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Why Rust for Low-Level Linux Programming? groveronline.com
86 points by pieceofpeace  1 hour ago   47 comments top 6
ktamura 1 hour ago 4 replies      
As a long-time developer marketing person, I must say Rust is kicking ass, not just as a language but as a community. They are deeply strategic.

1. Clear audience target: They aren't going after C++ gurus or C magicians but people who are new to systems programming. From Klabnik to Katz to literally everyone in the community, they are consistent with this messaging.

2. As part of 1, they have invested a lot in teaching systems programming 101 (heap v. stack, etc.), i.e., stuff that you learn in the first course in systems programming in college, but many self-taught, higher-level programmers might not know. This is a great example of authentic content marketing based on a clear strategy working out.

3. Their community is very inclusive. My experience (as a marketing guy who barely remembers how to code) is that people are very helpful when you ask questions, submit a patch, etc. This has been the case for me not just with Rust itself but a couple of Rust projects that I've interacted with.

bjourne 27 minutes ago 5 replies      
Performance. Rust is still twice as slow as C (http://benchmarksgame.alioth.debian.org/u64q/performance.php...) which is still a fair bit slower than if a skilled assembly programmer had taken on the task.

Rust aficionados will say that their compiler is getting better, but so is C. clang has gotten faster than gcc on some benchmarks and on some others gcc has catched up and is now faster than clang again.

But what if you don't need optimal performance? Then you can use Rust. But then you can also use Go, Python, SBCL, Haskell, Java, C#...

fdr 5 minutes ago 0 replies      
I'd like to be able to use something like rust, and maybe I will for smaller projects or for novelty sake, but I chafe over how slow compilation time is relative to C (not C++!) projects last I checked.

On the hardware of yesteryear, a parallel compile could build Postgres in about 45 seconds (750-1305KLOC, depending on measurement) , and user mode Linux (which doesn't compile so many drivers) in about a minute.

TheMagicHorsey 49 minutes ago 7 replies      
Is there any reason why embedded software for autonomous vehicles is still being written in C/C++? This last week I was talking to a friend at a company that makes a small autonomous vehicle. During testing their prototype suddenly went off in a straight line. They had to pull a safety to halt the vehicle or it would have gone straight forever into the Pacific Ocean. Turns out there was an unsafe access to a variable in memory, which had not been caught with their software and hardware test platform, even with thousands of virtual sorties.

If their code was written in Rust, that sort of bug could not have occurred.

xvilka 31 minutes ago 0 replies      
Well, Rust is awesome, but there is a place for C too. I just don't understand lack of the life and no improvements in C for ages. Better typing system (for example _Generic doesn't know uint8_t, etc types - they are just typedefs), 'pure' keyword for functions without side effects, tuples support, deprecate a lot of the things and so on.
Scarbutt 1 hour ago 5 replies      
Rust reduces the amount of state I need to keep track of in my brain.

I doubt it, the mental overhead of doing "safe memory programming" in Rust is very high.

Edit: all good replies, want to clarify and forgot to mention that I was comparing to languages with a GC, since I'm seeing Rust being used for lots of stuff, in a general purpose programming language sense (like creating web frameworks for example). Also, for non-very-low-level stuff I guess this cognitive load will be less if/when they introduce an optional GC.

What I learned while securing Ubuntu major.io
73 points by jessaustin  2 hours ago   8 comments top 3
rdtsc 48 minutes ago 1 reply      
And that is a major reason military and lots of enterprise customers run on RHEL. It is this seemingly uncool and boring stuff like having STIGs, FIPS-140-2 certifications, EAL-4 etc.

And it spreads like a virus in a way. Say you use Alpine / Gentoo / Ubuntu. You get your first enterprise or DOD customer. They want an onprem version of your service. Now you have to either not sell it o them (but it so happens those customers also come with loads of cash willing to drop it in your lap). Or support both RHEL and Ubunu. So after a while you start to wonder, why bother supporting both, so you switch to CentOS/ RHEL stack only.

I've seen it happen, people grumbled and were angry, but they still would rather have loads of cash dropped in their laps than stick to their preferred OS.

A couple of years back. Remember Mark Shuttleworth inquiring about what would it take for Ubuntu to get some uptake with US govt customers. Remember emailing him a list of some of those requirements and yeah, it is very expensive and time consuming to get those red tape stamps on your product. I don't know if anything happened with Ubuntu in that regard since.

(You can also get exceptions depending on who you sell to, but it only happens if you have friends in high places which can grant those. Say sell to special ops teams, for example).

ericcholis 51 minutes ago 2 replies      
>The AIDE package is critical for secure deployments since it helps administrators monitor for file integrity on a regular basis. However, Ubuntu ships with some interesting configuration files and wrappers for AIDE.

Critical for secure deployments and hosted on sourceforge.....

daveguy 21 minutes ago 0 replies      
He brings up the fact that Ubuntu doesn't enable the firewall by default. This is just a poor decision on the part of the Ubuntu maintainers. Sure it doesn't have any ports open by default, but installing a poorly configured package (that does leave a port open) means a potential security hole that could easily be prevented. Incoming firewall should be the rule, not the exception.
Surge Static Web Publishing for Front-End Developers surge.sh
34 points by stevelacy  1 hour ago   5 comments top 5
sotojuan 17 minutes ago 0 replies      
I'm not a paying customer of or affiliated with Surgejust a happy user.

Surge is what I've always wanted to when I do frontend development for fun and learning. This is especially true if you're new. When you're new, you don't want to set up a server to push to Heroku or Digital Ocean, you may not want to use GitHub pages, or other alternatives (not aware of all, just the ones I mentioned). You may still be new to git and git-based deployments.

Surge is simple: `surge -p build` will upload the `build` directory and give you a nice HTTPS URL to share with your friends. `surge` does the same with the current directory. You can pick a URL under their domain or use one you own. It all takes a few seconds. Perfect for portfolios, demos, etc.

If you use npm you can `npm install --save-dev surge` and add a script that does your production build step and then calls surge to deploy it.

Very underrated service!

nathancahill 4 minutes ago 0 replies      
Love Surge so much. The CLI interface is stellar. We use it for testing feature branches of frontend code. Writing a tool to automatically spin up an environment for every pull request (alongside the CI). Helps the whole team test new features without having to pull down the branch and review locally.
kentor 11 minutes ago 0 replies      
Very nice service and interface. Only issue I've had was when my site went down a couple of times due to issues at DigitalOcean.
krat0sprakhar 14 minutes ago 0 replies      
Don't have enough good things to say about Surge. Wonderful service, damn easy to work with, great number of features (even in the free plan).
johnwheeler 25 minutes ago 0 replies      
How Microsoft beat Apple to buy PowerPoint for $14M zamzar.com
105 points by whyleyc  4 hours ago   82 comments top 12
chime 3 hours ago 3 replies      
Random trivia for tech history buffs: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forethought,_Inc. under founder Rob Campbell sold PowerPoint to MS and FileMaker to Apple.

Of course everyone knows PowerPoint but even most techies today have never touched FileMaker - it was the Django/Rails/WordPress/SquareSpace/RAD application back in the day. At a time when very few could code, FileMaker let anyone create a full-featured database. And even today, if you are running a small business and want basic data-collection features for internal use, it is still relevant and useful: http://www.filemaker.com/solutions/starter-solutions.html

90% of "please make me a typical DB app" requests I get, I just point them to FileMaker. I say spend $75/mo for 5 users for a couple of months to work out the process. If the process works and the pain-point is FileMaker, come back to me and I will make a custom solution.

raldi 3 hours ago 3 replies      
The deal of the century was when SAIC bought Network Solutions for $4.7M in 1995.

Five years later, they sold it to VeriSign for $21B.

martin-adams 4 hours ago 7 replies      
I think it's so ironic that the first version of Powerpoint was for Mac which ended up helping give Windows it's name when running Office.

I've seen Powerpoint used for so many crazy things. Most notably non-technical managers designing a UI in Powerpoint. It's just one of those, lets just get the job done pieces of software.

baldfat 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Not a deal of the century it would have just delayed the MS machine a little.

Back then they either bought you out (Power Point) or they out Advertised or eventually caught up and passes you (Word Perfect).

hnal943 2 hours ago 1 reply      
While obviously PowerPoint is ubiquitous and influential, it's interesting - I don't think I've ever used PowerPoint in professional life.

The last time I needed to prepare a slide presentation was in high school.

d33 4 hours ago 2 replies      
...just $14M?! Wow, it looks like the tech bubble really grew over the years. On the other hand, the number of people affected by the software grew a lot too...
27182818284 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I know lots of folks my age that loved Hypercard. Deal of the century? No, but Hypercard not going mainstream was a huge missed opportunity. I mean I know a generation now of people my age that grew up with that and loved that product in elementary school and all of us ended up doing lousy powerpoints in high school, college, and beyond.

(Additionally given the programming-like nature of Hypercard, I wonder how many more young folks would have entered programming related fields...)

whyleyc 4 hours ago 0 replies      
There are some timeless tips on acquisition here. Notably once more players are interested suddenly it becomes a whole lot easier to dictate terms for the deal ... like not relocating from Silicon Valley to Redmond.
yuhong 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Thinking about it, delaying Windows 3.0 to fix problems with DOS 5.0 would have delayed PowerPoint for Windows further, but I still think that it would be worth it.
peter303 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Dante created a new circle of Hell for PowerPoint
serge2k 2 hours ago 1 reply      
> The new offer, however, was for cash rather than MSFT stock, overcoming one hesitation of our investors.


abritinthebay 3 hours ago 3 replies      
PowerPoint would never have become what it was without being on Windows and part of Office. So no, not really.

Ignoring network effects makes this kind of silly.

Keynote has also been better for a number of years now. Still not as popular just because Macs are less common than PCs with office.

Yahoo: Patent Sell-Off Isnt a Fire Sale medium.com
54 points by steven  4 hours ago   51 comments top 6
jacquesm 3 hours ago 4 replies      
I posted the wsj article here a few days ago:


It's obvious that patent trolls are the most likely candidates to buy out this portfolio, IV would be one of the companies that will try to get a hand on these.

The good engineers whose brains led to these patents had no way of knowing that this would happen, but let it be a warning to all the good engineers in the present whose parent companies are patenting things left, right and center for defensive purposes only, of course.

nailer 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Note a lot of Yahoo engineers were apparently encouraged to get patents for 'defence only' purposes.

I do not know if these are among those being auctioned.

jack9 39 minutes ago 0 replies      
It's a fire sale. Only the casually ignorant would be convinced otherwise, so what's the point?
kahnpro 2 hours ago 7 replies      
Ugh. Does anybody else just feel that patents simply shouldn't be transferable?
fhood 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I would really like to see some of the major tech companies step up and make an example of some of the more prolific patent trolls. Apple and Google should be making a real effort to make this process more risky as they have cash reserves deep enough to deal with any of these companies regardless of the size and the goodwill that these actions would generate would be significant.
AnimalMuppet 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Please... Betteridge's Law... please be true...
Elasticsearch Based Image Search Using RGB Signatures sujitpal.blogspot.com
58 points by elasticdog  4 hours ago   17 comments top 8
GrantS 2 hours ago 2 replies      
For anyone interested in the computer vision side of this topic, the author here is using a variant of color histograms, which was state of the art around 1990 [1][2]. Since 2003, bag of visual words approaches have usually meant extracting SIFT-like features from a database of images, quantizing the features down to a list of thousands or millions of "words", and then treating the images like documents containing those "visual words" [3][4]. (Nothing wrong with the approach he's using [simple and fast], but the bag of words terminology in the article usually suggests a different class of approaches.)

[1] https://staff.fnwi.uva.nl/r.vandenboomgaard/IPCV/_downloads/...

[2] https://www.cs.utexas.edu/users/dana/Swain1.pdf

[3] http://www.robots.ox.ac.uk/~vgg/publications/papers/sivic03....

[4] http://www-inst.eecs.berkeley.edu/~cs294-6/fa06/papers/niste...

jerluc 18 minutes ago 0 replies      
In my [limited] experience with CBIR and image based search, I found that using a color space with perceptual spatial qualities (such as one of the CIE LaB variants) to be more effective than a purely normalized geometric color space (such as RGB or HSV), as color similarities in the latter may not make much sense to a human.
softwaredoug 1 hour ago 0 replies      
My "Ghost in The Search Machine" talk builds a really naive image search demo (which Sujit uses for his starting point). You might enjoy that:


sandeepc 1 hour ago 0 replies      
If you're interested in searching photos with ES - I took a some what simpler approach focusing just on major colors in the image.

But with some of the machine vision API google cloud etc. you could extend to other "features"


UncleChis 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I have put quite a bit of similar effort to image retrieval using Elasticsearch before. While it is nice and convenient, what I found was that Elastic Search is too slow for larger scale (million of Images with dictionary of millions visual words in BoW model). May be there're some steps that I did not do right, but I gave up.
infinitone 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Really cool. But maybe its just me, aren't butterflies kind of hard to distinguish between each other. I feel as though his search result page- i couldn't really tell if it was good or not because they all looked kind of similar shape-wise. Only difference is color and even then its fairly little color.
willcodeforfoo 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Another open-source implementation using a similar concept and Elasticsearch is image-match: https://github.com/ascribe/image-match
rcarmo 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder if pHash wouldn't make this a lot more effective. Anyone tried building an ES-usable distance function for pHash?
Gawker Files for Bankruptcy, Will Be Put Up for Auction wsj.com
299 points by apsec112  1 hour ago   301 comments top 39
grellas 28 minutes ago 4 replies      
A few thoughts:

1. The pressure point here was a court ruling declining to stay enforcement of the $140M judgment pending appeal. This left Gawker having to post a $50M bond in order to avoid enforcement proceedings by which its assets could have been seized and its business literally dismantled. Gawker may or may not ultimately prove to have a successful basis upon which to get this judgment reversed but, without a stay of enforcement, it had no way of staying alive until it could have the matter decided by the appellate courts. No stay, no hope.

2. The bankruptcy filing, then, forces Gawker to give up its business but gives a vehicle by which the parties in interest behind the company can get $100+M by which to continue the fight through appeal in hopes of getting the judgment reversed and presumably leaving them with some significant value to salvage from what is now a desperate situation.

3. Concerning the social policy question here, it has repeatedly been framed as whether it is proper for a super-wealthy individual to fund another party's litigation to get payback or for some other suspect reason and what implications this has on the news media. This is a proper question but it is framed too narrowly. The broader question is whether the law should permit any third-party funding of litigation where the funder has otherwise has no connection with the merits of the dispute. Historically, the answer to that question was an emphatic no. Indeed, that sort of activity was defined as a crime - specifically, the crime of "maintenance." The statutes defining this crime originated in England and dated back the 1200's and so could truly be called ancient of origin. Basically, the idea back then was that feudal lords should not be permitted to use their wealth to interfere with legal process and thereby to potentially corrupt. By the 1700's, William Blackstone summed up the nature of the offense (as part of his famous work summing up all of the English common law) by defining maintenance as "officious intermeddling in a suit that no way belongs to one" and called it an "offense against public justice, as it keeps alive strife and contention and perverts the remedial process of the law into an engine of oppression." In contrast to this long-established hostility toward the interfering use of wealth to influence the judicial process, modern attitudes (dating back at least 50 years) came to see more litigation as being good for society as it could be used as a tool to help correct inequities in society - hence the litigation explosion. Owing to this changed attitude, many erstwhile barriers to open-ended litigation came tumbling down and along with them came the near-universal repeal of the crime of maintenance (and the related offenses of "champerty" and "barratry"). With this repeal, it became open season for any wealthy person wanting to fund anybody else's litigation for whatever purpose suited him. If people have a problem with that, that is the issue that should be addressed and not a narrow issue involving added protections for the press only. Litigation abuse is litigation abuse; if it is bad for the press, it is bad as well for other victims in society.

4. To illustrate how this sort of intermeddling tainted the processes in this case: lawyers routinely will add claims that will bring in insurance defense coverage to ensure that they can collect on any judgment but here the lawyers were directed to exclude a claim that would have allowed Gawker to bring in its insurer to cover costs of defense and potentially any judgment; parties also routinely will make serious efforts to settle any high-stakes litigation at various critical points but here it was all scorched-earth all the way to the bitter end with no prospect of the parties achieving a reasonable settlement along the way.

I don't think too many people will shed a tear over the demise of Gawker but the public policy issue here is an important one. Can the modern mindset - so enamored with the supposed benefits of expanding redress through litigation - ever go back to reinstating laws forbidding "maintenance"? I doubt it. But perhaps the time is right for a debate and reconsideration. I think we are otherwise left a little unsettled over what the promiscuous scattering of third-party money throughout the courts might do. Whatever it is, it likely is not good.

whack 1 hour ago 8 replies      
Libel and slander have no place in a functioning democracy. By building an entire business model around such practices, Gawker is not only spreading disinformation, it is also crowding out more reputable news sources that could have better helped inform the public.

The only criticism I can give in this entire tale, is that it shouldn't take a billionaire to sue and win judgement against slanderous publishers. Such recourse should be made available to every common man, regardless of wealth.

But still, progress is only ever made, one step at a time. Good riddance to Gawker.

nostromo 1 hour ago 20 replies      
Gawker may have been terrible, but we should all be a bit concerned at the precedent this sets.

It's sort of like defending the free speech of terrible groups like the KKK. We do it because we treasure free speech, not because we support the KKK.

I generally have positive feelings about Thiel, but his actions here make me very uneasy. I worry that the aristocracy will now use this method to try and close down unfavorable media outlets. I believe this will have a chilling effect on the media in the US.

baldfat 1 hour ago 8 replies      
Messed up lawsuit and I actually don't know what to think.

1) Gawker was garbage dwelling story makers. I am glad they aren't going to do stories anymore.

2) Who will it be the next time something happens like this will it be a actual journalist and good content producer that gets sued to death? Scared for journalist????

Also would be nice to see LifeHacker survive this.

leothekim 10 minutes ago 0 replies      
The thing I have trouble reconciling is that the merits of the case were judged in a court of law and found in favor for Hogan and against Gawker. AFAICT, the fact that Thiel was funding Hogan's case only became widely known after the judgment. Honest question - would there have been the same judgment against Gawker if Thiel didn't fund the case?

I also have trouble understanding how what Gawker did as ethical journalism, relativistically speaking or otherwise. It's hard to compare a sex tape of a former wrestler to uncovering scandals in a major institution, like the Washington Post did for Watergate, the NY Times did with the Pentagon Papers, the Boston Globe with the sexual predation in the Catholic church, or even what every major media outlet published with the Monica Lewinsky affair. Publishing this sex tape was for clickbait, which is purely about metrics and much less about holding our institutions and public figures accountable for unethical or illegal activity.

rm_-rf_slash 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Gossip rags come and go. As long as there are celebrities there will be celebrity tabloids.

Privately funding a lawsuit for someone else so you can settle a grudge is ethically dubious, at best.

The American system of allowing juries instead of judges to set reward amounts only ultimately benefits overpaid lawyers, and society as a whole is worse off from the damages of frivolous lawsuits.

That's all I think there really is to say about that...

dh8 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Coming out of the closet was a really painful process for myself and some of my gay friends. The pain that gawker has caused to many gay individuals is pathetic and indefensible (outing theil, publishing industry executive, etc.). I will have a drink to their downfall tonight.
julian88888888 1 hour ago 0 replies      
here's a summary:

Gawker Media filed for bankruptcy Friday and the company will be put up for auction after a judge ruled that a $140 million jury judgment against it in a costly legal battle with former professional wrestler Hulk Hogan would stand.

The sale auction will begin with an opening bid of $100 million from the digital media company and publisher Ziff Davis LLC, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The sale was triggered after the judge overseeing the invasion-of-privacy case brought by Hulk Hoganwhose real name is Terry Bolleadeclined to issue a stay pending Gawkers appeal.

Proceeds from a sale will go into a fund to finance further litigation costs and cover whatever damages may ultimately be leveled following the appeals process, which could take years to resolve.

Two weeks ago, it emerged that Silicon Valley billionaire and investor Peter Thiel has been financing Mr. Bolleas legal fight and other such battles involving people who Mr. Thiel feels have been targeted unfairly by the media company.

adamnemecek 1 hour ago 6 replies      
And nothing of value was lost.
olliej 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Its amazing how many people are coming to claim this is "100% awesome", but in another thread will say that reddit closing threads that share stolen nudes or preteen porn is censorship that should be illegal and is demonstrating the power of SJWs.
mevile 1 hour ago 6 replies      
I don't like Gawker, but I like the idea of a billionaire being able to bankrupt news sites that he doesn't like even less.
josh_carterPDX 41 minutes ago 0 replies      
Gawker didn't fail because of anything other than a complete lack of integrity. They were aggressive, manipulative, and unethical. I remember we had a co-working space where Gawker had some people. We couldn't say shit out loud and had to make sure our screens could not be seen by anyone else in the building. There's nothing more unnerving than actually feeling as though someone was watching/stalking you. This company and the people they employed were vultures. To call this thing a publication is an insult to people who are actually digging up stories that have an impact to society. This was worse than the National Enquirer and the world is a better place without them part of it. Good riddance.
danso 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Sad in a way. AFAIK, Gawker is not only one of the few independent online media companies (VICE/Vox/BuzzFeed/BusinessInsider are heavily funded/owned by massive media conglomerates), it was one of the few media companies period making a healthy profit:


> The companys revenue had grown from about $5.3 million in 2006 to $43.8 million in 2014. It was consistently profitable, with a 2014 operating income of $6.7 million. Most importantly, it had an ambitious plan to create a lucrative new revenue stream by monetizing third-party content on its proprietary online publishing platform, Kinja, that promised to deliver the site from many of the increasing pressures facing ad-supported digital publishing.

