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Kill Google AMP before it kills the web theregister.co.uk
910 points by DLay  1 day ago   435 comments top 64
rubyn00bie 1 day ago 10 replies      
Ive forced myself to use Bing since google introduced AMP. Do I like it better than Google? No, I don't. But! I like not having google become my single source of content more than I dislike the slight drop in quality as a result of using Bing. I like the sites I go to, to have control over their content and being able to easily link to them.

I think it's reprehensible for google to push this so relentlessly and beyond simply stealing links it makes google into the "internet."

This (AMP) could easily be a standard, in fact it's mostly just common sense (good lightweight HTML/CSS/JS). Instead of Google forcing its way on users and creators it could just lower the page rank of the offenders.

One other thing about AMP that pisses me off as a user and an engineer is it's one more place to maintain meaning one more shitty neglected experience. As a user I hate it when AMP pages are broken and I somehow can't get to the non-AMP version. I don't blame the developers because we have enough on our plate. My anger is solely directed to google for making the damn mess in the first place.

cramforce 1 day ago 9 replies      
With respect to scrolling: We (AMP team) filed a bug with Apple about that (we didn't implement scrolling ourselves, just use a div with overflow). We asked to make the scroll inertia for that case the same as the normal scrolling.

Apple's response was (surprisingly) to make the default scrolling like the overflow scrolling. So, with the next Safari release all pages will scroll like AMP pages. Hope Gruber is happy then :)

namuol 1 day ago 1 reply      
> Google has no respect for [iOS Safari]. Its a deliberate effort by Google to break the open web.

I could make the same argument that Apple cripples iOS Safari's implementations of emerging standards that aim to bring the web experience closer to a "native feel" to keep its app store revenue churning:


...but really it's a lot more likely that getting _all_ things right on _all_ platforms is the really, really hard thing about the web, for browser vendors and web developers alike.

Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by incompetence (or in this case, sheer overwhelming difficulty).


richdougherty 1 day ago 11 replies      
In theory* I don't mind the idea of having a more standardised subset web page that has a consistent internal structure and that renders quickly.

However, having Google load this structured content and host it on its own platform is a terrible idea. Content should remain on the publisher's site. Putting too much content in one place is dangerous for competition.

* In practice there are implementation problems too, e.g. those mentioned in the linked article.

hannob 1 day ago 2 replies      
Here's your one step recipe to kill AMP:

* Build fast webpages.

The linked article says: "Yes, AMP pages load fast, but you dont need AMP for fast-loading web pages." Well yes, but people don't build fast webpages without AMP. They could've done all the time, yet webpages got more sluggish over the years.

notgood 1 day ago 10 replies      
"publication independence"? Really? The man who is famous among other things for supporting the most closed ecosystem there is around: iOS, where a single company decides what apps are worth publishing and wish ones doesn't. Or does newspaper publication independence is really that more important than software publication independence. The irony is so clear that it's weird that he didn't even mention it.

That genie is out of the box, when you decided that you didn't mind a company gatekeeping which software you can install on "your" devices you opened that can of worms, the one where any company can gatekeep anything they want as long as it is "convenient" for most people.

niftich 1 day ago 1 reply      
The complaint about AMP's strange UX paradigms is valid: it works very hard to pretend like every AMP article is a standalone website, but it actually behaves like a viewport-wrapping iframe, where Google Search is on the outside and the article is on the inside [1]. But it's not a personal affront to iOS; it's more of an artifact of Google's confusing market strategy and conflicting requirements for AMP's deployment: pretend like AMP pages are real browser-resident tabs, while actually driving traffic around within the confines of Google Search (vs. outside) when possible. As much as I don't care for their strategy, I respect needing to balance conflicting requirements. They should scrap the dishonest UX and be up-front about what they are, as I write [1].

But Josh descends to hyperbole. I've been both critical and supportive of AMP on here [2], but it's important to not lose sight of the big picture. AMP isn't an effort by Google to kill the open web; it's a technology whose existence was forced by Facebook Instant Articles' meteoric rise, a competitor from a company that doesn't even operate on the level of the open web, but runs a family of products where the data flow is one-way: inbound.

Instant Articles made publishing harder on the web, giving preferential treatment to articles posted within Facebook's walled garden (cf. AMP giving preferential treatment to content that adheres to the AMP spec, the same way they give preferential treatment to content served with TLS). With Instant Articles fizzling a bit [3], AMP's importance as a strategic play is lessened, and we can enjoy its benefits without feeling like we're pawns in a game between two massive content aggregation portals.

Besides, Apple News is the same idea as AMP; I'd be curious how Josh feels about that.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13415625[2] https://hn.algolia.com/?query=niftich%20%22AMP%22&sort=byDat...[3] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14126073

marricks 1 day ago 2 replies      
I know it might not be their shtick, but I wish the post focused more on the "publication independence" part of the criticism. Giving Google control over prioritizing a subset of the web, and letting them optimize for it, just gives them a better way to filter content. They seriously have enough power over the web as it is.

The other criticisms about how it performs on iOS seem truly secondary, they could easily fix them but we're still left with the far bigger issue.

Additionally, criticisms about iOS having a closed ecosystem seem irrelevant to this. An App Store is one thing, but starting down the path of effectively adding "high speed lanes" to the supposedly free web is scary.

manigandham 1 day ago 2 replies      
HTML is already fast. It's the stuff that's added to the page that slows it down, and we already have plenty of standards, techniques and solutions to make sites faster.

AMP is just an alternate HTML framework that prevents certain things, that's all. Not sure why everyone is so eager to opt-in to a less flexible system instead of fixing their existing web presence. All it does is increase the amount of time and resources needed to now maintain effectively 2 different versions of the same site while also losing control over rendering, URL location and privacy.

Also the main reason for slow sites is all the ads - ads which are are usually served by DoubleClick, the biggest ad server on the planet and owned by Google.

dreamcompiler 1 day ago 2 replies      
AMP is Google's latest attempt to build a walled garden. It's more dangerous to the web than Facebook's WG because of Google's near-monopoly on search. AMP does indeed need to die in a very hot fire.

And in the long term, it's high time somebody built a less creepy, better functioning search engine.

Pxtl 1 day ago 1 reply      
Honestly? I've come to loathe the abysmal performance of the modern web so much that I'm ready to accept AMP. Half the reason I come to hacker News is that the site runs fast. And half the reason I comment before reading the article is because it doesn't.
tomduncalf 1 day ago 2 replies      
AMP needs to either be drastically rethought or killed. Nothing more annoying for me on my iPhone than clicking a link and it's AMP - as it means missing features, broken scrolling, masked URL and worst of all, in page search is totally broken on the iPhone! So annoying that there is no way to disable it - if Google persist in pushing it then it might push me to try alternatives!
fenomas 1 day ago 1 reply      
What kills me about AMP's UX is that not only is it a dark pattern, it's not even a new dark pattern.

Back, say, 10-12 years ago it used to be really common for sites to jigger their outgoing links, such that the target site would appear in an iframe underneath a toolbar from the original site. This was widely reviled, and mostly died out, and the fact that Google is reviving it really bothers me.

cbhl 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Google, Facebook, and Apple all have walled gardens for reading the news on mobile.

The web as we know it was killed when you couldn't link to a news site because it'd serve ad interstitials (Forbes) or full screen pop-over ads (basically everyone).

I think the real problem is journalists rely on advertising income to do their job. That model requires them to rely on Apple/Facebook/Google for their livelihood, and to focus on sensationalist headlines and quantity over quality (to get ad impressions). One of the most shocking things for me was seeing Buzzfeed have some of the better written pieces in the last year -- all of those stupid "10 best/worst/funniest" type lists provided the ad revenue to do actual journalism that other publications didn't have the budget to do. But it's not clear to me how to break this dependency; for example, UBI might come with strings preventing the publication of pieces critical of the government.

bikamonki 21 hours ago 0 replies      
AMP was born dead no need to kill it. As the webmaster of many websites, the last time I heard customers complain about rankings in SRPs was ten years ago. Their main concern nowadays is likes, follows and shares. I keep telling them: put some effort on your website, own your audience, you do not own your FB page much less the fans and likes there. They don't listen. Trapped in the hype.

In this light, how do I sell to them the idea that investing in AMP content (same trap different server) will help with rankings/performance where they do not care?

Sadly enough, the Internet is happening inside social networks, Amazon and mobile apps. AMP is late to the party, no?

d-sc 1 day ago 1 reply      
I feel like I may be in the minority here. I don't like the philosophy behind AMP, but with the internet at my mildy rural house, AMP articles can be sometimes the only way to access the news without waiting 30+ seconds for a single article.
SanPilot 1 day ago 7 replies      
I do not understand the dislike this community harbors for AMP. I personally really enjoy the system; whenever I'm searching for any type of article on my phone (Android), I prefer AMP pages, because they load faster and are far more responsive than some of their more bloated counterparts.
colinbartlett 1 day ago 3 replies      
If you hate AMP as much as I do, I highly recommend switching your mobile browser to DuckDuckGo. The results are as good as Google and no AMP.
gwu78 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Long before amp, Google began prefixing search result urls with "google.tld?url=" and adding Google parameters as suffixes such as "sa=", "ved=", etc.

Unless I am mistaken this parasitic cruft only serves Google, not end users.

Below is quick and dirty program to filter out the above. Replace .com with .cctld as needed.

Requirements: cc, lex


 curl -o 1.htm https://www.google.com/search?q=xyz yyg < 1.htm > 2.htm your-ad-supported-web-browser 2.htm
To compile this I use something like

 flex -Crfa -8 -i g.l; cc -Wall -pipe lex.yy.c -static -o yyg;
Save text below as file g.lThen compile as above.

 %% [^\12\40-\176] \/url[?]q= "http://www.google.com/gwt\/x?hl=en&amp;u=" "&amp;"[^\"]* %% main(){yylex();} yywrap(){}
As for amp, I read that it needs to use iframes (and Javascript). Yikes. We can easily write a program to strip out iframe targets as well as links to Javascript.

amphtml does look great in a text-only browser that does not load iframes automatically.

Antrikshy 1 day ago 1 reply      
I agree 100% with his frustration with AMP scrolling behavior on iOS.
meow_mix 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm honestly just too scared that Google would gain an even larger foothold in the web to consider implementing AMP on any sites, but the UX argument is valid as well
winteriscoming 1 day ago 1 reply      
What's going to be interesting is if browsers can at some point render a APM version of a page natively. What I mean is render the original page on the source website as APM content. That will stop the monopoly and hijacking (or rather the rationalization of it) of target websites in Google results.
smagch 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I want Apple News and Instant Article to join in AMP so that media developers could reduce the cost of news distribution following the single standard. I even want crawling services, Feedly or Pocket, to serve AMP with advertisements so that I could support writers, journalists and media companies; besides, I have no idea if web feed, RSS or Atom, could consume AMP.

Google, which would gain the most benefit from AMP, deserves criticism for potential abuse of their power. Online media, which serve pages with poor performance, deserve criticism for its reluctance to improve their poor UX. AMP, however, hardly deserves criticism, through a perspective of user experience and news distribution.

AMP may look intimidating to the open web philosophy, be tepid approach from a technological point of view. But we need more experiment as it stands: everyone can become a media with the Web, old media is still playing a valuable role in society, online media lack prospects for the future to be profitable enough to invest in journalism. Fighting for the open web is good, but fighting for it without caring about anyone but technological principle is no good.

theclaw 1 day ago 1 reply      
Looks like Google have recently added a means of getting out of the AMP "jail" and arriving at the original source site by clicking a little link icon in that irritating header that constantly pops over content while scrolling.

This is very welcome. My biggest gripe with AMP was that there was no way out of it.

evolve2k 1 day ago 2 replies      
"it breaks the decade-old system-wide iOS behavior of being able to tap the status bar to scroll to the top of any scrollable view"

Wait. I don't know of this feature. For example I attempted to tap my addresss bar on iOS but it just goes to change the address. How do I use this feature?

sammyh 18 hours ago 1 reply      
I actually really like AMP but not for articles but for products in webshops. The media on the internet is such a mess nowadays anyway that having AMP pages makes no difference whatsoever for the content, sharing and talking. How is google optimized content any different than having to print magazines so that they fit through your mailbox? It is just a alternative method of delivery. The truth is that for the everyday user the only interesting part is the content. Not the ads, not the comments, especially not the page layout and hopefully not the links to other "You never believe what X things about Y" articles across 10 X different page loads. AMP for web articles may die as publishers try to remain more independent or relevant in other forums (snapchat, instagram stories, facebook live etc.) but the idea of fast and simple mobile pages should remain.

For webshops where product discovery is really important and having a fast google search result could (I dont have data to back this up) really drive users to use your webshop instead of the competitors. AMP style pages force developers to focus on what is actually important on the page.

0003 1 day ago 2 replies      
So AMP benefits google because faster page loads = more DFP views (and also more $ for publishers); AMP benefits consumers because JS is not murdering their memory and dataplans. It seems like web developers are the ones that hate it.
thro1111111 1 day ago 0 replies      
Jokes on google, AMP sites always crash on my old iphone 4s (the one I use for mindless browsing), so I just avoid AMP content
thr0waway1239 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't like AMP for no other reason than I don't believe there are any genuinely decentralized initiatives anymore.

"Oh, we open source it, you know", seems the common answer.

If an initiative is rolled out from the innards of one of the tech giants, and there are a bunch of other tech giants contributing to the initiative because it is open source, and most of the contributors and maintainers just accidentally happen to be also be employees of the tech giants, then stop and wonder about it for a while. And then reject it. That is, don't participate in the initiative.

Here is why: at the moment, the cost of open sourcing is minuscule for the giants but the benefits are enormous, and surprisingly often leads the entire tech sector down the path of greater oligopoly (Android being an excellent example). Another way to put it is, given none of the tech giants directly compete with each other in their respective core profit centers, open source is becoming a nice little platform (intentional or unintentional) for extending oligopolies.

There is no realistic chance that the open source code can be used by a competitor against the one who proposes the initiative (if you know of a counter-example, I would be happy to hear about it). But, there is every realistic chance that an initiative like AMP could extend a heavy toll on a genuine but small competitor in terms of code compliance (e.g. DuckDuckGo) and put them out of business.

But then, don't we all benefit from the nice byproducts of their technical innovations? In sum total, once you see the reduction in privacy, competition and decentralization of the web, probably not.

limeblack 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm not sure when there is going to end up but because google amp is hosted on google servers you can actually read such articles on GoGo plane flights with out paying for Internet. It was kinda nice although I'm not sure how long until this will be fixed.
fghafoor 1 day ago 1 reply      
As a web developer I have AMP but as a user I love it! Websites have been so bloated that something like this was badly needed.

People loading just 100-200 kbs of fonts to serve 10kb of original content.

smacktoward 1 day ago 0 replies      
The only reason AMP is even viable is because the current alternatives are even worse.

Publishers have to date shown a remarkable inability to grasp the idea that user experience matters. Just about every major online publication is painful to browse on a mobile device, even ones that have embraced responsive design, because of things like slow-loading ads, excessive use of JavaScript, and enormous modal prompts for things like subscription offers and newsletter signups. Every year the situation gets worse. And no publisher appears to be willing to buck the trend; presumably they believe that, as long as everybody else's site is just as bad, doing so would just be leaving money on the table. So the economic incentive for change is not there.

AMP is a terrible idea for a lot of reasons, any one of which would in a sane market make it an instant non-starter. But the state of online publishing demonstrates that it is anything but a sane market; it's a market trapped in a death spiral, and in that situation any idea that seems to offer a way out is going to get some traction. So it is with AMP.

The only way to make AMP (or something like it) irrelevant would be for the publishers to get their houses in order on their own, without the need for external pressure. But their leadership doesn't have the kind of farsightedness such a move would require, and that leaves room for someone like Google to come in and do their jobs for them.

J5892 19 hours ago 0 replies      
On our site, we just load AMP as a base experience, and load our other stuff on top of it if it's not served in the AMP browser. So we get the initial render speed of AMP, along with the SEO advantages, and can still implement features not supported by AMP for the majority of our users.
hornetblack 21 hours ago 0 replies      
> it breaks the decade-old system-wide iOS behavior of being able to tap the status bar to scroll to the top of any scrollable view

Is that what was happening. It just felt like scroll was spazzing out. Usually I was just trying to push a button near the top of the screen.

dshep 1 day ago 0 replies      
Is this why Google News on mobile is so terrible? Feels like using an android news app inside of Safari. Thumbs down.
Sephr 1 day ago 0 replies      
I feel like the majority of the benefits of Google AMP could be realized with an nginx & Apache plugin combined with Google's CDN.

If it was implemented in this manner, you could keep your existing URL structure and not be forced onto Google's domain. I'm sure many more developers would be okay with AMP if this was the case.

pjbrunet 1 day ago 0 replies      
I suspect whoever made that executive decision at Google to use "AMP" was too young to remember Frontpage and so many years fighting with MSIE. How soon we forget. AMP is bad news. Keep your hands off my design. It's not your Internet, Google. PS: I'm on Linux, not an Apple fanboy :-D
xbmcuser 1 day ago 0 replies      
The problem he is seeing is with safari rendering rather than amp itself. He should ask Apple to fix that.
relics443 23 hours ago 0 replies      
As a user, I love AMP. Pages load fast, and that's about all I really care about.

I don't really do web dev anymore, but if I was I think I'd be happy about using it.

Maybe a content creator feels differently but I don't have any experience with that.

skybrian 1 day ago 3 replies      
"If you don't like the news, go out and make some of your own."

Is anyone working on a competing standard?

grizzles 1 day ago 0 replies      
A competing decentralized implementation if anyone is keen to pitch in: https://github.com/electron/electron/issues/8534
martin1975 22 hours ago 0 replies      
When does that bloody pagerank patent expire anyway? Maybe we can see slightly better quality on other major search engines if they used the same algorithm Google "invented"
WhiteSource1 19 hours ago 0 replies      
From the publisher side does anyone have data on AMP's impact on search rankings (to the original publisher - not Google :-))
Animats 20 hours ago 0 replies      
There are worse things than AMP. "Wix" sites, for one.20 seconds to load a page where all the useful info is static.
twsted 1 day ago 0 replies      
Yes, of course. Just as we are killing publishing on Facebook, right?
taurath 1 day ago 0 replies      
Google news has a bug on iOS safari for me that makes it just load the header - it's actually cut back a lot on my idle news consumption - please don't fix!
2_listerine_pls 1 day ago 1 reply      
Can someone explain How is this killing the open web? Isn't this an open standard?
bozonil 1 day ago 0 replies      
Do you remember the time when slow webpages with megabytes of ads in popups/iframes were killing the web? When almost every webpage was trying to get you install their half-baked mobile apps?

AMP webpages are fast and responsive. Publishers that don't use AMP now have to make their webpages fast. Competition is good for the user and the web.

zghst 1 day ago 0 replies      
Man, business is hard. Millions of voices, easy to die by a thousand of cuts.
urda 23 hours ago 0 replies      
This, coupled with the common anthem from the tech crowd of using Chrome and only Chrome is a dangerous precedent.

Stop supporting AMP, and use something other than Google Search and Chrome today.

kazinator 1 day ago 1 reply      
Are they serious with the following?

AMP HTML uses some stupid Unicode emoji character:

 <html > ^ HN filtered out the voltage symbol, bravo.
Just, no, Google. You're not Ken fucking Iverson, and this is not APL. Just supporting one way of doing it, <html amp>, is perfectly fine.

golergka 18 hours ago 0 replies      
It took 8 seconds, 1.7 Mb of data and 233 requests to load this article. May be a web like this deserves to be killed.
cbsmith 1 day ago 0 replies      
I gotta say, this mostly seems like an attack on the implementation of AMP in Safari than it is on AMP itself.
MichaelBurge 16 hours ago 0 replies      
> Except that, hilariously, to create an AMP page you have to load a, wait for it, yes a JavaScript file from Google.

What does the Javascript file do? Is there an open-source equivalent? If it transmits data to Google, could you instead collect the data server-side and send anonymized data with a cron job once-a-day to Google's endpoint to reduce the slowdown and privacy issues?

It looks like AMP bans all Javascript except for the one Google-provided Javascript file, which provides common UI components:


"While it does allow styling the document using custom CSS, it does not allow author written JavaScript beyond what is provided through the custom elements to reach its performance goals."

Unless Google's library includes everything, even a simple 'Delete' button requires Javascript if you want to use the right HTTP verb. I'd worry about using anything that leads me into a corner like that.

consultSKI 1 day ago 0 replies      
Love my duckduckgo
kuon 1 day ago 1 reply      
What is AMP? EDIT: I mean technically, not what the acronym means.
randyrand 1 day ago 0 replies      
talk about being over-dramatic
alphagrowth 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Hate it or love it if you are a content producer and want to compete in SEO you have to AMP.
tambourine_man 1 day ago 1 reply      
Original link was submitted, flagged (why?) and vouched for.Tried to submit again and, instead of up voting the previous one, it got resubmitted.


wastedbrains 1 day ago 0 replies      
wcr3 23 hours ago 0 replies      
i agree that AMP is troubling for a variety of reasons - none of which, however, change the fact that the author of this article is unquestionably a Weenie.
pducks32 1 day ago 1 reply      
I honestly would support Apple or Mozilla from refusing to render AMP pages. I use DuckDuckGo on Safari so don't have to deal with it thankfully.
wanda 1 day ago 1 reply      
A little late to the party.

People have been criticising AMP for all of the reasons mentioned in this pointless article for many months prior.

Google.ai google.ai
610 points by rbanffy  4 days ago   220 comments top 24
RKearney 4 days ago 2 replies      
.ai is not one of the ccTLDs that Google considers generic[0].

It would be interesting to know if Google will be making .ai generic, or if they will make a special exception for themselves considering they do not allow others to change the geographical targeting of domains registered to a ccTLD.

[0]: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/62399?hl=en&ref...

davidmr 4 days ago 1 reply      
The potential use of TPUs for training is very exciting. They say that they train floating point, but I don't see any indication to the FP precision they're capable of; perhaps I'm missing it. At any rate, I'm really excited to see resources being piled into their Cloud ML Engine product at this high rate.

I've made this comment in a couple of other threads, which subsequently veered off into other territory, so forgive the repetition, but it's a really interesting topic to me. The open-source distributed tensorflow stuff is pretty nice, but it still requires a huge amount of hand coding and tuning the machinery, reminding me quite a lot of just rolling the damn thing in MPI yourself. I'm very excited to see where distributed tf will be in a year or two, but it's a chore today.

Depending on how much these TPUs and other Cloud ML Engine developments help, I'd gladly abandon the attempt to roll it myself with the distributed tf.

The hope is that using Google's secret sauce to auto-distribute the execution graphs and associated data ingestion makes things "just work". At the moment, the documentation and examples for that are a bit all over the place and require writing models to conform to the newish tf.contrib.learn.Experiment API, which is also a bit underdocumented and underexampled. Using it for very large datasets (say >tens of TB) seems to be pretty challenging at this moment (to me at least). For a lot of use cases, BigTable seems to be the ideal ingestion engine for Cloud ML tf jobs, but there's no C native API. You can use BigTable, but you can only dump complete tables into tensorflow rather than querying for relevant data (since the queries cost money, a 5000-core jobs with just a few queries per core would cost you a fortune, so the ability to query BigTable in the tensorflow reader is disabled.

At any rate, I've been banging around on it for a few weeks and am really hopeful. I will follow Cloud ML Engine's career with considerable interest.

jwtadvice 4 days ago 5 replies      
I'm not comfortable with Google having and sharing my data.

Very excited about the NVidia chips though. Would be happy to run TensorFlow with them on my own hardware - though I'm more excited about the day when client software and hardware make that easy and cheap.

khazhoux 4 days ago 6 replies      
Pet peeve: the Google AI effort is the product of ${LARGE_NUMBER} of engineers. This marketing page highlights a half-dozen luminaries. Not only do these luminaries also get comped ($$) one or more orders of magnitude more than rank-and-file, but now they get the glory as well. Sigh.
tghw 4 days ago 10 replies      
Slightly off topic, but this may be one of the first cases of a reversible domain.

https://google.ai/ and https://ai.google/ both point to the same page.

dankai 4 days ago 1 reply      
AutoML is a huge step to bring ML to the developers out there. Kudos for that!
headmelted 4 days ago 2 replies      
"Federated Learning enables mobile phones to collaboratively learn a shared prediction model while keeping all the training data on device.."

Does anyone else find it odd that we're so far through the looking glass this past year that Richard Hendricks' latest venture seems not only plausible but a bit mundane by comparison?

temp1245 4 days ago 4 replies      
Let's be honest, who the hell wakes up asking "What should I do today?". This tech is just so awkward..
BinaryIdiot 4 days ago 2 replies      
I was sorta hoping with the announcement of Google.ai that they would add the .ai extension to Google Domains. Right now there are so few, and very terrible, registers that handle .ai. Like 101domain.com who can only make nameserver changes for you during their 9am to 5pm business hours on weekdays.
api 4 days ago 3 replies      
Implied here is the emergence of a new business model: developer powerful custom hardware that you do not sell, but only make available as a service in the cloud. This way you get multiple layers of lock-in.
teddyh 4 days ago 1 reply      
Now, what was that quote again? We have only bits and pieces of information. But what we know for certain is that at some point in the early 21st century, all of mankind was united in celebration. We marveled at our own magnificance as we gave birth to AI.

Google seems to be more and more appropriate for The Matrix quotes: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9780632

theprop 4 days ago 4 replies      
If Google's AI is so great, why is it that Google search results seem to get worse and worse every year?

So many searches I do are so "SEO'ed", I feel like it's 1999 again.

felipemnoa 4 days ago 3 replies      
Unfortunately this doesn't seem to be for me, even though I'm really interested in AI and I'm currently working on an AI project (look at my profile if you are interested). I wish I could run my own AI algorithm rather than just using their own. It would probably be cheaper to just buy my own Xeon computers. Training is really what takes most of the computer power.
softbuilder 4 days ago 1 reply      
Slightly O/T: What is that insane heatsink sitting on? TPU? Is it that stacked up because it's passive?
IanCal 4 days ago 2 replies      
Is there any pricing data available?
obulpathi 4 days ago 2 replies      
NVidia announces they are building new generation TPU's and two days later Google announces that they have them in Google Cloud. God Speed!
tejasmanohar 4 days ago 1 reply      
I feel like there have been a series of announcements about AI toolkits and work in the last week. Is there some collaboration, is this a special week?
vturner 4 days ago 4 replies      
"We're currently testing Federated Learning in Gboard on Android, the Google Keyboard"

Thank-you for reminding me why I don't use Gboard and instead the BlackBerry Priv's fine keyboard instead. The obsession of prediction in our culture is absurd.

usaphp 4 days ago 2 replies      
I might be skeptical, but every single AI experiment or showcase I see either online or on google experiments list is nothing that impressive. The whole AI thing is so overhyped these days...
CarMaker 4 days ago 4 replies      
Sorry but I'm new and I read the "approach to comments": https://news.ycombinator.com/newswelcome.html

I'd love a place where I can grok and find only useful info. Comments like this don't help.

> The worst thing to post or upvote is something that's intensely but shallowly interesting: gossip about famous people, funny or cute pictures or videos, partisan political articles, etc. If you let that sort of thing onto a news site, it will push aside the deeply interesting stuff, which tends to be quieter.

unixhero 4 days ago 0 replies      
Holy shit
mlindner 4 days ago 2 replies      
Looks like Google is trying marketing spin to make what it does sound less evil.
dogecoinbase 4 days ago 0 replies      
"Our mission is to organize the worlds information and make it universally accessible and useful..."

As good a time as any for a reminder of how this philosophy actually plays out at Google: https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2017/04/the-t...

delbel 4 days ago 4 replies      
Bringing the benefits of AI to everyone... even if its against your will... this will be used for evil. Mark my words. Totaliatrian governments of the future will leverage this technology, combined with controlling the populations' political discourse. Don't believe me? It's already happened on a massive scale both last election and recently before that: Facebook Manipulated 689,003 Users' Emotions For Science


Let them paste passwords ncsc.gov.uk
691 points by matthewbadeau  3 days ago   358 comments top 49
artursapek 3 days ago 13 replies      
Of course it reduces security. It makes you resort to either

1.) typing it out manually while you can't see if you made a mistake

2.) using developer tools to set the 'value' attribute directly

"SPP" discourages use of a password manager. End of story. I also see this pattern used on banking websites for inputs like an account number. This drives me crazy as well for the same reason. The computer can get it right more reliably than my eyes and fingers.

Whenever I see a website that blocks paste I immediately assume it's built by incompetent people and trust it with as little as possible.

discreditable 3 days ago 4 replies      
On Chrome you can use "Don't Fuck With Paste" to override these bad forms: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/dont-fuck-with-pas...
_jal 3 days ago 3 replies      
In general, more and more sites encourage me to just leave Javascript turned off all the time. If they break, screw them, I'll go elsewhere. The only sites "sticky" enough to make me put up with it are financial, and that's only because they all suck so changing solves nothing. 'Missing out' on Angular sites hasn't left me feel like I'm missing anything in my life.

This ties in to the discussion of Craig's List the other day. It is so refreshing to use a site that doesn't try to be clever. I understand if people find it ugly, but I don't - simple is good, and I don't care if sites follow whatever design trend is hot this week. Usability is far more important.

libeclipse 2 days ago 0 replies      
> Justification 1: 'Password pasting allows brute force attacks'

This really pisses me off every time I see it.

JavaScript is client-side code. If the attacker you're protecting against can't trivially bypass this bullshit "security" feature in three seconds, then he/she is not something you should be concerned about.

Attackers like that probably have other skills like counting to 5 with a 60% accuracy, and pointing out their own nose with a 40% accuracy. (Just like you do if you have this on your website.)

dmh2000 3 days ago 5 replies      
"Justification 2: 'Pasting passwords makes them easier to forget, because you have fewer chances to practise them'."

if you can remember your password, its probably too weak

pc2g4d 3 days ago 1 reply      
Here's another weird restriction: password length limits. I've had websites tell me I can't use more than 8 or 16 characters. Even if they let me use a thousand characters that's just going to get hashed to the same length anyway, right?

Even worse: sites that silently truncate your pasted password to the maximum length. When all you see is those little dots and the password is wider than the text field, it's very difficult or perhaps even impossible to tell how many characters were successfully pasted. And obviously truncation sets you up for disaster when you try to log in using your saved password and it just doesn't work.

waffl 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is an incredibly frustrating thing with the way OS X handles encrypted disk images as well. Needing to share confidential documents with coworkers, we were hoping to store them in an encrypted disk image. (GPG proved way too complex for anyone to adopt) Of course, the standard OS X GUI prevents you from pasting a password when mounting, which of course led to coworkers resorting to short, easy to type, easy to remember (and easy to crack) passwords.

The best solution I found was to mount via the command line but that definitely wasn't an option for any coworker unfamiliar with the terminal.


Also while this may be ultra paranoid, I really don't like typing passwords in public places where endless he cameras can record my screen and keystrokes.

coldpizza 3 days ago 1 reply      
So the main complaint about SPP is that it screws password managers, but then there's this:

> Most password managers erase the clipboard as soon as they have pasted your password into the website, and some avoid the clipboard completely by typing in the password with a 'virtual keyboard' instead.

Isn't the latter approach much safer? If so, shouldn't it be the de facto standard since it prevents "clipboard stealing" and also removes the issue of not being able to paste content into an SPP form input?

mderazon 3 days ago 1 reply      
I don't care much when it happens on a website, because I can bypass that easily, but it's enraging when I see this practice in mobile apps.

For example, my bank's app don't let you paste passwords. I have a strong random password which basically means I can't access it from my phone...

majewsky 3 days ago 0 replies      
My mind, upon reading the submission title: "Your majesty! The country people don't have any usernames!" - "Then let them paste passwords!"


Khol 3 days ago 2 replies      
As irritating as this is my bank's app which implements its own soft keyboard, so not only can I not paste my (complex) banking password, the password manager doesn't recognise it as an input.

Since I can't have the password visible in the password manager on the phone at the same time as the login prompt in the app, this means that I can only use the bank app if I'm 1) next to another device I can get that password on or 2) if I write the password down on something.

rcthompson 3 days ago 0 replies      
If you're on Mac OS, there's a nice little app I use to bypass almost any mechanism of preventing pasting. It simply uses a virtual keyboard to type out the contents of your clipboard. http://dae.me/blog/1741/
defined 3 days ago 1 reply      
If it didn't point crackers to these sites, I would love to call out all the sites that do incredibly misguided things such as:

- Allow you to paste passwords into their smartphone app, but not into their web site being accessed from the same device.

- When entering new passwords, limit the password length but not tell you what the limit is ("password is too long"), so you have to reduce it 1 character at a time and keep trying.

- (Mentioned elsewhere in this post) Limit the special characters to some inexplicable subset like !@#$, so you have to edit your generated random password and replace the non-compliant characters with ones from their subset.

- Limit password lengths to (say) 20 characters, allow you to enter a new 20 character password, but only store the first 19 characters so you get an invalid password error when you subsequently log in! I figured it out because I knew I was pasting the correct password, so I just thought, "Hmm, UI team != DB team..." and tried one less character. Bingo.

This happened to me with an old version of (IIRC) a Bank of America iOS online banking app (I am not concerned about mentioning a name here because it's been fixed since then).

- Limit your password to something really short like 10 alphanumerics.

- Require password entry for (say) iCloud before you can get into your password manager, forcing you either to pull up the password on another device and painstakingly enter by hand a 30 character random string, including many special characters, and not letting you see the password (only the last character, for a second). This is so unpleasant that I am sure many people would just change the password to their dog's name or something.

jomkr 3 days ago 7 replies      
There is a subtle valid use-case.

On "change your password" screens, you don't want the second "confirm password" field to be pastle-able to stop this scenario.

1) User tries to type "mypassword" but enters "mypasswor" instead.

2) User copy-pastes "mypasswor" into "confirm password field"

3) User hits "submit".

Now when the user tries to login with "mypassword" it fails.

phkahler 3 days ago 0 replies      
I find the issue around clipboard security a bit disturbing. No program should be able to access the clipboard at will, it should only get the data there if the user pastes it in the application. This is a bit harder at the API level, but I think a good environment would do this right. It's like the security holes in X that are being closed with Wayland.
tibbon 3 days ago 1 reply      
As someone who has used password managers and exceedingly long, impossible to remember and cryptic passwords for years; this quite upsets me when sites prevent it
crystaln 3 days ago 2 replies      
Until password managers are ubiquitously integrated with mobile apps, we are forced to use the clipboard to transfer passwords. Unfortunately, any app can access the clipboard, revealing passwords. Copying passwords from 1password always feels dirty for this reason, and unfortunately I don't have a good solution to this problem.
alvarosevilla95 3 days ago 3 replies      
Please correct me if I'm wrong, as this is all conjecture.

I feel passwords used to be thought of as a combination of characters that you keep in your head, and should only leave your head when being entered in a password field. Preventing paste discourages storing your password in a file called passwords.txt, and accidentally pasting it somewhere else as well.

Of course, we now understand passwords should have some qualities (larger alphabet, avoid common words/phrases as your passwords) which go against ease of remembering, so we now use passwords managers and other tools.

So this behaviour is probably and old common practice that most people used without knowing why and that's why we still see it even if its outdated and harms security in the end

sowbug 3 days ago 4 replies      
Slightly off-topic: why didn't client-side certificates ever become a thing?
agentgt 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm somewhat guilty of pushing the don't copy'n paste passwords (not the actual input limitation) and the reason why is because several of our guys at work have actually accidentally pasted passwords into Slack/Skype windows.

For what its worth I did write a small utility to make it easy to create memorable passwords using a master password:


It uses the Emoji word database to help you remember passwords.

jcoffland 3 days ago 1 reply      
The Wells Fargo CEO portal makes me change my password every 90 days, won't let me paste and accepts some special characters but not others. How is it that a bank can get it so wrong?
daxorid 3 days ago 0 replies      
Good, but bear in mind that the Xorg clipboard is, in many cases, readable by arbitrary applications.

If you can run Wayland, do it. If for no other reason, this.

raesene6 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm very glad to see this advice for the NCSC, they have been taking a good practical stance on many security issues and helping to provide weight to more pragmatic approaches.

I've never actually managed to find out where the idea of websites banning copy/paste came from. Presumably it's been as a result of security audits, but I can't find any security people who would argue that it's a good idea...

intrasight 3 days ago 0 replies      
Another reason SPP is less secure is keyloggers. I remember reading an article by someone that discussed this. When he visited China, he always entered passwords by copying and pasting from a secured thumb drive as this would defeat keyloggers. He mentioned that unfortunately some sites stupidly prevent this.
inian 3 days ago 0 replies      
I had filed an intervention to prevent websites from disabling the paste functionality in password fields - https://github.com/WICG/interventions/issues/41
jwl 3 days ago 1 reply      
I can see some logic behind number 3 of having your password in the clipboard. It could lead to users pasting their password somewhere else where it was not intended. However, if you have malware on your machine that can read your clipboard, it can also simply read your keystrokes anyway.
joveian 3 days ago 0 replies      
IMO, sites should generate a >20 character random base64 password as a form prefill on the registration form, which hopefully would cause browsers to remember it (don't actually let the user change this). Provide "show password" and "copy password" options for those who need to write it down for use on other machines or want to export it to a non-browser based password manager or sync tool. Encourage users to have a master password for the browser password storage.

Also, many sites should have an easy email based login.

probablycarrots 3 days ago 0 replies      
There is another version of SPP being done by the Wells Fargo Commercial Electronic Office site, and probably others. https://wellsoffice.wellsfargo.com

It does allow you to paste into the login fields, but you cannot submit your login credentials this way because the "Sign On" button is greyed out until you've actually typed in each field. I let my password manager fill the fields, then I manually delete and re-type the last character from each of the 3 fields.

arunc 3 days ago 0 replies      
All I can say is use keepass. Just remember one crazy long master password for the database and change it regularly. Or use a combination of password and key file.

> Justification 2: 'Pasting passwords makes them easier to forget, because you have fewer chances to practise them'.

Difficult to remember and easy to forget passwords will be auto generated. In fact I encountered few websites that didn't accept long passwords.

> Justification 3: 'Passwords would hang around in the clipboard'

Only for 12 seconds after which keepass will clear the clipboard.

kobayashi 3 days ago 0 replies      
I agree with the premise. Though, there's one more issue/potential reason not to endorse people using the clipboard for passwords, and it's not that malware will grab them from the clipboard. It's that many non-malicious programs will regularly query the clipboard for legitimate reasons, but what they do with that data may be insecure. For example, think of how Pocket checks the macOS/iOS clipboard for URLs to add to the Pocket list.
graton 3 days ago 0 replies      
I know that Battle.net does this :( I went to change my password and I couldn't paste the new one I had generated. Motivated me to install a simple Greasemonkey script to override that.
hammock 3 days ago 1 reply      
Everyone's talking about password at sign-in or credit card numbers but that's not the only use case for paste restriction.

The more common place I've seen it is email address confirmation (or PW confirmation), which while probably unnecessary, is not the worst thing in the world. You are retyping an address that's displayed in the field above. Less intrusive than a captcha.

deathanatos 3 days ago 0 replies      
> Justification 3: 'Passwords would hang around in the clipboard'

Password managers could wipe the clipboard, if it still contains the password, after a defined amount of time, such as 60 seconds.

(If you think that's "confusing", show a notification that explains the behavior; "clipboard wiped" or something.)

sengork 2 days ago 0 replies      
For macOS users, at least, there is another option: select text and drag and drop it from password manager text field to a website input field.

From what I gather this should use IPC between applications, rather than the clipboard itself.

EdgarVerona 3 days ago 0 replies      
Just yesterday, I ran into a site that was doing this for the first time in years. It annoyed me to the point where I used the console to override it and allow pasting again.

Password managers are a thing. Please don't force me to type out 32 random symbols twice while I sign up for your service.

bikamonki 3 days ago 1 reply      
I've pasted my ultra long pwd in the username field and hit enter. It happened more than once on logins where the form is split into two steps (I am talking to you Google). Why do they split the u/p fields into two steps? Does it add security? Better UX?
xir78 3 days ago 0 replies      
Only argument I can think of for preventing it in is maybe it makes it harder for bots in some cases.

The QQ messenger blocks pasting passwords on iOS I suspect for this reason, perhaps there are teams of people guessing passwords and manually typing them in like gold farming.

joantune 3 days ago 0 replies      
May i also say that the 'feature' of not allowing clipboard pasting on the Mac Os X to decrypt a hard drive is one of the most conspicuous interface decisions that I have ever seen
davotoula 3 days ago 0 replies      
Preventing copy/paste is a pet peeve of mine. Hey websites, you are breaking the browser/os functionality!

Another annoyance is having to enter 2nd,4th,7th etc letter of the password using a dropdown. ARrrgh.

hashkb 3 days ago 0 replies      
Bank info pasting is more annoying, more common, and just as stupid.
toyg 3 days ago 0 replies      
Forbidding copypaste is equivalent to forcing one to recite his address and credit card details loudly in public every time he wants to enter his own house. In an age where videosurveillance is trivial to set up, it's just stupid; there is a reason every cash machine/atm asks you to cover the number pad as you type your PIN.

If the problem is the risk posed by password vaults and clipboard managers, promote better vaults and better utilities. Personally, I'd love a password vault that could check which application or website I'm pasting to, blocking transmission if it looks wrong. But it's not the website's job to tell me how to manage my secrets.

liveoneggs 3 days ago 1 reply      
I see passwords pasted into chatrooms constantly and they are often of randomly-generated form. Password manages are also, apparently, not immune to their own security issues.
hobarrera 3 days ago 0 replies      
FWIW, middle-click pasting (PRIMARY) doesn't seem to be inhibited anywhere (maybe this technique only invalidates the CLIPBOARD pasting?).
nathancahill 3 days ago 0 replies      
If you use Quicksilver on Mac, you can virtually type the text to get around the paste limitation. [text input] -> [Type Text]
SurrealSoul 3 days ago 3 replies      
Assuming you are creating an account, UN: Hello PW: World123

My largest issue is that its extremely possible to fat-finger your UN to be Hellow, and its extremely easy to see and fix that mistake.

However since passwords are hidden its hard to see ######## is actually Worls123. Now your new account has essentially a one-time login because you have no idea what your password is. Typing it out again, ensures you catch your mistake

ytch 3 days ago 1 reply      
I also hate websites that force users use virtual keyboard to enter password.
nofunsir 3 days ago 0 replies      
yubikeys help here a little bit.
maxxxxx 3 days ago 2 replies      
This whole discussion is a good example for everything that's wrong with computer security. Instead of coming up with solutions that make it easy for people to follow good practices the "experts" make it even more cumbersome. Most people just want to use the computer and not think about security.
dragonwriter 3 days ago 3 replies      
If you are pasting passwords, you are really using an ad hoc third-party SSO authentication provider (which may or may not also use the equivalent of 2FA) via a manual token-exhange mechanism. Better than allowing pasting passwords, just support OpenID or some similar federated authentication solution, which does the same thing without manual token exchange and the attendant opportunities for errors.

You might want to allow paste, too, but it's the clumsy solution.

Sweden drops Julian Assange rape investigation bbc.co.uk
531 points by choult  2 days ago   370 comments top 26
baldajan 2 days ago 8 replies      
Reading the comments, many people seem unaware that Assange was indeed interviewed by Swedish prosecutors in London [1]. And before that, for years, Assange gave them that offer, but they refused time and time again (until they reluctantly accepted) [2].

As @belorn noted [3], the prosecutors had 3 options, and given it seems like they didn't have enough to make a case or a plan to continue the investigation, it had to be dropped.

Also note, that the UN has sided with Assange. As the confinement in the Embassy is confinement. And he's been unjustly confined for a longer period than the maximum penalty for rape in Sweden [4].

[1] http://www.reuters.com/article/us-ecuador-sweden-assange-idU...

[2] "He has offered to be questioned inside the embassy but the Swedish prosecutors only recently agreed." http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/08/11/ecuador-to-let-sw...

[3] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14374161

[4] https://www.rt.com/news/368746-un-ruling-free-assange/

r721 2 days ago 6 replies      
David Allen Green, Law and policy commentator at @FT:

>It is now easier for US to obtain Assange's extradition, if they (ever) wanted it.

>Now only UK's consent required, not UK and Sweden.


Sephr 2 days ago 5 replies      
What about the secret US charges?

I honestly don't understand how in our democracy there is even such a concept as "secret charges". It just sounds mind-bogglingly corrupt and out of place.

contingencies 2 days ago 1 reply      
Congratulations Julian! It's been a long time coming.

