading this discussion, I've seen several comment on the "hassle of managing all those subscriptions". But wouldn't it be the case that the app store is going to do that for you, and give you both a single notification channel and a single point of management? Isn't that the whole purpose of managing the subscriptions through the app store instead of having customers visit your web site directly? Isn't that what Apple is getting %15 to perform?
6
matt2000 9 hours ago 0 replies      
One interesting side effect of this might be that reasonably priced single-payment apps might seem desirable again. If a lot of apps switch to a $0.99/month subscription, then even a $4.99 one time payment might seem ok, whereas right now it would considered expensive by most users.
7
jaxondu 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Apple has put up a "Whats New in Subscriptions" site with a "Coming Soon" label: https://developer.apple.com/app-store/subscriptions/whats-ne...

Also for Search Ads (Coming this fall): https://developer.apple.com/app-store/search-ads/

8
uptown 10 hours ago 1 reply      
"Part of that energy has been channeled into figuring out how to sell developers on subscription services, and not only that, but how to keep them keeping on with those subscriptions. Previously, only apps classified as news, cloud services, dating apps, or audio / video streaming apps could sell subscription content. Now its open to all product categories.

For the first year of a subscription Apple will maintain its 70 / 30 revenue share; after one year, the new 85 percent / 15 percent revenue share will kick in (applied per subscriber). The new app subscription model will roll out to developers this fall, though if app makers have subscribers theyve already retained for a year, the new revenue split starts June 13th."

That's a big change.

9
chj 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Few customers realize that how much it costs to keep an app going: platform API and UI change will either break your app or uglify it. If the app is using external service, then the service API could change too and that causes a lot of work. New device models come, and you will need a lot of work in redesigning the user interface. Even if you are not adding new features, the cost is real to developers especially if the market for this app is small.
10
dcw303 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Apple's revisions to the App Store reinforce that they consider it a rival to the World Wide Web.

Google cornered Web search. Reaction: As they own the walled garden, Apple completely control search within the App Store. Adwords owns Web Advertisitng. Reaction: Apple will launch paid search in the App Store.Companies like Netflix, Blizzard, and Salesforce have direct lines to their customer's wallets through subscriptions. Reaction: Apple will launch subscriptions in App Store and take a cut from their developers.

I don't see any of this as a surprise. In fact, I see it as Apple playing to their own strengths. The web is too open a platform for Apple, and history has shown they don't succeed when they don't have control.

11
sagivo 9 hours ago 0 replies      
the +15% more after a year is a joke. like this article mentioned - the majority of the apps are games, games after a year are usually forgotten and they make most of the revenue on their first year on the market.

about subscriptions - i don't see any reason a developer would share the subscriptions revenue with apple while they sale it for free and make in-app subscriptions.

12
archagon 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Bleh, subscriptions. I'm fine with them if your app is offering features that require use of your servers, but it seems many indie developers are interested instead in charging for the "privilege" of running local code on your device (as with Photoshop). I'll pass.
13
have_faith 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I detest subscriptions of all kinds. I don't want to manage them. I don't want to figure out how much I'm paying out per month across all types of subscriptions. I don't want a service to manage it for me, I just don't want the cognitive overhead. I don't want to remember the terms of each subscription, how long it takes to cancel (if and when I can get through to someone to cancel it). Or the fact that I lose access to something when I stop paying. I don't want to forget to cancel it only to find I'm bound to another 6 months. Etc, etc. I could go on.

I also strongly dislike that they know that x% of users after signing up will barely use the service and it's essentially free money. I know this is why they do it, and I won't support companies for trying to take advantage of users.

14
jaxondu 10 hours ago 4 replies      
Interestingly Sketch app announced today they're changing to a subscription model soon. Sketch app abandoned Apple store last December. Looks like Sketch will be back to Mac App Store this fall.

It is sad that Apple only took action now, after years of requests and complains by indie developers. Now that app boom is over, I doubt this App Store changes will have any impact.

15
palakchokshi 10 hours ago 1 reply      
There are so many problems with the AppStore that need to be fixed and I hope atleast some are with these additions to the AppStore.

1. Fix app discovery

2. Fix app search before putting search ads. e.g. if your app name has a symbol in it searching by app name will NOT return your app in the search results.

3. App review times can be further reduced by automating the review process

4. Try it before you buy it option

5. Better UX

16
abalone 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I wonder if Apple is taking more than a 50% haircut on this post year one.

Credit card fees come out of their share and those could very well account for the bulk of the 15%. Even if Apple pays nothing in payment processor markup, there is a fixed minimum "interchange" cost that everyone has to pay (even Walmart). For "ecommerce" it's:[1]

Credit: $0.10 + 1.8-2.4%

Debit: $0.21 + 0.05%

Those 10-21 cent minimums make a big dent in smaller transactions. For a monthly recurring charge of $1.99, already 6% of that goes to credit card interchange. That leaves a 9% gross margin for Apple (4% if debit).

At $0.99, Apple's margin drops to 3% on credit, and they lose money on a debit card.

Now, there is a "small ticket" interchange category that one would hope these transactions would qualify for. That's just $0.04 + 1.65%. But it says it requires a swipe, so I'm not sure. From a fraud risk standpoint Apple Pay should be treated better than a swipe, but I'm not sure if the rules have caught up yet.

[1] https://usa.visa.com/dam/VCOM/download/merchants/Visa-USA-In...

17
lips 9 hours ago 0 replies      
This won't substantially change anything, given the existing power-law type distribution of app-store earnings.When the ~app~ store debuted, I called it the K-Martization of software.This is just Apple expanding into Rent-A-Center.
18
galistoca 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Unless there's a legitimate reason for subscription (if it's cloud based and deals with private content) the law of supply and demand will kick in, which means it will work for these particular types of apps but won't work for others because there's always going to be a competitor who will provide the same service for free.
19
canistr 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder if this will further reinforce the notion of the "Dunbar's number of apps". In the sense that on a country-by-country basis, the disposable income of people could become the limiting factor affecting how many apps that users install.

If the supposed cognitive load of people for using apps is around 26-27, then is there an economic load that says that people will max at say--- $60/month--- in total app subscriptions in the US? And this number could change drastically for users in other countries based on fluctuating dollar values.

20
nfriedly 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I won't say that I really like the idea of search ads, but I think it will be better than the current situation because it should at least reduce the amount of money that's currently spent on illegitimately gaming the search results.
21
AndrewKemendo 10 hours ago 3 replies      
All I know is that their review process has gotten WAY faster and better over the last month, as in 24 hour review which has been awesome. Have other people noticed this?

I wonder if they added capacity or dropped review quality - so far we haven't seen a drop in quality and they are able to catch problems at about the same rate.

22
zkirill 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Our business management app is free to use on iOS but we charge a monthly subscription to use the web client and that has been working pretty well. With these coming changes I wonder if it would make sense to start charging monthly subscription for Pro features on iOS and how users will react to that.
23
kybernetyk 6 hours ago 0 replies      
> All he will say about free trials and paid updates is that Apple "looks at everything. We evaluate what will be a better experience for the user, and we make choices based on that."

How are free trials not a "better experience for the user"? I just don't understand Apple's paranoia when it comes to free trial versions.

24
JustSomeNobody 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Wait until most apps have switched to subscription, sell yours for a one time price, profit from those users who hate subscriptions.

Maybe not sustainable, but hopefully keep you in the black until the next project.

25
rodeoclown 7 hours ago 0 replies      
In my opinion, the two most important features as a developer for the App Store:

1. Rolling deploys - right now releasing on iOS is scary and big bang, combined with the review process it keeps devs up at night worrying.2. AB Testing on images and copy - you can only update this on each (scary) release, so you can't learn what works quickly.

26
cpeterso 5 hours ago 0 replies      
If a user doesn't renew their subscription in year 2, can they continue to use the "year 1 app" without receiving year 2 updates? Or does the year 1 app just go dark?
27
overcast 9 hours ago 2 replies      
Am I the only one exhausted by "apps"? I've gone as far as to limit myself to only two pages worth on my phone, without folders. I feel like most apps could just be the mobile/responsive versions of the existing site. Maintaining separate interfaces always leads to inconsistencies.
28
pkamb 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Are these changes coming to the Mac App Store?
29
bitL 10 hours ago 0 replies      
How to kill your platform 101: Subscriptions
30
DavideNL 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder if the ad-blocker works on those ads... :)
31
1_2__3 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Apple wants a subscription service because then they can hobble the developers AND the users to prevent them from ever leaving.
32
johansch 8 hours ago 2 replies      
I guess these are the kind of innovations we can look forward to while Cook is running Apple. :/
33
cloudjacker 8 hours ago 1 reply      
They need to make cancelling subscriptions easier
34
codecamper 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Why not just A/B test trials & see how they do? Apple could be missing out on a sizable amount of revenue.
35
embiggen 9 hours ago 1 reply      
What a terribly written article.

Just give me the TL;DR already please!

