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Historical Discussions: When you browse Instagram and find Tony Abbott's passport number (September 16, 2020: 2314 points)

(2317) When you browse Instagram and find Tony Abbott's passport number

2317 points 5 days ago by michael_fine in 10000th position

mango.pdf.zone | Estimated reading time – 52 minutes | comments | anchor

Act 1: Sunday afternoon

So you know when you're flopping about at home, minding your own business, drinking from your water bottle in a way that does not possess any intent to subvert the Commonwealth of Australia?

It's a feeling I know all too well, and in which I was vigorously partaking when I got this message in "the group chat".

A nice message from my friend, with a photo of a boarding pass 🙂 A good thing about messages from your friends is that they do not have any rippling consequences 🙂🙂🙂

The man in question is Tony Abbott, one of Australia's many former Prime Ministers.

That's him, officer

For security reasons, we try to change our Prime Minister every six months, and to never use the same Prime Minister on multiple websites.

The boarding pass photo

This particular former PM had just posted a picture of his boarding pass on Instagram (Instagram, in case you don't know it, is an app you can open up on your phone any time to look at ads).

The since-deleted Instagram post showing the boarding pass and baggage receipt. The caption reads "coming back home from japan 😍😍 looking forward to seeing everyone! climate change isn't real 😌 ok byeee"

"Can you hack this man?"

My friend (who we will refer to by their group chat name, hogge moade) is asking whether I can "hack this man" not because I am the kind of person who regularly commits cyber treason on a whim, but because we'd recently been talking about boarding passes.

I'd said that people post pictures of their boarding passes all the time, not knowing that it can sometimes be used to get their passport number and stuff. They just post it being like "omg going on holidayyyy 😍😍😍", unaware that they're posting cringe.

People post their boarding passes all the time, because it's not clear that they're meant to be secret

Meanwhile, some hacker is rubbing their hands together, being all "yumyum identity fraud 👀" in their dark web Discord, because this happens a lot.

So there I was, making intense and meaningful eye contact with this chat bubble, asking me if I could "hack this man".

Surely you wouldn't

Of course, my friend wasn't actually asking me to hack the former Prime Minister.


You gotta.

I mean... what are you gonna do, not click it? Are you gonna let a link that's like 50% advertising tracking ID tell you what to do? Wouldn't you be curious?

The former Prime Minister had just posted his boarding pass. Was that bad? Was someone in danger? I didn't know.

What I did know was: the least I could do for my country would be to have a casual browse 👀

Investigating the boarding pass photo

Step 1: Hubris

So I had a bit of a casual browse, and got the picture of the boarding pass, and then.... I didn't know what was supposed to happen after that.

Well, I'd heard that it's bad to post your boarding pass online, because if you do, a bored 17 year-old Russian boy called "Katie-senpai" might somehow use it to commit identity fraud. But I don't know anyone like that, so I just clumsily googled some stuff.

Googling how 2 hakc boarding pass

Eventually I found a blog post explaining that yes, pictures of boarding passes can indeed be used for Crimes. The part you wanna be looking at for all your criming needs is the barcode, because it's got the "Booking Reference" (e.g. H8JA2A) in it.

Why do you want the booking reference? It's one of the two things you need to log in to the airline website to manage your flight.

The second one is your... last name. I was really hoping the second one would be like a password or something. But, no, it's the booking reference the airline emails you and prints on your boarding pass. And it also lets you log in to the airline website?

That sounds suspiciously like a password to me, but like I'm still fine to pretend it's not if you are.

Step 2: Scan the barcode

I've been practicing every morning at sunrise, but still can't scan barcodes with my eyes. I had to settle for a barcode scanner app on my phone, but when I tried to scan the picture in the Instagram post, it didn't work :((

Maybe I shouldn't have blurred out the barcode first

Step 2: Scan the barcode, but more

Well, maybe it wasn't scanning because the picture was too blurry.

I spent around 15 minutes in an "enhance, ENHANCE" montage, fiddling around with the image, increasing the contrast, and so on. Despite the montage taking up way too much of the 22 minute episode, I couldn't even get the barcode to scan.

Step 2: Notice that the Booking Reference is printed right there on the paper

After staring at this image for 15 minutes, I noticed the Booking Reference is just... printed on the baggage receipt.

I graduated university.

But it did not prepare me for this.


Step 3: Visit the airline's website

After recovering from that emotional rollercoaster, I went to qantas.com.au, and clicked "Manage Booking". In case you don't know it because you live in a country with fast internet, Qantas is the main airline here in Australia.

(I also very conveniently started recording my screen, which is gonna pay off big time in just a moment.)

Step 4: Type in the Booking Reference

Well, the login form was just... there, and it was asking for a Booking Reference and a last name. I had just flawlessly read the Booking Reference from the boarding pass picture, and, well... I knew the last name.

I did hesitate for a split-second, but... no, I had to know.

Step 5: Crimes(?)


The "Manage Booking" page, logged in as some guy called Anthony Abbott

Can I get a YIKES in the chat

Leave a comment if you really felt that.

I guess I was now logged the heck in as Tony Abbott? And for all I know, everyone else who saw his Instagram post was right there with me. It's kinda wholesome, to imagine us all there together. But also probably suboptimal in a governmental sense.

Was there anything secret in here?

I then just incredibly browsed the page, browsed it so hard.

I saw Tony Abbott's name, flight times, and Frequent Flyer number, but not really anything super secret-looking. Not gonna be committing any cyber treason with a Frequent Flyer number. The flight was in the past, so I couldn't change anything, either.

The page said the flight had been booked by a travel agent, so I guessed some information would be missing because of that.

I clicked around and scrolled a considerable length, but still didn't find any government secrets.

Some people might give up here. But I, the Icarus of computers, was simply too dumb to know when to stop.

We're not done just because a web page says we're done

I wanted to see if there were juicy things hidden inside the page. To do it, I had to use the only hacker tool I know.

Right click > Inspect Element, all you need to subvert the Commonwealth of Australia

Listen. This is the only part of the story that might be confused for highly elite computer skill. It's not, though. Maybe later someone will show you this same thing to try and flex, acting like only they know how to do it. You will not go gently into that good night. You will refuse to acknowledge their flex, killing them instantly.

How does "Inspect Element" work?

"Inspect Element", as it's called, is a feature of Google Chrome that lets you see the computer's internal representation (HTML) of the page you're looking at. Kinda like opening up a clock and looking at the cool cog party inside.

Yeahhh go little cogs, look at 'em absolutely going off. Now imagine this but with like, JavaScript

Everything you see when you use "Inspect Element" was already downloaded to your computer, you just hadn't asked Chrome to show it to you yet. Just like how the cogs were already in the watch, you just hadn't opened it up to look.

But let us dispense with frivolous cog talk. Cheap tricks such as "Inspect Element" are used by programmers to try and understand how the website works. This is ultimately futile: Nobody can understand how websites work. Unfortunately, it kinda looks like hacking the first time you see it.

If you'd like to know more about it, I've prepared a short video.

hey youtube welcome to my hacking tutorial, today we're gonna hack.... the nsa pic.twitter.com/2Z35GJjSZE

— "Alex" (@mangopdf) May 1, 2019

Browsing the "Manage Booking" page's HTML

I scrolled around the page's HTML, not really knowing what it meant, furiously trying to find anything that looked out of place or secret.

I eventually realised that manually reading HTML with my eyes was not an efficient way of defending my country, and Ctrl + F'd the HTML for "passport".

oh no

Oh yes

It's just there.

At this point I was fairly sure I was looking at the extremely secret government-issued ID of the 28th Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Australia, servant to her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and I was kinda worried that I was somehow doing something wrong, but like, not enough to stop.

....anything else in this page?

Well damn, if Tony Abbott's passport number is in this treasure trove of computer spaghetti, maybe there's wayyyyy more. Perhaps this HTML contains the lost launch codes to the Sydney Opera House, or Harold Holt.

Maybe there's a phone number?

Searching for phone and number didn't get anywhere, so I searched for 614, the first 3 digits of an Australian phone number, using my colossal and highly celestial galaxy brain.

Weird uppercase letters

A weird pile of what I could only describe as extremely uppercase letters came up. It looked like this:


So, there's a lot going on here. There is indeed a phone number in here. But what the heck is all this other stuff?

I realised this was like... Qantas staff talking to eachother about Tony Abbott, but not to him?

In what is surely the subtweeting of the century, it has a section saying HITOMI CALLED RQSTING FASTTRACK FOR MR. ABBOTT. Hitomi must be requesting a "fasttrack" (I thought that was only a thing in movies???) from another Qantas employee.

This is messed up for many reasons

What is even going on here? Why do Qantas flight staff talk to eachother via this passenger information field? Why do they send these messages, and your passport number to you when you log in to their website? I'll never know because I suddenly got distracted with

Forbidden airline code

I realised the allcaps muesli I saw must be some airline code for something. Furious and intense googling led me to several ancient forbidden PDFs that explained some of the codes.

Apparently, they're called "SSR codes" (Special Service Request). There are codes for things like "Vegetarian lacto-ovo meal" (VLML), "Vegetarian oriental meal" (VOML), and even "Vegetarian vegan meal" (VGML). Because I was curious about these codes, here's some for you to be curious about too (tag urself, I'm UMNR):

RFTV    Reason for Travel
UMNR    Unaccompanied minor
PDCO    Carbon Offset (chargeable)
WEAP    Weapon
DEPA    Deportee—accompanied by an escort
ESAN    Passenger with Emotional Support Animal in Cabin

The phone number I found looked like this: CTCM QF HK1 [phone number]. Googling "SSR CTCM" led me to the developer guide for some kind of airline association, which I assume I am basically a member of now.

CTCM QF HK1 translates as "Contact phone number of passenger 1"

Is the phone number actually his?

I thought maybe the phone number belonged to the travel agency, but I checked and it has to be the passenger's real phone number. That would be, if my calculations are correct,,,, *steeples fingers* Tony Abbott's phone number.

what have i done

I'd now found Tony Abbott's:

  • Passport details
  • Phone number
  • Weird Qantas staff comments.

My friend who messaged me had no idea.

Tony Abbott's passport is probably a Diplomatic passport, which is used to "represent the Australian Government overseas in an official capacity".

what have i done

By this point I'd had enough defending my country, and had recently noticed some new thoughts in my brain, which were:

  • oh jeez oh boy oh jeez
  • i gotta get someone, somehow, to reset tony abbott's passport number
  • can you even reset passport numbers
  • is it possible that i've done a crime


Act 2: Do not get arrested challenge 2020

In this act, I, your well-meaning but ultimately incompetent protagonist, attempt to do the following things:

  • ⬜ figure out whether i have done a crime
  • ⬜ notify someone (tony abbott?) that this happened
  • ⬜ get permission to publish this here blog post
  • ⬜ tell qantas about the security issue so they can fix it

Spoilers: This takes almost six months.

Let's skip the boring bits

I contacted a lot of people about this. If my calculations are correct, I called at least 30 phone numbers, to say nothing of The Emails. If you laid all the people I contacted end to end along the equator, they would die, and you would be arrested. Eventually I started keeping track of who I talked to in a note I now refer to as "the hashtag struggle".

I'm gonna skip a considerable volume of tedious and ultimately unsatisfying telephony, because it's been a long day of scrolling already, and you need to save your strength.

Alright strap yourself in and enjoy as I am drop-kicked through the goal posts of life.

Part 1: is it possible that i've done a crime

I didn't think anything I did sounded like a crime, but I knew that sometimes when the other person is rich or famous, things can suddenly become crimes. Like, was there going to be some Monarch Law or something? Was Queen Elizabeth II gonna be mad about this?

My usual defence against being arrested for hacking is making sure the person being hacked is okay with it. You heard me, it's the power of ✨consent✨. But this time I could uh only get it in retrospect, which is a bit yikes.

So I was wondering like... was logging in with someone else's booking reference a crime? Was having someone else's passport number a crime? What if they were, say, the former Prime Minister? Would I get in trouble for publishing a blog post about it? I mean you're reading the blog post right now so obviousl

Update: I have been arrested.

Just straight up Reading The Law

It turned out I could just google these things, and before I knew it I was reading "the legislation". It's the rules of the law, just written down.

Look, reading pages of HTML? No worries. Especially if it's to defend my country. But whoever wrote the legislation was just making up words.

Eventually, I was able to divine the following wisdoms from the Times New Roman tea leaves:

  • Defamation is where you get in trouble for publishing something that makes someone look bad.
    • But, it's fine for me to blog about it, since it's not defamation if you can prove it's true
  • Having Tony Abbott's passport number isn't a crime
    • But using it to commit identity fraud would be
  • There are laws about what it's okay to do on a computer
    • The things it's okay to do are: If u EVER even LOOK at a computer the wrong way, the FBI will instantly slam dunk you in a legal fashion dependent on the legislation in your area

I am possibly the furthest thing you can be from a lawyer. So, I'm sure I don't need to tell you not to take this as legal advice. But, if you are the kind of person who takes legal advice from mango blog posts, who am I to stand in your way? Not a lawyer, that's who. Don't do it.

You know what, maybe I needed help. From an adult. Someone whose 3-year old kid has been buying iPad apps for months because their parents can't figure out how to turn it off.

"Yeah, maybe I should get some of that free government legal advice", I thought to myself, legally. That seemed like a pretty common thing, so I thought it should be easy to do. I took a big sip of water and googled "free legal advice".

trying to ask a lawyer if i gone and done a crime

Before I went and told everyone about my HTML frolicking, I spent a week calling legal aid numbers, lawyers, and otherwise trying to figure out if I'd done a crime.

During this time, I didn't tell anyone what I'd done. I asked if any laws would be broken if "someone" had "logged into a website with someone's publicly-posted password and found the personal information of a former politician". Do you see how that's not even a lie? I'm starting to see how lawyers do it.

Calling Legal Aid places

First I call the state government's Legal Aid number. They tell me they don't do that here, and I should call another Legal Aid place named something slightly different.

The second place tells me they don't do that either, and I should call the First Place and "hopefully you get someone more senior".

I call the First Place again, and they say "oh you've been given the run around!". You see where this is going.

Let's skip a lot of phone calls. Take my hand as I whisk you towards the slightly-more-recent past. Based on advice I got from two independent lawyers that was definitely not legal advice: I haven't done a crime.

Helllllll yeah. But I mean it's a little late because I forgot to mention that by this point I had already emailed explicit details of my activities to the Australian Government.

  • ☑️ figure out whether i have done a crime
  • ⬜ notify someone (tony abbott?) that this happened
  • ⬜ get permission to publish this here blog post
  • ⬜ tell qantas about the security issue so they can fix it

Part 2: trying to report the problem to someone, anyone, please

I had Tony Abbott's passport number, phone number, and weird Qantas messages about him. I was the only one who knew I had these.

Anyone who saw that Instagram post could also have them. I felt like I had to like, tell someone about this. Someone with like, responsibilities. Someone with an email signature.

wait but do u see the irony in this, u have his phone number right there so u could just-

Yes I see it thank u for pointing this out, wise, astute, and ultimately self-imposed heading. I knew I could just call the number any time and hear a "G'day" I'd never be able to forget. I knew I had a rare opportunity to call someone and have them ask "how did you get this number!?".

But you can't just do that.

You can't just call someone's phone number that you got by rummaging around in the HTML ball pit. Tony Abbott didn't want me to have his phone number, because he didn't give it to me. Maybe if it was urgent, or I had no other option, sure. But I was pretty sure I should do this the Nice way, and show that I come in peace.

I wanted to show that I come in peace because there's also this pretty yikes thing that happens where you email someone being all like "henlo ur website let me log in with username admin and password admin, maybe u wanna change that??? could just be me but let me kno what u think xoxo alex" and then they reply being like "oh so you're a HACKER and a CRIMINAL and you've HACKED ME AND MY FAMILY TOO and this is a RANSOM and ur from the DARK WEB i know what that is i've seen several episodes of mr robot WELL watch out kiddO bc me and my lawyers are bulk-installing tens of thousands of copies of McAfee® Gamer Security as we speak, so i'd like 2 see u try"

I googled "tony abbott contact", but there's only his official website. There's no phone number on it, only a "contact me" form.

I imagine there have been some passionate opinions typed into this form at 9pm on a Tuesday

Yeah right, have you seen the incredible volume of #content people want to say at politicians? No way anyone's reading that form.

I later decided to try anyway, using the same Inspect Element ritual from earlier. Looking at the network requests the page makes, I divined that the "Contact me" form just straight up does not work. When you click "submit", you get an error, and nothing gets sent.

This is an excellent way of using computers to solve the problem of "random people keep sending me angry letters"

Well rip I guess. I eventually realised the people to talk to were probably the government.

The government

It's a big place.

In the beginning, humans developed the concept of language by banging rocks together and saying "oof, oog, and so on". Then something went horribly wrong, and now people unironically begin every sentence with "in regards to". Our story begins here.

The government has like fifty thousand million different departments, and they all know which acronyms to call each other, but you don't. If you EVER call it DMP&C instead of DPM&C you are gonna be express email forwarded into a nightmare realm the likes of which cannot be expressed in any number of spreadsheet cells, in spite of all the good people they've lost trying.

I didn't even know where to begin with this. Desperately, I called Tony Abbott's former political party, who were all like

Skip skip skip a few more calls like this.

Maybe I knew someone who knew someone

That's right, the true government channels were the friends we made along the way.

I asked hacker friends who seemed like they might know government security people. "Where do I report a security issue with like.... a person, not a website?"

They told me to call... 1300 CYBER1?

1300 CYBER1

I don't really have a good explanation for this so I'm just gonna post the screenshots.

My friend showing me where to report a security issue with the government. I'm gonna need you to not ask any questions about the profile pictures.

Uhhh no wait I don't wanna click any of these

The planet may be dying, but we live in a truly unparalleled age of content.

You know I smashed that call button on 1300 CYBER1. Did they just make it 1300 CYBER then realise you need one more digit for a phone number? Incredible.

Calling 1300 c y b e r o n e

"Yes yes hello, ring ring, is this 1300 cyber one"? They have to say yes if you ask that. They're legally obligated.

The person who picked up gave me an email address for ASD (the Australian flavour of America's NSA), and told me to email them the details.

Emailing the government my crimes

Feeling like the digital equivalent of three kids in a trenchcoat, I broke out my best Government Email dialect and emailed ASD, asking for them to call me if they were the right place to tell about this.

Sorry for the clickbait subject but well that's what happened???

Fooled by my flawless disguise, they replied instantly (in a relative sense) asking for more details.

"Potential" exposure, yeah okay. At least the subject line had "[SEC=Sensitive]" in it so I _knew_ I'd made it big

I absolutely could provide them with more information, so I did, because I love to cooperate with the Australian government.

I also asked whether they could give me permission to publish this blog post, and they were all like "Seen 2:35pm". Eventually, after another big day of getting left on read by the government, they replied, being all like "thanks kiddO, we're doing like, an investigation and stuff, so we'll take it from here".

Overall, ASD were really nice to me about it and happy that I'd helped. They encouraged me to report this kind of thing to them if it happened again, but I'm not really in the business of uhhhhhhhh whatever the heck this is.

By the way, at this point in the story (chronologically) I had no idea if what I was emailing the government was actually the confession to a crime, since I hadn't talked to a lawyer yet. This is widely regarded as a bad move. I do not recommend anyone else use "but I'm being so helpful and earnest!!!" as a legal defence. But also I'm not a lawyer, so idk, maybe it works?

Wholesomely emailing the government

At one point in what was surely an unforgettable email chain, the person I was emailing added a P.S. containing.... the answer to the puzzle hidden on this website. The one you're reading this blog on right now. Hello. I guess they must have found this website (hi asd) by stalking the email address I was sending from. This is unprecedented and everything, but:

  1. The puzzle says to tweet the answer at me, not email me
  2. The prize for doing the puzzle is me tweeting this gif of a shakas to you

yeahhhhhhhhhh, nice

So I guess I emailed the shakas gif to the government??? Yeah, I guess I did.

Please find attached

Can I write about this?

I asked them if they could give me permission to write this blog post, or who to ask, and they were like "uhhhhhhhhhhh" and gave me two government media email addresses to try. Listen I don't wanna be an "ummm they didn't reply to my emAiLs" kinda person buT they simply left me no choice.

Still, defending the Commonwealth was in ASD's hands now, and that's a win for me at this point.

  • ☑️ figure out whether i have done a crime
  • ☑️ notify someone (The Government) that this happened
  • ⬜ get permission to publish this here blog post
  • ⬜ tell qantas about the security issue so they can fix it

Part 3: Telling Qantas the bad news

The security issue

Hey remember like fifteen minutes ago when this post was about webpages?

I'm guessing Qantas didn't want to send the customer their passport number, phone number, and staff comments about them, so I wanted to let them know their website was doing that. Maybe the website was well meaning, but ultimately caused more harm than good, like how that time the bike path railings on the Golden Gate Bridge accidentally turned it into the world's largest harmonica.

Unblending the smoothie

But why does the website even send you all that stuff in the first place? I don't know, but to speculate wildly: Maybe the website just sends you all the data it knows about you, and then only shows you your name, flight times, etc, while leaving the passport number etc. still in the page.

If that were true, then Qantas would want to unblend the digital smoothie they've sent you, if you will. They'd want to change it so that they only send you your name and flight times and stuff (which are a key ingredient of the smoothie to be sure), not the whole identity fraud smoothie.

Smoothie evangelism

I wanted to tell them the smoothie thing, but how do I contact them?

The first place to check is usually company.com/security, maybe that'll w-

Okay nevermind

Okay fine maybe I should just email [email protected] surely that's it? I could only find a phone number to report security problems to, and I wasn't sure if it was like.... airport security?

So I just... called the number and was like "heyyyy uhhhh I'd like to report a cyber security issue?", and the person was like "yyyyya just email [email protected]" and i was like "ok sorrY".

Time to email Qantas I guess

I emailed Qantas, being like "beep boop here is how the computer problem works".

(Have you been wondering about the little dots in this post? Click this one for the rest of the email .)

A few days later, I got this reply.

And then I never heard from this person again

Airlines were going through kinda a struggle at the time, so I guess that's what happened?

if ur still out there Shr Security i miss u


After filling up my "get left on read" combo meter, I desperately resorted to calling Qantas' secret media hotline number.

They said the issue was being fixed by Amadeus, the company who makes their booking software, rather than with Qantas itself. I'm not sure if that means other Amadeus customers were also affected, or if it was just the way Qantas was using their software, or what.

It's common to give companies 90 days to fix the bug, before you publicly disclose it. It's a tradeoff between giving them enough time to fix it, and people being hacked because of the bug as long as it's out there.

But, well, this was kinda a special case. Qantas was going through some #struggles, so it was taking longer. Lots of their staff were stood down, and the world was just generally more cooked. At the same time, hardly anybody was flying at the time, due to see above re: #struggles. So, I gave Qantas as much time as they needed.

Five months later

The world is a completely different place, and Qantas replies to me, saying they fixed the bug. It did take five months, which is why it took so long for you and I to be having this weird textual interaction right now.

I don't have a valid Booking Reference, so I can't actually check what's changed. I asked a friend to check (with an expired Booking Reference), and they said they didn't see a mention of "documentNumber" anymore, which sounds like the passport number is no longer there. But That's Not Science, so I don't know for sure.

I originally found the bug in March, which was about 60 years ago. BUT we got there baybee, Qantas emailed me saying the bug had been fixed on August 21. They later told me they actually fixed the bug in July, but the person I was talking to didn't know about it until August.

Qantas also said this when I asked them to review this post:

Thanks again for letting us have the opportunity to review and again for refraining from posting until the fix was in place for vulnerability.

Our standard advice to customers is not to post pictures of the boarding pass, or to at least obscure the key personal information if they do, because of the detail it contains.

We appreciate you bringing it to our attention in such a responsible way, so we could fix the issue, which we did a few months ago now.

I couldn't find any advice on their website about not posting pictures of customer boarding passes, only news articles about how Qantas stopped printing the Frequent Flyer number on the boarding pass last year, because... well, you can see why.

I also asked Qantas what they did to fix the bug, and they said:

Unfortunately we're not able to provide the details of fix as it is part of the protection of personal information.


  • ☑️ figure out whether i have done a crime
  • ☑️ notify someone (The Government) that this happened
  • ⬜ get permission to publish this here blog post
  • ☑️ tell qantas about the security issue so they can fix it

Part 4: Finding Tony Abbott

Like 2003's Finding Nemo, this section was an emotional rollercoaster.

The government was presumably helping Tony Abbott reset his passport number, and making sure his current one wasn't being used for any of that yucky identity fraud.

But, much like Shannon Noll's 2004 What About Me?, what about me? I really wanted to write a blog post about it, you know? So I could warn people about the non-obvious risk of sharing their boarding passes, and also make dumb and inaccessible references to the early 2000s.

The government people I talked to couldn't give me permission to write this post, so rather than willingly wandering deeper into the procedurally generated labyrinth of government department email addresses (it's dark in there), I tried to find Tony Abbott or his staff directly.

Calling everybody in Australia one by one

I called Tony Abbott's former political party again, and asked them how to contact him, or his office, or something I'm really having a moment rn. They said they weren't associated with him anymore, and suggested I call Parliament House, like I was the Queen or something.

In case you don't know it, Parliament House is sorta like the White House, I think? The Prime Minister lives there and has a nice little garden out the back with a macadamia tree that never runs out, and everyone works in different colourful sections like "Making it so Everyone Gets a Fair Shake of the Sauce Bottle R&D" and "Mateship" and they all wear matching uniforms with lil kangaroo and emu hats, and they all do a little dance every hour on the hour to celebrate another accident-free day in the Prime Minister's chocolate factory.

calling parliament house i guess

Not really sure what to expect, I called up and was all like "yeah bloody g'day, day for it ay, hot enough for ya?". Once the formalities were out of the way, I skipped my usual explanation of why I was calling and just asked point-blank if they had Tony Abbott's contact details.

The person on the phone was casually like "Oh, no, but I can put you through to the Serjeant-at-arms, who can give you the contact details of former members". I was like ".....okay?????". Was I supposed to know who that was? Isn't a Serjeant like an army thing?

But no, the Serjeant-at-arms was just a nice lady who told me "he's in a temporary office right now, and so doesn't have a phone number. I can give you an email address or a P.O. box?". I was like "ok th-thank you your majesty".

It felt a bit weird just.... emailing the former PM being like "boy do i have bad news for you", but I figured he probably wouldn't read it anyway. If it was that easy to get this email address, everyone had it, and so nobody was likely to be reading the inbox.

Spoilers: It didn't work.

Finding Tony Abbott's staff

I roll out of bed and stare bleary-eyed into the morning sun, my ultimate nemesis, as Day 40 of not having found Tony Abbott's staff begins.

This time for sure.

Retinas burning, in a moment of determination/desperation/hubris, I went and asked even more people that might know how to contact Tony Abbott's staff.

I asked a journalist friend, who had the kind of ruthlessly efficient ideas that come from, like, being a professional journalist. They suggested I find Tony Abbott's former staff from when he was PM, and contact their offices and see if they have his contact details.

It was a strange sounding plan to me, which I thought meant it would definitely work.

Wikipedia stalking

Apparently Prime Ministers themselves have "ministers" (not prime), and those are their staff. That's who I was looking for.

Big "me and the boys" energy

Okay but, the problem was that most of these people are retired now, and the glory days of 2013 are over. Each time I hover over one of their names, I see "so-and-so is a former politician and...." and discard their Wikipedia page like a LeSnak wrapper into the wind.

Eventually though, I saw this minister.

Oh he definitely has an office.

That's the current Prime Minister of Australia (at the time of writing, that is, for all I know we're three Prime-Ministers deep into 2020 by the time you read this), you know he's definitely gonna be easier to find.

Let's call the Prime Minister's office I guess?

Easy google of the number, absolutely no emotional journey resulting in my growth as a person this time.

When I call, I hear what sounds like two women laughing in the background? One of them answers the phone, slightly out of breath, and says "Hello, Prime Minister's office?". I'm like "....hello? Am I interrupting something???".

I clumsily explain that I know this is Scott Morrison's office, but I actually was wondering if they had Tony Abbott's contact details, because it's for "a time-sensitive media enquiry", and I j- She interrupts to explain "so Tony Abbott isn't Prime Minister anymore, this is Scott Morrison's office" and I'm like "yA I know please I am desperate for these contact details".

She says "We wouldn't have that information but I'll just check for you" and then pauses for like, a long time? Like 15 seconds? I can only wonder what was happening on the other end. Then she says "Oh actually I can give you Tony Abbott's personal assistant's number? Is that good?".

Ummmm YES thanks that's what I've been looking for this whole time? Anyway brb i gotta go be uh a journalist or something.

Calling Tony Abbott's personal assistant's personal assistant

I fumble with my phone, furiously trying to dial the number.

I ask if I'm speaking to Tony Abbott's personal assistant. The person on the other end says no, but he is one of Tony Abbott's staff. It has been a long several months of calling people. The cold ice is starting to thaw. One day, with enough therapy, I may be able to gather the emotional resources necessary to call another government phone number.

I explain the security issue I want to report, and midway through he interrupts with "sorry.... who are you and what's the organisation you're calling from?" and I'm like "uhhhh I mean my name is Alex and uhh I'm not calling from any organisation I'm just like a person?? I just found this thing and...".

The person is mercifully forgiving, and says that he'll have to call me back. I stress once again that I'm calling to help them, happy to wait to publish until they feel comfortable, and definitely do not warrant the bulk-installation of antivirus products.

Calling Tony Abbott's personal assistant

An hour later, I get a call from a number I don't recognise.

He explains that the guy I talked to earlier was his assistant, and he's Tony Abbott's PA. Folks, we made it. It's as easy as that.

He says he knows what I'm talking about. He's got the emails. He's already in the process of getting Tony Abbott a new passport number. This is the stuff. It's all coming together.

I ask if I can publish a blog post about it, and we agree I'll send a draft for him to review.

And then he says

"These things do interest him - he's quite keen to talk to you"

I was like exCUSE me? Tony Abbott, Leader of the 69th Ministry of Australia, wants to call me on the phone? I suppose I owe this service to my country?

This story was already completely cooked so sure, whatever. I'd already declared emotional bankruptcy, so nothing was coming as a surprise at this point.

I asked what he wanted to talk about. "Just to pick your brain on these things". We scheduled a call for 3:30 on Monday.

And then Tony Abbott just... calls me on the phone?

Mostly, he wanted to check whether his understanding of how I'd found his passport number was correct (it was). He also wanted to ask me how to learn about "the IT".

He asked some intelligent questions, like "how much information is in a boarding pass, and what do people like me need to know to be safe?", and "why can you get a passport number from a boarding pass, but not from a bus ticket?".

The answer is that boarding passes have your password printed on them, and bus tickets don't. You can use that password to log in to a website (widely regarded as a bad move), and at that point all bets are off, websites can just do whatever they want.

He was vulnerable, too, about how computers are harder for him to understand.

"It's a funny old world, today I tried to log in to a [Microsoft] Teams meeting (Teams is one of those apps), and the fire brigade uses a Teams meeting. Anyway I got fairly bamboozled, and I can now log in to a Teams meeting in a way I couldn't before.

It's, I suppose, a terrible confession of how people my age feel about this stuff."

Then the Earth stopped spinning on its axis.

For an instant, time stood still.

Then he said it:

"You could drop me in the bush and I'd feel perfectly confident navigating my way out, looking at the sun and direction of rivers and figuring out where to go, but this! Hah!"

This was possibly the most pure and powerful Australian energy a human can possess, and explains how we elected our strongest as our leader. The raw energy did in fact travel through the phone speaker and directly into my brain, killing me instantly.

When I'd collected myself from various corners of the room, he asked if there was a book about the basics of IT, since he wanted to learn about it. That was kinda humanising, since it made me realise that even famous people are just people too.

Anyway I hadn't heard of a book that was any good, so I told a story about my mum instead.

A story about my mum instead

I said there probably was a book out there about "the basics of IT", but it wouldn't help much. I didn't learn from a book. 13 year old TikTok influencers don't learn from a book. They just vibe.

My mum always said when I was growing up that:

  1. There were "too many buttons"
  2. She was afraid to press the buttons, because she didn't know what they did

I can understand that, since grown ups don't have the sheer dumb hubris of a child, and that's what makes them afraid of the buttons.

Like, when a toddler uses a spoon for the first time, they don't know what a spoon is, where they are, or who the current Prime Minister is. But they see the spoon, and they see the cereal, and their dumb baby brain is just like "yeA" and they have a red hot go. And like, they get it wrong the first few times, but it doesn't matter, because they don't know to be afraid of getting it wrong. So eventually, they get it right.

leaked footage of me learning how to hack

Okay so I didn't tell the spoon thing to Tony Abbott, but I did tell him what I always told my mum, which was: "Mum you just gotta press all the buttons, to find out what they do".

He was like "Oh, you just learn by trial and error". Exactly! Now that I think about it, it's a bit scary. We are dumb babies learning to use a spoon for the first time, except if you do it wrong some clown writes a blog post about you. Anyway good luck out there to all you big babies.

Asking to publish this blog post

When I asked Tony Abbott for permission to publish the post you are reading right now while neglecting your responsibilities, he said "well look Alex, I don't have a problem with it, you've alerted me to something I probably should have known about, so if you wanna do that, go for it".

At the end of the call, he said "If there's ever anything you think I need to know, give us a shout".

Look you gotta hand it to him. That's exactly the right way to respond when someone tells you about a security problem. Back at the beginning, I was kinda worried that he might misunderstand, and think I was trying to hack him or something, and that I'd be instantly slam dunked into jail. But nope, he was fine with it. And now you, a sweet and honourable blog post browser, get to learn the dangers of posting your boarding pass by the realest of real-world examples.

During the call, I was completely in shock from the lost in the bush thing killing me instantly, and so on. But afterwards, when I looked at the quotes, I realised he just wanted to understand what had happened to him, and more about how technology works. That's the same kind of curiosity I had, that started this whole surrealist three-act drama. That... wasn't really what I was expecting from Tony Abbott, but it's what I found.

The point of this story isn't to say "wow Tony Abbott got hacked, what a dummy". The point is that if someone famous can unknowingly post their boarding pass, anyone can.

Anyway that's why I vote right wing now baybeeeee.

  • ☑️ figure out whether i have done a crime
  • ☑️ notify someone (The Government) that this happened
  • ☑️ get permission to publish this here blog post
  • ☑️ tell qantas about the security issue so they can fix it

Act 3: Closing credits

Wait no what the heck did I just read

Yeah look, reasonable.

tl; dr

Your boarding pass for a flight can sometimes be used to get your passport number. Don't post your boarding pass or baggage receipt online, keep it as secret as your passport.

How it works

The Booking Reference on the boarding pass can be used to log in to the airline's "Manage Booking" page, which sometimes contains the passport number, depending on the airline. I saw that Tony Abbott had posted a photo of his boarding pass on Instagram, and used it to get his passport details, phone number, and internal messages between Qantas flight staff about his flight booking.

Why did you do this?

One day, my friend who was also in "the group chat" said "I was thinking.... why didn't I hack Tony Abbott? And I realised I guess it's because you have more hubris".

I was deeply complimented by this, but that's not the point. The point is that you, too, can have hubris.

You know how they say to commit a crime (which once again I insist did not happen in my case) you need means, motive, and opportunity? Means is the ability to use right click > Inspect Element, motive is hubris, and opportunity is the dumb luck of having my friend message me the Instagram post.

I know, I've been saying "hubris" a lot. I mean "the willingness to risk breaking the rules". Now hold up, don't go outside and do crimes (unless it's really funny). I'm not talking about breaking the law, I'm talking about rules we just follow without realising, like social rules and conventions.

Here's a simple example. You're at a sufficiently fancy restaurant, like I dunno, with white tablecloths or something? The waiter asks if you'd like "still or sparkling water?"

If you say "still", it costs Eleven Dollars. If you say "sparkling", it costs Eleven Dollars and tastes all gross and fizzy. But if you say "tap water, please", you just get tap water, what you wanted in the first place?

When I first saw someone do this I was like "you can do that? I just thought you had to pay Eleven Dollars extra at fancy restaurants!".

It's not written down anywhere that you can ask for tap water. But when I found out you could do that, and like, nothing bad happens, I could suddenly do it too. Miss me with that Eleven Dollars fizzy water.

Basically, until you've broken the rules, the idea that the rules can be broken might just not occur to you. That's how it felt for me, at least.

In conclusion, to be a hacker u ask for tap water.


Why is it bad for someone else to have your passport number?

Hey crime gang, welcome back to Identity Fraud tips and tricks with Alex.

A passport is government-issued ID. It's how you prove you're you. The fact that you have your passport and I don't is how you prevent me from convincing the government that I'm you and doing crimes in your name.

Just having the information on the passport is not quite as powerful as a photo of the full physical passport, with your photo and everything.

With your passport number, someone could:

  • Book an international flight as you.
  • Apply for anything that requires proof of identity documentation with the government, e.g. Working with children check
  • Activate a SIM card (and so get an internet connection that's traceable to you, not them, hiding them from the government)
  • Create a fake physical passport from a template, with the correct passport number (which they then use to cross a border, open a bank account, or anything)
  • who knows what else, not me, bc i have never done a crime

Am I a big bozo, a big honking goose, if I post my boarding pass on Instagram?

Nah, it's an easy mistake to make. How are you supposed to know not to? It's not obvious that your boarding pass is secret, like a password. I think it's on the airline to inform you on the risks you're taking when you use their stuff.

But now that you've read this blog post, I regret to inform you that you will in fact be an entire sack of geese if you go and post your boarding pass now.

When did all of this happen?

  • March 22 - @hontonyabbott posts a picture of a boarding pass and baggage receipt. I log in to the website and get the passport number, phone number, and internal Qantas comments.
  • March 24 - I contact the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) and let them know what happened.
  • March 27 - ASD tells me their investigation is complete, I send them a shakas gif, and they thank me for being a good citizen.
  • March 29 - I learn from lawyers that I have not done a crime 💯
  • March 30 - I contact Qantas and tell them about the vulnerability.
  • May 1 - Tony Abbott calls me, we chat about being dropped in the middle of the bush.
  • July 17 - Paper Mario: The Origami King is released for Nintendo Switch.
  • August 21 - Qantas emails me saying the security problem has been fixed.
  • September 13 - Various friends finish reviewing this post <3
  • September 15 - Tony Abbott and Qantas review this post.
  • Today - You read this post instead of letting it read you, nice job you.

I'm bored and tired

Let me answer that question,,, with a question.

Maybe try drinking some water you big goose. Honk honk, I'm so dehydrated lol. That's you.

honk honk honk honl

Yeah, exactly.

I wrote this because I can't go back to the Catholic church ever since they excommunicated me in 1633 for insisting the Earth revolves around the sun.

You can talk to me about it by sliding into my DMs in the tweet zone or, if you must, email.

All Comments: [-] | anchor

ChrisRR(10000) 4 days ago [-]

That's a long read, has anyone got a blurb so I know what I'm getting myself into?

pmontra(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Search for 'tl; dr'. It's a section at the end of the page with the summary.

kccqzy(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Nice. Here's a similar personal story with a PSA that sometimes blurring is NOT sufficient.

A friend of mine posted on Instagram a picture of a U.S. visa (or something similar; it was probably five years ago) to announce her trip to the U.S., and she took care to blur out sensitive information such as her passport number. But a Gaussian blur is easy to reverse and I successfully unblurred it and told her my discovery. I didn't use any specialized software; it was just Mathematica with its built-in ImageDeconvolve function with guessed parameters for the Gaussian kernel.

I personally recommend blacking out (add a black rectangle) instead of blurring, and if it is a PDF, convert to an image afterwards because too many PDF editors use non-destructive operations to add a new object instead of changing what's underneath.

TwoBit(10000) 5 days ago [-]

A pedophile ringleader was once caught by reversing a graphical swirl he used to try to hide his face in a picture.

lysp(10000) 5 days ago [-]

> I personally recommend blacking out (add a black rectangle) instead of blurring, and if it is a PDF, convert to an image afterwards because too many PDF editors use non-destructive operations to add a new object instead of changing what's underneath.

We had a similar issue in Australia as well.

Politicians phone bills are published on the government website in summary form.

Someone in 2017 decided to blank out their phone numbers by changing the phone number text colour to white (same as background).

End result - hundreds of politicians and former prime ministers had their phone numbers leaked.


bjornorn(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Did the blog author actually un-blur the booking reference though? He states he tried to un-blur the barcode, was unsuccessful and then realized the booking reference was right there in the picture. Nothing about un-blurring it.

qwertox(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Blacking out is the correct thing to do.

Not cutting it so that it becomes transparent since this may still preserve the color component of the RGBA-pixels, even if it is invisible and blended with a black background.

greenmana(10000) 4 days ago [-]

If using for example Word you can conveniently just change the background text color to black. /s

Namidairo(10000) 5 days ago [-]

> and if it is a PDF, convert to an image afterwards because too many PDF editors use non-destructive operations to add a new object instead of changing what's underneath.

You'd be surprised at how many times this happens on Government documents with redaction.


plorg(10000) 4 days ago [-]

'I personally recommend blacking out (add a black rectangle) instead of blurring, and if it is a PDF, convert to an image afterwards because too many PDF editors use non-destructive operations to add a new object instead of changing what's underneath.'

I have this at work, with engineering drawings. With mobile equipment often were not dealing with engineering companies per se, and they won't or don't know how to get us CAD models of their equipment. And we often don't have the equipment on have at the time we need to make drawings.

But if you have a PDF with vector drawings, often a manual, and one or two good dimensions you can make a reasonably accurate model. AutoCAD even makes this easy with the PDFIMPORT function.

More often than I would expect, there's a whole other drawing view either covered by a white box or off-page. Once it looked like it had been drawn over with a white paintbrush tool, and if course the path of that too was also visible.

undebuggable(10000) 5 days ago [-]

> I personally recommend blacking out (add a black rectangle) instead of blurring

Real life document workflows can be really tricky. What if one is required to print or photocopy the obscured document? Devastating for printer's toner or cartridge lifetime... In some cases opaque grayish rectangle does the job.

j_walter(10000) 4 days ago [-]

I found many years ago that my pay statements suffered from the last item you mentioned. My personal info had a black box over things like the SSN...but if I just moved the window around the black box followed slower than the document so everything was visible. ADP never acknowledged the problem when I brought it to their attention, but they did eventually fix it.

dheera(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Yup. I wrote a blog post about this a long time ago in 2007, and it was republished in Gizmodo in 2014: https://gizmodo.com/why-you-should-never-use-pixelation-to-h...

You can dictionary attack pixelated photos.

With Gaussian kernels, besides deconvolution you can sometimes also dictionary attack them if you have the original font and if the kernel is properly normalized kernel (i.e. most gaussian blurs).

Although I haven't tried, I think there may even be neural network based techniques that can perform even more effectively than a dictionary attack.

Separately, if the image editing tools added sufficient random noise to their mosaic filters they might be able to thwart most of these attacks, or at least make them significantly harder.

function_seven(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Your advice is good, and I agree that you didn't use specialized software to reverse the blur, but this

> I didn't use any specialized software; it was just Mathematica with its built-in ImageDeconvolve function with guessed parameters for the Gaussian kernel.

is one of the most HN comments I've come across recently :)

nikanj(10000) 5 days ago [-]

My all-time favourite recommendation is 'print, cut out the sensitive parts with an exacto knife, rescan'.

Firstly because it's a nice mix of analog and digital, and secondly because it's short enough to fit in a tweet - yet extremely secure.

Sysosmaster(10000) 4 days ago [-]

The thing to remember here is that the only way to hide (real world) data in an image is to reduce the amount of data in the picture... a blur or swirl leaves most if not all data just in the picture (although distorted) Any filter that removes data (such as pixelate or blacking out / whiting out) can be used to safely hide this data... Just remember to also strip out any unwanted meta data (Exif-data) and do not use layers but a 'flattened' version of the picture.

ErikAugust(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Sure. I would go a step further - just don't post any photos of these sorts of documents ever. The risk and reward ratio is too skewed.

dylan604(10000) 5 days ago [-]

I once had to provide my employer copies of court documents proving something or other in order to qualify for the benefits plan I was attempting to enroll. The part of the document that contained the info they required also contained other information I did not want them to have, and I was more than irked at having to do this in the first place. I used Photoshop to draw a 99% black box as the redaction, but then using a 100% black font color typed in a nasty little message. Nobody was ever going to see it, but just knowing that if they did it would be a shock. I qualified for the package.

bentcorner(10000) 4 days ago [-]

> I personally recommend blacking out (add a black rectangle) instead of blurring

I've seen people use image editors on mobile and they'll 'scribble' out sensitive information, but one of the problems is that if you pick the wrong pen it'll blend your strokes so it's not 100% opacity (but on a casual glance it's close enough). You can zoom in and change the contrast of a photo that has been redacted this way and recover information.

stjohnswarts(10000) 1 day ago [-]

Why not use a randomized blur so people who like to do such things can waste time trying to figure it out when it's actually nothing but random numbers and has none of the original info?

thrwyoilarticle(10000) 4 days ago [-]

>a Gaussian blur is easy to reverse

That's the most surprising thing I've read today. I assumed it was destructive.

sjs382(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Sometimes a black bar or even cropping isn't sufficient. You still have to trust the editing software.

There was a scandal around 2003 when a TV host took a topless photo, cropped it and shared the cropped photo online. Unfortunately, the software (Photoshop—I think CS3) she used to crop the photo stored the original photo as metadata if you didn't change the original filename. The original (uncropped) photo could be seen in the 'Open File' preview dialog when opening the cropped version.

btilly(10000) 5 days ago [-]

The following line confuses me, because it contradicts a lot in the post.

Update: I have been arrested.

Is that just an obvious mistake? Or is there a news flash that we would like to hear more on?

akent(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Looks like that was yet another joke.

vincnetas(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Yes, if you read previous sentence, it ends abruptly

  'I mean you're reading the blog post right now so obviousl'
kabacha(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Real question here is: should the passport number have any expectations of privacy? It seems like such an easy thing to expose as you literally put it down on every document like hotel check ins etc. AFAIK it's not even a random number and instead it's generated from basic info like birth year/place/gender.

That being said it was a really good blog!

rswail(10000) 5 days ago [-]

It depends where you are from. Our (Australian) passports have a 'series' letter at the start and then a set of numbers. Not sure whether they are random or incremental or derived.

YMMV based on nation that issues yours.

Nextgrid(10000) 5 days ago [-]

I don't know if it's just me or it's the fact that I'm reading this on mobile on a small screen but I couldn't stand the writing style. Curious to know if anyone else felt that way.

codetrotter(10000) 5 days ago [-]

I think it was funny and I liked it. Still didn't read the whole thing though – maybe later, am not in shape right now. But did read quite a bit of it.

steveklabnik(10000) 5 days ago [-]

I read it on my phone and I love the writing style.

Different people are different.

stordoff(10000) 5 days ago [-]

I found myself rolling my eyes a few times, but the core content was good so I didn't find it all that off-putting.

'Update: I have been arrested.' did leave me slightly confused for a while though, probably due to the verbosity making me want to scan read.

Camas(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Feels like I accidentally opened discord

starpilot(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Same. Sounds like the author thinks he's way funnier than he is.

netsharc(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Couldn't stand it either, since I (probably like most of us here) know about the 'scan the 2d barcode to get the booking number, use that and passenger last name to see their flight details' trick. The kid draws out that first bit for too long. Although he did get clever and used the developer tools (again here he goes into boring details) to find the actual passport number as some hidden JSON, and some other internal airline info...

ezluckyfree(10000) 5 days ago [-]

I agree, kind of. I had to skim it, some of the jokes were funny, it just took up too much space.

C19is20(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Humour, with a 'u'.

h0l0cube(10000) 5 days ago [-]

The writing style was irreverent, colloquial, and replete with cultural references, but also dense with information. I felt a constant tension of wanting to skim-read and actually parsing the content, but found it really entertaining all the while.

kayson(10000) 5 days ago [-]

I couldn't either. It was absolutely terrible. I think you can achieve the style and voice he was going for without being completely over the top, which he very much was.

gonzo41(10000) 5 days ago [-]

It reads like a travel diary. Which I really like because you get the things that are done and the thoughts and feelings along the way.

CosmicShadow(10000) 5 days ago [-]

I loved it, it helped me keep reading the whole way through an extremely long, yet engaging article. Different people like different writing styles and humour obviously.

traverseda(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Yeah, it was a bit yikes.

fireattack(10000) 5 days ago [-]

I hate it. But I knew I'm never a fan of this kind of overly joking style (the same reason I can't stand famous YouTube Channel 'half as interesting', despite I love his main channel.)

mindfulhack(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Yeah I thought the person to be quite young. But I understood, as I've been that young and written in almost exactly that writing style before. :) I skimmed through it feeling fondness for my youth.

aahortwwy(10000) 5 days ago [-]

> "You could drop me in the bush and I'd feel perfectly confident navigating my way out, looking at the sun and direction of rivers and figuring out where to go, but this! Hah!"

I mean not to call him out but this did happen and he didn't navigate his way out (although that says nothing about his confidence).


EDIT: To be fair, it's been a decade. Maybe he's worked on his orienteering skills since having that experience?

chris_wot(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Sure, this is the guy who knighted a prince and ate a raw onion. What did you expect?

Abbott was Australia's Trump. Thankfully he lasted in office an even shorter time than the people he replaced.

vishnugupta(10000) 5 days ago [-]

I accidentally discovered a way to get hold of passport details of random people by applying for Visa on arrival to Vietnam. There are these online portals which do some document pre processing which is legit. And on landing in Vietnam we are expected to show that we have already applied for Visa. It so happens that these portals do batch processing. Which means my application is processed along with a half a dozen or so other random applicants.

And so I applied for one. And when I received the confirmation document I received the entire batch file. It included passport number, expiry date and other PII of ten random people which would be super valuable in the hands of criminals and such.

And conversely ten random people know my PII

city41(10000) 3 days ago [-]

I recently bought a used phone on ebay. When I turned it on it had the previous owner's data in tact and no passcode. I opened Gmail and was in their account.

I immediately factory reset the phone. My point being sensitive data leaks all over the place in many ways in today's world.

hdi8534(10000) 5 days ago [-]

The same when you apply to give up vietnamese citizenship, all your info are public on the goverment website (pdf files with name, birthday, current addresss...)

jwong_(10000) 3 days ago [-]

Foreign visitors to China staying in non-hotels are required to register at the local police station. The police in the city I visit use their personal cellphones to take pictures of your passport, use their personal WeChat accounts to send them who-knows-where, and then store them in paper form on the top of their desks. Anyone who walks in to register can see what kinds of foreigners are staying, where they're staying, their jobs, passport numbers, etc.

logifail(10000) 4 days ago [-]

In some countries, identity documents are in relatively frequent use. The number of authorised strangers who would have access to one's identity document might be significantly higher in these jurisdictions than, say, the number who would be able to view Tony Abbott's passport number. I'm thinking of - for instance - the 'personnummer' in Sweden (I've heard friends recite theirs in public when asked for them).

Q: Should (merely) the number from your passport really be considered a secret?

toyg(10000) 4 days ago [-]

In theory no, but in practice yes. It's the same for a lot of metadata about our lives that routinely doubles up as authentication factor, e.g. 'to verify your identity, can you please confirm the first line of your address and your postcode?'... Most of my neighbours know that!

sellyme(10000) 5 days ago [-]

The contact form on Abbott's website 403ing is impressively on-brand.

coagmano(10000) 5 days ago [-]

I wouldn't be surprised if the staff deliberately sabotaged it. I've worked for a party before and the emails are horrendous

mulmen(10000) 5 days ago [-]

This was a great read but I'm a bit disappointed there are no easter eggs in the page source. Or maybe I'm just not finding them.

hayyyyydos(10000) 5 days ago [-]

There is one, but it's on the homepage - take a look under the 'about' heading at the bottom and go from there.... (assuming that's the puzzle that ASD figured out)

xyzal(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Is it just me, or did anyone else try to clean up their monitor from dust, realizing eventually the 'dust' is the websites background image?

WebDanube(10000) 4 days ago [-]

TFW your monitor is dirty enough for you to not notice the dusty BG image.

jeffbee(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Are passport numbers secrets?

andreareina(10000) 5 days ago [-]

I'd say sensitive at the very least. Like social security numbers they shouldn't be, but when places use them for identification without checking authenticity and authorization...

ObsoleteNerd(10000) 5 days ago [-]

They're a form of Government-issued photo ID, so not 'secret' but definitely 'sensitive'.

At least in Australia, a passport can be used as your primary ID for a lot of stuff such as renting houses, buying mobile phones, connecting services to your home, booking flights, renting cars, etc etc etc.

macintux(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Yes. The bottom of the post covers some of the things you can do with the number.

WrtCdEvrydy(10000) 5 days ago [-]

For anyone who wants to do this easier... ZAP Proxy has a HUD display that will allow you to see the data flying on a page after you load it.

No need to do funky Inspect Element magic. Works wonders for reverse engineering how your fancy UI talks to the fancy API to do the fancy things.

If you can't figure out ZAP with HUD, you can alternatively use the Network tab on Chrome and switch to AJAX (if it's something that happens without the page loading)

bigiain(10000) 5 days ago [-]

> funky Inspect Element magic

Are you sure you're on the right website?

fphhotchips(10000) 5 days ago [-]

I feel like this buries the lede massively: Qantas' system was run by Amadeus, who also run the booking system for some 200 other airlines [0]. If you could do this with Qantas and get all those notes, you could probably do it to any other airline and get them too. That would be bad enough, but it also appears that this issue (or one very much like it) has been reported widely at least back in early 2019.

So, either Amadeus didn't fix the issue until it was disclosed here (very very bad) or Qantas didn't update their booking system for a security patch (also very bad).

[0] https://techcrunch.com/2019/01/15/amadeus-airline-booking-vu...

bostik(10000) 5 days ago [-]

The underlying issues have been known for quite a while. There was a fantastic talk in CCC at 2016 about the airline booking systems and the various bits of information you can glean from them.[0]

0: https://media.ccc.de/v/33c3-7964-where_in_the_world_is_carme...

robjan(10000) 5 days ago [-]

The issue isn't Amadeus, it's that some airlines don't bother to use accounts with lower levels of privileges for operations which don't need full access. There are a number of different levels which are intended to be used for different purposes: for example, the credit card numbers are not visible to booking agents but can be accessed by the anti fraud department.

Some airlines just use a single 'god mode' account for their whole e-commerce platform because it's cheaper / more convenient for their developers / vendors.

chrismorgan(10000) 5 days ago [-]

A few years back when I was looking to buy a house, I was interested in how long the property had been on the market. (I was looking in country towns and their outskirts, where six months is a typical time for a property to be on the market; I even saw one or two blocks of land that seemed to have been for sale for at least five or six years.) Few real estate agents tell you this on their websites (though if you ask, they may), and aggregators like domain.com.au and realestate.com.au don't either. Except sometimes they do, in the markup. My vague recollection (I don't have the scraping scripts I wrote handy right now, they're just on my old laptop and backups) is that I found a JSON blob in the realestate.com.au mobile website containing two dates, and that the domain.com.au desktop website fetched a JSON response from an API which happened to contain one date. I ended up deciding that REA's dates were when the listing was first seen and last updated, and the Domain one was one of those. Neither of these sites were actually displaying this date, but the data was there for me to take and feed into my research.

Careless or unwitting information disclosure from APIs—sometimes sensitive, sometimes not—is a real problem.

strange_aeons(10000) 5 days ago [-]

That's interesting. The time on market is always listed on Danish real estate websites. And the aggregator sites also have previous listings.

carrolldunham(10000) 5 days ago [-]

clickbait. no 'passport' is found. very long winded insufferable hooting about finding the passport number from an instagrammed boarding pass booking number. is that still a big security hole? i guess. could have been one tweet though

akent(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Let us know when you do something even half as impressive.

cjbprime(10000) 5 days ago [-]

It's not mentioned in the post, but it seemed like you also get access to past and future trip itineraries. Seems like a big deal for a past head of state to me.

parksy(10000) 5 days ago [-]

The full title is 'When you browse Instagram and find former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott's passport number' not sure why the title here omits 'number' but it is there on the actual post.

Also as someone that hasn't ever done anything like this before, it was interesting to read the journey from end to end, specifically the steps taken to try and responsibly disclose a security breach and the hoops he jumped through which might seem obvious for someone who does it on the regular, but was somewhat enlightening to someone who has never encountered something like this in life.

juancampa(10000) 5 days ago [-]

I found the writing style to be very entertaining. Maybe someone else would've stopped at a tweet but in the end he managed get on the phone with Tony Abbott himself and got himself a cool story to tell.

sellyme(10000) 5 days ago [-]

When a (former) head of Government is calling your personal phone number I think you're entitled to want more than 280 characters to tell the story of how the hell that happened.

h0l0cube(10000) 5 days ago [-]

> very long winded insufferable hooting about finding the passport number

Did you read the whole thing? Also included were phone number, notes from airline staff.

> is that still a big security hole?

To quote the article:

> Just having the information on the passport is not quite as powerful as a photo of the full physical passport, with your photo and everything.

> With your passport number, someone could: > - Book an international flight as you > - Apply for anything that requires proof of identity documentation with the government, e.g. Working with children check > - Activate a SIM card (and so get an internet connection that's traceable to you, not them, hiding them from the government)

.. and then it had a couple more points.

> could have been one tweet though

And then you'd miss the whole story about informing government security and Qantas of the flaws (difficult apparently), tracking down the staff of the ex-Prime Minister of Australia, and then finally getting a call from the man himself. Might not be your cup of tea, but not 'click-bait'. The author put a lot of effort, and told a really interesting story.

abhiminator(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Great post, thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

BTW, on a side note, when you try and visit the blog's homepage[0] and scroll down to the bottom, you find a link to an actual (password protected) PDF file called Mango.pdf[1]. The author 'Alex' says the password for the PDF has been embedded in the page and it didn't take me a lot of time to figure the password out from the HTML source[2].

But when I opened the PDF, I was hit with this random string of characters:

cGJhdGVuZ2h5bmd2YmFmLCBsYmggZmJ5aXJxIHpsIHlodnR2IGNobW15ci4gQCB6ci BiYSBnanZnZ3JlIGp2Z3UgbGJoZSBzbmliaGV2Z3IgcXJmZnJlZyBnYiB0cmcgbGJo ZSBlcmpuZXEuIFZnJ2YgeXZ4ciwgYWJnIG4gaXJlbCB0YmJxIGVyam5lcSBmYiBodQ o=

I tried to decode this using every available decoder, but it only throws up random result. Was wondering if any of you smart people here had any idea about this code.

[0] https://mango.pdf.zone/

[1] https://mango.pdf.zone/mango.pdf

[2] view-source:https://mango.pdf.zone/


As the commenters who replied to me mentioned, this puzzle is double-encoded. I think the trick is to figure out which decoder to use first.

cimi_(10000) 4 days ago [-]

CyberChef[0] has a 'magic' decoder that tries out different encodings for you.

[0] https://gchq.github.io/CyberChef/#recipe=Magic(3,false,false...

nbgl(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Hint: try ROT13.

losvedir(10000) 4 days ago [-]

I decoded it probably in the same way you tried, but I wouldn't call the result 'random' in the space of possibilities. A random result of that kind of decoding would likely involve binary data that can't map cleanly to letters the way this did. You've just gotta go deeper!

carlmr(10000) 4 days ago [-]

There are two layers to that encoding. When you see a random string of characters and numbers ending with one or two equals signs, think of base64. Then when you see something that seems like word groups with spaces, think of rot* (* = 13 being the most common version) encoding.

sygma(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Great talk [0] given during the 2016 congress touching on the Amadeus flight booking system and the danger of posting your boarding pass on social media

[0]: https://media.ccc.de/v/33c3-7964-where_in_the_world_is_carme...

aneutron(10000) 4 days ago [-]

This was an amazing watch. Thank you very much for the link.

ibudiallo(10000) 5 days ago [-]

The power of Inspect Element. This is exactly how I found out I was underpaid[1]. A company I worked for used a software called erecruit to manage my contracts. When you click on a clients name, it makes an ajax request to fetch the data. Being a web developer, I inspected the data returned.

I'm pretty sure all the developer did was:

    echo json_encode($queryResult);
I saw how much I was getting paid vs how much they were charging clients. I quickly changed my prices after that.

[1]: https://idiallo.com/blog/how-much-do-you-charge-for-your-wor...

dylan604(10000) 5 days ago [-]

I think this is a lesson lots of early AJAX/client-side coders should be forced to learn. When you do a `SELECT * FROM` and return the entire result, that data is visible on the client end in full detail (if you're familiar with how to use the browser's dev tools that is). Maybe you only make some of that data visible to the user in the UI, but the data you didn't use is still part of that AJAX return. Only send to the browser the data you actually need!

bagacrap(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Every consulting firm pays their employees way less than the hourly rate they bill clients. That's how the firm exists. Good for you that you were in a situation to dictate your compensation.

