hacker news with inline top comments    .. more ..    14 Jul 2017 News
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Redis 4.0 groups.google.com
226 points by fs111  2 hours ago   61 comments top 6
StevePerkins 1 hour ago 2 replies      
"9) Active memory defragmentation. Redis is able to defragment the memory while online..."

I'm so amazed that this is a thing.

Dowwie 1 hour ago 1 reply      
@antirez: Congrats! Are you going to modularize disque now that v4 is ready?
frou_dh 33 minutes ago 1 reply      
Maybe with the new modules support there will emerge some explicit way to do robust worker/job queues? So you don't have to remember your BRPOPLPUSH/LREM dances (or whatever it is) just so.
Hates_ 6 minutes ago 0 replies      
Anyone know when we might see this on AWS (Elasticache)?
indeyets 1 hour ago 1 reply      
LFU policy sounds really interesting!
numbsafari 1 hour ago 9 replies      
I really wish Redis wouldn't use the "master/slave" terminology. Primary/replica or even Master/replica are better terms. I know I'll probably get flamed for saying this, but it's a pox on a project that I otherwise very much love.
Bash-Snippets: A collection of small bash scripts for heavy terminal users github.com
113 points by epstein43  3 hours ago   19 comments top 12
tokenizerrr 20 minutes ago 0 replies      
It seems a bit silly for nearly all of the scripts to first ping Google before doing anything. It seems to want to check if internet is available (by GETing Google) before doing anything else. It performs this check using nc, however it also depends on either wget, curl or fetch for the actual HTTP requests.

I'd just drop the ping to google entirely. If wget/curl/fetch fail, so be it. No need to introduce additional slowness for the small chance internet isn't working.

bluejekyll 4 minutes ago 0 replies      
Not bash, but oh-my-zsh changed my life in the terminal: http://ohmyz.sh

Until then I had used bash exclusively for years. Now I will absolutely never go back.

sillysaurus3 1 hour ago 1 reply      

 $ llbin | nlines 738
Apparently I've written 738 bash/python scripts (and counting). Should probably publish those someday...

wyldfire 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Wow, qrify is pretty clever! Aren't there multiple encodings? I wonder how easily this could be used to generate the densest encoding?

EDIT: ...oh, it sends your data to a public service, which is not what I would prefer. But the cleverness of the service (rendering the pixels via ASCII) seems like it would make a great local utility.

Another EDIT: the encoding lib is LGPL, support for ASCII rendering contributed by Ralf Ertzinger -- https://github.com/fukuchi/libqrencode

elliottcarlson 1 hour ago 0 replies      
In addition to ytview; mpsyt (https://github.com/mps-youtube/mps-youtube) is a great tool for finding, creating playlists, and playing audio from youtube.

And for Pandora, there is Pianobar, a console based pandora player: https://github.com/PromyLOPh/pianobar

adtac 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I created https://github.com/adtac/climate a while ago. It's basically a lot of shell commands in one tool.

(Note: it's mostly an educational tool; for example, you could enable an option to make climate print the actual command before executing so that you can learn your way around using the shell effectively.)

flanbiscuit 59 minutes ago 0 replies      
Love that logo. Did you create that yourself?

I've been keeping my bash scrips in github gists but I like this organization as well.

swiley 2 hours ago 1 reply      
The first one is just curl wttr.in. Which is IMO easier to remember.
m-j-fox 2 hours ago 2 replies      
Is Linyos Torovoltos a joke name?
xyzxyz998 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Some tools are for people who live in terminal but want to do things outside of computers- weather/currency/stock et al. May not be related to everyone.

But there are some tools which are compute related and I'd recommend everyone try once:

1) cheat. Total lifesaver. I used to backup my histories but I no longer do so since most commands I use have an example there.

2) qrify looks good, not sure how often i'll use.

About crypt: I'd suggest installing openssl and using tools in there. Crypto is hard to get right, not to dissuade anyone from trying to create but as an end user, always use something widely used.

kronos29296 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Nice set of scripts. Is it available in AUR?
finchisko 52 minutes ago 0 replies      
Guys, you're crazy ;-)
Hacker's guide to Neural Networks karpathy.github.io
195 points by catherinezng  2 hours ago   9 comments top 5
NegatioN 2 hours ago 1 reply      
This has been submitted quite a few times in the past: https://hn.algolia.com/?query=karpathy.github.io%2Fneuralnet...
debacle 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Static neural networks on Rosetta Code for basic things like Hello World, etc, would do a lot to aid in people's understanding of neural networks. It would be interesting to visualize different trained solutions.
adamkochanowicz 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Thank you for posting this! I hadn't seen it and have been looking for a simple guide like this one.
finchisko 1 hour ago 0 replies      
thanks for sharing, apparently i missed past submits
du_bing 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Wonderful guide, thanks for sharing!
Universal Now: Now, on Every Cloud zeit.co
65 points by sorenbs  3 hours ago   8 comments top 5
thangngoc89 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I must say that this sounds exactly like TJ's Up blueprints [1]. TJ've been working on Apex Up for over a month [2].

[1]: https://medium.com/@tjholowaychuk/blueprints-for-up-1-5f8197...[2]: https://github.com/apex/up

zitterbewegung 28 minutes ago 0 replies      
I saw this at the reactriot hackathon. Since it works with multiple clouds I think I will try to use this from now on. If it allows me to migrate easily there are distinct advantages especially such as lock-in.
thebiglebrewski 2 hours ago 1 reply      
This is really cool. We're a one-man shop (me) that uses Heroku though. Even though I can get on AWS or GCP really quickly with this (but probably not because we have a Rails back-end and React/Express front-end), I wouldn't then know how to best leverage/manage it. So this is a bit of a non-starter for me.

So far I'm seeing this as useful for side projects at most. The layer isn't opaque enough where I can troubleshoot serious issues and its too new to know there won't be any. More layers add more complexity in the early stages, over time though this could get quite compelling.

But it is a really cool thing.

cstpdk 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Bad luck to announce support for `every cloud` the day alibaba cloud reaches the frontpage
pseudobry 1 hour ago 0 replies      
> Most cloud providers have created different proprietary APIs to expose lightweight services to the cloud.

True. However, in the case of Google Cloud Platform, the Protocol Buffer definitions for their services have been open-sourced here: https://github.com/googleapis/googleapis

There are two immediate benefits/possibilities: you can generate your own gRPC client libraries for GCP services and you can re-implement GCP services using their open-sourced interface definition. One example would be the Google Cloud Functions Emulator [1], which implements the service defined in the Cloud Functions service' Protocol Buffer [2]. You could deploy that Emulator somewhere for a sort-of "dev" version of the production Cloud Functions service, and the Gcloud SDK could talk to it.

[1]: https://github.com/GoogleCloudPlatform/cloud-functions-emula...[2]: https://github.com/googleapis/googleapis/blob/master/google/...

Enter a pair of names to see if any intersections in the US match those names crossing.us
83 points by eddyg  3 hours ago   42 comments top 26
NDizzle 0 minutes ago 0 replies      
Ha, it found the intersection that made me giggle when I was 10, and still makes me smile.

The intersection of Crouch St. and SE P St. in Bentonville, AR. Crouch and pee, everyone. My grandma lived on the corner there thirty years ago.

maze-le 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Good, that no such intersection exists, or it would immediatly collapse into a black hole: https://www.crossing.us/intersections/Chandrasekhar/Schwarzs...

It does not exist, or maybe it exists, but only in superposition: https://www.crossing.us/intersections/Heisenberg/Schr%C3%B6d...

Sadly, non computable: https://www.crossing.us/intersections/Turing/Church

Computable, but only by partial Integration: https://www.crossing.us/intersections/Hamilton/Lagrange

For friends of modern art: https://www.crossing.us/intersections/Pablo/Salvador

djrogers 26 minutes ago 1 reply      
I'm honestly kinda fed up with sites that prompt me to share my geolocation while they load. Why should I have to clear a prompt before accessing the site? And it clearly works well without knowing my location, so why make the prompt something everyone has to go through?
ryanschneider 2 hours ago 0 replies      
This one always makes me giggle when driving through it but didn't show up on the site:



epx 4 minutes ago 0 replies      
I asked a very famous NY intersection, "Walk w/ Do not walk" and it didn't find :( :)
YCode 1 hour ago 1 reply      
My wife took it as a highly romantic gesture when I sent her the link for our names.