36
Emma11 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Apple is also going to start showing search ads for apps in its iOS App Store search results for the first time, something the company had previously resisted. "Weve thought about how to carefully do it in a way that, first and foremost, customers will be happy with," Schiller says, adding that he believes the ad auction system in App Store search will be "fair to developers, and fair for indie developers, too."

Brace for the shitstorm

My comment on reddit:https://www.reddit.com/r/apple/comments/4n62ny/app_store_20/

37
post_break 9 hours ago 2 replies      
Death by a thousand cuts. All those apps that charge to turn off the ads? Suddenly you pay yearly for that. iAP to unlock those extra levels/features/etc, better pay the tax man because those will now be yearly. Apps will no longer be "upgraded" from 1.0 to 2.0 where you have to pay for the new version. No, you pay that yearly fee whether you like it or not. Sorry this isn't going to turn out well and I might just have to switch back to android where there are things like 2 hour to 48 hour return policies.
38
rosalinekarr 9 hours ago 1 reply      
> For the first year of a subscription Apple will maintain its 70 / 30 revenue share; after one year, the new 85 percent / 15 percent revenue share will kick in (applied per subscriber).

This is the exact opposite of what Apple should do. App startups in their first year need all the revenue they can get. After the first year, most of those companies have either reached profitability or gone out of business.

This policy is going to mean more revenue for the large, established app companies, like Instagram or Snapchat, and less revenue for any potential usurpers. They're effectively suppressing innovation and locking in any monopolies they've helped to build.

15
All the best advice we could find on how to get a job 80000hours.org
212 points by BenjaminTodd  10 hours ago   103 comments top 11
1
graham1776 6 hours ago 3 replies      
The one thing I always tell anyone on the job hunt, which few ever seem to take me up on: Informational Interviews.These are informal "can I take you out to coffee?" talks with people in your industry to see what they are working on, what is happening with them, what is going on in the industry. Every job I have ever gotten is through informal meetings with people I have met through my network (whether its the current newspaper, your friends, parents, relatives, or other).

At the end of every one I ask: "Is there anyone else you think I should talk to?" and "Do you currently have any opportunities at your company for me?". Rinse repeat.

I guarantee investing in 30 informational interviews will yield huge dividends vs. 30 career fairs, a personal pitch deck, starting a blog, dusting off your resume, or God Forbid: applying to jobs through Linkedin.

http://www.grahamwahlberg.com/book

I wrote a free guide on this if anyone is interested, would love feedback.

2
merpnderp 8 hours ago 2 replies      
One thing in this article that really caught my eye was "Do free work". When I was a young kid I remember my grandfather, who was about to retire from a long career at the power utility having been head of the union, and much beloved by all his coworkers and managers, told me about how he got that job. He had been laid off at a grain mill, and was getting by as a butcher. But a friend of his got him in the door to see the hiring manager at the utility. My grandfather said I'll work two weeks for you for free, and if I make you happy, then you can hire me. After the first day, he was hired. I guess this also touches on the article's point about networking.
3
henryaj 9 hours ago 0 replies      
More generally about 80,000 Hours rather than this piece in particular: their advice was pivotal to my taking a dev bootcamp and becoming a software engineer, and donating a percentage of my income to highly-effective charities. They did a one-on-one consultation with me (not sure if those are still available or not), put me in touch with other bootcamp grads, and were generally super helpful.

I'd recommend their advice to anyone, particularly people who think they might be in the wrong job, and want to think about how to best spend their working lives.

4
linkregister 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I really liked this link that was mentioned deep in this post: http://cultivatedculture.com/how-to-get-a-job-anywhere-no-co...

I find that most new grads' biggest problem is not getting the first phone screen.

I could have really used this guide when relocating cross-country. Surprise, the interviews and subsequent offers I got were from direct referrals from my personal network.

5
BenjaminTodd 10 hours ago 4 replies      
Hi everyone,

I'm the author of the piece. If you know any other good resources or statistics we should incorporate, I'm keen to hear about them. If you disagree with something, feedback is very welcome.

6
yumaikas 9 hours ago 2 replies      
Haven't read the article all the way, but the "Hey HN, sorry to do this" dialog caught me off guard (I know that referrer headers can be used for it). Nice touch, BenjaminTodd.
7
p4wnc6 9 hours ago 15 replies      
I've been unemployed for about 14 months since resigning from my most recent role -- a role which my close family and friends characterized as "destroying me."

After becoming unemployed, with enough savings to sustain myself for a long search, I then faced a significant family trauma that required me to move away from Boston (where I had lived and worked for most of the past decade), back home to do basically full-time care for the family situation -- located in a very rural part of the Midwest where e.g. I don't even have reliable access to internet connectivity here.

Despite this, I've managed to start a newsletter/website for one of my interests (by teaching myself simple usage of the Hakyll Haskell-based static site tool), and start a pedagogical side project using Cython to write some stuff using fused types and typed memoryviews. It has been utterly demoralizing to try to do these projects in the midst of my family situation and the lack of resources here in this rural area.

I've done literally hundreds of phone interviews, had 7 different on-site interviews, and received offers from 2 of them (both of which I rejected because they asked me to accept compensation/benefits packages that were substantially worse than what I had when last working).

Most interviews have been OK, but I reject a lot of companies if I pick up on red flags, especially related to start-up culture bullshit or poor work/life balance, to protect myself from the insanity that led to this in the first place.

In my experience, tech hiring is just an unbelievable shitstorm of irrationality. I've been rejected for over-engineering (because I included tests and wrote a necessary sorted dict data structure for a take home submission), for not "focusing enough on product" when submitting statistical analysis code for a data science take home test, for not remembering an obscure fact about GCDs and integer lattice points (even though I had correctly solved two difficult coding problems already in that interview), for not having X years of on-the-job experience in any one of Hadoop, Spark, various DevOps tools, and web frameworks (I am a statistician with lots of scientific computing experience, never applied to positions that list DevOps or web development as important needs, even though I'm happy to learn them on the job).

At this point, my extended professional network has basically given up on me. My grad school friends have recommended me for jobs with biotech companies, Facebook, fairly prestigious finance companies, with endorsements like "he is the best Python programmer I know, and it's not even his primary skill set" -- most reject me immediately because of the gap on my resume.

I don't have any more people to ask for job leads. I scour Indeed.com for hours every morning, which is extremely demoralizing. I have a reasonably significant amount of Stack Overflow rep (> 17000) and joined their career site long ago but have never found a single realistic lead since it's dominated by web framework jobs. Most employers (or their needlessly combative tech hiring staff, anyway) seem to make a point of saying cutting comments to me about my university degrees (two Ivy degrees) and my Stack Overflow rep -- even though I don't ever try to project pride about these things and fully welcome and prefer to be judged solely by my talents and do not want any form of laurel-resting, especially not based on "prestigious" degrees (though, to be fair, I did work extremely hard in university and accomplished many things that now seemingly no one cares about).

Recently I got rejected by Snapchat literally less than 11 minutes after submitting my resume and application through their online application site. It was a form letter rejection in 11 minutes. I started to wonder if maybe the application portal just sends them a Snapchat photo of my resume, so they have to accept or reject before it gets deleted. But I'm so cynical by now that it wasn't really funny.

Practically the only ways I can stay motivated after such a long and soul-crushing spell of unemployment have been focusing a ton on personal exercise, focusing on my family and continuing to help them, and focusing on creative efforts that are 100% not related to software or coding.

The degree of burnout frightens me greatly, but currently the financial demands placed on me by my family's situation are so great that as I no longer can afford any form of health insurance at all while unemployed, I cannot even see a counselor or anything to help process my feelings.

Much like this elementary school parable I read where the Sun and Wind have a competition to see who can get a man to remove his jacket, I am like the man when the Wind character just blows harder and harder -- he just pulls the jacket tighter and tighter.

The more that interfacing with the labor market causes me to deal with bullshit start-up culture, the less willing I am to take a job. I simply will not compromise my standards, even literally to my own destruction. It reminds me of a David Foster Wallace quote: "I had kind of a midlife crisis at twenty which probably doesnt augur well for my longevity."

I've been surviving this long enough to know there just is no answer to the problem of seeking a job that actually makes your life better, certainly not here in the Hacker News echo chamber -- just look at all of the Who Is Hiring threads, where, for my given skill area, there has been somewhere around a 1% relevance rate (just try searching for NumPy).

I'm not looking for encouragement, sympathy, or (more likely here) unsympathetic market-perspective brass tacks criticism. I just figured it was worth sharing.

8
mjevans 9 hours ago 2 replies      
The connections section is both focused entirely on LinkedIn (arguably a worse form of Life Invader than Facebook; I refuse to use either of these or any other such service).

How is someone that values their privacy supposed to get a job or even break in to having a job where they make connections to peers?

9
nicerobot 8 hours ago 2 replies      
Don't be "old".
10
sqeaky 8 hours ago 4 replies      
> since people need to engage over several months to get value out of the advice

This is false.

