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1
Deep learning algorithm diagnoses skin cancer as well as seasoned dermatologists stanford.edu
400 points by capocannoniere  7 hours ago   206 comments top 35
1
rscho 5 hours ago 17 replies      
As MDs, I think it is very clear that all of us who understand even the slightest about computers and tech see that machine learning is the way to go. Medicine is ideally suited to ML, and in time, it will absolutely shine in that domain.

Now for people eagerly awaiting the MDs downfall, I think you are precipitating things a bit. We all tend to believe in what we do, and I concur in saying that expert systems will replace doctor judgement in well-defined, selected applications in the decade to come. But thinking that the whole profession will be impacted as hard as factory workers, with lower wages and supervision-only roles, is not realistic. What will be lacking is the automation of data collection, because you seem to underestimate by far the technical, legal, and ethical difficulties in getting the appropriate feedback to make ML appliances efficient. I firmly believe in reinforcement learning, and as long as the feedback system will be insufficient, doctors will prevail, highly-paid jerks or not.

I myself am an anesthesiologist, a profession most people think of as a perfect use case for those techs (as I do), and wonder why we haven't been replaced already. The reality is that the job is currently far beyond what an isolated system could do. We already have trouble in making cars follow the right lane in non-standard settings. I hope people realize that in each and every medical field, the number and complexity of factors to control is far greater than driving in the right lane.

People who drive the medical system have no sense of technology. They cannot even envision the requirements for machines to become efficient in medicine. That is why we are seeing quite a lot of efficient isolated systems pop up, but we won't be seeing fully integrated, doctor-replacement systems for a long time. This will require a new generation of clinical practitioners, who will understand how to make the field truly available to machine efficiency.

2
brandonb 6 hours ago 5 replies      
This is the second major study applying deep learning to medicine, after Google Brain's paper in JAMA in December, and there are several more in the pipeline.

If you've developed expertise in deep learning and want to apply your skills to healthcare in a startup... please email me: brandon@cardiogr.am. My co-founder and I are ex-Google machine learning engineers, and we've published work at a NIPS workshop showing you can detect abnormal heart rhythms, high blood pressure, and even diabetes from wearable data alone. We're working on medical journal publications now based on an N=10,000 study with UCSF Cardiology.

Your skills can really make a difference in people's lives. The time is now.

3
iamleppert 6 hours ago 10 replies      
Honestly, I can't wait for deep learning and computational methods to dethrone doctors and upend the medical profession. In the next five years, expect a computer to be able to predict most diseases a lot better than doctors can -- and with none of the attitude, high cost, or inconvenience.

Mind you I'm not talking about researchers, who will always have a job. I'm talking about practitioners. I've had a medical condition from birth and I've had to deal with my share of doctors. Outside of the insurance system, they are easily the most unpleasant part of the whole ordeal to deal with. There are some gems, but most you will encounter are pompous, arrogant, and "commanding" -- when they enter a room, they are flanked by "residents", "assistants" and generally give off this air of superiority which is really just because of their route experience. The whole thing comes off more as a performance than anything else. Worse, they often get mad when you question them or ask them to explain themselves, or how they arrived at a conclusion.

Good luck finding work when an algorithm can do your job better than you. It's only a matter of time.

4
romaniv 6 hours ago 3 replies      
Systems that outperform doctors in some specific area of diagnostics aren't new. One of the earliest examples of such systems is Mycin [1], which also was developed at Stanford, but around forty-something years ago. Never went to production because of practical issues that have nothing to do with its accuracy. It's interesting that all of those "practical issues" are no longer relevant, and yet we don't see a widespread use of similar software.

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

5
ChuckMcM 8 minutes ago 0 replies      
I read the headline and wondered how ml could train the difference between a new dermatologist and a seasoned one. Cancer I get, looks totally different than non-cancerous skin :)

That said, pulling this is one of the best ML applications to date. Recognizing cats or scenery doesn't seem nearly as useful

6
btilly 6 hours ago 1 reply      
This reminds me of a talk that I saw about wavelet based algorithms in the 1990s for detecting tumors in mammograms.

The algorithms found most of the tumors that humans had missed, with similar false positive rates. BUT humans refused to work with the software!

The problem was that the software was very, very good at catching tumors in the easy to read areas of the breast, and had lots of false positives in more complicated areas. Humans spent most of their effort on the more complicated areas. Every tumor that the software found that the human didn't simply felt like the human hadn't paid attention - it was obvious once you looked at it. The mistakes felt like stupid typos do to a programmer. But the software constantly screwed up where you needed skill. The result is that humans learned quickly to not trust the software.

7
nbmh 4 hours ago 1 reply      
This is interesting and impressive work, however, I noticed that they compared the algorithm's performance to dermatologists looking at a photo of a skin lesion. This seems like a straw man comparison because any dermatologist would presumably be looking directly at a patient and would benefit from a 3D view, touch, pain reception etc. I realize that this was the only feasible way to conduct this study, but still suggests that an algorithm looking at a photo cannot match the performance of a dermatologist looking directly at a patient.
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transcranial 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Unfortunately the paper is in Nature, paywalled, instead of Arxiv, and data/code/model/weights inaccessible. While publishing in Science/Nature/NEJM/JAMA is definitely the right approach for deep learning to gain validity in the medical community, faster progress could be gained by having a more open platform, with constant and real-time validation with more data, more medical centers and clinics. The reason progress in DL has been so breathtaking is in no small part due to the culture of openness and sharing.
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doesnotexist 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Eric Topol puts this up there as the most impressive AI/medicine publication to date. https://twitter.com/EricTopol/status/824318469873111040

The paper ends with "deep learning is agnostic to the type of image data used and could be adapted to other specialties, including ophthalmology, otolaryngology, radiology and pathology."

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caycep 37 minutes ago 0 replies      
I wouldn't be surprised at tasks that involve image recognition - these include dermatology (visual inspection) and pathology. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if CNN's were better at pathology as every time I looked at microscope slides, there is so much "visual clutter" in a typical tissue specimen that I'm sure I was missing a ton of information on the slide.
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ThomPete 1 hour ago 0 replies      
As someone with two melanomas under my belt (and more than a 1000 moles) what I really want is the ability to do a mass scan of my body also further down at the cellular level not just looking at the moles on the surface.

I am lucky enough to have Sloan Memorial as my hospital and no other than Dr. Marghoob one of the leading experts and I actually have a scan of my body made with 50 or so High Definition Cameras (I am litterally a 3d model in blue speedos and with a white net on my head).

They have a new system where they can look at the cell level without doing a biopsy and actually found my melanoma before they did the biopsy (i.e. they knew it was melanoma before they did biopsy) but it's really a cumbersome process and I had 6 experts studying and working to position that laser properly.

So the real challenge today is how do we get the data into the system.

12
rawnlq 6 hours ago 0 replies      
There's an app used by over a million doctors called "Figure 1" that allows them to share medical images for crowdsourced diagnosis and treatment of rare cases.

I wonder when we will get to a point where machine learning can help there?

[1]https://figure1.com/medical-cases

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calebgilbert 6 hours ago 0 replies      
This is not hard to imagine at all. I know that there must be some absolutely excellent doctors out there, but I don't trust the bottom 80% of doctors much at all, and honestly would rather have an algorithm most of the time, especially starting off. The lack of robust consumer level 'medical doctor apps' is one of the biggest mysteries to me.
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lucidrains 6 hours ago 2 replies      
This is why we need a platform for these models asap. I would totally download this app today and use it regardless of what the FDA thinks.
15
habosa 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Diagnosis based on image recognition is something machines are already very good at, even without recent deep learning techniques (although I am sure they will help).

For instance in college I worked with a radiologist to write an image-recognition program to identify osteoporosis from 3D MRI data. We used some super-basic image segmentation algorithms to identify the bounds of the bone layer that we cared about. From there a model was able to determine mechanical properties of the bone and therefore make an assessment with much more granularity than the human eye.

This was a first-year grad student class and I was coming at this totally naive with some Matlab scripts, and we managed to get usable results in weeks.

Here's a sample of that professor's research:https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2926228/

While I am not in the camp of "machines will replace doctors", I think radiology and other similar fields are in for a sea-change in technique and a large reduction in the use of human judgement.

16
hughdbrown 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Can someone clarify for me how the training and testing sets were constructed? One problem is that cancerous and benign skin are unbalanced in a representative population. How was this imbalance handled in testing? How was the testing set constructed? And so on.
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narrator 1 hour ago 0 replies      
So when am I going to get a phone app that I can point at any mole in the privacy of my own home and figure out if it's cancerous or not? Or better yet, what kind of skin condition I have? Think how much money the health care system could save with that.
18
arikrak 1 hour ago 0 replies      
On a related note, does anyone know how IBM's Watson health is doing? They've been developing it for years but I haven't heard much about their results.
19
lscholten 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Great results! Deep learning has been gaining track in other medicine areas as well.

One such task is lung cancer nodule detection from CT scans. A paper I recently co-authored applied many different architectures to this detection and achieved very good results. (https://arxiv.org/pdf/1612.08012.pdf)

The best combination of systems detected cancer nodules which were not even found by four experienced thoracic radiologists.

20
drfritznunkie 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Coming from a family of people in the medical professions, they've all seen reports of how _everything_ is going change in their fields because some new computer program can do X...

To which my father usually mutters something like: "Why fuck are they wasting their time with that? Can't they fix the fucking medical billing system instead?"

Most of the medical professionals I know echo similar sentiments.

21
kevinalexbrown 6 hours ago 1 reply      
One major, major advantage that medical imaging has for deep learning is the similarity of each data point, especially the 'background data.' For instance, human brains typically look very similar across individuals (up to scanning parameter differences), except in the abnormalities - which are often precisely what you want to highlight.

As an example, I recently trained a neural neural network to perform a useful task for our lab using 3 (!) hand-labeled brains.

22
jwtadvice 5 hours ago 0 replies      
In my opinion the way to stage these technologies is not to blitz toward a fully cyborg doctor replacement, but to bolster the capabilities of the doctor with new technology - similar to how calculators did not replace mathematicians (despite historical headlines suggesting this would happen).

Giving a doctor the ability to get a "second opinion" fast and cheaply to a patient is a large boon to medicine, and shouldn't be underestimated. It allows the doctor to deal with all the nuance limited automated tools can not, and gives the MD the ability to check themselves against the computer. If the MD finds themselves disagreeing on something like a skin condition, the feedback can both improve the doctor's service and provide bug information for the code and databases used to train the AI.

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the_watcher 6 hours ago 2 replies      
Telemedicine has a lot of regulatory hurdles to get to market, but initiatives like this are extremely exciting, since they can likely be taken to market in a way that explicitly clarifies that it's not a diagnostic, it's simply a low barrier way to actually get that mole you've got looked at. If you don't have health insurance, you could actually get an idea of how critical it is to get in to see a doctor. That said, the obvious concern would be the extreme cost of a false negative (although the evidence suggests that the algorithm is no more likely to provide one than a doctor, the concern over single accidents caused by self-driving cars, even when the overall rates are far lower makes it pretty clear that the bar for success to the public for non-humans is substantially higher than it is for humans)
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kumarski 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Skin conditions are one of the few modalities where ML make deep sense as a diagnostic.

I think pharmacovigilance is the other area based on my interaction with the industry of folks at pharma and healthcare provider companies who work in ML.

Disclaimer: i run mlweekly.com and help at semantic.md

25
WalterBright 3 hours ago 0 replies      
My (old) dermatologist could spot skin cancer from across the room. I asked him how he could do that, he said he's seen a million of them. It's the same idea as "deep learning".
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yalogin 4 hours ago 0 replies      
These new methods appear to best suited to be used in the pet world sooner as the ethical and legal issues will be a bit less stringent than in a human context. May be that is where things will start to change.
27
EternalData 6 hours ago 0 replies      
This is going to be part of a greater trend of automation starting to affect fields considered to be white collar and paths to prosperity. I think the same is going to happen with financial analysts, entry-level lawyers etc. It'll be interesting to see the political response, especially given how charged the atmosphere has become around "preserving" jobs.
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kafkaesq 6 hours ago 0 replies      
A significant finding, to be sure. But like the paper itself says:

Here we demonstrate classification of skin lesions using a single CNN, trained end-to-end from images directly, using only pixels and disease labels as inputs.

What they achieved was algorithm to classify skin lesions - not perform a "diagnosis" of the overarching pathology, i.e. skin cancer.

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james_niro 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I truly believe with smart algorithms and big data we can change the way we live. Smart medicine, proper diagnoses and early detection of disease we can improve our lives
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trhway 3 hours ago 0 replies      
so, basically while i'm taking shower the HAL ... err ... Google Home cameras in the shower would check for moles development, blood O2 from the color of skin, vascular health from the reaction to the water temperature, pulse from visible pulsations, mental and other conditions from the eyes movements, etc...
31
bluenose69 6 hours ago 0 replies      
What about 3D aspects? The word "bump" is used in most descriptions I've seen online, although I don't know if that is something the doctors consider or just something that's enough to suggest a visit to the doctor.
32
sekou 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Even though diagnosis is only one piece of the puzzle, what I would hope is that this becomes part of the answer to the high cost of healthcare.
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kazinator 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Only as well? Not faster and cheaper?
34
zxcvvcxz 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Quick, someone tell me why doctors won't be obsolete in 20 years!

Geoffrey Hinton believe that we should stop training radiologists now:

https://twitter.com/withfries2/status/791720748624797697?lan...

35
adamnemecek 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Basic income can't come soon enough.
2
Show HN: Invite friends to SSH into your laptop using their GitHub handle gravitational.com
185 points by twakefield  5 hours ago   64 comments top 20
1
aleyan 4 hours ago 5 replies      
Neat.

I use the following incantation when authorizing folks to ssh into my servers via github public keys:

 curl https://github.com/[github name].keys >> ~/.ssh/authorized_keys
[github name] here should be replaced with github username of your friend or colleague. Really handy because I can just authorize them without a human request/response loop and manual key moving. Simple and no external tools needed. Normal caveats about authorizing people apply.

2
twakefield 5 hours ago 2 replies      
Hey HN - This is basically a hosted version of Teleport[0], which may scare some people. We don't store the sessions and you can always self-host if you prefer.

[0] http://gravitational.com/teleport/

3
OJFord 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Would be neat if having done

 teleconsole -i other_users_github_id
my teleconsole session ID would be sent to server along with my Github ID (optionally other user's too) so that they could

 teleconsole -j my_github_id
to join instead of having to share session ID and fumble around with that.

No more/less secure that I can see, but it would be more convenient.

4
vesche 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I suppose this is useful if you have two systems both behind NAT...

I've run into many situations where I'm remote and need to SSH into a NATed machine to fix something, and I typically will SSH reverse tunnel to a VPS.

From the NATed machine:

 ssh -fN -R52222:localhost:22 user@publichost
And then from the public machine:

 ssh user@localhost -p 52222

5
rafadc 4 hours ago 1 reply      
I prefer using tmux for this to be a bit more secure. I wrote a blog post about this [0] since it is a bit of a pain in the ass to set up properly. Maybe you should explore this too for your product.

[0] http://joy.pm/2015/07/11/pairing_over_tmux.html

6
Dangeranger 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Regarding remote pair programming I haven't found a better or faster solution than TMate (https://tmate.io/)

If I am feeling paranoid about the user on the other side, I only share just the read-only link, or the web link.

7
matt_wulfeck 5 hours ago 1 reply      
> ssh-import-I'd gh:my-gh-name

That little command will pull down your GitHub public keys and add them to authorized key file for the user who runs it. Great for setting up new computers. I run it on boot-time for imbedded devices so that I can always access them.

8
chrissnell 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Another way, using only software that you have already: get your friends' public keys and make a burner account on any jointly-reachable server/laptop/whatever and do a follow-the-leader screen:

http://blog.endpoint.com/2009/09/gnu-screen-follow-leader.ht...

9
scandox 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't have friends that know what SSH is. Just wonderful colleagues.
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cfv 4 hours ago 2 replies      
What kind of abuse prevention measures does this have in place? As it stands it looks like a super convenient way to scp garbage into other people's computers and I'm not sure I'm sold on that.
11
jeffheard 3 hours ago 0 replies      
You can use SSH keys for VNC, too. Would be neat to see a PoC that allowed you to invite someone to remote control your computer temporarily via their github handle. https://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=383053
12
giblfiz 3 hours ago 3 replies      
how is

"curl https://www.teleconsole.com/get.sh | sh "

Still considered even a remotely acceptable method for installation?

13
domoritz 1 hour ago 0 replies      
If you only want to share your shell and not allow anyone to send commands, use https://shellshare.net/.
14
e_proxus 4 hours ago 2 replies      
Are there any advantages to using this instead of exposing port 22 temporarily via ngrok advantages adding your friend public key to authorized_keys? (Which has the added advantage of being pure, unmodified SSH)

https://ngrok.com

15
sigjuice 5 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm guessing the SSH session between me and my friend is not encrypted end-to-end because of proxies and what not in between?
16
eof 4 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm confused and have a couple questions:

1. Why would I want someone to ssh into my machine -- at least with the frequency that a service to help me do it is valuable?

2. How is this easier/better than saying 'hey bro whats your ssh pub id? -- eh.. do `cat ~/.ssh/id_rsa.pub`

Over all this seems like a tool that only super technical people would ever use, and for those people adding a key to authorized keys is trivial.

17
Exuma 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Reminds me of tmate
18
bogomipz 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I would be curious to hear anyones feedback on their experience running Teleport in production. I like what I have read on the site and it certainly has some nice features.
19
mschuster91 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Hmm. Seems like all traffic goes through a central proxy server.

Shouldn't it be possible to use the central server only for hole-punching and implement a TCP-over-UDP connection so that the clients can directly communicate with each other? (And don't the major browser vendors already have public NAT-hole-punchers for WebRTC?)