On a related note, for those unaware, the asylum seekers who helped Snowden escape Hong Kong are currently under threat of being sent back to their own countries (which they left for various reasons including violence, torture and rape). Snowden has called for people to help them. 56% of the 100k goal has been raised so far.


dalbasal 2 days ago 3 replies      
I suppose the ball is now in the US' court .

Assange is a strange case, hes (Wikileaks is) really a journalist, and should be protected by laws and conventions protecting journalists. But he doesn't seem to identify too strongly with the press and presents more like a political dissident.

I used to live in Melbourne (where wikileaks is sort of based). I stopped to sign a petition in his support. The petition mentioned Assange at the top of a long list of dissident left issues: release off-shore asylum seekers, withdraw from afgahnistan, free palestine, jail Blaire & Bush, stop Tasmanian timber harvests, overturn some ruling on Aboriginal land title... They were also inviting people to a dissident-socialist gathering later on that day.

Now, I don't want to misrepresent the situatoin. This wasn't Wikileaks petitioning. It was a local activist group promoting their agendas, headlined by the Assange cause. That said, I do think it's kind of indicative of how present themselves & why the Assange debate is associated with the Manning or Snowden cases. They were US operatives "gone rogue." He wasn't. He was just a journalist receiving and diseminating leaked information.

I in now way suggesting the protections of a free press system are mooted because he doesn't act or present recognizably as a journalist. But I do think that statements like the CIA Director's (Wikileaks is a hostile non-state actor) would be a lot harder to say if he presented as " Senior Editor of The Wikileaks Times."

belorn 2 days ago 3 replies      
It should be noted that the prosecutor had three options:

1: Drop the charges.

2: Drop the arrest order but continue the investigation. To do so require a plan which would progress the investigation.

3: Charge Assange with rape, arguing that the evidence collected so far is enough for a case.

And we got the first option, and thus we can conclude that the prosecutor don't have enough evidence to go to court and have no plans on how to further the investigation.

grabcocque 2 days ago 2 replies      
The UK police will arrest him for obstruction of justice the moment he tries to leave the wardrobe he's hiding in.

He'd probably be convicted, which carries a maximum sentence of [EDIT] 1 year in prison.

beilabs 2 days ago 4 replies      
I wonder if the UK taxpayer will be asking some questions about the justifications of policing the embassy? A pretty abysmal ROI.

So, will the police presence now simply disappear?

panglott 2 days ago 1 reply      
No mention of the alleged victims in the OP?

Here's the NYTimes story: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/19/world/europe/julian-assan...

'Elisabeth Massi Fritz, who represents the woman who accused Mr. Assange of rape, issued a scathing response after the prosecutors abandoned the case.

A legal examination is very important for someone who has been raped, as is the possibility for redress, she said. In this case, there have been many turns and the wait has been very long. My client is shocked and no decision to shut the case down can get her to change her position that Assange raped her.'

tontonius 2 days ago 1 reply      
According to his Swedish defence lawyer Per E Samuelson, Assange sent a text immediately after being noticed: "Seriously? Oh my god!"

Question kind of still remains: how "free" is he now?

chx 2 days ago 8 replies      
Is there a good article -- does even anyone know? -- on how did Wikileaks turn from a whistleblower into a mouthpiece of the Kremlin?

Edit: some examples: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/war_stories/...https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/erik-wemple/wp/2017/03/...

hardlianotion 2 days ago 1 reply      
Not sure where this leaves him. He is wanted by UK police for skipping bail. Presumably his US concerns still complicate his living arrangements for now.
geekpowa 2 days ago 0 replies      
Stars align in strange ways. Chelsea Manning walked free from prison a couple of days ago. so will Assange honour promise made an Jan or will he weasel out of it.
throw2016 2 days ago 1 reply      
The hypocrisy is stunning. Chinese or Russian governments harassing whistle blowers and leakers on this scale would be met by a frenzy of hysterical global condemnation by the media, human rights orgs, governments and citizens with their domestic courts systems summarily dismissed and pay a price in global reputation and even sanctions.

Yet here we have Snowden and Assange being harassed brazenly for years with little respite under the cover of 'process'. If Snowden or Assange were Russians and defected to reveal global Russian surveillance they would be legends feted by every single media organization, university, NGO and government every single day. Why the double standards.

It appears some are more intoxicated by the moral high ground than committed to it.

Kangaroo courts, secret processes and harassment of whistle blowers and journalists are the tools of trade of despots whether used brazenly by unsophisticated tinpots or covered in process by governments and their courts in the UK, Sweden and the US. The end effect is the same. Simply covering inherently despotic and corrupt action with law and 'processes' does not make it lawful.

But the big difference is chinese or russian citizens are under no illusions about their rulers while we see a dissonance in our citizens, media and organizations rushing to condemn others while completely failing to hold our governments accountable in any meaningful way.

How have Swedish and UK citizens, the media and all human rights orgs from western europe experts at creating global frenzy against despots worldwide held their own governments to account, or helped Snowden or Assange in any meaningful way all these years? So ultimately there is no accountability. Only blatant self serving hypocrisy.

gregman1 2 days ago 3 replies      
That is very very bad for Sweden because it proves that it was a low class political game so Sweden cannot be viewed as an independent state.
walkingolof 2 days ago 0 replies      
Article in English, by a Swedish newspaper, about the why http://www.dn.se/nyheter/sverige/swedish-prosecutor-drops-ca...
hosker4u 2 days ago 0 replies      
Well - he will certainly be charged in the UK for breach of bail conditions if he steps out of that embassy.
tontonius 2 days ago 0 replies      
Press conference held by Director of Public Prosecutions, Marianne Ny, listen here: http://sverigesradio.se/sida/default.aspx?programid=4540

Held both in Swedish and English

tray5 2 days ago 3 replies      
Anyone know why they dropped it?
pdimitar 2 days ago 0 replies      
Maybe this is just a bait so he goes out and is easier to apprehend?

The way the laws are, they can be bent to serve almost any agenda, given high enough payment to a skilled prosecutor.

mootothemax 2 days ago 5 replies      
Five years living in a single room, not able to leave or walk outside.

Millions of pounds/dollars spent enforcing the same.

A gigantic show of idiocy from both sides.

cannonpr 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sigh, about time, even for the US this was starting to drag, I wonder how much it had become about saving face ? Either for the US actors or the Swedish assets.
faragon 2 days ago 0 replies      
That's arbitrary. And scary.
gadders 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder if he will now pay back the people that put up bail for him:


timwaagh 2 days ago 4 replies      
jaboutboul 2 days ago 0 replies      
All I can say is... WOW.
Android now supports Kotlin venturebeat.com
615 points by JOfferijns  4 days ago   215 comments top 36
tomc1985 4 days ago 5 replies      
Funny, I was messing around with Kotlin for the first time last night. So far, the language seems well-structured and I really like that one gets all of Java's ecosystem without actually having to write java. (Also, "override fun" just sounds hilarious. Bwaha!)

Throw in TornadoFX and Gluon Scene Builder (formerly of Oracle) and you're spinning up high-quality cross-platform GUIs faster than Atom, with a visual editor, and without having to touch Javascript!

I've been trying to find a suitable, high-quality cross-platform GUI kit for a while and this looks like it might challenge my current favorite (GTK)

Ciantic 4 days ago 1 reply      
geodel 4 days ago 5 replies      
Well this looks like going to push Kotlin in big league. I remember scala enthusiasts made big noise in last few years to have scala as officially supported language. But Google seems to prefer a closer relationship with Jetbrains.
maaaats 4 days ago 5 replies      
What does it mean being "supported", given that one already can use Kotlin on Android?
dep_b 4 days ago 2 replies      
Good move. Out with possible null pointers everywhere for no freaking reason at all. It's 2017.

Apple did a great job with Swift but launched it when it wasn't mature yet but Kotlin will have JetBrains level of IDE support from the get go so and it's mature already only a luddite would stay with Java.

mangoman 4 days ago 3 replies      
This is pretty big. I really like Kotlin, but when I tried to integrate it into my app, it just didn't play well with popular libraries which rely on compile time code generation (Google's Dagger fork, Icepick, Parcels, etc). Has support for this improved / is it easy to integrate?
maxpert 4 days ago 0 replies      
Finally!!! JetBrains has been doing an awesome job on Kotlin. Languages is a very subjective and taste specific thing, but it's way better than just having Java. Anyhow I have been arguing over moving to it for quite some time now here is a shameless plug https://hackernoon.com/in-pursuit-of-better-jvm-futures-kotl...
jorgemf 4 days ago 2 replies      
If you have used kotlin, it seems the obvious move. I am not coming back to java, unless completely necessary. Kotlin is a great language (and more fun!).
sswezey 4 days ago 2 replies      
This, along with recent Kotlin Native news, lends me to believe Google is investigating some alternative platforms for replacing their dependence on Java APIs and removing any possibility of being further hamstrung by Oracle.
narrator 4 days ago 1 reply      
Oracle winds up killing another golden goose they aquired from Sun. That's what they do though. They buy innovative technology companies who have committed customer bases and then slowly squeeze all the money out of them until they can migrate off. By then they've aquired another set of victim customers.
MBlume 4 days ago 1 reply      
"To get started with Kotlin, download the Android Studio 3.0 preview, open one of your existing Java files, and then choose Convert Java File to Kotlin File in the Code menu."

You do not have to install a preview version of Android Studio, you can install the kotlin plugin in whatever version of AS you're using now. The change in AS 3.0 is simply that it will ship the plugin by default.

giarc 4 days ago 2 replies      
Anyone know of good online tutorials for Kotlin? I learned Swift for iOS development and customers have been asking for an Android version of my app. Sounds like Kotlin would be a good second language to learn.
fishywang 4 days ago 1 reply      
I hope this will change Jetbrain's attitude towards supporting Kotlin Android rules in Bazel (or anything other than gradle). Last time I asked, they are not very interested[1].

[1] https://discuss.kotlinlang.org/t/android-support-in-kotlinc-...

KingMob 4 days ago 5 replies      
Would be lovely if they officially supported Clojure too.
amaks 3 days ago 0 replies      
Steve Yegge had this to post about Kotlin:


Entangled 4 days ago 0 replies      
I love Kotlin and her twin sister Swift. They're both beautiful and allow you to code apps for the desktop, server, mobile, watch, TV, IoT, and everything in between.

They're here to stay and they're a joy to use. Jump on the happy wagon and join us!

nathan_f77 3 days ago 1 reply      
I've avoided writing React Native modules in Swift because I don't want to add the Swift runtime. It would make my app a lot bigger, and while I love Swift, I'm fine writing a few lines of code in ObjC.

Will Kotlin add any extra data to an Android app? Does it have it's own runtime, or does it just compile down to the same bytecode as Java?

If the app size is equivalent to Java, then this is amazing. I love Kotlin, and will write all of my React Native libraries in it (as soon as there is some support.)

UPDATE: Looks like the Kotlin runtime is around 859KB. Maybe smaller after ProGuard? In the grand scheme of things, that's smaller than many web pages. But it's probably not suitable for an open source library.

I don't think Facebook would rewrite React Native in Kotlin. I've heard that they might be moving towards C++, so that more code can be shared between the different platforms.

czeidler 3 days ago 2 replies      
Kotlin 1.1 supports coroutines what IHMO makes concurrency in a GUI much nicer. For example, it has C# like async/await methods; but more flexible...
bobsam 4 days ago 2 replies      
Was hoping for golang but this is good too
bitmapbrother 4 days ago 2 replies      
Looks like Kotlin will soon be skyrocketing to the top of the TIOBE charts.
monkmartinez 4 days ago 2 replies      
So where is the best place to learn Kotlin?

I am very interested as Jetbrains is also working on Kotlin to native translation. [1]


mncolinlee 4 days ago 2 replies      
I should note that Kotlin now supports JDK, JS, iOS, and LLVM as backends. Gradle also announced support for Kotlin. This means you can write your Android app, iOS app, web browser app, desktop app, and your build scripts -- finally all in the same language.
w8rbt 4 days ago 3 replies      
I wonder if Android will ever support Go? Seems Google would want to do this.
rdsubhas 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'm curious to know, just from a general understanding - How much of the situation changes when Java 9 releases? Will it lead to some features in Kotlin becoming redundant/unnecessary, some other new features open up in Java 9, grass-is-greener situations, etc?
agumonkey 4 days ago 0 replies      
Pretty big step up for kotlin. And for programming in general.
johnhattan 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'm assuming that this is going to work natively via LLVM, as Kotlin's original target was JVM bytecode, which should work fine on Android right now.
gigatexal 4 days ago 0 replies      
hey maybe this means we will eventually be able to build apps in other languages to that target the JVM like Jython (or pure python would be cool).

Eh, I'm moving on from Python so if they never threw the ability to build apps for android with python that'd be fine, too.

Am I the only one that finds Java's (and Java 8's) syntax fine. I like the traditional type annotations and perceived verbosity.

dmix 4 days ago 2 replies      
Google/Android's answer to Swift?
adrianlmm 4 days ago 0 replies      
Congratulations to Jetbrains.
_sy_ 3 days ago 0 replies      
The Instamotor Android app is entirely built using Kotlin.
0xFFC 4 days ago 0 replies      
After becoming first officially supported non java language in android now,All eyes are on kotlin native!

If they can deliver good kotlin native experience, then kotlin is unbeatable

skdotdan 3 days ago 0 replies      
Will Google end up buying Jetbrains?
ktkization 3 days ago 1 reply      
Where did Groovy go wrong ?
bedros 4 days ago 1 reply      
why not use llvm as virtual machine instead of JVM assuming backward compatibility is not an issue.
0xFFC 4 days ago 3 replies      
Is this official?

Edit: sorry, I completely forgot googleio is today, and i couldn't believe this kind of news comminng ftom non google domain.

Kotlin Is Better steve-yegge.blogspot.com
528 points by praxxis  4 days ago   208 comments top 36
bpicolo 4 days ago 9 replies      
I've started to come around on a similar thought recently, after a few years avoiding static typing in python. I've been toying with C# specifically.

C# with visual studio is, I think, the most productive environment I've come across in programming. It's ergonomically sound, straightforward, and the IDE protects me from all sorts of relevant errors. Steve mentioned Intellij is a bit slower than he'd hope typing sometimes. I totally agree with that. I think Visual Studio doesn't quite suffer from that (though I haven't worked on huge projects, and that may well affect it). My main problems with IDEs are twofold: for non-static languages like Python, they're just not very good. Sometimes they do exactly what you need, and 70% of the time they're just totally useless (which is a knock on the programming languages more than the IDEs). The zippiness on reaction to my typing is another huge deal. If it's anything other than instantaneous, then I notice my editor in a negative light. When you pair a tremendous IDE with a good language though, the productivity loss of typing becomes pretty much negligible, and the gains for all the other reasons start to become apparent.

Changing one parameter or type on a class or function to refactor, and then just following the chain of compiler errors, reaching the end, and seeing that everything just works exactly how you want it to was a big eye opener to me.

Definitely going to give kotlin a go some time as well.

cromwellian 4 days ago 5 replies      
The only problem with Steve's rant is that he starts out describing his experience with APIs, but then it turns into an issue of better languages.

Presumably Kotlin doesn't wrap the entire Android API with some kind of better API, but most Android API calls would be direct Kotlin->Java calls, so how does Kotlin solve the nasty API issue?

Really, this seems to be another Java critique by Steve. He's also written critiques against typed languages in general, including Scala.

Android's API issues are language independent I think. Compare the design of Guava vs Android, you can make well designed and easy to use Java APIs, it just takes thoughtfulness.

barrkel 4 days ago 4 replies      
Other language built around IDE support: Delphi.

The compiler was built with callbacks to provide code completion; it runs in process, as a DLL, as part of the IDE.

No accident that Hejlsberg also design C#, and innovated further with TypeScript's language server. He wrote the original Turbo Pascal (IDE + Compiler in the same executable) in assembler, so he's been building IDE + language combos all his life.

shawkinaw 4 days ago 4 replies      
Two thoughts. First, I also thought Android programming was horrible at first, but have since come to see it as no worse on average than iOS programming. The only really sucky thing about it IMO is the lack of ability to pass an object to another activity without serializing it (or maybe there is one I don't know about.) But since everything is done with fragments now that's moot anyway.

Second, I tried Kotlin and liked it a lot, but found it so much like Swift that my brain kept thinking it was Swift, so I ended up making mistakes and getting frustrated. That would probably go away with experience though.

andrewstuart 3 days ago 2 replies      
Is there reason to choose Kotlin if you don't already live in the Java world?

Put another way, is it a language that makes living in the Java environment less painful, and thus only of value to people who continue to need to live in the Java world?

Why would someone who has never programmed in the Java ecosystem use Kotlin?

I'm surely ignorant and prejudiced but when I read this I thought "Hey why not try Kotlin?", then I thought of Java and images came up in my head of thousands and thousands of files being installed, and the vast, lumbering Java engine cranking slowly and chugging and masses of XML configuration up the wazoo for everything and I shuddered and thought "I'll stick with JavaScript, where the pain of configuration is merely excruciating, as opposed to the pain of Java configuration which is similar to bowing before throne of the Java king of ninth level of hell awaiting punishment for a lifetime of sin.".

pje 4 days ago 3 replies      
The "ew gross weird" reaction to Scala and Clojure is tremendously disappointing (especially coming from someone whose thesis is basically "give this new language a chance")
runT1ME 4 days ago 3 replies      
Does anyone remember when he wrote this?


And in the comments section he got lit up because he was unfamiliar with Haskell/Scala/OCaml type languages...

and here he is 9 years late to the party touting a baby version of these statically typed FP languages. I actually laughed out loud reading this blog post.

ufmace 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm glad to hear Steve Yegge's take on Kotlin. I've played with it some and thought it was quite interesting, and I wouldn't mind doing a project in it sometime. Although I don't use Java much, I'm more into Rails for personal projects, and I'm not about to switch any of them to JVM just to play with Kotlin.

Anyways, I broadly agree with his take that it adds all of the cool toys you could ever want to Java without the difficulty and mental overhead of learning Clojure or Scala. Strong compatibility with the existing Java ecosystem seems like a plus, but I've never dug into it deep enough to notice that.

I did find myself really wanting to know what he figured out to make Android UI programming non-awful though. I've messed with it some, and I don't see how adding in Kotlin would make it much nicer. Maybe he loved Kotlin so much that he was able to forget about the Android UI API.

BJanecke 3 days ago 0 replies      
Kotlin is really nice and I am very happy to have more than one great/fun/productive language however I feel like mentioning typescript might be worthwhile (yes I know it's "just" a superset of JS and you have a personal gripe with whatever you think JS is but hear me out).

* Runs everywhere js/asm

* MIxed bag of tooling, but generally you can find something amazing and you won't have to venture to sourceforge or similar to submit a patch

* Doesn't suffer from the coljure/scala "We can totally use other JVM libraries but we only really do that If we have no other option"

