Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit | plainOldText's comments login

I agree with the overall sentiment of the article. I've felt many times helpless trying to keep up with the the latest js framework or workflow (webpack, Babel, grunt, brunch, Backbone, Angular, etc). By the time I've gotten comfortable with some new piece of js software, a new one, even cooler had appeared.

And on top of it, add the fact that I also enjoy learning new programming languages for the backend, and the mental overload is definitely ensured.


Too bad Marvin Minsky did not get a chance to see this. I think he would have enjoyed it deeply.

This did not happen overnight. The big computer companies have been building AI labs for years, decades in case of MicroSoft. They've been revisiting Go for the past few years too. One of Marvin's early students advises Googles R&D. These companies have raided every major university. If Marvin was still alert in his final years, he would have known some about this.

One of the problems with how we develop software today is the long path from idea to a working prototype. There are many layers in between, each with its own set of abstractions and assumptions. Factor in the number of different platforms you need to develop for, and you've got yourself a very complex world you need to navigate.

Writing software in 2016 is to some extent similar to operating a 18th century ship through the dangerous waters. We have a good enough machine to take us places, but we still need to visit the engine room, to keep things running. It's getting better nonetheless, but you still need a specialized crew to steer a big ship in the right direction. I would much rather prefer a yacht, where I could just press a button and enjoy a more experimental, higher level experience, in which my job would be to map ideas to real world working systems.

With that given said, this definitely looks interesting. I'll surely give it a try.

-----


Hopefully this won't be huge problem in Python 7, as all python scripts will be just two lines of code:

    import ai
    ai.run('This script <describe in natural language what you'd like this script to do>.')

-----


It's interesting to see some competition in this space.

Basho, the maker of Riak has also moved from being a db company to being a data platform company. And they've also launched a time series version of Riak.

-----


I did see the time series announcement from Basho and will follow it with interest :)

How are they moving to be a data platform company?

-----


http://basho.com/basho-data-platform/

-----


+1. The community is a big part of the Elixir ecosystem.

-----


Technology is truly augmenting ourselves and this medium "shapes the scale and form of human association and action", as Marshall McLuhan once said.

With that given said, compare a whistleblower, say 20 years ago, with one today. Snowden not only had the world's greatest communication platform at his disposal, to disseminate whatever information he cared about, but now he can still address millions of people, speaking at the world's greatest universities and giving interviews, while being in exile.

Regardless on where you stand on these privacy/spying issues, I think it's hard to deny the fact that he started a dialog, and now the entire world can be part of it.

-----


McLuhan also wrote:

> With the telegraph Western man began a process of putting his nerves outside his body. Previous technologies had been extensions of physical organs: the wheel is a putting-outside-ourselves of the feet; the city wall is a collective outering of the skin. But electronic media are, instead, extensions of the central nervous system, an inclusive and simultaneous field. Since the telegraph we have extended the brains and nerves of man around the globe. As a result, the electronic age endures a total uneasiness, as of a man wearing his skull inside and his brain outside. We have become peculiarly vulnerable. The year of the establishment of the commercial telegraph in America, 1844, was also the year Kierkegaard published "The Concept of Dread."

> [...] When new technologies impose themselves on societies long habituated to older technologies, anxieties of all kinds result. Our electronic world now calls for a unified field of global awareness; the kind of private consciousness appropriate to literate man can be viewed as an unbearable kink in the collective consciousness demanded by electronic information movement.

http://projects.chass.utoronto.ca/mcluhan-studies/v1_iss2/1_...

The sensual intimacy of what Snowden revealed is hard to convey to people who don't live on the internet. They don't understand the violation and the anxiety. Even John Oliver can't change that.

-----


>Once we have surrendered our senses and nervous systems to the private manipulation of those who would try to benefit from taking a lease on our eyes and ears and nerves, we don't really have any rights left. Leasing our eyes and ears and nerves to commercial interests is like handing over the common speech to a private corporation, or like giving the earth's atmosphere to a company as a monopoly.

-McLuhan

-----


Funny, I would say that the perception of this as a violation is something only felt by those who don't understand that the whole point of putting your nerves outside your body is to expose them to the world. If you wanted to keep them private, all you had to do was nothing.

Or to boil it down to John Oliver terms since you seem to be a fan, nobody's going to see any pictures of your dick unless you take pictures of your dick.

-----


To put it in terms that match our political realities, no one will see your dick provided you take exceptional care to not expose your dick for even the slightest second, otherwise, there are too many people watching to make a guarantee.

-----


Technology marches ever forwards.

-----


> If you wanted to keep them private, all you had to do was nothing.

You are advocating for the complete repression of any idea that hasn't yet become both known and acceptable to the mainstream.

It's not going to always be pictures of your dick. To name just a few of the most obvious groups with real risks, you're effectively saying that anybody with unpopular political views, anybody LGBT, and anybody with a religious belief that isn't "Christian" shouldn't participate in modern society and the network interactions that participation requires if they want to stay safe?

Blaming the victims for not staying out of sight isn't the solution.