Zealotux(10000) 5 days ago [-]

>I personally recommend blacking out (add a black rectangle) instead of blurring

This can be reversed as well, if you do black things out this way: please make sure you're using 100% opacity black. I've managed to retrieve data from plenty 'blacked-out' documents simply by playing with contrast and exposure filters in Photoshop because the opacity wasn't set correctly.

cricalix(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Black it out, print it to paper, scan it back in, embed the image in a Word document, and print to PDF. Wait, that's just how 'most' people do it anyway..

ironfootnz(10000) 5 days ago [-]

That's the best funny post about "CVE" I've ever read.

sellyme(10000) 4 days ago [-]

How about this one: http://tom7.org/chess/cve.pdf

Sarcastic PDFs never stop being amusing to me.

gouggoug(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Out of curiosity a few months back I spent a few hours looking at this exact hashtag (#boardingpass) and other travel related hashtags.

I ended up thinking that Instagram was actively removing pictures of boarding passes because I could only find a surprisingly low amount of pictures containing valid Lastname/BookingRef. As for the few pictures available, the references were often either too old, or partially covered.

I'm still wondering if Instagram does remove such photos.

spyke112(10000) 5 days ago [-]

I even get a 501 Not Implemented for https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/boardingpass/ on desktop. May be related?

sorum(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Some Grade A zingers in there:

> The man in question is Tony Abbott, one of Australia's many former Prime Ministers.

> For security reasons, we try to change our Prime Minister every six months, and to never use the same Prime Minister on multiple websites.

> Harold Holt was another former Prime Minster and we... lost him? He disappeared while going for a swim one morning. This is not a joke. We named Harold Holt Memorial Swim Centre after him. I repeat, this is not a joke.

fergie(10000) 4 days ago [-]

'(Instagram, in case you don't know it, is an app you can open up on your phone any time to look at ads).'

danieltrembath(10000) 5 days ago [-]

'...I called up and was all like "yeah bloody g'day, day for it ay, hot enough for ya?". Once the formalities were out of the way...'

rvz(10000) 5 days ago [-]

We blame these social networks for collecting vast amounts of our private data (yes we should), yet these folk have no problem of posting already sensitive information under a hashtag - creating an Aladdin's cave of identities waiting to be stolen for fraud as this blog-post has demonstrated.

'If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place' - Eric Schmidt

I guess they will learn the hard way given that they aren't really 'tech savvy' or internet wise these days.

Polylactic_acid(10000) 5 days ago [-]

The problem is people have no idea what is sensitive. Until just now I would have thought a boarding pass was safe to share.

Its more the airlines fault for making this info so easy to access with what looks like unsensitive info.

ClumsyPilot(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Boarding pass clearly should not allow tgis lwvel of access to yiur personal infornatiob- it has one job, boarding a plane.

tomerico(10000) 5 days ago [-]

I found his advice to Tony on how to get better with computers remarkably insightful:

> I said there probably was a book out there about "the basics of IT", but it wouldn't help much. I didn't learn from a book. 13 year old TikTok influencers don't learn from a book. They just vibe.

> My mum always said when I was growing up that:

> There were "too many buttons" She was afraid to press the buttons, because she didn't know what they did I can understand that, since grown ups don't have the sheer dumb hubris of a child, and that's what makes them afraid of the buttons.

> Like, when a toddler uses a spoon for the first time, they don't know what a spoon is, where they are, or who the current Prime Minister is. But they see the spoon, and they see the cereal, and their dumb baby brain is just like "yeA" and they have a red hot go. And like, they get it wrong the first few times, but it doesn't matter, because they don't know to be afraid of getting it wrong. So eventually, they get it right.

> Okay so I didn't tell the spoon thing to Tony Abbott, but I did tell him what I always told my mum, which was: "Mum you just gotta press all the buttons, to find out what they do".

jhealy(10000) 5 days ago [-]

A similar anecdote from my family.

My uncle (a sheep farmer) and I discovered that:

1. I was afraid to touch anything in a car engine, but happy to muddle through unfamiliar computer issues

2. He was afraid to click unknown buttons on a computer screen, but comfortable pulling apart and rebuilding an unfamiliar car engine.

In both cases, we were confident because we knew whatever mistake we made we'd be able to reverse it. And in both cases, we were afraid of making a mistake that we couldn't reverse.

arh68(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Yes! I call it cat-like thinking, after watching our cat walk all over the keyboard. She wouldn't look at the keys or the screen.

I can't remember how many times I've heard 'I can't log in, the machine is locked', when there is literally 1 button Switch User, and clicking that 1 button does it. 'Oh, I didn't think to try that, it said it was locked..'

Entering newlines in a textbox? It's.. shift-enter, or alt-enter, alt-shift-something. Multicursor? It's.. shift-up? Alt-up? You just try 'em. Cat-like

stubish(10000) 5 days ago [-]

You missed the corresponding footnote:

"Nobody gives the baby a knife. You give them a spoon" - Mum, when I showed her this.

(which is also insightful, because the 'Mums' I've dealt with are mostly worried that pushing the wrong button will permanently break something, as if they used to sell blenders without safety features or something back in the day)

POiNTx(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Apart from the really interesting content, this is an extremely good read, strikes me as the right kind of balance of information and keeping you entertained. I really enjoyed this writing style!

anon9001(10000) 5 days ago [-]

This was really a delight to read. I wonder if the author was raised on 2600. Fantastic stuff.

Also visited his page. Does not disappoint: https://mango.pdf.zone/

maest(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Since we're sharing views on the writing style - I found it off-putting enough that I had to quit halfway through.

It's very tiresome to read, with _way_ too many digressions and jokes.

chriswwweb(10000) 4 days ago [-]

I liked the humor in this piece a lot, I would not have read it until the end if it wasn't for the funny bits

jrochkind1(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Yes. I want to subscribe to his newsletter for sure.

warent(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Interesting, I liked the story but got the opposite impression you did. At first the humor was amusing but I felt like the relentless, extremely heavy sarcasm dripping off every sentence quickly turned it into a slog and even started to make me wonder which parts were genuine vs. joking. Not great.

thdrdt(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Lately I am thinking about building a framework for web APIs where the database stores the owner, group and other's rights for each entity. The framework will then fetch data based on the user and fills the models based on the rights set for each field.

Exactly for the reason shown in the article.

I believe right now it is still too difficult to do this in any framework. That's why developers take shortcuts and just expose all entity data or just make a mistake and forget about it.

Does anyone know if such a framework already exists? So per field rights, not per entity rights.

mulmen(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Take a look at Postgres roles, I think they are similar to what you describe. This should allow you to set row level permissions per user. Not sure how well that scales.

I know postgrest uses it.


efreak(10000) 4 days ago [-]

I think the Windows registry has this, doesn't it? Not really applicable to this use case, and do far as I know it's world-readable (acls are applied for writing, not reading) but it does have per-key ACLs (not sure about per-field).

throwawaynothx(10000) 5 days ago [-]

or... GraphQL.

pretendgeneer(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Great read.

I really like the bit about learn 'the IT', there's no book or anything to be good at computers you just gotta fuck around and find out a bunch.

> Like, when a toddler uses a spoon for the first time, they don't know what a spoon is, where they are, or who the current Prime Minister is. But they see the spoon, and they see the cereal, and their dumb baby brain is just like "yeA" and they have a red hot go. And like, they get it wrong the first few times, but it doesn't matter, because they don't know to be afraid of getting it wrong. So eventually, they get it right.

Cthulhu_(10000) 5 days ago [-]

The problem is that there are a LOT of books, but what is relevant just changes every couple years.

I mean the IT books section of the charity shops is a good example of this, there's so many there for older versions of Office, operating systems, etc.

That said, I had a school book (Structured Computer Organization by Tanenbaum) that explains a lot of the basics of computers. Sure, it's about the Pentium architecture and early JVM and doesn't cover multi-core architecture or using GPU's to crunch numbers, but it goes through a lot of the basics.

p49k(10000) 4 days ago [-]

I would encourage anyone interested in this article to read it thoroughly to the end. This is one of the most satisfying articles I've read recently and I really enjoy the author's unique sense of humor.

rocqua(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Try some of james mickens articles: https://mickens.seas.harvard.edu/wisdom-james-mickens

They are written in a similar style, I really love them.

lpa22(10000) 4 days ago [-]

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this as well. It's very rare I read blog posts of this length to the end but I was hooked

The_Amp_Walrus(10000) 5 days ago [-]

The hacker known as 'Alex' also gave a really fun talk at PyCon AU in 2018: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZlNkIFipKZ4

mproud(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Given how fun this post was to read, I can only imagine he is equally as funny in person!

philliphaydon(10000) 5 days ago [-]

I still find it strange you can manage a booking with just a reference and name. About ~5 years ago someone I follow on twitter posted their boarding pass and I replied to them with a screen shot asking if I should cancel the booking. They removed their post and I removed mine. But all it took was the reference on the boarding pass and their last name...

astura(10000) 4 days ago [-]

I understand why... A lot of business travelers have a third party book their flights, so there isn't always a username/password. Airlines and travel agencies don't make it clear that it's sensitive information though.

Cthulhu_(10000) 5 days ago [-]

What I've gathered left and right wrt the airline industry is that it was one of the earliest industries that went digital, and / but they have a lot of legacy going on.

I mean in this particular case, they could have Abbott create an account on their website first, but then, someone else booked the ticket for him so that makes things more complicated (because they don't have an e-mail address), and then there's tickets being booked all over the world, and then loads of people don't have computers or e-mail.

It escalates quickly.

Historical Discussions: Nvidia to Acquire Arm for $40B (September 13, 2020: 2121 points)

(2122) Nvidia to Acquire Arm for $40B

2122 points 7 days ago by czr in 10000th position

nvidianews.nvidia.com | Estimated reading time – 6 minutes | comments | anchor

  • Unites NVIDIA's leadership in artificial intelligence with Arm's vast computing ecosystem to drive innovation for all customers
  • NVIDIA will expand Arm's R&D presence in Cambridge, UK, by establishing a world-class AI research and education center, and building an Arm/NVIDIA-powered AI supercomputer for groundbreaking research
  • NVIDIA will continue Arm's open-licensing model and customer neutrality and expand Arm's IP licensing portfolio with NVIDIA technology
  • Immediately accretive to NVIDIA's non-GAAP gross margin and EPS
  • Consideration of $40 billion to be met through a combination of NVIDIA shares and cash

NVIDIA and SoftBank Group Corp. (SBG) today announced a definitive agreement under which NVIDIA will acquire Arm Limited from SBG and the SoftBank Vision Fund (together, "SoftBank") in a transaction valued at $40 billion. The transaction is expected to be immediately accretive to NVIDIA's non-GAAP gross margin and non-GAAP earnings per share.

The combination brings together NVIDIA's leading AI computing platform with Arm's vast ecosystem to create the premier computing company for the age of artificial intelligence, accelerating innovation while expanding into large, high-growth markets. SoftBank will remain committed to Arm's long-term success through its ownership stake in NVIDIA, expected to be under 10 percent.

"AI is the most powerful technology force of our time and has launched a new wave of computing," said Jensen Huang, founder and CEO of NVIDIA. "In the years ahead, trillions of computers running AI will create a new internet-of-things that is thousands of times larger than today's internet-of-people. Our combination will create a company fabulously positioned for the age of AI.

"Simon Segars and his team at Arm have built an extraordinary company that is contributing to nearly every technology market in the world. Uniting NVIDIA's AI computing capabilities with the vast ecosystem of Arm's CPU, we can advance computing from the cloud, smartphones, PCs, self-driving cars and robotics, to edge IoT, and expand AI computing to every corner of the globe.

"This combination has tremendous benefits for both companies, our customers, and the industry. For Arm's ecosystem, the combination will turbocharge Arm's R&D capacity and expand its IP portfolio with NVIDIA's world-leading GPU and AI technology.

"Arm will remain headquartered in Cambridge. We will expand on this great site and build a world-class AI research facility, supporting developments in healthcare, life sciences, robotics, self-driving cars and other fields. And, to attract researchers and scientists from the U.K. and around the world to conduct groundbreaking work, NVIDIA will build a state-of-the-art AI supercomputer, powered by Arm CPUs. Arm Cambridge will be a world-class technology center."

"NVIDIA is the perfect partner for Arm," said Masayoshi Son, chairman and CEO of SBG. "Since acquiring Arm, we have honored our commitments and invested heavily in people, technology and R&D, thereby expanding the business into new areas with high growth potential. Joining forces with a world leader in technology innovation creates new and exciting opportunities for Arm. This is a compelling combination that projects Arm, Cambridge and the U.K. to the forefront of some of the most exciting technological innovations of our time and is why SoftBank is excited to invest in Arm's long-term success as a major shareholder in NVIDIA. We look forward to supporting the continued success of the combined business."

"Arm and NVIDIA share a vision and passion that ubiquitous, energy-efficient computing will help address the world's most pressing issues from climate change to healthcare, from agriculture to education," said Simon Segars, CEO of Arm. "Delivering on this vision requires new approaches to hardware and software and a long-term commitment to research and development. By bringing together the technical strengths of our two companies we can accelerate our progress and create new solutions that will enable a global ecosystem of innovators. My management team and I are excited to be joining NVIDIA so we can write this next chapter together."

Commitment to Arm and the UK As part of NVIDIA, Arm will continue to operate its open-licensing model while maintaining the global customer neutrality that has been foundational to its success, with 180 billion chips shipped to-date by its licensees. Arm partners will also benefit from both companies' offerings, including NVIDIA's numerous innovations.

SoftBank and Arm are fully committed to satisfying the undertakings made by SoftBank when it acquired Arm in 2016, which are scheduled to complete in September 2021. Following the closing of the transaction, NVIDIA intends to retain the name and strong brand identity of Arm and expand its base in Cambridge. Arm's intellectual property will remain registered in the U.K.

NVIDIA will build on Arm's R&D presence in the U.K., establishing a new global center of excellence in AI research at Arm's Cambridge campus. NVIDIA will invest in a state-of-the-art, Arm-powered AI supercomputer, training facilities for developers and a startup incubator, which will attract world-class research talent and create a platform for innovation and industry partnerships in fields such as healthcare, robotics and self-driving cars.

Additional Transaction Details Under the terms of the transaction, which has been approved by the boards of directors of NVIDIA, SBG and Arm, NVIDIA will pay to SoftBank a total of $21.5 billion in NVIDIA common stock and $12 billion in cash, which includes $2 billion payable at signing. The number of NVIDIA shares to be issued at closing is 44.3 million, determined using the average closing price of NVIDIA common stock for the last 30 trading days. Additionally, SoftBank may receive up to $5 billion in cash or common stock under an earn-out construct, subject to satisfaction of specific financial performance targets by Arm.

NVIDIA will also issue $1.5 billion in equity to Arm employees.

NVIDIA intends to finance the cash portion of the transaction with balance sheet cash. The transaction does not include Arm's IoT Services Group.

The proposed transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including the receipt of regulatory approvals for the U.K., China, the European Union and the United States. Completion of the transaction is expected to take place in approximately 18 months.

Conference Call and Webcast Details NVIDIA will conduct a webcast at 5:30 a.m. PT on Monday, September 14, to discuss the transaction. The webcast is available on NVIDIA's Investor Relations website at https://investor.nvidia.com/. A webcast replay and a copy of the webcast presentation materials will also be available at https://investor.nvidia.com/.

All Comments: [-] | anchor

ckastner(10000) 7 days ago [-]

Softbank paid $32B for ARM in 2016.

A 25% gain over a horizon of four years is not bad for your average investment -- but this isn't an average investment.

First, compared to the SP500, this underperforms over the same horizon (even compared to end of 2019 rather than the inflated prices right now).

Second, ARM's sector (semiconductors) has performed far, far better in that time. The PHOX (Philadelphia Semiconductor Index) doubled in the same time period.

And looking at AMD and NVIDIA, it feels as if ARM would have been in a position to benefit from the surrounding euphoria.

On the other hand, unless I'm misremembering, ARM back then was already considered massively overvalued precisely because it was such a prime takeover target, so perhaps its the $32B that are throwing me off here.

yreg(10000) 7 days ago [-]

It vastly overperforms the Softbank ventures we usually hear about (excluding BABA).

lrem(10000) 7 days ago [-]

There's also a fundamental threat to ARM in the raise of RISC-V.

m00dy(10000) 7 days ago [-]

Can anyone point me who would be competing with Nvidia in AI Market ?

joshvm(10000) 7 days ago [-]

There's low power inference from Intel (Movidius) and Google (Coral Edge TPU). Nvidia doesn't really have anything below the Jetson Nano. I think there are a smattering of other low power cores out there (also dedicated chips in phones). TPUs are used on the high performance end and there are also companies like Graphcore who do insane things in silicon. Also niche HPC products like Intel Knight's Landing (Xeon Phi) which is designed for heterogeneous compute.

There isn't a huge amount of competition in the consumer/midrange sector. Nvidia has almost total market domination here. Really we just need a credible cross platform solution that could open up gpgpu on AMD. I'm surprised Apple isn't pushing this more, as they heavily use ML on-device and to actually train anything you need Nvidia hardware (eg try buying a Macbook for local deep learning training using only apple approved bits, it's hard!). Maybe they'll bring out their own training silicon at some point.

Also you need to make a distinction between training and inference hardware. Nvidia absolutely dominate model training, but inference is comparably simpler to implement and there is more competition there - often you don't even need dedicated hardware beyond a cpu.

option(10000) 7 days ago [-]

Google, Habana (Intel), AMD in a year or two, Amazon in few years

maxioatic(10000) 7 days ago [-]

> Immediately accretive to NVIDIA's non-GAAP gross margin and EPS

Can someone explain this? (From the bullet points of the article)

I looked up the definition of accretive: 'characterized by gradual growth or increase.'

So it seems like they expect this to increase their margins. Does that mean ARM had better margins than NVIDIA?

Edit: I don't know what non-GAAP and EPS stand for

pokot0(10000) 7 days ago [-]

GAAP is an accounting set of rules, EPS is Earning per Share. Basically means they think it will increase their gross margin and EPS but you can't sue them if it does not.

ericmay(10000) 7 days ago [-]

EPS -> earnings per share

Non-GAAP -> doesn't follow generaly accepted accounting practices. There are alternative accounting methods. GAAP is very US-centric (not good or bad, just stating a fact).

tyingq(10000) 7 days ago [-]

I would guess they do have higher margins since they are mostly selling licenses and not actual hardware.

This article is old, but suggests a 48% operating margin: https://asia.nikkei.com/NAR/Articles/ARM-posts-strong-profit...

bluejay2(10000) 7 days ago [-]

You are correct that it means they expect margins to increase. One possibility is that ARM has higher margins as you mentioned. Another is that they are making some assumptions about how much they can reduce certain expenses by, and once you factor in those savings, margins go up.

yangcheng(10000) 7 days ago [-]

I am surprised that no one has mentioned China will very likely block this deal.

incognition(10000) 7 days ago [-]

Are you thinking retribution for Huawei?

zaptrem(10000) 7 days ago [-]

On what grounds/with what authority?

mnd999(10000) 7 days ago [-]

I really hope so. The UK government should block it also, but I don't think they will.

yissp(10000) 7 days ago [-]

I still think the real reason was just to spite Apple :)

ericmay(10000) 7 days ago [-]

How does this spite Apple?

RL_Quine(10000) 7 days ago [-]

The company who was part of the creation of ARM and has a perpetual license to its IP? Tell me how.

filereaper(10000) 7 days ago [-]

Excellent, can't wait for Jensen to pull out a Cortex A-78 TI from his oven next year. /s

broknbottle(10000) 7 days ago [-]

hodl out for the Titan A-78 Super if you can, I hear it runs a bit faster

hyperpallium2(10000) 7 days ago [-]


They're also building an ARM supercomputer at Cambridge, but server-ARM doesn't sound like a focus.

I'm just hoping for some updated mobile Nvidia GPUs... and maybe the rumoured 4K Nintendo Switch.

They say they won't muck it up, and it seems sensible to keep it profitable:

> As part of NVIDIA, Arm will continue to operate its open-licensing model while maintaining the global customer neutrality that has been foundational to its success, with 180 billion chips shipped to-date by its licensees.

fluffything(10000) 6 days ago [-]

> but server-ARM doesn't sound like a focus.

ARM doesn't have good server CPU IP. Graviton, A64FX, etc. belong to other companies.

throw_m239339(10000) 7 days ago [-]

Tangential, but when I hear about all these insane 'start-up du jour' valuations, does anyone else feel like $40B isn't a lot of a hardware company sur as ARM?

beervirus(10000) 7 days ago [-]

$40 billion is a real valuation though, as opposed to WeWork's.

fishermanbill(10000) 6 days ago [-]

When will Europe realise that there is no second place when it comes to a market - the larger player will always eventually end up owning everything.

I can not put into words how furious I am at the UK's Conservative party for not protecting our last great tech company.

Europe has been fooled into the USA's ultra free market system (which works brilliantly for the US but is terrible for everybody else). As such American tech companies have brought EVERYTHING and eventually moth balled them.

Take Renderware it was the leading game engine of the PS2 era consoles, brought by EA and mothballed. Nokia is another great example brought by Microsoft and mothballed. Imagination Technologies was slightly different in that it wasn't bought but Apple essentially mothballed them. Now ARM will undoubtedly be the next via an intermediate buyout.

You look across Europe and there is nothing. Deepmind could have been a great European tech company - it just needed the right investment.

mas3god(10000) 5 days ago [-]

If Europe doesnt like American business they can make their own company or use open source... Risc V is a great alternative to arm anyways.

geon(10000) 6 days ago [-]

I don't really see your point. Even the examples you list are nonsensical.

* We are no longer in the ps2 era. EA now uses Frostbite, which was developed by the Swedish studio Dice. It is alive and well, powering some 40-50 games. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frostbite_(game_engine)

* Nokia was dead well before MS bought them.

monoclechris(10000) 5 days ago [-]

I can not put into words how ill-informed you are.

auggierose(10000) 6 days ago [-]

brought = bought ?

hobby-coder-guy(10000) 6 days ago [-]


alfalfasprout(10000) 6 days ago [-]

And you really think more protectionism will help?

Maybe part of the problem is that due to so many regulations, there's not a healthy startup ecosystem and the compensation isn't remotely high enough to draw the best talent.

rland(10000) 6 days ago [-]

Bad for the US as well.

A monoculture is bad. Any monoculture.

nitrobeast(10000) 6 days ago [-]

And if Europe develop a company that threatens US leading tech / surveillance companies like Facebook / Google, or becomes the leader of the next tech wave, be prepared for US government actions to take it down. See: Japanese semi conductor industry in the 80s, Alstim, Bombardier, Tiktok.

Barrin92(10000) 6 days ago [-]

tech is only 10% of the US economy, and European nations are much more reliant on free-trade. Germany in particular, whose exports constitute almost 47% of their GDP, globally only comparable to South Korea for a developed nation.

I get that Hackernews is dominated by people working in software and software news, but as a part of the real economy (and not the stock market) it's actually not that large and Europe doesn't frame trade policy around it, for good reasons.

The US also doesn't support free-trade for economic reasons, but for political and historical reasons, which is to maintain a rule based alliance across the globe, traditionally to fend off the Soviets. Because they aren't around any more, the US is starting to ditch it. The US has never economically benefited from free-trade, it's one of the most insular nations on the planet. EU-Asia trade with a volume of 1.5 trillion almost doubles EU-American trade, tendency increasing, and that's why Europe is free-trade dependent.

ksec(10000) 6 days ago [-]

I sort or agree but those aren't exactly great example.

I dont see how Renderware would compete with Unreal. Even their owner EA choose Unreal. They were great in PS2 era, but next Gen console ( PS3 ) they were not.

Nokia was dead even before Stephen Elop became the CEO. So the Microsoft acquisition has nothing to do with it.

IMG - Yes. But I would argue they were dead either way. They couldn't get more GPU licensing due to ARM's Mali being cheap and good enough. They couldn't expand into other IP licensing areas. Their MIPS acquisition was 5 years too late. Their wireless part couldn't compete with CEVA. And they somehow didn't sell themselves to Apple as an Exit. ( But then Apple lied about not using IMG's IP. While Steve Jobs often put a spin thing, I find Time Cook's Apple quite often just flat out lying )

Speednet(10000) 6 days ago [-]

Wait - it was OK when ARM was owned by a Japanese company, but suddenly bad when a US company buys them? Being anti-US is not a legitimate point. If anything, nVidia will create new market opportunities and expand existing ones for ARM. They have already said they will be expanding their UK presence. Maybe don't react so emotionally next time.

swiley(10000) 6 days ago [-]

ARM was second place in laptops for quite a while (arguably still.)

chakintosh(10000) 5 days ago [-]

DICE, the Swedish game developer, bought by EA and is now belly up

gautamcgoel(10000) 7 days ago [-]

This is awful. Out of all the big tech companies, Nvidia is probably least friendly to open source and cross-platform comparability. It seems to me that their goal is to monopolize AI hardware over the next 20 years, the same way Intel effectively monopolized cloud hardware over the last 20. Expect to see less choice in the chip market and more and more propietary software frameworks like CUDA. A sad day for CS and for AI.

tony(10000) 7 days ago [-]

Surprisingly - they have a working driver for FreeBSD. Never had an issue with it - and the performance is fantastic. As far back as early 2000's I remember installing proprietary nvidia drivers on Linux and playing UT2004.

Maybe Nintendo/Sony uses Nvidia cards on their developer machines? I imagine FreeBSD drivers aren't simply altruism on their part.

On the other hand, stagnation on other fronts:

- Nouveau (tried recently) is basically unusable on Ubuntu. As in the mouse/keyboard locks every 6 seconds.

- Proprietary drivers won't work with wayland

And since their stuff isn't open, the community can't do much to push Nouveau forward.

sillysaurusx(10000) 7 days ago [-]

AI training is moving away from CUDA and toward TPUs anyway. DGX clusters can't keep up.

QuixoticQuibit(10000) 7 days ago [-]

NVIDIA's hardware works on x86, PowerPC, and ARM platforms.

Many of their AI libraries/tools are in fact open source.

They stand to be a force that could propel ARM's strength in data center and desktop computing. For some reason you're okay with the current x86 duopoly held by AMD and Intel, both who have their own destiny over CPUs and GPUs.

The HN crowd is incredibly biased against certain companies. Why not look at some of the potential bright sides to this for a more nuanced and balanced opinion?

therealmarv(10000) 7 days ago [-]

The problem is more that AMD is sleeping in regard of GPU AI and good software interfaces.

twblalock(10000) 7 days ago [-]

On the other hand, if Nvidia wants ARM to succeed (and why else would they acquire it?), they can be a source of more competition in the CPU market.

I don't really see how this deal makes the CPU market worse -- wasn't the ARM market for mobile devices basically dominated by Qualcomm for years? Plus, the other existing ARM licensees don't seem to be impacted. On the other hand, I do see a lot of potential if Nvidia is serious about innovating in the CPU space.

m3kw9(10000) 7 days ago [-]

Lol with the italics awful and your "seems to me" angle

axaxs(10000) 7 days ago [-]

This seems fair, as long as it stays true(regarding open licensing and neutrality). I've mentioned before, I think this will ultimately be a good thing. NVidia has the gpu chops to really amp up the reference implementation, which is a good thing for competition in the mobile, settop, and perhaps even desktop space.

andy_ppp(10000) 7 days ago [-]

No, what everyone thinks will happen is a pretend open ARM architecture and Nvidia CPUs dominating. Nvidia isn't going to license the best GPU features they start adding.

It's an excellent deal for NVIDIA of course, I'm certain they intend to make the chips they produce much faster than the ones they license (if they even ever release another open design) to the point where buying CPUs from Nvidia might be they only game in town. We'll have to see but this is what I expect to happen.

gumby(10000) 7 days ago [-]

Amidst all the hand-wringing: RISC-V is at least a decade away (at current pace + ARM's own example). But what if Google bought AMD and put TPUs on the die?

askvictor(10000) 7 days ago [-]

Because so many of Google's acquisitions have ended up doing well...

thrwyoilarticle(10000) 6 days ago [-]

AMD's x86 licence isn't transferrable. To acquire them is to destroy their value.

andy_ppp(10000) 7 days ago [-]

This sort of stuff really isn't going to produce long term benefits for humanity is it.

Does anyone know if or how Apple will be affected by this? What are the licensing agreements on the ISA?

gumby(10000) 7 days ago [-]

ARM and Apple go way back (Apple was one of the three original consortium members who founded ARM). I am sure they pay a flat fee and have freedom to do whatever they like (probably other than sub licensing).

Owning ARM would make no sense for them as they would gain no IP but would have to deal with antitrust which would force them to continue licensing the ip to others, which is not a business they are in.

If ARM vanished tomorrow I doubt it would affect apple's business at all.

UncleOxidant(10000) 7 days ago [-]

This has been out there in the news for well over a month, I guess I don't understand why Apple didn't try to make a bid for ARM? Or why Apple didn't try to set up some sort of independent holding company or consortium to buy ARM. They definitely have the money and clout to have done something like that.

dharma1(10000) 7 days ago [-]

I doubt Apple's arm license will be affected. But I think they will be getting tougher competition in the sense that Android phones will be getting a fair bit better now - most of them will be using super well integrated Nvidia GPU/ML chips in the future because of this deal.

I think it will also bring Google and Nvidia closer together

deafcalculus(10000) 7 days ago [-]

nVidia clearly wants to compete with Intel in data centers. But how does buying ARM help with that? They already have an architectural license.

Right now, I can see nVidia replacing Mali smartphone GPUs in low to mid-end Exynos SoCs and the like. But it's not like nVidia to want to be in that low-margin area.

fluffything(10000) 6 days ago [-]

> I can see nVidia replacing Mali smartphone GPUs in low to mid-end Exynos SoCs and the like.

Replacing these with what? What nvidia gpus can operate at that power envelope ?

m0zg(10000) 7 days ago [-]

On the one hand, this is bad news - I would prefer ARM to remain independent. But on the other, from a purely selfish standpoint, NVIDIA will likely lean on Apple pretty hard to get its GPUs into Apple devices again, which bodes well for GPGPU and deep learning applications.

Apple is probably putting together a RISC-V hardware group as we speak. The Jobs ethos will not allow them to depend this heavily on somebody else for such a critical technology.

buzzerbetrayed(10000) 6 days ago [-]

A few weeks ago there were rumors that ARM was looking to be sold to Apple and Apple turned them down. If an NVIDIA acquisition is such a deal breaker for Apple, why wouldn't they have just acquired ARM to begin with?

MangoCoffee(10000) 7 days ago [-]


Does this mean Nvidia will have to deal with the hot mess at China ARM?

justincormack(10000) 6 days ago [-]

Allegedly it has been sorted, before this deal was announced. No idea how.

DCKing(10000) 6 days ago [-]

This is terrible. Not really just because of Nvidia - which has a lot of problems I've previously commented on the rumors of this [1] - but Nvidia's ownership completely changes ARM's incentives.

ARM created a business model for itself where they had to act as a 'BDFL' for the ARM architecture and IP. They made an architecture, CPU designs, and GPU designs for others. They had no stake in the chip making game, and they had others - Samsung, Apple, Nvidia, Qualcomm, Huawei, Mediatek, Rockchip and loads of others make the chip. Their business model was to make the ARM ecosystem accessible for as many companies as possible, so they could sell as many licenses as possible. In that way, ARM's business model enabled a very diverse and thriving ARM market. I think this is the sole reason we see ARM eating the chip world today.

This business model would continue to work perfectly fine as a privately held company, or being owned by a faceless investor company that wants you to make as much money as possible. But it's not fine if you are owned by a company that wants to use you to control their own position in the chip market. There is no way Nvidia (any other chip company, but as laid out previously Nvidia might even be more concerning) will spend 40 billion on this without them deliberately or inadvertently destroying ARM's open CPU and GPU ecosystem. Will Nvidia allow selling ARM licenses to competitors of Nvidia's business? Will Nvidia reserve ARM's best IP as a selling point for its own chips? Will Nvidia allow Mali to continue existing? Any innovations ARM made previously it sold to anyone mostly indiscriminatorily (outside of legal restrictions), but now every time the question must be asked 'does Nvidia have a better propietary purpose for this?'. For any ARM chip maker the situation will be that Nvidia is both your ruthless competitor, but it also sells you the IP you need to build your chips.

EDIT: ARM's interests up to last week were to create and empower as many competitors for Nvidia as possible. They were good at that and was the root of the success of the ARM ecosystem. That incentive is completely gone now.

Unless Nvidia leaves ARM alone (and why would they spend $40B on that??), this has got to be the beginning of the end of ARM's golden age.

[1]: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24010821

klelatti(10000) 6 days ago [-]

Precisely, plus just consider the information that Nvidia will have on all its competitors who use Arm IP.

- It will know of their product plans (as they will need to buy licenses for new products).

- It will know their sales volumes by product (as they will need to pay fees for each Arm CPU sold).

- If they need technical help from Arm in designing a new SoC then the details of that engagement will be available to Nvidia.

How does this not give Nvidia an completely unfair advantage?

pier25(10000) 6 days ago [-]

> There is no way Nvidia will spend 40 billion on this without them deliberately or inadvertently destroy ARM's open CPU and GPU ecosystem

But why would a company spend that much money to buy a company and destroy it afterwards?

ksec(10000) 6 days ago [-]

>Will Nvidia allow selling ARM licenses to competitors of Nvidia's business?

Like AMD? Sure. None of the ARM IP compete with Nvidia much. Not to mention by 'Not' Selling to AMD it create more problem for its $40B asset than anyone could imagine.

>Will Nvidia reserve ARM's best IP as a selling point for its own chips? Will Nvidia allow Mali to continue existing?

Sure. Mali dont compete with Nvidia at all. Unless Nvidia will put up their CUDA Core for IP licensing with similar price and terms to Mali. Could they kill it or raise the price of Mali? Sure. But there is always PowerVR. Not to mention AMD is also licensing out Radeon IP to Mobile. Mostly because AMD dont / cant compete in that segment.

>Unless Nvidia leaves ARM alone (and why would they spend $40B on that??)

It has more to do with Softbank being an Investor. They were already heavily invested in Nvidia. And they need money, they want out. And seriously no one sane would buy ARM for $40B ( It is actually $35B, with $5B as performance bonus, the number $40 was likely used only for headline. ) As a matter of fact I would not be surprised if Softbank promise to buy it back someday. This also paint a picture of how desperate Son / Softbank needs those Cash. So something is very wrong. ( Cough WeWork Cough )

But I do understand your point. Conflict of Interest. Similar to Apple wouldn't want to build their Chip in Samsung Foundry.

While I would have liked ARM to remain independent. I am not as pessimistic as some have commented. And normally I am the one who had people pointing at my pessimism.

On the optimistic side of things. There are quite a lot of cost could be shared with the tools used for TSMC and Samsung Foundry implementation. ( Nvidia is now in bed with Samsung Foundry ) For ARM that means higher margin, for its customers that mean access to Samsung Foundry Capacity where previously they are stuck with TSMC. Nvidia also gets to leverage ARM's expertise in licensing, so their Nvidia GPU could theoretically enter new market. The real IP with Nvidia isn't so much about the GPU design, but its Drivers and CUDA. So may be Nvidia could work towards being an Apple like 'Software' company that works with specific Hardware. ( Pure Speculation only )

There are lots of talk about Nvidia and ARM. While I dont think the marriage make perfect sense, It is not all bad. There are more interesting point no one is talking about. Marvell, AMD, Xillix and may be Broadcom. The industry is consolidating rapidly because designing leading edge chip, even with the cheap IP licensing is now becoming very expensive. And the four mentioned above have less leverage than their competitors.

Interest Times.

melbourne_mat(10000) 6 days ago [-]

I think it's wonderful news that Arm is joining the ranks of giant American tech oligopolies. This is a win for freedom and increases prosperity for all.


oldschoolrobot(10000) 6 days ago [-]


spfzero(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Exactly, there is no way ARM is worth 40 B to Invidia, unless they are going to use it to arm-twist their competition.

Just look at ARMs annual net, multiply by 10, multiply that by 2 assuming starry-eyed optimism about you being better at generating value from ARM IP, you're still far from 40 billion.

edderly(10000) 6 days ago [-]

I agree with the general sentiment here, but ARM is not exactly Snow White. It's an open secret that ARM was (and still is) selling the CPU design at a discount if you integrated their Mali (GPU). This isn't relevant to Nvidia today, but it was when they were in the mobile GPU space. Also this caused obvious problems for IMGtec and other smaller GPU players like Vivante.

013a(10000) 6 days ago [-]

I tend to agree, but there may be another angle to this which could prove beneficial to consumers. Right now, the only ARM chips which are actually competitive with desktop chips are from Apple, and are obviously very proprietary. If this acquisition enables Nvidia to begin producing ARM chips at the same level as Apple (somehow, who's to say how, that's on them) then that would help disrupt the AMD/Intel duopoly on Windows. Its been a decade; Qualcomm has had the time to try and compete here, and has failed miserably.

I doubt Nvidia would substantially disrupt or cancel licensing to the many third-rate chip designers you listed. But, if they can leverage this acquisition to build Windows/Linux CPUs that can actually compete with AMD and Intel, that would be a win for consumers. And Nvidia has shown interest in this in the past.

Yes, its a massive disruption to the status quo. But it may be a good one for consumers.

Wowfunhappy(10000) 6 days ago [-]

To play devil's advocate a bit, are nVidia's incentives necessarily so different? Their goal will be to make as much money as possible, and it's clear that licensing has been a winning strategy for ARM.

Samsung comes to mind as another company that makes their own TVs, phones, SSDs, ect., but is also perfectly happy to license the underlying screens and chips in those products to other companies. From my vantage point, the setup seems to be working well?

redwood(10000) 7 days ago [-]

The British should never have allowed foreign ownership of their core tech

bencollier49(10000) 7 days ago [-]

I'm so exercised about this that I'm setting up a think tank to actively discuss UK control of critical tech (and 'golden geese' as per others in this thread). If you're in tech and have a problem with this, please drop me a line, I'm @bencollier on Twitter.

hajile(10000) 6 days ago [-]

Britain and the US are politically, and economically entwined with each other. As a country, keeping core technology at home is tied to defense (don't buy your guns from your competitor). If they don't intend to go to war with the US, then there isn't any real defense loss (I'd also point out that making IP 'blueprints' for a core is different from manufacturing the core itself). If Britain were to have a real issue, it would be the US locking down F35 jets they sell to their allies.

ranbumo(10000) 7 days ago [-]

Yes. It'd have been reasonable to block sales to non eu parties for national security reasons.

Now arm is yet another US company.

bitxbit(10000) 7 days ago [-]

They need to block this deal. A real clean case.

iso8859-1(10000) 7 days ago [-]

Who needs to block it? And why is it a clean case?

bleepblorp(10000) 7 days ago [-]

This isn't going to do good things for anyone who doesn't own a lot of Nvidia stock.

This is going to do especially bad things for anyone who needs to buy a cell phone or the SoC that powers one. There's no real alternative to ARM-based phone SoCs. Given Nvidia's business practices, any manufacturer who doesn't already have a perpetual ARM license should expect to have to pay a lot more money into Jensen Huang's retirement fund going forward. These costs will be passed on to consumers and will also provide an avenue for perpetual license holders to raise their consumer prices to match.

jacques_chester(10000) 7 days ago [-]

> This isn't going to do good things for anyone who doesn't own a lot of Nvidia stock.

If it makes you feel any better, studies of acquisitions show that most of them are duds and destroy acquirer shareholder value.

bgorman(10000) 7 days ago [-]

Android worked on x86 and MIPS in the past, it could presumably be ported to work with RISC-V

zmmmmm(10000) 7 days ago [-]

Many various reasons for this but one perspective I am curious about is how much this is actually a defensive move against Intel, because nVidia knows Intel is busy developing dedicated graphics via Xe, and if nVidia just allows that to continue they are going to find themselves simultaneously competing with and dependent on a vendor that owns the whole stack that their platform depends on. It is not a place I would want to be, even accounting for how incompetent Intel seems to have been for the last 10 years.

Edit: yes I meant nVidia not AMD!

fluffything(10000) 6 days ago [-]

Nvidia could have bought a world-class CPU architects team, and build their own ARM or RISC-V chips (NVIDIA has an infinite ARM license already).

Tehdasi(10000) 7 days ago [-]

Intel has been promising high-end graphics for decades, and delivering low end integrated graphics as a feature for their CPUs. Which makes sense, the market for CPUs is worth more than the market for game oriented GPUs. The rise of GPUs used in AI might change this calculation, but I doubt it. I suspect that nVidia just would like to move into the CPU market.

jml7c5(10000) 7 days ago [-]

How does AMD enter into this? Did you mean Nvidia?

yogrish(10000) 7 days ago [-]

SoftBank isa true banking company .. invested (Bought) in ARM and selling it now for meagre profit. A company that says it has 300 year vision

stunt(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Maybe they are forced to choose behind the scene. Or, they know better opportunities and they need to cash out right now.

walterbell(10000) 7 days ago [-]

Talking points from the founders of Arm & Nvidia: https://www.forbes.com/sites/patrickmoorhead/2020/09/13/its-...

> Huang told me that first thing that the combined company will do is to, "bring NVIDIA technology through Arm's vast network." So I'd expect NVIDIA GPU and NPU IP to become available quickly to smartphone, tablet, TV and automobile SoC providers as quickly as possible.

> Arm CEO Simon Segars framed it well when he told me, "We're moving into a world where software doesn't just run in one place. Your application today might run in the cloud, it might run on your phone, and there might be some embedded application running on a device, but I think increasingly and with the rollout of 5g and with some of the technologies that Jensen was just talking about this kind of application will become spread across all of those places. Delivering that and managing that there's a huge task to do.'

> Huang ... "We're about to enter a phase, where we're going to create an internet that is thousands of times bigger than the internet that we enjoy today. A lot of people don't realize this. And so, so we would like to create a computing company for this age of AI."

mlindner(10000) 6 days ago [-]

Arm CEO really doesn't understand what's going on. There is no future where everything runs on the cloud. That simply cannot happen for legal reasons. Additionally the internet is getting more balkanized and that further is against the idea of the cloud. AI will not be running in the cloud, it will be running locally. Apple sees this but many others don't yet. You only run AI in the cloud if you want to monetize it with advertising.

topspin(10000) 7 days ago [-]

My instincts are telling me this is smoke and mirrors to rationalize a $40E9 deal. The only part of that that computes at all is the GPU integration, and that only works if NVIDIA doesn't terrorize Arm licencees. The rest is buzzwords.

baybal2(10000) 7 days ago [-]

Bye bye ARM Mali =(

rvz(10000) 7 days ago [-]

What a death sentence for ARM right there and the start of a starvation in a new microprocessor winter. I guess we now have to wait for RISC-V to catch up.

Aside from that, ARM was one of the only actual tech companies the UK could talk about on the so-called 'world stage', that has survived more than 2 decades. But instead, they continue to sell themselves and their businesses to the US instead of vice versa.

In 2011, I thought that they would learn the lessons and warnings highlighted from Eric Schmidt about the UK creating long standing tech companies like FAANMG. [0] I had high hopes for them to learn from this, but after 2016 with Softbank and now this, it is just typical.

ARM will certainly be more expensive after this and will certainly be even more closed-source, since their Mali GPUs drivers were already as closed as Nvidia's GPUs. This is a terrible outcome I have seen but from Nvidia's perspective, it makes sense. From a FOSS perspective, ARM is dead, long live RISC-V.

[0] https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2011/aug/26/eric-schm...

paulmd(10000) 7 days ago [-]

love the armchair CEO perspectives that NVIDIA spent $40b only to flush the whole ARM ecosystem right down the drain, that's definitely a rational thing to do, right?

Jensen's not an idiot, how many OG 90s tech CEOs are still at the helm of the company they founded? Any severely negative moves towards their customers just drives them into RISC-V and they know that.

Yes, ARM customers will be paying more for their ARM IP. No, NVIDIA is not going to burn ARM to the ground.

throwaway5792(10000) 7 days ago [-]

Once they were sold to SoftBank ARM had no more control over its destiny. You're saying that they're repeating the pattern, but they had no choice in this today. This was SoftBank's decision as the owner of ARM.

therealmarv(10000) 7 days ago [-]

Have you read the press release at all? It's too early to judge this now. ARM will stay in Cambridge and Nvidia wants to invest in this place.

CleanItUpJanny(10000) 7 days ago [-]

>long standing tech companies like FAANMG

why are people going out of their ways to avoid the obvious and intuitive 'FAGMAN' acronym?

UncleOxidant(10000) 7 days ago [-]

On the bright side, this could end up being a big boost for RISC-V.

m00dy(10000) 7 days ago [-]

and this would be killer for intel

kristianpaul(10000) 7 days ago [-]

Indeed, looking right now at https://rioslab.org/.

miguelmota(10000) 7 days ago [-]

Would love to see RISC-V catch up and be more widely adopted.

nickt(10000) 7 days ago [-]

Probably worth a second look at this RISC desktop thread


hn3333(10000) 7 days ago [-]

Softbank buys low ($32B in 2016) and sells high ($40B in 2020). Nice trade!

tuananh(10000) 7 days ago [-]

i thought that would be low in investment world.

aneutron(10000) 7 days ago [-]

How does it fare, adjusting for inflation and other similar factors ?

curiousmindz(10000) 7 days ago [-]

Why do you think Nvidia cares about Arm? Probably the 'access' into a lot of industries?

andy_ppp(10000) 7 days ago [-]

No to make a better ARM chip, with awesome graphics/AI, not licence the design and take all the mobile CPU profits for 5-10 years?

banjo_milkman(10000) 7 days ago [-]

I think this is driven by partly embedded applications and more directly by the datacenter.

Nvidia already own the parallel compute/ML part of the datacenter and the Mellanox acquisition had brought the ability to compete in the networking part of the datacenter - but they were missing CPU IP, for tasks that aren't well matched to the GPU. This plugs that hole. They are in control of a complete data-center solution now.

hetspookjee(10000) 7 days ago [-]

I wonder what the this means for Apple and their move to ARM for their macbooks. End of 2019 Apple and NVIDIA broke up their cooperation on CUDA. Both these companies are very tight on their hardware. Apple must've known this was happening but I guess they weren't willing to pay more than 40B for this risky joint venture they're bound to go into.

Anyone has a proper analysis on the ramifications of this acquisition for Apple's future in ARM?

renewiltord(10000) 7 days ago [-]

Apple is an ARM founder. You can bet your boots they made sure they were safe through the history of ARM's existence and sale to Softbank in the first place. No one can cite the deep magic to them, they were there when it was written.

ibains(10000) 7 days ago [-]

I love this, I was amongst early engineers on CUDA (compilers).

NVIDIA was so well run, but boxed into a smaller graphics card market - ATI and it were forced into low margins since they were made replaceable by OpenGL and DirectX standards. For the standard fans - they resulted a wealth transfer from NVIDIA to Apple etc. and reduced capital available for R&D.

NVIDIA was constantly attacked by a much bigger Intel (which changed interfaces to kill products and was made to pay by a court)

Through innovation, developing new technologies (CUDA) they increased market cap, and have used that to buy Arm/Mellanox.

I love the story of the underdog run by a founder, innovating it's way to getting into new markets against harsh competition. Win for capitalism!

luxurycommunism(10000) 6 days ago [-]

I'm excited to see what technology is being brought to the table. I don't think that Nvidia will settle with being only second to Apple's CPUs in performance.

enragedcacti(10000) 7 days ago [-]

Nvidia might have been an underdog once, but they are now the world's largest chipmaker, even surpassing Intel.


justicezyx(10000) 7 days ago [-]

The comment identified the positive side of the nvidia story. Note that nvidia had not had large acquisition for many years.

This acquisition can be seen as a beacon of nvidia's past struggle against the market and the competitors.

For whatever happened, nvidia innovated to their success, and had enabled possibly the biggest tech boom so far through deep learning. Might be one day everyone claimed nvidia to be the 'most important company' on earth.

01100011(10000) 7 days ago [-]

Can we,for once, hear the opinions of people in the chip industry and not the same tired posts from software folks? NVIDIA Bad! Ok, we get it. Do you have anything more insightful than that?

I'm starting to feel like social media based on upvotes is a utter waste of time. Echo chambers and groupthink. People commenting on things they barely know anything about and getting validation from others who don't know anything. I'd rather pay for insightful commentary and discussion. I feel like reddit going downhill has pushed a new group of users to HN and it's sending it down the tube. Maybe it's time for me to stop participating and get back to work.

diydsp(10000) 7 days ago [-]

as an embedded dev, the last 2-4 years of STM (major ARM provider) have seen a large degree of integration of specialized hardware into 32-bit microcontrollers. e.g. radios, motor control, AI, 64-bit FPUs, graphics, low-power, etc.

I expect more of the same. The only way it could go wrong is if they lose customer focus. Microcontrollers are a competitive, near-commodity market, so companies have to provide valuable features.

I don't really know Nvidia well - I only buy their stock! - but they seem to be keeping their customers happy by paying attention to what they need. Perhaps their fabrication will be a boon to micros, as they're usually a few gens behind laptop/server processors.

drivebycomment(10000) 7 days ago [-]

You're not wrong, but most of HN threads are like this. 80% of comments are low information, Dunning-Kruger effect in action. But among that, there are still some useful gems, so despite what you said, HN is still worth it. If you fold the first two top level comments, the rest have some useful , informed perspective.

I don't see this as having that much of an impact on any short to medium term. ARM has too much intricate business dependencies and contracts nVidia can't just get out of.

My speculation is that nVidia might be what it takes to push arm to overcome the final huddle into more general purpose and server cpu, and achieve that pipedream of a single binary/ISA running everywhere. Humanity would be better off if a single ISA does become truly universal. Whether business/technology politics will allow that to happen and whether nVidia has enough understanding and the shrewdness to pull that off is to be seen.

paxys(10000) 7 days ago [-]

You are just starting to feel that now?

saiojd(10000) 7 days ago [-]

Agreed, upvotes are a failed experiment, especially for comments.

systemvoltage(10000) 7 days ago [-]

Totally. I see a future where people will have edge over others when they pay for information than relying on free sources (except Wikipedia due to its scale, but still, Wikipedia is not a replacement for a proper academic textbook).

FT provides insightful commentary from finance/business side of things and their subscription is expensive - rightfully so.

QuixoticQuibit(10000) 7 days ago [-]

HN being hyperbolic and anti-NVIDIA as usual. I think this is a great thing. Finally a competitor to the AMD-Intel x86 duopoly. I imagine the focus will first be on improving ARM's data center offerings but eventually I'm hoping to see consumer-facing parts available sometime as well.

japgolly(10000) 7 days ago [-]

I think the biggest concern is NVIDIA's stance against OSS.

peterburkimsher(10000) 7 days ago [-]

Sounds like everyone is rallying around RISC-V. What does this mean for MIPS?

'ARM was probably what sank MIPS' - saagarjha


Zigurd(10000) 6 days ago [-]

Wave owns MIPS, about which I had no idea and googling that also returns that Wave went Chapter 11 this year.

totorovirus(10000) 7 days ago [-]

nvidia is notorious for being not nice to oss developers as Linus Torvalds claims: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYWzMvlj2RQ&ab_channel=Silic...

I wonder how Linux would react to this news.

tontonius(10000) 7 days ago [-]

You mean how GNU/Linux would react to it?

ComputerGuru(10000) 7 days ago [-]

Doesn't this need regulatory approval from the USA and Japan? (Not that the USA would look a gift horse in the mouth, of course.)

sgift(10000) 7 days ago [-]

There is a note at the end of the article:

'The proposed transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including the receipt of regulatory approvals for the U.K., China, the European Union and the United States. Completion of the transaction is expected to take place in approximately 18 months.'

Hopefully, the EU does its job, laughs at this and tells Nvidia to either go home or forces them to FRAND licensing of ARM IP.

PragmaticPulp(10000) 7 days ago [-]

I'm not convinced this is a death sentence for ARM. I doubt nVidia spent $40b on a company with the intention of killing it's golden goose business model. The contractual agreements might change, but ARM wasn't exactly giving their IP away for free before this move.

Hypx(10000) 7 days ago [-]

You know how the tobacco companies work?

From a purely capitalistic standpoint, it's fine to kill off some of your customer base if you make more money from the remainder. If it can work for tobacco, you believe that Nvidia is will to kill off some of its customers if they can get the remainder to pay more.

MattGaiser(10000) 7 days ago [-]

It is less about them intentionally killing it and more about their culture and attitude killing it.

paulpan(10000) 6 days ago [-]

My initial reaction is that this reminiscent of the AMD-ATI deal back in 2006. It almost killed both companies and comparatively, this deal size is much bigger ($40B vs. $6B) for both a more mature industry and companies involved.

$40B is an obscene lot of money objectively and what's the endgame for Nvidia? If it's to 'fuse' ARM's top CPU designs with their GPU prowess, then couldn't they invest the money to restart their own CPU designs (e.g. Carmel)? My inner pessimist, as with others here, is that Nvidia will somehow cripple the ARM ecosystem or prioritize their own needs over those of other customers'. Perhaps an appropriate analogy is Qualcomm's IP licensing shenanigans and how they've crippled the non-iOS smartphone industry.

That said, there's also examples of companies making these purchases with minimal insidious behavior and co-existing with their would-be competitors: Microsoft's acquisition of Github, Google's Pixel smartphones, Sony's camera lenses business and even Samsung, which supposedly firewalls its components teams so the best tech is available to whoever wants (and is willing to pay for it).

I suppose if this acquisition ends up going through (big if), then we'll see Nvidia's true intent in 3-5 years.

dijit(10000) 5 days ago [-]

I see two ways of it playing out for Nvidia:

1) Adoption of ARM CPU's (AWS Graviton, rPi etc) will cause software to be adapted to ARM anyway, meaning: Nvidia could come out with a full vertically integrated cloud.


2) Leveraging full vertical integration with ML based super computers.

acuozzo(10000) 6 days ago [-]

> what's the endgame for Nvidia?

Announced at ARM TechCon last year: https://www.arm.com/products/silicon-ip-cpu/ai-platform

zdw(10000) 7 days ago [-]

I see this going a few ways for different players:

The perpetual architecture license folks that make their own cores like Apple, Samsung, Qualcomm, and Fujitsu (I think they needed this for the A64FX, right?) will be fine, and may just fork off on the ARMv8.3 spec, adding a few instructions here or there. Apple especially will be fine as they can get code into LLVM for whatever 'Apple Silicon' evolves into over time.

The smaller vendors that license core designs (like the A5x and A7x series, etc.) like Allwinner, Rockchip, and Broadcom are probably in a worse state - nVidia could cut them off from any new designs. I'd be scrambling for an alternative if I were any of these companies.

Long term, it really depends on how nVidia acts - they could release low end cores with no license fees to try to fend off RISC-V, but that hasn't been overly successful when tried earlier with the SPARC and Power architectures. Best case scenario, they keep all the perpetual architecture people happy and architecturally coherent, and release some interesting datacenter chips, leaving the low end (and low margin) to 3rd parties.

Hopefully they'll also try to mend fences with the open source community, or at least avoid repeating past offenses.

kevin_b_er(10000) 6 days ago [-]


Broadcom has an architectural license. They do also license core designs.

Really if nVidia locks up the lower end cores, then a lot of stuff breaks. Billions of super tiny ARM cores are everywhere. ARM has few competitors in the instruction set space for low end, low power, low cost cores. AVR, PIC, and MIPS are what come to mind. And AVR/PIC are owned by Microchip corporation.

These ARM chip unit licenses are dirt cheap, there's hundreds of small manufacturers, and their chips go in everything, and in unexpected places. And these aren't just little microprocessors anymore. They're even in SoCs as little coprocessors that manage separate hardware components in realtime.

The amount of penetration ARM has in hidden places cannot be underestimated. And there isn't a quick replacement for them. Not one freely licensed to any manufacturer.

hastradamus(10000) 6 days ago [-]

Nvidia mend. Lol

Followerer(10000) 6 days ago [-]

'and may just fork off on the ARMv8.3 spec, adding a few instructions here or there'

No, they may not. People keep suggesting these kinds of things, but part of the license agreement is that you can't modify the ISA. Only ARM can do that.

mxcrossb(10000) 7 days ago [-]

It seems to me that if Apple felt that Nvidia would limit them, they could have outbid them for ARM! So I think you are correct.

AnthonyMouse(10000) 7 days ago [-]

> The perpetual architecture license folks that make their own cores like Apple, Samsung, Qualcomm, and Fujitsu (I think they needed this for the A64FX, right?) will be fine

There is one thing they would need to worry about though, which is that if the rest of the market moves to RISC-V or x64 or whatever else, it's not implausible that someone might at some point make a processor which is superior to the ones those companies make in-house. If it's the same architecture, you just buy them or license the design and put them in your devices. If it's not, you're stuck between suffering an architecture transition that your competitors have already put behind them or sticking with your uncompetitive in-house designs using the old architecture that nobody else wants anymore.

Their best move might be to forget about the architecture license and make the switch to something else with the rest of the market.

kllrnohj(10000) 7 days ago [-]

Samsung, Qualcomm, and MediaTek all currently just use off the shelf A5x & A7x cores in their SoCs. Unless that part of the company is losing money I don't expect nVidia to cut that off. Especially since that's likely a key part of why nVidia acquired ARM in the first place - I can't imagine they care about the Mali team(s) or IP.

himinlomax(10000) 6 days ago [-]

> nVidia could cut them off from any new designs

Why would they do that anyway? The downsides are obvious (immediate loss of revenue), the risks are huge (antitrust litigation, big boost to RiscV or even Mips), the possible benefits are nebulous.

Those who are most obviously at risk are designers of mobile GPUs (Broadcom, PowerVR ...).

mbajkowski(10000) 6 days ago [-]

Curious as I don't know the terms of a perpetual architectural ARM license. But, is it valid only for a specific architecture, say v8 or v9, or is it valid for all future architectures as well? Or is it one of those things, where it depends per licensee and how they negotiated?

ChuckMcM(10000) 7 days ago [-]

And there you have it. Perhaps the greatest thing to happen to RISC-V since the invention of the FPGA :-).

I never liked Softbank owning it, but hey someone has to.

Regarding the federal investment in FOSS thread that was here perhaps CPU architecture would be a good candidate.

dragontamer(10000) 7 days ago [-]

RISC-V still seems too ad-hoc to me, and really new. Hard to say where it'd go for now.

I know momentum is currently towards ARM over POWER, but... OpenPOWER is certainly a thing, and has IBM / Red Hat support. IBM may be expensive, but they already were proven 'fair partners' in the OpenPOWER initiative and largely supportive of OSS / Free Software.

xigency(10000) 6 days ago [-]

> I never liked Softbank owning it, but hey someone has to.

I understand what you're saying and this seems to be the prevailing pattern but I really don't understand it. ARM could easily be a standalone company. For some reason, mergers are in.

Koshkin(10000) 7 days ago [-]

The next Apple machine I am going to buy will be using RISC-V cores.

RubberShoes(10000) 7 days ago [-]

This is not good

chid(10000) 7 days ago [-]

I have heard numerous arguments but they arguments don't feel that compelling, what are reasons why this is bad?

gruez(10000) 7 days ago [-]

Bad for ARM, good for every other ISA.

paulmd(10000) 7 days ago [-]

It wouldn't have been good if any of the people who could actually afford to buy ARM did so.

Would you rather have TSMC in control of ARM? Maybe have access to new architectures bundled with a mandate that you have to build them on TSMC's processes?

How about Samsung? All of the fab ownership concerns of TSMC plus they also make basically any tech product you care to name, so all the integration concerns of NVIDIA.


Microsoft? Oracle? None of the companies who could have afforded to pay what Son wanted for Softbank were any better than NVIDIA.

There are a lot of good things that will come out of this as well. NVIDIA is a vibrant company compared to a lot of the others.

throwaway4good(10000) 7 days ago [-]

Qualcomm and Apple are going to be fine even with NVIDIA owning ARM. They are American companies under the protection of US legislation and representation.

However the situation for Chinese companies is even clearer now. Huawei, Hikvision etc. need to move away from ARM. Probably on to their own thing as RISC-V is dominated by US companies.

vaxman(10000) 6 days ago [-]

Qualcomm, Apple and NVidia will lose favor with the US government unless they bring (at least a full copy of) their FAB partners and the rest of their supply chains home to America (Southwest including USMCA zone). We love Southeast Asia, but the pandemic highlighted our vulnerability and, as a country, we're not going to keep sourcing our critical infrastructure in China —or it's back yard. If those American CEOs keep balking at the huge investment required, you will see the US government write massive checks to Intel (has numerous, albeit obsolete, domestic FABs), DELL and upstarts (like System76 in Colorado) to pick winners, while the elevator to hell gains a new stop in Silicon Valley and San Diego (nationalizing patents, etc) during a sort of "war effort" like we had in the early 1940s.

unixhero(10000) 7 days ago [-]

It's so amazing Apple didn't win this M&A race.

rahoulb(10000) 6 days ago [-]

Apple isn't interested in selling tech licences to other companies - they want to own their core technologies so they can sell products to consumers. And, as an original member of the Arm consortium, they have a perpetual licence to the Arm IP (I have no inside knowledge about that, just many people who know more than me have said it)

easton(10000) 7 days ago [-]

Could Apple hypothetically use their perpetual license to ARM to license the ISA to other manufacturers if they so desired? (not that they do now, but it could be a saving grace if Nvidia assimilated ARM fully).

pokot0(10000) 7 days ago [-]

Why would they ever want to enable their competitors?

