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The content distribution problem is capital-s Solved. The reason why publishers are floundering is because their product doesn't add value anymore.

As a group they have slowly been cutting out all the value-adds and buckling down on only one thing: distribution. Distribution is not valuable anymore because distribution has no marginal cost. This is classic rent-seeking. Cut your costs so far that your business does nothing, nothing except extract rent out of a pre-existing monopoly. This lasts exactly as long as it takes the market to make a competitor.

How do you win against free? Be better than free.


Given the level of concern, I will change the default and release a new version right away.

Shame, shame, shame.

We're losing the internet day by day, if we haven't done so already.

I've seen people and posts here and there calling for attention on these issues, but imho it's all too subtle. We should start using harsher terminology for what's actually happening. This is flat out CORRUPTION, and I'm not seeing anyone express it as such.

It's probably too late already, and unfortunately, this is merely a reflection on what's happening in the world in the larger geo-political context. Corruption everywhere.


Basically, unless you are writing a browser with decent marketshare, you defacto have no voice in making the standards. Basically, the only voices that matter are Mozilla (Firefox), Apple (Safari), Google(Chrome), and Microsoft (Edge/Explorer). Despite what any standard says, web developers are going to go by the behavior of the browsers do. The only company on the list of browser makers that really has any desire to try to exclude DRM is Mozilla, and unfortunately, if they do that, the users will switch to the browser that makes watching Netflix easiest.

In open source, it's lovely, and fairly rare, to see someone pick up the ball on a quiet project, and run with it to completion without getting frustrated or losing interest first.

Geoffrey Booth — with big assists from Simon Lydell and Chris Connelly — has really gone the distance here, spending a full year working on drafts of CoffeeScript 2.0 to upgrade it from a language designed around ES3, to make it as ES6+ friendly as possible.

https://github.com/jashkenas/coffeescript/commits/master

He also redid the website and the docs for good measure: http://coffeescript.org/

Bravo.


"Google would be an elephant while DuckDuckGo is a mosquito (this is not to emphasize; I’m actually making things better for DuckDuckGo)."

Why would this guy go out of his way to say this metaphor is actually literally informative and generous towards DuckDuckGo while apparently having exerted no mental effort and being incorrect by orders of magnitude on his own data?

If you're most generous to the writer, you get 12 million hits /day vs 13 billion hits /day according to his data from Wolfram, for a ratio of ~1/1100, which applied to a pygmy elephant of 5500 lbs yields a corresponding weight of ~5 lbs for the mosquito, or over 2,000,000 mg, versus the average mosquito weight of about 5 mg. Even if he meant a small 2000 kilogram pygmy elephant and a 20mg elephant mosquito, he's still 5 orders of magnitude too generous towards Google in mass comparison in his metaphor in which he is "actually making things better for DuckDuckGo".

I think most people think of animals like African Elephants when they hear "elephant", though, in which case you're looking at a 13,000 pound animal versus a ~12 pound one if you use hits as your metric, or a ~95 lb one if you go by visits as your metric.

So an actually fair metaphor is if Google's an elephant, DuckDuckGo is somewhere between a goose and a hyena. Better watch out, Google.


And I'm just going to self-promote a bit and say that the bet was registered via a project I worked on, the Long Now Foundation's project Long Bets:

http://longbets.org/

We've been going since 2002: https://www.wired.com/2002/05/longbets/

We are happy to host bets of long-term significance, and the minimum bet is only $200/side. I am glad to personally help shepherd people who are serious about bets to make sure you get through the process.

I would especially like to see HNers making bets about the things we argue a lot about. Bitcoin! VR! Uber! If you're tired of people posting waffle on some topic where you have a strong opinion, then challenge them to put money down.


Because of the potential for selective or punitive prosecution I'm in favour of legalising teen sexting. Obviously the law needs to be carefully drafted to avoid allowing child exploitation, but it should absolutely not be possible to prosecute normal sexually-active teens under child pornography statutes. “Trust us, we'd never use it against the people it's supposed to protect” isn't enough.