I wouldn't be surprised if Gawker were the only online-only media company that was making profits in the range of millions. That Hogan video, which couldn't have brought in more than a good week's worth of traffic, was a fucking dumb way to flush a nearly billion dollar company down the toilet. For legal reasons, Gawker has publicly stood by the former editor who published the post (and then who went on to create another Gawker-like site [1], that immediately folded because of non-traffic), but I wonder if Gawker employees are privately treating him like a pariah.

[1] http://ratter.com/

markplindsay 1 hour ago 0 replies      
That's what happens when you're a news organization critical of Silicon Valley, and a tech billionaire doesn't like it. Which media outlet is next on Thiel's hit list?
jshevek 1 hour ago 0 replies      
As a fan of privacy rights, this pleases me.

Also, sites like Gawker benefit from encouraging the most base aspects of our culture. Seeing one head of the hydra getting chopped off isn't really progress, but it is satisfying.

univalent 1 hour ago 1 reply      
The size of the award is insane. Wrongful death suits are awarded far lower amounts.
corin_ 1 hour ago 1 reply      
'The media company [...] had assets of $50 to $100 million and liabilities of $100 million to $500 million, filings showed.'


elcapitan 15 minutes ago 0 replies      
I wonder what kind of horrible stuff they'll put up for sale that they probably didn't dare to publish themselves.
keepper 1 hour ago 4 replies      
A racist billionaire[1], funding another racist millionaire[2], supporting another racist billionaire[3]

But everyone seems to be ok with this, because of pseudo libertarianism?

Libertarianism: "All the parts of government that benefit rich folks are legit/necessary/essential. All the parts that benefit poor folks are illegitimate/aggression/tyranny."

Oh man... what is going on!?!





soheil 1 hour ago 0 replies      
It's worthwhile to remember free speech is not absolute. There are several cases where it's not considered free speech, here are some examples:Obscenity, Fighting words, Defamation (includes libel, slander) Child pornography, Perjury, Blackmail, Incitement to imminent lawless action, True threats, Solicitations to commit crimes.

I know people love to protect freedom of speech and I'm on that bandwagon, but please let's remember just because it appears freedom of speech is being violated doesn't mean it is (e.g. in cases were most people don't support something and it appears the mob rule is triumph, it should indeed be sign that something may be wrong but let's not use that sign as enough evidence that free speech is violated.) Sometimes it's not the freedom of speech that is being violated, but some person's rights.

pmarreck 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I'm torn between everyone having their privacy and ripping the band-aid off by exposing everyone's private life at once so we see how things really are instead of how we think them to be

For instance, I'd bet that many marriages are largely keeping up appearances while hiding some big secrets which would put the whole concept of "Western marriage" at risk (perhaps justifiably)

Redoubts 39 minutes ago 0 replies      
I can't get past the paywall right now, so maybe I'm missing details. How is this supposed to work, the company makes >10 million a year in profit, so who would buy the company wholesale, and how does that fix anything? Or is it being sold to cover the personal liability of the owner?
meira 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Liberals cheers for this, and get angry when Brazil blocks Whatsapp or Facebook. Logic. None.
igorgue 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Thin skinned billionaires...
incompletewoot 32 minutes ago 0 replies      
I wonder if Thiel will follow the management around waiting to pounce on them doing something else, just to solidify his brand. Kinda like the IRS loves seeing reporting of people suffering from IRS & tax problems as an advertisement to not mess with the IRS.
soneca 1 hour ago 0 replies      
IMO, Thiel did not bought the justice, it only worked out fine for him because a just judge ruled that Gawker was wrong according to the law.

And those who think he de facto bought the law; they should fight for the justice system itself to be reformed, not shaming or trying to regulate who pays the lawyers bill (although I think it could be a public information).

badloginagain 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Cant read because of paywall, but I have been following along with this "dramady." I wonder what form of invasive media will fill the void in Gawkers wake. If anyone thinks this is the end of Gawkers distasteful form of journalism they are very wrong.

Gawker worked. It was nasty, but it worked. Companies will form and fill the gap; but they'll be more resilient because they'll remember how Gawker fell.

jonah 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I hope Jalopnik survives largely intact. It's one of the better/more entertaining general car sites put there.
danvoell 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Does the auction include debt obligations?
intrasight 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Good riddance. They took a gamble and lost. That's business. That's life.
jagger27 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Whatever the outcome, I hope Jalopnik sticks around.
sunstone 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Gawking at Gawker circling the sewer drain.
ryanlol 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Looks like Thiel going public crushed any hopes Gawker may have had of being able to acquire funding to fight the lawsuits.

Very well played by Thiel, whether or not you agree with what he did.

geerlingguy 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Some context, for those who haven't been following:

 - Peter Thiel, Tech Billionaire, Reveals Secret War with Gawker[1] - Hulk Hogan awarded payout over Gawker sex tapes[2] - $115M verdict in Hulk Hogan sex-tape lawsuit could wipe out Gawker[3]
[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11774588

[2] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11315985

[3] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11318100

beatpanda 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Lovely to see Hacker News praising the wisdom of the billionaire who just managed to shut down a press outlet he didn't like. This new era of feudalism is off to a great start.
benten10 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Don't anger the Billionaire. He can fund the Lawsuits longer than you can stay solvent.
nekosune 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Oh dear
synaesthesisx 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Ah, schadenfreude at its finest!
mc32 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Purveyors of news take note. Provide news. Don't engage in useless insight into peoples' personal peccadilloes which have little if any bearing on people at large. Don't be lured by the clickbait revenue model or trade in inconsequential lurid tales and try to pedal it as hard news.
A Grain of Salt teslamotors.com
679 points by dwaxe  12 hours ago   238 comments top 32
franciscop 8 hours ago 6 replies      
Some of Edward Niedermayer recently written article titles in bloomberg [1]:

- Worker Discontent Makes Tesla a Union Target

- Tesla Needs More Than Elon Musk

- Tesla Will Get Trampled by the Mass Market

- Tesla's Radical Update Is Just More of the Same

- Tesla Has to Start Acting Like a Car Company

- Tesla Stock Shifts Into 'Insane Mode' [negative]

- The Empire Strikes Back at Tesla

- Why Tesla Has a Target on Its Back

- ...

And the original cited in teslamotors.com:


It seems that yes, we should take a grain of salt and a lot more. There's definitely something fishy going on here.

[1] http://www.bloomberg.com/view/contributors/ARwBOWvU7QI/edwar...

djaychela 7 hours ago 4 replies      
OK, not as tech as many on here, but I've spent the last 25 years as an amateur mechanic, and spent 10 preparing and driving my own rally car, right up to World Rally Championship level, as well as having owned more cars than most people have had hot dinners, and fixed even more than that (sadly!)

The balljoint in question has failed because the rubber boot on it has failed, allowing water/dirt in, and it's rusted out from there. This is nothing specific to Tesla, it can happen on any car - I've seen it on quite a few FWD cars, but never to this degree (total failure) - they will go on for a LONG time with play in them, and take a LOT of abuse before failing.

To have failed in this manner, it would have needed to go un-noticed for some considerable time - I've had ones which have had a year of abuse in extreme circumstances and still been nowhere near as bad as this, so I think you have to ask about the servicing that had been done on this car - whether or not it had been inspected. In addition, this would have had significant play in it for some time, leading to noise which would be noticeable to most drivers when on the road, and easily noticed during any kind of worthwhile inspection (such as the MOT in the UK) - not sure if the state in question has a mandatory inspection?

Yes, being on a dirt road could have exacerbated the problem, but it's not something that a "normal" car can't take - you'd be amazed the amount of physical abuse a mechanically-standard car can take on rough gravel roads at speed.

Components such as this are usually sourced from sub-contractors, who produce them by the thousands/millions without issue, does anyone know if Tesla makes these themselves? Seems unlikely to me.

As has been said elsewhere here, if this had happened on a Ford Focus, no-one would give a monkey's, it's only because it's a Tesla and this guy has an axe to grind.

hbhakhra 11 hours ago 4 replies      
"Recently, a Model S was in a very high speed accident in Germany that caused it to fly 82 feet through the air, an event that would likely be fatal in vehicles not designed to the level of safety of a Tesla. All five occupants were able to exit the vehicle under their own power and had no life-threatening injuries."

That is a pretty impressive feat for a car. Also, the voluntary recalls are an interesting case because to me they did something positive in doing a recall before any injury happened. When the news of the recall broke though, people were complaining about the recalls. Part of the problem is that any announcement by Tesla makes the news round while a similar recall by Toyota or anther company, that would affect many more people, wouldn't get a tenth of the attention.

biokoda 11 hours ago 3 replies      
Crazy how Tesla as an entire company is scrutinized for car incidents that no one would even remotely care about if it was any other car manufacturer. If this guy had a range rover, or even some other electric car this would be a nonstory.
voiper1 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Hmm. http://cdn.dailykanban.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/TeslaG... via https://yro.slashdot.org/story/16/06/09/2122208/tesla-suspen...)

On it's surface, that definitely looks like a full NDA: "don't speak of this" (IANAL)

However, I can see Tesla's interpretation/spin: "It just means: we aren't admitting liability, don't sue us for this, and don't say we paid for part of the repairs" -- which doesn't include "don't report a safety issue".Still, it seems rather strongly worded for that...

schneidmaster 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Since I've seen this mentioned a few times in the comments, it's worth noting: Tesla did not expose the identity of the customer who had the suspension problem. Edward Niedermayer is a blogger who uncovered a post on a car forum[1] and then made hay out of it[2] causing some national media to report about it. Tesla was merely commenting that this blogger has a pretty clear anti-Tesla bias in his other writing. If anyone's responsible for exposing the customer to scrutiny, it's Niedermayer (who linked to the semi-anonymous forum post and turned it into a media story).

1: https://teslamotorsclub.com/tmc/threads/suspension-problem-o...

2: http://dailykanban.com/2016/06/tesla-suspension-breakage-not...

NeutronBoy 12 hours ago 7 replies      
> With respect to the car that is discussed in the blog post that led to yesterdays news (more on the blog post below), the suspension ball joint experienced very abnormal rust. We havent seen this on any other car, suggesting a very unusual use case. The car had over 70,000 miles on it and its owner lives down such a long dirt road that it required two tow trucks to retrieve the car. (One to get the car to the highway and one to get it from the highway to the service center.) When we got the car, it was caked in dirt.

I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt in this post, but a dirty car has nothing to do with a rusty ball joint. Dirt doesn't cause rust. It means, as they note, the owner lives on a dirt road. The two tow-trucks line is such a red-herring - nothing to do with the issue at hand.

OliverJones 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I have a first-generation Honda Insight. It's sixteen years old and still going. At about 110K miles, the power pack failed, someplace in the Central Valley of California.

Honda (I guess some zone office) had it towed 50 miles to the nearest dealership, which happened to be in Bakersfield. They then replaced the power pack without charging me for it.

Now, I knew I was an early adopter. I knew this could happen. I was prepared to pay for it. And Honda decided to treat me like an early adopter. (They sent the old power pack back to Japan; I suppose they wanted to inspect it.)

It never occurred to me to slag them in the media, or try to get a class action suit going, or some such foolishness. I was stuck in "the desert" for a few hours. But it might have made a good story. The media love stories about design defects in cars, and the big car companies' coverups play right into those stories. If it bleeds it leads.

These EVs don't need oil changes. So the temptation may be to treat them like Soviet tanks and never maintain them. That seems a bad idea. They still have rubber seals on ball joints. They still have pads on the disc brakes. All that stuff is expendable, and needs to be looked at.

Tesla is right to debunk this "big story." One guy who could have been using a 20-year-old jalopy pickup truck experienced a typical failure and turned it into his fifteen minutes of fame.

usaphp 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Looking at all the blog posts that blogger Edward Niedermeyer wrote on his blog [1] I can't find a single positive thing he ever said about Tesla, it looks like he has some obligation to just write all the negativity he can come up with.

[1] - http://dailykanban.com/author/bjorn/

abpavel 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Material science lifecycles are measured in decades. Just because you "haven't seen it before" does not mean it can't happen. It means you're not testing well enough, or that your data sample is not good enough. Noone is clairvoyant, and excuses such as "dirt" and "70000 miles" don't make you either. Why automatically attack the victim? Is it not remotely possible, that the fault lies with Tesla?
ktRolster 10 hours ago 1 reply      
"the blogger who fabricated this issue, which then caused negative and incorrect news to be written about Tesla by reputable institutions, is Edward Niedermayer. This is the same gentle soul who previously wrote a blog titled Tesla Death Watch, which starting on May 19, 2008 was counting the days until Teslas death. It has now been 2,944 days."
castratikron 5 hours ago 0 replies      
That ball joint is in miserable condition. How had the owner not noticed any problems? The ball joint would be visible to anyone who would have had to replace the tires, which should have happened before 70K miles. Something feels off about this story.

And about the $3k repair bill: You will see that with any luxury car. Low number of cars means a smaller market for used parts, so what usually happens is only the manufacturer sells used parts. When they're the only supplier, they can charge whatever they want for the parts, and they often do. Maybe the owner did know about the problem, but chose not to replace it because it was too expensive.

It doesn't sound like Tesla is at fault at all, but I suppose they feel the need to protect their brand.

gnoway 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Looking at Mr. Niedermeyer's linkedin profile[0] and what he's doing/where he's worked was kind of enlightening as to his purpose and motivations.

It probably works for him, though. I think 99+% of people, myself included, do not often look at who is writing what they read online. And I'd guess a majority percentage don't think about the fact that they are reading opinion vs. news.

[0] https://www.linkedin.com/in/edward-niedermeyer-35942261

jacquesm 10 hours ago 0 replies      
What strikes me about this whole saga is that if the dealership had simply recognized that those joints should not have failed this early in the vehicles life and fixed them it would have ended right there.

Also I think that to have a 'will not sue' clause in the agreement to fix issues that are out of warranty is fine but the explicit consent not to talk about it is the kind of thing that will make your lawyer happy in the short term but that will damage your reputation in the longer one. Manufacturers should never try to control the speech of their consumers, even if it benefits them in the short term. It will look like you're trying to cover something up, even when you don't.

HeavyStorm 1 hour ago 0 replies      
"That said, sometimes Tesla does make genuine mistakes. We are not and have never claimed to be perfect. However, we strongly believe in trying to do the right thing and, when we fall short, taking immediate corrective action."

This is what makes me feel confident about a company. Doesn't ring like false humbleness or a disclaimer, just something that you'd hear on a open conversation, where the other party is being sincere.

And the worse thing about the whole situation is that damage is already done. Because people will believe anything they read.

awestroke 11 hours ago 10 replies      
70,000 miles is an incredible distance. I am impressed the car held together that long.

I see nothing wrong with the agreement. If I fix your car for free, I will make you agree to not thank me with a lawsuit. It's very simple, really. The customer gets a free repair, Tesla does not have to deal with lawsuit-wielding psychopaths.

yellowpug 9 hours ago 2 replies      
Big fan of Tesla and their achievement even thus far, but perplexed that they didn't take the high ground, and decided to call out the individual by name in a derogatory and spin-like manner whilst still hiding behind the anonymity of authorship attributed to "The Tesla Team".
pedrocr 11 hours ago 2 replies      
This was perhaps not the best phrasing:

"A few things need to be cleared up about the supposed safety of Model S suspensions:"

Maybe it's just me but it seems to imply that Model S suspensions aren't safe. The whole post is written in a pretty aggressive tone as well. Not your run of the mill PR piece that's for sure. If what Tesla states about this case and about the blogger is true I can see why they would be angry about it though.

S_A_P 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Edward Niedermayer seems to be more concerned with click bait and controversy than really promoting discourse. The Truth About Cars has almost become readable since his departure, but its still a car tabloid at best. The dude is young and was given a pretty good sized platform, decided he didn't like Elon Musk and has now spent a significant percentage of his time to prove Tesla is a scam.

I wouldn't call myself a die hard tesla fan, and Im not willing to spend the kind of money required to own a model s or x. But I would certainly call them compelling reasons to look into an electric car and they are easily 10-15 years ahead of the entrenched auto makers.

I think that Tesla definitely has challenges ahead as well. The biggest is that they need to have cars fully baked and delivered on time. They need to start showing positive balance sheets regularly and they need to get the gigafactory done. I dont see them failing in the near term but their balance sheet and stock price need to reconcile eventually.

As to the claims of reliability, Ive not seen anything that looks to be egregiously worse than cars in the target market. Ive yet to own a single car that has never had a defect or something break that required a warranty/out of warranty repair. I have had cars that were better than average (My current 2014 A4 has had one thing break in 55k miles) and some that were much worse (2009 Chevrolet silverado - everything electric broke, power rear glass, power windows, cruise control, fuel pump, power seats; 2001 VW GTI vr6 had the check engine light on every 6 weeks after I exceeded the ridiculously short 24000 mile warranty- I think they knew that was all that car was good for. I replaced the MAF twice, several other engine electrics as well)

Whatever happens I have to give Tesla(not just Musk) a lot of credit for taking on a hard problem and creating a credible product.

miander 11 hours ago 2 replies      
So are the documents customers were allegedly asked to sign real, or fabricated? This post calls Mr. Niedermayer everything short of a liar, and yet they didn't answer the obvious question. I am still withholding judgement.
sathishvj 11 hours ago 0 replies      

A list of articles by said Edward Niedermeyer. There definitely are a lot of anti-Tesla articles.

icu 10 hours ago 0 replies      
What a coup de grce this blog post is! I have never read any corporate communication that pushed me to finish the whole thing, enhanced my perception of their brand, increased my desire to own one of their products and become a shareholder.
reubensutton 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I love how non-corporate the Tesla blog is: "It is deeply ironic that the only customer who apparently believes that this document prevents him from talking to NHTSA is also the same one who talked to NHTSA. If our agreement was meant to prevent that, it obviously wasnt very good."
rplnt 11 hours ago 2 replies      
This is what caused Tesla to dip so much yesterday?


quocble 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Edward Neidermeyer is a douchebag. Look at all the articles he wrote. http://www.bloomberg.com/view/contributors/ARwBOWvU7QI/edwar...
steve19 11 hours ago 1 reply      
NY Times says..

"The nations top auto safety regulator, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said on Thursday that at least some Tesla customers who experienced suspension failures with Model S luxury cars were asked to sign confidentiality agreements about the issue."


Shivetya 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Great news. Still Tesla obviously expects this type of news to break and it will be an ever constant duty for them to refute or acknowledge issues.

They must also understand that eventually some customers will want to work on their own cars, do preventive service and the like. They need to accommodate them as well.

It is one thing to be serving almost exclusively early adopters, when the III comes along its going to be very interesting to see how they handle it. There will be a whole lot of people who simply don't know how to treat their cars well combined with many who are louder about issues simply because its a bigger investment to them

gloves 8 hours ago 0 replies      
> A Grain of Salt

The Tesla Team June 9, 2016A few things need to be cleared up about the supposed safety of Model S suspensions:

First, there is no safety defect with the suspensions in either the Model S or Model X. Since we own all of our service centers, we are aware of every incident that happens with our customer cars and we are aware of every part that gets replaced. Whenever there is even a potential issue with one of those parts, we investigate fully. This, combined with extensive durability testing, gives us high confidence in our suspensions. With respect to the car that is discussed in the blog post that led to yesterdays news (more on the blog post below), the suspension ball joint experienced very abnormal rust. We havent seen this on any other car, suggesting a very unusual use case. The car had over 70,000 miles on it and its owner lives down such a long dirt road that it required two tow trucks to retrieve the car. (One to get the car to the highway and one to get it from the highway to the service center.) When we got the car, it was caked in dirt.

Second, NHTSA has not opened any investigation nor has it even started a preliminary evaluation, which is the lowest form of formal investigatory work that it does. On April 20th, as part of what it has told us it considers routine screening, NHTSA informally asked us to provide information about our suspensions. On April 30th, we provided all relevant information to NHTSA. NHTSA has since told us that we have cooperated fully and that no further information is needed. Neither before nor after this information was provided has NHTSA identified any safety issue with Teslas suspensions. This can be confirmed with NHTSA.

Third, Tesla has never and would never ask a customer to sign a document to prevent them from talking to NHTSA or any other government agency. That is preposterous.

