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Paged Out – a new experimental magazine about programming (pagedout.institute)
583 points by krzkaczor on Aug 11, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 82 comments

This is really dope, I love the aesthetic. The varied style of each page is rather appealing to me, in a way I think it reminds me of combing through something like textfiles.com or archive.org, you don't know what to expect next and that's exciting.

>Android Reverse Engineering

Heck yes, I wish more people knew this. It's super easy. There's loads of interesting (and "interesting") stuff in apps. Even better: you can get your phone's framework code (usually in odex files) and decompile it! I've found and worked around some insane things that Samsung has done to their SMS providers on some phones....

Cool! What kind of things have you seen with Samsung SMS providers?

Also interested!

Most of them were just half-broken APIs (e.g. some less-used query URIs would just error[1], or had buggy triggers), or only partially-covered indexes (so e.g. the stock app would be able to display conversations quickly, but [your query / 3rd party app] might not), or additional columns or queries (very common, occasionally interesting). A couple had obvious SQL injection bugs (contacts providers sometimes have these too). And most that I looked at were using older versions of the provider than the OS should have had, which is... great. Just great. I don't think fine-grained checks are part of the CTS.

Broken APIs can usually be worked around by doing a couple smaller queries and gluing the data together (often performs better anyway), partially covered indexes often mean the same thing (or just making do with less data in your app). And/or just decompile the stock app and see what it does differently.

SQL injections are fun tho, I managed to use a couple to dump the full databases, or add / repair missing indexes or triggers (never shipped code that did this, but it helped locally! would've probably broken if they ever upgraded the provider version tho). Some phones also try to protect / escalate Facebook data / access, but if there's an injection you can usually change the "protected" marker on its data.

[1]: https://android.googlesource.com/platform/packages/providers...


I love that android has these shared providers, they let you do some super interesting and useful things, and for the most part everyone plays nice (but the "social stream" stuff in contacts is... odd, and rare). They seem to get pretty low amounts of attention tho, e.g. the sms provider had a few rounds of "caching bug in stock app" -> "finally make that pk autoincrement so it stops reusing ids" which were painfully obvious from reading the source: https://github.com/aosp-mirror/platform_packages_providers_t... . The current version has most or all of these fixed, but it took a few years to get there.

Java reverse engineering is supposedly easy. Still trying to find a guide on how to get around Burp's Pro license...

There's a super easy way! You give the fine folks who make Burp some money, and the license restrictions go away!

No shit, Sherlock! They go temporarily away (subscription; every year you can pay again; there was a time where this practice was frowned upon, and I remember that time very well), and my employer is a public benefit organization. 350 EUR a year is a lot of money for some organizations/people, especially non-US or the less rich EU countries.

I liked it a lot, the one page format is awesome, and I like the varying styles - it kept my interest high.

But can I suggest making it half the current size?

By making it smaller you could release more often, keeping awareness/interest alive. It's also easier to read in a single sitting, rather than have to come back to it.

Thanks for the feedback - that's an interesting note :)

I don't think we could speed up releases at this point, but once we have a steady inflow of articles and all the DTP scripts finalized I'll revisit this idea.

I would purchase a subscription for physical copies of these. Any plans to ever do something like this?

Seconded. I would definitely learn a lot from this. I love the art style also.

Third! I love zines, and would happily subscribe to this.

With POC||GTFO as well as "The Diagram", Paged Out will fill a very definite hole in my daily ablutions ..

Great! Will follow and subscribe. I miss magazines like this, in particular Algorithm Magazine, edited in the 1990s by A. K. Dewdney.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Dewdney Note: Dewdney's role in the Algorithms Magazine is not mentioned in the Wikipedia article.

> Note: Dewdney's role in the Algorithms Magazine is not mentioned in the Wikipedia article.

Not yet, but it could be if someone edited the article. That's what's so great about Wikipedia!

I've seen this reasoning tossed around a lot, lately.

But usually people forget to prefix that with "if you have third party sources about this...".

If you just put assertions in the article without backing then, it's likely that someone will come and dispute (or even just delete) them.

So make everyone (including yourself) a favor and always source what you add to Wikipedia.

Could you point out information on the zine itself? I can't find a lot on google. Thanks

The only on-line mention of Algorithm magazine are several articles listed in Mr. Dewdney's curriculum vitae which were published in the magazine. Would this be a good enough source for Wikipedia? The magazine was dedicated to "recreational programming" (but not games) and had a lot of articles about fractals, neural nets, etc. The magazine content was similar to the Scientific American articles written by Dewdney.