20
problems 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Yeah, what a great idea, let random "cloud" services authenticate who gets to login to your machine!
4
The Steam Controller Configurator's Untapped Power gamasutra.com
131 points by larsiusprime  6 hours ago   72 comments top 8
1
jc4p 5 hours ago 8 replies      
I'm still working my way through this article (after watching the video at the beginning) but one random comment about the Steam Controller I want to drop in:

I use the Steam Link + Steam Controller to play games from my PC in my home office on my TV in my living room, a lot. I would say in the last year I've spent at least 80-100 hours using my Steam Controller in different situations and games.

It's hit or miss in many games, the best experience I've had with it is in Civilization. In some games it's _so_ close to perfect but the game disables mouse-input if you are using a controller, which means you can't use the Steam Controller to its full capability.

All in all, I mostly use my Xbox controllers (connected to my PC via the Microsoft adapter) to play on my Steam Link, mainly because the Steam Controller just feels cheap.

When they first talked about open sourcing all the designs for it I was hoping someone would take the specs and make a all-metal version of the controller, with some more heft.

I love the Steam controller, but it just feels so cheap so that when any growing-pains pains get in my way, it's one more negative against it compared to just using my other controllers.

I may be part of a small niche market but I would gladly pay $150-$250 for a good feeling controller that does exactly what the Steam Controller does. I think if I paid a bit more for it and it felt more premium, I'd be more invested in taking the time to configure it just right.

2
justinclift 6 hours ago 4 replies      
Interesting. Wonder if the PS3 controller will be supported at some point?

I have an old PS3 I've not used in years (stopped using anything Sony when they sued GeoHot). If the controllers for that work with Steam, it might be worth digging them out and putting them to use. :)

* Update: Doing some basic DDG searching shows that it should work. I might as well see if they still hold a charge. ;)

3
wincy 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I like the idea of the steam controller. However, I have a 21 month old and the Steam Controller survived for precisely two days before being broken. My Xbox one controller and PS4 controllers have endured months of baby shenanigans and are fine. It'll take them a few iterations before the can match the quality and durability of the big players in the controller field.
4
Eridrus 5 hours ago 3 replies      
With the not mentioned massive downside: it only works when you distribute your game through Steam.
5
llukas 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I feel like I need PhD for steam controller configuration.

There should be some companion AI app to speed out process of setting this up. ;)

6
okreallywtf 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm typically a keyboard and mouse gamer but I do really like the steam controller. I played psychonauts with it all the way through (having used keyboard and mouse the first time I played it) and I loved it. I didn't do massive customization but I did play with it and I have so far been impressed how good a lot of the default configurations have been.
7
ChrisClark 5 hours ago 0 replies      
That is a very in depth article. Seems like everything you'd ever need to know is there.
8
randomdrake 4 hours ago 2 replies      
I was extremely excited to try out the Steam Controller. I've been a fan of Valve and Steam for a very, very long time. It was a hugely fantastic letdown on every single front.

I was hoping that purchasing a Steam Controller would let me play some of the games that were clearly controller-based like Rocket League, or other action-type games not particularly well-suited for keyboard and mouse.

The controller feels plasticky, poorly balanced, and fragile. Give it a gentle shake and you can actually hear the buttons moving around.

Every single game I wanted to play required configuration of some sort or simply didn't work. I even bought games like Rocket League specifically to make use of the controller.

Instead of just working. I had to unplug the USB dongle a couple of times, setup some manual configuration, only to have it still not work, have to be blown all away and reset back to default. It eventually worked... until the next time I went to play and sure as hell: I had to restart Steam a couple times, re-plug in the USB dongle a few times, and eventually the controller was properly identified and working.

The sheer number of incorrect options available for this thing make it useless. Should it emulate keyboard? Is it a gamepad? Joystick? Mouse and gamepad? Mouse and joystick?

I lamented my purchase and wished I would've bought a more standard controller like an Xbox controller or a PlayStation controller as this was a nightmare.

The article appears to be heading down the right track, with trying to get developers on board with mapping actions instead of buttons, but I simply don't have the time to tinker with something like a controller. When I want to play a video game, I want to sit and play a video game.

I spoked to some of my game development friends about it and every one of them said that controller and device support was among one of the most mind-numbingly frustrating and difficult parts of cross-platform development.

The last time I tried the Steam Controller, I fired it up and none of it worked. I could see the controller was detected, but nothing worked. The mouse pad, buttons, controls, nothing. This had happened so many times before. I installed the beta version of Steam, browsed forums for fixes, and everything.

I tried very hard to like this peripheral but it was a complete failure. I'm very hesitant to try even more configuration options considering how much time I sunk into it last time. I literally gave up on having a controller-based gaming experience with my computer, got a PS4 for the holidays, and haven't looked back.

I still play games on my computer, but I gave up on the dream of having a nice controller-based gaming experience on my computer.

5
The Heroism of Incremental Care newyorker.com
84 points by mhb  6 hours ago   36 comments top 5
1
jessriedel 7 minutes ago 1 reply      
So the guy is told that migraines generally improve as you age. He goes to this specialist, and there's minimal progress for three years, and then later things get better. How do we know any of this is causative?

More generally, do journalists without scientific training need to consult with anyone before declaring who we should be praising for health improvements?

2
adpirz 5 hours ago 1 reply      
There's a great book by Paul Dutton of Northern Arizona University called "Differential Diagnoses" comparing US and French healthcare in depth that talks about the ratio of GP's to specialists and its direct correlation with positive health outcomes, among other things. If you're interested in the field, worth a read, here's a good introductory portion:

http://digitalcommons.ilr.cornell.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?ar...

3
bbctol 5 hours ago 1 reply      
In general, I think the linking of good with heroism is a net negative for society. Articles like these are a reminder of how much space there is to redefine heroism, or abandon it altogether, and how important it is to remember the good that is done that is not dramatic, individual, and quick.
4
paulplug 5 hours ago 3 replies      
I suffer from severe migraines. My mom does too. I get them at least 3 times a week, and it really knocks me down. This really struck a chord with me. After a couple of paragraphs I couldn't stop reading. Very encouraging.

I'm originally from Italy. Growing up my mom and I tried all sorts of medications available in Italy, but none of them made a real difference. I moved to the US a few years back and I tried a few off the counter headache medications (Acetaminophen + Caffeine + Aspirine) and much to my surprised it really helped. I'm not sure why, but these are not available in europe. I started bringing them back home to my mom. It helps with the really tough migraines, instead of being in my room, lights off, puking, I can walk around and even do some work.

5
wyldfire 5 hours ago 0 replies      
What a great article. Thanks for sharing!
6
Robotic Fabricator Could Change the Way Buildings Are Constructed technologyreview.com
60 points by itamarst  6 hours ago   13 comments top 4
1
jamestimmins 2 hours ago 0 replies      
This reads exactly like a press release, especially the way it addresses the limitations of the robot.

Makes me think of PG's essay Submarine: http://paulgraham.com/submarine.html

2
nerdponx 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Why "must" it be connected to the Internet for the architect (or more realistically the contractor) to make changes? Why can't they do it on site from a console?
3
ape4 3 hours ago 3 replies      
The photo kind of makes me laugh. There's the robot building this nifty spiral rebar sculpture when we just want it to do some regular framing.
7
1.1B Taxi Rides on Kdb+/q and 4 Xeon Phi CPUs marksblogg.com
263 points by hhyndman  11 hours ago   73 comments top 20
1
buckie 9 hours ago 4 replies      
In my experience, kdb+'s k and q (which is broadly speaking a legibility wrapper around k, which again broadly speaking is APL without unicode) are phenomenally fast for dense time series datasets. Though they can struggle (relatively, still pretty fast) with sparse data that's not really what they are built for. They were built for high-performance trading systems, and trading data is dense.

If you like writing dense, clever regexs (which I do) then you'll love k & q. The amount that you can get done with just a few characters is unparalleled.

Which leads to, IMHO, their main drawback: k/q (like clever regexes) are often write-only code. Picking up another's codebase or even your own after some time has passed can be very hard/impossible because of how mindbendingly dense with logic the code it. Even if they were the best choice for a given domain, I'd try to steer clear of using them for anything other then exploratory work that doesn't need to be maintained.

2
mtanski 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I've build columnar OLAP databases and database engines in C++ for work. Now I'm doing it in my free time. Based on my experience the Phi and it's architecture is very exciting for OLAP databases workloads.

Reasons:

- Even in a OLAP database you end up with quite a few places that have very branchy code. Research on GPU friendly algorithms on things like (complex) JOINS and GROUP BY is pretty new. Additionally complex queries will functions and operations that you might not have a good GPU implementation for (like regex matching)

- Compression. You can use input data that compressed in anyway that there is a x86_64 library for. So you can now use LZ4, ZHUFF, GZIP, XZ. You can have 70+ independent threads decompressing input data (it's OLAP so it's pre-partitioned anyways). (Technically branching, again)

- Indexing techniques that cannot efficient implemented on the GPU can be used again. (Again branching)

- If you handle your own processing scheduling well, you will end up with near optimal IO / memory pattern (make sure to schedule the work on the core with local memory) and you not bound PCIe speed of the GPU. With enough PCIe lanes and lots of SSD drives you process as near memory speeds (esp. when we'll have Xpoint memory)

So the bottom line is if can intelligently farm out work in correct size chunks (it's OLAP so it's prob partitioned anyways) the the Phi is fantastic processor.

I'm primarily talking about the bootable package with Omni-Path interconnect (for multiple).

3
anonu 8 hours ago 2 replies      
I've been using kdb+/q for a long time (7 years now) - and can attest to its speed. Objects are placed in memory with the intention that you will run vectorized operations over them. So both the memory-model and the language are designed to work together.

Lots of people complain about the conciseness of the language and that it is "write-once" code. I tend to disagree. While it might take a while to understand code you didn't write (or even code you wrote a while ago), focusing on writing in q rather than the terser k can improve readability tremendously.

My only wish is that someone would write a free/open-source 64-bit interpreter for q - with similar performance and speed to the closed version. Kona (for k) gets close https://github.com/kevinlawler/kona

4
svan99 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Nice writeup. If you are interested in learning KDB/Q, please take a look at this book:http://code.kx.com/mkdocs/qformortals3/
5
nnx 10 hours ago 1 reply      
I absolutely love this blog series. Can't wait to read what's next :)

First time I noticed (mention of) recap at http://tech.marksblogg.com/benchmarks.html

6
chiph 10 hours ago 2 replies      
Under a second to do an avg across 1.1 billion rows spread over four machines. That's pretty amazing.
7
mmcclellan 9 hours ago 1 reply      
This was a good idea for a test. I'll definitely check out the author's other stuff. Commenting briefly on cost: while the article mentions the free 32 bit version early on, the actual benchmarks were done using the commercial version. I've had the impression the comercial version was cost prohibitive for us poor folks. For those interested in experimenting with Xeon Phi though, it looks like you can get started for ~$5k: http://dap.xeonphi.com/
8
WhitneyLand 9 hours ago 2 replies      
I don't see how these results provide much useful information in terms of being able to say x is faster than y.

The hardware doesn't seem consistent across different benchmarks. He says it's fast for a "cpu system", but for practical purposes Phi competes more with GPGPUs.

Would this be just as fast with one redis system with 512GB ram? I don't know too many apples to oranges here.

9
mattnewton 9 hours ago 0 replies      
This is the comparison to the titan X / mapD article I was looking for. Still looks like the gpu is very competitive.

Sort of meta, but Mark's job seems awesome. Gets all these toys and writes about configuring them. (The actual configuring is probably a pain but still)

10
gravypod 8 hours ago 0 replies      
At what point will CPUs out parallelize GPUs and will we be able to move vidoe rendering back onto the CPU?

I see that as being something I'd very much like.

11
wyldfire 10 hours ago 1 reply      
How does Phi's MCDRAM compare to GDDR5 (wrt throughput)?
12
dunkelheit 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Pretty wide array of technologies covered in these benchmarks. I wonder how ClickHouse will fare, should be very competitive.
13
gbrown_ 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Nice to see some KNL usage outside the traditional large HPC centers :D
14
stuntprogrammer 4 hours ago 0 replies      
If the combination of such languages, high-performance hardware, and large scale compute problems is interesting.. the startup I work for in Mountain View is hiring...
15
pvitz 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Has somebody here experience with Jd and could comment on the status or the performance? Thanks!
16
vegabook 8 hours ago 3 replies      
All lots of fun, but kdb has an eye watering cost of 200k dollars per year per server.

Here's hoping some combo of Apache Arrow (also cache aware, much more language stack flexibilty), Aerospike (lua built in), Impala, and others, can finally take on this overpriced product, which has had a lack of serious competitors for 20 years, owing to its (price inelastic) finance client base.

17
mrcactu5 6 hours ago 0 replies      
for reference the city is New York City taxi rides from 2009-2015 and there's about 500GB of metadata

http://tech.marksblogg.com/billion-nyc-taxi-rides-redshift.h...

18
thedarkknight0 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow, they are some incredibly impressive numbers. Great write up. HT to Mark
19
smulh76 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Unbelievably fast! Interesting blog tbh.
20
Smca 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Astonishing speed given the scale...
8
Lessons Learned from On Writing Well robinwieruch.de
62 points by rwieruch  5 hours ago   39 comments top 11
1
x1798DE 4 hours ago 11 replies      
I was so disappointed with this book. Some of the platitudes Zinsser goes into are reasonable, like try to be uncluttered, direct and to the point, but all the worked examples seem to just be arbitrarily chosen to his taste. For example, in the chapter on "clutter", Zinsser picks out this passage from Walden as his exemplar of "uncluttered English":

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."

Dense, incredibly difficult to parse, with a non-standard use of "front" as a verb and what seems to be a triple-negative. If I said that sentence to you, out loud, I doubt you would catch the meaning of it on the first pass. The book is filled with stuff like that.

That said, I really do want to get better at non-fiction writing, specifically technical writing, but I haven't found any good recommendations for "canonical" books on technical writing. If anyone can suggest a decent, pragmatic (as opposed to Strunk-and-White style prescriptivism) introduction to technical writing specifically, I'd appreciate it.

2
liangzan 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I've read "On Writing Well". I then discovered "Style: The Basics of Clarity and Grace" by Joseph Williams. "Style" is better than "On Writing Well". "On Writing Well" opened my eyes to what bad writing is, while "Style" explained how to write clearly. He took an impossible topic - writing clearly, showing you the elements of clear, consistent and impactful writing, distilling down into actionable lessons. The advice is not vague like "Use the active voice", "Don't start sentences with And"; he shows you why with examples. Even the passive voice is more suitable in certain cases. After reading the book, it changed the way I read and write. Very few books change the way you think. "Style" is one of them.
3
sivers 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Amazing book.

Out of the 250+ books I have notes on, this is in my top 10.

Here are some excerpts from it:

https://sivers.org/book/OnWritingWell

4
chubot 36 minutes ago 0 replies      
I recommend Steven Pinker's "the Sense of Style". He talks about some cognitive science behind why some sentences are easier to parse than others.

He also makes a distinction between "classic style" and other styles like "self-conscious style" and technical jargon.

The concept of "classic style" is worth it alone. It's kind of an obvious idea but once you know it, you will look at things you read a different way. It doesn't apply 100% of the time, but it almost certainly does in technical or business communication.

5
cachvico 1 hour ago 1 reply      
There's an amusing number of simple grammatical mistakes in this article.. ("english", "It is unnecessary words that dont add meaning but complex sentence constructions.", "Write about grass except when (my insert) it has another color than green", "Avoid semicolons except when (my insert) you want the reader to make a pause", ...)
6
lunchladydoris 4 hours ago 0 replies      
This is my favourite book about writing. It's not only filled with insight but itself serves as a perfect example of what the author is recommending you do.
7
kkielhofner 1 hour ago 0 replies      
When I was first working as an author with O'Reilly Publishing (animal books) ~10 years ago they included a copy of "On Writing Well" in the new author welcome kit. I don't know if they still do.
8
m52go 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Plug: if want to write crisper, try my game, Worrd Warrior.

It's an online game gets you away from the stuffy platitudes of books and pits you against other writers to see who can get the message across best.

http://worrdwarrior.com

I haven't updated it in a little bit, but I'm preparing an update that will position it for competitions in local schools & companies, kind of like a spelling bee but actually useful.

9
amelius 3 hours ago 1 reply      
> Imagine you start to write about a topic. Start to think small. Decide on the corner of the subject you want to bite off. Cover that corner well, be satisfied by that and stop. Make it a complete experience for your reader. Dont nibble on another corner of the subject and leave the reader with an incomplete reading experience.

Huh? Shouldn't you provide a birds-eye view of the topic first? Answer questions such as: why should the reader be interested in the topic in the first place, and quickly scan over the relevant issues, make it clear what issue you are going to discuss next, and why.

10
ktRolster 3 hours ago 1 reply      
For the lazy, here are my tips:

1) Use what you learned in high school: write in paragraphs with a topic sentence and supporting sentences.

2) After you write a sentence, read it out loud (or pronounce it in your mind) to make sure it flows easily.

4) When people reply to your comments on Hacker News (or Slashdot), try to figure out if they understood what you wrote. If they didn't, next time try to think of a way to be more clear. Over time, you will improve: probably quickly.

11
open-source-ux 3 hours ago 0 replies      
The Plain English campaign in the UK has some free guides on writing clear and easy-to-read English. Well worth a read whether you are a native speaker or not.

"So what is plain English? It is a message, written with the reader in mind and with the right tone of voice, that is clear and concise.":

http://www.plainenglish.co.uk/free-guides.html

9
Ways we harden our KVM hypervisor at Google Cloud: Security in plaintext googleblog.com
123 points by EvgeniyZh  8 hours ago   69 comments top 11
1
Scaevolus 4 hours ago 2 replies      
Google Compute Engine has live migration, so host/hypervisor updates (including security updates!) can be applied without taking VMs offline. AWS doesn't support live migration. Azure has a partial solution with in-place migrations, which involves taking VMs down for ~30 seconds.