When our customers tell us something went wrong with their car, we often cover it even if we find that the problem was not caused by the car and that we therefore have no obligations under the warranty. In these situations, we discount or conduct the repair for free, because we believe in putting our customers happiness ahead of our own bottom line. When this happens, we sometimes ask our customers to sign a Goodwill Agreement. The basic point is to ensure that Tesla doesnt do a good deed, only to have that used against us in court for further gain. These situations are very rare, but have sometimes occurred in the past. We will take a look at this situation and will work with NHTSA to see if we can handle it differently, but one thing is clear: this agreement never even comes close to mentioning NHTSA or the government and it has nothing to do with trying to stop someone from communicating with NHTSA or the government about our cars. We have absolutely no desire to do something like that. It is deeply ironic that the only customer who apparently believes that this document prevents him from talking to NHTSA is also the same one who talked to NHTSA. If our agreement was meant to prevent that, it obviously wasnt very good.

Fourth, Teslas own actions demonstrate just how rigorous we are about bringing issues to NHTSAs attention. Not only do we regularly meet with NHTSA, we have also shown that we wont hesitate to conduct proactive and voluntary recalls even when there is only a slight risk of a safety issue. Most recently, Tesla recalled third row seats in the Model X even though not a single problem had been reported by any customer. Before that, Tesla recalled a front seat belt pretensioner, even though not a single injury had occurred. In both of these situations and others before them, Tesla took these actions before anyone reported a concern to NHTSA. We did them on our own, because it was the right thing to do.

There is no car company in the world that cares more about safety than Tesla and our track record reflects that. The Model S is 5-star safety rated in every category and sub-category and Model X is expected to receive the same rating as soon as the government finishes testing. Recently, a Model S was in a very high speed accident in Germany that caused it to fly 82 feet through the air, an event that would likely be fatal in vehicles not designed to the level of safety of a Tesla. All five occupants were able to exit the vehicle under their own power and had no life-threatening injuries.

Finally, it is worth noting that the blogger who fabricated this issue, which then caused negative and incorrect news to be written about Tesla by reputable institutions, is Edward Niedermayer. This is the same gentle soul who previously wrote a blog titled Tesla Death Watch, which starting on May 19, 2008 was counting the days until Teslas death. It has now been 2,944 days. We just checked our pulse and, much to his chagrin, appear to be alive. It is probably wise to take Mr. Niedermayers words with at least a small grain of salt.


SFJulie 11 hours ago 4 replies      
A whole company going after one person. Whether they are right or wrong makes is irrelevant compared to the door to company bullying it opens: if a customer speaks against a company right or wrongfully the arsenal of legal retaliation a company has against him/her is disproportionate (libeling, doxing, mass PR/reputation, secrecy of affair new laws), resulting in de facto possibility for companies to control public space communication.

Government are just giving the key of censorship to corporation. Private owned interests that do not represent the people.

Tesla and its owner's arrogance are creepy.

post_break 5 hours ago 0 replies      
The real crime here is Tesla dangling repairs in front of owners only if they sign an NDA.
abpavel 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Very interesting Tesla's response:1. The car was not brand new and was actually driven, which is horrible.2. NHTSA did not investigate anything, they just asked us for the documents.3. We don't ask customers to sign anything, just demand that they sign "the agreement".4. We're the best. Customers are idiots.5. We'll even publicly expose the identity of the customer for you to hate. Here is his name, address, and SSN. Have fun!
antihero 7 hours ago 0 replies      
> we believe in putting our customers happiness ahead of our own bottom line.

Fuck off with this shit. Your customers happiness IS what defines your bottom line in the long run. Can we stop with all this fucking corporate lies.

I think we need a new trend. Blunt honesty. I'd trust a company far more if they just came out and said yes, we're here to make money and expand. If this means treating you well as a customer, we will do that, but at the end of the day, we make money for our shareholders and to fund other crap we want to do, and we provide you with a thing you are cool with paying for and give you good service in order to do that.

Mathematicians are chronically lost and confused (2014) j2kun.svbtle.com
181 points by Halienja  13 hours ago   96 comments top 18
laingc 10 hours ago 8 replies      
To me, this is about "mathematical maturity".

My observation is that many programmers, especially those who have come of age by working in startups, tend to value ability and sometimes experience over formal education. This is a result, I believe, of noticing that they can outperform many people who have a classical education, and also seeing that many of the people to whom they look up also do not have much in the way of formal education.

However, I truly believe that Mathematics is a discipline that is very hard to engage with outside of formal education - or at least nobody has really found a great model for doing so yet.

Learning Mathematics in a classical, structured way really does change the way you think. I notice a substantial difference even between those of my colleagues who entered industry straight after their Masters or even Bachelors, and those who completed Doctorates or even held postdoctoral positions.

In my opinion, it is this lack of mathematical maturity that makes the switch from general programming to scientific programming more challenging than the converse.

vecter 9 hours ago 10 replies      
I have a great personal story that highlights how long the journey of understanding mathematics is.

I took linear algebra my freshman year of college. It was the non-math major course, so it didn't require proofs. I got an A+ in the class. Not just an A, an A+. I was able to obtain such a high grade by taking tons of practice tests, and since the actual tests were basically mildly veiled calculations, I just had to map the question to the right calculation. So for instance, if after a little interpretation, I figured out that the question was asking for me to calculate the singular value decomposition of a given matrix, I would mindlessly compute, check my algebra, and move on.

However, it was very clear to me by the end of the course that I didn't really understand what the heck linear algebra was about.

Five years later, I started a job as an algorithmic trader. One of the first things my boss wanted to do was to do a Principal Component Analysis (PCA) of bond price movements. This is a very common thing to do. I didn't know what PCA was, but I read a short paper he gave me and I was able to grok it. After reading that paper and actually performing the PCA (which by the way was basically one line of R code), I finally came to understand the core essence of linear algebra, which is the idea of linear transformations. I was able to connect the equation Ax=lambdax to the geometry of what an eigenvector meant. Through a little more reasoning, I realized that every real matrix corresponded to a linear transformation of that space via a rotation, a reflection, a stretching, a shearing, etc. At that point, all of the mindless calculations I had been doing half a decade earlier instantly clicked, and I was enlightened.

This was literally half a decade later after I "aced" my linear algebra class. I know that it seems absolutely ridiculous that I could "score so well" in a math class yet so clearly miss the core idea behind the entire class, but that's been my experience with math for as long as I can remember. You start by doing the calculations and just getting comfortable with them. Some arbitrary time later, you have an insight and suddenly everything is so crystal clear and trivial that you wonder how you could even not have understood it before.

Oh, and even to this day, I don't understand what singular values actually are. Something to do with a mapping from the row space to the column space, blah blah. I'm sure if I spent an hour to read about them and picture the geometry, I could figure it out, but I just haven't gotten around to doing it.

pjlegato 29 minutes ago 1 reply      
> Finally, after six months or so, you find the light switch, you turn it on, and suddenly its all illuminated. You can see exactly where you were. Then you move into the next room and spend another six months in the dark...

What are you supposed to do if you like math and the idea of grokking it, but you also have a job and a family and can't afford to spend six months contemplating each room in the mansion?

j2kun 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Author here.

I can't help but plug my mailing list for a book I'm writing, called "A Programmer's Introduction to Mathematics." Cheers, and thanks for reading!


te_platt 10 hours ago 0 replies      
This reminds me of the book "The Perfect Wrong Note". The book is focused on learning to play music but the principles it teaches apply to learning just about anything. The core message to not be afraid of mistakes during practice. Little kids fall over when they learn to walk, you'll have moments of confusion learning new things. There's a time to get things done well, like playing at a recital or releasing production code. There also needs to be time to practice and part of practicing is the expectation that there will be mistakes.
jondubois 4 hours ago 1 reply      
My favourite quote about Mathematics is from John von Neumann: "In mathematics you don't understand things. You just get used to them." - This quote highlights precisely why I ended up choosing software engineering over maths.

I'm just not very good at applying processes/methodologies which I don't fully understand.

For example, I wasn't very good with linear algebra until I was able to visualize the equations in my head. For example, now, when I think about the equation 'f(x) = ax^2 + bx + c' - I can see that this represents the set of all possible quadratic equations and I can roughly visualize what that looks like on a cartesian plane (well it would turn the whole plane black because there would be an infinite number of graphs). Then if I choose any three points on that crowded cartesian plane, I can visualize that among this infinite set of curves, one of them passes through all three points. Thinking about it in that way allows me to make sense of Gauss-Jordan Reduction and other mathematical processes related to linear algebra.

Programming is much easier for me because I can visualize the results instantly on a computer - I don't need someone else to explain it to me. Any uncertainty can be quickly resolved by simply running some code.

friendly_chap 11 hours ago 2 replies      
I feel the same way when solving tasks in my day job. The thing I tell to young people learning programming/tech that I hope they don't get frustrated easily, because they will spend every day of their life feeling rather stupid and confused, never knowing when will they discover a solution for a particular problem.

This is something that was a great source of stress early in my career.

jonstokes 1 hour ago 1 reply      
A mathematician was walking home from campus one day, and as he walked he was pondering a particularly thorny problem. At one point, he snapped out of his reverie and looked around and realized that he had no idea where he was. He saw a young boy playing with a ball in a yard, and figured maybe the boy could tell him the way home. So he says to the boy, "young man, do you know where Prof. So-and-so lives?"

The boy looked at him and said, "Dad, what's wrong with you?"

riazrizvi 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Beautiful article. Love the advice at the end!:

"Whats much more useful is recording what the deep insights are, and storing them for recollection later. Because every important mathematical idea has a deep insight, and these insights are your best friends. Theyre your mathematical nose, and theyll help guide you through the mansion."

reachtarunhere 5 hours ago 0 replies      
As an undergrad who recently became serious about math (thanks to its importance in areas I am interested in) this is very inspiring. I have been trying to grok mathematics for some time and sometimes being too frustrated with problems I can't handle. I have experienced the phenomena of giving up on something and coming back to it and finding it trivial. This is exactly what I needed.
Koshkin 3 hours ago 0 replies      
One of the ways to acquire a taste for mathematics is to try solving elementary but challenging problems, such as those included in MathCamp's qualifying quizzes: http://www.mathcamp.org/prospectiveapplicants/quiz/pastquizz....
l3robot 6 hours ago 0 replies      
What a great blog post! Totally agree with him. And, personnaly, it is why i'm having so much fun doing maths. Everytime it's a new exploration, a new challenge. My best math teacher I had was seeing math with this philosophy in mind and his class was like discovering new lands every time. I'm sure that if we explained in a way that failing a math problem is as normal and challenging that failing a Mario Bros Level, more people would be in peace with it.
kinai 11 hours ago 9 replies      
Does anybody know a good guide on where to begin? Resources are not the issue here, but usually the overwhelming amount of information regarding all those topics and areas of mathematics. I was always very interested but got discouraged rather quickly, even after a semester at university. So far my favorite access to math was through philosophy.
auvrw 9 hours ago 0 replies      
justifier 1 hour ago 0 replies      
any discipline where you are attempting to answer yet to be answered questions leaves you in a state of chronic confusion and lacking direction

math the same

MikeNomad 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Shouldn't the year the article was written (2014) be included in the title?
pm24601 3 hours ago 0 replies      
All they have to do is read this article: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11874395
gauruvbose 5 hours ago 0 replies      
"mathematicians dont work like this"? Sure they do. Reading textbooks is normal. As a mathematician, this post is foreign.
Apple Pay competitor CurrentC is the disaster everyone thought it would be recode.net
48 points by taylorbuley  2 hours ago   19 comments top 5
coleca 18 minutes ago 1 reply      
I'm in awe that some sales person was able to sell Walmart, Target, BestBuy, CVS and all these other stingy retailers on a payment system like CurrentC/MCX. Any B2B enterprise focused startup would be wise to find and poach these guys.

That aside, I have no sympathy for MCX's demise. These guys started out trying to charge $30k just to view their PowerPoint deck. $1m to join the consortium and get a board seat. This may seem like pennies to these billion dollar valuation startups, but retailers are a different breed not willing to spend a dime on anything that hasn't been proven.

At my last retail job I was was pitched by these guys (without the PPT fee) and had a hard time keeping a straight face when they said they wanted the consumers to give up their bank account info right after the Target breach, but somehow they found a whole bunch of backers.

chillacy 1 hour ago 1 reply      
A company pursuing what's best for itself instead of what's best for consumers (I was going to say customers, but in this case it seems like Walmart is the customer) and creates a bad product. Glad to see it didn't take off. Even credit cards are more convenient and come with anti-fraud features.
massysett 38 minutes ago 9 replies      
Meanwhile Apple Pay is not doing much better. I tried it a couple of times with my iPhone. I had trouble getting it to work and it was definitely more troublesome than getting out a credit card. It would be enormously useful if I could use it to pay online merchants, which would keep me from entering address and payment info on my iPhone. But I have seen no such merchants and do not know if such an option is even possible at this point.
PhoenixWright 30 minutes ago 0 replies      
I was part of a meeting at retailerX where a VP or mid-level manager that was representing the company at CurrentC gave a talk. As she told it things were going swimmingly and she talked about her lead and how she and retailerX were respected by the other retailers for their IT prowess. After that meeting I knew CurrentC was dead. This lady was chosen to lead the project and most mid-level managers at retailerX were completely incompetent. RetailerXs IT department is staffed by H1-Bs and get things done through brute force. If that's the best they could find they were in trouble from the start.

Wal-Mart made the wise decision of going solo and launching their own app a little bit later. From what I hear Wal-Mart labs has a great staff.

QuercusMax 30 minutes ago 2 replies      
I've had mixed success with Android Pay; the one time I needed to use it (forgot my wallet) it worked at Trader Joe's.

Most of the time, though, I spend 30 seconds trying to get things lined up properly between my Nexus 6 and the sensor, then give up and use plastic instead.

F# Not just for finance fsharp.tv
157 points by markfsharp  9 hours ago   116 comments top 21
bad_user 5 hours ago 4 replies      
I think the article is spammy and has a clickbait title. Unfortunately reading and addressing the actual article on Hacker News is old-fashioned.

StackOverflow surveys, while interesting, are probably meaningless because they suffer from selection bias. Even so, I would guess that F# developers are very well paid, like other developers of FP languages, but it's probably not because they work with F#. The causality is likely reversed - good developers that tend to be well paid are also the kind of people naturally interested in expanding their skill set, hence interested in FP languages.

Nothing screams spam more than usage of a hot keyword like "functional programming" while leaving hints that you don't understand what you're talking about. I would expect an article that reads like a marketing brochure to at least make a short attempt at explaining what functional programming is. If you copy/paste testimonials from fsharp.org/testimonials, you could also copy/paste from Wikipedia. But then, their own course named "Functional Programming" doesn't seem to have anything to do with actual functional programming: https://fsharp.tv/courses/functional-programming/

gmantom 7 hours ago 2 replies      
While I think F# is a great programming language. The article missed some good uses of it.

Specifically the article missed one of largest F# deployment, in production, in the world at this point. We use F# at Jet.com and it powers every part of our core business from our dynamic pricing algorithm to search and analytics.

Over 4 million customers already on jet and over 2200 cores on azure all running F# code.

insulanian 5 hours ago 1 reply      
There is an interesting article about rewriting C# project in F#, with impressive results:http://simontylercousins.net/does-the-language-you-use-make-...
hvs 6 hours ago 3 replies      
I was an early adopter of F# (1.0) and promoted it pretty heavily in my previous job. We used it for some of our prediction code.

I've since left and move to the Linux world, but have become more involved with using OCaml. Both are great languages (probably my favorites) and that's after investigating Haskell for a while. F#/OCaml's ability to easily move between functional/procedural/OO worlds makes it super flexible.

rcarmo 7 hours ago 2 replies      
I liked tinkering with F# on VS Code with Ionide (https://marketplace.visualstudio.com/items?itemName=Ionide.I...), but would love to hear from folk doing F#/OCaml as to their toolsets.
Keats 6 hours ago 5 replies      
Is anyone using F# on Linux? How's the experience?
ProfChronos 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Just tried F# on https://www.codingame.com/games/puzzlesDon't really see the use case for me, but fun to try smthg new => "one new language a day keeps the boredom away"
pmarreck 4 hours ago 4 replies      
I want to suggest looking at a language like Erlang/Elixir that didn't start out from corporate self-interest (i.e., was open-source from the get-go) but a rising functional tide floats all boats. (And besides, Elixir "borrowed" a few good ideas from F#.)

I've had nothing but good experiences during my forays into functional langs. Here's to a more functional, immutable, easily-concurrent, easily-unit-tested future

markfsharp 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Here is the Louvre Architect demonstrating the use of F# to help with the design of the structure: https://channel9.msdn.com/Events/FSharp-Events/fsharpConf-20...
dintech 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm quite sure KDB pays more.
gtycomb 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Is porting OCaml code to F# on Unix straight forward? Is there something similar to the Opam package manager in F#? Thanks for your thoughts.
mamcx 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Where are the best place to find that F# jobs? I will love to work on it (+17 developing but this years I have picked F#
haddr 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Where is R on those charts on functional languages?
manish_gill 3 hours ago 0 replies      
This was a bit of a surprise to me. Is there a disproportionate amount of people in Finance using F# compared to other technologies? Any particular reason for that if the answer is yes?
bwooceli 5 hours ago 0 replies      
A high price tag for a niche language (purely defined by "popularity") is hardly surprising, simple question of supply and demand.
shitgoose 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I came across F# a couple of months ago. Very nice language! Short, expressive, no noise like declaring vars/types that can be easily inferred at compile time. |> is amazing. Tuples. 'match with'. Took a couple of weeks to get over the hump, but I never looked back since. Work related stuff is still C#, but tooling, prototyping etc I do in F# now. Highly recommend. Also made me to rediscover glorious past of OCaml/ML that went over my head at the time (like most things).
mjfl 5 hours ago 2 replies      
any good tutorials for F#?
melling 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I enjoyed reading this retrospective about someone converting 30,000 lines of Python to OCaml.


OCaml and F# are quite close.

hackaflocka 6 hours ago 2 replies      
> F# came out as the single most highly paid tech worldwide and is amongst the third top paying techs in the US

Wouldn't the latter be implied by the former? Or am I missing something?

spazzpp2 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Long time no see, #F.
mariusmg 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Programming languages are hyped now worse than cars :"From code to colossal: Waagner-Biro recently used F# to construct the dome of the Louvre Abu Dhabi museum"They used X programming language to build the dome of a museum ? Wowwww...

It's sad.

The Web We Want by Mozilla mozilla.org
227 points by raldu  4 hours ago   184 comments top 35
etendue 1 hour ago 7 replies      
The web I want is one that doesn't assume I have an unmetered high-speed internet connection.

I'm visiting my parents right now. They have what I would term as "rural internet options": satellite, fixed cellular, or dialup. There is no DSL. There is no cable. There is no wifi. Satellite has awful latency and an effective 20GB monthly cap (their advertising is very deceptive because they pool midnight off-peak data in their advertised caps), fixed cellular has a 30GB cap: there is no provision to buy more data on either service short of ruinous overage fees.

Browsing around on the modern web filled with autoplay videos, huge JS libraries, giant pictures, etc. has been sufficient for a 2 person household to blow through that 30GB cap in less than a month. It was hard for me to believe, until I instrumented their network and saw for myself. Of course, accidentally updating any software, accidentally syncing their photo libraries, etc. are all expensive mistakes.

Most effective changes I have been able to make so far (without frustrating the parents too much) have been to ad block and get them to use Opera with Turbo, which has been sufficient to cut their data use by about half. I also put a timer on the cellular hub power supply to manually shut it off when they're not at home or when they're sleeping, because despite best efforts some software still automatically updates.

cdnsteve 3 hours ago 4 replies      
The web I want is free of junk loaders, javascript tracking ad garbage making my page requests crazy slow, unpleasant and hard to use.

FB Pages now have a giant login thing that takes over the entire page if you aren't logged in. If you close it, it comes back for every other page you visit.

The amount of stuff that uBlock origin blocks now is amazing. I couldn't even use WSJ until I turned on ad blocking.

I'm starting to think text based browsing is the future. Using chat like interface along with voice commands, mainly work directly with APIs and just never use a browser again. HTML and JavaScript are being taken over by crap on sites.

The web is starting to feel like a garbage dump. API's are the only logical path forward I can see.

lighttower 2 hours ago 0 replies      
There are some remarkable patterns you can gleen from the data.


1. rich countries don't care about freedom

2. countries that are quickly industrializing value opportunity

3. privacy is valued by everyone - but especially wealthy European nations

4. privacy is least valued by countries in war / unrest


However, the message between the lines it seems that everyone is basically saying FREEDOM but within the context of their political realities.

In North America we're worried about our adult content habits becoming public, or our extramarital affairs, or our secret bank accounts. So hence _privacy_ most reflects this political reality.

In Turkey _freedom_ and _privacy_ are both ~25%. This reflects a developed society which is experiencing increased controls on internet (and IRL) freedoms.

Par contre, countries like Iraq / Egypt / Bangladesh, _opportunity_ and _accessibility_ are the most important, reflecting that what the population cares most about is economic progress rather than press freedoms.

Malaysia is interesting; they top the list at 31% wanting freedom, yet, there has been little news (that I heard) about political reform/unrest.