> I find popups annoying too

I do not believe you, if you did you would know that often the first response to popup annoyance is to close the window.

What do your analytics actually say happens when that popup shows? It will show that I was reading your article up until that appeared, then I entered garbage for an email and closed the window.

Will my email GoF##k@yourself.com be counted as a success or failure for your popup?

11
J_Darnley 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Summary without all this marketing/HR bullshit: have Linus Torvalds' skill and be willing to work for 10k.
16
Why I Would Raise Chickens gatesnotes.com
240 points by kuusisto  12 hours ago   202 comments top 38
1
paganel 9 hours ago 6 replies      
My parents live in a village in Eastern Europe with less than $2 a day (I also chip in to financially help them), and they do indeed raise chickens, they've being doing that for the last 15 years or so, since they moved out to the countryside.

Bill Gates is correct in his assessment, it's way more profitable to raise chickens than, say, cows. You need to have a bigger barn for cows, you need to do all the hay thing, which is very time consuming and demands a lot of extra work just for feeding said cows, you need to pay someone to take care of the cows when they go out to eat in the summer on the communal field. It's easier to just barter your chickens' eggs for some milk or cheese, that's at least what my mom does.

It's also quite profitable to grow beans and cabbage. They preserve well over winter well into spring and you can also use them for bartering.

2
whiddershins 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Re: many people wondering why this hasn't happened organically, it is easy to underestimate how much cultural attitudes can affect common practice.

As an anecdote, when I visited rural China a couple of years back I asked my friends who grew up there why, if most people had one chicken, they didn't simply grow a few more?

The response was "you don't know what it was like back then. In the Mao attitude people would say ... 'who are you to have two chickens when everyone else only has one' " ... which was enough social pressure to keep everyone to one chicken, no matter how much that contributed to malnourishment.

I'm not proposing the same social attitudes are at play in these regions, but there may be other non-obvious contexts discouraging people from getting started with a flock.

For some scenarios I could imagine an initiative like this helping to break through inertia and change norms.

3
bko 11 hours ago 12 replies      
> If you read this article, watch the video above, and answer one question below, I will donateon your behalf via Heifera flock of chickens to a family in poverty.

Giving a flock of chickens to desperately poor families sounds like a great idea that will pay dividends for many years. However, I can't help but be reminded of the many charitable programs that sound great but end up having very unusual unintended consequences that often defeat the purpose or make it worse. Anyone care to speculate as to some unintended consequences this project may have?

4
gearhart 9 hours ago 3 replies      
Anybody else surprised by how much a chicken costs in Africa?

$5 is 3.45[1] and I can buy a (dead, plucked, gutted, packaged, delivered to my door) chicken in the UK for 2.95[2].

I realise the local supply's much lower because my Sainsbury's chicken is grown in a cage in a factory somewhere, but nonetheless, I didn't expect that.

[1] I presume USD is the currency in the video, since 5 of the local currency is 0.006

[2] http://www.sainsburys.co.uk/shop/gb/groceries/chicken/sainsb...

edit: looks like I left the page open for longer than I thought - this discussion happened elsewhere hours ago. Apologies.

5
fiatmoney 10 hours ago 2 replies      
I don't get it. As mentioned in the article, chickens are incredibly easy to bootstrap (ie, it's not like they require a huge capital outlay to get started, and they literally pay dividends in further chickens), and have been present in the area for centuries. What has been the obstacle that has kept them from already being common enough to drive the expected benefit of further investment to ~0? And how is that obstacle going to be overcome?
6
jakeogh 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I started raising chickens 2 years ago. A few things I have learned: If you have a yard that they can run free in, they don't need a coop. Chickens will happily roost in the trees. I live in southern Arizona, so the winters are mild, but I know of people that do the same thing in much colder climates. Chickens are tough. An added benefit is they are actually safer, if they are locked in a coop, and a predator gets in, it's going to kill them all. Outside, they can hide (good luck finding a scared chicken, they are really good at bolting to a hideaway) or fight. Chickens make all kinds of commotion if there's a predator around. They will make their nests in secluded shady spots and unlike a coop, they do not poop in their nests so the eggs are very clean. I supplement their foraging with chicken feed, but it's not necessary, there's enough critters and plants, they often just ignore the feed. What they really want is your compost, no need to separate out what they eat and don't eat, they do that. The rest attracts their favourite food of all: bugs. Going coop-less also removes the chore of cleaning the coop. In AZ their poop dries up very quickly and if they are free range it's not really noticeable since it's so spread out.

They need lots of water and shade, so make a continuous drip somewhere in the shade.

Domestic cats don't mess with full grown chickens, and in my experience they leave the chicks alone too if they are fully feathered and about pigeon size. The cats eat pigons on a regular basis, but they let the chicks run around and seem to enjoy them. In the daytime it's common to see the cats and chickens laying around in the shade within a foot of each other. Racoons like chicken, and they are good climbers, but the chickens just make lots of noise and fly off if one gets too close. By then I have my paintball gun out and the Racoons learn quickly to get dinner elsewhere. I'm constantly surprised about how smart they are, if they know they are not allowed in a spot they will wait for you to go away and then rush over. If you catch them in the act, they freak out and run off back to their allotted area. I find small firecrackers a good way to tell them "stay away". They learn quickly.

Most of my chickens are good flyers, they can easily jump up to a perch 5ft above the ground and then into a tree from there. They could also easily fly over my fence and exit the yard, but they _never_ do.

I wish I had started years ago, the eggs are fantastic.

7
ensignavenger 10 hours ago 1 reply      
I know a older couple that have spent the last year or so traveling around Africa doing 'chicken projects' where they help build chicken coops and teach poor families how to raise chickens (pretty simple to do, actually, but there are little strategies one can use to increase profits- hardest part is keeping predators from eating them!) Cool stuff, glad to see Bill Gates onboard!
8
lumberjack 11 hours ago 3 replies      
It is not specified what they mean by "chicken" (age and breed and sex) but $5 seems like really expensive.

I know that you can buy baby chicks from an incubator for egg laying purposes for like 3 euro or less in rural western Europe. Breeds meant to be harvested for their meat cost even less.

9
Animats 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Some idiot in my neighborhood tried raising chickens, and they got loose. Some days I've had 16 chickens in my front yard. There are at least two roosters, so the flock is self-sustaining. They hide in the creek gully where they're hard to catch. This has been going on for two years now.
10
dingleberry 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Raising chicken is a recession-proof investment which made robust by 'cloning' <- you put initial capital, got divident of its type; type can be money, chicken, plant, whatever; multiply base by cloning.

I plant kangkong. Initial capital is 1usd, about 300 stems. harvesting biweekly, i get 2600% roi. That's divident part.

I can clone the kangkong by cutting and replant cut stems. It's multiplying the capital part.

Similarly with chicken, one can eat dividend (eggs) and multiplying base (breeding/'cloning')

with cash only, i cannot get good dividend (say, by buying bond); much less luck with cloning cash legally.

Extrapolating to basic income, observe that poverty is lifted fast if the cash is invested in high roi activities (like entrepreneurship) that grow and scale fast.

It's the type of activity that matters more than the cash.

11
clumsysmurf 11 hours ago 3 replies      
If you want to raise backyard chicks, double check your local chicken ordinances! Unfortunately, even when they are allowed, it can be the source of tension between neighbors:

http://articles.latimes.com/2012/nov/27/nation/la-na-nn-back...

12
bencollier49 11 hours ago 5 replies      
If six times as many people raise chickens, won't the sale price of chickens go down and negate (part of) the effect of providing all the chickens in the first place?

Shouldn't the number of people raising chickens have already reached a market equilibrium?

13
grishas 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Pretty much all research has shown that the best way to improve poverty is to give people money, and not some sort of good that you've decided is better (goats, chickens, cows, whatever).Unfortunately, giving away money just doesn't sell. :(
14
walrus01 3 hours ago 1 reply      
"Watch the video to get +100 Pts"

What is this, some sort of gamification to get people to read and watch more content on the gates website?

15
trial1234 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I used to spend majority of my Summer each year (when I was a pre-teen) in a very poor South Indian village where my extended family lived. Our family owned a large flock of chicken. I enjoyed feeding the chicken, feed like rice, maize, wheat, etc., though for the most part, the chicken did not expect to be fed anything. They would just graze on whatever they found. Now that I look back, interestingly, every family (even the poorest) in that village owned a flock of chicken. It was as though the flock of chicken was one common thread that ran through every household in the village. At the time though I didn't have the sagacity to realize the economic incentives of owning a flock of chicken.
16
ddon 8 hours ago 2 replies      
According to this table, raising ducks is more interesting than growing chickens:

https://www.tyrantfarms.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/duck-...

17
cmurf 8 hours ago 2 replies      
Impractical to raise chickens in cities where it's illegal to butcher them. The egg laying tapers off at 3 years, but they'll live to ~10 years. That's a pet, or a freeloading chicken you have to feed but don't get eggs from. So...? Yeah, not terribly practical unfortunately.
18
gfo 7 hours ago 0 replies      
This sounds like a fantastic idea.

