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Uber finds one allegedly stolen Waymo file on an employees personal device techcrunch.com
198 points by folz  3 hours ago   99 comments top 17
Animats 50 minutes ago 2 replies      
Judge Alsup:

"If your guy is involved in criminal activity and has to have criminal lawyers of the caliber of these two gentlemen, who are the best, well, okay they got the best. But its a problem I cant solve for you. And if you think Im going to cut you some slack because youre looking atyour guy is looking at jail time, no. They [Waymo] are going to get the benefit of their record. And if you dont deny itif all you do is come in and say, We looked for the documents and cant find them, then the conclusion is they got a record that shows Mr. Levandowski took it, and maybe still has it. And heshes still working for your company. And maybe that means preliminary injunction time. Maybe. I dont know. Im not there yet. But Im telling you, youre looking at a serious problem."


"Well, why did he take [them] then?". "He downloaded 14,000 files, he wiped clean the computer, and he took [them] with him. That's the record. Hes not denying it. You're not denying it. No one on your side is denying he has the 14,000 files. Maybe you will. But if it's going to be denied, how can he take the 5th Amendment? This is an extraordinary case. In 42 years, I've never seen a record this strong. You are up against it. And you are looking at a preliminary injunction, even if what you tell me is true."

Uber is having a very bad day when a Federal judge starts talking like that. A preliminary injunction looks likely. If Uber can't find anything, this goes against them. Nobody has denied that Levandowski copied the files. Uber paid $600 million for Otto's technology and people. Even if the files didn't make it to Uber's computers, Waymo can probably get a preliminary injunction shutting down much of Uber's self-driving effort. Then Uber gets to argue that their technology is different from Waymo's. It's going to be hard to argue independent invention when all the people are from Google's project.

ABCLAW 1 hour ago 0 replies      
It is surprising that Google did not push the court to appoint a third party discovery firm to handle the device imaging process and to provide a report to the court.

Maybe both parties' intense desire for privacy in this matter has driven Google to this strategy.

The seeming ludicrousness of the result - Alsup's "go try again, harder this time" - is not caused by this case's parties playing badly. It is caused by poorly defined and understood laws surrounding what constitutes a defensible search. Data handling in this stage of legal proceedings is imperfect, and can be manipulated by both parties to drive up the cost of litigation, or to strategically avoid disclosing the key breadcrumb documentation that would otherwise have led to the smoking gun(s).

Edit: Please find the court reporter transcript here: http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3533784-Waymo-Uber-3-...

Judge Alsup's comments are fairly aggressive in comparison to most commercial litigation, but the no-nonsense tone is par for the course.

YCode 2 hours ago 4 replies      
Offhand, this kind of sounds like a parent asking their teenager to go and search their own room for drugs.

"Nah, I didn't find anything. I found this plastic bag that looks like it mighta had something in it, but I'm pretty sure my friend left it here and it was empty when he brought it."

"Okay son, go search again."

jeffdavis 0 minutes ago 0 replies      
Aren't you supposed to settle criminal cases before civil ones? Is the guy formally indicted?

If they just did the criminal trial first, he couldn't claim 5th protections, right?

themgt 2 hours ago 3 replies      
'To the extent Uber tries to excuse its noncompliance on the grounds that Mr. Levandowski has invoked the Fifth Amendment and refused to provide Uber with documents or assistance, Waymo notes that Mr. Levandowski remains to this day an Uber executive and in charge of its self-driving car program. Uber has ratified Mr. Levandowskis behavior and is liable for it, Waymo attorney Charles K. Verhoeven wrote in a letter to the court (emphasis his).'


fowlerpower 1 hour ago 1 reply      
This story is fascinating for tech people everywhere and we should all pay attention.

We all have big dreams of starting our own company some day (I know do) and many of us work for big corporations that would rather we never go anywhere and work for as little as possible. (admittedly the markets are forcing them to pay us a lot but they aren't doing it out of good will).

The outcome of this will teach us all very valuable lessons. I can't be the only one who is a little paranoid that if I start my own shit I'll be sued or that I may even be sued for some of the side projects I'm working on even though I've never taken any code or resources from my company.

checkdigit15 2 hours ago 1 reply      
"Judge William Alsup, who is presiding over the case, ordered Uber to search more thoroughly for the documents."

Judge Alsup always winds up with the most interesting cases :-)

siliconc0w 5 minutes ago 0 replies      
It seems like Uber has to prove a negative here - because Google has evidence Levandowski took the files they need to show they don't have theM? Or that the files weren't involved in their self driving IP? Not sure how they're supposed to do that.
dmritard96 26 minutes ago 1 reply      
Are there any opensource autonomous/driverless car projects with substantial momentum. This seems like something so foundational to the next 50 to 100 years that it needs to be 'owned' by everyone.
joshu 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I assume "14000 documents" is one repo checkout.
aresant 1 hour ago 1 reply      
This resolved to the Judge ordering a deeper search:

"[The Judge] told Uber to search using 15 terms provided by Waymo, first on the employees computers that had already been searched, then on 10 employees computers selected by Waymo, and then on all other servers and devices connected to employees who work on Ubers LiDAR system."

Seems interesting that there's not a more comprehensive system or way to search for these since Google is clearly in possession of the specific documents they claim are stolen.

The way they're continuing the Judge's order to look for "15 terms" almost makes it seem like the extent of the original search was tied to file name or document titles or something?

jankassens 2 hours ago 1 reply      
How would Uber find files on some employees personal device?
dfar1 1 hour ago 0 replies      
1 file is too many files.
MegaButts 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I get the feeling 2017 is going to be a very entertaining (from a news perspective) year for tech.
caroherm 1 hour ago 1 reply      
What is the background story for this article?
dsschnau 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Uber is basically pleading the fifth. Hahahahaha
alacombe 1 hour ago 0 replies      
and the file was... stdio.h. Damn !
Growing Ubuntu for Cloud and IoT, Rather Than Phone and Convergence ubuntu.com
384 points by popey  4 hours ago   230 comments top 63
moystard 0 minutes ago 0 replies      
It takes courage to reflect on previous decisions and re-consider your product strategy. I am quite impressed by Mark Shuttleworth decision to move away from Unity and the desktop/phone convergence that has been slowing down innovation for Ubuntu, and allowed other distributions to catch up.

Every Linux users should benefit from this decision; I am excited to see the progress they will make to the Gnome environment.

gshulegaard 3 hours ago 8 replies      
I may be a minority, but I am very saddened by this. Not because I have any particular love for Unity, but rather I share Mark's conviction that convergence is the future.

Love or hate it but Unity was IMO the best shot we had at getting an open source unified phone, tablet and desktop experience...and now this is effectively Canonical not only shutting down Unity, but refocusing efforts away from convergence and towards more traditional market segments. I mourn the death of this innovative path.

That said, hopefully this convergence with GNOME will eventually lead back to convergence...but for now that dream is dead it would seem.

hd4 2 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm one of the people who asked for less NIH in Ubuntu in the recent thread https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14002821 but I didn't think they would take it this far. Jokes aside, it's sad that Unity won't be developed further.

I'm one of the ones who loves Unity 7, it's always been faster and less memory hungry than GNOME or KDE for me. I will just have to cling onto the LTS for as long as possible.

In the long-term I think this is good for Ubuntu and Linux users in general, less diversity can sometimes help an ecosystem form. I think many users just want a DE to stay out of the way and make life easier, so I hope some of the Ubuntu ease of use focus and community will get injected back into GNOME. I really hope a huge flood of users coming back forces them to look at their memory usage and get it under control.

s_kilk 4 hours ago 1 reply      
> We will shift our default Ubuntu desktop back to GNOME for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

Legitimately never thought I'd ever see this. Possibly the best thing that could happen for desktop Linux in this age.

Edit: and of course this would mean Ubuntu/Canonical and Fedora/RedHat basing their desktop OS's on the same platform, which can only mean easier development of desktop software and services.

mtalantikite 5 minutes ago 0 replies      
For their embedded device support I'd like to see them go even smaller than what they list on their Core (IoT) devices page. Sure, Raspberry Pi is nice and all, but I wouldn't build an embedded system around it.

Lately I've been hacking some projects on the Arduino Industrial 101, which has a small Atheros AR9331 MIPS based SoC, but it ships with a very old OpenWRT that doesn't seem to get much in terms of updates. I spent time building a new image for it based off of the LEDE fork that is being brought back into OpenWRT, then wrestled with various parts of the Linux side of the board, but ultimately I really don't want to be managing build pipelines for Linux system updates. At this point I may just wait for AVR changes to Rust to land and ditch the Linux side all together.

That's all to say, it really would be nice to have a small footprint embedded Linux distribution that wasn't mainly focused on routers like OpenWRT (not a knock on OpenWRT). Raspberry Pi and Samsung Artik 10 aren't really something I'd completely consider as embedded systems (also not a knock on either of those boards).

ThatGeoGuy 4 hours ago 8 replies      
I get that they're moving away from convergence, but what does this ultimately mean for Ubuntu as a mobile OS? In the grand scheme of things, what does this mean for users who want a completely FOSS stack for their phone (let's ignore the baseband for now)?

As far as I can tell, this just means that your only options are Android or iOS. It's not easy to get a Jolla/SailfishOS phone that will work on most Canadian or USA networks, and with this announcement it seems that Ubuntu phones won't be around for much longer. This coupled with the death of Firefox OS means that there's really not much of a choice. Certainly you can run AOSP with no Google Apps, but not having Google Play Services tends to cause more and more problems, or at the very least means your phone is less and less capable as time goes on.

I guess in general we can all celebrate that Ubuntu is moving to GNOME / Wayland and is ditching convergence, but I think the fact that there's no healthy alternative to iOS / Android is quite sad. If Canonical is exiting the mobile space to work on other things, what other alternatives do users have?

Afforess 4 hours ago 5 replies      
Damn. From the horses mouth: https://insights.ubuntu.com/2017/04/05/growing-ubuntu-for-cl...

I might be a small minority, but I _like_ Unity 7. I have never used Unity 8, and I thought the Ubuntu phone was misspent effort, but wow. Now I have to figure out if there is a way to style Gnome to look like Unity 7.

I wonder what this means for Mir vs Wayland as well.

WD-42 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow. This is a real shock, it wouldn't be out of place for April 1st.

This is good news for linux on the desktop. Not that diversity isn't good, but Unity has been stale for years while Gnome has been progressing, but suffering from the fragmentation that Canonical caused.

Hopefully this will result in more contributions upstream, which will benefit all linux distributions. This was always the main complaint with Canonical.

dumbmatter 3 hours ago 1 reply      
This is awesome. When that "What do you want to see in Ubuntu 17.10?" post https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14002821 was up recently, I wanted to say "Get rid of the abomination that is Unity" but figured it'd just be flamebait. Little did I know how close my dreams were to coming true!
sandGorgon 3 hours ago 2 replies      
> We will shift our default Ubuntu desktop back to GNOME for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

This is huge and was my #1 request for the previous post for Ubuntu 17.10. Gnome on Fedora is amazing and I have had people walk up to me and ask me - what OS am I running ?

It is so much better for Ubuntu and Redhat to have joint stewardship of Gnome going forward rather than split energy on wasted competition.

My next biggest request is flatpak vs snappy - I cant believe that the package management wars are beginning all over again in 2017. Just pick one and be done with it. RPM and DEB will never converge, but we have a narrow window of opportunity with flatpak and snappy.

m45t3r 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Hope just that Canonical will apply their custom theme on GNOME. As a Arch Linux user, I think that the default GNOME theme is ugly, Unity by default have a much better look.
paol 4 hours ago 3 replies      
I'm entirely convinced that Shuttleworth's vision of convergence will happen. It looks like an inevitability, as mobile computing power continues to grow faster than typical consumer workloads (the same forces already made it possible for $400 laptops to be good enough for most mainstream users).

Canonical just didn't have the resources to push a 3rd mobile platform. Hell, even Microsoft gave up (who did have the resources, and IMO made a mistake in giving up).

nik736 17 minutes ago 0 replies      
I am simply hoping Apple is working on parts of Shuttleworths' vision where your iPhone becomes your daily driver. Just plug it in to your Display and have a fully fledged iOS/macOS hybrid version to work with.

Xiaomi is releasing the Mi6 in some weeks with 8 GB of RAM, so it's only a matter of time until we get comparable specs like we have in MacBooks or even Desktops in the smartphone form factor (which will be incredible in itself).

franciscop 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Wow this is impressive just after the Ask HN they did few days back. It's been few years users complaining and opposing Mir so it seems it just took that last feedback cry. It's great that they listen to their users and also that there's going some love given back to the desktop+server (+IoT).

Disclaimer: I am really happy using Ubuntu everyday.

karussell 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Honest question: how is Canonical making money in the cloud with ubuntu?

Everytime someone installs an image with 'Ubuntu' in the name the cloud provider has to pay Canonical? Or what else could be the main revenue stream 'in the cloud'?

jimmies 4 hours ago 2 replies      
I cannot wait for Unity to die, and now it does.

I was not very happy when they decided to make Unity mac-like by moving the menu to the top bar. It has to be the most idiotic decision around for anyone who has multiple monitors. Even with a single monitor, it is a pain in the ass to move the mouse all the way to the top left corner for the menu to appear, and then orienting myself with the items presented.

shanemhansen 4 hours ago 1 reply      
I can't tell you how happy I am to see convergence dying. My desktop is not just a big phone and people put out some atrocious user interfaces in the name of "convergence".