All these responses reflect different freedoms that people are seeking -- contextualized by their political reality. If you lack humans freedoms, like freedom of speech, the type, of freedom you seek is best described _freedom_. While _opportunity_ and _access_ best describe economic and knowledge freedoms. Freedom to do whatever you want without fear of public exposure damaging marriages, job prospects, is best described by _privacy_

[edit - added clarity]--

Disclaimer: The above are based on observation and not statistical analysis. If you can download the raw data please let me know.

seagreen 2 hours ago 0 replies      

 What kind of Web do you want? + Promotes freedom + Inspires learning + Safeguards privacy + Is available to all + Creates opportunity + Puts me in control
This is a good question. My answers would be "inspires learning" and "puts me in control".

Sidenote: let's address the "enable JS" issue once and for all since it keeps popping up in these threads.

Imagine an alternate history where a book reading program went critical (we'll call it "Reader") and took over the world. (In the actual world of course it was a static document consumer -- the "Browser" -- that took over everything and eventually became its own operating system).

In this alternate history there are regular internet fights (occurring in Reader of course) over whether turning off ReaderScript in Reader is a reasonable thing to do.

One side says: it's dumb to turn off the programming language in your Reader and still expect it to function -- programming graceful degradation into every reader app in the world would cost billions of dollars and be a huge waste.

The other side says: that's true, but I just want to read the Quran without popups!

Happily synthesis is easy since both sides are right. You should never expect a readerapp to work without ReaderScript. You should always be able to expect a book to work without RS -- they should never have had access to it in the first place.

The path forward is clear. Readers should have clearly different modes for books (documents/sites in our world) and apps. We should maintain a community list of which URLs are which, and load that by default into Reader. This way apps can continue to run programs by default, but we don't get popups in our books.

kleptako 4 hours ago 10 replies      
The web i want is one that isnt completely broken by not running javascript
twoodfin 2 hours ago 0 replies      
A couple of design comments:

First, I was confused by the animation of green dots on completing the poll question. I had expected that each dot would light up in a color associated with the selected poll answer for the associated user, and thought something must be wrong that I was only seeing the folks who had chosen "Freedom".

Second, once I figured out to hit the color legend to see different results, the contrast between some of the brighter highlight colors on the map and the blue background made it nearly impossible to visually distinguish the gradients.

vcarl 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I love that Africa is the highest continent (at time of posting) for "learning" and "opportunity." I've seen some articles about entrepreneurs in various African countries and it's always amazing how much impact they're able to have with limited materials, and access to the web can get you a lot.
justcommenting 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Safeguards Privacy - "Firefox is made under the principle that security and privacy are fundamental and must not be treated as optional."

Mozilla is certainly treating the cookie management dialog box, which has been broken for years, as optional. Same with accepting Mike Perry's patches and various other examples.

If Mozilla could actually do better in terms of privacy and security features than a handful of Tor Browser Bundle devs, they wouldn't need efforts like this and their work would speak for itself. I still use Mozilla code every day and am grateful for their work, but this sort of rhetoric is unimpressive.

jfoster 4 hours ago 0 replies      
The design of this site doesn't seem so good. It looks (at least on mobile) like it's informational, but it seems it's actually a poll. As a result, the numbers on the pages you get taken to after a selection seem a bit underwhelming. (Eg. 12% want a web that's...)
mevile 3 hours ago 10 replies      
In this thread: people who don't turn JavaScript on by default and are unhappy when sites don't work because of it. They must get angry a lot.

It's like wanting my Android and Mac applications to work without code too, like wanting my entire operating system to just handle PDF files and maybe have a functional text editor. It's like whatever state computers were in 1999, that's what is desired. Are we on Hacker News? A technology news site? People here don't want to use technology and see it evolve and progress?

StevePerkins 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I wish that the vocal 1% who want a JavaScript-free web would just rediscover Gopher.
Borating 3 hours ago 0 replies      
And don' t forget to watch this short video by Mozilla - "The Hidden Business of the Internet" [1]

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7LcUOEP7Brc

Bedon292 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I am really curious, what would the results be like if this we run on Facebook? Does the poll being ran where it is bias the results. ~34% say privacy, but it that sample bias? Or a real representation of what people as a whole are interested in?
carapace 2 hours ago 1 reply      
HAHAHahahahahaha! Oh the irony. This page doesn't work with JS disabled.

(BTW you folks who downvote me for complaining about sites that fail without JS, what gives? What's your idea here? I can't use the web without JS? I'm the idiot? No. I don't agree. Make your site do something reasonable without JS or you're the idiot. C'mon.)

fridek 3 hours ago 3 replies      
I find it sad that people value privacy so highly over anything else, including accessibility and opportunity. It's not that I don't treasure my privacy. I just don't get how it can be more important that ability to work on interesting stuff, freedom to access world's information and to learn from it, or even control over my devices configuration.

Privacy should be an added value, not something we put in front of everything else. It would be meaningless if web wouldn't enable us to do what we do. So in reality, isn't this poll just a list of things we already have thanks to the internet, plus one thing we don't have - privacy?

franblas 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Privacy seems to be on top issue for all regions. Not surprising regarding recent events.
FranOntanaya 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Not sure if I'm supposed to choose the most important one, or go back and select each thing that matters.
return0 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Mozilla is in the right place to implement two things (in a non-profit way): A centralized sign on a-la persona and a browser-mediated payment solution. These two would move the web forward in a fantastic way.
Whackbat 4 hours ago 0 replies      
An interesting but unsurprising result - we want a private web.
orf 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Looks good, but it really seems to be the "Web Europe and America want".
intrasight 3 hours ago 0 replies      
While "privacy" gets the majority of the votes, I believe that we can't get privacy without most of the others.
gloves 3 hours ago 0 replies      
It's not a perfect method of collecting data, but interesting privacy is the top result in every continent on earth.
maglavaitss 3 hours ago 0 replies      
The web I want is one that above all others, respects privacy and my rights. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11845689
wodencafe 4 hours ago 1 reply      
I can't tell what's going on with the map?

What's with all the little dots fading in and out?

daveguy 2 hours ago 0 replies      
One that doesn't know enough about me to be able to put a dot on a map to represent me.
pessimizer 2 hours ago 0 replies      
What kind of world do you want?

 A) One with babies B) One with rainbows C) One with good meals D) One with friends and fun E) One with novelty and adventure F) One that makes us smarter, faster, and more beautiful
Click through to our map to find out where people were sitting when they picked one of these choices.

edit: to be clear, what I'm trying to say is that this is far less a survey than a vapid corporate ejaculation. I don't understand how Mozilla's culture ended up like this. Was it always like this?

gnuvince 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I want a web with less JavaScript.
pasbesoin 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Well, given I can't get even a jist of what the page is about without Javascript... not this.
cowmix 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Jeebuz, I just want a Firefox browser that isn't a piece of crap that doesn't lock up and suck battery.

Let's start there first.

ilostmykeys 1 hour ago 0 replies      
The web I want has real security, not "HTTPS Everywhere" that provides clear text access to nation states while providing a false sense of security.
programminggeek 3 hours ago 0 replies      
The web people want has all their favorite things like Facebook, Google, Netflix, YouTube, ESPN, Yahoo, and on and on.

People don't care about much else. It's the killer apps, not the freedom that people are buying. People trade freedom for shiny things because it makes them feel good.

arca_vorago 3 hours ago 2 replies      
The web I want:

1) One that isn't completely dominated by advertising.

2) One that isn't dominated by proprietary software, that encourages users to participate in FOSS.

3) One focused on data. Part of the problem of javascript, so uneeded in most cases.

4) More on javascript, how about one where each page doesn't load 30 scripts from alternate domains? Even the major new sites do this, and it makes me hate them.

5) One where ISP's don't hand over browsing information to anyone with a dollar or a badge without a warrant.

6) One where VPN's and other privacy centered providers learn how to build systems that don't keep logs and are built with privacy as a first class citizen.

7) Not last, and certainly not least, I mostly want a web that encourages and grows the freedom of thought, speech, and discussion that is and was such a fundamental part of the origins of the internet in the first place. It seems increasingly marginalized on the modern web. The beauty of communications mediums is the power it gives the formerly powerless, but I think the oligarchy has recognized this threat and this is why the internet is going to be increasingly a target of bad legislation written by corrupt "representatives". Beware cries of hate speech or any other attempts at censoring "for the greater good".

Just a few of things I want in web off the top of my head. As for this Mozilla page, I think if we think about the four freedoms and fundamental principles behind them, user control really has to be the starting point. You can't have privacy if the user can't turn off spywidgetX. You can't have freedom if the user can't Y.

Once again, I feel like one day, if we don't destroy ourselves as a species, we will look back and wonder why it took people so long to understand why RMS is and was right. The four freedoms are fundamental to the web I want, and while I often get a lot of hate on HN for being so pro RMS/GPL, I think if more people took the time to understand the issues they would tend to agree.

edit: One where strong theoretical and practical encryption is for everyone, and isn't vilified by the government.

znpy 4 hours ago 0 replies      
All o can think after seeing the page is... "so what?"
j-pb 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Stable and documented like SQLite.

Oh wait we did a step in that direction with WebSQL until mozilla killed it out of not invented here syndrome.

gregn 3 hours ago 0 replies      
The thing is, I think the thing we want and the thing we get are two different things now. Its not a question of tech, such as Javascript, its a question of: I want to read, write and communicate. What I want basically, is an RSS feed reader and writer that actually works. I dont want adds, for the most part I dont want images, unless I specifically seek them out. What we want is the web experience that something like Instapaper provides, which is to isolate the content of the blog post or news article and eschew all the rest, and present it in a readable form in the font I like. This makes the act of information intake painless and flow easily. It sounds ridiculous in a sort of post-RSS environment, but what we need is RSS, to be implemented by someone in a way that makes it work, so it will be used by everyone.
Riot Games finds in-game trolls are toxic employees and fires them gamesindustry.biz
24 points by noahlt  1 hour ago   25 comments top 8
Pfhreak 2 minutes ago 0 replies      
Saying nothing about the practice or the article, but is this title accurate? From what I read, the employees were brought into discussions about their behavior, and were not fired.

(Though the article does present that some fired employees were toxic, it was not insinuated that they were fired based on this analysis.)

Edit: Yes, later in the article, it does suggest some employees were let go.

doktrin 14 minutes ago 3 replies      
My first instinct is that this is creepy overreach, and that I'm glad I don't work for Riot. On the other hand, they have the right to big brother their staff - and said staff should probably know better. It's definitely one of the costs of turning a hobby into a job.

That said, still glad I don't work there. I kind of like knowing I have the freedom to fire back at an abusive teammate without worrying about being fired for "snarky passive aggression" or something similar.

frankmcsherry 11 minutes ago 1 reply      
"... a quarter of all fired employees had been unpleasant players. Toxic players tended to be toxic employees, even if the reverse wasn't always true."

Isn't this saying the opposite?

wnevets 5 minutes ago 1 reply      
Riot has a history of doing sleazy business dealings. I wouldn't be surprised if trolling wasn't just an excuse to get rid of these employees.
sp332 23 minutes ago 1 reply      
Here's an article with more detail https://rework.withgoogle.com/case-studies/riot-games-assess... Only "a couple" of employees were sent packing, and they were ones with other issues already going on.
rhinoceraptor 26 minutes ago 1 reply      
It seems just a little creepy that you are required to give up your in-game username as a condition of employment.
Pica_soO 10 minutes ago 0 replies      
Surely, managements accounts where checked too?
stormbrew 43 minutes ago 2 replies      
Couldn't this have a high risk of overfitting (not sure if that's exactly the right word, but I think it conveys the idea) when using it as a predictive or proactive measure? Just because you observe a correlation in the past doesn't mean it will continue into the future, and there's a lot resting on this prediction.
Too Many Knobs neverworkintheory.org
135 points by ashitlerferad  14 hours ago   96 comments top 18
andybak 9 hours ago 5 replies      
I've noticed a trend in many web apps to stop doing something that used to be standard

It's this: you're displaying a list of things that have various properties. It used to be the case that you're be allowed to sort and filter by any property. Many web apps nowadays seem to 'curate' my sort and filter options and in many cases a particular use is crippled because the property I want to sort or filter by is one that the author deemed a minority use-case.

Now the programming cost of allowing filtering by anything is minimal. The cognitive load on the user is minimal (once you've got the UI for one property then adding more doesn't make much difference)

I've found this deeply frustrating on many occasions.

jdmichal 13 hours ago 3 replies      
I think I can isolate the entire issue to this one line, emphasis mine:

> Only a small percentage (6.1%-16.7%) of configuration parameters are set by the majority of users; a significant percentage (up to 54.1%) of parameters are rarely set by any user.

The necessary question is, how many installations used at least one rarely-set parameter? Would those installations have happened without that parameter? How much effort went into developing that parameter, versus the profits of those installations?

ktRolster 13 hours ago 4 replies      
I'd rather have confusing software that does what I want, than simple software that doesn't do what I want.

I'd suggest the proper response to this is, "Make the common case easy, make the uncommon case possible."

TeMPOraL 10 hours ago 1 reply      

That's how you get shiny toys, not useful tools.

The advice here is good if your primary goal is to successfully sell glorified interactive ads in a market where people buy software by looking how pretty it is and making their choice in 2 seconds. If that's your goal, then ok, one has to make a living, but in this case I don't want your software, and I'll discourage everyone from using it.

Sane defaults + flexibility are a way to go. Software should empower the user, and part of this empowerment may be suggesting a particular workflow, but it should not force one to use that workflow and never stray from it. And don't give me the excuse that "more options == much more complexity == much harder to add new features". That's only true if you write utter spaghetti code, and fuck it, programmers get paid so much so that they do this right.

Bartweiss 3 hours ago 1 reply      
And yet more knobs is the difference between Photoshop and Elements, or Elements and Photo Viewer. I'll be Photoshop is full of features with <1% usage, and that's how it should be. Those components don't have to be (shouldn't be) displayed at equal visibility to others, but they shouldn't go anywhere. The entire value of the program is that if you do want them, they're there.

Removing low-use features is a dangerous game; much of the best software out there (Excel, Photoshop, Viz, etc) is defined by an enormous feature set and a high skill ceiling.

etatoby 10 hours ago 2 replies      
I think Firefox is a great example here.

It has a simple UI to guide the user into finding and setting the most common options. That UI must be as simple as possible for new users and can be changed regularly, according to the changing needs of the majority of users.

It also has an advanced, generic but type-safe UI (about:config) for finding and setting any possible option present in the software.

Configuration files are the traditional way to achieve this second level, but they don't always help the user in finding the options and are generally not type-safe.

kps 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Star had many fewer commands than todays systems, and it didnt do it by having fewer functions. Itjust had fewer commands. Dave Smith at The Final Demonstration of the Xerox Star Computer

Most UX designers are not as good as David Smith; they worship Apple/Jobs' function follows form misunderstanding of the Star GUI, and think you need to remove functionality in order to remove complexity.


video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_OwG_rQ_Hqw text: http://archive.computerhistory.org/resources/access/text/201...

chillaxtian 12 hours ago 2 replies      
> a significant percentage (up to 48.5%) of configuration issues are about users' difficulties in finding or setting the parameters to obtain the intended system behavior

this is the important bit to me.

i don't like using software that feels like it could fall over because i turned the wrong combination of knobs the developer didn't anticipate.

opinionated, fixed configuration is a nicer experience than an app that can do anything, if you bend it to your will.

xchaotic 5 hours ago 2 replies      
tl;dr: "there is too many setting, most people won't even use them".The solution IMO is not to remove those knobs completely, but to set defaults well and be able to 'pop under the hood' when you need as you probably know what you're doing by then.A good use case is an editor - most recent successful editos such as Sublime, VSCode etc are minimalistic to begin with, but very configurable behind the scenes.For starting user it's nothing but text editor, for an advanced user it can be a full blown, build, testing and deployment enviornment
OliverJones 5 hours ago 0 replies      
The VMS product managers at Digital figured this out in about 1985. VMS was horrendously configurable, with all sorts of system settings to tweak.

As I recall, product management forced the issue by making it so the dev team didn't have access to their own machines to tweak parameters. It didn't take long in VAX years for the OS to become more self-configuring. It was a draconian approach, but helped customer satisfaction.

rodionos 12 hours ago 1 reply      
I can only attest, configuration bloat is especially relevant to complex enterprise products, for obvious reasons. What we normally do in our products is to provide a simple interface to view a filtered list of non-default settings. We also have a way to export this list of custom setting names (not values), so we can query our customer base once in a while, to check which settings are not utilized. We've used this trick to internalize or EOL a lot of "knobs" that haven't been used at all.
simula67 12 hours ago 1 reply      
This is a very important question to ask, but I am a little frustrated reading the paper. I went into reading the paper expecting answers to these questions :

1. How much is the problem of having too many configuration options mitigated by having sensible defaults ?

"a significant percentage (up to 48.5%) ofconfiguration issues are about users difficulties in finding or setting the parameters to obtain the intended system behavior; a significant percentage (up to 53.3%) of configuration errors are introduced due to users staying with default values incorrectly."

The former means the configuration options provided do not match the ones desired by the user, not whether there was too many or too few. If anything it encourages software authors to provide more knobs. The latter doesn't have a strong enough correlation to the number of configuration parameters at all. For example, say all these errors happened at Google because of high load, and they were using Apache with default configuration which was built for small and medium scale websites.

2. How does having many configuration options affect software update process ?

No idea

3. What percentage of users are unhappy due to having too many knobs ( decision fatigue, fear of missing out ) ?

17.3%48.5% of users calls to the technical support center and questions posted on forums. I assume this is a conservative estimate.

4. Does having too little knobs cause software to be forked and cause fragmentation ?

No idea

5. Does the result differ when applied to application software ( vs system software ) ?

Not in scope.

Need more research.

6stringmerc 3 hours ago 0 replies      
On topic, I do think studying interfaces is exceptionally helpful. Just take a look at all the approaches in music! Faders, knobs, buttons, toggles...the gamut. Such a fascinating issue...and can be confusing, no lie.

But too manky knobs? How about Too Many Buttons?!

(It's a DJ parody video and actually hilarious):


Dowwie 9 hours ago 0 replies      
This blog is providing a valuable service, aggregating and commenting on research. Are there others like this?
ohazi 2 hours ago 1 reply      
This is the kind of thinking that destroyed GNOME 3.
jdub 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Havoc Pennington in 2002: http://ometer.com/preferences.html
marcosdumay 3 hours ago 0 replies      
So, users don't change the settings on your software? Good for you. That means you have good defaults, and should be one of your goals.
nxzero 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Unlike an interface on the net with to many choices, in a none emergency situation, I love having too many knobs.
How to Develop an App Like Instagram mlsdev.com
79 points by MLSDev  4 hours ago   46 comments top 18
allsystemsgo 3 hours ago 5 replies      
$50.00 an hour? What?

Instagram is incredibly polished. Notice how fast it is? As you're selecting an image, they're already uploading it to their servers. That is critical to maintaining and growing their user base. I go to Instagram knowing I can upload a nice looking photo quickly. The images load incredibly fast as well. Its simplicity is deceptively robust.

This is not recreated by a developer billing at $50.00 an hour.

So, if you're looking to have an app built, and you're reading this post, just know it's pretty inaccurate. You get what you pay for.

rbranson 3 hours ago 2 replies      
The hour estimates are off by at least an order of magnitude.

Not included is the infrastructure necessary to ship something like Instagram (testing, monitoring, deployment, beta, etc), even if you leave the massive scale of Instagram out of the picture.

Much more significant is that even the relatively rudimentary 2010-era Instagram was the result of thousands of hours of polish and refinement after the initial product was built and released to the public.

There are zero products that go directly from mockups to success. It's relatively easy to knock off something that already exists and is proven to work.

phonon 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Well, they had 2 engineers till they hit 30 million users, and 6 engineers until they hit 150 million.


joeyspn 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Or, granted you know how to quickly setup the push certs, and deploy a simple docker container with parse-server to AWS Beanstalk, you could launch a MVP (iOS, Android) in one afternoon, for $49.


JustSomeNobody 2 hours ago 2 replies      
This reads like something a freshman college student would write.

You're not going to scale to an 80 million pics per day service[0] on a $10,000.00 backend.

[0] Instagram is not an app, but a service.

CodeSheikh 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Definitely going to need an estimate of testing hours. Trusting devs with testing is like estimated hours times 2.
Xyik 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Thank you! i'm so glad someone did a post like this, maybe finally we can stop having people say things like 'oh i can build an MVP of Twitter / Instagram in a weekend, its just a photo sharing app'. No. There are a LOT of little features that need to be considered and they all add up (authentication / settings / notifications / mentioning etc etc).
eva1984 1 hour ago 0 replies      
The backend estimation is laughable. I don't think the author really understand what he/she is talking about. For example, search. Having a search functionality is one thing, having a usable search is completely a different thing.
WWKong 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Most people have an idea for a great app that they keep playing in their head. But these ideas never come live because either they don't have the expertise to build it themselves or they don't want to drop $12K just to see if users want it. How much will you be willing to pay for the MVP of you idea? (I have lined up a reliable team who can deliver most MVP app in 6 weeks at around $3800. Need validation for the price point).
bluedino 3 hours ago 2 replies      
Testing is free, apparently.
btbuildem 1 hour ago 0 replies      
There is no way someone would build an MVP this involved. Think of what Instagram launched as, then you're a bit closer.