* Absolutely beautiful generics and spot on inference

 ``` function pluck<T>(key: keyof T, from: T[]) { return from.map(item => item[key]); } ```
* First class functions

* Incredible flexibility

 * sketch in js then annotate * decide on strict nulls * decide on implicit types * various approaches to composition 
* Amazing IDE support(VSCode)(This technically falls under tooling ;))

* One of the few cross-platfrom languages that feel pretty much identical on all the platforms

[edit] Formatting

jakub_g 3 days ago 0 replies      
Side note: Even if you're not interested in Kotlin, or don't know Steve Yegge, give a read to this blog post.

The writing is as good and hilarious as in the old good times when he used to write way more often. Lots of fun for the morning.

For aspiring blog-writers, it's also a good study how to write blogs to keep readers engaged. I only know 2 people writing in that style, him and Joel Spolsky, but it's highly effective.

Tharkun 3 days ago 2 replies      
Yet Another Java Rant.

In my book, Java is a fine language, and has been since Java SE 6 was released back in 2006. It keeps getting better, too. "Glacial" pace or not.

Whenever any kind of discussion about Java comes up, people start ranting about XML configuration or annotations. These are not language problems. These are developer problems. If you don't like XML or annotations, then don't use them. Problem solved. Very few Java features require the use of either.

I rarely run into issues with the Java language, syntax or productivity wise. I've run into a couple of Sun/Oracle/IBM bugs in my 17 years of Java development. I've greatly appreciated productivity-increasing features like try-with-resources and Streams, but the lack of those features have never held me back as a developer.

Given the sheer amount of Java code out there, I would say it deserves a little more praise and a little less negativity.

nemothekid 4 days ago 2 replies      
>And Android has some pretty big red-light APIs. Fragments, for example, are a well-known Flagship Bad API in Android.

Ugh. I left Android development right around Honeycomb - where Fragments were supposed to be the cool way to manage your app and you'd get screen orientation and device screen configuration all for almost free. In practice I found Fragments far more confusing to use than the already complex Activity lifecycle. To hear that 3 years later that everyone may think Fragments were a bad idea doesn't leave me feeling good.

bartread 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's impressive to see Kotlin finally getting some traction. The first time I heard of it was years ago: I was doing a piece of competitor analysis at Red Gate and I clearly remember reading about it and having a distinctly "whatever" reaction.

Part of that was because every time I'd seen some (relatively) small shop invent a language or platform in the past, it sort of sucked. But JetBrains are a rather different animal. They've done a great job of getting the right kind of people on board, with the right background and experience, to do language design well. They also have a talent for making long-term plays and consistently investing in them; they're patient about achieving long-term success (examples: IntelliJ, TeamCity, even YouTrack), which isn't so common. I probably shouldn't be surprised to see the same happening with Kotlin - they've been plugging away at it for about 6 years, I think. Great work.

charlieflowers 3 days ago 1 reply      
The biggest news is: Yegge is blogging again! Glad to see it!
RandyRanderson 2 days ago 0 replies      
So this guy has [0]:

. advocated Javascript on the server-side

. tried to get goog to support Ruby

. is active in Lisp, enough to get it mentioned in wikipedia twice

And now is enough of an expert in Java and Koltin to instruct us on which is "better". That's a lot of languages to be an expert in! It's almost unbelievable.

If someone who's been working in Java for years and then has done a significant Koltin project (100k plus SLOC) that's in production and they told me "Koltin is ?" I would listen to them. Otherwise I might be tempted to believe someone's writing another clickbait article.

Regardless, looking to his wiki history, it seems he's, charitably, outspoken. Not someone i'd look to for a sober technical analysis.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Yegge

agentgt 3 days ago 0 replies      
What makes me nervous about Kotlin is it could become Scala (or even Groovy) again.

Don't get me wrong I'm a huge fan of Scala and highly expressive language but on the other hand there is something to be said for simple consistent and not that expressive languages. It pains me to say it but less choices and not more.

That is I want Kotlin, or Scala, or Java to be a little more like Go (and I'm not a fan of Go). The development consistency with Go with gofmt and other build tools as well as having fairly good default concurrency (Java as a myriad of concurrency practices: eg. streams, actors, rx) help ramp up time.

The ramp up time for all JVM languages is pretty awful compared to C# or Go. There are so many tools and libraries and different way people do things. I love the choices but it really hurts bringing on new talent.

Luckily Kotlin is backed by a tools provider so perhaps extreme consistency will happen but when I look at the Spring 5.0 examples (also on the HN right now) I get nervous and think oh this is becoming Scala academic DSL confusion all over.

andrewstuart 3 days ago 3 replies      
A few people have said that IntelliJ is slow.

Why is this so, if Java is not inherently slow?

Sure JetBrains are some of the smartest developers around and yet their IDE is still slow.

I can't help but feel that Java is slow and problems with performance in something like IntelliJ do nothing to dispel that feeling.

codecamper 3 days ago 0 replies      
Just wanted to point out that Kotlin is not from Russia. It's from Prague, Czech Republic. Almost the furthest west you can go and still be Slavic.

Maybe the founders of Jetbrains are Russian. Not sure.

edit: aha Kotlin is in fact developed in Russia. From Russia with love!

zengid 3 days ago 0 replies      
>How many languages can you name that were built with IDE support from the ground up?

Visual Studio Code is pretty nice with TypeScript. I've enjoyed having the autocomplete for my little Phaser game.

wisty 4 days ago 1 reply      
It seems to mostly be compared to Java. Sure, if you don't like functional languages or dynamic languages (Jython, Groovy, JRuby) then I guess it's the best high profile JVM language.
grunca 3 days ago 0 replies      
You can and should build your domain language on whatever base language you happen to like/use. This is where most failures happen on big projects. If you treat your solution as a script or glue code, and your complexity needs to scale, you will quickly reach a stalling point.A good, well thought structure & design is required,there is no language available (yet) that will replace that.
sigi45 3 days ago 0 replies      
Awesome article! Not one practical comparison between java and Kotlin.

Anyway as any hype like scala and co. Java works very well, has small issues and no issue which really hurts me.

ensiferum 3 days ago 0 replies      
How exactly does kotlin fix the bad Android apis? You'd imagine that you still have to deal with the apis.

"Whereas Kotlin is made by world-class IDE vendors, so right from the start it has the best tooling support ever."

And then...

IntelliJ doesn't like it when you type fast. Its completions can't keep up and you wind up with half-identifiers everywhere.

So sounds like the tool support really isn't great.

newsat13 3 days ago 1 reply      
I don't get it. How does Kotlin actually solve Android's fragment/activity issues?
askvictor 3 days ago 0 replies      
Fwiw, jetbrains originates in Prague not Russia; although the kotlin dev team is based in Russia.
chrisallick 4 days ago 1 reply      
Great article. Slamming android and talking about Russian software. Click bait to boot? Sold.

My only issue is with his comment on swift. Which also sucks. Objective-C is wonderful and delightful. I'm sad to see it losing favor.

Oh well, off to try Kotlin. Maybe I'll finally make an android app... no.

zebra9978 3 days ago 1 reply      
the title has been made politically correct - the actual title is "Why Kotlin Is Better Than Whatever Dumb Language You're Using". I wonder if that was intentional editorial oversight.
sandGorgon 3 days ago 0 replies      
i wonder what server side platform are they using ? there's been a lot of buzz around vertx+kotlin or Reactor ... and with android support, it is a very compelling stack to have for android focused startups.

if they begin to build first class hooks for tensorflow in kotlin (as they might already have, considering Tensorflow Lite on android), i think it could replace python as the first language for data scientists.

rev_null 3 days ago 1 reply      
Better than Java seems like a pretty low bar.
gigatexal 3 days ago 0 replies      
Makes bold claims, but shows no code.
i386 3 days ago 0 replies      
Kotlin wouldn't be happening if Java was shipping things developers actually cared about.
anjanb 3 days ago 0 replies      
Anyone knows how it performs versus, say, Clojure for server-side development ?
awinter-py 3 days ago 0 replies      
intellij is soooo sloooow
gankgu 3 days ago 0 replies      
golang is better.
r3m3mb3rm3 3 days ago 2 replies      
Having all parameters to be read-only is a deal breaker for me.
dozzie 4 days ago 4 replies      
Why my programming languages are smarter than whatever dumb writer thatknows nothing about my toolset and my needs is at hand with his trivialcliches.
One Step Closer to a Closed Internet mozilla.org
531 points by Vinnl  3 days ago   213 comments top 24
orthecreedence 3 days ago 16 replies      
I want to say this first: I love net neutrality and I support it 100%.

That said, I think this battle will go on forever until either

- We have a decentralized network anybody can plug into without ISPs (mesh net) or

- Cities build their own fiber infrastructure (or 4G towers for rural areas) and rent it out to companies. Cable/DSL become a thing of the past, and you connect via radio/public wifi/direct fiber.

This battle is starting to get ridiculous. The "let the market decide" shills don't seem to understand there's no market. So let's give them one, on public infrastructure. Either that, or make the internet some kind of mesh-connected network that routes around blocks/slowdowns.

Until then, let's all just agree the net neutrality is a common-good consumer protection, and there's absolutely no reason, at all, to get rid of it until we either have a viable marketplace or we don't need ISPs..

jbob2000 3 days ago 3 replies      
Where is Apple, Google, and Microsoft on this? What is the point of an app store if I can't use 90% of the apps on it? What the hell do I need a search engine for if there's only a few websites to search? Why would I use a computer at all if it just serves me the same garbage as a TV?

Come on, throw your fucking weight around, jesus...

skrebbel 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's probably a nitpick, but to me Mozilla has always been an organisation with a global mission. They make it seem like these decisions have a global impact, whereas in reality, if I'm not mistaken, this is about national policy for a single country. A country which is not mentioned by name at all in the entire article.

I wish authors would step away from the "USA == world" idea a bit more often. I'd like to get an idea of whether this impacts the rest of the world at all. My impression is "no" but most articles on the subject are too busy screaming "fire!" to clarify much about this.

The title of this article is "one step closer to a closed internet". That really does make it seem like this can have internet-wide impact though, but I don't see it. Anyone?

AndyMcConachie 3 days ago 6 replies      
"this decision leads to an internet that benefits Internet Service Providers"

I would correct this to:"this decision leads to an American internet that benefits Internet Service Providers"

The FCC can really only screw up the Internet for Americans. If you're an Internet user not in North America there's very little reason for you to care about the decision the FCC made today.

BinaryIdiot 3 days ago 3 replies      
When I worked in the DoD contracting space there were rules handed down that outlines what browser(s) and version(s) you MUST use due to security concerns. It was always Firefox.

This may be an insanely stupid idea, but, as sort of a thought experiment: what would the fallout be if, say, Mozilla changed their license on Firefox to disallow the usage of their browser by government representatives and associated contractors unless they have a viable, open internet policy in their country? Maybe even restrict future updates to existing Firefox builds to require the same license change?

Might cause some significant headaches as they can't update to the latest IE on likely most of their systems and Chrome has too much Google functionality built into it that, I believe, they'd have to use Chromium.

Like I said, probably a dumb idea but I wanted to throw it out there as a thought exercise because I'm curious if something like this could be effective, much like the original internet blackout was.

rickdg 2 days ago 0 replies      
From the perspective of non-tech people, the internet has actually grown by shedding its neutrality. Huge numbers came to the net because of the "e" of IE, the "s" of skype or the "f" of facebook. As we watch people spend all of their time online locked in a closed platform (or spend all their money in hardware they don't control), we can't be surprised that net neutrality doesn't resonate with them. We can't just fight the occasional battle and then wonder why we're losing the war. If there's more money to be made in crushing net neutrality than in leveraging it, it will get crushed (specially in America).

A basic problem is that technological literacy is not growing fast enough. In fact, ignorance is celebrated. Both Apple and Microsoft are lowering the bar for their operating systems every year. The lack of monetization solutions has made it necessary to sell the user, and their ignorance or just lack of interest facilitates this tremendously. If you want to be able to choose freedom over convenience, you need to care for how things work.

Meanwhile, modern corporations are perfectly aware of how net neutrality got them to the top, of how relinquishing it allows them to stay on top and of how suppressing it keeps other companies from doing to them what they did to the older corporations that used to rule the world.

mabbo 3 days ago 1 reply      
> During the public comment period in 2015, nearly 4 million citizens wrote to the FCC, many of them demanding strong net neutrality protections. We all need to show the same commitment again.

Do they really think that the people who made these decisions did it because they care about the best interest of the people?

guelo 3 days ago 4 replies      
Google and Facebook's silence on net neutrality is deafening. It makes no sense. Are they thinking they'll be able to pay for access to the customers that their competitors won't be able to afford?
ianai 3 days ago 4 replies      
Make no mistake, regulations like this can lead to bubble bursts. This could very well be a first step toward the end of the current technology boom. Silicon Valley should be nothing but up in arms. Or, SV should be working on technological ways to circumvent throttles based on content.
ChuckMcM 3 days ago 0 replies      
People forget sometimes that the ARPAnet was a closed Internet. And it didn't have some of the problems of todays internet like spam for that same reason. (you could be kicked off) And the thing that lived alongside of it was FIDOnet and Usenet which exploited another closed network (the switched network service known as the telephone network) to run a parallel and notionally "open" internet.

Then (as now) the challenge was that for long distance communication you needed someone who was paying for that infrastructure. The way it typically worked was that a big company like Xerox which nominally had a coast to coast telephone system that was being maintained for corporate reasons but had excess capacity, was notionally "ok" with a couple of engineers creating a 'tunnel' between the west coast and the east coast. Locally people would use their 'free calling zone' to call.

We have companies that have their own wide area networks, and we have things like software defined radios and ISM bands that allow for nominally low cost 'hops'. Is it time to dig up the old Usenet architecture?

amcca029 3 days ago 1 reply      
We need to take a ground up approach to solving this, get open infrastructure into the community and build local isps. Over time replace our broken network with a new generation.
Shivetya 3 days ago 0 replies      
I would hope people understand that the only true fix will come out of Congress so having the FCC who is staffed by people who don't report to voters vote this way puts the issue back into our hands.

get on your Congressman's ass and ride them hard

doctorshady 3 days ago 0 replies      
The FCC under Pai has become an absolute joke. Unless a piano happens to fall on his and Trump's heads in some sort of freak accident, this crap is just going to keep happening. For whatever it's worth, there's a group of people trying to raise money to sue the FCC as sort of an alternate approach: http://www.irregulators.org
theprop 3 days ago 4 replies      
While I think this is a terrible idea, there's not that much to worry about for us as ordinary internet users. There's not going to be a slow & fast lane, at least not anytime soon. ISPs want net neutrality banned so they can "extort" money from Google, Facebook, YouTube, Netflix (to some extent in place), Amazon, etc. They're going to artificially slow those big, rich sites down unless they pay up. Netflix already is paying Verizon fees to avoid being throttled (btw the throttling was easily demonstrated by using a VPN to mask the Netflix traffic, speeds went way up). This is analogous to the AdBlock extortion racket where they charge Google to allow Google's ads through AdBlock.
strin 2 days ago 0 replies      
Love the vision of neutrality, but it feels disheartening that net neutrality has been broken with increasing number of platform companies.

Google's algorithm decide which content show up in search results, and Facebook's ranking model determines the news you will see.

Same wth app store, only apps that fit the "Apple philosophy" can get approved.

Since most of our times on internet nowadays are spent on platforms, it turns out unconsciously we've already lived in a "closed internet".

apatters 3 days ago 1 reply      
I support the principle of net neutrality in some philosophical abstract, but increasingly it seems like we're being asked to choose between:

A) A cabal of Comcast-centric billionaires who control key infrastructure on the Internet

B) A cabal of Sam Altman type VC billionaires who control key infrastructure on the Internet

What are ANY of these guys other than profiteers who seek to pervert the open protocols of the Internet for the sake of their own profits? I think they are all aspiring emperors with no clothes. I dare any of these profiteers to respond.

erikb 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sadly this kind of battle can only be extended, not one. There will always be parties on both sides of the net-neutrality spectrum. But sadly one side needs to active millions of people for each battle and the other one can be confident with just a handful of politicians and two hands full of lawyers. Kind of obvious that you can't push people every two years to rally on the streets for the same topic, again and again.
newsat13 3 days ago 0 replies      
The optimist in me sees this as a good things. Maybe Google will bring back it's Fiber program. Maybe the heavy weights of IT industry will start a conglomerated ISP? Maybe new startups will appear that provider an unregulated internet. In the long run, the only solution that is going to work is to have proper competition to the likes of comcast.
epx 3 days ago 1 reply      
The dynamic IPs were the beginning of the end. Even the IPv6 connection of my ISP does not allow incoming connections. Sad :(
rocky1138 3 days ago 3 replies      
Do the people in the USA elect the leader of the FCC? If so, can't they elect someone better? If not, why not?
kumar878 3 days ago 0 replies      
Suggestion - %s/Ajit Pai/Robert Taylor/ . Or some other DARPA person.
subterfudge4 3 days ago 4 replies      
Is there any evidence anywhere that non-neutral net actually makes money for ISPs ?
bigbugbag 2 days ago 0 replies      
One Step Closer to a Closed Internet ... in the USA

This probably means internet business will move outside the USA where it is way too centralized, some good could come out of such a move.

On the other hand we have mozilla not putting money where its mouth is, not giving a shit about non-majority users and using skewed users tracking to justify those decisions. Have a look at how they dropped alsa support and refused to admit they made a mistake rejecting the responsibility on people disabling their spying, refused to backtrack when someone came forward to fix their code and maintain it.

When mozilla's action will be in line with the air they push out of their lung, I'll pay attention and support them again. Right now and after 15+ years supporting them, I'm giving them the same support they give me, the faster mozilla fails and disappears the faster a competent body can replace them and start doing the right thing and give the right direction to firefox.

onetrueopinion 3 days ago 2 replies      
PostgreSQL 10 Beta 1 Released postgresql.org
500 points by ahachete  3 days ago   163 comments top 18
pilif 3 days ago 4 replies      
While everybody is going to be rightfully excited about the logical replication, for me personally, CREATE STATISTICS and the new ROW syntax for UPDATE amount to the additions that have the probably biggest effect on me ever since I moved to postgres exclusively when 7.1 was released.

Especially CREATE STATISTICS (wonderful explanation here https://www.postgresql.org/docs/10.0/static/multivariate-sta...) is the one single knob I wanted to be able to turn so many times in the past now (especially the n-distinct counts).

Most of the time, the planner does an ok job, but sometimes you have tables in a peculiar shape and if you're unlucky, the planner will opt into horribly bad plans. Whenever this happened for me, it was due to one of the two things CREATE STATISTICS allows me to tune in the future.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to whoever gave us this wonderful feature

jph 3 days ago 3 replies      
Congratulations to the team. The replication/partition improvements are significant and much appreciated.

My favorite improvements are full text search of JSON & JSONB; this makes pg a full replacement for Mongo for my use cases.

paukiatwee 3 days ago 0 replies      
Important features:

Native Table Partitioning - https://www.keithf4.com/postgresql-10-built-in-partitioning/Logical Replication - https://blog.2ndquadrant.com/logical-replication-postgresql-...

or what is new in PG 10 https://wiki.postgresql.org/wiki/New_in_postgres_10

Postgresql really awesome!

ilanco 3 days ago 2 replies      
PostgreSQL is an amazing project. A no-nonsense database that delivers what it promises. I'm amazed at what a talented group of people can accomplish when they are driven and put their mind to it.Thanks for a wonderful product.
jakobegger 3 days ago 2 replies      
The biggest news for me is ICU support for collations (text sorting).

Previous versions of PostgreSQL relied only on strcoll, which is horribly broken on BSD and macOS. On platforms where it wasn't completely broken, it had the potential for subtle data corruption bugs (eg. an update to glibc might change sort order, causing indexes to become corrupt).

Now, you can optionally use ICU for collations, which gives you reliable, versioned collations. This is a big step forward!

ICU collations are not the default, you need to add them with CREATE COLLATION. You have a lot more collations available to choose from, but I think it's not yet possible to change any of the advanced settings that ICU provides.

(Also, when I tried it, it seems that the ICU collations are case insensitive -- but I think case insensitive collations aren't fully supported yet.)

jakobegger 3 days ago 1 reply      
If you're looking for a quick way to try PostgreSQL 10 on a Macbook, we made a special build of Postgres.app that includes PostgreSQL 10beta1.

You can download it from Github:https://github.com/PostgresApp/PostgresApp/releases

alfalfasprout 3 days ago 3 replies      
The native table partitioning makes me so happy. I'd been doing this for years with really hacky external modules and tons of triggers. Sadly, even then there were always weird edge cases.

Postgres really has become the most versatile database out there. I cringe whenever I have to work with MySQL again...

cygned 3 days ago 3 replies      
I wished they would implement more from SQL:2011. I have a lot of applications that would benefit from system versioned tables.

This is a good sum up of useful modern SQL features: https://www.slideshare.net/MarkusWinand/modern-sql

crgwbr 3 days ago 6 replies      
Will having logical replication make doing a DB version upgrade in production easier? We're using Postgres 9.4 on RDS right now, and there doesn't seem to be an upgrade path that doesn't involve some downtime.
zitterbewegung 3 days ago 0 replies      
The new features related to clustering looks exciting. Also SCRAM support and Full text search for JSON and JSONB . Postgres is cementing itself as not only the safe choice for Databases but also the Swiss Army knife .
qeternity 3 days ago 2 replies      
As someone with little to no Postgres experience, it seems like they are heading in the direction of providing the type of massively parallel, scale out features that Citus provides.

Would love to hear thoughts from someone with real expertise.

milquetoastaf 3 days ago 0 replies      
Postgres is awesome and thankfully is much easier to get set up with high availability and replication baked-in (remember pgpool anyone?). AWS Cloud Formation Docker Swarm stack + postgres primary/replica compose file + datadog and you're good to go.
Tostino 3 days ago 2 replies      
So glad that GiST indexes now support UUID and ENUM data types. That was a big wart for me due to needing exclusion constraints.
snuxoll 3 days ago 3 replies      
I know this sounds icky to some, but what I really want from Postgres is a proper equivalent to MSSQL's FILESTREAM.

I know, I know, "databases are bad for files" - but let's take something like an ECM suite where images and documents are literally part of a transaction, having to synchronize those between filesystem and database breaks the Atomic constraint in so many ways. PostgreSQL has LOB support, but oid's being 32-bits severely limits the usefulness of the feature without using convoluted workarounds (multiple databases).

gigatexal 3 days ago 1 reply      
unrelated to this particular release, but since we're talking about postgres... how do people find the ability to write stored procedures and functions in languages other than just SQL? I'm coming from a MSSQL shop and curious how writing a query in python for example has benefited anyone if at all -- did you / can you use modules like numpy or pandas in a postgres python procedure?
noobsquared 2 days ago 0 replies      
What is a good resource for learning databases in general (besides just queries) and then focus on PostgreSql?
combatentropy 3 days ago 1 reply      
So it looks like PostgreSQL will finally be web scale ;)

(ducks and runs)

alixaxel 2 days ago 1 reply      
Wasn't primary-primary replication from 2ndQuadrant BDR tool supposed to make GA with PostgreSQL 10?
A Case of Stolen Source Code panic.com
523 points by uptown  4 days ago   214 comments top 20
Sidnicious 4 days ago 6 replies      
> breeze right through an in-retrospect-sketchy authentication dialog

I can't blame them for this. A surprising number of apps ask for root (inc. Adobe installers and Chrome). As far as I know, it's to make updates more reliable when an admin installs a program for a day-to-day user who can't write to /Applications and /Library.

We're long overdue for better sandboxing on desktop (outside of app stores).

masto 4 days ago 3 replies      
I'm a bit surprised at the "personalized attention" from the attacker: that a human on the other end takes time to poke around individual machines, recognize the developer, and tailor a source code theft + ransom campaign to them. I had assumed that these are bulk compromises of at least thousands of machines and they just blast out scripts to turn them into spam proxies or whatever.

Maybe given the limited scale of this one and the obvious interest the attacker has in producing trojaned versions of popular software, this is actually what they were hoping for in the first place.

joshaidan 3 days ago 6 replies      
I find this story pretty fascinating. First, it's interesting how a broad attack, such as putting malware into software used by a large number of people, suddenly becomes a targeted attack: the attackers grab SSH keys and start cloning git repositories. I'm assuming that there was a significant number of victims in this attack. Were they targeting developers? Or did they just happen to comb through all this data and find what looked to be source code / git repositories.

The other thing I find interesting is this comment:

> Were working on the assumption that theres no point in paying the attacker has no reason to keep their end of the bargain.

If you really want to be successful in exploiting people through cyber attacks, I guess you will need some kind of system to provide guaranteed contracts, i.e. proof that if a victim pays the ransom, then the other end of the bargain will be held.

It might seem that there's some incentive for ransom holders to hold up their end of the bargain for the majority of cases if they want their attacks to be profitable.

randomf1fan 4 days ago 7 replies      
How does one realistically protect against these new attack vectors? It's all become so quick - the malware infects your machine, and seconds later your repos are cloned.

Most computers are always connected to the internet when they're on, even if they don't necessarily need to be. Airgapping isn't really used outside of very sensitive networks, but I'm starting to think we need to head towards a model of connecting machines only when really needed.

Of course the cloud based world doesn't allow for that, and perhaps I'm a luddite, but I increasingly find myself disabling the network connection when I'm working on my PC. Kind of like the dial-up days.

escapologybb 3 days ago 1 reply      
Slightly OT: I'm a reasonably competent Mac user, I use them all day and depend on them to control my house as I'm disabled. In the event I were to be compromised, can anyone suggest a logging tool/tools that I might be able to use on my network such that I could work out what the problem was and correct anything that needs correcting please?

We are looking at four or five Macs of differing types but all running the latest OS, a number of iPhones, iPads, more Raspberry Pi's than I'm going to admit to and a number of other IoT devices.


Also, I really wish more companies would be this forthcoming when they pwned. I think it's really good when are large company comes out with this type of mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. If professionals can get totally pwned, I really do think it tends to make ordinary users think about their security a little more. Or maybe I'm just hopelessly optimistic!

ianlevesque 4 days ago 3 replies      
> I also likely bypassed the Gatekeeper warning without even thinking about it, because I run a handful of apps that are still not signed by their developers.

Apple really needs to fix this. In particular open source applications don't sign for whatever reason and it's clear that barring some change they aren't going to start now.

briandoll 4 days ago 4 replies      
One way to protect against this is to not have SSH keys on your laptop. I've been using Kryptonite https://krypt.co/ lately, which is sort of like two-factor for SSH keys.
ythn 4 days ago 1 reply      
> without stopping to wonder why HandBrake would need admin privileges, or why it would suddenly need them when it hadnt before

Seems like it's completely random that an app needs admin or not. Blender3d? No admin. Unity3d? admin. etc.

ChuckMcM 4 days ago 2 replies      
Great writeup!. I think a lot of developers would do well to understand both the 'right' way to respond to this sort of event, and the tools you need in order to do so. Most importantly being detailed loggging and processes for re-keying everything.

I've participated in, and run, exercises where such damage is inflicted on purpose to surface gaps in the the response processes and to fix them. I was inspired by the Google DiRT (disaster recovery) and NetFlix Chaos Monkey exercises. Both of these create not simply review processes but simulation by action, or actually doing the damage to see the process work. Setting up your systems so that you can do that is a really powerful tool.

stillhere 4 days ago 0 replies      
No one has time to examine every line of source code in the 3rd party applications that we use. That being said it irks me when people don't at least isolate their sensitive material. There are many solutions available including virtualization and jails to run 3rd party applications with less risk involved.
msravi 3 days ago 0 replies      
And this is why ssh keys need to be encrypted - it's a good 2nd factor that will prevent access to all your important stuff if your laptop is stolen/compromised.

ssh-keygen -p -f keyfile

MarkMc 3 days ago 0 replies      
- Do not install unsigned software

- Do not install personal software on your work computer

otempomores 4 days ago 0 replies      
A version controllsystem which would allow the seperate safe versioning of ip central code with merge to build system would be nice.
tlrobinson 3 days ago 1 reply      
It's not particularly hard to add malware to an already compiled binary, without access to the source code, is it?
HurrdurrHodor 3 days ago 1 reply      
"Theres no indication any customer information was obtained by the attacker.Furthermore, theres no indication Panic Sync data was accessed."

Read: The attacker could have accessed all that data but didn't send me an e-mail telling me that he did.

nthcolumn 4 days ago 1 reply      
Meh, should all be on github anyway. Like.. Handbrake!
Sidnicious 4 days ago 3 replies      
> And more importantly, the right people at Apple are now standing by to quickly shut down any stolen/malware-infested versions of our apps that we may discover.

The "stolen" part bugs me even though it would be incredibly shitty to distribute cracked-from-source versions of Panic apps, I hope that Apple wouldn't prevent users from running them. I appreciate the malware protection built into macOS, but this might be an abuse of it.

floatboth 4 days ago 0 replies      
> Within 24 hours of the hack, we were on the phone with two important teams: Apple and the FBI.

FBI, seriously? Calling the cops, over malware, as a cool independent software company?! I mean, sure, fuck malware, but what happened to "fuck the police"? :D

jlg23 3 days ago 1 reply      
Lesson learned: None.

You use the same machine for development of commercial, closed source software and video transcoding for most probably private use.

Your postmortem can be summarized as "[advertisement]".

I get that real security is too hard for most people. But even a few precautions can make a big difference. In order of effectiveness (least effective first):

* Don't have sensitive data mounted automatically (yes, ubuntu, your encrypted home directory is a joke).

* Don't have sensitive data on the OS-drive. Even if you are limited by archaic USB2, RAM is cheap and so is a virtual memory backed disk. Pushing your closed source into it won't take more than 30s.

* Work hard and party hard. But keep that separated. One computer for fun, one for work. The one for work should not even think about talking to external devices until it's sure the environment is friendly.

PS: I do drink my own kool-aid - I always carry 2 laptops that run 4 operating systems. My development and sysop environment is not even capable of playing a movie.

Edit: "too hard for most people" may sound harsh, but it is not meant like this. I teach OPSEC to activists in developing countries, work for a non-profit with real privacy concerns in a first world country and make real money doing audits for rather large companies. When I say "for most people" it should probably have been "in most circumstances".

zeveb 4 days ago 3 replies      
Why was he installing Handbrake on a work computer? Maybe he had a business need to transcode videos, in which case no problem, but was he installing Handbrake on a work computer in order to rip DVDs personally? Worse, was he perhaps doing work on a personal computer?

Folks, don't mix your business & professional lives. The cost is not worth the benefit!

42-inch yacht still hoping to become the smallest boat to cross the Atlantic yachtingworld.com
448 points by tim_garcia  2 days ago   191 comments top 35
esaym 2 days ago 9 replies      
Hope he makes it but doesn't sound like it will be very fun.

I enjoyed watching a documentary ( "Maidentrip" http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2555268 ) about a young girl that sailed around the world just for fun. She did it in an older boat with limited electronics on board and had fun and made frequent stops just to visit other cultures.

Contrasted with another young girl ( "Wildeyes" http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1939787/ ) that did it for a record's sake, on a modern boat, with multiple sponsors, packed with electronics (all of which failed) and ultimately capsized in the Indian ocean.

And another good one was "Deep Water" ( http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0460766/ ) where a man tried to win an "around the world" yacht race (for a business venture) but ultimately went insane and jumped overboard.

twic 1 day ago 0 replies      
The Undaunted has a laden weight of 1800 pounds [1].

The largest ship, the Pioneering Spirit, displaces 932,000 tonnes [2].

The Pioneering Spirit is over a million times larger than the Undaunted.

I have been unable to determine how their nutella reserves compare.

[1] https://littleboatproject.org/specs/

[2] https://www.deltamarin.com/references/pioneering-spirit-piet...

tedmiston 2 days ago 3 replies      
> Provisions are stowed under Kents feet. I have enough food half freeze-dried for six months at 1,500 calories a day. I have intentionally put on 20 extra pounds for the trip as well.

> My diet consists of nuts, dried fruit, protein powder, nutrition bars, a variety of soups, stews, pasta, peanut butter, Nutella and so on. I have a huge variety as well as 64,000 extra calories in the form of two gallons of olive oil to add to my food.

> None of my food needs cooking but I do have a 12V/120W heat coil wand to heat water for dinner or tea or coffee, if I can afford the power. With a two-minute boil time I should be able to use it often. All of this fits in the bilge and down the keel.

I wondered how he did food. And how he has pasta that doesn't need cooked but lasts six months.

wand3r 2 days ago 3 replies      
I first thought, oh cool project; an autonomous drone boat must be pretty hard to build and manage. Probably a final for school or a robotics group.

...Nope. The kid is actually trying to pilot it himself. 48" boat. Honestly, wonder which challenge is harder. I know which one I'd prefer.

sehugg 2 days ago 0 replies      
Its keel has an emergency water tank slung off the bottom -- clever. Keeps the center of gravity low as possible.

Good thing he has experience with meditation and living along, it's going to be a miserable trip. If a storm rolls through he might be holed up in the tiny cabin for days.

aidos 1 day ago 1 reply      
Slightly OT - For anyone who doesn't know what modern sailing looks like here are a couple of promo clips from the teams racing the Americas Cup in the coming months.

The boats fly rather than sail these days. They're an amazing leap in design.



Someone 2 days ago 3 replies      
This 'yacht' is as wide as it is long and deeper under water than it is long. It also, if I understand things correctly, drags its emergency water tank along, and has 'saddle bags' that also are outside that 42 by 42 inch square.

I think they should measure these ships by underwater volume at time of departure.

Otherwise, the next 'yacht' will be a foot long and wide but 20 feet high, most of it underwater, and some brave/suicidal soul will volunteer to 'sail' it.

ptaipale 1 day ago 0 replies      
This reminds me of the crossing that two Finnish lads made in 1970 using Marino Mustang, a 4.3 m plastic motorboat, from Dakar to Guyana.

The remarkable thing is that they did not have nearly enough petrol for the trip -- they left off and when they ran out, they signaled passing larger ships to beg for more. They had a small amateurish sail which was useless.


CodeWriter23 2 days ago 1 reply      
I see, he's not at all concerned about losing his mind spending four grueling months in a 42" x 42" area.
edraferi 1 day ago 2 replies      
This sounds awesome

> Undaunted is a terrible boat, but he is a great storm shelter. A sailing capsule ready for the worst and also able to do the easy part, sailing in a straight line.

So basically it's about surviving indefinitely while drifting in the right direction. Why does anyone do this voluntarily.

> Kent says he is unconcerned about the psychological challenge of living in such a small space for four months.

> I have spent weeks alone in the Guatemalan Highlands, and lived alone in the woods for years. I have never been so alone or for so long, but few have.


gozur88 2 days ago 2 replies      
I know it's the original headline but this kind thing irks me. The creator of the boat is hoping to cross the Atlantic. The boat is a thing and doesn't have hopes.

Pretty cool project, though.

Semiapies 2 days ago 0 replies      
Web site for the project itself: https://littleboatproject.org
yardie 2 days ago 1 reply      
On a side note. We were one of the first boats to visit the new marina in La Gomera. It's fantastic diving and the water is the coolest blue you will ever sea. On land. The island is very rustic and undeveloped. They have a project wind farm that uses gravity storage to power the entire island. It's not the easiest island to get to but it is worth the trip.
gpvos 2 days ago 0 replies      
42 inch = 1.07 m
randlet 1 day ago 2 replies      
Fairly irrelevant but I've only ever heard boats referred to in feminine terms and he called his yacht a "he". Is this more common than I've been led to believe?
int_19h 1 day ago 3 replies      
I'm curious about these claims:

> He just bobs up and down. With a balance point about 16in above the keel and a 5ft draught he has a stability profile most designers would kill for. ndaunted is a terrible boat, but he is a great storm shelter. A sailing capsule ready for the worst and also able to do the easy part, sailing in a straight line.

How true is this? If it is, wouldn't the same hull profile be beneficial for lifeboats?

evincarofautumn 2 days ago 4 replies      
Can a nautical someone explain why the crossing is estimated to take 34 months? I thought a crossing from the Canaries to the Caribbean was just a few weeks under good downwind sail.
ReligiousFlames 1 day ago 3 replies      
Having great grandparents from Nantucket who's 7 family members died at sea while working as crab fishermen, it's seems reasonable this is a publicity stunt or he has absolutely no respect for how violent and unforgiving is the ocean.
walkingolof 1 day ago 0 replies      
Here is a small boat project that is done by a veteran, Sven Yrvind, its a 5.76 x 1 meter boat he will sail around the world, its not his first time in a small boat in the big seas either, read more here:


Johnny555 1 day ago 3 replies      
It has squared off corners in the front... I know nothing about boats, but couldn't he have have reduced drag a bit by at least rounding off the front corners or cutting them off at a 45 degree angle -- I'm not suggesting tapering the entire front, but just rounding off 6 - 12" from the edges seems like it would help? This would reduce the interior space a bit but gaining even 1% better speed on a 90 day journey seems quite significant.

The only similarly shaped hulls I can think of are barges, but they are towed by 1000 horsepower tugboats.

pavement 1 day ago 3 replies      
But why call it a yacht? While technically correct, it does not seem to embody the spirit of the word.
6stringmerc 1 day ago 0 replies      
"Quit playing with your dinghy!"[1]

[1] Tommy Boy - https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=vfLGKYsrCe4

trhway 2 days ago 1 reply      

Standing on the ocean side

We can hear the waves

Calling us out with tide

To sail into our fate

Oden! Guide our ships

... (c) Amon Amarth

quickben 1 day ago 0 replies      
Is that smaller hatch connected to anything when open? Looking at the pictures it's just waiting to be lost somewhere.
saintPirelli 1 day ago 1 reply      
How is he planning to go to the bathroom though?
jakeogh 2 days ago 0 replies      
slyrus 1 day ago 0 replies      
Where's the head on this boat?
mhh__ 2 days ago 0 replies      
Spinal Tap Atlantic tour?
ianamartin 1 day ago 0 replies      
Now do it during Atlantic hurricane season.
chronic940 2 days ago 5 replies      
Taxpayers spend millions saving drug users in hospitals for their stupid decisions.
ceedan 2 days ago 2 replies      
what is the point
oculusthrift 2 days ago 4 replies      
these people sometimes bother me because when they got lost or trapped, taxpayers then spend millions to save them.
X86BSD 2 days ago 0 replies      
I love reading about those sailing across the Pacific or Atlantic in tiny boats but this guy is going to instantly regret it when he hits a 20 foot swell.

Say hello to Poseidon for me!

wnevets 2 days ago 1 reply      
>He set off from La Gomera in the Canary Islands on 6 April, but returned after concerns about his boats seaworthiness.

Don't you mean attempted?

Google Bug Bounty The $5k Error Page slashcrypto.org
478 points by Artemis2  3 days ago   133 comments top 17
ChuckMcM 3 days ago 2 replies      
Nice catch. A long time ago the services on the backend were killed by a special URL. And someone found it, and it wasn't filtered by the front end. And of course someone tried to use it, but it never returns since it kills the service, but their client retried ... it was a lot of "what the heck is happening" going on until SRE figured it out and then they immediately patched the front end and the anomalies stopped. It is too bad the person who caused it didn't file for a bug bounty like this person did, they probably would have had something to show for their efforts besides "hey look at this funny thing you can do, oh wait it doesn't do it any more."
idonotknowwhy 3 days ago 2 replies      
I found a bug in wickr where I can re-read "deleted" messages.I submitted it, answered their teams questions about reproducing it.A couple of weeks later, they said they can't fix it and didn't pay me :(

I got all my wickr contacts to switch to signal, which is much less buggy...

ArlenBales 3 days ago 1 reply      
> 10/02/2017 Google already fixed the issue but forgot to tell me I contacted them asking for an update

> 19/02/2017 Got a response, they implemented a short-term fix and forgot to sent my report to the VRP panel

I hope Google forgetting to follow up on bug bounties and needing to be reminded isn't a common occurrence.

Macuyiko 3 days ago 4 replies      
So I was thinking recently... with Google (amongst others, of course) themselves pushing towards AI applications, it seems to me that many of these less-advanced* bounty hunts might perhaps be able to be automated with a fuzzer+scraper+AI based approach. The fact that bug bounties are still being awarded does suggest that this is not that trivial, however, but might still be fun to explore nonetheless. I.e. can one train an agent that goes off and tries this sort of things autonomously? Might be fun to translate the HTTP intrusion domain into a deep learning architecture.

Similar things are being applied on the "defensive" side of things already anyway (i.e. Iranian, Turkish, Chinese firewall systems using machine learning to identify and block new patterns), so why not apply this on the offensive side.

*: Not to demean the author in any way; I understand that putting the time in to explore these things is easier said than done in hindsight.

rprime 3 days ago 2 replies      
I discovered the same error/bug a few weeks ago when a co-worker linked "this weird page" to me, I just looked around and thought it's pretty cool too see that part of Google and didn't thought too much of it, closed the tab and went back to my Terminal. :)
arnioxux 3 days ago 0 replies      
In at least two other companies I've worked at we also use query params to enable debug information on live production sites. At one of those companies the only requirement was that you be on a corporate ip address but it actually still works if you're on our guest wifi.
carvalho 3 days ago 1 reply      
Good catch! Also studied Google's 404 pages. Seems like they have unified all but a few of them. One of them I found was vulnerable to old utf-7 injection (specified customizable page title before character encoding) and another was vulnerable to XSS. Got a bounty for the XSS one, the utf-7 one targeted too old browsers, out of scope for the program (I do wonder how many IE6 users Google sees).
komali2 3 days ago 3 replies      
Offtopic: What's with the hyper narrow width on this page? Looks like this on a 1440p monitor (ubuntu, chrome) http://i.imgur.com/m9YWcNj.png
netheril96 3 days ago 1 reply      
Such a refreshing story after countless of security researchers get threatened or sued when they report security vulnerabilities to the company that should have thanked them instead.
nickcw 2 days ago 0 replies      
I found a bug in Go which turned into this CVE


I applied for a bug bounty, but alas was turned down as Go isn't a Google service and it wasn't in scope for the Patch Reward Program.

I did get into the hall of fame though!

louprado 3 days ago 0 replies      
Here's a link to the Google Security Rewards Program


GauntletWizard 3 days ago 1 reply      
As a Xoogler who misses the debug stack, this was some fun nostalgia. Good catch!
roemerb 2 days ago 0 replies      
Am I the only person who had to enlarge the page to read the article? Nice catch though.
dmead 2 days ago 0 replies      
thefacebook.com redirected to facebook.com/intern/vod up until last week.
mickrussom 3 days ago 3 replies      
ncal 3 days ago 1 reply      
ensiferum 3 days ago 3 replies      
I'm surprised that anyone at the big Corp actually bothered to even reply to this guy reporting the bug much less actually give him a bounty!
Engineering management lessons (2014) defmacro.org
481 points by mzehrer  1 day ago   107 comments top 20
biztos 1 day ago 3 replies      
Having just spent a couple weeks on a pretty hard engineering problem, after having done more "architecture" stuff for quite a while, I would definitely add one thing to the Do's:

* Protect your engineers' attention.

As a manager you are the primary firewall between the world of distraction and the world of getting shit done. Most places these days have institutionalized some amount of distraction -- the various recurring "ceremonies" -- but anything beyond that, it's essential that the manager can protect the engineers from being distracted when they're working on hard problems.

(I've been pretty lucky in this regard throughout my career, but now that part of my job is to live among the distractions it's really been driven home.)


> Youre the one who makes hiring and firing decisions. Everything that happens on your team is your responsibility.

This is, to put it gently, not quite true in larger organizations.

theprop 1 day ago 11 replies      
The single most important thing in engineering management is hiring only the best. The best have two key characteristics: strong technical skills primarily in aptitude but also in technical knowledge, and a great ego-less attitude. It's at least as important to test for ego than for technical skills.

Most of our "engineering disasters" were related to lowering our bar for hiring. Some "engineering disasters", though, i should note were related to inexperienced product development - so if you're a first-time product leader, get an experienced mentor.

siliconc0w 1 day ago 0 replies      
Managers should get good at RTS games. A lot of the same principles apply -

* production vs process - you can spend resources on improving process(usually tooling) to improve production but this isn't always an easy knob to tune and can have diminishing returns. "Automate all the things" is how I know you don't know what you're talking about.

* DOTs - damage over time can be brutal, question every meeting and email that hits your team. Similarly- Engineers need large blocks of time to find flow and be effective(aka void rays). That 15 minute 2pm weekly check-in may seem trivial but you're pretty much nuking an afternoon's worth of productivity.

* macro vs micro - you generally need to spend time on both. Even Sr. engineers can benefit from occasional guidance because you should know more than them(see below). (knowledge != intelligence)

* bottlenecks/'stage III' production - you can have too many resources on something.

* Some resources are much better at certain tasks than others.

* situational awareness - know the executive roadmap, your roadmap, your internal customer's roadmaps, know 'the theory of how engineers are working in your org' and the reality. Know every project in your code repository. Know about most other possibly relevant open source technologies. Mostly this is just a lot of listening and reading. Be Omniscient

* 'strats/build-orders' - similar to the above, know how the industry/competitors solve the same problems your org has (but don't necessarily seek to copy them)

That said, treating people like RTS units is also a good way be disliked and ultimately be ineffective so you have to do the whole empathetic human thing.

exelius 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's pretty simple: engineers are professionals. Professionals make mistakes, but are most effective when allowed to own up to them without consequences and learn from them.

In a good software team, a single developer's "big mistake" gets fixed by the whole team. I guarantee nobody on that entire team will make that same mistake; nor will they hold anything against the offending developer unless there's a pattern.

But in short, empowerment is the most effective leadership style in this environment. It's not appropriate for all employees (specifically newer folks who need a bit more hand-holding at first) but for professional workers like engineers, it's really the only way to go -- especially if you have senior technical employees who have decades more experience than their manager.

jkovacs 1 day ago 5 replies      
Question: It says at point 8:

> Don't supervise the quality and volume of peoples work.

And I agree with the argument following that sentence. On the other hand, 2 points above that it says:

> Do enforce behavioral and performance standards. Fire bullies and underperformers.

So how else do I recognize underperformers without taking note of quantity and quality of people's output? Surely I can't just take someone else's word for it (and by the point a peer complains about this it's probably too late already anyway?).

alexchamberlain 1 day ago 11 replies      
Strongly disagree that an engineering manager shouldn't code; that is the shortest way to lose the respect of the team. Don't get me wrong; you need not be the "best" or the expert in all areas, but you do need to stay on top of technical developments both within and outside your organisation.
kator 1 day ago 2 replies      
I always say management is they easiest job because you only have four things to do, and I'm sure your team has more than that to do:

1) Provide Air Cover

2) Provide resources

3) Provide direction

4) Get the F* out of the way

Don't over think it. Empower your teams, trust them. They'll make mistakes just like you do. It's not how bad you F* Up it's how well you recover.

Originality in mistakes is the best I can ask for. Let's learn, progress and do better together.

I've been in tech for 35 years, if you think you've seen it all, you haven't and neither have I, so let's figure it out together and get some S*t done.

bmsleight_ 1 day ago 1 reply      
"Dont make decisions unless you have to. Whenever possible, allow the team to explore ideas and make decisions on its own."

Spot on, a good leader does not make all the decisions. It is counter-intuitive to popular culture, but this is stop on.

I would go on to say minimising your decisions, also helps to spend more time on a key decision when it is really necessary.

joshuaswaney 1 day ago 0 replies      
The emotional side of management goes so much deeper than what's covered by this list. Develop a vision and a strong sense of purpose in your engineers and they'll develop a mindset of building the future instead of maintaining the present. Foster a "we're all in this together" atmosphere and your engineers will develop a fanatical drive for success - either we all succeed or we all fail, it's not every man for himself.

The deep emotional drive is also what causes startups to succeed where big companies fail, despite their massive resources.

Bahamut 1 day ago 0 replies      
I am learning a lot about engineering management through turmoil, and I think the most important lesson for me is to avoid doing too much.

There are many things that can often use improving, especially at smaller companies. Process, architecture, deployment system, reduced meetings of team, optimizing the SLM software...it's easy to get overwhelmed, especially if you have a large team, or in my case, doing the job of a tech lead and engineering manager. It is a lot to swallow. Prioritizing the most important points on what is being tackled and communicating why is very important.

mratzloff 10 hours ago 0 replies      
"When you do X, it makes me feel Y."

I saw this phrase several times in this article and the linked article on "non-violent communication," but I don't think it's a particularly productive phrase.

Consider the possibility that no one can "make you" feel anything, and that you are ultimately responsible for your own emotional state. For example, you can't command me to feel happy or sad. My emotional response is something I'm a party to, in combination with my own unresolved fears and insecurities.

Instead, I suggest phrasing it in the present tense: "When you do X, I feel Y." That is observational and avoids any accusation or blame, so you can focus on the core issue at hand.

jasode 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is a fine list and there's nothing too controversial that people would disagree with.

That said, I only counted 6 items out of 44 that's specifically "engineering" related. (5, 7, 10, 12, 14, 15)

The other 38 bullet points are universal lessons that also apply to non-engineering managers such as a director of a creative team in an ad agency, or project supervisor of a construction crew, or a showrunner in charge of scriptwriters for TV episodes, etc. Empower your team and make decisions when necessary, etc.

pacaro 1 day ago 0 replies      
Did I miss something? I see nothing on this list that touches on mentoring or growing. I do see a line about firing underperformers. I've heard a metric that it costs between 2.5-5 time annual salary to replace someone. Sometimes an under performer is just in the wrong role, or on the wrong team; when this is the case they probably know it. Ask them!
tootie 1 day ago 0 replies      
I guess it varies by company, but my job is more about managing the team's exposure to outside forces. I work with product and client teams to make sure we're delivering the right solution and we're promising something achievable. That's at least half my job.
AlexCoventry 1 day ago 0 replies      
I read this recently and found it very insightful because whereas most software management essays seem to have an agenda of advertising the author as a great person to work with, this one seems like a pretty straightforward dump of lessons learned.
kuharich 1 day ago 0 replies      
tempz 1 day ago 1 reply      
Sadly, exactly 50% of engineers are below average, so hiring the best all the time is unsustainable. Thinking that you hired the best, however, is sustainable.

The art of managing relies on the capability to get work done by all kinds of engineers. The talent is rarely universally allocated. Some very 'bright' ones will never properly finish the work. Some 'slow' engineers may have remarkable attention to details.

guilt 1 day ago 0 replies      
Big Companies have management who cash in at the expense of young exploitable engineers.

Personally I'd like to see the top management get fired.

boltzmannbrain 1 day ago 1 reply      
+ a meta-point: Learn these through experience, not in a classroom. Having managed engineers in industry and also gone through a masters program in engineering management, 90% of what makes me a decent manager/leader/coach today can be attributed to the former.
gcatalfamo 1 day ago 0 replies      
Number 11: you are probably talking about authoritativeness and not authority
JSON Feed jsonfeed.org
482 points by fold  4 days ago   209 comments top 27
mstade 4 days ago 5 replies      
> JSON Feed files must be served using the same MIME type application/json thats used whenever JSON is served.

So then it's JSON, and I'll treat it as any other JSON: a document that is either an object or an array, that can include other objects or arrays, as well as numbers and strings. Property names doesn't matter, nor do order of properties or array items, or whatever values are contained therein.

Please don't try to overload media types like this. Atom isn't served as `application/xml` precisely because it isn't XML; it's served as `application/atom+xml`. For a media type that is JSON-like but isn't JSON, you may wish to look at `application/hal+json`; incidentally there's also `application/hal+xml` for the XML variant.

Or as someone else rightly suggested, consider just using JSON-LD.

mindcrime 4 days ago 14 replies      
Do we really need this? Atom is fine for feeds. Avoiding XML just for the sake of avoiding XML, because it isn't "cool" anymore is just dump groupthink.

If this industry has a problem, it's FDD - Fad Driven Development and IIICIS (If It Isn't Cool, It Sucks) thinking.

russellbeattie 4 days ago 4 replies      
For anyone who's tried to write a real-world RSS feed reader, this format does little to solve the big problems the newsfeeds have:

* Badly formed XML? Check. There might be badly formed JSON, but I tend to think it'll be a lot less likely.

* Need to continually poll servers for updates? Miss. Without additions to enable pubsub, or dynamic queries, clients are forced to use HTTP headers to check last updates, then do a delta on the entire feed if there is new or updated content. Also, if you missed 10 updates, and the feed only contains the last 5 items, then you lose information. This is the nature of a document-centric feed meant to be served as a static file. But it's 2017 now, and it's incredibly rare that a feed isn't created dynamically. A new feed spec should incorporate that reality.

* Complete understanding of modern content types besides blog posts? Miss. The last time I went through a huge list of feeds for testing, I found there were over 50 commonly used namespaces and over 300 unique fields used. RSS is used for everything from search results to Twitter posts to Podcasts... It's hard to describe all the different forms of data it can be contain. The reason for this is because the original RSS spec was so minimal (there's like 5 required fields) so everything else has just been bolted on. JSONFeed makes this same mistake.

* An understanding that separate but equal isn't equal. Miss. The thing that http://activitystrea.ms got right was the realization that copying content into a feed just ends up diluting the original content formatting, so instead it just contains metadata and points to the original source URL rather than trying to contain it. If JSONFeed wanted to really create a successor to RSS, it would spec out how to send along formatting information along with the data. It's not impossible - look at what Google did with AMP: They specified a subset of formatting options so that each article can still contain a unique design, but limited the options to increase efficiency and limit bugs/chaos.

This stuff is just off the top of my head. If you're going to make a new feed format in 2017, I'm sorry but copying what came before it and throwing it into JSON just isn't enough.

CharlesW 4 days ago 1 reply      
Dave Winer (the creator of RSS) played with this a bit in 2012. It turns out that exact format of feeds doesn't matter nearly as much as there being a more-or-less universal one.


Communitivity 4 days ago 1 reply      
It is worth pointing out that there is a relevant W3C Recommendation "JSON Activity Streams", https://www.w3.org/TR/activitystreams-core/ . I'm not saying JSON Feed is worse, or better. I am saying that I think JSON Feeds adoption requires a detailed comparison between JSONFeed and JSON Activity Streams 2.0.
zeveb 4 days ago 5 replies      
If we're going to talk about replacing XML with better data formats, why not switch to S-expressions?

 (feed (version https://jsonfeed.org/version/1) (title "My Example Feed") (home-page-url https://example.org) (feed-url https://example.org/feed.json) (items (item (id 2) (content-text "This is a second item.") (url https://example.org/second-item)) (item (id 1) (content-html "<p>Hello, world!</p>") (url https://example.org/initial-post))))
This looks much nicer IMHO than their first example:

 { "version": "https://jsonfeed.org/version/1", "title": "My Example Feed", "home_page_url": "https://example.org/", "feed_url": "https://example.org/feed.json", "items": [ { "id": "2", "content_text": "This is a second item.", "url": "https://example.org/second-item" }, { "id": "1", "content_html": "<p>Hello, world!</p>", "url": "https://example.org/initial-post" } ] }

gedrap 4 days ago 1 reply      
But does it solve any actual problems other than 'XML is not cool', problems big enough to deserve a new format?

It's true that JSON is easier to deal with than XML. But that's relative, there are plenty of decent tools around RSS. From readers, to libraries in the most common programming languages, and extensions in the most common content management systems. JSON is slightly easier to read for human (although that's subjective), but then how often do you need to read the RSS feed manually, unless you are the one who is writing those libraries, etc. But that's a tiny share of all people using RSS.

>>> It reflects the lessons learned from our years of work reading and publishing feeds.

Sounds like the author(s) has extensive experience in this field and knows things better than some random person on the internet (me). But the homepage of the project doesn't convey those learned lessons.

eric_the_read 4 days ago 2 replies      
A few thoughts on the spec itself:

* In all cases (feed and items), the author field should be an array to allow for feeds with more than one author (for instance, a podcast might want to use this field for each of its hosts, or possibly even guests).

* external_url should probably be an array, too, in case you want to refer to multiple external resources about a specific topic, or in the case of a linkblog or podcast that discusses multiple topics, it could link to each subtopic.

* It might be nice if an item's ID could be enforced to a specific format, even if perhaps only within a single feed. Otherwise it's hard to know how to interpret posts with IDs like "potato", 1, null, "http://cheez.burger/arghlebarghle"

jerf 4 days ago 2 replies      
I would suggest specifying titles as html, not plain text. I've seen too many things titled "I <i>love</i> science!" over the years to believe in the idea that titles are plain text.

Also, despite the fact this is technically not the responsibility of the spec itself, I would strongly suggest some words on the implications of the fact that the HTML fields are indeed HTML and the wisdom of passing them through some sort of HTML filter before displaying them.

In fact that's also part of why I suggest going ahead and letting titles contain HTML. All HTML is going to need to be filtered anyhow, and it's OK for clients to filter titles to a smaller valid tag list, or even filter out all tags. Suggesting (but not mandating) a very basic list of tags for that field might be a good compromise.

jawns 4 days ago 4 replies      
> It's at version 1, which may be the only version ever needed.

Wow. Now that's confidence. Have you ever read the first version of a spec and thought, "That's just perfect. Any additional changes would just be a disappointment compared with the original"?

pimlottc 4 days ago 5 replies      
> JSON is simpler to read and write, and its less prone to bugs.

Less prone to bugs? How's that?

ttepasse 4 days ago 1 reply      
Shortly after RSS 0.9 came out RSS 1.0 reformulated the RSS vocabulary in RDF terms. Of course the modern (sane) successor to RDF/XML is JSON-LD.

So I'm hoping for JSON-LD Feed 1.1 and a new war of format battles. Maybe we can even get Mark Pilgrim out of hiding!

gwu78 3 days ago 0 replies      
Is this a "JSON Feed" from NYTimes?

Example below filters out all URLs for a specific section of the paper.

 test $# = 1 ||exec echo usage: $0 section curl -o 1.json https://static01.nyt.com/services/json/sectionfronts/$1/index.jsonp exec sed '/\"guid\" :/!d;s/\",//;s/.*\"//' 1.json
I guess SpiderBytes could be used for older articles?

Personally, I think a protocol like netstrings/bencode is better than JSON because it better respects the memory resources of the user's computer.

Every proposed protocol will have tradeoffs.

To me, RAM is sacred. I can "parse" netstrings in one pass but I have been unable to do this with a state machine for JSON. I have to arbitrarily limit the number of states or risk a crash. As easy as it is to exhaust a user's available RAM with Javascript so too can this be done with JSON. Indeed they go well together.

einrealist 4 days ago 1 reply      
If you create a new JSON-based document format, please consider to use JSON-LD (aside raw JSON data) so we can make a true world of interconnected data through semantic formats. At least, so I can generate code and automatically validate format compatibility from a well-defined schema. Thank you!

EDIT: Because I get downvoted despite stating my opinion on the topic, I adjusted the statement.

pedalpete 4 days ago 0 replies      
"JSON has become the developers choice for APIs", I'm curious about how people feel about this statement from a creation vs consumption perspective.

I'm currently creating an API where I'm asking devs to post JSON rather than a bunch of separate parameters, but I haven't seen this done in other APIs (if you have, can you point me to a few examples?). I'm curious what others thoughts are on this. It seems that with GraphQl, we're maybe starting to move in this direction.

smilbandit 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'd like to see a language available at the item level. You can derive the language from the http headers but if you're dealing with linkblogs it would be nice at the item level to help with filtering.

I think that images and urls would do well as order lists rather than as individual values. at the top level you have 3 urls and an array for hubs. with type and url you could have an array for hubs and the urls. same could be done for images at the top level and both again at the item level.

niftich 4 days ago 0 replies      
It's unfortunate that XML has fallen so out of favor that well-made, strongly-schemad formats specified in XML, like Atom, are suffering in turn -- although reasons for feeds' demise go well beyond its forms-on-the-wire. This trend frustrates me, but it's undeniable that a lot of web data interchange happens with JSON-based formats nowadays, and the benefits of network effects, familiarity, and tooling support make JSONification worth exploring.

But even more frustrating is when a format comes out that's close to being a faithful translation of an established format, but makes small, incompatible changes that push the burden of faithful translation onto content authors, or the makers of third-party libraries.

I honestly don't intend to offer harsh targeted critique against the authors -- I assume good faith; more just voicing exasperation. There have been similar attempts over the years -- one from Dave Winer, the creator of RSS 0.92 and RSS 2.0, called RSS.js [1], which stoked some interest at first [2]; others by devs working in isolation without seeming access to a search engine and completely unaware of prior art; some who are just trying something unrelated and accidentally produce something usable [3]; finally, this question pops up from time to time on forums where people with an interest in this subject tend to congregate [4]. Meanwhile, real standards-bodies are off doing stuff that reframes the problem entirely [5] -- which seems out-of-touch at first, but I'd argue provides a better approach than similar-but-not-entirely-compatible riff on something really old.

And as a meta, "people who use JSON-based formats", as a loose aggregate, have a serious and latent disagreement about whether data should have a schema or even a formal spec. In the beginning when people first started using JSON instead of XML, it was done in a schemaless way, and making sense of it was strictly best-effort on part of the receiving party. Then a movement appeared to bring schemas to JSON, which went against the original reason for using JSON in the first place, and now we're stuck with the two camps playing in the same sandbox whose views, use-cases, and goals are contradictory. This appears to be a "classic" loose JSON format, not a strictly-schemad JSON format, not even bothering to declare its own mediatype. This invites criticism from the other camp, yet the authors are clearly not playing in that arena. What's the long-term solution here?

[1] http://scripting.com/stories/2012/09/10/rssInJsonForReal.htm...[2] https://core.trac.wordpress.org/ticket/25639[3] http://www.giantflyingsaucer.com/blog/?p=3521[4] https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/restful-json/gkaZl3A...[5] https://www.w3.org/TR/activitystreams-core/

0x006A 4 days ago 0 replies      
why is it size_in_bytes and duration_in_seconds as opposed to content_text and content_html

It should just be size and duration or size_bytes size_seconds (but adding units only makes sense if you could use other units). adding _in to the mix is strange.

gumby 4 days ago 0 replies      
A good announcement explains what problem it is intending to solve.
voidfiles 4 days ago 1 reply      
This seems like a great idea. If it can help even one developer it's worth it.
cocktailpeanuts 4 days ago 1 reply      
Doesn't Wordpress already have something like this? http://v2.wp-api.org/

I don't understand why suddenly people treat this like something that uniquely solves a problem. Maybe I'm missing something?

ozten 4 days ago 1 reply      
XML is aweful, but it does have CDATA, which lets you embed blog posts directly and it's easy to debug.

String encoded blog posts are going to be painful once people start using the `content_html` part of the spec.

pswenson 4 days ago 0 replies      
i'm surprised no one has started a snake vs camel case debate here! https://jsonfeed.org/version/1
nilved 4 days ago 1 reply      
Good lord, Web people, stop it. You are embarrassing yourselves. We already have standards and you need to stop recreating everything in JavaScript.
systematical 3 days ago 0 replies      
Who uses feeds? Who uses XML?
ehosca 4 days ago 0 replies      
stopped reading after "JSON is simpler to read and write, and its less prone to bugs." ....
donohoe 4 days ago 1 reply      
I have grave concerns that this publishing format is delivered to us by two people that, as far as I can see, have limited to zero publishing background.

That said, they're being responsive to questions in Issues, so I remain optimistic.

Introducing the TensorFlow Research Cloud googleblog.com
362 points by Anon84  4 days ago   63 comments top 8
aub3bhat 4 days ago 4 replies      
For comparison, at 180 teraflops per TPU (assumption: at fp32) this is equivalent to offering a cluster with 15,000 Titax Xp GPUs (1200$ per GPU = 18 Million $ worth of compute power).

If TPU teraflops are reported at fp16, then the number would be half.

Titan X offers 12 TFLOPs per GPU https://blogs.nvidia.com/blog/2017/04/06/titan-xp/

theCricketer 4 days ago 2 replies      
Question for any Google Cloud folks hanging out here: Is it possible to use Cloud TPUs without using TensorFlow? Is there a more low level library/API to run instructions on TPUs so other frameworks can work with TPUs?
jjm 3 days ago 1 reply      
For me the major take away is that Nvidia is no longer the only supplier of "decent" DL hardware.

To think that any entrant no matter the size could come into the space and successfully develop a device in such short order is amazing.

Not only that but have it used within their own infrastructure for some time, and later to allow outside external usage, again amazing from a planning, execution, product perspective. Ah shucks, from a hardware perspective too.

Especially coming from a company In the traditional sense which has no business being in this sector (excuses).

It seems like NVidia is an army, polished to pump "chips". And this Google special ops team kicked ass.

jaflo 4 days ago 5 replies      
I might be naive to think this, but are Google Cloud services making money simply through the fees you pay or does Google also have an interest in the data generated by and passing through its services? If the latter, what data do they collect and how do they profit?
KaoruAoiShiho 4 days ago 2 replies      
If I'm invested in NVDA should I sell? Is this is a real competitor that will remove NVDA's AI leadership?
jamesblonde 3 days ago 1 reply      
This basically tells me that Google have a new generation of TPUs that have arrived and they are giving us (researchers) the last generation. Not that I have nothing against this. 3-4 years ago, AWS made huge inroads in mind-share by giving us researchers tens of thousands of dollars in education grants for writing a half-page proposal. Google have learnt from them.
killjoywashere 4 days ago 0 replies      
I suspect a number of people signing up for this will be getting invited to job interviews in the coming year.
kruhft 3 days ago 1 reply      
delay 7

say "I'd like to introduce you to the concept of Intelligence Artificial."

delay 2

say "You might have heard of Artificial Intelligence, a term coined by John MiCarthy in the 1950s to label his study of difficult problems that his computer science lab was working on."

delay 2

say "Today we have a resurgence of Artificial Intelligence. You may or may not have noticed, but the Artifically Intelligent are now controlling your lives."

delay 2

say "From Siri, to Facebook, to the Googles, to the Amazon, your data is being fed into 'Machine Learning' algorithms at a rapid pace."

delay 2

say "Custom hardware is being designed this very minute to accelerate the training of these algorithms."

delay 2

say "That is what Artificial Intelligence is these days. Machines learning, about you."

delay 3

say "Intelligence Artificial turns this concept on it's head. By learning more about the machine, YOU, you can learn to control the machine."

delay 1

say "I"

say "A, not, A I."

delay 7

say "BusFactor1 Inc. 2017"

delay 1

say "Putting the ology into technology."

delay 3

say "Or, is it the other way around."

delay 4

say "I am the machine telling you about learning, this is my reference clip and this is where we are going"

Transform Data by Example [video] microsoft.com
359 points by gggggggg  4 days ago   87 comments top 24
teddyh 4 days ago 7 replies      
You know what this reminds me of? Those trained neural-net things which, however many training examples you give it, always seem to find some way to cheat and not do what you want while still obeying all your training data correctly.

Something like this: Suppose we have a table of strings of digits, some including spaces, and wed like to remove the spaces. From

 123 456 234567 345 678

 123456 234567 345678
Now, what happens if it encounters, say

Would the result be unchanged (as we would probably want), or would it cheat and remove the middle 7 character, giving 456890?

ktamura 4 days ago 2 replies      
This is a great product idea. If you ask any Excel power users, by far the most time-consuming and hard-to-automate task is text and date manipulation.

The beauty of this product is that its adoption strategy is baked into the product itself: I'd share this with all Excel user friends of mine because I want the algorithm to get smarter, and I might even learn a bit of C# myself so that I can contribute and scratch my own itch. This in turn makes the product better (because of the larger training data), lending itself to more word of mouth.

One concern I have is security: I'd love to hear from folks who built this/more familiar with this about how to ensure the security of suggested transformations.

Cieplak 3 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder if it uses Z3 under the hood for solving constraints. Very nice of MSFT to MIT license Z3. It's super useful for problems that result in circular dependencies when modeled in Excel, and require iterative solvers (e.g., goal seek). I use the python bindings, but unfortunately it's not as simple as `pip install` and requires a lengthy build/compilation. Well worth the effort, though.



gergoerdi 3 days ago 0 replies      
Check out MagicHaskeller which figures out list processing functions from examples: http://nautilus.cs.miyazaki-u.ac.jp/~skata/MagicHaskeller.ht...

For example, given the rule `f "abcde" 2 == "aabbccddee"`, it even figures out the role of the parameter `2`, so `f "zq" 3` gives `"zzzqqq"`.

bcherny 3 days ago 1 reply      
netvarun 4 days ago 0 replies      
Is this related/a commercial application of the 'Deep Learning for Program Synthesis' post[0][1] from Microsoft Research on HN a month ago?


[1]HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14168027

martinthenext 3 days ago 0 replies      
Oh man, we did it before Microsoft!



wayneprice 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'm playing around with a client-side js implementation of this at https://www.robosheets.com/

It's not production ready / launched yet, but it's getting there.

I'd be interested to finds (or really doesn't find) this useful :)

gerhardi 3 days ago 0 replies      
This was also included in the query editor of Microsoft's Power BI in the release a month or two ago. First you select the columns to be used as a source then start writing example values to the new column to be generated. It also shows the generated M/PowerQuery expression.

It can't do miracles, but this is time saving in many cases like when you want to concatenate values from different columns in a new format into a single column and so on.

fiatjaf 4 days ago 1 reply      
See also http://www.transformy.io/#/app

Ok, just realized somehow the site has vanished. Not working archived version: http://web.archive.org/web/20161028231256/https://www.transf...

unfamiliar 4 days ago 2 replies      
Humans are really good at taking a vague description of a task and using a small number of examples to disambiguate it.

For example, "sort all of the folders, so that it Alan goes before Amy, etc". The rule ("sort") is pretty ambiguous, but one simple example in the context gives enough information to realise you probably mean alphabetically by first name.

Is there something like this example that could be combined with NLP to make things like these "intelligent assistants" we have now much more useful for data processing tasks?

It would be great to describe data manipulation to a machine the way that I would describe it to a colleague: give an overview of an algorithm, watch how they interpret it, and correct with a couple of examples in a feedback loop. Currently describing such things for a machine requires writing the algorithm manually in a programming language.

logicallee 4 days ago 0 replies      
It would be nice if it indicated where it was making stuff up (in the zip code example, for the rows that were missing some data, it just makes it up - these rows are not distinguished visually from the rows where it did not add data not in the input.)

What I mean is if every row had a date like "12 May 2002" and you wanted it turned into 2002.05.12 then it would be nice if it indicated when it added data. For example if one of the rows just read "15 May" then, since there is no year, it would not be completely absurd if it transformed into 2017.05.15 - or if all of the other data is 2002, then adding that. But I really think silently adding data that was not in the input is going too far. A transform shouldn't ever silently inject plausible data with no indication that this is interpolated. Bad things can result.

Otherwise great demo!

mballantyne 3 days ago 0 replies      
I believe this is the implementation described in this paper published at POPL 2016:


Though it probably also uses more recent work from the same group:


tdbeteam 2 days ago 0 replies      
Relationship to FlashFill feature in Excel: FlashFill is a popular feature in Excel that also uses the example-driven paradigm to automatically produce transformations. While FlashFill supports string-based transformations, Transform Data by Example can leverage sophisticated domain-specific functions to perform semantic transformations beyond string manipulations. For examples, see: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/research/wp-content/uploads/...
gshulegaard 3 days ago 1 reply      
Excel is a really powerful tool. If you are fine with needing Windows or Mac (e.g. not Linux) and you are ok with their licensing constraints it's pretty hard to beat.
JoelJacobson 3 days ago 0 replies      
I hacked together something similar that learns row/column offsets for different fields in a text file, and converts it into a normal CSV, i.e. a normal table.


matt4711 4 days ago 1 reply      
There is a paper describing such a method (not sure if that is what was implemented):

"Zhongjun Jin, Michael R. Anderson, Michael J. Cafarella, H. V. Jagadish:Foofah: Transforming Data By Example. SIGMOD Conference 2017: 683-698"

captnswing 3 days ago 0 replies      
Seems similar to http://openrefine.org/
copperx 4 days ago 1 reply      
That's great, I always loved Auto Fill in Excel, and this brings it to the Mac.
Kiro 3 days ago 0 replies      
I would love something similar for Google Spreadsheet.
amelius 3 days ago 0 replies      
I want this in Vim :)

This would be great for refactoring code.

tejtm 4 days ago 0 replies      
alas it is too late, it transformed our genes to dates, no sequence for Bill
cblte 3 days ago 0 replies      
not usable for companies and secured networks. :-( too bad
sjg007 3 days ago 0 replies      
There's a huge opportunity in making excel better..
Writing correct lock-free and distributed stateful systems in Rust, with TLA+ github.com
364 points by guifortaine  2 days ago   91 comments top 9
unboxed_type 2 days ago 4 replies      
Lets say you model-checked some distributed algorithm with TLA+. You then implement it in Rust. How are you going to check that your implementation implements exactly the algorithm you have checked and not some other algorithm which looks very similar?

I think the phrase 'reliable systems' is more appropriate to what you are up to, as opposed to the phrase 'correct systems' which usually corresponds to formal verification.

dikaiosune 2 days ago 1 reply      
There's a lot of interest in formally verifying things about the unsafe subset of Rust, for example the Rust Belt project: http://plv.mpi-sws.org/rustbelt/. One thing I've not well understood is how these efforts may be affected by some of the conversations around the unsafe code guidelines effort:


cabaalis 2 days ago 3 replies      
Rust-ignorant here; I was reading your "why rust" section. It contains a lot of information about how safe the resulting code is and how that is such a great benefit, and that's why Rust was selected. But then it has this statement: "However, it needs to be noted that when creating lock-free high-performance algorithms, we are going to need to sidestep the safety guarantees of the compiler." .... So why Rust?
EGreg 2 days ago 1 reply      
If you're working with a language that has closures, I started to have a heuristic:

 // if you are writing a comment like this // explaining what the next block of code does // chances are you should just refactor it // into a closure _doWhateverCommentSaid(arg1, arg2, arg3);
it's true that this needlessly adds stack overhead, but this way, you are more likely to structure your code properly, re-use it properly (which more than pays for the stack overhead), and move your closure / method to be more and more global as needed.

Perhaps if you have a comment like this:

 f(x); // x matches some assumption
then in fact, you should add validation to f itself, in the form of a function, same as above.

 function f(x) { _theAssumption(x); }
this habit encourages re-use and proper structuring of code.

in short, comments may be an anti-pattern!

nicknash 2 days ago 1 reply      
For lock-free data structures, how does this verification encode the memory model? E.g. high-quality model checkers for the C++11 memory model allow for outcomes inconsistent with the execution order of the code (in addition to outcomes that aren't sequentially consistent, but are consistent with the execution order). They also work on unmodified source. In the past I've seen SPIN/Promela used as a tool for concurrency-checking, but it's silent on memory-models (implicitly sequentially consistent)
mcguire 2 days ago 1 reply      
"Pluscal has two forms, c and p. They are functionally identical, but c form uses braces and p form uses prolog/ruby-esque begin and end statements that can be a little easier to spot errors with, in my opinion."

Nit: that should be Pascal/Ruby, no?

tschottdorf 2 days ago 0 replies      
https://github.com/uwplse/verdi is a good example of this (it uses coq and extractions along with minimal glue).
lenage 2 days ago 0 replies      
thanks for great work
alexnewman 2 days ago 1 reply      
I like this a lot
Ask HN: How do I switch from being a passive consumer to an active producer?
473 points by humaninstrument  17 hours ago   202 comments top 89
marvin 15 hours ago 19 replies      
I'm going to say something that might be wildly unpopular among ambitious people: If you have a full-time job, you are by far not a passive consumer. You presumably contribute >40 hours every week of creatively demanding, high-quality labor to society.

For most people, the premise of this question is wrong. Procrastination, when you don't obviously have a lot of available time and effort, is a symptom that most of your creative energies are already spent elsewhere and are unavailable for other high-energy pursuits. I commend the effort to organizing your remaining free time to produce something of societal value, but for most people this is an exercise that will in the long run lead to burnout. Your mind is already subconsciously telling you this.

I know some people who have energy levels that allow them to sustainably burn the candle at both ends, but they are a small minority. I am quite envious of this group; they appear to have a big leg up in accomplishing great things, but there appears to be a component of either genetics or upbringing that leaves only a small portion of people with this capability.

If you are not in this minority and you strongly desire to produce more creative output outside of your full-time job, there are two options: You can set small goals, e.g. spending 3-5 hours a week of dedicated time towards your pursuit, or putting everything else in your life on pause for a year or two while you go at it with all your effort. The latter course of action will likely not be sustainable, and you have to listen to your mind and body when it's had enough of it.

My preferred choice would be to get a job that pays enough to sustain your lifestyle but has much smaller hours (e.g. 60% or 40% of a full-time position), if this is at all possible. Most places, sadly, it isn't an option. If you can organize this, you free up a significant portion of your creative energy, which can then be used for other ambitious goals.

wpietri 12 hours ago 1 reply      
My biggest tip: minimize what you do.

Since you want to do more, I know this sounds crazy. But when I set up a personal kanban system, it really changed my life. You establish a backlog of what you want to do. Then you limit the amount of work in process (WIP). That gives you a very small number of open tasks to switch between, which means you end up increasing your focus and being forced to finish things. (Or at least clearly admit that you're quitting a thing.)

This process is, honestly, pretty unpleasant at first. Being a passive consumer pays off right now. There's always a new article, a new tweet. When you're bored, you just skip ahead. Real work is frustrating and pays off very slowly. So you're going to spend months just breaking yourself of your quick-entertainment habits and learning to put up with the frustration of longer scale.

If you really struggle, consider trying out the pomodoro system, which involves fixed periods of focus with breaks. E.g., 25 minutes of work with 5 minutes of break. When I'm feeling really resistant to production and just want to fuck around on the Internet, I'll tell myself, "Ok, one pomodoro of work on the project." I'll set my countdown timer and just fucking do the work for 25 minutes, no matter how much I don't want to. Often after that, I get into it and it's fine. But that first wall of resistance can be brutal.

The other thing that really helped me is taking up running. Pick a race, like a 5K. Train for it and do it. Then pick another race. The main trick to running successfully is not giving up. You learn to put one goddamn foot in front of another. Some days it's a joy and some days you hate it, but that ends up not mattering so much. You slowly learn that your feelings are just these things your brain does. You can notice them without having to obey them.

factsaresacred 16 hours ago 2 replies      
How much spare time do you have, what are your living conditions like, your energy levels, hours of sleep, computer speed, monitor size, task management approach?

I ask because you need to:

A. build an environment conducive to producing.

B. practice discipline.

Like you, I had some half-baked blogs and projects that were doomed for failure. After way too much wasted time it was obvious that I wasn't living a lifestyle congruent with my goals. No successful person ever prioritized Facebook over their project. I was lying to myself and had to snap out of it.

So I began applying a version of the Broken windows theory* - which argues that if you prevent small crimes it discourages large crimes - to my life. (In this case the smaller crimes were procrastination and the larger crime was not getting my shit together like I know I ought to).

The rules were simple:

1. Everything I did had to align with my goal to produce. I got a faster laptop, dual screens (this makes a difference, trust me), began sleeping well and eating well, rationed consuming to 2 hours a day, stopped drinking (hangovers are dumb...for now at least).

2. Apply discipline everywhere. I made my bed first thing each morning, the apartment was always spotless, I worked out every day. Even began doing stuff like not using auto-correct on Chrome - fight your lazy brain and spell the word correctly dammit. The idea was to practice discipline as much as possible so as to train it like a muscle.

End result: I learned how to code, built a product, quit my job and am now at 500 customers.

So you can do it. It's just going to cost you - dates, meetups with friends, a slight drop in Facebook-notification-induced-dopamine. But, I assure you, the joy from creating something that people enjoy eclipses all of that.

This approach is geared more for an all in lifestyle change. If you just want to be a better blogger, even a fraction of the above will do.

Worse than the fear of commitment is the tinge of regret. Took almost a decade to figure that one out.


jng 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Here's some shared experiences that may be applicable to your case. I am a 43 year old that struggled with procrastination all my life. Even then, I did achieve some impressive things, in various ways, over the years. Wrote a book to learn x86 assembly and got it published quite successfully when I was 21. Led the technical team of a AAA team. Built and sold a software product online for 11 years, 6 figures sales. But then I failed many times in achieved my creative goals. I think I just wasn't looking at things from the right angle.

With creative stuff: writing, music, etc... I had to find another way. Technical projects tend to be big. Don't be wrong, something like "publishing a youtube video every week" is a huge amount of work and very scary, involving time, energy, creativity, and the very logical fear of nobody giving a shoot about it.

What worked for me creatively was to bring projects down to the smallest expression. I wanted to write short fiction stories, I decided to write "tweetstories" in 140 characters. I wanted to do storytelling, did a lot of stand-up comedy, 5min sets. For music, short piano pieces. Make it such that the amount of work is not the problem. And then you will find what the real issue is.

For me, I had to accept producing bad stuff. We sometimes don't produce stuff because we're scared to produce bad stuff. And there's no way around it. You can't choose to be a good artist, but you can choose to be a bad artist. And that's the only way. Watch Ira Glass's video on creativity, he describes it perfectly.

Good luck. This is very reasonable stuff to struggle with.

andai 16 hours ago 2 replies      
No one else can answer these questions for you. If your rationalizations don't make sense, they're covering up for deeper fears you may be reluctant to face.

Imagine starting work on these things right now and notice how you feel. Investigate from there.

Or, ignore the feeling, and go work on your dreams anyway :)

Best wishes

Also, an important thing to realize is that everyone is bad at stuff in the beginning. In the words of Jake the Dog, "Suckin at something is the first step towards being sorta good at something!"

Or (can't remember where i got this) "Every artist has 10,000 shitty drawings in them, it's best to get them out as quickly as possible."

Deliberately making something bad (because it will probably end up sorta bad at first, whether you want it or not) can help you overcome the delusion of "it has to be perfect or people will judge me!"

Aim to fail because failure is an essential part to success. You keep sucking until one day you wake up and realize things are going really well. You have to make it to that day though. The only real failure is giving up.

paublyrne 15 hours ago 3 replies      
I would ask if you think uploading videos to youtube that you feel obliged to produce for the sake of being 'productive', is really contributing to society.

We have a glut of online content. For every tweet that illuminates, there are 9 that constitute meaningless chatter, background noise that serves only to obfuscate the good stuff.

The freedom that the internet has given people to communicate is a wonderful and empowering thing, but the idea that we must 'produce' something to be contributing to our world is just wrong, in my opinion.

If you have free time, why not do some volunteer work in your community? Most countries have, for example, charities that help connect lonely elderly people with others to meet, say, for coffee once a week. I would say that represents a contribution of significant value.

aidenn0 5 hours ago 0 replies      
The people I know that are most good at self-motivating production have two traits that seem almost opposing:

1) They are unsatisfied with what already exists

2) They aren't afraid to fail

#1 gives them a reason to get started and #2 makes sure that they finish.

People without #1 lack direction (If there isn't an open-source project that is both the best in the field, but missing something you deem important, how the heck do you pick what to write?)

People without #2 either spend so much time trying to make their creation the best that they never publish it, or end up giving up once they realize that they aren't going to write the "perfect" book/blog/code.

rkunal 5 hours ago 0 replies      
We are always looking for answers in some 'advanced' system. Forcing ourselves to do something 'hard', to prove to ourselves that we are doing something.May be a simpler system is good enough.

1. You can better focus on producing, when your needs to consume gets satisfied. Techs such as Facebook, Instagram are designed to keep you hooked, give a hit on every use, but never lead to satisfaction. Trick is to go back to basics. Spend more quality time with people around you. The human bonding fulfils the needs that these tech claim to replace. With this alternative, your passive consumptions will automatically decrease.

2. Contribution to the society does not have to be via creating content on web platforms. Technology is an enabler, it should not be confused as something to do with the goal. One does not contribute to 'open source', one simply contributes to a 'mission'.May be, you are afraid of commitment because you do not have a goal, something that you would personally want to achieve for yourself in your contribution. But your focus is on the means to achieve it. Eg. Writing blog post, creating videos. Simplify it down. Write down your short term goal. Focus on working towards achieving it. You may realise that you do not need these platforms.

superasn 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Having been a similar situation myself my advice for you would be to first of all stop blaming yourself for being lazy, or not doing enough. I don't know if you are but it's easy to fall into that trap.

My most unproductive period was when I was trying to do too much, all sorts of things, with insane deadlines. It really had an opposite effect on me wherein I started procrastinating a lot and then felt guilty for wasting another day. Weird part was that I wasn't even having fun with my time. It was just a weird state where I was working without actually accomplishing anything.

Anyway, I got my mojo back when I just said fuck it and said goodbye to those imaginary deadlines and started doing the so called time wasters like watching Netflix, reddit, hn, etc 100% guilt free. Instantly without the pressure and guilt, the quality of work and more importantly stuff started getting done again. It may be a unique case but try it for a few days. Maybe it'll work for you too!

andreasgonewild 15 hours ago 1 reply      
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

~~Marianne Williamson, A Return To Love

Do it :)

Mz 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I will suggest that you are not able to do more because you just don't have it to give. Your job and other responsibilities are taking all you've got already.

That said, it isn't hopeless. You can do some of the following things to squeeze more out of life:

1. Improve your diet and overall fitness level so you have more energy.

2. Improve your sleep habits so you have more energy.

3. Streamline your life (such as reducing how much material stuff you own) so that you can free up time and energy that is currently accounted for.

Additionally, you can do creative/productive stuff in your free time if you will stop applying job-like metrics to it. If you want to blog more, start some ridiculous blog that is easy to post to and then just post crap. Keep it short and don't give yourself a schedule. This idea that you need to updated a youtube channel weekly is crazy talk. You can update it once in a blue moon and if people like what you do, it will get some traffic (maybe not tons) and it will add value to the world.

I am medically handicapped. I have multiple blogs. NONE of them has a schedule.

My most successful one gets a few hundred page views a day and is sometimes updated as little as once a month. In fact, it was officially abandoned at one time for about six months with a "BYE!" post informing visitors it was abandoned and I resumed it when I realized it was getting traffic via organic search because people had need of the info. It is a niche thing and will never be big, but I do it whenever the fuck I do it and people benefit from it and say nice things about it and it even occasionally makes a smidgeon of money.

Fricken 10 hours ago 1 reply      
If want to deliver value to society, just stop. It's a bloated overweight out of control monster. It's already way too much, don't feed it. Don't contribute to it, it's not the sort of thing we want to encourage. We don't live in times of scarcity anymore, we live in times of too much of everything. If you feel otherwise, it's because you're a dumb ape who only understands not enough, because that's all your evolutionary history has taught you.
ajani 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Ask yourself what it means to be consuming? Is it the same as depending on something other than you to tell you what to do? Is it not the same as asking people how to become a creator?

You don't need to become a creator. When you stop depending on outside agency, and just be, creation comes quite automatically.

It is hard to stop consuming. Because you believe that there is something in the video, the book, the blog, your friend's post, that is going to give you something. But what is the value of these things?

You can only give up consuming when you see the vapidity and the emptiness of what you are consuming. And you can only do that when you question what you are consuming. Question it's relevance. It's meaning.

Have you consumed this post and the replies? What now? What is it's value? Has this post changed you? Will you now at this moment, stop reading and delete all your social media accounts and go work on your project?

Then ask, what do you mean by contribute to society? What is society? Is it your friends? Does making an app that makes their lives easier, give you the feeling that you are contributing?

Or do you mean Society at large, where the problems are vast like hunger, disease, poverty, inane war and violence. Or is it solving the crippling effect that the education system has on generations of children world-wide making them into passive consumers, by years of exposure to images and ideas, not reality and learning.

Finally, what is your need to contribute? Is it a way to make yourself look better in your own eyes? By becoming a popular writer/anarchist/whatever. Or is it that you see the need for real work that needs to be done to fix the broken world we live in?

Stop consuming. Learn what is worth doing by looking at the world, with skepticism. Understand what is needed. Depend on yourself. Then the creation will come of its own.

dahart 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Curiosity, and fun -- selfish fun.

You're giving yourself not just too much, but the wrong kind of pressure.

Find something that's more fun and interesting to you than browsing Facebook, something you'd rather be doing, and something that scratches an itch or helps you learn something you want to know.

Don't do it for social value, don't expect to give more than you take, and don't commit to it. Do something for yourself, and those things will happen naturally as a byproduct when you find the right thing that you care about so much more than Instagram that you can't bring yourself to browse Instgram.

Finding the thing is your job at this point, so don't stick to one of the things you listed until you try them all and try many other things too. Try boating, or woodworking, or exercise, or eating, or volunteering at the homeless shelter. (If you want a blog or vlog, you need stories to write/video about, after all.) Find something you enjoy before you even think about commitment.

There's almost nobody writing blogs or open source software or posting videos to YouTube that are worrying about their contribution to society -- they are doing it because they love it, they like participating in the activity for reasons that primarily benefit them -- and only occasionally and secondarily do they benefit others -- and that's okay!

dizzystar 9 hours ago 0 replies      
>> Lately I've realized that I consume way too much. Be it Instagram, Facebook, Reddit, HackerNews, Youtube, etc.

Maybe easier for me to say since I don't like social media much, but really the mindset is wrong.

There is a HUGE difference between using FB, YouTube, Twitter, etc, for product promotion -vs- consuming content. You are sort of consuming, but the mindset and results are very different.

>> Another thing that is holding me back I think is the fear of commitement. I have a partially ready youtube channel, with two videos, not listed. I tell myself that I'll open the videos to the public and then start realising videos on a weekly schedule but the commitement seems like a such a burden on me that I don't think I'll be able to keep up.

This is wrong as well. You are confusing "commitment" with "consistency" or rather, attempting to reach some undefined metric of consistency. The only "consistent" thing you have is either "do it" or "don't do it." It doesn't matter if you post once a week, once a month, or every day. Just get started.

The first step is always the hardest step, and this goes for your project, blog, YT channel, whatever. Just doing it once is enough to get those first steps past your fear.

And don't confuse myth with reality. Every overnight success story took 10+ years to write, and the back-story is a graveyard of failed ideas and plans.

scriptstar 10 hours ago 1 reply      
It's a combination of several things like 'fear of failure', 'fear of success' and procrastination.

1. Just build something very very tiny thing and sell it for less than 5 quid something like $1.99.

2. Repeat until you see some success and get motivation.

3. While doing this just be in the same tribe who's making things like you. Talk to them and share your experiences with them. Grow with them, together.

4. The momentum automatically move you to the next level.

5. Finally find a mentor who's been in this journey before and embrace his/her advise.

Let me know where can I buy your first tiny product and I will buy no matter what it is.

Good luck!

kstenerud 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Don't contribute out of guilt. You'll never make anything good that way.

At certain points in your life, you'll be inspired to build something for its own sake. THAT will be something worthwhile to contribute. Until then, chill out.

Want to increase your odds of that happening? Train your creativity. How do you do that? Play!

Play with things. Fuck around. Use it in ways it's not meant to be used. Break it! Have you ever seen kids keep themselves occupied by using things in weird, wrong, and probably useless ways? Do that!

Do things that nobody else is doing, not for what riches it might hold (because it probably won't), but for the pure joy of play and exploration, not caring about the judgments of everyone who will inevitably shake their head.

Randomness breeds novelty.

transposed 9 hours ago 0 replies      
It may come across as a simplistic answer but here it goes: just get comfortable making mistakes and being wrong. When I first entered this sphere, one thing that immediately struck me was the worshiping of brilliant ideas/code and the perfectionism that comes with it. In my opinion, less is gained when there is a culture that causes the majority of people to first doubt and second guess themselves while the people who have established a reputation raise their hand and continue to dominate the discussion. I like to believe the we live in a meritocracy, and that the best ideas inevitably make their way to the top, but that is stifled when our western obsession with flawless individualism gives pause to our intuitive and creative thoughts.

If you have good intentions and find yourself in good company, you should have nothing to fear. It really is a matter of "just do it". Thought without the possibility of action is imprisonment.

awl130 10 hours ago 1 reply      
I made one change that made a difference: Cancel all-you-can-eat subscriptions, including Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc. When you must opt-in every time to consume content, it makes it easier to instead dedicate your time to creating content.
mark_l_watson 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I write books and sometimes blog. I keep a file for notes and ideas for future writing. This process might provide you with kickstart material for the times when you are motivated to spend an evening writing.

For open source projects, choose something that you are really interested in and start a public git repo. Whenever you are motivated to work on your project for an hour or two, then add a feature. My friend, it is all about one thought at a time, one keystroke at a time. If you are not enjoying the creative process then stop and start up again on another day.

nickjj 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I schedule out my time.

For instance, Wednesday and Friday are dedicated to nothing but writing blog posts. I tend to spend half the time researching and the other half writing.

By the time Wednesday rolls along, I'm pretty eager to start writing. I usually keep a buffer of a month's worth of posts.

Then the rest of my time is spent producing content of other types (courses, etc.) and consulting.

Luckily I don't use FB, IG and barely use Twitter. HN and Youtube still soak up a pretty decent amount of time, but I use various browser extensions and other tactics to keep myself in check. In fact, I blogged about that[0] a few months ago and this combo works better than anything I've ever tried.

[0]: https://nickjanetakis.com/blog/how-to-overcome-procrastinati...

OliverJones 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Your transition -- consumer to producer -- is one I've been through a few times. But I didn't realize it in the moments it happened for me.

(I produced written-word stuff; tech tutorials etc).

Each time I went through ramping up my output, I did so because I realized people were benefiting from what I produced. I did realize people were reading what I wrote. It was the knowledge I was doing somebody some good that motivated me.

You asked for advice, so I'll give it. Open up that YouTube channel, as soon as possible. Add more videos when it makes sense to do so, not because of a self-imposed schedule.

If the subject matter of your YouTube channel is relevant to your workplace, see if you can work out some kind of lunch'n'learn project so you can present it. You can also invite colleagues to present their stuff in the same lunch'n'learn series.

This next bit of advice probably sounds impossibly artsy-fartsy. Let your muse -- your motivation -- find you. Don't force yourself to crank stuff out just for the sake of cranking it out. Your job has enough of that.

As for finding the time.... what are you doing reading Hacker News? :-) :-) This point applies much more strongly to FB and other media outlets who measure "engagement" -- who get paid for stealing your time.

duopixel 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Through my hostsfile I block everything of which I habitually consume and feels like "junk information", such as Reddit. You notice it is junk when you have spent some time there, look back and think "what have I learned" and the answer to yourself is "nothing", then you can do away with it, as it's a time waste.

I block these websites because habit takes you there when you're bored. The dns failure is simply a reminder that you were about to waste time, and you can put it to better use.

There is nothing wrong with consuming information, what you put into your mind eventually comes out in creative expression. In my case I can't force myself to be creative when I don't feel like it, but when the creative impulse is felt, my raw materials (the contents of my mind) are better ingredients.

touchofevil 15 hours ago 0 replies      
As an extremely dedicated procrastinator, the most insightful idea I have found regarding this topic is something called "The Procrastination Doom Loop"[1]

I'd also highly recommend a book called "The War of Art"[2] which was written by a procrastinator who eventually made good.

I'm still struggling with procrastination, but my personal feeling is that the key is probably to create a routine where you just execute your productive work during a set block of time everyday, much like a job. This is just so you don't have to decide whether or not to do the work "now" which will break the procrastination doom loop. Good luck!

[1] https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/08/the-pro...

[2] https://www.amazon.com/War-Art-Through-Creative-Battles/dp/1...

EternalData 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I've recently taken a step in this direction by being really deliberate about my media choices and designing around them. For example, as a consumer, I realized I was obsessive about looking over r/Politics and forever updating news sources of sometimes dubious quality, which distracted from all productivity for me at times. I've decided to order print editions of the New Yorker, and focus on long-form pieces from ProPublica as a rule to scratch that itch.

I feel like part of the solution to reducing consumption at the very least is to realize what the initiating triggers and needs of your consumption are, and trying to find a way to sate them in a way that allows you to chunk a time to engage with high-quality solutions to your consumption needs -- and then that frees up more time to be a creator.

As for the active producer part -- the only insight I've really gathered is that you want to commit yourself to something big and imposes costs on yourself (i.e time already dedicated to that project) to make yourself follow through (i.e use the sunk cost fallacy to your advantage).

yodsanklai 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Don't put too much pressure on yourself. You don't need to commit on anything. Upload what you have, and little by little your channel/github will grow. It doesn't have to be perfect.

I can share my experience. I post some guitar videos on a youtube channel, maybe two or three times a year, whenever I feel like it. It doesn't seem like much, but it's been 7 years now and I have about 20 videos now. It's not going to change the face of the world, but it's satisfying. I can follow my progression, it's an additional motivation to practice, and some people find them useful.

Same thing for github. Whenever I write some code, I put it there. Better than lost on my hard drive and it incentives me to write better documentation. Even if nobody cares, it's still useful for me. I regret now that I didn't do it back when I was a student (pre-github).

titanix2 16 hours ago 0 replies      
For your Youtube channel, I'll advise you to prepare a few more before launch: this way you'll be able to skip a week or two easily... which should lessen the fear of not being able to keep the pace. Also you can choose a two weeks release schedule which is easier to keep (video is a lot of work).

Having deadline helps a lot to start and finish projects. Procrastination can also be change in productive procrastination: instead of making you video you can write a blog post. For example, I'm right know programming a game I wanted to start for a long time instead of writing a research paper (and oh, commenting on HN).

Finally I use visualisation before starting something. Instead of just thinking or writing down "write the blog post about XXX" I envision the final product for some time and how it will affect positively my life. Then I have more motivation to actually start it!

cubano 9 hours ago 0 replies      
If you find something you truly love to do, it will never really seem like "forcing" anything and your high commitment level will just happen.

My take is that you really haven't found this love in your life yet. You are trying to pigeonhole other peoples passions (like youtube vids and OS projects) into yours. That will never work long term.

For me, it was music; I loved it so much that you couldn't stop me from playing, and pretty much all available time outside work was spend practicing and playing in my band at the time.

It was the ideal social lubricant as well, as being a gifted "nerd" 35 years ago was a totally different thing then it is now. Literally, at work and school I interacted with the math kids that were often picked on and made fun of.

Playing and practicing live music not only soothed my soul, but gave me self-esteem and a ton of social status. And it hardly ever seemed like "real" work

I think that is the key for a sustainable hobby commitment.


stvrbbns 10 hours ago 0 replies      
It sounds like part of the problem is not wanting to commit to just one of those tasks (assuming that releasing YouTube videos weekly would make it hard or impossible to also contribute to open source software, and write for a blog, etc.). If that is it, then I'd simply say "don't worry about it". A YouTube channel with 2 useful videos isn't a failed channel, it is 2 more useful videos on YouTube. Most visitors won't care whether or not you have 0 more or 100 more videos, or blog articles, so long as you can solve their current problem (whether that is entertainment, or instruction, or whatever).

Make sure to find something you enjoy doing so it's not just more work.

Don't confuse "being productive" with "seeking numeric social validation". For example, why would you make more videos? Is there content which you once wished were freely out there and can now provide yourself, or would you just feel better getting 100 views and 10 likes on a video you made instead of reading a book?

jansho 13 hours ago 0 replies      
If what is holding you back is fear, then perhaps I can make a recommendation to break it. Start with meeting like-minded people! Whether it's volunteering, meetup groups or tech events ... just pick one.