(I work on Google Container Engine.)

2
dkarapetyan 6 hours ago 4 replies      
> We have built an extensive set of proprietary fuzzing tools for KVM. We also do a thorough code review looking specifically for security issues each time we adopt a new feature or version of KVM. As a result, we've found many vulnerabilities in KVM over the past three years. About half of our discoveries come from code review and about half come from our fuzzers.

Why aren't these tools being open sourced?

3
nealmueller 7 hours ago 0 replies      
The authors have noteworthy bona fides. Andy used to work for the NSA, and Nelly has 16 patents with names like "Informed implicit enrollment and identification".

https://www.linkedin.com/in/andrew-honig-82239750https://www.linkedin.com/in/nelly-porter-708a10b

4
koolba 6 hours ago 5 replies      
> Non-QEMU implementation: Google does not use QEMU, the user-space virtual machine monitor and hardware emulation. Instead, we wrote our own user-space virtual machine monitor that has the following security advantages over QEMU: Simple host and guest architecture support matrix. QEMU supports a large matrix of host and guest architectures, along with different modes and devices that significantly increase complexity.

I've noticed that a lot of projects that do support multiple architectures, particularly obscure ones, tend to find oddball edge cases more easily than those that don't. For example, not assuming the endianness of the CPU arch forces you to get network code to cooperate well.

> Because we support a single architecture and a relatively small number of devices, our emulator is much simpler.

No doubt it's simpler than QEMU but I wonder if adding tests to QEMU, even if they're only for the specific architectures they're running (most likely x86-64) would have been just as usable.

Then again when you're Google and have the resources to build a VM runtime from the ground up it's easier to convince management that "This is the right decision!".

5
Skunkleton 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I see that google has open sourced a VMM written in go [1], but I doubt this is the VMM discussed in the article. Has google open sourced this software?

[1] https://github.com/google/novm

6
nellydpa 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Hey folks, thanks for great comments, keep them coming.I am one of the article authors, AMA.
7
andyhonig 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm one of the authors of this post, AMA.
8
neom 5 hours ago 1 reply      
If there is a DigitalOcean engineer in the house, I'd be curious to know how this compares to how they run their KVM setup.
9
fulafel 5 hours ago 1 reply      
This sounds much more secure than AWS and their use of Xen.
10
madez 7 hours ago 1 reply      
> Alerts are generated if any projects that cause an unusual number of Rowhammer errors.

Is that correct english?

11
ascotan 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Q. How do you secure your infrastructure Google? A. We hire thousands of programmers to write custom software. There are no known vulnerabilities. No. Known. Vulnerabilities.
10
How to build Apache modules in Swift github.com
15 points by helge5  2 hours ago   1 comment top
1
kinofcain 31 minutes ago 0 replies      
With regards to being able to call a Swift function from C, stevetrewick pointed me to @_cdecl early last year[0][1][2]:

 @_cdecl("foobar") public func foobar() {}
I haven't yet used it in anger, but that will compile in Swift 3.

[0]https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11650628

[1]https://github.com/apple/swift/commit/013aad13d4245a012cfb76...

[2]https://swiftlang.ng.bluemix.net/#/repl/d68be430e72609717f71...

11
Show HN: Bitesnap Deep Learning Meets Food Logging getbitesnap.com
128 points by vinayan3  8 hours ago   84 comments top 39
1
jc4p 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I found your blog post (the learn more button) but I'd love more info on this if it's available somewhere.

How does it handle differentiating different types of bread, which have differing carbs?

How does it handle a thick layer of butter or another fat put on the sandwich in the Avocado Toast example, which would presumably be below the visible avocado?

A long time ago my friends and I offered a manual version of this as a service via sending pics / emails to us and us then manually going through and guessing. It worked well enough, so I have high hopes for a ML version!

My biggest pain point doing it manually came from pics of things like pasta where I couldn't really guess how much oil was in the sauce.

You can definitely get far with just estimating the macronutrients from a photo, and the absolute accuracy matters less than consistency in measurements over time.

2
ttcbj 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Just downloaded it, the app is really elegant. Really nice work. I have used weight watchers in the past, so here are a few thoughts:

1. Its not totally clear to me what the goal of the app is. Is it going to help me lose weight? Help me avoid unhealthy foods? Why am I tracking? Do I get to choose why I am tracking? Tracking is a big commitment, so I would lead more with what the benefit is, to motivate me to decide to track.

2. I really love the weight watchers approach of boiling everything down to a single point count. I have been around WW long enough to see them change the meaning of the points to incentivize different behaviors. For example, raw fruits and vegetables are generally zero points, even though they clearly have calories. High sugar foods are higher in points than their calories would suggest. I find a point system much more useful than a calorie system.

Overall, if your goal is to help people lose weight, I'd suggest you look at what WW has been doing in their app, and also in how they have changed their point system over the years. I actually think WW overall (including the meetings) is an amazing system.

Interestingly, I have gotten to the point that I basically know the points of everything I eat regularly. Originally, I loved the WW app because it was so comprehensive, but now I just use a tiny notebook and pen. Its a lot faster than messing with the app.

3
MintsJohn 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Looks neat, but at the same time, really cumbersome. Because it looks neat, I'd guess people will try it, because it will be cumbersome, people will abandon it. So like many of similar fancy ai/recognition apps, i think it's finding a problem for a solution, it's over engineered.

My problem is, taking pictures is more effort than picking an item off a list, as current caloric counters do.

Most people eat roughly the same things on a regular basis, so they'll end up ticking away a meal before/after you have it and be done with it, with this, you'd be taking pictures while having your meal.

another use case is planning a day ahead, again, pics don't work here, can't take pics ahead of time.

And of course, the result from the pics have to be corrected, so the app learns, it seems easier to just get the item from a list immediately, without having to take a pic first, auto completion on an input works wonders (though of course you'd pick from a longer list)

Maybe i'm just old or not enough of a techie, or photographer, but for me typing a short text, even on a phone, is actually faster than taking a pic.

4
aesthetics1 3 hours ago 1 reply      
My goodness, I just started trying to use MyFitnessPal to track my food intake and was wishing that something like this existed.

Is there a way to save prior entries as meals? I am a boring person and I eat the same thing for breakfast 7 days a week. I would like to just add this with one click instead of selecting: Eggs... Spinach... Oatmeal... etc. MyFitnessPal has this and it is a great time saver.

5
bmcooley 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Great start for a product. I would imagine everything that's currently in your food database had to be manually chosen due to the availability of training data. It doesn't handle very many branded products, but that could be really valuable in keeping users engaged and using your application daily, so I would suggest adding barcode scanning (currently building an application with the Nutritionix API, its got a great dataset). You could even ask your users to take a picture of their barcode entered food so you can start learning on a much wider variety of products. My two cents.
6
AznHisoka 7 hours ago 2 replies      
I wouldn't use this. It's not that I don't think your calorie count might be right for some cases, but it won't get everything right, and when you're trying to lose/gain weight, making sure you have accurate calorie counts is crucial (you need measuring spoons/cups, etc).

Which is why I'm sticking with MyFitnessPal. Also, I find that although it's tedious to keep count of calories in the beginning, once you get used to it, it becomes a game, and even fun.

7
vinayan3 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Thank you for checking out Bitesnap. We really appreciate the feedback and comments.

We have a blog post up explaining more about Bitesnap and why we built it. https://blog.getbitesnap.com/introducing-bitesnap-a-smart-ph...

8
BlakePetersen 4 hours ago 0 replies      
This is great! As another diabetic, this type of software is HUGE in allowing those of us with dietary restrictions to eat with a bit more freedom, or maybe less anxiety. While nutrition labels are great, going out to eat means you're often left to guess how many carbs you're intaking. Anything that provides a more accurate assessment of my carb intake is great.

I am about to get my SCiO unit which provides a means of sampling small amounts of food to determine the nutrition facts. The minor issue here is that it doesn't provide much in so far as what the total amount of carbs is, only the carb density.

I could see this product working alongside a SCiO type device that can get the macro assessment of of food you're going to be eating, but then get the nitty details by hooking into the SCiO data on the spot. If bread is detected, "Please get more accurate details on your meal by sampling your bread with your SCiO-type unit".

Great stuff! Keep it up!

9
LiweiZ 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Food logging is a main entrance for household "ERP". If being implemented right, there are so many potential use cases. But I guess it's easier to extend from those chained things behind the entrance to the entrance instead of extending from the entrance. Anyway, it's good to see there are someone working on the hard part of food logging.
10
JTxt 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I took a picture of my finished Styrofoam hot chocolate cup and straw. Hot chocolate was the first guess. It gave an option for "from mix water added", done. Very cool. Edit: just logged my coworker's lunch in about a minute: Cucumber, grill cheese sandwich in one picture, it let me add them from a list. Ramen soup took another try at a lower angle.
11
wkirby 5 hours ago 2 replies      
A few thoughts:

- Very slick onboarding experience, especially compared to other calorie counters. Big plus here.

- There doesn't appear to be a way to add food outside of the current "meal." I'm sitting here at lunch time, but wanted to add what I had for breakfast --- instead I've just eaten a very large lunch.

- The current database of foods seems pretty slim. No entry for my African Peanut Soup, for example, which is available in both LoseIt and MyFitnessPal.

- How will you deal with things like sandwiches, where many of the ingredients may be totally hidden from view? Guess "sandwich" and let me pick what's on it from a sensible list of sandwich ingredients? Same goes for soups, or stews, or anything that can be visually similar with a wide range of possible ingredients.

Over all a good start, and some much-needed innovation in the calorie-counting app space.

12
aaronpk 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Is there an API? Can I export my data?

I'd be interested in using this if I can get the data out. I've been posting everything I eat and drink to my own website for the past few years, sometimes with photos sometimes just text. I'd love to have a better workflow for doing that!

13
mark_l_watson 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Very nice!

About 10 years ago I created a cooking web site that also uses the USDA nutrition database (cookingspace.com) and I just recently started working on free iOS and Android apps that will use the improved analytics code that was originally used on my site.

I am playing with the Android version of your app right now - it so far has done a good job recognizing food items pulled out of our refrigerator. I also like that as I take a picture that it does not add the image to my local pictures (since these are automatically instantly backed up to OneDrive and GDrive).

14
lostphilosopher 6 hours ago 1 reply      
This is cool. When I am aware of the nutrition in my food (especially trends over time) I eat better, but I always get sick of the tracking tool.

Putting it out there: I would pay a lot of money for a consumer tech wearable or even implant that would track calorie consumption in the background.

15
tabeth 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Heh, a few years ago I thought of this same thing. I didn't know anything about ML so I thought it'd be possible by doing the following (for food served in a restaurant/fast-food)

1. Tag the location (if you go to McDonalds and take a picture of a Big Mac you'll see that you're at McDonalds and you have a picture).

2. Then, to get your "nutrition" info you have to manually specify what you're eating.

3. What you're eating would then be matched to a database that would provide the nutrition information. The picture basically would be there just to show you what you ate.

---

This looks WAY better than that.

16
stratospark 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Very cool! I shared a small project to demo and explain how I used convolutional neural networks to classify food images: http://blog.stratospark.com/deep-learning-applied-food-class....

I'd be curious about the calorie detection. I'm wondering if it's using some kind of weighted sum of image segmentation proportions, or doing end-to-end deep learning.

Anyway, cool product, love to see where it goes!

17
amingilani 1 hour ago 3 replies      
I'd love to switch to using this full time but why isn't available in my country (Pakistan)? I currently use Lifesum to track what I eat.
18
Jonovono 2 hours ago 1 reply      
How realistic is it that you could create something that gets attached to your stomach and is constantly monitoring your food?

Cool service btw. I remember a company that did this with Mechanical Turk lol.

19
kriro 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I think the food-id code can be used for more stuff if it works. I always wanted to snap a picture of my refrigerator and have my available food updated in some database. Then hook it up to some recipe database and we're talking (you cold cook X,Y,Z with what's available or if you'd buy A,B,C...integrate that with some food delivery service to monetize).

I'm suspecting this is a concierge MVP of sorts...if not consider me quite impressed. The last time I checked food identification (or portion sizes really) was a fairly hard problem.Edit: Guess the food identification isn't that hard anymore. Yikes times are moving fast :D

20
rogermedia 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Very cool gonna check it out. Have used Calorie Count in the past but input was the main drawback there.

I noticed that the image of the phone with app on the homepage takes a few seconds to load on a mobile connection. Might want to optimize that for faster loading.

21
fsiefken 7 hours ago 1 reply      
When I read this:"We saw an opportunity to apply recent advances in image recognition to simplify the food logging process"

do they mean CNN's for image classification and/or recognition? Does the app estimate the distance and the portion size and if not, how feasible would that be?

22
wmblaettler 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Love this for prepared meals and home cooked meals, where you need to analyze the ingredients of a dish. Have you considered adding the ability to recognize a standard FDA Nutrition facts label as well? For example if I have a protein bar, it would be great to snap a picture of the label and OCR the macros. I know that differs though from your current tech of a CNN for image analysis, but it would round out the product to cover a greater percent of foods eaten.
23
aembleton 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm in the UK and managed to install it without any issues other than the measurements all being imperial.
24
partycoder 25 minutes ago 0 replies      
I actually had this same idea about a year ago.A dietitian I know and told me it would be very hard to infer calories just from a picture, so I did not pursue the idea.
25
boxcardavin 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Can you describe your training or dataset you used?
26
joepour 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Hey this looks great - but this is what I see in Australia: http://imgur.com/H62UBYE when I search the appstore.
27
aembleton 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Awesome, I've just tried it with an Apple and it worked!

Can you let me enter my height and weight in metric please as I had to use Google to convert.

28
ppas 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I made something like this last year https://devpost.com/software/picknic-ym5txf

It was just clarafai -> keyword search in USDA database -> log though.

Looks cool!

29
evolve2k 5 hours ago 0 replies      
App Store telling me the app is not currently available in Australia.

I'm guessing there is nothing specifically US centric in the app, any chance of opening up region support and sharing the love with your mates down under?

30
mrleinad 7 hours ago 3 replies      
"This app is incompatible with all of your devices".. :( I have a Note 4. What sort of device do I need?
31
muzster 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Sounds like an amazing product - would love to try it here in the UK.

It might help to add a mail subscribing list to your website to capture early oversea adopters.

Does the app allow you to take a picture of the aftermath to account for the unconsumed left overs ?

32
overcast 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Ok, this just seems a bit unbelievable. I'd love to be proven wrong though.
33
eva1984 5 hours ago 0 replies      
How accurate does this predict...carbs? And how does it handle the different amount? Like different cup size?
34
imh 6 hours ago 0 replies      
How accurate is the calorie count? And out of academic curiousity, how did you validate the calorie counts?
35
ClassyJacket 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Unavailable in Australia. Weird, because this is the one way of logging food that doesn't differ between countries.
36
laxc 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Great start!
37
moufestaphio 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Seems pretty neat so far.

Only imperial units though :(

38
michaelsbradley 3 hours ago 1 reply      
If this really works, consistently (i.e. within some reasonable margin of error), Fitbit should buy this intellectual property immediately and promote it as a way to make calorie-intake tracking dead simple.

For myself, and for many others, calorie-intake tracking was/is one of the last hurdles jumped before weight loss/maintenance efforts really achieve great effect. It's such a pain (time-consuming, tedious) to do it manually, especially if you have any reasonable amount of variety in your diet.

39
Swizec 6 hours ago 4 replies      
If this has MyFitnessPal integration I'll start using it immediately. Would be great to supplement my tracking when I go out to eat. Your guess is as good as mine, hopefully better, and much easier for me to snap a picture than do the guessing.

Would it integrate via HealthKit perhaps?

12
Element A Vue 2.0-based component library for developers, designers and PMs eleme.io
298 points by Dowwie  14 hours ago   129 comments top 29
1
netforay 12 hours ago 8 replies      
I have actually tried to use this to build an enterprise application. Here is what we found.

* Most of the components they provide are very basic and does not actually require them to provide it. Couple of lines of wrapper on any CSS framework like bootstrap can make half of those components.

* Most of the advanced components like DataGrid, DropDown Menus, etc are aither not available or buggy. You will get better support from thirdparty Vue components.

* There are lot of silly components like footer and header etc. There is no need for defining them except to show that it is complete UI framework. Trying to be 'Complete UI Framework' is bad choice for any UI on Web. HTML is too flexible and requirements are too diverse that no one UI library can provide everything.

We finally replaced all Element Components with standard bootstrap code. Every thing works perfectly. And we get the benefit of 1000s people testing bootstrap.

2
deallocator 12 hours ago 2 replies      
I really like Element but it's a shame they don't it responsive, when I tried contributing to make things responsive they actively denied the PR saying it's for desktop apps.

Actively refusing pull requests that make the framework responsive is a bit of a downer for me, but overall I like what the author(s) did

3
patleeman 11 hours ago 3 replies      
For anyone looking for a lightweight responsive library, Bulma http://bulma.io/ is a great option. It pairs with Vue quite well since it's a CSS only library.

Note: I'm not affiliated with them, just using them on my latest project.

4
azurelogic 11 hours ago 2 replies      
I tried using Element on my current project and, like other commenters, found it to lack enough responsive utilities to make it useful. Then I stumbled upon Quasar (http://quasar-framework.org/). It's responsive, supports Cordova and Electron, and it looks good. I rarely switch frameworks mid-project, but this was well worth the effort.
5
lima 13 hours ago 17 replies      
Question for HN: I'm a systems developer and want to play a bit with frontend development (writing frontends for custom tools I built).

What framework + feature-complete component library is recommended in 2017?

React? Vue? Polymer? Plain JS with intercooler.js? I feel a bit overwhelmed.

6
progx 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Used it since some weeks. Good documentation and examples, don't be afraid of many chinese chars in the doc or on github issue, they try to write everything in english too.

Always got quick response when i had issues.

