hacker news with inline top comments    .. more ..    21 Sep 2017 News
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1
Google signs agreement with HTC blog.google
239 points by maguay  4 hours ago   88 comments top 19
1
bcatanzaro 3 hours ago 9 replies      
"Its still early days for Googles hardware business."

Why no mention of Motorola in 2011? Google bought it for $12.5B, and sold it 2014 for $3B.

I think it would have made the blog post better to give some explanation for why Things Are Different This Time.

2
EddieRingle 4 hours ago 2 replies      
Important bit:

> Thats why weve signed an agreement with HTC, a leader in consumer electronics, that will fuel even more product innovation in the years ahead. With this agreement, a team of HTC talent will join Google as part of the hardware organization. These future fellow Googlers are amazing folks weve already been working with closely on the Pixel smartphone line, and we're excited to see what we can do together as one team. The deal also includes a non-exclusive license for HTC intellectual property.

3
maguay 4 hours ago 3 replies      
Random things that strike me about this deal:

- HTC's stock price has been going down for the past 5 years, and EPS was down sharply recently. Does this make HTC more or less viable on its own going forward?

- Apple finally made a VR push with the upcoming macOS High Sierra and iMac Proalong with the HTC Vive. Google didn't fully acquire HTC here, and HTC's trajectory was already tied to Android, but still seems an interesting wrinkle there.

- Samsung continues to hedge their bets, most recently with Bixby. Really wonder if Google's continued hardware investment will make them seek more of their own path.

- Why would Google acquire just a team from HTC? Seems like the oddest of acquihires yet.

4
tanilama 4 hours ago 0 replies      
TL;DR, Google doesn't acquire HTC, they bought a team.
5
spacehunt 3 hours ago 1 reply      
HTC's press release raises even more questions -- they claim they will continue to develop the next flagship phone?

> HTC will continue to have best-in-class engineering talent, which is currently working on the next flagship phone, following the successful launch of the HTC U11 earlier this year. HTC will also continue to build the virtual reality ecosystem to grow its VIVE business, while investing in other next-generation technologies, including the Internet of Things, augmented reality and artificial intelligence.

http://www.htc.com/us/about/newsroom/2017/2017-09-21-htc-goo...

6
atomicnumber1 2 hours ago 5 replies      
So, a billion dollars for about a 100 engineers.
7
SeoxyS 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Didn't quite work out for them last time why will this be any different than Motorola?
8
patryn20 2 hours ago 0 replies      
When any company gets large enough they become a repository of technical failures and an acquirer of the same.

Unfortunately that ultimately matters little to stock value and market share.

9
maruhan2 4 hours ago 2 replies      
So confused. So in essence, Google bought a team from HTC?
10
xbmcuser 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I was really hoping they would at least take the HTC distribution and servicing channels to sell pixel phones more widely instead of just a few countries like currently.
11
CrunchGo 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm very excited about google's future plans. Anyone else feel like this is their path towards competing with apple and samsung in the long run?
12
0xbear 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Guaranteed in the top 10 on Google's internal Memegen: "WTF are you doing cat" gif.
13
maxpert 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Is it me or do you also see another Motorola in making?
14
sidcool 4 hours ago 2 replies      
So is this an acquisition or a recruitment drive?
15
AbeEstrada 4 hours ago 2 replies      
I think Google wants the VR (HTV Vive) team.
16
Abishek_Muthian 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Good win-win.
17
jimjimjim 3 hours ago 0 replies      
more acquisitions

another nexus 7

god, i hope so.

18
thrillgore 4 hours ago 1 reply      
I did a literal spit take when I saw this. Are they doing this for phone production or for the Vive/VR?
19
jaypaulynice 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Google bought Motorola for $12.5 billion and sold it at a discount...Google just doesn't get user experience. Google bought so many user experience startups and yet they have nothing to show after so many years...
2
How to hack a turned-off computer, or running unsigned code in Intel ME blackhat.com
483 points by edejong  8 hours ago   126 comments top 27
1
sounds 8 hours ago 4 replies      
In case you haven't already used the following, please note that the NSA had an undocumented "backdoor" included which "disables" the ME. (Man, oh man, I wish I was making this stuff up.)

http://blog.ptsecurity.com/2017/08/disabling-intel-me.html

I put quotes around "disables" because the ME is not fully disabled. The blog's analysis does show how it is in a "safe" state, i.e. forced to ignore the outside world very early in its code path. Also, not likely to brick your computer, assuming unscrewing your case and using a SPI flash programmer hasn't already bricked your computer.

Edit: "backdoor" in quotes too.

2
m1el 8 hours ago 4 replies      
I would be glad if this made Intel reconsider their stance on enforcing untrustable CPU features onto users.

CPUs aren't cheap! Just give your customers full control over the product!

3
Keyframe 5 hours ago 2 replies      
I hate to be a Debbie Downer / conspiracy borderline, but nothing will change if all of this is true. Some apologies, "it's an oversight, we'll do better", "we take security seriously"... and nada. Maybe some provisional solutions which seem good, but in the back - things will remain status quo.
4
bluesroo 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Wow this sounds huge. I remember people speculating about this since it came to light... But people always talked about it like it was a vague hypothetical that only scary 3-letter agencies would figure out. I'm curious to see what kind of access they need in order to actually make use of this. If they somehow don't need physical access this is going to be nuts.
5
breatheoften 7 hours ago 5 replies      
This is the kind of thing that will cause Apple to switch to internally designed arm chips for their Mac line with great alacrity.

One could argue that its surprising they havent already.

6
CookieMon 4 hours ago 2 replies      
Joke's on them, my computer's never turned-off.

But seriously, I take it we won't know the attack vector until December, however if remotely exploitable they would surely have used the word "remote"? Is any mundane malware with admin rights able to update Intel ME?

7
ysleepy 7 hours ago 0 replies      
"Wouldn't it be kind of great if millions of people were secretly running minix, it would finally go mainstream!"

The engineers probably thought something like this when deciding to use minix.

Now it might achieve the opposite result by associating it with a worst-case scenario of computing freedom and security.

8
davidw 8 hours ago 2 replies      
> modified MINIX as an operating system

Say what?! Anyone know more about this? MINIX is neat in some ways, but I never thought of it as a production ready OS.

9
zzzcpan 7 hours ago 3 replies      
Can someone repost the content into a comment? I cannot solve cloudflare's captcha.
10
na85 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I actually really hope that this is exploitable remotely and causes a massive global problem.

Maybe then we'll see companies that take security seriously, thinking twice before they include things like ME in their products.

11
MichaelMoser123 1 hour ago 0 replies      
What is the severity of this? Can the ME be patched or will we see half of all current computers owned by a botnet? (or mining ether) Can the ME bypass a firewall by interfacing directly with the NIC?
12
sillysaurus3 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Finally, some hard evidence that BadBIOS was possible.

(BadBIOS was lax on details, but people were remarkably resistant to the idea that it was even possible in theory.)

13
et-al 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Are the specifics of this published anywhere else, or does the public have to wait until Dec 4, 2017?
14
e12e 7 hours ago 1 reply      
OT: Sweet Jesus! 1 319 gbp for early registration? It's not exactly accessible to students and amateur Hackers, is it? :-(
15
trizic 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Maybe this could be used disable Intel ME when other methods do not work?
16
LeoPanthera 6 hours ago 2 replies      
Is Intel ME functional on Macs?
17
0x0 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Everything is terrible and everything is going to crash and burn. :-/
18
Fej 7 hours ago 1 reply      
They don't mention how easy or difficult this exploit is to carry out... so I'm betting that it's extremely difficult and will affect practically no one.

That's not to say that Intel ME isn't an awful idea, just that we shouldn't necessarily panic yet.

19
jorvi 7 hours ago 4 replies      
What I don't understand is why AMD doesn't jump into this niche market: just include a switch on their version of the ME (forgot name) that turns it off. Corporate clients still get their ME if they need it and AMD catches the security-focussed market. This would also mean lucrative orders from non-US governments.
20
Animats 3 hours ago 0 replies      
This is very bad. A strong attack based on this could run through entire data centers.
21
bri3d 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Finally. Everyone knew it was just a matter of time - now hopefully we can see some change.
22
yellowapple 5 hours ago 1 reply      
"One of the reasons is the transition of this subsystem to a new hardware (x86) and software (modified MINIX as an operating system)"

Whoa! So wait, every recent desktop and laptop is actually running a tiny MINIX in it? Or am I reading that wrong?

If I'm reading it right, then it means that we've totally leapfrogged Linux to usher in the Year of the MINIX Desktop.

23
exikyut 7 hours ago 2 replies      
> In a subsystem change that will be detailed in the talk of Intel ME version 11+, a vulnerability was found.

Okay, so this effects 11.x, but I wanted to clarify that there seem to always have been circumventions floating around out there.

I stumbled on https://www.reddit.com/r/onions/comments/5i6qa3/can_the_nsaf... (mirror: http://archive.is/T8yVz) some months ago. It reads a little like a skiddie (a well-connected one) strutting a bit, and I think some of this person's views on ME as a viable attack vector are slightly careless and un-thought-through, but whoever this person is, they seem to be very confident about some of the things they said, particularly the following quotes (to be completely clear, I've removed first-person references):

> [This person] know[s] that at least up to firmware version 8 is traded underground, and version 11 (the latest) is available without difficulty to people who know how to find it. [This person has] access to version 8's signing keys [themselves] ...

> It's certainly not common but it is absolutely something that FVEY and related contractors (Raytheon, Leidos, half the people you'll see at ISS, etc) will be able to get their hands on, if they haven't already.

> [This person has] an enterprise ThinkPad that proudly boasts having WiMax support, requiring extensive configuration. It was expensive. If you don't have a BMC card (and you do not), then it is not possible to remotely control your system. Even if you did have a BMC, simply having the signing keys and toolchain for the ME would not be sufficient to get in. An attacker would need either a 0day, or your credentials.

.....Well then. Oops.

> Having the signing key allows nothing more than writing malicious firmware over SPI and allowing it to persist. It's just a little more powerful than the UEFI kits cr4sh can write, and just as easily detectable by reading your flash chip.

That's still bad! (And I have no idea who cr4sh is.)

> But it's not like you're analyzing your microcode (of which there are likely signing keys being traded as well), which can also be installed on a large number of systems, considering the BIOS functions to load the latest microcode it has into the CPU.

The above bit is unrelated, but I couldn't leave it out, because that's worth filing away too (...ouch).

--

Sources/past comments: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15187540

24
SomeStupidPoint 7 hours ago 1 reply      
This sounds like an announcement of an announcement, which generally is frowned upon on HN -- though this might merit alerting people.
25
EdSharkey 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Well, it finally happened. This is potentially the ultimate hack. I can see it now: billion dollar class action lawsuits. Intel, you were too cocky, and now you're gonna eat humble pie.

You'd best offer us the firmware to completely and finally eliminate this giant, ossified, ticking timebomb software stack you've dumped into the world's computers. And I want it ALL out, even the trusted path garbage!

As if you don't have enough troubles already, Intel. Let's take this one off your plate. How's about doing the right thing and earn back a little respect from the consumers.