I have a few (damaged) issues myself. I'll scan them and put the online if I can get Dewdney's permission.

[1] http://www.csd.uwo.ca/faculty/akd/PERSONAL/hp.html

Happy to see that there is still interest in this kind of content/aesthetic (reminded me of Phrack).

Will definitely follow :-)

Very much a nitpick, but I really wish the font remained consistent between articles.

Nooooo... are you kidding? That's exactly what makes every article a piece. It's perfect as it is! Unify the fonts and you get an academic-style journal.

I think different fonts can work well sometimes, it can help give each article its own tone and flavour

Sorry, that's one thing we probably cannot fix - the whole idea is that the laying out of the articles is done by authors (not us - the publisher) and the authors have (almost) full control over it.

This means that while we can recommend fonts, we can't really enforce them in this model.

I know the idea for the authors to do the layout is at least 'experimental' (that's the word I prefer to use), but it also gives one more space to be creative (and makes it easier for us from a certain perspective too). See also https://pagedout.institute/?page=faq.php#layout

Didn't 2600 change fonts all over too?

It's still publishing. I suppose it does. I hadn't actually noticed that aspect, as much as expecting it in the magazine format they're going for.

Its very small too.

It's a PDF, you can zoom in as far as you want, the fonts won't be blurry.

But it's not the case that on every screen you could fill the page to the desired width and still see a sufficient amount of information to make the tedious scrolling worth it.

Looks amazing! How often can we expect new issues and do you expect around the same volume of content each issue ?

Edit: I can see it's quarterly in FAQ

Is there an RSS feed available for it?

This would be really great. The Google Groups thing seems an odd way to handle subscribing to notifications. Especially in a time when people are trying to ditch Google.

Same here. Immediately wanted to add it to my reader for the future... and can't.

They apparently want to use a mailing list... which is on google groups.

Good news tho! It's public, and you can get RSS feeds for google groups groups: https://groups.google.com/forum/feed/pagedout-notifications/... (click the "about" non-underlining-text link in the top-right to get rss/atom feed links)


RSS is the only way I follow stuff like this. I don't want emails. I don't notice emails.

This is really cool! Looking forward to the next edition of this.

If anyone could point me to something similar, that'd be great (I know of 2600 and Phrack). I'm aware that Lainchan produces their own community magazine, but progress has been slow.

Seen https://www.alchemistowl.org/pocorgtfo/ ?

Edit: I just bought the 2nd print version after seeing that ad :)

Seconded for PoC||GTFO ... also like Bunnie Huang's various stuff where I learned about it from.

Ooh, I actually have not! Thanks!

Hugi demoscene diskmag was absolutely brilliant: http://www.hugi.scene.org/

Even the ads are interesting.

This is great, it feels like the 90s again- at first I was not a fan of the single page format, it felt a bit short, but I came around to appreciate it- and if anything it will drive traffic to the linked sites if I want more info, which the author's will consider a good thing.

Where did you originally put out a call for articles? I generally feel pretty tuned in to tech circles, but am kind of surprised you were able to get this many submissions without having to spam lots of places and not have been a blip on my radar somewhere- and I also wonder what I may be missing in terms of good communities.

Oh, my! This could not be more perfect for someone like me. I have too short an attention span for long technical articles (not something I'm particularly proud of btw), so the one-page thing is fabulous. I also love that there seems to be such a variety of topics. Finally, I actually really enjoy pulling up and reading a PDF on the iPad. Gives it that real magazine 'feel' that websites just can't get (IMHO). Well done!

It looks good. I'm going to print it.

But does every page have a different retro theme, or is there a unifying pattern to it all that I am not genius enough to detect?

I think that's one of their ideas: the author of the article creates whatever format they want for their page and then they glue them all together in their PDF.

Awesome! I have a write-up I've been meaning to finish/submit somewhere, maybe I'll try to fit it into a page and send it your way.

Yes please :)

All the details are here:

https://pagedout.institute/?page=writing.php - technicalities / topics accepted

https://pagedout.institute/?page=cfp.php - process

Suggestion: Since you're publishing in PDF format, how about linking to https://pdfreaders.org/ on your homepage?


I love everything about this, especially the feeling of nerdy nostalgia. Looks great on my e-reader.

This is awesome. Brilliant idea, and some great articles in there too.

One small nitpick that I hope you can fix for upcoming editions is the shocking alignment of the page numbers on the table of contents. It's just so messy and amateur looking, please try and tidy that up!