They say hindsight is 20-20, this guy is going at it with a telescope..

nautical 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I found that very relatable as we recently made an app close to instagram in UI sense and with couple of features plus minus in react native . The app(react native) and backend(express) were written by me and including everything took easily ~10-15 days more as predicted by the author .
zhuxuefeng1994 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Why does it take over 40 hours to implement features, which have been implemented for millions of times and have existing solutions and code in the Internet. Authorization (Social and Email) seems to be one or two hours of work with existing solutions.
kevinherron 2 hours ago 0 replies      
This is delusional.
SurrealSoul 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Very real answer to when friends and family ask "how long will it take you to make [ENTERPRISE APPLICATION CLONE] but with xyz for me"
Cshelton 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Clearly the article is by some dev shop and anybody who has worked on an app with the scale of Instagram, or even a fraction of Instagram's scale, knows that this entire article is misleading. If you wanted to actually create Instagram, as it is Today, it would be an incredibly large undertaking.
mikelbring 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Why is messaging on Android estimated at less time on the top? The other estimates are the same.
partycoder 1 hour ago 0 replies      
The estimates are for a "functional prototype", which is, the implementation of ONLY functional requirements. Non-functional requirements are not mentioned here, and in the case of Instagram, there are many.

Then, since Instagram is a service, you need some sort of operations team to manage and monitor the infrastructure. You will also need some sort of testing (quality assurance, performance and scalability, security...). Then you will need some degree of organization to accomplish this.

Additionally you will need some visibility and minimal critical mass of users to get the ball rolling (aka user acquisition). That is of course, not development, but this is one of the most expensive items, to the point that for some apps, development costs are marginal compared to user acquisition costs.

You might get a software with the Instagram user-facing features, but don't expect to be able to handle the volume of traffic that Instagram does, at the level of security they do. That last part is actually a key aspect of the business model that I couldn't found anywhere in the article.

From side project to profitable company, a journey into sales medium.com
26 points by hkissinger  1 hour ago   1 comment top
marcusgarvey 29 minutes ago 0 replies      
Who else has used Ample Market? Pros? Cons?
Inspired by Genius: How a Mathematician Found His Way scientificamerican.com
99 points by ghosh  14 hours ago   32 comments top 5
rajadigopula 10 hours ago 2 replies      
'I want teachers and parents to recognize that when you do see unusual talent, instead of demanding that these people have certain test scores, lets find a way to help nurture them. Because I think humanity needs it. I think these are the lessons we learn from Ramanujan.'

So well said, can't even comment on the line!

siegelzero 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Ono is the most self-promoting mathematician I've ever seen. He's done some outstanding work, but he certainly enjoys the spotlight.
kenjackson 8 hours ago 4 replies      
Both my parents will tell you that you only get to live once, so you might as well be the very, very best that you can be at whatever you choose. Which I dont necessarily agree with, because if everyone lived that way, there would be nothing but a whole bunch of unhappy people in the world. But thats how they brought us up. They taught me to be competitive. They taught me not to falsely believe I had done well when I hadnt.

As a parent this is something I struggle with. How much should I push a 7 year old child to be their very best? How important is it really to be your very best? Is it more important to push yourself to be happy while maximizing happiness around you? Yet, I'm not really sure what that means outside of trying to be your best at something you enjoy.

shunyaloop 4 hours ago 0 replies      
nxzero 7 hours ago 0 replies      
>> "Both my parents will tell you that you only get to live once, so you might as well be the very, very best that you can be at whatever you choose."

You only live once means you only live once, nothing more, nothing less.

2001: A Space Odyssey rendered in the style of Picasso bhautikj.tumblr.com
402 points by cjdulberger  15 hours ago   77 comments top 25
mockery 13 hours ago 3 replies      
This is cool, but the frame-to-frame variance is distracting. I really want to see this reimplemented with temporal constraints a-la this paper:


mgraczyk 13 hours ago 3 replies      
I remember watching an interview with the creators of South Park in which they described the transition from animating using cardboard cutouts to a system with CorelDraw and other pieces of software which helped speed up the process. The bulk of the efficiency improvement came from carefully defining all the frequently used objects (characters, houses) once with movable components, and reusing those objects in the per-episode animation pipeline.

I can easily imagine an animation system like the one presented here enabling another massive improvement in animation efficiency. In the same way animation software allowed South Park to reuse pre-drawn objects, a deep learning system could enable south park to carefully define the entire drawing style just once, then generate complete episodes based on simple story boards and animation directives. Fortunately, South Park already has a significant amount of training data available, specifically every South Park episode yet produced.

nsimoneaux 14 hours ago 2 replies      
"It means nothing to me. I have no opinion about it, and I don't care."

On the first moon landing, quoted in The New York Times, (1969-07-21).


Curious about his feelings regarding this work. (I find it beautiful.)

stepvhen 14 hours ago 7 replies      
I have two opinions: 1) I don't think cubism transfers well into a motion picture format, 2) I think these experiments, as they are currently, attempt to merge two styles and end up with neither, and nothing novel in its place; there is little Kubrick or Picasso in the final piece.

I think it's superficial and doesn't do either source justice.

fractallyte 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Possibly the finest painting software currently available is Synthetik's Studio Artist (http://synthetik.com/). Compared to Adobe's powerhouse software, it's relatively unknown, but that doesn't make it any less innovative.

It uses an algorithmic 'paint synthesizer' to generate brushes (with hundreds of presets) and auto-paint canvases, and is designed for animation (rotoscoping) as well as static artwork. The output can be reminiscent of the style of the movie 'A Scanner Darkly', but the software is hugely flexible. Here are a couple of rather amazing examples: http://studioartist.ning.com/video/auto-rotoscoped-dancers and http://studioartist.ning.com/video/dance-styles-animation-re...

Also, unlike most other 'painterly' software, the graphics are resolution independent - meaning that they can be scaled up to any size without loss of detail.

jjcm 13 hours ago 1 reply      
I remember when The Scanner Darkly came out there was a lot of talk about how they achieved the style of the film. Some of it was automated, but a lot still had to be hand done. I wonder if using deep learning systems we could achieve the same effect that film had with nearly zero human interaction.

For those that haven't seen the movie, here's the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TY5PpGQ2OWY

Udik 12 hours ago 4 replies      
There is something that escapes me regarding this very cool neural style transfer technique. One would expect it to need at least three starting images: the one to transform, the one used as a source for the style, and a non-styled version of the source. This last one should give the network hints on how to transform the unstyled version in the styled one. For example, what does a straight line end up being in the style? Or how is a colour gradient represented? Missing this, it seems that the neural network should be able to recognize objects in the styled picture, and derive the transformation applied based on a previous knowledge of how they would normally look like. But of course the NN is not advanced enough to do that.Can someone explain me roughly how does this work?
6stringmerc 37 minutes ago 0 replies      
Not trying to over-state my qualifications to make the following claim, but I'm pretty sure Kubrick would have hated this. And, as such, have it destroyed.
shiro 12 hours ago 0 replies      
It certainly has a wow factor, but once you pass the initial impression, it's interesting that the brain starts recognizing the content (motion of characters and objects) separately from the visual style, and even starts applying negative cubism filter so that we won't actually see the visual style anymore. (In other words, the brain treats those applied style as noise.)

It could be a way to exploit the mismatch of content and style as certain form of expression; but it may be more interesting if we can modify the temporal structure as well.

yxlx 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Like someone said about this on /r/programming:

>Pretty tight that computers can drop acid now.

Anyway, here's a direct link to the video for mobile users: https://vimeo.com/169187915

slr555 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I am much more of an artist than a technology person and the rendering inconsistency the author refers to is one of the coolest aspects of the video. This is the kind of happy accident that gives work originality and makes it more than a slavish copy. Reminds me of Link Wray putting a pencil through the speaker cone of his amplifier.
habosa 14 hours ago 0 replies      
The big changes frame-to-frame certainly add to the "trippiness" but I'd love to see this where the value function (or whatever it's called for ML) prioritizes reducing the frame-to-frame diff so that I could actually watch the full length movie like this.
stcredzero 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Is it just me, but have all forms of art simply melded with self-promotion? (Melded in the sense found in the movie "The Fly.")
2bitencryption 14 hours ago 1 reply      
I kind of want someone to do the same thing with a "NON-neural network" Picasso filter, like the ones in Photoshop and similar image editing programs. I want to compare how much the neural network's understanding of Picasso's style adds to the work (I imagine it's a lot, because this looks incredible).
jamesrom 14 hours ago 1 reply      
A whole new debate about copyright is around the corner.
jamesdwilson 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Serious question: how is this different than one of the many photoshop filters that could be applied iteratively to each frame?
elcapitan 7 hours ago 1 reply      
"Poetry is what gets lost in translation","Art is what gets lost in machine learning".

I think it's interesting that it's possible to create basically filters from existing images, but then applying those filters to large amounts of images (like in this movie) quickly loses the novelty effect and is just as boring as any photoshop or gimp filter became in the 90s after seeing it 3 times.

When I look at Picassos actual pictures, I am astonished and amazed with every new one I get to see. With these pictures, I get more and more bored with every additional image.

ggchappell 14 hours ago 1 reply      

It needs some kind of averaging with nearby frames (or whatever), to avoid the constant flicker in areas of more or less solid color.

tunnuz 14 hours ago 0 replies      
"Oh my God, it's full of layers."
TrevorJ 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Would be interesting to see if they could reduce the temporal noise without compromising the overall effect.
rorygreig 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder how long it takes to render each frame.

Eventually with fast enough GPUs you could render a video game in this style, now that I would like to see.

auggierose 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Awesome. Just the black monolith should stay black :-)
jdblair 13 hours ago 0 replies      
This is amazing. That said it doesn't have the distorted perspective I think is a hallmark of Picasso's work.
golergka 14 hours ago 2 replies      
Can someone knowledgeable estimate, how far are we from rendering this in 60 frames per second? Can't wait to try it as a post-processing layer in game development.
kodfodrasz 13 hours ago 1 reply      
So basically you take someone else's work. Run it with some content (someone else's work also), post it, and wow innovation.

Actually in the last year myriads of similar things were created, and this is simply boring.

This is as interesting as a random tumblr reblog. May be curious, but lacks any sense of achievement or originality.

A deportation at the UK border medium.com
362 points by analyst74  4 hours ago   227 comments top 39
2skep 2 hours ago 3 replies      
Enough has been said about bad treatment by border guards about every country on earth so don't need to repeat it but I had the following exchange with a Canadian visa officer.

Visa Officer:Your Name? How can I help you Me: Dr XYZ. I would like to apply for a visitor visa to Canada Visa Officer: Why would you like to go to Canada Me: I have been invited to speak at a conferenceVisa Officer: Hmm I see.Me: Is there a problem?Visa Officer: You see, you are not allowed to do public speaking on a visitor visa. You will have to apply a visa for public speaking which takes longer and requires additional formalities and checks.Me: Oh, I see. I am surprised that is the case, I go around the world to conferences and it seems unusual in Canada.Visa Officer: Can I ask you a questionMe: SureVisa Officer (with a smile): Would you say that your main purpose of applying the visa is to attend the conference and you will be sharing your professional and not political views.Me: Yes. Absolutely!Visa Officer: You should then get a visitor visa which will be ready tomorrow after 4. Remember, when asked say that you are attending the conference. Enjoy Canada

paulsutter 1 hour ago 3 replies      
This is a great article on how /not/ to talk to immigration officials, anywhere. I don't defend any heavy-handed attitude of the officers. It's just useful to understand the purpose behind the process.

> the young immigrations officer at LHR was very inquisitive about this old friend I was going to meet while I was in London for a conference: Who was he? Where did he live? What was our relationship? My awkward answers and copious fear sweating must have been unsatisfactory,...

The officer is trying to determine whether she is coming for a brief visit, or secretly planning to stay for a long time. That's their primary purpose in life. Expect these questions, and give the answers matter-of-factly.

> I just wanted to tell him what he wanted. But somehow that wasnt enough. He tried to play games to prove something, but I didnt seem to play along the way he hoped

It's an interrogation. Which is exactly like a game. It's their job. The secret trick is to tell the truth.

> I told him point blank: there is nothing I can tell you to make you happy. I have to be very careful what information I volunteer, because if I talk too much, you get angry. And now if I dont talk enough, you get angry.

Translation, "I have something to hide and I just want to manipulate you". He doesn't want to hear what makes him happy, he wants to hear the facts. After this they really had no choice but to send her back, even if they were leaning the other way.

rossng 3 hours ago 3 replies      
I am not happy about the continued existence of what are essentially rights-free zones at border crossings. Unfortunately, with the current political climate in the UK, I'm not sure the majority of my fellow countrymen would agree. And I'm certain Theresa May doesn't care.

It's easy for politicians to ignore these problems, as they will almost never affect their own citizens. A similar situation exists with the NSA abusing the privacy of foreigners - after all, they're not US citizens, so why should they care? At least the Border Force appeared to be more-or-less following the rules (twisted as they might be) in this particular instance.

petercooper 3 hours ago 3 replies      
There is no VISA you can get to receive an honorarium for speaking in the UK

Potential international speakers should also be warned this is also true of the US - except for certain types of academic institution (INA 212(q)). The UK also allows it via https://www.gov.uk/permitted-paid-engagement-visa but again, only for arts or academia. A commercial conference doesn't count, annoyingly (or even a community conference that merely happened to offer honoraria). However, if you are being paid by your employer to attend a conference to speak, it is fine (big disclaimer: IANAL).

Related from a few years ago, Uncle Bob was turned away from the UK: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3282583 - but I'm pretty sure he has been back since.

jackgavigan 3 hours ago 8 replies      
Unfortunately, like other countries, the UK's Border Force[1] clearly has an above-average share of incompetents and bullies. If you give such people any power whatsoever, they will abuse it. Sadly, that's what happened here.

The real problem is that there is no accountability in these organisations. Even if a complaint by Rachel triggered an investigation, the culture in organisations like this is to protect their own. The worst that is likely to happen is that those responsible would be given "words of advice", which is more like a pat on the back than a slap on the wrist.

1: Incidentally, the Border Force is part of the Home Office, which is led by Theresa May, who is behind the push for 1984-style mass surveillance of the UK population.

growt 3 hours ago 7 replies      
Just a small remark: If you're visiting the USA your fingerprints get taken every time (at least thats my experience). So that part of the story (an american complaining that their fingerprints got taken in the UK) is kind of skewed perspective.
ahaaaaaaa 2 hours ago 2 replies      
Keep in mind, this was a white American detained for some arbitrary visa restrictions which is a rarity. Middle Eastern individuals are very frequently put in the 'corral of shame' for reasons unbeknownst to them. I can't recall how many times I've been randomly searched, or have had officers keep an eye on me. I've also occasionally put through interrogations by irate border patrol over the mundane minutiae of my travel. Her entire ordeal is one I've faced several times solely based off my appearance and name.

These acts and laws only give legitimacy to discriminate and harass travellers of certain backgrounds, yet failing to add any measure of security.

jbob2000 3 hours ago 7 replies      
This was her mistake:

"..where a young man somberly asked me what brought me to the UK.Im giving a talk at a conference then traveling to see a bit of England. I have a letter of invitation, I replied, confidently handing over the requested documents."

Just say "A short vacation", whether it is or not. Don't give the agent any more information than they need. Throughout her entire encounter with the agents, she was giving way more information than she needed to, which was prompting further questions.

moon_of_moon 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Human rights in immigrant detention centres is something everyone should get behind.

Unfortunately this exact kind of treatment is common at the US border. Search for: denied port of entry nightmare.


I guess when you see scores of people trying to scam the system you get hard nosed about it in time.

CaptSpify 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I do often think that we should get rid of special treatment for "important" people going through these types of systems. If politicians, executives, etc had to go through the same thing, I think a lot of the inefficiencies would get fixed. As they stand now, there's no reason to make them efficient, because anyone who has the power to do so bypasses the system entirely.

Imagine how fast things would change if the president had to go through the TSA.

rdtsc 2 hours ago 1 reply      
> Never tell them youre coming for anything but tourism.

> When I was finally able to talk to my husband again, one of the very first things he told me was, Dont blame yourself for being truthful.

Very true. Your response goes into a "bin" (or a checkmark on a form). There are only so many bins there. One for terrorists, one for migrant workers, one for tourists. Self employed web developers, who are paid by a German company, do not fit in any of the bins. But they'll still try to pick one.

The lesson bureaucracy is teaching people is to lie. Even though officially on paper they warn people to tell the truth. To put it another way. Consider who you are talking to and decide if they can handle the truth. A bureaucracy and its minions cannot handle it. Or rather, they'll handle it at your detriment.

BjoernKW 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Unfortunately, I suppose this is exactly what we (meaning the electorate who voted since 2001) wanted. By allowing politicians to pass bills like the Patriot Act (which started this whole mess and quickly brought about similar security and surveillance laws in at least every other country that's on friendly terms with the US) we brought this kind of treatment on ourselves. How can one establish organizations like the TSA or the Border Force - its UK counterpart - and seriously not expect things like this to happen?

Unfortunately, the majority likely doesn't care at all when some 'snotty' designer gets held up at the airport and sent back to her home country. "Probably deserves it anyway in some way, doesn't she?" In fact, resentfulness towards people who get to 'live the life' and travel for 'work' might play a role here, too.

The aspect of a German company paying her in British pounds. shouldn't be a problem at all. After all, that's what the EU single market should be about. Theoretically, that is ... It seems as if the EU can't get anything right anymore these days, though.

Just claiming VAT you payed in another EU country has become so ridiculously complex I have given up on it. Fortunately, in my case it's just things like the occasional conference fee so the loss is minimal but I can't imagine how anyone could run say an eCommerce business in Europe and sell in more than one EU country these days without having to resort to founding a company in each of those countries.

leovonl 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Funny, my experience as South American is the exact opposite: expensive USA VISA (USD 160!) for attending a conference, US border asking about everything, checking my story and even knowledge about programming (!), etc - UK border just asking the purpose of my travel, stamping the passport and saying "welcome to UK". And I didn't even need a VISA.

One thing for sure is: you have to know the visa requirements and you have to answer what they want to hear. That's true everywhere - USA included - so you're just lucky as a USA citizen to never go through the USA interview process.

imron 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Unrelated to the issues raised by the article - I love that the callout text was not simply repeated quotes from the body.

I wish more sites/people would follow this author's lead.

pjlegato 48 minutes ago 0 replies      
It's unfortunate what happened to this woman, and probably to many others, but there's no evidence given at all that the "people who look like us" angle was ever a factor in what happened. That is FUD that serves solely to to provoke an irrational emotional response in the reader, not rationally supported in any way.

There's no evidence presented in this article to support the author's many claims that the UK immigration system discriminates on a racial "people who look like us" basis. ("It seems to me..." does not count as evidence.)

Yes, the immigration bureaucracy is badly broken. Yes, the laws are in many cases stupid and ought to be changed. No, latent racism, sexism, or classism are not in any way factors -- at least based on the events described in this article. The very basis of the article -- a middle class professional white woman from the US was deported because she broke the rules, despite her "looks like us" appearance -- is evidence to the contrary.

The one time in the article when she meets someone who might possibly be a racist (which is not even clear), the possible-racist even says that "the rules" always prevent her from ever acting on any of her possibly-racist impulses. Doesn't that mean the system is actually working pretty well in terms of preventing racist factors from entering into its operation?

That whole "people who look like us" theme is fearmongering, pandering to those who both love to speculate wildly about others' motives without evidence, and who are also consumed by liberal guilt. (The only thing missing is a "glance of solidarity" somewhere.)

She is understandably angry that she was deported, and feels like publicly shaming the system that deported her, so she picks a favorite pet issue (hidden racism) that has cachet in society and projects it onto that system, without any supporting evidence at all.

Now, if there is actual evidence of racism in some system, that's another matter entirely. But "it seems to me.." is not, in itself, evidence, it's just unfounded guessing and speculation designed to rile people up into a fit of righteous indignation, on an emotional rather than rational basis.

kintamanimatt 2 hours ago 3 replies      
This is a horrible experience that she went through, but one quote stuck out:

> The rooms only other occupants were men. I do not feel comfortable in rooms full of men I do not know with the door closed.

Why? This doesn't make sense. What does she think is going to happen? Are most men really presumed to be rapists or something?

Singletoned 3 hours ago 4 replies      
I can't imagine a circumstance where I would be entering a country like the UK or US, and when asked what my visit was for, I would say anything except for "I'm on holiday". Being out of the ordinary is very dangerous.

That said people shouldn't be subjected to such unnecessary unpleastantness.

michaelbuckbee 3 hours ago 5 replies      
Stepping slightly back from this particular horrible experience, I don't understand _why_ this particular set of institutional rules are in place.

Was there a thought that foreign speakers who were subsidized by foreign governments were inciting rebellion?

Are there tax issues?

Was this some big money laundering loophole or something?

Is there a concern that people were using this as figleaf to immigrate illegally?

tachion 3 hours ago 3 replies      
Not that I dont feel sorry for the author of the story, since this is terrible experience, no matter who experiences it, but as an American, a citizen of a country that has one of most restrictive and humiliating border procedures around the civilized world (try landing with valid visa on JFK as non American human being...) complaining at this sounds - well, odd.
DanBC 2 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm sorry she had a terrible experience. But the visa requirements are pretty clear, and she needed a standard visa.