26
nol13 8 hours ago 0 replies      
uh oh
27
JBReefer 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Holy shit
3
Snowflake macro photography chaoticmind75.blogspot.com
355 points by runesoerensen  10 hours ago   45 comments top 14
1
stephen82 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Feel free to see all of his photos at https://www.flickr.com/photos/alexey_kljatov

I'm more than mesmerized by his work; just stunning, I'm in complete awe!

2
Nition 8 hours ago 2 replies      
It's nice when people get simple tools to do great work. The PowerShot A650 is a decade old point-and-shoot. He's installed a custom OS to get RAW support, and averaged several photos together to reduce noise, and what a great result. An EOS 5D wouldn't do much better.
3
_callcc 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Such a relief to see the word in a headline with its actual meaning.

Plus, the pictures are sublime.

4
Mitchhhs 9 hours ago 7 replies      
Question: What makes snowflakes symmetrical?
5
javiramos 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Wow! These images are perfect for a coffee table book. The thin film interference colors are amazing!
6
metaphorical 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Beautiful.

Reminds me of Wilson Bentley's old photos: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilson_Bentley

7
noisy_boy 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I most impressed by the "less is more" category of photos he took. The clean lines, simplicity of shapes while maintaining enough contrast to be beautiful is just astounding. Had no idea that these kind of shapes happened with snowflakes.
8
joshvm 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder if you could improve the pollen image using super-resolution techniques Shouldn't be too difficult, just requires a several images (stacks in this case) from slightly shifted viewpoints.
9
nayuki 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Kenneth G. Libbrecht snowflake photo collection is another good one: http://www.its.caltech.edu/~atomic/snowcrystals/photos3/phot... ; http://snowcrystals.com/
10
divbit 7 hours ago 0 replies      
These are just the most beautiful pictures.
11
jbeales 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Needs a (2013)
12
knolan 9 hours ago 1 reply      
That is a horrific site to navigate on mobile.
13
amigoingtodie 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I have achieved similar results photographing snowflakes w/ an iPhone 4S and a macro lense I bought for $5 at the Walmart checkout isle.
14
failrate 9 hours ago 1 reply      
I just see a bunch of images of Alex Jones.
4
Vulnerabilities in mobile networks opens Bitcoin wallets to hackers ptsecurity.com
42 points by ezhil  3 hours ago   11 comments top 4
1
sowbug 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Slightly less exciting TLDR: as many of you already know, SMS isn't a good second factor for auth. That includes entrusting your Bitcoin wallet's private keys to a company using SMS for 2FA. Let's mention "cryptocurrency" as well to show up in more news alerts.
2
nym 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I was targeted this evening by a hacker who ported my phone number, and then got into FB + Yahoo (SMS reset).

The motive appears to be bitcoin, based on the people contacted via facebook.

Is it possible the initial PIN that was sent by Tmobile was intercepted via SS7? I am trying to find out if my phone (android) is compromised as well.

The accounts and phone number are back under my control but I want to find out the vector as soon as possible -I don't trust tmobile to honor requests not to allow porting.

3
sturmeh 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Coinbase is not a Bitcoin wallet any more than your bank is a USD (whatever your local currency is) wallet.

This has no relevance to Bitcoin wallets.

4
sillysaurus3 2 hours ago 2 replies      
Arg. I wish this article were more substantive, since it's an important topic. But there are no details.
5
How Booking.com manipulates users ro-che.info
294 points by bogomipz  10 hours ago   140 comments top 35
1
WA 1 minute ago 0 replies      
Oh it's not only booking.com

The newest scam is: flight comparison websites show you a low price, but only if you pay with a VISA. Switch to MasterCard and it's an additional 20-30. But then you invested in the whole booking process already.

Amazon Prime: Try to cancel it. They make it sound as if you lose Prime right away. There's an option "remind me 3 days before next payment" that suggests you should think more about your decision. Only after you cancelled, they tell you that you lose your benefits only after your Prime subscription expires.

2
djsumdog 3 hours ago 7 replies      
I thought about interviewing for them in Amsterdam. The recruiter put me in touch with one of their people and she explained to me everything was in Perl, there were little to no automated tests and developers often pushed straight to production. I said I had only worked in perl shops that were migrating from it to Scala or Python. She said, "Well we have no intention of moving."

Like I say with all recruiters, I said I was interested. I thought about it and everything was a red flag. Sure I'd get to live in Amsterdam and stay in Europe with my girlfriend, but ... that sounds like the ultimate shit job. I'd have to endure that until I worked out whatever visa contract they'd have or find someone else to sponsor me with a non-shit job.

So I just ignore the recruiter when he calls .. and ignore him .. and ignore him. Dude calls every fucking day for like four weeks straight; after I had already moved back to America. Most recruiters would take the hint after three failed calls. I can't imagine how desperate they must be. Then I heard from a former co-worker one of our other buddies, a Kiwi, had taken a job with them .. leaving NZ to go work there. He's still there ... hope it's not shit.

3
Osmium 7 hours ago 9 replies      
To anyone from Booking.com reading this: I'll go elsewhere next time I need to book a room.

Dark patterns may help profits in the short-term, but they're terrible for your brand. Just ask TicketMaster.

It isn't just tech-savvy users that will catch on to this either. If an everyday user uses Booking.com, reads reviews and thinks their room will be great, but then has a bad experience, they're going to stop trusting Booking.com's reviews, and stop trusting their brand. It will only take a few bad experiences to go elsewhere.

4
edejong 8 hours ago 2 replies      
This is what A/B testing does to a popular site. You test for immediate customer engagement but cannot (easily) test long-term customer loyalty. This is why booking.com has become the largest online hotel booking site in several continents. Nevertheless, I think it will eventually be their downfall.
5
smtpserver 8 hours ago 5 replies      
Review scores are also a bit offset. I have tried to give the absolute lowest to every metric booking.com gave me to rate and the resulting score was 2.5-ish.I was thinking about making a browser extension that rescales the values accordingly but I just made a mental note that a score 7 hotel is in fact a score 6.With this scaling the scores on the lower end gain more as a 3.3 score becomes a 5.Take this into account if you opt for the lower-middle end.
6
feelin_googley 6 hours ago 4 replies      
What if the manpulation was easily avoidable?

The last time this website came up on HN (same issue), I conducted an experiment. The annoyances and manipulation described by the blogger sounded like it relied on Javascript and graphics. I wanted to see how far I could get without using a graphical browser.

I was able to

1. search hotels,

2. return a list of properties in CSV/JSON/TXT,

3. return prices and

4. book.

It required only a shell script of 107 lines, 308 characters, 2934 bytes. This could be further reduced.

I used only a command line http client, sed and tmux send-key (optional). Further optional: Fully customized HTTP headers, including randomized User-Agent if desired.

I had to store a session cookie for getting price or booking but no cookies were required for searching.

I used no Javascript.

I was able to eliminate all the annoyances and manipulation cited by the blogger.

Conclusion: At least for booking.com all these annoyances can easily be avoided by choosing the right browser.

(I did occasionally see the "Only ___ rooms left" message as this is returned in plain text. I did not however see the number change over repeated searches for the same hotel. In any event, I just deleted that line in the output, assuming it is untruthful.)

7
colmvp 8 hours ago 3 replies      
I noticed Udemy also manipulates users by saying that x course is 80-90% off but only for one more day!!!!... until you realize it's been that exact same price for weeks/months.

I understand it's not new to have the retail price be higher than the 'sale' price (for example, clothes and furniture), but even at clearance outlets, the price difference while large is rarely as dramatic nor as prolonged.

8
drstewart 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Airbnb does this too. No matter where or when you search for, you'll see a notification saying something like:

"Only 13% of listings are left for these dates. We recommend booking a place soon."

As a random example, apparently Kamloops, BC is filling up fast for Dec 3-6 (midweek in the middle of winter). And so is Flint, MI on Feb 19th, a Tuesday.

9
kristianc 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow - the New Union. I live in Manchester and the place is literally right at the top end of one of Manchester's main clubbing districts (the gay village). "Lively and central" is an understatement. It has a ropey reputation locally as a pub, but you couldn't pay me to stay there. I can see why he's pissed.

I will caveat that I've had some excellent experiences with Booking, but always with very careful cross-referencing with other sites.

10
bkohlmann 7 hours ago 2 replies      
One of the most useful business school classes I took was entitled "Consumer Behavior" which was a deep dive into behavioral psychology and all the techniques used by marketers / websites to grab our attention. Booking.com rather overtly hits on all the techniques we discussed in detail.

I used to think these techniques were "dirty." But humanity evolved to be responsive to this type of manipulation. It seems the web has accelerated this process with the ability to A/B test on a massive scale. All the big websites exploit cognitive biases to drive engagement - facebook, google, twitter, instagram, netflix, youtube.

This is one of the reasons I'm convinced knowledge of behavioral economics is one of the most critical pieces of knowledge to have in the early 21st century - not only can you use it to drive engagement on your own platforms, but you can learn what tell-tales you are biased to react to, and resist accordingly.

11
mitul_45 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Well, I am joining Booking.com as frontend engineer this November and this makes me a bit worried. The only reason I chose to join Booking was Amsterdam (I wanted to live/work outside India for a couple of years).

I have also heard the tech stack is kind of old and so learning-wise it might be an issue. Any tips on surviving and keeping the learning curve straight from a current/former employee?

12
erikb 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Being a little disillusioned about the world these days I would assume this has a purpose.

My guess is this: Booking.com already knows that they are fighting a losing battle against AirBnB. So instead of trying to win it seriously, they go to make the biggest profit they can out of their situation by strongly focussing on the idiots. With idiots you have two advantages:

(a) they stay anyways no matter how shitty you treat them. They have different reasons but one of them is that they are simply used to your service and don't want to learn a new one.

(b) they believe at least some of the stuff you put on these websites.

(c) in exchange for not feeling like a total loser for a moment they are willing to pay more.

For an observant booker this website is really less and less useful. For once you can try the alternative and get a much better experience, and on the other you can often just book a room on-site after you arrive. When Booking.com just hands out a reserveration without prepayment don't think the hotel wouldn't give your room to someone else if enough customers arrive at their desk first. Money now is better than (maybe) money later. The only exception may be when you go to the big fair of your industry and the whole town is booked out.

13
TeeWEE 58 minutes ago 0 replies      
Booking.com 's website is awful. They are still stick in 1995. They do product development solely based on A/B tests. That's how the product is so crap.

But they have a Monopoly (almost). So that's why people keep using them.

14
myoffe 4 hours ago 1 reply      
I absolutely loath Booking.com's UX.

Whenever it's possible, I use something else, like HostelWorld.Their interface is clean, to the point, and the reviews and ratings can actually be trusted.

I'm happy someone did this website. I just came back from a long trip and every time somebody asked me why I hate Booking.com, I pointed exactly to some of the points that were made there. The fake sense of urgency, the cluttered UI.And the cherry on top: The fact they display the "total cost of all nights" in the results, instead of the per-night cost. That's not a misleading UX, it's just a bad UX decision.

But because of it's popularity amongst accommodation owners and travelers, its fall is unlikely.