Wowfunhappy(10000) 7 days ago [-]

I'm pretty sure they can't, but I also think there's no way in hell they'd do it if they could. It's not in Apple's DNA. Better for them if no one else has access to the instruction set.

I bet they'd make a completely custom ISA if they could. Heck, maybe they plan to some day, and that's why they're calling the new Mac processors 'Apple Silicon'.

WhyNotHugo(10000) 7 days ago [-]

This it terrible news for the FLOSS community.

Nvidia has consistently for many years refused to properly support Linux and other open source OSs.

Heck, Wayland compositors just say 'if you're using nvidia then don't even try to use our software' since they're fed up of Nvidia's lack of collaboration.

I really hope ARM doesn't go the same way. :(

janoc(10000) 7 days ago [-]

ARM itself has little to no impact on open source community. They only license chip IP, they don't make any chips themselves. And most of the ARM architecture is documented and open, with the exception of things like the MALI GPU.

Whether or not some SoC (e.g. in a phone) is going to be supported by Linux doesn't depend on ARM but on the manufacturer of the given chip. That won't change in any way.

ARM maintains the GCC toolchain for the ARM architecture but that is unlikely to go anywhere (and even if it did, it is open source and anyone else can take it over).

The much bigger problem is that Nvidia could now start putting squeeze on chip makers who license the ARM IP for their own business reasons - Nvidia makes its own ARM-based ICs (e.g. the Jetson, Tegra) and it is hard to imagine that they will not try to use their position to stiffle the competition (e.g. from Qualcomm or Samsung).

Blammar(10000) 7 days ago [-]

No one has seemed to notice the following two things:

'To pave the way for the deal, SoftBank reversed an earlier decision to strip out an internet-of-things business from Arm and transfer it to a new company under its control. That would have stripped Arm of what was meant to be the high-growth engine that would power it into a 5G-connected future. One person said that SoftBank made the decision because it would have put it in conflict with commitments made to the U.K. over Arm, which were agreed at the time of the 2016 deal to appease the government.' (from https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2020/09/nvidia-reportedly-to... )


'The transaction does not include Arm's IoT Services Group.' (nvidia news.)

which appear to contradict each other.

I'm not sure about the significance of this. I would have guessed Nvidia would have wanted the IoT group to remain.

Also, to first order, when a company issues stock to purchase another corporation, that cost is essentially 'free' since the value of the corporation increases.

In other words, Nvidia is essentially paying $12 billion in cash for ARM up front, and that's all. (The extra $5B in cash or stock depends on financial performance of ARM, and thus is a second-order effect.)

manquer(10000) 6 days ago [-]

It is not 'free', it means current shareholders of Nvidia are paying for the remaining money. Their stock is diluted on fresh issue of shares.[1]

The $12B comes from Nvidia the company, the remaining money comes from Nvidia's shareholders directly.

[1] Only if the valuation of ARM is 'worth it' the fresh issue of shares will not cost the current shareholders anything. This is rarely the case , if Nvida overvalued(or less likely undervalued) the deal then current shareholders are giving more than they got for it.

pathseeker(10000) 7 days ago [-]

>Also, to first order, when a company issues stock to purchase another corporation, that cost is essentially 'free' since the value of the corporation increases.

This isn't correct. If investors thing Nvidia overpaid, its share price will decline. There are many examples of acquiring companies losing significant value on announcements to buy other companies even in pure stock deals.

walterbell(10000) 7 days ago [-]

There were two separate IoT business units: Platform (https://pelion.com) and Data (https://www.treasuredata.com/). The Platform unit fits the Segars post-acquisition comment about end-to-end IoT software architecture, https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24465005

> One person close to the talks said that Nvidia would make commitments to the UK government over Arm's future in Britain, where opposition politicians have recently insisted that any potential deal must safeguard British jobs.

So the deal has already been influenced by one regulator. That should encourage other regulators.

> SoftBank will remain committed to Arm's long-term success through its ownership stake in NVIDIA, expected to be under 10 percent.

Why is this stake necessary?

Historical Discussions: Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died (September 18, 2020: 1692 points)

(1708) Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died

1708 points 2 days ago by joubert in 10000th position

www.npr.org | Estimated reading time – 23 minutes | comments | anchor

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg — here in her chambers during a 2019 interview with NPR's Nina Totenberg — died on Friday at the age of 87. Shuran Huang/NPR hide caption

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Shuran Huang/NPR

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg — here in her chambers during a 2019 interview with NPR's Nina Totenberg — died on Friday at the age of 87.

Shuran Huang/NPR

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the demure firebrand who in her 80s became a legal, cultural and feminist icon, died Friday. The Supreme Court announced her death, saying the cause was complications from metastatic cancer of the pancreas.

The court, in a statement, said Ginsburg died at her home in Washington, D.C., surrounded by family. She was 87.

'Our nation has lost a justice of historic stature,' Chief Justice John Roberts said. 'We at the Supreme Court have lost a cherished colleague. Today we mourn but with confidence that future generations will remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg as we knew her, a tireless and resolute champion of justice.'

Architect of the legal fight for women's rights in the 1970s, Ginsburg subsequently served 27 years on the nation's highest court, becoming its most prominent member. Her death will inevitably set in motion what promises to be a nasty and tumultuous political battle over who will succeed her, and it thrusts the Supreme Court vacancy into the spotlight of the presidential campaign.

Just days before her death, as her strength waned, Ginsburg dictated this statement to her granddaughter Clara Spera: 'My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.'

She knew what was to come. Ginsburg's death will have profound consequences for the court and the country. Inside the court, not only is the leader of the liberal wing gone, but with the court about to open a new term, the chief justice no longer holds the controlling vote in closely contested cases.

Though Roberts has a consistently conservative record in most cases, he has split from fellow conservatives in a few important ones this year, casting his vote with liberals, for instance, to protect at least temporarily the so-called DREAMers from deportation by the Trump administration, to uphold a major abortion precedent and to uphold bans on large church gatherings during the coronavirus pandemic. But with Ginsburg gone, there is no clear court majority for those outcomes.

NPR YouTube

Upcoming political battle

Indeed, a week after the upcoming presidential election, the court is for the third time scheduled to hear a challenge brought by Republicans to the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare. In 2012, the high court upheld the law in a 5-4 ruling, with Roberts casting the deciding vote and writing the opinion for the majority. But this time the outcome may well be different.

That's because Ginsburg's death gives Republicans the chance to tighten their grip on the court with another appointment by President Trump so conservatives would have 6-3 majority. And that would mean that even a defection on the right would leave conservatives with enough votes to prevail in the Obamacare case and many others.

At the center of the battle to achieve that will be Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. In 2016, he took a step unprecedented in modern times: He refused for nearly a year to allow any consideration of President Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominee.

Back then, McConnell's justification was the upcoming presidential election, which he said would allow voters a chance to weigh in on what kind of justice they wanted. But now, with the tables turned, McConnell has made clear he will not follow the same course. Instead he will try immediately to push through a Trump nominee so as to ensure a conservative justice to fill Ginsburg's liberal shoes, even if Trump were to lose his reelection bid. Asked what he would do in circumstances such as these, McConnell said: 'Oh, we'd fill it.'

So what happens in the coming weeks will be bare-knuckle politics, writ large, on the stage of a presidential election. It will be a fight Ginsburg had hoped to avoid, telling Justice John Paul Stevens shortly before his death that she hoped to serve as long as he did — until age 90.

'My dream is that I will stay on the court as long as he did,' she said in an interview in 2019.

'Tough as nails'

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    Ruth Bader Ginsburg in a 1977 portrait.

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    President Bill Clinton announces Ginsburg as his nominee to the Supreme Court during a news conference in Washington, D.C., in June 1993. Ginsburg replaced retired Justice Byron White and became the nation's second female justice.

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    Ginsburg joins other prominent Jewish-Americans for a photograph while standing in a maze on Ellis Island in New York in 1996 as part of a project by Frederic Brenner.

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    Ginsburg acknowledges applause at the 45th commencement at Brandeis University, where she received an honorary law degree in May 1996.

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    John Roberts (center) with the rest of the court after becoming chief justice on Oct. 3, 2005. The other justices pictured are Ginsburg (from left), David Souter, Antonin Scalia, John Paul Stevens, Roberts, Sandra Day O'Connor, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Stephen Breyer.

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    Ginsburg speaks during the annual meeting of the American Society of International Law in Washington in 2005.

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    Ginsburg hugs President Barack Obama as he arrives to deliver his State of the Union speech on Capitol Hill on Feb. 12, 2013.

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    Ginsburg talks with filmmaker David Grubin about his PBS series, The Jewish Americans, in 2008.

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    Ginsburg and her husband, Marty, listen to Justice Stephen Breyer speak at Columbia Law School in 2003.

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i View slideshow

She didn't quite make it. But Ruth Bader Ginsburg was nonetheless a historic figure. She changed the way the world is for American women. For more than a decade, until her first judicial appointment in 1980, she led the fight in the courts for gender equality. When she began her legal crusade, women were treated, by law, differently from men. Hundreds of state and federal laws restricted what women could do, barring them from jobs, rights and even from jury service. By the time she donned judicial robes, however, Ginsburg had worked a revolution.

That was never more evident than in 1996 when, as a relatively new Supreme Court justice, Ginsburg wrote the court's 7-1 opinion declaring that the Virginia Military Institute could no longer remain an all-male institution. True, Ginsburg said, most women — indeed most men — would not want to meet the rigorous demands of VMI. But the state, she said, could not exclude women who could meet those demands.

'Reliance on overbroad generalizations ... estimates about the way most men or most women are, will not suffice to deny opportunity to women whose talent and capacity place them outside the average description,' Ginsburg wrote.

She was an unlikely pioneer, a diminutive and shy woman, whose soft voice and large glasses hid an intellect and attitude that, as one colleague put it, was 'tough as nails.'

By the time she was in her 80s, she had become something of a rock star to women of all ages. She was the subject of a hit documentary, a biopic, an operetta, merchandise galore featuring her 'Notorious RBG' moniker, a Time magazine cover and regular Saturday Night Live sketches.

On one occasion in 2016, Ginsburg got herself into trouble and later publicly apologized for disparaging remarks she made about then-presidential candidate Trump.

But for the most part Ginsburg enjoyed her fame and maintained a sense of humor about herself.

Asked about the fact that she had apparently fallen asleep during the 2015 State of the Union address, Ginsburg did not take the Fifth, admitting that although she had vowed not to drink at dinner with the other justices before the speech, the wine had just been too good to resist. The result, she said, was that she was perhaps not an entirely 'sober judge' and kept nodding off.

The road to law

Born in Brooklyn, Ruth Bader went to public schools, where she excelled as a student — and as a baton twirler. By all accounts, it was her mother who was the driving force in her young life, but Celia Bader died of cancer the day before the future justice would graduate from high school.

Then 17, Ruth Bader went on to Cornell University on a full scholarship, where she met Martin (aka 'Marty') Ginsburg. 'What made Marty so overwhelmingly attractive to me was that he cared that I had a brain,' she said.

After her graduation, they were married and went off to Fort Sill, Okla., for his military service. There Mrs. Ginsburg, despite scoring high on the civil service exam, could only get a job as a typist, and when she became pregnant, she lost even that job.

Two years later, the couple returned to the East Coast to attend Harvard Law School. She was one of only nine women in a class of more than 500 and found the dean asking her why she was taking up a place that 'should go to a man.'

At Harvard, she was the academic star, not her husband. The couple were busy juggling schedules and their toddler when Marty Ginsburg was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Surgeries and aggressive radiation followed.

'So that left Ruth with a 3-year-old child, a fairly sick husband, the law review, classes to attend and feeding me,' Marty Ginsburg said in a 1993 interview with NPR.

The experience also taught the future justice that sleep was a luxury. During the year of her husband's illness, he was only able to eat late at night; after that he would dictate his senior class paper to her. At about 2 a.m., he would go back to sleep, Ruth Bader Ginsburg recalled in an NPR interview. 'Then I'd take out the books and start reading what I needed to be prepared for classes the next day.'

Marty Ginsburg survived, graduated and got a job in New York; his wife, a year behind him in school, transferred to Columbia, where she graduated at the top of her law school class. Despite her academic achievements, the doors to law firms were closed to women, and though recommended for a Supreme Court clerkship, she wasn't even interviewed.

It was bad enough that she was a woman, she recalled later, but she was also a mother, and male judges worried she would be diverted by her 'familial obligations.'

A mentor, law professor Gerald Gunther, finally got her a clerkship in New York by promising Judge Edmund Palmieri that if she couldn't do the work, he would provide someone who could. That was 'the carrot,' Ginsburg would say later. 'The stick' was that Gunther, who regularly fed his best students to Palmieri, told the judge that if he didn't take Ginsburg, Gunther would never send him a clerk again. The Ginsburg clerkship apparently was a success; Palmieri kept her not for the usual one year, but two, from 1959-61.

Ginsburg's next path is rarely talked about, mainly because it doesn't fit the narrative. She learned Swedish so she could work with Anders Bruzelius, a Swedish civil procedure scholar. Through the Columbia University School of Law Project on International Procedure, Ginsburg and Bruzelius co-authored a book.

In 1963, Ginsburg finally landed a teaching job at Rutgers Law School, where she at one point hid her second pregnancy by wearing her mother-in-law's clothes. The ruse worked; her contract was renewed before her baby was born.

While at Rutgers, she began her work fighting gender discrimination.

The 'mother brief'

Her first big case was a challenge to a law that barred a Colorado man named Charles Moritz from taking a tax deduction for the care of his 89-year-old mother. The IRS said the deduction, by statute, could only be claimed by women, or widowed or divorced men. But Moritz had never married.

The tax court concluded that the Internal Revenue Code was immune to constitutional challenge, a notion that tax lawyer Marty Ginsburg viewed as 'preposterous.' The two Ginsburgs took on the case — he from the tax perspective, she from the constitutional one.

According to Marty Ginsburg, for his wife, this was the 'mother brief.' She had to think through all the issues and how to fix the inequity. The solution was to ask the court not to invalidate the statute but to apply it equally to both sexes. She won in the lower courts.

'Amazingly,' he recalled in a 1993 NPR interview, the government petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court, stating that the decision 'cast a cloud of unconstitutionality' over literally hundreds of federal statutes, and it attached a list of those statutes, which it compiled with Defense Department computers.

Those laws, Marty Ginsburg added, 'were the statutes that my wife then litigated ... to overturn over the next decade.'

In 1971, she would write her first Supreme Court brief in the case of Reed v. Reed. Ruth Bader Ginsburg represented Sally Reed, who thought she should be the executor of her son's estate instead of her ex-husband.

The constitutional issue was whether a state could automatically prefer men over women as executors of estates. The answer from the all-male Supreme Court: no.

It was the first time the court had struck down a state law because it discriminated based on gender.

And that was just the beginning.

Ginsburg (left) joins the only three other women to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court — Sandra Day O'Connor, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan — in a celebration of O'Connor, the first woman justice, at the Newseum in Washington in 2012. Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP hide caption

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Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

Ginsburg (left) joins the only three other women to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court — Sandra Day O'Connor, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan — in a celebration of O'Connor, the first woman justice, at the Newseum in Washington in 2012.

Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

By then Ginsburg was earning quite a reputation. She would become the first female tenured professor at Columbia Law School, and she would found the Women's Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union.

As the chief architect of the battle for women's legal rights, Ginsburg devised a strategy that was characteristically cautious, precise and single-mindedly aimed at one goal: winning.

Knowing that she had to persuade male, establishment-oriented judges, she often picked male plaintiffs, and she liked Social Security cases because they illustrated how discrimination against women can harm men. For example, in Weinberger v. Wiesenfeld, she represented a man whose wife, the principal breadwinner, died in childbirth. The husband sought survivor's benefits to care for his child, but under the then-existing Social Security law, only widows, not widowers, were entitled to such benefits.

'This absolute exclusion, based on gender per se, operates to the disadvantage of female workers, their surviving spouses, and their children,' Ginsburg told the justices at oral argument. The Supreme Court would ultimately agree, as it did in five of the six cases she argued.

Over the years, Ginsburg would file dozens of briefs seeking to persuade the courts that the 14th Amendment guarantee of equal protection applies not just to racial and ethnic minorities but to women as well.

In an interview with NPR, she explained the legal theory that she eventually sold to the Supreme Court.

'The words of the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause — 'nor shall any state deny to any person the equal protection of the laws.' Well that word, 'any person,' covers women as well as men. And the Supreme Court woke up to that reality in 1971,' Ginsburg said.

During these pioneering years, Ginsburg would often work through the night as she had during law school. But by this time, she had two children, and she later liked to tell a story about the lesson she learned when her son, in grade school, seemed to have a proclivity for getting into trouble.

The scrapes were hardly major, and Ginsburg grew exasperated by demands from school administrators that she come in to discuss her son's alleged misbehavior. Finally, there came a day when she had had enough. 'I had stayed up all night the night before, and I said to the principal, 'This child has two parents. Please alternate calls.' '

After that, she found, the calls were few and far between. It seemed, she said, that most infractions were not worth calling a busy husband about.

The Supreme Court's second woman

In 1980, President Jimmy Carter named Ginsburg to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Over the next 13 years, she would amass a record as something of a centrist liberal, and in 1993, President Bill Clinton nominated her to the Supreme Court, the second woman appointed to the position.

She was not first on his list. For months, Clinton flirted with other potential nominees, and some women's rights activists withheld their active support because they were worried about Ginsburg's views on abortion. She had been publicly critical of the legal reasoning in Roe v. Wade.

But in the background, Marty Ginsburg was lobbying hard for his wife. And finally Ruth Ginsburg was invited for a meeting with the president. As one White House official put it afterward, Clinton 'fell for her — hook, line and sinker.' So did the Senate. She was confirmed by a 96-3 vote.

Once on the court, Ginsburg was an example of a woman who defied stereotypes. Though she looked tiny and frail, she rode horses well into her 70s and even went parasailing. At home, it was her husband who was the chef, indeed a master chef, while the justice cheerfully acknowledged she was an awful cook.

Though a liberal, she and the court's conservative icon, Antonin Scalia, who died in 2016, were the closest of friends. Indeed, an opera called Scalia/Ginsburg is based on their legal disagreements, and their affection for each other.

Ginsburg speaks at a memorial service for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington in March 2016. Susan Walsh/AP hide caption

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Susan Walsh/AP

Over the years, as Ginsburg's place on the court grew in seniority, so did her role. In 2006, as the court veered right after the retirement of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, Ginsburg dissented more often and more assertively, her most passionate dissents coming in women's rights cases.

Dissenting in Ledbetter v. Goodyear in 2007, she called on Congress to pass legislation that would override a court decision that drastically limited back pay available for victims of employment discrimination. The resulting legislation was the first bill passed in 2009 after Obama took office.

In 2014, she dissented fiercely in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, a decision that allowed some for-profit companies to refuse, on religious grounds, to comply with a federal mandate to cover birth control in health care plans. Such an exemption, she said, would 'deny legions of women who do not hold their employers' beliefs, access to contraceptive coverage.'

Where, she asked, 'is the stopping point?' Suppose it offends an employer's religious belief 'to pay the minimum wage' or 'to accord women equal pay?'

And in 2013, when the court struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act, contending that times had changed and the law was no longer needed, Ginsburg dissented. She said that throwing out the provision 'when it has worked and is continuing to work ... is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet.'

She viewed her dissents as a chance to persuade a future court.

'Some of my favorite opinions are dissenting opinions,' Ginsburg told NPR. 'I will not live to see what becomes of them, but I remain hopeful.'

And yet, Ginsburg still managed some unexpected victories by winning over one or two of the conservative justices in important cases. In 2015, for example, she authored the court's decision upholding independent redistricting commissions established by voter referenda as a way of removing some of the partisanship in drawing legislative district lines.

Ginsburg always kept a backbreaking schedule of public appearances both at home and abroad, even after five bouts with cancer: colon cancer in 1999, pancreatic cancer 10 years later, lung cancer in 2018, and then pancreatic cancer again in 2019 and liver lesions in 2020. During that time, she endured chemotherapy, radiation and, in the last years of her life, terrible pain from shingles that never went away completely. All who knew her admired her grit. In 2009, three weeks after major cancer surgery, she surprised everyone when she showed up for the State of the Union address.

Shortly after that, she was back on the bench; it was her husband, Marty, who told her she could do it, even when she thought she could not, she told NPR.

A year later her psychological toughness was on full display when her beloved husband of 56 years was mortally ill. As she packed up his things at the hospital before taking him home to die, she found a note he had written to her. 'My Dearest Ruth,' it began, 'You are the only person I have ever loved,' setting aside children and family. 'I have admired and loved you almost since the day we first met at Cornell. ... The time has come for me to ... take leave of life because the loss of quality simply overwhelms. I hope you will support where I come out, but I understand you may not. I will not love you a jot less.'

Shortly after that, Marty Ginsburg died at home. The next day, his wife, the justice, was on the bench, reading an important opinion she had authored for the court. She was there, she said, because 'Marty would have wanted it.'

Years later, she would read the letter aloud in an NPR interview, and at the end, choke down the tears.

In the years after Marty's death, she would persevere without him, maintaining a jam-packed schedule when she was not on the bench or working on opinions.

Some liberals criticized her for not retiring while Obama was president, but she was at the top of her game, enjoyed her work enormously and feared that Republicans might not confirm a successor. She was an avid consumer of opera, literature and modern art. But in the end, it was her work, she said, that sustained her.

'I do think that I was born under a very bright star,' she said in an NPR interview. 'Because if you think about my life, I get out of law school. I have top grades. No law firm in the city of New York will hire me. I end up teaching; it gave me time to devote to the movement for evening out the rights of women and men.'

And it was that legal crusade for women's rights that ultimately led to her appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court.

To the end of her tenure, she remained a special kind of feminist, both decorous and dogged.

All Comments: [-] | anchor

op03(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Remove the Publicly visible Like Count and those kind of conversations and connections are easy.

The Like count makes people defensive or aggressive especially when they are called out in public leading to never ending reaction and counter reaction cycles.

Without that dumb random signal interfering in conversations all kinds of strange connections are possible.

I see it at work meetings between highly competitive people who dont have anything in common with each other. I see it on whatsapp chat groups.

But I don't see it happening on FB, Twitter and on the News. These mediums favor reaction-counter reaction over solutions.

Connection takes time and the right environment. Anyone who wants connection and solutions to trump reactions, please have those conversation in an environment without random signals interfering with the process.

renewiltord(10000) 2 days ago [-]

What. People were acrimonious in the medieval ages. They didn't have like counts. This is such total bullshit.

DayneRathbone(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Shameless plug: this is why my co-founders and I built https://letter.wiki

unabst(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Even if the counts are private, counters create an ulterior motive beyond substantive discourse in the desire to collect likes. Their signals constrain speech as posts are authored. Just like the profit motive, the like motive greatly skews reality from beneath the surface of what is being said.

And to disagree with someone, you should have to at least open your mouth. That's a conversation. To just be able to dislike or downvote let alone anonymously is harmful for everyone, even the person downvoting. Instead of exercising speech, it's a slap on the wrist response.

Removing context removes nuance, and removing nuance removes intellect.

dang(10000) 2 days ago [-]

We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24523014.

akeck(10000) 2 days ago [-]

I don't know if Likes are the root of the issue, but they certainly don't help. Newsgroups had no such signaling and they could get really toxic.

nine_k(10000) 2 days ago [-]

I like how Slashdot handles it. Posts and comments do have counts, but the range is reasonably narrow, from -2 to +5. This allows for modding down noise, and modding up the signal, but this excludes the comparative phallometry typical for FB and twitter threads with hundreds and thousands on upvote counters.

ejz(10000) 2 days ago [-]

This doesn't make sense to me. There absolutely was a 'like count'. There were votes for decisions and there were citations for opinions. Academia is bitter for that reason. Yet, with the same incentives and much higher stakes they remained friends.

bnralt(10000) 2 days ago [-]

The other problem with most online communities is that there's almost no limit on output. All else being equal, someone with an active offline life is going to have a smaller presence than someone who's terminally online, someone who spends more time listening to others is going to have a smaller presence than someone who spends more time talking, someone who puts more effort into their posts (proofreading, look up evidence) is going to have a smaller presence than someone who haphazardly shoots off comments, and someone who reserves comments for when they have something important to contribute is going to have less of a presence than someone who comments on things they don't know anything about.

Things like mods (most people don't have the time commitment), voting (terminally online people will be able to vote earlier and more often, driving the conversation), front page thresholds (a small group of people acting as filters for new submissions), and time limited submissions (the longer you wait to comment the more likely the conversation will have died) just skews things even more.

For all the discussion about the low quality of online conversations, there seems to be very little discussion about the environments we've created and what kind of discussion these environments encourage.

slg(10000) 2 days ago [-]

I'm sorry, but this is wildly naive. It isn't 'likes' that are causing the problem. It is things like the fact that one side appears to be in the early stages[1] of a UN defined genocide[2]. I'm not going to be friendly to you if you think lower taxes or some other excuse is more important than the human and civil rights abuses that party supports.

[1] - https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/09/17/hyster...

[2] - https://www.un.org/en/genocideprevention/genocide.shtml

anigbrowl(10000) 2 days ago [-]

People were horrible to each other online long before modern social media, and indeed in print and in person long before that. While some people do indeed pursue likes for their own sake, it's not the root cause of social aggression.

tus88(10000) 2 days ago [-]

> That was never more evident than in 1996 when, as a relatively new Supreme Court justice, Ginsburg wrote the court's 7-to-1 opinion declaring that the Virginia Military Institute could no longer remain an all-male institution. True, said Ginsburg, most women — indeed most men — would not want to meet the rigorous demands of VMI. But the state, she said, could not exclude women who could meet those demands.

What's the bet she was OK with male-only conscription though?

scarface74(10000) 2 days ago [-]

There is no evidence that she would be opposed to women entering the draft. The case hasn't been tried before the Supreme Court, but a Federal Court has already said that excluding women from the draft is discriminatory.


geofft(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Seems unlikely - at the ACLU she wrote an amicus arguing that giving benefits to wives of male soldiers but not husbands of female soldiers was unjust and the husbands should be entitled to the same benefits (https://www.oyez.org/cases/1972/71-1694), and last year's federal case National Coalition for Men v. Selective Service System ruled, based on the precedent she set in that case, that the male-only draft was unconstitutional. The ACLU, along with a number of women's rights organizations, filed an amicus on appeal arguing that the ruling was correct. (The appeal was organized by a conservative group founded by Phyllis Schlafly.)

baryphonic(10000) 2 days ago [-]

I mean, holy sh. This election is going to be insane.

tasty_freeze(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Even if Trump loses, they will seat a Federalist ideologue who is as young as they can possibly find so that the effects will be felt for 30+ years.

stickyricky(10000) 2 days ago [-]

I think reading about Ruth and Antonin Scalia's friendship was the most wholesome political reading I've ever done. Hearing people divided in opinion, but not bitterly so, working together to figure out the best framework to construct American society from was inspirational. I hope the two halves of the political world can become friends in the way they were.

Rest in peace Ruth. I hope if there's an after you and Antonin are living it up.

goldcd(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Was so lovely after reading the article, that the point that stuck with me, aligned with your comment right at the top.

Maybe there's some sort of new 'non-denominational creed' we could all sign up for.

~' We may not agree but I will always listen to you. I will always consider your opinion with respect and will endeavour to understand your reasoning. My views are not set - my goal is to listen to arguments to come to an informed position, I can honestly take forward '

As I typed that, I could hear the happy-clappy sounds of some mocking-utopia ringing in my ears - but goddamnit, it doesn't sound too hard for us to each put it into action. I'm as guilty as the next person, but I'm going to try going forward.

ThinkBeat(10000) 1 day ago [-]

She also worked well with and has been complementary of Justice Roberts.

I thought that was remarkable in a positive sense as well

GoodJokes(10000) 2 days ago [-]

It is very easy to feel this way when you material life isn't affected by oppressive people like Scalia. I hope you listen to someone with a uterus in the next few days.

juniper_strong(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Seems like that sort of thing is becoming rarer every day. RIP Ruth and Antonin.

nathanvanfleet(10000) 1 day ago [-]

It's so weird to see what inspires centrists.

floodyberry-(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Being friends with a bigoted piece of shit is only wholesome if you are also one

tus88(10000) 2 days ago [-]

I wonder how friendly they would have been if Scalia had managed to overturn abortion.

roenxi(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Although the justices being friends is inevitable, it is not desirable. The justices would be more representative of the people - and probably dispense better justice - if there was an uneasy compromise between them based on basic principles of precedent and law.

That isn't a very fun vision of life on the bench - and any system is imperfect - so I don't really advocate that. But the idea that these people are asserting their preferences over 300 million people and then getting all chummy in their spare time isn't a good thing. It is unavoidable though.

lordvon(10000) 1 day ago [-]

I think that kind of friendship was possible because Ruth probably did not accuse Antonin of being a whte supremacist and Russian agent.

dmit(10000) 2 days ago [-]

The relationship between RBG and Scalia served as inspiration for one of the most beloved post-Sorkin episodes of The West Wing. The Supremes, 5x17.

ck2(10000) 2 days ago [-]

inspirational? it was her greatest weakness, there was not any other single judge working harder against her

I'm not going for the nazi reference, he wasn't that evil but Scalia was literally trying to drag the United States back to the 1950s if not even further, decision after decision he never found an expanding right he didn't want to slaughter

nkurz(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Since the parent link is to an NPR piece, here's NPR's coverage of Ginsburg's memorial tribute to Scalia: https://www.npr.org/2016/02/15/466848775/scalia-ginsburg-ope...

bleepblorp(10000) 2 days ago [-]

I think we can all be certain that whoever is appointed by the Federalist Society and approved by Mitch McConnell will make sure Trump wins a second (or third, or fourth, or fifth) term.

The American experiment as a free and democratic country is over.

Unless you want to live in a real world version of The Handmaid's Tale, get the fsck out if you still can.

Trasmatta(10000) 2 days ago [-]

> will make sure Trump wins a second (or third, or fourth, or fifth) term

How would a Supreme Court Justice do this? A third and fourth term would require a constitutional amendment, which requires ratification by 3/4ths of the states.

abawany(10000) 2 days ago [-]

It really does seem the cosmos has decided that America's time of greatness (however broad the meaning of that word is) is at an end. I hope my comment turns out to be another 'who needs dropbox'. Edit0:s/this/my.

bluedevil2k(10000) 2 days ago [-]

I think you're underestimating the independence that justices feel when they're appointed. The new appointee would owe nothing to Trump. Look at Roberts ruling for Oabamacare and Kavanaughs recent rulings.

kyleblarson(10000) 2 days ago [-]


_prototype_(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Wow the MSM media sure has filled you with propaganda. Talk about overdoing it jesus.

ComputerGuru(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Politically charged appointees to the Supreme Court have on occasion surprised naysayers and showed independence or at least made it a point to not be outright impartial.

bluedevil2k(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Stop with these kind of comments. Do you honestly think the Supreme Court would allow a President to win a 3rd term? "We can all be certain" should be translated to "I feel like making a crazy rant here". "Experiment is over" - the election is in 7 weeks, let's hold off on the "get out while you can" comments until it's over.

How confident are you in your statement that the "American experiment is over"? Care to bet $10k on there being a free and fair election in 2028? I get "Yes", you can have "No".

kelnos(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Here's my prediction:

Trump will nominate a successor in the next couple weeks. McConnell will start the process, but delay the vote until after the November election. This way:

If Trump wins, McConnell can say that he was entirely reasonable and consistent, and he waited until after the election to ensure that the people really wanted Trump's SCOTUS nomination to be confirmed.

If Trump loses, McConnell still has the option say hell with it, and ram Trump's nomination through anyway. Any Republican Senators who might be worried about re-election chances will already have kept or lost their seats. I expect election results won't be final enough to call by the end of election day like they usually are, but even if it takes a couple weeks, that still leaves over a month for the Senate to vote on the nomination before their session ends at the beginning of January.

The other possibility is that McConnell will just get it all done immediately. He likely has the numbers now -- I doubt any of the fence-sitting Republican Senators would vote no, even those who are up for re-election this year -- and it's not clear that he actually gives a damn about appearances at this point. Waiting could also have a downside: it's possible that enough Republican Senators who have lost their seats in the election could feel too uncomfortable confirming a nomination of this magnitude during their own lame-duck session. But again, not sure how much these people will care about fairness when the chips are down.

selimthegrim(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Why shouldn't the Democrats goad Trump into waiting after the election to nominate by a) implying he's afraid he'll lose and b) whispering about sweetheart plea deals via Schumer or someone

jariel(10000) 2 days ago [-]

A political showdown over the nominee would very well be the decisive moment of this campaign and determine the presidency.

The Dems took a huge risk with Kavanaugh going after the way they did (allegations against an 18 year old at a party where technically nothing happened???) but were saved by a a deeply emotive testimony by a woman who pulled a lot of heartstrings and came off credibly.

That was an incredible risk because if that performance was not across the line ... it would have completely backfired.

Also - merely making a nomination makes Trump look strong.

Winning a competition against Dems - which I think he can because he has the votes - looks strong.

I don't see any way for the Dems to win with this unless Trump nominates a total fool.

Trump is flirting with the same poll numbers Hillary had las time and Biden is not a strong candidate ... this is not a good position for the Dems to be in.

ALittleLight(10000) 2 days ago [-]

High information Republican voters will know what he did and why, and will probably support his decision. Low information Republican voters will not know about his hypocrisy. Non-Republican voters won't vote for him regardless.

I expect McConnel to just create some reason why things are different this time, or, if he wants to be a troll, to say 'I was wrong in 2016' or just to not address the hypocrisy and go right on ahead nominating a new Justice.

BooneJS(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Unsurprising. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/09/18/reaction-...

> Breaking: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who refused to consider President Obama's choice months before the 2016 election, said in a statement Friday hours after Ginsburg's death: "President Trump's nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate."

SN76477(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Such a lack of empathy from him.

I am deeply disappointed at anyone celebrating her loss.

d0ne(10000) 1 day ago [-]

11 hrs after this was submitted:

1627 points and 1263 comments yet no longer on the front page.

A moderator, please explain.

gjs278(10000) 1 day ago [-]

they didn't feel like dealing with the users freely expressing themselves and causing fights

elbigbad(10000) 2 days ago [-]

This won't happen. I'm a reasonable person and happy to change my mind with evidence, and don't say this lightly, but the republicans do not give a crud about any of this. They are the most conniving and soulless individuals that exist. This is coming from a recent former republican. I miss George Will's Republican party.

godzulu(10000) 2 days ago [-]

that's funny, because I feel that the DNC is the most soulless, vicious, corrupt and generally awful human beings there are.

mrkstu(10000) 2 days ago [-]

There is no reason to 'other' people like this. Parties are things that people adhere to, some for a season, some for a lifetime, but they reflect very little about their worth as human beings.

I come from a large family and we represent the whole spectrum of political beliefs, in a single generation, and all my sibs are equally kind and selfless, regardless of their political affiliation.

dang(10000) 1 day ago [-]

We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24523984.

stagehn(10000) 2 days ago [-]

That's a despicable (let alone false) thing to say and you should be ashamed of yourself.

tinalumfoil(10000) 2 days ago [-]

> They are the most conniving and soulless individuals that exist

The Trump Republicans are far better in terms of war crimes. Not 'better in terms of war crimes' is some sort of crowning achievement, but its hard to get much lower than srone striking Americans on foreign soil. To say Trump isn't an improvement over Busch just boggles my mind.

TheAdamAndChe(10000) 2 days ago [-]

The potential ramifications of this are chilling. If the Republicans mishandle this, it could drastically increase the chances of widespread conflict around the time of the elections.

tomrod(10000) 2 days ago [-]

I figure it was already pretty high to begin with.

jagger27(10000) 2 days ago [-]

It seems to me that widespread conflict is exactly what Trump republicans want.

Just this weeks' news: mass hysterectomies in ICE camps, Trump's tirade on rewriting school history books on slavery, overt mail service destruction, more anti-mask rhetoric, and the list goes on and on.

They're putting the pedal to the metal.

jariel(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Widespread conflict will get Trump elected, this is already proving the case as people see 'violence' instead of 'protesting' Trump is getting momentum. Don Lemon on CNN literally asking for people to calm down due to this fact.

Edit: Trump's support grew consistently as public support for BLM waned in face of the 'perception of violence' [1] - which Trump's team sees and is why he's pushing a 'law and order' message. The risk of BLM is that 'empathy' will easily be overwhelmed by 'concern' if pictures of violence play out on their TV screens every night. People will always chose public order over almost anything else.

[1] https://www.politico.com/news/2020/09/02/trump-black-lives-m...

throwaway6000(10000) 2 days ago [-]

'BREAKING: Trump will quickly pick a replacement for Justice Ginsburg, and Sen. Mitch McConnell & the Republican-controlled Senate will move to confirm his nominee,creating a new political flashpoint in election while firing up evangelicals & shoring up GOP base and vote for Trump'

edoceo(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Senate Leader McCconnell has said as much: https://apnews.com/84003fe2f5c8d910afda84d2b33f19be

droptablemain(10000) 2 days ago [-]

The era of Christian fascism begins.

crispyambulance(10000) 2 days ago [-]

I don't think it's a 'new' political flashpoint. RBG was 87, with cancer, it's not a surprise.

McConnell has certainly laid plans for an attempt to force a crony through as quickly as possible before the election. Hopefully it won't happen before Trump gets flushed.

aj7(10000) 2 days ago [-]

I like the unintended consequences of this. But maybe I'm shortsighted.

drainge(10000) 2 days ago [-]


alistairSH(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Too late. 2016 was the time to vote.

Also, why bother? Electoral College means my vote counts for shit and half the Presidents since I've been able to vote were elected by losing the popular vote. It's tyranNy of the minority and it sucks. I still vote, but it feels more and more Sisyphean as time goes on.

rvz(10000) 2 days ago [-]


alasdair_(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Just in case it becomes relevant in the next few days:

''The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president,''

-Senator Mitch McConnell in 2016

alistairSH(10000) 2 days ago [-]

He's already said this year is different. He made that comment months ago.

thebigspacefuck(10000) 2 days ago [-]

I'm sure he realizes how outraged people were by that decision and to not make the same mistake this time.

spodek(10000) 2 days ago [-]

I saw her speak at West Point about a year and a half ago. In a room including colonels, generals, and cadets, she riveted the audience with humor, stories, wit, and insight. My favorite insight was her sharing her friendship with Scalia. Their nearly opposite politics didn't stop them from things like he would secretly pass her notes while hearing cases to try to make her laugh.

Her sharing contributed to my befriending a few people with opposite political views, against this nation's tide of increasing polarization and beating opponents without trying to understand (Jonathan Haidt's book The Righteous Mind contributed too). Among the results: less anger, more understanding, more self-awareness, though also more confusion among friends and family to why I would talk to someone who voted that way.

spiritplumber(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Old people lowkey flirting is so wholesome.

dexterdog(10000) 2 days ago [-]

This is Trump's chance to score some points. If he defers the appointment he will score some points with people and have a better chance of re-election. If they ram it through his chances of winning will be worse than they already are. This is at most a 2d chess move. They'll probably still screw it up.

pm90(10000) 2 days ago [-]

No, you have it backwards. He increases his chances by appointing another conservative, pro life judge.

cletus(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Go back 10 years and as apathetic as voters were in much of the developed world, I had a hard time envisioning how these democracies/republics could fall. Boy was I naive.

There was a time in the US that as bitter as partisan politics could be there seemed to be a level of decency on both sides and a higher loyalty to the institutions of our government.

Nixon resigned in disgrace because it became clear even his own party would not support him. I honestly think that if Watergate happened today, the president's party would defend the president regardless of what happened.

You see active and organized voter suppression, politicization of the election process itself and gerrymandering on a massive yet accurate scale.

The attitude seems to have set in that the ends justify the means. 'Look at what the other side does.' Abortion in particular seems to be one of those issues where self-described moral voters seem to view anything as justified. Like how anyone can justify to thsmselves bombing an abortion clinic or a church is in any way justifiable is beyond me.

The level of GOP obstruction in the Obama era was utterly unprecedented. The filibuster was defended until it was politically expedient to get rid of it. A simple majority for Supreme Court justices is unprecedented, at least in the modern era. Refusing to even hold a hearing for a Supreme Court nominee is unprecedented and everyone knew that too would be abandoned if ever convenient.

Take Kavanaugh's confirmation. Of course a conservative president is going to nominate a conservative justice. Kavanaugh I believe was on the Federalist Society's list of 25 potential nominees where they expressed no preference among the 25.

The hearings produced some pretty serious baggage for Kavanaugh (ie Ford's accusations). He could've had his nomination withdrawn (or he could've withdrawn himself) and been replaced with another conservative justice with no such baggage but that didn't happen.

What you have is privileged white men, in particular Trump and McConnell, who didn't want to lose face by backing down. Arguably they didn't like the idea that Kavanaugh, another white man, would be held accountable for something that he simply wouldn't have been 20 years ago. So getting him confirmed became a way of rubbing this victory in the face of opponents.

This is what I find utterly unfathomable: so much of Trump's support is essentially religious. By any objective measure, Trump is a reprehensible human being. How any 'moral voters' can look passed that because abortion I would never have predicted. It's utterly indefensible.

And this is what concerns me the most: it seems like Trump can do nothing that will rock his base. Arguably colluding with foreign governments, his love affair with despots and tyrants, the political scapegoating of the poor and immigrants and the dog-whistle (some would say steam-whistle) politics of white supremacism. It's so depressing.

So yeah, it's weeks until the election and the standard used to stall Merrick Garland's nomination is completely forgotten (of course). That seat will be filled by the election. McConnell has already come up and said Trump's nominee would get a vote on the Senate floor.

Personally I don't generally have an issue with conservative jurisprudence. At its core, it's a belief the the Constitution is literal. It says what it says and it doesn't say what it doesn't say. If you want it to say something else, there's a process for that (ie a constitutional amendment). Personally I find the 'living document' interpretation of the Constitution to be nothing more than populism.

This can be taken too far. Constitutional literalism was used in the post-Civil War era (ie the Redeemer era) to dismantle the rights of former slaves.

As you see in this thread, Scalia is scapegoated by some of the Left as a hater but this is (IMHO) an ignorant view. Read the man's opinions.

What does sadden me is the utterly self-serving, completely hypocritical and utterly inconsistent 'the ends justify the means', institution-eroding and obstructionist approach that will inevitably lead us there.

ApolloFortyNine(10000) 2 days ago [-]

All the baggage you speak of was entirely unproven, and unprovable since they were 30 year old accusations.

All this in an election year where there was hope that maybe Republicans wouldn't have the votes afterwards.

That seems more towards corruption than legal proceedings to me.

Note during the last year of Obama the democrats did not have the majority, so it's not really a fair comparison (what McConnell did would have been impossible otherwise). But still, this is a norm, not a law, in the same way that, with or without another Trump nomination, Biden could legally appoint justices until he has the majority. There's no law unfortunately setting the size to 9.

notsureaboutpg(10000) 1 day ago [-]

>Abortion in particular seems to be one of those issues where self-described moral voters seem to view anything as justified. Like how anyone can justify to thsmselves bombing an abortion clinic or a church is in any way justifiable is beyond me.

Honestly thought you were going to say how can anyone justify 'abortion on demand without apology' or the taxpayers paying for abortion or abortion allowed at any time in the pregnancy (even up until the last day, barring health concerns for the mother).

Abortion is a topic where 80% of people have the same thought (it's wrong and it's bad and it's terrible but just sometimes it's necessary) and 20% of people are crazy extremists on both sides.

tyre(10000) 2 days ago [-]

For every one of the coming takes that Republicans will be hypocrites to appoint and confirm a justice (which they will)

They do not give a fuck.

That's not how they see power and it is why they have a far disproportionate share of power/representation than their support across the electorate.

This is about power. In politics, nothing else matters.

Igelau(10000) 2 days ago [-]

> This is about power. In politics, nothing else matters.

Sounds about right.

> the activities associated with the governance of a country or other area, especially the debate or conflict among individuals or parties having or hoping to achieve power.

martythemaniak(10000) 2 days ago [-]

They will 100% fill that seat before Jan 20th. The outcome of the election does not matter. Anyone who thinks otherwise really doesn't understand McConnell and the gang. They'll let Romney dissent, it'll be the impeachment vote v2.

I saw some interviews with her, pretty amazing lady. Sad to see her go.

kenjackson(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Democrats need to be ready to use the Nuclear Option. It's still on the table. They should have someone right now getting in shape for it.

lliamander(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Do not make the mistake of thinking the politicians who represent you are particularly principled people.

The left has been talking about stacking the supreme court since Kavanaugh. Democratic senators played games with the filibuster. There are plenty of other examples of weaponizing politics that I could cite (from both sides).

I would like to see Senate Republicans show some fair play and wait for after the election, though there is some wisdom in wanting to avoid the possibility of a split decision should this election go to the supreme court.

jamiequint(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Hillary won the popular vote by 1.1% and currently the Republicans hold a razor thin Senate majority and have been substantially outpaced by Democrats in the House, so I'm not really sure where you get the idea that there's a 'far disproportionate share of power/representation'. It seems pretty proportionate to me.

mhh__(10000) 2 days ago [-]

> They do not give a fuck

Something that the Democrats need to realize is that they (especially Obama) assumed too much good faith in the congressional GOP.

You can stick to your principles while doing it but, when you are against a party who now considers its last nominee (Romney) a radical BLM leftist, when they go low you need to be ready to kick them in the head.

glial(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Legitimacy matters.

tick_tock_tick(10000) 2 days ago [-]

That is revisionist history at best Harry Reid (D) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Reid changed the rules and Congress have been fucked ever since.

ekianjo(10000) 2 days ago [-]

> disproportionate share of power/representation than their support across the electorate.

Both the democratic party and the republican party only represent a small fraction of the electorate, for your information.


'As they go to the polls in a historic presidential election, more than six in 10 Americans say neither major political party represents their views any longer, a survey has found.'

1024core(10000) 2 days ago [-]

> They do not give a fuck.

Why would they? There are no consequences to bad behavior!

Republicans push tax cuts through for the wealthy, leaving the country deeper in debt. So what do Democrats do when they get back in power? Let those cuts stand!

Imagine, if, for every Republican shenanigan, their price to pay would be much higher than any potential gains. They would think twice about being assholes then. But as things stand, they suffer no consequences! So why would they ever change??

ncallaway(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Then it's time to fight back.

Make it absolutely clear to McConnell and Democratic leaders in the Senate that if McConnell fills this seat in an election year, then the Democrats must increase the size of the SCOTUS.

McConnell needs to fear the reprisal more than he fears the delay. Because you're right, this is about power. Nothing else matters to them. So make them fear this.

gautamcgoel(10000) 2 days ago [-]

This will probably be downvoted, but I think it was incredibly arrogant and selfish of RBG not to retire when Obama was in office so that he could pick her successor. She knew she was getting old and had already had brushes with cancer. If she really cared about feminism and liberalism, why not let Obama appoint a younger justice to the court, someone who would fight for those values for years to come? It's not like there is a shortage of great choices.

toomim(10000) 2 days ago [-]

It's sad to me that people like you think it's more important that your politics are represented in the Supreme Court than that the justices do a good job working together and holding a consistent integral legal standard for the country to follow.

As a fan of the Supreme Court, I think it's one of our least-political institutions. It's certainly the least political branch of government, especially if you compare it to the Legislature (extremely political) and the President (extremely political). It's the only piece of sanity we have left.

And here you call her selfish for not playing politics. Please, consider the value of having a part of government without politics. Consider how rare it is for someone to put other ideals above their political party!

disown(10000) 2 days ago [-]

I think this is the first time in a long while that a non-nytimes obituary post leads on HN. Did the nytimes social media team all move to npr?

Anyways I think ginsburg is the perfect example of why we need age, health and/or term limits for SCOTUS. Lifetime appointments should not exist in any government position and health should be a consideration on whether someone can hold a major government position.

It's embarrassing to see both sides ( including ginsburg herself ) use ginsburg's life as a political football.

Also 'champion of gender equality'? Was she a judge or a political activist? Or is she just another example of the politization of the courts, media and every aspect of our lifes?

kinkrtyavimoodh(10000) 2 days ago [-]

It's not even surprising when you consider that SCOTUS judges are, by constitutional design, appointed by presidents, who by design, are supposed to represent the electorate.

If judges were supposed to be pure judges and not activists, they would be selected by an independent process purely based on legal / academic merit.

All judges, but especially Supreme Court ones, are political activists. They just have the education and experience to wrap it in legal language.

mhh__(10000) 2 days ago [-]

The courts are politicized i.e. partisan, but holding Gender Equality 'activism' up as an example of this would be counterproductive. This would make anything other than extreme textualism sacrilege, although equality is in the spirit of the constitution if not the attitudes of those who wrote it (i.e. They owned slaves).

Being in favour of gender equality, is a political statement - politics is a catch all term for every heated interaction between people that (hopefully) doesn't involve guns. You have to have some political principles to guide your court.

Also relevant, the recent Trans rights supreme court ruling - makes some people uneasy (Politics!) but still absolutely the right thing to do (in vacuo or within the context of the CRA). I would link to it but Visual Studio has just starting rebooting my computer...

Gunax(10000) 2 days ago [-]

She was an advocate of gender equality long before she became a judge, famously in Moritz_v._Commissioner


Arubis(10000) 2 days ago [-]

I suspect, based on your comment, that you and I have a fair amount of conflict in our expressed politics. (I was firmly in the "May RBG hang on for dear life" camp.) Nevertheless, I agree with the core tenet here: term limits would be a major improvement for the SCOTUS, even if relatively lengthy. They would mitigate for all involved parties the otherwise daunting threat of a particular personality, potentially ideologically incompatible with one's own worldview, holding sway open-endedly and potentially for a generation.

(Separately: I found that the NPR link didn't work for me at first, and checked NYT; they had not yet posted an obit.)

glenstein(10000) 2 days ago [-]

I wonder if he will go down in American history as a more poisonous senator than McCarthy.

xenospn(10000) 1 day ago [-]

I think American history will be rewritten very soon, probably by McConnell.

peteradio(10000) 2 days ago [-]

He was just playing the incredible hand dealt him.

acjohnson55(10000) 1 day ago [-]

The victors write the history books, and McCarthy didn't hang on to power long enough to do so.

malwarebytess(10000) 1 day ago [-]

I don't know what you could call his brand of governance other than pure evil. It's men and women like him who destroy nations and stir violence.

dang(10000) about 23 hours ago [-]

We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24523218.

spiritplumber(10000) 2 days ago [-]

This turn of events means a likely ossification of American policy for a generation. Much like in Iran, you risk ending up with a 'council of sages' who is out of step and out of touch with the will of the people.

I say 'you' because I can go elsewhere. My extended family wishes for me to return to Italy for my own safety.

Trasmatta(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Why are there two posts right next to each other with the exact same first sentence?

> This turn of events means a likely ossification of American policy for a generation.

This was also posted by: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24522964

ALittleLight(10000) 2 days ago [-]

From what I've read Supreme Court Justices get more liberal with time, whether appointed by Republicans or Democrats, rather than hewing closer and closer to their original positions.


jariel(10000) 2 days ago [-]

'My extended family wishes for me to return to Italy for my own safety'

This is ridiculous. As long as you stay out of high-crime ghetto areas, you are as safe in America as most places, moreover, the crime rate has been dropping for 30 years.

Trump hasn't changed anything aside from possibly creating conditions for some protestors and police to be clashing.

Also - consider that a slightly conservative Supreme Court is not really 'out of step' with America, just one side of America.

Hnrobert42(10000) 2 days ago [-]

There is nothing good left in this world. I don't plan to kill myself, but I don't see much value in living.

therealdrag0(10000) 1 day ago [-]

Have you read "Mans search for meaning"?

teruakohatu(10000) 1 day ago [-]

Sounds like you are depressed. You should talk to someone about it.

abawany(10000) 2 days ago [-]

The last 4 years have been very dark but I hope the following quote gives you a better perspective:

'Take a moment. Breathe.

And then we fight for our country the way she always did for us. Or we will lose everything.'


kwhat4(10000) 2 days ago [-]

The republicans know how to win, and will do so by any means necessary. The democrats seem happy taking the high road to yet another humiliating defeat. This is why I'm done voting and pretending it makes a difference.

colinmhayes(10000) 2 days ago [-]

This is my conclusion too. Not only are democrats losers they perfectly fine with it too. They've let republicans out politic them every since Reagan. Another in a long line of humiliating political defeats at the hands of big money.

millstone(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Republicans do not always win but do play more hardball, and that is not a compliment. They aggressively use anti (small d) democratic tactics like gerrymandering, disfranchisement, etc. They also enjoy a large structural advantage in the Senate, because the average State is more rural and much more white than the average American.

Should Democrats win the Presidency and a Senate majority, they should prioritize (small d) democratic reforms, stuff that cannot be easily undone in 2024. In particular, make Washington DC a state. This is not hardball, it's just basic fairness: DC metro has one of the highest percentages of Black people, and DC statehood will make the Senate more representative of America (only partially - red states will still have an advantage).

My sense is that the Democratic party has an appetite for this. Should they gain power, they won't make the same mistakes. See HR 1.

I feel terrible for viewing this sad event through the lens of electoral politics, but RBG was a champion for voting rights.

syshum(10000) 2 days ago [-]

The fact of the matter is, no matter who wins your vote for President likely does not matter anyway

The biggest problem we have is people seem to only care about the presidential election, your local city /county council, your mayor, your local auditor, property assessor, school board, and many other local positions have a much higher impact in your daily life than the president ever will, and your vote in those elections absolutely does matter

dang(10000) 2 days ago [-]

We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24523153.

acdha(10000) 2 days ago [-]

You're doing exactly what the Republicans want: they don't need you to support them as long as you don't get in their way.

Unless you share their goals, you might want to reconsider this strategy.

jcheng(10000) 2 days ago [-]

The Democrats have literally lost ONE presidential election in a row

emmelaich(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Only after reading about this did I realise that RBG was Catholic. There would have been a lot of familiarity of thought and philosophy in their backgrounds.

In some part, it makes it easier to disagree. Some of the arguments have been going on for centuries.

emmelaich(10000) 1 day ago [-]

Thanks for the corrections all.

I misread an article; her client was Catholic.


IncRnd(10000) 1 day ago [-]

Only after reading about this did I realise that RBG was Catholic

RBC was raised Jewish. Later, after her mother passed, she became non-observant.


slg(10000) 2 days ago [-]

RBG was notably Jewish. I don't know where you got that she was Catholic. Scalia was Catholic if that is the cause of the confusion.

dang(10000) 1 day ago [-]

We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24523014.

aj7(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Reading what??

hota_mazi(10000) 2 days ago [-]

It's depressing how much better Republicans are at politics than Democrats are.

Because of that, they will get their way.

tstrimple(10000) 2 days ago [-]

It's past time for Democrats to stop 'taking the high ground' and acting like their policies actually matter. Moral victories are hollow when your democracy is being gutted.

phobosanomaly(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Due to a really old technicality in our electoral system, we keep putting people in the presidency that the American people didn't actually vote for. Both Bush and Trump were not elected by a popular vote.

The majority of American are being held hostage by a minority of voters with a disproportionate amount of political power.

These un-elected presidents have had such incredibly far-reaching influences on the American political landscape, economy, and infrastructure (setting aside the fallout of the neocon's foreign military adventures).

tomjakubowski(10000) 2 days ago [-]

I agree with you that presidents who lose the popular vote have questionable legitimacy. But Bush did actually win the popular vote in 2004 (a majority even) for his second term, which is when he appointed Roberts and Alito.

erichocean(10000) 2 days ago [-]

> Both Bush and Trump were not elected by a popular vote.

Neither was Clinton. Sometimes it goes your direction, too.

newfriend(10000) 2 days ago [-]

It's not a technicality. It's the law. The popular vote means nothing in regards to the Presidential election.

* The House is voted in by the people.

* The Senate is voted in by the states.

* The President is voted in by both.

No one is being held hostage. This system was created purposefully, and has been the same since its inception.

Your opinion on the matter is meaningless.

Kattywumpus(10000) 2 days ago [-]

If Trump and the Republicans confirm a new Justice, Democrats have indicated they will pack the Supreme Court, appointing as many Justices as they feel necessary to get the rulings they want.

'If they show that they're unwilling to respect precedent, rules and history, then they can't feign surprise when others talk about using a statutory option that we have that's fully constitutional in our availability,' he said. 'I don't want to do that. But if they act in such a way, they may push it to an inevitability. So they need to be careful about that.'

-- Tim Kaine, D-Va, https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/supreme-court/democrats-war...

The Constitution and Bill of Rights are interpreted through the Supreme Court. If you pack the court, you have essentially destroyed the legitimacy of Constitutional government. The consequences of this cannot be overstated.

All Constitutional rights will be up for reinterpretation and elimination. This is a very precarious moment in history. Perhaps the end of American history as we have known it. That's a grandiose statement, but it's not an incorrect one.

Gunax(10000) 2 days ago [-]

The legitimacy of the court is long-gone--its nothing more than a political body. Don't like the precedent? Just overrule it and claim it was 'poorly argued'.

Especially funny, considering that Ginsburg was perhaps the most likely to vote based on how she thought the country should operate, and not on stare decisis or leaving issue to congress.

rezendi(10000) 2 days ago [-]

This is amusingly silly. Changing the composition of the Court is not unheard of and FDR, not exactly known as the poster child of 'destroying the legitimacy of Constitutional government,' nearly did it in 1937 (and likely would have if not for another untimely death.) https://today.law.harvard.edu/if-democrats-win-in-november-s...

tootie(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Tell that to Merrick Garland.

xxpor(10000) 2 days ago [-]

The Republicans have won the popular vote once since 1988. They have no politically legitimate claim to those seats.

deathgrips(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Unfortunately modern activists and politicians want to make it seem like no reasonable person could disagree with them. This makes it impossible to engage in a dialogue and bridge a gap.

dang(10000) 2 days ago [-]

We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24523014.

treeman79(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Some things have no gap.

Your either want the right to your own body, or a crusade to stop the murder of millions of babies.

This drives most other politics.

usefulcat(10000) 2 days ago [-]

The problem is that those activists and politicians you refer to are a reflection of what way too many voters genuinely want.

awat(10000) 2 days ago [-]


voldacar(10000) 2 days ago [-]


xmly(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Time to vote! Time to vote! Vote!

rvz(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Question is for...

michaelmcdonald(10000) 2 days ago [-]

For as worthless as this comment will ultimately be: my thoughts go to her family.

bargl(10000) 2 days ago [-]

I hate that it's become bad to send people your thoughts and prayers. It may not do anything, but to have meant so much to so many people is something worth thinking about.

throwaway6000(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Guess the republican SCOTUS replacement.

AdamJacobMuller(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Amy Barrett.

nickysielicki(10000) 2 days ago [-]

For anyone interested in a serious analysis: https://reason.com/2020/09/09/two-cheers-for-president-trump...

adzm(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Merrick Garland?

aaronbrethorst(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Amy Barrett, a hard-right ideologue.

Edit: sorry to all of you Amy Barrett fans out there.

abawany(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Here are some guesses I've heard from various news sources: Tom Cotton, Ted Cruz, and William Barr.

juniper_strong(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Donald J. Trump

tyingq(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Squee. (WTDVs).

scelerat(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Tom Cotton

syedkarim(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Does Trump have enough time to get a new justice nominated and confirmed?

AdamJacobMuller(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Time? absolutely. It only takes an hour or two.

Will they do it? maybe? probably.

mikeyouse(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Realistically, they have until the last day of the current congress which runs until January 3rd, 2021. The Senate has 37 working days remaining in 2020. It would be an amazing feat if they manage to do it, but you bet if only as an animating fight for the party faithful who are historically depressed right now, they're going to try.

koolba(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Hell yes he does. And 100% that Mitch will get it done!