WRT to unity, at least it's improved. Ubuntu w/ unity currently has the best multi-monitor multi-dpi user experience I've seen on linux. I have a retina laptop with 2 external displays and ubuntu unity is the only thing that just works out of the box.

AdmiralAsshat 4 hours ago 3 replies      
GNOME has been doing some really cool stuff as of late (http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2017/03/top-features-in-gnome-3-2...). I'm still using Cinnamon, because I still like the look a bit more, but it's getting harder to ignore all of the excellent features GNOME provides, including:- Drive support for file manager- Gmail/Outlook support for GNOME accounts and built-in calendars- Working Wayland implementation

I'm holding out at the moment, as it's missing one feature from Cinnamon that I really like (the ability to launch and control any audio player from the sound icon in the tray), but when Fedora 26 launches I may finally have to switch over.

I hope that Canonical shifting back to GNOME will further its development under Wayland and not spend a crapload of time doing more work for Mir.

CaptSpify 4 hours ago 1 reply      
I just got the Ubuntu phone. It's the first smart-phone that I don't hate. I do agree that Ubuntu needs to stop with their NIH syndrome when it comes to desktop, but the phone market is just flat out terrible.

I would be willing to spend a lot of money for a decent FOSS phone, but there just isn't anything out there. Ubuntu was my only hope |:(

codycraven 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Super excited for this. I hate Unity's interface and was instead using Fedora solely for that reason. About 5 months ago I switched to Ubuntu GNOME and have been loving the stability of Ubuntu with the advanced interface of GNOME.
oldgun 44 minutes ago 0 replies      
Not really a Unity fan or a 'Convergence' fan, but just saddened by the fact so many developers and community enthusiasts get to know that their efforts were in vain.
shmerl 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Dropping Unity means dropping Mir, which is a good thing. Now developers can avoid redundant efforts, and can focus on Wayland. And it's still a huge pile of work for many complex applications like Firefox, Wine and many others, including graphics drivers, GUI toolkits, libraries like SDL and etc.
anilgulecha 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow.. I see where Mr. Shuttleworth is coming from.

I'd like to state that I'm a happy Ubuntu user, and have been using Unity for the past few years and have generally found it to be a good ui for the desktop. I know many many others fall in the same bucket.

dflock 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Excellent news! I personally think unity is terrible - and it's objectively lacking in several areas, multi-monitor support particularly.

The Ubuntu phone thing was a nice idea, but obviously never going to fly, so it's nice to see canonical putting their efforts where their actual users are.

i80and 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Page isn't loading, but that's a pity if true :(

I ended up dropping desktop Linux entirely last year, but Unity was the only thing that I thought wasn't matched by any other desktop operating system.

DCKing 1 hour ago 0 replies      
As an end user, I like this news. Unity was never for me (I run Gnome Shell on all my distros, including Ubuntu), I was not particularly enthused by Ubuntu phones, and Canonical getting on track with Gnome and therefore Wayland means we're making amazing progress to a more unified modern Linux desktop ecosystem.

But it's also very sad. Canonical tried to bring the open source technology to consumer devices, failed, and never really looked like succeeding in the first place. Although they made the Linux desktop accessible to new large audiences (including myself), they too cannot make the next step in making the technology a real success on the general consumer market.

Ironically, their desktop popularity gave them large popularity amongst developers and sysadmins, which now allows them to have a great business case to sell to enterprises for cloud and IoT. The same guys that boosted the popularity of Linux with a desktop for everyone are now going to be making almost all their money on enterprise licenses for headless systems. Ugh.

pkd 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Let me say that the only thing I am sad about is Unity 8. I genuinely liked Unity and it's easy to use, not-too-resource-hungry interface. I definitely do not like GNOME as much. It lacks the cohesion that Unity has (I understand why, but that doesn't negate the point).

I will be happy to see if the best parts of Unity make it back to GNOME - GNOME just feels clunky right now. But I will continue using Ubuntu regardless.

dhruvmittal 55 minutes ago 0 replies      
Hopefully now we can all agree on Wayland and start moving a little faster towards {application,driver,etc} support and capabilities.

I feel like Ubuntu's Mir pushing was one of the big things holding back Wayland from widespread support and adoption.

I'd love to dump X without feeling like I'm shooting myself in the foot sometime in the next few years.

doppioandante 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Unity has often been criticized because it was a Canonical thing and didn't leverage Wayland, but it's another world compared to Gnome shell. I couldn't like gnome shell no matter what.

I was using Gnome shell on a old eeepc. The interface is dumbed down and you have to install a bunch of extensions to make it as functional as Unity.

What was worse is that the launcher automatically triggered the search function, and that slowed down the pc to a crawl.I'm using KDE on it now and, even though less stable, it has a decent interface and it is surprisingly snappy.

severino 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Unfortunately, I guess Ubuntu Desktop won't last much, too. Can Canonical make money from that? Nope. They even made their product less appealing when they helped Microsoft run it inside their OS.

I always thought Canonical wouldn't be around much longer, and these news seems to confirm that. I'd, as a long time Ubuntu user, miss them.

uam 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Does this mean that Ubuntu is moving away from Mir, to Wayland?
pjmlp 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I like GNOME, but actually was quite comfortable with Unity.

While I do understand their change of focus, after all someone needs to pay those developers somehow, and resources are limited, it kind of reminds me about Red-Hat's decision that enterprise was where money is, as they switched their focus away from desktop.

Cloud and IoT are basically where enterprise is going and where GNU/Linux is just part of the underlying services, but not the main product being sold.

avodonosov 45 minutes ago 0 replies      
I'm not a fan of Unity as a desktop environment, but it's sad to hear about phone - I hoped to have a phone with normal, familiar OS.
butz 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Ditching Unity for Gnome - good news. Dropping Ubuntu Phone - not. First Firefox OS, now Ubuntu Phone.I suppose it shouldn't be that hard to create a fully open source mobile OS, with possible "convergence" functionality (running desktop apps when device is connected to big screen)? Especially now, when all apps are going to web a. k. a. Progressive Web Apps.
winteriscoming 4 hours ago 0 replies      
This is going to be interesting. The whole reason I moved away from Ubuntu, which was my goto linux distribution, around a decade ago was because they moved to Unity. I switched to Linuxmint and have been on it ever since.

Now that Ubuntu is going back to Gnome, although I may not switch back to it immediately, it will at least be in my mind as an option whenever I keep upgrading Linuxmint.

BudFox 54 minutes ago 0 replies      
The problem was not the vision or community rejection as Mark suggests. It was a failure of mindshare with unpalatable Canonical licensing and suboptimal engagement. These issues are surmountable, but only if Mark / Canonical look within first.
abrowne 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I've mostly been using the excellent Ubuntu MATE lately, but of the "modern" desktops I've always preferred GNOME to Unity, despite the latter having some good ideas. Ubuntu GNOME exists, but it'll be better with official support.
chrisper 45 minutes ago 0 replies      
What about snap? Are they going to switch to flatpak as well?
khc 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Does that mean existing resources that Canonical is putting in Unity will be diverted to GNOME?
sambe 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Damn. Just been forced to switch to Mate at work and find it like living in the past. Lots of defaults seem ugly or unusable (hunting through menus for programs etc.).
BudFox 1 hour ago 0 replies      
The problem was not the vision or community rejection as Mark suggests. It was a failure of mindshare with unpalatable Canonical licensing and suboptimal engagement.
Apocryphon 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Firefox OS also (briefly) pivoted to IoT after their mobile efforts failed. Is this a natural pattern?
mhsabbagh 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Funny that it came after 24 hours of my article about those stuff in Ubuntu: https://fosspost.org/2017/04/03/ubuntu-needs-consider-remain...

3 of them are now true. Karma.

awinter-py 3 hours ago 1 reply      
All I need graphics for is the web.

Build a terminal-only window manager with firefox built in.

klndsklnds 3 hours ago 0 replies      
But atleast they made one product from ubuntu mobile: snap (ubunto core)
AsyncAwait 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Looks like they saw that RH recently hit $2bn in subscription revenue and went...damn son :-)
nnutter 3 hours ago 2 replies      
Canonical raised" like 20 million USD to create a converged phone but the "community/market didn't want it"?
hitlin37 3 hours ago 0 replies      
this was expected. Unity 8 has been getting pushed farther and farther and it seemed very unfinished in previews.
Grue3 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Growing Ubuntu for [current buzzword] rather than [last year's buzzword].

Why not just build it for server and desktop because that's what Ubuntu is best at, and not chase the latest fads?

skdotdan 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Am I the only one who doesn't like this news?

I shared the Shuttleworth's view on convergence.

Grazester 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I am happy about this. I hated Unity
hitlin37 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Do one thing (Desktop) and do it well.
0xFFC 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I knew this was happening. They invested on Unity8 in quite reverse way. They had opportunity to make unity8 excellent desktop environment (they had money and workforce) and after becoming most popular de in linux environment they could continue that to mobile space(they are most popular linux distro already). Putting money on phone portion instead of desktop portion of the unity8 was biggest mistake i cna imagine. I can't understand rational behind it. Just look at what Microsoft does, they prioritize desktop win10 over mobile win10.
simlevesque 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Today was a good day.
frik 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Let's keep Canonical (the company behind Ubuntu) an individual company. One of the worst case scenarios is that a big company buys Canonical and f*cks with Ubuntu.
ldev 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Not really news, saying "linux distro chases ideas to rewrite instead of sticking to one thing and fixing it and that's why linux desktop won't ever happen" is like saying "grass is green".
gigatexal 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Time to switch back to Ubuntu
pmoriarty 4 hours ago 5 replies      
Now if they could just abandon systemd.
mtgx 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Does that mean they're going to make it easy not to have the taskbar on the side - or god forbid, even put it at the bottom by default? I remember that "convergence" with mobile was the primary reason why the Ubuntu UI was designed the way it was and why the taskbar was put on the side.

Yes, I realize a lot of Ubuntu users have already gotten used to it, and some may even prefer it, but I'm sure the majority of new users would feel confused and turned off by it. I would argue Ubuntu has to focus more on gaining Windows users than on keeping the hardcore Linux users.

clircle 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I am so happy
frik 3 hours ago 0 replies      
How much has another company paid, that Ubuntu dropped it?
tofflos 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Sad to see this. But also glad to see a less fragmented Linux desktop. I've always stuck with Gnome but the video in Mark's announcement looks pretty good. I guess it's true what they say - A system is never a popular as the day it is decommissioned.

I hope they can also align their release schedule with the Gnome team. I want to be on the latest desktop and get access to all the new features as they come out - not six months later.

tradesmanhelix 3 hours ago 2 replies      
"Growing Ubuntu for Cloud and IoT, Rather Than Phone and Convergence"

Translation: "We don't really care that much about Linux on the desktop because it's not making us much $$$."

Dear Canonical,

Your actions are a huge let down to the community. You caused a lot of strife with the move away from Gnome to Unity in 2010, and now you're ripping the rug out from under even more users after feeding us crap about convergence, etc. for the past 4-5 years (?). Nobody asked you to do any of that phone or convergence stuff, but peddling it like it's the next big thing and then pulling it without ever even really shipping a working product is just amateurish and make the whole FOSS community look bad.

You and FOSS companies like you - please stop. Next time you have an idea that's going to be the next "big thing" or a "world-changing paradigm shift", ship something before you start hyping it to the tech press. Ubuntu Touch/Unity 8 is just the latest in a long line of embarrassing open-source let downs that took enormous amounts of time and energy away from the community with absolutely nothing to show for it.


A disappointed ex-Ubuntu user

An In-Depth Look at Google's Tensor Processing Unit Architecture nextplatform.com
260 points by Katydid  6 hours ago   44 comments top 10
struct 5 hours ago 5 replies      
Interesting points I took from the paper[1]:

* They actually started deploying them in 2015, they're probably already hard at work on a new version!

* The TPU only operates on 8-bit integers (and 16-bit at half speed), whereas CPU/GPUs are 32-bit floating point. They point out in the discussion section that they did have an 8-bit CPU version of one of the benchmarks, and the TPU was ~3.5x faster.

* Used via TensorFlow.

* They don't really break out hardware vs hardware for each model, it seems like the TPU suffers a lot whenever there's a really large number of weights and layers that it must handle - but they don't break out the performance on each model individually, so it's hard to see whether the TPU offers an advantage over the GPU for arbitrary networks.

[1] https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bx4hafXDDq2EMzRNcy1vSUxtcEk...

cr0sh 12 minutes ago 0 replies      
This appears to be a "scaled up" (as in number of cells in the array) and "scaled down" (as in die size) as the old systolic array processors (going back quite a ways - 1980s and probably further).

As an example, the ALVINN self-driving vehicle used several such arrays for it's on-board processing.

I'm not absolutely certain that this is the same, but it has the "smell" of it.

zackmorris 3 hours ago 0 replies      
While this is interesting for TensorFlow, I think that it will not result in more than an evolutionary step forward in AI. The reason being that the single greatest performance boost for computing in recent memory was the data locality metaphor used by MapReduce. It lets us get around CPU manufacturers sitting on their hands and the fact that memory just isnt going to get substantially faster.