So thanks for the easy points!

wiredfool 36 minutes ago 1 reply      
Not entirely sure how the listing for Peachtree and Peachtree didn't find anything in Georgia.
madcaptenor 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I can't tell if there's an intersection of Church and State. All the top results at https://www.crossing.us/intersections/church/state (for me) have Church Street/Road intersecting with State Highway X or similar.
ehayes 1 hour ago 0 replies      
There is no intersection of Technology and Liberal Artshttps://www.crossing.us/intersections/Technology/Liberal%20A...
tcbawo 20 minutes ago 0 replies      
Who knew that the universe had so many nexuses:https://www.crossing.us/intersections/1st/1st
ratinacage 2 hours ago 1 reply      
chiph 48 minutes ago 0 replies      
madcaptenor 2 hours ago 1 reply      
A politically relevant one: https://www.crossing.us/intersections/donald/moscow

(It's actually the intersection of "Don" and "Moscow". But judging from the other street names here, "Don" was probably intended to be the river in Russia.)

seanmcdirmid 2 hours ago 1 reply      

Who would have thought that only one would exist in...Memphis.

SaintGhurka 2 hours ago 1 reply      
It seems to have trouble with street names that don't start with the search string. So it didn't find the corner of Antonio and Banderas, maybe because it's "Avenida de las Banderas".

Nearby Antonio and Oso Parkway was no problem, though.


Then again, it doesn't have a problem with the San in "San Antonio Avenue"


everyone 39 minutes ago 0 replies      
I amazed commenters here are looking up non-rude intersections. Classy bunch!
onorton 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Managed to find my name in it. I suppose both parts are fairly common.


sharemywin 2 hours ago 2 replies      
There's always one of us in every group...


cdevs 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder how a simple site like profit on a mobile ad, I assume it's only good on certain bumps of viral traffic and even then would get around 300 a month. If it's doing well then I need to pump out some simple mobile sites
yitchelle 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I think it is cute that the Amazon adverts that is on the side of the screen leverage the names you entered into the search bar. Quite clever actually.
supernumerary 2 hours ago 0 replies      
If you like this, you'll also like:https://www.what3words.com
amyjess 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Here's one that's only found in the suburb where I grew up: https://www.crossing.us/intersections/analog/digital
wink 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Voight/Kampff - 0

Sapir/Whorf - 0

Deming/Kruger - 0


Show HN: Write your Privacy Policy once and export to multiple languages github.com
60 points by marco1  3 hours ago   23 comments top 6
beager 2 hours ago 2 replies      
Very interesting! OP if you are the developer of this, I have a few questions:

1) Did you consult with any legal entities when creating this? Is there any risk of creating legal jeopardy for people by inferring that they could use a utility like this to create a legally-sound privacy policy without consulting a lawyer?

2) What consumers currently exist for machine output of privacy policies? I can imagine a standardized machine-readable JSON file on all sites (a la sitemap.xml) could be useful for browser utilities to forewarn you about present or absent tenets of a site's privacy policy.

3) Have you considered using something like this as a boilerplate utility for actual lawyers to improve their throughput for creating privacy policies?

4) Have you considered a similar utility for site terms of service? Is the problem different in magnitude?

5) Are privacy policies legally onerous if you do them in multiple languages? Seems like translation arbitrage would be disadvantageous.

maxsavin 1 hour ago 2 replies      
It doesn't seem smart to use machine translation for anything legal related. I wonder if this kind of tool can get one in trouble. For example, a mistranslation causes the privacy policy to mean something else than intended.
Facens 58 minutes ago 1 reply      
Have you ever checked out iubenda (http://www.iubenda.com)? That's pretty much what it does, with 600 modular clauses in 8 languages.
brango 1 hour ago 1 reply      
This is one of those things where you wonder why no one's thought of it before, or why this isn't just standard practice.

Maybe time to blow the dust off my PHP binary... Great work!

cube00 2 hours ago 2 replies      
Nice work. This is what I hoped would eventually come out of P3P (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P3P) alas it wasn't to be.
consto 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Legal questions aside, this should have been an online form that creates a zip file containing the generated privacy policies in various markup languages and a configuration file. I don't know about you, but the barrier to entry here is too high. You have to run a PHP instance yourself, at least momentarily.
Invisible unicorns: Big companies that started with little or no money techcrunch.com
100 points by vinnyglennon  5 hours ago   22 comments top 11
replicatorblog 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I'm one of the authors of this post and plan on releasing an updated version with some companies that we missed on the first pass. If you know of other substantial startups that went far before raising capital, please let me know: JoeFlaherty@FounderCollective. The current list of misses includes:

+ Grammarly

+ 37 Signals/Basecamp

+ Zip Recruiter

+ Outcome Health

+ Wistia

Who else?

pacaro 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Microsoft is pretty close too. Founded in 1975, issued stock in 1981 (5% to an investor, the rest to founders and employees), IPO in 1986

Source: http://www.techntechie.com/early-investors-in-microsoft-you-...

fharper1961 2 hours ago 1 reply      
ZipRecruiter was 100% bootstrapped, was profitable, and had 100s of employees before taking VC.

Job Platform ZipRecruiter Takes Its First Outside Funding, $63M Led By IVPhttps://techcrunch.com/2014/08/26/job-platform-ziprecruiter-...

Disclaimer: I work for ZipRecruiter.

trevyn 40 minutes ago 1 reply      
Adafruit: $33M revenue is not "earns" $33M. Could be running at a loss for all we know.
rjanoch 14 minutes ago 1 reply      
Indie.vc has a list of large bootstrapped companies at the bottom of their FAQ. Some like ESRI are unicorns and have a near monopoly but have been around for 40 years http://www.indie.vc/faq
ssharp 1 hour ago 0 replies      
> Wayfair: The home goods e-commerce company was profitable from its first month of operation because they skipped brand advertising and bought up hundreds of domain names that were exact matches for common search terms.

I remember buying a TV stand from TVStands.com about a decade ago.

phofangor 19 minutes ago 0 replies      
Fat Brain Toys was bootstrapped:


lenley 1 hour ago 1 reply      
These articles are great, but they really need to focus on useful ratios and free cash flow rather than talking about revenue.
hkmurakami 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Does Wizards of the Coast count? :P
jamesfzhang 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Wistia. 10 year-old business. Raised only a seed round and has been profitable & growing many years in a row.
m0llusk 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Invisible, indeed. My interest timed out before any such corporation was named. It was kind of interesting watching the layout dynamically rearrange itself over and over.

If this isn't readable on a recent Android phone with a decent net connection then who are these articles for anyway?

Redis on the Raspberry Pi: Adventures in unaligned lands antirez.com
117 points by bjerun  5 hours ago   37 comments top 11
drej 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I never deal with such low level issues, so I don't have to read this, but... reading these posts by antirez is such a joy. He makes this topic so clear and understandable, he doesn't assume much, he doesn't use overly complex explanations, he just "says it like it is" :-)


blattimwind 4 hours ago 1 reply      
There is a funny mode on ARM processors (turned on in some images, by default) which causes unaligned reads to silently return bogus data (just increasing a kernel counter).

PowerPC, and really, most non-x86 architectures, do this one way or another.

throwaway000002 52 minutes ago 1 reply      
I'm probably the only weirdo that thinks this, but if you support byte-addressing you'd better as well be happy with byte-alignment. Atomics being the only place where it's reasonable to be different.

Which brings me to padding. I wonder what percentage of memory of the average 64-bit user's system is padding? I'm afraid of the answer. The heroes of yesteryear could've coded miracles in the ignored spaces in our data.

luhn 29 minutes ago 1 reply      
> Redis is adding a Stream data type that is specifically suited for streams of data and time series storage, at this point the specification is near complete and work to implement it will start in the next weeks.

This sounds like it could be really exciting. Is there anywhere I can find out more?

Specifically, I've been struggling to find an appropriate backend for Server-Sent Events, could this feature help with that?

drewg123 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I fondly remember unaligned access faults "back in the day" with FreeBSD/alpha. We implemented a fixup for applications, but not for the kernel. I seem to recall that even though x86 could deal with unaligned accesses, it caused minor performance problems, so fixing alignment issues on alpha would benefit x86 as well.

Most (definitely not all) of the mis-alignment problems were in the network stack, and were centered around the fact that ethernet headers are 14 bytes, while nearly all other protocols had headers that were a multiple of at least 4 bytes.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: If I had a time machine, I would not kill Hitler. I'd go back to the 70s and make the ethernet header be 16 bytes long, rather than 14.