Here's the "do you need a visa" website. https://www.gov.uk/check-uk-visa

Walk through it. She's from the USA. She's travelling for work, academic or business. She's planning to stay less than six months.

Here's the result:https://www.gov.uk/check-uk-visa/y/usa/work/six_months_or_le...

 You don't need a visa for some business and academic visits, but you must get a visa to work in the UK. You may be able to come to the UK without a visa if you: are invited as an expert in your profession come for other business or academic activities

 If youre invited as an expert You can stay in the UK for up to 1 month without a visa, but you can only be paid to do certain things, eg: give guest lectures at a higher education institution provide advocacy in legal proceedings take part in arts, entertainment or sporting activities Check the full list of what you can be paid to do - its the same as what you can do on a Permitted Paid Engagement visa.

 If you come for other business or academic activities You can stay in the UK for up to 6 months without a visa, but you can only do certain academic or business-related activities, eg: go to a conference, meeting or training take part in a specific sports-related event perform as an artist, entertainer or musician do academic research or accompany students on a study abroad programme Check the full list of what you can do - its the same as what you can do on a Standard Visitor visa.
Here's the permitted paid engagement visa: https://www.gov.uk/permitted-paid-engagement-visa

Here's the standard visa: https://www.gov.uk/standard-visitor-visa

s_kilk 4 hours ago 0 replies      
What a horrible story, but sadly not surprising to me anymore.

UK Border Control: a uniformly hostile and spiteful organisation.

davb 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm Scottish, and I absolutely detest traveling through Heathrow. The security and border controls there are some of the most oppressive I've ever encountered.

Depending on where you're flying, that could include multiple baggage searches and multiple biometric photos (flying OUT of the UK, I counted three - security, a secondary queue before entering the terminal concourse, and at the gate). Questioning why you're being photographed (let alone asking about data retention policies) just invites further scrutiny and questioning.

Recently I had my bag emptied (I wasn't allowed to unpack it carefully) and was questioned very rigorously as to why I was carrying so many cables (I had a micro-USB cable to charge my phone, a laptop charger, and an HDMI cable to watch some Netflix at the hotel). I had to justify each item in my bag.

The attitude is the worst part. I feel like I'm being treated like a criminal and have to prove that I'm not. Every time I travel in or out, I feel the anxiety rise. It's difficult to explain.

That's not to suggest Glasgow Intl Airport is much better. Flying to the US last month, I check-in queues for AA were enormous. Some staff (I assumed they were customer service agents trying to keep the queuing travellers happy) were walking up and down, chatting with people.

They cheerily asked "Where are you going?". "Oh that's exciting. Have you been before? I love that city! Did you have to save up much spending money for an 8 day trip? What are you planning to do when you're there?"

As the questions went on, I got more suspicious.

"What do you do for a living? Oh that sounds exciting. Did you grow up in Glasgow? What about your fiance, what does she do? Oh, you got engaged in the US? How long was that trip and what did you see when you were there?"

At the end, the guy asked for my passport and attached a "Security cleared" sticker to it.

I'd been surreptitiously interviewed and subject to behavioural profiling by staff from a contractor named ICTS [1]. It wasn't a good feeling. I felt deceived. It felt like they were putting a friendly face on trying to catch me out.

This only seemed to be happening in the AA line, and I've never been subject to this sort of interview in the past.

Does this actually work? I'd assume that any determined terrorist or trouble-maker would have a big smile and a well-rehearsed story.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ICTS_International

no1youknowz 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I remember when I came to the US 3 years ago.

I had a return ticket.I had sufficient funds to pay for a hotel, food, travel around the city.I had medical insurance.I was self employed.

The problem I had? When I told the border patrol inspector who was asking me questions, that my stay was 3 months vacation. His reaction was like... NO WAY, THIS WOULD NEVER HAPPEN.

This was in New Jersey. I was brought to the back, answered all the questions. They took my phone and went through it. When the other border guard came back, he said there were "inconsistencies" with my story. I just said "Oh ok" and held firm.

He called the contact I had even him and I think what helped, was the woman who answered. Bitched at him for 5 minutes straight, she was at the airport. I was staying with her until I got a hotel and she was demanding to know "as a tax payer". Why I was there, when I was visiting her and I was a tourist.

They let me through.

After the 3 months, I returned back to the UK for 2 weeks. I then went back to the US. This time, I had learnt my lesson and went via New York. The border patrol officer this time didn't even look at me. I presume he saw my previous flight information and that AGAIN, I was staying for 3 months.

He stamped my passport and "off you go".

I've travelled all over the world. Wherever I go and for whatever duration. I am a tourist. End of story.

frabbit 38 minutes ago 0 replies      
kennell 1 hour ago 2 replies      
As someone whos job was to oranize visas for various countries around the world for some time, here is my advice. If you are doing this kind of semi-business/semi-pleasure/speak-at-aconference/whatever trips, just get a tourist visa. Everything else is a giant mess.
olalonde 1 hour ago 0 replies      
> The handlers, they talk like you arent listening.

Experienced this at US border a few months ago. Officers repeatedly referred to my wife and another man's wife (both Chinese) as "bitches". After flying 12 hours from Hong Kong and not wanting to be put back on a plane, the best you can do is shut up and play their games until they let you through.

I was also told by the officer that I was stupid for having shown my visa and "nobody does that" (I'm a Canadian who works in the US, I was under the impression I had to show it each time I re-entered... still confused about what he meant).

blibble 2 hours ago 0 replies      
gov.uk might look pretty, but often the language used on it is imprecise and often inaccurate.directgov (the previous site) was terrible to use and look at, but the information on it was unparalleled in its accuracy and comprehensiveness, which is what I really want from the government.

sadly gov.uk have stated that they are more interested in making the information easy to read, rather than accurate.

PaulHoule 3 hours ago 3 replies      
England has probably the toughest border to cross of any country I have been to.
Velox 4 hours ago 1 reply      
The author quite rightly points out that most of the English speaking countries would treat people exactly the same way, however I find it a little odd that she wouldn't ever go back to the UK, but makes no mention of visiting these other countries. It seems that her opinion of the UK doesn't quite match up with the statement that they are all the same.
intoverflow2 3 hours ago 2 replies      
Pretty much the same sort of experience you'd get travelling any international borders.
bald 47 minutes ago 0 replies      
That's a very detailed account of what happens for EU citiziens at the US border.
ommunist 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Meet the Leviathan. British one is a rather small creature comparing to the US one.
anentropic 3 hours ago 0 replies      
foreign bands coming to play SXSW have the same problem entering USA
gambiting 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I'm currently an EU citizen living in UK. This here is exactly the reason why I fear that UK might want to leave EU, even though every single English friend of mine is telling me that I would obtain a visa to stay and continue working here without any problems, if visas were introduced. The truth is - if I had to have a visa to stay here, I would rather go to the country of my birth, even though I feel no connection to it. I don't think I could mentally survive the anguish of being denied entry to UK, even though I live here, work here, have my partner, our house and our whole lives here - just because a border official might not like my visa or what I said. It would be just humiliating and the thought of that happening is feeling me with real dread.
droopybuns 3 hours ago 1 reply      
The writing style is muddled and kind of hard to read. I'm sorry this happened to her, but it seems like she could be a candidate for a perfect storm of miscommunication.
VonGuard 2 hours ago 0 replies      
UK border guards and customs people are, literally, Vogons.
ck2 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Several generations from now people are going to tell their kids stories of how there used to be people that traveled between countries.

I don't see how technology can prevent this outcome, if anything it will make it worse.

Governments are just too paranoid and criminals/terrorist too eager to make them punish everyone for their crimes.

Vaguely related, did you know Japan has taken in a total of THREE immigrants this year? Japan imprisons applicants and makes life living hell for anyone that wants to migrate there because they are paranoid about outsiders. Tourism is fine as long as you leave.

tomp 2 hours ago 2 replies      
> They are now in a database for ten years where they will be shared with all members of the EEA, which is most European countries.

Given that she's an American, I really have no sympathies for this. I've had to give my fingerprints to the US border agents every time I went to the US.

fhood 3 hours ago 10 replies      
As much as I enjoy feeling superior to the British (spelling color with a 'u' is nothing short of pretentious) I would love to know if people from the UK suffer the same sort of troubles entering the US. As a US citizen I have found traveling to Canada and Australia to be a relatively pain free experience, but then Australians and Canadians are, in general, a whole lot nicer than Brits or Americans.
Why you shouldn't share links on Facebook medium.com
221 points by softvar  8 hours ago   39 comments top 13
IkmoIkmo 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Facebook's response seems inadequate. Because let's be frank here:

1) There are obvious security concerns thinkable. For example, plenty of websites (google docs, dropbox etc) offer an 'anyone with this link can view document' option. Which is generally safe, given these randomly generated links usually contain > 100 bits of entropy. Access to the link is access to the document, and so the link is a PW.

2) This link can be publicly accessed, despite having only been published in an ostensibly private FB conversation. Facebook has now admitted that the contents of a private conversation can partially be public. That's ridiculous. Not just because it's not safe, there are more things that aren't safe (e.g. sending risque images on Snapchat). But mainly because it's against expectations. Snapchat told me on my first day of usage, in the app, that my friends can save my snaps and that I should keep this in mind, and while many users of Snapchat use it recklessly, I would guess that most are aware of the risks. Users carry much of the burden of responsibility now. But there's no such awareness of the risks of partial contents of a private facebook conversation not being publicly accessible, nobody is aware of this.

3) The response seems wholly unnecessary. It seems to me relatively trivial to require a security token to see this data, much like the rest of the chat itself.

Now I'm not particularly alarmed by the issue itself, it's one of those 'safety in numbers' kinds of things. A hacker would likely be more effective setting up a phishing website and buying an email database, than to collect links and then review them for sensitive data. But the response of FB feels inadequate and unnecessary to me.

edwhitesell 3 hours ago 1 reply      
This is one of the reasons many corporations have rules about only using internal messaging applications. Or, block external messaging apps. In environments I've managed, I've always enforced the rule: Anything confidential sent via a messaging app is no longer confidential.

Skype, Facebook & G+/GTalk have all "followed" URLs sent via their applications for at least a few years (that I have noticed). Anti-virus applications installed on computers have done it with URLs in email applications and such too.

One of the large A/V vendors (Trend or McAfee, I don't recall which) had a browser plugin that would follow all of your browsing activity. I used to be amused tailing logfiles to see a hit from a browser, then one of their corporate IPs with a "crawler"-like UA come along a few seconds later.

EDIT last line for clarity.

donatj 5 hours ago 1 reply      
After hearing about people arrested for the content of their private chats on Facebook I basically act under the assumption that everything I do on Facebook is public.
mpeg 7 hours ago 3 replies      
FB also considers "won't fix" a bug I found a while ago that allows anyone to send anyone else on FB a spoofed email that comes from @facebook.com, without knowing their email address \_()_/.
thomasfoster96 2 hours ago 3 replies      
This probably isn't a popular opinion, but I fail to see how this is a problem with Facebook.

The Google Docs URL is public whether or not you send it through Facebook. It's only secret until someone guesses the link (Edit: maybe not mathematically in the case of Google Docs, but many other services use 'unlisted' URLs without having a long token to guess) - something they can do without the URL even going through Messenger.

If you're sharing passwords or confidential information via a public URL with no authentication and hoping nobody finds the address, you're asking for trouble. I don't blame Facebook for not doing anything about it.

elif 41 minutes ago 1 reply      
This is only a lapse in security if you're relying upon URL obfuscation for security to begin with. It is only actionable if you can MITM or otherwise easedrop and find the graph ID.

Title rating: unreasonably alarmist

rhaps0dy 2 hours ago 0 replies      
The first thing I did was share this particular link on Facebook :)

Precisely because of what the article says.

stefek99 46 minutes ago 0 replies      
Why asking friend to share a link? Isn't it easier to log in using secondary account...
mauricioc 2 hours ago 0 replies      
What about WhatsApp? It fetches a page's title as soon as you type in a URL. I assume the fetching happens on the client, but does the URL (or the title itself) get uploaded somewhere?
dahart 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Does Facebook's response not having capitalization also worry anyone else more than the security hole? ;)
niftich 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Also see previous for more discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11868077
excalibur 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Is it bad that the thing I most want to do with this story is share a link to it on Facebook?
bemmu 3 hours ago 1 reply      
How would you know the Graph ID number if someone doesn't explicitly tell it to you?
Deep Reinforcement Learning Using Keras and OpenAI Gym github.com
81 points by fchollet  13 hours ago   2 comments top 2
fitzwatermellow 6 hours ago 0 replies      
It's interesting that the unintended constraint of most folks running these environments on their home commodity laptops instead of a bank of Tesla GPUs may prove extremely beneficial!
chris_va 3 hours ago 0 replies      

1) No GPUs necessary, gives similar/better results in similar time (see http://arxiv.org/pdf/1602.01783v1.pdf)

2) 1-step Q (according to paper, maybe could do better with actor-critic + 1 LSTM layer)

3) Keras is really only used for a tiny fraction of the code. Which means that there is a lot of boilerplate that could be rolled up into a shared library still.

Dual Supernovae Light Up June Nights skyandtelescope.com
66 points by Todd  13 hours ago   15 comments top 3
adekok 6 hours ago 1 reply      
FYI about Supernovas:



Which of the following would be brighter, in terms of the amount of energy delivered to your retina:

1) A supernova, seen from as far away as the Sun is from the Earth, or

2) The detonation of a hydrogen bomb pressed against your eyeball?

A: Applying the physicist rule of thumb suggests that the supernova is brighter. And indeed, it is ... by nine orders of magnitude.


There are some suggestions that a close supernova would emit enough neutrinos to affect life on Earth. I worked on the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory, for my M.Sc. Roughly, about 10^22 neutrinos go through an average building in a day, and maybe one interacts with the building.

arethuza 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Anyone else think of Look to Windward?


saiya-jin 11 hours ago 4 replies      
anytime I imagine those absolutely gigantic proportions of these very violent events, i feel tiny and completely irrelevant in grand scheme of universe. which is exactly how it is :)
Om next from a relay/graphql perspective hueypetersen.com
80 points by reubano  12 hours ago   2 comments top
lacker 11 hours ago 1 reply      
The facilities for configuring a mutation in Relay are non-trivial and the documentation is partial and sometimes wrong (I should submit a documentation PR instead of writing this sentence).

If the author is reading this, I'm curious what parts of the documentation you're talking about here.

Old World metals traded on Alaska coast 100s of years before European contact eurekalert.org
40 points by mooreds  4 hours ago   10 comments top 3
JoeAltmaier 3 hours ago 1 reply      
And they wore silk in Rome before Rome had ever heard of China. Trade doesn't have to go halfway around the world on one camel. It can go from neighbor to neighbor 'diffusely' with the same result. I'd not be surprised if native Americans had traded old world items 10,000 years ago.
mmanfrin 29 minutes ago 1 reply      
The coast of Brazil and the Cape Verde Islands are not terribly far (relatively speaking). I think a lot of Americans underestimate how close the Americas are to the Euroafrican landmasses.

Also, this is neat reading:


contingencies 56 minutes ago 0 replies      
Time to update the good, old and increasingly holey https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pre-Columbian_trans-oceanic_co...
Surreal movie written by AI captures essence of sci-fi arstechnica.co.uk
79 points by brokenbeatnik  6 hours ago   31 comments top 7
emptybits 3 hours ago 2 replies      
My prediction: At this level of AI-generated writing, keeping the works short will attract (allow?) small audiences ... but only to watch the human talent in the production struggle and improvise over truly awful writing.

If a human was responsible for that writing, they wouldn't have much of a career.

Actors: 1. AI: 0.

SideburnsOfDoom 5 hours ago 2 replies      
Apparently the "essence of sci-fi" is people saying "I don't know what you're talking about" to each other.
sjbase 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Ignoring for a moment that the script makes zero sense... I expected the writing to feel more sci-fi-esque: space, aliens, computers, physics, etc.

Maybe the conclusion to draw is that sci-fi writing is 99% like any other storytelling in terms of how characters think, behave, and talk.

markyc 4 hours ago 2 replies      
AI is not here, as far as we know, so let's stop throwing it around with every other topic
sickbeard 4 hours ago 3 replies      
Can anyone explain the appeal of getting an AI to generate a movie or (chat with you)? I find that experience "plastic", not exactly the right word but I hope it conveys the feeling I get when something programmed pretends to be intelligent.
spacemanmatt 4 hours ago 1 reply      

If it were written by a man, we would call him stupid.

nxzero 5 hours ago 4 replies      
Interesting that the AI is able to produce a meaningful storyline without fully understanding characters; makes me wonder how it would do at producing stories without any characters; such stories exist, bit SciFi feeling too.
You suck at technical interviews (2014) seldo.com
242 points by sgift  12 hours ago   239 comments top 26
hanginghyena 7 hours ago 17 replies      
Hiring Manager Perspective: Everyone lies, sorry.

As a candidate, I hate technical interviews. For the reasons above. As the poor schmuck asked to make the hiring decision, however, I've learned that I can't live without them.

My technical isn't complicated. A very basic SQL assignment (delivered to an audience which claims to know SQL) that is followed by a few broader database design / data process QA questions. Entire assignment is 100% job relevant (in fact, my SVP asked for a copy of the report it generates when he saw the problem on my whiteboard). I don't care about the details of syntax.

I do care, however, about candidates who produce SQL code which looks like the bastard love child of LISP and Java. About candidates who claim to know a skill but literally cannot write even basic syntax on the whiteboard. Who put "certificates" from Oracle on their bloody resume and break down under super gentle questioning and confess their tutor hasn't taught them JOINS (wtf ?) yet, never mind 5 years of claimed SQL experience at a big company on their resume.

The coding question is most definitely not an exercise in sadism. We validated it with several new hires who were confirmed to be "good at SQL". Average completion time: 2 minutes, generally with trolling about why do we waste our time with easy stuff.

That being said, my rejection rate from a basic coding interview is at least 50%, grading liberally and generally supported by several members of my team shaking their head about a candidate.

I've tried screening resumes, I've tried doing non-coding phone screens. IT DOESN'T WORK. Actually, all it does is eliminate the socially challenged and non-communicative (who actually tend to pass the whiteboard test) in favor of the liars.

And don't get me started about Python. Lest I bring up the Google-Motorola "I LUV Python heartheartheart" guy who didn't understand the difference between a list & dict.

PuffinBlue 9 hours ago 6 replies      
There needs to be a bit of a shift in understanding what 'category' of worker a programmer 'is', both by companies and more importantly by (some) individuals themselves.

Programming is both technical and artistic. It's a creative endeavour that relies on technical skill to complete.

The best analogy to another profession would be to those in the 'technical arts', those like photography, joinery, painting, sculpture, drafting, perhaps writing too.

It seems at the moment that companies are approaching programmers as if they are purely technical like an actuary or bookkeeper and are seeking to quantify artistic skill through interview tests. This is rubbing off on some programmers who begin to think of themselves in these terms.

I don't recall a single instance as a photographer where I had to quantify my technical skill, but there were hundreds of times I had to based on my artistic skill, proving I had already made a vast range of photographs with sufficient quality to 'prove' my ability and by extension proving my technical ability.

Crucially, it was the fact I had a portfolio that allowed me to prove my ability, both artistically and technically.

I see a similar need in programming. I think programmers should create their portfolios of personal or paid for projects that showcase their technical and artistic skill and companies should take those seriously.

At the moment it seems that far to many programmers are attempting to get jobs without a 'portfolio' which is why, in an creative endeavour like programming, companies that hire are trying to quantify and determine a new hires ability with these seemingly bullshit tests.

There's room for improvement in this argument and there are outliers, but I think the basic premise is sound.

gavanwoolery 11 hours ago 3 replies      
As someone who is going through many technical interviews right now, and failing all of them, I love this article. (It was actually brought to my attention last week.)

My technical ability is readily apparent to those who have viewed my work, and by virtue of those who have praised it. I don't claim to be the best programmer in the world, just a competent one. I've also been programming for over 20 years, that might have something to do with it.

However, I suck at interviews, in any way shape or form (personality tests, technical tests, you name it). Yet I've aced every job ever given to me, and people love to work with me (even in spite of my salty attitude).

To think that you can determine what it is like to work with me over the span of a year within the span of an hour is completely and utterly ridiculous.

As it turns out, the little sub-problems they give are the most trivial part of programming. The hard part, the part it takes many years to get any good at, is coherently organizing, documenting, and ensuring the stability of a larger system, particularly concurrently with other programmers. Or designing an algorithm that you can't just Google. Or making a really tough decision about what features to cut or what direction to pivot. Or organizing a vision of what will add the most value for the customer. Or...etc

Being an introvert with a monotone voice, general lack of expression, and deadpan sarcastic humor does wonders for personality tests. Most people's default reaction to me (in interviews or otherwise) is that I am a total dick. Which I am, but the kind you don't mind hanging around.

I don't do well with programming that has a one hour deadline. But give me a day and I can produce the typical output a programmer would within a day.