I'd much rather see a general purpose CPU that uses something like an array of many hundreds or thousands of fixed-point ALUs with local high speed ram for each core on-chip. Then program it in a parallel/matrix language like Octave or as a hybrid with the actor model from Erlang/Go. Basically give the developer full control over instructions and let the compiler and hardware perform those operations on many pieces of data at once. Like SIMD or VLIW without the pedantry and limitations of those instruction sets. If the developer wants to have a thousand realtime linuxes running Python, then the hardware will only stand in the way if it cant do that, and well be left relying on academics to advance the state of the art. We shouldnt exclude the many millions of developers who are interested in this stuff by forcing them to use notation that doesnt build on their existing contextual experience.

I think an environment where the developer doesnt have to worry about counting cores or optimizing interconnect/state transfer, and can run arbitrary programs, is the only way that well move forward. Nothing should stop us from devoting half the chip to gradient descent and the other half to genetic algorithms, or simply experiment with agents running as adversarial networks or cooperating in ant colony optimization. We should be able to start up and tear down algorithms borrowed from others to solve any problem at hand.

But not being able to have that freedom - in effect being stuck with the DSP approach taken by GPUs, is going to send us down yet another road to specialization and proprietary solutions that result in vendor lock-in. Ive said this many times before and Ill continue to say it as long as we arent seeing real general-purpose computing improving.

saosebastiao 4 hours ago 5 replies      
Are people really using models so big and complex that the parameter space couldn't fit into an on-die cache? A fairly simple 8MB cache can give you 1,000,000 doubles for your parameter space, and it would allow you to get rid of an entire DRAM interface. It's a serious question, as I've never done any real deep learning...but coming from a world where I once scoffed at a random forest model with 80 parameters, it just seems absurd.
mooneater 4 hours ago 2 replies      
"This first generation of TPUs targeted inference" from [1]

So they are telling us about inference hardware. Im much more curious about training hardware.

[1] https://cloudplatform.googleblog.com/2017/04/quantifying-the...

zitterbewegung 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Looking at the analysis of the article one of the big gains of this is that they have a Busy power usage of 384W which is lower than the other servers while having performance that is competitive with the other methods (although only restricting to inference).
sgt101 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Does anyone have a view as to how much deep kernels might be useful for riding to the rescue for the rest of us?


mdale 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Interesting stuff; really points to the complexity of measurement of technical progress against the Mores law; it's really a more fundamental around how institutions can leverage information technologies and organize work and computation towards goals that are valued in society.
amelius 5 hours ago 2 replies      
Are they using it in feedforward mode only? Or also for learning?
MichaelBurge 3 hours ago 1 reply      
It's interesting that they focus on inference. I suppose training needs more computational power, but inference is what the end-user sees so it has harder requirements.

Most of us are probably better off building a few workstations at home with high-end cards. The hardware will be more efficient for the money. But if you're considering hiring someone to manage all your machines, power-efficiency and stability become more important than the performance/upfront $ ratio.

There's also FPGAs, but they tend to be much lower quality than the chips Intel or Nvidia put out so unless you know why you'd want them you don't need them.

The company behind Adblock Plus is acquiring micropayment service Flattr techcrunch.com
133 points by walterbell  4 hours ago   90 comments top 19
tuna-piano 1 hour ago 3 replies      
-I feel strongly that the mental friction of any payment is the main issue. No matter the UI, payment model or price, micropayment services can't escape forcing mental anguish on the user with the question "is this worth it?"

-This is why the unlimited Netflix / Spotify model is so good. Sure, the content owners could get more revenue from the heaviest consumers with a pay-per-click model, but only at the expense of all the sparse users would rather just pay a monthly fee than have to think "is this click worth it?" every time they want to consume additional content.

-I'll predict that within the next few years, the major publishers will come together and form their own subscription company with a revenue share similar to Spotify. Not sure why it's taking so long, but that day can't come soon enough for me. Why are the publishers letting AdBlock Plus and other potential startups start a business that they could own?

Here's my thought process:

-People read tons of different publications.

-Publications generally prefer subscription fees to ad revenue

-People don't want to deal with micropayments

-People don't want to pay for (or manage) multiple subscriptions

-Giving away your product for free (purposely or with weak paywalls) and asking for donations is probably not a long term sustainable strategy.

If the WaPo had 1 $25 subscriber and the WSJ had 1 $25 subscriber, the total industry revenue is $50, but each consumer only gets half the content (although much of the daily news content is roughly identical). If the WSJ and WaPo shared subscribers, the consumers would get double the content while the industry costs would stay the same. When consumers see additional value for their subscription dollars, they are more likely to sign up, increasing the number of potential customers. The industry will lose the revenue of the big spenders, who subscribe to both WaPo and WSJ... but I don't think many of those are digital subscriptions, and I think that's likely to be offset by the torrent of new customers.

sfilargi 4 hours ago 6 replies      
I don't think privacy and business mix. Personally, I have switched to uBlock Origin.
Larrikin 3 hours ago 3 replies      
My issue with flattr was that you actively had to tip. It would be nice to have a service that simply divided up a monthly allowance based on time and page views.

Maybe even make it a white list service that ask at the end of the month which sites you'd like to contribute and a notification if you have not black listed a site but keep saying you don't want to contribute.

TorKlingberg 3 hours ago 2 replies      
I use uBlock Origin, but I hope they can make something good of this. Flattr is a good idea, but it never gained critical mass. Patreon is fine for hobbyists with dedicated fans, but not really for websites you only visit every now and then. Someone will eventually figure out "Netflix for News/Webstuff" so I support anyone trying.
astrodust 2 hours ago 2 replies      
AdBlock is utterly useless these days. It doesn't block much. Some of the most astonishingly stupid ads from Taboola are let through as part of their "trusted" program.
malikNF 53 minutes ago 0 replies      
Notice everyone is suggesting uBlock Origin. Please Please be careful installing uBlock https://www.reddit.com/r/ublock/comments/32mos6/ublock_vs_ub...

You should be installing "uBlock origin".

fencepost 3 hours ago 2 replies      
I could see this being really good for them if they can get content creators interested independent of their own subscription options.

There are sites that I go to 2-4 times a month (e.g. the Guardian, Wired, The Atlantic) that I'd love to support, but I'm not motivated enough to subscribe to the more expensive ones at $70/year (Guardian), $52/year (Wired, $1/week for the website with adblocker and it's separate from their print+tablet subscriptions), etc. The Atlantic at $24/year is a much more palatable option.

I sometimes feel bad about not being able to support them with ad revenues, but these days I regard even the better ad networks as unmarked minefields.

hkmurakami 44 minutes ago 0 replies      
The changes to Adblock Plus remind me of the changes to uTorrent over the years. Both did one thing well in the beginning, and slowly feature creeped (and added "features" undesirable to users) in a pursuit of grander ambitions.
notyourwork 4 hours ago 4 replies      
I have heard about Flattr a few times over the years and the idea sounds great in theory. Personally though I have never met someone who has actually used it, nor have I come across a place I frequent to use it.

Would love to hear from other's about their experience with it.

intrasight 3 hours ago 2 replies      
I do like the idea of micropayments for content. But doing so under the auspices of an ad-blocking tool or any client-side tool smells too much like a protection/extortion racket. This should be handled by the publishers themselves.
Balgair 42 minutes ago 0 replies      
I see a lot of people plugging uBlock Origin here. I am curious, has anyone gone through their code to make sure they are on the up and up. Look, I'm not saying that they are as scummy as ABP, all I am asking is if anyone knows, to some degree of sureness, that they are not also doing these scummy things too. The pressure on uBO must be pretty high.
hartator 2 hours ago 1 reply      
It feels weird that an ad blocking company is able to do aquisitions.

I really recommend checking out uBlock Origin. It's a superior technical solution while not doing any shady deals or anything of that sort.

cpeterso 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Micropayment tipping and subscriptions seem like features that should be part of the browser with standardized DOM APIs. Mozilla considered a website subscription feature back in 2014 called "Subscribe2Web".


eveningcoffee 3 hours ago 0 replies      
The only question with micro payments is privacy. Otherwise it is no different from the current situation where majority of people are constantly logged in to Facebook or Google.

Having a fixed identity is not desirable from multiple perspectives. It allows others to create a personal bubble around you and feed you with controlled information.

When users can not be uniquely identified then Internet compares to the radio where you can be sure that every listener will receive the same information as you do. This means that users can not be individually deceived.

LeicaLatte 3 hours ago 2 replies      
The tip jar has to be the laziest of all the business models out there.
Illniyar 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Good luck to them.

I can only hope they manage to get people into paying for content and finally giving us alternatives to the terrible Ad based business model

anotheryou 1 hour ago 0 replies      
There wher some scandals about them, no? Poor flattr.
k__ 1 hour ago 0 replies      
They need to arm against Braves BAT and uBlock Origin.

But it seems to me that BAT is the future.

brilliantcode 2 hours ago 1 reply      
People are still using Adblock Plus? uBlock is the superior option because I can trust them not to sell out like ADP did.
Its now illegal in Russia to share an image of Putin as a gay clown washingtonpost.com
86 points by Jarred  57 minutes ago   14 comments top 8
chirau 0 minutes ago 0 replies      
I don't see the big deal. I'm all for it. I know plenty of countries where such unnecessary and unfounded attempts at publicity and attention are illegal, including my own home country. Saying is a gay clown is pretty much fake news. Everybody hates fake news.
Mendenhall 15 minutes ago 0 replies      
That only took a couple years to go from internet extremism to gay putin clowns.


Something, something, slippery slope?

sremani 13 minutes ago 1 reply      

Not condoning what's happening in Russia, just pointing out how prevalent similar practices are around the world.

jluxenberg 13 minutes ago 0 replies      

 >> A Russian court has ... sentenced >> the culprit to compulsory psychiatric care.


madamelic 10 minutes ago 0 replies      
I guess I see why Trump admires Putin and Kim Il-Sung so much.

Putin has the ultimate safe space, no one is allowed to say or do anything bad about him. And NK's media reveres Kim Il-Sung as a god.

hartator 28 minutes ago 2 replies      
It's also illegal in France to insult officials.
ganfortran 13 minutes ago 1 reply      
LOL, Russian Government apparently don't understand how Internet really works.
MrZongle2 16 minutes ago 1 reply      
I can't help but think that almost every future biography of Putin will mention this law, and the most unflattering ones will contain examples. Sort of a long-term Streisand Effect.
HTML5 Games Workshop: Make a Platformer Game with JavaScript mozilla.org
116 points by mariuz  4 hours ago   20 comments top 5
TazeTSchnitzel 56 minutes ago 4 replies      
This teaches a bad practice: frame-rate-dependent movement speed. Perhaps it runs fine on your 3GHz 16-thread i7 Chromebook Pixel with a single tab open that achieves a consistent 60fps, but it makes the game unplayable on machines achieving slower or less consistent framerates (like mine, which has a somewhat overburdened Firefox process on a mere 4-thread mobile i5).

If you're writing a game which, like this one, does not run at a fixed guaranteed framerate, you should vary movement speed based on the time delta between frames, i.e. instead of `x += 2.5` on every frame, do `x += (2.5 * 60) * seconds_since_last_frame`.

james-skemp 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I was wondering what framework they used, and am glad to see them use Phaser.

The TypeScript definitions are pretty nice (at least for the last official 2.x release), so if you're interested in learning TypeScript it's a great way to start.

Life has gotten in the way so I've slowed down, but I kept track of the Phaser tutorials I followed at https://github.com/JamesSkemp/PhaserTutorials (and converted the later tutorials to TypeScript while I was following them).

JohnHammersley 40 minutes ago 2 replies      
Am I the only one who clicked the link expecting to see Citadel Minatures recreated in 2D in HTML5?
irrational 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I'm going to try going through this workshop with my kids. One of the challenges of teaching my kids to program is finding interesting projects that are within their scope of interest. I've tried MindStorms, Ardrino, and various online tutorials but so far nothing has interested them for very long. Maybe making games will interest them.
twoquestions 1 hour ago 4 replies      
Has anyone here used Phaser (the framework in the article) or any other JS technology to make a game that they ultimately made money off of?

I understand engines like Unity and Unreal can now target JS as a compile target, but most of the games I play are native.

Dolphins' elaborate octopus-hunting strategy arstechnica.com
227 points by shawndumas  8 hours ago   133 comments top 15
mmjaa 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I've seen Octopus using tools.

I'm from south-west Australia (where these dolphins were observed) and grew up swimming along the coast, scuba and snorkelling to much delight.

Once, in a little sand hole near Yanchep, I was floating around on a particularly hot day, when I thought I saw a crayfish just lolling around on the ocean floor. Diving deeper to get a closer look, I realised it was just the head of the crayfish, long-since hollowed out, albeit with a bit of flesh still onboard.

I took an even closer look, and what I thought was a bit of weed attached to it was actually a long, slender tentacle, which I followed back to a minuscule hole in the rocky sand, and therein I spotted the rest of the octopus.

Delighted, I stuck around for a while to watch.

The octopus was fishing! It held out the cray corpse just a little, out in the currents, waiting patiently for the stupid little white fish to come and try to nail a bite!

When a particularly dumb little fish got its fangs in, BAM! Out came another tentacle, fast as light, and snatched that dumb fish into the hole. All the while, the original bait tentacle continued to just lull about, swinging and swaying, getting those dumb fish even closer and closer, ever more tantalising.