However, if he really gives a flock of chickens to a bunch of families in need, won't that reduce their monetary value over time?

If every family has chickens, the monetary incentive isn't there for others to purchase them, or the higher supply will squash demand and drive the price down.

There's still the health benefit and it's obviously a great initiative.

19
BadassFractal 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Any threat that by increasing the # of chickens around humans' living quarters in the third world we might be increasing the chances of developing avian diseases that jump onto surrounding humans, creating new epidemics?
20
ktRolster 10 hours ago 0 replies      
This isn't the first program of this type, so he's not going into it blind. See this for one example: http://www.cityfarmer.info/2013/11/15/gaza-urban-rabbit-rais...

I also remember reading about a rabbit raising program in the Philippines several years back, but I can't find a reference to it.

21
josu 6 hours ago 0 replies      
A touch of humor, a clip from Harmony Korine's brilliant Mister Lonely:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U2B4q1yWk2U

22
Dowwie 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Please note Bill's address to the community about his charitable donations contingent upon our participation. I like how he is engaging the community to spread a good idea.
23
swehner 10 hours ago 2 replies      
If they're so great, why do they need to be promoted?
24
shireboy 8 hours ago 3 replies      
I am not poor, but did recently raise chickens for about a year, and did the math on how they fared as an investment. I would disagree they are "easy and inexpensive", though in a 3rd world setting with some luck it may vary. Here's a rough summary from my experience:

-1 x Coop (self-made from scavenged wood, home store bought wood, wire, and hinges) ~$400-5 x laying chickens ~$100 (Chicks are cheaper, but you pay to feed them for N months before they lay, and they need special care. Even then, some died or got sick and quit laying)

So let's call it a $500 initial investment. Mine laid roughly 12 eggs a week. Near me, we pay $5 for a dozen farm-fresh eggs. So it would take ~100 weeks to pay off my investment, not taking into account the ~20/mo for feed, bedding(hay), wormer, and time spent fooling with them. Time-wise, in addition to building the coop, etc. I had to let them in/out daily and feed and water them.

They were fun. I like fresh eggs and I'll probably do it again sometime. But a good investment they were not.

25
jds375 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I find it a bit odd that he doesn't mention actually eating the chicken itself at any point. He mentions selling the chickens for more nutritious food than just eggs... But isn't chicken meat alone pretty nutritious?
26
neves 5 hours ago 0 replies      
What about the chicken feces? Wouldn't it be terrible for your health to live in a small house full of feces?
27
tbrock 8 hours ago 2 replies      
What is the ratio of female hens to male roosters? Quick googling tells me 10 to 1 but I'm not sure if that is correct.

Is there any other species that has a similar extremely lopsided number of one sex?

28
carapace 5 hours ago 0 replies      
(Useless blank page without JS enabled. Whine. Complain.)
29
spydum 11 hours ago 2 replies      
maybe I'm missing something, what will the chickens eat? "whatever they find on the ground" is not exactly a strategy for growth, especially if everybody is raising chickens, you can pretty much expect the availability of edible stuff to reach zero in villages. not saying this doesnt work, but it's still an energy in/out problem right, where is the new source of energy?
30
tkyjonathan 6 hours ago 0 replies      
This makes no financial sense. You would be better to eat the chicken feed yourself (corn/grains) and get x50 more caloric value for your money.
31
psadri 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I wish a local person could give us their perspective on this initiative.
32
LionessLover 8 hours ago 1 reply      
> A farmer who sells 250 chickens a year can bring in $1,250, versus the extreme-poverty line of about $700 a year.

(That's the comment when you answer the quiz correctly.)

What a simplification. I'm all for the chickens, but the quiz and this quiz-answer-comment make it seem a little too easy.

If you want to sell 250 chickens a year you a) need quite a few more than that, b) you need SPACE - and it should provide plenty of free food for hundreds of chickens (so, LOTS of space), and c) the more chickens the higher the risk of disease, and several hundred chickens is <i>a lot</i> of chickens for a poor guy, d) if you don't have LOTS of space you will need to get food from somewhere (and pay for it?).

33
srymrgates 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't know why would you raise chicken, but I do know why your mother raises cocks
35
0xdeadbeefbabe 10 hours ago 0 replies      
When he says stuff like this does it affect the commodities market?

Edit: just more unintended consequences if so, and it is things like this that make me aspire to be a good neighbor instead of a Manager.

36
roel_v 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Reading the comments on that post make me weep for the future of mankind. It's like Youtube but worse - because at least on Youtube everybody knows they're being idiots.
37
fish55 9 hours ago 0 replies      
"Relative surplus value is produced through the reduction of the value of labor power (variable capital) by means of improvements in the production of goods (effectively the appropriation of productivity gains by the capitalist class)." -Marxist definition

In other words, they will no longer need a wage that also represents the value of eggs, so:-the wage will ultimately be reduced-the portion of their unwaged labor (raising chickens) will increase

People who raise their own chickens can work for less than those who don't.

tldr: A service they could once afford will become unaffordable.

38
spoofball 6 hours ago 2 replies      
The way chickens are raised today, you'd be insane to raise chickens.

Chickens of the old, roamed the grass, picking little shits that no one could find or eat, growing slowly but steadily, surviving and mating.

Today, they gorge on soybean-B12 juice that was raised on ex-rainforest area.

It's highly unsustainable and ridiculously bad investment.

Bill Gates has previously written about meat and its sustainability and has shown serious lack of understanding of how it all works on a global scale.

Yes, chickens being raised on a field filled with little nutrients only chickens can see is exactly the same as cows being raised in an environment where grass grows around them and climate is pretty stable.

That's not the way Africa or India will get its dosage of meat, and it cannot be done in any way other than massive soybean way (the best source of protein and growth for all living animals).

When we get Africans or Indians on the luxurious flesh, we'll never get them off the bandwagon and the unsustainability of the process will ruin more rainforests, more oceans, more living species and more life.

Absolutely disappointed with Bill.

I guess he's totally oblivious to the dead oceans zones that are caused primarily by animal agriculture.

Or that 90% of the rainforest is being cut primarily for soybean, that is primarily given to the animals in the animal agriculture.

Can't believe a guy was solving a problem this huge and he seems to still be on the meat bandwagon.

17
1999.io: Blogging like it's 1999 1999.io
81 points by gk1  6 hours ago   78 comments top 25
1
nstart 3 hours ago 1 reply      
For anyone who might not have been following Dave Winer's work, or thought streams in the recent past, the reference to blogging like it's 1999 isn't about the tech. It's primary concept is about it going back to the roots of being about openness. Instead of blogging on all the closed platforms, Dave has always advocated for blogging on your own terms. Whether from wordpress, ghost, or his new tool, it's all the same level of importance in keeping the open web alive.

A lot of his focus in this product is likely to be around the ease of editing and ease of getting your content out there. For example, it comes with support for instant articles built in. I imagine things like Amp page support will also get built in.

Re the twitter login. It's not something I personally believe in, but I know that Dave has a strong belief in Twitter having potential to be much better as a dev platform of sorts. From identity management, to message delivery. Debatable, but for another time. Just thought I could help provide some context here.

Whether this platform is better than WP, Drupal, or Ghost is all a matter of personal preference honestly. I'm not sure Dave really cares about it that way either. He just wants to keep making the open web more appealing than the closed.

Of everything in this announcement so far, the most intriguing part is his idea of interop with WP and Drupal and other platforms. One thing I can connect it with, is how his posts cross post to FB, and Medium. And he's talked about live editing a bit over there. If I recall right, Dave kind of imagines a future where the editor and the server are different. So I might edit things on my 1999.io server while the updates are all served on a WP or Drupal site. A bit more context to this. In the past Dave also wrote about wishing the Medium.com experience was more like that. Where I could use their incredible editor and publish to anywhere I wanted instead of just medium.com.

The one thing and "maybe" criticism I have of Dave's stuff, is that it is very high level/abstract at times. I've followed his work for years, and it's always taken me a while to digest any of his ideas because there's a lot of imagination that goes unsaid there. In many ways this is like the wonderful work he's done in creating RSS too. RSS alone is simply a germ of an idea which can then be used in so many creative ways. Dave's ideas are very similar. A germ of an idea that he hopes others will pick up on and push forward. New frontiers!

2
sharkjacobs 6 hours ago 2 replies      
When I was blogging in 1999 it involved appending each new blog entry to the top of the html page which went in the content frame.

And I don't think I'd heard of "blogging" yet.

3
lucb1e 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Well this site does not look very '99, nor does "Sign up with Twitter". Never mind.
4
akent 5 hours ago 1 reply      
The front page tells me nothing. Go and read this blogpost about it instead. http://scripting.com/2016/06/08/1311.html
5
Rodeoclash 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I thought this was going to be bringing back the .plan file :(
6
phantom_oracle 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't know if this is some type of cynical irony, but calling your software "blogging like it's 1999" whilst using a .io domain creates many feelings for me.
7
jimjimjim 6 hours ago 0 replies      
sounded interesting, until I selected 'view page source' on one of the pages and saw a screen full of .js

not really very 1999ish.