HaloZero(10000) 2 days ago [-]

They only need 50 votes and the Republican Senate will 100% confirm somebody, especially since they have the lame duck session too.

bonzini(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Of course a president should not appoint a judge on the last few months of his term, should he?

minimaxir(10000) 2 days ago [-]

From back in 2019: 'Oh, we'd fill it': How McConnell is doing a 180 on Supreme Court vacancies in an election year


perryizgr8(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Why? Should I stop writing code if I think I'm leaving this job in a year? Why should the president stop doing his job?

johndevor(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Why not? What's the cutoff?

SloopJon(10000) 2 days ago [-]

One possible strategy for Trump (which would be very much out of character) would be to wait out of respect for RBG and/or the Garland precedent. Meanwhile, he uses the empty seat as a campaign issue to keep reluctant conservatives from jumping ship.

juniper_strong(10000) 2 days ago [-]

If the Senate confirms the President's nomination then I don't see why the President wouldn't follow through with the appointment.

JacobAldridge(10000) 2 days ago [-]

At what point should a President, especially in their first term running for re-election, stop being able to fulfill parts of their duties?

Declaring war? Responding to an attack? Talking to other world leaders? Advocating Congress to act on matters? Signing bills into laws? Naming post offices? Being allowed into the Oval Office?

Independent of this specific situation, there has to be a line drawn somewhere. And that line is Inauguration Day. (A case could be made that some powers cease on Election Day for a lame duck President.)

cwhiz(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Trump may try, but it will be interesting to hear the reasoning to rush it before November 4. If Trump is going to win, as he says he is, there is no need to rush.

I believe there is no precedent for the Senate confirming a Supreme Court justice in a lame duck session. If Trump loses to Biden and the Senate then confirms a Trump nominee in a lame duck session, that will probably be the end of the Supreme Court. I'd expect Biden and Harris to just stack the Court, and it to devolve from there.

Remember, there is no law requiring nine justices. Just a handshake agreement and precedent. FDR threatened the stack the Court unless he got his way. And who would ultimately determine the legality of stacking the Court? You guessed it, the Supreme Court.

stjohnswarts(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Trump most likely has had plans for this for months and knows who he's going to pick, expect a choice by the end of next week and confirmation within a month. They don't have much time to get a new person in there so they've had a plan for this for months, if not years.

xwdv(10000) 2 days ago [-]

He absolutely should it is his job.

paxys(10000) 2 days ago [-]

He ideally should be able to, as long as the correct procedures are followed. Republicans, however, set the precedent by not allowing Obama to appoint one in his last year in office. My money, however, is on them ramming someone through anyways.

RickJWagner(10000) 2 days ago [-]

RBG was also the voice of reason when Justice Kavanaugh was under attack by an unhinged mob.

She truly could see beyond politics, and will be missed by both sides of the aisle.

roamerz(10000) 1 day ago [-]

The voice? I think there were many voices of reason that had his back. It was very enlightening to see what extremes people will go to at times.

michaelmrose(10000) 2 days ago [-]

I really don't believe legitimate criticism is problematic and it is very problematic to call people who speak out an 'unhinged mob'

Karanaugh's interesting interpretation of the law is enough to give him a hard pass but he also lied under oath.

preommr(10000) 1 day ago [-]

I still don't understand how, putting aside the rape allegations, kavanaugh's outbursts about Clinton conspiracy theories, 'I like beer', and flat out lies about things like 'Devil's triangle' being a drinking game didn't disqualify him.

You can say that the rape wasn't proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Or that the outbursts were him having a bad day (it's not like SCOTUS is a very exclusive position /s).

But that lie about devil's triangle being a game of quarters is so blatant. It's an incredibly common term that I am sure the average person has heard and can say that was an obvious lie.

mrkstu(10000) 2 days ago [-]

For those so certain that the Republican Senate is going to ram though someone, there are a few moderates left, and they've already decided thing can wait until after the election:

'So far the following GOP Senators have pledged that they will not consider a Supreme Court appointment until after the next inauguration.

Susan Collins Chuck Grassley Lisa Murkowski'


The Senate is currently split 53/47, I don't believe Romney has addressed the issue yet. No one should get too bitter and divisive just yet.

asdasfasdfasdf(10000) 2 days ago [-]

not exactly reliable opponents

8note(10000) 2 days ago [-]

When push comes to shove, republicans fall in line.

Susan Collins will go on record saying she thinks trump jr is just too good of a candidate to not accept the nomination, and that'll be the end of it

stjohnswarts(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Yeah I wouldn't bet too long on that. McConnell knows how to twist arms, they will crack to pressure and get a solid conservative in there before the election. Of that I'm sure.

gamblor956(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Huge caveat: of those 3, only Murkowski actually made her statement after RBG passed. Collins made her statement hypothetically earlier in the campaign, and Grassley made his hypothetical statement back in 2018 during that election cycle.

So far, Murkowski is the only confirmed GOP defector, and 4 total defectors are needed to prevent nomination hearings before the election.

rubyist5eva(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Most of these statements were made in 2018. A lot has changed since then, and these statements where made when Samuel Alito's retirement was being floated. RBG is a totally different ball game.

snuxoll(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Like anyone can take Collins at her word anymore.

ENOTTY(10000) 1 day ago [-]

50/50 split means the Vice President decides. Game over.

threatofrain(10000) 2 days ago [-]

If those senators stall their own party on the highest visibility vote of their careers, then they're done.

divbzero(10000) 1 day ago [-]

The sensible side of me would deem this blind optimism but... Maybe, just maybe, senators respecting Justice Ginsburg's last wish will be the first step on a long road towards healing our toxic political polarization.

abawany(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Hope you're right: https://www.axios.com/trump-ginsburg-supreme-court-10bf5f37-... . The threat of withholding money if they don't comply has got to be pretty effective to bring any independent thinkers in line.

theshadowknows(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Absolutely. My family is feverishly working on how to leave this hellscape of a country we're in. The United States is dead.

Tagbert(10000) 2 days ago [-]

You might want to see how this election turns out, first.

kyleblarson(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

sparkie(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Out of curiosity, where are you heading?

Somewhere you are taxed more?

Somewhere with more illegal immigration?

Somewhere your children are less safe from predators?

Yeah, thought not. You don't realize how good a country you live in. There are several billion who would trade their family's place with yours.

dang(10000) 2 days ago [-]

OK, but please don't post unsubstantive and/or flamebait comments to Hacker News.

We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24523185.

kilroy123(10000) 2 days ago [-]

I've been living abroad for almost 6 years. I definitely recommend anyone interested to try the same. It's not without challenges.

organsnyder(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Given how broadly the United States exerts influence around the world, I feel obligated to stay and work to make things better.

emerged(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Personally, I love this country. Best of luck to you.

oh_sigh(10000) 2 days ago [-]

A bit melodramatic. Unless 95% of the rest of the world is a hellscape of a country too.

malandrew(10000) 2 days ago [-]

As an immigrant to this country, you have no idea how good things are here in the US. It would be nice to trade those unhappy with the US with those that would be grateful to be here.

ekianjo(10000) 2 days ago [-]

If you think it's better out there, please reconsider carefully.

seibelj(10000) 2 days ago [-]

I'm sad to say you may find the grass is always greener on the other side - government corruption exists everywhere that government exists.

mmaunder(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Worked right to the end even with her health challenges. What a role model.

mc32(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Hmm, I'm ambivalent about people who do this. I think if you know your time is near, you should take it easy. Do some mundane things. Yes, I know "but it's the only thing I love doing". I disagree with that choice.

jeffbee(10000) 2 days ago [-]

She should have retired before 2016 and let someone step up. Occupying the seat of power until you keel over at the age of 85 is a peculiar expression of ego and selfishness.

leetrout(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Unsure: are you being sarcastic?

Kranar(10000) 2 days ago [-]

I disagree entirely and in fact most of the rest of the world have laws against Supreme Court Justices serving well into old age like this. Her health problems were known during President Obama's term and it was nothing more than hubris on her part to continue serving.

It's fairly irresponsible to work until the day you die if a sudden death can have absolutely devastating and life changing consequences for a significant number of people.

WhompingWindows(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Why are there life-terms on the Supreme Court? Doesn't that incentivize the justices to hold on past their prime, dying waiting for a new president or resigning in a politically motivated fashion? And don't life terms create a race to the bottom where younger justices are favored for longer remaining life?

Why not 20 year limits?

kamaal(10000) 2 days ago [-]

In India we have a fixed retirement age. Of course extensions can be granted on an exceptional basis, But in general you serve till a fixed retirement age and retire.

It also makes sense. Cognitive ability deteriorates with age. And you don't want very old, with illness to rule on important things.

LatteLazy(10000) 1 day ago [-]

The constitution doesn't specify how many justices there are. Or what the criteria should be for appointment. It isn't even clear who appoints/confirms them.

There are a lot of unplugged holes in the constitution. This is just another issue...

bvinc(10000) 1 day ago [-]

Lifetime tenure is supposed to make them impartial and free from political pressure.

javagram(10000) 1 day ago [-]

SC Justices were not expected to be so powerful.

The founding fathers thought that the US constitution would look like the UK. President = King, Congress = Parliament. The judiciary was practically an afterthought, and like UK courts, would be subordinate to Congress. " In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make."

Note the "such exceptions and under such regulations".

As history turned out, Congress has barely used this power to rein in the courts and in the mid-19th century on the courts grew more and more powerful and have become a sort of mini-legislature.

James Madison already recognized this, writing in 1788 that he realized a mistake had been made in the constitution: " as the Courts are generally the last in making their decision, it results to them, by refusing or not refusing to execute a law, to stamp it with its final character. This makes the Judiciary Dept paramount in fact to the Legislature, which was never intended, and can never be proper ... " (https://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/v1ch17s25...)

hajile(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Given the appointment age of most justices, 20 years and life aren't much different. Furthermore, lots of justices resign a couple years before death. RBG was practically begged to resign, but alternately believed Hillary would win and/or thought she could outlast Trump.

The idea is similar to tenure. You can do and say what you believe without influence and pressure from either party. It also dodges influence peddling preparing for leaving office. For example, in the defense department, officials will make recommendations and then leave office and profit from those same companies. If you're in office for life, this common (and almost impossible to prevent) kind of corruption becomes basically a non issue.

The federalist papers would shed light on such things, but actually reading them (and the wealth of nations)is likely to turn you into an independent who dislikes both parties.

joveian(10000) 1 day ago [-]

I suggest the 15 year limit and other requirements in Mexico:


I'd add the requirement of at least a year of criminal defense experience since this is almost completely lacking currently and it shows in the horrible decisions the court makes.

ng12(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Most likely because the founding fathers didn't expect the justices to be split on party lines. They were intended to be impartial judges ruling on a limited set of federal laws.

adzm(10000) 2 days ago [-]

> According to her granddaughter Clara Spera, Ginsburg said, "My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed."


atonse(10000) 2 days ago [-]

As much as I respected and admired RBG, even she would've known it's at best a wish and nothing else.

If things weren't so polarized, they absolutely should spare no time in replacing the seat, as is their duty. But we know it'll be yet another cynical and dishonest process as it was last time.

blooalien(10000) 2 days ago [-]

I wouldn't count on any politicians in our current government caring one little whit about that... :(

leftyted(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Note that 'until a new president is installed' means until 2024 if Trump is reelected.

sky_rw(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Well it's a good thing that she doesn't get a say in the matter.

charliemil4(10000) 2 days ago [-]

[removed] It will be tough, but maybe they could

alex_young(10000) 2 days ago [-]

There would seem to be precedent for this now.

Justice Antonin Scalia died in February of 2016, a replacement was nominated in March of 2016, and because Scalia's seat had become vacant during an election year, the Senate would not even consider a nomination from the president [0].

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

divbzero(10000) 1 day ago [-]

Also reported by NPR in the original post:

Just days before her death, as her strength waned, Ginsburg dictated this statement to her granddaughter Clara Spera: "My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed."

ed25519FUUU(10000) 2 days ago [-]

Can you imagine a 4-4 Supreme Court deadlock in a Bush v Gore type situation?

blondie9x(10000) 2 days ago [-]

293 days the Senate didn't vote on Merrick Garland because it was an election year. Can they wait 45 now?

casefields(10000) 2 days ago [-]

If it was controlled by Democrats I 100% guarantee they would.

ianai(10000) 2 days ago [-]

I mourn her loss. She's done more for my life and the average americans life than quite a significant many.

Extremism in any shape breeds further extremism. I hope society is about to do a "big blink".

It only takes a majority in the senate and house to add a seat to the SCOTUS or a state to the union.

jcalvinowens(10000) 2 days ago [-]

> It only takes a majority in the senate and house to add a seat to the SCOTUS

Exactly. If Biden wins and the senate flips, they'll just add two justices (for 11 total) to get a majority. The right will scream bloody murder, but won't be able to do anything about it.

core-questions(10000) 2 days ago [-]

> I hope society is about to do a "big blink".

Oh yeah? What does that take the form of? Does it take the form of people who have ideas that you don't like not being there when you open your eyes back up again?

dillondoyle(10000) 1 day ago [-]

DC, Puerto Rico statehood please! Guam too?

Historical Discussions: Chuck Feeney Is Now Officially Broke (September 15, 2020: 1333 points)
The Billionaire Who Wanted to Die Broke Is Now Officially Broke (September 15, 2020: 3 points)
The Billionaire Who Wanted to Die Broke – – – Is Now Officially Broke (September 17, 2020: 2 points)

(1333) Chuck Feeney Is Now Officially Broke

1333 points 5 days ago by pseudolus in 10000th position

www.forbes.com | Estimated reading time – 9 minutes | comments | anchor

It took decades, but Chuck Feeney, the former billionaire cofounder of retail giant Duty Free Shoppers has finally given all his money away to charity. He has nothing left now—and he couldn't be happier.


harles "Chuck" Feeney, 89, who cofounded airport retailer Duty Free Shoppers with Robert Miller in 1960, amassed billions while living a life of monklike frugality. As a philanthropist, he pioneered the idea of Giving While Living—spending most of your fortune on big, hands-on charity bets instead of funding a foundation upon death. Since you can't take it with you—why not give it all away, have control of where it goes and see the results with your own eyes?

"We learned a lot. We would do some things differently, but I am very satisfied. I feel very good about completing this on my watch," Feeney tells Forbes. "My thanks to all who joined us on this journey. And to those wondering about Giving While Living: Try it, you'll like it."

Over the last four decades, Feeney has donated more than $8 billion to charities, universities and foundations worldwide through his foundation, the Atlantic Philanthropies. When I first met him in 2012, he estimated he had set aside about $2 million for his and his wife's retirement. In other words, he's given away 375,000% more money than his current net worth. And he gave it away anonymously. While many wealthy philanthropists enlist an army of publicists to trumpet their donations, Feeney went to great lengths to keep his gifts secret. Because of his clandestine, globe-trotting philanthropy campaign, Forbes called him the James Bond of Philanthropy.

Chuck Feeney and Warren Buffett in 2011

©Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation/Barbara Kinney

But Feeney has come in from the cold. The man who amassed a fortune selling luxury goods to tourists, and later launched private equity powerhouse General Atlantic, lives in an apartment in San Francisco that has the austerity of a freshman dorm room. When I visited a few years ago, inkjet-printed photos of friends and family hung from the walls over a plain, wooden table. On the table sat a small Lucite plaque that read: "Congratulations to Chuck Feeney for $8 billion of philanthropic giving."

That's Feeney—understated profile, oversize impact. No longer a secret, his extreme charity and big-bet grants have won over the most influential entrepreneurs and philanthropists. His stark generosity and gutsy investments influenced Bill Gates and Warren Buffett when they launched the Giving Pledge in 2010—an aggressive campaign to convince the world's wealthiest to give away at least half their fortunes before their deaths. "Chuck was a cornerstone in terms of inspiration for the Giving Pledge," says Warren Buffett. "He's a model for us all. It's going to take me 12 years after my death to get done what he's doing within his lifetime."

Feeney gave big money to big problems—whether bringing peace to Northern Ireland, modernizing Vietnam's health care system, or spending $350 million to turn New York's long-neglected Roosevelt Island into a technology hub. He didn't wait to grant gifts after death or set up a legacy fund that annually tosses pennies at a $10 problem. He hunted for causes where he can have a dramatic impact and went all-in.

In 2019, I worked with the Atlantic Philanthropies on a report titled Zero Is the Hero, which summarized Feeney's decades of go-for-broke giving. While it contains hundreds of numbers, stats and data points, Feeney summarized his mission in a few sentences. "I see little reason to delay giving when so much good can be achieved through supporting worthwhile causes. Besides, it's a lot more fun to give while you live than give while you're dead."

On September 14, 2020, Chuck Feeney—with wife Helga Feeney—signed documents in San Francisco marking the close of the Atlantic Philanthropies after four decades of global giving.

The Atlantic Philanthropies

On September 14, 2020, Feeney completed his four-decade mission and signed the documents to shutter the Atlantic Philanthropies. The ceremony, which happened over Zoom with the Atlantic Philanthropies' board, included video messages from Bill Gates and former California Gov. Jerry Brown. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi sent an official letter from the U.S. Congress thanking Feeney for his work.

At its height, the Atlantic Philanthropies had 300-plus employees and ten global offices across seven time zones. The specific closure date was set years ago as part of his long-term plan to make high-risk, high-impact donations by setting a hard deadline to give away all his money and close shop. The 2020 expiration date added urgency and discipline. It gave the Atlantic Philanthropies the time to document its history, reflect on wins and losses and create a strategy for other institutions to follow. As Feeney told me in 2019: "Our giving is based on the opportunities, not a plan to stay in business for a long time."

While his philanthropy is out of business, its influence reverberates worldwide thanks to its big bets on health, science, education and social action. Where did $8 billion go? Feeney gave $3.7 billion to education, including nearly $1 billion to his alma mater, Cornell, which he attended on the G.I. Bill. More than $870 million went to human rights and social change, like $62 million in grants to abolish the death penalty in the U.S. and $76 million for grassroots campaigns supporting the passage of Obamacare. He gave more than $700 million in gifts to health ranging from a $270 million grant to improve public healthcare in Vietnam to a $176 million gift to the Global Brain Health Institute at the University of California, San Francisco.

One of Feeney's final gifts, $350 million for Cornell to build a technology campus on New York City's Roosevelt Island, is a classic example of his giving philosophy. While notoriously frugal in his own life, Feeney was ready to spend big and go for broke when the value and potential impact outweighed the risk.

FORBES spoke to Influential Philanthropists On How Chuck Feeney Changed Charity And Inspired Giving

"Chuck's been the model for us all. If you have the right heroes in life, you're 90% of the way home. Chuck Feeney is a good hero to have."

WARREN BUFFETT: Chairman & CEO Berkshire Hathaway, The Gates Foundation, The Giving Pledge

"Chuck Feeney is a true pioneer. Spending down his resources during his lifetime has inspired a generation of philanthropists, including me. And his dedication to anonymous giving—and focus on addressing the problems of the day—reflect the strength of his character and social conscience. We all follow in his footsteps."

Laurene Powell Jobs: Founder and President, Emerson Collective

"Chuck created a path for other philanthropists to follow. I remember meeting him before starting the Giving Pledge. He told me we should encourage people not to give just 50%, but as much as possible during their lifetime. No one is a better example of that than Chuck. Many people talk to me about how he inspired them. It is truly amazing."

BILL GATES: Microsoft cofounder, The Gates Foundation, The Giving Pledge

"Chuck took giving to a bigger extreme than anyone. There's a lot of rich people—very few of them fly coach. He never spent the money on himself and gave everything away. A lot of people are now understanding the importance of giving it away, and the importance of being involved in the things you give your money to. But I don't fly coach!"

SANDY WEILL: Financier, Former Chairman of Weill Cornell Medicine

"Chuck pioneered the model where giving finishes late in life, rather than starting. He was able to be more aggressive, he was able to take bigger risks and just get more enjoyment from his giving. There's great power in giving while living. The longer the distance between the person who funded the philanthropy and the work, the greater the risk of it becoming bureaucratic and institutional—that's the death knell for philanthropy."

JOHN ARNOLD: Former Hedge Fund Manager, Founder of Arnold Ventures


Get Forbes' daily top headlines straight to your inbox for news on the world's most important entrepreneurs and superstars, expert career advice and success secrets.

All Comments: [-] | anchor

RcouF1uZ4gsC(10000) 5 days ago [-]

> While many wealthy philanthropists enlist an army of publicists to trumpet their donations, Feeney went to great lengths to keep his gifts secret.

Crazy respect for this. Many times billionaire charitable foundations are just tax preferred ways of building your image or amassing influence. Bill Gates has done a lot of good, but his charitable work also served to redeem his image from that of the ruthless businessman crushing competitors that he had in the 1990's. In addition, it has also given him a lot of soft power. I bet there are dozens of heads of state, especially in Africa and Asia, that he could personally get on the phone within 30 minutes if he really wanted to.

MisterBastahrd(10000) 5 days ago [-]

One of my arguments against the accumulation of vast wealth is that Bill Gates can get an in-person visit with my local representative faster than I, a constituent, can get a return phone call.

I think we need 5x the number of representatives at the House level. Separate their duties, strip power from some of them, and keep them in district most of the year so they can actually be held accountable. Would also help to further democratize the House.

jjeaff(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Sure, but what benefit does that power get him except to accomplish the goals of his philanthropy? He doesn't appear to be trying to amass more wealth.

He needs to amass connections and power if he wants to accomplish his philanthropic goals.

As for fixing his image, sure, maybe that was part of it. But I doubt it. He could have just made a few really big donations and then went off to himself to enjoy his wealth.

skinnymuch(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Then why are establishment politicians not out for the little guy like Pelosi speaking at the final Zoom the article is talking about?

read_if_gay_(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Mad respect, not letting that amount of money get to your head and not wasting it on vain stuff surely takes some crazy discipline.

jariel(10000) 5 days ago [-]

It's not 'discipline' though.

If you were raised a certain way, in a certain era, it wouldn't be rational to spend it on 'frivolity'.

There are a lot of people like this. Tons of very rich folks living in normal homes, driving normal cars that they 'never buy news'.

I think in some ways more common than not, especially in more rural and suburban areas wherein projecting wealth isn't actually necessary to their professional identity.

IncRnd(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Money may not be important to him. Money is, after all, just a tool.

khalilravanna(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Absolutely. Especially being an American. We have such a materialistic, maximalist culture. There's definitely a psychological element here to be able to tune out all those negative messages ("Why don't I have a nicer car/house/yacht than Alice/Bob?"). I'd be interested on where he falls on the satisficer/maximizer scale.

AdamN(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Why can't governments receive these donations? Do any benefactors currently give to governments (not via taxes, actually just give)?

I know Ted Turner did it with the UN Foundation, although that isn't technically the UN itself.

Are there other examples?

smeyer(10000) 5 days ago [-]

>Why can't governments receive these donations

They certainly can. I don't how many people actually do it, but most governments will accept direct cash donations. E.g. here's a page on how to make a gift to the US Government: https://www.fiscal.treasury.gov/public/gifts-to-government.h...

Edit to add: Here's some data on donations made to reduce the federal debt https://www.treasurydirect.gov/govt/reports/pd/gift/gift.htm . You can see that this seems to average a few million dollars per year.

strikelaserclaw(10000) 5 days ago [-]

most people say the would do something like this if they ever became extremely rich, but only a few would actually be able to do it. I'm in awe of the strength of character this guy must have.

true_religion(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Well no, most people would run charities, like Bill Gates does. But most people still want control and to affect change personally.

Giving away your fortune then letting go is harder.

zozbot234(10000) 5 days ago [-]

You don't need to 'become extremely rich' for charitable giving to be quite worthwhile. Even donating trivial amounts of money to high-impact charity can easily come with a factor of 1000× in value created, compared to just spending the same amount of money on your own private consumption. (Of course this assumes that you're choosing the right causes, generally involving very poor countries and the like; not just 'donating' to your local art gallery, or for that matter your local college with a billion-dollar endowment.)

Multiplayer(10000) 5 days ago [-]

I cannot get my head around this.

To be that good at making money and that intent at giving it away is such a massive paradox not to mention paradigm shift from how we typically discuss wealth and wealth accumulators.

Looking for video interviews....

gimmeThaBeet(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Maybe naively I believe I grasp some of it, but I don't know, to me it takes maybe a little bit of hubris? I certainly see how parts of the mechanics feel very contradictory. The idea that sticks to me is 'people are spending money, so it may as well become my money'.

It feels like a weird and maybe bad example, but it feels like sort of a chaotic good version of The Dark Knight Joker. You have the idea of 'if you're good at something never do it for free', combined with a more wholesome version of 'some men aren't looking for anything logical, like money.'

Maybe you just have weird anomalies where you have someone who likes business, like what their work entails, but for whatever reason aren't drawn as much to some of the other trappings. I think the assumption being the baseline is that the interest follows the money.

mulmen(10000) 5 days ago [-]

I don't see a paradox at all. He made a lot of money by being good at operating organizations. He seems to have given away his money by working with organizations. He just wanted to make an impact on the world and he did.

I don't pretend to know the motivations of Bezos or even Musk (even though I think he has been clear) but I see this as consistent with what Feeney did.

I can at least conceive of a thought process like 'I can help humanity now and in the future by making money to fund new businesses that would not otherwise exist.' Maybe the best way to contribute is to give away money to charity, maybe it is to start a rocket company. I don't think either of those are wrong, and I think they can have the same base motivation.

quickthrower2(10000) 5 days ago [-]

He didn't get caught up in the money trap that almost everyone is, and I wondered how he did that? Is it religion? Is it innate morals? How he was raised? Very interesting.

Hope I can learn something from this. What does a non rich person do? I guess it is about trying to influence things rather than injecting money.

cosmotic(10000) 5 days ago [-]

It's great he donated his wealth to charity, but it's a little unfair that he took it upon himself to chose where the money went instead of letting the people choose.

bena(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Why should the people get to choose?

hr2016(10000) 5 days ago [-]

I don't feel so, care to explain why?

haltingproblem(10000) 5 days ago [-]

The amount of negativity in this thread regarding billionaires and charity is stupefying. There are well established reasons why the distribution of wealth is lumpy - the uneven distribution of initial endowments, skills, parenting, luck, education, etc. The work of Pareto and the Ergodicity Economics gives a sound theoretical basis to this realization. There is no middle ground folks - in any incentive driven system you will have a power tailed distribution.

Can we just celebrate Chuck Feeney and his awesomeness?

mlthoughts2018(10000) 5 days ago [-]

It's ludicrous to suggest celebrating this. It should make you sick and outraged, not be celebrated.

Please read my other comment:


divbzero(10000) 5 days ago [-]

"What many don't know is that [Mark Benioff] donation was to complete a match of $125M offered by Chuck Feeney (who does not have his name on a building anywhere on the campus, AFAIK)."

"I wonder if I ever will have the strength to do what he has done."

"I've long argued for massive estate tax rates on large estates in order to incentivize behavior like this."

"This is a role model I can actually appreciate."

"I humbly encourage everyone to make giving a larger part of your life."

Those are quotes from the current top 5 comments in this thread — plenty of celebration of Chuck Feeney's awesomeness.

sudhirj(10000) 5 days ago [-]

This is a role model I can actually appreciate. I can't figure out why this is the first time I've heard of him. I've seen lots of news about people buying expensive shit, but the fact that this has never come to my attention is a horrible indicator of what the media chooses to report on.

dougmccune(10000) 5 days ago [-]

> While many wealthy philanthropists enlist an army of publicists to trumpet their donations, Feeney went to great lengths to keep his gifts secret.

Seems like that was by design.

djmips(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Also check into Andrew Carnegie if you haven't already.

sharadov(10000) 5 days ago [-]

This one line 'While notoriously frugal in his own life, Feeney was ready to spend big and go for broke when the value and potential impact outweigh the risk.' Amazing life, made a ton of money and lived to see it all given away.

dpflan(10000) 5 days ago [-]

I suggest that it does not align with consumerism/capitalist ideologies which are used in the feedback loop to promote themselves/further substantiate their existence and influence in culture. Philanthropy is great, but to some extent I think the argument that properly taxing such capitalistic gains could have greater effect on society when properly used by the system that can support massive scale projects (i.e. the government).

janee(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Good example of why I really like HN. Quite keen to read up more on Feeny. Reading about anonymous contributions and selfless behavior like this is such a mood lifter when trawling through the day to day news and information floating around

hkmurakami(10000) 5 days ago [-]

The book about his life is quite good. 'The billionaire who wasn't'.

gridlockd(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Buying 'expensive shit' is an honest business transaction. Who do you think makes all this expensive shit? They all have families to feed, you know. If you're rich, buying expensive shit is probably the most beneficial thing you can do for society.

By contrast, charities and non-profits get this halo of being socially beneficial, even though they're often some of the most wasteful institutions of all. Cornell gets a billion dollars from this guy, as if they didn't get enough money from the racket that is higher education in the US.

justin66(10000) 5 days ago [-]

> I've seen lots of news about people buying expensive shit, but the fact that this has never come to my attention is a horrible indicator of what the media chooses to report on.

While weighing journalist's actions you might want to consider that Chuck Feeney wanted to remain completely anonymous and the media - the members of the media acting in accordance with your desires specifically - made that impossible.

(that some of us have known his name for many years might also indicate that this has never come to my attention is not a meaningful measure of the media's performance - perhaps it's a measure of your use of media)

mulmen(10000) 5 days ago [-]

I wonder if a person was more involved in charitable giving if they would have heard about this guy before? Mainstream news coverage isn't going to cover him much but stories have been written, he worked closely with Gates and Buffet.

My takeaway from this story is to spend my time on things that matter to me. It's a reminder that our news sources are really just another form of entertainment, which is not something that can give your life meaning or a sense of accomplishment.

egypturnash(10000) 5 days ago [-]

'When I first met him in 2012, he estimated he had set aside about $2 million for his and his wife's retirement'

Two million is, like, the opposite of broke for the vast majority of Americans. But this is Forbes.

zelly(10000) 5 days ago [-]

He gave away all his money and that's still not enough for you?

brewdad(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Using the 4% rule, $2 million gives you an income stream of $80,000 a year in retirement. Comfortable but hardly lavish.

mulmen(10000) 5 days ago [-]

I mean, I am just some rando engineer and I intend to retire with way more than that in the bank. That's a modest retirement savings and compared to what he has given away is 'broke'.

OneGuy123(10000) 5 days ago [-]

This is 'proper' giving away, not that fake celebrity donations of 'I donated 200k of my 40M money, see how charitable I am'?

And then those celebrities say 'You should also donate Joe Doe, we must ALL be charitable'.

Meanwhile Joe is in debt and cannot even afford to eat non-pesticide laden food while the celebrity retain 99% of his $$$$.

mrlala(10000) 5 days ago [-]

It is quite the paradigm indeed.

Like you said most people don't really have any extra income. They have a mortgage. Their retirement is heavily underfunded. Kids future school is not paid for.

Then there are people that have 100% of everything paid for and already have more than they will ever need... not to mention they can grow their money way quicker than the people who need it.. Yeah, it's pretty easy to be 'generous' in that situation because it's literally extra money just sitting around doing nothing but making more money.

edit: wow, downvote me and op for this? Must be by the HN 400k engineers without a family who don't understand what the problem is

silentsea90(10000) 5 days ago [-]

There's certainly a paradox in the ideal of being secretive with your donations and thereby not being able to make an example that others could follow, or being vain in beating your drum but setting an example for charity.

For myself, I have always wanted to appear to be doing my best in hiding my charitable donations while inadvertently getting discovered for my generosity, killing two birds with one stone. Unfortunately, I don't nearly have the wealth to pull this off.

ticmasta(10000) 5 days ago [-]

I don't think Chuck Feeney set out to be purposely secretive as much as anonymous and focused on the money doing the work. I think stories like this one in Forbes highlight he understands the necessity of good leadership by talking about the mission after it's accomplished, rather than looking for recognition during the process. Gates & Buffet are role models for the getting started; Feeney for how you finish.

superasn(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Is a person who invests that money for-profit but makes giant advancements in maths/science while doing it an equally big giver?

Take for example, Elon musk. Even though he hasn't given monet away to charities like Chuck, his for-profit enterprises like electric cars, solar farms, spacex and possibly neuralink might just have been things that end up equally great for humanity.

So if you have billions I guess timtowtdi.

frabbit(10000) 5 days ago [-]

What giant advances has Elon Musk made in maths/science?

pckhoi(10000) 5 days ago [-]

As long as the intention is to actually create wealth for the society as a whole as opposed to just making yourself rich, I don't see a problem to what Elon does.

glacials(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Bingo! Balance is key.

Farmers working under communist rule in China who started private farming caused agricultural productivity to skyrocket and the number of starving people to drop [1]. Say what you will about human greed, but aligning a behavior you want with a natural economic incentive is a powerful tool.

On the flipside, some industries like healthcare don't belong in such a ruthless system, because 'voting with your wallet' is sometimes equivalent to 'voting with your life'. Other industries like scientific research have too long a lag time for the the companies to stay afloat, or for the decision makers to benefit from the decision. These industries are the ones that frequently need help from government, nonprofit, donors, etc.

[1]: https://reaction.life/chinese-capitalist-growth-happened-spi...

zpeti(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Also - does he actually 'have money'?

Tesla and SpaceX don't make a profit or pay dividends. My guess is he finances his entire life from taking on debt which is secured against his stock.

So how exactly are people like him supposed to just give money away? What happens to the stock he owns then? Would he forgo control of his companies?

How would he pay taxes on that income anyway?

Lots of questions the billionaires-shouldn't-exist crowd have no concept of.

olivermarks(10000) 5 days ago [-]

I'd love to know what Chuck Feeney thinks of Bill Gates

trynewideas(10000) 5 days ago [-]

> In February 2011, Feeney became a signatory to The Giving Pledge. In his letter to Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, the founders of The Giving Pledge, Feeney writes, 'I cannot think of a more personally rewarding and appropriate use of wealth than to give while one is living—to personally devote oneself to meaningful efforts to improve the human condition. More importantly, today's needs are so great and varied that intelligent philanthropic support and positive interventions can have greater value and impact today than if they are delayed when the needs are greater.'

bagacrap(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Extra props for doing it anonymously.

throwaway287391(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Preface: yes, absolutely, all the props in the world to this guy for doing something so thoroughly incredible and selfless and rare for the benefit of humanity. Even if I had the means, I know I'd never have the guts to do something so amazingly heroic in as extreme a way as he did.

That said (i.e. time to be the irritating pedantic little asshole, but I think it's a genuine enough question about the purpose/execution of philanthropy)... does the anonymity really warrant extra props? We know that the guy gave away essentially all of his money; does the anonymity of the individual donations really make it more selfless? If anything the headlines 'Feeney gives $100M to cause X' and going on TV to talk about it etc. would likely bring more attention and donations to X, which I assume is why Bill Gates and others tend to do things that way.

Edit: ok, I've just figured out from other posts that it basically wasn't known beyond a small group of people that he was giving away most of his wealth. I didn't realize that (although it's also my first time hearing of him). I agree then, he really did spend the bulk of his life being pretty much truly anonymous and that does deserve extra props.

lisper(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Not that I want to in any way detract from this incredible and selfless accomplishment, but he has held on to a $2M retirement fund, so he's not quite 'broke' yet.

elliekelly(10000) 5 days ago [-]

And I'm sure there's a trust fund for his benefit somewhere, just in case.

mlthoughts2018(10000) 5 days ago [-]

> " Where did $8 billion go? Feeney gave $3.7 billion to education, including nearly $1 billion to his alma mater, Cornell, which he attended on the G.I. Bill. More than $870 million went to human rights and social change, like $62 million in grants to abolish the death penalty in the U.S. and $76 million for grassroots campaigns supporting the passage of Obamacare. He gave more than $700 million in gifts to health ranging from a $270 million grant to improve public healthcare in Vietnam to a $176 million gift to the Global Brain Health Institute at the University of California, San Francisco."

What an absolute gut-punch of deeply sickening waste.

I feel extremely outraged reading. It's a absolutely shocking waste of money. I can't believe this is celebrated or held up as good. This is a form of basically negligent homicide.

$3.7 billion on education? $76 million to lobby for Obamacare.

How can you not instead fund known, effective charities like Against Malaria or SCI. $1 billion to a wealthy Ivy League credential mill - that's astronomical waste.

This is the charity equivalent of seeing a lottery winner blow their money on sports cars or Vegas. This is appalling.

I mean this so sincerely. People should be sick and outraged over this degree of negligent waste.

s1artibartfast(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Why? It was his money and he could have bought diamonds and shot them into the sun if he wanted. Instead it seems that the vast majority of the spending was a net positive to society and will do some good.

Yes, there was probably a more impactful way of spending it from a humanitarian perspective, but presumably there wasn't a more satisfying way to spend it for Feeney.

Nearly everything that everyone does is a negligent homicidal waste if you view it through the lens of opportunity cost. Unless you are living the life of an acetic, working every living hour, and donating it all to charity, you personally are hundreds if not thousands of people a year.

WaylonKenning(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Yeah how dare this guy give away money to things he thinks is good, and not to these other things that I think are good.

This is immediately the reason why these donations are anonymous!

Guy gives away nearly all his money, and people are still not happy about it.

skinnymuch(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Whew. Finally. I was scrolling looking for a comment like this. How is almost no one saying this?

The speakers they mentioned are the most establishment politicians you can find. What does that say about his actions that those are the people representing him?

How can you give $70M+ to something that is grassroots too?

paulpauper(10000) 5 days ago [-]

An even faster way would have been for him to create a website , for example, www.claimmymoney.com and allow people to put in requests for donations, for any reason, that he would either honor or decline. There would probably have to be ID verification and other system in place to try to prevent people from abusing it. Given how so many Americans are living below poverty or in poverty or having expenses, he would have little trouble giving it all away

pckhoi(10000) 5 days ago [-]

This method would limit benefactors to only those who have access to the internet and a way to receive money online. Most of the third world country population wouldn't fit into this category.

And you can't be solving big systematic problems and bring about societal change by working with individual cases. This is like fighting fire when you should have made the building fireproof in the first place.

dangus(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Some questions lingered in the back of my mind after I read this article:

- How much to employees at Duty Free Shoppers (DFS) make? Is their healthcare fully covered? Do they have generous paid time off and access to higher education for themselves and their children? Was any of his fortune used to give back to the employees whose labor built his wealth in the first place?

- Does this dude realize how difficult it is to get into Cornell compared to when he went there on the GI bill? Giving to Cornell seems counter-productive to me. Giving a bunch of Ivy League jocks more resources doesn't seem like an equity promoting endeavor.

Not to diminish his other accomplishments. Still, philanthropists get to choose who to include and exclude. Ideally, it wouldn't have been possible for this guy to amass 8 billion dollars of wealth in the first place - it would have been properly taxed and invested into our communities equitably.

renewiltord(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Well, not saying this is what he did, but if you took away from American minimum wage workers and gave to rural South Asians or sub-Saharan Africans, you are improving world equity.

The West is hyper-wealthy.

lern_too_spel(10000) 5 days ago [-]

> Was any of his fortune used to give back to the employees whose labor built his wealth in the first place?

No idea. Maybe some of it was.

> Does this dude realize how difficult it is to get into Cornell compared to when he went there on the GI bill?

His donation to Cornell was earmarked for opening a new campus (Cornell Tech) to employ more educators and educate more students. It wasn't for replacing a stadium and putting his name on it.

fourseventy(10000) 5 days ago [-]

The guy gives away 8 billion dollars and all you have are complaints... Does he need to turn water into wine before you are happy?

ssorallen(10000) 5 days ago [-]

> - How much to employees at Duty Free Shoppers (DFS) make?

I have similar thoughts when I hear about the philanthropy of the mega wealthy. Instead of a single person like Chuck Feeney or Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates amassing ungodly amounts of wealth and then later choosing how to distribute it, why couldn't the companies they built have made 1,000 or 10,000 or X other people relatively rich instead of one man mega rich?

raiyu(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Because the government has such a great track record of collecting tax revenue and then investing it where it is appropriate?

Questions can be raised about some of his specific donations, but when someone gives away $8B of his wealth, spending nearly none on himself, does it globally, influences other billionaires to do the same, picking at any one of his specific donations seems counter productive.

Yes Cornell is an Ivy League school, but it is where he went to school, he probably has very strong ties to that school, perhaps met his wife there, or his business partner, if he chooses to give back to that school that is also good.

Plus there was a tremendous amount he gifted to 'education' so without knowing all of the details, hard to imagine that he didn't provide some sort investment in to under represented communities. If he helped Vietnam with their healthcare he obviously wasn't just US centric but helped where he though his donation could have an outsized return.

By the way he gifted a large amount of money to the Obamacare campaign, so by proxy, he was providing healthcare to his workers, and more likely than not.

jaas(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Chuck Feeney is not 'officially broke.' Per this story he has a couple million set aside for retirement and is living a perfectly happy life with all of his needs met. It seems disrespectful to Feeney's vision for his own life - he can give away so much and still be fine. Not broke.

I don't know why the author had to cross the line into falsehood with the title. It's a great story about a great person, why sacrifice your integrity with an utterly false headline, particularly when the story doesn't need it?

andys627(10000) 4 days ago [-]

> I don't know why

More scandalous title gets more clicks. Sucks...

js2(10000) 4 days ago [-]

The author very likely did not choose the headline and the story itself never refers to Feeney being broke. It does use the idiom "go for broke" meaning to give something your full effort, which Feeney certainly did. Perhaps the headline was a lame attempt at a pun on the idiom or perhaps it's just a clickbait headline.

bedhead(10000) 5 days ago [-]

I've long argued for massive estate tax rates on large estates in order to incentivize behavior like this. I have no problem at all with Bezos being worth $200 billion (or whatever it is now), but it's this dynastic wealth that I find borderline sickening. Why in the hell should the Rockefeller's of today be billionaires??? Also, these giant charitable foundations/family offices are similarly off-putting, as they are setup as semi-perpetual institutions that often only make the minimum 5% distribution annually. (Another fix would be to jack that up to 25% upon death) Big estate taxes seem to solve for a lot of problems with appropriate compromises.

kabacha(10000) 5 days ago [-]

> I have no problem at all with Bezos being worth $200 billion

Really? You have no problem one person owning so much money? That's around 30$ for _every_ person on the planet, can you even wrap your head around that? There's no reason why a single person should ever own this sort of wealth, none at all.

tasty_freeze(10000) 5 days ago [-]

There are two reasons to support a hefty inheritance tax on wealth over $X million. First, it raises revenue to help fill the deficit. More importantly, it is friction against generational wealth. Bill Gates (and his father) have for decades supported inheritance tax and gave this as the explicit reason.

lemmonii(10000) 5 days ago [-]

>Why in the hell should the Rockefeller's of today be billionaires?

Because we live in a system which rewards good genes, and that is a very good thing. By instituting a generational wealth tax you will be killing the human desire for wealth on a generational timescale.

Where does the money go? To other people i assume, you have now created a system where the evolutionary incentive is to leech from the system contributing as little as you can get away with. We live in such a system today but at-least there are some benefits to contributing more, those benefits are inherently that you can turn wealth into more children and transfer that wealth to them.

rhacker(10000) 5 days ago [-]

How about tax rate for any money that isn't directly tied to employing people at 90%?

cobookman(10000) 5 days ago [-]

> Why in the hell should the Rockefeller's of today be billionaires???

I'm curious what the statistics are for a family remaining wealth over a long period of time.

Even with wealth evenly split between each generations kids, given a growth of just 4% it might end up with each generation getting a greater amount of wealth still.

In the past large familes prevented this, but if the average extremely wealthy person only averages 2 kids. The dilution through children just doesn't occur.

newguy1234(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Curious, what exactly stops these rich families from simply moving their wealth off shore? I'm sure there are many other countries that would bend over backwards to have these uber rich families living in their country instead of the USA.

csomar(10000) 5 days ago [-]

I don't get it, the Rockefeller family has an estimated net worth of $11bn today. That's for 174 members of this family or around $63m per family. While not a small amount, it's not outrageous either; especially that it's an old family, so they haven't really accumulated lots of wealth. You'd think compound interest would have made them own much more than that.

On the other hand, Bezos, a single person, has control of a $1.58T company and you are totally okay with it?

gxon(10000) 5 days ago [-]

A caveat to this is, what happens when we actually solve aging and involuntary death? Will the world eventually be owned by a single, Bezos like individual simply by the weight of time and compounding interest crowding out everyone else? Would we be ok with a situation where the racist slave owners of 200 years ago are still alive and control the vast majority of the world's wealth and power?

This is the kind of concern that isn't a problem right now, but will be one day. And it will happen in the blink of an eye.

paulpauper(10000) 5 days ago [-]

This would hurt family owned businesses. Under such a system, within a family, everyone would keep their money to themselves. Let's say your dad wants to open a restaurant, so you donate $1 million, and the business does well, but then he unexpectedly dies and the his net worth is assessed at $5 million. Now you are out $1 million due to the tax. pretty bad deal.

bxparks(10000) 5 days ago [-]

I understand your sentiment. But the highest marginal estate tax rate is currently 40%, for amounts above $1M (after deducting applicable exemptions). That seems high enough. The problem is that the estate tax system is so complex, so full of loopholes and tricks, that no truly rich person with 2 brain cells and a competent estate lawyer will pay a fraction of that 40% tax.

I don't know what the solution is, but it seems to me that the estate tax system is overly complex, too open to abuse, and needs to be simplified. It is unfortunately intertwined with Trust laws, Probate laws, Income tax laws, international tax treaties, etc. As far as I can tell, the estate tax exists only because of the 'stepped up cost basis' feature in the US tax code, where all capital gains is zeroed out upon death by increasing the cost basis of the asset to the current market value. (Does any other country have this?)

I think it would be simpler to eliminate Stepped Up Cost Basis, and replace the estate tax with something like a 'deemed disposition' tax, where the capital gains tax is paid upon death (above a certain exemption amount, say $5M/couple), or paid upon transfer to another non-pass-through legal entity (e.g. an irrevocable trust). Oh, we should also eliminate the long-term capital gains tax rate, and all capital gains should be taxed at the same rate as earned income. I think this would eliminate the 'carried interest' loophole. Oh, and we should eliminate Dynasty Trusts, which can last as long as 365 years. It's hard to see how allowing a Trust to last 365 years is good public policy. Oh, and so many other loopholes need to be closed.

Unfortunately, I don't think there is much political will to tackle these issues. Estate tax law is a very obscure part of the tax code. Very few people care, except for the small number of ultra wealthy people and their lawyers who are taking full advantage of the current system.

young_unixer(10000) 5 days ago [-]

What's wrong with leaving your wealth to your offspring?

What I find sickening is people trying to meddle in other people's pockets.

settrans(10000) 5 days ago [-]

An Open Letter from Economists on the Estate Tax

To whom it may concern:

Spend your money on riotous living – no tax; leave your money to your children – the tax collector gets paid first. That is the message sent by the estate tax. It is a bad message and the estate tax is a bad tax.

The basic argument against the estate tax is moral. It taxes virtue – living frugally and accumulating wealth. It discourages saving and asset accumulation and encourages wasteful spending. It wastes the talent of able people, both those engaged in enforcing the tax and the probably even greater number engaged in devising arrangements to escape the tax.

The income used to accumulate the assets left at death was taxed when it was received; the earnings on the assets were taxed year after year; so, the estate tax is a second or third layer of taxation on the same assets.

The tax raises little direct revenue- partly because the estate planners have been so successful in devising ways to escape the tax. Costs of collection and compliance are high, perhaps of the same order as direct tax receipts. The encouragement of spending reduces national wealth and thereby the flow of aggregate taxable income. These indirect effects mean that eliminating the tax is likely to increase rather than decrease the net revenue yield to the federal government.

The estate tax is justified as a means of reducing the concentration of wealth. However, the truly wealthy and their estate planners avoid the tax. The low yield of the tax is a testament to the ineffectiveness of the tax as a force for reshaping the distribution of wealth.

The primary defense made for the estate tax is that it encourages charity. If so, there are better and less costly ways to encourage charity. Eliminating the estate tax will lead to higher economic growth, which is the most important variable in determining the level of charitable giving.

Death should not be a taxable event. The estate tax should be repealed.


Milton Friedman

tomcat27(10000) 5 days ago [-]

I find those people who determine to earn big and then give away big very interesting minds. Their reasons to earn are most of the times very different from a typical person.

lefstathiou(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Speculating here as I am not spectacularly wealthy... I suspect there is more to relate to than first meets the eye.

Chuck is human like all of us. Most people have to spend some amount of time solving for generating enough capital to meet their (and their family's) needs - whatever they may be. The fabulously wealthy / successful did too once upon a time but at some point crossed a threshold the vast vast majority of people - which I will refer to as "typical" - will never, and that is having enough to do and buy literally anything they could possibly desire indefinitely.

Thus the motivation to keep on going professionally (ie to earn more and more, something that drives typical people who are solving to meet needs), I suspect, changes to things money can't buy which are nevertheless "typical": The desire for impact.

Some want it in their life times, others want it for generations (legacy). Some want it in their church or on their job. Others seek and have the means to achieve it on a global scale.

kelnos(10000) 5 days ago [-]

I think out of all possibilities for the attitudes and practices of billionaire philanthropists, Feeney is probably as close to the ideal as possible[0].

But it still makes me sad to see this sort of thing celebrated. A small number of ultra-rich people should not be deciding for society what causes get funded, no matter how pure their intentions are. The fact that individuals are able to amass this much money in the first place is itself a problem.

[0] Then again, we can't actually know that he's ideal, since he's worked hard to keep his activities anonymous. On one hand I applaud him for not seeking fame for all this, but on the other, we have little insight into whatever impact -- good or bad -- he's had.

Hnaomyiph(10000) 5 days ago [-]

>A small number of ultra-rich people should not be deciding for society what causes get funded. Alternatively, we can elect a small number of ultra-rich people into government who would have surly spent his money better on say, funding an ever-growing military.

ticmasta(10000) 5 days ago [-]

regardless if you're a billionaire or not, at some point money is for keeping score. We all have biases that influence our desires and actions; he was able to indulge his more fully.

What's your proposed alternative to the amalgamated actions of rich individuals? I'm not sure what else could work better, and we've certainly seen worse collective approaches throughout history.

SeanLuke(10000) 5 days ago [-]

I vaguely recall that there are classic levels in Jewish philosophy regarding philanthropy, and among the highest is to give with no expectation of any return whatsoever: that means not only giving where it matters, but to do so anonymously, to organizations that don't benefit you (no opera companies), and to people with no ties to you. In this respect Chuck Feeney has been incredible.

This is not to dismiss the likes of Bill Gates: he has been very public with his donations, but in some cases (notably celebrity) notoriety in your donations may create a multiplier effect as it encourages others to do likewise. Even so, I think this is still on a lower-rung, philanthropy-wise, than Feeney's approach.

Nonetheless, we're sitting here praising someone who reduced himself from billions to $2M, but we must remind ourselves that this is unimpressive compared to the poor person who donates $25 to others while starving herself. The value of money is nonlinear. I'm sure that Feeney would say this as well: he no doubt sees himself as saddled with the burden of billions of dollars rather than someone doing something amazing.

I wonder if I ever will have the strength to do what he has done.

baddox(10000) 5 days ago [-]

This whole idea kinda loops back on itself and I wonder if wanting to donate your wealth in order to achieve "higher rungs" isn't itself a perverse incentive than a rung system ought to penalize!

aperrien(10000) 5 days ago [-]

I don't think that seeking to be starving and on the street should be the ultimate end goal of philanthropy. I much prefer to limit my generosity via the First Rule of Rescue: be careful not give away so much that now you need charity yourself.

cmonnow(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Charity in Hinduism falls under 3 modes, as with pretty much everything else in Hinduism - Tamas, Rajas & Sattva

Tamas - given at wrong place/time, to wrong (unworthy) person, without respect/decency, with contempt.

Rajas - given with reluctance, expecting return (either from recipient, or praise)

Sattva - given at right time/place, to right (worthy) person, with humility, without expectation of return.

Note that while others religions mainly dwell on not expecting return and anonymity, Hinduism stresses not expecting return but does not stress anonymity as much as it stresses finding the right patra (bowl) i.e. right recipient.

Donating $100 to a poor person, who also happens to be wicked, and/or will definitely spend it on vices, is actually a bad donation, because it causes more harm to the recipient and society, than good.

Also, timing - a litre of blood donated to a save a life in urgent time, is worth more than a litre of blood spilled in war to gain territory.

Also, place - a donation done in holy land or temple is worth more than a donation from a local philanthropy club.

Also, the reward for donation is gaining goodwill in the heart of Bhagavan (God). And He dishes out goodwill proportional to the 'effort' rather than 'amount' - a $100 wage earner donating $10 is judged the same as $100 million donated by a billionaire.

Source : Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 17, verses 20,21,22

podgaj(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Why is it good that we let one, unelected man decide how wealth is distributed in the community?

If we had taxed him at the rate we have taxed people in the 40's and 50's maybe there would not be such a need for all these 'philanthropists' to give 'their' money away.

And give me a break, he is NOT broke. I live on 20K a year and I do not even think I am broke. When he is living like St. Francis of Assisi let me know.

7402(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Maimonides defines eight levels in giving charity (tzedakah), each one higher than the preceding one.

On an ascending level, they are as follows:

8. When donations are given grudgingly.

7. When one gives less than he should, but does so cheerfully.

6. When one gives directly to the poor upon being asked.

5. When one gives directly to the poor without being asked.

4. Donations when the recipient is aware of the donor's identity, but the donor still doesn't know the specific identity of the recipient.

3. Donations when the donor is aware to whom the charity is being given, but the recipient is unaware of the source.

2. Giving assistance in such a way that the giver and recipient are unknown to each other. Communal funds, administered by responsible people are also in this category.

1. The highest form of charity is to help sustain a person before they become impoverished by offering a substantial gift in a dignified manner, or by extending a suitable loan, or by helping them find employment or establish themselves in business so as to make it unnecessary for them to become dependent on others.

[0] https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/eight-levels-of-charita...

piokoch(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Very true...

And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury, and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites. So He said, "Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had."

Luke 21:1-4

pood(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Curb your enthusiasm — the anonymous donor.

gringoDan(10000) 5 days ago [-]

> we must remind ourselves that this is unimpressive compared to the poor person who donates $25 to others while starving herself

Is it? This is a very Christian way of looking at donations: personal sacrifice / self-deprivation is what matters. [1]

However, utilitarians – notably Effective Altruists [2] – would make the opposite argument: what matters is the impact that you make with the dollars you donate (both in amount and allocation).

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lesson_of_the_widow%27s_mite

[2] https://www.effectivealtruism.org/

simula67(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Is Chuck Feeney Jewish?

FriendlyNormie(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Shut up you lying Jew. Everyone knows Jews are the most greedy people on earth. Why did you even bring up Jews? Chuck Feeney is Irish. Gas yourself you disgusting kike.

gfxgirl(10000) 5 days ago [-]

I could easily retire on $2M so I think it wouldn't be that hard to give away $1998M if I get to keep $2M. It's not like $2M is poor, given it's post tax it's like being able to live on a salary of $75k a year for 40yrs and, he likely owns a house already (or is that part of the $2M, though even if it is he can sell it and live off the money).

I'm not trying to downplay him in anyway. I'm just saying that $2M in the bank is still an extremely comfortable life so there is not much hardship to be had in giving up everything over that.

Also, as for donating anonymously vs non-anonymously I do it non-anonymously as trying to add social proof that you should donate. The more it appears normal to donate the more people will donate, or so I believe. If I could do that anonymously I would but people read me (my blog or other things), they don't read anon's blog/tweets, whatever.

yossarian1408(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Not related to the article, however the third paragraph of your comment touches on a controversial idea, so I'll add another perspective.

On the idea of sacrifice as virtuous.

Sacrifice is only compatible with selfishness. This is because for an action to be a sacrifice, there is two criteria in which it must meet.

The first criteria are that the individual must love themselves.

She who has no value of her own life, cannot sacrifice it, just as she could not sacrifice a rock found in a cave. Vice versa, an individual which holds her own life as immensely valuable, is able to sacrifice it for an ideal, however this leads to the second criterion.

The second criteria are that the individual must hold no value in the ideal or cause in which they contribute towards.

This is because if you hold something as valuable, and you give it up for something of equal or greater value, you are not sacrificing, but rather trading.

Each trade has its own currency, and what that is I leave to the reader to investigate, but sacrifice is only possible for the woman that loves herself and does not hold any value in the ideal in which she sacrifices herself for.

Thus, if you do see virtue in sacrifice, it is only possible because of selfishness, and this is problematic.

BeetleB(10000) 5 days ago [-]

> but we must remind ourselves that this is unimpressive compared to the poor person who donates $25 to others while starving herself. The value of money is nonlinear.

There are other perspectives on this. Often, the very poor person does not hope he will ever get out of poverty, and that makes it much easier to have a sharing/charitable mindset. Keeping the $25 will help him for a few days, after which he'll be broke again and no better off. Giving it away will have the same end result, albeit a few days earlier - but it will be a charitable act he'll feel good about for life, and may also make a friend.

The person for whom it is most difficult to give is usually the one at the edge of poverty. If he keeps the money, he has a chance he'll escape the cycle of poverty. If he gives it away, he'll never change his station in life. For this somewhat wealthier person, that $25 has a lot more value (As an aside, I'm not sure I would respect him much if he gave it away).

To paraphrase from a popular movie: Put people in a pit with no hope of escape and what you get is fairly boring. But give them a glimmer of hope that they can escape, and then watch how they will destroy one another in their attempts to get out. Charity is generally cheap for those who have nothing: They know they are not losing much when they give it away.

Abishek_Muthian(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Although the 'Billions' Chuck Feeney gave away would likely be the focus of his story, his greatest achievement IMO is creating the 'actionable model for philanthropy' which others have since followed creating a much larger impact from what was done through his wealth alone.

>this is unimpressive compared to the poor person who donates $25 to others while starving herself

I absolutely agree and think of this often when I see the philanthropy figures published each year when the top Billionaires have donated <0.2% of their wealth where as there are individuals like this gentleman[1] who donates 80% of his earnings from road side tea stall to educate underprivileged children[1].


ROARosen(10000) 5 days ago [-]

>we must remind ourselves that this is unimpressive compared to the poor person who donates $25 to others while starving herself

While it is truly selfless, I'm not sure what is __really__ harder; for a person living a multi-billion-dollar lifestyle to change to a million-dollar lifestyle, or someone who is used to living on the penny, to give away most of what they have....

jacquesm(10000) 5 days ago [-]

That's a good point. And 'broke' isn't 100% broke just yet, he's not going to have to sleep under a bridge. But he's broke enough that the wrong accident can put him on the far side of the line easily enough. Obviously this goes for many people but they tend to end up in that situation by accident, not by design and as an example to other billionaires he's pretty impressive.

Try imagining Larry Ellison doing this.

liminal(10000) 5 days ago [-]

All donations should be anonymous

caturopath(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Not really my business.

sandworm101(10000) 5 days ago [-]

>>> When I first met him in 2012, he estimated he had set aside about $2 million for his and his wife's retirement.

I don't know about everyone else on HN, but having 2mil in the bank is not my definition of 'Broke'. I want to see what trusts have been setup. What life estates has he retained? I credit him for giving most all of it away, but 'broke' doesn't mean you are worth 0.0001% of some huge number. Broke means you might not cover next month's rent and are parking your car at a friend's to hide it from the repo guy.

cbanek(10000) 5 days ago [-]

With all due reference to Shai-Hulud, I'd say broke has a lot of different possible meanings. It could mean you declared bankruptcy, have negative net worth, or maybe just like 99% gone (while you don't think it means that by definition, and I agree, I think socially we could agree with that. Someone with a dollar in their pocket isn't broke, but is also broke.).

If anything, having enough money to take care of his needs I think is good. If he was hiding his car from the repo man, it's probably because he's not paying payments on it, and therefore all the people that rely on those payments for their jobs you're kind of 'stealing' from, in that you aren't fulfilling the legal and financial obligation. And that doesn't seem very charitable either?

Invictus0(10000) 5 days ago [-]

What's your point? That in his 80s he should be struggling for rent money after giving over 8 billion to charity?

wang_li(10000) 5 days ago [-]

One could argue that everyone has the same responsibilities to society at large. Thus for every Chuck Feeny and Bill Gates, you, personally you, have an obligation to create many billion dollars of value and give it away. If you don't do that, you're worse than any evil billionaire you care to name. They at least are paying millions of dollars in taxes for any money they pull out of investments. How many millions in taxes have you paid?

teruakohatu(10000) 5 days ago [-]

> One could argue that everyone has the same responsibilities to society at large.

Yes you could argue that.

> Thus for every Chuck Feeny and Bill Gates, you, personally you, have an obligation to create many billion dollars of value and give it away

Now that is a big jump. It does not follow that we all have the same responsibility that we all have a specific responsibility.

Historically some rights were tied to the ability of the upper classes to fulfill some base responsibilities that the lower the classes could never possibly meet. Such as being able to afford a full set of bronze armour and a spear. Thus achieving both moral and social superiority.