Great advantage, which is not so exposed, is, that the form system has a good (i think well known) validation system integrated.Developers did not need to build own hacky solutions or search other libraries that work mostly not good with an external UI.

7
WhitneyLand 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Desktop only framework seems like a bad idea.

- How can you be sure you won't be asked for a mobile or responsive version down the road? People change requirements all the time.

- If you want to ever work on other type of projects you now have to learn two when one may have sufficed

- Community size is a huge factor for contributions and momentum, and desktop only limits your community size

For this framework it would be more useful if they offered a single component for a data grid. That's more work than the rest of the framework combined.

8
tuyguntn 13 hours ago 2 replies      
Developers are creating lots of UI libraries but after sometime they lose traction and support for this library abandoned, bug fixes/improvements will be halted. If so, why create so many libraries instead of writing yet another theme for bootstrap. Best example is material ui kits, they are a lot, but only 2 or 3 of them are still continuing development
9
pdxandi 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been using this library for the last few weeks in two different Vue.js projects and it's awesome. The English documentation is still being written, but the components are really well thought out and complete. These folks made a beautiful, solid UI library.
10
rpbertp13 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Element seems heavily inspired by Ant Design for React [1], which came out of Ant Financial/Alibaba.

It's a project by Ele.me, a Chinese food delivery company. Alibaba and Ant Financial invested $1.25B in it last year [2].

[1]https://ant.design/docs/react/introduce

[2]http://www.wsj.com/articles/alibaba-ant-financial-to-jointly...

11
shaydoc 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Vue is really nice to develop in.I have led the push to adopt Vue in our company now.It is very well put together and along with WebPack is really improving our entire setup. It definitely provides the kind of standards we need to grow our team around.
12
z3t4 10 hours ago 0 replies      
In a project I work on right now I use no XML/HTML. I love HTML and it's great for static web pages/documents and for "old school" server side rendering. But for a SPA with real time and dynamic updates, it's the wrong tool. It's much faster appending the elements to the DOM. Lexical scope and closures plus being able to call functions that returns elements in JavaScript makes it fun.
13
GordonS 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I get a 404 when opening any of the linked pages in a new tab, since the URLS are missing a '#'.
14
uranusjr 12 hours ago 3 replies      
Don't want this to sound like bashing, but the website doesn't work very well on mobile (hover and active states act weirdly, menu very clumbersome, etc.), and I assume the same can be said about the toolkit. Hopefully this is an area the author(s) plan to work on.

UPDATE: Just realised this is developed by a Chinese food delivery service ele.me (). I visited their website and found its developers made it completely without RWD in mind. This explains things

15
prezjordan 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Sadly this library seems pretty poor for accessibility :(
16
skocznymroczny 13 hours ago 1 reply      
I like that this one has a tree component, it seems like most widget sets (SemanticJS and Bootstrap and everything Material included) forget about the tree.
17
capkutay 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Any other PMs on here that can vouch for this as a solid prototyping tool? My current prototyping options are either too time-consuming or too restricting...
18
usaphp 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Since I started using rem for font sizes I just can't go back to px, I find rem so much better for responsive websites and would recommend it to anyone who did not try it yet.
19
LeoNatan25 12 hours ago 3 replies      
What does "eleme.io" even mean? How sad of state are we that everyone feels compelled to use these nonsense "io", "me", "to", etc. domains just because they are "hip".
20
dsarch 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Hello!

Sorry for bringing this issue here and I'm sure many may not understand my point... but, after reading some posts about objectification of women (like this one: http://www.heroicgirls.com/de-objectify-women-comics-guide), could the woman in the homepage picture be drawn differently?

I'm sure it was not intentional and it may be seem as a small issue for some people, but I know women who do not like to be represented that way.

Thanks for understanding =)

Btw, I really like the page design! It is great =)

21
GordonS 12 hours ago 1 reply      
I love how comprehensive the set of components is - trees, tables with lots of options, sliders, date and time pickers with range support, carousels...

I was going to give Vue.js a try for my next project anyway, so I'll be giving serious consideration to using this instead of my default choice (Bootstrap).

22
sergiotapia 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I thought this would be like a tool to build a styleguide for your application. Not an actual framework like Twitter Bootstrap. :(
23
naiv 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Besides the already mentioned UIs I am also watching https://vuetifyjs.com , looks promising.
24
ryanmarsh 10 hours ago 0 replies      
If I click the link to a new UI lib from my phone and the demo is janky as fuck I'm not going to pull it into my project. Maybe I'm just being an asshole.
25
Jonovono 13 hours ago 1 reply      
"Just for Product Designer" ? Some weird copy going on.
26
kevindqc 11 hours ago 0 replies      
The links at the top (Guide, Component, Resource) fail when trying to right-click -> open in a new window :(
27
viach 11 hours ago 0 replies      
How is it comparing with taking, say, Semantic-UI, and use it with Vue?
28
k__ 13 hours ago 0 replies      
When I found this, I thought it was for WebComponent based and for all frameworks.
29
joshsyn 13 hours ago 2 replies      
13
Building affordable housing urbankchoze.blogspot.com
39 points by JSoet  4 hours ago   37 comments top 7
1
athenot 2 hours ago 4 replies      
One thing that I've seen quite a bit in Europe is people buying "unfinished" homes. They pay a builder to build a concrete structure with a tile roof, and get it plumbed and wired up to code. But then all the interior finishings (and sometimes even the doors/windows) are done by the owners, by trading a couple years of spare time for substantial cost savings.
2
CapitalistCartr 2 hours ago 3 replies      
In every American city I know, 80%-90% of the cost of an existing home is the lot, not the house. I don't know how to overcome this, but I understand it is caused by politics, suggesting it needs a political solution.

When Florida was abuilding like crazy after WWII for the next 25 years, the lot was usually about 10%.

3
twelvechairs 42 minutes ago 0 replies      
Of course the other option is rebuilding low scale areas around existing train stations as high density apartments.

The game has changed for most big cities since post wwii mass housing. Jobs are more focussed in fewer places and cities are much larger so getting into the city can be very hard from outer suburbs.

The UK is a good example for thr models discussed. It has been building small houses for a long time (like 150sqm lots) and have a minimum density requirement across the country to make this happen (which is also about retaining farmland in the longer term). Too many too far from jobs though its exacerbating englands divide between haves (in london and some other places - large and small) and have nots (in towns and accretions to towns with more people than jobs)

4
TamDenholm 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I think the lack of entry level housing is a massive reason the tiny house movement has become so popular. I think people are willing to reevaluate the space they require to live in so as not to spend a life paying off debt.
5
tabeth 2 hours ago 6 replies      
Tiny homes are 150 to 250 square feet homes that that can be built anywhere from ~$20,000 to ~$50,000. The person who figures out how to mass produce these houses (each one is only about maybe the size of two RVs) for ~$10,000 will change this world.
6
nextos 3 hours ago 1 reply      
We need more industrial solutions to housing. Cheaper, more efficient and better quality. Something like http://www.kodasema.com/en/
7
kevinburke 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Here's one proposal for affordable housing in San Francisco: modular units that are extremely cheap to assemble and can be combined into a much larger building.

The developer can have them here instantly and wants to build on a plot near Cesar Chavez and rent to the city. The city's not interested because the buildings are not built here and they'd be a little more expensive than existing SRO's.

http://sf.curbed.com/2016/10/31/13481254/micropad-tour-patri...

14
Launch HN: UpKeep (YC W17) Basecamp for Facility Maintenance Teams onupkeep.com
66 points by ryanchan001  7 hours ago   52 comments top 16
1
ryanchan001 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Hi everyone! My name is Ryan and I am a founder at UpKeep (www.onupkeep.com). I am a bit of an HN noob, so please excuse my noobiness :)

I started UpKeep in 2015 to mobilize and modernize maintenance software. I used to work in the manufacturing industry where I saw this type of software being used, but all on a desktop. Technicians, as you may know, are always out in the field, but the software they used was all desktop based. I started UpKeep to give technicians the ability to record their field data from anywhere without needing to be tied to a desk.

If you got through that full paragraph, you rock! Most people think maintenance is boring, but I tend to think its pretty awesomeheck yeah.

Anyways, I am happy to answer any questions!

We are currently in the Winter 2017 YC batch. And if you arent in the maintenance industry or have any facilities to manage, here are some things you can ask about that I think might be more interesting to you!

-I am a solo founder in YC (there are some in YC so its definitely possible!)

-I was a chemical engineer turned iOS developer

-When I first started UpKeep I literally had no idea how to code, but I learned over the last 2 years (it was slower for sure)

-I worked on UpKeep during the crack of dawn hours while I still had a job to pay the bills for about 1.5 years before jumping into it full time about 7 months ago

-I was working out of my moms garage for the past 2 years until YC (now I am working out of my girlfriends parents guest roomI would say thats an improvement)

2
WhiteOwlLion 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Hi Ryan - Congratulations on a maintenance management software. I currently support Maximo for a 1,500 person organization with 100 facilities technicians/supervisors using Maximo on three different shifts.

I'm glad you're working on a mobile app (iOS & Android) because enterprise is really slow to make a product that is usable for technicians. EzMaxMobile & Interloc could be your competitors.

Who do you think your competitors are?

Do you have a product roadmap for what you plan to build out as features? Will this be based on customer requests, or do you have market areas you're clearly trying to target?

Having some test items, assets, and locations would build out the demo/starter a little more.

For Time screen, bigger increments might be better such as 6 minute (0.1 hour) or 15 minute (.25 hour) increments.

Having screenshots and explanations of each role would be useful. I logged in as Admin, but I'm curious what a technician sees on smartphone. Also, how does a requester submit requests?

I can see mom-and-pop shops that might use this for their small business, invoicing, and sending automated updates to requesters (customers). You might consider a stripped down version for individuals.

I gave you a plug on the Maximo LinkedIn discussion group.

3
nonrecursive 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Congrats on your launch, this looks really cool! And I love your story!

Did you do the design, too? What's the tech stack? How do you stay motivated?

4
alberth 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Ryan

Another question, hope you don't mind but find this app interesting.

Question: who's the primary user who submits the work request?

E.g. What user would be taking the photo found below from your app screenshot

http://m.imgur.com/tD2ZjHF

Would the technical be the person who initiates the work order? Or is some random employee of the company the initiator? I ask, because if it's the later - does that imply that every random employee of the company then needs to install the UpKeep app. E.g. Secretaries, marketing people, etc - all need to install UpKeep. If that's the case, isn't that prohibitive for use?

5
koolba 7 hours ago 2 replies      
On Firefox the footer overlays atop the pricing table. Not sure why though: http://i.imgur.com/O1ost32.png

That aside, looks interesting. Some of the language could be improved. Off hand it's not apparent what differentiates "Request User" and "Requester User".

What's the A/B consensus (asking HN crowd, not you specifically, as this should be a solved question) on the testimonial links at the bottom of the page? As someone with a tech background they make the entire site look cheesy to me though I can understand if non-tech people (i.e. the majority of your market base) may think otherwise.

Is "UpKeep Maintenance Management 2015-6" the name of the company or a copyright disclaimer? If so you're missing the (c) and it's already out of date.

6
alberth 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Ryan

From my iPhone, pricing on the pricing page doesn't display at all.

http://m.imgur.com/kyDPO3n

For an app that's going to be used predominately from a mobile phone, you might want to double check your entire website from a mobile browser to ensure its displaying correctly.

7
takinola 5 hours ago 1 reply      
What is your customer acquisition strategy? Who is your typical customer? I am curious how, as a single founder (initially) working on this on the side, you were able to both build and market your service?
8
alberth 7 hours ago 3 replies      
Hi Ryan

I'm confused by the pricing.

I went the pricing page and it wasn't clear to what, if anything, the service cost.

Just FYI.

https://onupkeep.com/pricing.php

Edit. I really like the intro video by the way. https://youtu.be/oX7Lak7o0qI

9
ankitsoni 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Hey Ryan,

This looks pretty awesome. How many times did you apply for YC before getting in :)

10
vning93 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Congratulations on the launch! This is amazing, and what's more amazing is your ability to do this as a solo founder - keep it up!
11
narenst 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Congrats on the launch Ryan! Upkeep looks great.

Did your previous employer know that you were working on this for such a long time? How did you pull it off?

12
suralil 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Congrats Ryan! Site looks great.
13
jonnyyan 6 hours ago 0 replies      
great work!!!
14
cocktailpeanuts 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Off topic, but is "Launch HN" now a thing? Or is this some reserved namespace for YC companies? Been seeing this last couple of days on HN front page and curious.
15
erader 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Congrats Ryan! Glad to see another face from OP in the Bay Area
16
elcapitan 1 hour ago 1 reply      
"Basecamp for Facility Maintenance Teams" sounds like straight from some "Startup idea generator".
16
Employees are happier when led by people with deep expertise hbr.org
627 points by reactor  12 hours ago   200 comments top 46
1
sage76 8 hours ago 16 replies      
At a unicorn I was working at, MBAs were being hired to be engineering managers. I did not see a single engineer promoted to management, it was mostly all MBAs. The few I had direct contact were really useless at helping engineers out, all I ever heard from them was "Just get it done.". If I asked for help, they'd say "Well who else is gonna do it then?".

I felt demoralised and lost some of my confidence. But the company was bleeding talent at the engineering level, plenty of engineers called out this crap and asked the CEO for answers. CEO would make excuses and not do much. Now the company is not doing well at all, even the senior leadership is leaving in droves, the CEO has even been replaced, the valuation has also declined quite a bit.

I am not in silicon valley, so not sure about there but over here, it seems to be a trend to have MBAs in all management positions above engineering and even CTOs of startups who are MBAs.

I had no interest in an MBA until I saw this trend. Now I am seriously considering that route, because it seems there is a serious glass ceiling. Doing an MBA might be necessary for me to move up the ranks.

2
bognition 11 hours ago 8 replies      
>The benefit of having a highly competent boss is easily the largest positive influence on a typical workers level of job satisfaction

This is one of those great discoveries that is hardly surprising and makes you wonder why it hadn't be seen before.

Honestly some of my worst work experiences were getting jerked around by a superior who completely failed to understand the work required to do my job.

3
abawany 10 hours ago 3 replies      
I skimmed the comments and didn't see the following perspective so thought I would add it: one thing that makes it great for me to work with people with deep expertise is the ability to learn amazing things. I am willing to put up with a lot of 'management personality/quirks' if it comes with learning that is invaluable. I believe people who work with 'interesting' (sometimes abusive) chefs such as Gordon Ramsay may also share this motivation. However, this is just my opinion and I can't say that there is a general trend for this sort of thinking.
4
lordnacho 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Is anybody surprised by this? A boss who can do your job can:

- Fill in when the team is busy. Ever seen the manager at McDonald's flipping burgers or frying fries? Some goes for any other manager, sometimes, they have to step into the code or read legal docs, or operate the machines.

- Provide a perspective that's likely to be relevant to you. He knows what it was like doing your job, and has a good guess as to where it's going. As opposed to simply imagining what you do.

- Understand push-back. A boss who isn't an expert will require explanation that an experienced boss will not. "We can't add this feature because it breaks our database schema". "Uhm what's a database schema?". Only so many times you can hear that from someone who supposed to be deciding things before you lose faith.

- Guess what the team wants. Better experience -> better guesses. Even if the boss hasn't done the work for a while.

- Give feedback beyond "work completed/not". Because they can see where the hurdles are before you complete, and they have an understanding of how big the problems you've solved are on the way to completion.

Looking at my experience, anytime I worked with someone who didn't have the technical understanding, the worst drops in morale happened when I felt something was obvious, but the person needed it explained. It would have been fine for a new staffer to ask, or a graduate, but not a decision maker.

The main annoyance was the issue of where costs could be cut. Some people I've worked with seemed to think that just by asking enough questions, some piece would show up that could be cut from the solution with no harm. And so they'd keep asking around about whether this-or-that was "really" necessary. And perhaps when you're not an expert you can't come up with new pieces or processes, so your line of questioning is inevitably towards slimming whatever is already there.

5
saosebastiao 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Amazon still has pockets of very deep expertise with highly technical leaders that make for very productive and profitable teams. I've personally worked with some OR and Economics teams that consistently deliver exceptional results for the bottom line. And I know that many of Amazon's best businesses have come (originally) from organizations like these: AWS, Kindle, Echo, etc.

But it very quickly is moving away from that idea and toward a world in which MBAs with half baked ideas that don't pass basic sanity checks are allowed to commit to impossible (P=NP!) ideas on behalf of their teams. And it destroys morale: nobody wants to work on a project that is known from the start to be impossible to deliver as specced. So they churn out.

And when you talk to the goon that is in charge of it all, the problem always magically seems to be that they can't hire fast enough.

6
nateberkopec 10 hours ago 2 replies      
What's with HN editors changing the title on this one from the actual title of the article ("If Your Boss Could Do Your Job, Youre More Likely to Be Happy at Work") to "Employees are far happier when led by people with deep expertise"? The original title was far more descriptive.
7
HerraBRE 11 hours ago 1 reply      
This is very interesting, and rings true on many levels.

For one, it takes a certain level of competence to be able to differentiate between good and bad work. If your boss can't tell the difference between the two, workers will be rewarded/punished/promoted/fired based on some other metrics, which are likely to be unfair or even arbitrary.

Another, is that bosses and managers are responsible for providing guidance. If you have two ways to do something and aren't sure which is best, it's natural to go to your manager for advice. If you get the feeling that the advice you get is worthless (or even harmful), then you'll feel lost and unsupported.

And finally, in many organizations, the boss sets priorities. If he doesn't understand the work, he is likely to have unrealistic or actively harmful expectations. And you'll feel like you're wasting your time.

All of these things are terrible for morale.

8
pdimitar 10 hours ago 3 replies      
Right now I am 36. I had a team- and tech-lead position for the first time in my carreer back when I was 28. All other programmers loved me (except 2 slackers who hated being asked for statuses, even if it was twice a month). QA was much better than before, frontenders were happy to receive clear directions and tasks while having some freedom in choosing designs. The devs from other teams loved interacting with me, I almost always had something interesting to share on how I do things, people were learning from me.