While it sounds nerve-wrecking - it was for me - actually, it's a low commitment activity. You're not trying to prove anything. You're not even expecting to make new friends. But watching other makers in action, and listening to what they say can slowly build up that push for yourself to become one.

It's different to reading and watching interviews at home because when you're out there, it all becomes personal. If I read about a guy who dreams of the next guitar picker, I'd probably roll my eyes and move on. But actually meeting one who is excitedly showing his prototype, and talking about his dream and motivations, that's endearing and actually inspiring. I may not see the guitar picker to ever change the world but I add this to my mental stock of maker stories, and this helps me to keep going.

Lately, I've found that it's much easier to slide into my project and focus on the real essentials. The more I go out and meet people, the more confident and articulated I get, and my idea gets refined further. And yes, inevitably you do make new and quite interesting friends :)

When it does become too much, then just step back a bit - remember, this is supposed to be low commitment!

Edit typo.

rwieruch 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I followed two rules to shift from a consumer to a producer:

1. have a fixed amount of time to read HN, Reddit, Twitter, Email

2. have a release schedule

The first rule helps me to keep the consuming time to a minimum. Only once in the morning, after lunch and after work I check the recent (!) updates on all necessary platforms. It can be hard in the beginning, but at some point it becomes a habit.

The second rule helps me to stick to producing. I blog about web development and self-growth and therefore I have a backlog of ideas to write about. Once a week I post an article.

aurelianito 11 hours ago 0 replies      
What I do is to publish short things that I may want to read latter in my blog. Sometimes someone else find them useful, if so great. But the main consumer of my blog is me. I usually use it as reference for some little problems that come over and over. And, sometimes, I do send links to my blog when someone else has a problem I blogged about in the past.

Doing this I publish about 25 articles every year. Wanna take a look? Is at https://aurelianito.blogspot.com (warning: content is written in Spanish)

And lately I also do some YouTube screencasts about go, the game. The trick for me is to commit to upload whatever happens in the screencast, no preparation at all. Check them out too. http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLTQoyI2lMoFO2bGa2b6Sy-...

msaltz 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I was having similar thoughts/issues lately (a couple months ago), and I came up with a way to be more systematic about achieving goals, etc. I wrote about it here: https://hackernoon.com/an-agile-approach-to-life-7bb2e9ccbc8...

Tldr; Think of myself as a product, and try to use a sort of agile development style to improve myself. I assign myself "sprints" (one or two at a time, one to two weeks each) and basically during my free time when I think "What should I do now?" I just do the sprint and it takes the pressure off. I've still been doing it since I wrote the above post and it's been working pretty well. I've read 5 novels in the past two months or so (EDIT: for context, more than I'd read in the past year), and I've tried a variety of what I call "personal sprints" that include things like "Wake up at the exact same time for two weeks", or "Say yes to all invitations for things for two weeks". I sort of have the mentality now that "The sprint is the law" and it's helped me have a level of discipline that I haven't achieved in the past. It's really fun because it's low pressure and experiment-based ("Let's try making excessive eye contact for a week, lol") and if something doesn't work out, you didn't spend much time doing it anyways.

Another less related thing is that I read that habit forming is sort of like a muscle, and once you form one habit, it can become easier to form others. So for a little while I was doing habit "layering" where I'd have a priority list for habits and basically as long as I did the top thing on my list, I was happy, even if I didn't get the others. Gradually I moved to the top two things, and so on.

Hope that helps.

daddyo 8 hours ago 0 replies      
For me blogging worked best when blogging on a subject I just turned novice in. I'd write as if writing for myself 1 year ago. This worked out really well. Positive feedback made me write more. Now I've become more expert on that subject and I don't want to write simple tutorials anymore (it feels too much like work). I also gained a fear of being wrong, as I realized how deep and nuanced the subject really is.

As for Youtube: seems like you fell into the trap of planning too far ahead. Most channels never work out. Even if you stick to a weekly schedule, viewership will only steadily rise. Why not release your current videos, try a (bi-)monthly schedule and see where it goes?

Fear of commitment is a rationalized excuse your brain makes to avoid burning calories :). Or it's to avoid a setback: you put in all this effort and it did not work out. People avoid relationships for fear of commitment too, without ever giving it a shot, or asking if the other person also wants commitment.

For open source or research I give myself very small timeframes. You can think about it the rest of the week, and have a very productive hour or two coding or writing.

As for procrastination, check out "productive procrastination". It helped me get stuff done, when even more important stuff needed to be done :).


zatkin 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Identify a problem, and develop a solution for it. Don't let anyone, even yourself, hold you back from solving that problem. It can be a problem at any scale. With sufficient motivation and commitment, you can solve just about anything.
aurelianito 11 hours ago 0 replies      
What I do is to publish short things that I may want to read latter in my blog. Sometimes someone else find them useful, if so great. But the main consumer of my blog is me. I usually use it as reference for some little problems that come over and over. And, sometimes, I do send links to my blog when someone else has a problem I blogged about in the past.

Doin this I publish about 25 articles every year. Wanna take a look? Is at https://aurelianito.blogspot.com (warning: content is written in Spanish)

Oh! The key for me is no commitment. Just do the first video/ blog post and work from there. If I take a year off it is fine.

humaninstrument 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I just want to say thank you all for your responses. You guys are amazing.
paintnp 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I can definitely relate to this. Here's how you do it. You just do it. Period. If you have two videos ready, make them public. It's the intention that counts. If you want to help people learn, or contribute, don't get bogged down by how people will judge you. It is an extremely exhilarating feeling when someone reaches out to you and lets you know that they found your content useful. The moment you make the switch from being a passive consumer to an active producer, something switches within you. I started putting out videos on tensorflow a few months ago. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g-EvyKpZjmQThis was the first time I had done anything like this- my goal is not to get subscribers, or views or anything, it is just to put out content in a form that I would have liked to consume. I have a three and half year old and there have been times where he is literally sitting on my head while I am trying to make the videos. It's all worth it. Just take the next step.
tordecken 4 hours ago 0 replies      
There is a thing which I constantly have to admit to myself: I will not do all the things I want to do. It makes me sad for a moment, until I realize that the chaotic and unfocused way I drift towards the thing that's currently grabbing my attention is reducing my productivity and the number of those projects I will accomplish.

The only answer is to get focused and prioritize the things you want to do. Make a plan. Create a system.

spaceisballer 11 hours ago 1 reply      
So there is another possibility, it can be that you are more excited by the idea of creating videos than doing it. Perhaps there is some other venture you are both interested in and motivated to do.
cpt_snowcrash 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Many people have already listed out some good solutions for bandwidth issue. For your passive consumption issue I would highly recommend cutting yourself off from mainstream social apps like instagram, snapchat and facebook. Human minds have limited capacity to focus and be attentive to particular area and using these apps usually overload the daily threshold limit of cognitive load we can take. I have personally renounced all of mainstream social media apps and am very conscious of what I consume on daily basis ( I prefer very few news articles which are relevant to me ). Other than that I depend upon books or long form in depth content for a topic I need to learn about. This gives your brain bandwidth to think and construct original thoughts which are the very foundation producing or building anything.
spookyuser 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Since I find these book recommended on HN a lot, I guess it's my turn to share them as well.

The War of Art [1] and Do the Work [2] both are excellent books about making things and why it's hard. I found them motivating not only because of the solutions in the books but also just because someone describing the problems I have with creating, so clearly, is helpful to read. It's nice knowing you're not a crazy person and that these are problems a lot of people go through. They're also very short and easy to read. So give them a shot.

[1] http://www.stevenpressfield.com/the-war-of-art/

[2] http://www.stevenpressfield.com/do-the-work/

geekme 8 hours ago 0 replies      
The only thing in my mind everyday is to get out of my 9 to 5 job. This keeps motivating me. I have started a blog which teaches a programming language. I had a target of 2 blog posts per week. I have given up watching television totally and I work for 12 to 14 hours daily even on weekends. My urge to resign my job and start on my own keeps motivating me. Although I am not able to achieve my target of 2 blog posts a week, I am able to post 1 per week and I guess I will be able to post 2 per week with a little more dedication. One more thing that helped me is the pomodoro technique. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pomodoro_Technique. I would encourage you to start first. Whether its a youtube video video or a blog post stop making it perfect and publish it right now. Once its out in the hands of the public you will learn a lot from their feedback.
kilon 11 hours ago 0 replies      
"but I just can't force myself to do it" Actually you can. I used to tell myself what you just said but then when I reached the dead end of lack of powerful motivation I did understand that I had to force it.

In Greece we say "The beginning is half of everything" and my problem is beginning something. Sticking to it is not a big issues assuming I do not take a large break for it , say a few days or couple of weeks . Then I have to force myself to start again. Which as you imagine happens ofter. But when I do it , its easy to continue, no pressure involved and makes me happy.

So yeah starting something can be a pain in the ass and you need to punch your way through this phase which fortunately does not last long.

Forcing yourself to start doing something is a good idea. But forcing yourself to keep doing it can be an indication that it does not make you happy or you simply do not like it. Dont do that. Pick something you really like. It does not have to be amazing, just something you like doing.

Whats the worse it can happen if you pressure yourself ? Will you head explode ? Will you be very unhappy ? Will you fail ?

Heads do not explode, happiness is not permanent and failure is part of life and improvement.

I think if you pressure yourself hard at the right time can easily solve your problem.

In the end you will realise that motivation alone is not enough always to overcome fear of failure, boredom or confusion. See pressure as your first product, self motivation. Actually self motivation is best thing you can produce. The second best, is motivating others.

JacksonGariety 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Read critical theory!

I recommend starting with Guy Debord's "The Society of the Spectacle" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Society_of_the_Spectacle)

pjc50 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Other way round: you're feeling a desire to contribute, but you're not seeing an unmet need. Start by finding an audience, even if it's just one person. Maybe you actually want to make a different kind of contribution such as through volunteering.
baxtr 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I am like that too. I need to push myself towards creation every single day, otherwise I slip into the consumption trap (still happens once in a while).

This is what helps me:

- Think backwards. How many years do you have left? How many days? Time is running, we only get to live once

- Stop consuming in the morning. Instead of checking emails, news etc on your smartphone, I get up and write down all the things I want to do the day. Then I start working on the top items

- Enjoy traction. Once you release something you'll get hooked on the data. How many people like my post? What's the feedback I receive. When I see that there is traction, I get excited and I enjoy interacting with the community

Btw: You are already contributing :) Look at the feedback here.

vcool07 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Don't start with "How", you'll most probably give up after some time. Always start with "Why?". If the "Why" part is a strong enough reason for you, you will find a way to accomplish it. If it's not, well, you'll find excuses and give up on it sooner or later !
sova 12 hours ago 0 replies      
The process from consumption to production can be gradual and organic. Highly I'd recommend getting some sort of blog service and posting when you can about various topics. It does not have to be anything massive or even focused, but over time if you did, say, one post a week, you will find that things add up, all those little dust motes of posts can become a mountain all together (as the Japanese proverb goes).
rmetzler 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Your time is limited. You spend time consuming, when you want to spend time producing. So, stop (or at least decrease) your consumption.

Start small. Put online what you learn. If you learned something today, you might teach someone else tomorrow.

bdickason 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I have a full time software-ish job (product manager) and I go in and out of being 'productive' vs. consuming (playing games, watching tv, etc). Here are the things that I've found make my side projects work:

1. Start with something insanely tiny - Every side project software or library I've built were ~4hr hacks just trying to get a basic, basic version of something working to see if I could even do it. Example: I wanted to build a web view of the books I've read, so I just installed nodejs and tried to see if I could even get a list of books from goodread. This would be step 1. Step 2 would be getting my books, step 3 would be displaying them in a browser. That's it. Once I accomplished each step, I set out a new set of tiny steps. Nothing huge, nothing crazy, nothing ambitious. Just get started and prove to yourself that you can do it :)

2. Social Pressure - More than anything, this has been huge for me. My current project is a twitch bot that I'm making for my friends' stream. I started working on it and got a basic version that could respond to commands up and running in a day, then they started playing with it and having tons of fun. Now they make videos and want to show them on the stream, they have new ideas for commands, and one of them is even helping me code it. It's been really great :) Another example of this is building a game with my brother. We started working on it together and it gave us more reasons to talk regularly and a shared purpose. This kept me going much longer than the actual game itself did.

3. Choose tech that know or you think is fun - I know this is not the ideal way to build a project, but what you're grappling with is just motivation. Pick technology that you're interested in or one that you know and you enjoy working in. For me that's nodejs and I've been writing things in it off and on for years.

4. Open source everything - by default every project I start is open source. If it's code, I constantly publish it on github. If it's a video, I post it on youtube. Blog post? Put it on medium or my blog. First, it pushes you to put things out into the world and figure out the details of releasing them (like writing documentation!) Second, every once and a while, they'll stick :) My goodreads module I mentioned above has 2 people who are actively maintaining it as I don't have alot of time/motivation to do so. They're still pushing changes and a few months ago, a co-worker stumbled upon it and used it in one of his personal projects :D Very cool!

Hope this is helpful, I've found alot of joy in side projects, even if none of them will likely ever make me any money or bring me any fame/succcess.

oneplane 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I have two cents (eurocents):

Start small, and try to find your boundaries. Then get good enough at it to know you're contributing. This way there is a long term goal you'll always be able to reach, yet a short term check is in place so you don't go too far.

agumonkey 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm partly waking up for various reasons. And right now I just go to meetups, events etc to see what would stick. Fun fact, I expected that event related to my deepest hobbies would make me feel at home but not really (if at all). All in all, it's a human feel thing and a subject.

Also, I realize that existing as an adult outside of a field or shielded by a big company is quite a surprising experience. You have to integrate with people, communities, society and is mostly an altruism thing. It makes you see other working people differently and also adult life altogether.

pgbovine 6 hours ago 0 replies      
This is something I've thought a lot about in the past. This short vlog episode of mine may give you some ideas: "For Aspiring Creators, Content Means Everything" http://pgbovine.net/PG-Vlog-9-content-means-everything.htm
thatwebdude 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I recently ditched most social media. Starting contributing to my blog about guitar more. It gets basically no traffic, but I definitely feel like I'm actually contributing something, even if it's for the one lone googler out there.

I force myself into a specific topic that interest me. I think that's the key.

rythie 15 hours ago 0 replies      
To me, you need come up a schedule a stick to it no matter what. For example when I wanted to do more photography, I started a 365 project [1] to a take a photo everyday and publish it. The first couple of weeks were hard, but after a while I restructured my days, workflow & equipment to suit it.

I'd say, if you want to do YouTube, you should at least do the 1 per week thing. If you are short on time, you can do Q&A/livestream episodes. I'm sure you'd be are aware of Casey Neistat [2], who has said multiple times he wished he'd done daily vlogging sooner.

[1] https://www.flickr.com/photos/richardcunningham/albums/72157...[2] https://www.youtube.com/user/caseyneistat

disillusioned 16 hours ago 2 replies      
Man, this is me all over. I've spoken to friends about how I feel like on the "consumer vs. creator continuum," I'm far too far on the consumer side. It's just easier to watch Netflix after coming home from work, instead of creating something new.

The commitment is a big deal too. I don't want to start a blog, write two posts, and then abandon it, and I know that's more likely than not. I even struggle a bit with what the voice would be of the blog: would I write about work-related things? Just whatever comes to mind?

I don't have a great answer for you, but accountability and not breaking the chain are the two biggest things I hear: creating something every day, and having a couple of friends checking in on you, for instance.

Oh, and in my case, having just had a newborn doesn't help the situation. My brain is just too tired with the down time I have, frequently, so here I am, writing in an HN comment instead of the course I should be writing, or the other ideas I have kicking around. :-/

exception_e 8 hours ago 0 replies      
> I also would like to contribute to open source software projects

If you'd like, I'm looking for help on https://github.com/GoTeamEpsilon/OpenEMR-AWS-Guide

Send me an email at matthewvita48@gmail.com

...this applies to anyone in this thread as well :)

zem 9 hours ago 0 replies      
somewhere along the line our notion of amateur internet content production shifted from a site model to a blog model, and I feel we do not consciously examine that enough. take your youtube channel - why are you bothered by your weekly production rate? the 'channel' (an unfortunate name that plays into this fallacy) does not consist of one latest video, growing more and more irrelevant the longer ago it was posted, it consists of all the videos you have added there, living in parallel, and interesting to different people at different times as and when they are discovered. posting two videos and then nothing for months does not mean you have a dead channel, it means you have a collection of two videos. add to that collection as and when you feel like it; it will only grow over time.
timwaagh 10 hours ago 0 replies      
you can always choose to do this. cancel your internet subscription would be the first thing to do. then you will be more productive in your free time. guaranteed.

now that is a radical step but it has worked for me. what is key is creating the right environment to be productive. not everybody can be with 10,000 distractions just one mouseclick away.

thruflo22 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Publish at least one tweet / post / video / commit / GitHub issue / comment per day.

If you want to run a marathon, the most important thing is to run 1k per day. Once you're out in the road, the distance will take care of itself.

tanilama 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Create. The one and true way.
rayalez 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Figure out(decide) what you want to create, and then develop enough skill to be able to do that.

Some epiphanies I have encountered on my path:

- Terminal value - do things you want to do for the sake of themselves. Not to achieve some purpose, or benefit the society, or whatever, understand what YOU value and want to make.

- You don't "find your passion", you choose it. Make a decision on what you want to do with the following years of your life, and then figure out a way to make it work.

- Enjoying the process of creating things is a combination of skillset and value. When it works - programming or writing is supposed to feel like playing minecraft(or whatever is the most engaging computer game you can imagine). You do not force yourself to do it, you do it for the sake of the game. You are driven to make fun stuff, and then you do it because you can.

- Read the book about Flow, and about gamification - understand how your mind works and what drives it. It's all about the reward loop, your brain craves dopamine, and you satisfy this craving by setting clear, small goals and accomplishing them.

- If you feel "fear" I would guess that it's either because of the lack of skill(you dont want to waste time and hard work when you're not sure that you can successfully create something valuable), or because of the "ego" - you care too much about your self image, about what others will think of you or about what you think of youself, you tie your sense of self-worth to the quality of work you produce. To fix the first one you develop more skill, to fix the second you realize that this shit doesn't matter. The only thing within your control is how much understanding/practice you put into your craft, so you learn to only care about that and none of the irrelevant stuff.

To summarize:

1. Find the terminal value your brain craves. What do you want to do with your life, what do you want to make?

2. Follow the path to mastery, give all of your attention to getting good at what you do. That's the only thing within your control, and everything else doesn't matter.

3. Focus on practicing your craft, for the sake of the process. Design a rewarding process by understanding the idea of flow state, and your brain's core drives, and turn it into a habit. Set clear, valuable, attainable goals, break them down into simple steps, and accomplish them. Make this your lifestyle.

And creating cool stuff will simply be a side-effect of this process.

Also don't feel too guilty for "consuming" stuff, it's okay to relax and have fun and watch comedy and be inspired by the creativity of others. Focus your energy on creating more, not on consuming less.

Also, don't worry about following the schedule - it's an unnecessary arbitrary constraint you've made up that will just make things more difficult and add pressure. Moving further matters, following a plan does not. Use it as a tool if it helps, throw it out if it stands in your way.

visarga 15 hours ago 0 replies      
All the frameworks, languages, libraries, datasets, courses, papers, videos, groups and tools (have I missed any?) are here for us to combine and configure however we like. We might be overwhelmed by their volume and think that we have nothing original to add, but we can still remain creative in how we combine and mix them. All this content is like lego pieces, we can have lots of fun putting them together in new ways. That's why they shouldn't be a barrier, but an ingredient to creativity. The trick is to seek what you enjoy, then creative energy builds up.
themagician 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Consume less.

When you post on Facebook or Instagram you are just doing work so someone else can make money off that work. If you want to actually make something then do it for yourself.

Walkman 16 hours ago 0 replies      
You just start doing, that's it. Don't overthink just start it NOW! No work is perfect, you have to release it and let people judge so you can improve or abandon but if you release nothing, you will never know.
sireat 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Not everyone can be productive all the time and that is ok.

Also, think what you really want to produce. It could be that your goals are too vague and big.

As soon as you stop thinking of it(blogging, making videos, coding) as a committment you will be at an ease.

The trick is to make a committment for two-four weeks, after that it could become a nice habit.

If it still feels like a burden it is not the right thing for you.

edem 14 hours ago 0 replies      
What you can always do is to give feedback. For example I actively create issues on OSS projects I use. Most devs (including me) have no idea how their software is being used and what corner cases they have with which other devs are struggling. If you want to start your own blog the easiest way is to use Jekyll + Github. It is just 5 clicks away...Contributing to OSS can also be started by simple bugfixing tasks.
rocky1138 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Commit to building something.

Everything else will happen by itself if you are truly committed.

bsvalley 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Start taking actions - baby steps. That's it! Keep being a consumer, it's not one or the other, you can produce while consuming it's not a big deal. The only difference between the 2 is "actions". Just do it :)
swiley 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Get rid of your browser and your smartphone. Avoid GUIs and closed software and anything that involves psychologists or "UX designers." Force yourself to understand what your doing.
jes5199 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I recommend the book "Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking"
orasis 10 hours ago 0 replies      
My practice is mindfulness.

Each moment is an opportunity to serve.

slackingoff2017 16 hours ago 2 replies      
99% of the human species blows their time on Facebook so don't feel too bad about it
everyone 13 hours ago 0 replies      
It sounds like you dont actually want to do those things.
zobzu 9 hours ago 0 replies      
how do i make money instead of spending it?make stuff.when it fails, make more stuff.never stop.
thirdreplicator 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Build stuff.
the_cat_kittles 8 hours ago 0 replies      
publishing stuff means accepting its flaws, which is hard. just do it, the feedback you get will help you improve faster than if you hadn't.
z3t4 10 hours ago 0 replies      
figure out what you really want. what is the end goal ? if its a inner goal set aside time. prepare for it so there is no start cost. make it a habit.
abuani 14 hours ago 1 reply      
I've gone through this recently, and it's very difficult to overcome. I've read close to 50 books on topics like this, and some of the best advice I have gotten are from 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Turn that ship around, Talent is Overrated, Flow, and The power of habit. These books provide mental models and frameworks that you can start using immediately to overcome this issue.

What I've found is most people look entirely at efficiency. They want to produce more with less, and this is their goal. However, this usually completely leaves out the value of the activity in question. What value is it that you contribute to open source? Do they provide a truly meaningful difference in your life currently, or are they merely passive participants that are means to an end for you? Do their values and goals match your values and goals? Chances are, if you answered yes to these, then you will not need much more motivation to give back to these groups. You will do it out of a sense of duty to your values and knowing that it will satiate a personal demand you have.

Now what can you do today without reading all of the literature in the world on the topic? Write out the eulogy you want told at your funeral 3 years from now. Seriously, turn off all distractions and think long and hard on how you want your family, friends, coworkers and connections to speak of you. Chances are through this activity you will begin to define some values that define your character. Hone in on these, and identify tasks that will relate to these values and drive them forward. Think of what single activity you can do today that will have the biggest impact on your ongoing well being, and figure out how you can turn that into a habit. After you start having small successes, you hopefully will begin rewiring yourself to start chasing personal victories as opposed to constant consumption.

What I personally found is that I tried to do things for the sake of doing things. I would create simply to share, and skip the 80% of the work that would actually provide me value. Sharing with the world is important, but if you don't go through personal growth while creating, sharing with the world becomes empty and you chase metrics and statistics. You will beginning acting out of need for validation as opposed to acting out of what's important to your values. The closer you can tie your values to your actions, the more satisfaction you'll ultimately get out of what you do. It makes it easier to prioritize tasks and see a week/month/year in the future and know that you're making the correct decision not just for present you, but future you.

There's a ton of crap advice out there on this particular topic, but there's a lot of good. If you start with the few books I listed above, note books that the authors reference and relate too. Create a list from these books on what to read next. Be ready to throw away old habits and models that no longer drive your life in the direction you want to go. Habits are reprogrammable, but the longer and deeper they're held, the more effort it will take. Most people reject this entire process because in the short term, you're more likely to be uncomfortable as things don't always work out. You may lose some productivity, or at least perceive yourself as losing productivity, but habits pay off much like compound interest. It's a long game, the payoff is built up over time. Be ready to adjust your parameters to improve the likelyhood that you meet the long term goals, but don't be afraid to see short term losses. The more legitimate experience you get, the quicker it will be for you to know when to cut your losses and move on. You can always reduce this by reaching out to people who may have been in your situation. You learn more from others failures then you do successes, so make sure you fluff their accomplishments, but don't be afraid to ask about what they "wish they knew". This is often where the real advice is.

paulcole 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Just embrace being a consumer. You're already doing it a lot and probably enjoy it in some way. If producing was really that important to you, well, then you'd be doing it.

There's nothing wrong with just consuming. It's how most people live and odds are that you're not that different.

I'm a proud consumer and non-producer (outside of work).

ignostic 7 hours ago 0 replies      
> Am I pressuring myself too much to make the switch? How did you do it?

It sounds to me like you feel pressure to do this because someone told you that you should be a creator. So in that sense, yes, that's foolish. Instead pressure yourself to accomplish something you want to accomplish.

Let me use a parallel from my previous life as a technical/digital marketer. There was a prevalent idea out there that you should be "building your personal brand" all the time. Every speaker would tell me this, and they were the experts, right? So I wrote lengthy blog posts in my free time. I'd tweet and retweet and follow the right people, making the right connections, working for the right company.

I had built up to several hundred twitter followers, hundreds of thousands of pageviews, and was on a path to becoming a well-known voice in digital marketing. And I was absolutely miserable. I felt constant pressure to say something meaningful every day. When my blog posts received lukewarm reception or criticism it was very hard for me. I'd internalize it and try to use it as fuel to do better next time.

Then one day I followed a fantasy author I had just read. He had 100 tweets, 10k followers, and only following a few others. And he'd only written one book so far! He'd done none of the work I had to "build his own brand," but he was infinitely more famous than I was. The reason why was obvious: he'd contributed something of great value. I was out there rehashing knowledge and adding 160 character commentary, but it was all low-value high-volume stuff. And I wasn't contributing because I enjoyed it. I was doing it because someone told me I should from a podium.

Those people who talk about contributing are the contributors. Those people who talk about building a personal brand have the podium because they built their personal brand. They're approaching things from their perspective. But I was an introvert who hated speaking. I was working to a goal I would HATE.

So how did I make the switch? I thought about what I wanted to accomplish. That was a comfortable life with financial independence with very little attention from the outside world. I realized the speaking circuit was a high-investment highly-visible way to make money, so I abandoned my "personal brand" altogether, which didn't make my bosses overly happy. After all, I was getting their name out their as well.

Instead I created something that made money quietly. I enjoyed the challenge of it, and I felt like I was finally working towards something worthwhile. I worked most weekends, and honed my skills. I became a better writer and learned a lot more about coding. Knowing I'd started on the right path - a competitive but clearly potentially lucrative path - gave me confidence and motivation. Now, a few years later, I'm basically retired. I still have goals, but things that would have seemed ridiculous to me a few years ago seem within reach now.

If you want to cure cancer, you don't need to write a blog or contribute to projects. If your goal is to become a name in the software development community, maybe you do. But don't create for creation's sake. Think about what you want to get done, and if that involves making money be certain that you can do something measurably better than what's out there already.

TL;DR: Don't focus on 'creating' as your goal, but on what you want to accomplish

faragon 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Open a GitHub account and publish.
JohnStrange 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Okay, I believe I can say something about that, because I've just finished my 9th novel in German - where only one [1] is (self-)published so far, though -, have published a little hobby music album [2], and also used to sell a little shareware program [3] next to my full-time job. So I'm definitely not super-productive but still relatively active, even when most of my projects never see the final daylight.

In my experience, if you find something that you really, really like and manage to reserve the necessary spare time, then you will become productive automatically. That could be anything, from sword smithing to rocket construction. If your projects persistently fail or die, then you're perhaps already too busy with family or daytime job, or maybe what your doing is not really the right thing for you. Just do it for the fun, never for money or fame.

Self-advertisement:[1] http://richard-loewe.de[2] https://ericspace.bandcamp.com/releases[3] http://peppermind.com

PaulRobinson 10 hours ago 0 replies      
There are some great answers here, truly. I am only going to add to it from my own perspective.

I have had a side business with a partner since 2006. In that business we might have turned over 50k in all that time. We aimed for it to be a replacement for our day jobs. The problem is the exact problem you have.

About two months ago I suddenly lost the ability to use my legs thanks to an abscess compressing my spine which was removed and have undergone rehabilitation. I'm still on crutches, and hope to be able to make a full recovery within a couple of months. However I spent 2 months thinking about this a lot.

What's interesting is that I could have spent 2 months working on side projects - I was off work, an inpatient in a hospital with WiFi and my laptop. Instead, I decided to take stock.

I then realised the key was the rehabilitation itself was giving me the answers, and I concluded:

- Whilst having big goals is awesome, you need to focus on the here and now and doing the work you can do right now

- Small and often is better than big commitments

- Celebrate small victories. Got 5% more done than you did last week? Well done you - keep that up, and in a year you'll be doing 12 times what you did last week.

- Keep a log of what you have done once you've done it, with dates. Once a month go back and reflect, and congratulate yourself for the progress you have made. Seriously, this helped me so much - it's a bit like not wanting to break the chain.

- Give yourself time to rest. Your body really, really needs it.

- Things will rarely work out quite as well as you hope, or as badly as you fear. Just do the work, and see where it takes you.

- Motivational videos got me out of slumps a few times. These both helped me at different points:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hbkZrOU1Zag (technically a Nike advert, but I have the audio of this on my phone and listen to it a few times a month)


All of this got me through rehab, and I'm starting to see it drip into other parts of my life including work and side projects.

Don't be so hard on yourself, but remember the best laid plans are worth nothing: go get a pomodoro timer and do 25 minutes on that project right now. Then do another tomorrow. And then perhaps another straight after. Have a days rest between if you want.

If you find yourself doing two of those pomodoros every other day, you're going to look back after a few weeks and realise you've actually got quite a lot done.

Good luck.

SFJulie 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I code, do ham, wine, gardening cider, bread, pastry, cooking, music, bike fixing, knitting, sometimes write and compose.The secret: being ruined and not having money for buying any of these goods.

Let me tell you, you sometimes you would like to stop having to be an active producer.

It is a rich person problem to not be able to produce in whatever field (intellectual or physical).

xname2 12 hours ago 2 replies      
Find a lover, get married, raise at least two good kids. This will be your best contribution to the society.
RichardHeart 13 hours ago 0 replies      
By breaking old habits and putting the new ones first thing in the morning. I did it, made a YouTube channel, and made a video about it. I think the gambling sucks, stop gaming one or stop learning start doing would be most relevant towards you actually getting your channel up.
Siduri 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Eat the world while you still can, fool.
Ask HN: How can I do social good through programming?
445 points by simplicitea  2 days ago   370 comments top 124
peacetreefrog 2 days ago 15 replies      
Just read all the top line comments here. Interesting that no one had mentioned the one thing that has probably done the most to "better our chances as species" in the last few hundred years, and has helped hundreds of millions in India and China get out of backbreaking poverty and accumulate some wealth. And that is...

Work hard, accumulate skills, and become better at your normal job. Even if you're not writing open source software to help local governments in third world countries have free elections and fight malaria or donating 50% of your salary, you're creating value and "bettering our species" just by doing something that someone is willing to pay you for. In fact, that's how most of the world's wealth is created.

Not saying you shouldn't volunteer or donate your salary (I personally try to donate a decent chunk of my salary to givedirectly) but -- unless you're a nigerian hacker or malware developer or something -- just because you're getting paid or working on something that isn't an absolute necessity doesn't mean you aren't doing social good. Just something to think about.

ajdecon 2 days ago 3 replies      
Honestly, I think the most effective thing to do is find an organization doing social good, who is hiring programmers, and go work for them. There are plenty of non-profits and governments that do a ton of good, and employ developers to work on their web sites and infrastructures. A good friend of mine is a developer for the ACLU, for example.

There are also organizations like Code for America that do open source work with local governments. Since those projects are open source, you could probably volunteer your time and contribute to those. Or simply volunteer in a non-developer capacity! :)

Doing actual social good -- helping people in ways that will actually solve their problems, understanding the consequences of changing their lives -- requires a ton of context and communication. I think it's very, very difficult to do so without either dedicating most of your time to that cause, or working closely with an organization that is already doing so. (E.g., volunteering for a food bank is a lot more effective than just picking up food and distributing it on your own.)

falcolas 2 days ago 1 reply      
Warning - strong opinions ahead: Provide services and tools without the strings attached.

That is to say, provide email services that don't mine data for profit. Provide a social interaction space that doesn't attempt to manipulate moods, opinions, or sell its user's eyeballs. Provide an aggregation service with strong filtering tools in place of strong moderation. Provide a code repository with great tooling that doesn't include value judgements. Provide anonymous, secure communication between parties. Make mobile applications that provide wanted services without the in-app purchases, ads, or profiling.

The downside is that you're unlikely to get paid for it. You'll probably even lose money on it. In some cases, you'll even face legal pressure to stop or change.

tacostakohashi 2 days ago 6 replies      
Work as a programmer for whoever will pay you the most. Invest, and donate money to causes you care about.
llccbb 2 days ago 2 replies      
I have posted this before, countless times, but techies who want to volunteer their skills and knowledge to advance the democratic process should think about joining the PROGRESSIVE CODERS NETWORK[0]. They are a non-profit that helps organize and direct volunteer coders, programmers, designers into open-source political projects. They are about connecting and facilitating projects, not dictating what projects should be. They are party-neutral, but seek to empower the people and provide tools for running successful campaigns and being engaged as a citizen.

If you can take away the need for millions of dollars to run a campaign then policy makers aren't beholden to the few wealthy supporters that helped get them elected.

They help connect volunteers to projects that range from building an open-source voter database to an Uber-like app that helps the mobility-limited get transportation to vote. They are extremely transparent and always interested in growing the network. Many members of the network are engineers, product managers, or independent coders.


chrisfosterelli 2 days ago 2 replies      
Check out 80,000 hours: https://80000hours.org/

They have a bunch of interesting research, online articles, guides, and a book. The entire website is focused around how to make a difference with your career in a way that aligns with your own goals. It's a great resource.

awjr 2 days ago 1 reply      
As a cycle campaigner I am using my programming/data/design/socialmedia skills to present information to decision in better ways.

1) https://cyclebath.org.uk/map/ This one has gone national and is up for a Creative Bath Innovation Award.

2) Using Census 2011 Data I've created a healthy cities and towns league index as well as spatial analysis on commuter behaviour. (6M people drive to work, of which 3.5M live within a 20 minute cycle ride) https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B4YARJgso6IxRjd1ZlNDZklGaX...

3) Worked with Bath Hacked and Strava to deliver a year of cycling in the city of Bath strava.bathhacked.org

4) Get involved in your local tech4good meetup.

Do not start from a "hey where can I use my skills for good?". Start with "I am passionate about X, what can I do to help X in anyway?"

Jemmeh 2 days ago 0 replies      

Open source, modern software for charitable hospitals in the developing world.

Find some open source projects for some issue you care about. The medical community could use a lot of help, anything that automates some part of their job means medical staff is available to help more patients. There's a lot of room for automation in this field.

Personally I think anything in renewable energy, sexual education, and poverty alleviation are good highly effective causes to get behind as well.

kolbe 2 days ago 2 replies      
My opinion: take whatever idea you have for a great company, but make it a non-profit.

Other than maybe e-mail, wikipedia is the best thing to come out of the internet. And its creator may not be a billionaire oligarch, but he has a GREAT life. If you can set aside a need to be filthy, needlessly, pointlessly rich, then maybe turn your next idea for a social network or a communication platform or whatever into a non-profit. It's amazing what types of products can be built for this world when you're building for the world, and not the shareholders.

holmesworcester 2 days ago 2 replies      
I work at fightforthefuture.org and I've thought a lot about this.

My first answer is to develop your skills to the point where you are strong on design and UI/UX, not just coding.

I say this because we've worked with some people who have this ability, and they're extremely effective as activists once they focus on a mission.

Aaron Swartz is one person who had this ability, but you don't have to be a genius polymath to be good at this, and Aaron wasn't amazing at visuals and design either. (He was good enough at it though, which was what mattered.)

Ideally, you should be able to speak persuasively online, using text, code and design creatively to get your message across. But as a minimum you should be able to build a prototype from your own vision, get the UI/UX to a point where you're happy with it by iterating, and QA it yourself.

There are a few reasons for this, but the main one is that most social change gets done by small groups of people, and many of those people aren't technical. And usually it leverages certain moments when people happen to be paying attention, and makes the most of those. So you won't have a big team, and being able to do most things yourself lets you respond quicker.

If you have that, I'd try your hand at working on some issues that interest you, either directly, or showing up at an org you admire and seeing if you can help.

We're setting up a space for volunteers, and also a YC-like fund for new activism projects that emphasizes the need for technical founders: http://fightforthefuture.org/ateams/

numlocked 2 days ago 2 replies      
Work with mission-driven businesses. B Corps[0] are a good place to start. There's nothing quite like coming to work every day with a group of like-minded folks who want to make a dent in the universe.

My company, www.grove.co, strives to help families making it easy to buy sustainable products vs. conventional CPG. It seemed a bit crazy when we started, but now literally thousands of families get sustainable products from us every single day. It's hard to make a big impact on your own, but organizations and companies can do great things.

[0] https://www.bcorporation.net/

delormev 2 days ago 0 replies      
Volunteer for DataKind (http://www.datakind.org/), a charity that connects "data professionals" (in the broad sense of the term) to charities who have problems to solve and the data to solve them, but not the resources to do it!

They organise different types of projects: DataDives, which are hackathon-type events and focus on data exploration and analysis; and DataCorps, longer term projects (a few months), where a team of volunteers will team up on a more project for the client charity.

They are looking for volunteers for a wide range of roles, including data scientists, programmers with experience with ML, dataviz experts, project managers, etc.

hooverlunch 2 days ago 2 replies      
Join or start a tech worker co-op!

First, one of the best ways to do social good is to fight capitalism. Just by working at a worker co-op, you're doing this. Many tech co-ops are also built around resisting other oppressions like racism, patriarchy, etc.

Second, many co-ops (e.g. http://sassafras.coop, the one I work for) work on lots of social good projects.

swalberg 2 days ago 1 reply      
Leave your programming at work. Find a cause you believe in or a political candidate you think will do good, and volunteer for that. Knock on doors. Call people. Do research. Organize events and people. Donate money. Change other people's minds.

A lot of these social good things need people to get involved, not software to be written.

asheikh 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Join #YesWeCode


#YesWeCode is a national initiative to help 100,000 young women and men from underrepresented backgrounds find success in the tech sector


Mz 2 days ago 1 reply      
I think the best social good comes from fostering a more civilized environment. Sure, we need things like fire fighters and EMS. But keep in mind that fire fighters also try to do fire prevention. Sometimes, people get so focused on how to be a hero (metaphorically looking for the best way to fight the worst conflagrations) that they overlook opportunities to do more valuable though less "sexy" prevention.

Anything that helps feed people well or better, promotes germ control, reduces social friction in some way, helps marginalized peoples earn a living or helps people of limited means access basic decent housing promotes the social good. But those things are often not the heroics people have in mind when asking this type question.

jancborchardt 6 hours ago 0 replies      
My partner is doing an incubator program called Social-Digital Innovation Initiative: https://sdinnovation.org

The basic idea is to bring together a person who knows of a specific social issue, and a tech person who wants to help solve it. Together they are the core team and are helped to work on their project, form a non-profit, get conmections etc.

At the moment the program is piloting in Berlin. It's planned to expand to Hungary, Austria and ideally other areas. If you are interested, drop by at one of the barcamp/unconference events or check out the website. :)

andkon 2 days ago 0 replies      
Honestly, most of the skills I've learned in building products for people can be used to make tech that has a social purpose. First, you find a problem. Then you find people who can honestly tell you if your solution will actually work. Then, you do the hard work of building what you're gonna build, and seeing if it can fit at the locus of how things are actually done.

That sounds vague, so an example might be nice. I travelled to Oaxaca recently and toured around a bunch of palenques (mezcal distilleries) to see how folks did their work. It sounded like there's an enormous problem with overcultivation of maguey a plant that needs 30-some years to mature in some cases. I thought maybe an app that could identify + track maguey would help. I talked about it with folks, and realized that the problem isn't that they don't know where the plants are, or that they don't know how long they should grow for. It's that there's too much demand for what the ecology can bear, and a lot of it gets carted off to Jalisco to fill tequila bottles before it's mature.

In that light, an app for identifying + tracking maguey isn't really gonna help. But now I have the contacts, they know I want to help, and we can keep talking about what they're working on. Maybe it'll line up. But it's uncertain. And frankly, that's how this stuff works whether you're building something in the hopes of getting into YC, or building something to help out humankind. Just because you can earn a paycheque writing code doesn't mean you can identify and fill a new need with that same skillset.

santiagobasulto 2 days ago 0 replies      
We do that everyday. Maybe indirectly, but we're making a lot of things way more efficient. Information is a huge part of our nature, since the first days, and we're the main collaborators to simplify the access to information.

Said that, you can also think "smaller". Teach someone how to code, and it might be a complete life changer. I run a coding school and we offer free sits for people who need it, and we're greatly satisfied. We've seen students working for McDonald's, for 10 hours per day making just minimum wage, move to a software company with a $+90K salary and changing their lives completely.

Share what you know, try to fix the problems that humanity faces. Don't try to do everything just by yourself. But your "tiny" collaboration ads up.

jjhale 2 days ago 0 replies      
For an in depth talk about the affect of directing your salary to charity check out the following Tech Talk by Toby Ord: "How Many Lives Can You Save? -- Taking Charity Seriously"


They talk about using the metric of "how many lives can be saved" with your cash.


People admire doctors and rescue workers and marvel at the possibility of saving someone's life -- something that few of us would ever achieve. And yet at the same time, we routinely hear that for a small sum of money we could save someone's life in a developing country and this scarcely impacts our behaviour. There is an important disconnect between these two attitudes and it has serious moral implications. I will speak about the evidence which shows that we really can make a tremendous difference by giving, and then explore the moral case for giving much more than we typically do. I will then look at the great disparity in effectiveness between different charities and show how choosing where to give can be even more important than the decision to give in the first place.

timpark 2 days ago 0 replies      
UN Volunteers ( http://www.unv.org/ ) has a Technology development section. ( https://www.onlinevolunteering.org/en/opportunities?f[]=fiel... ) A lot of it is web work, but there's sometimes app development.
cprayingmantis 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm working on an application that will allow organizations to better keep up with the homeless. From what I've heard a lot of folks who are chronically homeless difficult for a single individual to keep up with so it often takes a team to keep tabs on them. Sometimes information isn't adequately disbursed through the whole team and it leads to knowledge that goes nowhere. My idea was to create an app that works as a single source of truth allowing all workers to update on an individual and raise issues. Probably just going to make it donation oriented unless it really takes off and I need to acquire an operating budget.
zubairq 1 day ago 0 replies      
Programming is only a SMALL part of doing social good. Find a problem you care about first.

For us we wanted to help people who were skilled, but ended up washing dishes, as they did not understand the Danish culture. We made NemCV.com to make them CVs in 2011. The website is now defunct, but since we cared about helping people we turned into a real life event to help people and has helped 1000s of people into a better life here in Denmark, and continues several times a month to this day:


So, find the problem first, and then spend time helping and make an IT tool IF needed!

inlinestyle 2 days ago 0 replies      
You should check out Popcode! (https://github.com/popcodeorg/popcode). Its is a free OSS online IDE used by https://scripted.org to help kids in under-resourced high schools learn HTML/CSS/JS.

The big focus is helping students identify and fix mistakes in their code in a friendly and approachable manner.

mmesh 2 days ago 0 replies      
Find a local nonprofit or other organization you like and ask them what tech help they need. Many small nonprofits are starving for IT resources, either for financial or cultural reasons.

It's not glamorous, but if you're willing to volunteer your time helping with an org's Wordpress site or making sure everyone is educated about phishing and 2FA, you can make a meaningful impact in your community.

EnFinlay 2 days ago 0 replies      
This link will be of interest to you: http://worrydream.com/ClimateChange/. It's a long read, but it's packed with ideas.
zubat 2 days ago 0 replies      
Fix ordinary problems.

That is to say, there are probably hundreds of things, off the top of your head, that bother you and probably bother others. To the best of your ability choose one that you have a clear "thread to pull on" - as in, there is an action here you could take that might not be elegant, might not scale, be politically heated, or put you in a position beyond your understanding, ultimately require a team or need financing. But you could do it NOW and not just dream about it, consequences be damned. When the potential is scary like that, that means you actually hold a lot of leverage to unleash new forces, just by starting on it and not stopping.

Most of software isn't like that: it's predictable in its design, it automates a thing that was done slower or less effectively before. It fits into the system and stays within the lines. So you also won't find many examples for the particular thread you're pulling on, and that's expected.

If you do this and it's something you personally care about and will pour heart and soul into, you're doing about as much as anyone could hope for. You won't and can't get all of it right - but what people need isn't perfection, so much as a vehicle that will last well enough for the journey.

ungzd 2 days ago 0 replies      
Get involved into development of free software, preferably that can be used by people and other free software developers, not just corporations building "cloud services" (i.e. graphic editor, not js framework).

"Fixing world with software" nowadays cynically means just "to build closed platform and seek for rent".

rojobuffalo 2 days ago 1 reply      
I think the most basic and overlooked thing is food. Eating well, reducing waste, and sustainable production are areas with huge opportunities. Energy and food are fundamental for improving quality of life; and they're also the human activities with the largest negative externalities to nature.
matthjensen 2 days ago 0 replies      

Open source tax-calculator for tax policy analysis. Used by many policymakers to inform their decisions about tax policy via the TaxBrain GUI (https://www.ospc.org/taxbrain). Influences decisions that affect hundreds of millions of lives.