MisterBastahrd(10000) 4 days ago [-]

When I utilize the interstate highways, I am doing so for my benefit with my personal vehicle. The wear and tear on the roads is negligible.

When the Waltons utilize the interstate highways, they do so using giant tractor trailers which chew up blacktop with heavy loads.

They deserve to have a higher tax burden because they use more resources.

dang(10000) 4 days ago [-]

We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24486539.

andrepd(10000) 5 days ago [-]

In that argument you assume that the net effect to society of their winning billions of dollars is zero, which is obviously nonsense. For instance the net effect to society of somebody like Charles Koch is, undeniably, absurdly negative. He has (not even being hyperbolic here) the blood of thousands on his hands, with his pushing of climate change denialism. We could even argue about the net impact of Bill Gates (is Microsoft a net positive to society or negative? it's at least not obvious, and one can argue).

nverno(10000) 5 days ago [-]

This is a good turnaround of the previous statement. It is incorrect to assume there is only so much wealth, and subsequently, billionaires need to be taxed in order to maintain our standard of living. Most billionaires have created something entirely new, not hoarded some scarce resource from the rest of us.

johnisgood(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Paying taxes is not a virtue. It is not voluntary, you are 'forced to pay'.

chillwaves(10000) 5 days ago [-]

You are assuming that billionaires create 'billion dollars of value' .. quite a leap.

Do we really need to take time out of our day to praise billionaires? What about the workers who's productivity they robbed to get their status?

I think the billionaires are well compensated enough by society. Really odd to see people rushing to defend them.

AQuantized(10000) 5 days ago [-]

This seems like a strange argument since someone who is say, running a large conglomerate, benefits much more from society's infrastructure and organization than a layperson. It then seems reasonable for their obligation to be proportionally greater.

cantrevealname(10000) 5 days ago [-]

> Where did $8 billion go: health, science, education, and social action

Other than science, those are some very bloated and inefficient causes. $1 billion to Cornell? Aren't most of the prestigious universities already swimming in billions of dollars of endowments? He can do what he wants of course, but it would have been nicer if the money was targeted to long shot bets--that only a super rich person could fund--rather than normal things are already well funded through taxes.

TheAdamAndChe(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Perfect is the enemy of good.

Vervious(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Funding top research institutions are in fact long shot bets.

Where else does research get done? Who pays for the buildings, where each one costs hundreds of millions of dollars? Scholarships? Who pays for new tenured positions?

Yes, administrative costs could be cut (I think substantially). But there's this long-going misunderstanding about the roles of endowments at American universities. These endowments have been budged into the next century of operation -- each year they are expected to generate some income to cover operating expenses. These expenses include salaries, financial aid, etc. The larger the endowment, the more income. They can't just drain the whole thing to pay for a building, because then they auction off the future for the present.

Axsuul(10000) 5 days ago [-]

It could have been seen as a force multiplier. If Feeney was educated at Cornell, then that $$ to Cornell could possibly contribute to more Feeneys in the future who could also follow in the footsteps of philanthropy.

longtimegoogler(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Yeah. I also think these large contributions to college endowments are of questionable social value. They clearly help the people who go there to get an education but do they really address the issues that people who can't go to an Ivy League school face.

fourseventy(10000) 5 days ago [-]

He gives away 8 billion dollars and you bitch and moan about it, what a joke

leesec(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Sigh, I love hackernews.

yboris(10000) 5 days ago [-]

I humbly encourage everyone to make giving a larger part of your life.

Consider giving at least 10% of your income to cost-effective charities -- because cost-effective charities can do thousands of times more good than merely regular charities. So your $1,000 donation can do as much good as $1 million, if given well.

Join others: https://www.givingwhatwecan.org/

woofie11(10000) 5 days ago [-]

To be honest, I'd recommend just giving as directly as you can. Right now, I ordered remote teaching equipment for teachers in my community. You can too. Identify people doing good important things, and give them money to do it.

Especially if you give resources to volunteers doing genuinely good work in your community, it has a huge multiplier effect.

read_if_gay_(10000) 5 days ago [-]

That point about cost effectiveness is what always leaves a bitter taste in my mouth when donating. I didn't realize people put lists of recommendations together, that's nice to see.

But how would you go about verifying any stated claims?

bby(10000) 5 days ago [-]

why stop there? I think even as high as 50% is fine given that most people here are in tech.

hangonhn(10000) 5 days ago [-]

I'll echo this sentiment and add that during my career I've experienced a number of ups and downs. During the downs, when it felt like I've wasted years of my life for something that went nowhere, what always felt worthwhile to me was the time I spent doing charity work and volunteering. You don't need to be a Feeney to make a huge difference. Many of the people on HN are insanely well educated and knowledgable and have skills and traits that can be put to good use helping others or inspiring a new generation, especially among the less privileged. Just spending an hour or two a week over a period of years can yield tremendous results in the lives of others.

freeopinion(10000) 5 days ago [-]

I think a big part of the Feeney story is that he didn't just donate money. He got involved. He took an interest and made sure he was making a difference, or at least was doing his best to make a difference. He gave his time and his personal effort.

I remember watching a documentary on him some time ago. There was some issue he was interested in. I think it involved a community in Ireland. He put his money into the issue, but it didn't have the desired outcome. He looked closely at what they were doing and decided the strategy wasn't a failure, so he committed some astounding amount more with specific strings attached. His strings forced others to put skin in the game with him. Then they worked together towards their desired outcome.

How do you make sure that your donation to the blind center will get that roof repaired? Grab a hammer.

munificent(10000) 5 days ago [-]

I support charities and think more people should give.

At the same time, I think it is a bad systemic solution to rely on charitable giving to solve large-scale problems.

Imagine an island with 100 residents, each with $100. Their moral compass varies randomly from Mr. Rogers all the way to a few outright sociopaths. Each day, everyone decides how much to donate. The kinder people donate more because they're kinder. The selfish assholes obviously don't.

What does tomorrow look like? Well, now all the good people are a little poorer and have a little less power. The sociopaths are richer and stronger. They use their edge to secure a little more power, maybe skim a little more off the top.

Watch that island for a few years and what do you start to see? A few avaricious monsters with all the wealth and a horde of poor decent folks doing their best to distribute fewer and fewer scraps equitably amongst themselves.

This is the real magic of taxes. Because taxes are morally neutral. They don't preferentially take more money away from the most decent folks. Ultimately there are some bad selfish people out there and if you don't have some way of forcibly reducing their power, they will take it all. Taxation backed by the force of government is one of the least violent ways of doing that.

scott31(10000) 5 days ago [-]

> So your $1,000 donation can do as much good as $1 million, if given well.

Umm, no

Kevin_S(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Givewell.org is another great resource for identifying extremely impactful organizations.

habosa(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Agree whole-heartedly that everyone should give more. If you find a way to give automatically (ideally from your paycheck, not your credit card) you never even feel it.

It's important to recognize that some causes are not as cost-effective as others, but are still worthy. I'll use my own donations as an example:

  1. Against Malaria Foundation - widely recognized as one of the charities that can do the most for a dollar. Malaria nets cost about $2-3 and it's estimated every ~$2500 given to them saves a life from Malaria.
  2. Larkin Street Youth Services - helping homeless youth in San Francisco (where I lived). A very expensive city and they provide not just housing but education, job services, medical care, etc.  Helping just one full-service client can cost $40,000 a year.
I don't think giving to both of these causes makes me inconsistent. After all, no number of malaria nets in Africa can take a person off the street in San Francisco. And I want both outcomes. I believe nobody should die of malaria, and nobody should be homeless. So I give to both.
raz32dust(10000) 5 days ago [-]

I think thinking in terms of percentage of income doesn't work, because the lower your income, the lower a percentage you can afford to give away. I have found it better to think of it as a percentage of your non-essential expenses. e.g, if you spend $500 per month on non-essential things (eating out, movies, netflix, amazon impulse buys etc.), then you can afford giving away 10% of it ($50 per month) to charity.

anonAndOn(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Mark Benioff donated $100M to the UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital and got his name on the INSTITUTION (not just a building). What many don't know is that donation was to complete a match of $125M offered by Chuck Feeney (who does not have his name on a building anywhere on the campus, AFAIK).[0]. That $125M was only part of the $394M Chuck ended up giving to UCSF.[1]



olivermarks(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Feeney is a wonderful human being!

smattiso(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Namely something after yourself is tacky. But what should buildings be named after? Famous scientists? Planets?

Feeney seems like an awesome guy but sadly in 100 years nobody will know his name!

gumby(10000) 5 days ago [-]

I feel sorry for people who want their names on things. They are broadcasting their insecurities.

jonahx(10000) 5 days ago [-]
benatkin(10000) 5 days ago [-]

I'm OK with his name on it. It seems to be a mutually beneficial branding move. Also it's Marc Benioff.

Edit: I'm more than fine with it because it makes Zuckerberg seem less special.

jandrese(10000) 5 days ago [-]

From the article:

> And he gave it away anonymously. While many wealthy philanthropists enlist an army of publicists to trumpet their donations, Feeney went to great lengths to keep his gifts secret.

kaiken1987(10000) 5 days ago [-]

What he did was great. But for Forbes to say a man with 2% of 8 billion dollars is broke is a stretch.

mrastro(10000) 5 days ago [-]

2 million is only 0.025% of 8 billion. It's a bit of editorializing to call it 'broke' but donating such a huge percentage of his net worth is commendable and he will be living a relatively much more modest lifestyle.

rabidrat(10000) 5 days ago [-]

The article says he put away $2m for his and his wife's retirement. While I agree it's not quite 'broke' in the classic American sense, it is .025% of his former net worth of $8b.

jeffbee(10000) 5 days ago [-]

There's probably lots of people reading this comment who are worth two million dollars, but I bet there are none who are worth eight billion dollars. Knocking yourself down from the 99.9999th percentile to the 90th is a real change.

pwinnski(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Any person worth $8B who later found themself with $2mm would consider themself 'broke.'

Plus, your math is way off. 0.025%.

bluedevil2k(10000) 5 days ago [-]

1) It doesn't say how old his wife is, who knows how long her retirement will be. She looks 65+ in the picture, but who knows.

2) A man feels a certain responsibility to take care of his wife even when he's gone.

3) $2M only spins off $80k in income, hardly a rich lifestyle and far less than most Americans on this site could live with.

* And check your math, 2% of 8B is $160M not the $2M stated in the article.

briandear(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Relatively speaking.

hirundo(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Compare two billionaires.

One stops and carefully donates his money to have the most impact. He ends up 'officially broke.'

The other doubles down on for profit enterprises, but focuses on those with the most impact, like electrifying a fossil fueled sector of the economy or making us a multi-planetary species. The profits are reinvested to accomplish these goals. He ends up richer than ever.

It isn't clear that the second billionaire is less admirable than the first.

strikelaserclaw(10000) 5 days ago [-]

yea but who knows how your money is going to be used once you are dead.

switch11(10000) 5 days ago [-]

can we please keep the pro Tesla posts on Tesla threads

For God's Sake

Let this great guy who gave away $8 billion of his hard earned money get proper credit without dragging a @#$#$ subsidy entrepreneur into it

dang(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Please don't take HN threads on generic tangents. We have enough celebrity flamewars as it is.


bryanlarsen(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Musk has signed the giving pledge, so he might end up doing both. He wants to die on Mars, and it seems likely that if it would require the bulk of his fortune to make us a multi-planetary species, he would commit it.

Paul-ish(10000) 5 days ago [-]

It is not a competition.

zzapplezz(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Buffett & Munger agree with you. (paraphrasing here) Munger cited Costco as an incredibly important, effective, and efficient institution that couldn't be replaced by a non-profit or government. It has lowered the costs of essential goods while treating its workers well.

batsigner(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Imagine being this much of an Elon Musk bootlicker that you completely miss that 90% of his wealth is from a leveraged stock bubble

Vervious(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Depends on your definition of impact. Tesla certainly is not improving education outcomes worldwide, nor funding healthcare research; nor is spaceX saving rainforests from being cut down every day, or helping sustain democracy.

I guess EVs have less environmental impact after four years of use, but do Teslas last that long? The intent there (and the impact) is still very much to monetize

54mf(10000) 5 days ago [-]

This is one hell of a strawman. You know the 'carefully donated' money doesn't just end up in a black hole, right?

Historical Discussions: (September 15, 2020: points)
(October 23, 2018: points)
(April 24, 2018: points)
We now consider Moment.js to be a legacy project in maintenance mode (September 15, 2020: 1126 points)

(1126) We now consider Moment.js to be a legacy project in maintenance mode

1126 points 6 days ago by maple3142 in 10000th position

momentjs.com | Estimated reading time – 10 minutes | comments | anchor

moment(String, String);
moment(String, String, String);
moment(String, String, String[]);
moment(String, String, Boolean);
moment(String, String, String, Boolean);

If you know the format of an input string, you can use that to parse a moment.

moment('12-25-1995', 'MM-DD-YYYY');

The parser ignores non-alphanumeric characters by default, so both of the following will return the same thing.

moment('12-25-1995', 'MM-DD-YYYY');
moment('12/25/1995', 'MM-DD-YYYY');

You may get unexpected results when parsing both date and time. The below example may not parse as you expect:

moment('24/12/2019 09:15:00', 'DD MM YYYY hh:mm:ss');

You can use strict mode, which will identify the parsing error and set the Moment object as invalid:

moment('24/12/2019 09:15:00', 'DD MM YYYY hh:mm:ss', true);

The parsing tokens are similar to the formatting tokens used in moment#format.

Year, month, and day tokens

Tokens are case-sensitive.

Input Example Description
YYYY 2014 4 or 2 digit year. Note: Only 4 digit can be parsed on strict mode
YY 14 2 digit year
Y -25 Year with any number of digits and sign
Q 1..4 Quarter of year. Sets month to first month in quarter.
M MM 1..12 Month number
MMM MMMM Jan..December Month name in locale set by moment.locale()
D DD 1..31 Day of month
Do 1st..31st Day of month with ordinal
DDD DDDD 1..365 Day of year
X 1410715640.579 Unix timestamp
x 1410715640579 Unix ms timestamp

YYYY from version 2.10.5 supports 2 digit years, and converts them to a year near 2000 (same as YY).

Y was added in 2.11.1. It will match any number, signed or unsigned. It is useful for years that are not 4 digits or are before the common era. It can be used for any year.

Week year, week, and weekday tokens

For these, the lowercase tokens use the locale aware week start days, and the uppercase tokens use the ISO week date start days.

Tokens are case-sensitive.

Input Example Description
gggg 2014 Locale 4 digit week year
gg 14 Locale 2 digit week year
w ww 1..53 Locale week of year
e 0..6 Locale day of week
ddd dddd Mon...Sunday Day name in locale set by moment.locale()
GGGG 2014 ISO 4 digit week year
GG 14 ISO 2 digit week year
W WW 1..53 ISO week of year
E 1..7 ISO day of week

Locale aware formats

Locale aware date and time formats are also available using LT LTS L LL LLL LLLL. They were added in version 2.2.1, except LTS which was added 2.8.4.

Tokens are case-sensitive.

Input Example Description
L 09/04/1986 Date (in local format)
LL September 4 1986 Month name, day of month, year
LLL September 4 1986 8:30 PM Month name, day of month, year, time
LLLL Thursday, September 4 1986 8:30 PM Day of week, month name, day of month, year, time
LT 8:30 PM Time (without seconds)
LTS 8:30:00 PM Time (with seconds)

Hour, minute, second, millisecond, and offset tokens

Tokens are case-sensitive.

Input Example Description
H HH 0..23 Hours (24 hour time)
h hh 1..12 Hours (12 hour time used with a A.)
k kk 1..24 Hours (24 hour time from 1 to 24)
a A am pm Post or ante meridiem (Note the one character a p are also considered valid)
m mm 0..59 Minutes
s ss 0..59 Seconds
S SS SSS ... SSSSSSSSS 0..999999999 Fractional seconds
Z ZZ +12:00 Offset from UTC as +-HH:mm, +-HHmm, or Z

From version 2.10.5: fractional second tokens length 4 up to 9 can parse any number of digits, but will only consider the top 3 (milliseconds). Use if you have the time printed with many fractional digits and want to consume the input.

Note that the number of S characters provided is only relevant when parsing in strict mode. In standard mode, S, SS, SSS, SSSS are all equivalent, and interpreted as fractions of a second. For example, .12 is always 120 milliseconds, passing SS will not cause it to be interpreted as 12 milliseconds.

Z ZZ were added in version 1.2.0.

S SS SSS were added in version 1.6.0.

X was added in version 2.0.0.

SSSSS ... SSSSSSSSS were added in version 2.10.5.

k kk were added in version 2.13.0.

Unless you specify a time zone offset, parsing a string will create a date in the current time zone.

moment('2010-10-20 4:30',       'YYYY-MM-DD HH:mm');   // parsed as 4:30 local time
moment('2010-10-20 4:30 +0000', 'YYYY-MM-DD HH:mm Z'); // parsed as 4:30 UTC

Era Year related tokens

Tokens are case-sensitive.

Input Examples Description
y .. yyyy 5 +5 -500 Years
yo 5th 1st Ordinal Years
N AD Abbr Era name
NN AD Abbr Era name
NNN AD Abbr Era name
NNNN Anno Domini Full Era name
NNNNN AD Narrow Era name

Era support was added in 2.25.0. The tokens/API are still in flux.

Notes and gotchas

If the moment that results from the parsed input does not exist, moment#isValid will return false.

moment('2010 13',           'YYYY MM').isValid();     // false (not a real month)
moment('2010 11 31',        'YYYY MM DD').isValid();  // false (not a real day)
moment('2010 2 29',         'YYYY MM DD').isValid();  // false (not a leap year)
moment('2010 notamonth 29', 'YYYY MMM DD').isValid(); // false (not a real month name)

As of version 2.0.0, a locale key can be passed as the third parameter to moment() and moment.utc().

moment('2012 juillet', 'YYYY MMM', 'fr');
moment('2012 July',    'YYYY MMM', 'en');
moment('2012 July',    'YYYY MMM', ['qj', 'en']);

Moment's parser is very forgiving, and this can lead to undesired/unexpected behavior.

For example, the following behavior can be observed:

moment('2016 is a date', 'YYYY-MM-DD').isValid() //true, 2016 was matched

Previous to 2.13.0 the parser exhibited the following behavior. This has been corrected.

moment('I am spartacus', 'h:hh A').isValid();     //true - the 'am' matches the 'A' flag.

As of version 2.3.0, you may specify a boolean for the last argument to make Moment use strict parsing. Strict parsing requires that the format and input match exactly, including delimeters.

moment('It is 2012-05-25', 'YYYY-MM-DD').isValid();       // true
moment('It is 2012-05-25', 'YYYY-MM-DD', true).isValid(); // false
moment('2012-05-25',       'YYYY-MM-DD', true).isValid(); // true
moment('2012.05.25',       'YYYY-MM-DD', true).isValid(); // false

You can use both locale and strictness.

moment('2012-10-14', 'YYYY-MM-DD', 'fr', true);

Strict parsing is frequently the best parsing option. For more information about choosing strict vs forgiving parsing, see the parsing guide.

Parsing two digit years

By default, two digit years above 68 are assumed to be in the 1900's and years 68 or below are assumed to be in the 2000's. This can be changed by replacing the moment.parseTwoDigitYear method. The only argument of this method is a string containing the two years input by the user, and should return the year as an integer.

moment.parseTwoDigitYear = function(yearString) {
    return parseInt(yearString) + 2000;

Parsing glued hour and minutes

From version 2.11.0 parsing hmm, Hmm, hmmss and Hmmss is supported:

moment('123', 'hmm').format('HH:mm') === '01:23'
moment('1234', 'hmm').format('HH:mm') === '12:34'

All Comments: [-] | anchor

danellis(10000) 6 days ago [-]

Protocol dictates they now delete it from NPM without warning.

Cthulhu_(10000) 6 days ago [-]

I know NPM and/or Yarn now shows warnings on install, some libraries flag up as being obsolete or unmaintained (in the form of a message from the developer); I hope Moment sets that up as well, and makes sure they add big warnings on the website as well.

I too stuck with Moment for longer than I should have because of inertia and familiarity.

gandutraveler(10000) 5 days ago [-]

I see that immutability is major concern for backward incompatibility, however over years I've become so much used to moment js that I wish I can still use their API's. Can someone explain why is it so hard to release a completely new version that isn't backward compatible? We could as well use different naming so that it doesn't conflict with last versions. moment3().now()

sparsely(10000) 5 days ago [-]

I think the suggestion is just use Luxon - the apis are a bit different but there isn't really need for another library

bettem(10000) 5 days ago [-]

That's effective what day.js is. Its effectively an identical api and is incredibly lightweight in comparison with opt-in extensions.

jasonkester(10000) 6 days ago [-]

Good for them. Open Source seems to have an irrational fear of done.

Done is good. Done should be the goal.

But it's not. Because if you're not adding new features and pushing code changes every day, your project is abandoned, dead. To quote another thread from two minutes ago: "I'm quite sad to see the end of Moment.js"

I wish the was a way to fix this attitude. So that project maintainers didn't need to write two page apologies for finishing their thing.

lcamach84(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Not only programmers, many of us tend to look at progress as an end in itself. Progress is the process of measuring if we achieve the objectives, it can not be the objective. Many times we do not achieve 100% of the objectives and that is fine, we need to consider the law of diminishing returns.

rocho(10000) 5 days ago [-]

As Ajahn Brahm says: 'What's done is finished!'

mfru(10000) 5 days ago [-]

It would seem to be quite easy to do something like:



https://img.shields.io/badge/Maintenance Level-Done-success

and have that as a convention.

Additionally to being easy to implement, it is literally a 3 second task for maintainers to add something like this into their Readme.

truthwhisperer(10000) 5 days ago [-]

I believe this project was done when they posted the black lives matter banner. If you have time for this it means the bigger issues have been solved.

Let's take a moment to celebrate this project! Time flies, time matters

xwdv(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Done is fine. But Done is the first step to Dead.

Times change, and when open source software doesn't change with the times it becomes vulnerable for some newer, shinier, more intuitive thing to pop up and take over. Software simply isn't going to reach some 'Done' state and then have people using it for 100 years with no changes. Pretty soon, no one uses the project that is 'Done' anymore, because it's old and does things the old ways, and not long after that, it's 'Dead'.

Time to die.

momokoko(10000) 5 days ago [-]

The issue is that this model of opensource is different than the Linux distribution model of opensource.

In the Linux distribution model, Debian, Red Hat, etc maintain older libraries in maintenance mode. Patching them for security or other less glamorous fixes and adjustments.

In the Github, NPM model of opensource, the original author also controls the default means of distribution. There is not 3rd party like Debian in the middle to maintain it when the original authors leave. So many thousands of projects will still point to an abandoned distribution channel as opposed to simply an abandoned project.

There are likely solutions, and this is not to say that the second model is better or worse. It is only to describe that it is not as simple as a project being considered 'done'.

nikitaga(10000) 6 days ago [-]

Is this really what a 'done' software is? 'Should not be used for new projects' is not 'done' imo, it's more like 'unfixable' and 'obsolete'. No prejudice at all against Moment.js or its devs, but this is essentially what they're saying.

And the purpose and tone of the article does not seem to be an apology at all, but rather simply setting the expectations for future work so that the maintainers don't have to answer the same questions over and over.

Overall, good to see honest documentation of project status.

uCantCauseUCant(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Code is a living thing- as is the ecosystem around it. Once its done- and the golemn-creator moves on, the project freezes in time, and over time breaks down.

maintenance is keeping the easy to fix fractures from happening, but even then..

If there is no human nearby - then old code is broken.

trevyn(10000) 6 days ago [-]

I have no problem with a project being considered 'complete', but the post also says 'we would like to discourage Moment from being used in new projects going forward', which sounds more like 'dead & done'. :)

mhd(10000) 5 days ago [-]

> Open Source seems to have an irrational fear of done.

Older open source was more okay with this, but it's a huge issue with the modern JS/github model, where quality is measured by recent updates, 'stars' within the last month etc.

judofyr(10000) 6 days ago [-]

> But it's not. Because if you're not adding new features and pushing code changes every day, your project is abandoned, dead. To quote another thread from two minutes ago: "I'm quite sad to see the end of Moment.js"

In this case, the reason why Moment.js is 'dead' and not 'done' is because it has fundamental flaws in its design: Mutable objects + huge bundle size which doesn't work well with tree-shaking.

jwr(10000) 6 days ago [-]

I was about to write the same thing. I like 'done'. The best libraries are the ones in maintenance mode, with long-term stability goals. The worst libraries are ones where the author(s) do a Major Rewrite every year or two.

There is a widespread meme/trope about something being 'dead'. Whenever I hear someone saying that a language/library is 'dead', I make a point of checking that person's credentials. It almost always turns out that these are not people who write big applications or well-known libraries, but rather ambulance chasers — constantly looking for the next shiny thing.

tmpz22(10000) 6 days ago [-]

MomentJS may be an exception but any JavaScript project with a large number of node_modules or testing/distribution pipelines pinned to build systems like gulp or webpack are highly likely to break from year to year as they become incompatible with a version of node or one of the dependencies is taken over by a potentially malicious actor. For this reason any JavaScript ecosystem based project must receive increased scrutiny for this type of stuff.

Now give me a golang library that hasn't been touched in four years and it would be a completely different situation (knock on wood go2 doesn't ruin this).

bartread(10000) 6 days ago [-]

> I wish the was a way to fix this attitude. So that project maintainers didn't need to write two page apologies for finishing their thing.

One of the problems is that GitHub is full of OSS libraries where the last commit was three years or more ago and you have no idea (without forensically analysing commits, issues, etc.) whether it's because the project is done or because the maintainer(s) lost interest, had other priorities, etc.

And you have no idea because they haven't said. They haven't told anyone: it's just drifted into an unclear state of unmaintained-ness.

I would suggest rather that what the Moment.js team have done here should be the norm: i.e., clear communication of the situation. That situation, as here, might be 'done', or it might be 'the thing's only half finished but we don't care enough to carry on any more', or something completely different. These are all good reasons to stop working on something even if they're potentially frustrating for users. E.g., in the 'don't care' scenario, people have the option to step in and pick up maintenance, fork the project, or simply not use it.

Doesn't matter: understanding the state of a potential dependency in terms of maintenance and development is the key factor that will enable people to make an informed decision about whether to use it or not.

notatoad(10000) 5 days ago [-]

>I wish the was a way to fix this attitude.

I think the best way to fix this attitude is to have more examples of 'done but not dead' projects in the wild. You can't blame people for assuming they're the same thing when in most cases they are.

xmprt(10000) 6 days ago [-]

To some extent I don't think this means moment is dead although I don't assume a lot of new developers will be choosing it for their projects. Even starting a few years back I replaced it with Luxon and haven't looked back.

duxup(10000) 5 days ago [-]

> So that project maintainers didn't need to write two page apologies

They don't need to write me an apology, but just a notice like this one is very nice so I can be sure what is up.

ssdspoimdsjvv(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Is software ever really done, as long as it's not perfect (and perfection does not exist)? In fact, even Moment.js is not done. They say they will keep releasing security fixes and time zone updates. What if at some point they decide they won't even do that?

I am wary to use software that is not maintained, because bugs won't get fixed, and new requirements that will eventually arise won't get taken up. And usually at that point a competitor rises up and releases a better product.

PaulStatezny(10000) 5 days ago [-]

> I wish the[re] was a way to fix this attitude.

This isn't a universal attitude. Numerous language ecosystems exist where it's completely normal to use dependencies that haven't been updated in a while _because_ they warrant no change.

This is a problem with the general attitude of the community of JavaScript developers.

And they're too stuck in their JS ecosystem bubble to realize this isn't necessarily 'normal' or 'the way things should/have to be.'

paxys(10000) 6 days ago [-]

That's a weird way to think about software. Every released version of every product is already 'done'. Once you take a dependency there is no obligation to keep updating it, no matter what features the maintainers may add to future versions.

In this case, considering the creators are discouraging people from using the package and explicitly saying there won't be future bug fixes, TZ/locale updates etc., it is pretty clear that done really means deprecated.

jrochkind1(10000) 5 days ago [-]

'Done' as a goal would maybe mean 'mature', 'polished', 'complete'.

But in this case they also say they don't actually recommend Moment.js for new new projects, generally. 'we would like to discourage Moment from being used in new projects going forward.' In this case 'done' also basically means 'obsolete', 'newer better alternatives exist'.

That doesn't seem to be the kind of 'finished' that you are talking about, or that would be a goal of developers. Or is it?

Examples of open source projects which are very popular, mature, not obsolete, still recommended by their maintainers for new projects -- but also 'done' -- might be closer to what you are trying to compliment. They are definitely few and far between.

z3t4(10000) 5 days ago [-]

You don't have to rewrite all software every 3 years. After 5 years without any major changes the software is stable, it has been battle tested, all issues and quirks are well known, features and designs has been discussed. It's now time for the software to pay off the development cost. And for a project like this - it's probably saves millions of man-hours every year, time that can be used for other things.

hn_throwaway_99(10000) 5 days ago [-]

I disagree. Software can go into 'maintenance mode', that's fine, but there is otherwise no difference between done, abandoned and dead.

For a real example, look at lodash. You could easily argue it's 'done' and that it has better alternatives now, but look what happened: a security bug was discovered, the original author pretty much abandoned it, and it took about a week to figure out how to get a working build while meanwhile many thousands of other projects were failing due to npm audit checks.

The fact is even if nothing really needs to change in your project, the ecosystem around it can change requiring updates to your code.

It's fine to say 'This project needs no new features and is in maintenance mode', but otherwise, if you're not willing to deploy new releases, 'done', 'dead' and 'abandoned' all mean exactly the same thing.

meigwilym(10000) 5 days ago [-]

I completely agree.

It takes a lot of guts to make this kind of announcement. When faced with younger, faster competitors, it's natural to try and fight your corner. This is rarely good for a software project.

The devs have put their hands up and called it off. They can move on to more exciting projects. The rest of us can make better decisions now that the thinking behind this decision is out in the open.

Congrats, moment.js, on a great project!

thayne(10000) 6 days ago [-]

Not adding new features might mean the project is 'done' but not fixing bugs is an indication it is abandoned, and I have yet to find useful software that doesn't have bugs. And note that moment.js will continue to get bugfixes, just not new features.

abrookewood(10000) 6 days ago [-]

I also appreciate that they clearly covered: (i) why you shouldn't use this going forward; (ii) why you might continue to anyway; and (ii) what the alternatives are. All in all, a very well handled response.

divbzero(10000) 6 days ago [-]

TIL: Intl.DateTimeFormat [1] has good browser support [2] and allows for nifty tricks like

  > new Intl.DateTimeFormat('zh', { hour: 'numeric' }).format(new Date)
  < '下午11时'
[1]: https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/JavaScript/Refe... 'MDN: Intl.DateTimeFormat'

[2]: https://caniuse.com/mdn-javascript_builtins_intl_datetimefor... 'Can I Use: Intl.DateTimeFormat'

ehsankia(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Not sure if this is a stupid suggestion, but could there be a drop-in replacement for moment which uses Intl and other modern browser APIs, otherwise fetches the full moment.js? Or does MomentJS already do that?

Semaphor(10000) 6 days ago [-]

The whole Intl namespace is a godsend.

vasachi(10000) 6 days ago [-]

This should be a reason to use moment.js more, not less. It's done, so it will not change under you, and you won't have to rewrite your app.

jackdh(10000) 6 days ago [-]

Could you not just say the same about using LTS versions?

jtchang(10000) 6 days ago [-]

This might be an even better reason to use it. It's purely in bug fixing and maintenance mode at this point. Which means for projects it will probably be super stable and won't change too much. This by itself is really valuable.

buzzerbetrayed(10000) 6 days ago [-]

I don't see this tiny upside outweighing the many deal-breaking downsides of moment.js. Especially since Luxon is already incredibly stable.

Besides, this announcement probably makes moment.js less stable than it was previously, since the web will continue to change but it won't change with it.

qwertox(10000) 6 days ago [-]

A big 'Thank you!' to the developers of Moment.js. For the last 8 years or so it has always been the first library I included in any new JS-project.

I didn't even bother looking for alternatives, so I didn't know about Intl, Luxon & day.js until today.

The size of the library has always been one of these things where I thought that the benefits outweigh the costs, and I knew that it wouldn't be like this forever. To me, this time in the future has come now, and I will switch to day.js (or Luxon, day.js has its size on its side, but I still need to compare).

No other library has filled a huge gap in JavaScript like Moment.js did for so many years.

On a note aside: I wish HTML had a <time>-tag, so we could also settle the timezone problem in publications like rocket launches or starting times of keynotes once and for all, where the publisher would use something like <time tz='Europe/Berlin'>2020-09-15 10:26:48</time> and the browser would show it to the reader in the reader's local timezone.

yesbabyyes(10000) 5 days ago [-]

> On a note aside: I wish HTML had a <time>-tag, so we could also settle the timezone problem in publications like rocket launches or starting times of keynotes once and for all, where the publisher would use something like <time tz='Europe/Berlin'>2020-09-15 10:26:48</time> and the browser would show it to the reader in the reader's local timezone.

While the browser won't convert it automatically, this is what the HTML <time>0 tag is for. The publisher can use <time datetime='2020-09-15T10:26:48+2'>2020-09-15 10:26:48</time> and include a script which will read the datetime attribute and convert it to the browser's local time zone.

0 https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/HTML/Element/ti...

metafunctor(10000) 5 days ago [-]

HTML5 does have a <time>-tag, but browsers don't render times in local time, you need JavaScript for that.

kevmo(10000) 5 days ago [-]

     No other library has filled a huge gap in JavaScript like Moment.js did for so many years.
I might say jQuery... which is mighty fine company to be included with!
theobeers(10000) 6 days ago [-]

I thought there would be more discussion here surrounding the recent update to Lighthouse, whereby it warns you if you're using Moment.js and suggests alternatives.

There was some back-and-forth about this on Twitter the other day:


Macha(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Got a 'This is not available to you', which confused me since I don't even have a twitter account. Turns out this just the new form of Twitter's 'Links with referrers stop working the first time'

cjkarr(10000) 5 days ago [-]

I don't know if the Moment.js folks are reading this, but THANK YOU for your commitment to stability and security fixes.

Not all of us are in a situation where we're iterating through the JavaScript new hotness every couple years and still have significant legacy systems to maintain and support.

mj1586(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Yes, and you're welcome.

rudolph9(10000) 5 days ago [-]

I worked extensively with Luxon (a sibling project leveraging modern js constructs) and found it to be really great! I'm really happy with their approach of creating an entirely new project to embody the API and new features you might expect in newer release of moment. It allowed Luxon to mature for several years without the weight of supporting the legacy api and avoided confusion within the community. The direction for moment seems completely reasonable.


rudolph9(10000) 5 days ago [-]

> Ideas in Luxon

> Luxon is built around a few core ideas:

> * Keep the basic chainable date wrapper idea from Moment. Make all the types immutable. Make the API explicit; different methods do different things and have well-defined options.

> * Use the Intl API to provide internationalization, including token parsing. Fall back to English if the browser doesn't support those APIs.

> * Abuse the Intl API horribly to provide time zone support. Only possible for modern browsers.

> * Provide more comprehensive duration support.

> * Directly provide interval support.

> * Write inline docs for everything.


mekster(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Dropped using Luxon when I couldn't easily chain like moment.js.

moment.js's API is intuitive and I have been using Dayjs and it has been doing great.

fendy3002(10000) 5 days ago [-]

I've used moment in many of my projects. Though they're able to be migrated into new libraries, I haven't found alternative that use moment.js's date format notation. Are there any alternative that use it?

Many UI libraries use that format so using different libraries with different notation will be harder to manage for me.

mj1586(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Moment made up its tokens as it went along. Some match other languages, several do not.

The only real 'standard' in this area is LDML tokens, which are part of CLDR. Luxon follows those.

thrownaway954(10000) 5 days ago [-]

could someone take the time and explain to a moron like me why the mutability of moment is bad? i just don't get it. moment has always been my goto library for dealing with dates in javascript.

fendy3002(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Disclaimer: I too use moment in my daily project

Example snippet (CMIIW, it's as I remembered):

    let date1 = moment('2020-01-01');
    let date2 = date1.add(2, 'days');
    console.log(date1.format('YYYY-MM-DD')); // 2020-01-03
    date2.add(2, 'days');
    console.log(date1.format('YYYY-MM-DD')); // 2020-01-05
Usually the date1.add operation won't change the date1 value, and any operation to date2 won't change date1, but it isn't. It's made worse because people like to return moment object outside function scope, so operation outside can modify the object inside and weird bugs happen.

It's actually a manageable problem IF you know the behavior, and only using moment object reference inside scope, and using immutable objects as parameter / return, such as milliseconds timestamp and js date.

perlgeek(10000) 5 days ago [-]

OK, let me try.

Most software has 'reference types', like a customer. A customer is mutable; for example their name can change for a variety of reasons, their shipping address can change etc.

And then there are 'value types', like integers or strings. The integer 42 can never change to be any other value.

If your customer lives in Rando Street no 42, and moves to Rando Street 41, you don't change the integer (value type) 42 to 41, you set `custtomer.address.house_number` to the new integer 41. If any other code referenced the number 42, it still has number 42 stored.

Now, many people argue that a moment in time (like timestamp/datetime) is usually better modeled as a value type. If you have two references to one moment, you can rely on the fact that nobody else can modify that moment after the fact.

This is usually safer, since it makes the case of accidentally over-shared objects a non-problem, though possibly a little bit less performant (since all 'modifications' must create new copies).

codegladiator(10000) 6 days ago [-]

I wish more software/libraries would mark themselves as 'Done' instead of sending one update every week and a ui refresh every 6 months. Software engineering is the only field where we keep building a single thing forever until it becomes a hot mess.

lazharichir(10000) 6 days ago [-]

It really isn't 'done' if you tell people they probably should look at alternatives instead. Sounds more like a soft deprecation to me.

But regardless of semantics, they're being transparent on the project's status.

mcv(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Someone recently added moment to our project to parse some dates. More recently, I decided to use it to parse and format some dates somewhere else, and I immediately got flak for it.

This is, all I need moment for, is simple date.formatAs('DD-MM-YYYY') and date.parse(date, 'YYYY-MM-DD') stuff. moment is overkill for that, but js Date somehow doesn't do it. It would probably be quicker to write one myself than to find a library that does just that.

bufferoverflow(10000) 4 days ago [-]

That's what Intl.DateTimeFormat is for.

    var options = { year: 'numeric', month: '2-digit', day: '2-digit'};
    console.log(new Intl.DateTimeFormat('te-IN', options).format(new Date()));
    // outputs 16-09-2020
tannhaeuser(10000) 6 days ago [-]

Shouldn't software strive to perfection when done (like, say, LaTeX) rather than being obsolete when not anymore maintained?

d--b(10000) 6 days ago [-]

As the author says, the library caters to a language that is no longer in use - aka. javascript 2010 - and keeping up with the evolution of javascript would be making breaking changes, which have been accomplished by other projects by now. What would be the point?

spyckie2(10000) 6 days ago [-]

Some software exists to 'bridge the gap' for deficiencies in other areas of the software ecosystem. Javascript date api really sucked from 2002-at least 2016 (arguably still does? haven't really followed) and so these libraries come in to close the gap. Similar to JQuery.

Moment can be thought of as an instance (or build) of the iterative development of a strong usable, robust and bug free javascript api for dates. It's just that moment is the major release version that is still extremely popular but is a dead end in terms of design. Eventually the end goal is a solid, community agreed upon standard lib and in between versions (moment in this case) should be obsoleted while also not breaking existing code bases.

But read the attached article, it does a much better job of explaining than I do.

ztratar(10000) 6 days ago [-]

I am very emotionally confused, as I feel this is a huge step forward for open source.

More code should be done. More developers just need to know how to quit the project when the time is right.

This is weird to say, but this is strong leadership.

oaiey(10000) 6 days ago [-]

This is exactly that: Strong, humble, responsible, positive and encouraging leadership and guidance.

mekster(10000) 5 days ago [-]

I remember request.js being 'done' as of late.

dmit(10000) 6 days ago [-]

Please pardon this drive-by assessment of JS calendar libraries by a casual user.

moment.js: Mutable. Thank you, next.

Luxon: Takes the effort to implement `Interval`, which would be `Range<DateTime>` in any proper language, but somehow avoids providing separate `Date` and `Time` objects.

Day.js: When you kinda like moment.js, but your bundler says it's too fat.

date-fns: The finest of pure, curry-able functions over the minefield that is Javascript's `Date` object.

js-joda: If Javascript didn't have classes already, this project would probably port the entire Java runtime to JS just to replicate them. Likely the most correct handling of date/time stuff available for the browser, but damn, at what cost?


Edit: this turned out way too negative, my bad. All I wanted was a library that offered:

0) Type definitions.

1) Immutable classes of `Date` (year, month, day), `Time` (hour, minute, etc), `DateTime` (the prior two combined), `Instant` (for a certain moment on the global timeline), and `Duration`.

1b) `DateTime` should probably be split into two separate things, one of which is aware of time zones.

2) All the obvious date arithmetic functions - duration between dates, adding/subtracting durations, etc etc.

mj1586(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Hi. You seem to be asking for Temporal. It's coming, we hope! https://tc39.es/proposal-temporal/docs/index.html

jimmaswell(10000) 5 days ago [-]

> moment.js: Mutable. Thank you, next.

A petty, thoughtless dismissal that reflects more on the one saying it than the library.

jeroenhd(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Can you explain why you find mutability to be a showstopper? Is this a front end developer thing?

I like my consts and all where relevant, but I don't see why mutability is such a problem. Javascript is an imperative language where almost everything more complicated than a number is mutable. I see the lack of creating copies of objects with every operation as a benefit because of the RAM and CPU cycles it saves.

Is it because the API returns a reference to an object as well as updating said object? That's the API I'd expect, personally; if I want to do an addition of 1 to i, I'd write i += 1 and expect i to have incremented. I don't see why moment.add() should behave differently?

cwmma(10000) 5 days ago [-]

> 1b) `DateTime` should probably be split into two separate things, one of which is aware of time zones.

due to daylight saving timezones depend on the date, which makes it hard to separate date and time

RobertKerans(10000) 5 days ago [-]

> `DateTime` should probably be split...


glintik(10000) 6 days ago [-]

'moment.js: Mutable. Thank you, next.'

Mutable is not bad, buddy. You live in mutable world.

3np(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Anyone has an idea for a solid module that supports representations of sub-millisecond precision (preferrably ns but at least us)?

dominotw(10000) 5 days ago [-]

> used in millions of projects

Are there really millions of not-toy javascript projects out there?

kube-system(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Without a doubt. Remember there are lots of not-toy software projects that aren't publicly published.

schwartzworld(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Like it or not, 90% of the web relies on JS for it's UI to function properly.

firebaze(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Our favorite bug for newbies using moment.js:

  const somedate = moment(...somedate...);
  const oneMonthLater = somedate.add(1, 'M');
  const dateToCheck = ...; // between somedate and somedate + 1 month
  if (dateToCheck.isBetween(somedate, oneMonthLater)) {
    // do something
The puzzled looks when the tests fail. I'll miss that. Seriously.
NanoWar(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Gotta love immutables after that...

edgarvaldes(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Yes, it bit me once

superfrank(10000) 5 days ago [-]

Just to confirm that I remember Moment correctly, the code in the if statement never runs because .add mutates somedate, so somedate and oneMonthLater are the same, correct?

kohlerm(10000) 5 days ago [-]

It is done, but not dead? to me that sounds like a contradiction given that there is always a need for security patches and also given the limitations mentioned such as improving bundle size.

untog(10000) 5 days ago [-]

As per the post:

'We will address critical security concerns as they arise.'

Perhaps a better term than 'done' is 'feature complete'.

SenHeng(10000) 6 days ago [-]

> We now generally consider Moment to be a legacy project in maintenance mode. It is not dead, but it is indeed done.

vasachi(10000) 6 days ago [-]

Honestly, I wish more js libraries would be that way. I've used date-fns in a small part of an app, so of course when I return to it in several months, date-fns released a fully incompatible new major version.

ilaksh(10000) 6 days ago [-]

Makes sense. Similar thing with 'request' awhile back.

I mean, you can see that even in the high-tech realm, it takes years for obsolescence to be acknowledged. But at least it does eventually happen.

I actually think that a lot of the problems that our society has in general is because we take too many decades to move on from obsolete ways of doing things.

What we need is for other core assumptions or technologies in our society to be able to upgraded. For examples: roads, cars, cities, government, money. I truly believe that all of those fundamental structures are often stuck in outdated forms that are holding us back.

davidtranjs(10000) 6 days ago [-]

It is not easy to replace moment.js since many libraries like react-dates rely on momentjs. Hope they have plan to replace it.

rvanmil(10000) 6 days ago [-]

These kind of dependencies is one of the reasons I prefer to avoid react-* libraries.

It would be nice to see more flexible dependencies in such libs for example like material-ui pickers [0] which let's you bring your own date/time lib.

[0] https://material-ui-pickers.dev/getting-started/installation

Historical Discussions: Nova by Panic (September 16, 2020: 1035 points)

(1043) Nova by Panic

1043 points 4 days ago by 0x0 in 10000th position

nova.app | Estimated reading time – 8 minutes | comments | anchor

If we're being honest, Mac apps are a bit of a lost art.

There are great reasons to make cross-platform apps — to start, they're cross-platform — but it's just not who we are. Founded as a Mac software company in 1997, our joy at Panic comes from building things that feel truly, well, Mac-like.

Long ago, we created Coda, an all-in-one Mac web editor that broke new ground. But when we started work on Nova, we looked at where the web was today, and where we needed to be. It was time for a fresh start.

The Editor.

It all starts with our first-class text-editor.

It's new, hyper-fast, and flexible, with all the features you want: smart autocomplete, multiple cursors, a Minimap, editor overscroll, tag pairs and brackets, and way, way more.

Autocomplete with Fuzzy Matching
Multiple Cursors
Git Status

For the curious, Nova has built-in support for CoffeeScript, CSS, Diff, ERB, Haml, HTML, INI, JavaScript, JSON, JSX, Less, Lua, Markdown, Perl, PHP, Python, Ruby, Sass, SCSS, Smarty, SQL, TSX, TypeScript, XML, and YAML.

It's also very expandable, with a robust API and a built-in extension browser.

(Here's a little editor story for fun. During beta we found some bugs in Apple's text layout engine that we just could not fix. Our solution? Writing our own text layout manager... from scratch. Not only did this fix the bugs, but it also boosted our editor's performance. We're not messing around!)

But even the best text engine in the world means nothing unless you actually enjoy spending your time in the app. So, how does Nova look?

The Interface.

It's beautiful. And clean. And fun.

You can make Nova look exactly the way you want, while still feeling Mac-like. Bright, dark, cyberpunk, it's all you. Plus, themes are CSS-like and easy to write. Nova can even automatically change your theme when your Mac switches from light to dark mode.

The Workflows.

Nova doesn't just help you code. It helps your code run.

You can easily create build and run tasks for your projects. We didn't have them in Coda, but boy do we have them now. They're custom scripts that can be triggered at any time by toolbar buttons or keyboard shortcuts.

Imagine building content, and with the single click of a button watching as Nova fires up your local server, grabs the appropriate URL, and opens a browser for you, instantly. Just think of the time you'll save.

Nova supports separate Build, Run, and Clean tasks. It can open a report when run. And the scripts can be written in a variety of languages.

The Tools.

Now, this is important. Editing text is just part of what Nova does.

We've bundled in extremely useful tools to help you get your work done quickly and efficiently. They're all fast and native too, of course.

The New Tab button doesn't just open a fresh document. although it does that, too.

Click it to quickly access a feature-packed Transmit file browser, or a super-convenient Prompt terminal, all right inside Nova.

Meanwhile, Nova's sidebar is packed with power.

The sidebar can also be split to show multiple tools at once, on the left and/or right side of your editor. And you can drag your favorite tools into the sidebar dock at the top for one-click access.

Nova also has Git source control tools built-in. Clone. Click-to-clone. Initialize a repo. Fetch and pull. Stage and unstage. Commit. Push. You know the drill. (We don't have built-in diff yet, but it's on our list!)

Git status is available both in the editor and the sidebar. And a useful 'Show Last Change for Line' pop-up explains commits.

The Extensions.

A Nova extension can do lots of things, like add support for new languages, extend the sidebar, draw beautiful new themes and syntax colors, validate different code, and much more.

Even better, extensions are written in JavaScript, so anyone can write them. And Nova includes built-in extension templates for fast development.

Check out some of this week's popular extensions...

Browse Extensions

The Settings.

People have strong editor opinions.

And we're here to help. Nova has a whole host of settings. We have easily customizable key bindings. We have custom, quickly-switchable workspace layouts. And we have loads of editor tweaks, from matching brackets to overscroll.

(And if there's something you need to work that Nova doesn't have, just let us know! Nova is always changing, always growing.)

And So Much More.

  • Command Palette
  • Project Launcher with Custom Artwork
  • Multiple Sidebars & Sidebar Splits
  • Separate Editor & Window Themes
  • Automatic Theme Changes
  • Global & Project Clips
  • Project-Wide Indexing
  • Intelligent, Extendable Autocomplete
  • Powerful Open Quickly
  • Git Source Control Sidebar
  • Preview Tabs
  • Built-in Static Web Server
  • Remote Publishing via FTP, SFTP, WebDAV, & Clouds
  • Local & Remote Terminals
  • Markdown Preview
  • Customizable In-App Key Bindings
  • Panic Sync for Servers & Keys
  • Robust Extension API
  • In-App Extension Library
  • nova Command Line Tool
  • Reopen Recently Closed Files
  • Small or Large Sidebar Dock Sizes
  • Project-specific Sidebar Layouts
  • Remote-Bound Workspaces
  • Quick Tab Overview
  • Customizable Event Behaviors
  • Deep-Filtering Files Sidebar
  • Ignored Files in Sidebar
  • Drag-to-Split
  • Easily Merged JSON Project Settings
  • Files Sidebar Navigation Controls
  • Single-Click to Open Files
  • Find & Replace in Project
  • Powerful Find & Replace Wildcards
  • Find Scopes
  • Ignore Specific Files when Indexing
  • Remote Files Sidebar
  • Server Preferences
  • Staged Publishing List
  • Multiple Publishing Destinations per Project
  • Save & Publish
  • Rich Editor Typography & Styling
  • Customizable Line Height
  • Text Glow Support in Themes
  • Multiple Insertion Point Styles
  • Type & Function Separators
  • Customizable Editor Overscroll
  • Source Control Change Annotations
  • Automatic Link Detection
  • Spell Checking
  • Powerful Clip Wildcard Tokens
  • Expandable Issue Line Annotations
  • Hierarchical Symbols List
  • Jump To Definition
  • Dictionary Define Popover
  • EditorConfig Support
  • Customizable Markdown Stylesheets
  • Rainbow Bracket Nesting
  • Rainbow Indentation Guides
  • Matching Tag Highlighting
  • Identifier Highlighting
  • Automatic Closing-Bracket Insertion
  • Bracket Wrapping
  • Automatic Tag Closing
  • Customizable Wrap Indentation
  • Quickly Add Cursors for Successive Lines
  • Project Issues Sidebar
  • Git Branch & Switch
  • Git Commit, Fetch, Push, & Pull
  • Image, Audio, & Video Media Viewers
  • Extension Updating Without Restarting IDE
  • Task Output Reports
  • Remote Tasks on Unix, Linux, Windows, & PowerShell
  • Custom Task Environment Variables
  • Automatic Parsing of Task Output Into Issues
  • Auditory and Visual Terminal Beeps
  • Customizable Terminal Tab Titles
  • Terminal Key-Binding Escape Sequences
  • Terminal 'Option as Meta Key'
  • Terminal URL and file detection
  • Terminal Mouse Events
  • RSA, ECDSA, & ED25519 Keys
  • Dual-Pane File Browser Tabs
  • Cloud Provider Files Support
  • Transfer Transcripts
  • Robust Transfer Settings & Rules
  • External Preview in Browser with Live Reload
  • Non-Interruptive Updates
  • Install Updates On Quit
  • Coda 2 Import & Migration Assistant
  • Transmit 5 Import
  • No-Fuss Analytics & Privacy Settings
  • And Now You Know Why This Took Us a Few Years
  • For Extensions: Develop Extensions In-App
  • Safe, Sandboxed Environment
  • Robust JavaScript API
  • Project & Global Settings
  • Rapidly Reload and Test Live
  • Filesystem, Network, & Subprocess Access
  • Debug Console
  • Editor & Project Actions
  • Linters & Validators
  • Custom Language Grammars
  • Expressive Completion Providers
  • Build & Run Task Templates
  • Custom Sidebars
  • Syntax Inspector
  • Language Server Protocol Support
  • Custom Themes
  • Workspace Notifications
  • Text Parsing & Encoding Utilities
  • Secure Credential Storage
  • Submit Extensions Easily with Validation

All Comments: [-] | anchor

brainless(10000) 4 days ago [-]

I feel if a domain has a very well evolving, competitive open source offering (VS Code), it's really hard to sell something else if the feature difference isn't big.

Perhaps they should have started by targeting something other than web development.

madeofpalk(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Nova feels like an editor for 10, 15 years ago when they were making Coda. It feels like its for when you have a bunch of simple static HTML files and maybe a sass watcher.

These days, web development got both more mature, complicated, and simpler, all in ways that makes it hard for Nova to make sense.

dylan604(10000) 4 days ago [-]

It can also be a great motivator. The new app has a lot to do and knows where to make improvements. The existing app has then one up them to stay relevant. Adobe Illustrator and Macromedia Freehand used to do this with each release. Now you see it between platforms like FB/Insta/TikTok/Twitter etc.

racedude(10000) 4 days ago [-]

I won't be touching it until VIM support is a thing, it feels weird to see or use an editor without support for basic VIM keybindings...

chipotle_coyote(10000) 4 days ago [-]

It's not a matter of keybindings -- Nova is a modeless editor, and Vim is a modal one, so you need to have an entirely different interaction model. Not every editor's extension system is capable of that. (AFAIK, Vim itself isn't capable of changing interaction models -- while I've seen 'Emacs keybindings' for Vim, they don't make Vim into a modeless editor.)

liendolucas(10000) 4 days ago [-]

More and more I see new apps being released and having a subscription model. Pay X for the tool plus Y every year to get updates. Paying 99$ and then 49$ each year is (at least for me) too much money and a no go. If after a year bugs are discovered on the purchase that I initially made, why shouldn't I receive that for free? Subscriptions are ok for services and I don't really care, but products shouldn't be on a subscription model. Just my opinion.

jpcooper43(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Agreed 100%

vosper(10000) 4 days ago [-]

> It's new, hyper-fast, and flexible, with all the features you want: [...] a Minimap

Do people actually find the Minimap useful for coding? If so, how? And why is it better/different than just a scrollbar, or searching?

I've always thought of Minimaps as a thing that seems like it should be adding something to the interface, but actually isn't at all. Seems like pointless eye-candy, to me.

What am I missing?

Brendinooo(10000) 4 days ago [-]

I use my minimap sometimes. Some people are just more visual.

Like, if I have a big file that has a class somewhere, and I know I took a bunch of notes on it, I can scan the minimap for the big block of green comment text, and click that section to jump directly to it.

Regardless, I'm not really short on horizontal space in a world where monitors are huge and 80-character lines are still the norm, so it costs little to keep it there.

mey(10000) 4 days ago [-]

I only use it to jump to sections that are modified from source control, flagged as FIXME/etc or have a compile/lint issue. Having the graphical representation of code density isn't helpful to me normally.

tleb_(10000) 4 days ago [-]

I feel the same about minimaps. In the same extract they list 'editor overscroll'; the feature set must be limited to list that on the landing page.

> It's new, hyper-fast, and flexible, with all the features you want: smart autocomplete, multiple cursors, a Minimap, editor overscroll, tag pairs and brackets, and way, way more.

chipotle_coyote(10000) 4 days ago [-]

It's refreshing to hear I'm not the only one who doesn't like those. As stupid as I know this is, the Minimap actually kept me from trying Sublime Text initially, because it seemed like that was the big feature it was pushing in its earliest days. :)

kevsim(10000) 4 days ago [-]

I scan it for different colors in VS Code quite often. Oops, something red down there. Or quick scan to see where the various colored things that represent git diffs are (red for deleted, green for new, blue for changed).

But as you said, can get the same in the scroll bar.

osxman(10000) 3 days ago [-]

Minimap => Waist of valuable screen space, even on my 42 inch 4K monitor...

nultxt(10000) 4 days ago [-]

I love my minimap, not because it's useful to me at all, but because it looks so freakin COOL

RandallBrown(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Back in my Windows development days I used to LOVE Rock Scroll. https://www.hanselman.com/blog/IntroducingRockScroll.aspx

It made the scrollbar a literal screenshot of the code.

spiralganglion(10000) 4 days ago [-]

I see a lot of folks here comparing this to VS Code and asking 'Why would I use this instead?' — I am exactly on the opposite side of that equation. Why would I use VS Code when I can use this?

I've been using Atom for most of the decade (plus a bit of Sublime, and TextMate before), and I've loved being able to hack it to look and feel exactly how I want. There's a ton of custom CSS in my setup.

Now, Atom is slow. That is a daily frustration for me. The latency on every keypress is grating. I've stripped out every package I can, and that custom CSS I mentioned is mostly hiding things I don't want to see. But still, the lag! I feel it all around.

I tried switching to VS Code, but it was appreciably worse for me. I couldn't configure it to look as nice as Atom (and it had the unshakable feeling that it was made by folks from the Windows school of design — plenty of weird [to me] spacing and typographic choices). It also didn't feel any faster.

So why does Nova appeal to me? Well, Atom is no longer supported, so I'm going to have to switch to something anyway. Nova doesn't look as minimal as I'd like, but I can live with that — at least it looks nice! And it's a native app, so it should (in theory) be buttery smooth.

When it comes to a tool I will spend all day, every day in, $50/year is peanuts. This is my working life. It's worth spending a relatively tiny bit of money to have something nice instead of something good enough. Price is a non-issue for me.

As for extensions... I don't use any. I stripped them all out to try to make Atom faster. So now I get to discover what extensions are available, without being left longing for something I had to give up. Maybe I'll build an extension for myself. This is a new frontier for me.

So we'll see. I tried Coda, didn't like it. I love Transmit, though. So if this tool lives up to its promises, and succeeds on its own terms, I'll be thrilled. For the folks happy with VS Code... that's fantastic. I'm glad you have found a tool you like. For folks like me, for whom VS Code just felt off, this seems like a great option.

runeks(10000) about 8 hours ago [-]

> Why would I use VS Code when I can use this?

Because of the wealth of extensions available for VS Code.

An editor is only as good as the number of developer-hours that has gone into writing extensions for it.

whywhywhywhy(10000) 3 days ago [-]

You had a look at Textmate lately? It's still getting updates and works as nice as it ever did.

nicoburns(10000) 4 days ago [-]

I'm still using Sublime. I guess it's less customisable than Atom, but you can't fault it for performance.

FullyFunctional(10000) 4 days ago [-]

I change platforms many times a day (macOS, Linux, occasionally Windows) and VS Code being cross platform is essential for my use of it. Being Mac-only is a complete deal-breaker.

yreg(10000) 4 days ago [-]

>The latency on every keypress is grating.

May I ask what computer are you using? I would say VS Code runs 'buttery smooth' on my macs. Is this a case of me having no idea of what I'm missing?

thisisblurry(10000) 4 days ago [-]

> Well, Atom is no longer supported, so I'm going to have to switch to something anyway.

Is there an official source or announcement for this? I've noticed that recent release notes and changelogs have become much less substantial, but I've yet to see anything indicating that it's approaching EOL.

zaro(10000) 4 days ago [-]

> Atom is slow, VS Code is appreciably worse

I switched from Atom to VScode, precisely because VScode felt so much snapier.

PascLeRasc(10000) 4 days ago [-]

What do you think of Sublime? I'm like you and something about VS Code's design really bothers me. It's incredibly heavy and can't stop getting in my way. Sublime on the other hand feels like a sharp kitchen knife or a carbon road bike, it's amazingly light and nimble to use. I love it.

Really what I miss is 2015-2018 Atom, but it seems like its time has gone.

fastball(10000) 4 days ago [-]

> Atom is slow, VS Code is appreciably worse

Honestly this isn't possible. VSC had better perf than Atom 4 years ago[1]. I say this as a long-time Sublime user, which is best-in-class[2] when it comes to perf.

> I've loved being able to hack it to look and feel exactly as I want

What is not customizable in VSC? When I first started using VSC, I installed an extension that made all my keybindings exactly as they were in Sublime, then I installed extensions to make it look almost exactly as my Sublime setup had looked (just took installing a UI theme and a color scheme).

If you want buttery smooth, Sublime is where to go. Native doesn't compete with Sublime's low-level text rendering.