MrBuddyCasino 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Accessing memory locations ending in 0x7? Gather round the campfire folks, James Mickens has a story to tell: https://www.usenix.org/system/files/1311_05-08_mickens.pdf
dis-sys 1 hour ago 0 replies      
wondering what kind of performance overhead it is going to cause by letting the kernel to handle unaligned access vs. fixing the software to actually always use aligned access?
type0 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Great article, this project just begs the name of Redisberry Pi
amelius 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Could Rust's typesystem catch unaligned pointer dereferences?
crncosta 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Nice article!
k__ 4 hours ago 2 replies      
OT: Is blattimwind shadow banned?
Tania PHP-based free and open source farming management system github.com
34 points by buovjaga  3 hours ago   5 comments top 3
mrrsm 43 minutes ago 2 replies      
What product is this competing against if any?I am guessing someone in the farming field may know more about what to do with the program but for the layman an explanation or some instructions as to how you use it would be awesome.
nashashmi 32 minutes ago 0 replies      
It seems like a cross between a GIS data system and farm inventory manager. Plus it has data layers for time based crops, water systems, etc.
weberc2 1 hour ago 0 replies      
The documentation is pretty sparse, and no links to a product page. What does this actually do?
Massive balloons help polar scientists build underground tunnels sciencemag.org
20 points by rhapsodic  2 hours ago   6 comments top 5
nitrogen 1 minute ago 0 replies      
Underground is a bit of a misnomer; these are under ice and snow.
dennyabraham 5 minutes ago 0 replies      
I wonder if this is a potential application for pykrete[1].


mrleinad 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Those polar scientists are quite resourceful. Nothing like those cartesian scientists.
Phithagoras 1 hour ago 1 reply      
This technique reminds me of Quinzhee huts. I've been building them for years but I never considered scaling them up to create proper infrastructure.
Jaruzel 22 minutes ago 0 replies      
Could some form of this, on an automated scale, be used to build tunnels or covered buildings on Mars?
Alibaba Cloud alibabacloud.com
453 points by paulmach  13 hours ago   285 comments top 35
JohnTHaller 2 hours ago 4 replies      
Don't serve any javascript from within China to users outside of China. Remember when the Chinese government used the great firewall of China to modify Baidu analytics javascript passing through it to setup an international DDoS against github? Hosting your stuff in mainland China for consumption outside make you a party to that happening again in the future.
david90 8 hours ago 5 replies      
> https://www.alibabacloud.com/customers/strikingly

> As an international website building platform, obtaining an ICP license for China is very important to our users. The actual process of obtaining an ICP license though is quite complex. With Alibaba Clouds built-in and easy-to-follow ICP application process, it has helped with our user experience a lot.

Seems like it's killer feature is China ICP license made easy.

wickedlogic 3 minutes ago 0 replies      
Something that struck me, is the wording is surprisingly unwordy for a cloud provider...

- "based on the instance rental fee"- "Tell us what you think about this page and win $10 credit! "- "Instance Fee, Storage fee and Public Traffic fee"

kevinsd 11 hours ago 20 replies      
I have been missing a feature from Alibaba Cloud that AWS does not provide and there seems no easy replacement: Their Object Storage Service (OSS) provides an endpoint for transforming images (resizing/thumbnailing, compressing etc). Putting it behind a CDN (which is also integrated in the feature), this solves virtually all the image processing requirements ever needed in a common web or mobile application. https://www.alibabacloud.com/help/doc-detail/44687.htm?spm=a...
EZ-E 12 hours ago 8 replies      
A concern is that if ever your product on this platform gets big, friction with the (often unpredictable) Chinese gov and policies will become a liability.

example : your product displays news. Some of these might considered not acceptable by the Chinese govt and cause you to get shut down or blocked

gentro 10 hours ago 3 replies      
Don't forget there's also:

Tencent Cloud: https://www.qcloud.com/?lang=enBaidu Cloud (Chinese only): https://cloud.baidu.com/Netease/163 Cloud (Chinese only): https://www.163yun.com/

I use Tencent Cloud for a small China-oriented SaaS. The SDK APIs are kind of a mess/lacking, but the service is otherwise pretty reliable and easy to use.

tristanj 11 hours ago 4 replies      
What's new about this? Alibaba cloud has been around for 8 years, it's called Aliyun in China (literally Ali-cloud). They didn't build datacenters in 7 countries overnight.

Could anyone explain the sudden excitement about their service?

nodesocket 11 hours ago 4 replies      
Forgive me, but why not just use Google Compute Engine in the Taiwan region? Can US citizens even signup and use Alibaba Cloud? I'm very skeptical about using a Chinese based cloud provider given the current world situation.

Also, back of the napkin math, but GCE is even cheaper.

 Alibaba Cloud ($79.00/mo) 2 Core CPU 8GB Memory 80GB SSD Google Compute Engine - Taiwan Region ($69.81/mo) n1-standard-2 (2 vCPUs / 7.5 GB Memory) 80 GB SSD disk

iliketosleep 12 hours ago 3 replies      
It looks like a great offering, but it also means that in all likelihood, you'd be sharing your data with the Chinese government - which may or may not be a problem depending on your business.
mitchellh 12 hours ago 1 reply      
If you're interested in trying this out in a more advanced capability beyond the UI, Alibaba maintains official support for Terraform: https://github.com/alibaba/terraform-provider

(Note: I work on Terraform)

MikeDoesCode 7 hours ago 0 replies      
When I was working with AliCloud I ran into an issue in that during peak hours, we'd want to scale-up, and they'd be "out of stock" of virtual instances... Which is fine if you have the budget to keep a load of instances running, but if your spike goes over what you expected, there's no resource left for you to scale up. Not sure if that's still the case, but scalability is perhaps the biggest draw for me to the cloud and it seemed AliCloud didn't really get that right.
dis-sys 9 hours ago 1 reply      
It is a pretty cool offering, for $30/year, you get to experience the GFW by sitting comfortably in your bay area fancy house.

So far, you can't really claim that you've ever designed a global platform because your stuff clearly doesn't work in mainland China. Think about it - 95% of all US services you can think of does _not_ work there, google.com/GCE/most AWS/golang.org/docker etc. For $30/year you get a chance to battle the GFW and the ability to build something truly work in all major markets.

analyst74 12 hours ago 3 replies      
Wow, the offering seems fairly comprehensive, they even have 2 data ceters in US. Have anybody used them? how do they compare to AWS or GCP?
allan_s 6 hours ago 1 reply      
After reading this comparison between AWS S3 apis and Aliyun OSS apis https://www.alibabacloud.com/forum/read-148

I've been wondering for a while

 * does it mean if I use boto3 (python library for AWS), but with a different enpoint (which I know can be overrided as we do this for our CI tests) and only do basic operations (put content/get content) I do not have to switch to an other library ? * The comparison does not mention things like presigned url (in order to share private content for a limited amount of time), what is the situation on it for OSS? * Does Aliyun engineer works on closing the gap ?
As s3 is a very popular (if not the most) aws-specific service (compared to things like RDS which are transparent in your application code), at least for me, not having to change library in my code would be a big cost saver.

michael-go 2 hours ago 0 replies      
The OLAP "Analytics DB" looks interesting https://www.alibabacloud.com/product/analytic-db

Wonder what OLAP features it providers above the managed & massively-parallel SQL like in BigQuery

gondo 11 hours ago 1 reply      
"Great Firewall as a service" :)
zbruhnke 12 hours ago 1 reply      
it seems interesting that noone notes just how much their wording is almost identical to AWS's - they even call their "container service" ECS instances - That feels like something that will sit poorly with Amazon
wanghq 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Seeing few comments about how Alibaba Cloud is doing. It's ranked at the 4th position on Gatner's latest magic quadrant.


Disclosure: I work for Alibaba Cloud. Drop me an email (in my profile) if you're interested in the opportunities. Yes, we have office in Seattle (Bellevue).

always_good 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Not a great first impression: Never got the confirmation email after two attempts to two different email services.
uptownhr 12 hours ago 1 reply      
atemerev 9 hours ago 0 replies      
In the fine days of Chinese Bitcoin trading domination, I used them to host my algo trading servers (as OKCoin servers were also held there).

But now, there is no need.

jakozaur 7 hours ago 0 replies      
New cloud appears and their pricing mimics AWS and Alibaba Cloud is no different. Compute and storage is cheap, egress to internet is expensive.

If you want to create new cloud I would rather shoot for cheaper egress as this may give you an edge in many data transfer intensive applications.

bArray 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I must be missing something - are these prices considered competitive? At least for a straight VM I think I can do better?
sangd 12 hours ago 4 replies      
Clicking Buy for web hosting leads me to a Chinese website:https://ews.console.aliyun.com/buy.htm?spm=a3c0i.149865.7761...

This doesn't look like a serious contender with AWS.

strin 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Interesting. That means your data gets extra Great Firewall protection :)
liuxiaobo 3 hours ago 0 replies      
All the information of Alibaba is controlled and monitored by Chinese Government. Never trust a company controlled by a Autocracy.
lucaspottersky 4 hours ago 0 replies      
well, I guess China isn't that cheap anymore...
xiconfjs 9 hours ago 0 replies      
"The peak bandwidth for ECS instances from the ECS Package is 50Mbps. This cannot be modified by the user."

Sounds strange to me.

jdubs 12 hours ago 2 replies      
The only European region is in Germany which makes regulatory requirements a bit more difficult. I wonder why they went there rather than Ireland.
nkkollaw 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I tried signing up and it says "Network busy, please try again later"..?
dyu- 11 hours ago 2 replies      
Note that they need your credit card info even with their free 1 year plan.
banach 12 hours ago 4 replies      
Can I host a blog that criticizes Putin on one of these servers?
crispytx 4 hours ago 0 replies      
How unoriginal can you get? We're sort of like the Amazon of China, why don't we get into cloud computing too?
davidgerard 6 hours ago 0 replies      
We use AWS a lot and we're using this for our China-based stuff.

tl;dr it's pretty good, if you know AWS this'll be OK, their support is competent.

5_minutes 12 hours ago 3 replies      
This is pretty neat, $30/year. I find it admirable from them to do this (mimicking AWS).
Subscription Psycho: A Critical Analysis of the Subscription Economy medium.com
22 points by BuleBule  2 hours ago   3 comments top 3
pspeter3 18 minutes ago 0 replies      
As a counter point, I hope that by paying a subscription, I get a continuous stream of small patches with bug fixes, security updates, and design improvements.

I like the subscription model, especially if it has a free tier, because passionate customers can support the developer team and subsidize less passionate users

BuleBule 1 hour ago 0 replies      
This is a follow up to my previous article "To Catch A Liar: 1Password Edition" : https://medium.com/@guisebule/to-catch-a-liar-1password-edit...
bocz 58 minutes ago 0 replies      
It is hard to classify Microsoft in the "#SubscriptionPsycho" category in regards to Office. They still offer perpetual licenses alongside the subscription model. However I do believe there is a huge marketing failure in making the distinction between the two product offerings.
Radiohead album hides an app that only runs on an '80s computer engadget.com
165 points by usuallymatt  11 hours ago   94 comments top 16
collyw 7 hours ago 10 replies      
We didn't have "apps" in the 80's we had "programs".
Joeboy 5 hours ago 2 replies      
You see those blocky colours in the youtube video? Those are the Spectrum's "attribute file", a small colour overlay that goes on top of the higher resolution 1-bit monochrome bitmap part of the machine's video ram. Gives you a "hi-res colour computer" while saving a ton of ram, but at the cost of creating horrible artifacts when differently coloured objects get too close together.

The same principle is still used in consumer video encoding (and all but the highest-end professional video), where's it's described as eg. 4:2:2 or 4:2:0, the numbers describing how many pixels' worth of chroma (colour) data are provided for each block of luma pixels.

jxramos 10 hours ago 5 replies      
I remember listening to OK Computer some years ago and I must have been studying or something or other and the track "Fitter Happier" came on. Those familiar know how it goes, the Stephen Hawking voice droning on about all these ideals worth pursuing (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HimvFbossU8). I sat back half listening that evening and this funny response came out in my head, where I responded to the monotone nagging computer's message with "OKaay Computer!". It was interesting because it came out spontaneously in the same sense as "OKaay Mom" in the fashion of perhaps a teenager on some sitcom trying to put an end to his nagging mom's berating him with a bunch of unwelcome or tedious advice. Then I immediately realized the overlap with the album title and thought, "hmmmmmm, is it a commentary on some dystopianish future where the computers nag us humans to get on with some urgent optimum they're trying to press us all into conformity with?"
hkmurakami 9 hours ago 4 replies      
Pretty sad they're calling this an "app". If it's dated to 1996, clearly it's a "program"!
EvanAnderson 40 minutes ago 0 replies      
I am reminded of the last track on Information Society's[1] 1992 album "Peace and Love, Inc.", which was a recording of a 300 baud modem encoding an ASCII text message[2]. Their debut album, "Information Society"[3], used the somewhat obscure "CD+G" format, which included graphics that could be displayed by compatible players.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Information_Society_(band)

[2] http://www.textfiles.com/humor/is_story.txt

[3] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmYPQq7JcEg

Joeboy 5 hours ago 0 replies      
> "Congratulations....you've found the secret message syd lives hmmmm. We should get out more." Is what the message reads. Are they referring to the late Pink Floyd guitarist Syd Barret?

They're more directly referring to the backmasked message on Pink Floyd's Empty Spaces, which goes: "Congratulations. You have just discovered the secret message. Please send your answer to Old Pink, care of the Funny Farm, Chalfont."

divbit 18 minutes ago 0 replies      
Does x86 count as an '80s computer?
anindha 18 minutes ago 0 replies      
This reminds me of buying a sound blaster sound card.


Aaargh20318 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Too bad it's ZX Spectrum only. Would have been cool if it would have been a cross-platform BASICODE program (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BASICODE).
cyberferret 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Very cool - brings back memories of loading programs from a cassette tape on an old TRS-80 back in high school, and watching those "" stars blink in the top corner. I believe the cassette players we used used to also play the signal as audio at the same time it was uploading to the PC.

Then, after a few minutes:

"Hammurabi, I beg to report..."

croon 6 hours ago 1 reply      
That's cool, I still have my old Spectrum at home, but I would need to find a cassette player for it, but I assume they've started making those again.
axaxs 8 hours ago 6 replies      
Reminds me of the original Quake game on CD, which, if put into a normal CD player, would play through the NiN soundtrack.
api 44 minutes ago 0 replies      
Skinny Puppy had a hidden track like this too. I think it was on Brap but I could be mistaken.
gustavcedersjo 4 hours ago 1 reply      
The Swedish band Adolphson-Falk included a computer program in the innermost track of its album ver tid och rum from 1984.
jerry40 6 hours ago 0 replies      
It reminded me a strage fate of Syd Barrett...
minademian 8 hours ago 0 replies      
great concept. i'd say it's more intelligent and meaningful promotion rather than succumbing to hipsterism...
Generating Images in JavaScript Without Using the Canvas API medium.com
31 points by petercooper  4 hours ago   10 comments top 6
zbjornson 58 minutes ago 0 replies      
Cool. Nice, creative work. Indexed PNGs seem unfortunately under utilized.

I happen to have just opened a PR to support indexed PNGs in node-canvas (HTML Canvas impl for node) based roughly on the proposed pixelFormat API [1,2] for the same reason that the space savings can be immense.

It's also straightforward to change the palette of an indexed PNG after it's encoded because you don't need to re-compress the body. This lets you do cool tricks with recoloring images.

[1] https://github.com/Automattic/node-canvas/pull/935[2] https://github.com/WICG/canvas-color-space/blob/master/Canva...

seanwilson 9 minutes ago 0 replies      
Maybe I'm missing something but why not use SVG for some of this? Would be perfect for the lozenge pictures.
tambourine_man 34 minutes ago 0 replies      
I handcrafted GIFs back in the day, mostly by looking at generated files and fiddling with the hex. Lots of fun.

I'm curious if it would've been simpler to use it, albeit less efficient.

Xoros 1 hour ago 3 replies      
Despite the fact that it's pretty good stuff, shouldn't the title says it's for Android notification ?
moron4hire 16 minutes ago 0 replies      
I had done a similar thing for the PCM WAV files before Web Audio API was really a thing: http://www.seanmcbeth.com/synth/

Pretty sure that only runs in Chrome anymore.

finchisko 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Hat off. Nice piece of engineering thinking.
What to know when your car is melted by 7,500 pounds of slime eels theverge.com
14 points by xbmcuser  56 minutes ago   8 comments top 6
kileywm 30 minutes ago 1 reply      
A truck, carrying live Pacific hagfish, spilled the cargo in a 5-car collision. Hagfish produce slime to escape danger, and thus slimed the cars onto which they landed. There was no melting involved.
js2 3 minutes ago 0 replies      
The FAQ linked to from the verge is a much better article:


xbmcuser 1 minute ago 0 replies      
Well this is embarrassing I was actually posting it to Reddit pressed the wrong app
midgetjones 15 minutes ago 0 replies      
"Anti-shark spray" has got to be a Batman reference, hasn't it? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yn-ZXgXQeGY
diabeetusman 9 minutes ago 1 reply      
I don't think the article ever really answers the question that it posed in the subtitle: does insurance cover hagfish slime?

Invoking Betteridge's law of headlines, I'm guessing not?

api 42 minutes ago 0 replies      
So wait... Your hovercraft actually can get full of eels? Whoa!
Concentration camps reveal the nature of the modern state aeon.co
32 points by urahara  2 hours ago   9 comments top 2
beloch 57 minutes ago 2 replies      
What concentration camps reveal is that modern people are squeamish about killing.

Consider the Mongol empire. While the Mongol empire had some things in common with a modern state, squeamishness about killing was not one of them. There are cases where they decided a city needed to be destroyed and they took great pains to make sure that destruction was total. Every man, woman, and child they could find was put to the sword (or axe). Depopulating an entire city was a difficult task before carpet bombing became an option. Mongol soldiers were given quotas and expected to produce enough ears to show that they had met that quota. Punishments for not meeting that quota were harsh. Ears were put into sacks and carted off in wagons to be counted. Even dogs, cats and chickens were killed in some cases. There are recorded instances of Mongol armies leaving towns after doing this and then deliberately returning a week or two later, just to make sure they got anyone who had managed to hide in a basement or who was out of town when they were first there.