8
fiatjaf 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't understand what is this about. Is it just a poorly implemented super-common blog engine?
9
khedoros 4 hours ago 0 replies      
When I go to their "about" page, this is the entirety of the content that I see:

> How is 1999.io different from other blogging platforms?

Looking at the source, I see a little more content.

"Create a test site" is almost completely blank (no text, just a drop shadow and some pull-down arrows near the top of the page). Their other links seem to work as designed.

My work blocks some domains, and is stricter about ones that it doesn't know about (like 1999.io), but I didn't have trouble with accessing any of the fargo.io css or js files.

10
corndoge 6 hours ago 3 replies      
Just a blank gray page for me?
11
nym 5 hours ago 0 replies      
What does this have to do with 1999 exactly? RSS 2.0?
12
stevewilhelm 2 hours ago 0 replies      
> You can link an MP3 or video file to a post, and 1999.io will generate standard RSS 2.0 enclosure code in your site's RSS feed.

What? No Atom? No NewsML? That is so 1999.

13
rbanffy 5 hours ago 0 replies      
What? No visit counter?
14
_RPM 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Was the `nano` command a joke? I know it's a fine editor, but it seemed like sarcasm.
15
tim_geek 5 hours ago 0 replies      
@davewiner, you mention interop with other CMS software. What kinds of interop are you looking for?
16
mmgutz 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Disappointed. Where are the spinning 3D button gifs?
17
jflowers45 5 hours ago 1 reply      
why do you need to be able to post to my twitter timeline?
18
peterwwillis 6 hours ago 6 replies      
For this to be 1999-era journaling, it would need:

 - To be written in Perl - To support .php, .pl, & .cgi in the user's /cgi-bin/ - To host about 10000 accounts per physical machine - To use FTP, or a CGI form, for remote file management - To use HTML 4.01/XHTML - What's CSS? - What's Twitter? - Features: A user profile/bio! User comments! Subscriptions! Communities! - Up to 10 megabytes of FREE storage - Free add-ons like a hit counter and a feedback submission e-mail form - One free e-mail address and five free e-mail aliases - EXTRAS: Virtual host name and domain name support, up to 5 e-mail addresses & 20 e-mail aliases, up to 1000* megabytes of storage, and No Advertising Banners!!! * actual space may vary based on how badly we over-committed storage

19
unicornporn 6 hours ago 4 replies      
> We use Twitter for identity, so creating a connection to Twitter is part of the setup process.

That must be as far from "blogging like it's 1999" one will ever get. :-/

20
airencracken 6 hours ago 2 replies      
If I have to enable javascript to view parts of your website at all, then it isn't anything like 1999.
21
adzm 6 hours ago 2 replies      
1999? XML is our savior! The future of the web will be interconnected SOAP services! It's the year of the Linux desktop! Itanium will revolutionize software if someone would just make a sufficiently smart compiler!
22
scvs_rule 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Websites in 1999 didn't use 2MB PNG files as background images..
23
tigeba 1 hour ago 3 replies      
Just for the record, I want to point out that it does not render well on Netscape Communicator 4.75.

http://grab.by/QH2u

24
kristianc 4 hours ago 0 replies      
> Blogging like it's 1999

> 3. It's written in JavaScript and runs under Node.js.

25
kristianc 4 hours ago 2 replies      
This confuses me. Several months ago Dave Winer wrote a post titled 'Anywhere but Medium' where he railed against closed platforms such as Medium that could disappear at a moment's notice and where the editorial voice was controlled by a company (as an individual gets to decide who gets noticed).

Now Dave Winer is launching a platform that could also disappear at a moments' notice, where the best chance of being 'noticed' is likely to be getting reposted by Dave Winer.

What's more, it seems to go against some of the Open Web principles that Winer espouses (seems to require JavaScript to view any content, doesn't seem to render anything if you have Safari Content Blockers running, requires a Twitter account even to get up and running with the thing). All in all it seems to have very little to do with 1999 or any kind of 'golden age' for the Web.

Developers already have tons of options for getting a blog up and running, from GitHub Pages to Posthaven and Ghost - what gives with this?

18
.NET mocking frameworks, a comparison codetuple.com
28 points by eljbutler  4 hours ago   12 comments top 6
1
adamconroy 1 hour ago 1 reply      
When people (such as this author) talk about mocks, are they talking about mocking and testing behavior or just simply fakes / doubles?

My understanding of mocking by example is: you have a class you want to test, and that class has a dependency on lets say a Mail class that has a SendMail() method. You mock the Mail class and assert that SendMail() was called as per your specification.

Given that definition of mocking, I personally don't like mocking. I prefer to test state not behavior, although I can see in some scenarios behavior is more important.

2
dvcc 1 hour ago 0 replies      
There is something other than Moq? I'm only partially joking... But I really haven't found a reason to switch from it. I find the syntax easy enough and if I ever come up on a problem the question was probably already asked.
3
solutionyogi 1 hour ago 0 replies      
The links in the article are broken because of www prefix.

E.g. NSubsittue is here: http://nsubstitute.github.io/

FakeItEasy is here: https://fakeiteasy.github.io/

And even though it's commercial product, one should mention TypeMock.

4
kylemuir 2 hours ago 1 reply      
What are peoples thoughts on handrolling mocks\stubs? I tend to do that the most and would love a compelling reason as to why I should switch my behaviour.
5
azurelogic 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm a big fan of NSubstitute. The syntax makes so much more sense to me than Moq, and readability matters a lot in unit tests.
6
peterashford 2 hours ago 3 replies      
I mock .NET all the time. I was unaware I needed a framework?
19
Wired Documentary on Shenzhen bunniestudios.com
124 points by etiam  10 hours ago   29 comments top 7
1
FreedomToCreate 4 hours ago 2 replies      
I worked extensively in Shenzhen (though it was a breath of fresh air to get back to the states), and it is a great ecosystem but I do want to address something not covered in the documentary. Their are a lot of things you need to be careful about before venturing into the wild west of electronic parts that is shenzhen. First, knowing some Mandarin or having a native speaker with you is definitely a requirement. Most big companies and vendors have english speakers working for them, but thats the exception.

The work mentality there is to get as much done as quickly as possible. Short cuts are the norm, which is frowned upon in North America, and you have to watch your suppliers and make sure they don't screw you over (ex. replace your requested part with a similar one or get you a cheaper part without checking with you and put the difference back in their own pocket). This even happens in the prototyping stage.

And as cheap as building stuff is there, living is still comparable to most US cities when it comes to good housing (ex. Austin, Portland, Denver).

With all that said, things move crazy fast. You put a circuit board order in on Monday and its on your desk on Wednesday.

2
mads 4 hours ago 3 replies      
I have been in Shenzhen for 5 years and know my way around. I am available, if anyone has any questions about this place or if someone needs a hand here.
3
SexyCyborg 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Shenzhen native, local Maker here.

All in all the video is pretty accurate. Like most of these videos they focus on the usual semi-official tourist stops- Huaqiangqei, local accelerators, etc. You never see the Huawei or TenCent R&D departments, or anyplace that the actual real day-to-day innovation usually happens because those are strictly no-cameras and very much off limits to forigners.

If anyone wants a better look around the HCB electronic markets I shot about an hour of 360 video there last week, it's on YouTube if you search.

4
hugs 7 hours ago 2 replies      
I love the easter egg at 3:13. ("ALL PROPRIETARY AND NO OPEN SOURCE MAKES INNOVATION A SLOW PROCESS") The text is upside down in the video, so it's easy to miss.

But on that note of open source vs proprietary, I'm building a business on open source hardware, yet I have a hard time proving to others (especially other startup founders) that open hardware is the way to go. They fear that their designs will get cloned and they'll get blown out of the water (implicitly at a lower cost by someone in Shenzhen). They want to ensure they can recoup their R&D costs. My point is that if you make a successful product, you're going to get cloned anyway. The counter-point is usually "But why make it any easier for them to clone you?"

5
chillacy 6 hours ago 2 replies      
Seems like the success of shenzen as a big startup place will also depend on to what degree IoT takes off, since custom hardware is so essential to that. Like the video says, the rest of us just use generic hardware where the only metrics are performance and maybe power consumption.

Imagine how different bay area startups would be if VC backed startups built robotic arms and legs instead of one-click deploy Rails PaaS infrastructure.

6
kennell 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Looking for a english speaking contact in Shenzen, contact info is in my profile, hit me up.
7
surge 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Thanks for this, hopefully I'll remember to watch the next part.
20
PuDB: the IDE debugger without an IDE (2015) [video] youtube.com
9 points by pmoriarty  2 hours ago   discuss
21
Ex-Mozilla team behind smart home hub Sense refunds backers, focuses on software techcrunch.com
54 points by rdoherty  8 hours ago   14 comments top 5
1
Fej 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Definitely interested in the software platform. Have been wary of Echo and Google's new thing due to privacy concerns... you're literally bugging yourself. Having all the logic run locally is a nice breath of fresh air.