vok 2 days ago 0 replies      
Work to make widely-deployed software more efficient. For open source software, anyone can help with this. Data centers are ~2% of U.S. energy consumption [0], and that will probably grow.

[0] http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2016/06/27/heres...

sethbannon 2 days ago 0 replies      
I really like the UN's Sustainable Development Goals as a guide for "the world's biggest problems". See them here: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/?menu=1300

Luckily, these days there are an abundance of ways you can 1) make money, 2) work on interesting problems, 3) work with amazing people, and 4) do social good. You used to have to choose 2 or 3 of those things, but no longer. I run a nonprofit organization that highlights these opportunities: http://impact.tech/

I also run a VC fund that supports these sorts of startups. You can see an example of the companies we back here: http://www.fifty.vc/companies/

If anyone is considering jumping into the social impact startup space, feel free to drop me a line and I can help you navigate the opportunities. First name AT the URL of the nonprofit I mentioned.

nyargh 2 days ago 1 reply      
Support the people already doing important work - get away from the egocentric "tech will save the world" attitude that is so endemic to our industry. Just get involved and see where you can help.
perlgeek 2 days ago 0 replies      
Something I recently heard on a podcast:

Teach Python to girls in Zimbabwe: https://www.zimbopy.com/become-a-mentor

java_script 2 days ago 0 replies      
Join the Democratic Socialists of America's tech committee! [0]

[0] http://www.dsausa.org/tech_committee

Svenstaro 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is going to sound pessimistic at first but hear me out: Unless you're extremely gifted in many ways and super resourceful, you're not likely to make any noticeable impact on the species.

However, you can still make a big difference for groups much smaller than the whole species (and I think that's actually preferable from a human point of view because it's more tangible). The world is full of problems that could easily be solved by good software. This is especially true in industries that are usually not very technological by themselves.

Depending on your current network you might have gotten to know an industry or two that is not strictly technological. If not, ask your friends who do not program software all day and ask them what problems they have at work that they find annoying and try to come up with a software solution for that.

Once you do that, convince their bosses that it saves them more money to pay for your software than to do things the old way.

Frondo 2 days ago 0 replies      
If you want to do social good on your own, pick a cause you can get excited about and look for meetings in your town around that cause. Go to those meetings for six months and get to know people. Talk to them and find out what problems they're facing, and brainstorm with them ways tech can solve those problems. Find the most curmudgeonly people in that community and work with them until you've won them over. Now you have an idea! Make it, refine it, and when you launch, your local community around that cause will be able to promote it to like-minded folks elsewhere.

Simple, but takes a lot of time, patience, listening, and humility. You can't go in thinking you have the answers, it's got to be a collaborative process.

welder 2 days ago 0 replies      
sorrymate 2 days ago 0 replies      
I would also like to mention the Humanitarian Toolboxwww.htbox.org/

The goal is to help humanitarian organizations solve technology problems with open source solutions. This excellent group of people are developing solutions to common problems like logistical, and communication issues that help improve humanitarian aid.

You can see the source code on their github:https://github.com/htbox/

If you are interested, you can hear more about it by listening to Richard Campbell on this podcast and many others like it: http://www.podcastchart.com/podcasts/herding-code/episodes/h...

teddyh 2 days ago 0 replies      
FSF's High Priority Free Software Projects list:


Free phone operating system: https://www.fsf.org/campaigns/priority-projects/free-phone

Decentralization, federation, and self-hosting: https://www.fsf.org/campaigns/priority-projects/decentraliza...

Free drivers, firmware, and hardware designs: https://www.fsf.org/campaigns/priority-projects/hardware-fir...

Real-time voice and video chat: https://www.fsf.org/campaigns/priority-projects/voicevideoch...

Encourage contribution by people underrepresented in the community: https://www.fsf.org/campaigns/priority-projects/contribute

Free software and accessibility: https://www.fsf.org/campaigns/priority-projects/accessibilit...

Internationalization of free software: https://www.fsf.org/campaigns/priority-projects/internationa...

Security by and for free software: https://www.fsf.org/campaigns/priority-projects/security-by-...

Intelligent personal assistant: https://www.fsf.org/campaigns/priority-projects/personalassi...

Help GNU/Linux distributions be committed to freedom: https://www.fsf.org/campaigns/priority-projects/help-gnu-lin...

Free software adoption by governments: http://www.fsf.org/campaigns/priority-projects/free-software...

ouid 2 days ago 0 replies      
Social utility is not easy to define. The main problem is that it's impossible to speak for all timescales at once. Particularly when you take some sort of norm on all the individual utilities. This sounds overly technical, but I have a point.

Don't work towards maximizing the utility of everyone, it's nonsense. People aren't that cooperative, even. Work towards bounding the minimum utility. There's lots of social and physical extinction events that humanity faces. Even if you have nothing directly to contribute to these problems, perhaps you can realistically contribute to the welfare of other people who are contributing to these problems.

FrozenVoid 1 day ago 0 replies      
Kick start the singularity by writing the first recursively-optimizing generic AI? Probably with some new kind of neural network that is fast and versatile enough for all problem domains.An neural network that can extract features of its own design and improve on it with some external metric, test improved copies of itself to solve other problems.AIs that have human-level of intellect would advance science and technology, without any human-level limits.Though such AI would have to be pro-human by design:e.g. https://www.reddit.com/r/frozenvoid/wiki/ai/super-intelligen...
nyae 2 days ago 0 replies      
Check out one of Data for Democracy's projects and see if you'd like to contribute to any of their open source work: http://datafordemocracy.org/
NoGravitas 2 days ago 4 replies      
This is almost certainly the wrong place to ask this question, unfortunately. The HN demographic is spectacularly disinterested in the well-being of humanity. Try /r/socialistprogrammers or /r/anarcho_hackers on Reddit.
davidmooreppf 2 days ago 0 replies      
Our non-profit builds Councilmatic - https://www.councilmatic.org/ - free & open-source tech for city-level civic engagement. Closing the feedback loop with local government, accessible tools for community dialogue.

But in my ten years' experience, here's what I see as the biggest potential for tech for social good: open data standards for constituent communications. Breaking public messages out of the current silo's of individual e-mails, e-petitions, social media, civic tech apps, and issue advocacy platforms. Making possible open structured data on real public priorities and policy preferences in every Congressional district. This never took off because government offices haven't wanted such a level of participatory democracy, and because existing advocacy groups haven't wanted to share membership lists and enable peer-to-peer organizing - it would undercut the business models of e-petition companies and legacy advocacy vendors and VC-backed civic startups. But making public opinion info more free and open for analysis could push forward reforms that have wide support, and are stymied by the current U.S. two-party system: http://www.participatorypolitics.org/open-data-infrastructur...

Alex3917 2 days ago 0 replies      
Join the Progressive Coders Network: https://www.progcode.org

There are a ton of projects you can jump on aimed at helping to get progressives elected and enact progressive policies. For those not familiar with progressive politics (or at least not beyond Bernie or whatever), the basic idea is to make it easier for people to get involved with government. For example, making it easier to to figure out which elections you're eligible to participate in as a candidate and/or as a voter.

splitrocket 2 days ago 0 replies      
Blue Ridge Labs @ Robinhood.

We have a yearly, paid, 5 month long fellowship in Brooklyn for mid-career engineers, designs, and product managers that combines human centered design and Lean Startup to build tech ventures that fight poverty.

https://joinpropel.com came out of our fellowship and just raised a seed round from Andreesen Horowitz.

Our website: https://labs.robinhood.org

tahw 2 days ago 0 replies      
Join wikileaks and their ilk in the fight to uncover and unravel the conspiracies that are preventing progress from advancing in "first world" countries!
whatwhosdis 2 days ago 1 reply      
Program whatever the heck you want to program but stop eating meat while doing it.

Check out the documentary Cowspiracy (free on Netflix) to see what I'm talking about.

tonydiv 2 days ago 0 replies      
Teach kids how to program! I view it very similar to "teaching the (wo)man how to fish."

I'm working on the 1st live online school that teaches kids to code. It's nearly impossible for parents to find teachers locally between 4-7PM, especially at a reasonable price, so come help :)


claytoncorreia 2 days ago 0 replies      
If youre looking for a job where you can do good as a programmer, were always interested in speaking with talented people at Chimp. Our platform, chimp.net, is built to dramatically improve the human experience of participating in charity by helping people, communities and corporations to make bigger impacts on causes they care about.

I personally have been at Chimp for over 5 years. I can tell you that its a pretty amazing feeling to come into work every day, sit in a comfy chair, wiggle my fingers on a keyboard and, as a result, help get hundreds of millions of dollars flowing into the charitable sector. All while getting paid a competitive salary at a stable company thats poised for massive growth.

If this sounds interesting, checkout https://chimp.net/careers or email jobs@chimp.net if you dont see a role posted that matches your skill set. Again, well always connect with talented people that we think we can work with.

simplicitea 2 days ago 2 replies      
OP here, actually floored by the rapidity and variety of responses. Thanks HN.

I'll take this opportunity to float an idea that's been kicking around in my head for a long time.

The premise is to:

1) (this is almost certainly the easy part) build out a platform that is like a two-way khan academy - teacher and student, with at least the teacher having a tablet and a stylus that function well, sharing a digital blackboard, with a video chat optional -- where a student of something in a relatively privileged situation teaches a student of the same thing in a relatively less privileged situation -- where the sessions are stored and rewindable, both video and blackboard input.

2) the hard part; selling it as something to invest in and driving it to a point of having an endowment behind it, like Harvard's endowment, that allows the service to pay for moderation of student-teachers something like $12.00 USD an hour to teach, while subsidizing well-chosen students to have to pay something like $2 an hour to learn

it's been an idea for a passion project for a while

_asummers 2 days ago 0 replies      
Machine learning is pretty popular right now. With obvious applications in things like biology, you can go into things like gene research (see CRISPR) or AI. Could even go embedded and do medical security things to prevent the next WannaCry.

A recruiter shot a job across my email a few months back about using technology to get people more active in government. Depending on how you feel about government, that could be taken to any number of applications, with some company filling the niche along the way.

I work in education, myself, and I find that pretty rewarding. Being able to use technology to help teachers do something even a little bit easier is a good feeling.

Even though these scenarios are very different, they all help advance individuals and the species in their own micro and macro ways. Tech is useful everywhere, so decide who you want to help, and find companies that exist to help those people and go from there. And if you don't find a company there, then maybe you have your YC interview already cooking.

staltz 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hint: help the Scuttlebutt P2P project https://www.scuttlebutt.nz/. It can be used for social media in areas disconnected from the global internet, through gossip replication of social feeds. Can be quite useful for communities in Syria, Amazon, and Africa.
grblovrflowerrr 2 days ago 0 replies      
IDK about helping the species but maybe contribute to open source software in one of the following?:

Disaster Management SoftwareEMS SoftwareAssistance software for the blind,deaf,etc.

Of course, not everything becomes magically better from software's involvement. There might be some good opportunities in robotics, robotic medical care and elderly care especially come to mind.

lbearl 2 days ago 0 replies      
Come look at Transplant Connect: https://transplantconnect.com/

We make software which facilitates the organ, tissue and eye donation process in partnership with a number of other organizations and non-profits. It's really rewarding work.

rnmp 2 days ago 0 replies      
I work at a matchmaking platform that connects nonprofits with professionals of all kind who are willing to volunteer on projects. http://www.catchafire.org/

Sometimes our nonprofits post iOS/Android prototyping projects, for example.

shawndimantha 2 days ago 1 reply      
We are taking a technology driven approach to improving the US healthcare system at the Peterson Center on Healthcare, our goal is to improve the quality of healthcare accessible to all, reduce the total cost of care our system bears, and improve the experience of healthcare professionals delivering this care.

Feel free to let me know if you have any questions, on HN or by email at sdimantha(at)petersonhealthcare(dot)org.

Here is one of the engineering roles we are recruiting for (more to be announced later) - http://petersonhealthcare.org/careers/software-engineering-t...

bradyo 2 days ago 2 replies      
I recently went through a job search focusing on organizations doing social good. Full disclosure, I now work at Remix (https://www.remix.com/jobs) and we're hiring! We're a for-profit founded by a collection of former Code for America fellows helping to improve cities.

I have a list of resources that I collected while I was searching as well:

- The Fast Forward accelerator's tech nonprofits job board and directory. This is easily the most extensive list I found: https://www.ffwd.org/tech-nonprofit-jobs/, https://www.ffwd.org/tech-nonprofits/

- The YC-funded non-profits (subset here https://github.com/smartergiving/open-data/blob/master/v0/fu...)

- The well-known non-profits: Mozilla, Wikimedia, Khan Academy

- https://twitter.com/goodtechjobs

- Code for America is hiring, takes fellows, and has a government job board: https://jobs.codeforamerica.org/

- Tech co-ops: https://techworker.coop/members

- https://www.fossjobs.net/

- Angel list nonprofits: https://angel.co/nonprofits

- Some other random social good orgs that I found were hiring in the SF area or remote: Open Whisper Systems, Binti, Nuna, The Human Diagnosis project, Bayes Impact, Nava, GovEx, Democracy Works, The Guardian Project, The Internet Archive, EFF, Exygy, Open Law Lib, Angaza, Fight for the Future,

- An article written by the co-founder of Bayes Impact for techcrunch: https://techcrunch.com/2017/04/25/a-call-to-action-for-tech/

- Civic Makers (http://civicmakers.com/) has a newsletter highlighting civic news

I also second the progressive coder's network.

andmed3 1 day ago 0 replies      
As a programmer you have knowledge which can guide you to make a donation to organization that does something important for many people. They just don't realize that, but you do. Donate to EFF that fights for net neutrality, or some other organization of your choice. And just do your normal work, to have money for that. Thats the way I prefer personally, yesterday I have made my first donation, ever. And kind of proud of it.
Casseres 2 days ago 0 replies      
One option is to contribute to a cryptocurrency. Being able to store one's money without the use of predatory banks and cheaply transfer money to places without good banking infrastructure will lift people out of poverty.
purrcat259 2 days ago 0 replies      
I started a project to link charity streams to 3rd party charity fundraiser websites to allow better exposure of the cause and the fundraiser progress in real time.

I'm currently working on version 2 which returns a lot of stastical information, allows for graphs and better statistics to be shown on stream overlays and a back end console for auditing and reporting purposes.

I am currently breaking up each part and exposing them over HTTP APIs to allow future integrations and to allow the system to scale for large streaming events such as Special Effect's Gameblast.

The gaming for good initiative is ripe for new tools and services, as there are very few players in this space, to the end where I thought that I was the only one with this idea up until a few months ago.

jtalbot 2 days ago 0 replies      
If you're interested in using your developer skills to help social impact organizations engage their communities, I'd love to talk. At twilio.org we connect volunteer developers with nonprofits and social enterprises that need your help building high-impact communication tools.

Our current volunteer developer initiative is called Voices for Democracy, and is focused on creating tools to advance the discourse between people with their elected representatives.

If this excites you, or if you'd like to learn more about other opportunities to use your skills for good, check out twilio.org and send us a note.

Thanks for starting this awesome thread.

-Jacob from twilio.org

LostWanderer 1 day ago 0 replies      
I am working on restarting tech from the ground up in rural places.It always amazes me on how phones get so easily addictive but hardly have much utility values.Like recording the environmental changes or just simple information dissipation to their peers would do wonders to help them. Something i have been very interested in the use of local languages in developing areas in spreading of their rights and information
garysieling 2 days ago 0 replies      
One simple thing is to volunteer your time to build websites for non-profits, which I've done.

If you have time, you can also build a useful side project.

For me -

Youtube and Reddit give a lot of weight to popular content. If you're trying to learn new ideas, videos with conspiracy theories, popular speakers, and things people already know dominate search results / subreddits.

My project (https://www.findlectures.com) recommends high quality content, but across as much topic variety as I can find (discourages ignoring speakers based on demographics or them not marketing their talks well).

TheAntiEgo 2 days ago 0 replies      
At Helpwith.co we're focussing on facilitating something that seems very simple and obvious, but is often very difficult to achieve: One person teaching another person what they know.

We believe that peer-to-peer, community driven, education is one of the best ways that our small team can meaningfully impact the world.

The more effectively we can disseminate meaningful information, while also building connections between people, the easier it becomes to solve every other world problem.

Always looking for more collaborators, so feel free to email me: John@helpwith.co

j45 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've volunteered technology skills for a long time for social and community causes. Tech assistance ends up often starting as a secondary way to assist and first beginning with non-tech volunteering as a way to learn about problems. It's interesting how much more we can get done if a social enterprise/cause had the right tools and I invariably end up helping with something if I just get involved as a volunteer.

There's some important things that can make a lasting difference, beginning with ensuring there's something you care about, possibly obscure, but important, for possibly a long time. A big part of this is learning about what the issues are and their impacts.

To help pick a problem or area you care about.. there are things that you are naturally drawn to and can't help yourself with.

It's not a bad place to start looking for problems (and other people trying to make a difference) you care about and want to add value to is an important consideration.

Why? The most important thing I experience is the importance of always adding value first, and finding a way to do it. It simply opens more doors and opportunities than anything else I've ever experienced.

From a tech perspective, many social enterprises, groups can benefit from basic mobile apps or tools for the people they work with. The skillset here isn't the hard thing to find, it's a willingness to learn and only then solve problems even if they aren't new or interesting but deliver great value.

If you can help someone save a few hours a week with 10-15 minutes of making an excel sheet, it is a greater help and a start.

All big problems begin as and consist of a lot of smaller problems.

A secret of finding interesting projects that can grow, is that the willingness to solve small problems, because small problems leads to large problems on their own. Almost all of my multi-industry experience is due to the transferability of solving similar problems.

With this in mind, social good can happen independently, with a group, from an initiative at work, and not just exclusively from working with non-profits. Help where no one's helping and you'll find lots of opportunities to add value.

sophacles 2 days ago 0 replies      
I can't link directly to the talk (or i can't figure out how...), but I enjoyed a short talk about this topic at shmoocon this year. If you go to this page:


Then go to video 20 (friday night firetalks) and skip forward to 1:31:55 theres a talk called "You can do the thing".

tl;dw - Theres a lot of help that can be done by finding local orgs that you agree with, and offering to modernize their websites, help manage IT, and so on.

RichardHeart 2 days ago 0 replies      
Humans are executed data. The blueprint of life has never been more like computer code. Ben Horrowitz believes where data touches biology is where there's ton of profit waiting. Pick a SENS initiative and see where you can attack it with software. Human Longevity Inc is using machine learning I think to figure out what genes actually cause what pathologies.

It would be interesting to point at the genes for the heritability of IQ for giggles. We are all data, the meat is what matters. The life you save may be your own.

iammiles 2 days ago 0 replies      
I know a few people who have contributed some of their time weekly teaching less privileged kids the basics of programming. I always thought that was a great thing to do.
caseyohara 2 days ago 0 replies      
PrintReleaf is a platform for automated reforestation https://printreleaf.com/

We measure paper consumption for businesses, equate that to forest impact, then automate the planting of those trees back into the environment at planting projects around the world. We're always looking for talented designers and developers that want to do social and environmental good through technology.

fimdomeio 2 days ago 1 reply      
I would love to have the opportunity to explore the concept of hyperlocal. Using the web to help bring local communities closer together. Never really had the opportunity yet.

I myself, work mainly on projects related to museums, culture, green economy... In the projects I accept I try to find a balance between money I can get and how I view it as work for the greater good. A very hard balance and a very subjective one.

Also have some friends that are a lot into open data which is also an interesting area to explore.

meesterdude 2 days ago 0 replies      
I had the exact same thought, a few years back. I believe there is a vast amount of untapped human potential that languishes in self-defeat. People that, with just a little help, could right themselves and unleash all sorts of good on the world.

so, I'm trying to help people make cognitive and behavioral improvements in their lives with my side project (http://willyoudidyou.com)

pwne 2 days ago 0 replies      

"Data science competitions to save the world"

OK, the tag line might be a bit much, but here's a snippet from one of their current competitions:

Your goal is to create better models to estimate populations for hard-to-reach sites in the Antarctic, and thereby greatly improve our ability to use penguins to monitor the health of the Southern Ocean!

fjahr 1 day ago 0 replies      
The best you can do where success is guaranteed is to teach underprivileged how to program for free and help them improve their situation by finding a job in the space.
asmt3 2 days ago 0 replies      
Consider working for NGOs like ours - International Alert. In our case, we use software development to analyse data and build mobile apps. Android is particularly sought after skill in the (economically) developing world. Follow me on https://twitter.com/alanthomson to hear about job opportunities. (... when Twitter starts working again!)
ianai 2 days ago 0 replies      
OP is asking for what problems to work on, not projects/etc. there is a difference there.

I personally think we need better ways and more people to know about better ways to aggregate social preferences. If people knew about alternative voting methods they might entertain using them. You could work on coding implementations that would introduce the masses to alternatives.

xysmas 2 days ago 1 reply      
I have recently started volunteering my tech skills (I'm a data scientist for a well-known tech company) to the local chapter of the ACLU and am exploring volunteering for a UN subsidiary who desperately needs the help. If you are interested in potentially working to help the UN project, message me.
msadowski 2 days ago 0 replies      
Probably not exactly what op had in mind but I took interest in a humanitarian hackathon organized by a CERN group The Port(http://theport.ch/) in Geneva, Switzerland. I'm hoping I can take part in it this year.
valarauca1 2 days ago 1 reply      
You don't.

The idea you can _do anything_ to _help_. Is mostly a myth people repeat so they don't constantly feel like shit for doing nothing in the face of mass social injustice by which they are (partially) the benefactors.

If you want social change, you need social action. Anything short is just rationalizing your guilt.

eriknstr 2 days ago 0 replies      
Contribute to the Tor Project, aka The Onion Router.


johan_larson 2 days ago 2 replies      
You have a job, right? If your employer solves a useful problem for its customers at a reasonable price, obeys the law and treats its employees and suppliers fairly then it is doing good and you are doing good through it. Do your work conscientiously and go home happy.
leoreeves 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'd recommend http://dotimpact.im/, it's part of the Effective Altruist movementpeople who want to do the most good with the time/money/resources they have.
SolubleSnake 2 days ago 0 replies      
DTOcean is an interesting piece of open source software, to help engineers install renewable energy equipment offshore (wave, wind, tide).


acd 2 days ago 0 replies      
Social good Ideas

* Program for charities* Make Reddit style voting for political topics* Invent an econmic system that saves the planet* Work on blockchain projects for good for all* Contribute to open source projects

andreasgonewild 2 days ago 0 replies      
How about simply working on what you find interesting and sharing the results with the world for free? If more people did that, this world would be a better place.
SolubleSnake 2 days ago 0 replies      

An open source tool to help engineers install renewable energy equipment offshore. Wind, wave, tide (one day!) etc

francamps 2 days ago 0 replies      
If you're into political action, live in London and are proficient in THREE.js or WebGL, well, we could definitely use your help here -> www.forensic-architecture.org/jobs-internships/
devrandomguy 2 days ago 0 replies      
Looks like a lot of the top-voted suggestions are only applicable to a single country. If your suggestion has a major restriction like that, then would you please declare it upfront?
leke 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think any charity would benefit from software. You just need to contact them and ask what is taking up their time and try and simplify the process.

Educational tools are also good investments of time, IMO.

rajadigopula 2 days ago 0 replies      
https://socialcoder.org/You can find a project that you can contribute to.Can even boast it on your resume!
dontreact 2 days ago 1 reply      
The medical world has a lot of uses for software and machine learning.
jblz 2 days ago 0 replies      
Do everything you can to advance the "open web" (or publishing & distribution of content in general) and eschew "walled gardens" (corporate or otherwise).
neuronotic81 1 day ago 0 replies      
Read "Forces of Production" - it'll give you some background to what pressures are at play in technical roles.
NumberCruncher 2 days ago 1 reply      
Take care about your own family and children. Do not harm others. It is that simple. If everyone would do that, we would be all better off.
erlend_sh 2 days ago 0 replies      
mulnz 2 days ago 0 replies      
Where do you live? find things like this: http://atxhackforchange.org/
Xoros 2 days ago 0 replies      
I worked years ago on a project named babeltree(.org).

Don't know if it's still active, but the idea (and the founder) behind it was really about making the world a better place.

alexfi 2 days ago 0 replies      
You can become programming teacher for startups in Gaza.

Check out: https://gazaskygeeks.com/

dominostars 2 days ago 0 replies      
You can also work a normal job and donate a non-trivial amount of your money to organizations working to make a difference.
dragonbonheur 2 days ago 1 reply      
Local exchange systems.Mentoring and apprenticeship forums and exchanges.Grants and sponsorship databases.Digital permaculture, hydroponics, aquaculture, aeroponics & DIY encyclopedia.Tools to fight against misleading and inaccurate information and to clarify and annotate ambiguous laws that don't benefit the population. Better corruption and dark financing graphs about people in power.
shmerl 2 days ago 0 replies      
Replace some proprietary stuff with FOSS. That's a social good.
conductr 2 days ago 0 replies      
Teach! You know you have a valuable skill, help others tap into that value
hwayne 2 days ago 0 replies      
Find a nonprofit you like and offer them free tech support.
gregable 2 days ago 0 replies      
How about something like US digital services?
oevi 2 days ago 0 replies      
Teach coding to children and those who want to learn it.
tryitnow 2 days ago 0 replies      
Improving the efficiency of biomedical research.
isomorph 2 days ago 2 replies      
OurPath maybe. 23andMe ? Medical / health stuff
bevan 2 days ago 1 reply      
Work on what pays the highest and then donate that money to the most effective charity. According to GiveWell.org, that charity is currently the Against Malaria Foundation, which will statistically save a life for every $3500 it receives going forward. It is ridiculously cheap to save a life that would otherwise not be saved. I highly recommend Sam Harris' interview with Will Macaskill on this topic (effective altruism).


aswin8728 2 days ago 0 replies      
elixirlabs.org :) donate your spare time to building tech for nonprofits who could really use the assistance!
mythrwy 1 day ago 0 replies      
If we go looking for what truly betters our chances as a species I'm not sure we'd like the answers we'd find.

And I'm pretty sure most of it would fly in the face of just about every conventional human morality (which comes about largely for self serving purposes in my opinion).

Our horizons of view are necessarily limited by the narrow slice of space and time we occupy and the culture in which we come to conceive the world. We can break out a little from time to time but for the most part we can't separate our innate ideas of "social good" from that which more objectively probably is better for the species.

I understand the sentiment. I thought about it a lot. As I got older I realized the important things in society are the little things. We are individuals, there are millions of us. We generally won't dramatically alter the course of history but the way we treat others personally, the way we conduct our affairs, our character as individuals, that's what makes up a society. We have to eat and drink. It's part of life. So we sometimes have to do things that we'd rather not. But we can try to minimize our negative impact.

Also I think we partially got where we are right now because some of our ancestors were basically beasts who killed the competition and took their women. And if that hadn't happened at some level regularly we'd probably still be swinging from trees and eating seasonal fruit. I'm not sure I want to know what the implication of that is. But I try to live in peace and stay balanced which means not worrying about saving the world all the time. Because it truly cannot be saved but maybe you can be. And a few others.

Externon 2 days ago 0 replies      
You can do something for education.
simplicitea 2 days ago 1 reply      
Curious that ctrl+f 'climate' doesn't have a single hit before this comment, at 234 comments.
Kholo 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wikipedia and Khan Academy.
droithomme 1 day ago 0 replies      
> I want to apply what I know to better our chances as a species and/or as individuals.

As an individual how are you doing? Is your life in order? You're doing OK, those you love are doing well, things are good?

skdotdan 2 days ago 0 replies      
Externon 2 days ago 1 reply      
do something for the education
4a60ab76 2 days ago 0 replies      
someone would tell you:"if you want a selfless, social work - some good jobs are, but: don't work for nuclear weapon production" (finance what (also) finance such production, healthcare that (also) heal the weapon enterprise managements desease, and so on - think this all as examples)but then a (here abstract) "other side/party" will then (because without your benefit for nuclear weapon controll software) thirst start a rocketso your decision was not real altruistic (at all men in world) because you make a "broken glass" (like in the funny nice example above https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14379040 )

so, your problem was: your data before decision were not enough and the analysis of the situation (in the whole world) not deep enough.some people will argue: so much data - never possible to make the best decision.I agree with it.But you can do some approximation and before doing an (also only aproximated) List of "good, selfless, altruistic" destinations (with view of whole world and view to some influence like climate, politics, geophysics, space-riscs ... and so on.) make a risc and a potencial map about the world. And second part construct your own priority List for this risc and potencials. Big project - but also big fun! So go web and search for science studys, travel around the globe, talk to many people, educate kids, help older people with desease - so you get a good (eventually excellent) database.Work out a mind set of gouls, of answers for the question "what is good (for my neighbor)". Your longtime values.But you will not forget the borders of your brain: for example - you are a good coder and engineer, and not so good corner speaker ...so go politics as job would not good decision, because your influence will go zero and as coder zero++ ... ;-)But you will not forget the borders of others brain: for example - you everytime check different (also antagonistic) sources of the data for your decisions. And if somebody troll you - be calm: very good input for your decision - database (part:psycho-problems)!

And think of the time of your live: its all in move, you must check in some weeks or months again and again, the same procedure ..(Will be fine: DO WHILE(true))ask, analyse, check, do - a simple and fine procedure in a endless loop: your live.and the backup loop is: ask one more question everytime, everywhere - to everybody ...Find the position were you with your (everytime living) "database" can make the most influence to the "problem-vector" of the world.then so you also will make some mistakes, errors appeare again and again, BUT:then you are old and grey you can say:I had done best of my willnes, my power and what my brain was able to think:attempt(sic!) to change the world to a better one.A (only limited) list of my own tasks (differ already to the list of my son, friends) :- participation, transparency with (for example) openData Apps -- networking: bring together good coders amd other- identify deficites in care for older people - organise help and also change of the reasons- ... and so onthe list is under construction and any bugs I must find out next days ... ;-)Wish you a good and viable decision for your dream - job!CU

dragonbonheur 2 days ago 2 replies      
threepipeproblm 2 days ago 3 replies      
lngnmn 2 days ago 1 reply      
as a species, no less? ;)

Education then.

DarkKomunalec 2 days ago 0 replies      
As individuals, we benefit from being in control of our computers. To maintain that control, good security is essential. So I'd say work on that, specifically on sandboxing and limiting the damage untrusted or compromised programs can do, re-writing crucial programs in languages immune to as many exploitable bugs as possible, maybe even try formal verification (for small but essential code, like OS kernels or filesystems), if you're feeling ambitious.
cybermonkey 2 days ago 1 reply      
We, as species, are invasive parasites. If you want to do some good for the future of the human kind, environment and this planet, invest your time in research about reducing human population by at least 2/3 without compromising future scientific discoveries and advances.
brbrodude 2 days ago 0 replies      
Study anticapitalism and go on from there. I`d recommend anarchism and World History.

Ps.: In tech & programming specifically, I think Free Software is a beautiful idea.

Ps.: I`ll add, why I think this is(my original point), is that I think it's very nice to understand(or try to understand) what is the `structure/mechaniscs of the world`, I mean, to me it would be the same to study capitalism as it is to study anticapitalism(that is, the more you see how it works, the more you`ll see stuff that is flawed), some would disagree with this, of course. Contrary to what many think, ideology to me means NOT seeing reality as it is(so I'm not talking about intantile, superficial, ideas/agenda here), so I think it's absolutely fair the everybody should take some understanding of it based on people who wanted to figure out found out, even if not 100%. Since the more correct is your model of things, the better you can act on them(you can't engineer a car with wrong math, for example). To me, personally, getting my mind out of the techie neophile mindset and knowing broader and deeper stuff gives me plenty of ideas on things to do. Even more so, that since I'm using this 'footing', I can then try to see if it matches reality and goes on to have real-world effects! ;P But anyway, what I`m saying is sort of a longer road, to try to get interested and understand other topics and then look to your habilities and see what you can do with them about the other thing. That's where the project I'm trying to work on came from and it's really meant to be a drop in the ocean and a simple program etc, but it's something I really care about since it's tied to deep layers of my person and perspective on `world`, `society`, `individuals`, `species`, etc.

Swift is like Kotlin nilhcem.com
371 points by mastazi  3 days ago   327 comments top 37
jnbiche 3 days ago 5 replies      
Kotlin lacks the ability to do true functional programming that Swift has. Swift has pattern matching, recursive data structures (edit: specifically ADTs with enums or case classes is what I was thinking of here, should have written algebraic data types), tail call optimization, even some form of type classes, immutability (thanks @tmail21), and so on.

Kotlin does not have any of these (edit: this is now partly false, see below)

I'm sad that Google is supporting Kotlin and not Swift or Scala for Android, since at least with the latter two, you can use functional programming.

Edit: Actually, I'm looking into Kotlin again, and it looks like it's greatly expanded support for functional programming compared to a year or two ago. For example, algebraic data types can now be encoded in a similar manner to Scala, and kind of pseudo-pattern matched using `when`. TCO is now supported. There are lambdas, and support for closures. Destructuring assignment. But as far as I can see, still no immutable values (just immutable references), and no way to make extensible type classes, like in Scala and Swift.

I'm definitely going to take another look now. Last I checked a few years ago, Kotlin had very limited support for functional programming.

chc 3 days ago 2 replies      
I feel like you could about as well write an article about how Go or Scala or TypeScript is like Kotlin. They all have some cases where they look similar or have some similar constructs borrowed from other sightly-less-recent languages. It doesn't seem like a very interesting or deep similarity.

If you want to compare them, going over the differences would be a lot more illuminating.

_31 3 days ago 2 replies      
Past the syntax similarities, both of these languages are intended replacements for an 'old' language (Objective-C => Swift, Java => Kotlin) on a dominant mobile platform, with interoperability as a major selling point (requirement?). As a mobile dev (mainly iOS) this is awesome to see and although I love me some Objective-C, working with swift has been a pleasure. Now Java on the other hand... (shudders).With Google making Kotlin an official/first-class language and the syntax being so similar to swift I could see myself spending more time working with Android.
Black-Plaid 3 days ago 2 replies      
It's strange that on the Kotlin side the author goes out of their way to show 'shorter' ways to do things that are also available in Swift but not illustrated.

 let sorted = [1, 3, 6].sorted() let sum = [1, 3. 6].reduce(0, +)
as examples

Unknoob 3 days ago 2 replies      
The article is missing the similarities between Swift Optionals and Kotlin Nullables.

Swift code:

 var name: String? name? ///returns a safe value name! ///returns an unsafe value and throws an exception in case of a nil value if name != nil { ///Now we can use name! forcing unwrap because we know it's not nil } if let unwrapedName = name { /// Here we can use unwrapedName without forcing the unwrap }
The null checks are almost the same in Kotlin: https://kotlinlang.org/docs/reference/null-safety.html

NathanFlurry 3 days ago 7 replies      
One has structures, ARC, proper extensions, good protocols/interfaces, flexible enums, and runs natively. The other one doesn't. I think I'll choose the former.
martijn_himself 3 days ago 7 replies      
Does anyone else think the Kotlin syntax for array literals is super ugly:

val shoppingList = arrayOf("catfish", "water", "tulips", "blue paint")

What is wrong with square bracket syntax? (rant over).

EDIT: I suppose it's consistent with other syntax e.g. listOf() etc.

phkahler 3 days ago 4 replies      
I find it very annoying that Google and Apple are creating new languages to solve similar problems and not worrying about cross platform. If you write for Apple you've been told to use Objective-C and Swift. If you're on Android it's Dart and now Kotlin. None of that stuff is used for Windows or Linux development or even mobile on the other OS.

I'm not a fan of proliferation of "platforms" but when it goes beyond libraries and into the language itself I consider that a very serious problem.

This is forcing developers to write apps twice, or use a 3rd party solution to run on both OSes. Yep, they're refusal to work together and create standards is allowing companies like Microsoft to have value by offering yet another solution that works on both phones.

dewiz 3 days ago 1 reply      
I like swift's conditionals without brackets, OTOH the syntax for string interpolation is ugly
solidsnack9000 3 days ago 2 replies      
There does seem to be broad agreement across a range of typed languages -- TypeScript, Swift, Kotlin, ES6 + Flow -- about notations for classes, control flow and data structure declaration.

But true convergence remains far away...

Zarel 3 days ago 1 reply      
Nitpick, the Hello World comparison is more like:


 print("Hello, world!")

 fun main(args: Array<String>) { println("Hello, world!") }

pmontra 3 days ago 1 reply      
Some considerations on the syntax (Swift first, Kotlin last in each pair)

 bad: \(apples + oranges) # using \ is looking for troubles good: ${apples + oranges} good: label + String(width) # even Ruby requires a .to_s here bad: label + width # surprises will follow good: ["Anna", "Alex", "Brian", "Jack"] super bad: arrayOf("Anna", "Alex", "Brian", "Jack") # make the long form optional good: for index in 1...5 { bad: for (index in 1..5) { # the useless () bad: extension Double { # why do we need to be so explicit? var km: Double { return self * 1_000.0 } good: val Double.km: Double get() = this * 1000

trevor-e 3 days ago 0 replies      
Pretty good list. I don't think the tuple comparison is accurate though, I thought a data class is basically a value type (like Swift's struct) except with some stuff like equals, hashcode, and toString calculated for you.

Minor nit: the sort example needlessly uses two lines for the Swift version.

zem 3 days ago 4 replies      
0..<count is a lovely little piece of language design
kodfodrasz 3 days ago 5 replies      
Could someone tell me the meaning of _ in this Swift code:

 func greet(_ name: String,_ day: String) -> String { return "Hello \(name), today is \(day)." } greet("Bob", "Tuesday")
In me prior experience usually _ denoted an unused parameter/variable.

Also: I find the string interpolation syntax ugly... The syntax choices in Swift are curious, but not the most aesthetical/practical in my opinion.

itaris 3 days ago 1 reply      
Vekz 3 days ago 1 reply      
Syntax should be a personal preference, installable module built on a standardized AST which compiles to whatever VM.
annnnd 3 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder if Google's support for Kotlin has anything to do with Oracle's lawsuit over Java, or is it just a cherry on the top? :)
scotbond 1 day ago 0 replies      
Kotlin is the same jvm crap like Java. Please do not dare to compare it to Swift with its amazing llvm complier. True programs runs on true machine specific bytecode, not on stupid virtual machines that consumers every available cpu and memory (which leaks like hell). Please new programmers, syntax is BS. Learn to compare by looking at internals and advanced feature set and capabilities. Kotlin is a fad!
redleggedfrog 3 days ago 0 replies      
That's a great page - it's like one really cool language could come from the combination of the two. Each taken on it's own, they have their warts.
seltzered_ 3 days ago 0 replies      
Two Kickstarter mobile engineers (Brandon Williams & Lisa Luo) just gave a talk on this at uikonf two days ago, where they walked through the similarities and small differences. Talk should be online soon.

The kickstarter apps are open source so you can compare it yourself.

nathan_f77 3 days ago 0 replies      
Why not merge Swift and Kotlin?

Seems like they are very similar languages, with similar goals. They both want to be cross-platform. I suppose the competition is healthy, but at some point there's just a lot of duplicated effort. Although, I guess if they're both using LLVM, then it's not such a big deal. Maybe one day we'll see libraries that can be used by both Kotlin and Swift.

Myrth 3 days ago 1 reply      
The last example made me wonder if it's possible to do something like this:

val oneInch = 2.54.mmprintln("One inch is $oneInch.cm() centimeters")

FullyFunctional 3 days ago 0 replies      
325 comments presently and sadly no one commented on what I find most exciting about Swift: integer overflow is trapped! FINALLY (the only other sane option is multi-precision integers, like in Scheme or Integer in Haskell). Does Kotlin do the same?

I presume Kotlin also traps out-of-range array accesses.

goshx 3 days ago 0 replies      
Is there any tool that converts one to the other?

I think it is worst to have such similarities with very small different details than having completely different languages. For a developer working on both ecosystems it feels like hell to remember the tiny details.

makmanalp 3 days ago 0 replies      
What ever happened to xtend, which I found a nicer balance between Java and Python-ish. Anyone have any experiences with it?


codecamper 3 days ago 0 replies      
Neither of them do what I want which is to write some logic code once (logic / network / persistence) and run it both on Android and on iOS.

What I do now is use j2objc, but here I am stuck in Java land.

rgun 3 days ago 1 reply      
waiting for a language that transpiles to Kotlin and Swift
zachmax 3 days ago 1 reply      
I've never really heard of Kotlin, is it supposed to be a Java replacement?
aldo712 3 days ago 0 replies      
Would be great if someone could add a third column for Java.
crimsonalucard 3 days ago 0 replies      
algol based languages are all similar. It's like comparing scheme and closure.
cel1ne 3 days ago 1 reply      
* A feature I like about kotlin are the receivers, with which you can write type-safe builders: https://kotlinlang.org/docs/reference/type-safe-builders.htm...

* Multiple receivers are possible enabling extension methods like this:

 class EnglishToGermanDictionary { val translations = mapOf<String, String>( "dog" to "Hund" ) /* extension method for string in the context of dictionary */ val String.inGerman get() = translations[this@String] } /* usage */ with (EnglishToGermanDictionary()) { val word = "dog" println("The translation of $word is ${word.inGerman}") } "cat".inGerman ---> compile error, method not found
* Built-in Singletons are also very convenient. Swap the word `class` for `object` and you get a singleton.

* The article left out lambdas. The function:

 fun greet(name: String, day: String): String { return "Hello $name, today is $day." } Can also be written as val greet = {name, day -> "Hello $name, today is $day."}
* The compiler is really smart in infering types. Extension values don't need type-specification, e.g.:

 val Double.km get() = this * 1000
* "when" in Kotlin doesn't need an argument, you can write arbitray rule-sets with it, with correctly inferred conditions:

 val myVar = when { stack.isEmpty() -> true x == null -> false currentIdx >= a && obj is MyType -> true /* here x has been inferred to be not null from the previous branch! */ else -> when { user.isPresent() -> calculateSomething() else -> throw IllegalStateException() } }
* sealed classes allow you to limit inheritance and get error when you miss something in a when

 /* you actually don't have to nest the classes this way, but you can */ sealed class Expr { sealed class IntExpr : Expr { class Plus(val left: Int, val right: Int): IntExpr class Minus(val left: Int, val right: Int): IntExpr } sealed class StringExpr : Expr { class Substring(val str: String, val start: Int, val end: Int): StringExpr } } /* Usage: */ val x: Expr when (x) { is Substring -> ... is Plus -> x.left + x.right /* compile error, we forgot to handle "Minus" from above */ }

kozak 3 days ago 20 replies      
Here in Ukraine it would be very hard to get adoption of a programming language that is named after a Russian military base. This is the rare case where bad naming choice really hurts. No matter how good is the language, you will have to hear and pronounce that name many times a day, and even associate yourself with it (e.g. "a Kotlin developer" in your resume). Not something to be taken lightly.
lngnmn 3 days ago 1 reply      
jbverschoor 3 days ago 2 replies      
I don't get it.Kotlin was a clone of swift. So the title is wrong.
kaxi1993 3 days ago 0 replies      
Both of them are like javascript
alper 3 days ago 0 replies      
Kotlin would be unnecessary if Apple would do the work to interop/compile Swift both to the JVM ecosystem and the JavaScript one.

Unfortunately Apple's ambition on swift seems to have stalled.

Google I/O 2017 google.com
343 points by ergo14  4 days ago   275 comments top 31
AndrewKemendo 4 days ago 19 replies      
Honestly, as someone who has been playing around with/working with AI in some form (previously bayes nets etc...) since the 90s and trying since 2012 to build our computer vision company - every keynote from AFGAM makes me want to give up a little more each time.

It's like even with a world class AI team the majors just blow past everyone with their on demand scale, access to data, hardware, people and distribution.

In the past three weeks the products that were shown at conferences (GTC, Build, I/O) would have been 100 different independent companies, with very highly trained, specialized PhD level researchers and developers only 5 years ago. Now this stuff is just baked in to the top platforms.

This has been happening for a while, and I've been saying it for a while too. No clue where to go from here honestly.

edit: The point I didn't make here but is subtext is that, IMO ML/AI is the last frontier for technology (an IMO humanity) so if a few dominate it, its kind of game over for the existence of smaller players generally.

davesque 4 days ago 8 replies      
I know it's just par for the course, but I always get annoyed how peppy and fake these keynotes are. When they go with this kind of faux-personal style where they're staging calls to their mother on stage, etc. It actually comes across as the opposite of personal and just seems really rehearsed and distracting. I'm actually not sure who they're speaking to exactly when they go with this approach as I feel like most other people would have the same reaction as me. But I guess I don't know that for sure.
znpy 4 days ago 2 replies      
So Youtube is announcing "super chats"... Basically if you pay, your message to a live stream is highlighted so that the streamer can notice it.

Basically is the camgirl business model, fifteen years later.

Nothing bad, just...lol.

emsy 4 days ago 5 replies      
I've always been somewhat underwhelmed by AI stuff but Google is rocking it. As a long time iPhone user I'm really tempted by their stuff (if it wasn't for the privacy creep). Apple isn't even in the same league as Google when it comes to AI and services.
ChuckMcM 4 days ago 2 replies      
Based on the Google I/O talk about actions/home/etc it is seems like they are speaking directly to Amazon. Clearly they aren't looking at Facebook, Apple, or Microsoft here. They have Alexa in their sights.

That said, I really hope they improve the hands free SMS interactions. My phone tells me I have a text and asks me to say 'listen' to hear it, but it doesn't start listening for the word until it beeps, so we enter into a staccato repeated 'listen' wait 'listen' wait then finally the text is read. Then after its read, it says "Say Ok to send a respond" not just "Would you like to respond?" where answering yes or no would be fine. It never vocalizes what special phrase you have to use to answer in the negative (if you're wondering it is 'cancel'). So here's hoping for a much better dialoging system.

TeMPOraL 4 days ago 3 replies      
Oh man, it seems that Android Go is a better system than Android itself. The features they presented - like easy off-line sharing, downloading YT videos, data usage management up front - are ones we should have had on normal Android phones for a long time.
lanestp 4 days ago 4 replies      
The I/O keynote always bothers me. Apple and AWS have great Keynotes that get me excited to develop on their platforms. Google's always comes across as too self congratulating.
Klathmon 4 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, Kotlin is now a first class supported language with Android!
gallerdude 4 days ago 2 replies      
The demos always get a bit excessive. I'm no journalist, but I'd be way happier if they just told us what they added and moved on.
onmobiletemp 4 days ago 0 replies      
I thought it was funny how video previews and superchats have been around forever in porn. Google lens made me genuinely excited. The most important bit was also the shortest: designing nets with nets. I wonder what nn experts think of that little sidenote.
jtraffic 4 days ago 1 reply      
I feel nervous admitting this, but I don't see much of value here. I am definitely not typical, I realize, and often the major benefits of technology don't become apparent until a while after they are announced. But, right now, before people show me why it's amazing, I see these things as small marginal improvements.

I'm an open minded person, though, so I'm interested to learn what I'm missing.

lopespm 2 days ago 0 replies      
I cant help to think this was not a business as usual I/O, it feels like the concretization of the exponential nature of technology development, sported nowadays a good deal by deep learning. Notice that a good portion of the products presented in I/O weren't just a result of many people grinding away on a problem (say, iterating on a new version of a operating system), but where "machines" worked/trained on a problem in order to do something useful for us.

This is not news to me nor anyone here I am sure, but seeing it realized on a keynote where a company gives us an update on what was accomplished in roughly a year and seeing it realized in a more wholesome approach/platform (Google Assistant), instead of scattered along different products, just made me realize that a fundamental mindshift is happening on a more global scale. From makers ("I will make this machine/software so that it can help with X") to leaders of machines ("I will give the necessary conditions for the machine to help with X").

KurtMueller 4 days ago 1 reply      
Watching this reminds me that the satire in HBO's Silicon Valley is pretty spot on.
tsycho 4 days ago 1 reply      
Google Photos "shared libraries" looks awesome!
plg 4 days ago 1 reply      
This all looks awesome (e.g. google assistant, google lens, google home, etc) but I would rather pay some $ for the service and have the guarantee that my data are my data ... than have it for free and have google mine my data to sell me ads or sell profiles to who knows who.

Maybe others are willing to trade the privacy creep for it being "free" but I'm not.

It would be great to have the option.

Keyframe 4 days ago 3 replies      
I would like to know more about that black magic of removing things from photos in the foreground.
recursion 4 days ago 3 replies      
My wallet is ready. Hoping for some nice new devices.
angryasian 4 days ago 2 replies      
agiamas 4 days ago 0 replies      
SuperChat sounds like Jackass coming to Youtube, can't wait !Parker/Stone satirised it 17 years ago in Fat Camp episode, it's gonna be so awesome :)
return0 4 days ago 0 replies      
Google in full offence on ML/AI. Their computing advantage enables them to outperform everyone else at this point. AI dominance and monopoly is in sight.
kbenson 4 days ago 2 replies      
I don't have time to watch this, but I would like to go back and find highlights and hear about some interesting stuff earlier than later. Can someone point out a good liveblog/livetweet source?
wavesounds 4 days ago 1 reply      
LCD Soundsystem had this giant farewell show at Madison Square Garden complete with documentary and album saying it was there last show ever. Now they've come back to play tech conferences? Lame
navbaker 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm really hoping they talk about the Starcraft 2 API they're working on. Looking forward to getting my hands on a tool less finicky than BWAPI.
blhack 4 days ago 1 reply      
Did google make another new chat platform?
noja 4 days ago 1 reply      
Monthly Android updates everywhere please.
sirwitti 4 days ago 1 reply      
Why, oh why is the sound that bad?Sounds like they're adding reverb for the live sound and just use that for the stream...
meow_mix 4 days ago 0 replies      
Great stuff for google home but I thought they already had almost all of this
shinryuu 4 days ago 0 replies      
Is there no ATAP session in google I/O this year?
blhack 4 days ago 2 replies      