If I spent all my time practicing for interviews, I'd probably be better at them (with stuff like Top Coder or Interview Cake or whatever). And I think giving these things a whirl is well worth it (not for the sake of winning in interviews). But it is not my life goal to be good at interviews. It is my goal to work in areas I am interested, and continue learning things that are directly relevant to my real-world tasks (sorry, writing a red-black tree on a white board within an hour never happens to me in the real world).

whack 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Every time I read one of these articles, the author invariably ends up recommending solutions that have glaring holes, just as large as the ones he spends the entire time attacking.

In this case, the author begins the entire essay by telling us that we shouldn't hire on the basis of what someone already knows. One of his first solutions later presented is the exact opposite of this: find out about their level of existing knowledge, regarding specific technologies and frameworks.

He then goes on to rile against "team fit," because of its potential for bias. But his entire solution basically comes down to behavioral interviews, which are notorious for how bias-prone they are.

His solution basically tells us that we shouldn't consider fancy degrees or companies. And yet, in the span of 30-60 minutes, we should be able to form accurate judgement on how much talent and drive someone has, and what they will be able to do in the next 3 years? Sorry, but unless you're the Steve Jobs of character reading, there's no way you can do the above accurately. Everyone lies on interviews. They pad their accomplishments, and inflate what they have previously done. The only thing you achieve through such a discussion, is figuring out how good a talker someone is.

The following article sums up everything that is wrong with almost every "Hiring is Broken" critique ever. Every single approach people have ever thought up, is broken in so many ways, as ably demonstrated by many others. Unless someone has hard data to show why one technique's pros outweigh its cons, such discussions are almost always pointless.


skrebbel 11 hours ago 8 replies      
In all honesty, I'm not sure the author did a lot of interviewing. For example,

> The famous fizzbuzz test simply asks "are you aware of the modulo operator?"

Wait, what? No, it asks "can you write a for loop without breaking a sweat?". There's a rightfully vivid debate going on about the virtue of asking algorithmic questions in interviews, but fizzbuzz is hardly algorithmic. I'd wager that virtually all programmers iterate a collection at least once daily.

The followup sentence drives it home for me:

> Yet people will spend twenty minutes on it in an interview, a huge waste of limited time.

Well, if it takes an applicant twenty minutes to Fizzbuzz, you're done! Just saved everybody lots of time.

I used to think Fizzbuzz was insulting and bullshit until I started interviewing. I haven't yet met a programmer who couldn't solve a Fizzbuzz-level question, but I've met many who took over 10 minutes and made little logical errors. It's a great predictor for "can this person actually program, well, at all?".

up_and_up 42 minutes ago 2 replies      
My optimal hiring process:

1. Screen resumes...throw out anything that seems bogus, hype-y etc. Time investment: 1-3 mins per resume.

2. Phone screen...ask them simple technical and project questions directly from their resume. They wrote it so they should know it. Generally, bullshitters are exposed right away. Time investment: 20-30 mins

3. Take home project. A somewhat simple but non-trivial project like: Write an autocomplete search script using a large text document as your dictionary. This will test their understanding of algos and software engineering best practices. Time investment: 10 mins to review the code

4. They talk with 3-4 other engineers. Those engineers now have a simple project to compare candidates and to question the candidate with. "Why did you choose this algo?", "How did you break down this problem?". Each engineer can ask whatever they want. Time investment: 30 mins.

5. Final engineering huddle. Compare candidates, pros and cons. Gut feelings. Etc. Time investment: 30 mins.

The small take home project is extremely revealing and more useful IMO. You get to see their actual ability at coding a small feature. Is it well-composed? Did they include tests? Do I want to maintain his/her code?

The project also spares the rest of the team from wasting time interviewing non-serious candidates.

MrLeftHand 10 hours ago 8 replies      
With one of many job applications I did, I received a small coding exercise before getting to the actual interview.

It was about writing a small application in perl (one of my favorite scripting languages) to solve a problem. It was a number converter from arabic to roman and vice versa.

Anyway I started by looking up a perl module that solved the whole thing in 3-4 lines of code.

What was the answer? Sorry that's not we wanted. We would like to see, how you would solve it with general code.

So you're saying that doing investigation work, finding an existing working solution and applying that solution is not a good answer for you?

Sorry but that's how I work. I find a problem; I investigate for a solution; if there is one I use it and implement it; if not then I will write one.

The moral of the story is: interviewing is fundamentally wrong and doesn't help you find a good candidate. There are millions of good solutions to one problem in programming. Asking for a solution you want to see and not a solution that solves the problem will never help. Then why don't you clone yourself and have an army of developers which work the same way and produce the same code with the same flaws over and over and over.

itaysk 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Interviewing is hard.. I always hated the idea of judging someone based on a 1 hour chat (I was always the tech interviewer or first screen). I also hate that interviewers aim to challenge the candidate with hard technical questions that they might have or might have not had experience with.

So what I do is ask the candidate to tell me about their experience, past projects, and also frankly ask them "what are you most comfortable talking about" and continue diving from here. When they talk about a topic they claim to be experienced with, you can really see what they worth. When someone can't fluently discuss something his claims to be knowledgeable in (yes that happened), that's a bad sign.

ktRolster 11 hours ago 1 reply      
When I interview, I try to find out what the person is good at. Everyone who comes to interview is good at something (even if it's just good at getting interviews).

Sometimes their skill-set overlaps with what we need, sometimes it doesn't. But the focus is figuring out what they are good at, rather than an abstract test.

soham 2 hours ago 0 replies      
[Disclaimer: I run http://Interviewkickstart.com, which helps candidates suck less at technical interviewing.]

I have conducted countless technical interviews in my lifetime. I agree with the author; it's very difficult to actually become a good interviewer. The skill to judge someone's life and career of several years in 30 to 60 minutes is not something that comes easily. Alas, it's all too assumed to be easy.

When you start, for quite some interviews, you are very likely on either extreme viz. either too strict or too lenient. It takes a while to calibrate your standard, and not give in to an extreme. And that too, only if you introspect, or when someone draws your attention to your interview results.

Many companies don't have a culture which values interviewing as a skill. Rarely if so, I come across a company which has a process of shadowing and reverse-shadowing in an interview, which they take seriously. It is viewed as a cost center, when it's actually a profit-center when done right. And due to my business, I have come across plenty of them. At least in the valley.

pklausler 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Over the years and across 100's of technical interviews, I've found that I get the best results from asking smaller numbers of easier problem-solving-with-code questions that require the candidate to demonstrate basic skills. I'm the guy who makes sure that the candidate can clearly get over a low bar.

I do this because the candidate pool is swimming with people with great-looking degrees and long resumes and fine references who can talk all day long about computer programming but who simply cannot program a digital computer.

So I ask a 5-minute easy warm-up question and then a 40-minute harder problem. I pace things slowly and give them all the time that they need. I happily answer any questions they may have about the problems, which can all be stated clearly in short sentences. I do not care what programming language they use or whether their syntax would compile or how descriptive their variable names are.

Essentially, I'm trying to not generate a "false negative" result. If you can't do my easy stuff, I really don't want to work with you. If you're a great candidate, you'll have fun with this and take it away in interesting directions.

(Sample easy question: Given two closed intervals [a,b] and [c,d], determine whether they overlap.)

tn13 6 minutes ago 0 replies      
I think the problem is not whether you can design a 100% awesome tech interview process that will have high precision and recall. That is known. Spend enough time with the person basically to judge him rather than asking few questions to taking him to whiteboard.

But then most companies wont be able to show profits if the start spending that much resources on each candidate. Hence they optimize their processes only for precision and not for recall. That explains why a lot of people fail first few times.

cloudjacker 3 hours ago 0 replies      
lol I had to do the fizzbuzz test a few weeks ago

the modulo operator was obvious to me and after the interviewer kept adding conditions to the problem, they then asked me why I didn't concatenate strings instead of my approach of returning the string in each conditional statement

so fellow engineers, without having the telepathic skills I possessed that allowed me to know exactly what traits the interviewers were looking for, would you have:

a) erased your entire correct solution to write a more efficient solution, not knowing the time constraints for this problem

b) created the most efficient and scalable fizzbuzz solution known to man at the beginning? in the 15 minutes provided

c) laughed in the interviewer's faces since it was obvious the question was irrelevant to how you would solve problems for the company on a day to day basis?

d) other

mknocker 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Too often, the team fit is put aside and you end up with people who does not play well with others in your team. Technical interview can be ok but I would not put too much details into it. I have been in technical interviews where people were asking questions about obscure API calls and they were expecting applicants to come up with questions that were not relevant to the job.
WaxProlix 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Oh man, I thought they were on to me, but no, it's for the givers of technical interviews. Phew.
DeBraid 5 hours ago 0 replies      
The whole hiring process is a nightmare for both parties.

Two things I've learned about hiring / interviews: it's both very difficult and imprecise.

Process is more like dating than laboratory science; a race to establish rapport (a combination of comfort and trust). To get hired you must sufficiently possess an arbitrary blend of credentials and testing/interview performance.

Whatever it takes to make the hiring manager comfortable and trusting. Some want 10x-ers only, are soothed by strong technical chops/coding test performance, others select for culture and ability to learn. YMMV as selection criteria based on job description, sector, company stage, weather/etc.

This is why personal referrals are so powerful: trust is established MUCH faster, other flaws will be overlooked.

ChemicalWarfare 5 hours ago 0 replies      
My fav way of interviewing and being interviewed is a quick assignment (nothing major like some companies want you to build an api, crud UI to drive it and then push it out to heroku for them to look at) - either at home or just leave the candidate alone in the conf room for an hour.

After that if they pass - few questions about their code, maybe drill down into some areas depending on the answers etc.

Alternatively, if someone has a project on their github profile using the tech you're looking for - few questions about that project can typically give you a go/no-go right away.

l1feh4ck 8 hours ago 2 replies      
> Don't hire for a fancy degree.

There are some companied coming to my college for hiring. The first criteria they put was 70% aggregate marks (60% for some companies).

I have seen people who doesnt know how to write even a small program getting hired, while people with good programming skills are not even eligible to attend the interview.

Going through 200-300 candidates in an interview might be a tedious job, I am not sure. What other choice do they have?

freek4iphone 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I totally agree with most of the points Laurie made, specially I hate the new trend of asking people for an online coding test before even talking to a person. I have worked on a ton of complex problems in life and in real world you never have to write 4 complex tree traversal algorithms using the best possible approach in under 60 minutes, never!
seanwilson 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Some people are just bad at giving interviews. If someone is so bad at interviewing they will eliminate a candidate because they slipped up a little with a programming teaser, they're still going to be bad at interviewing if they try another technique.

I'm completely happy doing programming puzzles in interviews myself as I've worked with people that claim to be experts in something when they aren't and some people exaggerate to the point of lying on CVs. As long as you don't penalise a candidate too much for not getting perfect answers I don't see the issue.

lambdabit 8 hours ago 2 replies      
The problem with his interviews is that it's even more easily gamed. It doesn't really take a genius to go through their employment history and memorize blurbs that show learning technologies, applying it successfully while being humble and nice for one day.
crikli 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Someone in a similar HN thread once recommended the book "Hiring With Your Head" and then sorta did a mic drop.

I must do the same. Buy the book and implement it. It directly deals with so many issues mentioned here (great dev but crap at silly tests, great dev but a bad interviewer, etc).

bbcbasic 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I want this guy to interview me. Even if there is no job. I'm sure I'd feel a million dollars by going through the process.
skay_ 5 hours ago 1 reply      
A lot of people are saying that technical interviews are not good because some people are not good at them but they are indeed good software developers.

Other people are saying that is impossible to judge someone in a few hours of technical interviews/exercises.

I agree with both, but what's a better alternative? How to you minimise the risk of taking hiring a bad developer? At least, it is my belief that the technical interviews minimise the risk which is far better that ending up hiring someone who is not technically strong.

DrNuke 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Apart of job-related questions and general-thinking problems, tech interviews are still mostly a poor Tinder experience.
cmrdporcupine 6 hours ago 1 reply      
That companies now insist on running the Google-style whiteboard-algorithms-coding-skill-testing-question type of interview tells me that there is no shortage of programmers to hire.

Because as far as I understand it we use that process at Google because we can afford a lot of false negatives because we are inundated with a lot of resumes.

Smaller companies and startups surely are not, and finding candidates must be harder. Unless the job market is saturated with candidates.

Many perfectly good, maybe even excellent, candidates will just falter and fail in a whiteboard coding interview. I do, and many people I've interviewed have. Coding on the spot using pen and paper sucks. I think by coding. Give me Emacs and a REPL, and let me go away and think for a bit, and I'll produce something way better.

Smaller companies should think twice before trying to emulate Google, Facebook, Microsoft, etc. In a small company social cohesion is very important, so rapport and personality are very important, cultural factors are important, experience in dealing with similar types of environments, familiarity with technical stack.

That's how I used to interview before coming to Google, anyways. It seems like the industry has turned in very large part to this hostile "prove yourself" methodology...

Jennifer Lawrence to Play Elizabeth Holmes in Movie about Theranos theguardian.com
74 points by rock57  6 hours ago   55 comments top 18
w1ntermute 3 hours ago 2 replies      
Looks like Hollywood is finally taking their cue from Hacker News: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10544788

Hopefully they also end up naming it Unicorn Blood.

gumby 34 minutes ago 1 reply      
The article ends with "fall from grace of cinematic proportions" but honestly, what a dull topic. A bunch of people building some equipment, filing (or failing to file) paperwork, a few business deals without due diligence and Henry Kissinger.

Unless they add some guns and car chases (not joking here, just hyperbole) it's hard to see how they could make any more than a 90-minute snoozefest. Dramatic music won't be enough.

seibelj 4 hours ago 5 replies      
We don't even know how the story ends! How can you write a movie script on this? I guess they want a trilogy?
rock57 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Pity that the title "There will be blood" has already been used for a 2007 movie http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0469494/
skrebbel 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Would be nice to binge watch this one right after Joy. You'd get something of a corporate version of Scarface.
arjn 3 hours ago 4 replies      
Seems crass to do this so soon. I don't know what the reasoning is behind this and I hope they change their minds.
kelvin0 1 hour ago 1 reply      
In a few decades it will be discovered that the whole Theranos debacle was simply a setup sell Movies and Books. Would be the most awesome setup ever!
colmvp 3 hours ago 3 replies      
I've always found it odd how the media puts so much emphasis on the founder prior to success or public release of the actual product. I can't help but think if Holmes were a different demographic (i.e. an Asian or Black man), they wouldn't be making a movie about this.
rock57 2 hours ago 0 replies      
jgrahamc 5 hours ago 3 replies      
Too soon
carlmcqueen 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Glad I saw this on HN, I saw the news that Jlaw was playing Holmes elsewhere and I just assumed they were doing a gender swap on Sherlock as well and thought it was odd, but figured I'd still see it.
philfrasty 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Title: "The Big Bluff"
cylinder 5 hours ago 1 reply      
This is satire right?
Shivetya 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Do we know how they will portray this? Is this going to be the story of start up that didn't execute properly or be a story about how women struggle in the tech industry? I really don't expect J.L. to play someone who loses
mgarfias 3 hours ago 0 replies      
weld 3 hours ago 0 replies      
It would be great if they case a Muslim woman to play Holmes.
transfire 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Are you fucking kidding me? To me this just further confirms that none of this has anything to do with science and health. It's all about $$$. I am not talking about Elizabeth Holmes either.
sehugg 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I briefly misread this as Theano. Finally, a movie about multidimensional matrix evaluation!
Jessica Livingstons Pretty Complete List on How Not to Fail themacro.com
758 points by craigcannon  1 day ago   174 comments top 38
djb_hackernews 1 day ago 8 replies      
Yeesh. #2 hits close to home.

I think I've asked this question but I found myself a cofounder with 2 others that prioritized too highly IMO coffee meetings with "investors", no name board advisors, expensive conferences, and basically everything on that list. My approach was to gently voice my concern and but also let them do it in the hopes they'd see how useless it was. The other thing that didn't help was I was the "technical cofounder" and the attitude essentially was I didn't "get" business, and sometimes I wondered if they were right.

Interestingly both were woman, and I don't recall too much of #3. They definitely participated in women in tech type groups but I thought it was no different than any other useless networking others that aren't focused would do.

This will be definitely something I probe for in the future. Anyone looking for a cofounder? (I'm serious, and I have a cool little project we could do to see if we can build something people want together)

danso 1 day ago 4 replies      
> 1. Make something people want.

I haven't had a ton of experience in startups...once I had to work out of a startup space. And it amazed me the number of conversations I would hear between aspiring entrepreneurs and random strangers that were variations of, "Please tell me if you think this is a good idea".

Everyone knows what it's like to want something. I didn't really hear about Tinder until after it blew up into something huge, but its proposition always made sense to me: Do you want to get laid? Do you often base your decision on the looks of a potential mate? Would you be OK with requesting consensual sex without having to fill out a form?. Yes to all of that. I can't think of anything I regularly use and/or pay for that I can't sum up as a one-sentence "want", whether it's Google, Twitter, Netflix, Facebook, Uber...of course being the first to recognize the desire does not lead to a desirable product -- there's scaling and marketing and implementation and luck, of course.

But that means the entrepreneur who is trawling around to learn what others want is even deeper in the hole. Is there something in startup culture that heavily cautions against pursuing something that you know _you_ want, because selfish concerns do not often scale (even though they've scaled in plenty of cases if you look at surviving startups, though that's obviously survivor bias).

micah63 22 minutes ago 0 replies      

1 - Seed money is given on promise

2 - How to get VCs to invest: Build something people want + talk to users + focus = 10% growth

3 - Be default alive, which means: existing cash + revenue - consistent expenses gets you to breakeven

*How to shoot yourself in the foot: Overhire -> Default Dead -> Ugly Duckling -> No VC

vonnik 21 hours ago 1 reply      
This is a great talk. While most of Jessica's advice is spot on for many startups, there are some special cases, namely enterprise software.

Once an enterprise software startup has built its product, or even 70% of its product, you have to go to conferences. Conferences are where you meet your users, and enterprise software users and buyers are a hard group to target otherwise. Marketing and top-of-the-funnel sales happen there. Conferences are also the places you gather intel about the rest of the industry to get a read on where it's moving and if you're aligned with it. So the question for enterprise software startups is: How do you select the most important conferences and pay as little as possible to attend?

ajessup 1 day ago 3 replies      
It would be wonderful if these sorts of articles (which efficiently generalize advice based on thousands of data points) could back their assertions up with a few telling case studies. It's often too easy to nod sagely at advice like "don't loose focus" but not actually recognize the pathology in ourselves in our day to day lives.
exclusiv 1 day ago 2 replies      
"build stuff and talk to users" is so simple but great advice.

For my first successful startup I did the marketing and build and my partner focused on the users. And we crushed the incumbent in under 2 years completely bootstrapped and they tried to buy us.

Now I have a new startup where I'm handling the build and the customers and another partner is focused on the marketing.

It's a subscription business and talking with users helps retention, acquisition via word of mouth and also product development. Do it even if you'd rather be spending that time building!

cableshaft 1 day ago 8 replies      
Jessica asserts that conventions are too distracting and you shouldn't go to them.

I don't completely agree with that. Depending on what type of business you're making, the best way to get work done is to go to conventions, because that's the only time you can easily meet with a bunch of people that are related to your industry and make new partnerships, check out new hardware/software solutions to save time or money, possibly hunt for some new talent to join the company, discuss business propositions, etc, can all be possible in much shorter period of time than doing the same outside the convention.

Even just having the opportunity to meet someone face to face that you've been doing business with for the past several months can be useful.

That being said, you don't need to go to a lot of them. Attend only one or two of the most productive ones per year (most productive ones are not always the largest), and you should get a lot done without spending too much time at them.

Also don't go if you're strapped for cash, as they're often expensive (depending on the industry). They're not absolutely necessary, and they can be a waste of time if you don't utilize them properly. But they can be helpful tools.

pfarnsworth 1 day ago 8 replies      
You can do all of the above and still fail. Often, success or failure is luck-based and completely not skill-based.
katzgrau 1 day ago 0 replies      
As a bootstrapper of broadstreetads.com (about to pass the four year mark), I can genuinely say that focusing on building what your customers truly need and measuring growth are two critical pieces of advice that do not get emphasized enough.

I love to shut myself in and write code, don't get me wrong. But consistently tracking sales growth, setting goals, and hitting goals (i.e., execution) is what separates the wannabes from the dids.

zeeshanm 1 day ago 1 reply      
I also think it's super important to make something you can sell in addition to making something people want. Frankly, there are so many things people want but not every founder has resources or is well-equipped to sell it.

Your goal as a founder is to maximize chances of __your__ success. Having the right founder-market fit goes a long way.

Sidnicious 1 day ago 0 replies      
Woah, I've been struggling with the idea of going to conferences (on the list of distractions).

I have personal projects that I want to finish (not a startup), and the conferences I enjoy tend to feature people showing off their own projects. Whenever Im at one, I think, Id rather be on stage, sharing something I put months (or years) of love into, than be one of the 100-1000 people in the audience watching.