I stayed and watched it all day - it apparently had a nearly-insatiable hunger, or maybe it was just really enjoying itself. To my dying days, I'll never forget that clever little cephalopod ..

sevensor 6 hours ago 5 replies      
I once saw fresh octopus prepared at a seaside barbecue place. The first thing the octopus did after the cook grabbed it from the kiddie pool full of seawater was to wrap its tentacles around her forearm. Before it could get too firm of a grip, she threw it down on the concrete floor with a loud smack and disassembled it with a cleaver while it was still stunned. It was pretty intense. I can see why the dolphins would have a complex strategy for dealing with the much larger octopus they consume.

Now that it's become clear that the octopus is an intelligent creature capable of solving problems and making plans, I'm going to eat less sophisticated mollusks and leave octopus to the dolphins.

tetraodonpuffer 6 hours ago 7 replies      
> It's still unclear why dolphins are willing to risk so much for such a small meal.

maybe it's just they like the taste? it's not like we don't go out of our own way to find some delicacies just because we are in the mood for them.

I know anthropomorphizing animals is a no-no these days, but trying to explain everything based on "nutritional value" seems a bit narrow minded...

custos 6 hours ago 3 replies      
This makes me think of primitive humans working together to kill large animals for food.

Super dangerous and only possible when working together.

Perhaps one day, thousands of years from now, technologically advanced dolphins will one day watch us doing the same thing again, and they will have a similar article about us!

londons_explore 6 hours ago 6 replies      
It seems surprising that an octopus leg hitting the oceans surface 15 times kills it.

I can't imagine that a dolphin can throw an octopus leg at more than 15-20 mph, and at that kind of speed I wouldn't imagine damage to a soft bodied creature.

I would imagine a better technique to be to leave the octopus legs for 10 minutes for lack of bloodflow to kill it. Wonder why they don't do that? Too hard to defend a bleeding morsel of food from other predators?

awjr 6 hours ago 2 replies      
>Sprogis and colleagues muse that the nutritional value of an octopus must be "substantial." Or, as marine biologist Holly Bik points out at Deep Sea News, maybe it's just that "dolphins are a$$holes."

Best line from the article :D

zeristor 5 hours ago 1 reply      
David Brin's series the "Uplift War" had a backdrop to human's raising the intelligence of a number of Earth origin animals.

How I wish he had the human society uplift the Octopus instead of the expected mammals.

Cpoll 4 hours ago 2 replies      
It's not clear to me that they're "risking death."

The article reveals that dolphins can be killed trying to eat octopus in a more conventional fashion, but I don't see any "risk" involved with their throwing method.

metricodus 11 minutes ago 0 replies      
I would like to challenge my hard-core religious physics and biology teacher from 7th grade with this evidence. He kept giving me as low a grade as what was acceptable, while I still aced pretty much every test. (Sweden. Smland. 90s. I don't think this is an issue for todays kids.)
gigatexal 5 hours ago 0 replies      
The octopus and likely the dolphin is probably much smarter than we give them credit for. On a whim one day I studied the octopus and finding them majestic and so smart I stopped eating them. The kicker was when I learned that female octopus when giving birth find a rock out of sight of predators and spend their last days and minutes doing nothing (no eating etc) but waiting for the next generation to birth and then they subsequently die. It was moving.
telesilla 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I've seen this behaviour with seals when kayaking. Fascinating to watch, and I swear they were just showing off to us bunch of humans hanging out enthralled by the sight of a large seal slamming the octopus over and over again against the water until it was dead enough to disappear with back into the deep.
munificent 5 hours ago 3 replies      
I'm probably missing something obvious, but... why don't the dolphins just chew their food better?
awinter-py 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Hmm -- I didn't think dolphin airways were connected to their digestive system.
mzzter 6 hours ago 0 replies      
"Art of the octopus smackdown" haha very colorful writing
hellofunk 5 hours ago 0 replies      
One more reason why I realize how similar I am to a dolphin. You have no idea how many times I have risked my life so I too could eat octopus.
StandardJS just turned 10.0.0 standardjs.com
8 points by feross  57 minutes ago   1 comment top
tzaman 2 minutes ago 0 replies      
I've been always meaning to try this out but always just keep reusing the ESLint config, which is probably a bit out of date now. So the question is, could someone explain to me (and everyone who has these same thoughts) why is StandardJS worth a try?
Save PBS. It makes us safer nytimes.com
48 points by ckozlowski  3 hours ago   23 comments top 7
js2 37 minutes ago 1 reply      
Fred Rogers testifying before congress in 1969 about why PBS should be funded:


gingerbread-man 13 minutes ago 0 replies      
Outline of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting's FY2014 budget: http://www.cpb.org/files/aboutcpb/financials/budget/FY2014-O...

Out of a total budget of $445m:

~66% (292m) is distributed via direct grants to local public television and radio stations.

~17% (74m) goes to television programming grants.

~7% (30m) goes to radio programming.

~11% (59m) goes to system support and administration.

ahallock 10 minutes ago 2 replies      
Why can't people just donate directly? I set up recurring payments for donation-based channels I watch on Youtube, so not sure why this can't be the same.
justaman 47 minutes ago 0 replies      
Keep PBS on the air. Consider donating today.


helthanatos 39 minutes ago 4 replies      
PBS doesn't have commercials? Because I'm pretty sure it does.
barsonme 48 minutes ago 0 replies      
For more background on the author: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanley_A._McChrystal

(I had to look him up, might be useful for other people as well.)

randyrand 33 minutes ago 5 replies      
How come PBS cannot fund itself? And make profit and revenue? Just curious.
Startup School 2017 First Lecture startupschool.org
9 points by tempw  56 minutes ago   2 comments top 2
inputcoffee 15 minutes ago 0 replies      
This is a very interesting talk, but it seems very similar to the previous one that was already out there.

Which makes me think: it would be interesting to have a diff tool for videos, but it tries to approximate for content.

Customers might include all the students of Udacity, Coursera, EdX and Startupschool.

CalChris 8 minutes ago 0 replies      
A couple of the slides are titled: Getting your first 100 users. I think that's probably a strong attraction/benefit for YC. Its alumni seem almost to be a keiretsu from the outside, offering connections and first sales to newly hatched brethren.
Do not let your CDN betray you: use subresource integrity (2015) mozilla.org
238 points by handpickednames  9 hours ago   52 comments top 11
AdamN 6 hours ago 1 reply      
"The security properties of a collision resistant hash function, ensure that a modification results in a very different hash."

I really appreciate the clarity of this post. The author is building up the groundwork without skipping steps that may be obvious to many readers. I of course knew the purpose of a hash before reading the article, but some people don't - and that sentence clearly let those users know why the hash matters without making it less readable for knowledgeable readers.

Writing clarity matters.

Klathmon 7 hours ago 1 reply      
If you use webpack, just drop in webpack-subresource-integrity [0] for basically "free" SRI tags on all scripts.

It's not really as useful if you are serving your static assets from the same place as the HTML (and you always use HTTPS) but if you load your js/css on another server SRI can still provide some protection.

[0] https://github.com/waysact/webpack-subresource-integrity

yeldarb 6 hours ago 6 replies      
It'd be cool if the browser used this to allow cross-origin caching as well.

Say I have jQuery previously loaded a page that included jQuery from CDNJS and now I'm in China and another site tries to load jQuery from Google's CDN.

Currently that request would get blocked by the great firewall. But since the browser should know that this file matches one it has seen (and cached) before it should be able to just serve the cached file.

This could also save a network request even if I'm linking to a self-hosted file on my own servers if I include the hash.

ejcx 5 hours ago 3 replies      
Not just CDN, there's benefits to rolling out SRI for lots of your third parties.

Your stripe js, scary ad networks js, front-end analytics companies. SRI is really neat and helps protect yourself from these many 3rd parties being pwned.

homakov 15 minutes ago 0 replies      
SRI shouldn't use static hashes, it should set pub keys of different people and the response must have N/M signatures. This way updates are possible and you know N people confirmed the source as safe.
theandrewbailey 6 hours ago 0 replies      
See also Content-Security-Policy require-sri-for


arghwhat 1 hour ago 0 replies      
This only helps for JavaScript (and soon CSS) resources.

If your HTML goes through a CDN (say, you use the full Cloudflare package), the CDN can of course just remove or modify these integrity attributes, or add new scripts altogether.

recursive 5 hours ago 2 replies      
"An important side note is that for Subresource Integrity to work, the CDN must support Cross-Origin Resource Sharing (CORS)."

This doesn't make sense to me. Why shouldn't I be able to perform integrity checking on resources from non-CORS domains?

vog 7 hours ago 2 replies      
The title should have a "(2015)" suffix.
zitterbewegung 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder if it would be a good idea that if the SRI detected a modified javascript file that a warning should be presented to a web user when this occurs?
tofflos 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Show HN: Robotopia Introducing kids to coding with tiny virtual robots github.com
70 points by pguth  5 hours ago   13 comments top 7
robotresearcher 2 hours ago 0 replies      
See also the very slick Minecraft-based Blockly game from Microsoft. It's similar and pretty good.


dschep 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Very cool. The code editor looks a lot like scratch[0] but I can't find any references to it. Does it use scratch or was scratch an inspiration?

[0] https://scratch.mit.edu/

gavinpc 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I've been volunteering with the "botball" program at my daughter's school. As near as I can tell, Botball originated right here in Norman, Oklahoma, and it's offered in the "gifted and talented" program starting in the first grade (which my daughter's in). So I've been working with first and second-graders to prepare for a friendly "challenge" in OKC next weekend.

As I've told anyone who'll listen, I was shockedshocked!to find that, once they'd gotten past the preliminaries (first a virtual robot game like the OP, then standalone bots with onboard UI's resembling repurposed TI-80's), the "real" programming takes place on a PC using a barebones IDE and a hot new language called C. In case you haven't heard of it (it's so hard to keep up these days), C is a language invented by Dennis Ritchie to help six-year-olds learn computers through interactive play.

And how do the kids spend their forty-minutes-a-week? They type some lines of C, then compile it to target the bot, which appears (thanks to a virtual COM port driver) as COM3 or COM4 or COM something, as long as the bot is plugged in over USB. Then they go to the bot, unplug it, and, after a sequence of menu selections on its wonky touch UI, which usually requires the assistance of a pencil eraser, they may "run" the program, at which point, all going well, the motors actuate.

At this point my listener is gone, so I'm just walking down the street ranting, "There's so much wrong with this!" I go on to complain about how it's "insane" that children should be subjected to a development experience that we know is abysmally inadequate for the grown-ups who practice it for a living! (cf Bret Victor)

This is the GT program: they had to score 97th percentile on a standardized math or verbal test just to qualify, and only six of them were invited to the botball team. They can focus as well as anyone their age. But consider what we're asking of them! A typical interchange devolves as follows:

0. Great, ready to see something happen? Yeah, me too!

1. Wait, so one more thing: because of reasons, you need to type a semicolon at the end of every statement...

2. Oh, a semicolon is a... it's like a colon except it has...

3. A colon is like... anyway it doesn't matter, you need a semicolon...

4. It's right there on the keyboard next to L... just type it

5. No, don't hold shift, that was only for the parentheses...

6. The parentheses were for the... arguments...

7. Okay, you're not in the right place, you need to move the cursor...

8. The cursor... do you see the blinking line on the screen?... look, right there, where I'm pointing...

9. Yeah, you need to click exactly right there... you know what just use the arrow keys...

10. The arrow keys are over on the right at the bottom... use the up arrow, the up arrow... that one...

11. Keep pressing it, keep pressing it... you have to go through the whitespace...

12. Whitespace is what we call the part of the program that's invisible, but it's there...

13. Oh no, out of time! See you next week, try not to forget about semicolons in the meantime! There are servos on this thing just awaiting your command!

Look, Dennis, I have nothing against your footgunI learned it after BASIC when I was twelve like all the other kids and I turned out just fine. But, as Alan Kay said in a Q&A, "I hate to break it to you, but C is not a high-level language." [citation needed. I think it was at a Quaalcom event.]

And don't even get me started on the feedback loop, officer.

Anyway, thanks for posting this! One of the other parents asked me what her child could do at home to practice, and I'm looking for resources just like this!

Animats 32 minutes ago 0 replies      
LOGO, the next generation?
komali2 3 hours ago 1 reply      
> Blockly - Drag and Drop

Should it be "move the robot to the chest" or something instead of "the metal block?"

metricodus 2 hours ago 0 replies      
This thing made me think of the japanese-language-only, Sega Dreamcast-only 1999 "Marionette Handler" mech programming game.


It was something else, at least back then. (I do remember thinking it would be really hard to play without having someone understanding at least basic japanese around.)

The programming screen is shown briefly here:


I found this video from this web page, where there's more text and images: (Chrome with Google Translate works okayish.)


Hydraulix989 3 hours ago 2 replies      
How well did the competitions go? Did the kids like them? Were the programs complex enough to make things "interesting"?

How much time in the class did you spend working on the competitions vs just doing rote exercises?

What makes us Red Hat redhat.com
187 points by swonderl  5 hours ago   158 comments top 19
schoen 4 hours ago 4 replies      
More than 15 years ago, I worked for a Linux services company that competed with Red Hat. We sometimes saw them or were invited to see them rather negatively (as the competition), and I particularly remember that an ad agency that wanted our business once shipped us a box containing a burnt red hat (!).

Time has shown that Red Hat really knows what they're doing, on many different levels, and they're the most successful free software business in history.

ElijahLynn 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Something I just learned recently after I started working for Red Hat and is the tldr; of the article:

"Red Hat also commits to keeping our commercial products 100% pure open source. Even when we acquire a proprietary software company, we commit to releasing all of its code as open source."

I had no idea this was the case, pretty cool!

legulere 4 minutes ago 0 replies      
I really like the products not projects mantra. It kind of explains both the problems that open source projects have, but also the failure of so many Google projects.
brightball 4 hours ago 3 replies      
It's this mindset that makes me want to support Red Hat as a company. As good as the Fedora 25 experience has been for me, I'd love to see Linux laptop vendors (especially Dell) make it an installed option soon. Maybe CentOS laptops would make more sense for them from a sheer "stability for support sake" experience.
xorblurb 10 minutes ago 0 replies      
I thought what makes them RH was their support contract asking for money for (unsupported) CentOS installs, forbidding to republishing kernel patch series if you want to continue to be supported, and the like.

But I've read that text, and have been utterly converted to RH. RH is the ultimate good, go with them, and accept their demands.

m348e912 4 hours ago 7 replies      
Red Hat was primary reason it took me a lot longer to adopt Linux than it should have. Headbanging experiences with dependency hell and things not working as expected left me extremely discouraged. It wasn't until I dabbled a little with Solaris 7 and finally found Slackware that I realized that Linux could "just work". IMO Red Hat's success was primarily based on the critical mass of support behind it, not because it was the best distribution.
jaboutboul 57 minutes ago 0 replies      
I proudly worked for Red Hat for almost a decade and I can honestly say that they've got pretty much everything right, from culture to work ethic to vision and execution, all throughout its done with the community at the forefront. It really is part of the company's DNA and they don't just talk the talk, they walk the walk.

A great company, culture and a great place to work.

dhemmerling 4 hours ago 1 reply      
This is a pretty timely statement of values and development ideology apropos Canonical's sudden pivot from fragmenting the Linux desktop community.
throw7 3 hours ago 3 replies      
The Red Hat retail to Enterprise shift still leaves a little bitter taste in my mouth. I remember when they shut down public access to the rhel binaries and the beginnings of Centos. All legit to the letter of the license and no more.

I get it though. Anyone know how Centos under Red Hat is nowadays?

Apocryphon 1 hour ago 0 replies      
From Orion's Arm, online massive sci-fi collaborative project http://orionsarm.wikia.com/wiki/The_Information_Age_(novel)/...:

2015/46 - visual and tactile bodysuits enable advancement in personal Virtual Realities, which begin to take the market share from TV, radio, films, and other media.

2017/48 - first universal operational machine 'Harvey' constructed by a team lead by Peter Shor at Bell labs, with funding from IBM, Lycos, RedHat and Pepsi.

That bit from the timeline was probably written around 1999-2001 or so. Kind of amazing that out of the tech companies mentioned, RedHat is the one that's still doing pretty well.

ElijahLynn 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Just started working at Red Hat about a month ago. Absolutely love working for this company! Especially that most engineers use GNU/Linux of some sort. Great to see this!
johnny_1010 3 hours ago 5 replies      
What is so great about RH? When i had opportunity to use it, it look so bad mostly because lack of current/decent software in repo. Maybe their support is amazing?
educar 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Does anyone know of a redhat style model but not for enterprise? Like small businesses and individuals.
rsync 2 hours ago 2 replies      
Where is the redhat ecosystem trending with regard to CoW filesystems ?

Are people regularly using ZFS-on-linux with redhat ? Or is there an officially sanctioned CoW choice from redhat ?

Or is that not on the radar at all right now ?

jjirsa 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Spending most of my time near the JVM, the work they've done with Shenandoah (and previously Netty) has been really incredible.

Love Redhat's OSS work.

dumindunuwan 3 hours ago 1 reply      
> The Next Red Hat

Please build officially Red Hat backed Fedora Tables. This will be a win to win situation for both sides.

yuhong 3 hours ago 1 reply      
OT, but I wonder when Lennart Poettering was hired at Red Hat.
redshat 3 hours ago 0 replies      
"What makes us Red Hat" - We hodge podge together 40 different open source projects into a monumental turd of an "enterprise" product (call it something space related) and sell it to unsuspecting managers for their Systems Administrators to deal with.

There are a lot of talented people working at this company, without a doubt. But these are the same people that brought you systemd and SATELLITE. Has anyone here ever USED Satellite (6.x) ?!

Get this off my news feed.

digitalshankar 3 hours ago 3 replies      
Red Hat or the Microsoft of Linux is the face palm of linux distros, forget dependency hell, how on earth someone choose rpm over first class Superior Debian package system or distros like Ubuntu? People just buy it for the support even if the Red Hat they use is Gnome 2 and Firefox V.3.0. Then finally RHCA/RHCE courses, i should get certified from this distro to prove my Linux skills for the companies even though i am a debian guy? No Thanks.
Love in the Time of Cryptography backchannel.com
177 points by keehun  7 hours ago   35 comments top 9
avenoir 5 hours ago 1 reply      
> Every time I look at an old mail, I feel weird, like I prefer the memory I have of a thing than the accurate recording, he told me.

I do have to say when I and my ex broke it off, reading that first conversation logged in my Facebook chat between the two of us was a total bitch to swallow. Everything was there. Every single word. Nothing's faded into distant memory. There we were 2 years ago happy that we've met each other. Here we are now - complete strangers to each other. It is definitely a weird feeling.

tptacek 5 hours ago 4 replies      
In which a reporter falls in love with a fellow nerd she meets at a European hackerspace, maintains a long-distance relationship by messaging using showily bad file encryption, decides to move to Europe to cohabitate, and, lacking Facebook profiles to verify the relationship, relies on the testimony of friends and other anecdotal evidence sources, like hundreds of millions of other couples whose lives are imperfectly recorded by social networks.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez, eat your heart out.

jawns 5 hours ago 1 reply      
A little bit about the author, Quinn Norton, for those who are unfamiliar:


She mentions in the article that "I came to the attention of a media storm after being struck by a tragedy. My life imploded, and between grieving and dealing with media controversy, my days became a sickening tragicomedy I couldnt turn off."

Could it have been this?

> Norton dated Aaron Swartz for three years. Articles in The Atlantic and in New York Magazine indicate that she was pressured by prosecutors to offer information or testimony that could be used against Swartz, but that she denied having information that supported prosecutors' claims of criminal intentions on Swartz's part. Prosecutors nevertheless attempted to use a public blog post on Swartz's blog that Norton mentioned, which may or may not have been co-authored by Swartz, as proof of a criminal intent.

UnpossibleJim 5 hours ago 2 replies      
I actual enjoyed this article and, more broadly, the subject of the governance of love. How much intrusion into our private (truly private) lives is enough? Are relationships, to a point, meant to be held in the public eye or can they be private? Granted, I'm a bit paranoid and pretty private. I've had a Facebook account in the past, but only used it to poke fun at people, but didn't care for the inevitable drama that followed (turns out, when you have a laugh at someone's outlandish political views face to face, you'll be fine but online, with those same friends, they view that interaction completely different). Obviously, by this small sampling of my personal self, I don't think highly of a governmental intrusion into personal relationships, but I'm pragmatic enough to understand their documentation and categorization. So I ask you this, HN. How much governmental intrusion into our private lives in enough? Also, how much intrusion into our personal lives do you think a semi-connected group of peers (our Facebook "friends") should get?
peter_l_downs 4 hours ago 3 replies      
Wow, strange to see this here. I created a photo series with a very similar title ("Love in the Age of Strong Cryptography"): http://freezine.xyz/0/love-in-the-age-of-strong-cryptography...
dom0 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Recommended Soundtrack for reading: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P99h6iPRPN8 (Ludovico Einaudi - Elements)
florianp 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Interesting and well written but I can only disagree with the author. A few months ago, I read the love letters my grand grandfather wrote to my grand grandmother when he was at war. I seriously doubt anyone will be able to read the emails I write in 70 years.Besides most of intellectuals of the past centuries were prolific in sending letters to their relatives and we know a lot from them through these letters. I don't expect the same to happen with contemporary writers.Maybe our grand children will be able to get a few pictures from us, that were printed and stored safely...
mirimir 4 hours ago 0 replies      
That is just so sweet :)

I have some long-term online friends. Mostly totally anonymous. But none romantic. I don't even for sure know gender for some of them. It doesn't really matter.

peterwwillis 2 hours ago 1 reply      
OTR: the secure messaging protocol for cypherpunk hipsters.

OTR is useful if you go to great lengths to exchange public keys, and as soon as the key changes you go through all of it again. (I don't really count shared secrets as a secure means of authenticating your key, since if you have the shared secret, the key can be substituted and thus is irrelevant)

That's probably fine if you're just chatting aimlessly and don't need to rely on secure communication regularly. But it's a pain in the ass if you wanted to rely on it for remote long-term secure communication. "Privacy" is about all it's useful for (assuming more attacks aren't found in the protocol).

(Side note: to defeat all this complicated encryption and expose identities, just become a member of the hacker community. They're quite gossipy)

ZeroNet Uncensorable websites using Bitcoin crypto and BitTorrent network zeronet.io
331 points by handpickednames  11 hours ago   136 comments top 27
freedaemon 6 hours ago 2 replies      
Love the ZeroNet project! Been following them for a year and they've made great progress. One thing that's concerning is the use of Namecoin for registering domains.

Little known fact: A single miner has close to 65% or more mining power on Namecoin. Reported in this USENIX ATC'16 paper: https://www.usenix.org/node/196209. Due to this reason some other projects have stopped using Namecoin.

I'm curious what the ZeroNet developers think about this issue and how has their experience been so far with Namecoin.

roansh 5 hours ago 1 reply      
We need more projects like these. Whether this project solves the question of a truly distributed Internet* is out of question. What we need is a movement, a big cognitive investment towards solving the Big Brother problem.

*I am referring to concentrated power of the big players here, country-wide firewalls, and bureaucracy towards how/what we use.

shakna 9 hours ago 3 replies      
Has the code quality improved since I was told to screw off for bringing up security?

* 2 years out of date gevent-websocket

* Year old Python-RSA, which included some worrying security bugs in that time. [0](Vulnerable to side-channel attacks on decryption and signing.)

* PyElliptic is both out of date, and actually an unmaintained library. But it's okay, it's just the OpenSSL library!

* 2 years out of date Pybitcointools, with just a few bug fixes around confirmation things are actually signed correctly.

* A year out of date pyasn1, which is the type library. Not as big a deal, but covers some constraint verification bugs. [1]

* opensslVerify is actually up to date! That's new! And exciting!

* CoffeeScript is a few versions out of date. 1.10 vs the current 1.12, which includes moving away from methods deprecated in NodeJS, problems with managing paths under Windows and compiler enhancements. Not as big a deal, but something that shouldn't be happening.

Then of course, we have the open issues that should be high on the security scope, but don't get a lot of attention.


* Disable insecure SSL cryptos [3]

* Signing fail if Thumbs.db exist [4]

* ZeroNet fails to notice broken Tor hidden services connection [5]

* ZeroNet returns 500 server error when received truncated referrer [6] (XSS issues)

* port TorManager.py to python-stem [7] i.e. Stop using out of date, unsupported libraries.

I gave up investigating at this point. Doubtless there's more to find.

As long as:

a) The author/s continues to use out-dated, unsupported libraries by directly copying them into the git repository, rather than using any sort of package management.

b) The author/s continue to simply pass security problems on to the end user

... ZeroNet is unfit for use.

As simple as that.

People have tried to help. I tried to help before the project got as expansive as it is.

But then, and now, there is little or no interest in actually fixing the problems.

ZeroNet is an interesting idea, implemented poorly.

[0] https://github.com/sybrenstuvel/python-rsa/issues/19

[1] https://github.com/etingof/pyasn1/issues/20

[3] https://github.com/HelloZeroNet/ZeroNet/issues/830

[4] https://github.com/HelloZeroNet/ZeroNet/issues/796

[5] https://github.com/HelloZeroNet/ZeroNet/issues/794

[6] https://github.com/HelloZeroNet/ZeroNet/issues/777

[7] https://github.com/HelloZeroNet/ZeroNet/issues/758

eeZah7Ux 9 hours ago 2 replies      
The project looks very promising but relies on running a lot of javascript from untraceable sources in the browser.

Given the long history of vulnerabilities in the the browsers, trusting js from a well-known website might be OK, trusting js from zeronet is unreasonable.

If ZeroNet could run with js code generated only by the local daemon or without js it would be brilliant.

emucontusionswe 9 hours ago 2 replies      
I would recommend use of Freenet over ZeroNet. More or less the same concept/functionality however with 15 years more experience.

Freenet: https://freenetproject.org/

0xcde4c3db 8 hours ago 2 replies      
> Anonymity: Full Tor network support with .onion hidden services instead of ipv4 addresses

How does this track with the Tor Project's advice to avoid using BitTorrent over Tor [1]? I can imagine that a savvy project is developed with awareness of what the problems are and works around them, but I don't see it addressed.