15
odiroot 47 minutes ago 0 replies      
There should be some browser extension or set of filters for uBlock to hide these shady parts of Booking.
16
methodin 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I thought the service was great at first - no hassle reservations with easy cancellation. That is until they billed for me a hotel I never stayed at. Ended up having to go through Amex and chargeback the charge since I had clearly cancelled it months before. It's a shame.
17
warrenm 10 hours ago 2 replies      
IOW - how more or less every e-commerce (especially aggregation services) site tries to get you to spend your money there
18
aembleton 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I just block a lot of this booking.com noise with uBlock. These are my filters so far:

 www.booking.com##.sr_rooms_left_wrap.only_x_left www.booking.com##.sr-booked-x-times.clearfix.lbsr www.booking.com##.soldout_property

19
soreq 53 minutes ago 0 replies      
Anyone have stats on their user-base/ geographic breakdown? Thanks.
20
toomanybeersies 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Briscoes (a homeware shop in New Zealand http://www.briscoes.co.nz/), does this. Just looking at their website today, everything in store is 30-60% off sticker price.

Seems great, until you realise that literally almost every day, they have a similar sale. There's always massive discounts for something in store. I have literally never paid full price, or anything close to it.

21
superasn 3 hours ago 1 reply      
They similarly totally lie about matching the lowest price. Had the misfortune of booking through them once, then I found the same hotel for a much lower price on another site (makemytrip) so I sent a screenshot to the support.

After a day they outright DENIED to honor this "Lowest Price Guarantee" with some lame excuse. When I told them that I'll go to the small claims court I never heard back from them. Don't believe a word on this site.

22
SOLAR_FIELDS 7 hours ago 2 replies      
This and the recent Ticketmaster expose make me wonder: is it possible to objectively identify dark UI patterns like this via a browser extension? Usually I can try to see through them, but something that flags stuff like this with a non-obtrusive warning would be nice to add to the list of extensions I automatically throw on new installs for family members (that list currently includes PrivacyBadger and uBlock Origin)
23
rgrieselhuber 3 hours ago 0 replies      
This post has some decent points about reviews and the fine print, but the rest comes off as a bit precious.

I travel a lot and have used Booking.com to save myself quite a bit of money over the years. I still regularly compare their prices with other sites and they are pretty consistently cheaper than competing sites.

The "hurry" parts of their site do induce a little anxiety but I tend to also appreciate the real time information so I know I get the room I want.

24
jhgyukhjikoh 46 minutes ago 0 replies      
What good alternatives with prices as low?
25
beefsack 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Some airline ticket booking sites still track you and increase the ticket price on return visits, optimised to certain intervals. Many in the industry call it "dynamic pricing."

It made the news a few years back[1] but you can still see it sometimes in a few different industries. You can get into arguments with people about whether marketing as a whole is an enterprise built on manipulation, but this is quite clearly manipulative.

[1]: https://www.theguardian.com/money/blog/2010/aug/07/computer-...

26
dawnerd 6 hours ago 3 replies      
I've just been booking directly from hotels I trust because of this. Used to use hotels.com but they've gotten really bad recently. Can costs a bit more from the hotel but most of the time price is on par. End up getting more room upgrades when booking directly anyways - at least with hilton.
27
known 41 minutes ago 0 replies      
I regularly use booking.com and I think what they're doing is rational,not manipulation.
28
hw 8 hours ago 4 replies      
I've always wondered if some of these tactics are kosher and legal. Especially the ones that say 'someone just booked this' or the notifications on ecommerce sites that say 'X bought this in the last hour'. Most of the ecommerce ones are just fake data meant to entice the shopper into buying into urgency.
29
TheAceOfHearts 6 hours ago 2 replies      
On the subject of fake reviews, I've recently started using Fakespot [0] with Amazon and Yelp. Sometimes making a decision for which goods to buy can be tricky, so it's really helpful to filter out a few shady options. Although, honestly, I don't think it makes much difference in most cases.

Are there any trusted review services for travel locations? Something like Consumer Report, but for travel. Although I don't know where their quality levels stand nowadays, I know my parents used to swear by em 10 to 20 years ago.

[0] https://www.fakespot.com

30
jen729w 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I just spent 3 weeks travelling the USA and we used Booking.com to see what was around. But then we went directly to the hotel's site to make the booking and you know what? Same price, if not slightly cheaper in some (not all) instances.
31
quadrangle 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I can't imagine recognizing all that shit and then concluding with an expectation to keep using a service like that. Wow
32
wyck 3 hours ago 0 replies      
The downsides of A/B testing. Unless of course you have confidence in your brand and decision making to not always trust users and the short term bottom line.
33
jasonrhaas 7 hours ago 0 replies      
viagogo.com is a great example of user manipulation. They take what booking.com has done and 10x it. I've bought tickets on there (and got ripped off because they told me the wrong pickup location), and its a total shit show. They make it seem like there are all these real time updates going on, and really pushing you to BUY NOW, but I'm pretty sure its all a scam to urge you to buy as quickly as possible.
34
tmulc18 8 hours ago 2 replies      
That's why you gotta use Expedia or Google
35
quickben 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow, things got shady at booking.com since I last visited the site last year.
6
Apple: Heap Overflow in AppleBCMWLANCore Driver chromium.org
97 points by 0x0  7 hours ago   44 comments top 4
1
0x0 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Interestingly this was not part of the original iOS11 security announcement: http://web.archive.org/web/20170919182359/https://support.ap... and (a mail to apple-security which is no longer archived at https://lists.apple.com/archives/security-announce/2017/Sep/... )

But instead published after the fact as an additional update:https://lists.apple.com/archives/security-announce/2017/Sep/... and https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT208112

Why delay the announcement? And why remove the original "APPLE-SA-2017-09-19-1 iOS 11" with "Date: Tue, 19 Sep 2017 -0700" from the apple-security email archive?

Also, are Macbooks vulnerable to the same bug until next monday when macOS 10.13 drops?

Also, there are about 6 other similar issues recently posted to Google Project Zero: https://bugs.chromium.org/p/project-zero/issues/list?can=1&q...

2
walterbell 7 hours ago 3 replies      
Is this going to be fixed in iOS 10? Some users have apps which will not work with iOS 11, so cannot immediately upgrade.
3
mangix 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Wonder what this means in the grand scheme of things. Will Apple dump Broadcom and go with Qualcomm or attempt to fix Broadcom's broken driver.

I say broken as I've yet to see good code come from Broadcom.

4
sigjuice 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Is every buffer overflow important enough to need detailed discussion and commentary?
7
Ethereum Adoption of Zk-SNARK Technology z.cash
59 points by ianopolous  5 hours ago   9 comments top 5
1
coolspot 3 hours ago 0 replies      
The Metropolis release adds ADD and MUL operations on elliptic curve, which makes it possible to implement ring signatures.That opens up use cases like anonymous funds transfer similar to Monero and zCash.
2
drawnwren 31 minutes ago 0 replies      
This could have an interesting effect on incentives for hackers. Now, any hacker should be able to cash their winnings out instantly and anonymously.
3
brentis 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Why isnt there a private key to view the transaction in the ledger? Seems like this way the transaction could be private except if parties wish to release?

Similarly, would it make sense to have to mine the ledger or transactions? Similar to gas, depending on how secure you want you could adjust the complexity/duration to mine. Perhaps involved parties could mine at a great discount given their transaction to seed the mining where a 3rd party could take months or more.

These thoughts have been bouncing around in my head for a while. Thought Id pass along for whatever theyre worth.

4
wskinner 2 hours ago 3 replies      
Does anybody actually understand the implications of this? This press release is very light on information. What does this technology being added to Ethereum enable that wasn't possible before?
5
55555 59 minutes ago 0 replies      
If you are interested in zcash, check out monero and zerocoin.io
8
YC wants to let people invest in its startups through the blockchain techcrunch.com
70 points by rmason  7 hours ago   35 comments top 11
1
tommynicholas 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Every headline from Techcrunch disrupt that I have seen has been directly contradicted in some way in the video. For example, Vitalik Buterin spends about 10% of his talk explaining why not everything will be or should be decentralized. The title of his video? "Decentralize Everything with Vitalik Buterin"
2
pfraze 4 hours ago 1 reply      
> Do I think ICOs are silly, bordering on scams? Yes, they are, he continued. But, there are a few that are important, and the blockchain is more important than not ICOs need to be regulated.

> At the same time, it could mean working, for the first time, with investors who are not accredited, meaning high-net-worth investors an idea that appeals to Altman.

I guess he sees blockchains as a vehicle to getting the regulatory framework he wants for securities, and (I assume) doesn't feel he can get for traditional stock.

> Added Altman of the appeal of ICOs in particular, People are watching their friends get really rich and its making them [frustrated and wanting to get rich, too].

> One of the trends that bothers me about Silicon Valley, he continued, is that more and more of the wealth creation here is not available to most people, and I think thats very bad in a society with already so much wealth inequality. If theres a way that new technology can make it practical and possible to democratize this, I think thatd be great.

I mean, he just said he recognizes it's a bubble. Doesn't a bubble usually suggest wealth transfer instead of creation? Of course it's frustrating to not get in on that money. It's even more frustrating when you see the situation as ethically gray, and here's Sam signaling that YC should jump on board.

3
sulam 3 hours ago 0 replies      
YC isnt even reaching most accredited investors and it wants to go to unaccredited? Sounds like they want liquidity.
4
pscsbs 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Surprised CoinList isn't mentioned here, as they did a successful ICO for FileCoin and serve as a platform for pretty much this exact use-case.
5
grizzles 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Personally I think just enabling trading would not be a good idea. That said, I also want to do something similar to this. Securities laws in the 1st world are hopelessly out of date.

So I've looked in other jurisdictions but I've had huge problems finding the right country to do it in.

The last time I tried I got scammed by a Corporate Service Provider in the Isle of Mann that went out of business about a month after I sent them $$.

If anyone is looking for a co-founder in this space, and is interested in having a chat, email is in my profile.

6
Animats 1 hour ago 1 reply      
OK, so you buy a YC token. What do you have? A share of YC's equity pool? What makes YC pay you if they have a big win?
7
jaunkst 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Yes, I would invest.
8
vbuterin1 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
9
crispytx 4 hours ago 2 replies      
I bought some Bitcoin for a family member as a gag gift recently thinking we could have some fun paying each other with Bitcoin for little things like household chores and whatnot. This was my first time using Bitcoin, and I was shocked to learn that it costs roughly $5 worth of Bitcoin to make a single transaction using Bitcoin! The fee is known as a "Bitcoin mining fee." I'm an open minded person and honestly believe d that Bitcoin might work prior to actually using it. However, after discovering the actual cost of using Bitcoin, it is clearly inferior to US Dollars in every way. Bitcoin is a scam, block chain is all hype, and everyone involved with Cryptomania is going to look silly when the music stops and someone has to eat the soggy biscuit.
10
contingencies 3 hours ago 1 reply      
This is clearly a good idea. The whole broker/exchange/regulator triumvirate is a massive overhead for everyone.

Uptime: Trading hours are a 19th century anachronism. Distributed infrastructure is more reliable.

Management incentive: By removing annual and quarterly investor relations milestones businesses are incentivized to move more quickly by creating a more fluid and transparent management and investor relations style.

National access: Being 'listed' on a 'market' is a huge hassle and comes with fiscal protection mechanisms such as requisite auditing which essentially (not completely) amounts to a mafia-esque pay to play fee. Why not just go international and skip the hassle?