Of course, going to a conference can be inspiring, or introduce me to people or ideas thatll shape my future work, so theyre not all bad. Im interested in how other HN folks approach this conflict.

Semi-related, I experienced something interesting at a hacking conference a few years ago. Mid-conference, feeling inspired, I hid in the volunteer lounge for almost a whole day and worked on a reverse engineering project that Id been fighting to understand for over a year. I solved it! Being there, and aware of all of the people and activity around me, but actively ignoring it, gave me focus and motivation. That was fascinating, and Ive considered doing the same thing again (or finding a really interesting conference and not buying a ticket, so that I could work while I know Im missing it).

woah 1 day ago 3 replies      
Focusing on growth and revenue sounds like the right thing to do for a p2p dog walking marketplace, or a SaaS enterprise meal planning app, but what about the startups solving big problems? Is month over month user growth relevant to a nuclear fusion or jet airplane startup?
S4M 1 day ago 2 replies      
So networking, "grabbing coffee" with investors and talking to potential acquirers are a waste of time, yet YC insists that startups go to one of the most expensive place in the world just because it's more convenient to to those three things.
chmike 12 hours ago 0 replies      
A parallel to "don't waste time in conferences" is don't waste time on hacker news. Ha! I don't run a startup, so I'm allowed.
usmeteora 1 day ago 6 replies      
as a 26yr old female Electrical Engineer getting involved with entrepreneurship and doing my own software startup, I agree there is too much controversy, talk and fear surrounding being a female in tech.

Don't get me wrong, it is isolating in general but after working for two startups, one bought out by a foreign company and another now has billions in funding, doing software analytics on the trading floor through summer internships in college, and going to a predominately male college for engineering, 70% males overall, and 99% male in my major, I can say I have a diversity of experience even within the tech field and also years of experience working at single companies before moving on, I can say a few things that I think echo what she is saying

1. Most of the people speaking the most about female controversey are not coders, or engineers or in the nitty gritty of tech. While I appreciate their empathy and willingness to latch onto a cause and speak for us, they often get it wrong, and recently have done so much so that they scare the MAJORITY of men to feeling uncomfortable talking about it. What do I mean? onto point #2

1a. Sorry, before I go to Point 2, another way journalists or people wanting to speak out on our behalf (female women in tech) get it wrong is by assuming we want to change the culture to be this outgoing, social fashion forward world. Actually, alot of us are introverted geeks and like doing the same thing other male engineers do. I definitely think wheather you were or are a cheerleader sorority girl who likes to bake and throw parties or an introverted star wars nerd and each one is an engineer, either should feel equally comfortable at a new tech company and not isolated by the culture, but anecdotally I happen to be an extreme introvert, and the excessive socializing and advice or notion that if we have an environment where we can all be super girly like omg together is the vibe I get from alot of female focused events in tech. It's actually overwhelming and makes me feel more out of place than not. Listen to us, not imposing your idea of how we might feel onto us. Get a good profile of what females are saying who are IN tech, and if there is a difference between that and the ones who are latching onto the idea of it or operating in auxiliary roles surrounding tech. These women are just as important, and are are still subject to sexism working around male dominated industries, but if you want more women IN tech, instead of talking about tech but not in it, listen to the women IN it, you might be surprised.


Here is one example where both genders are contributing to the problem but making it harder for women IN tech. my friend is a Biomed Engineer who prototyped and developed her hardware. Keeping her anonymous on here, but she went to a big tech conference in the bay area and was approached by three men asking if she was a "showgirl" at the conference as a starter to the conversation. Of all the things you could possibly say right? How offensive to a female engineer with over 30 pending patents running a multi million dollar company and two engineering degrees under her belt. Welp, those guys are in the wrong, but also why are there showgirls at tech conferences. because hot girls attract geeks to the boothe. But MEN hired these showgirls, and WOMEN are actually fufilling those roles. So both parties are at fault.

Who suffers?The people who suffer are the ACTUAL female engineers who would love to go to a conference and not have it be assumed they are there in an auxiliary tech role until proven otherwise.

once my friend described who she was, both of the guys felt really bad, even embarassed and apologized profusely. They ended up being cool guys she is still friends with. they learned a lesson, but they have also been heavily conditioned by males and females who are both willing particpants in establishing a stereotype that is demeaning to women actually in tech.

2. Most men I've met and worked with in tech are absolutely fine. It is that in general outlier cases good and back stick out in our heads. If there are 200 employees at a company and only 2 females in my department of 40, probably over a 6 months period the chances are I'm going to be made to feel uncomfortable whether intentionally or not by one person atleast. I'm not saying it's acceptable or ok, or that steps shouldn't be taken to fix it, I'm saying 19/20 guys I work with in a random sampling are just fine, and don't make being a girl a thing, and treat me just the same, or if anything are excited to see women in tech and go out of their way to make you feel comfortable. It's then in your discretion to stand on your own two feet and not take advantage of that, because some women do, which brings me to...

3. There are some women who abuse their minority status. I'm NOT saying women who have spoken out about being treated poorly are the ones who are abusive, or that they are lying. It is usually ones that have nothing to complain about and the situations are much more nuanced. I'm sorry people will get mad at me about this statement but I feel comfortable saying it as I've observed it and I work in tech and I'm not going to lie to remain politically correct. Both males and females are capable of abusing their position. Not all males do it, not all females do it. So hating men or making them terrified of saying the wrong thing if anything is just going to make you feel more isolated.

There are also women who still have queen B syndrome and like being the only female around, and actively bully other women. This is so obnoxious. However, in my varied experience in tech, I can say one key indicator of a real female engineer, is that most of us would LOVE a female friend because we don't have many. Females that view male dominated workplaces as a fun new playground because of all the men, are constantly having coworker boyfriends, and view other women as competition, instead of empathizing with them, have probably not experienced the long term years of being in college engineering classes and doing their homework and not having female friends, and the desire to be treated as an equal instead of put on a pedastool or having to prove themselves. Real females doing real work in tech know what it's like to be isolated, and when we get together as females, we are all super super grateful for it, and we all feel uncomfortable going to glitzy girl focused events where we are bombarded by girls not in tech telling us how things should be. This has been my experience.

4. While some of us can't choose who we work for and with, if you are a female IN Tech, not marketing or some soft auxiliary department of a developed company, but you code or prototype electronics or hardware or engineer something, then you are valuable enough that you can move onto thousands of other companies if you don't find one with a culture that fits your comfort zone. Not just because you are a talented brilliant ambitious female, but because you are a talented brilliant ambitious engineer, and they are in great need in any gender, but being a female is always a great added diversity and step into equality for EVERYONE, not just females. AGAIN, it's not ok women should ever have to feel uncomfortable but we live in the real world and not everything is fair, not just for women, but for alot of situations and people in general.


In life in general, forget being a women or startups, a good rule of thumb, and one I took way too long to learn myself in my personal and professional life, if you don't like how you are being treated, then start hanging around different people.

I have plenty of male engineer friends who are low key, we geek out together, order pizza, watch tv, code, switch knowledge, music and talk about latest tech stuff, and its totally chill. What and who makes you feel comfortable but also gets you excited about learning and obtaining your goals? hang around them and your work life and personal life will be better. It's the same as if you want to stop drinking but your friends only method or venue for socializing is drinking, well it's not going to be super fun for you, so hang out with people who gel with your same lifestyle.

I definitely have my frustrations, but my successes and friends male and female far outweigh my desire to spend most of my time feeling negatively. This is coming from a girl who has been through some troubling times with male coworkers. It's not that is hasnt been harder, its just that I have so many things I want to do, I'd rather "show them" by being successful and acheiving my goals than fighting a legal battle. I am glad some women have chosen the legal path, but I actually would be upset if someone chastized me for not spending all my time in court. There are lots of way to bring tech forward with everyone, not just articles and legal battles. Sometimes, just being a good role model, the girl you wish you had to hang with 5 years ago when you had no female friends, goes alot farther in the world of tech females who actually need a friend, not just people reading the hottest news. Any new girl I meet in my company or department or otherwise who is an engineer or software developer, I atleast attempt to make friends and go out to lunch or a grab a drink with them , let them know I'm available to chat or otherwise, and every time I've been endlessly thanked saying I'm the only female friend they have. Well, now I have like 5 awesome female engineer friends and we all are friends as a group now, it's not much, its not enough, but its more than we ever had and it's all we have time for, because you know, we are also coding, starting companies and doing all the same things males do so we are not over here just being social butterflies. As cliche as it sounds, and something I never would have believed about myself years ago when I was feeling isolated, is that I focused on being the change I wanted to see in the world, and the role model I wish I had when I was fresh out of college, instead of fighting legal battles. Sometimes thats the right thing to do, sometimes my path is a good one too, and I don't regret it.

I've had to abandoned some groups, and in one case a company because I was around egotistical chovenistic males who challenged me on everything and even worse it was all subconscious sexism so it was not even easy to address. no its not ok, but I decided to instead of fighting for it for years and years, to move onto something better for me, and now I can spend the majority of my time coding and working on my goals, instead of fighting against people. It was the best decision I've ever made, I'm able to be alot more technically advanced, and by holding my head high and deciding I could do better, instead of tearing other people down.

Atleast three of those guys have come to me years later to apologize (with no prodding on my part), tell me I was a good player on the team, and I know from females who joined that same team later, they are treated very well. Those guys straightened up because sometimes the most powerful thing you can do, is know you deserve better, walk away and discover a place that fosters your worth. If you have real tech skills, this will always be an option for you as a woman, or a man. It's ok to stand up and "fight" and it all depends on your situation. I should have had more support in mine, but honestly I think I made the right choice by just moving onto something better.


She is right, don't be scared. JUST DO IT. If you can actually code or prototype, then do it. Perform, let your product speak for itself and noone can argue with you. That is the cool thing about coding or being an engineer, if it works and people are paying for it, who cares if youre a girl, or a transgender, or have purple hair, wear tennis shoes to work, or if you are a hippopotamus. It's not going to be easy, it's going to be WORTH it, and there may be some extra barriers, but how rewarding for you to be a trailblazer.

I never thought of myself that way until people started calling me a trailblazer or a "badass" years out of college and now that I think about it, hey yeh, I've been through some pretty hard times but damn this is cool, minority or not, I love what I do and nothing is going to stop me. In fact, I had no idea when I first went into this that anyone would want to stop me, or feel threatened by me, and honestly, that is the hard part.


The hard part is realizing that some people are actually not supportive of you, subconsciously or not, alot of the anger on your part comes from the confusion surrounding the challenge of understanding this concept, because if youre an awesome person who doesnt need to tear other people down to have success, this isn't going to be intuitive for you to understand other people are actually that lame. Once you realize yes these warped people in self denial who project their own insecurities onto you DO exist, and probably always will in some form or fashion, then you can be like "oh, no I'm better than that sorry". Sometimes again, legal is a good way, sometimes not.

Just do you and find that confidence. if you don't have it, dig deeper, if youre reading this youre already way ahead of the game and have nothing to feel insecure about. Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond and how you let it effect your opinion of yourself or your subconscious belief about your capabilities.

Have that attitude, and support other girls around you, focus on your work and not people, and youll be amazed. In the words of Dr. Suess "oh the places youll go.."

zxcvvcxz 1 day ago 1 reply      
> So while Ill tell you that it is going to be harder for you as a woman,

I read this phrase a few times. I'm genuinely curious - and didn't really see it in the article - what are the reasons for which Jessica is referring?

Edit - downvoted for asking a genuine question...? Did it ever occur to anyone that I may be asking to see how I could help, seeing as I'm involved with a few startups?

tmaly 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I think #1 is the key to the whole thing.

I love how Pat Flynn talked about building a market map in his recent book Will It Fly. I think this method is very helpful in finding out if what your doing is something people want.

Derek Sivers of CDBaby has this same mindset. He has always worked off the pull method rather than the push method for what he creates.

Ash Maurya in his book running lean gives you a nice script for customer development interviews. I have tried this with a previous startup idea, and they saved me from going down the road of working on something people did not want. They are probably a bit more involved than Pat's method, but it is something else to consider.

kayhi 1 day ago 5 replies      
"The best metric to choose is good old fashioned revenue."

The best metric to choose is good old fashioned profit.

I appreciate that growth can be hindered by making a profit, but isn't that what matters in the end? Amazon, Twitter, Box and many other public tech companies went public without turning a profit so it seems I'm wrong.

mathattack 1 day ago 0 replies      
Measuring the right things is very important too. I was at a company that lived and died on user counts. We grew 30X in users over my year there, but no revenue so we ultimately died. (And costs were out of control too, and we lost focus, so much of this article hits home)
poof131 1 day ago 0 replies      
Not sure I agree about advisors. Getting smart people who have experience in places the team is lacking seems pretty critical to me. Perhaps its different at YC where you have advisors built into the program and getting boards of advisors is extraneous, but for other teams without those resources behind them this seems like bad advice. Find people whove done it before and learn from them.
ape4 1 day ago 1 reply      
On "making something people want"... You don't always know. If its a cheaper version of something else then - yah. But if its a new category you don't know. eg Nest - turns out people did want an expensive smart thermostat. But wasn't obvious.
davesque 1 day ago 1 reply      
The only way not to fail is not to try. Even then you could argue that you failed to try :).
sbardle 1 day ago 0 replies      
Solid advice. I think YC advice gives you the road map, but in addition speeches like Paul Buchheit's "The Technology" can also help stimulate the vision in the first place.
ssreeniv 14 hours ago 1 reply      
> Doing a partnership, thinking it will get you more users

Why is this a distraction?

k2xl 1 day ago 2 replies      
How many startup founders do you know think they aren't building something people want?

These are some nice tips, but the problem with this advice is that it probably won't change founder behaviors.

Most startup founders I know would think that they are focused, building something people want, not over hiring, etc...

With the exception of the default alive or dead, none or the other tips are really quantifiable.

I appreciate everything Jessica has done, and she has a wealth of experience and exposure to a wide variety of startups, but this advice is too subjective.

JBiserkov 22 hours ago 0 replies      
This reminds me of http://paulgraham.com/die.html and http://paulgraham.com/startupmistakes.html

P.s. I haven't seen her talk yet.

banhfun 19 hours ago 0 replies      
She forgot #8: Be Lucky
logicallee 1 day ago 1 reply      
Could someone help me understand her list under Point 2, Stay Focused? She writes:

>One of the most conspicuous patterns weve seen among the thousand startups weve funded is that the most successful founders are always totally focused on their product and their users. To the point of being fanatical. The best founders dont have time to get caught up in other things.

>Heres a list of things that I see easily distract founders. These are like the startup equivalent of wolves in sheeps clothing.

[she includes 8 points, of which I quote 4 below - I am quoting selectively.]

> - Grabbing coffee with investors

> - Networking

> - Doing a partnership, thinking it will get you more users

> - Going to conferences

Now, I need help understnanding this. She has listed some of the items that separate people building startups in unfundable locations where there are 0 startups, and startups building in the Bay Area.

If you don't need to do these things, why did YC shut down it's Boston program and make everyone do it in the Bay Area?

If you don't need to do these things, why can't you build a startup from anywhere in the world as long as you speak good English and have no costs?

Aren't these things literally the things that make startups fundable, financiable, possible to grow into huge businesses?

I and anyone else on HN who has been in the Bay Area and in startup-dead locations knows the huge difference. She seemed to quote some of it under 'distractions'.

Can someone help me understand why they aren't, in fact, part of focus?

akshatpradhan 15 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm in the interesting position that I've built something that everybody needs, but nobody wants.

I've built a product that manages the compliance process for the Big 5 (i.e. PCI-DSS, SSAE16-SOC2, HIPAA, ISO 27001, and FEDRAMP).

My product, ComplianceChaos[1] competes with RSA Archer, Protiviti, Lockpath, Aruvio, and MetricStream.

From my research, 80% of IT operations around the world can't confidently certify themselves against any of those information security frameworks. When recently talking to Security Directors and above, they claim "I don't need to comply" or "well we may not be the best, but we're not the worst, so compliance just isn't a priority."

We understand that a big business like General Electric will not do business with your company unless you can show some kind of proof that you're compliant with the Big 5. For example, if you're a cloud service provider or SaaS, GE wants you to certify for SOC 2 and ISO 27001.

We also know that if you host on Amazon's FEDRAMP Compliant environment or Catalyze.io's HIPAA compliant environment, it doesn't automatically mean your company is also compliant. Your company still needs to go through the compliance process too."

When I first set off to build this product a couple years ago, the security officers first exclaimed, "We need a compliance tool so that we don't have to deal with scattered documents and long spreadsheets." When I built the MVP and continued iterating on it, security officers again exclaimed, "this is the most beautiful compliance product I've ever seen! Better than RSA Archer."

However, when I asked them to use it, for FREE, they would say, "Well it's nice, but compliance just isn't a priority for us because the business has other missions like doing real security work". Explaining to them that compliance frameworks like ISO 27001 and FEDRAMP is real security work was met with deaf ears. In fact, they would retaliate saying, "Compliance like ISO 27001 isn't security. It's a low bar, bare minimal, and not enough."

When I counter with, "But 80% of the industry can't confidently assert that they've done due diligence in meeting the compliance controls. If compliance is so bare minimal, then why do only 20% go all the way to Attestation instead of all 100% of you guys?" That question would again fall on deaf ears.

I've recently pivoted to a services company, no thanks to TrustWave for getting sued for performing subpar security compliance auditing work. I'm specifically looking at you auditors who ask employees to put their passwords in a spreadsheet.

So here I am, having built a product and auditing service that IT Operations do in fact need, but do not want. They don't want the politics behind it nor the emotions behind it, and wish to sweep compliance under the rug.

How do I solve for #1 Make something that people want, when nobody wants compliance, but definitely needs it?


I'm going to sleep now, but I would really appreciate reading your responses in the morning and I'll definitely respond too.

erikb 1 day ago 0 replies      
just as a side note. She pretty much says that "ugly duck hiring" (hiring start-ups that seem to be on a good track but have burned too fast through their money) may be a thing to make money with.

PS: And i don't like the "not fail" part. You don't want to not fail. You want to succeed. If you fail and succeed the failing is fine.

kreetx 1 day ago 0 replies      
I want a T-shirt which says "Jessica Livingston"! Very good advice overall.
ck2 1 day ago 0 replies      
Video of keynote by Jessica Livingston


draw_down 1 day ago 1 reply      
- Don't do bad stuff.- Do do good stuff.
1 day ago 1 day ago 3 replies      
I believe you're talking about Elizabeth Holmes.
22 hours ago 22 hours ago 3 replies      
We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11871755 and marked it off-topic.
nutheracc 1 day ago 3 replies      
"...shares her learnings about..." -- this is not English. Failing in the second sentence.
outworlder 23 hours ago 2 replies      
Overall, I found the reading very enjoyable. And down to earth, which is refreshing.

Until this part, that is:

> And you know where the founders of these big winners are going to come from? From this room!

Not sure how to view this part. On one hand, of course she's right. If no "unicorns" ever came from YC, they wouldn't be around still. But it seems to imply that all founders that are going to be wildly successful were in that room. That's either appealing to emotion for morale purposes, or way too elitist. Not sure which.

qznc 22 hours ago 0 replies      
> Make something people want. This is YCs motto, and after 11 years and more than 1000 startups, I know we picked the right one.

I find this sad. It tells you something about humanity. Don't build something people need. Build what they want. Make it addictive. We either don't know what we need or if we know it, we still want something different.

Awesome C++ find the best libraries libhunt.com
82 points by stanislavb  10 hours ago   27 comments top 6
babuskov 5 hours ago 5 replies      
The best?

Here's the problem I had with my previous game project. JSON writing and parsing. I type "JSON" into your search box and get 20 libraries without much difference explained. 17 of those match my license requirements. And then I have to try each one to compare.

You might say that I could just pick one at random and see if it works... I did exactly that for my previous project. 11 months into development when I had huge chunks of code depending on it, I discovered a subtle bug that only showed up on big JSON files (over 2MB) and only when the library was compiled with MSVC. The author doesn't want to debug it because he doesn't use Windows. I wanted to use use MSVC because of Steam API. So I had to either rewrite the code to use another library or give up on SteamAPI. I picked the latter.

Dumping a list of 20 libraries to solve a single problem isn't "curating".

I suggest you remove "the best" from the title as this site doesn't solve that problem.

Jdam 5 hours ago 1 reply      
For me, libhunt is just scam. Take Github "Awesome lists", add sorting and ads, profit with other peoples' work.


ausjke 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Looks good to me. Now I want to find an "Awesome C" list somewhere too, if they exist.
restalis 7 hours ago 0 replies      
The classification can be done a little better, maybe a tree-view with available branches where it makes sense to sub-classify. The project seems to be a good (useful) thing otherwise.
turrini 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Fantastic work!
zyngaro 4 hours ago 1 reply      
I find it hard to justify starting a new projet using C++ today when there is languages like Rust, swift and golang to a lesser extent. C++ was the only viable option for a compiled, fast and scalable language. Java has replaced C++ on the server/backend side for years and the same thing is going to happen on the Desktop/mobile in the coming years as the other new language offerings start to gain momentum.
       cached 10 June 2016 19:02:02 GMT