But seriously there must be something wrong with your setup if VSC is lacking in perf and Atom wasn't.

[1] https://blog.xinhong.me/post/sublime-text-vs-vscode-vs-atom-...

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_mZOzyzlsww&feature=youtu.be

slmjkdbtl(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Panic makes the juiciest GUI apps and have the strongest presentations, but I can't stand an editor that isn't 60fps scrolling, feels like Atom all over again (downloaded VS Code just to make sure it's not my computer that's slow, and VS Code did give me smooth scrolling, curious about why a browser based editor is smoother than a native mac one)

ps. just found out they're the devs of Untitled Goose Game and Firewatch nice nice

archgoon(10000) 4 days ago [-]

> curious about why a browser based editor is smoother than a native mac one

Turns out that browsers have gotten somewhat good at rendering formatted text ;).

But yes, a deep dive into the exact rendering pipelines would be quite interesting.

ihuman(10000) 4 days ago [-]

They're the publisher of Untitled Goose Game and Firewatch, not the developer.

johnzim(10000) 4 days ago [-]

They're the publishers of those games not devs (though they're great)

josefresco(10000) 4 days ago [-]

On another note, how was Panic able to get a registered trademark for 'Nova'?

CydeWeys(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Who else in this space do you think should have blocked it?

mtmail(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Serial number 88490818 at https://www.uspto.gov/trademarks-application-process/search-...

'IC 009. US 021 023 026 036 038. G & S: Downloadable web site development software; Downloadable computer software development tools'

I guess the trademark it's very specific and not in conflict with let's say a model of a car. But also other companies can challenge the trademark later if they deem it in conflict with theirs.

michaelmarion(10000) 4 days ago [-]

I'm going to be that guy: I would kill for a Java IDE that looked like this.

coryfklein(10000) 4 days ago [-]

That's the first thing I looked for - Java support. Looks like it's not available... for now?

prezjordan(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Looks like Language Server Protocol [0] support is on their list of features - awesome. Will definitely check out, I have a soft spot for native.

[0] https://microsoft.github.io/language-server-protocol/

johnghanks(10000) 4 days ago [-]

kinda wild that something so important is buried in a huge list of other things. LSP is critical for _anything_ that even _wants_ to compete with VSC.

dvcrn(10000) 4 days ago [-]

wow you're right, it looks like LSP support is built in. It's just not individually configurable and needs an extension to be fully usable, apparently

stephc_int13(10000) 4 days ago [-]

They are cutting themselves from so many users...

I don't think that macOS has anything special today.

rimliu(10000) 3 days ago [-]

I think they were making Mac software back in the days when anything Apple was a true niche. They should be fine.

dewey(10000) 4 days ago [-]

They are a Mac developer shop from day one and that's what they are good at. If they'd start building some hybrid cross-platform solution they'd compete with VSCode and all the other free or cheap editors. Doesn't make sense at all.

0898(10000) 4 days ago [-]

What happened to that little handheld console with a crankshaft Panic was making?

dbt00(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Looks like it's still chugging along. There was a big twitter update a month ago with some in-progress third party projects from developer preview units that shipped.

m1keil(10000) 4 days ago [-]

As much as I would like to use this, the lack of cross platform support is a big no go for me. The same way I became 1Password customer _after_ they introduced support for Windows and Android (which I need).

It looks like a wonderful product for someone who is dead set locked into Apple eco system.

the_lucifer(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Well, to be honest Panic have been Mac exclusive developers for upwards of 20 years now. I don't see things changing anytime soon.

leadingthenet(10000) 3 days ago [-]


This is a text editor, not a service that you might reasonably access from multiple platforms (like 1Pass).

yepthatsreality(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Test your site out on Firefox, then we'll talk.

ridiculous_fish(10000) 4 days ago [-]

The site seems to work fine for me on Firefox 80, both Mac and Windows - what problem do you see?

chrysoprace(10000) 4 days ago [-]

It's all well and good to strive to take advantage of a native OS but it should not come at the cost of platform exclusivity.

marckohlbrugge(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Why not? Most developers seem to work on one platform anyway.

It's time someone built a good macOS-native editor. There are already plenty of non-native solutions out there.

biztos(10000) 4 days ago [-]

I'll definitely give it a try but it seems very web-dev-centric at first glance.

There is a 'preliminary alpha' Go extension for example, but there is first-class support for... FTP.

It took me a few minutes to notice the magical sometimes-visible 'download' link but now I have the trial, and I hope it's as useful as it is pretty!

reaperducer(10000) 4 days ago [-]

You couldn't find the download link? The one that everyone else in this discussion is raving about?

It's the huge blue button right in the middle of the page that reads "Download Nova for free." They couldn't make it more obvious unless the forced an auto-download.

ryanSrich(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Ah yes. Nova, the team that sent me the most pompous "rejection email" I've ever had for a product.

"You weren't randomly chosen for the Nova Private beta"

"After six months, our Nova Private Beta is gradually drawing to a close. Unfortunately, we had far more people apply to test than we could reasonably accept as testers.

We're sorry to report that you were not randomly chosen for testing this time."

TheGallopedHigh(10000) 4 days ago [-]

How is that pompous? Seems rather straight forward to be honest.

thamer(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Looks pretty, but is there really no Vim extension? I couldn't find one on the Extensions page. This is a deal-breaker for me, I can't use an editor or IDE without Vim bindings, this would kill my productivity.

Is one planned, maybe?

bkanber(10000) 4 days ago [-]

This was the first thing I looked for too. Perhaps one is planned or perhaps they're counting on the community to write one using their API.

TBH the only feature I truly use JetBrains for is their Cmd+Click to jump to definition, otherwise I'd be happy sticking with tmux+vim as IDE (as I did for about a decade).

reaperducer(10000) 4 days ago [-]

I can't use an editor or IDE without Vim bindings

Maybe this part will help:

'We have easily customizable key bindings'

I don't know if they can be customized to match Vim, but it might be too soon to write Nova off.

tpush(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Finally a Mac-native code editor with Language Server Protocol support! Been clamoring this for a while.

dorian-graph(10000) 4 days ago [-]

> Language Server Protocol

This was the first thing I looked for on their feature page!

twic(10000) 4 days ago [-]

> We don't have built-in diff yet, but it's on our list!

Fair enough - a good diff view has a lot of subtleties.

One of the things i love about IntelliJ is having access to most of the normal editing tools in the diff view. If i'm reviewing my changes for a commit and i realise a method name could be improved, i can refactor-rename it right there. For some reason, possibly just keybindings, i can't use the broader set of refactorings (extract, inline, etc) in the diff, and i wish i could use those too. The diff could potentially be my main interface for programming.

sjwright(10000) 4 days ago [-]

I haven't found a diff tool for macOS that is as good as WinMerge from fifteen years ago.

Kaleidoscope is fairly close but you still can't merge individual lines from a block of changes, and you can't make up for it with manual free-form editing of the text. Sometimes I want to perform the merge by copying and pasting segments myself. Sometimes I want to fix up indentation after merging.

LeoNatan25(10000) 4 days ago [-]

They call it "native", but I don't know, those screenshots look nothing native to me. Being "native" doesn't just mean having a C++ codebase, it also means using the native OS UI frameworks.

zapzupnz(10000) 4 days ago [-]

It does look like it uses Cocoa. What are you seeing that doesn't look like Cocoa? Custom controls doesn't count; those can still be based on NSView and use other Cocoa controls in their implementation.

AJRF(10000) 4 days ago [-]

I am so confused why they didn't put efforts into making this an iPad app. There is a market for something like this that developers are crying out for, but on mac why would anyone use this over VSCode (and pay $99 for the privilege?)

chipotle_coyote(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Panic has an iOS code editor -- right now it's built off Coda, Nova's predecessor, but I'm sure if there's market demand for it, an iOS version will be coming.

Having said that, a lot of software developers -- including Panic -- have not had great experiences trying to sell development tools on iOS. It feels like there should be a big enough market for this, but it's unclear there's actually much of one. If Apple brought Xcode to iPadOS it would likely require changes to the OS to support that kind of development toolchain, and that would make it easier for other companies to bring their tools, both commercial and free. But I half-suspect the official Apple answer to 'when are you gonna let us develop on iPadOS' will be 'may we interest you in this Apple Silicon-based, touch screen MacBook that natively runs iPad apps.'

starik36(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Does anyone seriously want to develop on the iPad?

deergomoo(10000) 4 days ago [-]

I think the main problem is what are you gonna do with the code once you've written it? There's no way to run any sort of server or back-end service on iOS.

mamcx(10000) 4 days ago [-]

(In case that somebody of panic read this)

For different reasons, I use VS Code (pretty, JS stuff), Sublime (fast), IntelliJ(rust) and a SQL Tool(sql!) at the same time.

I like the idea of coda of being more IDEish with transmission and ssh built-in, but one thing that no editor I have use is good at, is to see logs, sql and CVS/JSON data.

In the case of CVS/json, I kill for a way to turn it in auto-datatable with built-in search (do a lot of tabular data manipulation).

So, then after use sublime to load stuff, need ALSO to open excel OR numbers (which one open this CVS file is a gamble) do the edits there, then go back....

cosmotic(10000) 4 days ago [-]

IDEA has excellent log support, SQL, and CVS/JSON support including loading as a table with search.

Xavdidtheshadow(10000) 4 days ago [-]

I really like their pricing structure here. If you want updates forever, it's functionally a subscription (which makes sense - constant updates require constant dev work). The key difference is that if you stop paying, you keep everything you've paid for previously (the app and all past updates).

That's a _great_ way to do a subscription.

SCLeo(10000) 4 days ago [-]

I feel a lot of software is like this before all the SaaS crap.

mceachen(10000) 4 days ago [-]

I've been spending a lot of time lately thinking about what I'd want for a subscription service. I've paid for subscriptions that allow you to continue to use the old version indefinitely, as well as subscriptions that completely turning off access to software at the end of the subscription.

I think the 'use the old version indefinitely' is actually irresponsible as soon as the application opens a network port: it's critical for users to apply security updates as frequently as possible. I don't want any of my users finding the need to run older software: it puts them at risk, and makes customer support more difficult.

So, if users can always run the latest-and-greatest regardless of their subscription status, (it seems that) the only way to reward people for having subscriptions is for some subset of functionality to only be available to subscribers.

For PhotoStructure's case, I'm not willing to hold their libraries 'hostage' in exchange for an active subscription, so even when people allow their subscription to lapse, they still can open and browse and interact with their libraries using the latest-and-greatest version.

Paid features are (like auto-updating 'smart' folders, auto-organization, geo lookups, and face detection) are applied if a subscription is active.

I'm hoping this will be a reasonably fair approach, but I know that it's always a challenge to get people to pay for anything.

dmerks(10000) 4 days ago [-]

I wonder if this subscription model can be sustainable for web applications that have recurring expenses like server and storage costs. Does anyone know any successful examples?

Razengan(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Acorn's (an image editor) model is also good: They release major versions as separate apps on the App Store; Acorn 4, Acorn 5, Acorn 6. They're permanent purchases, and only the latest version is visible but if you had purchased previous versions you can redownload them from the App Store.


firloop(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Sketch has the same subscription model.

XCSme(10000) 3 days ago [-]

I have a similar, but slightly different pricing structure for my self-hosted analytics app[0]:

- Users can pay a monthly subscription, and while they are subscribed they receive updates and have access to support

- Users can also purchase a lifetime license (cost is about 12-14 months of the monthly subscription) which includes lifetime updates

Initially I only had the lifetime pricing but I recently added the subscription, my reasoning was that by having the subscription:

- It assures potential buyers that product will still be maintained

- They can try the product for a fraction of the normal cost (eg. pay only $7.99 instead of $99, so the risk is a lot lower)

- They can have the option to support me and the development as long as they're using the product

After I added the monthly option (I actually show it as the default one), the sales are about 50%-50% for each option (monthly vs lifetime).

There are also buyers who 'hack' the scheme by getting a subscription and cancelling within a month, so they get the product but won't get any updates or support. I did expect this to happen, but I think it is actually a good thing, as most people who do this wouldn't have purchased the lifetime version anyway.

I personally don't like the SaaS pricing in general, especially because it is so over-priced. As a solo developer I am having a hard time finding affordable services to use. For example I use GitBook to publish my docs, their pricing is reasonable at $8/user/month, only that it starts at 5 users and forces you to pay $40/month. I would have gladly paid the $8/month for my usage, but $40/month for hosting a single docs website is absurd. The biggest problem is the so-called subscription fatigue, when you reach one point where paying for all the subscrptions you need adds up to a huge monthly amount. Not only that, but you also get all those monthly invoices that you have to take care of and pay taxes on. Buying a product is so much easier, you pay once, one invoice, you can use it as much as you want without worying about data caps.

[0]: https://www.usertrack.net/

TylerE(10000) 4 days ago [-]

intellij is functionally the same.

Buying a subscription gets you one year updates, and then whatever that last version is remains functional forever.

bengale(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Agenda do this, feels like a nice middle ground.

cmrdsprklpny(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Lots of audio software has a similar model, Bitwig and Reaper come to mind.

foobaw(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Tableplus has a similar model

ghego1(10000) 4 days ago [-]


birdyrooster(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Isn't that what update pricing used to be?

esaym(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Man I'm still vim only. I've tried these giant IDE apps, but just can't wing it.

dylan604(10000) 4 days ago [-]

You are some kind of special. I have heard tales of creatures like you, but they are very reclusive and tend to run back into the woods when spotted!

I am no vim ninja, but nor am I a vim novice. I can use it to write new utility scripts on remote servers, or updating existing files. However, when it comes to long coding sessions with multiple files in the package, I do enjoy a good UI with tabs and drag-n-drop.

hibbelig(10000) 4 days ago [-]

I converted to IDEs when I was working on a humonguous enterprise Java application with thousands of classes, all with similar methods with slightly different signatures.

Also, because of the strong typing, the IDE knows which method is called where, and could thus support refactoring really well.

So if I wanted to change the name of the 'save' method in one tree of 87 derived classes, but not the other 532 classes that also had a 'save' method, then the IDE made that very easy. Of course, it changed the callers, too!

sigzero(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Yup, vim all day every day.

yesimahuman(10000) 4 days ago [-]

You're getting downvoted but a legitimate question is if vim binding support is coming or is even possible in the extension framework? VS Code vim binding support is very buggy and breaks frequently, but otherwise works well. I could see myself switching if vim bindings were better on this because I think the sweet spot of editors is a nice GUI/project tree/etc. with vim bindings.

worldmerge(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Edit: I think my performance with the background is a super niche one. It runs fine in Microsoft Edge on my Windows install on a Macbook Pro 2015, but not on Chrome.

The animation is really cool especially that onscroll effect!

reaperducer(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Smooth in my 2011 MacBook Air.

dylan604(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Maybe you have a spec of dust under one of the keys on your keyboard that is causing the site to think you are trying to do something?

andrethegiant(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Smooth on my 2015 MBP in Safari.

simonklitj(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Buttery smooth on MBPRO 2019, Safari.

threatofrain(10000) 4 days ago [-]

It's strange that Nova would target web tech as their top priority, and not Swift. If you're Mac-exclusive, why not advertise top-class support for Apple ecosystem app development?

Since Nova is prioritizing web workflows, VSC is the elephant in the room and a very deadly competitor. It's free and open source, it's available on Windows, MacOS, Linux, and it can also be ported to the web. And it's Insanely popular and very high quality.

Meanwhile, all notable features Nova lists are default to VSC. One VSC feature that's been quite the remote lifesaver is shared sessions with voice chat.

karmelapple(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Nova is the successor to Coda, which was always a web development tool. So seems totally logical to me.

monadic2(10000) 4 days ago [-]

If they were to target a native 'full powered' editor it would make sense to first capitalize on core competency. This editor definitely isn't for me but it makes sense for Panic.

hrktb(10000) 4 days ago [-]

I wonder if they have a plan to move to iPad their codebase after it's battle tested. There's a lack of a serious editor over there, and in particular VS Code can't compete because of it's business model.

ksec(10000) 3 days ago [-]

Well first Nova is next generation of Coda, which focused on Web Development.

Second I bet there are more Web Developers out there than there are for Mac or iOS.

asadlionpk(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Going for Swift means competing with XCode, which wouldn't make sense as Swift is generally used along with the entire iOS/macOS Dev tools (Simulators, UI Builders, Device Manager etc). Not a wise thing to do.

hexis(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Many Mac users value a native application.

hombre_fatal(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Targeting web development first seems like the obvious business decision. If building an Xcode competitor is a good idea, then it's still a good idea after you have made an editor that's worth using for broader tasks and vetted by the market.

People who care already edit Swift in their favorite editor and use Xcode for the rest of the dev iOS process. You'd be better off trying to capture the hearts of people so that you're their favorite editor than specializing to implement the 'rest of the iOS dev process' on day 0.

As an iOS developer, I think most people start off disliking Xcode but then settle into a reluctant but productive relationship with it. The only things I need to use it for (device simulation, interface builder) are hard to build and yet they're not the things that annoy me about Xcode. Or rather, I wouldn't rather be wrestling with them on someone else's ultimately buggy attempt at reimplementing them.

sneak(10000) 4 days ago [-]

> It's free and open source, it's available on Windows, MacOS, Linux, and it can also be ported to the web

Common misconception. VSC's most novel/valuable features are not open source. VSC is only 'open core'; all of the real value-adds are proprietary and cannot legally be forked/reused.

> One VSC feature that's been quite the remote lifesaver is shared sessions with voice chat.

Like that one.

perardi(10000) 4 days ago [-]

I love native Mac apps, I love Panic...but I'm not sure what this gets me over Visual Studio Code, besides a Preferences pane that isn't inscrutable.

I'm not sure there's enough of a market on the Mac for another commercial code editor, as we already have BBEdit for hard-core text wrangling. (And obviously all the open-source options.)

chipotle_coyote(10000) 4 days ago [-]

> I'm not sure there's enough of a market on the Mac for another commercial code editor, as we already have BBEdit for hard-core text wrangling.

That's going to be my issue with Nova, I think -- well, already is, as I've been beta-testing it. (I even have a theme in Nova's extension gallery!) There are a few things specifically relating to text manipulation rather than coding that BBEdit just does super well for me, and when I want a more IDE-like experience I end up in VSCode. Nova has foundation to be a great competitor in this space if and only if their extension library gets built out quickly, but that's, well, going to be a challenge. I'm still giving them a year of support to see what happens, though.

throwaway378037(10000) 3 days ago [-]

Biggest draw for me would be how it handles Dvorak-Q method input. I found VSC falls apart on Mac with that where Coda handles it like a champ.

criddell(10000) 4 days ago [-]

I think it's for people that want their text editor to feel like a Mac app. VS Code is great, but it doesn't feel very Apple-y.

vkoskiv(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Lovely looking editor with a bunch of features, but they seemingly forgot to include support for something as ubiquitous as C? That's kind of a weird omission.

I'll be following the development of this, but for now I'm not playing with it much further.

mmm_grayons(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Yeah, I was confused by that; I believe there's LSP support, but no C/C++ support is a deal-breaker for a lot of people.

johnghanks(10000) 4 days ago [-]

With all due respect you gotta come out with a grand slam to get me off of VSCode. This ain't it.

The_rationalist(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Ever tried intellij? It's objectively order of magnitude smarter

Hoasi(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Long-awaited. Enjoyed Coda for a long time, then switched to Atom. It looks like a polished Atom version, and Nova is likely going to replace Atom for me.

czbond(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Why? (asking curiously). I used some version of Jetbrains, then Goland, then Atom.

vscTA(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Not that it's a bad thing but it looks like the extension API and architecture has lifted a fair amount from VS Code.

I kind of wish they went all in on LSP and made their extension API via additional JSON RPC methods on top of the base protocol. Because that's what extension authors are using to share code between an extension/editor, LSP is the only thing somewhat consistent and the client surface area is tiny.

zapzupnz(10000) 4 days ago [-]

There is LSP support in Nova. I hope to see more plugins make use of it to bring more languages in the next few weeks.

deddo(10000) 3 days ago [-]

How is this any different from say Sublime Text?

leadingthenet(10000) 3 days ago [-]

It uses native Mac UI widgets, and feels very Apple-y.

andrethegiant(10000) 4 days ago [-]

The hover effect on the CTA is amazing.

egypturnash(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Holy SHIT than's nice.

The starfield background also moves based on your cursor position, dang.

crazygringo(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Thanks for telling me, I'd totally missed it by not hovering. That actually is amazing graphics.

And the fact it's smooth-as-butter without even getting my laptop fan to turn on at all is even more impressive.

sudhirj(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Want to see a blog post about how that effect was made more than the editor :/

dylan604(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Different worlds. I would have called it the download button. By chance are you in the marketing world?

jstsch(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Indeed. Great performance too (much more CPU efficient on Safari than Chrome for some reason).

Also: P3 colors all over :) the Nova logo burns my eyes nicely on the Ultrafine 5K's :) color(display-p3 1 .012 .29 / 1) learn something new every day.

The site reminds me of early Panic work which was also pushing the web envelope forward in tiny attentive details.

hbosch(10000) 4 days ago [-]

I see some interesting things here. The bundled Git tools look really clean, I like the overall UI, it seems to already have some of my most used extensions ported over... but as someone who paid for and uses Sublime Text and finds it to be more than enough text editor for me, does anyone see something here that is worth switching for? At $99 it seems to be competing directly with ST3 ($80, fyi), not to mention the free editors VSCode and Atom.

At that price am I getting much more than the satisfying feeling of supporting Panic?

ghshephard(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Depends on what you are doing - and what you value.

I have VSCode and SublimeText both running all day. VSCode competes with Nova, not as much SublimeText. If your priority is beautiful Mac apps, at perhaps the cost of the more mature plugin/code support from VSCode, then maybe Nova speaks to you. If you are just slamming through tons and tons of text files, and just need a really high-performance text file tool - SublimeText beats out both of them.

KaoruAoiShiho(10000) 4 days ago [-]

While this editor looks very nice I'm still confused on why I would use this over sublimetext or vscode. It doesn't try to contrast at all just lists a bunch of features that I already have in other editors.

YetAnotherNick(10000) 4 days ago [-]

They answered that in the first line of the page

> native Mac code editor

Looks much more native and likely faster than electron based editors like vscode or Atom.

rbanffy(10000) 4 days ago [-]

I see a lot of real estate dedicated to things I don't care that much about when I'm writing code.

I'm probably not the target audience for this. I'm much too happy with Emacs.

criddell(10000) 4 days ago [-]

It looks pretty configurable. What parts weren't you able to hide?

reaperducer(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Eager to try this out. Coda was far ahead of its time, but became dated as others caught up. Hopefully Nova is just as far ahead.

Moreover, I'm getting tired of VS Code's slowness and quirks, so switching back to something from Panic would be great. If it crashes less often than VS Code, it's half way there.

For those who don't know, Panic is well known for decades for making incredibly high-quality software. It's not a big, flashy SV startup, but a small team in Portland that emphasizes quality over quantity.

Also important: Panic takes purchase orders, which is the only way the company I work for will buy software. A multi-billion dollar company where only the C-levels have credit cards. Panic bent over backwards to sell us several products.

pier25(10000) 4 days ago [-]

> Coda was far ahead of its time

Other than the Cocoa UI what feature did it introduce?

> Panic is well known for decades for making incredibly high-quality software

They make great UIs that for sure, but other than that I wouldn't consider them a great software company.

Transmit 4 is one of the slowest FTP clients I've ever used. [0]

Coda 1 and 2 were extremely slow. I remember years ago a coworker had to wait a minute or more to be able to open a medium sized file while Sublime chew it in a second or two.

[0] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZMACGW7zOcY

paul_f(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Am a big fan of the clean, simple UI of Coda. And the SCP built-in for web development. Would never consider VS Code or Atom. If I did make a change and not migrate to Nova, I would consider Brackets. It looks to be the most Coda-like. Any thoughts on that?

hashbig(10000) 4 days ago [-]

I just don't understand why all this work didn't go into making an iOS text editor. Why did they choose Mac OS? It's the most saturated platform when it comes to editors.

Meanwhile, the only thing that keeps me from using my iPad Pro full-time is the lack of a serious text editor and terminal.

deergomoo(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Probably because for most of the use cases, you couldn't actually do anything with the code you write without involving another machine. It's not like you can spin up a node server.

I too would like to use my iPad Pro for work stuff, but I would say the thing standing in my way is Apple.

Brendinooo(10000) 4 days ago [-]

> Here's a little editor story for fun. During beta we found some bugs in Apple's text layout engine that we just could not fix. Our solution? Writing our own text layout manager... from scratch. Not only did this fix the bugs, but it also boosted our editor's performance. We're not messing around!

Seems like there's nobody better than Panic at doing this sort of thing. They're willing to push Apple's UI forward, but they always do it in a way that feels Apple-y. Didn't they also pioneer a tab UI that Apple ended up adopting?

Wowfunhappy(10000) 4 days ago [-]

The company itself would likely have become part of Apple if not for one bit of unlucky timing. Apple wanted to turn Panic's Mac OS 9 music player, Audion, into iTunes.


mhd(10000) 4 days ago [-]

If I recall correctly, that's exactly what TextMate did years ago and what was one reason why it was considered to be so fast.

Plus ca change in a proprietary world.

riordan(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Indeed they did.

I also fondly remember how wonderful the web development deployment workflow was in Coda. This was back before source control was ubiquitous and CI/CD was required for any real production environment. It was the cleanest way I'd seen to go from saving in your test editor and having a clear path to SFTP it to the server. I half recoil in horror and am still in awe of how considered their experience was.

slmjkdbtl(10000) 3 days ago [-]

Can you share what bug did you encounter with the apple text layout engine? I too have written simple text layout code for a text editor (dealing with wrapping, tabbing, cursors and all those things), and those are the most logically chaotic and ugly code I've ever written, turned out buggy and not maintainable, I'm interested to know how other people did it

sho_hn(10000) 4 days ago [-]

To me, the quote and what you put after came as a big surprise - I was ready to nod in agreement as you recognize this as a sad story about the platform.

The last time I was working on a text editor (KDE's Kate) and found a bug in the text layout engine it was written against (Qt's), I wrote a patch, submitted it upstream and it made everyone else's apps better, too.

I can't imagine the world of hurt, discomfort and frustration of developing against a lib set I can't read source code of or improve.

p1necone(10000) 4 days ago [-]

They entirely rewrote something because apples implementation wasn't good enough, that doesn't feel appley to me.

'Appley' would be living with the limitations of apples implementation because apple knows best, and they tried their hardest to lock you out from any alternative option.

mooman219(10000) 4 days ago [-]

'Writing our own text layout manager... from scratch'. I would be pessimistic of the magnitude of this statement.

I do a significant amount of text engine work and I'm skeptical what they implied by this. The likely case is they glued together other solutions (Like HarfBuzz/FreeType/etc) and expose their own API on top of that. This is perfectly acceptable and even encouraged for accessibility reasons. It may be that CoreText isn't acceptable for their use case.

What I think this would be misinterpreted as them writing the whole stack from scratch. For example, shaping is part of layout and it would be monumental if they wrote their own shaper given even HarfBuzz, DirectWrite, and CoreText do not have complete coverage yet. Additionally, BiDi + line breaking + shaping has bugs even in Chrome on some edge cases.

SirHound(10000) 4 days ago [-]

I've been using the beta version of Nova for a few weeks now and I've almost used my trial period for the 1.0.

As a TypeScript developer, if someone made me choose between paying $99 for the actually-free VS Code, or buy Nova, I would by VS Code without hesitation.

Before it began getting long in the tooth I was a big Coda fan. On the whole I like VS Code but I do suffer the occasional runaway process so I am open-minded to a new editor from Panic.

Nova is faster than VS Code, but barely. I like the default rainbow indentation, though I'm sure there's a VSC plugin for that. The contextual spell-checking is excellent and I know it's a better experience than any VSC plugin.

But this thing can't even auto-format a comment block. You can't set format-specific options (so for instance no line-wrapping on only Markdown/MDX files).

The default editing experience is lightweight, and that's a good thing. But the plugin story is dire. Plugins like ESLint and Prettier crash constantly, requiring an app restart. Prettier has a format-on-save behaviour that seems to format after save on some file types. Typescript cmd-click definitions are broken, cmd-click import filepaths are broken.

It's not a bad effort but it speaks to how much ground they have to cover to get within the same galaxy as the VS Code experience. I genuinely think it'll be years before they can charge for this with a straight face.

tobr(10000) 4 days ago [-]

> I genuinely think it'll be years before they can charge for this with a straight face.

Well, I payed for it a few days ago, and I don't remember seeing any crooked faces. I very much enjoy it so far. Considering the scope of the project and the high quality of the design in every nook and cranny of the app, I think it's a bit of a miracle that something like it even exists. Not even Apple makes Mac apps of this caliber anymore.

I agree that the competition they're up against is fierce, but criticizing a 1.0 for a few hiccups and a small ecosystem seems misguided. They are offering something no one else is.

agloeregrets(10000) 3 days ago [-]

I also had the beta for a few months and work exclusively on TS development for work.

Nova is a great editor but the hard thing is taking a step back and realizing that Microsoft has clearly designed VS Code to be the Typescript Dev tool in the same way that XCode is the Swift/SwiftUI development tool.

The leaps and bounds in features JUST for TS is incredibly hard to replicate mostly because it's almost Microsoft's exclusive goal with VSCode development.

I imagine if one doesn't work in TS that Nova is far more competitive, it is not a bad IDE at all when judged on what IDEs prior to VSCode meant.

eloisius(10000) 4 days ago [-]

I like Panic's products a lot, particularly Transmit, but for something I use day in and day out to write code, munge datasets to solve production incidents, build and run code, etc., I can't imagine improving upon a terminal with vim and standard Unix utils. I'm not a total console-chauvinist, I use a GUI email client. But every time I've tried any IDE or graphical editor like this, no matter how customizable it is, it still falls short in comparison. At best they only begin to approach what I can do with Unix, but require tedious mouse aiming and typically introduce much greater feedback latency.

ckrailo(10000) 4 days ago [-]

> I like the default rainbow indentation, though I'm sure there's a VSC plugin for that.

I've enjoyed it for years now! https://marketplace.visualstudio.com/items?itemName=oderwat....

jakelazaroff(10000) 4 days ago [-]

> The default editing experience is lightweight, and that's a good thing. But the plugin story is dire. Plugins like ESLint and Prettier crash constantly, requiring an app restart. Prettier has a format-on-save behaviour that seems to format after save on some file types. Typescript cmd-click definitions are broken, cmd-click import filepaths are broken.

This is all fair. I've been using the beta on and off, and so far it hasn't compelled me to switch from VS Code yet. But this is a 1.0, and Panic has a pretty great stellar track record — I can see them closing the gap pretty quickly.

jaquers(10000) 4 days ago [-]

For me the lack of auto-complete that _I_ prompt (ctrl+space / otherwise known as intellisense) is a deal breaker, and TypeScript story is completely broken. Cmd+Click (goto definition) doesn't work across files (though I do like they've implemented 3D touch as an alternative to Cmd+Click).

Update: looks like if you context click on a path > Typescript > Goto definition works; Weird that it is not unified with the editor's concept of goto def though.

Agree with parent that it's a valiant effort, just way too immature w/ no compelling features over VSCode at this point.

Edit: Native editor is compelling for battery, but not at the expense of developer experience - and even then, it's been quite a while since VSCode has felt slow to me.

brundolf(10000) 4 days ago [-]

That's a shame. I love the vibe of this project and the VSCode monoculture gives me a vague sense of unease, but sadly it's really hard to compete with a tech giant that's putting all their effort into a free product.

hoistbypetard(10000) 4 days ago [-]

If I were them, I think I would try really hard to build a low-effort conversion process for VSCode extensions. If they can do that in such a way that the top XXX VSCode extensions could be used with a good experience in Nova and fix the couple of non-plugin gripes you mention, I think they've probably bested the VSCode experience for enough people to make it profitable.

I am not sure if I am pessimistic enough to call that 'years' once they've got that migration path planned. If they're not planning something like it, though, then I think I agree with you.

ghego1(10000) 4 days ago [-]

> I'm sure there's a VSC plugin for that

This part of your comments nails 100% why, for me (web developer, 90% in typescript these days), it's nearly impossible to justify paying for an IDE.

Visual Studio code has almost everything that I need, and what it's not baked in, is easily done with a plug-in, which in the worst case I can write myself. But that's really a worst case scenario, since to this date it has never materialized as all my needs are covered by existing, and excellent, plugins.

aduitsis(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Delighted that it includes Perl support!

(full list: CoffeeScript, CSS, Diff, ERB, Haml, HTML, INI, JavaScript, JSON, JSX, Less, Lua, Markdown, Perl, PHP, Python, Ruby, Sass, SCSS, Smarty, SQL, TSX, TypeScript, XML, and YAML)

chipotle_coyote(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Well, it has an extension system, so it can have anything somebody makes an extension for. There's already surprisingly good Elixir support.

slater(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Tries to connect to appcenter.ms at launch... is that just for extensions?

cglong(10000) 4 days ago [-]

App Center is a beta distribution platform. I guess the prod version still includes its library.

kitx(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Crash reporting, formerly Hockey App but when acquired by Microsoft it became part of App Center.

can16358p(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Does anyone have React Native + TypeScript development/debugging experience with Nova? I'm currently using Vscode, and I'm wondering if I should have a look at Nova for this. (Nothing wrong with Vscode, I'm a bit into adventure)

scarlac(10000) 4 days ago [-]

I will be giving it a go for the next few days to see if it'll work for React Native development.

johnknowles(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Anyone else tired of this underlying form for IDEs? I get why the side toolbars make sense, from a space efficiency perspective, but the amount of information to take in is always overwhelming from a zoomed-out perspective, considering the whole app window. Why do app designers continue to force us to select what to focus on amongst a sea of visual stimulation? Make it hidden by default, and appear only when we want it!

runawaybottle(10000) 4 days ago [-]

IDE devs can copy a thing or two from all the distraction free writing tools (which have gone too far), balance is key.

arvinsim(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Good IDEs allow you to change the layout or hide unnecessary parts.

umvi(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Panic seems like it would be a cool company to work for. I'm not a Mac guy, so this particular product doesn't interest me, but I've had my eye on the Playdate.

compscistd(10000) 4 days ago [-]

They tease it through the text editor environments screenshotted in the Nova page!

unicornfinder(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Panic is one of those developers that makes me genuinely jealous of Mac users

hu3(10000) 4 days ago [-]

We feel the same about Windows users and gaming.

Take a glance at https://old.reddit.com/r/macgaming/

stakkur(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Is this not just Coda reworked?

rimliu(10000) 3 days ago [-]

who cares?

etaioinshrdlu(10000) 4 days ago [-]

I don't mean to complain about Nova, but I don't think being platform-specific is something to be applauded (in itself). It's like making your webapp only for Chrome -- that's not a feature, per-se.

liquidise(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Platform specificity typically comes with native performance and, in the case of Panic, a UI that closely follows OSX conventions. For some (many?) these are meaningful value-adds.

johnghanks(10000) 4 days ago [-]

Yeah it's like celebrating shooting yourself in the foot.

Historical Discussions: The Presence of One's Own Smartphone Reduces Available Cognitive Capacity (2017) (September 18, 2020: 856 points)

(856) The Presence of One's Own Smartphone Reduces Available Cognitive Capacity (2017)

856 points 2 days ago by wtracy in 10000th position

www.journals.uchicago.edu | Estimated reading time – 13 minutes | comments | anchor

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  • Baddeley, Alan D., and Graham Hitch (1974), "Working Memory," Psychology of Learning and Motivation, 8, 47–89.

  • Bargh, John A. (1982), "Attention and Automaticity in the Processing of Self-Relevant Information," Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 43 (3), 425–36.

  • Baron, Reuben M., and David A. Kenny (1986), "The Moderator–Mediator Variable Distinction in Social Psychological Research: Conceptual, Strategic, and Statistical Considerations," Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51 (6), 1173–82.

  • Benjamin, Daniel, Sebastian Brown, and Jesse Shapiro (2013), "Who Is 'Behavioral'? Cognitive Ability and Anomalous Preferences," Journal of the European Economic Association, 11 (6), 1231–55.

  • Bettman, James R. (1979), An Information Processing Theory of Consumer Choice, Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.

  • Bettman, James R., Eric J. Johnson, and John W. Payne (1991), "Consumer Decision Making," in Handbook of Consumer Behavior, ed. Thomas S. Robertson and Harold H. Kassarjian, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

  • Bezdjian, Serena, Laura A. Baker, Dora Isabel Lozano, and Adrian Raine (2009), "Assessing Inattention and Impulsivity in Children during the Go/NoGo Task," British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 27 (2), 365–83.

  • Bizer, George Y., and Robert M. Schindler (2005), "Direct Evidence of Ending-Digit Drop-off in Price Information Processing," Psychology and Marketing, 22 (10), 771–83.

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  • All Comments: [-] | anchor

    chadlavi(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    Not to brag, but I'm often able to maintain low levels of cognitive ability even while my phone is stowed away.

    erikpukinskis(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    You're a better man than me.

    mym1990(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    This is the content I need on a Friday afternoon.

    mirekrusin(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    Pro tip: if you feeling smart, dig in your nose, works wonders.

    slothtrop(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    New hot take: I'm addicted to my laptop. The phone barely registers in terms of interest because I work on my laptop anyway, which is less cumbersome to navigate.

    Notwithstanding the need to separate work from leisure life, much of leisure is just attached to this device. Even the less consumptive activities, like writing or playing music, benefit from it. And anything to do with innovation or research is absolutely tied to it. This has been amplified somewhat owing to the pandemic, keeping me from activities out-in-the-world, but even before it all happened I merely had the gym and the odd outing to the coffee shop on the regular, and weekly/bi-weekly outings with friends.

    It's a mechanical issue. By which I mean, I enjoy research at leisure and relatively solitary activities, but at the same time I want to pull away from being in front of a screen; it hasn't to do with consumption versus creativity or challenge. I try to remedy this with scheduled walks, and enough social time. Historically I imagine a person like myself would just be stuck in front of books instead, which I do also, but so much info can be gleaned from the web particularly research papers.

    EDIT: this concerns me more-so now as we'll be trying for a kid, and I'd like to lead by example.

    What I'd like to see in the future is AR tech that rewards mobility and in-person interaction, creating collaborative spaces anywhere. That may seem like more of the same problem, but the marriage with technology will only deepen, so it's up to us to set the terms.

    junyoon(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    This is why I never got a tablet/iPad. For someone who is constantly on their computer/laptop there's no need for a intemediary device.

    trevyn(10000) 1 day ago [-]

    >we'll be trying for a kid

    Please consider this carefully. The coming decades will not be pleasant to live in.

    srtjstjsj(10000) about 19 hours ago [-]

    What does one do with the other? To take your laptop to the train, cafe, the movie, the dinner party, the bathroom?

    csallen(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    Same here. I've been addicted to my laptop for years, and can go days without looking at my phone. For the same reason: everything is on my laptop. Work, movies, books, chats with friends, my podcast, research, etc. And I have the same remedies, too: schedule things to just get myself out of the house.

    L_226(10000) 1 day ago [-]

    > What I'd like to see in the future is AR tech that rewards mobility and in-person interaction, creating collaborative spaces anywhere.

    heya, I am working on exactly this with https://app.mirrorspace.net (alpha)

    ehnto(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    I am right there with you. I kicked the phone addiction in various ways, but I really like to work on personal projects and they're all on the computer, much like my work, so I'm always on my computer.

    I have a few tricks. I have a work laptop and a gaming computer, and I do all my personal work on the gaming computer. That helps separate the two. I have a workspace which gets me out of the house and keeps me focused while at work, so I can get it done quicker and ultimately spend less time on the computer. I also have a few outdoors hobbies, and a few indoors hobbies that are away from the computer. But of course I can't make progress on my computer projects off the computer, so that's still a conundrum I can't solve.

    I am at the point where I wonder if maybe I should work outdoors or offline, in order to regain my online time. But I'm not sure where to take that.

    MiroF(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    Buy books and print research papers?

    Personally, I don't view a black/white Kindle as the same as other screens, so a bike ride to a park where I might read a research paper or book I've put on my Kindle.

    frereubu(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    I've met a lot of people over the years who have computing of some kind as their job and had hobbies which are a complete contrast - blacksmithing, gardening, cabinet making. Anecdotally I do see fewer and fewer of these kinds of mixes. In general it feels healthier to have a hobby that drags your attention back into the physical world, but having said that there's something so wonderful about exploring all the knowledge on Wikipedia with a bottle of good red wine. As Jace Clayton once tweeted, '... and again I find myself at the end of a click trance looking at the Wikipedia entry for the guitarist on Bat Out Of Hell'.

    jxramos(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    just as an fyi, smart watches have a bunch of gamifications around mobility and activity.

    Andrex(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    I've had success whitelisting sites using the Chrome Block Site extension[1], and I'm considering just switching to whitelisted sites-only full-time. (Right now, I have it scheduled for the morning hours so I can get things done.)

    At that point the laptop becomes more of a single-purpose 'get things done' machine rather than a general purpose device I can waste hours clicking around on. :) Consumption-wise, it's led to me watching more films and TV shows rather than a string of 5-15 minute YouTube videos. I'm still spending 2-3 hours a day watching 'video,' but now it's (IMO) meaningful content instead of glorified clickbait.

    I've also been selectively disabling JavaScript more and more, and might switch to disabling by default (and then re-enabling on useful sites that need it.)

    All of this, plus leaving Facebook and Twitter, has done wonders to make me far more productive over this summer. Can't speak for everyone but I highly recommend taking the steps above.

    1. https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/block-site-website...

    seph-reed(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    It seems like internet as a whole might make a good next point of focus.

    tomjen3(10000) about 8 hours ago [-]

    I am very interesting in what laptop you have that you don't feel it is more convenient to quickly look something up on your phone? I mean, unless I put it somewhere very inconvenient my phone is easier to access than my laptop.

    swiley(10000) 1 day ago [-]

    The problem with the smartphone is that the UX is designed in such a way that helpful rituals are hard to develop. If you want access to something at all it has to be right in your face.

    elagost(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    The main difference I see is that smartphones are built as playthings, stuffed with features that encourage addiction, but a real desktop operating system is built as a tool to help you work, and gives you all the access and power you need.

    I see clear lines between things like smartphones and tablets, desktop operating systems, game consoles, and kindles. There's many different types of screens. I'm comfortable handing a non-networked laptop to my kid for her to play with, but wouldn't hand her a tablet or game console.

    kiliancs(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    For me, just the attention children need is enough to ensure I will pretty much not touch the computer outside of work hours. This does mean there are many things I won't be doing, but instead I spend invaluable time with my family.

    TheSpiceIsLife(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    I plan to purchase or build a time-delay safe, big enough for all the laptops and tablets and phones to fit in.

    I think this would be great: 3hrs away from the devices, bam! easy.

    dbtc(10000) about 21 hours ago [-]

    Over the past years I have started increasingly using paper for thinking - reading and writing. I have come to appreciate (fetishize?) the quality of wellmade paper products, the tactility and focus of them, even constraints like the higher demand on my memory or slowness of a paper dictionary in the long run have benefits. The computer is more practical and efficient but maybe often in the way fast food is. What am I doing on hackernews?

    VoodooJuJu(10000) 1 day ago [-]

    >What I'd like to see in the future is AR tech that rewards mobility and in-person interaction

    I think everything you said was great up until here. Technology is part of the problem, so instead of just patching the symptom with even more technology, let's remove the cause: stop consuming, or rather, stop being consumed by, technology. You want to get away from the screen? Then get away. You want to go socialize with people in-person? Then just do it.

    >marriage with technology will only deepen

    It doesn't have to deepen. Nor should it deepen, because such a dependency to something too complex for me to reproduce or maintain myself is tyrannical; it is unhealthy to the individual. Nor can it deepen, because the resource requirements for producing and powering higher technology come at an ever-increasing cost, subsidized by the environment and future generations.

    confidantlake(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    Me too, it is my laptop. I have started implementing laptop free time. Ie after 5pm, no laptop, Saturday no laptop. I find I am a lot happier and less anxious now.

    _def(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    I recently took a camping trip with some friends (one weekend) and left my phone at home. Except for not knowing which time it is, it was a very positive experience.

    justinlloyd(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    'What time is it?'

    If I am awake it is after 9:30AM but before 4AM. If I am asleep it is after 4AM but before 9:30AM. Only my dog cares about the any other time such as: time for a walk. time for breakfast. time for a nap. time for dinner. time for another walk. :-)

    perlgod(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    Getting rid of my smartphone was without a doubt the most positive thing I ever did for myself.

    I'm sure some people have the self-control to use it sparingly. But for me, not having to constantly fight the urge to check my always-connected magic pocket internet portal has freed up a huge amount of my mental willpower, which I can now redirect to other more important things.

    Now that everything is closed, I don't even miss having the convenience of Uber/Google Maps. Additionally, without social media, I remain blissfully unaware of whatever corona hysteria or political drama is consuming the minds of my peers.

    These devices have a veritable legion of engineers working to make the smartphone experience as addictive as possible. For some people, the only winning move it not to play.

    richajak(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    I recently realized that I slowly lost my ability to do simple calculations that was used to be easy, eg total bill of grocery shopping before going to the cashier. I put the blame to the calculator app on my phone

    leptons(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    The smartphone is an incredible tool to have, but it completely pisses me off any time I have to pay attention to it. I hate any message that comes in through it, any notification from any app (I have all notifications turned off except the Samasung notifications which I'm locked-out of disabling - fuck you Samsung Account).

    The smartphone is only a tool for me, for maps when I'm out, for search data, and accessing my files at home on rare occasions while I'm away from home (via VPN). It's my mobile command center.

    But when I'm at home - fuck off phone.

    I'm also in the tiny minority of people who aren't on zuckface, or other popular social media apps. So maybe I just naturally care less about my phone. I've never had a problem ignoring it. I get very few phone calls, almost none, and since COVID happened, I've reduced my data plan to the bare minimum because I just don't really need it anymore working at home.

    But used as a tool and not entertainment, the smartphone is absolutely invaluable.

    reificator(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    Looking at these comments I'm realizing I might be an outlier.

    If I'm traveling to an area I've never/rarely been before, I'll use turn by turn navigation the first few times.

    But once I'm familiar with the area I just look up the specific place for the nearest cross streets before I leave.

    I kind of assumed that's how everyone navigated, minus taxi/delivery/other professional drivers who probably use GPS more.

    pier25(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    My strategy is to have a crappy smartphone.

    stevensawtelle(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    Can you talk more to the practicalities of getting rid of a smartphone? Have you seriously found that the loss of the conveniences they bring haven't been that burdensome? I am really intrigued by the idea but find it almost inconceivable to work for me (which might speak to an addiction, so I feel compelled to understand this further)

    kilroy123(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    If you're using an iOS device, and now on iOS 14. I highly recommend putting the screen time widget front and center so you can see just how much time you're spending on your phone. Terrifying to watch.

    duggable(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    Gah, I need to do this so bad. Lately I've admitted to myself that I'm truly addicted to my phone. I go through phases of blocking safari, deleting all my non-essential apps, etc, but they always find a way to slowly creep back into my life ('5 minutes of reddit won't hurt while my kids are playing on their own....'). I'm realizing that I am just one of those people who can't handle even having it as an option. Thanks for inspiring me to take the next step.

    geocrasher(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    I get the same thing by A) not watching the news B) turning off notifications for almost all apps C) the real magic key to keeping control of your smart phone, instead of letting it control you is

    <buzz> <buzz>

    hang on


    Look I'm right in the middle of something I'll... yeah. I know I ... I KNOW. Look, I gotta go.

    Anyway, as I was saying... uh... well anyway. Phones suck.

    kemonocode(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    Best thing I've done this year is to simply get a feature phone. They're cheap, they're hardy, and they're mostly free from distractions to give you. This one I have does have an Internet browser and some kind of Facebook functionality but the experience is so incredibly miserable, it acts as a very effective deterrent.

    wtetzner(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    I wonder how much benefit people would get by just putting their phone in airplane mode for long chunks of time.

    shados(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    The urge to use it right before bed (and at the same time wrecking your sleep quality, and then messing with your next day) is huge too.

    nottorp(10000) 1 day ago [-]

    Just turn off all notifications :)

    In time you'll stop checking constantly.

    frereubu(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    I have two things which stop me, and it's not 'muh gps'! I'd be interested in how people dealt with a situation like mine:

    1. I have a Mac, and carefully organised contacts. How do I sync them to a Nokia that has 4G tethering (so I can work on my train-based commute) without going through Google?

    2. How do you deal with music? I have AirPods and Spotify, which I absolutely love to have with me while walking around. (I'm from the Walkman generation, and the idea of walking around with music in my ears is still magical, particuarly with wireless earbuds).

    There's a part of me which thinks about a Nokia banana phone for calls / 4G tethering combined with an iPod Touch, but I don't really want two devices.

    siengu(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    I'm using iOS Content & Privacy Restrictions to dumb down my Iphone SE as much as possible while retaining the needed functionality (Calculator, Camera, Notes, Calendar, Clock, Phone and SMS). I uninstall other apps that can be removed. Safari can be disabled using Content restrictions. I install Here Maps, download offline maps for the nearby regions for when I need navigation. Data & WIFI are always off. The phone is not signed in the app store. Content & Privacy Restrictions are protected by a pin code that I write down and store in a relatively hard to reach place. This way I have a relatively modern phone that is not a distracting toy.

    I could get a dumb phone (I used one up to somewhere in 2018), but currently there is no dumb phone that would take some half decent photos and provide a possibility to navigate offline.

    umvi(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    I recently bought a Jelly 2 on kickstarter, here's to hoping it will have the same effect as what you describe.

    Accacin(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    I also did this, although only for a while. I first removed all notifications and apps from my phone (although I do not use social media anyway), and eventually went to some cheap flip phone. However, once I had to go rescue my wife when she locked her keys in the car.. And it took me 2.5 hours when it should have taken 1 hour because I got lost...

    I've taken to using my smart phone but leaving it at home as much as I can, I only take it out if I'm going out for a long period of time now and I'll take my dumb phone so my wife can contact me if possible.

    rland(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    > Participants in the "desk" condition left mostof their belongings in the lobby but took their phones into the testing room "for use in a later study;" once in the testing room, they were instructed to place their phones facedown in a designated location on their desks.

    Yeah, color me skeptical. You're in a study currently, and you're asked to place your phone on your desk for a later study. This is quite different from just having your phone around, because you're basically thinking about 'phones' and 'studies' together while you're in the study.

    That's very different from 'mere presence' in my mind.

    Dumblydorr(10000) 1 day ago [-]

    Isn't that what we constantly do with our phones: keep them around just in case, for when we inevitably get a text or call or think of something to text or get the urge?

    nbzso(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    Just sharing my approach. Phone is for calls and short messages, banking apps. After 6pm I reply only for close friends/family. No gaming. No movies. No tv. Old Ipad Air for casual browsing/rss. Work computer is only for work. Different machine is research and learning. Book reading on e-reader and paper. Drinking lot of water, active breaks every 30 minutes. When I feel that I have reached my cognitive daily peak - I stop everything and focus on relaxation. Never been so happy and productive in my life:)

    achempion(10000) 1 day ago [-]

    I mostly doing the same except my rss in emacs and ipad for reading.

    Would you mind elaborate about relaxation because I feel it's so easy to start browsing HN instead of getting proper rest.

    didibus(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    I want a smartphone that only has useful apps and nothing else.

    I want it to have SMS and Phone, Google Maps, Uber, Lyft, Uber Eats, and such.

    But I don't want social media, I don't want news, I don't want a browser, I don't want email, etc.

    em500(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    If you really serious, you can set up parental controls with whitelisted apps on most phones.

    dgarrett(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    Apple Watch with LTE mostly fulfills this. And the screen is so small that it's not worth it to port more addictive apps.

    takeda(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    At least with android you can disable apps (even those that are built in). Of course you need a discipline to not enable them back.

    corytheboyd(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    What's wrong with just not downloading applications you do not want to use? You could make the argument against iOS that you can't delete some default applications but... just don't use them.

    ed25519FUUU(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    I was just remarking the other day while doing my morning constitutional that I can't remember what I used to do while sitting on the john when I didn't have a cell phone. I honestly couldn't remember. Probably just sit quietly and think and be bored.

    I wonder if boredom is good for us. Our brains probably need time not to be engaged with our eyes do mental housecleaning. Meditation is good but it's not the same as sitting and being bored.

    justinlloyd(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    I've always wondered about people who take smartphones to the bathroom. Unless I am desperately sick I don't think I spend long enough on the toilet to even get through the first two lines of marketing blurb on a shampoo bottle before 'I'm done.'

    I think boredom is good for us. Personal opinion. Though I am terrified of being bored. So I go find a productive distraction. But I also think, again, personal opinion, people are afraid to be alone with their own thoughts.

    nbap(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    Books and magazines

    wlesieutre(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    Read the ingredients on a shampoo bottle

    shard(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    You don't leave a book in the bathroom? I have gotten through so many books in my to-read list just by leaving it in the bathroom. It takes very little mental effort to not bring a smartphone to the john when there is a book waiting, at least for me.

    li4ick(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    There's a reason people have their ideas in the shower. That's the last place on earth that is still not invaded by the smartphone. And that's why showers > baths.

    nobody9999(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    > was just remarking the other day while doing my morning constitutional that I can't remember what I used to do while sitting on the john when I didn't have a cell phone. I honestly couldn't remember. Probably just sit quietly and think and be bored.

    As a suggestion, take a book you've been wanting to read and keep it in the bathroom. And while you're sitting on the pot, read the book.

    That's what I do, and I find it to be quite satisfying. What's more, just going in there puts me right back in the middle of whatever I'm reading.

    Or not. That works nicely for me, but might or might not for you.

    bittercynic(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    Maybe boredom is beneficial because it can drive you to do something productive, and then the relief from boredom is coupled to the productivity.

    The 'Opponent process theory'[0] really rings true for me, and I think could be used to argue that experiencing boredom has some benefits.

    [0] https://gettingstronger.org/2010/05/opponent-process-theory/

    justinlloyd(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    I lack a lot of self-control in many areas of my life. Except when it comes to my smartphone which for me is a tool rather than an entertainment device. Most of my day the phone is in DnD/flipped over on the second desk in my office and not within arm's reach. I don't know how much having the device in the same room as me is a 'cognitive capacity reducer' but for the most part, my smartphone is a forgotten device except for when I need to use it for something.

    My needs in a smartphone are: Maps & navigation. Local business lookup. Bank account. Audible. Camera. Password manager. Calculator. Grocery shopping list. Recipe book for when at the grocery store. Authenticator. Uber. Check email. SMS. Occasional voice call.

    All audible notifications except for alarms and calendar are disabled. All visual notifications are disabled except for SMS. I get conversation starter SMS messages once, maybe twice a month, at most. I don't even have games & apps that I worked on installed on my device. I just keep shortcuts to videos of them on the device in case I need to show them off.

    I don't know if this is a normal behaviour for people that have smartphones. I do see an awful lot of people totally engrossed in their devices to the exclusion of all others. I also see, anecdotally, some people, software developer colleagues, who don't get anything more than a few minutes before the smartphone cheeps or chirps with a new notification or distraction.

    I've actually thought about getting rid of my oh-so-delicate-dont-ever-drop-it smartphone and just going back to a flip phone, though I'd miss the camera. I take a lot of pictures of things for reference, e.g. disassembling a piece of electronics or a piece of furniture I want to copy.

    godshatter(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    I have a fairly nice smart phone, and I use it for phone calls, text messages, 2FA, e-books, taking pictures, checking the weather forecast, and as a clock/timer/alarm. In a pinch I'll look something up or access my bank account, but very rarely. I'm in front of my desktop computer 10 to 12 hours a day, if I need to search for something on the web I'll do it then. If I want to play a game, I'll play it on my expensive desktop computer. If I'm going on a trip I'll bring my laptop.

    I must be in the minority, but the size and ergonomics of the phone make it a last-resort sort of device for me despite the fact that it looks like a futuristic sci-fi device.

    rajeshmr(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    Quitting smartphone has been incredible for me and i don't miss it at all. :)

    ChrisCinelli(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    Tell us more.

    rvz(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    Good job. The same companies are now trying to do the same thing but with Smartwatches that tell the time and...

    - More Notifications

    - Messaging

    - Calling

    - Internet

    - GPS

    - Plays music, video and podcasts

    + Health and Fitness (Can't disagree with that one)

    and finally the worst saved until last...

    - Apps

    The industry is doing it all over again with the smartphone but now it will be all on your wrist, but marketed cleverly as a 'Health and Fitness device'.

    joshe(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    'Journal of the Association for Consumer Research' and vague implied effects on mental state both pretty good indicators that this will not replicate. About half of psychology papers don't replicate anyway, the field has been doing some house cleaning, which is awesome, but needs to do a lot more.

    Oh you can add that all the researchers are marketing professors at business schools (one now at Snap). Good job on the marketing though, perfectly designed to get headlines.





    chance_state(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    I'm confused. What does Snap have to gain by talking about how distracting smartphones are?

    socalnate1(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    I find this response overly dismissive. Did you read the paper or just the abstract?

    Dismissing the work of marketing professors out of hand isn't the right approach. What if this is one of the half of psychology papers that do replicate?

    ThouYS(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    I share your sentiment, but to make it more concrete, here are a few quickly glanced things that give good/bad indications:

    + >500 participants

    + Report not only aggregated values, but also bar charts with confidence interval (you can compare for yourself)

    - Charts don't start at zero (gives reader wrong impression about effect size)

    Need to read it more carefully though, because I would like to agree with the paper, since I notice this effect myself a lot. Also very related to ego depletion, which doesn't seem to be even mentioned in the paper, weirdly enough. Maybe they wanted to coin their own term.

    disown(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    Isn't this true for any source of distraction? What about a baseball or a book or a dvd or anything?

    The presence of a distraction reduces cognitive capacity? Other than superficially padding their 'researchers'' resume, what is gained by this 'study'?

    We've know this for years. It's why teachers insist kids put away their smartphones, etc.

    flanbiscuit(10000) 1 day ago [-]

    > Isn't this true for any source of distraction?

    Thought the same thing. Sure I can put my smartphone out of sight while working but I am on a computer with the same exact level of access that my smartphone provides. Sometimes I can get in a zone and sometimes I flip between work and distracting myself with sites like HN. I can answer SMS and DMs for all my services and social sites in the browser. Pre-pandemic you can throw an open office plan into the mix as a big distractor as well. I listen to non-vocal chill electronic music while I work and I bet there's some study out there showing that listening to any type of music while trying to work reduces cognitive capacity (I'm speculating here). I feel like managing distraction just a big part of life these days.

    Dumblydorr(10000) 1 day ago [-]

    I doubt a baseball is on the same level. It's not magical, it doesn't connect to everyone and everything you know, and everything you don't. A baseball is a mere sphere, out of context on a desk. A phone is something we check 60 times per day, which can vastly affect our emotions. A play sphere from a dying game surely doesn't elicit such a range of possibility as a modern marvel of addictive programming, something that needs to be buried in the bag to prevent distraction?

    m0zg(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    More broadly, I think the mere availability of mindless entertainment reduces one's ability to do anything else. I observe this in myself and others. In order to willingly do useful things, I need to be bored. That's when I feel a need to do something, and if that 'something' is not Instagram or YouTube, I go for the more salient things. So for me boredom is a very useful state to be in. If I can't get bored (if entertainment is immediately available) I will not do anything useful at all. I have to make a conscious decision to not access entertainment during the day in order to get anything done. Fortunately I can do that without much of a drain on my willpower reserves.

    But my son (and his peers) grew up in a world where everyone has Internet at all times, and the problem is more severe there. I'm trying to convince him that the way he's doing things now (basically 8 hours of YouTube and games a day, and lots of missing homework) will cause much regret in the future and will lead to a much worse lifestyle. So far I have failed to convince him of that though.

    jessemcbride(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    That's a great observation. We chase the noise all the time, but what would happen if we let ourselves be bored instead?

    pombrand(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    Yes, basically all these low calorie entertainment activities release dopamine, giving you a constant high.

    In other words you need to dopamine detox, sensitize yourself so you still feel rewarded from doing comparably 'boring' activities!

    ezekiel68(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    I find the majority of responses to these published findings to be fascinating. It's like when we learned in the past few years that humans only have a finite capacity for willpower within a given (short) timeframe. The near universal reaction among my intelligent friends was something like, 'Well, I'm sure that's true for all those OTHER people...'

    Disclosure: My smartphone (currently) remains by my side. But this has got me thinking about the dilemma.

    ajkjk(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    That conclusion about willpower is quite suspect, fyi. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ego_depletion.

    jessaustin(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    I know a couple of old guys who will love this.

    Shared404(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    Old guys know stuff.

    Many times, it's useful stuff other's have forgotten.

    firstSpeaker(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    Anyone has access to the source of the article? Aka, the full text/PDF to share it?

    takeda(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    Had the same question, looks like here's a link[1].