Regulation: Of course, the financial services establishment will cry "Regulators! Consumers need protection! Only we, the few, the humble, the experienced, can save their financial souls!" but alas their track record is pretty shocking and regulators with any guts should encourage innovation with some oversight and involvement. The thing is, since blockchains are international regulators are nominally sidelined in a default approach. There should be a middle ground where they can perform basic services such as corporate registration, legal good standing, fair taxation and IP asset attestation, for example, without becoming intimately involved in day to day business.

Transparency: Instead of occasional, high level audits, if transparency is required why not require that in order to be blockchain listed, companies must either use a public blockchain or otherwise effectively real time (eg. daily batched reporting) to transparently manage their financial assets? This would provide superior transparency than the establishment, potentially with crypto levels of trust (thus auditors cannot be bought/make mistakes).

Fiscal restructuring: Being able to do stock splits and so forth could work very well on chains.

Conventional asset financial connectivity: Sooner or later you have to interact with the off-blockchain world. Gatekeeper financial institutions need to validate inbound capital by showing things like source of funds. This is nontrivial with anonymous blockchain inflows, and requires setting up a significant KYC process as per larger crypto exchanges.

Of course there are issues. If there is a gatekeeper to enforce due diligence then is it truly blockchain anymore or are you just doing rebranded ICO 2.0 and issuing your own tokens? I fear the latter. We must find a middle ground. The devil is in the details.

11
Double_a_92 1 hour ago 0 replies      
If we could stop hindering real progress with all this blockchain bullshit, that would be great...
9
Solve sudoku like with the power of ARKit magicsudoku.com
56 points by mikerg87  5 hours ago   23 comments top 3
1
jdoliner 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Oh god mods, please add the word "magic" to the title, it's painful to read.
2
yeldarb 4 hours ago 5 replies      
Hi, thanks for submitting. I'm the developer of the app! Happy to answer any questions

(I was going to write up a medium post about the technical side of building the app but haven't gotten a chance yet)

3
rawnlq 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I remember using Google Goggles for this back in 2011 or so.

The cool new thing is projecting the solution onto the paper and having it track correctly!

10
Solve large jigsaw puzzles using genetic algorithms and OpenCV github.com
33 points by nemanja-m  4 hours ago   9 comments top 5
1
Jun8 4 hours ago 1 reply      
To be pedantic, this is not really a jigsaw puzzle, the pieces are squares, I'm guessing the technique may be applicable to real jigsaw puzzles, too.

I'd like to see this applied to puzzles with unique pieces like the ones here (https://libertypuzzles.com/about)

2
seanlinmt 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of the lego sorting project, https://jacquesmattheij.com/sorting-lego-the-software-side
3
brian-armstrong 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I wonder, is a jigsaw always solved when you find a configuration with the least amount of high frequency energy?
4
nurettin 1 hour ago 1 reply      
So how do you calculate the fitness score?
5
VirtualAirwaves 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I wonder if a technique like this will work for unshredding documents.
11
Bluetooth and Wi-Fi Aren't Fully Disabled When Off in iOS 11 Control Center apple.com
95 points by tambourine_man  11 hours ago   59 comments top 16
1
lathiat 5 hours ago 6 replies      
This is actually fantastic, I am really happy about this.

Two main reasons (1) If you disable Wi-Fi its re-enabled when you goto a new location. Very often I disable wifi to temporarily get off a bad network in an area, and then curse when I get home and stream a 1GB video over 3G

(2) Much more user friendly for initiated actions

(3) You can still fully disable it by going into settings, but the quick-off is more like you expect.

Great work, Apple.

2
electic 1 hour ago 1 reply      
For anyone that is running into this. The quickest way to get into settings so you can turn these radios off is to force touch the settings icon. Once you do that, you will see the different radios in the menu. You can simply tap into it and toggle the radio off. This, of course, assumes you have force touch enabled iPhone.

For what it is worth, this is a big privacy violation. I am really surprised you can't at least force touch on the control center and turn these things off. I hope someone at Apple is reading this and adds that back in.

3
excalibur 2 hours ago 0 replies      
> For the best experience on your iOS device, try to keep Wi-Fi and Bluetooth turned on.

For the best protection on any kind of device, try to keep unnecessary attack vectors turned off.

4
jimjimjim 4 hours ago 1 reply      
what ever happened to the principle of least astonishment?

people are currently used to disabling wifi meaning disabling wifi.

5
ezequiel-garzon 50 minutes ago 0 replies      
Huh, I thought it was a bug. Sometimes the volume levels of AssistiveTouch and Control Center are in sync (iPhone SE) and sometimes they arent. I wonder whether thats another hidden feature.
6
userbinator 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Ironically, 4 hours later, this story also currently on the front page was submitted: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15299165
7
mikeash 5 hours ago 3 replies      
I think the functionality makes a lot of sense. But it sure would have been nice to indicate whats going on in the UI somehow. Maybe not reuse the familiar icons to indicate a new thing? Or, totally crazy idea, labels!
8
kalleboo 3 hours ago 1 reply      
This sucks - I keep it off because as I ride a train it's connecting to every station wifi and losing it just as quick, completely breaking connectivity.

Perhaps the new TCP multipath stuff will make WiFi Assist work in these cases but I'm not holding my breath.

9
sologoub 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I wish theyd also fix the problem of Apple Pencil draining when in bag with the iPad - it seems to think its being used and is trying to transmit to the iPad. Ive been turning off Bluetooth to deal with this stupidity, now I have to turn on airplane mode to actually turn it off properly.
10
leowoo91 4 hours ago 1 reply      
I always take it to airplane mode to disable all, I don't think any company can risk that.
11
mrfusion 3 hours ago 0 replies      
It would be nice if they made it a different icon like say a wifi symbol with a little timer on it.
12
jasonthevillain 5 hours ago 3 replies      
Well, that explains the battery life tanking.
13
erwinmatijsen 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Whats the reasoning behind connecting WiFi / Bluetooth at 5AM?
14
chrisallick 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I believe this is also a ploy to keep people pinging wifi routers. Can't say for sure, but that was my gut reaction when I discovered this during beta testing.
15
grendelt 1 hour ago 0 replies      
> It's 5 AM local time.

What?! Why???

16
NikolaeVarius 5 hours ago 3 replies      
This is the same thing that happens in Android by default.
12
Peter Thiel Up for Key Intelligence Position, Wants to Limit Google's Power gizmodo.com
90 points by dlp211  3 hours ago   44 comments top 7
1
rrggrr 2 hours ago 5 replies      
Rumours of Theils maleavolence are greatly exaggerated. His bio better resembles a modern day Ross Perot, libertarian and all. Network analysis and data mining inteilligence toolsets were used in the intel comminity lkng before Palantir, same as mercenaries were vighting foreign wars ling before Blackwater. A real problem in government is lack of domain expetise in oversight. Heres a chance to have some of that if the article is correct.
2
dpflan 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Here is the Vanity Fair article this piece references and recommends ("You can read the whole, absurd story here. Highly recommended.")

> "here" --> https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2017/09/donald-trump-peter-t...

3
intopieces 2 hours ago 3 replies      
> Thiel reportedly doubled-down and immediately donated $1.25 million to Trumps campaign

Can someone describe corruption and help me understand how it differs from this situation?

4
electriclove 2 hours ago 2 replies      
> Peter has indicated that if he takes the P.I.A.B. position he intends to take a comprehensive look at the U.S. intelligence communitys information-technology architecture. He is super-concerned about Amazon and Googleand Facebook, less so.

Is that because he invested in Facebook early on?

5
andy318 51 minutes ago 0 replies      
I don't think this bodes well for Amazon, in particular. Trump has a grudge against Bezos and it won't be out of character for Trump to hint to Thiel to express his loyalty by being harsh on Amazon
6
sremani 56 minutes ago 0 replies      
>> Peter Theil's mastery of Dark Arts...

I mean providing Data Mining and Intelligence analysis software for Intel organizations is Dark Arts now?

7
ajennings 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Wait, I thought Thiel approved of monopolies...
13
FedEx vs. UPS: opposing models in the delivery business raise questions (2004) braunconsulting.com
75 points by dluan  8 hours ago   58 comments top 19
1
coopernewby 6 hours ago 1 reply      
This article was written in 2004. Starting In 2005 FedEx got in a bunch of misclassification lawsuits over using 1099 contractors, today they have lost over $453 Million to these settlements. http://www.talentwave.com/fedex-worker-misclassification-cas...
2
katastic 7 hours ago 4 replies      
Perhaps I'm reading it wrong, but the article seems to slant in favor of FedEx using contractors. And then you look at the pros and cons.

 FedEx Ground Cons: - No benefits, no overtime pay, no sick time, no insurance - Drivers pay for vehicle, gas, supplies, insurance, and everything else - No company retirement, seemingly less stable environment - No Teamsters contract or collective bargaining - Drivers have only one client: FedEx
That's one step above glorified pizza delivery driver for a career. I wouldn't wish that on anyone. My wife has extended family, on the other hand, that have worked 40+ years at UPS and retired with benefits. Now, I'm not saying, "UPS rules, and FedEx sucks." But I'm hesitant to throw my support behind any business model that treats people like temporary commodities instead of long-term resources.

3
kylec 5 hours ago 3 replies      
I know it's anecdata, but in my experience UPS is way better about actually delivering packages to me than FedEx is. I live in a building with a call box, to which both FedEx and UPS were given their own codes, but most of the time FedEx "attempts" a delivery they mark it as undeliverable. It's gotten to the point where I'm now preemptively requesting my FedEx-shipped packages to be held at a local FedEx ship & print center rather than even waiting for the first attempted delivery. UPS, on the other hand, delivers packages without a hitch nearly every single time.

I don't know whether this has anything to do with the contractor vs employee nature of these companies, but I do know that UPS is way better at actually doing their job.

4
jschwartzi 6 hours ago 1 reply      
There's some incorrect information in the article regarding UPS driver salaries. Drivers can make more than $100k/year if they work overtime. Some drivers make more than managers for similar amounts of work due to their being hourly.

This is all hearsay from the UPS driver that worked the route while I was clerking in a warehouse. He also seemed much happier than the FedEx drivers, both of which were pretty grumpy. He was also a lot more helpful and we often asked him to delay our pickup for last minute orders, which was something the FedEx drivers would never do.

5
lathiat 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I always feel like this contractor vs larger employee situation is weighted for early and late game.

As a contractor style, at the start it seems fun there are potential rewards, etc.. but you need to manage yourself a lot more, and there is less of a safety net or any kind of belonging.

As an employee style you are more of a robot at the start and have to submit to the company as it were, but later on you are looked after much better and there are teams within the company that can focus on efficiency and making life better, etc.

As someone who has a fairly split career in doing both I can fully understand the merits of both but I worry about the long term trajectory of the majority of people becoming independent as it were.

6
untangle 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Huh, so FedEx and Uber are aligned in labor policies, at least in a macro sense. Both achieve cost benefits, and the two face many of the same legal risks around job classification (and potential exploitation and tax evasion).

In theory, both are therefore one major legal decision away from a very bad set of financials. In practice, hoards of lawyers and lobbyists undoubtedly man the wall (and keep winter at bay).