Consider the Romans. After the third Punic war Carthage's population was sold into slavery en masse and the city burned for 17 days. The earth was salted. There was no fourth Punic war because there were no Carthaginians left alive and free. Let's not even talk about the Assyrians!

Many states throughout history have committed genocide against enemies and many others have persecuted populations within their own borders. Concentration camps are only necessary now because most people won't stand for such atrocities, and states therefore feel compelled to carry them out in relative secrecy. Modern human society is gentler now than at any point in our past, although perhaps navel-gazing and self-accusatory articles like this are part of the reason why, no matter how uninformed they might be.

Aqueous 1 hour ago 4 replies      
This strikes me as a massive overgeneralization. States are just an organizational structure of institutions, tasked with operating a society. They are not intrinsically inclined towards building concentration camps any more than they are intrinsically inclined towards providing healthcare or delivering a basic income. States operating under an ideology of madness will operate as if mad. States operating under an ideology of reason will operate reasonably.

And for me at least, the main take-away from the image of the concentration camp is clear: elections have consequences, so take your vote seriously. Form a functional coalition with others to elect the least terrible person you can. If you don't, you may end up handing the machinery of the state - capable of harm on a massive scale - over to the unsavory or the insane. That's the lesson of the concentration camps and the lesson of recent history.

So I think the distinction between the nature of the state and the nature of its citizens is important for effective democratic participation. If you are so cynical that you think that 'concentration camps reveal the nature of the modern state,' why would you participate in such a thing? If we are collectively down on the very concept of the state, there's no way to run a good one.

Show HN: 100 Python books, categorized and ranked pythonbooks.org
68 points by gh1  3 hours ago   17 comments top 6
sixhobbits 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I wish I could be flattered that my book "Flask by Example" appears above the seminal "Two Scoops of Django" in the "Web Development" section[0], but instead I'm just left wondering how "Popularity Score" is calculated. We're only given:

"The scores are based on a combination of the popularity of the book and relevance to the topic. The best possible score is 100 and the worst is 0."

[0] http://pythonbooks.org/topical-books/web-development/

gh1 3 hours ago 2 replies      
I created PythonBooks as a side project.

The website is a guided repository of Python books and currently lists the best 100 books. It classifies these books into fine grained categories and shows the best books in each category. It has filters for Python version, free and non free books etc. For the beginner book section, you can even filter the books by topics that you want to learn.

johnnyballgame 1 hour ago 1 reply      
The excellent "Two Scoops of Django" is now on version 1.11.


quangv 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Pretty sweet! Anything similar for JavaScript?

This is prolly there best list of Python books I've seen. Great job!

martinmusio7 2 hours ago 1 reply      
It structures the world of relevant python books quite well. Thanks, I appreciate it!
peteretep 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Very few of:


Are for experienced programmers new to Python, which is a shame.

New Next-Generation GPU-Powered EC2 Instances (G3) amazon.com
78 points by janober  10 hours ago   53 comments top 10
lars 5 hours ago 6 replies      
They say "next-generation", but these are M60 GPUs, which are very much "previous-generation". Current generation would be P100 GPUs.

I am in the market for a cloud GPU offering, and I have to say the big cloud providers are very uncompetitive here, only offering these old, slow GPUs.

marklit 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Anyone care to chime in on why spot instances are now 10x on-demand instances? I've got a thread going here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14769026
horusthecat 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I'm taking this and Nvidia's announcement it was going to sell a mining-oriented GPU as the shot over the bow for cryptocoins. But then again, only market-makers get rich calling a top.
girvo 6 hours ago 2 replies      
Lol we don't even have the P instances in Sydney yet, so I'm not holding my breath here.
floatboth 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Once again, no instances with multiple powerful GPUs and like 1-2 CPU cores and 1GB RAM Not doing them to discourage mining? :D
swiley 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Has anyone done much Linux gaming on EC2? I want to be able to play xonotic again but I don't play it often enough to justify buying a high power desktop.
bryanlarsen 2 hours ago 2 replies      
Sad to see no fractional-GPU instances. A 4xlarge is massive overkill and unaffordable for our use case.
amq 6 hours ago 2 replies      
> up to 18 H.264 1080p30 streams

How is the quality compared to x264 with the default settings (preset medium, crf 23)?

phreeza 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Does anyone know what the difference between G and P is supposed to be, conceptually?
mankoxyz 8 hours ago 6 replies      
Is it profitable to use these for mining cryptocurrency?
The Hard Thing About Software Development linkedin.com
61 points by bcl  2 hours ago   18 comments top 7
markbnj 1 minute ago 0 replies      
The author could have just left the "Remote" part out. This piece is really about hiring independents for gigs vs. building and educating your own team.
haburka 58 minutes ago 5 replies      
I agree completely. Rarely the hard problems in coding are thinking of a clever algorithm, or solving a particularly nasty scaling problem. Usually I've struggled the most with understanding and building what the customer needs. A spec can be interpreted many different ways and will always have to be polished after its completed. Someone who doesn't know what the customer expects will almost certainly create an implementation that has these micro problems that make the product miss it's mark.

It makes me think that we're training the wrong people in college by making CS a very difficult, math heavy field which often causes the more human skilled people to drop out. Programming doesn't have to be anymore math heavy than building a house yet we force undergrads to implement algorithms on paper? The amount of wasted potential talent due to college is staggering.

exelius 13 minutes ago 0 replies      
Agree 100%. In fact, this is how I built my career -- I knew the tech ok, but realized that I was never going to have the type of influence I needed unless I got into the product side as well.

In the consulting world, we call this job "enterprise architecture". It does, in fact, pay very well: it requires someone with both a sharp business mind and comprehensive technical skills, and those are very difficult to find in one person. I personally am more of a "jack of all trades" type; but you can be a successful architect by focusing on specific technologies as well.

I honestly find that it's easier to take someone who's a hacker type, and teach them the business. You look at the business itself as a large, complex system and model your application development around that. But you also have to be a good enough technologist yourself so that you can tell your dev team when their designs don't match up to the business problem (this is a common problem when requirements are not clearly communicated).

A good architect is the person who understands both the business context and the technology implementation. You don't have to be in-the-weeds building the product, but often you do have to build quick POCs to prove out an approach before handing off the designs to development - so being able to code is a necessity IMO.

dublinclontarf 57 minutes ago 0 replies      
"Being able to program is not the problem. Understanding the problem is the problem" - one of my lecturers in University.
xvaier 47 minutes ago 0 replies      
As a lead developer building a platform dealing with the intricacies of union agreements and labor restrictions, this summarizes exactly the thought process that my team has gone through in the last year.

We started with a simple problem that plagues HR departments in every conceivable industry with unions, finding substitute personnel and erroneously assumed that it was a simple fix. Over the past year and a half we have accumulated a great deal of knowledge after interacting with as many people as possible and have finally released a version that meets our original criteria (and much more). It was obviously not a simple fix.

If I have one thing to tell anyone who is looking for business ideas to try out their new programming skills on, I strongly suggest taking the time to learn as much as possible about the people to whom you want to provide a solution, then recruiting one of them to help you build it, lest you become another project that solves a non-issue beautifully.

FLUX-YOU 12 minutes ago 0 replies      
Here's the problem:

- Here's a pool of knowledge about software development: hardware, operating systems, memory, disks, file formats, databases, networks, protocols, languages, debuggers, design patterns, security, accessibility, UI/UX, distributed systems, paradigms, typical algorithms & data structures, and CS problems

- There's a pool of knowledge about whatever industry you get into as a developer: user demands, existing workflows, existing infrastructure, previous decisions, legal regulation & compliance, physical laws, profitability, and practical limits.

Your software development skills should reach a point where you don't write "Bad Code" -- anything that's wrong like loading a entire database table that eats memory when you can read individual rows, storing passwords in cleartext, or not doing anything for accessibility (this is not design pattern, space/tab debates). These have been done hundreds of times by new and 'experienced' people.

It takes time to get to this point. More time than anyone likes to admit because the pool of knowledge grows and shrinks daily, but has undoubtedly had a net expansion since computers were a thing.

It takes time to get deep knowledge about whatever industry you get into. This is different for every industry. There's a practical minimum that you need to work on solutions or do maintenance on software within this industry. This is to avoid "Bad Code" which will hurt you, other people, or your business.

You can gain industry knowledge by just being given problems and being shown. This is probably how most of us know our industries from the get-go. A minority of us came from those industries and transitioned to programming later, so we already had a base level of knowledge of our problems.

If I've got the definition of Deep Context right from this article, it means to get to that point, you have to spend a good amount of time within the industry. It's not something you can gain completely by reading out of a book.

If you're to gain deep context within an industry, you have to devote some time away from software. You can't do both at the same instant (but certainly within a day). When you study an industry, there's an opportunity cost to not learning something new about software and vice versa.

When you add more requirements to a single job, it increases the time we have to spend before we're employable. Not every industry changes as fast as software does, but some certainly do, possibly catalyzed by software.