    [1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24519880

    Nbox9(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    Do you believe this effect applies to you? If not, why.

    If you believe in this effect, and still keep a smartphone, why?

    mym1990(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    Just like many addictions, just because you know the negative side-effects doesn't mean you are willing to give up the activity. Plenty of people know how bad fast food or smoking can be, but the trade off of feeling good while doing it is too good to pass up.

    A lot of times I find myself picking up the phone to message one person, but I end up on a 15 minute journey scrolling through whatever social media I am on and almost forget my initial intention. Disciple is obviously a big factor here.

    I think this can be managed without totally getting rid of your smartphone. Like the saying goes: 'out of sight, out of mind'. Everyone's mileage will vary though, just my 2c

    ChrisCinelli(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    I used to be addicted to my laptops. I used to over-work and when I was not working I was reading a lot of articles and spending time on news and some social networks. Even if I am selective with who I add as friends and follow, it is a lot of time that does not have good ROI. It was pretty much no stop activity since I woke up to when I was going to sleep.

    I stopped completely using computers except for work. It has been pretty hard transition.

    What happened is that I shifted to use a lot more my smartphone.

    I tried to keep it in airplane mode or turn off the data for most of the time. I also tried to have different devices for different activities.

    Switching to a dumb phone seems extreme but I am wondering if it is the final solution.

    defnotashton2(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    I'm in the same boat.

    kashyapc(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    Many here might know this, but worth mentioning again: A simple but underrated remedy to reduce the colourful appeal of a 'smartphone' is to put it in black-and-white mode (i.e. gray scale). On Android you can do it this way:

    'Developer options' --> 'Simulate color space' --> 'Monochromacy'

    I couple that with:

    + Turning off all notifications.

    + I don't use any of the run-of-the-mill social media for about 7 years.

    + Most of my serious reading is largely via old-fashioned books.

    All of the above makes it for a damn calm device.

    mkskm(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    This helps except that it needs to be turned off frequently for viewing and taking photos. It would be great if there were something like the smart invert setting for grayscale but I doubt that will ever happen.

    barbarr(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    Tried the grayscale thing for a couple months. I primarily consume text on the internet, so it didn't do anything for me.

    ardillamorris(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    I get it - the act of staying away from your phone is taking up cognitive capacity. And if you're addicted, the constant reminder to check also takes cognitive capacity. Sex is no different - if you're single, or married and you want more sex than your significant other - believe me, sex will reduce your available cognitive capacity. The constant thought of how do I get more of it (single or married) I'm sure does more than your smartphone and probably the smartphone is just a tool to the idea of getting more sex.

    bkeating(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    Well said. We need more analogies like this.

    bobthechef(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    Managing the appetites requires self-denial. In the case of married couples, the spouse has a moral obligation to satisfy the other sexually within moral and reasonable limits (i.e., sexual abuse or objectification of the other is never admissible).

    Phone addiction is in this sense easier. It can also be managed through abstinence or even eliminated cold turkey if you wish because we have no intrinsic desire for phone use, but we do have an intrinsic desire for sex.

    And yeah, the passions, when we are ruled by them instead of ruling over them, can darken our minds and enslave us. (In your example, the 'daughters of lust' are apropos.) A man has as many masters as he has vices.

    gooseus(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    I think this needs a (2017), here is a link to a PDF - https://rady.ucsd.edu/docs/faculty/aGneezy/Published%20Paper...

    throwaway413(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    Much appreciated!

    sbierwagen(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    To save a click:

    >Five hundred forty-eight undergraduates participated for course credit. [...] Our final sample consisted of 520 smartphone users.

    520 isn't as bad as I was expecting, but it's still an order of magnitude away from being meaningful. And, obviously, a study population consisting only of students attending the same class is maybe going to be slightly biased.

    omgwtfbyobbq(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    I feel like this applies to just about anything that compels us to pay attention to it (TV, video games, etc...), albeit in different ways depending on the media.

    JJMcJ(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    Go to laundromat. Bring book, this time I'm going to get some reading done. Oooh, moldy golf tournament (or soap opera) on TV. And there goes 90 minutes.

    cgriswald(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    Jibes with my experience. I have a projector in my bedroom for the rare times I want to watch TV in bed because it's tucked away where I don't see it. A TV staring me in the face makes it harder for me to sleep even if it is off.

    abhayhegde(10000) 1 day ago [-]

    How do you guys cope up with the lack of social media presence? I understand the drama and inattention it brings, but what about the urge to connect with people or learn from others? Also, is it beneficial not to have an online portfolio when it comes to jobs or opportunities?

    pas(10000) 1 day ago [-]

    Drama? Inattention? Could you explain that a bit? Do you mean twitter drama and FB racist uncle drama, and lack of faceless 'happy birthdays' on FB? Or the lack of validating likes on instagram?

    Because I found that to connect with people to learn FB is a complete nonstarter, instagram and twitter are both hopelessly trash due to their write-only nature. It's very hard to learn just by observing. (Sure, there are a few counter-examples, when you ask some expert/authority on some subject and they reply and many other folks too, and you might get some insight. But usually those are shallow, lacking detail, etc.)

    Also, just being on these platforms doesn't mean you have to use them. (I mean I use FB Messenger all the time, but it's completely silent, I don't even get notifications - I have no idea why, I tried to somehow enable them, but they still don't show up, so if someone wants something they have to GSM call me.) So, just have a profile, fill out your about/bio, and so recruiters/HR will be at ease.

    Focused, moderated subreddits are usually okay. Plus now thinking about it, reporting GitHub issues and trying to fix bugs helped the most with learning something. (Unfortunately it only works for code related things, but usually there are open communities for other domains where one can participate and learn from others.)

    crazygringo(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    First of all, with the caveat that, as is so common with psych studies, this was performed on undergraduates only. There is no reason to assume that this would necessarily extend to a 30-year-old mother, a 40-year business executive, etc. (To the contrary, one could also imagine that having their phone on them increased their capacity to think about other things, with the peace of mind that they can get things done efficiently.)

    But secondly, the headline to the paper 'reduces available cognitive capacity', while written to sound bad, isn't obviously bad at all.

    Your overall cognitive capacity isn't reduced -- it's just some is being taken up by thinking about your phone. One hypothesis could be that if you're able to be reached, then you spend time worrying about the things people will be reaching you for -- if you've sent that e-mail, if you've finished that report, if you've decided whether or not to go to that event.

    That these are things you have to figure out or do anyways, and if you're not worrying about them now, you'll still have to later. Yes, removing the smartphone lets you relax for now, but that's just temporary. Otherwise it might be happening later over dinner instead.

    What would be more interesting would be to find variance in the data -- which participants had reduced cognitive capacity and which didn't -- and then correlate that with other reported differences, such as their stress levels, to-do's, obligations, etc.

    I'm quite sure the answer isn't as simple as 'smartphones make us dumb', but closer to the truth that in being instantly connected to other people, that's something our brain is busy managing. But you know what? That may very well be a net benefit -- that being connected allows us to achieve our goals better, more, faster. That the cognitive capcity it's using is a good use.

    skratlo(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    What goals? So far those goals seem to be related to planet destruction via excessive consumption. Slowing down is what can save us from extinction.

    roedog(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    I made my largest gains in programming competence almost 10 years ago when working on a system with no connection to the internet and no cell phone at hand. I was working a development assignment on an air-gapped network. Not being able to search google every time I got stuck forced me to actually read the documentation, man pages, and reference books and think through what was going on and come up with solutions. The internet terminal was a 10 minute walk away so I treated it like a trip to the library for research only after I had spent time working on the problem myself.

    fuzzfactor(10000) 1 day ago [-]

    >I treated it like a trip to the library for research only after I had spent time working on the problem myself.

    This is contrary to the (also true) conventional wisdom where _6 months in the lab can save you hours in the library_.

    So you have to be careful.

    But it can work exceptionally well once you've already been to the library a bit, you know better & better what it has to offer, when you do go back it's with a clearer focus on what you need, and you get the most out of it.

    daniel_iversen(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    I wrote 5 simple things you can do to improve calm, productivity and focus using your phone:


    My favorite personal tip is to turn off colors on the phone and run in pure black and white mode :) I've done this for about 2 years now and I loove it!

    IF you try any tricks to reduce reliance, stimulation and/or distraction on your phone, go into Screen Time (or Android equivalent) and take a screenshot of how much you've picked up your phone in the last 7 days (because Screen Time doesn't maintain history) so you can compare later on to see if you've improved!

    smichel17(10000) 1 day ago [-]

    Thank you for the reminder to turn grayscale back on.

    I really like its impact on my phone usage, but occasionally I come across something that I want/need color for, and don't always remember to turn grayscale back on again when I'm done.

    phobosanomaly(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    Perhaps it's functioning as a substitute for the constant social interaction that was once a facet of living in a tribal society.

    We always had someone near us we were chatting with, but now that we have eliminated that level of social connection in the modern social environment, we have replaced it with the smartphone. It may just be satisfying a hardwired biological need for constant chit-chat.

    If you look at it that way, as a coping technique for loneliness, it doesn't seem too bad.

    Barrin92(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    Social Media isn't a substitute for healthy social interaction which becomes very evident when one looks at the psychological outcomes of people who use it heavily, particular say, teenage girls.

    Most social media interaction isn't genuine conversation between peers but a sort of status contest in which people pull up façades and present idealised versions of themselves, mostly strongly influenced by whatever is trending within society at large.

    An important finding of loneliness research has repeatedly been that loneliness is not equivalent to merely not being in contact with others. One can be alone but not lonely, and one can be lonely while superficially in contact with others.

    Historical Discussions: Microsoft's underwater data centre resurfaces after two years (September 14, 2020: 775 points)

    (775) Microsoft's underwater data centre resurfaces after two years

    775 points 6 days ago by Qworg in 10000th position

    www.bbc.co.uk | Estimated reading time – 4 minutes | comments | anchor

    Microsoft's underwater data centre resurfaces after two years

    Rory Cellan-Jones Technology correspondent @BBCRoryCJon Twitter

    image copyrightMicrosoft

    image captionAfter two years at the bottom of the sea, Microsoft's outlandish experiment reappears

    Two years ago, Microsoft sank a data centre off the coast of Orkney in a wild experiment.

    That data centre has now been retrieved from the ocean floor, and Microsoft researchers are assessing how it has performed, and what they can learn from it about energy efficiency.

    No humans, few failures

    Their first conclusion is that the cylinder packed with servers had a lower failure rate than a conventional data centre.

    That compares very well with a conventional data centre.

    'Our failure rate in the water is one-eighth of what we see on land,' says Ben Cutler, who has led what Microsoft calls Project Natick.

    The team is speculating that the greater reliability may be connected to the fact that there were no humans on board, and that nitrogen rather than oxygen was pumped into the capsule.

    image copyrightMicrosoft

    image captionThe sealed data centre tube is lifted from the water off Orkney

    'We think it has to do with this nitrogen atmosphere that reduces corrosion and is cool, and people not banging things around,' Mr Cutler says.

    Orkney was chosen for the trial by Microsoft, partly because it was a centre for renewable energy research in a place where the climate was temperate - perhaps even chilly. The idea was that the cost of cooling computers would be lower if they were under water.

    The white cylinder emerged from the cold waters with a coating of algae, barnacles and sea anemones after a day-long operation. But inside, the data centre was functioning well - and is now being closely examined so that the research team can learn more.

    As more and more of our data is stored in the cloud, there is growing concern about the vast energy demands of data centres.

    Reliably green

    Project Natick was partly about working out whether clusters of small underwater data centres for short-term use might be a commercial proposition, but also an attempt to learn broader lessons about energy efficiency in cloud computing.

    All of Orkney's electricity comes from wind and solar power, but there were no issues in keeping the underwater data centre supplied with power.

    'We have been able to run really well on what most land-based data centres consider an unreliable grid,' says Spencer Fowers, one of the technical team on Project Natick.

    'We are hopeful that we can look at our findings and say maybe we don't need to have quite as much infrastructure focused on power and reliability.'

    image copyrightMicrosoft

    image captionSpencer Fowers inspects the servers inside the opened tube

    Underwater data centres might sound an outlandish idea. But David Ross, who has been a consultant to the data centre industry for many years, says the project has great potential.

    He believes organisations facing a natural disaster or a terrorist attack might find it attractive: 'You could effectively move something to a more secure location without having all the huge infrastructure costs of constructing a building. It's flexible and cost effective.'

    Microsoft is cautious about saying when an underwater data centre might be a commercial product, but is confident that it has proved the idea has value.

    'We think that we're past the point where this is a science experiment,' says Ben Cutler.

    'Now it's simply a question of what do we want to engineer - would it be a little one, or would it be a large one?'

    The experiment on Orkney is over. But the hope is that the result will be more environmentally friendly data storage, both on land and under water.

    All Comments: [-] | anchor

    sandworm101(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    Nobody talking about the potential military applications of a hardened processing infrastructure underwater? Once upon a time Russia toyed with the idea of putting ICBM silos at the bottom of lakes. Say you wanted to run a network of hydrophones on the seafloor. You might want to do the data processing in-situ rather than transmit everything back to shore. If I were microsoft I might be interested in those potential contracts.

    sangnoir(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    > Once upon a time Russia toyed with the idea of putting ICBM silos at the bottom of lakes

    Was this before or after nuclear submarines were a thing? I think maintenance is much easier with a submersible than something affixed to a lakebed.

    mojomark(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    After seeing Natick a few years ago, I pitched this very idea to DARPA TTO in person. I also spoke to the MS Natick folks about improving their approach a bit. Neither wanted to persue. Maybe someone is already doing it. Whatever the case, I'm still a proponent and advocate for the concept whenever I get the chance.

    znpy(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    Interestingly in the original article it said that the datacenter was meant to stay under water for five years. I wonder why they have pulled it out ahead of time.

    (source: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-44368813 -- see video)

    edit: just to be clear, my questioning isn't meant to be read in a denigratory way. just wondering. Also thank to Kydlaw for pointing out that it actually said 'up to five years'.

    alliao(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    probably didn't want to be trumped by google's zero carbon news..?

    noisy_boy(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    Some executive probably said 'I think it would be good to take stock of the experiment now to reduce time-risk and arrive at a decision point regarding future strategy'.

    nimish(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    Presumably they got the data they needed? Whether it's worth doing at scale.

    Kydlaw(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    [1] mentions 'up to 5 five years'. But your question still hold

    [1] https://natick.research.microsoft.com/

    abhinuvpitale(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    I think their phase 2 is going to be the five year project. This one was supposed to be a POC.

    Based off https://natick.research.microsoft.com/

    pvaldes(10000) 4 days ago [-]

    > was meant to stay under water for five years

    Teddy, Vicky, Paulette, Sally and René?. Better playing safe than sorry, I suppose

    akhilcacharya(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    Was the load in the data center synthetic, or did it handle production traffic? Curious to see how they split it out.

    I doubt there's a 'Orkney-Underwater' region.

    miyuru(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    The official site has the info you are looking for.

    'Natick was used to perform COVID-19 research for Folding at Home and World Community Grid.'

    Also the data center designation for it was 'Northern Isles' (SSDC-002).


    MiroF(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    Almost certainly synthetic

    spamizbad(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    Very interesting to see a lower failure rate. Is it simply a function of possibly better thermals than your average datacenter? Less EMR?

    mleonhard(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    Other explanations:

    - Technicians were extra careful (slow) when installing the equipment.

    - The datacenter pod used no recycled parts. Traditional datacenters are full of recycled marginal-quality parts. Maintenance teams balance the cost of buying new parts, the cost of testing used parts, and the labor & downtime costs from recycled parts failing.

    Extreme reliability is already achievable but not economical. One reason why Google Search beats Bing is that Google's infrastructure software is more tolerant of flaky hardware, so Google can spend less money on hardware maintenance, reducing the cost per search.

    Hopefully Microsoft will release a report and tell us the source of the underwater datacenter pod's low failure rate.

    rplnt(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    Besides reasons mentioned in the article (no oxygen, no humans to bump into stuff), I wonder if radiation could play a role. Cosmic rays, maybe just less radio sources around (tons of other servers).

    elihu(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    From the article:

    >The team is speculating that the greater reliability may be connected to the fact that there were no humans on board, and that nitrogen rather than oxygen was pumped into the capsule. > >'We think it has to do with this nitrogen atmosphere that reduces corrosion and is cool, and people not banging things around,' Mr Cutler says.

    Better cooling and isolation from all kinds of radiation seem like they'd also be beneficial.

    jacquesm(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    Impossible to touch it. Better (oxygen poor) environment for circuitry.

    gerbal(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    The container was filed with Nitrogen, so no pesky Oxygen corroding everything.

    tyingq(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    'The team is speculating that the greater reliability may be connected to the fact that there were no humans on board, and that nitrogen rather than oxygen was pumped into the capsule.'

    That does sound plausible. But I do wonder how much might have been due to extra care. If I were the sysadmin on the project, I probably would have spent extra time on component selection, cable seating, burn-in testing, etc. Lots of pressure for it to do well.

    Edit: Unrelated, but this picture is funny to me. I don't think there's enough room to slide that server out, so I'm not sure what he's doing. https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/news/800/cpsprodpb/48D6/production/...

    eru(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    They should have probably prepared two tubes like that, and flipped a coin to randomly dunk one in water, and leave the other one up?

    imglorp(10000) 5 days ago [-]

    Nobody's mentioning tin whiskers as a failure mode. Maybe the anaerobic atmosphere slows their growth?


    tibbydudeza(10000) 5 days ago [-]

    Our computer room had emergency breathing masks on the wall , asked why it was there I was informed about the halon gas fire suppression system.

    Needless to say whenever I was there I kept having flashbacks to the first Resident Evil movie.

    ric2b(10000) 4 days ago [-]

    > so I'm not sure what he's doing.

    Maybe securing the vertical bars after the entire thing slides horizontally into the tube?

    I'm assuming the tube has some rails they use to slide the racks in but then they have to be properly secured in place.

    SoylentOrange(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    A friend of mine wrote a paper on the effects of cosmic rays on memory errors in data centers a few years ago[1]. He also posited they had effects on hard drive reliability.

    The first thing I thought of when reading this article is whether the increased shielding from the water reduced the impact of cosmic rays on the hardware.

    [1]: https://www.cs.toronto.edu/~bianca/papers/ASPLOS2012.pdf

    jwr(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    > there were no humans on board

    Back when I worked at a supercomputing center, we had 'operators' on duty, who were supposed to visit the machine room every 2-3h or so and check several things.

    It turned out that they were the major cause of hangs and reboots of our SunSITE server (a large FTP archive) — walking on the lifted datacenter floor caused vibrations which were enough to disturb the (terrible) external SCSI connectors to multiple drive arrays.

    So, I can certainly believe that statement.

    perl4ever(10000) 6 days ago [-]


    'there were no humans on board'

    Made me think of this:

    'The factory of the future will have only two employees, a man and a dog. The man will be there to feed the dog. The dog will be there to keep the man from touching the equipment.'

    scientific_ass(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    Microsoft patented the way to power these data centers using tidal energy in ocean itself. They patented in 2017.


    lscotte(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    'All of Orkney's electricity comes from wind and solar power'

    mothsonasloth(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    I must ask, apart from the renewable energy factor, why do it in Orkney?

    There are many islands and archipelagos in Scotland, the Hebrides which are closer to the mainland but still out of the way of fishing.

    Many of them are going to be setup with tidal and wind generators.

    Would be interesting to see how it was tethered to the shore with networking and power.


    alex_duf(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    I've heard about Orkney quite a lot, I think it must simply be an innovation hub.

    That I can think off the top of my head:

    - Orbital marine, making tidal turbine https://twitter.com/Orbitalmarine

    - Their grid https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FXe1hBvlylw

    - Their Hydrogen facilities, using extra renewable https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rybpaqhg5Qg

    jacquesm(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    It's a place where a lot of research around this theme is conducted.

    arethuza(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    It's apparently powered by energy from the European Marine Energy Centre:


    I suspect there is simply more infrastructure for this kind of thing in Orkney that the other islands.

    ashtonkem(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    Depending on the exact shape, sometimes dropping giant bits of steel in the ocean can be very good for shipping; we purposefully sink ships that are EOL for this exact purpose fairly often.

    cmarschner(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    I wonder how you would deal with theft and espionage for an underwater data center. The fact that no humans are around could be detrimental.

    rhodo(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    it wouldn't be too hard I don't think. It's a sealed tube so any attempts to get in could be detected with accelerometers or microphones.

    DenisM(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    Attack sharks should easily solve the problem. In fact I heard that Steve Balmer himself was seen under the water, frolicking among his peers.

    jandrese(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    It's hard to imagine anybody getting in there while it's underwater without nation-state level resources. We're talking about a sub with a huge moon pool that you park on top of it, or a specialized cover that fits over the hatch or something. You also have to deal with the pure nitrogen atmosphere inside of the data center. All in all it seems a lot harder than bribing the guards at a regular data center to look the other way while you mess around with some servers.

    jacquesm(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    Why heat the oceans indirectly when you can just place the heatsource directly in them? Much less chance of losing precious ergs.

    Seriously though, what is the direct ecological impact of doing this at scale, would the local increase in temperature have an immediate effect on the life around it? If so how much of an impact?

    What about the effect on surface life and life in intermediary layers of the water? After all, a body this size radiating 10's of KW of heat would cause substantial convection. At data-centre scale could it conceivably shut-down ocean currents or re-route them?

    ChuckMcM(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    The scale is off. Things that affect local ecosystems are cooling multi-gigawatt nuclear reactors with nearby ocean water, you would be lucky if one of these drew a megawatt of power.

    That said, the physics are 'heat is heat'. If you put it into the air or you put it directly into the ocean the only way it leaves the planet is by black body radiation. As a result locally heating some seawater nearby has (on a global scale) the same impact as heating the air the same amount.

    Now we know there are some ecosystems in the ocean that prefer thermal vents and you might find that around the data center itself you have a wider variety of sea life than is found in the general vicinity due to different thermal conditions. Not sure if you could map out that was a positive or negative change.

    Generally though, the ecological impact of doing this at scale is not going to be different in scale than land data centers.

    golergka(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    I don't have any numbers, but on intuitive level, cooling servers with ocean water directly sounds a lot more efficient and eco-friendly than burning coal in order to generate electricity in order to power AC in order to cool the whole giant room full of air and people in order to cool some servers.

    greenie_beans(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    I have the same questions about the temperature. Seems like that might add some extra heat to an already-warming ocean. Especially if this is done at massive scale. I'm not a scientist though!

    gorgoiler(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    I feel like this is the logical conclusion of any energy conversation.

    So what if we make a breakthrough with fusion power? We will all die from heat exhaustion caused by the arse end of AC units bringing about the heat death of the Earth.

    Etheryte(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    The orders of magnitude are wildly different, even at large server farm scale. According to some estimates, capturing merely ~0.3% of the available energy from the Gulf Stream would be enough to supply all of Florida with electricity [1].

    [1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marine_current_power#Energy_po...

    RobRivera(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    I'm sorry but this is such a 'goalpost' movement here that simply takes away a lot of context. The whole point of doing a dc underground is to reduce the hvac energy consumption which has a much larger ecological impact in terms of heat generated, power usage, potential greenhouse gas usage.

    The name of the game here is energy efficiency and conservation. Use less power by reducing power distribution loss at scale. Want an even greener solution? Make em nuclear powered like a giant submarine- that way the power generation isn't creating a heavg ecological impact.

    I think your posing of these questions genuinely fail to appreciate this for what it is, a successful proof of concept that will permit a step toward a greener future.

    kamel3d(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    Well you could ask same question about lava floating from volcanos to oceans, that much hotter and would have greater impact, or if the sun light would have an ecological impact on the water because it heat it everyday! I don't know what would few degrees increase in temperature around the capsules would do to the environment, keeping in mind that water is changing all the time due to sea current also that temperature is very local I mean it does not extend more than few inches in the water, if you have any knowledge about thermodynamics you would know that the temperature of two bodies should reach an equilibrium and since the ocean is much bigger the effect of the temperature coming from the data centres is negligible, but all this was an experiment and I am sure the ecological factor was taken in account, but still your question was kinda stupid!

    bilater(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    Also keep in mind the majority of ocean life is close to the surface so this is also inherently less harmful than a sea side factory dumping heat and waste into the ocean.

    slaymaker1907(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    From what I remember, the impact was pretty minimal. Water has a huge capacity for heat so the temperature was elevated only when very close to the data center.

    rbanffy(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    > a body this size radiating 10's of KW of heat

    It's kind of literally a drop in the ocean, but I assume it'd be worth doing a bit of research about local disruptions if we intend to drop large deployments in shallow waters.

    To shut down or significantly disturb ocean currents, we'd need a lot of these things.

    ericmay(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    Another question to ask is what the effect of pumping these data centers full of cold air is, and how the excess heat from that may be affecting the atmosphere.

    Not to discredit your point or anything, it's a very good one. I think we just also have to answer it in conjunction with what we are currently doing. Maybe we can sink some data centers and have little to no impact while also realizing energy and cost savings?

    jeffbee(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    It seems like people are always overestimating the power consumed by this type of datacenter load, and under estimating the thermal power of transportation. This little tube uses 1/4 of a MW. A nuclear submarine has a roughly 50MW(t) reactor, and there are dozens of those prowling around all of the time.

    A really huge datacenter might draw 500MW, but that's only the same thermal output as about 7 airliners.

    You could submerge every datacenter on earth and no fish is going to notice.

    kempbellt(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    >what is the direct ecological impact of doing this at scale

    Great question. Without real data it's hard to know for sure. I do think that it would be somewhat negligible though.

    Considering we have heat vents and underwater volcanoes in the ocean that kick out insane amounts of heat, I can't see datacenters having a ton of impact. Will it affect the immediate vicinity, probably. Will it affect the ocean at large, I doubt it. Unless we start sinking exaflops of CPU power into the ocean, I wouldn't worry too much.

    NathanKP(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    An HVAC system above ground would generate far more heat. The advantage of sinking the data center would appear to be that it can function with passive cooling from the surrounding water only, no HVAC. This means less electricity consumption (meaning less energy generation required, and fewer resulting greenhouse gasses). And HVAC systems create far more waste heat than they do cooling, so this passive cooling will just be moving the source heat to the water, not dumping extra waste heat as well.

    Overall an underwater data center should generate far less heat overall than an aboveground one.

    mc32(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    I guess the impact would be much less than that from underwater volcanoes and fissure vents that exist already.

    csomar(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    There is (or was) around a million submarine volcanoes in the ocean according the wikipedia. There are also hydrothermal vents across all of the oceans. The amount of energy to affect the ocean should be colossal (though I didn't do the math). To put it into perspective, we have been pumping crude oil and greenhouse emissions for over a 100 years by billions of people to raise temperatures by a degree or so.

    fblp(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    Ocean water is already used to cool nuclear and coal power plants. I suspect these would radiate far more heat than a data centre.

    I'm surprised msft wouldn't propose to pipe the ocean water in like these power plants before going through the challenge of building under the ocean...

    serjester(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    It takes about 80 watts to heat up a liter of water 1° celsius. Global data centers used about 4.16 x 10^14 watts last year [1]. Let's assume we still have a lot more data centers to build so bump that number up 10,000X. Assuming every watt of energy is actually converted to heat and we moved every data center on earth underwater it'd raise the temperate of the oceans (1.3x 10^21 liters) about 0.01°C.

    This is a very rough calculation and there's obviously nuances but the point is oceans are HUGE and water has a high specific heat. It's much easier to indirectly heat them with greenhouses gases.

    Edit: I clearly need to brush up on my physics. Regardless the effect is still miniscule.

    [1] https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2017/12/15/wh...

    kzrdude(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    In the final product, you could build the data center underwater in-place, and have the servers partially accessible - they only need to be connected to the structure in one end, and can be surrounded by water on all other sides. (Visual idea - the data center parts are like fingers on the main structure).

    jacquesm(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    Any seal in that construct would be a single-point-of-failure for the whole, not just one fraction.

    aussieguy1234(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    If this type of data center is built and the location is kept secret, could it be protected in the event of nuclear war or some other catastrophe? So whatever happens, the internet will keep running

    sgarman(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    My first thought was to go after the weakest link, or the cables/connection in this case.

    gregd(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    Does anyone know what the environmental ramifications are of sinking presumably noisy and hot tubes into the ocean? I've been in server rooms and they aren't exactly quiet. The picture of the racks look to me like standard 1U servers.

    chmod775(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    Well, marine life is not going to give a damn about warm tubes. There's plenty of natural heat sources in the ocean way more extreme than that.

    As for the noise, that can have a negative impact, but it's going to be nothing compared to the noise ships are making: https://www.npr.org/2020/07/20/891854646/whales-get-a-break-...

    Whether it's high-pitched or low-pitched noise also makes a huge difference underwater.

    tengbretson(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    If you can dump thermal energy into the ocean I suspect there wouldn't be much need for noisy fans.

    rexpop(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    Unfortunately, there are no oceanographic environmentalists with sufficient clout to have any say, whatsoever, in this unaccountable private endeavor. I doubt the Scottish Environment Protection Agency or UK's Environment Agency were invited to be veto-empowered stakeholders.

    slrainka(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    If an underwater Datacenter is established in International waters, do any of the data and privacy laws apply?

    jarito(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    Yes. Many of the privacy and data protections are not based on where the data is stored, but rather where the people who provided that data reside. For example, GDPR (an EU regulation) applies to US companies with data in the US, but only if the data they are storing belongs to EU customers.

    24gttghh(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    5 years planned with no maintenance (e.g. no storage disk failures to replace). I wonder how many spare drives were slapped in that tube to make that feasible?

    maxander(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    I would bet they just used SSDs and made sure that the workload they were giving these servers wouldn't tend to hit the rewrite limit over that time period. (Even then, I'd bet the expected writes-per-time was the source of the "five year" figure.)

    StillBored(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    In none of the articles do I see the power consumption of the pod..

    But it looks packed with a lot of servers, and the surface area is quite minimal given there don't appear to be any cooling fins/etc.

    So, that many servers are definitely many KW of power, and its all being conducted away via what appears to be a fairly minimal surface area. So the problem probably isn't the exterior so much as the interior which appears to mostly be a air->paint interface.

    So, whats the cooling mechanism here, or are the servers that low power?

    petascale(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    240 kW according to Microsoft: https://natick.research.microsoft.com/

    > [They] adapted a heat-exchange process commonly used for cooling submarines to the underwater datacenter. The system pipes seawater directly through the radiators on the back of each of the 12 server racks and back out into the ocean.


    So watercooling with seawater, a pump or two, perhaps a heat exchanger (the radiator) is involved. Server to air to pod outer surface would be way too inefficient to keep the servers operating.

    quickthrowman(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    I was wondering the same thing, since it's submerged I'm assuming they use seawater running through chillers to cool down the servers?

    maxerickson(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    There's probably an internal heat exchanger that they pump seawater through. This article says they pump seawater through heat exchangers on each rack (and presumably shows the piping):


    wrkronmiller(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    It would be nice to see some numbers on energy used to power this versus a regular set of servers.

    Also nice if they discussed the energy/cost involved with deploying and retrieving these capsules and how well that would amortize if this became a commercial solution.

    zweifuss(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    From https://natick.research.microsoft.com/ Phase 1 demonstrated the feasibility of the subsea datacenter concept, including our ability to remotely operate a Lights Out datacenter* for long periods of time, operating with a highly efficient PUE (power usage effectiveness is total power divided by server power; lower values are better, 1.0 is perfect) of 1.07, and using no water at all, for a perfect WUE (water usage effectiveness is the liters consumed per megawatt of power per minute; lower values are better, 0 is best) of exactly 0 vs land datacenters which consume up to 4.8 liters of water per kilowatt-hour. For Phase 2, our goals are to:

    Develop one full scale prototype subsea datacenter, which could be used as a modular building block to aggregate subsea datacenters of arbitrary size

    Gain an understanding of the economics of undersea datacenter TCO (total cost of ownership is the full lifetime cost of a datacenter including manufacture, deployment, operations, and recovery) should we proceed to commercial deployment.

    angry_octet(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    Another example of the journalistic malpractice of not linking to the original articles or data.



    One of the facts left unmentioned is that this was built and operated by Naval, the French state-owned submarine and shipbuilding corporation.

    calibas(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    Especially scummy when they've also broken the functionality of the back button and all the links are to other BBC articles.

    It's like the main function of the site is to trap you.

    Kydlaw(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    I don't get your point? Why is it that relevant to you?

    adrianmonk(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    > journalistic malpractice of not linking

    That disease is very prevalent, and I don't understand why.

    My less-cynical guess is that the industry is stuck in the past, and journalists need better training and tools.

    My more-cynical guess is that they are afraid of irrelevance, so they are defensively trying to keep you in their walled garden of information instead of encouraging you to get into the habit of getting info more directly.

    mips_avatar(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    It seems an additional hurdle is anti-fouling. Those barnacles and algae act as an insulator, making the cold-water cooling advantage less and less of an advantage.

    javiramos(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    Maybe the vessels could be built with a cleanout mechanism that periodically activates and brushes the outside free of algae?

    mc32(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    Maybe there's a temp at which it's too warm for barnacles —question is can the systems within operate at that temperature?

    OldHand2018(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    Maybe they will release some cooling data that quantifies the effect!

    hangonhn(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    Is that really still an issue? From my understanding, it's sort of a solved problem. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-AdW030xQB4

    endtime(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    If the surface were that hot, would sea creatures still want to live on it? I have no idea what their range of tolerance is, but I'd assume that they're well adapted for living on relatively cool rocks. And if it's not that hot, then it seems like there's not a cooling problem.

    (To be clear, I'm speculating without any real knowledge of this subject, and welcome the inevitable corrections.)

    Const-me(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    The container is huge, and the insulation by algae is not that good. Anti-fouling matters for boats because increases energy consumption when it sails. Pretty sure for the datacenter it only contributes to a few degrees C.

    megablast(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    You can get anti fouling that lasts for 10 years.

    sandworm101(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    >> Those barnacles and algae act as an insulator

    Maybe not. Barnacles probably conduct heat at a similar rate to water. And they create a rougher surface with greater contact area to the surrounding water. And some of them actively filter water, push it around. Perhaps having a layer of barnacles woudl increase cooling.

    kevin_thibedeau(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    These should be built into the outflow of hydro stations to counteract the unnatural cooling of the downstream river water.

    dathanb82(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    How do hydroelectric plants unnaturally cool water going through them?

    eklavyaa(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    They are only discussing about how they can make it more efficient. As far as I understand one kind of cost cutting they are aiming is energy and money required in 'Cooling' systems, ya I read about less failure cases too. But putting a heat generating device under water will have adverse effect on underwater ecosystem surrounding it.

    defnotashton2(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    The same is true of land based operations ha IMG environmental impact, there is a whole lot more sea than land.

    kumarvvr(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    Cooling underwater does not produce additional carbon. Cooling in normal data centers, produces a lot of carbon (in case they are using solar panels, production of those panels generates short term carbon).

    I would definitely choose the former over the latter.

    geophertz(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    The thing is that if putting data centers underwater solves the cooling problem, all the heat produced is wasted, so it this really a good solution?

    CydeWeys(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    It's literally waste heat, what else are you going to use it for? You won't efficiently generate electricity with it or anything like that. About the best you could hope for is warming up inhabited spaces in winter, but that ends up not being cost-effective because you'd rather have the data centers in the middle of nowhere where land is cheap (and you can't really transport the heat to where it's actually needed).

    crazygringo(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    Heat is awfully hard to transfer in the first place, especially when it's not even that hot. It's handy if you can put your data center underneath a swimming pool, for example. But I'm not aware of any large-scale heat recovery projects from data centers. Data centers generally spend extra energy to remove the heat...

    But honestly who cares if your power comes from renewables in the first place -- solar and wind? It doesn't seem right to even frame it as 'wasting' heat in the first place, anymore than the sun's heat was being 'wasted' warming up the ocean in the first place.

    ericmcer(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    It isn't wasted it is helping to heat up the oceans.

    da_chicken(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    The heat produced in a traditional data center is already unwanted and wasted and takes a ton of electricity and machinery to get rid of. Given that processors like to operate around 50 C, that's not a lot of heat to preserve and transport and do something useful with.

    azurezyq(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    That's the cruel part of the thermodynamics. The waste heat here is not hot enough so it's really difficult for the recovery effort to reach a reasonable efficiency economically.

    That's why you don't see it...


    FartyMcFarter(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    I don't know if it's the best solution, but it would seem to beat the 'use A/C to cool it' solution.

    ramon(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    I don't like the idea since raising water temperatures affects life in the ocean like coral reefs.

    AlanSE(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    This has been covered again and again in other comments. Thermal power plants dump heat into oceans today. The data center is much more efficient than a counterpart on land.

    Ocean life and coral reefs are in danger due to temperature rise as a part of climate change. Energy efficiency helps reduce that temperature rise.

    oh_sigh(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    Not many coral reefs off of Orkney.There's Lophelia pertusa but that only grows at > 100m depth, whereas this data center was placed at ~30m.

    sktrdie(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    Why not put them in... space?

    Lots of energy (direct sun) and cold temperatures up there. I guess space debris could be an issue.

    thomond(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    Connectivity is an important factor for Data Centres needless to say, how would that work in space?

    CydeWeys(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    Contrary to popular belief, space in the vicinity of Earth's orbit is not cold. Indeed, it's very hot. You get the full unfiltered force of sunlight (hotter than noon on the equator), and you don't have any material available nearby like air or water to convect the heat away. Cooling is actually a huge problem in orbit, way harder than on Earth where you can just use fans.

    malwrar(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    Besides the obstacle of it being difficult to cool objects in space (you need atmosphere to do convection cooling, i.e. heatsinks), you need to somehow actually get everything in space. It costs a lot of money to get heavy things into orbit, whereas it costs nothing to sink those same objects in the water which naturally has better thermal conductivity to boot. As another bonus, you can get at it much easier if you need to perform maintenance by e.g. attaching pods to a crane rig and simply raising it.

    tehbeard(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    Yeah, temperature is a little more complicated than that in space...

    You're only option of removing heat is radiating it away (no atmosphere/fluid to conduct/convect to). You're also roasting on one half of the orbit, freezing on the other side.

    If you look at the ISS they have HUGE radiators for what's little more than a small outpost.

    Solar's only good for half-ish of the orbit, you'll be reliant on batteries for the darkside (more mass, limited lifespan)

    Not to mention the dV costs of orbit.

    thaumasiotes(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    As I understand it, the temperature is cold in space, but it's still difficult to transfer heat from yourself to the environment (because there's nothing in the environment to absorb the energy).

    You don't want low temperatures for their own sake; you want them to facilitate heat loss.

    Historical Discussions: Vue.js 3 (September 18, 2020: 750 points)
    Vue 3 Beta (April 17, 2020: 190 points)
    Vue v3.0.0-RC.1 (July 18, 2020: 128 points)

    (750) Vue.js 3

    750 points 2 days ago by simulo in 10000th position

    github.com | Estimated reading time – 8 minutes | comments | anchor

    Today we are proud to announce the official release of Vue.js 3.0 'One Piece'. This new major version of the framework provides improved performance, smaller bundle sizes, better TypeScript integration, new APIs for tackling large scale use cases, and a solid foundation for long-term future iterations of the framework.

    The 3.0 release represents over 2 years of development efforts, featuring 30+ RFCs, 2,600+ commits, 628 pull requests from 99 contributors, plus tremendous amount of development and documentation work outside of the core repo. We would like to express our deepest gratitude towards our team members for taking on this challenge, our contributors for the pull requests, our sponsors and backers for the financial support, and the wider community for participating in our design discussions and providing feedback for the pre-release versions. Vue is an independent project created for the community and sustained by the community, and Vue 3.0 wouldn't have been possible without your consistent support.

    Taking the 'Progressive Framework' Concept Further

    Vue had a simple mission from its humble beginning: to be an approachable framework that anyone can quickly learn. As our user base grew, the framework also grew in scope to adapt to the increasing demands. Over time, it evolved into what we call a 'Progressive Framework': a framework that can be learned and adopted incrementally, while providing continued support as the user tackles more and more demanding scenarios.

    Today, with over 1.3 million users worldwide*, we are seeing Vue being used in a wildly diverse range of scenarios, from sprinkling interactivity on traditional server-rendered pages, to full-blown single page applications with hundreds of components. Vue 3 takes this flexibility even further.

    Layered internal modules

    Vue 3.0 core can still be used via a simple <script> tag, but its internals has been re-written from the ground up into a collection of decoupled modules. The new architecture provides better maintainability, and allows end users to shave off up to half of the runtime size via tree-shaking.

    These modules also exposes lower-level APIs that unlocks many advanced use cases:

    • The compiler supports custom AST transforms for build-time customizations (e.g. build-time i18n)
    • The core runtime provides first-class API for creating custom renderers targeting different render targets (e.g. native mobile, WebGL or terminals). The default DOM renderer is built using the same API.
    • The @vue/reactivity module exports functions that provide direct access to Vue's reactivity system, and can be used as a standalone package. It can be used to pair with other templating solutions (e.g. lit-html) or even in non-UI scenarios.

    New APIs for tackling scale

    The 2.x Object-based API is largely intact in Vue 3. However, 3.0 also introduces the Composition API - a new set of APIs aimed at addressing the pain points of Vue usage in large scale applications. The Composition API builds on top of the reactivity API and enables logic composition and reuse similar to React hooks, more flexible code organization patterns, and more reliable type inference than the 2.x Object-based API.

    Composition API can also be used with Vue 2.x via the @vue/composition-api plugin, and there are already Composition API utility libraries that work for both Vue 2 and 3 (e.g. vueuse, vue-composable).

    Performance Improvements

    Vue 3 has demonstrated significant performance improvements over Vue 2 in terms of bundle size (up to 41% lighter with tree-shaking), initial render (up to 55% faster), updates (up to 133% faster), and memory usage (up to 54% less).

    In Vue 3, we have taken the approach of 'compiler-informed Virtual DOM': the template compiler performs aggressive optimizations and generates render function code that hoists static content, leaves runtime hints for binding types, and most importantly, flattens the dynamic nodes inside a template to reduce the cost of runtime traversal. The user therefore gets the best of both worlds: compiler-optimized performance from templates, or direct control via manual render functions when the use case demands.

    Improved TypeScript integration

    Vue 3's codebase is written in TypeScript, with automatically generated, tested, and bundled type definitions so they are always up-to-date. Composition API works great with type inference. Vetur, our official VSCode extension, now supports template expression and props type checking leveraging Vue 3's improved internal typing. Oh, and Vue 3's typing fully supports TSX if that's your preference.

    Experimental Features

    We have proposed two new features for Singe-File Components (SFC, aka .vue files):

    These features are already implemented and available in Vue 3.0, but are provided only for the purpose of gathering feedback. They will remain experimental until the RFCs are merged.

    We have also implemented a currently undocumented <Suspense> component, which allows waiting on nested async dependencies (async components or component with async setup()) on initial render or branch switch. We are testing and iterating on this feature with the Nuxt.js team (Nuxt 3 is on the way) and will likely solidify it in 3.1.

    Phased Release Process

    The release of Vue 3.0 marks the general readiness of the framework. While some of the frameworks sub projects may still need further work to reach stable status (specifically router and Vuex integration in the devtools), we believe it's suitable to start new, green-field projects with Vue 3 today. We also encourage library authors to start upgrading your projects to support Vue 3.

    Check out the Vue 3 Libraries Guide for details on all framework sub projects.

    Migration and IE11 Support

    We have pushed back the migration build (v3 build with v2 compatible behavior + migration warnings) and the IE11 build due to time constraints, and are aiming to focus on them in Q4 2020. Therefore, users planning to migrate an existing v2 app or require IE11 support should be aware of these limitations at this time.

    Next Steps

    For the near term after release, we will focus on:

    • Migration build
    • IE11 support
    • Router and Vuex integration in new devtools
    • Further improvements to template type inference in Vetur

    For the time being, the documentation websites, GitHub branches, and npm dist tags for Vue 3 and v3-targeting projects will remain under next-denoted status. This means npm install vue will still install Vue 2.x and npm install [email protected] will install Vue 3. We are planning to switch all doc links, branches and dist tags to default to 3.0 by end of 2020.

    At the same time, we have started planning for 2.7, which will be the last planned minor release of the 2.x release line. 2.7 will be backporting compatible improvements from v3, and emit warnings on usage of APIs that are removed/changed in v3 to help with potential migration. We are planning to work on 2.7 in Q1 2021, which will directly become LTS upon release with an 18 months maintenance lifespan.

    Trying It Out

    To learn more about Vue 3.0, check out our new documentation website. If you are an existing Vue 2.x user, go directly to the Migration Guide.

    All Comments: [-] | anchor

    nikkwong(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    The announcement talk was nice to watch, however, it was technically void of any of the implementation details.

    It's interesting to me that they did not consider the approach of pushing more work to the compiler and less to the runtime in the manner popularized by Svelte. I wonder what the trade-off between their current rendering approach and the Svelte-based approach are?

    swyx(10000) 1 day ago [-]

    > they did not consider the approach

    they certainly did, lol. the tradeoff is the same it's been; they want all of vue available in a script tag.

    filipsch(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    I was surprised to see an update to a contemporary JavaScript framework to be welcomed rather than boo'd by the average HN reader. That in itself is an accomplishment.

    swyx(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    the appetite for a credible alternative to a Facebook project is strong. also the vue team has done a great job dripping out information over the past 2 years and building anticipation. very little surprises in this release, hence mostly celebration left. you need to go back a bit further in time to find the critical HN comments.

    superasn(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    One thing I'm really excited about with this version is Vite (the snowpack type version of Vue that doesn't require webpack). It should make development so much easier.

    mcherm(10000) 1 day ago [-]

    As someone who includes we pack in my build chain in order to use vue but doesn't truly understand it and has never used Cute, can you explain the advantages?

    Exuma(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    I just started vue 3 and its incredible compared to my experience with react. Way to go Vue team!!!

    azangru(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    > and its incredible compared to my experience with react

    Could you expand on this a little more? What is it specifically that makes it incredible compared to React, in your opinion?

    jiofih(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    > allows end users to shave off up to half of the runtime size via tree-shaking

    Doesn't webpack support actual tree-shaking (not just modules) or is that still a Rollup-only feature? There should be little difference in size in importing packages vs files if tree-shaking is on.

    wishinghand(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    It will on or after October 10th, which is when the next version of Webpack is slated to release.

    j-krieger(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    Webpack doesn't support actual, statically checked tree shaking for now. There is a parameter called ''sideEffects'' you can employ in your package.json, which if switched to off gives hints to the compiler that your code is side-effect free and can thus be eliminated if not used.

    TekMol(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    I still don't see a reason why one would use Vue or React.

    I agree that templating of data is something you should use a library for. But there are great templating libraries. Handlebars for example.

    Can someone give a short example of code that would be more elegant using Vue then just a simple template engine?

    ncr100(10000) 1 day ago [-]


    This link might contribute to your evaluation. It's a seemingly reasonable overview of the top three frameworks. Author recommends using all three, spoiler?

    mmcnl(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    Vue and React are more than templating engines. They decouple the state and view of your application. This means your view becomes a function of state, and you only need to worry about state. This solves the problem of trying to keep your view in sync with the application state, which probably everyone who has done some webdev for more than 5 years still has nightmares about.

    serial_dev(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    Which template engine? Then what if you realize you need a router? Then the developer who glued those together leaves, and all you can hire is juniors.

    There are benefits to using the industry standard (which today I consider Vue, React, Angular and slowly Svelte), you can learn it quickly, as it has ton of resources and you can hire easily, as you aren't forcing someone to use some obscure, home baked js framework.

    That's my take at least.

    cjohnson318(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    One example is building an application like minesweeper. Would you really want to tackle that with jQuery and templating engine? I'd rather break everything into components, have them talk to each other through a state manger like vuex or redux, and only phone home to my API for important things, like the final game score.

    Exuma(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    It's almost a necessity for complicated apps. Right now I'm building an app which involves a reporting screen with all the following features on a single page:

    - 10+ breakdowns for report - 10+ filters for report - Each filter has an include/exclude dropdown list which then has multiple features within even a single filter (so some filters are EQUALS/NOT EQUALS) others are INCLUDES/DOESNT INCLUDE/EMPTY/NOT EMPTY and all the appropriate options for each filter, not to mention clearing filters, etc - column sorting - column hiding - filtering with search - pagination on both client and server side (50K rows batching into sub pagination groups which client side takes over on server batches) - a dropdown at the top which re-initializes EVERY piece of data with a different account and changes quite literally re-initializes 50+ 'states' of the UI on the page

    Thinks of google analytics

    First of all, we can assume doing this on the front end is 100% required. Imagine using google analytics where every single option you change is a backend request. Impossible, so now that weve gotten past that...

    Imagine using something like jquery or custom JS where you try to manage the incredibly complicated input/output nature of each component of the page.

    Component based design is required because you can keep all your logic for the entire app for a single TINY piece of the app in its own file. So something like a dropdown menu can get its own component called `<DropdownMenu>`, and within that you define all 'outer state' that component can use as a prop, or input state (so for example, you want the items that appear in the list to be defined OUTSIDE the component so the component can be re-used). However, that component also has its own internal state, such as whether its open or not, whether its animating or not, what item is selected etc, so if a component has internal state, then you store it IN the component itself. So now the 'state' of EVERY component on the page is defined in 2 places... the originator of the state (such as the component which holds your API calls), or in the component itself. When any change takes place in ANY of those states, all components related to that state 'update' automatically to use that new state. This means by simply making a new API call, the outer component state changes, and every single component that relies on that state updates accordingly, even for the most complex UI imaginable its trivial to think about 95% of the logic because all the state is exactly where you expect it to be, and when there are infinite numbers of nuanced side effects, you usually program them IN the component and you dont have to clutter your actual logic (say for instance the api updates your base state, you want the dropdown to reset to zero, so you would code this into the component itself, so that everywhere on the page that uses this component it would all follow suit).

    pier25(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    Sure, you can use HBS (or even vanilla) to render a piece of dynamic HTML. That's not really the problem these libraries are solving.

    You could also create your own components with HBS templates and figure out how compose them to render a tree of components. That's not too hard to figure out either.

    The problem is really in updating the DOM when state changes somewhere in your application. In the jQuery days we had tons of micro DOM managing code so that when some variable changed then we would update some piece of the DOM by 'hand'. But as your project grows this becomes a mess pretty quickly.

    Another solution could be to simply re-render everything and update all the DOM on every frame with a state change. That would simplify your code but it would probably be extremely inefficient.

    The point of libraries like Vue, React, Svelte, etc, is about simplifying the production of sophisticated UIs, as efficiently as possible, so you can focus on the right abstraction instead of the implementation details (eg: managing the DOM).

    Every library takes a very different approach. If you're coming from the vanilla/jQuery world the learning curve can be pretty steep. But, as someone who has been doing web frontend for 20 years, I think the price of admission is worth it.

    IMO Vue is probably the easiest one to get into. You can get started by simply including it in a script tag as if you were using jQuery.

    mattwad(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    If you use Typescript, it means type-safe templates. That's a game-changer right there.

    mmczaplinski(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    A short example, no, because if all you need is a simple website, then you don't need Vue either :)

    If you're building complex user interfaces or a large-scale web app, then hell yeah, you want to use React or Vue.

    j-krieger(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    Any code involving a mid- to large sized web application that needs reactivity. Templating engines like handlebars are used on the server side, react and vue belong on the frontend (most of the time, but not exclusively). That's the reason people use them: If you want to, you can have your logic executed on the client-side only, and host whatever else you need on a cloud-provider. Client-Side computing doesn't scale particulary well when your userbase grows fast enough.

    mariushn(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    Why is IE11 support still important now? I can't find exact stats on it, but it seems <2%. Surely projects which still want to support IE11 could still stick for a while with Vue2.

    reaperducer(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    IE11 is still heavily used in some industries, such as healthcare. Browser statistics services usually don't pick up on a lot of IE11 use because it's on internal networks.

    I wish I could ignore IE11, but the reality is that I can't.

    duhi88(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    I was surprised that became a feature of Vue 3, as well. I was hoping they would drop it, assuming you could just use Babel + Polyfills to get it to work if you really needed it.

    bewareandaware(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    I don't really understand the composition API. Doesn't passing values by reference which can be modified anywhere downward the tree make your app difficult to reason and debug it?

    gavinray(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    I have a fairly large/complex SaaS platform built with Vue 3 composition API. Can maybe shed some light.

    A while ago I wrote the same component in Vue 2 and Vue 3 as an example of one versus the other:



    If you meant more from a conceptual standpoint -- the usage patterns with Vue 3 is pretty nearly identical for most people. You just replace 'data()' property with some 'reactive()' state value in setup (or 'ref()' for single values).

    You CAN write things like generic hooks/'useXXX()' helpers, but you likely won't wind up with a ton of those.

    Also, about the reference passing: it doesn't actually really work like that. If you pass a 'ref()' or 'reactive()' value as a prop to a child component, and you mutate it there, it doesn't propagate to the parent.

    Vue will throw this warning:

        [Vue warn]: Avoid mutating a prop directly since the value will be overwritten whenever the parent component re-renders. Instead, use a data or computed property based on the prop's value. Prop being mutated: 'someRef'
    rektide(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    > I don't really understand [X]. Doesn't [Y] make your app difficult to reason and debug it?

    It (passing mutable values around) does make it harder to understand the data-flow, yes.

    But we programmers keep assuming our rules & protection & orderliness are helpful & necessary. And those patterns we opt in to keep getting codified, embraced. But along comes someone who breaks those rules, & it keeps turning out, a lot of the things we think we do to be orderly & safe & sensible are actually not that helpful at all, or have impeded really wonderful progress elsewhere.

    I think of React. Until React came along, everyone doing web development knew, it was obviously correct, that we needed templating languages. We knew we needed content & code separate. We knew content was obviously a different beast than code & that content should have tools designed for content. As it turns out, mixing code & content actually works really well & that we had ruled out a wide space of possibilities that were really simple, powerful, & direct.

    Relatedly, here, with shared-mutable-variables, I'd pitch that hopefully tools compensate for a lot. Hopefully it's possible to run the app & see who is modifying values, see who is being updated when values change. It's nice being able to have the code tell you, up front, easily, but also hopefully watching at runtime is possible, makes it easy to suss out what the connections & causalities are within a system.

    manigandham(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    Modifications in all JS frameworks are the same. Some interaction causes an event, that event is caught and changes some data, that data then triggers the render functions which show the new UI. This is often coded with event handlers linked to actions/mutations/reducers in some kind of state management library.

    Vue (and some other frameworks) use a reactivity approach where the data is wrapped with a proxy that basically automates all this code. I find it much easier to reason about since it greatly reduces the complexity and you can focus on the actual data changes rather than all the plumbing to change the data.

    Exuma(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    No, because they all happen in the setup function, and when you export them at the bottom of setup you use them 100% identically as you would within mounted() etc,

    quabity(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    I had a similar misunderstanding when I first saw it, but globally declaring reactive variables and passing them around isn't really what it's about. Take, for example: https://github.com/antfu/vueuse/blob/master/packages/core/us.... Any component that wants to use a reactive reference to mouse coordinates can `const { x, y } = useMouse()` in `setup`, but `x` and `y` will refer to different objects in each of those components (since the `ref()` is instantiated inside the call to `useMouse()`). The functionality is what's shared between components, not the state/references.

    That said, if you want to use the composition api to share state you can, and you can pretty easily set up some structure to restrict mutability:

        // useStore.ts
        import { reactive, readonly } from 'vue'
        export const useStore = () => {
          const state = reactive({ count: 0 })
          const increment = (val = 1) => state.count += val
          return {
            state: readonly(state), // Readonly so state can't be mutated directly...
            increment, // ...only through the mutations provided, like Vuex
        // store.ts
        import { useStore } from './useStore'
        export const store = useStore() // Now components can share this instance
        // MyCounter.vue
        import { store } from './store'
        export default {
          setup: () => ({
            count: store.state.count,
            onClick: () => store.increment(5),
    Or you can just keep using Vuex for sharing state and use the composition API for sharing self-contained bits of functionality. Or, if nothing else, using the `setup` method instead of the Options API just gives you much more control over how you organize your own code within a component.
    umvi(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    So it looks like Vue releases are all named after anime?

    For anyone curious, here's the full list:


    dane-pgp(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    Is that a JoJo reference?

    fyrmio(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    > Vue 3 has demonstrated significant performance improvements over Vue 2 in terms of bundle size (up to 41% lighter with tree-shaking), initial render (up to 55% faster), updates (up to 133% faster), and memory usage (up to 120% less).

    What does 120% less memory usage mean, really?

    JMTQp8lwXL(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    I can only suppose it means 100% less memory consumption by Vue, and then Vue somehow frees 20% of memory from other running processes, which would lead to some pretty interesting results.

    pier25(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    In the latest JS benchmarks[1], Vue 3 RC4 is not doing so great in the startup metrics or memory usage.

    Perf is on par with Preact.

    RC4 is not the final release though, we'll see how it goes with 3.0.0

    [1] https://krausest.github.io/js-framework-benchmark/current.ht...

    dboreham(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    Means writer isn't mathematically literate?

    wenc(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    I see the confusion.

    100% more of something = 2x more

    120% more of something = 2.2x more

    120% less of something (problem here!) = 2.2x less = 1 / 2.2 of something = 45% of something

    I think the writer meant 2.2x improvement in memory usage rather than 120% less memory usage -- the word 'less' used in conjunction with a percentage is confusing.

    ru552(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    It doesn't need memory anymore. Writes raw to spinning disk. 2% faster -50% of the time

    tyingq(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    It's definitely not how to show that, but if you follow their link (https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1VJFx-kQ4KjJmnpDXIEai...), you'll see the numbers.

    The math is like, if it did use 100mb, and now it uses 25mb, that's 300% less, because 25mb is the '100%', and you reduced by that amount 3 times. Odd.

    sedatk(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    I guess it means 20% memory usage relative to the previous version?

    x87678r(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    I'm seeing this more often, esp like 3x cheaper it hurts my head. For 120% less I'm thinking 100/220= it uses 45% of the memory it used to.

    EForEndeavour(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    The only way this makes sense to me is if memory usage was reduced by a factor of 1.2, but that sounds so much more modest than '120% less' that I'm doubting myself.

    On a related note, I tend to avoid expressing changes as percentages entirely, in large part because increasing by X% and then decreasing by that same X% doesn't get you back to where you started.

    NanoWar(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    Nice, but does it have material?

    gavinray(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    My only wish now is for the TSX experience to be rounded out.

    From a reactivity standpoint, Vue has a much more ergonomic/easy to use API for handling component state, effects, and computed values (in my opinion) than React.

    But in the last 6-8 months, I've leaned away from Single-File Components because when you want to do something like define a bunch of small components, it's a lot more difficult to do than with multiple TSX functions you can chuck in one file.

    So I've been using Vue with TSX, and the experience (in the last few months only, before that was pretty bad) is okay, but not as solid as you'd get with React.

    I'm not the only one who must feel this way, because this exists and has a lot of stars:

    'Reactivue: Use Vue Composition API in React components'


    Unfortunately, this is a weird stance to take in the Vue community, almost nobody uses JSX/TSX. Because of this, the development efforts towards it aren't as much a priority.

    Overall, I'd rate the experience as 'decent' and 'totally usable', but I hope to see the DX for Vue's TSX community improve over the coming months.


    Edit 2: Disregard the below, this already exists apparently

    Edit 1: Having to write two type definitions for Component Props: one TS interface/type, and one as the JS object sucks. That's my one big complaint.

    I know it's impossible because props need a runtime value but someone should make a plugin/babel transform to decorate the 'props' key from the generic argument here:

       const MyComponent = defineComponent<MyComponentProps>
    Use reflection on 'MyComponentProps' to set 'props' key.

    There's another comment below discussing this drawback too.

    lloydatkinson(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    They have improved TSX support in Vue 3. Did you try it? What does or does not work? I'm planning on switching to TSX.

    EvanYou(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    > Having to write two type definitions for Component Props: one TS interface/type, and one as the JS object sucks.

    Uh, you don't have to? TS inference works with the JS objects. There's no need to provide the generic argument here.

    Also check out this: https://github.com/vuejs/rfcs/blob/sfc-improvements/active-r... (auto-generating runtime types from TS interface)

    JMTQp8lwXL(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    > Unfortunately, this is a weird stance to take in the Vue community, almost nobody uses JSX/TSX.

    Typed components is 200% of why I'm writing React these days. Angular has typed components too (they went in on TypeScript early), but the Angular Language Service / IDE integration didn't come to later-- so for a period, no intellisense.

    But having intellisense while writing TSX is so wonderful, especially when you're working with complex or deeply nested object structures.

    revskill(10000) 1 day ago [-]

    I don't know if React could allow set children's data via parent, like

    $childRef.setData({ data })

    When i see this code in a Vue codebase, my mind got hurt.