Things were swell. It was an extremely positive environment.

But I got demoted 7 or so months later simply because the other managers hated me. I didn't talk about charts showing increased amount of tickets per sprint resolved, about increased productivity, about how to make people more efficient via some BS measures that never really work (except maybe in a Chinese factory or in a pyramid-scheme marketing organization?). I knew how to make my people efficient and I was doing it. On the managerial meetings I was bored to tears and eventually I just told everybody in the room (including the CEO) -- "People. Why are we here on this meeting? I only see this as an excuse for everybody to congratulate themselves on how awesome you are. Speaking of which (at this point I pointed at 2 other managers) the only thing you ever managed to do was impede me by imposing waiting in inter-team communication for weeks while your devs are telling me they are idle and have nothing to do -- and you're also criticising my managerial techniques no matter the fact that in this 150+ people organization my team is the only one not behind schedule". Or something like that.

Needless to say, I got demoted -- and left the place -- shortly after.

Thinking of it 8 years later, I'd absolutely do the same but I'd use even more brutal language.

Management needs less BS. It doesn't deserve its current breed of slackers who licked bottoms most of their conscious lives to get to such a position and then they figured they'll unofficially retire at 40 while officially leeching salaries into their 60s (read: show up at the job but practially do nothing).

As any human system, inertia and credentialism are a huge problem. This has to change.

9
nunez 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Well, yeah.

It's not that they can do the work (they shouldn't), it's that they can better relate to the people they're leading. They know, for example, that asking engineers to complete an arbitrary development task in two weeks without regard to scope, value or other work is completely unreasonable. They've been there. Managers without that experience (or even knowledge of that experience) can never relate, so when their managers ask for a thing and ask that it be done in two weeks (because we're doing "Agile"), they'll more than likely pass the buck down.

But as long as businesses are run by professional C-executives that don't even understand the business they're managing, this will be a problem.

10
PaulHoule 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I remember being taught how to mop a floor by the store manager at a supermarket. It's a very small thing but it added to my positive feeling about the company.
11
CodeSheikh 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Hiring MBAs at tech companies as managers directly managing engineers has not proved to be effective. MBAs have traditionally worked in finance, oil and other Wall Street companies and everyone thought that bringing in MBAs to tech world (partially pushed by investors) would be a good idea. As with any new experiment, you just have to wait and let the time decide the results. And it has been few good years now since MBAs have flooded tech industry and as many like minded engineers have experienced, MBAs with no technical background are a bust as your decision making managers. Sure they can thrive at duties such as managing supply chain management of a large tech companies such as Apple or Amazon. Or dealing with international clients where your "prized" skills such as charisma, emotional intelligence and thinking on the feet matters.
12
CarpetBench 11 hours ago 6 replies      
The most surprising part about this to me is that this matters at the top. Sure, for a middle manager it makes sense that it matters quite a bit. I'm pretty surprised that it matters much at the top, though.

If Elon Musk decided to head a major grocery chain I wouldn't stop to consider whether his lack of experience in retail groceries mattered much. But maybe it does?

Really interesting to see the analogy extend to sports, too. Professional sports teams, even successful ones, are almost universally run (coaches, GMs, etc.) by people who didn't play at a high level. Without actually pulling the numbers up, I'd estimate with high probability that the number of "all-stars" either managing or running teams is countable on one hand.

I mean, hell, this year's superbowl is being lead by two coaches who played D3 football, and one GM who played football for a Canadian university. One of said coaches is pretty universally considered one of the greatest coaches of all time.

For the most part these coaches/GMs absolutely could not do the job of the players on the field, nor could they ever.

13
baursak 11 hours ago 4 replies      
I've had a boss who was very competent technically, but was completely incompetent as a people manager. Somehow he rose to a VP level, but still wanted to micromanage everything down to individual code reviews. It was comical at times. Eventually he was fired.
14
midgetjones 11 hours ago 0 replies      
By the same token, you're probably more likely to be happy at work if your boss knows nothing of your job, rather than a little.
15
andy_ppp 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I think it's probably a bit like Uncanny Valley this one; it goes from no understanding at all, slowly to increasing understanding but just before you get to "boss can do my job" you have "boss knows enough to be dangerous and counter productive"...
16
temp246810 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I'll throw in an alternative perspective:

I don't care so much about expertise, but about just raw intelligence.

Talk to a really smart person about your engineering problem, and even if they are not an engineer they will give you good advice.

Ditto for sales, marketing, etc.

I've always been happy when I can tell the person that is managing me is a few steps ahead of me, allows me to learn from them and actually makes my job easier.

To me, it's only a bonus if they can do my job better.

17
mifeng 11 hours ago 0 replies      
This is why, all other things being equal, it's better for an engineer to work for an engineering driven company (Facebook) rather than a sales driven one (Oracle).

The opposite is probably true for a salesperson.

18
xexers 9 hours ago 1 reply      
I agree, but this is very tricky in the software development industry where things change so quickly. I went from senior to leading a team of 5 people. As soon as I started to lead, my technical skills started to atrophy. I've now switched companies and dropped back down to a Senior position because I need to build my skills back up. How do you navigate this?
19
viswanathk 4 hours ago 0 replies      
If you're talking about Flipkart, then it's not really a tech company as much as it is a retail company these days. So it is expected to have more MBAs in important positions, or in places where they can prioritize like an MBA.

No wonder Amazon is kicking their ass, and their last few product launches were nothing short of a disaster.

20
taneq 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I thought that was one of the nice touches in Better Off Ted. It turns out that Ted probably could fill in for any one of the team if he needed to, and the reason he didn't interfere more technically was just that (as a good manager) he was avoiding micromanaging.
21
sshrinivasan 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Considering this is HN, I'll stick to the software/hardware field. While there is some truth to this, I disagree with the assertion that in order for a manager to be good, he "should be able to do your job". I fully agree that a manager for a technical team should have a technical background, and more specifically in the same broad field as the employee. Taking my own case, I am a scientific software developer, with lots of experience in Python, C etc. But as a manager of a team of software developers in different fields, I have no clue how to do web application development or devopsy type stuff, JavaScript, Kubernetes, Go and the like, which we use as well. However I hope I can still be a good manager because I understand the process of software development, I understand people and their needs (technical needs, motivational needs, professional development needs etc), and I can recognize good people when I see them, who can be leaders in their respective technical roles and mentors to others.

Or maybe I suck at my job and I don't know it!

22
tudorconstantin 4 hours ago 0 replies      
A manager should be just a facilitator.

Our department manager at a previous company that I've worked for had economic background, while we were a Perl dev department. Basically, his job depended on our productivity, while our job depended on his ability to win projects. We had to trust each other that we were doing our jobs properly.

While we made sure he could make the customers happy with our work, he screened us from interactions with pesky customers and got us all we needed so we can focus entirely on the projects.

I worked with him for 5 years and we've been totally happy.

23
ryandrake 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I guess I have to be a little bit contrarian. Of course we want our managers to have good technical fluency and to not have to have everything explained to them. It's necessary but insufficient. The skill set of a good manager is different from the skill set of a good individual contributor. I've worked with way too many engineering managers who were great engineers but needed a lot of coaching in order to manage well. At lots of tech companies, you get managers this way: Roger is "smarter than the average bear" and we want to reward smart people, and the only promotion we know is management, so congratulations: Roger is now a manager! Go manage people, Roger! Go understand the business implications of your team's work. Go communicate effectively with execs. Go write a project plan. It's not that Roger is stupid--far from it, its that he is now in a role that requires a totally different skill set.
24
michaelbuckbee 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I think that startups are particularly susceptible to this, everyone else is sharing stories of MBA's in charge of software dev, but it happens in other areas as well.

I do work in performance marketing (very data driven, analytics, testing, etc.) and the new Chief Marketing Officer was someone from a big ad agency. He had worked with some really big names and bragged constantly about how he had had an ad play in the SuperBowl, etc.

Which was all great, but none of those skills translated down to a budget 1000X less than what he was used to dealing with. He was unprepared to think about things like a website's "Devcenter" as having a purpose beyond a branding exercise.

He wasn't a bad person or actually incompetent, but he didn't have the deep expertise in startup marketing that it would take to really see them succeed.

25
throwawayboss 11 hours ago 3 replies      
So does this mean 'professional managers' are the root of most unhappiness at work?

Certainly that's been my experience.

A company that doesn't hire MBAs is one I want to work for.

26
stevefeinstein 3 hours ago 0 replies      
So people like it better when the people in charge know what they're talking about.But people keep putting the ones that tell them what they want to hear in charge.And the two sets don't usually overlap much.
27
droopybuns 9 hours ago 0 replies      
When leaders don't have expertise, we burn time educating them on fundamentals just to orient them on a decision that needs to be made.

A better title would be "businesses aren't truly agile until their leaders have deep expertise."

28
maxxxxx 11 hours ago 1 reply      
This not exactly surprising but yes, it's nice to be able to talk to your boss about the subtleties of my work. This is what makes work interesting. I hate when it's clear that all he is interested in are deadlines and budgets.
29
gdledsan 3 hours ago 0 replies      
A leader has to lead, it does not matter if the leader knows or does not know how to do the team's job. Those MBAs were not leaders, as simple as that.

However, a company does not need a lot of MBAs to function, 1 or 2 should be enough, dedicated to improve the business in general. That unicorn was very sick.

30
collinmanderson 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I was just thinking about this today. I'm usually happier when I'm doing things that I know my boss nearly-fully understands and when I know that they're able to work on it themselves if needed.
31
mrfusion 11 hours ago 2 replies      
I actually think you get more respect if your boss (or his nephew) can't do your job.

At my last offfice job the programmers doing graphics/OpenGL stuff got way more respect than the web developers.

32
matt_morgan 11 hours ago 0 replies      
This is really interesting. I don't know if it reaches the level of detail necessary to understand how it influences lots of tech work.

E.g., "employees are far happier when they are led by people with deep expertise in the core activity of the business." Well, I have deep experience in IT and building websites, but I'm not a great programmer and I have had devs reporting to me who were concerned about that (so I've worked on supporting them in other ways).

33
jaysprout 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Oh my gosh, that's all I've wanted for years: a boss who knew at least as much as I did. Trying to persuade -- to be an agent of positive change or even just get anything done -- is all but impossible when you have to explain everything to someone before you can even begin a dialogue.
34
benmarks 10 hours ago 1 reply      
From the comments: "I'd bet a lot of workers who are unhappy for other reasons end up judging their supervisor to have low technical competence, making causality hard to determine."

Curious to see how competence is objectively measured in this case.

35
yalogin 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I thought this has more or less been identified in the software world. That also probably was the reason to grow people organically for management than bringing from the outside, more so for lower management positions.
36
keeganjw 5 hours ago 0 replies      
So with Donald Trump as prez, I guess we're all gonna be very unhappy...
37
Magi604 7 hours ago 0 replies      
People dont quit bad jobs, they quit bad bosses"

Looking back, this is the actual reason why I left my previous jobs.

38
BeetleB 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Having worked with a boss who had never done our work, and one who had, I can assure everyone: There's a world of a difference!
39
mverwijs 9 hours ago 1 reply      
First it states that business knowledge is most important. Than it states that deep tech knowledge is most important.

Which is it?

40
z3t4 7 hours ago 0 replies      
i think managers should be good at observing and linking cause to consequence. and use that experience to make good decisions. in the future we might be able to replace managers with AI.
41
chrisabrams 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Is it really about whether your boss can do your job or not, or whether your boss thinks your job is difficult or not?
42
owly 10 hours ago 0 replies      
This is core to human leadership and has been detailed as far back as ancient Greece.
43
briantakita 10 hours ago 0 replies      
This may be true for an developer/administrator/maintainer in a "Scientific Management" (Taylorism) design process.

https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Scientific_management

This is not true for a creative/synthesis/multi-functional/unconstrained design process.

I've been basing my career on acquiring skills/knowhow on being unique in my ability to synthesize different crafts together with a defined worldview (similar to a Meta Model in NLP).

Having a boss be able to do my job has often led to bike-shedding & lack of space to explore novel ideas. Since I have taken on clients that aren't able to build what I build, I have had room to perfect my craft & my process wilst learning how to communicate with others who do not share my knowledge.

It's been more satisfactory to find people that share my worldview but don't necessarily share my skillset. It's kindof like a tribe of ideology or spirit.

44
pacaro 10 hours ago 0 replies      
There's probably some CAP theorem of management
45
Zork212 7 hours ago 0 replies      
especially when they are flying on a plane.
46
edblarney 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Missing from this study is the fact that we tend to project confidence, intelligence and wisdom on those that we like.

A staffers perception of the competence of their boss may mostly be a function of how much they like their boss.

Also - staffers may have no ability to judge the competence of a boss.

Example: boss is highly technical, nice, gives you good feedback, stays 'out of your hair' - and 'let's you do your job'.

Problem: you're all way behind schedule, and he's afraid to be unpopular by steering you and the team in the right direction. From a management perspective, he's failing, and causing the whole company to fail.

17
Office Hours with Daniel Gross [video] ycombinator.com
27 points by craigcannon  5 hours ago   2 comments top 2
1
haberdasher 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Show HN: Anyone want to create a transcript of this video with me? I've been working on a crowd-sourced transcription bot that operates on the Facebook Messenger platform. The end result is something like this: https://presentio.us/t/bbc666

Edit: Send me an e-mail and I can tell you how to participate: transcripts@presentio.us

2
craigcannon 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Thanks to everyone that submitted questions!

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13419174

18
mJS: a new approach to embedded scripting mongoose-iot.com
68 points by dimonomid  10 hours ago   50 comments top 12
1
nneonneo 6 hours ago 4 replies      
25k of flash space sounds like a lot for what is effectively just a JavaScript parser and interpreter. I recall the days when you could fit a whole language's compiler into a few measly KB. 1KB RAM is also quite a lot for certain boards, especially if it has to be stack or SRAM.

How's the performance? Will my 72MHz Cortex or 16MHz Arduino be able to run interesting things with mJS? If I have to do everything through FFI, what's the benefit vs. e.g. C++11? The latter has nice language features too but compiles to much smaller native code!

2
dfabulich 7 hours ago 1 reply      
That FFI interface looks way nicer than the node-ffi interface.

 let f = ffi('int gpio_write(int, int)');
vs.

 var current = ffi.Library(null, { 'atoi': [ 'int', [ 'string' ] ] });

3
haldean 3 hours ago 1 reply      
This looks a lot like Lua's FFI interface[0], which is a compliment (but contradicts the statement that this sort of FFI is "the feature that no other engine implemented so far"). Nicely done.

[0] http://csl.sublevel3.org/post/luajit-cpp/

4
oso2k 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Is this a re-packaged v7 [0] (it's from Cesanta as well)? mjs.c is 477K. It looks like it as v7.c is 475K [1]. It shaves whole entire 1MB from my staticly linked builds (v7 1.9MB vs. mjs 998K), and almost 2MB from dynamically linked builds (v7 1.9MB vs. mjs 99K) on amd64. If it shares the same underlying architecture and api [2] then this is a pretty great achievement.

In their docs, they claim 25K storage and 10K RAM. Blog post claims 25K storage and 1K RAM.

[0] https://github.com/cesanta/mjs/blob/master/mjs.c

[1] https://github.com/cesanta/v7/blob/master/v7.c

[2] https://docs.cesanta.com/v7/master/#/v7-internals/

5
jdormit 7 hours ago 7 replies      
I've never worked with embedded systems, so forgive my ignorance. Why is this any more useful than just writing c code, if all the code that actually interacts with the hardware has to be written in c anyway?
6
otikik 2 hours ago 1 reply      
> One common thing these projects share is an attempt to implement the whole language specification, together with the more or less complete standard library

Not in the case of Lua. Well, the "whole language" part is correct, but Lua is a very tiny language spec. It's "standard library", however, is the opposite of "complete".

7
qwertyuiop924 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Neat. Although languages which are "almost, but not quite <x>" are, I would say, harder for people who know <x> to learn than languages that are entirely different from <x>.
8
gfwilliams 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Espruino's had an FFI interface for the last 3 years! Nice to see they did their research :)
9
teaearlgraycold 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Seems a little crazy that there's no support for closures.
10
formula1 6 hours ago 0 replies      
This is neat. This isnt quite javascript (which is neither good nor bad) but I think has a lot of potential
11
sdegutis 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Taking this example:

 let malloc = ffi('void *malloc(int)'); let mem = malloc(10);
How do you manipulate that memory?

How can you do the following in mJS?

 int* mem = malloc(10); mem[0] = 3; mem[1] = 7; mem[2] = 12; int *rest = mem + 3;
There are some things you can do in C without functions. How does mJS achieve this?

12
_pmf_ 5 hours ago 1 reply      
As light weight, easily embeddable JS engines go, I'd like to mention Duktape[0]. But the FFI of mJS does look quite a bit nicer.
19
Python to Circuits xesscorp.github.io
50 points by signa11  8 hours ago   18 comments top 10
1
proee 2 hours ago 0 replies      
This solves a very specific type of schematic entry where you're connecting tons of digital buses and I/Os. It's pretty tedious and error prone to do this in a schematic editor.

If you're ever done a 50-plus page schematic with a lot of digital parts (FPGAs, micros, etc.), you're stuck using a lot of global port definitions and these are the source of a lot of schematic input errors.

In the above case, it would actually be easier to see where your net is going using the python script as opposed to going through a printed schematic or even a schematic editor.

I know of many schematic types where it would be faster and safer to define the circuit using a script. After all, this is basically what you're doing with an HDL language like Verilog.

This is NOT well suited for analog circuits where you need to understand the circuit topology with lots of discrete components.