This is done. A summary of the issue and apology can be found here: https://gitlab.com/gnachman/iterm2/wikis/dnslookupissue

Recently switched over to DuckDuckGo on all my devices. Tried to do the same thing several years ago and found it didn't really work out, but this time around it is so much better, both when it comes to speed and results.

If anyone has doubts because they tried it years ago, I'd say go for it again.


For the record, the EFF only joined the W3C to fight EME in the first place. They're not resigning in protest, they're leaving the group because they didn't win the single battle they joined for the purpose of fighting.

The repeated use of the word "pirate" here is absurd. From a moral standpoint, the argument against piracy is that it deprives creators of their livelihood. In scientific publishing, creators (and even reviewers!) are not compensated by publishers, and "piracy" actually helps their careers (this is why scientists are, in general, so strongly in favor of Sci-hub). But by abusing emotionally laden language and false comparisons with the music industry, the author hopes to win sympathy for an industry that, honestly, needs to radically change or die.

> The problem is that when we outsource thinking to machines, we are really outsourcing thinking to the organisations that run the machines.

This is the money quote of this article, and it's been on my mind quite a bit as of late.

More than ever, we live in a world where there are many forces ready to take full advantage of our laziness. It takes a bit of introspection to really understand the tradeoffs that are appropriate. When it comes to Facebook, I'm really getting the feeling that my friendships have been hacked (and tainted) for someone else's profit. Fortunately, there is a way around: share important stuff in person instead of on FB—heck, I'm finding myself using email more these days—and keep Facebook usage for the few things it does well, like planning get-togethers.


Let me try to help this community regarding this article by providing some context. First, you need to realize that in the more than 50 years of my career I have always waited to be asked: Every paper, talk, and interview has been invited, never solicited. But there is a body of results from these that do put forward my opinions.

This article was a surprise, because the interview was a few years ago for a book the interviewer was writing. It's worth noting that nowhere in the actual interview did I advocate going back and doing a Dynabook. My comments are mostly about media and why it's important to understand and design well any medium that will be spread and used en-mass.

If you looked closely, then you would have noticed the big difference between the interview and the front matter. For example, I'm not still waiting for my dream to come true. You need to be sophisticated enough to see that this is a headline written to attract. It has nothing to do with what I said.

And, if you looked closely, you might note a non seq right in the beginning, from "you want to see old media?" to no followup. This is because that section was taken from the chapter of the book but then edited by others.

The first version of the article said I was fired from Apple, but it was Steve who was fired, and some editor misunderstood.

In the interview itself there are transcription mistakes that were not found and corrected. And of course they didn't send me article ahead of time (I could have fixed all this).

I think I would only have made a few parts of the interview a little more understandable. It's raw, but -- once you understand the criticisms -- I think most will find them quite valid. In the interview -- to say it again -- I'm not calling for the field to implement my vision -- but I am calling for the field to have a larger vision of civilization and how mass media and our tools contribute or detract from it. Thoreau had a good line. He said "We become the tools of our tools" -- meaning, be very careful when you design tools and put them out for use. (Our consumer based technology field is not being at all careful.)


Because the vehicle is electric, there is no need to “heat up” the brakes when descending. This is because the enormous electric engine acts as a generator and recharges the battery pack. That same energy is then used to help the vehicle travel back up the hill. Phys reports, “If all goes as planned, the electric dumper truck will even harvest more electricity while traveling downhill than it needs for the ascent. Instead of consuming fossil fuels, it would then feed surplus electricity into the grid.”

Clever. It can do this because it travels uphill empty and comes downhill full.


I enforce a militant "40 hours only" policy for my employees, and it's incredible for productivity. When you work longer hours defect rates increase, code quality drops, and things are on fire all the time. You also lose really good people due to burnout.

Sustainable pace is super important for creating and maintaining high performance teams. Crassly, it's just a more profitable way of doing business.

I wish more managers would stop buying into the myth of "time in seat == productivity", and look at the real output of their teams. When you actually run the numbers there's a lot of results that run counter to conventional wisdom.


That was one of the most HN comments I've ever read.

Hey, it's just a metaphor.

Scales and ratios not needed.

edit: Wasn't meant to be negative ... as I could see myself writing something like that and my GF giggling at me for a week ...