If you increase the time requirements, it's going to reduce the available pool of engineers as long as all of the engineers are honest and don't apply for jobs or remote contracts until they're ready.

If you don't want the time requirements to increase, you have pay the opportunity costs from one of your pools of knowledge.

So really, we need a much better "good enough" for employing developers and career development, including teaching software and industry knowledge. Because eventually the time requirements are going to become steeper and steeper. It can't go up forever.

s73ver 54 minutes ago 2 replies      
I thought the hard thing in software development was naming things and off by one errors?
Show HN: CheerpJ JavaFiddle Run Java in the browser (Console/AWT/Swing) leaningtech.com
38 points by apignotti  6 hours ago   10 comments top 6
Alupis 3 minutes ago 0 replies      
Obviously not a problem with the platform, but your example Java code doesn't really use standard Java conventions. A bit odd for samples usually.
swiley 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Now you can just shove this in electron and have java apps everywhere again!
feikname 3 hours ago 0 replies      
If you don't see any "compile and run" button or the text console, you may need to zoom out or go fullscreen. That was my case on Firefox 54 with a 1366x768 screen.
murkle 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow, good job! The CheerpJ Chrome Extension to run old Java Applets actually works, eg http://dogfeathers.com/java/octicos.html
fullstackhuman 3 hours ago 1 reply      
The boilerplate HelloWorld code hangs on `compiling...` for me. Not sure if it's my network ad-blocker or something else though.
_pmf_ 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Horizontal non-resizability of the editor is a bit of an issue (Chrome / Win7).
A Quantum Computer Foundation for Standard Model and SuperString Theories (2002) arxiv.org
10 points by lainon  3 hours ago   2 comments top 2
danbruc 32 minutes ago 0 replies      
I just skimmed the article, it is not too obviously a crackpot paper, the author seems to know what he is talking about at least to a certain extend, and I did not notice any obvious nonsense like cosmic energy vibrations. But it still looks and feels very amateurish as compared to serious physics papers. If you then look at the titles of the books the author has published - search for Stephen Blaha on Amazon - and find things like Quantum Big Bang Cosmology: Complex Space-time General Relativity, Quantum Coordinates, Dodecahedral Universe, Inflation, and New Spin 0, 1/2, 1 & 2 Tachyons & Imagyons your crackpottery alarm should probably go off.
trevas 11 minutes ago 0 replies      
May this article be another argument for the "we live in a simulation" theory?
Jamie Dimon blows up at DC's dysfunction cnbc.com
9 points by clebio  39 minutes ago   4 comments top 2
bluejekyll 10 minutes ago 1 reply      
It's hard to disagree about the beuracracy and litigiousness of the country.

But that doesn't mean that he's correct that the core issue are the restrictions put on banks 5 years ago. That is so self-serving. Remember the banks got bailed out after the recession; but the people lost their homes. More money has flowed to the top during this time period, making lives harder for average Americans.

It's hard to be sympathetic to Mr. Dimon.

valuearb 9 minutes ago 1 reply      
Jamie's right. Imagine how much benefit the US could get if Apple was able to repatriate its hundreds billions in overseas profits without losing over half to taxes.
Ask HN: Any bootcamps or courses for intermediate/advanced people?
6 points by sotojuan  34 minutes ago   4 comments top 2
mcx 1 minute ago 0 replies      
If you're in SF: https://bradfieldcs.com/
modalduality 3 minutes ago 2 replies      
Recurse Center: https://www.recurse.com/. Anecdotally, not so easy to get in.
Ravens can plan for future as well as 4-year-old children can newscientist.com
57 points by 16961714b  4 hours ago   18 comments top 9
ljf 3 hours ago 3 replies      
I had a pet magpie as a child and in the short time we had it it was clear it was such an intelligent creature.

Its nest had fallen from a tree in a storm - we found it a day or so later in a not great state. But within a day of feeding it was hand tame and happily came to live in the house. By the end of the summer though it learnt the skills it needed and flew off.

While it lived with us it quickly learnt the places we were happy for it to be in the house, where its 'bed' was and when we would feed it. It continually picked up small toys to play with and would delight in dropping things off the table for us to fetch and return for it.

In some ways I was so sad when it left, and as a child regretted not clipping its wings - but I'm pleased we didn't and was hopeful it went off to lead a normal magpie life ;)

qb45 3 hours ago 1 reply      

Researchers trained ravens to exchange some tokens for food. Presented with a choice of 15 different objects, majority of the birds picked the food tokens and stashed them for up to 17 hours until an opportunity for exchange came again.

The author believes this passes as the pinnacle of a 4 year old's planning abilities.

straws 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I feel like one day I'm going to land on Hacker News and I'll read Team of Ravens Beat Lee Sedol 4-1 in Latest Go Championships
ganonm 3 hours ago 1 reply      
General intelligence evolving independently in another distantly related species implies there is a degree of evolutionary convergence towards this trait given the right selective stimulus. This has implications for the possibility of extraterrestrial intelligence and might allow us to rule out the possibility that 'general intelligence' is an astronomically unlikely event - one of the main candidates for a 'Great Filter'.
MrFantastic 38 minutes ago 1 reply      
TIL ravens are smarter than politicians and CEOs.
unit91 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I have a 3 year old who has all kinds of plans for Christmas. I seriously doubt a Raven is capable of that.
ryanar 3 hours ago 0 replies      
This is reminiscent of the Bicameral mind concept presented in Westworld. The ability to have a sense of time and plan for it and meet a goal is essential to sentience.
lngnmn 16 minutes ago 0 replies      
Ravens have a concert of future? Amazing!

What if ravens just act accordingly to environmental cues instead?

ourmandave 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I've seen 4-year-old's play with their food.

It's not going to go well under our new Raven Overlords.

My only hope is to taste like chicken fingers and therefore die quickly.

Jefferies gives IBM Watson a Wall Street reality check techcrunch.com
403 points by code4tee  14 hours ago   248 comments top 34
throwaway9980 13 hours ago 14 replies      
IBM vastly over promises with their marketing. It is so frustrating to have to answer questions from the CEO about why we don't solve all our problems with magic beans from IBM's Watson.

I understand that this is what they want. They want to drive executives' interest in the product, but I believe they do so at the expense of their goodwill with the tech community.

Am I the only one who cringes when these ads air?

Edit: "magic beans" is harsh and it isn't that I don't think their tools are good. My point is that they put you in a position where it seems very unlikely to meet expectations.

xienze 13 hours ago 3 replies      
> Jefferies pulls from an audit of a partnership between IBM Watson and MD Anderson as a case study for IBMs broader problems scaling Watson. MD Anderson cut its ties with IBM after wasting $60 million on a Watson project that was ultimately deemed, not ready for human investigational or clinical use.

Well, can't say I'm surprised. I used to work on that project a few years ago, basically the idea was that Watson would look at a patient's medical record, figure out what medications they're on, what symptoms they had, etc. and cross-reference all that with the medical knowledge it had ingested from vast amounts of medical literature. In theory, Watson could figure out what medications the patient should or should not be using, a proper course of treatment, etc.

There were two major problems:

First, it turns out your medical record is mostly written in narrative form, i.e., "John Smith is a 45 year old male...", "Patient is taking X mg of Y twice daily", "Patient was administered X ml of Y on 3/1/2016", etc. In other words, there's basically no structured data, so just figuring out the patient's stats, vitals, medications, and treatment dosages was an adventure in NLP. All that stuff was written in sentence form, and of course how things were written depended on who wrote it in the first place. It was really, really hard to make sure Watson actually had correct information about the patient in the first place.

Second, all that medical literature that was being ingested? Regular old, don't-know-anything-about-medicine programmers were the ones writing the rules the manipulating the data extracted via NLP. Well guess what, if you're not a domain expert you're bound to get things wrong.

Put those two things together and we would frequently get recommendations that were wildly incorrect, but that's to be expected when you get garbage input being fed into algorithms written by people who aren't domain experts.

batmansmk 52 minutes ago 0 replies      
IBM offered a day of Watson training in San Francisco about a year and a half ago.As engineers working with classifications, we were interested to compare the results of Watson to our algorithms, but also look at the API, the communication, the community etc.

It was a classroom nightmare. WIFI not working, Bluemix required for all workshops not working at that time, teachers very new on the topic themselves (one confessed he only knew Watson for a couple of weeks before the training), no announcement, no nice moment to socialize or build up a community, no coupon given to try on our own after, ...

And... the algorithms didn't work at all. The sentiment analysis was classifying as really positive the sentence: "I wasn't happy at all by the service" due to 'happy' and 'all' present in the sentence.

pgodzin 13 hours ago 3 replies      
The marketing has made it very hard to have a real conversation about IBM Watson. There is no such singular thing as "Watson". IBM offers a ML solution for health, for NLP, chatbots, etc. They all have very different capabilities and require different levels of machine learning. The marketing is BS, but most of the tech is real - if you give IBM your data, let them train a model on it, and communicate what you want, you will get an end-to-end custom solution. It's just not the magic IBM sells in its marketing videos.