2
jimmyswimmy 28 minutes ago 0 replies      
Ugh, this hurt my brain. I do Analog and mixed signal designs and the thought of trying to debug a circuit represented as code makes me want to puke. On the other hand, I really find the schematic capture process to be painful so the thought of just writing some copy paste code for creating new parts is pretty appealing. If this thing had some kind of automatic visualization generator it might be kind of fun. Not sure if I'd ditch altium for it though.

As I went through the doc I started to think how cool it would be to put some parametric design features straight into my circuit code. So you could set gain and filter frequencies to be inputs and calculate component values automatically, creating self documenting circuits. But then I saw what they did to the multiplication operator. Yuck, that's super unintuitive:

> r2, r3 = 2*r1

That's how you make two copies of whatever r1 is. But intuitively that statement says, at least to an EE it a circuits guy, that r2 and r3 are resistors with twice the resistance value of whatever r1 is. That is a real problem.

Might be nice for fpga layout design. Tying 400 pins to net names by clicking on each one is tedious and error prone. For everything else I'd really miss the graphical representation of a schematic.

3
wott 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I have been "requesting" such a tool for a long time.

Why? Because most of the circuits designed today are mostly digital, and they include IC which are very integrated: lots of functions, and often lots of pins.

So, in the end, you have IC that you cannot represent properly, meaningfully, on a schematic (they have too many pins and many of them can bear a different function depending on configuration); and you spend your time connecting buses or other digital signals... with a non-negligible percentage of error.

What do you use 90% of the time? Straight connections from bus to bus, a few pull-ups/pull-downs here and there, and a good amount of decoupling capacitors, of just 1 or 2 different values, between the same pins. A RC filter on some inputs, a crystal oscillator there. That's almost all, the real analogue circuits parts are generally small, so even if they are more painful to write and read compared to a schematic, there will still be an overall gain in describing the circuit by text.

Being able to do that (writing those elements and links) in some descriptive language (HDL) would be great. There's a reason why we switched from schematic to HDLs for FPGA / ASIC design. And this reason become more and more meaningful for PCB design too. (Also it would make diffs much easier.)

I had written some syntax example for such HDL, but I suck at compilers and stuff.

I will have a look at this project, even though I fear it won't satisfy me and won't implement what I want. I generally find languages that are piled upon an existing one cumbersome, verbose and unfit for the specific purpose . Especially a descriptive language upon a programming language.

4
spott 4 hours ago 5 replies      
I'm a little curious... why?

It is much harder to visualize, I don't think it is appreciably shorter to write, it isn't necessarily clearer.

I suppose you can do interesting things like parameterizing parts on the value of other parts, but I'm not sure that is particularly useful.

If this was going to be the underlying core of a graphical netlist generator, I could see it being useful for that...

So, anyone have any ideas what is the big reason I should use this over KiCAD or similar?

5
Animats 3 hours ago 0 replies      
It's a way to write netlists in Python. As someone who uses both Python and does PC board design, this seems useless.

If you want to code something useful in that space, write an open source auto-router. The one for KiCAD no longer works and has IP problems. The author worked for a company that sold an auto-router, and they're unhappy about open source competition.

Or work on KiCAD bugs. KiCAD, which comes from CERN, is open source, but rather buggy. Most of the bugs are UI bugs, which requires good taste in UI to fix.

6
agumonkey 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I knew there was a s-exp like format in the electronics world, but that's the first time I see it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EDIF#Syntax

7
jonjacky 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Pertinent: MyHDL, hardware description and verification language in Python:

http://www.myhdl.org/

8
planteen 3 hours ago 0 replies      
What part of the hardware design process is this for? Is the idea to kick the netlist over the wall and let someone else do the schematic capture and layout? Is there a way to visualize the netlist as a schematic?

I'd say one of the most important parts of a hardware board is having a schematic handy. And even when reverse engineering, you have the PCB and redraw a schematic, not dump everything as a netlist.

9
blackguardx 4 hours ago 0 replies      
This is an interesting project. It would be cool to integrate with with a schematic generator. You could then edit the schematic for better logical flow / presentation.
10
eternauta3k 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Doesn't seem very helpful when analyzing/reasoning about a circuit
20
Whats up with Firefox? recode.net
260 points by cpeterso  8 hours ago   290 comments top 50
1
cylinder714 7 hours ago 7 replies      
Regarding FirefoxOS, Mozilla erred in focusing their efforts on cheap, crappy phones that were only available in places like Spain or India, and not getting first-tier phones into the hands of as many hackers as possible, as quickly as possible.

By focusing on low-end phones and not Nexus- or Galaxy-class handsets, they lost sight of the fact that smartphones are aspirational devices. People want the best phones they can get, with high performance and high-resolution screens. They don't care about libre software or the Open Web if the devices on which it runs are perceived as inferior. (Everyone I know uses either an iPhone or a reasonably performant Android phone, and I don't run in wealthy or tech circles much these days.)

Look at the runaway success of the iPhone. It wasn't cheap, but because it was clearly a quality device, both regular people and developers clamored for them. (Remember the hue and cry when Apple initially said they wouldn't provide a market for third-party apps?)

If Mozilla really wanted to spur interest in FirefoxOS among developers, they should have set up kiosks at every Fry's Electronics in the greater S.F. Bay area (on the doorsteps of Apple, Google, Facebook) to sell decent, unlocked phones directly. People would have lined up to buy them just to hack on them. I would have seriously considered buying one as an alternative to a Nexus phone, if one had been available.

1: Ars Technical eviscerates a $35 FirefoxOS phone: http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2014/10/testing-a-3

2
UweSchmidt 6 hours ago 4 replies      
It is very important to use Firefox: For Microsoft, Apple or Google their "free" browser MUST eventually be a pawn in their corporate strategy. It's one thing to use a service from a company, but conceding this crucial puzzle piece to any one company? I don't know about that. Mozilla takes money from Google and others, but ultimately depends 100% on a free internet.

One could argue which browser is a little ahead in any area, and which one needs "revitalization", to use a word from the article, but Firefox would have to seriously fall behind before I would switch browsers. Do you think ad-blockers would be a thing if it was between Chrome, Safari and IE? A lot depends on a single number: Firefox' market share.

3
sambe 7 hours ago 4 replies      
This all seems a bit sensationalist. Mozilla tried a few other things, mostly didn't work out, maybe a bit distracted from Firefox. The decline from 2010 was about Chrome, not neglect (& maybe mobile, where they lacked a device).

I wouldn't say Firefox was leading the way or the biggest innovator in the last few years, but for me it's kept up-to-date enough not to feel at all neglected.

4
shmerl 7 hours ago 6 replies      
> And it has been paying more attention to mobile browsing. In late 2015, it finally brought out Firefox for iOS, after years of refusing to do so because Apple requires all iPhone and iPad browsers to use its own Safari engine under the hood.

Apple should be legally stopped from doing this monopolistic garbage.

> In my experience, Firefox today is still only a meh product.

I wouldn't say that, but I do admit that Firefox on Linux is moving pretty slowly. Since it's not the highest priority for Mozilla in general I assume, it feels like it lags behind development wise.

5
sli 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I've been a die hard Firefox user since Phoenix was released, and after a (relatively) brief stint with Chrome, I switched back after a series of Chrome releases would randomly up and refuse to load websites while Firefox worked fine (tested frequently, using all three Chrome release channels).

I see a lot of people around the internet (not here, HN users are much better about this kinda thing) say things like "Firefox just keeps getting worse" but not once is that statement ever qualified.

It almost seems like Firefox's slow decline in use is tied in some small way to this memetic catchphrase. "Firefox just keeps getting worse." I simply don't believe that most folks are even capable of qualifying that statement, and a good bit likely don't have the technical qualifications to even gather supporting arguments for it. If that sounds a bit familiar...

It's almost identical to what is said by people that clearly believe that Java and the JVM are the same thing, and will rag on the JVM as Java, the former or which is definitely not the problem. There's even at least one troll account on Reddit that is heavily dedicated to screaming about non-Java JVM languages, both on Reddit and on Medium, including posting their own Medium articles in JVM language subreddits (usually /r/scala). It's a bit surreal, honestly.

I assume there's at least one similar account, but for Firefox. I don't visit browser-centric discussion boards or subreddits, though, so I can't say for sure, and won't.

I suppose I don't have much of value to contribute to this thread, I apologize for that. I just felt like sharing some casual observations of mine.

6
apatters 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Great to see Mozilla backing off from quixotic tasks like building a phone OS but I still feel like they don't understand what we need them for. They are the organization that we need to keep the client side of the Internet free and open.

Here's what that will take:

- Make Firefox the best browser in the world at the fundamentals: speed, stability, standards support.

- Become the free, open, OS agnostic app platform of choice: don't cede this frontier to Chrome and Electron. Make the open web platform the best platform for more and more apps. (MAYBE take a shot at a phone OS after the Firefox App ecosystem rivals Android and iOS.)

- Following from the previous bullet, quit wasting resources on browser UX experiments - browser UX matters less every year as web apps get freed from the browser.

- Be the absolute gold standard in user privacy and freedom - the stuff Brave is doing is the trail Mozilla was supposed to blaze.

- Invest in Thunderbird again and fix the client side of email - because messaging is just as important as the web and we are losing to closed competitors hard and fast there.

Mozilla's supposed to be our champion of an open web client platform. For too long they've just been a browser in decline and a bunch of random side projects. Cleaning up the browser is a good start but we need more.

From a passionate Firefox user (even though Chrome runs faster on Linux).

7
chrissnell 7 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm calling it today: 2017 will be the year of the Firefox come-back. I recently started using it again after switching to Chrome when Chrome was initially released in beta. I'm more of a second-wave of adopters--not among the very first but before the masses jump on board. I predict that tech-savvy business users will start jumping back later this year and that by 2018, we'll start to see non-technical people (like my parents and in-laws) start to use it as family and friends begin to recommend it.

Why? Battery life and speed. Chrome is just a mess these days. Absolutely terrible on laptops.

8
brandon272 6 hours ago 3 replies      
I have used Chrome since it's inception. Before that I used Firefox. After feeling some nostalgia recently and having some romantic feelings about using and supporting OSS, I decided to install Firefox (on MacOS) and give it a try as my primary browser again.

I had three primary complaints that caused me to go back to Chrome after a couple days:

- The UI feels old and clunky compared to Chrome, although this is likely just a personal preference issue for me.

- Performance felt lacking. Pages seemed to take longer to render. The browser UI itself felt slower.

- Stability. On a few occasions within a couple day period, it seemed like one tab would lock up the entire browser. Firefox would pop up a vague message telling me that "one of your tabs" is causing an issue (not telling me which one) and then I would need to randomly close tabs to try and get things working properly again. This seems insane and archaic and is not something I ever deal with on Chrome.

9
m3rc 7 hours ago 1 reply      
With the state of internet privacy today it's more important than ever to evangelize about Firefox and Mozilla's efforts.
10
guelo 6 hours ago 1 reply      
On Android Firefox is much faster than Chrome because of uBlock. I don't understand why it's not more popular there. On the other hand, Mozilla has always been reluctant to fully embrace ad blocking, there's no reason they couldn't have a built-in ad blocker and tout that loudly in their marketing. Which is probably part of the raison d'etre for Brave.
11
no_gravity 7 hours ago 4 replies      
My Firefox wishlist:

1) Make background tabs completely frozen by default. No intelligent guessing. Simply assign zero CPU time to them. But give the user an easy to use switch to toggle the activity of a tab. So I can activate background tabs and freeze foreground tabs just as I like.

2) One process per tab. Even with e10s, all javascript in all tabs runs on a single core. So at the moment, using Firefox on an 8 core computer is like using Chromium on a single core machine.

3) Make the url bar functional immediately on startup. Right now, every time I start Firefox, it takes several seconds until I can start typing the url I want to go to. In Chromium, I can start typing right away.

4) Don't set a bookmark every time I press CTRL+d. Only set it after I clicked "done" in the bookmark dialog that pops up on CTRL+d.

12
jwtadvice 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Firefox remains one of the browsers I use.

I sideload Chrome, Safari and Firefox on my work machine because we work with mTLS with smartcards and honestly none of the browsers work reliably (it's not a very high use case).

The biggest difference I notice to my browsing experience is when I switch over to Safari (Webkit). It's not that it's slow - it just renders pages slightly differently, whereas Firefox and Chrome seem to have aligned over the years very well on how to interpret stylesheets.

I'm never doing anything intense enough in the browser (besides maybe streaming a single video?) to notice significant performance differences.

13
ProfessorLayton 6 hours ago 2 replies      
Firefox really needs to get it together. I use Chrome for work, Firefox for my personal gmail, and Safari for battery-conscious use.

Firefox is the browser I have to restart the most frequently, because otherwise it slows to a crawl, or hogs so much memory (Despite only having 1-2 open tabs) that I'm constantly paging on my MBP with 16GB of ram.

There's also little UI quirks, such as not being able to natively look up a word in OSX dictionary, that make browsing less pleasant.

14
pmontra 6 hours ago 1 reply      
A suggestion for FF Android (no idea of what they can do on ios)

Go to this page http://pastebin.com/FFSQUML9 (on HN now) with FF. Zoom. See what happens to the text. Go there with Opera. Much much better. Tldr: text reflow.

And it's not even that useful there. Go to http://darkf.github.io/posts/problems-i-have-with-python.htm... also on HN now and repeat. You can't read it with any browser but Opera.

My suggestion: implement text reflow and some people will start using it and tell to friends.

15
hannob 7 hours ago 1 reply      
So someone managed to write an article about the state and future of Firefox - and didn't mention rust a single time? That's quite something.
16
gdulli 7 hours ago 2 replies      
When Firefox started to forbid unsigned extensions it was a dealbreaker and I switched to Pale Moon. I've been happier with it.

I think there's a pattern where products first get into a great state for power users/hackers but then pivot to evolve to be the lowest common denominator for mass adoption.

17
KingMob 7 hours ago 1 reply      
After disabling a couple old add-ons that were blocking Firefox's multiprocess architecture (Electrolysis), Firefox now feels as fast as Chrome for me.
18
edgarvaldes 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Maybe the direction taken is not what some users wanted, but Firefox development is not stagnant. In general, it feels that there is little more to offer in the browser space, but that is not only Firefox. What are the big new features (from all vendors) in the last few years?
19
webkike 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Firefox is still great, and I actually appreciate their focus on a single useful product.
20
jay_kyburz 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I would be interested to know, of those people that love Firefox, how many are on Windows and how many on OSX.

I love firefox on Windows, and really don't like the font rendering of Chrome on standard DPI screen. Firefox feels snappy and responsive.

On my Mac the opposite is true. Firefox feels significantly slower, and the font rendering is horrible, especially light text on dark backgrounds.

21
hbt 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Firefox is trying to be chrome where as chrome is leading the way.

Chrome dev tools are superior to firefox where I remember a time nothing could compete with firebug.

The chrome extension API is now better than the upcoming "Web extensions" which removes extensions access to XUL and dumbs down the API to make it compatible with chrome extensions.

They've been trying to replicate the chrome sandbox for years and it still hasn't made it to production.

It goes on and on. They are catching up and doing it poorly, not leading nor innovating.

22
nachtigall 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I think the concept of "Context Graph" in the sense of crowd-sourced indexing and recommendation system might the best approach to taggle Google search - in the long run. We all parse (our browser) the web all time, this could be a basis for site recommendation (and search).
23
janwillemb 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm on Firefox for Android, it works fine in most cases.
24
twblalock 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I understand that Mozilla changed focus in 2013, but the problems started before then.

According to all of the browser usage share data I've seen, Firefox's share began to decline around the end of 2010 or the beginning of 2011, about two years before Mozilla shifted focus to Firefox OS.

So, what went wrong between 2011 and 2013, when Mozilla was still focused on the Firefox product but its market share declined from more than 30% of the market to less than 20%? That's what really went wrong. The change of focus made a bad situation worse.

25
simula67 6 hours ago 3 replies      
I used to use Firefox, but now I use Chrome.

This means I can't use DownThemAll.

I can't use Tab Wheel Scroll. On Windows I use an AutoHotkey script to simulate Tab Wheel Scroll. On Linux, it seems to work somehow. On Mac I have learned to live without it.

On my phone, I get bombarded with useless ads all the time on Chrome since it has no uBlock. I have learned to live without it.

Firefox seems to be better than Chrome at recognizing password fields for 'Save Password' feature. I have learned to live without it in Chrome.

Why ? Firefox still feels slower in loading and showing web pages. It seems to freeze up occasionally. The new tab opening and scrolls have occasional jitters, sometimes sufficient to bring me out of my "flow".

Firefox mobile is a disaster. It sometimes loads desktop versions on some sites. Once it failed to load a favorite site of mine completely, due to uBlock ( that has never happened on the desktop, on any browser )

I want to use Firefox, I do. But, I spend an extra-ordinary amount of my time on my browser. Only the best browser is 'good enough' for me

26
woranl 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Firefox failed to innovate and alienate developers. Refusing to implement File System API is a perfect example.
27
007lva 3 hours ago 0 replies      
As a web developer I find Firefox(Developer Edition) more useful, I mean sometimes I see Chrome/Chromium fix some HTML/CSS "bugs" automatically, but Firefox seems stricter and force me to catch bugs earlier. Also is easy to install on Linux unlike Chrome Canary that still doesn't support it.
28
emodendroket 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I wish the Mozilla Foundation would lavish attention to Thunderbird, which remains a best-in-class product despite the reduced attention.
29
b1gtuna 6 hours ago 0 replies      
There were days when Firefox was my go-to browser. It was years ago. Right now Chrome is my #1 choice for daily driver. Opera seems to be doing pretty interesting stuff with Neon, so I keep an eye out for it and actually use it from time to time. Heck, I even don't mind using the Edge browser at work just because I actually really like the Microsoft Windows 10.

Now, Mozilla/Firefox has faltered in too many product deliveries in the past 5 years (I am mostly disappointed in their Firefox OS effort) while neglecting the browser. So the brand name no longer inspires me, whether or not the browser itself is good.