Although I wonder if Emerson will force them to change the name, they have a smart thermostat called Sensi. Sense is a really unremarkable and un-googleable term anyway.

2
inframouse 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Right now this seems mostly to consist of javascript wrappers around existing platform libraries? E.g. to let me read a gpio pin or blink a led? Not that it's a bad thing but it seems a little skinny as a thing right now, and the pitch seems to be that more and more platform stuff arrives. Smells more like a replay for firefox os less innovating on the platform? Any insights?
3
mancerayder 6 hours ago 0 replies      
That's kind of too bad.

Are there any other recommended hubs these days that allow a fair amount of programmability? I just returned a VeraPlus since it wasn't very interoperable with my devices, had some distance issues (with no battery to move it to pair) among other things.

4
digi_owl 6 hours ago 3 replies      
Why do this "smart home hub" thing reminds me of Apple's attempt at making the Mac the hub of our digital lives, only to get nowhere?
5
deprave 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Edit: Disregard this comment, my mistake.

Mozilla is such a disappointment. Instead of focusing on their raison d'etre they're busy branching out to one unsuccessful venture after another.

22
DNS: Basic Concepts (2013) petekeen.net
130 points by rhubarbcustard  12 hours ago   54 comments top 11
1
callmeed 9 hours ago 4 replies      
If you want a startup/side-project idea, here it is. I can tell you from 10+ years in website hosting and maintenance that most laypeople, designers, marketers, and even some technical people will never understand DNS. (and they shouldn't have to)

A small business wants a website at SquareSpace, cloudflare CDN, email at Google Apps, landing pages on a subdomain with Unbounce, their blog on yet another subdomain, and DKIM/SPF records for the email newsletter system.

Setting this up is not easy for most people. Most people aren't even sure where to do itlet alone how to do it. (is your registrar handling your DNS? sometimes ...)

If you had a 1 or 2-click tool that setup these for people, maybe wrapped it around some domain search/affiliate tools, I think you could make some money.

My 2

2
aljones 11 hours ago 4 replies      
"Email is so important to the functioning of the Internet that it gets its own record type."

Well that is one way of looking at it. Probably the appropriate way if you're teaching, but if you want to be critical then it reeks of poor design for a particular service to get special treatment by a fundamental part of the internet. It isn't that MX records aren't needed. They just shouldn't only be useful for email.

3
axaxs 11 hours ago 1 reply      
'This is why you can't have a CNAME on a root domain like petekeen.net, because you generally have to have other records for that domain like MX'

While in theory that's common, the primary reason is because of the SOA record that must exist.

4
dominotw 8 hours ago 2 replies      
Learning networking/tcp/dns has been a pain for me for years. I can never wrap my head around it properly despite many attempts.

I blame it on not having easy access to throwaway playgrounds.

I recently found this project http://mininet.org/ which promises throwaway network playgrounds. Hopefully it will help me finally learn networks for good.

5
nine_k 11 hours ago 1 reply      
A very short, beginner-level intro to DNS.
6
Abundnce10 10 hours ago 5 replies      
Almost always you'll want to redirect a bare domain like iskettlemanstillopen.com to www.iskettlemanstillopen.com. Registrars like Namecheap and DNSimple call this a URL Redirect. In Namecheap you would set up a URL Redirect like this...

I prefer my domains to be naked (as opposed to www.), but I typically redirect all www-traffic in my web server (NGINX). Is this the wrong approach?

7
jasonbenne 7 hours ago 0 replies      
This is also a nice overview from the dnsimple guys:

https://howdns.works/ep1/

8
wineisfine 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Anyone tried the "new" namecheap custom dns settings? Like glueing nameservers?

Its one of the poorest interfaces ever created in the history of mankind.

9
_RPM 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I thought they were going to get into the binary protocol.
10
gist 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Anyone old enough to remember movie.edu and the grasshopper O'Reilly 1st Edition DNS&Bind book?
11
riobard 11 hours ago 1 reply      
So, which are the good parts?
23
Practical Reverse Engineering Part 4 - Dumping the Flash jcjc-dev.com
84 points by fcambus  10 hours ago   7 comments top 2
1
aexaey 8 hours ago 2 replies      
In case you need to dump/re-flash an SPI memory chip, but don't happen to have an FTDI programmer handy (be that as a protest to their despicable actions with Windows drivers some time ago, or for any other reason), another (much cheaper) alternative is Chinese CH341A, which are available on eBay and other usual places for around $3 (complete assembled programmer board, shipped). CH341A is well supported on both Linux [1] and Windows [2].

[1] https://github.com/setarcos/ch341prog

[2] https://tosiek.pl/ch341-eeprom-and-spi-flash-programmer/

2
fapjacks 8 hours ago 0 replies      
This is such a great series! I have been an RE hobbyist for some years, but this taught me a few tricks I didn't know about.
24
X-rays reveal 1,300-year-old writings inside later bookbindings theguardian.com
38 points by ohjeez  7 hours ago   3 comments top 2
1
aylons 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I bet this research used a particle accelerator, but the article doesn't mention it.

Only these machines seem to be able to generate x-rays with enough brilliance and collimation for this kind of research.

Unfortunately, most of the press does not cite this fact, and people simple don't get to know about the existence and importance of these facilities, which are always publicly funded. That's not only sad, but bad for science.

2
Aelinsaar 6 hours ago 0 replies      
The only thing more important to the study of human history than our propensity to create mounds of garbage, is our endless quest to scavenge and recycle.

Remember this? http://arstechnica.com/science/2016/03/rare-example-of-lost-...

It also relates to the recent submission here at HN of the "This is not a place of honor" article, about the hypothetical 10,000 year warning marker for the WIPP.

25
Thinking Machine 6: Play chess against a transparent intelligence bewitched.com
51 points by gwulf  8 hours ago   17 comments top 7
1
light_hue_1 6 hours ago 6 replies      
Would be more interesting if it actually played chess. I mated it, it captured my queen with its king, I captured its king with a pawn, and then it declared a draw.

The end result: http://imgur.com/WoFSJcr

People should polish a little more before releasing these things. Who knows what the visualization means if the rules are this broken.

2
psuter 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I feel like the AI is particularly intelligent in its use of lines to distract me. Fun visualization otherwise, even though it's a little hard to really understand what's going on. At least I can tell which moves are not considered.
3
Animats 6 hours ago 0 replies      
That's cute. It's running in the browser as ordinary JavaScript, not on a remote server. Unfortunately, Firefox 46 crashed about 20 moves into a game.
4
pybolt 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I think I broke your program. Its my turn and I should be able to take the King but the game keeps on going: http://imgur.com/ZLbHaLK
5
danvoell 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I love the idea. Not sure if it is the best visual. What does a strong line mean versus a thin line? Does it mean you are thinking real hard about that route? I know it would be much more effort but it would be interesting to read what it is thinking. Which piece is it trying to get in the short term. What is the long-term rational.
6
clickok 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I really liked this. Understanding what the AI is doing is usually something that comes with experience and a bit of analysis, but a good visualization can act as a shortcut to intuition. And this one in particular was nicely designed.
7
catnaroek 3 hours ago 0 replies      
This AI is very stupid. Here's our game, I played white:

> 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 Nxe4

It's well known that the correct move here is 3...d6.

> 4.Qe2 d5 5.d3 Bb4+

Black could still limit its material losses to just a pawn with 5...Qe7.

> 6.c3 Bd6 7.Nf3 0-0 8.dxe4 dxe4 9.Nd4 Nd7 10.Nd2 f5

Completely inexplicable.

> 11.Ne6 Qh4 12.g3 Qe7 13.Nxf8 Kxf8

My pieces are still a little stuck, but I'm a full rook up! To my surprise, black was very happy to exchange pieces. The main thing that delayed the final result was my own imprecision.

> 14.Nc4 Bc5 15.h4 Ne5 16.Nxe5 Qxe5 17.Bf4 Qe7 18.0-0-0 Bd6 19.Bxd6 cxd6 20.Qd2 Be6 21.Qxd6 Qxd6 22.Rxd6 Bxa2 23.Bh3 g6 24.g4 fxg4 25.Bxg4 h5 26.Bh3 Bf7 27.Re1 Re8 28.Rd7 Be6 29.Bxe6 Rxe6 30.Rxb7 a6 31.Rb4 Rf6 32.Re2 e3 33.fxe3 Rc1+ 34.Kc2 Kg8 35.Rg2 Rf6 36.Rb7 Rd6 37.Rd2 Rxd2+ 38.Kxd2 a5 39.e4 a4 40.Ke3 Kh8 41.Kf4 Kg8 42.Kg5 Kf8 43.Kxg6 Ke8 44.Kf6 Kd8 45.Ke6 Kc8 46.Rh7 Kb8 47.Kd6 Ka8 48.Kc6 Kb8 49.e5 Kc8 50.Rh8#

27
HTTPS for GitHub Pages github.com
203 points by mastahyeti  9 hours ago   77 comments top 13
1
franciscop 59 minutes ago 0 replies      
So now github "sorta sorta" [1] supports https:

- You CAN force HTTPS for your *.github.io site.