7
cypherpunks01 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Anyone know if the employment situation with Fedex or UPS is different now, 13 years after this was written?
8
jacob019 4 hours ago 0 replies      
My company has had a much better experience with FedEx than UPS. FedEx employees seem happier. Our driver owns his route and treats us like his personal customer. The UPS guys are nice too but tend to have that postal worker attitude and don't seem as happy. UPS loses more packages, though that seems to have improved. UPS support sucks and their API is even worse. I can't tell you how many times I've wanted to pull my hair out while in a UPS call queue being transferred around between clueless front line reps. Their automatic billing has broken on us over the years to the point where we would have to call in to pay each invoice manually or start getting collections notices. They couldn't fix it and we had to just open a new account. This happened twice! FedEx support OTOH is excellent. While I'm greatful for the support of my friends at UPS, I greatly prefer to do business with FedEx.
9
purplezooey 1 hour ago 0 replies      
One thing is certain. FedEx SmartPost and FedEx Ground are so slow I usually avoid buying something if those are the only options. Two weeks delivery time? Are the independent contractors driving rickshaws?
10
mockindignant 6 hours ago 0 replies      
2004 should probably be in the title.
11
ribs 6 hours ago 1 reply      
UPS has spent significant effort trying to put the Federal screws to FedEx in the past.[1]

[1] http://reason.com/reasontv/2010/10/22/whiteboardhttp://reason.com/archives/2009/09/28/using-unions-as-weapon...

12
tyingq 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Interesting business space. Both UPS and FedEx manage to raise rates at a clip that is higher than inflation, every single year. Even when their costs decline, like when fuel prices dropped.

I guess there is technically no collusion, but it doesn't seem like there is much competition either.

It makes it difficult for smaller companies to do well because only the biggest companies get reasonable shipping rates.

This is one space where I won't shed any tears if Amazon hands them their ass.

13
SomeHacker44 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I have a few vendors that use FedEx Ground. Absolute worst. They almost never deliver on time. One sick driver means days of delays. You cannot pick up the package at the local FedEx depot that evening if you miss it; it goes to some central place miles away with no pick up policy. I have banned my vendors from using this, and dropped vendors who won't ship by "real" FedEx, UPS or heck even USPS.
14
merpnderp 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I know most of my UPS drivers by name, and always have great service. Ive never had anything wrong from Fedex, but Id pay a bit extra to use UPS, as they seem less hurried, friendlier and never dont ring the bell (Fedex never does)
15
jccalhoun 3 hours ago 0 replies      
This explains why the last time I had a package delivered by "fedex" it was delivered by a guy in a Budget rental truck.
16
dangerboysteve 2 hours ago 0 replies      
The article is from 2004. Nothing has changed since then?
17
costcopizza 6 hours ago 2 replies      
A somewhat tangential thought...

-I feel like I used to see DHL trucks and ads much more often. Did they abandon some of the residential delivery market?

18
pktgen 6 hours ago 0 replies      
FedEx Ground "contractors" are actually employees, just misclassified.
19
exabrial 4 hours ago 1 reply      
UPS: smash it to bits, hold it in the warehouse as long as possible, fake delivery attempts, all for higher prices
14
Non-determinism: a sublanguage rather than a monad okmij.org
70 points by panic  10 hours ago   33 comments top 4
1
panic 5 hours ago 0 replies      
If you like this article, the rest of Oleg's stuff on this style of embedded DSLs is also worth reading: http://okmij.org/ftp/tagless-final/index.html

One particularly cool (and surprising, to me at least) trick is defining interpreters that carry out composable optimization passes on a DSL without needing an intermediate representation: http://okmij.org/ftp/tagless-final/course/optimizations.html

2
worldsayshi 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Somewhat off topic: I'm very interested but as so often before with these kind of texts I'm at least somewhat stumped by the terminology. I can almost read this and I've done two and a half ish courses of Haskell.

I've wasted so much energy feeling stupid when reading texts that I don't understand. But most of the time not understanding is not about "intelligence" but simply not having the right meaning assigned to the right amount of words.

You're not stupid, you just don't have enough structured data yet. I wish I had that kind of insight and believed in it when I started out in university. Not that I'm completely convinced even now.

3
alphaalpha101 8 hours ago 4 replies      
Thank god. I've felt like we've been getting closer to breaching the peak of the hype curve for what I'd probably call 'monadic pure functional programming' i.e. Haskell, Scalaz, etc. It'll have its hardcore advocates forever, of course, but I think we might be finally getting to the point where people realise 'wait this sure is an absurd amount of complexity to represent some fairly simple functions, surely there must be a better way?'.
4
graphememes 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Honestly I feel like Haskell and OCaml are severely over-engineered and overly focus on nuance far too much these concepts and ideas can be expressed in a more concise and legible manner in mathematical notation than the programming languages used as examples here.
15
A new kind of map: its about time mapbox.com
801 points by uptown  16 hours ago   177 comments top 72
1
shurcooL 12 hours ago 7 replies      
I think this is great, but I can see it being potentially improved further if there was a temporary overlay of the physical map whenever you hover over a destination.

Basically, I feel that completely removing the physical map is okay until you've picked a target. Then, having to click on it to be able to see what the route looks like (which streets to take, etc.) is higher friction than I'd like. Instead, imagine if hovering would give you a route overlay, and as you hover your mouse over multiple places you're considering, you're already aware of the physical directions as well.

Having to click back and forth feels quite constraining.

This is simply feedback on a way I think it could be improved further, not to take away from how good it already is.

2
nerdponx 11 hours ago 2 replies      
By removing literal geography, we now have a map that more closely reflects the way we think about our environment: a cluster of restaurants five minutes that way versus ten minutes the other.

Speak for yourself! I feel way more confident getting around when I know the actual geography.

3
xahrepap 6 hours ago 1 reply      
A bit off topic. What I really want in map software (specifically for finding my way): know that I know my way around certain areas. The beginning of my commute no matter where I go is full of turns every minute or two. It makes listening to audio books impossible because interrupted with "in 100 feet..." Constant.

Just day "go to $MAJORPOINT" then start giving me step by step directions.

4
arafalov 15 hours ago 4 replies      
I would love a distance map that includes public transport travel time. For example, if I live close to metro/subway/train and I want to do really big grocery shopping. It would be interesting to see the nearest grocery that includes those I could reach by jumping on the metro and with minimal total walking.

It may be more effective to catch the train to a grocery in a completely different part of town than to walk 30 minutes to the one in your own neighborhood.

5
sulam 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Isochronic maps are pretty awesome. However, an isochrone-only projection that ignores geography is prone to the same sort of errors that the alternative creates. One simple example that is personal to me -- when I moved from SF to the East Bay, my commute into the city shortened by ~10 minutes because of where I'd been living (out by Ocean Beach) vs where I moved to and the nature of driving and public transit in the SF Bay Area. And yet as far as my friends who lived and worked in SF were concerned, I was now in this mystical place that they didn't really spend any time in or know much about (the perception of Oakland is also contributing here).

It'd be interesting to take travel data and cluster it such that you end up with an isopsychochronic projection. Commute visualizations I've seen end up feeling kind of close.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/11/us-commutes-revea...

6
Paradox0 11 hours ago 0 replies      
The location of the isochrones themselves are a function of time, depending on current traffic levels, when the next bus is scheduled to arrive, etc. Hence, this map can't be static. To really be accurate, it needs to collect that data and auto-refresh itself in short intervals.
7
nnain 34 minutes ago 0 replies      
I like that there're companies like Mapbox and CityMapper challenging Google Maps and Apple Maps.

But giving a blank slate to a user and having them input a text query when they open the App might not be the best idea. In my head I remember the places around me using landmarks; the blank screen at the start makes me impatient.

8
hnnsj 14 hours ago 4 replies      
How is this more useful than an ordered list of search results, exactly? Once you've picked your destination, based on travel time, you still want figure out how to get there.
9
microcolonel 15 hours ago 2 replies      
I wonder how it would look if you directly distorted the map by travel time.
10
TheCoreh 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Really interesting that the "time distance" is more or less linear with walking/biking, but in a car it has a non linear relationship: For further places you take a highway, which requires some extra distance but adds a significant speed boost. Having the dots shift in position when changing modes of transportation was really insightful.
11
_h_o_d_ 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I love this idea, and also its acknowledgement of prior time maps for rail and other psychogeographic forebears. Its ability to put in relevant data in rational time-based space stops some of those issues that make us take a longer or particular direction because of habit, fear, or misunderstanding of the timespace about us. Nonetheless as a map-lover, I'd love to see how more contextual information could be added for serendipitous and geographical observation.
12
npolet 13 hours ago 1 reply      
This is a pretty neat idea, and I could see myself using this in day to day life.

It's nice to see real thought, study and execution into new ways of portraying things that have the possibility of becoming stale. While maps and their functionalities are very much "still in development" with many developers adding new features to them... most of these "new features" don't try to rethink how we see and use them. They just extend the feature set instead of stopping and trying to re-think what a map is and what it is supposed to do.

13
tobib 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Seems like the rate limit of api.foursquare.com has been exceeded.
14
crooked-v 9 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a cool idea, but what about combining it with public transit? In my city, the bus and light rail lines affect my decision-making in all kinds of weird ways. For example:

- Going a few miles east (on the light rail line) is much, much faster than the same distance plus a mile north or south.

- Some places on the inner east side of the river take me longer to get to than places further out that are on a bus line.

- Going to the northwest part downtown takes me longer than going to the north part, even though they're both the same distance from home, because the transit lines run in an shape.

15
opportune 7 hours ago 1 reply      
As a user, I would find an isochronic map much more useful than the weird radial design they want to provide. To provide the level of precision that the radial map does without destroying our eyes with colors, they could substitute a color gradient with some sort of border around "reference times" such as 5 minutes.

The author thinks that the time-only maps address the root concern, which is "how fast can I get somewhere." But that's not entirely true: there are areas where I live that I would rather go to than others. If I search for sushi and I see one place in a crime-ridden neighborhood, a second place in the middle of nowhere, and a third place in the "trendy" section of my city where most of the rest of the food is good, I'm going to the third place if they're all the same distance (and probably even if the third place is farther than the first two, to an extent).

16
sinaa 11 hours ago 0 replies      
This is both clever and useful!

Is it possible to present a resized version of the route to each path underneath each target? (or perhaps show that on hover)

I understand that this would mean having overlapping map snippets of different sizes (with different centres), but some visual representation of the route to take could be nice.

Currently, the UX of having to click each target to see the path reduces the usability (having to go back and forth between the suggestions is tedious).

17
sixdimensional 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I love this kind of thinking.

I've always wondered even further about this - how you take this and extend it to 3 dimensions + time. In terms of maps, that would also help you with elevation or other obstacles that might slow you down from a straight line path.

Certainly, with the processing power and capacity today, we have the capability of knowing not only the two dimensional direction and the time it takes, but even the three dimensional position plus time.

I like to think of this crazy idea like a 3-D video recorder (maybe)... something that records positions of all objects in the specified space in slices of time, and can reconstruct any such slice and analyze the relative position of objects in space over time to each other.