Disclaimer: SWE at Watson Health

throwaway111991 13 hours ago 7 replies      
I was at the CogX artificial intelligence summit in London a couple of weeks ago, and IBM were there in full force.

I made several rounds around all of the stalls, and sat at the bar for a couple of hours with friends, and the whole time I could see the IBM stall, with 4-5 people there, WATSON plastered everywhere and nobody talking to them.

So I went over. I got talking to one of their technical people there,

I am highly experienced in Deep Learning so I started talking about Neural Nets, and he went blank, and admitted he didn't know much about that. I inquired about WATSON's technology and he couldn't answer telling me he didn't know.

I asked about the main use cases, and what makes WATSONs offering better than Deep Learning, he couldn't answer, or even compare on basic levels.

I asked him "What are the coolest uses of WATSON you've seen" and he immediatly went into a canned response about WATSON diagnosing cancer (a project I had seen and was familiar with) we spoke a few minutes on that, and I asked what other cool projects WATSON had been used on ... he had nothing, and I mean literally nothing.

very disappointing

save_ferris 13 hours ago 4 replies      
I don't think this isn't limited to IBM, my partner's PE firm recently hired a small consulting group touting a "revolutionary, AI-driven" real-estate analysis product that has zero AI whatsoever. It's basically a custom spreadsheet tool that they're claiming to be building AI on top of as they consume company data, but for a few hundred grand per year, they have a basic CRUD app on Azure with a reporting tool using D3 visualizations. But they think it's AI.

It's almost like 2016-17 were gold-mine years for marketing buzzwords and some companies are closing deals with no real execution plan for what they're selling.

RcouF1uZ4gsC 13 hours ago 3 replies      
Watson is one of the biggest empty marketing slogans ever. The marketing makes it almost seems like General AI able to easily solve your pressing problems if you pay IBM money.

As a non-expert, it seems like the top end researchers are working for Google(Hinton, Bengio, etc), Facebook(LeCun), Baidu, Uber (ex CMU faculty). I don't really see a lot of machine learning research coming out of IBM comparable to the others.

IBM seems to running on the fumes of it's previous greatness while burning the ship to generate stock market returns.

verdverm 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I quit IBM Watson 5 weeks ago. Here is why IBM is suffering.


PM me for more ;]

bradneuberg 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I've had two encounters with IBM Watson that left me unimpressed. The first was using the IBM Watson Speech Transcription service (give an audio file and get text); the results were pretty bad vs. Google's, for example. The second was in their recent integration into Star Trek Bridge Command (which is an amazing game BTW!); the speech recognition results were pretty bad.
bischofs 11 hours ago 2 replies      
What does IBM even do anymore? Is it some bizarre set of buildings where they just play with computers and print money?What product do they sell? Whom do they sell it to?

I am genuinely curious...

I have a comp sci degree and worked in different industries relating to software and have never even seen or touched any IBM tech except for those old cash registers.

code4tee 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Within the data science community Watson has long been viewed as snake oil. Glad to see less technical and business folks are finally smelling BS too.
hbarka 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Lotus Notes. Why this garbage of an email system is still perpetrated by IBM explains IBM. It worked back in 1999 but pity you if you're in a company still using it and the CIO still putting upgrade patches to it.
snissn 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I spent months as a fully qualified lead trying to buy a Watson product and simply couldn't. Had calls rescheduled, canceled, got on the phone and a kafka-esque experiences with a sales person. We gave up and just built out what we wanted to buy..
bitmapbrother 10 hours ago 0 replies      
This is simply the media and analysts catching up with what everyone familiar with Watson already knew - that it was nothing more than marketing bullshit designed to project IBM as a leader in A.I. Watson is a lot like IBM's cloud initiative - a service so bad that they don't even use it internally, but have no problems conning their customers on its value.
BucketSort 12 hours ago 0 replies      
As soon as I saw "now with Watson" on H&R block's windows, I knew it was over.
daxfohl 12 hours ago 1 reply      
> and lets be real, things would look much worse if Google, Microsoft and Facebook were added to this table

Umm, so add them? And Nvidia, Intel, Baidu, Uber, Tesla? Anybody else? That single chart would actually be more interesting than the entirety of this article.

dangero 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Anything that IBM puts out remember they are a consulting company, so they want to generate a huge brand name. That allows them to charge the consulting prices they need to charge to make this business work for them. IBM Watson is a collection of sort-of-working AI related APIs, but it gets A LOT of press. If they can create an AI brain, then people will believe they can do anything for them in the tech arena and that's the goal.
throwaway91111 12 hours ago 0 replies      
This is only the beginning of selling AI as a panacea. People, if it does something useful, there is a term for it. The only reason not to use that term is to AVOID direct comparisons.
zhanwei 13 hours ago 0 replies      
So IBM Watson can do all the smart and complex stuff but we still need human to do the dumb stuff like importing excel files where the cost outweighs the benefit of getting Watson to do the smart stuff.
atsaloli 13 hours ago 0 replies      
This reminds me of a Linux Journal piece I did 5 years ago on system administration of the Watson supercomputer (after they got their 15 minutes of fame on Jeopardy):


They brought in a sysadmin after they got up to 800 OS instances. Before that, it was just 3 part-time researchers handling the system administration duties.

mark_l_watson 12 hours ago 1 reply      
In the last 6 weeks, I have been called by two reporters (Wall Street Journal and Reuters) for background on AI. I talked with the Journal reporter for about an hour, covering 'everything.' However, the Reuters reporter only wanted to talk about IBM Watson - we just had a short talk.

I have seen a lot of negative press on Watson, but really, it can be evaluated like any other API to see if it meets your needs.

sumoboy 10 hours ago 0 replies      
IBM should ask Watson how to fix the company first, then it would have some credibility. They don't treat there employees very well either, but neither does Oracle so why would anybody waste time working for losers.

+1 "dog shit wrapped in cat shit" .. that is awesome.

rv816 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Finally someone publishes what everybody in the industry has long since known, especially in healthcare.
hacksonx 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Fundamental software problems here. Probably the reason why software is being marketed as service more and more. IBM might be moving a little too fast, especially from a sales perspective but their systems offer features that will define the future.
JunkDNA 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Still waiting for the peer reviewed publication in a prestigious medical journal that demonstrates doctors using Watson get better outcomes for their patients.
zitterbewegung 11 hours ago 0 replies      
While getting my undergraduate IBM said they were going to give an overview of the Watson system they used to solve Jeopardy . I skipped it but there were some professors that went to it. The professors walked out saying that they were using Watson as some kind of marketing term. They gave no technical details either . That's how I found out that Watson was a marketing gimmick.
shard972 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Only took like 4 years for someone to catch on. I remember seeing right away when they put Watson on jeopardy it was going to be a giant pr stunt.
dmritard96 13 hours ago 1 reply      
somewhat off topic but I find their use of 'Watson' to be rather outrageous as he was a big part of IBMs Jew tracking systems installed in concentration camps during world war two. I suppose I already looked at IBM as an org that really does not own this as they should but its particularly bothersome that they would use his name as a flagship of their marketing efforts.
fredsanford 4 hours ago 0 replies      
IBMs solution? More offshore and H1B and force everyone into the office.

Circling the drain.

komali2 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I think it's one of the last great investments - Watson will make IBM an astonishing amount of money, right up until it and the technology its spearheading make money irrelevant.
polm23 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Best story I heard from a guy who claimed to have worked at IBM in a bar was when he went to meet a client and they asked, in all seriousness, where the talking hologram from the commercial was.
smegel 13 hours ago 0 replies      
> Unfortunately, IBM is struggling to bridge the gap between client needs and its own technological capability.

AI in a nutshell.

dpkonofa 13 hours ago 1 reply      
This and the comments below are really depressing to me. Watson seemed like such an exciting piece of tech and something that had the potential to change the world and now I feel like the shareholder's virus has stagnated it to the point of it being worthless. I've heard multiple stories where the staff that's assigned to demo and talk about Watson have no idea what they're talking about and that the marketing, management, and finance people don't have any inkling as to what is special about Watson. They only care that it's not currently making them boatloads of money, despite the fact that it absolutely could. I guess I'll have to move my excitement to Google and Apple's machine learning attempts.
Scrap dealer finds Apollo-era NASA computers in dead engineers basement arstechnica.com
10 points by pinewurst  1 hour ago   discuss
Using Deep Learning to Create Professional-Level Photographs googleblog.com
492 points by wsxiaoys  21 hours ago   106 comments top 31
Lagged2Death 1 hour ago 1 reply      
When a topic like self-driving vehicles comes up, the Hacker News crowd is mainly in favor: Creative destruction! Disruption! Go go gadget robots! Not surprising. How many Hacker News readers drive trucks or taxis for a living? How many regard commuting as an enjoyable hobby?