- You CAN use an https://yourname.github.io URL.

- You CANNOT use a custom domain name with a fully secured HTTPS connection.

[1] https://konklone.com/post/github-pages-now-sorta-supports-ht...

2
pfista 8 hours ago 6 replies      
Does anyone know if github is planning to support https for custom domains?
3
ddbennett 8 hours ago 1 reply      
For those on Bitbucket, <username>.bitbucket.io is the HTTPS equivalent of <username>.bitbucket.org.
4
tvanantwerp 8 hours ago 7 replies      
Doesn't appear to work with custom domains.
5
theandrewbailey 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I just noticed it this morning when trying to put up a demo file for a project. I was confused by the docs saying 'don't do anything sensitive because no HTTPS', but clearly seeing the https:// URLs.
6
Wonnk13 8 hours ago 3 replies      
What's the best way to get HTTPS for custom domains? Letsencrypt or Cloudflare? I don't think those are encrypted end to end, no?
7
fibo 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Thank you GitHub for this gift, static web sites and now forced https
8
bluetidepro 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Nice work GitHub! That's huge! I think that means you could now use GitHub pages for Slack services that required HTTPS? If so, that's really awesome!
9
Jeaye 5 hours ago 0 replies      
You can enable HTTPS for custom domains using this approach: https://blog.jeaye.com/2016/03/01/github-pages-https/

Just be sure to delete your CNAME file, based on a recent Github behavior change.

10
jsingleton 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been running the HTTPS Everywhere add-on and hadn't realised that this wasn't already a thing. As the post says, they have supported HTTPS for a while and this is just adding a redirection option so you don't need to resort to JS hacks. It doesn't say if they are using 301 redirects or HSTS headers, I'm guessing the former.
11
r3bl 9 hours ago 2 replies      
About damn time!

I "cheated" the system by having a script that will redirect you to the HTTPS version if you click on anything from the HTTP protocol, which kind of accomplishes forcing the HTTPS encryption, but not really.

Then I've decided to switch to my own domain and just use CloudFlare (+ whitelisting Tor).

Now I'm kind of thinking about switching to GitLab Pages since they pretty much kick the hell out of GitHub Pages in every single way when you compare their features (like, you can use any static site generator and you can roll your own Lets Encrypt SSL certificate on them).

12
jsprogrammer 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Sweet. Was just lamenting its absence.
13
calebm 7 hours ago 1 reply      
If I understand it correctly, the same HTTPS certificate is used for all GitHub pages websites. So hypothetically, I could do a MITM attack and redirect a user from an HTTPS protected GitHub pages site to my malicious GitHub Pages site right? (although the url would be different... but could be similar)
28
New Fossils Strengthen Case for Hobbit Species nytimes.com
28 points by MrJagil  6 hours ago   3 comments top 2
1
thomasrossi 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I think the author misspelled, should be "Homo Baggins", not quite sure what is the "Homo Floresiensis" about!
2
Jill_the_Pill 2 hours ago 0 replies      
They've found the fairies, the elves, the little people. There are so many legends of small folk, I wonder if this species (or more likely its bones) were more wide-spread beyond Flores or if island dwarfism happened several times in human evolutionary history.
29
How We Lost User Engagement After a Redesign icons8.com
179 points by rustoffee  7 hours ago   78 comments top 26
1
Olscore 7 hours ago 8 replies      
Just glancing at the design I can see that the whitespace is all messed up. The previous design was more compact, one could easily view most or all of the necessary information in a smaller space. But that is just glancing at it. The newer design seems to be following the newer web motif of flat design, generous space, etc.

Back in the 2007-2010 era of websites, somebody mentioned that "ugly" websites work. Not that fancy or flat design is bad. But the sheer simplicity of ugly websites forces people to focus on the content, context and functionality. The ugly websites pointed out were MySpace and Craigslist mainly, but you could probably add a few others like Drudge Report and Plenty of Fish. Even Hacker News is pretty "ugly" but it obviously works great.

2
xtav 6 hours ago 1 reply      
The thing that I'm still confused about is why they offered users the ability to "Request an icon", when really, users would be suggesting an icon. As a user, I expect "requests" to be answered. That is, I expect a special service, just for me, that I'll probably have to pay for unless the site is 100% free.

Under that model of user expectations, I envision two groups of users: 1. the users who want to casually suggest an icon (and don't need it for anything critical or want to pay for it themselves, but who would happily use it if it became freely available) 2. the users who have a special request and would pay to have it done, regardless of how many other users want it.

Group number 1 won't bother clicking on "Request an icon", because they figure that the button is for members of group number 2. Group number 1 won't see an option for them, which changes site perceptions, because group number 1 has an impression that the site is for paid requests.

Group number 2 will click on "Request an icon", hoping to place an order, but will be disappointed and/or confused by what they see. Members of group number 2 might note that "Oh hey, it'd be nice if I could get this for free". But given that their need was sufficiently critical for them to want to pay commission, the option to submit an idea that may or may not be voted into existence at some unknown time won't seem promising enough for them to invest any more time in the matter.

3
tomsaffell 6 hours ago 2 replies      
Looking at the 'before' and 'after' designs, I'd say that the biggest difference is that in the old design the first question you ask (via a textbox) is one to which the user already knows the answer ('what icon do you want?'). Whereas in the new design the first question is 'please pick one of these three options (with which you are not already familiar)'. So the questions requires the user to think. See Dont Make Me Think :) IANAUXD, just my $0.03
4
gervase 6 hours ago 2 replies      
Even going into the new design with an understanding of what it was trying to achieve, the tab title "Free for share" threw me off. It was so jarring that I completely stopped reading the article and started trying to grok the UI.

Am I required to 'share' my icon in order for it to be made, like on of those "Like on Facebook for coupon!" sites? Where can I share it? Can anyone vote for my icon, or only people who see it from my 'share'?

I would suggest that simply "Free" would be a much clearer, with the social/share component available but not required. Then, if they want more people to vote on their icon, they can choose to share it or not.

"Free for share" makes it sound transactional, like I'm paying for the icon with a 'share', which is a concept I absolutely hate.

Okay, back to finish the article...

5
thaeli 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I see that, as usually happens, the politics of website redesigns have prevented the simple, user-centric fix of "go back to the old site which worked fine." Like any other deployment, redesigns should have a rollback plan. If you installed a major system update and suddenly production throughput drops in half, you'd roll back to the old version. If you deploy a new design and your traffic falls in half.. why is there so much resistance to just rolling back to the old version?

I understand in cases where it's a big switchover and basically a redesign riding the coattails of a huge middleware/backend rewrite. I don't understand in a case like this when it wouldn't break major back office processes to just put the old site back.

6
asimuvPR 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Imagine for a second if this service was provided through another medium. Let's use radio for the sake of simplicity.The old design was full of information. It was akin to a common radio station talk show. Few pauses. Lots of information flowing in at every moment. The new design is akin to a radio station talk show that takes a silent break every 5 seconds. The information isn't quite flowing anymore. People lose interest. They change the station. That's why they stopped commenting. They were expecting and needed a certain amount of information in order to use the service and join in the conversation.
7
omgtehlion 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I suppose this is not about desing (or redesing). Styles, whitespace, etc.

The new page is just confusing. What am I supposed to do on it? Nothing looks like button or a hyperlink.

8
escobar 6 hours ago 2 replies      
The title of this post is clickbait. It should be titled something closer to "How we lost user interaction after our redesign".

They specifically mention that they did not lose any traffic/visitor numbers: "Important: our overall traffic didnt change. The same amount of people came to this features page."

It appears as though the "lost users" were really lost interactions with the vote button: "our voting numbers decreased by ~50%."

It's fascinating to me how far people are willing to go when skewing the information to pique interest. I'll bet a lot less people would read it without "lost users" in the title.

9
minimaxir 6 hours ago 1 reply      
The analysis seems more like a post-hoc rationalization of why the traffic dropped, which, while fairly reasoned, may not provide the full story.

Specifically, did solving the issues identified restore traffic back to normal levels?

10
swalsh 6 hours ago 0 replies      
So the proper way to do big changes like this is to support both versions and to only roll out the change to select users. It's this radical new concept called A/B testing.
11
Animats 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Compare the web site of the world's leading icon designer, Susan Kare.[1]

[1] http://kare.com/

12
ocdtrekkie 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Cleaner/simpler isn't always better. It's better to be a little more cluttered, if it's a lot more informative.
13
hharnisch 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Looks like you learned the hard way about hovering over to expose features. If you've got touch screen users those features will be virtually useless as well.