I am not sure how such a technology would be made... capturing all the positions of everything in slices of time. I think we can do it with 3-D simulations, but not sure how we could record such data for the real world without modeling it in the virtual.

Still, this is such a cool direction and I for one like seeing people experimenting with something that we take for granted so easily, the map. I feel like everything that is amazing about time and space is somehow embodied by maps - astronomy, time, geography, relativity, etc.

18
Mz 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I like it and this is cool to see. I have a Certificate in GIS and did some reading at one time about the inherent challenges involved in dealing with time in data visualization. This seems to be a fairly elegant solution.

In city centers with a lot of walking traffic, you may see maps overlaid with progressively larger circles, to estimate travel time based on simple physical distance. But this assumes that people move like crows fly: that theres a straight-line road for anywhere we want to go, through concrete walls and over lakes, without traffic ever to slow us down. In an urban setting, none of these are practical assumptions to make.

That isn't limited to urban settings. They are not practical assumptions to make in any setting.

19
iamben 15 hours ago 1 reply      
This is absolutely amazing. If I could use this with a more intelligent search (pub / bar return different things, for instance - whereas I want to search for "places I can get a beer"), this would be fantastic.
20
alanbernstein 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I've had a similar concept rattling around in my head for a while. Rather than basing the time on travel distance from a point, you can base it on travel distance from a route. Then results can be ranked by "on my home commute, how far out of my way is this place?"
21
bradknowles 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Not too bad, but the search needs to be less literal.

When I search for "sandwich", my neighborhood Subway should show up, even though the word doesn't appear in the name.

When I search for "convenience" or "store", my neighborhood convenience store should show up, even though those words do not appear in the name.

But I did discover a Whole Foods location that is even closer to my house than the three others in town that I knew of. Cool!

22
dlandis 5 hours ago 0 replies      
It kind of reminds me of what Uber decided to do in their UberEats app, which is organize restaurants by how long delivery will take and not say anything about how many miles away the restaurant is or what its address is. You can't sort by distance or display a map. So it ends up being really annoying if you would rather deal with nearby restaurants you end up doing a lot of flipping back and forth from google.
23
OlympusMonds 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I vaguely built something similar for Sydney, but in showing how good/bad public transport is than driving (hint: it's way worse to catch PT): http://www.publictransport-or-drive.com/

It pretty much makes a isochrone maps all over the city, and gets google public transport and driving times and creates a ratio.I've started to work on a better version 2, but so far not much work.

24
wyatte 6 hours ago 0 replies      
"By removing literal geography, we now have a map that more closely reflects the way we think about our environment: a cluster of restaurants five minutes that way versus ten minutes the other.

Oh my.... They just invented the 'list'. Or better yet a list that drives map interactions....oh my and an ordered list too! I could swear I did that like 10 years ago on google maps, but I guess it must have just been a dream.

Seriously, adding a fancy radius dial overlay doesn't really improve much over a plain old ordered list.

25
danso 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Pretty neat. I frequently use the example of Yelp's list and map views as an example of how maps aren't always better, even as they are more appealing compared to a text list. But I frequently use the list view because I can sort by distance, while still seeing the other important info (such as star rating, cost, food type).

But distance isn't the only important geospatial factor. Frequently I want to find a place to eat/drink that's on the way to another destination (such as a movie theater). This kind of chrono map would be more useful in a new city in which I don't know that a place 0.2 mi away to the west involves crossing an interstate. In a setting I'm familiar with, it's probably not particularly useful on mobile (given the limited dimensions for showing points and text labels), but could be great on print displays. It'd allow designers to show geospatial/time info without also having to render a full map.

On the topic of Yelp and other listing services, maybe some refinements could be made to make lists more geospatially useful. No reason why the list view has to show just distance, rather than time traveled. Or to include a filter option for direction, so that I can just see things west or south of me. It's pretty frustrating sometimes having to switch back and forth between list and map.

26
sytelus 8 hours ago 0 replies      
This is good idea but could be done differently. One major issue is that time is not only the optimization criteria. For example, if there are two places both 30 minutes away but one requires me to take tons of turns through narrow streets while other is straight forward highway driving then I would chose the later. Hack I would later even if cost was 25% more. Others may have some other criteria, for example, eating near river shore instead of in dirty back alley.

The bottom line is that you can't just throwaway physical maps. One way to marry your idea in physical may might be to color code places according to how far they are.

27
zeppelin101 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Truly an impressive concept, but I didn't find it to be particularly accurate in Los Angeles. I searched for Mexican food near me and nearly all it could find were Chipotle locations. While I like Chipotle, this isn't quite ready for primetime. Not sure where they're pulling the restaurant data from, but it definitely isn't Google Maps, nor Yelp.
28
rkuykendall-com 10 hours ago 0 replies      
This is going to be fantastic for upper Manhattan. Google Maps / Yelp don't understand that going north-south in Manhattan is so much easier than going east/west. A place can be 10x further away in miles, but still be easier and faster to get to.
29
piinbinary 3 hours ago 0 replies      
For food, I'd like a map that allows me to minimize the sum of time spent traveling and time spent waiting in line.
30
reaperducer 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Good for initial decision making, but worthless for actually helping someone get somewhere, which is the function of a map. Perhaps this needs a different name.
31
erikb 9 hours ago 1 reply      
I've met with people from the Berlin mapbox team and feel they are a nice bunch.

However this map idea also reflects my core impression. Really smart people that provide constant high quality content (just look at the blog itself, how it's designed, and the other posts), but not really a disruptive spirit.

Sie sind nicht der Elefant im Porzelanladen, you could say. That is their strength and their weakness.

32
npsimons 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Something similar, but simpler: https://www.freemaptools.com/how-far-can-i-travel.htm

Very useful in constraining a search area based on how far you're willing to commute when looking for a home.

33
sirmike_ 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Personally this is not how I think about this kind of concept divorced from the geography. But am glad there are tools to help express how I want to use GIS info! https://boundlessgeo.com/ is a highly customizable open source suite for GIS data as well.
34
padobson 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd like to see a version of this where you can input a list of errands - work, groceries, daycare, gas, gym - and it distills all the travel into a single dot. You pick the dot with the least amount of time and it gives you a list of locations in the order you should travel.
35
abpavel 1 hour ago 0 replies      
In .. 7 .. minutes you wi reach your deatination .. in shady alley behind the dumpster. But hey, it's close!

Cool idea though.

36
Sniffnoy 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Of course, distance on this map corresponds to travel time only so long as one of the points is the center; for a multi-leg trip, it still essentially requires manual inquiry and comparison.
37
rodolphoarruda 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Refreshed my memory about when I was calling this "mobility circles" back in 2011. http://blog.rodolphoarruda.pro.br/2011/05/os-tres-circulos-d... (portuguese)
38
justifier 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I worked in a hostel for years and Europeans often noted how funny it was that people from the states referred to distance in regards to time

ie, an 8 hour drive, or 20 minute walk

It was always fun to sit around and speculate as to why

39
Sir_Cmpwn 15 hours ago 0 replies      
It'd be cool to see a similar map at relativistic scales that shows the relationship between travel time for different speeds and the elapsed time at the origin and destination.
40
cprayingmantis 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I like your idea but as vizs go it's a bit misguided. Something 4 rings out in one direction and 5 rings out in another would be hard to compare at a glance. Instead you could make a directionless viz that's basically a bar graph that's just as useful if your primary concern is distance in minutes.
41
quickthrower2 10 hours ago 0 replies      
If you only care about time then direction is irrelevant. In which case just listing the restaurants in order of travel time would be better.

What would be cool is instead of time you have a score that takes into account time, cost (do I need an uber or will a bus do?) and variance (traffic delay probability)

42
StringyBob 12 hours ago 3 replies      
A pet project I've wanted to do for ages is to hack up a very high-detail (factoring in every road/footpath) isochrone map centred around my home, using openstreetmap data and render the result for a printshop at e.g. 600dpi to create a high quality map/poster

Any suggestions for the best (open) software to achieve this?

43
pinot 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Searching for pho gets you photography... kind of annoying :)
44
dgyes 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I am finding it useful in realizing that some restaurants, stores are actually closer than assumed. This visual removing roads, hills is useful. It would be helpful to be able to toggle a normal map with all points, not just the selected on.
45
TearsInTheRain 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I have been waiting for something like this for housing searches. Suprisingly hard to search within a specific commute time rather than search by neighborhood
46
munro 15 hours ago 1 reply      
I wonder if it would be readable to overlay the distance map with the street map, and connect the two with a line.
47
amai 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I want to see such a map around every apartment for rent.
48
ocdtrekkie 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I haven't heard much about Mapbox before. Where do they get their data? Do they buy it from another company or actually do the mapping themselves?
49
wutbrodo 11 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a really cool idea but the live demo won't load for me when I put an address in. Anyone else getting this to work on Chrome (61.0)/Linux?
50
graphememes 7 hours ago 0 replies      
It looks like a step backward from it's "prior art" that was installed in Oakland.
51
PascLeRasc 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I think this is wonderful. I remember when people said talking about how far something is in time units was a "Pittsburgh thing" ;)
52
VintageCool 13 hours ago 2 replies      
My searches for food in Bellevue, WA found a Thai restaurant that closed 6 years ago (Tewada Thai), and a Mexican restaurant that left 2 years ago (Tres Hermanos).
53
sengork 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Interesting to see Melbourne Australia in some of the maps.
54
udfalkso 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Very neat idea!

I can't seem to run a search in my location in NY. "Find Me" changes the address but the results are stuck in Seattle. I can't seem to change the query term either.

55
iamleppert 12 hours ago 0 replies      
It would be cool if the directionality of the unit circle (northing/heading) changed based upon gyro orientation, when viewed on a mobile device.
56
panic 14 hours ago 0 replies      
This is really cool! I wonder what the other boundaries on the map (road, neighborhood, city, etc.) would look like when projected onto the time view.
57
brosky117 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I've never seen an isochronic map before. Those are legit!
58
redthrowaway 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I actually think this is a step too far, conceptually. The isochrone map actually maps better to how I think about travel, and I would find it much more useful.
59
goodoldboys 12 hours ago 0 replies      
This is fantastic - both in usefulness and in design. Very well done!
60
alphaalpha101 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I think this would be far more useful as an overlay over a physical map than just entirely replacing one.

By that, I mean.. think of isobars.

61
dcgoss 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Clever title!
62
pfarnsworth 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I had this idea 15 years ago, although I was thinking you could manipulate the visual distance on the map to make it look physically closer, kind of like a topological map. It would take the current traffic, etc to take into account how close things were in time vs distance.

But I was never smart enough to implement it. This goes a bit along the way but hopefully someone comes along and implements that, I think I would find it very useful.

63
rmdundon 15 hours ago 2 replies      
Interesting concept. I like the overlay idea, but I think simply having that as a standalone map would not be useful in other areas where distance as the crow flies time traveled. Areas with large bodies of water (like adjacent peninsulas), mountainous areas or areas with strange road infrastructure (Some parts of Virginia).

Nonetheless, an interesting concept!