Photography, on the other hand, is a very common hobby in the tech community. And the comments here seem to reflect that this effort strikes a little close to home: Those pictures are lousy, if you find them appealing you have no taste! Just because they're 'professional' doesn't mean they're good! Machines cant replace human judgment, they have no soul! I bet that machine had a lot of human help!

Tech people may tell you great stories about meritocracy and reason, but in the end we are just emotional monkeys. Like the rest of humanity.

Those of us who can accept this may at least aspire to be wise monkeys.

wsxiaoys 20 hours ago 11 replies      
For those who think it's just another lame DL based instagram filter...

The method proposed in the paper(https://arxiv.org/abs/1707.03491) is mimicing a photographer's work: From taking the picture(image composition) to post-processing(traditional filter like HDR, Saturation. But also GAN powered local brightness editing).In the end it also picks the best photos(Aesthetic ranking)

Selected comments from professional photographers at the end of paper is very informative. There's also a showcase of model created photos in http://google.github.io/creatism

[Disclaimer: I'm the second author of the paper]

andreyk 19 hours ago 5 replies      
Talking as a semi-pro (I've put in some money into cameras and lenses and spent a good bit of time on photo editing), this is a bit underwhelming. For landscapes (which this seemed to focus on), I've found that opening up the Windows photo editing programs and clicking 'enchance' or Gimp and clicking some equivalent already gets you most of the way there in terms editing for aesthetic effect. The most tricky bit is deciding on the artistic merit of a particular crop or shot, and as indicated by the difference between the model's and photographer's opinion at the end of the paper, the model is not that great at it. Still, pretty cool that they did that analysis.
brudgers 16 hours ago 1 reply      
It is an interesting project and shows significant accomplishment. I'm not sold on the idea of "professional level" except in so far as people getting paid to make images. I am not sold because the little details of the images don't really hold up to close scrutiny (and I don't mean pixel peeping).

1. The diagonal lines in the clouds and the bright tree trunk at the extreme right of the first image are distractions that don't support the general aesthetic.

2. The bright linear object impinging on the right edge of the cow image and the bright patch of the partial face of the mountain on the extreme left. Probably the gravel at the left too since it does not really support the central theme.

3. The big black lump that obscures the 'corner' where the midground mountain meets the ground plane in the house image.

4. The minimal snow on the peaks in the snow capped mountain image is more documenting a crime scene than creating interest. I mean technically, yes there is snow and the claim that there was snow would probably stand up in a court of law, but it's not very interesting snow.

For me, it's the attention to detail that separates better than average snapshots from professional art. Or to put it another way, these are not the grade of images that a professional photographer would put in their portfolio. Even if they would get lots of likes on Facebook.

Again, it's an interesting project and a significant accomplishment. I just don't think the criteria by which images are being judged professional are adequate.

jff 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Automatically selecting what portion to crop is impressive, but just slamming the saturation level to maximum and applying an HDR filter is the sign of "professional" photography rather than good photography.
d-sc 20 hours ago 4 replies      
As someone who lives in a relatively rural area with similar geography to much of the mountains and forests in these pictures I have noticed previously how professional pictures of these areas have a similar feeling of over saturating the emotion.

It's interesting to see algorithms catching up to being able to replicate this. However when you mention these kind of abilities to photographers, they get defensive, almost like you are threatening their identity by saying a computer can do it.

fudged71 16 hours ago 3 replies      
Very impressed by the results.

I hope that one day our driverless cars will alert us when there is a pretty view (or a rainbow) so we take a moment to look up from our phones. Every route can be a scenic route if you have an artistic eye.

matthewvincent 18 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't know why but the "professional" label on this really irritates me. I'm curious to know how the images that got graded on their "professional" scale were selected for inclusion in the sample. Surely by a human who judged them to be the best of many? I'd love to see the duds.
jtraffic 18 hours ago 1 reply      
When a photographer takes or edits a picture, she doesn't need to predict or simulate her own reaction. There is no model or training necessary, because the real outcome is so easily accessible. However, she is only one person, and perhaps can't proxy well for a larger group.

The model has the reverse situation, of course: it cannot perfectly guess the emotional response for any one person, but it has access to a larger assortment of data.

In addition, in different contexts it may be easier/cheaper to place a machine vs. a human in a certain locale to get a picture.

If my theorizing makes any sense, it suggests that this technology would be useful in contexts where: the locale is hard to reach and the topic is likely to evoke a wide variety of emotional responses.

wonderous 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Interesting how hi-res the photos of a small section of Google Street Car photo can be compared to what users see online; here's an example from the linked article:


agotterer 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Related: Arsenal (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2092430307/arsenal-the-...) is trying to build a hardware camera attachment that uses ML to find the perfect levels for your photo in realtime.
seasonalgrit 13 hours ago 1 reply      
"Someday this technique might even help you to take better photos in the real world."

So what? Maybe I missed it, but what are some potentially meaningful applications of this technology? What motivated this to begin with? Or are these questions that we even bother asking anymore?

I remember the first time someone showed me the Snapchat app -- it would make them look like a cartoon dog, or all these other real-time overlays. I thought, 'jesus, so glad we're all getting advanced computer science degrees so we can work on utterly useless shit like this...'

bitL 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Retouching is another field to play with - I am experimenting with CNN/GANs to clone styles of retouchers I like. If you are a photographer, you know that most studio photos look very bland and retouching is what makes them pop; for that everyone has a different bag of tricks. If you use plugins like Portraiture or do basic manual frequency separation followed by curves and dodge/burn adjustments, you leave some imprint of your taste. This can be cloned using CNN/GANs pretty well; the main issue is to prevent spills of retouched area to areas you want to stay unaffected.
BasDirks 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I find the colors in the results images consistently worse than in the original images.
mozzarella 15 hours ago 0 replies      
this is amazing, but 'professional photographers' aren't really the best arbiters of what a 'good' photograph is. Also, training on national parks binds the results to a naturally bland subject, no pun intended. While an amazing achievement, nothing shown here demonstrates ability beyond a photographer's assistant/digital tech adjusting settings to a client's tastes in Capture One Pro. Jon Rafman's 9 Eyes project comes to mind as something that produced interesting photographs, as does the idea to find a more rigorous panel of 'experts' (e.g. MoMA), or training the model on streets/different locations than national parks.
Kevorkian 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Lately, there has been lots of talk of deep learning applied to create tools which can generaterequirements designs software code create builds test builds as well help with deploying builds to various environments. I'm excited for the future developments capable with ML.
campbelltown 9 hours ago 0 replies      
The first thought after going through all these photos was: incredibly stilted. It's amazingly impressive, but the human photographer will always be able to capture the subtleties that AI will miss. But very cool nonetheless
zemotion 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I think some of these results are really lovely, the one at Interlaken is a perfect travel photo. Would be interesting to see more types of work this could apply to.

Saw a few people talking about retouching and studio work - I do a lot of studio shoots and retouching on my own, and would be happy to help or participate in projects. Feel free to reach out.

parshimers 13 hours ago 1 reply      
This is cool but I really don't get why one could call this actually creating "Professional-Level" photographs. It's more like a very good auto-retouch. There's still the matter of someone actually being there, realizing it is a beautiful place, and dragging a large camera with them and waiting for the right light.
descala 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Instead of augmented reality I would call this "distorted reality". People will prefer to visit places with Street View than being there. Real reality is uglier
wingerlang 11 hours ago 0 replies      
In the future maybe we can just hook up a drone to this and have it fly around taking nice pictures.
cooervo 4 hours ago 0 replies      
wow automation isn't leaving any fields untouched
tuvistavie 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Up to what point can the output be controlled?Can complex conditions be created?e.g. a lake with a mountain background during the evening
k__ 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Is deep learning comparable to perceptual exposure?
known 13 hours ago 0 replies      
ML = Wisdom of Crowds
seany 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Would be interesting to see how well you could train this kind of thing off of a large catalog of lightroom edit data. to then mimic a specific editors style.
olegkikin 17 hours ago 2 replies      
mozumder 19 hours ago 0 replies      
If they're doing dodging/burning, then they could really use the processing on raw files instead of jpegs. The dynamic range is obviously limited when dodging/burning jpegs, as you can see from the flat clouds and blown highlights on the cows.
mtgx 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Great, not all we need is specialized machine learning inference accelerators in our mobile phones. I wonder if Google has even considered making a mobile TPU for its future Pixel phones.
anigbrowl 16 hours ago 0 replies      
For example, whether a photograph is beautiful is measured by its aesthetic value, which is a highly subjective concept.

Oh really.

jonbarker 15 hours ago 1 reply      
From the article the caption of the first picture was interesting: "A professional(?) photograph of Jasper National Park, Canada." Is that the open scene from The Shining? If so I wonder why the question mark, is Stanley Kubrick not a professional photographer?
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