> “Trust us, we'd never use it against the people it's supposed to protect” isn't enough.

Especially because it's been so horribly abused in the past. Take this case in Manassas, Virginia. 17 year old texts a picture of his penis to his 15 year old girlfriend. The police find out, charge the 17 year old with distributing child pornography, and take pictures of his penis saying they need it for evidence[1]. They then get a warrant from the courts demanding that the 17 year old send them a picture of his erect penis[2]. And if he didn't comply:

> If he doesn't cooperate, the Manassas City Police Department has threatened to take him to a hospital and medically induce an erection with an injection, attorney Jessica Harbeson Foster toldThe Washington Post.

Eventually they backed off when it received widespread attention in the press. Later it turned out that the detective in charge of the case was a pedophile[3]:

> A Manassas City police detective, who was the lead investigator in a controversial teen “sexting” case last year, shot and killed himself outside his home Tuesday morning as police tried to arrest him for allegedly molesting two boys he met while coaching youth hockey in Prince William County.

When I read stories like this, I'm at a loss for words. No one in the justice system realized how terrible this is? Not only does this show the problem with giving law enforcement this kind of power, but I think it shows that we really need some sort of public advocacy department to monitor and go after this sort of abuse (someone to watch the watchmen).

The kid in the case got probation, by the way.

[1] http://time.com/2971033/virginia-police-search-warrant-photo... [2] https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/07/09/virgin... [3] https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/manassas-...


This, from Dune:

"Once men turned their thinking over to machines in the hope that this would set them free. But that only permitted other men with machines to enslave them."


Finally. I hope this will signal a turning point on this insane approach to national health in all countries. Drugs are a health problem, not a criminal problem.

Lone experts have been fired in western countries when they have expressed this common sense sentiments alone [0]. I hope this groups fares better.

Nixon started the war on drugs anyway as a mean to attack left and black activists [1]. Any previous legislation for control has been instigated on behalf of race and class warfare.The fact that some drugs have been the staple narcotic in some groups has been used as a control mechanism upon those groups by criminalizing the substance.

Substance distribution should be controlled by law. But that is status quo anyway - governments control the distribution of any number of dangerous substances at any point.

[0] https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2009/oct/30/drugs-advis...

[1] https://qz.com/645990/nixon-advisor-we-created-the-war-on-dr...


Yes, there's action in rotating electrical machinery again. For decades, this was a dull and boring field.

Tesla and Steinmetz figured out the theory of AC machines in the early 20th century. This was the first industrial technology where you needed advanced math to get anything to work right. Complex numbers. Calculus. Laplace transforms. That bothered some people, such as Edison. By the 1930s it was figured out, and generations of EEs struggled through rotating machine theory in college.

Then all the cool kids went off to radio and transistors and computers. Rotating electrical machinery was a mature field. Maybe a few people at GE in Schenectady worked on it.

Then came power semiconductors, and chopper-type motor control, where power was being turned on and off at moderately high frequencies. At first this was just applied to existing motor designs. But AC motors were designed for sine wave power. Choppers didn't produce clean sine waves. Much effort was put into making variable-speed controls that produced the nice sine waves motors needed. Classical AC theory was built around sine waves, and engineers knew how to do that kind of analysis. This worked, but it made AC motors buzz at the chopper frequency, and as chopper frequencies went up, whine. When you ride on BART, that's what you're hearing from the motors. The waveform mismatch also led to unwanted heating in the windings and inefficiency.

Variable-frequency 3-phase AC motors went from exotic to normal. Today, everything from a Tesla to a drone to a Diesel-electric locomotive uses such motors. The big power semiconductors required aren't that big. Here's one for a locomotive.[1]

In recent years, motors have started to be designed for the non sinusoidal waveforms that come out of chopper power supplies. This required new theory and much simulation of magnetic fields. There's plenty of compute power available and commercial packages for that kind of analysis. Now we're seeing more advanced motor designs that match well with their control electronics.

After most of a century, rotating electrical machinery design is cool again.

[1] http://www.ametrade.com/eng/electronics/products/IGBT_IGCT.s...