Kotlin? Why not golang, I wonder?
holydude 4 days ago 1 reply      
These Google people. They are so full of themselves. Yet they fail to deliver a profitable product besides serving ads
0003 4 days ago 1 reply      
"Have my router pw, Google"

edit: Should have emphasized the using camera part.

Learn Kotlin in Y Minutes learnxinyminutes.com
370 points by jakub_g  3 days ago   233 comments top 29
coldpizza 3 days ago 15 replies      
> Declaring values is done using either "var" or "val". "val" declarations cannot be reassigned, whereas "vars" can.

I wonder why they decided on these very mistakable names. Why not const/constant/cons/whatever else just as long it's distinguishable from each other?

jorgemf 3 days ago 4 replies      
I like kotlin a lot, but suddenly there are a lot of articles in the front page about it. Kotlin isn't more cool because Google announced yesterday it is going to use it in Android. Kotlin is the same good language it was 2 days ago! (rant over)

If you want to learn kotlin go to the official docs and tutorial, they are as good as the language:


And you don't need to install anything as you can try it in the browser:


grabcocque 3 days ago 2 replies      
It looks like there's been a very conscious effort to strike a midpoint between Java's familiar clunkiness and Scala's hipster experimental side.

I think that's a good thing, you end up with a language that feels pragmatic and powerfully practical.

shubb 3 days ago 5 replies      
In terms of why we'd want to, there is this note here:https://kotlinlang.org/docs/reference/comparison-to-java.htm...

Other factors to consider are tools support, how often interoprability with java libraries causes problems. Would be nice to hear from someone who has used it a bit about what the state of these is?

notamy 3 days ago 1 reply      
Honestly I could never really get into Kotlin. I like the features of the language - and would love to have many of them in plain ol' Java - but the syntax just feels wrong to me and I've not been able to get over it.
westoncb 3 days ago 4 replies      
Is anybody here using Kotlin for back-end work? It seems like I generally hear Kotlin come up in connection with Android, and less for writing server code, though that's where I'd potentially like to use it.
Lerc 3 days ago 5 replies      
I like this

 val z = (1..9).map {it * 3} .filter {it < 20} .groupBy {it % 2 == 0} .mapKeys {if (it.key) "even" else "odd"}
I'd like it more if it said it performed the functions in parallel. If it does this Automagically I'm sold. If it doesn't, is there an easy to use form that does do batch operations like map in parallel?

subsidd 3 days ago 3 replies      
Kotlin's taken over HN.
eranation 3 days ago 0 replies      
Been watching Kotlin for a long time. Usually it pops out when I talk about how great Scala is, and I get Kotlin as "what Scala should have been". I have been avoiding using it at work instead of Java/Scala just because Scala had more "buy in" and it was easier to convince people to try it. Now with the new Google/Android (and HN) love, this is the perfect time to give it another try.
leshow 3 days ago 1 reply      
Does Kotlin have algebraic types? Possibly via sealed traits or the like, similar to Scala?
k__ 3 days ago 0 replies      
I have to damit, I wish Ceylon would have won, hehe.
brianwillis 2 days ago 1 reply      
> If a lambda has only one parameter then its declaration can be omitted (along with the ->). The name of the single parameter will be "it".

> val notPositive = not {it > 0}

This idiom took me by surprise. It's really quite lovely, and now I'm disappointed C# doesn't include it.

_pmf_ 3 days ago 2 replies      
I'm a bit disappointed that there's no metaprogramming support in Kotlin. Even Groovy had some AST-level transformators. Maybe we'll get some high-level API for writing APT-level tools in Kotlin itself ...
fixermark 3 days ago 0 replies      
To a first approximation, it seems like

Java : Kotlin :: JavaScript : TypeScript

This seems like a good idea.

partycoder 2 days ago 0 replies      
This webcomic explains it better than I ever could: http://abstrusegoose.com/249
skdotdan 3 days ago 2 replies      
Kotlin is the new Swift/Golang #hype
seanalltogether 3 days ago 2 replies      
Does it have an equivalent to Swifts if let clause?

 if let person = selection?.organization?.owner { setTitle(person.name) setImage(person.image) }

rasjani 2 days ago 0 replies      
Tried Kotlin few days ago. Started from "official" install docs and it said that it's just 'brew install kotlin". Yeah, it worked just fine but it would have been way nicer if they would have mentioned that you should also have Java 1.6 for compiler to actually work.
lucidguppy 2 days ago 1 reply      
So with python I have virtual env. With elixir I have mix. For javascript I have npm.

What do I have for kotlin?

stewbrew 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think the language is quite nice but the tooling is lacking (if you don't use intellj idea). Even the official eclipse plugin has many rough edges. So, when learning kotlin, you effectively also have to learn an ide if you're not already an idea user.
StrykerKKD 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's interesting how many language wants to be part of the ML family or at least look like an ML language.

Kotlin has a really nice and simple syntax compared to Scala, which has way to many features.

maaaats 3 days ago 1 reply      
Kotlin is more than just simpler java-syntax, though. If you want to really take advantage of it, there's new idioms, you can use it as a typesafe dsl etc.
neoncontrails 3 days ago 1 reply      
Could someone paraphrase the argument for learning Kotlin? I understand it's essentially Jetbrain's fork of Java, motivated to some degree by the desire to provide useful realtime information to programmers working in the Jetbrains ecosystem. Presumably this implies that certain features present in Java that are ambiguous at compile time (e.g. generic types) might be winnowed away in the pursuit of a language more conducive to static analysis?
ausjke 3 days ago 1 reply      
Does Kotlin have its own class/libraries or it still uses Java's classes?
alexellisuk 3 days ago 0 replies      
Does anyone know the official docker image for Kotlin or are we too early for that?
maxpert 3 days ago 0 replies      
I knew this will show up ASAP I heard the Kotlin support news :P
Elrac 2 days ago 1 reply      
Language quibble:

> "Function arguments are specified in brackets after the function name."

No they're not! They're specified in PARENTHESES after the function name.

gcb0 3 days ago 2 replies      
the whole kotlin debate is just a misguided stab at solving the pain that is programming for android.

everyone everywhere hates android dev work. so they think that it must be java. no, java sucks, but kotlin sucks just the same. the problem is the android ecosystem as a whole. the ever changing apis. etc.

wasting time on java vs kotlin is absurd with so many other real problems.

alexfi 3 days ago 1 reply      
Kotlin - The Force Awakens
WannaCry in-memory key recovery for Windows XP github.com
306 points by uladzislau  2 days ago   86 comments top 12
murbard2 2 days ago 8 replies      
The attackers seem to have a poor grasp on cryptography. The entire point of RSA is that they don't have to generate the key locally. Just ship your ransomware with the attacker's public key, generate a symmetric key K locally, encrypt the data with K, encrypt K with the public key, offer to decrypt K for a ransom.

There seems to be an inverse correlation between smart and evil in human beings which is reassuring, but only mildly.

mr_overalls 2 days ago 1 reply      
You've got to admit it's a little funny when an OS's security flaws prevent even targeted malware from working properly.
TazeTSchnitzel 2 days ago 4 replies      
It's hilarious that it uses public-key crypto, yet lets the client know the private key. What's even the point, then?
matchagaucho 2 days ago 2 replies      
The sad fact is that the prevailing response to a potential worm is "shut down the computer" (hence losing the encryption keys held in memory).
giis 2 days ago 0 replies      
Looks interesting, anyone tried these steps? Did it work for you?
dec0dedab0de 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm probably going to show my ignorance of RNGs here, but if we know the machine, the algorithm used, and the time the key was generated, doesnt that limit the number of possible choices? Could we check when the file was encrypted and brute force the possible keys?
kutkloon7 1 day ago 0 replies      
"So, it seems that there are no clean and cross-platform ways under Windows to clean this memory."

Well, finally Microsofts incompetence amounts to something good.

limeblack 2 days ago 1 reply      
Does anyone know what would have happened if my laptop was encrypted with wannacry and my laptop hard drive was basically full?
xen2xen1 2 days ago 0 replies      
So if this spreads across a network, do they all share the same key? Can you use the XP key on a 10 machine?
sergior 2 days ago 2 replies      
That is nice!


It really hurts my eyes to read "dump_hex" and "normalizedEntropy" in one file.

Is there actually any viable code style guide that one can follow when writing C++ application?

IntelMiner 2 days ago 5 replies      
It's only been tested on Windows XP? surprising they couldn't/didn't set up a 7/8/10 VM to try and replicate the results
campuscodi 2 days ago 2 replies      
Since WannaCry is somewhat neutered at the moment (thanks to the killswitch), and this tool stops working after a reboot, I'd say this tool is somewhat useless, with no intention to insult the man who created it. It's just the circumstances. After a week, almost all victims have rebooted their PCs or the memory has been re-written with other data.
Americans Are Paying $38 to Collect $1 of Student Debt bloomberg.com
285 points by JumpCrisscross  2 days ago   217 comments top 18
zaroth 2 days ago 8 replies      
A supposedly college educated American can't make $5 a month payments in order to clear their credit report and set themselves up for $0 per month payments from that point forward? And it's the loan servicing companies are to blame?

What am I missing here? Is it too hard to Google "income based student loan repayment" and read for a few minutes to know what to ask for? Or these people would rather have creditors calling them all day and a credit score of 300?

It's a completely separate matter that the Obama administration setup a system where we pay $1800 to debt collectors to collect $45 just so that the payer can default again. What is the point of collecting $5/month? I understand maybe trying to get at least a regular payment setup -- that's probably worth paying the debt collector $50 if they can manage it. But $1,800? Wow...

KKKKkkkk1 2 days ago 3 replies      
> Close to 80 percent of borrowers who rehabilitate their debt make the minimum $5 monthly payment, according to a 2015 estimate by the National Council of Higher Education Resources, a lobbying group that represents student debt collectors and servicers. That means the Education Department is paying its debt collectors up to $1,710 per borrower to collect around $45, regardless of whether the borrower continues to make her payments.

In other words, the government is paying through the nose in order to artificially reduce actual default numbers.

theprop 2 days ago 5 replies      
It would be much better to send those defaulters to prison where the annual cost is typically more than the most expensive colleges in the country...oh wait, maybe we should just send them to college and pay for it, that might save even more money?
djrogers 2 days ago 3 replies      
Here's the thing, if you do as many seem to be suggesting and give up on collections for this small percentage of loans, then your default rate will go up as people realize there are no consequences.

It's not as if we are spending $38 for every $1 in student loans - the vast majority of them have no money spent on collections.

$38 seems crazy high to me, and given the fact that it's the federal government in charge I'm sure it's horrifically inefficient, but we can't just walk away from the money or it all goes to hell.

noobermin 2 days ago 2 replies      
"I don't see how anyone wins from this system other than the collection industry," said Adam S. Minsky, a Boston-based lawyer who represents student debtors.

The thing is, that's precisely the point of the system. The same can be said of health insurance. It isn't to service debt, it is to prop up an industry that has grown around servicing that debt.

mr_turtle 2 days ago 1 reply      
Why does the government even pay companies to manage and rehabilitate student loans? Even if a student defaults on said debt, that debt is practically impossible to discharge even if you file for bankruptcy.
newnamessuck 2 days ago 0 replies      
Has anyone actually dealt with a default? Sadly, I have. It's like dealing with a thug, mixed with trying to do taxes on your own with no knowledge of the exact repayment. It's a tricky system they run. I went through default 3 times, once with my payment being higher without any transparency, and when I tried to pay the difference, I was apologized to, and kicked off. I don't know if it's been made better in the past few years, but that was the worst experience for an education I don't even use today.
tzury 1 day ago 0 replies      
Putting the "Student Debt" essential concept and current state aside, I mean, this phenomenon got to get a deep massive reform, but just regarding the topic of the title.

Sometimes, you'll pay $38 to collect $1, cause, otherwise, you will face a reality where you have $100 to collect and not $1.

In other words, enforcement costs and ROI shall not be measured by direct results and achievements, rather by the side effect of prevention.

It might costs $250K to put in jail someone who robbed 10 houses in total amount of goods of $10k. But you'll do it all the way to alram others.

GlobalServices 1 day ago 1 reply      
We need to stop Government backed student loans immediately. Then we can watch tuitions drop like a rock!

If and only if we stop Government backed student loans will I be OK with some debt forgiveness or amnesty program.

moultano 2 days ago 3 replies      
Suppose student debt payments were capped as a fraction of income, say 10%. It seems like this would align everyone's incentives correctly toward the student succeeding.
wisty 1 day ago 1 reply      
On the other hand, if there's no efforts made to collect than no-one would want to pay.

It's like prison and retention. It's not worth it for the people it directly effects, but it is good because it encourages people to avoid it.

pavement 1 day ago 0 replies      
Put another way, Americans subsidize 97% of the financing of assisted post-high-school education, regardless of profitability or how inefficiently such financing is structured.
theprop 1 day ago 1 reply      
For students reading this, Germany offers absolutely free college & university education to everyone...even Americans coming there and most classes are in English.
xbmcuser 1 day ago 0 replies      

 The Us government would be better of using those billions to paying of loans in liu of service. You became a doctor or lawyer using goverment loans pay it off by working part time in goverment hospitals, health clinics and legal clinics. You got an MBA or became an Accountant pay it of by working part time in goverment administration or in goverment schools etc.

qrbLPHiKpiux 2 days ago 1 reply      
Gotta prove that point, though. One thing I have learned is that, proving points, enforcing some rules, is expensive and wasteful.
qrbLPHiKpiux 2 days ago 0 replies      
Gotta prove that point, though.
techsupporter 2 days ago 4 replies      
Only tangentially related but what is up with the massive increase in URL length?

Taking this one for example:

h t t p s://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-05-19/americans-are-paying-38-to-collect-1-of-student-debt

If you include the question mark query parameter separator, the tracking parts take up as many characters as the entire reference to the article itself:


Am I just being an old-man-get-off-my-lawn about this or is there an actual purpose?

subterfudge4 2 days ago 7 replies      
This is why a media studies degree is useless (assuming thats what the journalist writing this story got) as they probably don't teach basic math.

The point of collection is that it also acts a deterrent. So the $38 spent are not just to get the $1 back but also to tell others that government will go out of the way to get back that debt.

That $38 needs to be compared with the total $s that come in as repayments.

Also this is the reason why government should not be in the business of giving loans.

Theresa May to create new internet controlled and regulated by government independent.co.uk
344 points by jakub_g  1 day ago   208 comments top 45
paradite 1 day ago 0 replies      
moystard 1 day ago 9 replies      
It's crazy how much this country has changed since I moved in the UK in 2010. I originally moved here because London was a city encouraging tolerance, freedom and respect for each other. Technology wise, this city was also the heart of Europe with a great pool of companies and engineers to achieve big things and counterbalance the hegemony of the Silicon Valley and the US.

Every new proposal these days from the UK government is pushing an authoritarian government, and the Brexit has given them an excuse for more populism and isolationism.

As a French man, I moved here because of all these reasons. I had a job in France, a good situation, but I wanted to discover, meet new people, enlarge my horizon. Today, I am not sure that London and the UK are the right places for that.

notliketherest 1 day ago 10 replies      
This is one of the most overtly authoritarian proposals for internet regulation I've ever heard from a democratic, Western nation. How in the hell are the people of the UK supporting something like this? As an American who cherishes liberty and freedom, I'm shocked that anyone could support these laws in the UK. They are straight up Orwellian...
owenversteeg 1 day ago 3 replies      
I've noticed something about the UK: it's the most "compliant" country I've been to. This isn't always a bad thing: it means that when the rude person in the movie theater is told off they'll shut up and sit down. But it also means that when the government tells the population "we're going to surveil you and control what you read" the vast majority of people don't raise a fuss.

One example of this was when I was photographing some buildings in the UK. I was stopped by a police officer, and knew my UK rights, and he was shocked that I refused to stop photographing the buildings (which I was doing legally.) He eventually conceded, but another time a UK officer did not concede and threatened to arrest me (again, both times were fully within the law.)

There's something in the national DNA, I feel. Like I said, being compliant isn't inherently a good thing or a bad thing: but it does mean that stuff like this, which is pretty horrifying, will probably pass. I type this comment less than 100 miles from the UK, but even here in the Netherlands (although our government is occasionally very disrespectful of privacy) people are more likely to raise a fuss and stop something like this.

Even in the US, politicians have to be a little bit more careful about their support of egregious surveillance methods: hide it in an agriculture bill, disguise it, publicly denounce the surveillance state, etc etc. But Theresa May literally said "we want to put huge restrictions on what people can post, share, and publish online" - direct quote - and nobody's protesting (except a handful of noble British anti-surveillance organizations fighting a losing battle.)

scottmf 1 day ago 2 replies      
I live in London and am looking for anyone in the UK willing to take part in demonstrations (real and virtual) against these plans (and the UK gov's hostility towards the internet in general).

I've set up a quick a Facebook page[1] to organize things. Send me a message through there and I'll respond soon.


[1] https://www.facebook.com/Protest-against-Theresa-Mays-plan-t...

thegeomaster 1 day ago 3 replies      
This reads like an April Fool's prank.

They say that people should be protected from "harmful content", which somehow includes pornography? Is it the 80s again?

The rhetoric here sounds like it's coming from the distant past, when government officials were completely out of touch with the way ordinary people use new technology. Now it just looks like a blatant attempt to score "anti-terrorism" points and regulate the shit out of an industry in draconian ways, just for the sake of regulating it (what are the possible motives, besides the laughable "we don't want to provide safe space for terrorists to communicate" claim?)

Are people actually supporting this kind of thinking?

oneplane 1 day ago 2 replies      
This will neither work nor result in the expected results. The lines stating that online would be governed the same way as offline life, and access to 'bad' materials would be 'just as hard' shows how disconnected from reality that idea is. Access to violence, hate, porn etc. isn't "harder" offline, and bullying on playgrounds isn't actually getting "fixed" at the moment, just it it won't be online.

The whole irony is that if the online rules would be implemented and resulting in the same things as offline life, the internet would pretty much remain as-is. Of course, the law and the rules would be allowing for more legal spying and detaining, as well as controlling official narrative, which would have nothing to do with online or offline life and is a whole new thing added on top of the current policy.

I hope that if we can just hold off on the crazy orwellian plans and ideas long enough for the old cluster of people in high places to die (of old age), we might actually be able to get the good stuff we created online to actually start fixing the offline problems in governing. That will never happen with the old style people in place, and only time will fix that, since they won't go freely as power is addictive and corrupting (as always).

iamben 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'd be curious to see what would happen if Mindgeek (owners of pornhub, etc) put a banner at the top of their websites for British visitors saying "your access to pornography is under threat" or similar. I wonder what effect they would/could have on British voters, based on the sheer amount of traffic they get (and the fact that a considerable amount of people enjoy how easy it is to look at porn, whether they admit it or not).
Maken 1 day ago 4 replies      
While I can understand some of the arguments in favour of regulating internet content, it amazes me people are still talking about pornography like some ancient demon from which our children must be protected at all costs. Does anybody still buy that rhetoric in this day and age?
adamnemecek 1 day ago 1 reply      
I've always thought that Theresa May should have more of a say in what I do online. Who else than Theresa would know what's best for me.
MarkMMullin 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is horrendous - the entire point of the Internet is that it doesn't care, it's an inter-network, and it's only goal is to keep the packets flowing, at least when our dear leaders STFU. As someone in and out of machine learning - here's an example - I can litter the downtown with cameras, feed them into an ML cluster and if a child wanders off, it's mere seconds to find them again. Or, as in the great state of Connecticut, I can be so goddamn deranged that I want to put guns on drones, and believe semi-autonomous is a fine opening position. The problem is no matter how impressive the feat in ML, the systems involved have zero understanding of the outcome as a value judgement and they aren't going to gain one for a very long time. Do not teach machines to kill because they have absolutely no understanding of the difference between a beneficial act and a hostile act, they just reduce the error between where they're at and where you told them to be at. Going back to the internet you do not ever ever do this, because then what you are creating is a global censor. Happily for the moment such efforts are both localized and porous but this gaggle of idiots shrieking about terrorists and pedophiles need to SFTU and learn something, before they hatch something much worse.
awinter-py 1 day ago 1 reply      
> If elected, Theresa May will "take steps to protect the reliability and objectivity of information that is essential to our democracy"

> The plans will allow Britain to become "the global leader in the regulation of the use of personal data and the internet", the manifesto claims.

> The manifesto also proposes that internet companies will have to pay a levy, like the one currently paid by gambling firms. Just like with gambling, that money will be used to pay for advertising schemes to tell people about the dangers of the internet, in particular being used to "support awareness and preventative activity to counter internet harms", according to the manifesto.

mcphage 1 day ago 1 reply      
Step 1. Make a new, secure internet so that terrorists can't operate secretly.

Step 2. Make terrorists use that internet.

Hmm... I'm detecting a problem with this plan...

glitcher 1 day ago 0 replies      
Terrorists have also been known to hide weapons underneath their clothes. Does this mean it should be law that everyone walk around naked so that terrorists have "no safe place" to hide things underneath their garments?
w3news 1 day ago 0 replies      
The Internet is a global public resource that must remain open and accessible.https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/about/manifesto/#
kobeya 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm thankful Hong Kong is now part of China so they can keep their fair and open Internet.

What a weird world we live in.

azinman2 1 day ago 1 reply      
I know this is the independent, but is this for real? It sounds like a prank, straight out of the movie Brazil especially with the whole terrorist motivation. And in the U.K.?!
Spare_account 1 day ago 1 reply      
How do these proposals compare with the regulations imposed on print and television media in the UK?

Regulations imposed by a well meaning government can presumably be used for good. Hate speech is already banned in the UK, has that been abused by the organisations that enforce those rules?

It seems conceivable to me that while tighter regulations on the Internet could be abused by a malicious government, they might not be. The govt might just use the powers to stamp out a bit of extremist material here and there.

sgt101 1 day ago 1 reply      
Most people - 90%+ didn't have access to a free internet until early 2000's (for practical purposes), encryption was hardly ever used by private citizens until GSM came in in the 80's, and then it was totally back doored - by law and standard.

Did we live in a dictatorship?

Democracy and a free society seemed to exist then, and before. Perhaps they were healthier in the 1990's than in the last few years?

djklanac 1 day ago 1 reply      
US citizens should contact their representatives to indicate that this is not ok:


If you'd like a bit of boilerplate, here's a message I sent to my senator in Georgia:

"Senator Perdue. I came across a troubling proposal by our U.K. allies to censor internet communications. This reminds me of our own net neutrality debate here in the US. What is your stance on regulating the internet?

For your reference: http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/new...

I'm also open to any constructive comments that could make this message more effective.

sscarduzio 1 day ago 2 replies      
Makes me giggle when people try to enforce policies about the internet without knowing anything about internet.
wodencafe 1 day ago 1 reply      
What could they possibly be thinking?

Nobody wants this, except the gov't.

libeclipse 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you want to make an impact, consider donating to The Open Rights Group: https://www.openrightsgroup.org/donate/
hoschicz 1 day ago 0 replies      
The laws would also force technology companies to delete anything that a person posted when they were under 18.

What? I can't believe this thinking finds some voters! Don't they see how impossible that is to achieve?

mjsweet 1 day ago 0 replies      
How about a government controlled and regulated by the intenet?
Keyframe 1 day ago 2 replies      
I quite don't understand what's going on in UK. How is this downward spiral possible in this day and age? In UK of all places.
DrNuke 1 day ago 1 reply      
Can't see the scandal, we are being eaten alive daily by big corps for profit and surrendering them our entire national and supranational infrstructures, so govs should really try and get control back. Do you really think Zuckerberg, Brin, Bezos, Microsoft and Cook are better than May & co.? That said, the other extreme is North Korea, so we know what to expect, eventually.
pishpash 1 day ago 0 replies      
Now let us see how much the Western world truly believes in its own professed creed of openness, or whether its people have merely been cowardly hypocrites taking comfort in the privilege of never having to confront the true diversity of the human world.
lossolo 1 day ago 1 reply      
It's funny when people that do not have any idea about technology wants to regulate Internet. Someone can just use application developed in other country, what they will do ? block the site on ISP level? People will link to thousands other sites that will have binaries of this application on facebook/twitter/any other site.

They can't even handle piracy and they think that they can control whole Internet? When I hear that kind of proposals I always have this picture in my mind:


msmm 1 day ago 0 replies      
As a someone who lived in abusive relationship with a control freak this manifesto scares me.
moomin 1 day ago 0 replies      
If anyone was still under the impression that Brexit was going to lead to a more international Britain rather than be carte blanche for every dumb idea a politician has might want to start paying attention.
wnevets 1 day ago 0 replies      
Is anyone really surprised that pro-brexit politicians would want something like this?
kyriakos 1 day ago 1 reply      
Its like these are the first steps before V for Vendetta's plot...
mschuster91 1 day ago 1 reply      
As much as I'd like to say "hey Brits, come on and move to Germany as long as you still can", our own government is going way down the authoritarian route, too.

Not that extreme as in the UK, yes, but still - our secret services and the police got awarded the right to automatically access our ID card photography. What this means is that e.g. at demonstrations they can pull up a camera van and have everyone identified in real time - as any form of masking is forbidden by law since the RAF days.

When you're on social support, government may access your entire bank account data including transactions, at will and use everything they find to make your life even more miserable than it already is.

When you're a refugee, immigration offices are now allowed and equipped to forensically examine your cell phone to determine "if you tell the truth", plus you have your fingerprints and biometric photos taken.

First they came for the jobless, then the refugees, ... the path which many countries these days are going is a very dark one and I am not sure if democratic processes will allow a push back or if it will need massive civil unrest.

tzakrajs 1 day ago 0 replies      
Theresa May is very basic and very prude. Colour me unsurprised.
libeclipse 1 day ago 0 replies      
What the actual fuck.

This is legitimately worse than SOPA.

pmarreck 1 day ago 0 replies      
Thanks for making us look good, UK.

- united statesians

gragas 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's actually disgusting to me the people like Theresa May can come to these conclusions and think "this seems like a good idea"
IsaacL 1 day ago 0 replies      
The headline sounds sensationalised. Below are the relevant sections from the Conservative Party Manifesto (https://s3.eu-west-2.amazonaws.com/manifesto2017/Manifesto20...).

"The safest place to be online

In harnessing the digital revolution, we must take steps to protect the vulnerable andgive people confidence to use the internet without fear of abuse, criminality or exposureto horrific content. Our starting point is that online rules should reflect those that governour lives offline. It should be as unacceptable to bully online as it is in the playground,as difficult to groom a young child on the internet as it is in a community, as hard forchildren to access violent and degrading pornography online as it is in the high street,and as difficult to commit a crime digitally as it is physically.

Where technology can find a solution, we will pursue it. We will work with industry tointroduce new protections for minors, from images of pornography, violence, and otherage-inappropriate content not just on social media but in app stores and content sites aswell. We will put a responsibility on industry not to direct users even unintentionally to hate speech, pornography, or other sources of harm. We will make clear theresponsibility of platforms to enable the reporting of inappropriate, bullying, harmful orillegal content, with take-down on a comply-or-explain basis.

We will continue to push the internet companies to deliver on their commitments todevelop technical tools to identify and remove terrorist propaganda, to help smallercompanies build their capabilities and to provide support for civil society organisationsto promote alternative and counter-narratives. In addition, we do not believe that thereshould be a safe space for terrorists to be able to communicate online and will work toprevent them from having this capability.

We will educate todays young people in the harms of the internet and how best to combatthem, introducing comprehensive Relationships and Sex Education in all primary andsecondary schools to ensure that children learn about the risks of the internet, includingcyberbullying and online grooming.

Where we believe people need more protections to keep them safe, we will act to protectthem. We will give people new rights to ensure they are in control of their own data,including the ability to require major social media platforms to delete informationheld about them at the age of 18, the ability to access and export personal data, and anexpectation that personal data held should be stored in a secure way. To create a soundethical framework for how data is used, we will institute an expert Data Use and EthicsCommission to advise regulators and parliament on the nature of data use and how bestto prevent its abuse. The Commission will help us to develop the principles and rulesthat will give people confidence that their data is being handled properly. Alongsidethis commission, we will bring forward a new data protection law, fit for our new dataage, to ensure the very best standards for the safe, flexible and dynamic use of data andenshrining our global leadership in the ethical and proportionate regulation of data. Wewill put the National Data Guardian for Health and Social Care on a statutory footing toensure data security standards are properly enforced."


I don't know how the data regulations mentioned at the end compare with the EU's Data Protection Directive (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Data_Protection_Directive), which is already part of UK law.

It's also interesting to compare the comments in this thread with the recent thread about the EU's fines for Facebook (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13219828), where the EU was praised for protecting consumer rights.

I am genuinely undecided on this issue. I'm basically pro-freedom and pro-capitalist in politics, so Theresa's May's anti-market and authoritarian policies have made me much less likely to vote Conservative. Still, I think the right to privacy is an essential part of the right to liberty, so there's some justification for the government regulating the use of personal data.

codecamper 1 day ago 0 replies      
Too bad this headline doesn't say "Create a New Government, controlled & regulated by the Internet". Transpose two words & it really reads better.
alando46 1 day ago 0 replies      
What a waste of energy.
marcusarmstrong 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is terrifying.
Banthum 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is one reason why I oppose multiculturalism.

Incompatible cultures in close proximity inevitably create civil conflict (e.g. terrorism, etc). This gives authorities an excuse to take more and more control over individuals' interactions with the excuse of trying to prevent that conflict.

In a culturally-unified Britain, May would have no excuse at all to try this Orwellian crap. See also: Patriot Act.

>"The plans are in keeping with the Tories' commitment that the online world must be regulated as strongly as the offline one, and that the same rules should apply in both."

I agree! It should be regulated the same way. Since the online world is pure speech, it should barely be regulated at all aside from direct threats and incitement to violence.

microcolonel 1 day ago 2 replies      
Animats 1 day ago 0 replies      
The UK leadership seems determined to follow the path laid out by Orwell in "1984". They already have the camera system. Now comes the Ministry of Truth.

The US has its own problems, but they're different ones.

Facebook fined 110M for providing misleading information on WhatsApp takeover europa.eu
295 points by antr  3 days ago   166 comments top 23
jakozaur 3 days ago 10 replies      
Given that FB paid $19 Bln for WhatsApp, 110m seems to be a cost of doing business for Facebook. That may be calculated play.

USA got very liberal antitrust policy, allowing massive M&A. Good for shareholders, bad for everybody else.

E.g. the biggest four airlines in USA got over 80% market share. In Europe they just have 48%. That's why United can re-accommodate passenger and get away with it:


awjr 3 days ago 1 reply      
The EC asked FB if it was possible to link accounts from Whatsapp to FB in 2014. They said no, knowing full well that the answer was yes.

The EC did the merger evaluation with the assumption that they could.

In 2016 FB announced they were linking accounts in a ToS update.

It is not that they could or could not do it, but that they knew they could, but chose to hide that fact.

thr0waway1239 3 days ago 4 replies      
>> According to the Merger Regulation, the Commission can impose fines of up to 1% of the aggregated turnover of companies, which intentionally or negligently provide incorrect or misleading information to the Commission.

Anyone read this and imagined the Facebook lawyers saw this clause, and said to Mark "Yes, the ROI on providing misleading information is completely in Facebook's favor"

torrent-of-ions 3 days ago 0 replies      
"Today's decision sends a clear signal to companies that they must comply with all aspects of EU merger rules..."

More like:

"Today's decisions sends a clear signal that it costs 110M to escape EU merger rules."

nomercy400 3 days ago 1 reply      
You should see it like this: 110 million euros to buy the permission to acquire all the data of all european WhatsApp users.

Is this just the fine for lying? Or is this also the fine for combining personal information about european citizens?

If only the fine for lying, then what the EU should do next is investigate the privacy concern. And possibly another fine could be the result of that.

ykler 3 days ago 0 replies      
It is obvious that it would be possible to match accounts in a great many cases, and if the commission wanted to know more precisely how good the matchings could be, it seems like it would make more sense for them to ask Facebook and WhatsApp for social graph data and hire their own scientists to investigate that than to trust Facebook's answers on such a subjective point. But really it seems like they must have basically just been OK with Facebook monopolizing messaging because it was obviously pretty terrible for competition to allow this merger even assuming they thought the users of Facebook and WhatsApp wouldn't be able to be merged very well. However, I would be really curious to hear from someone who knows something about their actual thinking and motivations (and I guess what the law says since they may be quite constrained by that).
mike-cardwell 3 days ago 2 replies      
Why a fine? Why aren't they being banned from operating WhatsApp in the EU? And being forced to delete any data connecting the accounts to Facebook accounts if they want to continue operating Facebook within the EU?
p49k 3 days ago 2 replies      
In other words, less than 0.7% of the amount Facebook paid for WhatsApp.
0verc00ked 3 days ago 2 replies      
Well of course they were aware. And the Commission should have been aware. Here's a quote that stuck out to me:

Consumer communications services: the Commission found that Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp were not close competitors and that consumers would continue to have a wide choice of alternative consumer communications apps post-merger

The first part doesnt sound right. If WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger arent close competitors, I need to figure out what a competitor is. Hmmm.. http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/competitor.html

I suppose it's because they are not rivals? They were pre acquisition. Because they definitely operate in a similar industry with a similar product/service. Its true that consumers can choose to use alternatives.

sambe 3 days ago 0 replies      
Bit off-topic, but the end of the article lists the three reasons the original deal was cleared. They seem naive to the point of absurdity: Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp were "distant competitors"? They are number one and two messaging apps in my circle of friends and acquaintances.
easilyBored 3 days ago 0 replies      
Facebook fined 110M for providing misleading information on WhatsApp takeover

Should be fine plus undoing what they did. or spin Whatsapp...go back to square one.

hobarrera 3 days ago 2 replies      
Gee, it was stupidly obvious that Facebook could automate crossing information:

* It constantly prompts people for their phone numbers (and most people provide it).* For new accounts, is REQUIRES a phone number.

Whatsapp accounts are based on phone numbers.

Isn't it quite obvious how easy it is to cross accounts? Do I REALLY need to spell this out further?

interfixus 3 days ago 1 reply      
I don't get it. How could anyone be deceived? How could anyone imagine that anyone could be deceived? How could anyone assume - how could it technically be the case - that data from one system should not be mergeable with data from another?
MiddleEndian 3 days ago 1 reply      
Fines like this are mostly pointless, a cost of doing business.

If governments want to stop being defrauded by corporations, they need to respond with criminal penalties like imprisonment, the same as they would to a regular citizen.

stefek99 3 days ago 2 replies      
What would happen if they told the truth?

Why investigating after the fact, not during the M&A?

baahh3333 3 days ago 0 replies      
110 million is nothing for Facebook in comparison with the treasure trove of data and user identities they have conveniently "acquired" from all the countries which are using Whatsapp.
sandov 3 days ago 0 replies      
I Guess it's time for people to switch to a better IM platform. I'm tired of having to use WhatsApp because everyone else does.
welpwelp 3 days ago 0 replies      
Who's profiting from these 110M? :3
timow1337 3 days ago 3 replies      
I'm in favor of the ruling but I don't understand why the European commission has any authority over two american companies merging?
flexie 3 days ago 11 replies      
Please, start regulating and taxing these multinational advertising companies much more aggressively.

Once advertising companies like Facebook or Google reach a certain size, they should be required to pay taxes where the ads are shown to users.

Make a set of basic EU user terms and privacy policy for advertising companies masked as social networks, search engines, email providers etc, some of it mandatory, some of it that they can opt out off. But advertising companies above a certain size shouldn't be allowed to set their own (American) terms.

And please, split up these behemoths. It's not good for anyone that one search engine and one social network rules it all. They have EU-wide market shares above 90 percent. We would never allow that in industries as automobiles or television. We would never allow it for newspapers or tv stations. Somehow, we allow it for social networks and search engines.

RodericDay 3 days ago 2 replies      
> I used to be as against ads as you are, and then I tried to start a business

> Overall, I'm in mild agreement that society would be better if it weren't ad-driven, but that's a utopian ideal

Sounds like the typical conservative spiel. "I used to be idealist like you once, but then I realized how the world really works and sold out".

There's a short mini-doc freely available out there, made by an heir of the Johnson & Johnson family, about the 1%. He was inspired to do this partly because his father had, in his day, gone out of his way and caused trouble by participating in some controversial (at the time) anti-apartheid demonstrations. However, he was now berating his son for his "idealism" in discussing the issue of inequality, coming off as insanely hypocritical in the process.

It's a really poor way of arguing a point, imo.

SkeptinenSpede2 3 days ago 0 replies      
Facebook is known by lies and privacy violations, is this even news worthy ?
foota 3 days ago 2 replies      
I'm not sure I agree with this ruling. The question as stated is whether fb would be "unable to establish reliable automated matching between Facebook users' accounts and WhatsApp users' accounts" and it seems to me that matching based on entered phone numbers isn't really automatic - since it's only possible for those that enter their number, and is a manually commenced process.
US Household Debt Surpasses 2008 High nytimes.com
248 points by kcorbitt  4 days ago   412 comments top 30
manacit 4 days ago 20 replies      
I don't know if it's a "bubble" (I am not qualified to say that), but I can't imagine that the current trend with student loans will continue. Looking at the numbers for someone entering college in 2017, it feels nearly predatory what a good portion of private and out of state colleges are charging. Even with financial aid, $30-40k a year for 4-5 years is insane.

I was fortunate enough to have parents who made saving for my college a priority, but watching them go through the same dance with my younger brother makes me wonder how most people get it done.

There's a huge value in going to higher education, but the ever increasing cost and amount of debt people are taking on is setting everyone but the top 10% of graduates up for a life of being in debt, which is kind of horrifying. Especially since they are debts that are impossible to shed through bankruptcy.

ryandamm 4 days ago 5 replies      
An alternative view, and one I happen to subscribe to: a balance sheet analysis shows that US debt must go up over time to support exogenous capital flows.

Whether US debt grows in the housing sector, student loans, revolving debt, etc is a function of internal, domestic dynamics (including laws, local economic structure, etc). But the total capital flow into the US exceeds the outflow; that money ends up on a balance sheet somewhere.

It's sort of the flipside to our conventional notion of trade balance, that the capital account must be equal and opposite. The difference is that capital flows are now 4-5x what's necessary to account for trade, so it's really capital movements wagging the trade dog.

The net effect of inbound capital flow into the US is people must consume more than they produce, to absorb the additional capital. That is debt. And that debt ends up somewhere, either on the government's balance sheet, in the corporate sector, or households.

Major hat tip to Michael Pettis for his work describing this. His writings are dense but very digestible (http://carnegieendowment.org/chinafinancialmarkets/).

[edited a typo]

thinkling 4 days ago 1 reply      
$600B additional student debt over 10 years sounded high to me, so I did the ballpark check.

$600B over 10 years is $60B/year.

There are about 20 million college students [1].

That means $3000 per student per year on average.

If loans are paid back over 10-20 years, this really says that students are borrowing $3000 more per year than they were 10-20 years ago.

The article suggested that borrowing was about $600B total, 10 years ago, so essentially it has doubled. FWIW, CPI inflation over the last 20 years is ~50%, the other 50% is either real increase in borrowing or due to the fact that college tuition rates have been increasing faster than inflation.

[1] https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=372

omgwtfbyobbq 4 days ago 5 replies      
$13.6 trillion is a ton of debt (literally?). At the same time, I think debt versus net worth is a more descriptive metric.

Back in 2008, household net worth (HNW) was about $56 trillion, so household debt was about a quarter of HNW. With HNW at about $93 trillion, reaching $14+ trillion in household debt doesn't sting as much.


At the same time, interest rates are still near historic lows, and may assets have appreciated because of this. I wouldn't be surprised to see real estate drop a bit as the Fed raises rates, which would take a chunk out of HNW.

mdorazio 4 days ago 2 replies      
For those who just read the title, the cause of this new high is ballooning student debt, not mortgages. Housing debt is still mostly declining.
rrggrr 4 days ago 3 replies      
Keep in-mind this household debt is above and beyond each household's share of their municipal, county, state and federal debt.

If you live in LA County, CA:

- about $4,200 in State Debt.

- roughly another $4,000 or in LA County debt.

- $161,000 in federal debt.

- $16,000 in credit card debt on average.

- Car loan, home payment, etc.

And on average your savings are minimal. Most importantly, if this isn't you, its still someone you'll be bailing out through higher taxes and/or some other shared burden.

Ironically, the more indebted we become the more dependent we are on our government to address the problems widespread indebtedness creates. This may explain why efforts to enact economic growth policies that restore 5-6% GDP growth are met with all talk and no action in most state capitals and Washington, D.C. Its almost as if they wish to intentionally drive the the country over the fiscal cliff.

tsunamifury 4 days ago 1 reply      
This appears to be an even worse situation than 2008 because housing debt has gone down not because homes are cheaper, but that people can't buy homes. And other forms of debt with far smaller effect on net-wealth and GDP as well far harsher discharge terms are eating up the difference. This makes for the same (or more) debt load in an even riskier, more individually onerous, combination.
Retric 4 days ago 1 reply      
In nominal terms ignoring the ~15% inflation.

PS: Inflation only shows up once as "The household debt figures are not adjusted for inflation" but that still renders the headline meaningless.

themagician 4 days ago 2 replies      
I think it's going to hit housing hard (again), but probably not anytime soon. A lot of my friends have student loan debt that will never be paid off. They either can't get a job that pays enough to pay it off in a timely fashion or they choose not to grind for 5-8 years to pay it off. Instead, the plan is to do as little as possible for the next 25 years until it's forgiven, and try to keep as much cash off the books as possible so they can live a life worth living. I can't say I blame them. We can probably ride the debt train for the next decade or so, but at some point there will be too few buyers with capital because they spent the last two decades intentionally not building assets.
dx034 3 days ago 1 reply      
Why not go to Germany, get a degree there (many universities offer english speaking courses) for free? You end up with much less debt (if any) and have some additional experience.

I studied in Germany in English and there were a lot of people from all over the world in my course (only 20% from Germany) but there wasn't a single person from the US. Maybe the Uni wasn't as good as Harvard but certainly better than many colleges you'd find in the US.

What keeps US students from coming to Germany and study there? It shouldn't be a visa problem nor language.

WatchDog 4 days ago 0 replies      
According to the public OECD data [1] the US household debt as a % of disposable income is on a downward trend.

[1]: https://data.oecd.org/chart/4Qct

NTDF9 4 days ago 2 replies      
Leave it to America to make children a pseudo-slave right when they enter adulthood.
tacct142 4 days ago 3 replies      
Excellent. Which group of poor decision makers will I get to bail out soon (oh, students, superb!) while reading my daily "The Death of the Middle Class" article?
thetwentyone 4 days ago 0 replies      
When looking at this in relation to the fact that the united states is bigger than it was 10 years ago in a number of regards. See these for less dour views:


nomercy400 3 days ago 1 reply      
The 100% chart is quite deceptive. Student loans take a larger share of the debt. Is that because increased tuition fees (probably), is that because more young people have become students (ie. higher education available to more people), is it because young graduates won't buy a house and still live with their parents (and thus stay in the Student Loans category instead of moving to the Mortage category) and opt for a car instead (thus moving part to the Auto Loans category)? Is it because houses (and thus underlying loans) are cheaper?

Basically all this 100% chart says is that people are taking out less of a loan for a house.

cheriot 3 days ago 0 replies      
FYI, it's not adjusted for inflation so in real terms we're likely under the peak.

The article talks a lot about debt with no mention of the income supporting it, which is a glaring oversight for any kind of financial analysis. All I can find quickly are median real numbers through 2015. It's not pretty. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Household_income_in_the_United...

jjawssd 4 days ago 2 replies      
Germany provides excellent educational opportunities in many fields for American citizens at close to zero out of pocket expense for the student. Google "Germany Erasmus".
dhf17 3 days ago 1 reply      
I work at a major state university that is claimed to be one of the most efficient in the US. On the administrative side it is a disorganized cluster bomb, full of frivolous spending, wasteful processes, and is years behind in technology and software. The things I've seen people manually doing on a computer all day... Throw on top the spending on social justice initiatives and you have your self a fat burden to pass on to students.
mleonhard 3 days ago 0 replies      
The last paragraph makes the whole article seem like an advertisement:

"That made last month feel like an opportune time for Caitlin Farrell, 34, and her husband to buy their first home, a 1,500-square-foot, two-bedroom house in Sacramento. Ms. Farrell, who works as an education policy researcher, got her home loan from SoFi, a start-up online lender that moved into the mortgage market last year."

theprop 4 days ago 0 replies      
This page has fantastic data: http://www.usdebtclock.org/#

Another stunning data point is that in the wealthiest, most productive society that's ever existed, over 40 million people are on food stamps!

dhf17 3 days ago 0 replies      
How to graduate with little to no debt and no scholarship:

- Go to community college and live at home for the first two years

- Work part-time even if it takes you longer to finish

- Don't get a fracking auto loan. A well maintained 90s Japanese car will go a long way. If you can program, basic car mechanics is easy.

- Don't pay out of state tuition

- If your going for an MS, get a basic full time job at a university first (A lot of schools have tuition waivers for employees)

- Don't YOLO on someone else's dime, if you're frugal and modest you can do it later on your own.

btilly 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is very worrisome. This is ballooning student debt. And unlike other forms of debt, you don't get to discharge student debt in bankruptcy.

So..plan a career, get higher education, have your plans disrupted, and your life is ruined with no escape. Enjoy the 21st century.

What is really sad is that there is no evidence that colleges are providing a better product. In fact the switch to grad students and adjunct faculty means that the actual delivery of their education should be cheaper. (Of course universities are getting less efficient, so it isn't. But the cost of classroom instruction time is not what is going up...)

batushka 3 days ago 0 replies      
From the state point huge student debt is wonderful. Fresh workforce starts with negative balance: they are vulnerable and controllable (trying to pay out it or begging for mercy to aid with debt).
easilyBored 3 days ago 0 replies      
US Household Debt Surpasses 2008 High

Yeah but this time is different :).

Memo to self: looks like US stock market goes from feast to famine in 10 year cycles. Sell now and buy at 40% discount 1-2 years later. Rinse. Repeat

tracker1 4 days ago 1 reply      
How is having a higher percentage (double) of student loan debt that should be payable in a few years today any better than higher mortgages... it seems to me, this is a bad trend in general... :-/
theprop 4 days ago 1 reply      
Yes, the student debt growth is unsustainable. It's up 10x in a bit over 10 years. Unbelievable!! There are only three things whose relative cost has gone up in the past 40 years: education, health care, and housing.

It's also amazing to me is that total household debt is 12.5 trillion, while the federal debt is just about $20 trillion.

In $12.5 trillion so many people have gotten an education and own a home. What exactly did anyone get with that $20 trillion the federal government has spent?

MaysonL 3 days ago 0 replies      
The amount of debt may surpass the 2008 high, but the debt service required is still near a four decade low.[0]


stillhere 3 days ago 0 replies      
"People don't own their things. The banks do." -Varg Vikernes
yellowbeard 4 days ago 0 replies      
Looking at the total dollar amount of debt makes a good headline, but is simplistic. With lower interest rates, households are spending far less to service their debt than they were in 2008. The article only mentions this briefly near the end.
blazespin 4 days ago 0 replies      
Gee, account for inflation much
We Arent Built to Live in the Moment nytimes.com
284 points by rrherr  1 day ago   127 comments top 26
ghthor 22 hours ago 13 replies      
Hits the nail on the head. Our brains are back propagating, recursive neural networks that are consistently making predictions about the next input in the stream of input signals as it changes over time. When the prediction results are correct we save a fuzzy recording of the higher-order-pattern that resulted in our correct prediction. Each time our predictions are correct that "memory" is reinforced so we're able to make faster predictions, at earlier points in the pattern.

I hypothesize that the source of most anxiety or nervousness stems from our brains making no correct predictions in that moment. This is supported anecdotally by my patterns for overcoming social interactions that used to make me anxious that I've now become comfortable with. My brain now makes enough correct predictions that I don't feel the need to leave the situation.

I hypothesize that part of why I started acting on my transgender feelings was because I'd become so uncomfortable in my own body that my brain wasn't able to make accurate predictions about the sensations coming from my within. This is supported anecdotally by the following.

I started 2 activities when I accepted my desire to transition to female. Both were touted at reducing the feelings of un-comfortableness in my own body. Female to Male hormone therapy and taijiquan. Both produced lots of new feelings for my brain. Both gave me a sense of agency over my own body, the understanding that I have the ability to shape my body into what I want. In the end I stopped transitioning because taking the hormones(mostly the T blocker) isn't known to be healthy for the body(Liver/Kidneys). Taijiquan is almost unanimously a positive source of change in ones health for the rest of their lives therefore I choose taijiquan and a long healthy life over my desires to have female genitals. Practicing Taijiquan makes me feel better, and in regards to my gender dysphoria taijiquan has cured it; I am very comfortable with my male genitals now that I'm able to make enough consistent predictions during sex to remain engaged with the situation and remain turned on.

Edit Addition: I'd like to state that I still identify as a cross dresser and I'm comfortable saying that love certain parts/styles of womens fashion and accessories. Example, I love long flowing skirts. As a society I feel we should reassess men wearing skirts as it is much healthier for our genitals.