[1] https://blog.torproject.org/blog/bittorrent-over-tor-isnt-go...

dillon 5 hours ago 1 reply      
There's also GNUNet: https://gnunet.org/As others have mentioned there's also FreeNet: https://freenetproject.org/

I haven't looked deep into any of these projects, but I do think they are neat and hoping at least one of them gains a lot of traction.

avodonosov 9 hours ago 1 reply      
As for uncensorable, if the content is illegal, the torrent peers may be incriminated distribution of illegal content
ThePadawan 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Cannot access this at work for zeronet.io being involved in P2P activity.

I cannot help but feel disappointed and unamused.

Kinnard 7 hours ago 1 reply      
In other news ZeroNet has been banned from giving its TEDtalk: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14039219
daliwali 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't see how this could decentralize web applications though. Wouldn't each client have to be running the server software? Someone has to pay for that, too.
jlebrech 9 hours ago 2 replies      
I always wondered why you couldn't just download a torrent of torrents for the month.
wcummings 9 hours ago 1 reply      
I thought it was pretty easy to disrupt / censor torrents, hasn't that been going on for a while?
rawells14 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Sounds incredible, we'll probably be seeing much more of this type of thing in the near future.
vasili111 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Lack of anonymity in ZeroNet is a big problem.
hollander 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Several years ago I had Tor running on a server at home. It was a regular Tor node, not an exit node. Later I was put on a blacklist because of this. What is the risk of using this?
jwilk 9 hours ago 2 replies      
> Page response time is not limited by your connection speed.

Huh? What do they mean?

DeepYogurt 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Presumably you only download the site you want when you visit it. If that's the case then can you view revisions of the web sites or do you only have the current copy?
vitiral 6 hours ago 1 reply      
This seems similar to ipfs. What are the main differences?
jlebrech 7 hours ago 0 replies      
a youtube replacement in zeronet would rock
HugoDaniel 9 hours ago 1 reply      
It would be great if a simpler webtorrent version was available just for fun.
thriftwy 9 hours ago 1 reply      
This is what I've waited for for quite some time.
Jabanga 9 hours ago 1 reply      
A little known fact: the Namecoin blockchain's cost-adjusted hashrate [1] is the third highest in the world, after Bitcoin and Ethereum, making it unusually secure given its relative obscurity (e.g. its market capitalisation is only $10 million).

[1] hashrates can't be compared directly due to different hashing algorithms having different costs for producing a hash.

lossolo 8 hours ago 1 reply      
There is single point of failure, kill the tracker = kill the whole network.You can get all the IPs from the tracker that are visiting certain site, it's not so secure if someone is not using tor.
mtgx 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Speaking of which, what's the progress on IPFS?
mirap 9 hours ago 2 replies      
The zeronet.io is hosted on vultr.com. Why don't they use zeronet to deliver its own website?
tfeldmann 9 hours ago 3 replies      
No comment about ZeroNet itself, but am I alone in the opinion that this website takes grid layout too far? It looks outright cluttered and overloaded.
Paradoxes of probability and other statistical strangeness theconversation.com
84 points by seycombi  5 hours ago   45 comments top 5
naftaliharris 1 hour ago 1 reply      
A less popular but perhaps more influential phenomenon is Stein's Paradox [1]. Here's a provocative example often given to illustrate it: Say you have a baseball player, soccer player, and football player, and you wish to estimate the true mean number of home runs, goals, and touchdowns each scores per year. If you have their last ten seasons worth of data for each, then the obvious thing to do, for each player, is to estimate the true yearly mean score for each player by their average yearly score from the last ten years. (E.g., the baseball player hits an average of 20 home runs each year, so let's estimate their true mean yearly home runs by 20). Stein's Paradox says that you can actually do a lot better than this.

Even more crazy, the James-Stein Estimator which does this actually uses data about the football player and soccer player to make predictions about the baseball player, (and vice-versa). This is deeply unintuitive to most people since the players aren't related to each other at all. The phenomenon only holds with at least three players; it doesn't work for two.

(More generally, Stein's Paradox is the fact that if you have p >= 3 independent Gaussians with a known variance, you can do better in estimating their p-dimensional mean than just using their sample means).

I've spent a bunch of time trying to understand why this actually works [2]; to be honest I still don't deeply understand. But nonetheless the consensus is that the same shrinkage phenomenon is what causes improved performance for a variety of high-dimensional estimators, (lasso or ridge regression, e.g.), making the paradox very very influential.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James%E2%80%93Stein_estimator[2] https://www.naftaliharris.com/blog/steinviz/

Houshalter 43 minutes ago 1 reply      
By far the most unintuitive paradox for me personally is the one presented here: https://youtu.be/go3xtDdsNQM?t=3m27s

"Mr. Jones has 2 children. What is the probability he has a girl if he has a boy born on Tuesday?" Somehow knowing the day of the week the boy was born changes the result. It's completely bizarre.

pmoriarty 4 hours ago 6 replies      
My favorite probability paradox has always been the Monty Hall problem[1]:

Suppose you're on a game show, and you're given the choice of three doors:

Behind one door is a car; behind the others, goats.

You pick a door, say No. 1, and the host, who knows what's behind the doors, opens another door, say No. 3, which has a goat.

He then says to you, "Do you want to pick door No. 2?"

Is it to your advantage to switch your choice?

[1] - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monty_Hall_problem

haddr 50 minutes ago 1 reply      
I think there is a whole class of statistical "strangeness" with using p values for hypothesis testing. For instance, p = 0.05 means that we have ~30% chance that our hypothesis is a false positive [1], which is far from what intuition tells us.

[1] http://www.nature.com/news/scientific-method-statistical-err...

danbruc 2 hours ago 4 replies      
No need to look at fancy paradoxes, just think about the following.

What does it mean that tossing a fair coin has a 50 % probability of showing heads?

If you think you know the answer, you are probably wrong.

EDIT: Instead of just voting this down, try to give an answer. If you think it is easy, you have not thought about it careful enough.

Hackathon hustlers who make a living from corporate coding contests bloomberg.com
159 points by jatsign  9 hours ago   61 comments top 14
squeaky-clean 5 hours ago 21 replies      
I know a guy who is great at winning hackathons. He doesn't make a living off it, but has definitely made at least 100k in the past few years (divided across his team, however). I entered my first hackathon last year, and it was one he was attending.

It was really disappointing. Maybe it was just that specific hackathon? I knew "the pitch" was a big part of winning, but didn't expect it to be 99%. A few teams built some actual cool and functioning things in 24 hours. Ours was the only app with a real demo you could visit/download, rather than it only working locally on the dev's machine. But the only teams that reached the finals were the ones with great speakers and a good idea, even if it wasn't functional at all.

The guy I know ended up winning the first prize at that event. His team had an amazing idea and a great pitch, but their "app" was a powerpoint presentation, and a couple static HTML pages that faked a dynamic user flow. It worked as long as you clicked the correct image map area, and entered values into text boxes that matched what was hard-coded into the next page.

I had fun with my team and made new friends, but it was really discouraging to lose a "hackathon" mostly because the other team had better speakers and not for technical reasons. I guess I prefer game jams, no qualms about marketability or a pitch with empty promises. Maybe it's because game jams usually don't have financial prizes aside for the exposure?

ryandrake 5 hours ago 6 replies      
I hope the article is exaggerated. The way they are described here, these hackathons appear to be little microcosms of everything currently wrong with MVP-obsessed Silicon Valley. Let's round up a bunch of early-twentysomethings, feed them junk food, see what they can cobble together without sleep in 48 hours and reward the shiniest turd that plops out with the leftover pocket change from marketing's budget.

Where is the engineering rigor? Where is the quality assurance? Are all the edge cases handled? Security review / penetration testing? What is the performance when you serve 10K users simultaneously? Can one actually build a business out of the "product" of a hackathon, or does it basically need to be thrown away and re-architected properly? Is it even a goal to build something viable, or is it the whole event simply a way to spend corporate marketing money on buzz?

minimaxir 6 hours ago 1 reply      
The subject of the article (Ma) added an additional comment on Facebook: https://facebook.com/groups/759985267390294?view=permalink&i...

> "It was easy to see hackathons with 50k plus prizes 2 years ago. Now days some of them only offer Alexa as prizes. The college kids will do it regardless since they don't have other stuff to do, but once you get a job that is a bit too much work for very little gain."

This reminds me a few years back when Greylock hosted a hackathon with an unintentionally ironic prize of a "Hacker Cash-omatic": http://valleywag.gawker.com/hackathon-accidentally-picks-per...

The same hackathon now offers $10k for first place, round trip airfare for second place...and Myo Armbands for 3rd.

imroot 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I was part of a startup that put on a hackathon with a 10K first prize many, many years ago. We had a group of presenters who had a polished product and were looking to put our API/whatever into their product so that they could be eligible for the prize, and you could tell that this was all that they did.

I also know that there's a group of people who attend as many hackathons as possible in the bay area for no other reason than living is expensive, and there is generally free food at the hackathons.

Honestly, I'd be a part of one of these again in a heartbeat -- the hours were crazy, but, it was a great way to get your developers, your API consumers, and everyone else in the same room, to validate if it will burst/scale up, and you can solve a lot of really interesting challenges that weekend.

clamprecht 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Who was that TopCoder guy who went to Sun's contest at JavaOne one year and cleaned house? Was his name JonMac? I think it's this guy:


komali2 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Hackathons are great. You don't really see the 50k prizes anymore, but hacking away for a weekend and maybe getting a drone or some API credits is good fun for me. I get another project on my resume, make some new friends, potentially get a win on my resume, and spend the weekend playing with new APIs instead of derping around watching Vikings or some shit.
jogjayr 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Hackathon programmers remind me of tourney knights in the Dunk and Egg novellas by George RR Martin. They serve no lord and don't fight in real battles. Instead, they make their living from prize money earned jousting in tourneys.
rmason 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I've thought for a long time that somehow there was a movie to be made around hackathons. Now I know it has to be the code slinging hackathon pro who falls for the female corporate coder attending her first event and together they win a million dollar prize.
ploggingdev 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I came across an article recently (can't find the link), where they talk about these "Hackathon Hustlers" not being welcome to hackathons. The argument companies make is that these people are not the target audience for hackathons and hence are viewed as unwelcome gate crashers.
dlhavema 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I competed in one that EMC posted about 6 years ago. we got 2nd place, because the social voting side of things tipped the scales in favor of the winning team. I still ended up getting a free trip to Las Vegas to their next conference out of it.
bbarn 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Incentivize anything and someone will specialize at getting that incentive eventually.
franciscop 2 hours ago 2 replies      
I didn't know they paid so much to the winners. I won a NASA competition and we got $0!
andrewfromx 2 hours ago 0 replies      
this is becoming more like http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/tournaments every day! Can we agree on the 4 grand slam hackathons and make them January Australian Hackfest, May French Codes, July Wimblehack, Sept the US Code Open.
partycoder 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Hackathons were a thing when they were an engineering event... an engineering holiday to work on something worth working on. Like undoing some technical debt mess or a long standing hack that you cannot fix during a sprint.

But now most hackathons are just implementing features with technical debt, which is the kind of engineering nobody likes.

Then, cheating in hackathons is incredibly hard to detect. Even if you force everyone to use version control and review what they did over time, there can always be the cooking show trick where suddenly you pull a finished important part from nowhere.

That's why I think hackathons should be engineering events, organized by engineers not the regular company hierarchy, and rewards should be given on engineering value not how much a feature can potentially sell.

Creating Usability with Motion: The UX in Motion Manifesto medium.com
34 points by tontonius  4 hours ago   14 comments top 5
seanmcdirmid 38 minutes ago 0 replies      
There is always this classic UIST 93 paper:


(Animation: From Cartoons to the User Interface)

gdubs 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I saw a talk a while back with Glen Keane legendary Disney Animator called "The Principles of UX Choreography". [1]

It was fascinating. The Disney Principles of animation went beyond 'looks good', and existed to solve real problems like helping the audience follow the action.

1: https://medium.freecodecamp.com/the-principles-of-ux-choreog...

KaiserPro 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Please please please remember, that for most people animations are not smooth. They are an annoyance and a barrier to using an interface at any speed.

They can be useful for hiding transitions for things that are slow. However instead of engineering an animation stack, make the backend faster....

cough linkedin, salesforce, workday cough

awinter-py 3 hours ago 4 replies      
hmm -- the DOM time-complexity that comes from motion is not worth it in most cases. We have material design because google needed something delightful to combat IOS swipe physics, not because it's useful.

Scrolling is useful. Every other kind of animation is painful to serious users.

If anything, UI changes should blink for a second to show that they happened. This (and every other notification+delay) is a boon to novice users who don't yet know 'where to look' to get feedback about their change.

All delays are annoying to experts who just want to get to the next screen and don't need a supercomputer in their pocket to send emails & read proquest.

anotheryou 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Oh I want to work somewhere with enough budget for nice animations and custom icons everywhere...
Horlicks, a drink Brits go to bed with and Indians wake up with bbc.com
95 points by sonabinu  9 hours ago   94 comments top 15
robert_tweed 36 minutes ago 0 replies      
Some random facts I learned about Horlicks recently, totally unrealted to the article:

- Horlicks is a form of gruel, but they don't use the term in their marketing because of the negative connotations from Dickens.

- Horlicks was supposedly invented to make milk easier to digest for the lactose intolerant. I have no idea if there is a sound scientific basis for that, but the fact it's no longer marketed that way suggests not.

Also, the uses mentioned in TFA both make sense. Horlicks is just milk with added malt, both of which are full of calories (good in the morning[1]) and caffeine free (good in the evening). Milk also contains small amounts of melatonin and tryptophan, both of which promote sleep, but the amounts are so small the effect is negligible.

[1] There seems to be some evidence that a high carbohydrate breakfast is not a good thing at all, so don't take this as a recommendation.

rayiner 7 hours ago 9 replies      
We used to drink Horlicks in Bangladesh, where it was - like in India - a breakfast drink. Of course, Horlicks has no special powers to do anything, certainly not any of the things it is marketed as doing. It's a potent example of the insidiousness of marketing: pretty much everywhere in the U.K. and the former British Empire people associate this product with qualities it simply does not possess. Not only that, they are drinking a high-calorie product because it is marketed as being good for you. Kids in the U.K. (and, as development happens across the subcontinent, increasingly kids in India and Bangladesh too) really don't need to be drinking milk fortified with wheat and barley - either for breakfast or before bed.
hprotagonist 7 hours ago 6 replies      
Not the same drink at all, but :

As a child i read the James Herriot memoirs (all things bright and beautiful, etc..), in which he waxes rhapsodic about the restorative powers and deliciousness of Bovril.

I had no idea what it was, so I was free to invent my own idea of what it might taste like, or be, or consist of.

When i discovered he was so happy about diluted beef stock, i was more than a little let down.

dluan 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Great article - the drink backstory is just a good segue into the discussion about globalization and how it's changing with China and India.

> "In fact, many of the areas that will generate the most growth in future are currently unfamiliar in the West, according to management consultancy McKinsey."

Given that more and more of the co's in YC's recent batches are exclusively India focused, I am definitely on board with the next big unicorn being born in India and China right now.

maverick_iceman 5 hours ago 2 replies      
Huh, I always assumed Horlicks (and Complan) were health drinks. Because of the pervasive advertising I didn't even question this claim. Now I feel pretty stupid.
fcbrooklyn 7 hours ago 2 replies      
When I read the title, my first thought was "Indians wake up and drink a pint of beer?"
gideonparanoid 7 hours ago 1 reply      
In the UK, from my experience, the drink is usually associated with more elderly people (my grandparents & older uncle are the only people who drink it), interesting to see it here aimed more for children.
sealjam 7 hours ago 4 replies      
There is an extremely similar drink in the UK (and probably elsewhere) called Ovaltine which is marketed as an energy drink.

I always thought it was odd that two such similar drinks were marketed in such contrary ways. Horlicks to make your sleep and Ovaltine to give you energy. Perhaps that was the point at which I realised marketeers weren't always scientific in their advice :(

larrysalibra 4 hours ago 0 replies      
In Hong Kong, Horlicks is usually on the menu at traditional Hong Kong restaurants along with milk tea, iced tea, coffee/milk tea, Coke & Coke with lemon. It's served through out the day and boy is it tasty.
cs02rm0 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Strikes an odd chime when an article appears about marketing differences in a brand I'd managed to completely forget about despite having been one of those in the UK who'd enjoyed it before bed. I'm not sure I've heard it mentioned in 20 years.

Seems to me they could do with more marketing, any marketing.

BoorishBears 9 hours ago 0 replies      
In Ghana it's linked to sleep
torrent-of-ions 6 hours ago 2 replies      
It is pretty odd that a drink of concentrated simple carbohydrates/sugar would be taken before going to bed.
sidcool 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Isn't this lying then? They call it innovative marketing.
golemotron 2 hours ago 0 replies      
> The fact that the same liquid can be perceived in two such different ways is a great example of the "crazy nonsense and beauty of marketing", says Andrew Welch.

The third way is to recognize that it is essentially milk, and milk has been consumed both before bed and upon waking millennia before modern marketing.

slurry 7 hours ago 1 reply      
The occult writer Arthur Edward Waite - of Rider-Waite-Smith tarot fame - used to work for Horlick's, a fact for which he was much mocked by Aleister Crowley.
Grid Garden A game for learning CSS grid cssgridgarden.com
336 points by jwarren  10 hours ago   111 comments top 35
ajross 7 hours ago 6 replies      
Immediate learnings from the first 3 exercises:

1. Grid columns and rows are 1 indexed instead of 0, ensuring a coming decade of mistakes due to the mismatch with Javascript (and, y'know, everything else) conventions for arrays.

2. Grid extents use the "one more than end" convention instead of "length", which is sorta confusing. But then they call it "end", which is even more so.

(edit) more:

3. grid-area's four arguments are, in order (using normal cartesian conventions to show how insane this is): y0 / x0 / y1 / x1. Has any API anywhere ever tried to specify a rectangle like this?

pidg 8 hours ago 3 replies      
Nice game!

This made me uncomfortable though (about CSS grid, not about the game):

grid-area: row start / column start / row end / column end;

So you have to put the rows (Y axis coordinates) first and columns (X axis coordinates) second, i.e. the opposite of how it's done in every other situation - i.e. draw_rect(start_x, start_y, end_x, end_y)

(1, 1, 3, 4) in every other language would draw a box 2 wide and 3 high, but in css grid it selects an area 3 wide and 2 high.

Also the fact it uses 'row' and 'column' to describe the gridlines rather than the actual rows and columns irked me.

I'm sure I'll get over it!

ysavir 8 hours ago 4 replies      
>Oh no, Grid Garden doesn't work on this browser. It requires a browser that supports CSS grid, such as the latest version of Firefox, Chrome, or Safari. Use one of those to get gardening!

Is Chrome 56 so outdates that this grid box doesn't work with it?

Or, perhaps, does the game only check if I'm running the "latest" version, regardless of which browsers do or do not actually work with Grid Garden?

Edit: Oh, wow, 56 is that outdated. Talk about cutting edge technology?

cr0sh 5 hours ago 1 reply      
First off - I liked the game. It was fun. No arguments there.

But (and nothing against the author of the game)...

I'm going to jump on the bandwagon here of others wondering just what the person or committee who thought up the API was smoking when they came up with it?

At first, it made kinda sense. Nothing too troubling.

But the deeper it went, the less it made sense. I don't have a problem with 1 vs 0 indexing (because I started coding in old-school BASIC back in the dinosaur days of microcomputing - so that doesn't bother me much).

It's just that the rest of the API seems arbitrary, or random, or maybe ad-hoc. Like there were 10 developers working on the task of implementing this, but with no overall design document to guide them on how the thing worked.

I'm really not sure why there's two (or three? or four?) different ways to express the same idea of a "span" of row or column cells, based on left or right indexing, or a span argument, or...???

Seriously - the whole thing feels so arbitrary, so inconsistent. This API has to be among the worst we have seen in the CSS world (not sure - I am not a CSS expert by any means). I can easily see this API leading to mistakes in the future by developers and designers.

We'll also probably see a bazillion different shims, libraries, pre-compilers, template systems, whatever - all working on the same goal of trying to fix or normalize it in some manner to make it consistent. Unfortunately, all of these will be at odds with one another.

I'm sure JQuery will have something to fix it (if not already). Bootstrap too.

The dumb thing is that had this been designed in a more sane fashion, such hacks wouldn't be needed.

jwarren 10 hours ago 0 replies      
The creator, Thomas Park (http://thomaspark.co/) is also the author of the similar and similarly excellent Flexbox Froggy: http://flexboxfroggy.com/
clishem 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I can hardly read the code (https://i.imgur.com/fEsIYdA.png). Author needs to take a look at http://contrastrebellion.com/.
pc2g4d 1 hour ago 1 reply      
`grid-row: -2` targets the bottom-most row, whereas I would have expected `grid-row: -1` to do so. I've never seen `-2` used to refer to the last element in a sequence. Python [1,2,3][-1] yields 3, for example.

Anybody have an explanation for this surprising behavior?

stigi 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I love how the name resembles the classic http://csszengarden.com
Kezako 7 hours ago 0 replies      
There is also a nice postCSS plugin to build css grids through a kind of "ASCII-art": https://github.com/sylvainpolletvillard/postcss-grid-kiss
legulere 8 hours ago 2 replies      
Level 21 was pretty hard for me. It lacked the explanation that fr goes from 0 to 100 like %.
philh 7 hours ago 1 reply      
This is a neat game, but I have to say that the explanation of order didn't feel particularly enlightening, and I was hoping it would become clearer but it never got used again.
jonahx 9 hours ago 2 replies      
How long will it likely be before CSS Grid can be used in the wild? Current browser support seems to be only about 35% [0].

[0]: http://caniuse.com/#feat=css-grid

ArlenBales 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I think these CSS learning games would work better if the game you were trying to complete was something you would actually use the technology for. For example, a game that involves building a website. (e.g. Instruct me to make the page for UX friendly by moving an element from one column to another, or adjust columns, etc.)

I would never use CSS grid to do what this game is asking me to, so even though it helps me learn the syntax and properties, it's not helping me learn how it's going to be applied to an actual website.

gondo 9 hours ago 2 replies      
"Oh no, Grid Garden doesn't work on this browser. It requires a browser that supports CSS grid, such as the latest version of Firefox, Chrome, or Safari. Use one of those to get gardening!" I am running Chrome 56 on MacOS
enugu 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Is there a library or babel like transform on server side which can enable this feature in older browsers? Most clients wont have this enabled for some time now.
EamonnMR 7 hours ago 2 replies      
This is pretty cool. One thing I notice is that when you submit an answer, it shakes the editor box. This usually has a "you did something wrong" connotation (ie if you type a bad password when signing into a mac.)
welpwelp 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Is this like a built-in equivalent of Skeleton and similar frameworks? It's kinda cool the way it brings CSS closer to frameworks like iOS', which has built-in UI components like collection views and such that can be extended to build interfaces easily.
nvdk 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Ugh does not seem to use feature detection, but some other ugly browser detection scheme :/

edit: scratch that I was confusing css grid for flexbox, my browser does not support css grid yet.

danadam 3 hours ago 0 replies      

Ever heard of this thing called "contrast"? Could use some.

redsummer 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Haven't worked in CSS for about 5 years, but managed to get thru this. Are there any other decent games to learn CSS and JS?
sultanofsaltin 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Well that was fun! The last level took me a couple minutes (maybe have brute forced the prior fr example).
weavie 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Huh? I was only just starting to get used to flexbox. Are CSS grids meant to be a replacement/alternative/addition to flexbox?
Pigo 8 hours ago 2 replies      
I haven't stepped up my styling game in awhile. Would anyone like to explain to me how css grid is better than say flexbox, or how the two are different?
Honzo 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Why wouldn't grid-column-start/end be zero indexed?
friendzis 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Sounds a bit peculiar when you put it this way, but chrome has finally caught up with IE :)

One more excuse not to use HTML tables in our toolbox

kiflay 6 hours ago 1 reply      
awesome.Few of the levels like level 23, 24 found them a bit difficult ,Can't find a solution. would have been great if there was a solution where i can compare my results with it.
selbekk 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Love this game - can't wait to start using this in production - in about two-three years ^^
smpetrey 7 hours ago 1 reply      
So the moment everyone hops on Flex-Box, CSS Grid becomes the next hot take now huh?
Twisol 9 hours ago 0 replies      
This is really nice! It pegs my CPU something awful though -- Firefox 52 on a mid-2014 Macbook Pro.
julie1 1 hour ago 0 replies      
wahou the Tk grid manager is back again.

Rule#1 of GUI every geometry manager will reinvent Tk/Tcl poorly saying it is crap.

chasing 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Very nice! Works as advertised. ;-)
PericlesTheo 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Nicely done!
suyash 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Unfortunately it's totally broken, on latest Safari and it says download new version of Safari to work.
macphisto178 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Do I have to use Canary? I'm on latest Chrome and it says my browser isn't supported.
pjmlp 8 hours ago 2 replies      
"Oh no, Grid Garden doesn't work on this browser. It requires a browser that supports CSS grid, such as the latest version of Firefox, Chrome, or Safari. Use one of those to get gardening!"

Oh well, maybe in 5 years time I can make use of this.

In Pieces A CSS-based exhibition celebrating evolutionary distinction species-in-pieces.com
112 points by alecsx6  9 hours ago   23 comments top 12
komali2 5 hours ago 3 replies      
Lol how do people get this good at css. Whenever I get a css ticket at work I inevitably find myself in the chrome inspector twiddling levers and switches until it looks juuuuust right... And then doing it all over again in a day after QA kicks it back with a "misaligned on Firefox" comment
PButcher93 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Not surprised to see this doing the rounds again. It is a great use of CSS with a powerful message.
howderek 57 minutes ago 0 replies      
This is absolutely beautiful but I found the text difficult to read.
serg_chernata 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Man, this gave me a pretty sweet dose of nostalgia. The music reminds me of Billy Bussey's portfolio, from good 10 years ago. It was a mix of flash and 3D modeling.


Ha, I found it. Thanks Internet Archive.


tux1968 4 hours ago 0 replies      
That's a decent use of audio too. Even though it automatically plays it isn't offensive or jarring. Also it goes very quiet if you switch away to another tab.

Not sure how it was accomplished, but is another very nice touch to an impressive display.

navs 4 hours ago 1 reply      
The fact that this looks as amazing as ever on my JS disabled browser is well...amazing!

Would love to hear the story behind its development. That kinda CSS would be pretty tedious to write.

joekrill 5 hours ago 0 replies      
FYI for ad blockers: I had to disable uBlock to get this to work. I was quite confused at first because I couldn't figure out what all the fuss was for a spinning circle!
charlieegan3 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I know it's all in CSS but the graphics look like those generated by https://github.com/fogleman/primitive
conceptme 4 hours ago 1 reply      
I believe this is pretty old one or more years.. also it doesn't work on firefox.
magic_beans 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow. This is amazing.
ythn 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Am I the only one that thought this was going to be an exhibition of outdated CSS techniques that can still be found on old websites?
brudgers 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Title: Species in Pieces
From ROS prototype to production on Ubuntu Core kyrofa.com
41 points by kyrofa  6 hours ago   7 comments top 3
btown 3 hours ago 0 replies      
The video includes a lot more detail about what the commands actually look like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6BkzfwOZbc&feature=youtu.be

Another example of how the general trend towards containerization vs. automated installation is excellent for reliable deployment. For server software, I was in the Ansible camp for a long, long time until I tried my first Docker-based deploy and realized that a whole swath of uncertainty about "documentation notwithstanding, can I trust this to deploy given the current state of the deploy target" just disappeared. For robotics this is even more important, because unless you're building a drone swarm, robots aren't generally in a redundant self-adapting cluster :)

Regarding why Ubuntu Core is a better fit than Docker for this, http://askubuntu.com/questions/808524/whats-the-main-differe... seems to shed some light. You want your "container" to have full access to the (robotic) system but still benefit from immutable dependencies.

dhbx9 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I use ROS heavily and also a core contributor but I personally I do not like using Ubuntu or Raspberry Pi's for it. However this is the first time I'm hearing of Ubuntu Core so maybe I'll give it a go. My preferred method is Gentoo Linux with an external build bot that updates the images etc.
dbcurtis 5 hours ago 3 replies      
A bunch of us in the robot club are using Neato Botvac's and RasPi's. Significantly cheaper.
Opium, Empire, and India pointsadhsblog.wordpress.com
37 points by Hooke  6 hours ago   27 comments top 3
atxcrab 3 hours ago 1 reply      
This might be interesting to readers : ibis trilogy from amithav ghosh https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ibis_trilogy
ultimoo 3 hours ago 8 replies      
Having never tried any hard drugs or the mentioned concoctions, pardon my basic question -- what effects does consuming opium have? Is it like consuming modern day heroin? Does it imitate what people feel after smoking pot? Just trying to understand why people consumed it -- the article mentions pain relieving uses as well as 'taking the edge off' uses.
pruthvishetty 4 hours ago 2 replies      
Surprised not to see a mention of the Tatas here.
Philosophy tool kit aeon.co
81 points by miobrien  9 hours ago   28 comments top 8
amelius 6 minutes ago 0 replies      
Nice. But having this toolkit and attempting to use it to prove the existence of God is like having a ladder to get to the next nearest Earthlike planet.

I found this a more convincing approach: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%B6del%27s_ontological_pro...

jawns 5 hours ago 3 replies      
Whenever I read or hear a philosophy professor teaching about fallacies, I always look at their examples.

And whenever their examples all spring from a consistent worldview (e.g. they all debunk liberal ideas or conservative ideas or religious ideas or anti-religious ideas), it raises my eyebrows, because it makes me suspect that they're more interested in defending their worldview than they are in teaching logic.

But when someone presents example arguments that are inconsistent with one another, perhaps debunking an anti-religious argument first, then debunking a religious argument, then I know that they're primarily concerned with teaching, rather than indoctrinating.

I won't say which camp I think Prof. Hjek falls into with this Aeon piece, but let's just consider this suspicion of consistent-worldview examples another tool in the philosopher's toolkit of critical thinking.

jessriedel 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Here's Hayek's formal paper on a lot of these ideas:


Nick Beckstead once told me informally that new philosophical ideas can usually be classified as one of these: arguments (in the sense of formal logic, with premises and conclusions), examples (e.g., intuition pumps), and distinctions (e.g., normative vs. positive statements).

ehudla 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Two book recommendations:

Short, with a lot of punch: Philosophical Devices: Proofs, Probabilities, Possibilities, and Sets.


A much more detailed and introductory book: The philosopher's toolkit : a compendium of philosophical concepts and methods.


ajarmst 5 hours ago 2 replies      
There's something delightfully twenty-first century about a project to replace Western Philosophy with a dozen or so definitions, shortcut heuristics and simplistic approximations.
nemo1618 5 hours ago 4 replies      
>It seems we should grant [that "Our world is not the best of all possible worlds"], since we can easily imagine our world being better more happy people, less suffering.

Only if you define "better" in those terms. I'm sure that Romeo and Juliet would have preferred a world in which they remained alive as lovers -- but would that be a better story?

tyre 4 hours ago 1 reply      
This is perfectly targeted to today's readership and, simultaneously, not at all about the core of philosophy.

These tips are generally about logic. Logic is necessary but not sufficient to derive truth from the world. Philosophy is the search for knowledge, which is much broader and deeper than logic.

Meaning, purpose, ethics, knowledge, and truth (to name a few) can't be picked apart or pieced together with proofs and syllogisms.

ranko 6 hours ago 0 replies      
It strikes me that a good philosopher would make a very good software tester. Maybe this article could be adapted as "with-the use of heuristics anybody can think like a tester".
More than 8,000 ride-share drivers flunked Mass. background checks bostonherald.com
37 points by kevincennis  2 hours ago   23 comments top 6
jmcdiesel 8 minutes ago 0 replies      
Background checks are useless when so much bad information is floating around...

Is being caught with a gram of pot a good reason to not have a job? Because in states where it is (or even, was, but is not now) illegal its often a felony. I have friends who live in legal states with MJ posession charges from when it wasnt legal. Still haunting them... seems like bullshit all around...

On top of that, here's a fun little story. There is a guy, born a month after me to the day, in the next closest hospital to where I was born, with the exact same first, middle and last name as me. In 2003, he got in a bar fight that spilled out into a parking lot, during the fight his pants where torn (not taken off) in a way that exposed his genitals. He was charged with a sexual crime and is now a sex offender.

You wanna know how often that comes up on low level background checks for me? You know how much it sucks having to preempt a BGC with a future employer with "you might see a thing that says im a sex offender, here's a nice PDF i've made explaining the issue..."

The thing about this that makes it suck so hard, is not only are background checks bleeding other people's information into mine... but the guy is a sex offender for no reason at all... I feel bad for the dude.

Thats why this system sucks, regardless...

tn135 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I will take this with a grain of salt given the excessive criminalisation of ordinary behaviour. Even for horrible terms like "sex offender" we can not be sure if the guy was a rapist or someone getting a happy ending in massage parlour.
chrisco255 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Indefinite look back periods deprive people with decades-old convictions from doing honest work for honest pay. This is counterproductive to society.
eridius 2 hours ago 1 reply      
> Thousands of people in Massachusetts have lost access to economic opportunities as a result of a screening that includes an unfair and unjust indefinite look-back period, an Uber spokeswoman said today. We have an opportunity to repair the current system in the rules process so that people who deserve to work are not denied the opportunity.

Given all of the negative press about Uber lately, you'd think they'd give some more thought before publicly defending the right of sex offenders, people with suspended licenses, and people with multiple serious driving offenses to work as taxi drivers.

staticautomatic 2 hours ago 2 replies      
It's crazy that Uber would make such a fuss about this and characterize it as merely a matter of depriving putative drivers of income. Yes, there will almost certainly be instances in which the indefinite look-back period or criminal history criteria would lead to an arguably unfair outcome for a particular driver. However, surely that would be an issue for only a very small proportion of people. Even if it isn't, I can't help but take the utilitarian approach and err on the side of caution.
peterwwillis 2 hours ago 1 reply      
> The most common reason for rejecting a potential driver was a suspended license [on their record]

A previously suspended license flunks the background check? I've had mine suspended for failing to pay a parking ticket that was never mailed to me. Kind of a lame reason to never be able to drive for lyft or uber.

Show HN: AcrossTabs Easy communication between cross-origin browser tabs github.com
92 points by softvar  10 hours ago   24 comments top 6
tiplus 9 hours ago 2 replies      
I was puzzled when I first saw cross tab communication in impress.js for their slide control tab (slid.es) and I am still wondering about the proper use case of this feature today. Isn't this a security nightmare?
mnarayan01 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Looks like a nice library, though using a default of `*` for Origin seems like an invitation for people to shoot themselves in the foot.
martin-adams 9 hours ago 3 replies      
I think I understand what this does, but I don't think I understand the use case. Does anyone have any real-world examples of where this helps?
ssalka 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I had something very similar to this in my backlog, as a weekend project. Glad to see someone else beat me to it - saves me time in both implementation and maintenance! I look forward to trying it out
ggaahh 8 hours ago 0 replies      
This is great. I found this pattern very useful when communicating with iframes. I wrote a similar library a while back.


What CSS minifiers also leave behind luisant.ca
241 points by remy_luisant  15 hours ago   105 comments top 15
josephg 14 hours ago 3 replies      
The scientific notation one is a bug. Scientific notation isn't part of the CSS spec[1], and its not supported in all browsers.

I learned this one the hard way a few months ago. We ran into a flexbox bug in one browser which we worked around by adding some-rule: 0.0000001px instead of 0px. However, our minifier collapsed that using scientific notation, which triggered a rendering issue in a different browser due to the out-of-spec CSS. The whole adventure left me feeling like I'd travelled back in time.

[1] https://www.w3.org/TR/CSS21/syndata.html#numbers

remy_luisant 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Author here.

Wow. #1 on HN. Wow.

I'd usually hang around a bit more, but I'm really tired. I posted this past my midnight. 00:51 now, and I'm fading fast.

Thanks for all the love, everyone. I'll come over tomorrow (12 hours from now, or so) to answer any questions or to pick up any corrections.

cornedor 10 hours ago 2 replies      
> I'm guessing that at nine nines that is pretty much a one anyway and it would not even change a single pixel on the screen.

There used to be a bug with flex-wrap: wrap; where an element would wrap to the next line while it should have fit. You could fix it by instead using width: 25%; use width: 24.999999%; so it would be 25% on the screen but it would fix the problem so it didn't wrap to the next line. So you should look out with this.

pasta 13 hours ago 10 replies      
This looks like a fun project indeed!

Unfortunately every time I read something about minifiers I got the feeling that people are optimizing the wrong problem.

If you gzip data over the line it's already compressed. So minifying your stuff will only help you a little.

The problem is on the client side. You can compress what you like but if the browser starts dropping frames because it has to compile/handle a ton of Javascript and CSS then minifying doesn't help the end user.

replete 10 hours ago 3 replies      
Don't mean to squash any enthusiasm, but these types of 1byte optimization savings don't really have real-world benefits due to over-the-wire compression like gzip and Brotli.

A more interesting problem to solve, I think, is that of optimising CSS rules for browser rendering.

ovao 14 hours ago 3 replies      
crass is doing some really wonderful stuff here -- I'm impressed!

It's very interesting, however, that no one minifier is a consistent winner in these test cases, and that running CSS through multiple minifiers is actually, potentially, not all that crazy. (The very debatable real value in doing that notwithstanding.)

mercer 11 hours ago 3 replies      
I have a slightly-related question for those of you familiar with Webpack, css modules (css-loader/style-loader), and perhaps React as well: is there any reason not to use the 'default' approach where the styles for the components are simply inserted in a <style> (with unique, generated classnames)?

To be clear: I don't mean philosophical reasons. I personally love letting javascript deal with the 'cascading' part and I don't have a problem with the idea of having styling embedded in the final page.

What I'm curious about is if this has any kind of negative impact on performance, bandwidth, etc. Because the CSS is loaded on the component level, and because Webpack 2 does tree shaking, the page will be guaranteed to only contain CSS for the components that are on the page. And if I'd 'lazy-load' parts of the app, I'd get that benefit for my CSS as well with no extra effort.

On the other hand, any benefits of having a compiled (and hopefully cached) bundle.css are offset by the need for an extra request for the css file, as well as the very likely situation that there'll be a bunch of unused css in that bundle.

Am I missing some drawback to the above-mentioned approach?

tambourine_man 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Didn't know about all of those units. q, mm, cm scientific notation?!

Also didn't know one could use counters already. Browser support is great. I thought it was still under approval.

Amazing stuff, thanks

bgrohman 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I like your site design. Very clean and readable.
wyldfire 8 hours ago 0 replies      
If folks tend to use some higher level abstraction (isn't that what SASS and LESS are?) maybe it makes sense to provide a new way to encode the information in CSS. Similar to how WASM is supposed to be easier to parse than JavaScript, right?
fleetfox 13 hours ago 3 replies      
Can someone provide some hard numbers from real projects as to is it really worth it assuming we can gzip/brotili?
buster 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I liked the writing style, fun read AND very informative!
WhitneyLand 9 hours ago 3 replies      
Are there any good tools for deobfuscating css/js if you want to study a technique used on some web page?
Silhouette 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Here's the same author's earlier post on this subject, "The missed chances: What minifiers leave behind", from last week:


cperciva 14 hours ago 3 replies      
I'm for hire now. Le Sigh. Email's in the footer.

Remy: I'd suggest posting a CV and linking to it from this post. I looked and couldn't find one anywhere on your site; you'll get a lot more qualified interest if people can find out more about you than just a few blog posts.

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