64
DonHopkins 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm surprised nobody's mentioned Chris Lightfoot's beautiful interactive time travel maps that he did with MySociety and Stamen Design:

http://v1.stamen.com/clients/mysociety.html

MySociety Travel Time Maps

Interactive maps of travel time and housing prices in London

MySociety, an NGO which builds websites that give people simple, tangible benefits in the civic and community aspects of their lives, came to Stamen with a remit to explore two fascinating datasets: median prices of homes throughout London, and the time it takes to travel from one place to another throughout the city.

https://www.mysociety.org/2007/03/05/more-travel-time-maps-a...

https://www.mysociety.org/2007/03/05/real-time-travel-maps/

Chris Lightfoot (4 August 1978 11 February 2007) was an English scientist and political activist. He was the first developer, with Tom Steinberg, at e-democracy charity mySociety.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Lightfoot

Sometimes, its more useful to know a journey time than it is to know the distance.

Thats why people often refer to an hours commute rather than 40 miles.

Mapumental is a beautiful tool to show public transport travel times, from or to a chosen postcode, on a timebanded map. These can be embedded in websites, apps or online tools, or used for internal research purposes.

Transit-time maps, also known as isochrone maps, are not a new idea: there are examples dating back hundreds of years. But the online technologies behind Mapumental are new and have unleashed a great many possibilities for all kinds of users.

https://www.mysociety.org/better-cities/mapumental/

Mapumental developed the project (site currently down for maintainance):

http://www.mapumental.com/

Stamen Design has done lots of really cool stuff with maps:

http://v1.stamen.com/

65
EGreg 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Why not just have a list sorted by distance or that same travel time? The concentric circles seem to make it more difficult to browse.

For an example, go to https://groups.do , create an account (can be fake) and then click New Group, select some Dining activity and see the restaurants pop up sorted by distance. Done.

66
k2xl 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm getting 403 responses, hence the map isn't loading for me, anyone have some interesting screenshots of it working?
67
dionidium 12 hours ago 0 replies      
It's also kind of interesting that you can draw some pretty strong inferences about neighborhoods once all the geographic cruft is wiped away. For example, from where I'm sitting in Midtown, Manhattan's east-side retail development bias is clearly revealed by a search for "Starbucks:"

https://imgur.com/0jXYeRW

If you center on the Central West End in St. Louis, you can clearly see that development has mostly happened in the western suburbs:

https://imgur.com/yxnVkiK

68
johansch 12 hours ago 0 replies      
A de-cluttered version of this would work great in a car/auto context. "Show me nearby supermarkets"
69
aaroninsf 13 hours ago 0 replies      
As a user, I would prefer two options: an isochrone preserving relevant geometry geography and transit a relative time ordering like this, but with the X and Y dimensions subject to change based on my current interests.

I.e. I appreciate radius from center as a very useful representation of travel time.

But I would liberate X and Y to be things such as rating and cost (to give two likely examples).

Once you distort space so you might as well go all-in (in this view) and let it pack in two more dimensions.

The resulting clusterings would be very interesting and useful I imagine.

70
wavefunction 14 hours ago 3 replies      
Removing the geography seems great until you are trying to cross rivers or highways.
71
t_serpico 12 hours ago 0 replies      
+1 for title
72
amelius 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Come on, this is just a simple idea with lots of prior art. Nothing to brag about (as the title does) or to build a business around, as anybody can make such maps.
16
Inception Drive: A Compact, Infinitely Variable Transmission for Robotics ieee.org
105 points by mcspecter  11 hours ago   38 comments top 11
1
Animats 3 hours ago 1 reply      
This is cute, but the use case in robotics is questionable. A variable ratio transmission for a robot seems to solve a problem nobody has. Electric motor control today is able to do that job over a wide torque and speed range. From drones to electric cars to Diesel-electric locomotives, nobody uses variable-speed gearboxes much any more. There are many robot gearboxes, but I've never heard of one with a shifter. Machine Design has ads for robot gearboxes, including ads from Harmonic Drive, but they're all fixed ratio.

This thing would need a second motor to adjust the speed change, with an encoder, plus encoders on the input and output ends of the transmission. Something has to control all that.

If you need sudden bursts of high torque, overload the motor while monitoring temperature. You can run electric motors far above their continuous rating for brief periods, and if temperature is monitored, this is safe. That's how Tesla's "launch mode" works.

Not seeing the use case for this thing in robotics.

2
bullfightonmars 9 hours ago 2 replies      
It almost looks like they combined a CVT and a planetary gear.

For those saying it has too many moving parts, consider the number of parts found in an 11-speed internally geared hub on a bicycle [1]

I would be really curious to see if this inception drive could be an alternative to internally geared bike hubs.

[1] https://www.sheldonbrown.com/alfine-11.html#details

3
ggm 8 hours ago 2 replies      
Like a lot of mechanical contrivences, if you come from a world of digital 'machines' you're tempted to say but F R I C T I O N.. The thing is that clutches, gears, back-chatter, teeth wear, this is all bread-and-butter to mechanical engineers, this stuff has been well known for years. If these people have managed to package things into an assembly which is tractable, repairable, can be scaled, and suits their purpose I say hats (and spare arms, and feet) off to them.

I suspect if you went to the room of clockwork/gears in Musee des arts et metiers in paris, you could find much of this there, but the point is, you might not find all of it, as one composition.

Thats what I love about mecha: its often like rotational lego, you add it in the right combinations and it does stuff.

(the one which gets me, is the use of diagonally mounted rotators as 'wheels' which can drive sideways: you see that on some forklifts. Its like michael jackson moonwalking for machinery...)

4
mikepurvis 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't think the article mentions this, but being able to vary speed like this leads to some interesting possibilities around centralizing power plants for example, being able to do a diff-drive or mecanum/omni platform with just a single large motor rather than multiple smaller ones.

The responsiveness probably wouldn't be there for this application, but I'm also curious about whether this could be made to work for a longer range gas/hybrid quadcopter.

5
jcims 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Trying to devise a mechanism like this has consumed many many hours while mowing the grass in rural Ohio. I'm a bit too much of a perfectionist and probably would have discarded this idea even though it seems to be perfectly serviceable for a number of applications. The segmented belt is interesting.

Unfortunately my search has yielded nothing but the same topological(?) traps over and over again to the point where now I just listen to podcasts and entertain my wife with seemingly unprovoked laughter as I chase my grass mulcher around the yard.

6
kazinator 9 hours ago 0 replies      
This seems like the mechanism can be summarized as working by precession.

The inner pulley wobbles inside the flexible V-belt and is induced into rotating by precession.

Separation of the inner pulleys controls the effective precession cylinder's inner diameter, the variation of which is accomodated by flexing of the belt: how far it is "squeezed off" and displaced from its outer mount.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Precession_(mechanical)

Note in the precession animation here how the fast spinning green arrow can be regarded as an input (the wiggle), and the slow spinning of the square-centered blue wheel as an output: there is a many-to-one reduction here, effectively forming a transmission.

Not to be confused with: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Precession

7
XorNot 7 hours ago 0 replies      
How long before you can print the parts for a low strength one off of thingiverse?
8
bittercynic 10 hours ago 3 replies      
Maybe the greatest feature is that it can have a very high ratio while avoiding Harmonic Drive related IP.
9
cjsawyer 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Nice design, but I wonder about wear issues. With that many moving parts I dont imagine it could be made durable with any cheap material.
10
PaulHoule 10 hours ago 5 replies      
It is hard to believe it is really efficient seeing the description. I have driven cars with CVT and not been impressed.
11
imaginenore 10 hours ago 1 reply      
It's clever. But so many moving parts, and doesn't look very sturdy, nor efficient.
17
TriggerHappy, Autonomous, and Disobedient: Nordbat and Mission Command in Bosnia thestrategybridge.org
37 points by joostdevries  7 hours ago   4 comments top 2
1
siliconc0w 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Sending in peacekeepers who cannot shoot back is absurd. It's political cowardice at it's worst. We really need to figure out this world governance thing and how to effectively rebuild rogue nation states. I'm not sure what that looks like, but probably not the UN.
2
folli 1 hour ago 1 reply      
The tough part is to find the right balance between top down management that usually results in paralyzing micromanagment, preventing quick and dynamic reaction, and a possible loss of control over the single acting units turning into rogue actors.

As the article correctly states, this is an issue of trust, but trust can only be earned with experience, which is lacking in such a complex environment.

18
Google Is Close to Buying HTC Assets to Bolster Hardware bloomberg.com
262 points by mcone  13 hours ago   194 comments top 26
1
post_break 12 hours ago 9 replies      
Remember when google bought Motorola and we thought the moto x line was going to become the new nexus? And then they sold to lenovo and it's kind of been down hill in terms of software updates. Let's see what google extracts out of HTC and then sells to someone else with this company.
2
cromwellian 12 hours ago 2 replies      
When Google bought Motorola, Android was under serious assault from patent trolling, and the move looked to most people to be mainly defensive to quickly build up a defensive warchest. It's my impression that Google never intended to become a serious competitor in the handset market, perhaps for fear of stepping on the toes of its partners like Samsung, so it was content to let Motorola operate as an independent entity as if Google were a holding company.

This is just my personal opinion with no more knowledge than anyone else, but this HTC acquisition looks different than Motorola. It has the hallmarks of an acqui-hire, and which implies Google may no longer be content to just sit by as a cornucopia of OEMs ship commodity HW using off the shelf stuff and small tweaks, as that's never going to pull the market forward like Apple can do with vertical integration.

3
AdmiralAsshat 10 hours ago 2 replies      
This would have been great if Google had bought HTC about three years ago, back when it was making the HTC One M7. The company was struggling then, but still had plenty of prestige.

The problem now is that HTC has been sinking for so long that most of its famous engineers and personnel have long since jumped ship, so I'm not even sure Google will get much out of this acqui-hire. I would assume that none of this involves the Vive, as that seems too profitable right now for HTC to sell.

Don't get me wrong, if we got another HTC Google Play Edition phone using an HTC 10 successor (really don't like the U11, go back to the HTC One design template, please), that would be awesome. But I'm not holding my breath.

4
gorbachev 12 hours ago 5 replies      
I think this is a good deal for nobody but those HTC engineers Google is going to hire, at least short term.

The $330M price is so low none of the HTC investors are going to make any money on it. HTC's mobile phone business has been unprofitable for years and Google won't make any money on it either.

Who knows maybe Google is planning on using the HTC business unit as a sort of an R&D lab for Android hardware, with no real plan on making it a traditionally profitable business.

5
georgeburdell 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Google is also poaching quite a few Apple hardware engineers if my group of acquaintances is any evidence. I wonder if they're going full on into hardware production with tight integration like on the iPhone?
6
tacomonstrous 12 hours ago 1 reply      
What's interesting about this is that HTC has a 10 year licensing deal with Apple that expires in 2022 [1]

Wonder if that deal came with a poison pill. I doubt Apple wants to be a counterparty to a mobile licensing deal with Google at this point.

[1] https://www.engadget.com/2012/11/10/apple-htc-patent-settlem...