Reminds me of the zines included in the Zachtronics game EXAPUNKS which serve both as instruction manual and exposition. http://www.zachtronics.com/exapunks/

Looks awesome. I have played TIS-100 and Zachtronics puts a lot of love into their games.

Love the idea, reminds me of 2600 and I can't way to read it.

Somewhat tangential: I often want to read PDF files and am never happy with my printing setup. Is there a service that will print any PDF at high quality, bind it for larger prints, and snail mail it to me?

I know you said "mail it to me" but if it's a possibility and you find it acceptable to move a bit, why not look for a print shop near you? Where I live there's plenty.

Maybe you can even arrange shipping, after an initial meeting to make sure they're printing what you want, like you want it.

That's definitely a possibility. I could also hit print and start thinking about whether I have enough of the right color ink in my printer.

My motive is that this content is interesting but not enough to get me to setup meetings with local print shops. More often than not people start businesses to save others time/money and offer convenience, I'm hoping someone did it for this particular need.

People could also print the top pages off The Economist every week and I'm sure some do but the overwhelming majority of those who read it on paper have it printed at high quality and mailed to them.

@gynvael - Please add a conventional mailing list option for following the updates/new issues. RSS would work too. Twitter even. I can't be the only HNer for whom the Google Groups option is a no-go for more reasons than one.

For a second there it felt like reading an old 2600 issue. Love the format.


It will be fun to say "we're having a new issue next month"... Yeah, I went for the easiest...

This is nice :)

Huj, I can also recommend "code magazine", if you have any interest in dot net.

> https://www.codemag.com/magazine/subscribe

That header takes up nearly half of my screen. Why would they not "display: none;" on scroll? Jeepers.

What a marvel!!!! Honestly, I am a fan from now on. I'd buy that!

Can you please make the table of contents link to the pages?

Nice publication though! :)

The contents list doesn't link to the pages.

Also why no HTML version?

This is a lot of fun.

Looks awesome! Well done.

This is just incredible.

this is very 2600 - nooice.


Please remove my name from your about page. I am not the administrator of this site and wouldn't spam like this.


I didn't think I needed to be this specific, but: please finish the job and write an entire about page for your site. Yours still says "Lobsters" up and down it, and even if you search-and-replace the name there's a lot of stuff that's not about your site on there.

Is this site a ripoff of lobste.rs or what?

Our codebase is available under 3-clause BSD and we're usually thrilled to see sister sites: https://github.com/lobsters/lobsters/wiki

The administrator of this site submitted a Bitcoin affiliate spam site to Lobsters, was one of the very few users to hit the automatic anti-spam threshhold (MIN_KARMA_TO_SUBMIT_STORIES), and abused our issue tracker to have us configure this site for him. So, uh, no, we have nothing to do with this site and are not exactly fans.

I don't know how I "abused" your issue tracker. :P

I filed a github issue on your lobsters open source project asking how to change the logo. If not there, where else should I file issues related to the codebase??

Our readme explicitly says we don't support people setting up their own sites. You did it anyways, we told you we won't support you, and you did it again.

not a ripoff, they just are using the codebase and have forgotten to remove all instances of the "Lobsters" name (along with having what looks like one user at the moment?) I mean, I hope they succeed as a different type of site or accomplish whatever learning they would like.

I was excited about the idea, but PDFs are a big issue. I want my content as RSS feed, please (although having a RSS feed announcing new PDF issue could work...).

Edit: The problem is that PDFs are basically usability wise readable only on iPad and even then not that spectacular. Also my iPad usually stays at home so no reading from laptop or from phone either.

I agree PDFs are really hard to read sometimes. Especially with the two column layout that's really popular on research papers.

This is probably because PDFs are supposed to be a format for printers. What's readable on paper is not necessarily readable on a screen.

Why the purple? Dont know if its just me, but found the styling to be a distraction. The content is good enough to stand by itself without the font and color gimmickry.

Haha sorry, that's totally my fault.

I hired 5 different artists to design the page decorations, and they delivered cool and interesting assets. But then I decided this doesn't really align with my vision and decided to do the decorations on my own in "my usual style".

So yeah, this is what you get when a programmer does page design. Sorry :)

P.S. Actually it's even worse - I kinda like the outcome, so it will probably stay.

Don't apologize for it! The varying fonts, the purple header and footer, they all add character to it! Thank you for the effort you put into this! It's amazing and truly captures a wonderful old-school zine with new-school content vibe.

No worries, sorry if I came across as overly critical. Thanks for the work, the content is awesome.

For my part, I think it looks great!

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