One thing that would have been cool to see your writeup would be how you used direct customer feedback. Maybe it was none at all, but I suspect talking to customers (or even internal employees) helped you reach some of the conclusions you made. It's really difficult to look at a graph and go, yes this is the thing that caused the change.

14
gravity13 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I feel like this is a classic example of abusing your knowledge about your product. You gotta account for the fact that users will usually come in having little knowledge about what your product is and will derive that from the functions available on your page. In the previous designs, you look at it and see:

- user generated requestst - crowdsourced voting - how easy submitting a request is, and what it entails - the volume of requests you have

I see this in the larger context of icons8 and I get the sense that is akin to voting for a feature. This is something I could do, if I wanted.

The new design shows me:

- Weird titles that may or may not be some sort of request

And that's about it. Only five of them. Take that in the context of icons8 and I really can't parse what it means so I would probably just completely ignore it. On the request page, I don't see how approachable the request feature is, so I ignore it.

Uservoice does it better.

15
xg15 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm quite supposed another possible cause to the drop in user votes is not mentioned in the blog that seems pretty obvious to me: Where are the vote buttons?

Even if I already fully understand their system and are highly motivated to vote, I wouldn't know how to actually do that in the new design.

In the new design, you have to hover over one of the numbers (without there being any indication that hovering does anything) - after which a grey up-arrow without any text appears. If you're familiar with reddit, etc and know that particular language of symbols, and also know this is a voting system, and you're not distracted by the gray color which could indicate "action not available", you can make an educated guess that this is likely the vote button.

In the old design, it was a button with the word "vote" on it.

16
allendoerfer 6 hours ago 1 reply      
So essentially, they wanted to save $ 500 a month on uservoice.com and learned the hard way, that software is not a simple as it looks. That is also why they are not just rolling back but instead have used the opportunity to at least get some PR out of it.
17
imron 5 hours ago 1 reply      
What was the rationale behind the redesign?

Was there any sort of A/B testing done beforehand to see if the changes would bring actual improvement or was it more just trying to mimic current design trends?

18
guylepage3 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow! Terrible redesign

Went from being Simple left to right, top to bottom style to some weird layout that it very hard to navigate.

I would give that sucker a grade of F.

Great reminder to have users test products before shipping something.

As well as use common sense in your designs.

19
adrianggg 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Amazon is great at A|B testing their way to a great user experience. You may not agree just by looking at the UI but the metrics don't lie. Ok sometimes they are misinterpreted or gamed. But an honest look at feedback will work every time.
20
EpicEng 5 hours ago 0 replies      
And, of course, I'm greeted by a huge image that I have to scroll all the way past in order get to the content. I'm not sure they learned their lesson.
21
joblessjunkie 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Why not simply treat every search that returns zero results as a request, and dump the UI entirely?
22
lotyrin 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Why don't people ever test shit?
23
rocky1138 6 hours ago 1 reply      
So... did they put it back?
24
vit05 6 hours ago 0 replies      
This could be the post of Snapchat team in one week.
25
eanzenberg 6 hours ago 0 replies      
If it ain't broke..
26
6 hours ago 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Personal attacks are not allowed on Hacker News. Please don't do this again.
30
On Reading Issues of Wired from 1993 to 1995 newyorker.com
78 points by kawera  10 hours ago   32 comments top 18
1
notmything 4 minutes ago 0 replies      
What on earth am I reading?

 One thing Ive noticed since moving to San Francisco is that my cohort in the tech world doesnt talk that much about the industrys past.
How is the above different in any other industry? I don't hear my fellow consultants talking about the history of consulting, I don't hear my programme manager wife and her programme manager friends talking about the history of programme management etc.

Waffle

2
zeveb 5 hours ago 3 replies      
> In Scenarios, a special edition from 1995, the guest editor Douglas Coupland took it upon himself to compile a reverse time capsule, which he deemed not a capsule directed to the future, but rather to the citizens of 1975. What artifacts, he asked, might surprise them most about the direction taken by the next 20 years? Included in the capsulealongside non-tech items such as a chunk of the Berlin Wall, Prozac, and a Japanese luxury sedanwere a laptop (more power in your lap than MITs biggest mainframe), an Apple MessagePad (hand-held devices are replacing secretaries), and a cellular phone. Scanning my apartment, I can spot progeny of all three. One suspects that, were we to engineer our own reverse time capsule today and ship it back to the citizens of 1995, they might not be all that surprised by the direction weve taken.

I remember 1995 pretty well; I think 2016 has a lot more in common with it than 1995 has in common with 1974. Honestly, I don't think life has changed all that much in the last twenty years. Sure, everyone has a smartphone, and back then almost no-one had a _cell_phone, and the Internet is faster, and computers can do more and are more reliable, but things really aren't fundamentally different.

We had the Web then, and we have it now. We had internet communities than, and we have them now. We listened to music then, and we listen to it now. Computers have been integrated far better into our lives, but they're doing essentially the same things (I still remember watching a QuickTime video of The Spirit of Christmas back in 1996; that's no different in kind than Hulu or Netflix, just in degree).

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jedberg 1 hour ago 1 reply      
> A few moments later, I was on eBay, where I started to bid on strangers dusty collections of early issues of Wired, all from the years 1993 to 1995

It's interesting that the author never tried to get these from a library (or at least doesn't mention it). Do libraries not keep back issues anymore? Growing up in LA, I could get back issues of almost any magazine from the library going many decades back. Sometimes my local library didn't have it, but the LA system did.

Also, since she lives in SF, I'll bet should could just head over to Wired HQ and ask to use their collection, and they'd probably be thrilled that someone is interested in back issues. They have them all on a bookcase since the beginning of time. I used to read them when taking breaks.

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lafay 8 hours ago 0 replies      
This article is by Anna Wiener, the same author who wrote the recent "Uncanny Valley" piece:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11565691

Really enjoy her writing.

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rconti 5 hours ago 2 replies      
My favorite was Neal Stephenson's "Mother Earth Mother Board", from December 1996, about the Fiber Optic Link around the Globe ("FLAG").

I wish I had all those issues I saved for a decade or so.

http://www.wired.com/1996/12/ffglass/

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GnarfGnarf 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Wired used to be a really interesting magazine. Now it's just a dumbed-down catalog of high-tech gadgets. Like a SkyMall catalog.
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mccoyspace 52 minutes ago 0 replies      
And don't forget Mondo 2000. Earlier, more counter-culture and techo-utopian (or maybe dystopian...)
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muaddirac 5 hours ago 0 replies      
> DataHand, a two-thousand-dollar sensor-laden, ergonomic keyboard without keys.

Not as defunct as you might think! See: https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=41422.0

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ogurechny 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Let me remind you about the most hip programming language of today: PASCAL.https://archive.org/details/byte-magazine-1978-08

(There's a lot more there, don't accidentally drown.)

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robk 6 hours ago 0 replies      
The excerpt of Microserfs they published was for me the epitome of 90s silicon valley. Coupland hasn't impressed me since then but damn that was a perfect time capsule
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gr3yh47 8 hours ago 0 replies      
somebody from wired should do the same with the new yorker
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kevin_thibedeau 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Ah yes the era of light pink text on a striped yellow background. The future was going to be just like Max Headroom.
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nevster 2 hours ago 0 replies      
The spines make for interesting patterns: https://www.instagram.com/p/UZdhB/?taken-by=nevrs

(I have every single issue).

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codeulike 6 hours ago 0 replies      
On a similar note, things found in a 1995 copy of '.Net - The Internet Magazine'

http://www.codeulike.com/2008_01_01_archive.html

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CobrastanJorji 4 hours ago 1 reply      
> A sidebar on Wacoms ArtPad, from 1995If youve ever sketched with a pencil, youll be able to use ArtPadmade me wonder why it took Apple so long to roll out its Pencil stylus for the iPad.

Because in 1995, the handwriting recognition of the Apple Newton was so bad that it was a Simpsons joke.

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rbanffy 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Wired is for newbies. For a real trip one should try OMNI and Creative Computing.
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patrickg_zill 4 hours ago 0 replies      
The "original" Wired was written by people well outside mainstream journalism. It was OK for a news piece to be quirky or obscure. When it was taken over by "Encorpera" it changed greatly.
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ovt 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I don't have deep knowledge of what it's like in literary land, literature degree programs, etc., but oh goodness can they blather on, Painting Pictures longer than my interest holds.

"on MUNI, at bars, in bed in my apartment in Haight-Ashbury" sounds like someone who came from somewhere regarded as lame and is hoping that coolness is now on them.

"its a document of a time when consumer technology was still clumsy and undefined" -- I'm not sure consumer technology has reached its pinnacle of perfection.

And that's as far as I got. I'd actually been hoping we were going to hear something like "Here is the nonsense of 1994, which lets us think more clearly about what's probably nonsense in 2016", and maybe it's in there somewhere, buried.

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