    I still prefer React due to its consistent reasoning about data flow in the app.

    onion2k(10000) 1 day ago [-]

    That sounds like the equivalent to React's forward refs. https://reactjs.org/docs/forwarding-refs.html

    hugi(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    Live release announcement with Evan You going on right now:


    agumonkey(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    in case people wonder, still live as I type

    ps: 5min later it's over

    x87678r(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    I didn't expect him to say 'Enjoy the Vue' ha.

    RNCTX(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    Vue is the only one of the most popular 3 frameworks that can easily be used on a minimal basis to sort of 'spruce up' old applications by selectively adding it here and there in the templates.

    Seems like they should try more marketing and community outreach toward that end.

    Gradual adoption is a feature / selling point not many web development frameworks can claim.

    brlewis(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    > Vue is the only one of the most popular 3 frameworks that can

    I don't know if you intended it this way, but the start of this comment makes it automatically flamebait.

    Discussion around release announcements can quickly turn into a flame war. Please use caution.

    goodoldneon(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    Why can't React do the same?

    k__(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    As far as I know, what you are talking about was the main reason React was created in the first place.

    All this FUD spread by the Vue fans is getting ridiculous...

    thepratt(10000) 1 day ago [-]

    You may want to look at projects like preact-habitat, stimulus, and web components (a la polymer). Vue isn't the only game in town for this functionality.

    aabbcc1241(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    Stencil, Elm and React can also be be gradually adopted as they can produce individual component, which can be mounted to a part of webpage

    diob(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    You can do the same thing with React though, you can arbitrarily render a React root anywhere, and an arbitrary number of times on the same page.

    For instance, I work on an app that was originally written in Backbone / Marionette, but I was able to write generic connectors to allow us to drop in React at any point in the tree. Similarly, we can go back to Marionette / Backbone at any point in the tree. It's made gradually migration towards React possible.

    Claiming React can't do the same sort of sprucing up as Vue is just a lack of imagination. Show me an old app, and I'll show you how to do it.

    crescentfresh(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    Agree with this sentiment. I was in web dev since pre-jQuery/Backbone, but left during the rise of the js-framework wars. I then returned to this area as I needed to add functionality/'spruce up' a web app within my organization and randomly chose Vue for the task. It went smoothly and didn't require re-writing anything.

    Meanwhile the web development team are still fighting with the flagship 'all-or-nothing' angular app, still stuck on 1.7 because anything else is an entire rewrite.

    swyx(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    i'm afraid this is pretty much plain wrong. react and svelte also support incremental adoption, and i dont know angular but i'd hazard there's a way to do it too if you bothered to ask angular devs.

    what you're responding to is marketing, which Vue has done an effective job of. thats fine, but it is unfair of you to conclude 'Gradual adoption is a feature / selling point not many web development frameworks can claim.'

    zeandcode(10000) 1 day ago [-]

    Couldn't be more excited how Vue 3 would become the basis of the next amazing project

    winrid(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    You can do this with Angular. Just create a component, insert the compiled script tag, and then you can reference it in the html like: <my-component />

    lmarcos(10000) 1 day ago [-]

    I wouldn't say this is the main selling point of Vue. For me Vue is superior exactly in the opposite scenario: when one has to build a complex SPA. State management, routing, and the like is all well integrated in the Vue ecosystem whereas, for example, in the React world it's a pita. I like React's simplicity, but I cannot deal with any of its complementary libraries for state management.

    lmiller1990(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    Yep, this is my favorite thing about Vue.

    People will respond saying you 'can do this with React, too'. But in practice it's not nearly as nice to do as with Vue. You need React and React DOM AND JSX to really make it practical; writing React render functions is not really what you want to do when you are adding some simple functionality to an existing web app (like form validation).

    jaequery(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    if this means no more Vuex, i'm all for that. that extra abstraction layer never proved useful to me.

    deergomoo(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    Out of curiosity, how do you handle data needed by tons of components at different tree depths (info about the current user for example)?

    I don't always reach for Vuex, but when an app reaches a certain size it sure beats passing every bit of common data down through the entire tree, as I find you quickly hit a point where you're passing data to components solely so it can pass it to it's children.

    gorbypark(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    Vuex is still around. They just haven't finished integrating it into Vue Dev Tools, yet.

    badhabit(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    i learned vue2 3-4 years ago.

    should i learn vue3 or svelte instead?

    k__(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    Depends on what you want.

    I researched tech required in job offers and React was first, running circles around Angular and Vue. Nobody spoke of Svelte

    dbrueck(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    Maybe take both for a brief spin, but my vote would be for svelte. I used vue2 about the same timeframe as you (stumbled upon it while trying to find alternatives to React or whatever) and really liked it a lot.

    About a year ago I had to tackle a few new web projects so I decided to give React/Angular/etc another look... and promptly went hunting for alternatives again, and that's how I found svelte. We've got 5-6 svelte-based projects in production now and have really, really enjoyed it.

    All that said, I haven't looked at vue3 in depth yet, so maybe it's amazing, I dunno. :)

    davidwparker(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    Honestly, it takes 1/2 a day to read through all the svelte docs and go through the tutorial.

    It's incredibly easy to use and I've (personally) liked it a lot more than Vue(2).

    pier25(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    I started playing with Vue in 2015, even wrote an article [1] about Vue which was pretty popular a couple of years ago (it was hosted on Medium then).

    These days I'm focused on Svelte. It's faster and lighter, but IMO the best feature is you write a fraction of the code. When I go back to old React or Vue projects I want to cry. Svelte is so much more zen.

    OTOH the ecosystem is minuscule so you are on your own. The support for TS and testing is not great either. Svelte is easy to learn but it's not very popular yet. I would understand if someone argued it's a risky bet although I'm building my SaaS with it.

    [1] https://www.pierbover.com/posts/vuejs-good-meh-ugly/

    phaedryx(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    Honestly, this https://svelte.dev/faq#how-do-i-test-svelte-apps made the decision to choose Vue over Svelte pretty easy for me.

    deergomoo(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    You could do both tbh, there's not much to Svelte (as the name suggests).

    duhi88(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    If you know Vue 2, Vue 3 will be easy to learn, as well. There are some more advanced features you can choose to use if you want, but I guarantee you could pick it up really fast. This isn't an AngularJS -> Angular sorta change.

    Also, give it a few more months before building anything non-trivial. Some of the more popular libraries for Vue 2 still need to up updated for Vue 3 (vue-router, vuex, for instance).

    therealmarv(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    anybody know the status of Nuxt and vue 3 support?

    gavinray(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    It's meant to be released sometime within the coming weeks from contributor comments IIRC.

    It works well with the Composition API plugin for Vue 2 though. They have a dedicated package for this.

    With the Nuxt VCA + Nuxt TS plugin, the experience is solid IMO.

    wishinghand(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    It's coming. This is just the slides, but some details were gone over by a main Nuxt contributor: https://nuxtjs.slides.com/atinux/state-of-nuxt-2020

    didip(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    I am impressed with the amount of energy Evan is pouring in this open source project.

    I am curious if he ever experience boredom working on Vue.

    I am also curious if Patreon based income is sustainable for the long run. What if there's another new sexy JS framework in the future?

    Traubenfuchs(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    > What if there's another new sexy JS framework in the future?

    I am sure he can save a lot, with that income.

    I am sure he could find a normal job, with those skills.

    I am sure he could be a freelancer, with 'created vue.js' as reference.

    His Patreon based income would slowly die with the decline of Vue.js and he'd have enough time to look for something else.

    bdcravens(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    Patreon income may not be, but Vue-based income should be.

    This company focuses on development of Coldbox, a ColdFusion-based framework still in active development. If they can support a team and still continue development, Vue should be good for a while


    wmf(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    Market growth can cover a lot. Even if, say, Svelte gets bigger than Vue in the future, Vue could still be bigger than it is today.

    wishinghand(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    > I am curious if he ever experience boredom working on Vue.

    I was curious about this too when Vue 3 overshot its release estimate and then he started working on Vite, which is a build tool.

    mushufasa(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    > What if there's another new sexy JS framework in the future?

    That's how a market works. It's a strong incentive to keep Vue sexy.

    m3nu(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    From what I see, Vue.js has a very healthy commercial ecosystem. Many people seem to be making money off their community work. Be it with blogs, courses, conferences, offering plugins, UI, etc.

    I think this decentralized web of incentives is more sustainable in the long run than a single corporate sponsor.

    IshKebab(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    I was hoping for better Typescript support for typing properties, since that is where 90% of our type errors occur. But it seems like you still have to specify the types manually. The example from the manual:

      const Component = defineComponent({
        props: {
          name: String,
          success: { type: String },
          callback: {
            type: Function as PropType<() => void>
          message: {
            type: Object as PropType<ComplexMessage>,
            required: true,
            validator(message: ComplexMessage) {
              return !!message.title
    Contrast this with React where this would be something like this (I think; I've never used React):

      interface Props {
        name: string;
        success: string;
        callback: () => void;
        message: ComplexMessage;
      export default class Component extends React.Component<Props> {
    Quite disappointing. Maybe not that surprising given Evan said he only started using Typescript very recently, and many beginner Javascript developers don't realise that they should really be using Typescript (fortunately Evan isn't one of them). I would recommend still avoiding Vue for this reason alone.
    EvanYou(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    It's not that we can't implement it like that, the real challenge is in minimizing breakage from v2. We decided it's better to not completely alter how props are declared because that would be too much breakage.

    Instead, there's the compiler-based approach with `<script setup lang='ts'>`: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1VjBM6ae-fuawK1TltYLX... (runtime props definitions auto-generated from TS interface)

    Udik(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    You can use vue-class-component and vue-property-decorator as described here:


    You get to define your components as classes with their methods and properties, and can declare props and watchers via decorators. Overall a good typescript experience.

    ausjke(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    Good to see this out. I want to pick a good frontend scheme for future projects but I don't really need most of the fancy SPAs and the complexity coming with it.

    Invested a few weeks on Vue a few months back, then the concern about 'React has 80% market share and you can find React developer much more easily in the west' never went away.

    Maybe Mithril is the way out? I just need a really light-weight client-side-ajax MVC for some embedded product webUI, in fact jquery+BT might do the job well but again, jQuery is not modern any more.

    Not a frontend guy, picking a direction there has always been challenging.

    lloydatkinson(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    So you suggest switching from one of the Big 3 to Mithril because you are concerned about market share, while Mithril probably has magnitudes less market share?

    madoublet(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    I think what is not mentioned with any of the big SPA frameworks is the amount of time you invest in the churn between versions. After dealing with this in Angular for a number of years, I ended up going with stock JavaScript for my recent projects and could not be happier. Performance is much better. I have a better understanding of what goes into the product. And, I am not constantly dealing with a new version and breaking changes every 3-6 months.

    ahpearce(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    AlpineJS? A bit polarizing, but definitely lightweight...

    TravelPiglet(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    Can I use it by including it with a script-tag?

    Vue 2 was kind of possible to get up and running with a script-tag to get components in a pre-existing app.

    Exuma(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    Yes its possible

    brylie(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    I've been confused by some of Evan's presentations about performance gains and other statistics. For example, the release notes say

    > updates (up to 133% faster)

    How can something be > 100% faster?

    wenc(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    If you take 100% faster to mean 2x faster (takes 1/2 the orig time), 200% faster to mean 3x faster (takes 1/3 the orig time)...

    Then 133% faster means 2.33x faster (takes 1 / 2.33 = 0.42 the orig time).

    Roboprog(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    By doing twice as much in the same time, I guess.

    jaequery(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    is reactive() just a mere wrapper around ref() ?

    gavinray(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    Kind of -- reactive() lets you declare multiple values at once, and you can read the property directly.

    ref() is for single values, and to get at the actual VALUE, you need to use 'myRef.value'

       const state = reactive({ msg: 'hello', count: 1 })
       state.msg // 'hello'
       const msg = ref('hello')
       msg.value // 'hello'
    Though when you use ref()'s in templates, it will bind to .value for you.
    likeclockwork(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    Other way around I think. ref is a single value reactive.

    lykahb(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    I am impressed how they redesigned both internal architecture and a public API while keeping the users happy. Many well written projects fall into the trap of being a great fit for the contemporary practices but become less relevant over time as the ecosystem changes. Well done, Vue!

    diminish(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    curious how easy it will be to move from vue 2 to vue 3

    Historical Discussions: Teacher's low-tech laptop hack to display handwritten notes for online class (September 13, 2020: 702 points)

    (704) Teacher's low-tech laptop hack to display handwritten notes for online class

    704 points 7 days ago by miles in 10000th position

    mothership.sg | Estimated reading time – 2 minutes | comments | anchor

    Modern problems require modern solutions.

    Sometimes, these solutions are low-tech.

    A teacher Carmen Castrejon shared a Facebook post on Sep. 3, explaining how to display what you're writing onto a laptop camera without fancy equipment.

    This is especially helpful for teachers and lecturers who may frequently need to show workings as they are being written.

    Image via Carmen Castrejon

    Image via Carmen Castrejon

    This teacher is based in the United States.

    Her post has since went viral, with more than 24,000 shares after it was reposted on the Facebook page HugotMaestra.

    How it works

    There are three things that are needed for this hack to work:

    • A CD
    • A pencil (a pen should also work fine)
    • Some tape
    • A coin

    Here's what you need to do:

    1. Tape the pencil/ pen to the back of your laptop cover, aligned to where the camera is located.
    2. Put your CD down on the pencil/ pen. The reflective side should be facing down.
    3. Tape the coin on the CD so that it will be weighed down.
    4. Now, whatever is in the keyboard area of the laptop can be seen on camera.

    When you're ready to resume letting the class or whoever you're broadcasting to see your face again, simply remove the CD.

    You may have to adjust some settings on your video-conferencing programme, however, as some users may see a mirror image instead.


    Top image via Carmen Castrejon

    All Comments: [-] | anchor

    nym3r0s(10000) 7 days ago [-]

    While it is mind blowing how less we've invested in modernizing education, the biggest barrier I've seen in recent times is - educating the educators.

    For reference, I helped set up my high school with a <insert-suite-for-education> for free and they were very happy as there were folks charging them to get it set up. But next biggest problem I saw was - teachers who have been using a blackboard all their life trying to do their best to teach with a powerpoint presentation.

    Problem is exacerbated when you throw in more variables like - flaky internet connection, inconsistencies in UI all across, hardware failures, zoombombing and a certain lack of features. Now do this in India - where the student:teacher ratio is absolutely crazy.

    Really goes to show how we should get the fundamentals right.

    HumblyTossed(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    > Really goes to show how we should get the fundamentals right.

    We did for a long time then everyone said that computers had to be used.

    dchuk(10000) 7 days ago [-]

    My wife is a kindergarten teacher, and has been back at (virtual) teaching now for 2 weeks. Whatever your political persuasion, it's pretty mind blowing how little the districts prepared for and invested in a virtual year. It's not exactly like this snuck up on them, we've been locked down for 6 months now. You'd think they'd have decided on common software platforms, provided some training for the teachers, something.

    Luckily, my wife is fairly tech savvy so is hanging in there, but even just general things like how to have an effective virtual planning meeting is just not something she's really ever had to do. So I've been trying to help her and her coworkers, like recording a half hour video where I just explained all the different capabilities of Zoom, and another where I explained Trello and Google slides.

    Just sad how the school administration's plan boiled down to burying their head in the sand and hoping it would all go away. Really bolsters the narrative that they just don't care about the teachers.

    icelancer(10000) 7 days ago [-]

    >> it's pretty mind blowing how little the districts prepared for and invested in a virtual year.

    Is it? I have two kids in grade school and it was eminently obvious. My partner thought they'd get their shit together and was shocked when they didn't; school year delayed, laptops not ready (we live in a lower income area, not all families have means to afford devices), and the teachers completely unprepared to adapt to online learning.

    I told my partner we should move the kids into private schooling that was prepared for it or just home school for a year while keeping them enrolled in the district to keep tax money local. They said to give the school a chance.

    Government-run services are incredibly awful at adapting to anything in a 'short' period of time, time and time again. Try getting permits for a house or business. Anyone who runs a small business inherently understands how generally useless government agencies are.

    ugh123(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    Our school district, LAUSD, spent most of the summer arguing with their union and even delayed roll out of the program citing 'we've finally come to an agreement with the union about...'.

    Regardless, I do think teachers are putting up with a lot and likely stressed more than usual while their leaders fail miserably.

    Thlom(10000) 7 days ago [-]

    This is an aside, but is there a curriculum in kindergarten in your country? Kindergartens were closed for a couple of months in my country, but there were no virtual 'teaching' at all. I don't know what in the lords name my kids would get out of any virtual teaching. It's not like it's a school where there's things to learn. They mostly play outside and at most learn to sit by a table and eat a meal, to get dressed and put on their shoes and how to hold a pencil. And stuff like that.

    I find it interesting how different pre-school is in different countries.

    goldenManatee(10000) 7 days ago [-]

    Consider posting your tutorial on YouTube for other teachers to watch and spread.

    rorykoehler(10000) 7 days ago [-]

    Remote kindergarten? What's the point?

    spaceisballer(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    Thankfully our county did prepare and I'm actually fairly impressed because I'm hearing horror stories from other friends in different counties. It would have been extremely helpful if our Department of Education was out ahead of this, instead Betsy DeVos has been absent while the President has been saying we need to have kids back in person. Absence of leadership is the theme of this administration. I'm not sure how anyone in the world can look at the US as a leader anymore.

    skunkworker(10000) 7 days ago [-]

    It's sad how unprepared districts were over this summer when they could have been prioritizing and figuring out solutions. Within about 2 hours of working through workflows I was able to help out a family member in primary education figure out what could be bought to buy and what kinds of questions to ask their administration.

    In the end we made a high value and bang-for-your-buck setup by purchasing great but older and used components such as a 1920x1200 IPS U2412m monitor off ebay for $99. A ring light with camera mount, Apple Pencil, AirServer for showing the iPad on screen and being able to cast. Amongst other components I wasn't using and let them borrow like a Apple Trackpad and wireless keyboard.

    The thing that saddened me was teachers who only found out weeks before the start of school were having to figure out their setups and were unaware of how technology could be integrated for a benefit and didn't know what they didn't know. Stuff like using an iPad with an Apple Pencil and AirServer on a mac to cast a lesson drawn onto the desktop and then share that with a zoom meeting.

    doctorOb(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    A teacher friend's district claimed to be investing in training their teachers, but all it boiled down to was a high level overview of google docs, with no guidance on adapting a curriculum.

    kbenson(10000) 7 days ago [-]

    > it's pretty mind blowing how little the districts prepared for and invested in a virtual year.

    I think you're underestimating the effect of poor direction from their districts, and in turn poor direction to the districts from the state and federal government on this.

    Up until a month or so before the start of the school semester, we were still receiving communications about 'if we start with in-classroom learning'. These schools have set budgets, and large expenditures are planned and paid for over years, and to be faced with a hard fork in the road choice over a summer about whether to put all your eggs into distance learning (when many politicians were vowing students would be in classrooms) or to try for a hybrid approach, or to assume the politicians know what they're talking about and kids will all be in class come late August/early September, it's not hard to see how this situation could turn out as bad as it had.

    Extreme circumstances require solid leadership. All it would have taken would have been the President (or even someone high in the Department of Education with the President's blessing, so it wasn't contradicted a day later) to say 'we're hoping students will be able to return to class come the start of school, but we're allocating funds and directing districts to prepare for the eventuality that it may not happen, either overall or in their locality.' and that clear signal that schools needed to prepare for this and would be supported in doing so would have made all the difference.

    This whole year has been a comedy of errors. Like so many of those, what you're really seeing is just a tragedy.

    sjg007(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    The common software platforms like google meet, seesaw and even zoom are not sufficient.

    yomly(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    Cambridge University fully committed to a full-remote year of teaching back in May. At the time this seemed slightly radical, but really they just gave everyone (students, teachers and administrators) a full 5 months to PLAN around a DECISION.

    Meanwhile, other universities like KCL and LSE were still playing 'wait and see' until even a few weeks ago.

    Even if Cambridge were wrong, and everything is all well and good and we'll be home by Christmas it'll be easier and cheaper to revert back to normal than the clusterfuck that will be going on in places stuck in limbo/denial.

    As anyone with some experience knows - trying to plan during instability or planning for two eventualities is basically impossible and a whole bunch of institutions AND countries have pissed away the past 6 months.

    Kudos to Cambridge for showing some strong leadership.

    tgv(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    My wife works at an institute for higher education that's allowed to call itself 'university of applied sciences' abroad. Their board has come up with the silliest of policy documents over the summer, which can almost be summarized as 'strive for high quality education, and keep safe', leaving all of the practical matters to be decided in 2 weeks time by the department heads. There didn't even think of some way to coordinate head counts among departments that share buildings. On their website's front page, there's a link 'Corona virus -> read more', which gives a 404. That's a 'university'.

    Those who can't, teach. And those who can't teach, apparently become director of education.

    choeger(10000) 7 days ago [-]

    It is kind of sad, but according to my observations the age of the children is proportional to the degree of organization and proactivity shown by their teachers.

    Of course, administration could and should have helped. And maybe I am not seeing a lot of things going on, but I did not notice teachers organising themselves, sharing materials or video lectures, or curating literature for their students.

    The frustrating aspect of remote schooling is that there are thousands of underemployed teachers, there is a network that allows every one of them to reach out to millions of students. And yet all I ever heard was about single teachers being stressed to prepare and correct exercises for the maybe 100 students the would have met in-person otherwise.

    darkerside(10000) 7 days ago [-]

    Never assume malice where incompetence would suffice. I've found it to be generally true that when people don't know how to solve a problem, they will ignore it. This would have been a great time to bring in consultants on remote work. A nationally organized program would have been ideal so you could benefit from scale in doing sessions, and avoid patchwork solutions.

    Too bad our DoE is completely dysfunctional, led by a person who likely prefers it not to exist, a pattern for this administration.

    seibelj(10000) 7 days ago [-]

    > they just don't care about teachers

    I think you mean, they don't care about students? Because that's truly who is hurt here.

    chrisgd(10000) 7 days ago [-]

    Exactly. My 8 year old is online and he has at least 8 apps he is responsible for checking or turning in work. And none of them talk to each other but clearly the district signed up for a bunch of different things

    sixothree(10000) 7 days ago [-]

    When the first two cases in my city were reported there was a swirl of questions related to where those people had been and who they had been in contact with. There were no answers. We weren't going to do contact tracing or take any measures to contain this thing. That was the eye-opening moment for me.

    We've had 6 months to prepare and instead we spent the summer arguing about masks. Incredible to look back on the lack of leadership and planning at all levels.

    Never in my life have I been so disappointed with the people around me.

    daemoens(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    Every part of our government failed with this pandemic. From federal to state to county, no one really took it seriously. Both sides fucked this one up.

    mschuster91(10000) 7 days ago [-]

    >It's not exactly like this snuck up on them, we've been locked down for 6 months now. You'd think they'd have decided on common software platforms, provided some training for the teachers, something.

    In Germany we have the same problem. A side effect of our politicians not wanting to modernize anything fundamental in the education system for years.

    Hell, Bavaria still bans cellphones in schools.

    deevus(10000) 7 days ago [-]

    My partner graduated as a primary school teacher at the end of last year, and this pandemic bs has caused her to not have a single day of work since March or April. Casual days were just starting to pick up but after lockdown there has been no casual work at all.

    Twirrim(10000) 7 days ago [-]

    > My wife is a kindergarten teacher, and has been back at (virtual) teaching now for 2 weeks. Whatever your political persuasion, it's pretty mind blowing how little the districts prepared for and invested in a virtual year. It's not exactly like this snuck up on them, we've been locked down for 6 months now. You'd think they'd have decided on common software platforms, provided some training for the teachers, something.

    I have to say our school district has been great. They've picked standard central platform (https://www.schoology.com/) that provides all the links the kids need, been training the teachers on them and got them support. Under that portal they've got just a few specific websites that serve a central purpose. Teachers are allocating work under one portal, though it might mean they need to go use a special interactive maths website or something on another site, but they have SSO working so it's smooth and effortless. It did take a long time for the state to make decisions and make proper resources available, which severely tied the school district's hands, but they did their best to assume the most pessimistic situation they could and worked towards that while waiting for the funds to be released for more.

    Apart from the screw ups around initial passwords on email accounts it has been an incredibly smooth process. My 3rd grade kid hasn't had to seek help from us for the technical side at all after initial logging in.

    brazzy(10000) 7 days ago [-]

    I wonder how long it will take Apple to offer this as a product for $99 and come up with a clever way to make the makeshift version to stop working.

    Not a common enough use case for them to bother, I guess. But if it were we all know they totally would.

    ComodoHacker(10000) 7 days ago [-]

    Not Apple, but for accessory (esp. webcam) vendors virtual classes surge is definitely an opportunity.

    Symbiote(10000) 7 days ago [-]

    Another option is to use a mobile phone and whatever can work as a 'tripod'. I used a large clothes peg and the lamp over my dining table.

    There are apps that will stream the image from the phone to the computer, and in Zoom it can be added as a second video feed. That means the class can see the teacher's face as well as the paper.

    I tried a few apps, but I don't remember which worked, or their names, except for https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.dev47apps....

    jedimastert(10000) 7 days ago [-]

    I've been using a phone gorilla tripod meant for vloggers to take all of my meetings on so I can keep my laptop screen clear. It's been rather nice

    dddddaviddddd(10000) 7 days ago [-]

    I use this app over a USB connection. The phone (Pixel 3a) used to overheat but I picked up a USB fan which keeps it cool. Only downside is no virtual webcam driver on FreeBSD, so I boot to Windows for video chats.

    ivan_ah(10000) 7 days ago [-]

    Another option (although requires more tech) is to use the camera from a mobile phone connected to the computer via USB. Requires app + USB cable + 'drivers' installed on the host computer.

    My teacher friend recommended DroidCamX (paid) but the drivers are windows only so I wasn't able to use that.

    I instead tested with Iriun https://iriun.com/ and it worked OK with my newer phone (the older phone I wanted to use had trouble with autofocus... though maybe that's because of the way I have it suspended from a desk lamp).

    It lags a little, but overall usable.

    tootie(10000) 7 days ago [-]

    Can't you also just join the Zoom/Meet/Whatev from your phone?

    mrfusion(10000) 7 days ago [-]

    Wouldn't the text be a mirror image (backwards)

    dddddaviddddd(10000) 7 days ago [-]

    Zoom has a setting to mirror video.

    virtuous_signal(10000) 7 days ago [-]

    I had the same question (and tried it with my webcam app and a handheld mirror just to make sure I wasn't crazy) but I see another commenter has mentioned Zoom's feature.

    nicexe(10000) 7 days ago [-]

    Sure, this works, but a cheap USB webcam would have been a far better solution than writing on top of your keyboard

    mft_(10000) 7 days ago [-]

    ...plus a totally new structure to suspend the webcam the correct distance above the desk. Plus the hassle of switching video feeds constantly.

    Reminds me a little of this: https://youtu.be/FmMzlehzU8c

    (You're off buying extruded aluminium rods to make the structure, while she's... teaching her class.)

    ivvve(10000) 7 days ago [-]

    What makes it a better solution? Albeit a bit 'life hack'-y, this is something that requires no technical skill or support, and is easily assembled from household items, so very little outlay.

    I don't think I'd concede that webcams are a better solution, when thinking as an underfunded body such as a school district who may have to provide support for potentially thousands of these webcams to work for all their teachers.

    Furthermore, I don't think this is something that we should hold the individual teacher responsible for: teaching is already a full time job, and workers should not have to buy their own equipment to do their job with, something that already happens too much in that field.

    I did also think the writing on the keyboard might prove problematic, but also the teacher could theoretically remove the notepad and place it back if they wished. It's a relatively 'open' technique.

    josefrichter(10000) 7 days ago [-]

    Fascinating how the article has "how it works" explanation, despite showing the picture right above that.

    ClumsyPilot(10000) 7 days ago [-]

    Well, it is an article on education!

    mxuribe(10000) 7 days ago [-]

    For a nation that so unwisely overspends on other foolish things, and not enough nor intelligently on education, thus leaving school districts lacking in the basics - which require teachers to hack their way through classes...yes, i can imagine the author(s) might assume that such an audience might need extra help in understanding.

    Disclaimer: I'm an American and while i'm often proud of my country, i acknowledge how awful our collective priorities have become with education in general suffering from it...and at the risk of sounding political (apologies)...Neither of the 2 major political parties seems to have the answer. <sigh>

    jetru(10000) 7 days ago [-]

    Literally gonna do this for 'System Design' interviews

    ComodoHacker(10000) 7 days ago [-]

    Now with it on HN front page you have to think up something different.

    dpedu(10000) 7 days ago [-]

    This is such a simple hack. It's basically equivalent to the classroom transparency overhead projectors of the past. You could 3d print a similar device with a USB webcam and a proper mirror for pennies. Is there a market for this?

    srtjstjsj(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    The market is temporarily disturbed by COVID WFH. The regular market either doesn't there it because they have blackboards/whiteboards, or they are rich/corrupt and buy overpriced overengineered things like Prometheus instead.

    bryanrasmussen(10000) 7 days ago [-]

    Yes, there is a market for things that do this - it's the projector market, so if people don't have the money to enter the projector market they use hacks like this one - examples

    https://hackaday.com/2014/03/13/make-an-hd-projector-for-nex... https://www.instructables.com/id/Convert-a-40-years-old-DIA-...

    first couple of hits for me when googling 'convert old olverhead projector'

    So market wise maybe there is a hacky way that allows you to get a cheap reasonably efficient projector thaat would make these hacks irrelevant, without naturally pushing to solve the problems of the projector market and thus pushing the product to have a projector type price. I certainly wish I could think up something that fell in that niche.

    bentpins(10000) 7 days ago [-]

    Maybe I'm missing something but how is the image so clear? CDs don't have a mirror like surface, they reflect light in unusual ways

    simias(10000) 7 days ago [-]

    The rather shallow angle probably helps a lot. On top of that the camera probably has some form of auto white balance which will counteract the tint the CD will give to the image.

    Here's a quick proof of concept using a random CD and my phone's camera: https://svkt.org/~simias/up/20200914-000627_psx-cd-reflectio...

    Note that the color of the reflection is not much different from a normal picture (visible at the bottom). For added difficulty I used an original PlayStation disc, that's dyed black: https://svkt.org/~simias/up/20200914-000836_psx-cd.jpeg

    djmips(10000) 7 days ago [-]

    I think you probably haven't played around with CDs more than just to play them.

    formerly_proven(10000) 7 days ago [-]

    Use a pressed CD (which are good mirrors at this angle), not a blank CD (which are tinted).

    jeffbee(10000) 7 days ago [-]

    I just pointed a CD at my face and it's pretty much a mirror. What unusual reflection did you expect?

    the_svd_doctor(10000) 7 days ago [-]

    I also don't really get it. Looks too clear and sharp for a CD reflection.

    TaylorAlexander(10000) 7 days ago [-]

    Well I noticed it's a CD-RW which is a peculiar device, so maybe it doesn't reflect the same as normal CDs.

    superhuzza(10000) 7 days ago [-]

    I really like how her hack doesn't involve using another video feed, which makes it a lot more accessible to anyone with a laptop.

    One improvement I can see - maybe better to tape the pencil with the eraser point up, so you're less likely to accidentally stab yourself with the pencil if moving the laptop or CD?

    noisy_boy(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    The pencil's orientation might be deliberate as the eraser provides additional stability due to its friction with the back of the laptop.

    rriepe(10000) 7 days ago [-]

    We could drastically cut costs with a nickel instead of a quarter.

    max23_(10000) 7 days ago [-]

    I have the same thought when I see the pencil tip is pointing upward instead of the other end.

    Probably try to lower it down enough to fit one CD.

    Pfhreak(10000) 7 days ago [-]

    Clever. But also tragic. The poor teachers who have been caught in the middle of all this really make me feel sad.

    Teaching is already a rough gig, and being forced to improvise with limited to no support from communities, schools, or governments.

    macspoofing(10000) 7 days ago [-]

    >being forced to improvise with limited to no support from communities, schools, or governments.

    Everyone is trying to figure out how to continue life during this pandemic. Why would you expect all levels to have this figured out?

    doctorOb(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    K-12 is a terrible system in the US which seems entirely reliant on the desperation of people who devoted 4-8 years of education to retain their jobs in a very limited market.

    josefrichter(10000) 7 days ago [-]

    Maybe the teacher used this because it's actually simple and using specialized hardware would be just waste and hassle?

    notatoad(10000) 7 days ago [-]

    Being forced to improvise with limited support is a fairly normal situation for teachers tbh.

    golergka(10000) 7 days ago [-]

    Wouldn't writing on that transfer the pressure through the notebook to the keyboard? How would you avoid random key presses?

    notatoad(10000) 7 days ago [-]

    You don't, probably.

    As long as you don't have a chat window focused and accidentally press the enter key, you can just backspace out any accidental keypress that might happen.

    azernik(10000) 7 days ago [-]

    If your notebook is nice and stiff, the pressure will be pretty evenly distributed across the whole keyboard. Keypresses should be rare with such low pressure per key.

    s0rce(10000) 7 days ago [-]

    Looks like a notebook. If its a reasonably thick/sturdy notebook and you don't push down extremely hard then it doesn't press the keys.

    miles(10000) 7 days ago [-]

    Hardware solution: plastic tray over the keys.

    Software solution: Keyboard Cleaner http://jan.prima.de/~jan/plok/archives/48-Keyboard-Cleaner.h...

    rightbyte(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    My laptop has a 'lock keyboard' key on fn.

    eddhead(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    She should have just got a Surface device, or a million other laptop SKUs with pen support that are cheaper than the MacBook she's using.

    dddbbb(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    That model Macbook is 4-8 years old. This is a pretty useless and condescending comment.

    bashwizard(10000) 7 days ago [-]

    Jesus christ. Just get a cheap wacom tablet.

    jason0597(10000) 7 days ago [-]

    How much money do you make?

    How much money do you think teachers make?

    chris-orgmenta(10000) 7 days ago [-]

    This would come across as extremely tone deaf from teachers that are on low salaries, paying out of pocket already for student tools and consumables.

    There are quite a few posts in this thread where 'check your privilege' applies.

    baby(10000) 7 days ago [-]

    That's why I think the iPad pro has so much potential to replace laptops for a lot of people.

    Cthulhu_(10000) 7 days ago [-]

    If only they were affordable. You can get a good enough laptop for $300, an ipad pro is thrice that, more if you need the keyboard / stand to go with it.

    f2000(10000) 7 days ago [-]

    My wife is a 2d grade teacher. She brought home her lumens ladybug that she used with her Promethean board in the classroom. However, the lag was terrible, her 2012 macbook pro just couldn't handle it. Our solution was to re-purpose an old ipad along with reflector teacher https://www.airsquirrels.com/reflector/teacher ($17.99). Yeah, just in case you're curious - my wife teaches for a SF Bay Area school district where I suppose they can afford lots of stuff except a refresh of eight year old laptops.

    Cthulhu_(10000) 7 days ago [-]

    They could literally go to Apple's doorstep and ask for sponsorship; I'm sure Apple can use it in one of their saccharine marketing videos.

    joezydeco(10000) 7 days ago [-]

    My kid has an Osmo kit that did the same trick with a little mirrors that fit an iPad perfectly:


    Cactus2018(10000) 7 days ago [-]

    Official app for students\teachers https://apps.apple.com/us/app/id1502489790

    kettleweek(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    This is similar to the solution I found for showing hands and face in a piano lesson. I spent a long time trying to get two cameras working. First by composing the video streams with ffmpeg or gstreamer and then by screen sharing a application which showed a second video. But in all cases the synchronisation was really bad.

    Then I realised a mirror composes two images really well :)

    Later I used transparent perspex with lighting (peppers ghost) as the mirror so the laptop screen on the piano is visible.

    It is described here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4Qp8iHre9o&t=1s

    steverb(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    This is super useful. I have a daughter who is a piano performance major and I spent ages getting a working two camera set up for her. I wish I had seen this then (or better thought of it myself).

    I expect her university will end up going fully remote again next semester, so we will no doubt be putting this to use.

    xixixao(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    Well done! (both on the setup and the instructional video)

    blackrock(10000) 7 days ago [-]

    Clever. Now someone from China needs to make a plastic mirror reflection mount device to put on top of your laptop camera.

    seraphsf(10000) 7 days ago [-]

    My kids use an educational app series called Osmo, which comes with a reflector like this for iPad (1). Field of view and distortion may be an issue, but I bet a vendor could easily make something similar designed for this use case.

    It also looks like there are $6 clip-on mirrors (2) that would also do an admirable job, perhaps with more stability and control than the pencil-balancing trick.

    (1) Osmo - Base for iPad https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B07JNZ4J67/

    (2) Flexible 4' Clip On Mirror for Computer Monitor - Convex Desk Mirror to See People Behind You - Perfect in Any Office Cubicle Environment https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B078NB3JV2/

    HumblyTossed(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    > but I bet a vendor could easily make something similar designed for this use case.

    True, but this cost the teacher zip (assuming supplies on hand) instead of $38US.

    saeranv(10000) 7 days ago [-]

    She's getting a surprisingly high-quality reflection from that CD. I would have thought a CD wouldn't have had enough specularity, or created too much distortion to achieve that kind of quality.

    The only downside appears to be that you have to angle the CD, in order to reflect the keyboard plane into the webcam, which means the captured image can only be viewed at an angle.

    It'd be nice to have some live, post-processing to fix some issues like this. You could apply a perspective transformation to rotate the image to a head-on view, and maybe increase the contrast between black and white.

    CydeWeys(10000) 7 days ago [-]

    It does make you wonder why not just use a small mirror. It might be a little bit harder to suspend in place correctly depending on weight but it'll do the job perfectly.

    tzs(10000) 6 days ago [-]

    > The only downside appears to be that you have to angle the CD, in order to reflect the keyboard plane into the webcam, which means the captured image can only be viewed at an angle

    The angle doesn't look like it is farther away from head-on than you would get when looking at a piece of paper sitting on your desk, which is a pretty common thing to do. I think most people are so used to reading paper at that angle that they wouldn't even notice that it isn't head-on.

    Historical Discussions: Cloudflare and the Wayback Machine, joining forces for a more reliable Web (September 17, 2020: 702 points)

    (702) Cloudflare and the Wayback Machine, joining forces for a more reliable Web

    702 points 3 days ago by jgrahamc in 10000th position

    blog.archive.org | Estimated reading time – 2 minutes | comments | anchor

    Cloudflare now populating and using the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine in its content distribution network application

    Cloudflare and the Internet Archive are now working together to help make the web more reliable. Websites that enable Cloudflare's Always Online service will now have their content automatically archived, and if by chance the original host is not available to Cloudflare, then the Internet Archive will step in to make sure the pages get through to users.

    Cloudflare has become core infrastructure for the Web, and we are glad we can be helpful in making a more reliable web for everyone.

    "The Internet Archive's Wayback Machine has an impressive infrastructure that can archive the web at scale," said Matthew Prince, co-founder and CEO of Cloudflare. "By working together, we can take another step toward making the Internet more resilient by stopping server issues for our customers and in turn from interrupting businesses and users online."

    For more than 20 years the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine has been archiving much of the public Web, and making those archives available to journalists, researchers, activists, academics and the general public, in total to hundreds of thousands of people a day. To date more than 468 billion Web pages are available via the Wayback Machine and we are adding more than 1 billion new archived URLs/day.

    We archive URLs that are identified via a variety of different methods, such as "crawling" from lists of millions of sites, as submitted by users via the Wayback Machine's "Save Page Now" feature, added to Wikipedia articles, referenced in Tweets, and based on a number of other "signals" and sources, such multiple feeds of "news" stories.

    An additional source of URLs we will preserve now originates from customers of Cloudflare's Always Online service. As new URLs are added to sites that use that service they are submitted for archiving to the Wayback Machine. In some cases this will be the first time a URL will be seen by our system and result in a "First Archive" event.

    In all cases those archived URLs will be available to anyone who uses the Wayback Machine.

    By joining forces on this project we can do a better job of backing up more of the public Web, and in so doing help make the Web more useful and reliable.

    If you have suggestions about how we can continue to improve our services, please don't hesitate to drop us a note at [email protected]

    All Comments: [-] | anchor

    britmob(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    Wow, this is awesome to see. I hope this doesn't put a lot of load on the IA, though..

    M4v3R(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    I would assume that when a site goes offline Cloudflare fetches a snapshot from IA only once and then serves this copy to all further visitors, unless I'm missing something?

    Here's a more detailed description of the service from Cloudflare support pages: https://support.cloudflare.com/hc/en-us/articles/200168436

    vaccinator(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    If only we could get the NSA to publish their archive of public data.

    est31(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    There is hope. With the help of then-senator Al Gore, the CIA made photographs available to researchers it had made of the polar regions to search for soviet nuclear installations. They became valuable for climate research later on.

    feralimal(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    Perhaps we are getting a sugared pill? Perhaps CF are genuinely being useful here, but in order to gain trust to act nefariously in future?

    I don't feel comfortable with their ability to switch off parts of the internet, nor in this case, that they have their hands near what is preserved for posterity.

    As they say: 'Cloudflare has become core infrastructure for the Web, and we are glad we can be helpful in making a more reliable web for everyone.' They are indeed powerful.

    I'm concerned that they are becoming gatekeepers to information, under the guise of providing a better internet service. They are able to operate at a level deeper than the odious restrictions youtube, facebook et al enforce on free speech.

    feralimal(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    I'm being downvoted - but we have seen major 'book burnings' on youtube, etc where billions of comments and videos have been purged. These are private platforms and can do what they like, so in a way that's acceptable as it is within their terms of service.

    CF is a level deeper than that. This is a company that can effectively shut down the internet for companies and individuals. And now they are involved with archive.org? Should we be concerned about online historical revisionism as that relationship matures?

    I feel uncomfortable that CF seems to be positioning itself as a guardian to all information - not at an application level, but at an architectural level.

    Cloudflare is shaping up to be a key tool that an authoritarian government requires. And I'm concerned about it!

    tiffanyh(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    Is this basically Archive.org becoming a customer of Cloudflare CDN to reduce load off their servers?

    toomuchtodo(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    It's Archive.org being provided URL telemetry for archiving public sites they have not yet found through traditional means (crawling or users submitting requests through the Wayback Save page) by a Cloudflare product.

    The next step would be for Cloudflare to point to Archive.org Wayback links when an origin isn't available (similar to browser extensions that point to Archive.org when sites 404 or are down, but in Cloudflare's core).

    Cool stuff. Thanks Cloudflare folks.

    superkuh(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    Normally I'd be upset about Cloudflare getting involved in anything good and pure like archive.org but this relationship, just suggesting new URLs to archive, seems harmless enough.

    syshum(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    >>>seems harmless enough.

    The number of things that started out with those words and then went on to be come huge problems is non-trivial I am sure

    But I want to believe...

    cj(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    > I'd be upset about Cloudflare getting involved in anything good and pure


    At least by FAANG standards, Cloudflare stands out to me as one of the good guys.

    josefresco(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    Side rant: Sure would be nice if the Wayback Machine showed actual snapshots of web pages, instead of 'hybrid' snapshots where they combine old with new (maybe it's a setting?). I recently horked a website, and thought to check the Wayback Machine. Curiously, an edit I made that day was showing on snapshots dating back several years. Until I discovered how the WBM worked, I was pulling my hair out.

    judge2020(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    This is probably due to XHR's. The IA loads all JS, so if a website hard-codes the URL or does other complicated XHR stuff the IA might not be equipped to save the response for those, if they do at all.

    luckylion(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    I don't like the idea of 'we're tacking this onto an existing service lots of people have enabled'. CF bit me recently by suddenly taking away proxied dns wildcards from free zones, as it's now a premium feature (breaking the security promise in the process by changing the wild card entry to non-proxied). I don't like surprises and opt-out changes in critical infrastructure.

    It's one thing to use CF's Always-On service - you're a customer, you know you can remove your data from it. It's another to get the Internet Archive involved, who may or may not remove your data, and may or may not honor robots.txt.

    stubish(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    Sending the details seems to be tied into clicking the 'Update' button in the Cloud Flare UI, which documents that clicking it you agree. So they might not be sending your PII to a 3rd party until they get your permission. Hopefully any automated updates are not violating customers wishes. Yes, it is annoying the features have been tied together for people who choose to have as little interaction with IA as possible.

    borrame(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    Cloudflare is not vpn friendly.

    I'm a privacy concerned vpn user and in my daily browsing I have to deal dozens of times a day with cloudflare captchas or in some cases with cloudflare total blocking.

    keepingscore(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    Is using this chrome/fx addon a option for your use case?


    josefrichter(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    Could someone please automatically activate this for all content linked from HN? It happens all the time that many of the first page links are down due to traffic spike.

    raybb(10000) 1 day ago [-]

    From what I can tell, all links submitted are automatically archived.

    dualboot(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    Cloudflare is really neat unless you find yourself mysteriously blacklisted by them as a user.

    Then suddenly the web is a much smaller place.

    pabs3(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    You can use archive.org to bypass the Cloudflare blocklist, especially considering the save page feature.

    lgats(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    Great, until your admin panel is archived...

    scrollaway(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    Cloudflare just gives more discovery, it doesn't give IA access to anything that was previously more secure...

    'COVID tests: great, until you find a positive result'

    SimeVidas(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    Just how big are Internet Archive's servers? I can't fathom how they're able to store so much of the web in so many versions.

    013(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    The Wayback Machine uses 9.6 PetaBytes. Total storage is 50 PetaBytes.


    varbhat(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    Good News.

    I also recommend using Internet archive addon in browser. Clicking on it would archive the website. That way, you can archive pages you visit.

    surround(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    Or use this bookmarklet:

    OkGoDoIt(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    Another nice feature is when you hit a page that is a 404, it will automatically try to load it from Wayback if available

    zmix(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    Whatever fills web.archive.org is good!

    Though, it would be nice if someone invented technology, that can erase all the 404 pages and redirects, that are archived, as well, as soon the page goes offline. Maybe a job for AI?

    feralimal(10000) 2 days ago [-]


    Keep historical revisionism out of archive.org.

    buildbuildbuild(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    This should be made very clear to Cloudflare users, ideally a warning next to the Always Online checkbox.

    'Always Online' now can mean 'Archive Forever' - even when a site is pre-launch.

    JackC(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    Yeah, I definitely expect this to bite some people, if I'm understanding correctly. A plausible scenario (among many) would be: soft launch a site, show it to some early stakeholders, have Wayback archive everything via Always Online, fix embarrassing screwups or oversharing in soft-launched version, publicize site more broadly, everyone in the world can rewind to version zero, regrets. I don't think the existing warnings really make clear that a soft launch is now a forever launch.

    judge2020(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    From the blog post, an image of the checkbox: https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/J42AtNZv8xNcyQPPefVywiAGEh...

    jorams(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    It always has. If your site is publicly available and you don't disallow bots through robots.txt, they can crawl it at any time. Even if the site is 'pre-launch', because that doesn't mean anything on its own.

    james412(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    Was worried about CF getting their claws dug into archive.org, but on reading, this is a decidedly non-evil deal, actually it sounds wonderful. Still, I worry if there might be some unseen long term interest in the archive.

    Never forget Dejanews

    resynth1943(10000) about 6 hours ago [-]

    > Was worried about CF getting their claws dug into archive.org

    SAME. From the title, I assumed the Wayback Machine would be using Cloudflare. Nice prank, boys.

    neop1x(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    Not long ago, CF has been blocking access from Tor. And they are blocking access from my web crawler sometimes. I don't like CF as they act as a police or gatekeeper to the origin website, deciding who to penalize and who do not, while pretending to be speeding up websites and protecting from 'threads'.

    KingOfCoders(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    When users are used to this (getting redirected to a archived copy when the site is down/not available) and when this trial baloon has been proved to work, Cloudflare will replace archive.org with their own infrastructure. This is the common game plan.

    cookiengineer(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    What worries me is that Cloudflare is deanonymizing a huge load of TOR users, and the issue that comes with it is that a huge part of TOR users actually needs access to the web archive due to country-wide DNS censorships (European countries included).

    As Cloudflare is deanonymizing TOR users pretty much with every website that's hosted on it, I fear they are abusing that power once again to deanonymize users of the web archive.

    Cloudflare always claims it's not their issue and that it's a webmaster setting with the shitty captchas and Google's infamous Prism-sponsored PREFS cookie - but to be honest they should just not have implemented it in the first place if privacy was a core value of their company.

    The 'DDoS' protection basically fingerprints a machine and user inside an encrypted HTTPS connection; which makes the encryption tunnel itself obsolete.

    raxxorrax(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    I don't know really. Cloudflare is notoriously in conflict with different archive sites and now this announcement makes that sound not too credible.

    I think we will see selective removal of certain content.

    ttul(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    Keep in mind how Cloudflare makes most of their money: They sell a web proxy service with security and performance features including a CDN. Cloudflare's interests are furthered by improving that service in ways that help its customers. Keeping the Web Archive healthily stocked with content is aligned with their long term revenue growth.

    Historical Discussions: 21 years after the request OpenPGP support gets added to Thunderbird (September 17, 2020: 670 points)

    (683) 21 years after the request OpenPGP support gets added to Thunderbird

    683 points 3 days ago by janvdberg in 10000th position

    bugzilla.mozilla.org | Estimated reading time – 1 minutes | comments | anchor

    To summarize the current situation:

    • we'll work on integrated OpenPGP support
    • we want to avoid GnuPG, because of the license situation
    • we don't want to bundle GnuPG, that's complicated to do for all platforms
    • it's better/easier to have a solution that doesn't depend on calling external exeuctables, but simply uses library calls
    • because we won't use GnuPG, some things will have to work a bit differently.

    This bug is already very long, and probably not the ideal place for discussion of further work items. Let's use this bug as a meta/tracker bug, and for general, high level comments or updates.

    For all individual work items, I'll start filing separate bugs and link them to this one. If you think something is missing, please comment in the other bugs, or file additional bugs, cc'ing me, or linking here.

    For general discussions or questions, it's probably best to comment/ask on the tb-planning mailing list: https://mail.mozilla.org/listinfo/tb-planning

    All Comments: [-] | anchor

    oconnore(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    I do think there ought to be a way to do good cryptography in email. Email is not going away anytime soon, so giving up on it as a legitimate place where cryptography is needed seems too ivory tower for me.

    The "dead simple solution" is to just run the Signal protocol over SMTP, although I'm sure it's possible there is a better design if you were to think about the specifics.

    dane-pgp(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    A slightly more realistic 'dead simple solution' might be for mail clients to extend their OpenPGP support to include Autocrypt[0] which would allow users to gain some of the advantages of OpenPGP without having to understand any of the details.

    [0] https://autocrypt.org/

    codr7(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    You could run any encrypted protocol on top of SMTP/IMAP; been there, done that; the main issue is you need specialized software on both ends to make it work.

    Still, doing so solves the transport and persistence problems you would otherwise have to deal with.

    jolux(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    Not if you want to interoperate with anything currently in existence. And if you don't, why bother building it on SMTP?

    epistasis(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    S/MIME is the closest to dead simple solution, but it requires trusting certificate authorities.

    It's a much better user experience, and honestly I'm surprised that no enterprise orgs have adopted it, because it would probably be cheaper than all this phishing training.

    peterwwillis(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    > The "dead simple solution" is to just run the Signal protocol over SMTP

    I'm pretty sure the dead simple solution is to either use SMTP or Signal and not a frankenstein's monster of both.

    thaumasiotes(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    Isn't the 'dead simple solution':

    1. Write the message.

    2. Encrypt the message.

    3. Paste the encrypted message into the email client.

    Your odds of accidentally sending a message in the clear are zero.

    lallysingh(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    How do you do key exchange?

    Multicomp(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    I wish to try n help with the dead simple solution. Heck, I wrote myself a wiki doc as one of my hobby projects sometime (posted here unedited so pardon me if its not perfect http://txti.es/ax4tq) for a simple, simple, simple app that would do basically signal over a SMTP-like system, if not SMTP itself for v1 bootstrapping when online, and do simple mesh relaying (ok thats probably an oxymoron) up to 7 hops when offline.

    I don't feel confident enough to actually try this project yet, but at least I wrote what my ideal chat app would be, oh and came up with the fancy name 'chattaur' for it.

    globular-toast(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    Thunderbird has the only calendar I know that has a 'multiweek' display as opposed to (well, in addition to) the utterly retarded month view that exists in every other GUI.

    We've been doing electronic calendars for how long now? Why are we still using a paradigm from paper based calendars? At the beginning of a month I can see three weeks ahead, but at the end of the month I can see three weeks behind. It frustrates me no end that this is still a thing. It reminds me of the early days of Google maps when they were no better than paper maps, but now we can rotate the map, zoom in and out etc. But calendars are still no better than paper calendars. Apart from the one in Thunderbird.

    elric(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    Multiweek is pretty good. But I wish it had a better 'multi day' view. Week view is great, a column per day, with the days neatly split into hour blocks. But my screen is huge. It could fit much more than 7 days with just as much detail. As soon as you switch to Multiweek, all that detail is lost. I guess what I'd like to see is a 'Multi day' view, which starts today and displays the next N-days with as much detail as my screen allows (or N configured days).

    currysausage(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    Sorry for nit-picking and being off-topic (I get your point!), but I don't think there was ever a version of Google Maps without zoom. Actually, I have the fondest memories of the first version of Google Maps (the orange-themed one). It was so much better than anything it replaced at the time, and I think it would be perfectly usable even today, 15 years later!

    janvdberg(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    Is this the longest time between request/bug and fix?

    throrthaway(10000) 3 days ago [-]


    16 years and still pending! All bets are off for this dark horse

    tzs(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    If it does have that title, there are other bugs that are almost as old in Thunderbird and still open, so it might not hold the record for long if someone gets around to fixing any of those.

    For example, bug 41929 [1] is only 6 months younger. Briefly, you cannot have two different IMAP accounts in Thunderbird that have the same username and host but different ports.

    [1] https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=41929

    gostsamo(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    Most likely there is a bug filed somewhere that asks for removing most of the parentheses from LISP. :)

    trothamel(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    It's in a different field, and I'm being very tongue-in-cheek - but the Twenty-Seventh Amendment to the US Constitution has it beat.


    gerdesj(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    I think Open Office and Libre Office have some contenders back from Star Office days. I still use LO daily though.

    kryptiskt(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    Last month there was a patch for a 35-year old bug in patch: http://bsdimp.blogspot.com/2020/08/a-35-year-old-bug-in-patc...

    edgarvaldes(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    How is the Thunderbird development speed nowadays?

    throrthaway(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    Pretty moribund. They got dropped by Mozilla so it's entirely community-driven, and there's only so many things you need to add to an email client, unless you want it to turn into emacs or something.

    That said it's a damn good product that's damn good at what it does.

    dylan604(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    I remember back in the 90s exchanging PGP keys with my roommate to exchange encrypted emails. It was supposed to be so easy. Just 12 simple steps. Every time.

    libraryatnight(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    at least you had a friend to email! I couldn't get any of my friends to do it. 'Man we can encrypt our emails.' 'But why...' 'It'd be cool' 'This seems hard.' 'Come on, exchange keys with me.' 'I don't want to make one.'

    brnt(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    PGPs trust levels are what made PGP never take off: even laypersons could see this is theater, not security.

    For reasons unclear to me Thunderbird chose not to go with something like autocrypt.org, but stick with standard PGP and implement parts of their attempt to simplify, which isn't nearly enough to get regular users on board, never mind implement things like forward security, which autocrypt does.

    A missed chance from Mozilla, secure email would fit in well with their mission.

    btilly(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    Wonderful. What an amazing amount of work to implement a terrible idea.

    See https://latacora.micro.blog/2019/07/16/the-pgp-problem.html for why we shouldn't be using PGP in 2020.

    upofadown(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    Gee, this anti-PGP rant showed up 3 times so far in this thread. I think that justifies a link to my critique:

    * https://articles.59.ca/doku.php?id=pgpfan:tpp

    aerovistae(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    Never seen a timestamp on the web that said '20 years ago'. Wow.

    Reminds me of a tiny blog post I put up years ago about the future of archaeology. Forgive the silly site title.


    codetrotter(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    > This hypothetical archaeologist has it easy

    I am not so sure of that. Even time stamps cannot be trusted very much.

    For example, a lot of photo cameras, audio recorders and other such devices still don't have a small extra battery for keeping track of time. So every time you run out of battery, or in the case of wall-connected devices you unplug them from the wall, the clock is reset and time is set to some date that the device manufacturer decided to use as the epoch for their device.

    And most of these devices don't have a GPS receiver in them either, so you need to manually set the time. And only some of them will prompt you for it directly while for others you need to remember this and go in the settings menu and adjust the time.

    So I routinely get time stamps that are things like 1st of January 2008, or 2015 or what have you. And sure if you notice right away you can correct it. But even when you know you sometimes get tired of that kind of stuff so you just leave it like it is.

    And that's just at the recording stage. Then you transfer files between systems and sometimes you get the original time on your files and sometimes you don't, and even if you did they might be wrong in the first place as per above.

    And all of this is for someone who knows how this stuff works and who tries as good as they can to have proper dates on files and to keep them that way. Then you have people who don't know and don't notice.

    And then you have people who willfully modify metadata.

    And then there is the data itself. We live in a post-truth age they say.

    How do you know in a thousand years that the data is from when it says it was from and furthermore that there is even a grain of truth in the data itself?

    I am sure there will be competent historians that are able to learn a bit of our time from our data. But I don't think they will have it easy.

    And on top of that I don't think data can really tell the future what life today is like. It's hard to put in words what I mean by this last point so I won't try to say any more about that.

    sergiomattei(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    I was born 20 years ago...

    jl6(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    Dropbox respects the last-modified date on your files, so it shows things like "modified 29 years ago", which is funny to see on an iOS app.

    Sharlin(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    Recently I was delighted to find that Lurker's Guide to Babylon 5, one of the first websites I remember really immersing myself into, is still online and even updated every now and then! I think the site has been continuously up since 1994, and most of the content is over 20 years old, published when the series was originally run. It's a real treasure trove for any B5 fan and likely the most comprehensive and well-curated collection of B5 knowledge in the world.

    [1] http://www.midwinter.com/lurk/lurker.html

    nafey(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    Man the last company I worked at had bugs that had been updates going back over 30 years. Kinda surreal looking at bugs that are older than you are.

    PenguinCoder(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    Good for them, but PGP is essentially dead for any non-technical zealot users. S/MIME is better supported and easier to use.

    jwr(10000) 2 days ago [-]

    I am so annoyed by anyone saying something is 'dead'.

    I tried to use S/MIME. I really did. Went to those sleazy web pages of companies that issue certificates, was told I'd need to pay for various certificate products. Tried a free option. Tried to load the cert onto my YubiKey, tried using it in Apple Mail...

    The conclusion: it is by no means easy or well supported, and requires you to deal with those sleazy cert-celling companies.

    crdrost(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    That's actually the deal with Thunderbird, too. Supported S/MIME and needed a plugin, Enigmail, to interface with OpenPGP. What is happening here is that the thunderbird add-on interface is changing and they decided that instead of porting Enigmail they are integrating OpenPGP straight into Thunderbird like S/MIME is.

    mapgrep(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    Perhaps true for individual mail but some corporate mail is very active with it.

    It works quite well within groups. If you use it every day it's a total non issue. The problem is people who set it up, forget about it, and finally get encrypted message two years later. Of course that is then confusing to try to remember how to use.

    snapetom(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    sigh Thunderbird has so many great features under the hood, but the hood is the biggest issue I have that prevents me from switching full time. Classic and wide layouts are not optimized for wide resolutions in modern laptops. Their vertical layout is unusable. The columns in the list of messages are horizontal, taking up too much width. Each layout is a tradeoff on whether I want to message pane to be usable or the list of messages to be usable.

    apocalyptic0n3(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    I was never satisfied with their layout either. Always liked the way it behaved though. Ended up switching to Postbox, a Thunderbird fork, about 7 years ago and haven't really looked back. You have to pay for it, but it's a pretty solid email experience for what you pay (I think I paid $40 for a lifetime license a few years ago).

    JohnTHaller(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    Have you tried turning off some of the columns in the message list and using Vertical view? There's an absurd number of them that you really don't need all the time.

    matmann2001(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    I'm more impressed that a ticket managed to live on in a tracker for so long without getting lost over the years.

    3np(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    In contrast to ansible issues, which would have changed tracker or repo ~30 times in that time.

    Consultant32452(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    Ignorant question time, will this mean native support for email services like proton mail?

    3np(10000) 3 days ago [-]

    protonmail is different in that they have their own client/server protocol and you need something like their protonmail-bridge to interface with them over IMAP (which is only for paid accounts and does not depend on this feature).

    It makes it smoother to send and receive e-mails s