If anyone is confused like I was:

"Gold open access": publish paper in a publicly accessible academic journal.

"Green open access": self-publish. For instance, throw it on a website, and allow it to be indexed.

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


.test is an official IANA reserved special-use domain name that will never be delegated out. Use it. Problem solved.

I don't know why people thought they could start using random TLD's on their own, there was always the risk they could be delegated officially.

https://www.iana.org/assignments/special-use-domain-names/sp...


> If someone launches a new HTML-based Web with crippled javascript (no network comm access, for one, including ability to trigger links or forms), some small, restricted subset of CSS, and much better built-in dynamic table and form elements, I'm there.

Me too. There will be dozens of us.


Many of us love to pat ourselves on the back for all the "free" knowledge and information available thanks to the internet, ignoring that most of what is available is merely entertainment and opinion.

Stories like this are a good reminder that the most valuable information is still being concealed by those with the power. They use their position, money, and authority to protect it at all costs.

We still have a long way to go.


If Equifax were running a vulnerable version of Apache Struts on CoreOS the the hack would have still happened.

That the CoreOS CEO has chosen to use the Equifax hack as a marketing opportunity is equally distasteful and disingenuous.

Also invoking the founding fathers, the Bill of Rights and the great Dr Martin Luther King in the as part of that marketing pitch is the height of bombast and absurdity.

This blog post could have been written by Gavin Belson.


So a... duck? ;-)

The web has been engineered to a complexity level so grossly obscene that it is all but impossible for independent developers to produce fully independent web browsers anymore. You would need hundreds of millions of dollars in capital and strong leadership to produce a browser that would be successful in today's world.

I could dedicate the rest of my life working 100 hours a week on a browser, and I would die before I had something that could compete with browsers of 2017, let alone of the browsers far into the future at my demise. The standards grow in complexity faster than a small team of developers could possibly keep up with.

The best we have are attempts at forks of major browser engines, which will never gain any serious traction to have any power over the direction of web standards.

If people want to do something about it, they need to fork the web itself. HTTP, TLS, HTML, CSS, JS ... the entire stack needs to be scrapped and replaced with something sensible with a focus on simplicity. If a single highly talented developer working full-time can't implement a reasonable browser within a year, then the standard is too complex. This will of course never happen.

And so, on the subject of DRM, we've officially lost the war today. And combined with the impending loss of net neutrality, brace yourselves everyone: it's only going to get worse from here on out.


  It was at that awkward moment that Amazon decided that it
  would punish the New Republic. Our ad sales department
  received a note, informing us that Amazon would be yanking
  its advertising for its new political comedy, Alpha House.
  The missive left nothing to the imagination. “In light of
  the cover article about Amazon, Amazon has decided to
  terminate the Alpha House campaign currently running on
  the New Republic. Please confirm receipt of this email and
  that the campaign has been terminated.” It was signed,
  “Team Amazon.”
This is one of the reasons I really wish there was a decent, widely supported micropayment system for journalism.

So long as journalists' jobs depend on the ad money coming in, companies can use that leverage to get negative stories spiked. Amazon is one example in this article; HSBC with The Telegraph (and other newspapers) is another [1].

If we want to avoid this disease spreading, we really need some way to pay journalists that doesn't rely on corporate largess.

[1] https://www.theguardian.com/media/2015/feb/17/peter-oborne-t...


Agreed. My experience with academic publishing is in the humanities, not sciences, but over the last 15 years I've seen the quality of editorial work go way down at publishers I worked with, and increasing burden placed on the authors to do work that should be the publisher's job like exact typesetting and layout, as the publishers do anything they can to slash staff costs. A year or two ago I did an article with an Oxford University Press publication and the copy editor mistook a Latin book title for German and offered some nonsensical change based on that. It used to be that OUP staff had such a depth of linguistic knowledge that they themselves offered valuable feedback to authors. Now it appears to be a purely mechanical (and largely "offshored") process for them of pushing text through a pipeline to produce cash from captive markets (university libraries). As their prestige and monopolies wane, these publishers have to be able to offer authors some tangible benefit.
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