30
spraak 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been a user of Firefox for mobile since I first got a 'smartphone'. Just last night I reluctantly installed Chrome as Firefox kept crashing on my new favorite note taking app (dynalist.io if you're curious). While I know that the app should fix their code, so many modern apps seem to be almost entirely focused on developing for Chrome and don't care about Firefox, so it was the 'last straw' so to speak. I'd love to keep using Firefox, but it was just getting in the way of my day to day too much.
31
c0ffe 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Firefox OS development as an alternative to Android AOSP would not be good for the community?

I mean, in the desktop world, we have many Linux distributions, BSD derivates, many desktop environments, etc. May Firefox OS fit some use case that Android could not?

32
DigitalJack 7 hours ago 1 reply      
On my mac I avoid chrome and firefox, mainly because the the zoomable interface in safari is so nice. Maybe if I had better eye sight it wouldn't be a big deal, but I find I miss it immediately when I'm using an alternative browser.
33
lstroud 3 hours ago 0 replies      
They allowed politics to interfere with progress and ran off Brendan Eich.
34
timcederman 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I've stuck with Firefox because it works the way I want it to work and is extremely customizable. I've been doing more front-end development lately though and Chrome and Safari have been a lot nicer, and given the incredible slowness of Firefox, I've been thinking of making the switch. However, the new multithreading engine (Electrolysis) has given it a new lease on life for me.
35
_Codemonkeyism 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Using Firefox since the beginning, with year long deviations to Chrome and Opera, I'm a hostage now. Firefox is slow, memory consuming to the point I hate to use it. But it has addons for good vertical tree tabs and the Chrome plugins are all way inferior. And I just can't go back to horizontal tabs.
36
hendersoon 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I never switched from Firefox to Chrome, even though Chrome was (and is) very clearly superior in _almost_ every way-- more secure, faster, and a superior UI.

Unfortunately, Chrome mouse gesture addons are all terrible, none work perfectly, all have inconsistent performance, and most are spyware to boot! Firefox has Firegestures, the gold standard. With 20 years of muscle memory mouse gestures are non-negotiable for me. So, I stuck with Firefox.

37
scholia 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Whats up with Mossberg, the pundit that time forgot?

Until about four years ago, he used to get all these exclusives based on his position at the Wall Street Journal. But those days seem long ago. Mossberg is hardly discussed today, and his page views have cratered...

;-)

38
Corrado 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I think one thing they could focus on is adding new security features (like FIDO U2F) or making TLS client certs usable by normal humans. This would be a great step forward and could drive adoption by security conscious users.
39
soVeryTired 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I honestly don't notice the difference between chrome and firefox. What do I want my browser to do? Block ads and stay out of my way. Both browsers do that just fine.
40
bryanlarsen 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Pretty much everybody I know using Android has switched to Firefox so that they can use plugins, primarily ad blockers.
41
tbrock 6 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm glad we are finally coming to terms with the fact that Firefox has been a second tier browser since Chrome was released.

Everyone has love and good will for Mozilla and Firefox because Firefox showed the world what a browser and the web could be if designed correctly to some open standard.

However, the developer tools, JS performance, and overall browser tech have languished. So while we all are cheering for them to catch up, we do it sadly from a Chrome. Debugging a modern SPA on Firefox is painful.

What should have been an "oh crap, we need to up our game" moment for them was a whoosh just like the iPhone reveal was for Balmer.

42
niftich 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Despite failing at execution (let's run gobs of JS on barebones, circa ~2008-equivalent hardware), the Firefox OS project brought light to the problem that a mobile OS increasingly a portal to the Web and a parallel set of proprietary services. Both the Free Software Foundation [1] and the EFF [2] consider mobile OS as a crucial frontier.

It's little comfort for desktop-users to be able to dodge Google's browser logged into Google's services and serving Google ads, or Microsoft's browser on Microsoft's OS-and-apps-as-a-Service which surfaces Microsoft ads, when one can only meaningfully avoid it on mobile by switching to the premium devices offered by Apple, who runs an equivalent walled ecosystem, with the sole exception of not monetizing your browsing habits and content.

That being said, it's a hard problem, and if Firefox the Desktop Browser sinks into irrelevance the battle will be completely lost.

On the desktop, Firefox faces mounting challenges from having to appeal to distinct demographics [3][4] who have conflicting needs and wants, and having to simultaneously compete and cooperate [5][6][7][8] with Google, an entity that uses its position in controlling both the client and the server to rapidly further its goals and advance the Web in a way that promotes their interest [9][10][11][12][13].

[1] http://www.fsf.org/campaigns/priority-projects/ [2] https://www.eff.org/mobile-devices [3] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13425956 [4] https://blog.mozilla.org/ux/2013/08/firefox-user-types-in-no... [5] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12338170#12338445 [6] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12042767#12044962 [7] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13390846#13392833 [8] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12129691#12131403 [9] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12296616#12299230 [10] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12453646#12454524 [11] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13383006#13386719 [12] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12174503#12175561 [13] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12863565#12867493

43
hubert123 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I have known on day 1 of using Chrome that it was superior and I switched completely the next day without ever looking back. I assumed that Firefox would do everything in its power to catch up as soon as possible, both GUI wise and in general feel. 9 years later still nothing. Quite a surprise.
44
lossolo 7 hours ago 2 replies      
I've issues with firefox on linux, a lot of them, it gets dark and unresponsive sometimes without any reason and then just get back 15 sec later to normal state. On one of the sites where there is a lot of text content when I close the tab whole browser gets unresponsive for seconds, on youtube most of the time video get looped in couple of frames while sound is playing normally. I use chrome on linux also, no problems there..
45
vegabook 6 hours ago 0 replies      
It's difficult for browser makers to differentiate themselves due to web standards. Thus it becomes a money-takes-all game where the diminishing returns on performance investment can be afforded only by the richest (Chrome). Maybe Mozilla should differentiate itself in another way - politically? It already fired Eich on progressive grounds. Why not go all in and become the explicitly-progressive browser? See women's march/trump protests for market share potential. Nurture add-ins that do stuff that stock-price obsessed corporations are too scared to do. Skate to where the puck is going....the anti-capitalist browser.... supporting things that corpos can't.

As an aside, as a Linux-all-day dev I use Firefox almost exclusively. I can do Chrome, but something stops me. One of those things is the idea that we need browser diversity. Also chrome just isn't "better enough" than Firefox for me - in fact I find the difference very marginal now.

46
imaginenore 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I know why I personally stopped using FF, and switched to Chrome.

Because FF has been ridiculously slow compared to Chrome.

Because FF crashed when one tab crashed.

Because I didn't care about higher RAM usage - RAM is cheap.

Because I used so many Google services, and Chrome is (obviously) better integrated.

Because Google's update cycle has been faster.

So even if FF fixed all these issues (it didn't), the only argument that remains is privacy. And I don't care. I just don't give out the information that I want private.

47
kdamken 7 hours ago 2 replies      
It's awfulllllllllll. Doing web dev work for it is a nightmare. There are always weird issues that pop up for it that don't occur on other browsers.
48
Touche 6 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm not sure it's true that Mozilla has rebounded. Only a few years ago it used to be a neck and neck race between Chrome and Firefox to see how quickly new browser features get developed.

Now it seems that Chrome has pulled far ahead, and Firefox is often in 3rd place. I can't think of too many recent features that FF has been a leader on. SW kinda, I guess, but that's it.

Often either Edge or Safari is also faster to adopt (Safari with web components, for example), depending on the feature.

49
_Codemonkeyism 6 hours ago 2 replies      
Just like Wikimedia they have been kidnapped by political activist (e.g. for a free web etc.) I'm not saying this isn't important, but they confused this to be their core mission and forgot where the money really is coming from. Go to https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/ now and see where the browser ranks on that page.

Political activism (free internet) is first.

"Introducing Our New Mozilla Identity." takes the second most screen estate.

Scrolling two pages down there is Firefox.

If it's like many companies, then the people who made these decisions and are responsible for the sad state have already moved on.

(I'm currently a Firefox user and have been a user since the Netscape/Mosaic days with some Chrome usage over the years)

50
taf2 6 hours ago 0 replies      
The value of a diverse browser rendering engine market only existed when we had dominate closed source browser IE6. Those days are behind us. Focusing on a common shared browser platform would benefit the internet and every business on the web platform.

Google is an excellent leader in this space because their revenue and expense is directly tied to the quality of the browser platform. Firefox, as well as Microsoft would help everyone if we all got behind a single open source browser engine. I believe blink is the best and the architecture underlying Chrome is the best. Opera has shown you can innovate on the browser UI while still providing excellent content rendering.

I get there is value in competition, I just don't see a lot of value in creating competing engines. Even within Mozilla they are innovating on the rendering engine and that is great news - why shouldn't Google and MS consider this engine as the next engine to power the web... I believe Mozilla's resources would be better served if they focused on UX as Opera has done. I also believe the same is true of Microsoft. Why compete on browser engines when we can make the same engine better. It's in Google interest as well as many others. It's the same model that works for Linux and why so many companies contribute to Linux is to improve their own capabilities and bottom lines.

(awaiting the downvotes - but would love to have a discussion ;))

21
Is jQuery still relevant? (2014) syntaxsuccess.com
24 points by thelgevold  2 hours ago   25 comments top 13
1
AznHisoka 59 minutes ago 6 replies      
If i had to build an app in a week and my life was on the line, i would use Jquery and ignore any other javascript frameworks.
2
overcast 57 minutes ago 0 replies      
I've moved away from jQuery for most everything, because I was really only using it for selectors, and various other things that can be done in vanilla browser JS. However if you want to play with UI frameworks like Bootstrap and Semantic UI, you're going to be using it, and that's not a bad thing. Time and place for any library. Out of fashion, doesn't mean out of relevance.
3
chenster 31 minutes ago 0 replies      
Outside the framework, jQuery also has tons of free and powerful plugins that we can't simply overlook in our day to day application development. We used jqgrid for all of our datagrids. It's insanely powerful.
4
meesterdude 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I love me some jQuery. While I don't ALWAYS reach for it in a project - I usually do. It can add nice behavior to webpages with just a sprinkling of JS, and not a lot of boilerplate, and not having to worry about browser edge cases.

For the two dozen or so various medium/large sites i've worked on; Jquery, underscore and d3 give me everything I want and then some.

But it's certainly not the "cool" kid anymore. It's an important fundamental that you can use to do a lot with - but sites with more heavy use of JS will probably gravitate towards a more structured framework like angular

5
supersan 4 minutes ago 0 replies      
Not to mention that even AngularJS 1.x still bundles jqLite and switches to full jQuery if you include it first.
6
edgarvm 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Most of problems pointed by the article are related to javascript and the DOM model, JQuery just provides a very useful function set and interoperability between browsers.
7
yichi 49 minutes ago 1 reply      
If you are planning to ditch jQuery, make sure you consult this:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1LPaPA30bLUB_publLIMF0Rlh...

8
wwweston 38 minutes ago 0 replies      
jQuery may not be enough to structure your application. This is actually debatable -- there's many applications for which treating the document as your model is a perfectly acceptable approach, and it can scale just fine assuming some thoughtful discipline -- but some applications don't lend themselves particularly well to the kind of resource-oriented practice involved and having a separate model can make sense too.

jQuery is less necessary than it used to be in order to get reasonable tools for working with the DOM and other browser APIs... but then again, depending on your need for marginal utility and tolerance for personal attention to corner cases, you never really needed it. If you were determined, you could always custom code a micro library that covered most of the overlap between what jQuery did and what your app needed. It's just that it often gave you the gift of not having to pay attention to those cases. It still can.

Things jQuery will always be relevant for: an example.

It might be the single most thoughtful yet pragmatic abstraction that I've had the pleasure of regularly working with in the last decade. The basic idea of using selectors to navigate the DOM was a key jump in productivity, the fluent-chained interface was thoughtful and a massive boost. It almost never leaked -- I can count on one hand the number of times in 10 years something weird was going on underneath the hood that I had to pay attention to (Angular exceeded this measure inside of a few months). And strangely enough, every other library that was its contemporary when it was born seemed to think that the problem with front-end development was JavaScript's lack of classes & traditional OO, if the amount of library that was focused on adding them was any indication. jQuery recognized how much of the pain was really coming from bad browser APIs, and how much productivity could come from building better ones, combined with idioms/concepts from the functional side.

9
franciscop 34 minutes ago 0 replies      
I created a library to manipulate the DOM in a simplified way inspired by the question, how would I build jQuery if I had to do it today?

Superdom https://superdom.site/

10
mattezell 28 minutes ago 0 replies      
Perhaps I'm just lazy or missing something... While I don't often use it directly, I do find that adding a ref to it makes my life easier when I'm working in AngularJS.
11
scarface74 26 minutes ago 0 replies      
I have a situation where a full framework was overkill but using Jquery was causing an unmaintanable mess when creating a dynamic UI. I took a middle ground. I came in and introduce Handlebars to the work flow. We still use Jquery, but our ui is created with simple intuitive handlebar templates/compiled functions.

When we do start building more complex web apps, we decided on Ember since it uses Handlebars as its templating engine.

12
tim333 2 hours ago 3 replies      
Still seems to be #1 in useage by a long shot https://w3techs.com/technologies/overview/javascript_library...
13
redthrowaway 46 minutes ago 1 reply      
Will jQuery ever not be relevant? It's still the easiest way to accomplish most basic tasks, and 90% of the websites out there make use of it in some fashion or another. There are now a plethora of frameworks for building front end web apps, but for basic scripting I don't see anything replacing jQuery anytime soon.
22
Really big numbers oup.com
21 points by Petiver  5 hours ago   15 comments top 7
1
tromp 4 hours ago 2 replies      
The write-up manages to misquote Rayo's huge entry

"The smallest number bigger than any finite number named by an expression in the language of set theory with a googol symbols or less"

into the relatively minute

"The least number that cannot be uniquely described by an expression of first-order set theory that contains no more than a googol (10^100) symbols."

by leaving out the crucial "bigger than".The latter is no more than #symbols ^ googolsince any N descriptions cannot describe all of the first N+1 numbers...

Similarly, the proposed function F(n) is merely exponential in n.

2
Patient0 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Also worth a read (and also in the original articles comments): http://www.scottaaronson.com/writings/bignumbers.html
3
lisper 4 hours ago 1 reply      
The ultimate discussion of big numbers:

http://mrob.com/pub/math/largenum.html

This too:

https://johncarlosbaez.wordpress.com/2016/06/29/large-counta...

Literally to infinity and beyond! :-)

4
gamina 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Also worth a read (it makes you try to grasp how enormous is Graham's number): http://waitbutwhy.com/2014/11/1000000-grahams-number.html
5
cobbzilla 1 hour ago 1 reply      
It seems composition would yield ever larger numbers. If Rayo's number is F(10^100), then wouldn't F(F(10^100)) be even larger?

OK, now repeat that nesting F(10^100) times (maybe use Knuth's up-arrow notation?) and now you have something even bigger. Now call that whole thing G, and start over from the top.

There is no end to how many times you can do this.

6
pavel_lishin 4 hours ago 1 reply      
That seems a little bit like cheating, in that you can calculate the number in the third turn - e.g., 111! - but as I understand it, to calculate Rayo's number, you basically have to calculate all the numbers that it's not.
7
cafebabbe 1 hour ago 1 reply      
No graham's number ? that one is so big it's scary.
23
Erik Ficthner Please wget -m -np ftp://aftp.cmdl.noaa.gov reddit.com
12 points by bane  1 hour ago   2 comments top
1
tsomctl 32 minutes ago 1 reply      
Also note https://github.com/climate-mirror/datasets/issues?q=is%3Aiss...

Seems like archive.org should be archiving this stuff, so it's all in one place and future researchers don't have to go hunting all over the internet for it.

24
Announcing Ionic 2 Final ionic.io
121 points by jthoms1  9 hours ago   66 comments top 20
1
MaxLegroom 6 hours ago 2 replies      
We used Ionic 1.x for a few projects. We found that for relatively basic, brochure-ware apps, it worked just fine. However, for some of the more complex apps, we really fought the lack of support/options in the Cordova plugin space. This, of course, is not the fault of the Ionic team, but it does create a frustrating development experience that played a large part in us abandoning it as an option.

This was also our first experience with Angular. I really wanted to like Angular, but after more than a year of development, we left it for greener pastures. I understand that Angular 2/Ionic 2 are touted as being significantly better, but while all those improvements were being made, we invested our efforts in learning and building with Swift. I can say that we are delighted with the outcome and have no real inclination to leave it for an alternative.

2
danbucholtz 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Disclosure: I work on Ionic

Ionic 2 is much more performant and scales much better for app development than Ionic 1. I have yet to meet anyone who has not really enjoyed developing Ionic 2 apps. We take a tremendous amount of pride in the developer experience!

Native apps will always be a little faster but if you can get 60FPS either way, who cares? Ionic is easier to build apps with, and developing in the browser is a joy.

A huge advantage of Ionic is being able to deploy the same code base to the web as a PWA and to a phone natively as a cordova app. Soon Ionic Native will expand to support PWA and Electron, too, so it will truly be a write once run anywhere experience.

3
joeyspn 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Not long ago I was an Ionic believer, but not anymore... the lack of support for their cloud services [0] has turned many people off and signals that they don't mind leaving their users "locked".

Devs are migrating en masse to react native. I have friends in several startups leaving their jobs because they've been tasked with maintaining legacy Ionic 1.x/Angular projects, while the codebases are migrated to react native...

For hacking quick MVPs is not bad, it was even cool 2 years ago, but for serious projects starting from zero, react native is a smarter choice.

[0] https://github.com/driftyco/ionic-cloud/issues

4
cseelus 2 hours ago 2 replies      
At the moment we are in the process of evaluating different frameworks/solutions to build a simple native App for iOS and Android. Its mostly some basic forms to build simple objects that eventually get posted to a JSON API.

What astounded me most was that nearly none of the established solutions offers a simple way to just cache these requests until when the device is online or any other simple ways to get such basic stuff working when offline/the connection is bad.