runeks 21 hours ago 6 replies      
Just because it has been an evolutionary advantage for our mind to be constantly active, doesn't mean that this can't change.

That's the point of evolution: we adapt to what's necessary and, for millions of years, constant thought was the factor that made us smarter than everyone else, and the humans in whom this didn't occur weren't smart enough, thus their genes disappeared from the gene pool.

This, however, doesn't mean we can't keep evolving towards a state of consciousness where constant thought isn't required, it just means that -- as is always the case -- existence is challenging, because there's millions of years of inertia behind the mind. It has a strong pull, because it was needed for survival. But we can keep evolving.

It doesn't need to continue like this forever. It just means that, as opposed to earlier, the people in whom thought is too strong and uncontrollable are now the ones whose genes are removed from the gene pool, through mental illness and anxiety.

If you're willing to spend some time watching your mind, you'll realize that it already stops all the time, it's just a matter of noticing this, thus strengthening its absence. But don't expect there to be a button to push to make it stop. It was needed for survival, so its cessation has become associated with fear. But, while you are conscious of this fact, it's not a problem, just a challenge.

krosaen 12 hours ago 0 replies      
A lot of interesting points made in this article, but the assertion that trauma plays only a minor role in depression, made in passing, raised an eyebrow. There's quite a bit of evidence that coming to terms with trauma, can be key for some. Trauma is of course related to imagining the future, and the therapies involved are aimed at resolving the haunting past so you can engage with the present and future unfettered, but it's not like you can tell someone with PTSD to just look to the future more positively.
gosheroo 21 hours ago 1 reply      
'Living in the moment' is a metaphor. Thoughts about the future always take place in the present.
pdog 19 hours ago 2 replies      
What uniquely distinguishes our species, more than anything else, is our ability to tell stories. From hunting a mammoth to constructing an atomic device, everything depends on our ability to believe in a common story.
ktRolster 22 hours ago 1 reply      
I wasn't 'built' to type letters.
pbw 22 hours ago 1 reply      
This is a decent article but I strongly dislike the title. The phrasing "we aren't built for" is so pessimistic, as if being mindful (living in the moment) is hopeless or unachievable, or even undesirable or harmful.

Thousands of years of meditation practices have proven that living in the moment is very possible. Yes our brains are constantly planning and scheming and trying to derail us, but this can be addressed with a modest amount of deliberate practice.

Perhaps imagining the future is emblematic of humans, and maybe that has developed over the last 2 million years, but animals have been around 300 million years, and they are (presumably) quite adept at living in the moment. We can be as well. Striving towards that goal is very beneficial and rewarding.

One entry point to meditation is Sam Harris's book Waking Up which I describe here: http://www.kmeme.com/2016/07/waking-up.html

irickt 10 hours ago 0 replies      
On the principal author's site this is referred to as the "foundational paper": https://www.prospectivepsych.org/sites/www.prospectivepsych....
suneilp 20 hours ago 1 reply      
This makes a lot of assumptions, like we know what really went on in the minds of our primitive ancestor's.

Meditation, yoga, and martial arts has taught me that being in the moment actually makes prospecting easier and better. Not to mention the stress/anxiety relief, being better connected socially, etc.

We've built up a lot of mental constructs over the millennia. These constructs are things like how we're taught to react/respond to various stimuli like emotions from ourselves and others. We're taught these by parents and society. And we constantly refine them for better or worse.

There is so much going in this hyperconnected society that being in the moment has become hard and/or harder to maintain.

mrkgnao 11 hours ago 0 replies      
The comments on this remind me of the somewhat-related koan (from the Jargon File?) about how an apprentice tried to randomize the weights on a neural network to "rid it of preconceptions", and the master responded by closing his eyes "so that the room would be empty".
owenversteeg 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Huh, this sounds interesting. I wonder how often people were pinged during the day? Anyone want to go find the study?

> The central role of prospection has emerged in recent studies of both conscious and unconscious mental processes, like one in Chicago that pinged nearly 500 adults during the day to record their immediate thoughts and moods. If traditional psychological theory had been correct, these people would have spent a lot of time ruminating. But they actually thought about the future three times more often than the past, and even those few thoughts about a past event typically involved consideration of its future implications.

> When making plans, they reported higher levels of happiness and lower levels of stress than at other times, presumably because planning turns a chaotic mass of concerns into an organized sequence. Although they sometimes feared what might go wrong, on average there were twice as many thoughts of what they hoped would happen.

hypertexthero 10 hours ago 0 replies      
From the Longnow Foundations about page:

> Upon moving to New York City, Brian (Eno) found that here and now meant this room and this five minutes as opposed to the larger here and longer now that he was used to in England. We have since adopted the term as the title of our foundation as we try to stretch out what people consider as now.


tim333 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Vaguely related: I've been experimenting with positive visualisation - you picture yourself in the future achieving something or other. I think it may help focus the brains pondering / neural pattern recognition on positive stuff rather than what junk's on TV etc.
jashper 21 hours ago 0 replies      
To think that our achievement was singular, is rather disappointing.
gallerdude 21 hours ago 1 reply      
I do wonder where this fits in with meditation. Perhaps it's "clearing the cache," letting us re-explore options.
nebabyte 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Not according to Google [0]!

Given their pitch to advertisers, we are built exactly to live in "moments" - all conveniently full of advertising opportunities ;)

Depends on who you ask, I suppose. lol

[0] https://youtube.com/watch?v=cplXL-E1ioA

raverbashing 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I might agree with the conclusion, but I mostly disagree with the rest

Humans making plans? Religion? That came as an afterthought and it's mostly forced through society (living the moment). Most people, most of the time will do what gives them pleasure right now instead of what might give them a reward later on. One just needs to look at obesity/lack of exercise/smoking, those are big problems.

The past is important, because all the predictions we do are based on past experiences even if there might be some random factor. Even artificial neural networks learn with time and what happened in the past is ingrained onto them.

Thinking about the future is certainly good but unless people fix their mistakes the outcome will be the same

psyc 14 hours ago 0 replies      
That's why so many people train the ability.
ddmma 21 hours ago 0 replies      
We're like a little scared squirrel that looks back and forth not having the capacity to understand and enjoy 'this' moment. I guess is because of how we perceive time and what we can do about it.
mattbgates 21 hours ago 4 replies      
We weren't built to pay taxes... but for some reason, someone thought it was a good idea and everyone else followed suit.
blubb-fish 18 hours ago 0 replies      
we aren't built to juggle three balls either. but it can be learned and it's worth it.
RichardHeart 22 hours ago 0 replies      
"Homo prospectus is too pragmatic to obsess on death for the same reason that he doesnt dwell on the past: Theres nothing he can do about it."

Lots of things weren't possible, until they were. Focusing on paths towards a goal beats focusing on paths towards failure. Not focusing on death =/= not focusing on living.

Healthspan is one of the easiest things to increase, and has hundreds of millions of people doing it whether they're aware of it or not, anyone that eats well or exercises is pro-longevity whether they realize it or not :) That could be considered anti-death behavior, without any need to focus on death at all.

6stringmerc 19 hours ago 5 replies      
You know how I can smell bullshit in this article? Right here:

>Some of our unconscious powers of prospection are shared by animals, but hardly any other creatures are capable of thinking more than a few minutes ahead.

That's simply not true. Evolution and historical knowledge are intertwined with our RNA/DNA more than we know.



We are completely built to live in the moment, if only we are wise enough to learn from the past. Learning when to trust the hairs on the back of the neck perking up for a sense of future danger is important. I've waited tables. I can tell within 15 seconds if you're generous or a cheapskate.

The article ends up basically trying to state, clumsily, that we don't live in the moment because we're seeking the meaning of life. You know, Flying Spaghetti Monsters. I guess I'm just surprised this article wasn't the result of a NYT All-Star-Idiot team up of Brooks & Friedman. This kind of smells like their brand of shitty intellectual posturing.

gallerdude 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Off topic: I love all the great longform NYT stuff HN posts, but can never find it on my own - where can I find it on my own?
lngnmn 23 hours ago 2 replies      
Bullshit. We are built by evolution to live in this particular physical environment and had no trouble living there for last few millions of years or so.

What we are not evolved to do is to live in an overpopulated urban areas, forced to wage slavery and to constantly compete for everything, even a place in a subway, while being awashed with emotionally charged verbal and visual bullshit 24h, hipsterism and other forms of idiotic cosplay of unearned success and presumably high social status by each and every one passed by, while being over-regulated by stupid laws imposed on us by a bloated self-serving "government" so even a straight look of contempt at a tasteless, fat woman in some stupid yoga pants would lead to trouble.

the Moment has nothing to do with this. It is so called "human society".

bernardino 19 hours ago 2 replies      
Adding a new Bytecode instruction to the .NET runtime mattwarren.org
281 points by matthewwarren  2 days ago   26 comments top 8
pinum 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I noticed you added your instruction by replacing one of the "unused" entries. Would things have been more complicated if there weren't any of those left?

Or is there a strict limit to the number of instructions, with existing "unused" entries for all of the free ones?

krallja 2 days ago 2 replies      
Every time I see a post by matthewwarren I know I'm about to learn something seriously fun.
erikig 2 days ago 1 reply      
This resource for Matt's attributions footer is a boon for CLI hackers:http://www.newardassociates.com/files/SSCLI2.pdf
hdhzy 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Excellent post. The blog [0] is an incredible boon for anyone interested in CLR internals.

I wonder if the author considered writing a book, kind of modern Shared Source CLI Essentials (that I read years ago and hold in high regard)?

[0]: http://mattwarren.org/

taspeotis 2 days ago 1 reply      
How does one generate those "Assembly listing for method" listings?
0xffffff77a81g9 1 day ago 0 replies      
> It contains just a cmp, a jg and a couple of mov instructions

Using cmov you can improve performance a bit.

WaxProlix 2 days ago 0 replies      
That tl;dr wasn't very good.
DiabloD3 2 days ago 2 replies      
I think if you tried to publish an article where you tried to add an opcode to an existing JVM... Oracle would nastygram you even if you never released the source code or even if you didn't do it to a JVM based on theirs.

Something is seriously wrong with some companies.

Edit: To those downvoting, remember, if you disagree, post a reply.

Let employees work from home midnightdba.com
253 points by douche  2 days ago   215 comments top 41
bitL 2 days ago 3 replies      
The crab mentality here is really appalling :-(

I work remotely for 6+ years; during that time I created some unique algorithms, traveled around the world, met diverse types of people giving me unexpected inspirations from which business benefited tremendously (unique stuff nobody else has). I have the big 4 companies trying to contact me all the time if I wouldn't want to work for them, however seeing inside e.g. crammed offices of Google in Zurich with monitor next to monitor, makes it very unappealing.

Remote work requires focus and discipline. Focus is way easier than in an open office, discipline is more difficult. I still remember finishing some server part and tests while laying on a beach in Barcelona using their public Wi-Fi, getting tanned, and whenever I felt like, dipped into the sea - it was super energizing and motivating to continue working. Also viewing sunset above the place of refuge on the Hawaiian Big Island from a rented cottage, while sipping a cocktail and working on some advanced algorithm was superbly motivating. Just because some managers need to control everyone around and enforce the same misery on their subordinates doesn't mean there aren't better ways to work. It's actually stupid not to give people WFH and make them miserable commuting (some people spend up to 6 hours/day in the traffic). The technology is there, but the perceived lack of control and insecurity of power structures must spoil it for everyone, "'cause everybody is doing it in the office and it can't be done other way well". Phew

jasode 2 days ago 17 replies      
>Objections to work from home fall apart

Essays from workers like Jen McCown isn't going to work.

What works is to have massively successful businesses that beat the competition because their employees work remotely. Since no multi-billion dollar business has demonstrated that specific cause & effect, the idea doesn't gain traction.

Yes, businesses like Basecamp and Automattic have remote workers but I'm talking about significant business successes on the scale of Google/Apple/SpaceX/etc. If a remote workforce can demonstrate unequivocal superiority, there would be endless case studies about it in Harvard Business Review and every manager would be copying it like the Six Sigma craze a few decades ago.

What the WFH movement needs is evidence of massive business success instead of essays. So far, the real-world evidence just hasn't tipped the scales yet.

barrkel 2 days ago 8 replies      
I worked remotely, from home, for 5 years. These days, I work mostly in the office, with a 40 minute commute each way, despite the option for occasional working from home.

There's a few reasons to prefer working in the office. The single biggest one is the hard delimiting of the work day; when I'm not in the office, I'm not working, I'm not available on email or chat, and unless it's an exceptional situation, nobody will phone me either. My evenings belong to me and my loved ones only. That's precious. It's far too tempting to let one thing bleed into the other when working from home.

The biggest secondary one is influence on the business. Simply being present when decisions are being made, whether they're technical or business, means you have a chance to speak up and help set direction. Stuff that emanates over remoteable media like chat, email, project planning tools tends to be after the meeting, not before or instead of the meeting. This doesn't change for a company until most / all of the workforce is remote, and that's simply not true for most companies. If you're interested in a career, turning up is a significant boost for most people.

The final one is bandwidth and transaction costs. Chat is a dreadful medium for remote communication - if you've ever had to sit there waiting for a reply, and wonder whether it would be more efficient to switch back to what you were doing - it's almost impossible to come to a decision in good time in chat. I've seen 5 minute conversations take half an hour. Starting a video chat is far better, but it has a big barrier to entry; it's not like talking to someone a few desks over. Try and do it with 4 or more people, and it turns into a coordination problem, people dropping in and out, someone eating while not on mute, synchronization for startup, etc.

Frankly, I prefer email. You can put together a logical argument, a coherent or strawman proposal, and discuss things at length point by point. It's much higher bandwidth. But too few people read long emails, and even fewer respond correctly with inline replies. The days when people were trained on newsgroup netiquette are long gone.

radmuzom 2 days ago 5 replies      
As a divorced single guy with not too many friends, I look forward every day to go to work and have people around me. I interact socially only with three or four of my office mates. Anyway, I may be the exception, but I am not an employee who wants to work from home.
rmah 2 days ago 3 replies      
This article essentially boiled down to: I want X. A few companies already offer X. You should offer X too.

There are sometimes advantages to offering full or partial work-from-home options to employees. For some projects and company cultures, it can work well. But honestly, this blog post was a rather shallow argument in favor of it.

camelNotation 2 days ago 6 replies      
I think WFH is a great idea, but until we can do multi-user video conferencing over the average home internet connection, it just isn't going to be as good as in-person interactions. However, once we can reliably see one another's faces in HD and share screens at the same time, it might even be superior to sitting next to someone and having them try to look over your shoulder as you show them something or ask a question. WFH is all about communication tech. If it's high grade, WFH works. If it's low grade, it doesn't.
throwaway2016a 2 days ago 4 replies      
I like working from home sometimes. A line is crossed for me when a company goes 100% remote.

I would go crazy working from home day in and day out. I actually did have a borderline nervous breakdown years ago because I couldn't take being alone so much of the day. In fact if I have to work from home full time again I would pay to have a membership in a co-working space just to be around other humans.

I think work from home full time reinforces the idea that programmers and anti-social and not creative. The opposite is true for many (most?) of us. And for people who are social and creative you need other humans around.

I say let people work from home but make sure they have the option of an office.

GoToRO 2 days ago 1 reply      
The problem with work from home for companies is that they need managers that can actually evaluate someone's work. Most of the time this is not happening (either there are too many things to know or the manger never did any actual work for a very long time).

Also the problem is that companies want to hire the best and the brightest and then they quickly turn around and they don't trust their employees. Funny enough this is exactly how communist countries operated: they needed very smart people to fight the West but then they could not trust them because smart people had a tendency to like the West.

coffeemug 2 days ago 0 replies      
Efficacy of remote workers is just a thing some people really want to be true, but it's not clear that it's true at all. (It's also not clear that it isn't, but the evidence is nowhere near as overwhelming as some people make it out to be)
neogodless 2 days ago 0 replies      
We know that workers want choice, autonomy. Whether they really want to work from home is only an unanswered question because of a bigger question that isn't always answered very well.

How productive am I?

When teams do well in defining production metrics (aka key performance indicators/KPI), and employees have some way to know what conditions work best for optimizing their KPI, they figure out if they want to work from home, the office, the subway, etc.

I was probably most productive at a job that just had an enjoyable environment, three-quarter height cubicles (i.e. almost private, reasonable sound division) that were tucked away from phone users and conference rooms, solid team contribution on projects (inclusion of key players in kick-off meetings, without excessive status checking, but cooperative design from developers, design, business analysts, etc.) and... very occasional work from home. It helped that I lived less than 10 minutes away, too, and could come in at (what I consider) a reasonable hour, rather than forcing myself awake.

In addition, we had "billable" targets - we'd work together on estimates, and we'd try to spend 80% or more of our time measurably attributable to projects. We could readily access this information, and know how well we were doing.

But... there are other jobs where remote work is far superior. Noisy open spaces, cramped workspaces with not enough monitor real estate. Then I just want to get out of there. I want to have the choice, and the ability to know if I made the right choice, by looking at how productive I am.

ksk 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't believe WFH actually works (as an exclusive means of working for everyone). I have done the WFH thing for a couple of years at a startup (where everyone was remote), and even leaving aside the camaraderie aspect, collaboration was always a challenge.

You're forced to give up several ways of communication which are valuable. You can't walk into a colleagues office for a quick whiteboard discussion. You have to schedule time when both of you are available. Not only that if the discussion brings up things that other people are working on you have to again wait and schedule time with them too. You also can't pickup on non-verbal cues, which can tell you if they're nervous/apprehensive/unhappy about something in the project, etc. You give up laughing at silly things over lunch, or sharing a quick joke as you pass someone in the hallway, or giving someone a hug on their birthday. All the little things that do lift your spirit when you're frustrated or feeling a bit low.

II2II 2 days ago 1 reply      
To The Author:

Please show us some numbers to back up the claims? The few numbers that you do provide either fail to support your argument or can be construed to contradict it. (I am thinking of: everybody wants to the option to work from home followed by 35% would change jobs for the option to work from home, even if it is part-time.)

Also, anecdotes don't cut it. You can find counter examples to almost anything that is based upon human nature, particularly when it involves self-assessment or personal opinions. Businesses will care more about the quantifiable. The bigger the business, the more likely they are to care about the average over a large group of workers (rather than individual cases).

I am sorry, but most of the debate over working from home is based upon what people want rather than what businesses or even their employees need. Your article does nothing to change that. If you want to change people's opinions, please be more persuasive by dealing with the quantifiable rather than the subjective.

nzonbi 2 days ago 0 replies      
Imagine how much energy the world would save if most people where working from home. Electricity, transport fuel. How much less pollution and traffic jams. How much less need to build cars and transport systems. How much extra time to enjoy life would people have by not commuting.

With so huge positives. I don't understand why not more research is put into work-from home.

peapicker 2 days ago 1 reply      
I don't want to work from home, thanks anyway. Except on bad weather days.

Then again, I'm at a senior principle engineer level, and need to have face time with my VPs and directors in addition to other devs. I don't believe it would be possible to work at the level I'm at remotely, nor to be promoted to such a level. And my commute isn't horrid at ~25min.

jefe_ 2 days ago 2 replies      
Was in a management meeting the other week where HR mentioned they were considering implementing a more official work-from-home policy. What we're trying to get away from is hourly employees 'working from home' when really they're sick, by offering formalized remote work opportunities. Sounded great until they mentioned the 'monitoring systems' they were evaluating. I shared my very strong opposition to the proposed monitoring systems, went home and crafted a Less-Orwellian Remote Office policy. Shared the policy with HR the next day, and they really liked it, agreeing there were ways to accomplish the goals without surveillance.

Writing the policy was trickier than I expected. Started very much with a spirit of 'Hire people you trust,' but thinking about the policy, applied to specific people who have been hired, it brought some more specific guidelines to the policy. Here are the highlights:

Eligibility for Remote Work (pick 4 from: 1 year with company, management status, strong performance record or recommendation from team lead, one department-specific criteria)

Requirements for the Remote Office (minimum equipment, ample space, etc. clearly defined)

Approval Process & Remote Work Guidelines / Contract (lays out guidelines for working remotely and collects employee commitment to adhere)

Saw some commentary that the frequency of working from home shouldn't be a privilege (i.e. if you do a good job, you can work from home for a week), that it should be as routine as possible, so we're making eligibility to work remotely, on a set frequency, an attainable privilege (so it can be revoked if necessary).

For the alternatives to surveillance, we will be implementing some improved communication tools, and departments will be adopting the concept of an ultra-brief daily scrum.

Tried to keep it lean, will be interesting to see where it excels and where it can improve.

zollidia 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I have mixed feelings about WFH. I love the idea and it works perfectly for those that don't/can't commute. Can work independently with out direct supervision. Then there are some that need the office structure to get their work done.

But, sadly, there are some that abused WFH privilege. And we, for the most part know what the out come is when a small group of people abuse a privilege - it's gets removed as a whole.

k__ 2 days ago 0 replies      
I switched to freelancing so I could work remotely without questions asked. Worked quiet well.

It also showed me that I have a problem with employment in general. People telling me when to work where and on what. It agitates me.

mcculley 2 days ago 4 replies      
I've a contrarian view on this. Not all IT jobs are amenable to remote work. Some work benefits from tighter collaboration than current technology offers. Sometimes that collaboration is with folks other than IT staff, who may be less comfortable using technology solutions for collaboration.

If the inputs and outputs of your job can be delivered entirely over email and version control commits, then work from home is a good idea. However, how do you deliver more value than someone from a developing country if your pipes are so narrow? I think there's still a lot of room for the value provided by teams working closely together.

bluedino 2 days ago 0 replies      
I have some IBMer friends that have been recently notified that their remote working privileges are going to be terminated.
UseStrict 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've always looked for companies that offer flexible working options. My employer has a default of being in-office but allows for flexible hours (like working 7 - 3, or splitting my day) and allows for occasional remote work. In return for this benefit I end up working more. Days I would have taken off for appointments, obligations, extremely bad weather, or mild illness I end up working remotely.

I also find that days when I work from home tend to be more productive - no pets and no family means I have no distractions at home, I can just sit and code all day.

tyingq 2 days ago 1 reply      
Careful what you wish for. If your company works out a system where everyone can reliably work 100% remotely, you become a very replaceable cog. Replaceable from a much cheaper labor pool.
rumcajz 2 days ago 2 replies      
The article assumes that making money is the primary goal of a corporation. If it was, then sure, WFH would make sense.

However, the corporation is not a sentient entity. It cannot desire anything, be it money or something else. It's only human participants that have incentives.

Of those, only shareholders have direct incentive to make profit, but even then they may own the shares for speculative purposes and desire share price to grow, not necessarily the profit. And even that's not necessarily true: Those who short their position may actually want the shore price to drop.

But shareholders in fact don't have much influence of business decisions of the corporation. Those are delegated to the management. The management, in turn, has incentives to extract as much rent from the business as possible. Thus, it cares about profits only to the extent where it adds to their rent. Increasing profit while decreasing the rent is a bad trade-off.

Regular employees, in their turn have incentives very similar to the management. They want to be paid as much as possible without losing the job.

All in all, you can think of it as of struggle for a limited resource (bananas, share of profit) in a group of chimpanzees.

Now, imagine what would happen if one chimpanzee refused to participate in the group's interactions, walked away, but still demanded his share of bananas. It's not going to work.

In the end, I would say that WFH would only work if everybody worked from home, completely changing the way the group interacts.

pklausler 2 days ago 0 replies      
All I need as a programmer is a place where I can concentrate. If I can't do that at work, my employer has failed in a self-defeating way.
pacomerh 2 days ago 0 replies      
To the people who say`I'd go crazy if I worked from home`. The trick is not to work entirely from home, but to mix it up with an shared office, co-work space, cafe, etc. There's a big difference in having people around you that don't know you. They wont distract you because they won't talk to you or call you into a meeting.
eldubz 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm all for WFH opportunities, but just to play devil's advocate I do really think there's a difference in team dynamics when everyone's in the office collaborating in person versus working remotely.

I'm not saying it has a significant impact on productivity, but the team "connectedness" is sometimes not as strong if some people are never in the office.

mcgrath_sh 2 days ago 0 replies      
I feel like my current setup is perfect for me. I work at an office that is 15 minutes away by car with no traffic and 30-35 mins with traffic and via back roads. I can go in and leave when I want, as long as I am doing the work. I have never been a morning person. Essentially, I wake up at 8, hang around my house til 8:45-10 depending on the day and zip into the office. I then work until 5 and do some more work either before or after at home. There are 2-3 days a week that I work from home if I feel like it. I will come in for a half day over lunch break. Or I will leave at or after lunch and finish the day at home. Basically, I am presented both options and do what I want. I don't think I would want either exclusively, but the ability to mix and match is wonderful!
sumanthvepa 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm the founder of my own company and my co-founder and I both work from home -- our respective homes that is. I know my experience is probably not what people have in mind when they think of a work-from-home employee, but for what its worth -- my productivity is orders of magnitude greater than it was when I was employed (at Yahoo!) Productivity is more a function of motivation(+) and bureaucracy(-) than anything else. Skype and telephone, and the commit log seem more than enough for us to keep abreast of each others' doings (although we definitely meet about once a week for a 5-6 hours) I would absolutely hate to have to micro-manage someone to the point that they have to be in the same room as me to get work done. (I'd rather hire a more self-driven individual)
accountyaccount 2 days ago 0 replies      
Here's the problem I run into: I can get 90% of my work done at home, but my boss can't. So I have to come in every day because he has to. It's completely childish, and I imagine this is the same in a lot of places.

I personally would love to give the ability for my employees to work at home, even if I didn't. I don't understand the mindset where people don't want things to be better for someone else... even if they can't also be better for you. This happens even when those benefits to others come at no cost to yourself.

Does anyone else have any experience overcoming this with someone else? Like it's bad to the extent where if this person works late he'll be passive aggressive towards everyone who doesn't have to also work late.

sigi45 2 days ago 6 replies      
Or don't.

Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

There is a story of mysql as a company who had an employee who was not reachable for a few months.

Yahoo got there workforce back at the office.

I personally like to have the option to work at home when necessary and i might get more stuff done at home i also might just not work.

Pukkap 2 days ago 0 replies      
Having worked at home for many years the hardest thing i found was to switch of from work and have a home life.even after reading all the article on separating work/home life.now i work in a office i feel i get more done.
partycoder 2 days ago 0 replies      
An open plan office can be productive if people move long discussions to meeting rooms, and try to solve their problems via chat or e-mail.

An open plan office where everyone is trying to talk, quickly degrades into people raising their voice to be heard, becoming a yelling mess where it's impossible to do serious work unless you are very good at ignoring noise, or you are blocking noise physically... like using earplugs or moving to a meeting room.

Working from home, you can just focus and do your work. However this is not the case for everyone. If you live with a bunch of people or pets this might not be your case.

misiti3780 2 days ago 0 replies      
I have been working remotely for 6+ years and it would be very hard for me to go back to an office. I have complete control over my life right now, can work from anywhere, make my own hours, etc.
dboreham 2 days ago 0 replies      
I worked remote from home, or at least a building 100ft from my home, for many years.

But then I founded a company and made that building its International HQ. So now I'm not remote any more.

kimsk112 2 days ago 1 reply      
"Everybody EVERYBODY, I say wants at least the option of work from home."

I think his sentence nails it. I also prefers working at the office and interacts with fellow developers either formally (meeting) or informally (water-cooler talk), but it makes no sense to force anyone to be at the office all the time.

I'd like the flexibility of working remotely out of country or WFH during rush hours and commute whenever I want. This really affects my decision to join or leave the company.

dionidium 2 days ago 1 reply      
I know a handful of professionals who dont want to work from home at allbut even those people admit that they want the flexibility to work from home on days when their kids are sick, the car has a flat, or workers are coming, rather than having to take time off of work.

Is this a problem that people who work in technical fields actually have? Even in companies with aggressively unfriendly WFH policies, I've had good luck requesting time at home in situations like the above.

msmm 2 days ago 0 replies      
I charge almost double if client wants me on site, especially if all the company is crammed in open plan arrangement. You either can't focus well or have to keep destroying your hearing with headphones and work takes longer to complete. If WFH make sure to do a walk in the morning and after work and go somewhere for a lunch.
abalashov 2 days ago 0 replies      
I felt the need to write a full article as a response, and link it here in place of a comment in the hope that it won't be viewed as gratuitous self-plugging:


HeshamA 2 days ago 0 replies      
Pro remote work but need like this tells me that maybe the tide is turning https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2017/05/ibm-t...
darkstar999 2 days ago 1 reply      
I think these arguments are missing a big aspect of successful companies: culture.

How can you have good office culture if everyone works from home?

dionidium 2 days ago 0 replies      
I can't help but think that a lot of this desire is driven by the existence of far-flung suburbs and painful commutes. I was planning to work from home today to receive a delivery that now seems to be delayed, so, since I live within walking distance to the office, I decided to come in anyway.

I guess if I lived an hour away I'd have preferred to stay home.

nsedlet 2 days ago 0 replies      
I agree with many of the WFH benefits put forward in the article. However, I think it ignores & mischaracterizes many of the WFH costs.


* Face-to-face communication is often more efficient. Just my opinion, but conversations are usually faster and easier in person than over Slack or email. Asychronous communication can be nicer for certain things, but it sucks when that's the only option. Video hangouts are better, but there's a barrier to setting one up, and they're still not as effective as face-to-face.

* Presence in the office helps keep everyone in the loop. Team members are much more likely to speak to one another actively. They're more likely to understand what everyone else is working on. They're more likely to understand the business's main priorities and problems. Even physically just sitting a few desks away from someone, vs. right next to them, makes it less likely that two people will interact.

* The office provides important social interaction. If you work a lot, your office might be your main opportunity to have substantive interactions with other people. Some of my past coworkers have become my closest friends. People who work from home (I'd guess) are much less likely to form close bonds with their coworkers.

* A professional setting can be motivating. I find it energizing to walk into the office where everyone is working hard. My day is measured out in minutes and I feel a constant pressure to get something done. When at home, I feel the pressure less - it makes me feel better about what I get done, but it also makes me less productive.

* Boundaries between work & home are helpful for relaxation. The ritual of leaving the office helps reset the mind, I think. Otherwise, workdays easily bleed into evenings that neither productive nor relaxing.


* "Some people need close management". The internet is incredibly addictive & distracting. Sitting at home makes it much easier to succumb to that distraction. Obviously that can happen at work, but there's a limit: you can't watch Netflix, for instance. And you'd feel weird if your screen was constantly on Hacker News or Reddit or whatever every time someone walked by.

* "How do I know theyre working if I cant see them?". This is a strong point and I agree that most managers over-emphasize face-time as a measure of productivity. But that doesn't mean it's useless. For non-routine, creative, or project-based work (e.g. engineering) it's hard to measure productivity. Deadlines can be great but oftentimes are artificial - much of the time, the most engineers can really promise is that they'll work efficiently, smartly, and to the best of their abilities during the workday. So it is of some benefit to the manager to see that the employee is there for 40+ hrs each week. Managers also want to know if their reports are frustrated, anxious, demotivated, happy, confused, etc. - much easier to get a read on that in person so that the manager can address it.

Many of my friends who are able to work from home choose to rent coworking space for many of the reasons above. Admittedly I rarely work from home, but I do manage people who work remotely. Also, neither me nor most of my friends are parents yet.

Americas Cars Are Getting Faster and More Efficient bloomberg.com
273 points by JumpCrisscross  3 days ago   507 comments top 47
DamnInteresting 3 days ago 8 replies      
A few weeks ago I bought a Chevy Bolt EV...according to the dealer it was the first one sold in my state (Utah). I'd been on a waiting list for almost a year.

Sure, ICE engines are getting better, but EVs are rapidly gaining and will soon surpass. The Bolt is a bit expensive for a car of its body type, but "gassing up" at home is amazing, the 200+ mile range is great, and the sharply reduced emissions are a weight off the mind. It's also super quiet, as you would expect, and boy howdy does it have get-up-and-go. Sure, some of it is psychological because a) it's whisper quiet as it accelerates; b) the raft of batteries in the belly keeps that car planted to the road; and c) there's no pause to down-shift. But I've owned some fast cars[1], and this one feels like the fastest yet.

It's nice that ICE engines are improving, but between the Bolt, Tesla Model 3, and other soon-to-arrive practical EVs, I believe that the sunset of ICE is beginning.

[1] Notable examples in order of speediness: 1973 Dodge Charger (340ci), 1970 Dodge Challenger (383ci), 1996 Camaro Z28 (350ci), 2000 Camaro SS (350ci).

drewg123 3 days ago 10 replies      
I'm not sure that I believe their assertion that cars have gotten lighter. Perhaps the real land-yacht monstrosities have been weeded out (and replaced with SUVs). But it seems like comfort and safety concerns, coupled with more power and better fuel economy have been causing equivalent cars to become heavier (and more expensive) over time.

As an example, one of my first cars was an 84 VW GTI. It weighed ~2000lbs. Try to find a car that light today. There is a nice comparison of that car and a modern VW GTI here: http://www.automobilemag.com/news/then-vs-now-1984-volkswage...

I think the same is probably true of most 70s and 80s economy cars vs today's cars. Today's equivalents are much heavier, but much safer, and much more pleasant to drive

old-gregg 3 days ago 7 replies      
I suspect that people of the future will look back and be amazed that for more than a century we've been legally allowing our slow-reacting bodies [1] to ride around at 80mph in a 2-ton hideous mechanical equivalent of a horse, killing ourselves [2] and simultaneously destroying our cities [3].

I myself used to be a "petrolhead" my 20s and it's quite amazing to observe this awakening when looking in the mirror. I suspect it was caused by the revolution in electric/self-driving tech and traveling more and comparing car-centric US cities to other places.

 [1] 250ms delay at best, for young and healthy adults. [2] #1 cause, ahead of all guns, including suicides. [3] https://progressivetransit.wordpress.com/2012/01/25/cars-kill-cities

kmm 3 days ago 14 replies      
I always wondered why American cars are so inefficient. Seems such a waste of your significantly cheaper gas :)

I drive an Opel Astra H 1.7 CDTI and I can get up to 50 mpg (4.7 l/100 km) on the highway, and I never dip under 40 mpg (5.8 l/100km) even when doing a lot of city driving. I understand that my car is comparatively somewhat smaller (1200 kg) and underpowered (100 hp), yet I can't imagine needing more horsepower. It's a very comfortable ride as well.

But even my parents' larger car doesn't get even remotely as low as 25 mpg. First time I saw a car with less than 30 mpg was when I drove a company van.

When I compare these numbers with my American friends, they're incredulous as to how low they are, and they're not exactly driving SUVs either. What do you get in the place for this lower efficiency? Are American cars that much heavier? More comfortable? Faster?

trjordan 3 days ago 6 replies      
My first car crush was in high school: the 2002 Subaru WRX. It would be fine to get some souped-up monster, and high-end BMWs are always fast, but when I first saw those silly little bug eyes and the trademark blue color? God did I want one.

It was weird to figure out that it only came with a 2 liter engine. Apparently turbos help a lot. It was even weirder when the 2005 STI came out with the same engine ... and a bigger turbo. And it was yet weirder when I looked at a 2014 BMW 3 series ... and they have twin turbos and tiny engines.

To me, the last 15 years have been car manufacturers figuring out that with the right kind of engineering, you can get rid of turbo lag, and if you don't have lag or reliability problems, turbos make everything better. Smaller, faster, more fuel-efficient. My dad's sedan has a twin turbo these days. It gets 35 mpg.

I get that it's only one piece of the puzzle, but it's been so fun to see that tech go from niche-y to ubiquitous.

irixusr 3 days ago 2 replies      
Article is interesting but gets a few things wrong:

1. Starting the analysis in 1975 is misleading (the Ford administration). The most interesting cars are from the late 60s early 70s before emission regulations, oil crisis, car bumpers, ect kicked in (and dealt a huge drop in power, increase in weight, ect).

2. Cherry picking a muscle car for its weight is also misleading. Muscle cars weren't light. Some had 6 or 7 liter engines (That's a lot of iron!). They were quick-ish because they were powerful. Muscle cars might be the only cars to have lost weight in the last 40 years, since its ridiculous to have a "sports" car weigh as much as a family SUV.

Look at the accord, or the civic and see the weight gains.

In fact, cars have been getting lighter but over the past 5 years, because they've become ridiculously heavy. This is new and excited (they're still whales though)

3. Yes my SUV has 300 hp, which is insane. But I go around a mountain corner much slower in it with it's 4000 lb than I would a FIAT 127 (kids, remember to downshift to keep the drum breaks cool!).

Point is, a car isn't a good performance just because it has a good weight/power. Just the weight itself is important (light always wins for the same power weight ratio).

vlucas 3 days ago 3 replies      
I have a 2016 Ford Mustang GT/CS and consistently get 23-24 MPG with mostly highway/freeway driving. It's unreal that a 5.0L V8 with 435HP (stock) gets that good gas mileage. The materials and fit & finish is better all around too.

We are truly living in the middle of another "golden age" of automobiles. Watch out though - here come the EVs :)

Animats 3 days ago 2 replies      
The most useful result is that almost everything on the road can go uphill without slowing down. Even heavy trucks. This requires not just engine power but better cooling.
sp332 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think it's weird that they didn't weight any of the charts by how many of each car were sold. It only measures how many car configurations were available.
djrogers 3 days ago 0 replies      
> Cylinder deactivation debuted about 10 years ago

No, it debuted over 100 years ago, and was standard on every Cadillac V8 for sale in 1981 - 36 years ago. Sure today's versions are better, but the quote above is about as literally false as one can get.


6stringmerc 3 days ago 3 replies      
They have to be a lot more efficient to haul around all the extraneous shit that people have demanded be put into cars over the years. Of course it's always extreme in "Top of the Line" products like this Bentley (http://blog.caranddriver.com/it-takes-a-lot-of-wiring-to-kee...) but the trickle-down effect is inevitable. Happened with air bags, IIRC. Look how many companies are adding variations of "Auto Pilot" or driver assists.

Basically we painted ourselves into a corner. Technology and Distractions have an inverse relationship with Driver Attention and Performance. People don't like hearing that, but I don't like having to honk at people weaving into my lane because they're on their phone at 70 MPH.

oppositelock 2 days ago 2 replies      
These new engine technologies are really cool if you enjoy driving performance cars, and it's amazing how it's possible to comply with EPA requirements while delivering so much power, but all these systems add a lot of complexity.

Direct fuel injection, turbos and fancy transmissions are the min technologies which make these powerful efficient cars possible, but they're all impossibly complex to service!

DFI leads to carbon fouling of intake valves, because port fuel injection "washed" fuel over the valves, cleaning them and burning up residue. Turbos are high RPM, high heat parts which have nowhere near the longevity of a modern engine, and there are lots of cars with 8 and 10 speed automatic transmissions to get every last bit of efficiency out of the engine.

All these expensive technologies make for less reliable cars that need more maintenances, and cars are much younger when scrapped because they're simply not economical to fix. Your local transmission shop won't rebuild a 10-speed auto, they'll buy a remanufactured one from a specialist, which costs many thousands.

It's a bummer for a weekend mechanic like myself, that cars are becoming so impractical to run for a long time. I consider it wasteful to scrap a perfectly nice ten year old car because of a bad transmission or blown motor, but there are increasingly more of these.

laughfactory 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Faster and more efficient doesn't equal good for the environment. Buying a new car is almost always a net negative for the environment. It doesn't even matter if it's more fuel efficient, or electric. What matters is the vast amount of resources required to produce each vehicle, and the amount of toxic emissions and waste generated in the production process. And, even if it's electric, the electricity has to come from somewhere. And electricity frequently comes from environmentally unfriendly sources like coal power plants.

So if you're in the market for _any_ new car, keep that in mind: you're not doing the environment any favors, nor your bank account.

perryh2 3 days ago 6 replies      
The chart makes me sad. My Subaru BRZ (2013-) "sports car" comes with only 200hp. Many people looking for more power install aftermarket superchargers.
squozzer 3 days ago 1 reply      
They picked an interesting starting point for their comparisons, which was 1975, several years after the following:

1) HP ratings went from SAE gross (at flywheel with no accessories) to SAE net (at flywheel with accessories and stock exhaust)2) Smog controls (AIR, EGR, and cats)3) Lower static compression ratios to handle unleaded fuel

That said, computer-controlled spark and fuel, and now direct injection, makes modern cars a lot more fun if maybe a little same-looking.

strictnein 3 days ago 0 replies      
I've definitely seen it in my last two vehicles.

My old 2003 Ford Explorer had a 4.6 L V8 with 239hp. 0-60 in 8.8 seconds. 14/19 mpg. 4,381 lbs

My current 2014 Ford Explorer Sport has a 3.5L V6 twinturbo with 365hp. 0-60 in 6.0 seconds. 16/22 mpg. 4,697 lbs

olivermarks 3 days ago 0 replies      
These are incredible times for performance ICE powered vehicles. You can buy a very fast car from the showroom, but the aftermarket and hot rod world has a cornucopia of options to build (or buy as crate motors) just about as much power as you want. Street driven twin turbo drag racing 'door' cars running 7 second quarter mile times are common. With electric performance in drag racing and hill climb (such as pikes peak) rapidly improving to it's an amazing time to be alive...except for the shortage of race tracks where these cars can be safely put through their paces.
dmix 2 days ago 0 replies      
This part was interesting, fuel injection has been optimized to the point of modeling the way the fluid vaporizes so it perfectly mists out, making sure to never hit the walls of the pistons:

> Its also put to use in the Camaro V6, the middle-of-the pack, Goldilocks choice that makes 335 horsepower. This machine highlights one of the most critical things in engine evolution: direct fuel injection. Carburetors that mixed fuel with air disappeared from assembly lines long ago.

> But it was only in the 21st century that engineers perfected the practice of shooting a mist of gasoline directly into the cylinder. Less fuel is wasted and the engine is more powerful because it stays cooler. (The gas actually evaporates before it explodes, cooling the cylinder in the same way that sweat cools the skin of an athlete.)

> Today, we can model it, we can visualize it, and we can make sure the fuel ends up in the air, not on the cylinder wall, said Prabjot Nanua, director of Detroit-based GMs advanced engine and racing engineering.

Tepix 3 days ago 1 reply      
What the heck do you need all that horsepower for? You got the speed limit anyway.If you'd make the cars lighter and put in a 100hp engine you'd end up using half as much gas. Yikes!
roflchoppa 3 days ago 0 replies      
I was driving a 1960's Classic Mini Cooper the other day, just leave my body in there if we crash.
rpeden 3 days ago 1 reply      
The most fun car I've ever driven was my 1985 Toyota Tercel, with all of 65 horsepower.

I don't think any car I've had since then has gotten better fuel economy than that old Tercel. But the old Tercel probably polluted the atmosphere a lot more, and I'm sure it would've disintegrated if I'd ever been in a collision with a larger vehicle.

Lagged2Death 2 days ago 0 replies      
Soccer Moms' Revenge


Once we unloaded our gear, luggage, tires and a bunch of other junk from the same Honda Odysseya minivan, rememberthat had just carried us 400 or so odd miles while watching DVD movies in air-conditioned comfort while sitting our bourgeois asses on cushy leather seats, it proceeded to storm around the autocross course in 49.09 seconds. In other words, it cruised to a near dead-heat with the Porsche [356].

galdosdi 2 days ago 1 reply      
Past a certain point (like, not being able to maintain highway speed limit up a modest grade), I am not sure this extra horsepower is such a good thing.

The thing I really notice when driving lower usable power-to-weight vehicles like a heavy truck or an unpowered bicycle or a car with a dying clutch or is this: they force you to think further ahead, work harder at predicting the possible movements of all other road users and in short, be a better, safer, more aware driver. I actually find them more fun (except on the track or an empty parking lot of course) too for this reason.

Is it possible excessive horsepower is making us shittier drivers?

mavhc 3 days ago 1 reply      
I try to drive as little as possible to stop destroying the planet, no need to travel 100s of miles, there's lots of interesting things close to you, and if you walked to them you'd live longer too
subterfudge4 3 days ago 0 replies      
The arbitrary speed limits on US highways have hurt US Auto industry and world auto industry a lot in terms of kinds of roads we build and the kind of cars we built.

Imagine how much innovation that could not happen there.

azernik 3 days ago 0 replies      
For a good anecdotal, non-American example:

My grandmother lives in quite a hilly town. Her old car was from the mid-80s, with few airbags and basically zero crumple zone, so at a certain point her kids (my mom and uncle) persuaded her to get a new one.

Her worry was power - the old car was a pretty upcharged model to make it uphill to her house, and she was not looking forward to figuring out which new models had the same power-to-weight. Turns out she needn't have worried - you can't even find a car in her preferred (pretty small) size range with that little power anymore.

staticelf 2 days ago 0 replies      
When I visited America, the first thing I noticed when getting out of the airport was the big ass cars everywhere. Most of the cars in my country is smaller.

Superminis are very popular here. As of now though, I drive an Chevrolet Tahoe and it's rare to meet a car as big as it is.

Why there is not much big cars here it's because there is heavy taxation on both the cars CO2 per km and on the gas itself. Gas in Sweden costs maybe 3-4 times as much as it does in the US.

Animats 3 days ago 0 replies      
Another implication of all this power is that there is now little need for "passing". Everybody can reach the speed limit easily on almost all roads.
internalfx 3 days ago 1 reply      
This doesn't take into account that manufacturers used to under-rate the horsepower on their cars. Legend has it for the purposes of insurance and the NHRA.
geff82 2 days ago 1 reply      
The last 3 cars I owned here in Germany had the following real life consumption:

45 mpg (bought 2002)35 mpg (bought 2013)42mpg (bought 2017)

voodooranger 3 days ago 1 reply      
The huge stride in efficiency recently has been made possible by direct injection. Engines no longer have to work hard to pull intake air through a mostly closed butterfly valve. Attributing this advancement to govt regulation is preposterous. Just as regardless of whether govt had mandated faster processors, industry would have created them anyway.
sehengratis 3 days ago 0 replies      
Would love to see a similar article on motorcycle improvements. Seems like the line between top-of-the-line MotoGP bikes and the most expensive street bikes is becoming quite thin.


jhallenworld 2 days ago 0 replies      
Direct injection is a mixed bag: on my 2010 VW CC you have to "decarb" the intake valves every 30-40K miles because they do not get washed by the fuel.
skanga 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'd love to see a chart of the power/weight ratio of engines over time.
nibstwo 3 days ago 0 replies      
2016 Ford Taurus SHO has an Ecoboost 2.5L engine with twin turbo and I chipped it and added high performance intake/exhaust. ~550hp, 25 mpg. My beater from 98 was worse on mileage at 150hp. Strange.
jdlyga 3 days ago 1 reply      
If there's an affordable, reliable car that performs well that's better than what Honda and Toyota have to offer, I'll sure as hell buy it. I don't care if its a Chevy
komali2 3 days ago 0 replies      
Would love to see a similar article on motorcycle improvements. Seems like the line between top-of-the-line MotoGP bikes and the most expensive street bikes is becoming quite thin.
jbuhl 3 days ago 1 reply      
In what applications will electric engines not be able to replace internal combustions engines? I don't want these improvements to go to waste long-term!
gozur88 3 days ago 1 reply      
>If a 1976 driver were to somehow get his hands on a car from 2017, hed be at grave risk of whiplash. Since those days, horsepower in the U.S. has almost doubled, with the median model climbing from 145 to 283 stallions.

1976 was right in that era where gas prices took a huge jump, and to keep Americans from buying the more fuel efficient Japanese cars US car makers were producing seriously underpowered vehicles with better mileage. I wouldn't be surprised if that year represents the nadir of horsepower in American cars.

azinman2 3 days ago 16 replies      
For all the talk by liberatians and their ilk that regulation is bad and unnecessary, that chart of median fuel effeciency due to government requirements should give them pause. Wow. Well over a decade of non-progress until a path forward is mandated. Suddently the needle starts moving, with car owners, the environment, and energy import needs as big winners here.
nepotism2016 2 days ago 0 replies      
I just came back from Boston, every other car was a SUV
m3kw9 3 days ago 0 replies      
Yes, as soon as they sense competition from electrical vehicles
mal34 2 days ago 0 replies      
there's nothing better than a german cars !
mgarfias 3 days ago 1 reply      
My '87 Camaro weighed 3300lb. The equivalent model today weighs 3700lb. A '77 weighed 3500.

My 2001 corvette weighs 3040lb dry, a new Z06 is 3700.

Tell me again how things are lighter?

hack3rbr3ws 3 days ago 0 replies      
How is this article not called "Too Fast Too Fuel Efficient?"
evanlivingston 3 days ago 2 replies      
I've always been baffled by the lack of progress in increasing MPG for automobiles.

my 2001 toyota echo: ~35 mpg

my 92 VW cabriolet: ~28 mpg

my 2001 ford ranger 4x4: ~25mpg

These vehicles all got better or equivalent of vehicles made 20 years later.

kakarot 3 days ago 2 replies      
If only the auto industry hadn't canned Henry Ford's efforts to mass produce cars with hemp-composite materials.[0]

They would be arguably faster, lighter, more efficient, and safer than anything on the market.

But, ya know. Car wrecks are good for business, and efficiency is bad for business.

[0] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=srgE6Tzi3Lg

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