7
mc42 12 hours ago 3 replies      
What leaves me curious is what's to happen of the Vive hardware line that Valve sells made by HTC.
8
kpwags 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Until Google is willing to truly support their Pixel/Nexus devices for more than 2 years, I'm not sure what difference this will really make. Not that Samsung and others are all that great, but I guess I had hope that Google might do more with their branded phones.
9
gigatexal 12 hours ago 2 replies      
Makes sense. Own the hardware and the software and create a seamless experience. It's what Apple has been doing for years. Hopefully, they can pull that off if that's indeed the aim: I might consider a Google/HTC device if they pull it off and heck it might be running Fuschia and not android and that'd be compelling to me.
10
ihsw2 11 hours ago 2 replies      
My biggest complaints about the Pixel line is are price and availability -- are these going to be addressed, or will Pixel phones continue to be overpriced and out of stock?

It seems to me that Google are intentionally sabotaging the success of their Pixel phone lineup. I would hate for the Nexus 6P to be my last Google phone.

11
Jayakumark 8 hours ago 3 replies      
They should instead buy a SoC company like mediatek and build own SoC competing apple AX series and Qualcomm 800 series with additional processing engine like neural engine etc.. also they should buy imagination technologies previous GPU technology supplier for apple which is already up for sale

This could greatly enhance android and they can start selling SoC along with software. If not they are dependent on Qualcomm to catch up with apple.

12
dragon_greens 12 hours ago 7 replies      
Mistakes are meant to be repeated. /s

Still, an open question is why would they feel the need to buy an exisiting company? Couldnt they simply recreate a hardware company from scratch with their resources? HTC is not exactly a world leader or some unique innovator here.

13
asafira 6 hours ago 2 replies      
A lot of people are discussing this purchase as a way to bolstering Google's hardware R&D prowess, which I sort of don't understand: what are some of the most impressive phone innovations that came from HTC in the past 5 years?
14
thinbeige 11 hours ago 1 reply      
> Google has tried to buy its way into hardware twice before, albeit more expensively.

Google bought Danger which got Android. Motorola was a failure yes. So not twice but once.

15
duxup 11 hours ago 0 replies      
From a selfish standpoint it would be nice for me if they could get back into phones and offer a mid range pixel (call it whatever) type device that gets regular security updates and etc.
16
randall 10 hours ago 0 replies      
It's interesting to me that a tweet from a single well respected journalist (@evleaks) can set off a huge chain reaction of coverage.
17
eli_gottlieb 11 hours ago 1 reply      
And just a year after canceling Project Ara!
18
throwaway613834 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Is this for their new OS? (Fuchsia?)
19
neves 12 hours ago 1 reply      
So, can someone explain me why they sold Motorola? I can't understand their strategy.
20
jonthegiant 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Good
21
andreiw 5 hours ago 0 replies      
And we all know how well that worked out for Motorola Mobility. Especially for its fungible "people resources".
22
samstave 11 hours ago 3 replies      
Serious question:

I have an iPhone 6+ -- and it is 90% great. (some UX choices suck on a bigger device, I cant hit certain buttons when one-handing the device)

I really like the essential....

I hear good things about the Pixels.

I would only up to the iPhone X for water resistence...

They are all nearly $1K

(I worked in Intel's game developer relations lab in the 90s when they were trying to prove that a <$1k computer was even possible (Celeron's with SIMD)...

Now its like a phreaking phone is going to be hitting/pushing the ~$1K mark....

Should I get a new phone, and if so, of those three, which would be best?

23
mtgx 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm surprised Google would be interested in "only 100 engineers" from HTC that I almost don't see the point. Are those engineers that important to Google's smartphone hardware efforts? Is it that much easier to acquihire them for $300 million than hire them one by one?
24
binthere 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Recommend buying?
25
baybal2 11 hours ago 0 replies      
>Google will keep the HTC brand and take on about 100 HTC engineers

Only 100 engineers? They are not planning on retaining HTC's phone unit any much functional.

26
dhosek 12 hours ago 1 reply      
It's about time! Google should have bought a handset maker years ago! It can't fail!
19
Travel Time London Underground Map tom-carden.co.uk
34 points by JetSpiegel  8 hours ago   4 comments top 4
1
peterburkimsher 56 minutes ago 0 replies      
I rewrote Logo to make maps like this from a spreadsheet.

Then I made a subway-style map of the Taiwanese train network, where the distance between each station corresponds to the number of minutes it takes a train to travel that distance.

http://peterburk.github.io/tra/

I could do the same for high-speed trains, but there was no interest from the train company so I kind of left the project behind. I still use it for myself though, because other maps are worse.

2
andy_ppp 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I think the number of changes should have to do with the overall time. Just drawing concentric circles from a location is very mileading.

Just as an additional data point in Tokyo you can guarantee the time it takes to change platforms as the distance is measured, Im not sure anyone has the walking distance between the Victoria and Central lines at Oxford Street (etc.).

3
s0rce 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Very cool, I've always wanted to see this for areas where you can compare driving and transit. The Bay area during rush hour with all the bridges would be interesting.
4
OscarTheGrinch 51 minutes ago 0 replies      
Oh, my dislexia thought this was a time travel map.
20
Fixing the Brain Damage Caused by the I.P.O. Process nytimes.com
129 points by KKKKkkkk1  14 hours ago   71 comments top 12
1
mbesto 12 hours ago 3 replies      
Good analysis from Matt Levine on how Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings Corp (SPAC trying to eliminate the headache of IPOs) is actually more expensive than going public.

> A final thing about SPACs is that they are so expensive. Banks charge a rack rate of about 7 percent for initial public offerings, though big sexy tech IPOs tend to be done more cheaply. SPAC sponsors compensate themselves rather more lavishly. Hedosophia's sponsor -- a Cayman Islands company owned by Palihapitiya and his co-founder -- invested $25,000 to found the SPAC. In exchange for that nominal payment, and their work on finding a company to take public, they get 20 percent of the SPAC's stock. (They are also are putting in another $12 million or so to buy warrants in connection with its IPO.) A 20 percent fee for taking a company public is just ... more ... than a 7 percent fee. And that's not even counting the 5.5 percent fee that Credit Suisse charged for taking Hedosophia public! Something like a quarter of every dollar that investors are putting into Hedosophia is going to compensate financiers for doing the work of (ultimately) taking a unicorn public, which is a funny way to make that process more efficient.

https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-09-15/icos-vcs-...

2
valuearb 2 hours ago 0 replies      
"Currently, an investor who owns one share for a month, or even a day, has the same voting power as someone who has owned a share for years. Mr. Ries wants what he calls tourists short-term shareholders to have less voting power than long-term shareholders, whom he calls citizens of the republic. Over time, shareholders of companies on the LTSE would gain more votes based on their length of ownership."

This is really a poorly thought out idea that's hugely counter-productive. You own your shares for 10 years and have mucho voting rights, but need to sell them. Now you have to sell them to someone who will get virtually no voting rights at the time of purchase. So all this does is make your shares way less valuable. It will end up creating "phantom sale" markets where you continue to serve as the shareholder of record, but agree to vote your mucho votes the way the purchaser wants you to.

The real problem isn't short term holders. The real problem is that shareholders aren't owners. The SEC won't let shareholders pick the boards of their own companies. Companies are owned by their managers now, and they are the short term thinkers using their incentive stock options to drive their decisions.

3
jshaqaw 13 hours ago 2 replies      
Ask any of these CEOs if it would be cool to hear from there direct reports once a year or once a decade. This is just a whining plea for no accountability from managers. The right to execute a long term vision has to be earned by effective communication and superior execution. Just look at Amazon. No quarterly profits and it is the darling of a Wall Street. You dont get to flounder around without a clear strategy or results and then complain people want to know every 90 days where things stand.
4
warcher 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I feel like.... maybe some of these guys are feeling the hangover from other people's money, and trying to have it both ways.

It's far from easy to bootstrap, but you basically solve all the problems these guys are talking about if you can survive it. The problem, of course, is that your unit economics have to work, you have to have the personal patience and resources to get to profitability, and you have to survive a potential funded competitor using their financial leverage to sell at or near a loss and torch your position in the market.

So a lot of folks take the money, but you take the money, you gotta pay it back. An IPO is ultimately just kicking the can down the road, and taking on a new set of guys that are going to cash out your venture debt for public debt. Who also expect to be paid back. I don't see a way out of this devil's bargain short of, you know, delivering on the milestones you talked about in your pitch deck, or in your roadshow.

But spare me the crocodile tears, huh? You took the money, you gotta pay back the money. Plus interest. And a lot of these IPOs, they had to make big promises when they went public-- big multiples, big projections, to support big valuations. Now you are sitting on a big pile of teachers' pension money and you have to deliver.

5
mathattack 12 hours ago 4 replies      
Here's my problem with the Long Term Stock Exchange idea...

What makes the tech echosystem thrive is the flexible capital and labor model. Anyone can get a little money to chase their idea. The small ideas get starved for capital and labor until they get market validation. Then the capital and labor chases them. And that's how great companies grow so quickly in a land of startups.

Anything that restricts mobility of labor hinders this and should be fought. (Example: Non-competes, cost-prohibitive real estate, etc)

Anything that restricts mobility of capital should be fought too. To have capital available for great ideas, it should be easy to flee ideas that aren't working out. (This is also why share buybacks from mature companies are fine - the capital get recycled)

6
bedhead 11 hours ago 1 reply      
My prediction is that Chamath will use this SPAC to purchase Social Capital's VC investments. The conflict of interests are simply too great and I've seen this stuff before - it's almost always by design.
7
neilwilson 11 hours ago 2 replies      
Or perhaps we can drop the insane valuations of service companies whose value is in their staff not their assets, just pay people properly in the first place and have companies go back to earning profit and paying dividends to investors.

Or is that too rad for Silicon Valley?

I know that we're all supposed to live off pension funds, but the idea is that is after retirement not before through selling over inflated stock to them.

8
mikikian 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Color me skeptical and maybe one of the attorneys on HN could jump in, but solving the brain damage of an IPO reason seems like a red herring to me. SPAC could have value in a down market, when the IPO market is closed and a company is forced to raise a down round. Ratchets would kick in and founders would lose equity. If the SPAC, after fees, is able to offer a higher valuation to the company then its best alternative, it might actually work to benefit the company.

I haven't seen anyone comment about this down market scenario this past week and wondering if someone smarter than me had any thoughts?

9
throwaway2048 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Why are reverse mergers not more popular? Seems like there is quite an opening for somebody to spin up assetless shell companies, take them public and then sell them off the private companies that want to go public, and denying market makers and underwriters their huge rake, and sidestep most of the other issues surrounding an IPO.
10
lifeisstillgood 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Want long term investors in your company - why not offer extra voting rights after specified periods of holding registered shares - one year one vote, 10 years 5 votes.

There are many things companies can do to encourage long term, stockholder engagement - starting a random new stock exchange seems to be a long way down the list

11
kecoco0207 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Other solutions are currently in place to solve the IPO and liquidity problem. EquityZen is a platform that lets employees sell shares before IPO:

https://equityzen.com/?utm_source=news.ycombinator.com%2Fite...

12
brndnmtthws 13 hours ago 3 replies      
The ICO funding model seems much better: complete transparency, a truly free market, it's very difficult to manipulate the currency (i.e., magically issuing new coins aka share dilution), and it's easy to get around the stupidity of the US gov by incorporating somewhere with more liberal laws like, say, Switzerland.

Why would you want to business by the rules in the US when the rules only exist to prop up rent seekers and the ruling elite?

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