Generally speaking: In early 2017 its still way to hard to get very basic stuff on native (let alone web based) mobile apps working offline. The whole offline-first movement still has a lot of educational work to do.

5
devdad 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Way to much hate here. I run an app with ~30k users and I never get any complaints about lag or comments on the stores that reflect negative on the performance. All criticism I've received has been by my own missteps.

Ionic 2 has given me two platforms and a great development experience. The few times I've had problems they have an amazing responsive team on Slack that's helped me out right away.

6
jadbox 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I've been using react-native for the last year and can't say I have much positive to say about it. Honestly, just about every day we hit a sharp pain point in component layouts, broken build scripts due to RN bugs, and runtime crashes. While Ionic 2 is young, I welcome another option to the JS native space. I'm also hoping Flutter.io will get to a stable release.
7
erikpukinskis 8 hours ago 2 replies      
"complex" and "object oriented" does not describe any future of JavaScript that I am excited about.
8
samkite 8 hours ago 4 replies      
I'm always afraid of investing a lot of time into this type of frameworks and then having the rug pulled from under me. Most of the time I spent learning angular ended up being a waste of time and I'm still scarred from then.

Also that logo looks familiar?

9
sjclemmy 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I've got an app that I started way back in February 2016 using ionic 2, so I've followed the alpha and beta, it's been a long slog, but even back when I started I could tell it was worth it.I'm currently using Angular 2 for another project - it's awesome.
10
paradite 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I think it is pretty ironic that Ionic 2 has a complete set of components for both iOS and Material Design:

http://ionicframework.com/docs/v2/components/#overview

,while Angular 2's official material design components are still in the pre-release stage:

https://github.com/angular/material2

Good job on filling the gap for Angular 2.

11
jrm2k6 8 hours ago 2 replies      
Stupid question, but Ionic is not native, or was not at least. But react-native is actually using only native APIs through Javascript. So if you want to have a native look and feel, why not go with react-native?
12
techwizrd 2 hours ago 0 replies      
This is actually something I'm excited about. I remember trying Ionic v1 and not really enjoying it. I built some MVPs and some apps using Ionic v2 about six months ago and I found it to be a pretty great experience. It was also my first experience with TypeScript and Angular 2 and I enjoyed the experience (especially versus traditional Android development). It's a neat product and I'm excited to see how the v2 final release compares.
13
bbayer 5 hours ago 1 reply      
No body mentioned but Ionic Creator[1] still supports Ionic 1. I think it is great tool to start an app from scratch but it doesn't look cool when your own tool doesn't support your own latest product.

[1]: https://creator.ionic.io/

14
janwillemb 7 hours ago 0 replies      
We've been developing an app since the last beta and are happy to see Ionic come of age now. Congratulations, and thanks for all the effort.
15
ausjke 8 hours ago 1 reply      
it's really just for Angular2? which is overly complex for many. I'm using vue which has different similar frameworks.
16
replicatorblog 4 hours ago 0 replies      
We're huge fans (and investors in Ionic) and we recently interviewed Max Lynch about how the project went from idea to the upper echelons of the Github leaderboard https://hackernoon.com/step-by-step-advice-how-ionic-became-...
17
bdcravens 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I like Ionic, but not a fan of the name of "Ionic Native". I think that might confuse people with regard to parity with React Native, when it's really much different (it's a Cordova plugin wrapper)
18
rbritton 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm a big fan of the icon font released by this project too[0]. It's similar in concept to Font Awesome, but I've sometimes found it fits my needs better.

[0]: http://ionicons.com

19
hatsix 8 hours ago 2 replies      
I don't understand the 'final'... they're not stopping development in any way.

So, isn't it just.. Ionic 2? or maybe Ionic 2.0?

20
lima 8 hours ago 5 replies      
What's the equivalent for desktop site development?
25
How to build the next Trello and sell it for $425M or more medium.com
112 points by ideaoverload  5 hours ago   56 comments top 19
1
tim333 56 minutes ago 2 replies      
The authors advice -

>Make something the mainstream market doesnt want now, but will want later.

seems rather different from the thinking of the Trello team when they actually made Trello, as described by Joel Splosky:

>After ten years in management I still never knew what anyone was supposed to be working on. Once in a while I would walk around asking everyone what they were doing, and half the time, my reaction was why the hell are you working on THAT? So one of the teams started working on finding better ways to keep track of who was working on what. It had to be super simple and friction-free so that everyone would use it, but it had to be powerful, too.

>...led us to the idea that became Trello. Pretty soon we had four programmers and two summer interns working on it. We started dogfooding the product when it was only 700 lines of code, and even in that super-simple form, we found it incredibly useful.

So basically they built it to scratch their own itch, not as some disruptive masterplan.

https://www.joelonsoftware.com/2011/09/13/announcing-trello/

2
whack 3 hours ago 3 replies      
I really wish people would stop abusing the term "disruptive innovation" in ways it was never meant to be used. Making a product that's overly complicated, beyond what the market is demanding, is just bad management. It doesn't require any disruptive innovation to correct for this - making something that better matches your customers' needs is bread-and-butter business management, which every competent company is already doing.

The whole point of disruptive innovation is to build something which most customers do not want, with the bet that due to technology/market trends, market demand will grow exponentially in the future. Unlike the above, this is a real dilemma because if you're an established successful company, it's hard to justify pouring energy and resources into something for which the demand doesn't exist. If you're building something to meet a market demand that already exists, that's not disruptive innovation, that's just innovation, period. It's something people have been doing for millennia, and there's no dilemma here.

Sorry for sounding like an angry old man. It just annoys me when I see specific terms with specific meanings get bastardized into meaningless buzz words.

3
shortstuffsushi 5 hours ago 2 replies      
Hmm. I don't think I can get behind the idea that Trello "disrupted" Atlassian, and certainly not that it would have killed them (no more than Medium killed WordPress...). At most, it may have killed Jira, but Trello seems to capture a slightly different market. Could there be a slimmed version of Jira that could fit in place of Trello? Sure, but I don't think Atlassian would have gone that route (thus the acquisition, right?). Then, when their big product paid off, they bought the sub market as well.

Re:integration, I also think he shortchanges Atlassian. I like Atlassian, so I'm biased, sure, but I think that they could successfully integrate without "killing" Trello. Time will tell on that, I suppose. Also, to say that "Android isn't incorporated into Google" just doesn't seem right. It's also completely different. Google acquired Android, which is a mobile platform, where they're a web company. Atlassian and Trello both offer web based services, and in this case even the same type of product.

4
kelvin0 4 hours ago 1 reply      
As a Software Developer, working with Jira is just a pain for me. I just don't like much about it, the less time I spend using it the happier I am. There dozens of views of the same information, but just different enough to get me lost. I have to admit, I did not buckle down to 'tame' the beast. It feels like hiking a steep hill on a rainy day.

Trello, on the other hand I introduced to some colleagues, and the simplicity and ease of use is very satisfying.Feels like surfing on the perfect wave.

5
dollaholla 4 hours ago 3 replies      
Trello will never hold a candle to Jira for users with complex needs. Trello is deliberately simple while Jira is deliberately complex. Also the screenshots comparing a Sprint board to a Kanban board is like comparing apples and oranges.
6
dsmithatx 4 hours ago 1 reply      
The picture comparison of boards is a joke. Why would you show the Trello board view compared to a list of tickets in a sprint? The author must not know how to use Jira and create a Kanban board.

I actually prefer Trello over Jira but, I have to use Jira at work. Still I couldn't take this article seriously after seeing that picture comparison.

7
kriro 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Well there's also no mention of the following and general goodwill Joel has accumulated over the years (mostly by being awesome, honest and also working hard on other products). Pretty sure he/his company could indeed build the next Trello by building a simpler X of something. People without that channel...that's going to be a tiny bit harder.
8
dasil003 3 hours ago 0 replies      
This article is making the obvious comparison, but it falls down on the slightest inspection because Trello and JIRA aren't really even in the same space. Yes, Trello can substitute for JIRA if your needs are simple, and yes JIRA has boards to meet different kinds of planning workflows, but the actual overlap of usages is pretty small.

What made Trello successful is that it is an incredibly simple SPA that never wavered in its vision. The minute Trello designers try to go down the road of meeting the needs of a ticketing system then the magic and broad utility of Trello will be poisoned.

There's probably some truth to the claim that Trello was eating some of the low-end of JIRA's market, but it would never credibly kill Atlassian, at least not without branching out into a lot of other products first.

The acquisition makes a lot more sense to me in the portfolio building aspect, Trello can satisfy a very wide array of business needs that go well beyond traditional dev tools. I put it more in the category of Dropbox Papersimple, modern, real-time-collaboration-based, mobile-friendly tools with a very strong essential vision leading to extremely broad utility.

9
yokisan 4 hours ago 0 replies      
With SaaS, there's almost always room for better. Better to the value of $435m plus? Depends. But enough potential returns to make it worth the effort if you're able and willing.

Another thing Trello had going for it was a decent brand. It didn't (and doesn't) feel project management-y.

Ooh, nice colors. Aww, taco the mascot. And look, not 100 bells and whistles. This initial conditioning is super-valuable. I had the exact same feeling moving from Google docs to Quip (mentioned in the article).

Choosing to add more feeling instead of more features has benefits.

10
paulplug 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Obviously I wouldn't look at this as a recipe for success, but the author does provide some pretty interesting insights. I do think that it is easy to look back at sparse events like acquisitions and try see patterns, whereas in fact there is a fair amount of luck, timing and personal connections involved in the acquisition game.
11
polysaturate 5 hours ago 2 replies      
This article was well written and surprisingly did give a plausible reason why Trello grew and was later acquired.
12
AznHisoka 54 minutes ago 0 replies      
"Its product had less features. It was simple. And it was fucking cheap. It was disruptive!"

I feel this is the wrong way to describe Trello's success. i can build an app with a blank white space and charge $0 for it - that has less features and is very simple but it aint gonna sell for a million dollars.

13
giarc 4 hours ago 0 replies      
For anyone interested in reading more about this, Clayton Christensen covers this area in The Innovators Dilemma.

https://www.amazon.com/Innovators-Dilemma-Revolutionary-Chan...

14
janlukacs 5 hours ago 2 replies      
I don't think the author used Jira. Stopped reading at "Trello created a cheaper, simpler, and smaller version of Jira."
15
kennyma 3 hours ago 2 replies      
So much BS in this article but let's start with these 3: 1) "Products based on disruptive technologies are typically cheaper, simpler, smaller, and more convenient to use." How many more benefits can he put in that sentence? He's basically saying disruptive tech is typically cheaper or better. 2) "Make something the mainstream market doesnt want now, but will want later." Trying to predict the future is just betting on luck.3) That random functionality vs time graph. What is 200 Functionality?

Bonus: "If you want to get ideas for your $400 million startup, subscribe to my newsletter."

16
onion2k 3 hours ago 1 reply      
No matter how good your JIRA-alternative is, persuading people to manage a project in a different way is exceptionally hard, and has very little to do with your tech. Project Management is seen as a science, and people don't like to deviate from known methodologies. My startup was in this space (managing projects, with a focus on requirements and change), and we failed because we underestimated how hard it would be to get customers to even try a different approach.
17
potch 5 hours ago 0 replies      
What if we all did this and got hundreds of millions of dollars! Think of the inflation! ;)
18
keithnz 2 hours ago 0 replies      
It wouldn't of killed Jira, I've tried using trello as a replacement for Jira, it was sort of okish, but was kind of awkward. Then moved to Youtrack, and never looked back really, seemed to have a nice blend of trello and Jira
19
thyselius 2 hours ago 1 reply      
So, what startup ideas can we create from this?
26
Stars in Their Eyes: Art and Medieval Astronomy blogs.bl.uk
19 points by prismatic  7 hours ago   1 comment top
1
ascotan 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I find this stuff fascinating. I also learned something too.

If you look closely at Isidore of Sevilles De Natura Rerum image there is (disturbingly) a planet called Lucifer. Being now terrified, I immediately google around to figure out what is going on in this diagram.

If you notice there are are actual 3 planets that seem odd here: Lucifer, Vesper and Phaeton (Fofton).

Phaeton is the mythical planet between Mars and Jupiter. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phaeton_(hypothetical_planet) Interestingly it was called out in a 10th century manuscript. Likely a visible comet that was thought to be a planet.

Lucifer and Vesper were both Venus. However, in the 10th century people didn't know they were the same planet (possibly). In the later manuscripts you clearly see "Venus". By the 14th century a more scientific approach was in order apparently.

But in the old manuscripts you have the planets "Lucifer" and "Vesper". This idea came from the fact that you can see Venus before the sun rises in the morning and later on after the sun sets in the evening. These were believed (by some i guess) to be different planets, "The morning star" and "The evening star" - Lucifer and Vesper.

Apparently the greeks knew that the two stars were the same planet but called them "Phosphorus" and "Hesperus" (BTW this gives rise to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frege's_Puzzle which is interesting in itself)

Even earlier than that the Cannanites called them "Shachar" and "Shalim". https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient_Canaanite_religion

The cannanite story behind these is a tale of a god rising to the heights of the sun (by day) but falling to the earth by night. It's believed that the text in Isaiah 14 which calls out the name Lucifer is comparing the Babylonian ruler to the myth of the morning star and the hubris that it entails.

28
EPA Science Under Scrutiny by Trump Political Staff nytimes.com
198 points by ComradeTaco  2 hours ago   139 comments top 15
1
kbrwn 1 hour ago 2 replies      
It feels like such a strange time to be alive. Even if you disagree with the concept of man-made climate change the distortion of scientific studies seems like something that everybody can agree is wrong. So much of science is funded by govt grants. The idea that everything must conform to the view of the current administration or it is not worth funding seems dangerous and economically limiting.
2
dmix 48 minutes ago 0 replies      
An official at EPA who worked under Obama isn't buying into this hysteria.

> Longtime employees at three of the agencies including some career environmental regulators who conceded that they remained worried about what President Trump might do on policy matters said such orders were not much different from those delivered by the Obama administration as it shifted policies from the departing White House of George W. Bush. They called reactions to the agency memos overblown.

> Ive lived through many transitions, and I dont think this is a story, said a senior E.P.A. career official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the news media on the matter. I dont think its fair to call it a gag order. This is standard practice. And the move with regard to the grants, when a new administration comes in, you run things by them before you update the website.

https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/01/25/us/politics/some-agenc...

3
nikdaheratik 1 hour ago 1 reply      
This is very worrying as it's starting to look like the same BS that Harper tried to push in Canada. Which was just bad policy and the kind of thing that can keep scientists away from doing valuable research for years.
4
tabeth 1 hour ago 13 replies      
All of these changes that Trump is making in his first week are making me wonder: what's the population limit, really, for a well functioning democracy? I'm no historian, but didn't the United States go around saying how great democracy is? I don't know about you, but to me it definitely feels like it doesn't work quite as intended.

As for the article at hand, all I can offer is this" Trump's blatant distrust for climate change is just mind boggling. What exactly is he afraid that'll happen? [1] Why all of the resistance? These aren't rhetorical questions. I'm genuinely curious.

[1] http://www.gocomics.com/joelpett/2009/12/13/

5
txru 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Seems like an interesting similarity to the Soviet 'politruk'[0], a Communist Party official assigned to maintain the political control of the armed forces. A familiar example is the politruk who voted to launch nuclear warheads during the Cuban Missile Crisis with his submarine Captain, but First Officer Vasili Arkhipov voted to wait for orders from Moscow.

Similar functions also existed in their academic structures, but the official-ness of this order certainly smacks of the politruk.

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

6
Gargoyle 1 hour ago 1 reply      
So I'm confused what has actually happened here. "(epa transition communications direector) said there was no mandate to subject studies or data to political review."

Then what is actually going on? This article is very confusing on that point.

7
steffann 1 hour ago 1 reply      
What this probably leads to is scientists losing their jobs or their willingness to work in the US. Under the current president their only option seems to be to move to another country where they can do their work and discuss their findings in public. Science with a political filter is no longer science but only politics with the illusion of factual justification...
8
Mtinie 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Does FOIA cover previously released studies that have been revoked "pending review"?
9
ams6110 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Did the Times change the title? It now reads EPA Science Under Scrutiny by Trump Political Staff
10
a13n 54 minutes ago 1 reply      
Wow this is getting ugly. What are some actionable things we can do as US citizens to actually have some kind of an impact on this situation? Not just specifically environment, but in general.
11
verandaguy 1 hour ago 0 replies      
This is very concerning. Something similar happened in Canada with the previous PM, Stephen Harper, whose government suppressed research which would -- directly or indirectly -- oppose their platform.
12
lstroud 37 minutes ago 0 replies      
Misleading headline
13
edge17 1 hour ago 1 reply      
So remind me again what tax dollars are for...?
14
gigatexal 1 hour ago 1 reply      
15
notpc 1 hour ago 4 replies      
Like it or not, increasing fossil fuel extraction and cutting environmental regulations is now the policy of the President of the United States. The public communications of the executive branch are under his authority and he's not just going to let the EPA run its public relations and releases contrary to his agenda.

Like others have pointed out, there are other ways the public can get the information. But it won't be the EPA running a press office counter to the President's.

29
The growing ecosystem around open networking hardware facebook.com
41 points by dankohn1  11 hours ago   1 comment top
1
epistasis 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I can't speak highly enough about the move away from traditional networking vendors to whitebox hardware running a linux-based OS with proprietary bits that interface with the hardware. It's worked very well from where we started (just two racks years ago), and gives us a very clear path to scale to hundreds of racks.

It's given us far more control over our racks, empowered us to do all sorts of cool things that you'd never be able to really try on the enterprisey traditional network hardware. And it's cheaper; rather than renew support for enterprise network gear it's frequently cheaper to buy all new hardware and Cumulus licenses (our preferred software shop).

       cached 26 January 2017 02:02:01 GMT