-----


Especially because governments don't go repressive overnight. What's perfectly reasonable today may not be in ten years. (Example, Iran.)

-----


No, I'm not. No clue how you got there.

If you have an unpopular view, speak out. Be oppressed. Fight back against the oppression if you can, and roll over and die if you cannot. If you win, your side is and always was right. If you lose, the opposite.

-----


You are saying that oppression is part of the natural order, and that the winners always have the moral high ground.

I find your Nietzschen worldview abhorrent.

-----


Again, no I'm not. And I find your implication that I believe or care about such a thing as a "natural order" abhorrent.

You're not very good at this reading thing, are you?

-----


Note that I am not the person you were originally discussing with.

How else am I to interpret "If you win, your side is and always was right. If you lose, the opposite."?

-----


As descriptive rather than prescriptive. And certainly not naturalist.

-----


Oh. What's your email account password, please?

-----


I don't have one. Password authentication is SO last decade.

-----


Then maybe you could upload an unredacted archive so we may peruse it. Or are you a hypocrite?

-----


I already have - that's called sending email.

I am of course a hypocrite, as are we all, I'm sure. But I don't see how that's relevant here.

-----


I would love to read more along these lines. Do you have recommendations for a McLuhan book?

-----


Interesting how it highlights the importance of independent countries and legal systems.

-----


I actually think it's much harder to read in portrait mode since the titles have all different lengths. It's okay in landscape though.

-----


+1

-----


Here's the cowboy user guide: http://ninenines.eu/docs/en/cowboy/1.0/guide/

You can also clone the repo and checkout the examples:

Make sure you have erlang installed

    $ cd examples/hello_world
    $ make

    $ ./_rel/hello_world_example/bin/hello_world_example start
    OR
    $ ./_rel/hello_world_example/bin/hello_world_example console
then visit localhost:8080

-----


This gets a Cowboy application up and running, but it doesn't tell you what to do to write your own Cowboy application, and doesn't give you a very firm understanding of either how the hello_world example works, or how to modify it to suit your needs.

As someone who's been down this road in the past, unless you're already rather familiar with Erlang and OTP's conventions, the gap between the User's Guide and the API documentation is far too large to make connecting information you learn from one with information you learn from the other easy.

I've summarized my personal struggle with the Cowboy user's guide and documentation in my other comment in the thread. Please read that comment before you downvote this one. :)

-----


As far as I know there's no such thing as a `Cowboy application`. They're all Erlang/OTP applications. Sure, there's a learning curve associated with OTP apps, but since Erlang is a bit of an exotic language, I think it's understandable.

If you'd like to learn about the concepts behind an OTP application, you can read this guide: http://learnyousomeerlang.com/building-otp-applications or the Erlang documentation for OTP apps (which is pretty good I think).

Another viable option in my opinion would be to just look into the Phoenix framework for the Elixir language. Under the hood it uses cowboy. And it feels a lot like Rails.

-----


I guess you didn't read my other comment in this thread. Please read it. ;)

> As far as I know there's no such thing as a `Cowboy application`.

From one pedant to another: "I know that." >:)

However, there is (to put it loosely in OTP terms) a set of Cowboy behaviours. Your application is expected to implement one or more of these. While the API for these behaviours is reasonably documented, the Cowboy equivalent of the -say- gen_server "User's Guide" is so sparse as to be almost non-existent.

-----


Okay. Read it now! :-)

I think one reasonable strategy of learning how some piece of software works or is meant to be used – especially when documentation is poor – is to just look at the source code (tests included).

I'm just getting started with the Phoenix framework, and I'm learning Elixir at the same time and reading through the source code helps me a lot, because:

    1. I can check out how things are implemented
    2. I get to read some idiomatic Elixir which helps me learn the language better
One can get reasonable understanding of software at the interplay between reading the docs and reading the source code.

-----


I generally agree that -in the absence of sufficient documentation- reading the tests and source for the project is generally the best way to learn how to use a project.

However. If the language the project is written in is wildly unfamiliar to you, and you've never had experience with a similar language, then this technique is often... less than satisfying.

From your comments, it appears that you have more than a passing familiarity with Erlang/OTP. You have to admit that it would be substantially harder to understand both Elixir and Phoenix without your understanding of Erlang. :)

-----


I'm actually wondering what would be more reliable: a physical button or a digital one. I would like to see a comparison.

Of course, one could argue that in both cases it depends on the implementation. Nonetheless, I think it's fun to think about what kind of buttons would the average person prefer, when their life is on the line.

-----


I was thinking the same thing - sure, it's cool to have a glossy touch screen and futuristic touch panels, but I can't count the number of times touch screens / buttons have gone wonky on me with everything from my cell phone, to my tablet, to my microwave, to my fridge, whereas the light switches in my house are about 50 years old and have yet to let me down...

-----


I'd find it really surprising if touch screen buttons are more reliable and/or more preferable to astronauts in a space suit.

-----

More

Applications are open for YC Summer 2016

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | DMCA | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: