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My favourite API is a zipfile on the European Central Bank's website

  • The author details their methodology of utilizing csvbase, a basic web database, for extracting and transforming foreign exchange rate data from the European Central Bank (ECB).
  • The interactive process includes downloading the data, converting it into a more practical format using a software library called pandas, and then uploading it to csvbase; followed by visualization with gnuplot and complex analysis via duckdb.
  • Open data availability, simple usage and the efficacy of ECB's data as an exchange format are strongly emphasized in the text.


  • The post and thread focus on the European Central Bank's zipfile API that allow users to download CSV files, appreciated for its efficiency and reliability.
  • The discussion mentions the struggles and constraints of government data usage and brings up the issues of inefficient data management and API (Application Programming Interface) design.
  • The participants insist on the need for user-friendly, optimized solutions, and suggest various tools, techniques and data formats for effective data storing and processing.

I built Excel for Uber and they ditched it

  • The author developed an automated data science model tool named R-Crusher for a project at Uber China, known as Crystal Ball.
  • Despite the success, the project was discontinued after Uber China's sale, igniting reflections on the transient nature of code and the importance of providing business value.
  • The author shares encouraging feedback from the software engineering community and offers links to previous pieces for further reading.


  • The discussion is centered around issues of economic and industrial espionage, code ownership, usage rights, intellectual property theft, and the implications of building vs buying software tools.
  • Varied perspectives are debated, with some focusing on ethical and legal implications of code ownership, while others argue for code sharing and criticize perceived Western hypocrisy.
  • There's an emphasis on understanding employment agreements and seeking legal advice, indicative of the complex and often confusing nature of code ownership and intellectual property in the tech sphere.

Carrefour puts ‘shrinkflation’ price warnings on food to shame brands

  • Carrefour, a French supermarket chain, has introduced labels warning shoppers of "shrinkflation," a situation where manufacturers reduce pack sizes rather than raising prices.
  • It has implemented this strategy to pressure major suppliers like Nestlé, PepsiCo, and Unilever before contract negotiations. Carrefour identified 26 products to exhibit this practice, with plans for similar labeling if the suppliers don't agree to price cuts.
  • Carrefour's CEO, Alexandre Bompard, critiqued these companies for not assisting in lowering prices, considering the drop in raw material costs.


  • Major supermarket chain Carrefour is tagging products impacted by "shrinkflation", a phenomenon where packaging sizes are diminished while prices stay constant, to highlight the brands responsible.
  • The ongoing debate about inflation in Europe involves discussions around whether it's a result of companies inflating profit margins or due to other elements like supply chain complications.
  • The discourse extends to price gouging in natural disasters, the effect of legislation to standardize packaging sizes, pricing strategies, income inequality, and the necessity for clear unit pricing on products.

TikTok fined €345M for breaking EU data law on children’s accounts

  • TikTok has been penalized €345m (£296m) by the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) for breaching EU data laws concerning child users' accounts.
  • The violations include defaulting child accounts to public settings, lack of transparency in providing data information to children, granting adults access to child users' accounts, and negligence in evaluating risks to underage users.
  • Prior to this, TikTok had also been fined £12.7m by the UK data regulator for illegally processing the data of 1.4 million children under 13 without parental consent.


  • TikTok has received a €345 million fine from the European Union for breaching data protection regulations concerning children's accounts.
  • Debates following this decision revolve around the efficacy of fines as disciplinary measures, the enforcement of privacy laws, and the obligation of tech firms to guarantee data security.
  • Some discussions veer off-topic and delve into the EU's handling of the Greek financial crisis and the refugee situation - issues not directly related to the primary news.

Akiyoshi’s Illusion Pages

  • The website developed by Akiyoshi Kitaoka provides a compilation of illusion imagery and designs, presented with accompanying explanations and contextual background.
  • Apart from the core content, the site also hosts news, contests, and photos related to the topic of optical illusions.
  • Use restrictions are in place, specifically prohibiting commercial applications, and users are forewarned that the content could induce dizziness.


  • The article discusses a recent illusion by Akiyoshi Kitaoka, demonstrating how people perceive colored rings differently, with variables like glasses and head movement influencing the effect.
  • Forum participants share personal experiences and discuss the impact of optical illusions on the brain, exploring the broader realm of illusion artistry.
  • There's an emphasis on the potential use of illusions in fields like advertising and gaming, underscoring the ongoing fascination with optical illusions.

Building an economy simulator from scratch

  • The author is creating an economy simulation from the ground up and recording their progress.
  • They start with a single entity and introduce theories about resource utilization and production, and gradually incorporate more workers specialized in water production.
  • They introduce money as a mechanism to account for shared resources, providing an interesting dynamic to their simulation.


  • The Hacker News discussion focuses on the creation of an economy simulator and explores its relationship with economics, psychology, and real-world data.
  • Participants highlight the challenges of accurately modeling and simulating complex economic systems, stressing the importance of incorporating real-world data and accounting for bad actors and exploitation.
  • The debate also touches on the existence and roles of capitalists outside of capitalist economic systems. The discussion underlines key issues such as the concentration of wealth and the limitations of economic models.

Shrinkflation Tracker

  • is a website designed to combat shrinkflation, a phenomenon where the size of products decreases while the prices stay constant.
  • The site maintains a search log of different products and brands known to have undergone shrinkflation, including Cadbury Dairy Milk, Mars Maltesers, and Nestlé Kit Kat.
  • Users have the ability to monitor these products and brands directly from the website.


  • The Hacker News forum hosts diverse discussions centered around shrinkflation, focusing on its effect on product quality, deceptive practices by businesses, the demand for transparency and improved labeling, and associated ethical dilemmas.
  • Other topics include mechanisms for tracking shrinkflated goods, issues related to animal testing, and the affordability and health impacts of junk food.
  • Shrinkflation refers to the process where companies reduce the size or quantity of their products while maintaining or increasing the price, often without clearly informing consumers.

Kopia: Fast and secure open-source backup software

  • The website introduces an open-source backup software, Kopia, boasting speed, security, and compatibility with multiple operating systems via GUI (Graphical User Interface) and CLI (Command Line Interface).
  • Kopia facilitates encrypted, compressed, and deduplicated backups using the user's preferred cloud storage and features a desktop app to manage snapshots, policies, and file restoration.
  • The website invites contributions and bug reports for Kopia through a Pull Request workflow on GitHub, and engages user discussions about Kopia features and issues on Slack.


  • Kopia, a fast and secure open-source backup software, is under discussion due to some drawbacks including incorrect storage and slow release updates.
  • Users have experienced challenges with Kopia including inability to complete backups, inaccurate progress indicators, and issues with restoring large data sets.
  • Alternatives to Kopia, the advantages of offline backups, and the need for comprehensive testing for backup services in a corporate setting were also discussed.

How does Linux start a process

  • The article delves into the mechanism by which Linux starts a process and prepares the execution stack, particularly focusing on when a process calls execve().
  • It provides an in-depth examination of a binary file's details, using gdb (GNU Debugger) for the analysis of instructions and program stack.
  • The piece also illustrates how the Linux kernel allocates and populates the stack with information including argument lists and environment variables, providing insights useful for tools like 'Zapper'.


  • The discussion thread on Hacker News is centered on understanding how Linux initiates a process and the interpretation of ELF (Executable and Linkable Format) headers.
  • Multiple resources and references are shared for further in-depth learning on this subject matter.
  • Part of the discussion includes critique and feedback on the quality of comments and information shared by other users in the thread.

Google to pay $93M in settlement over deceptive location tracking

  • Google has agreed to pay $93 million in a settlement over allegations of misleading consumers about its location tracking practices.
  • The California attorney general filed the lawsuit, accusing Google of continuing to gather and store user location data even when users disabled their location history.
  • The settlement also includes terms for Google to be more transparent about its tracking methods and to require consent before making changes to privacy settings.


  • Google has agreed to a $93 million settlement over allegations of deceitful location tracking practices, which has been criticized as insufficient to prevent future violations considering Google's annual revenue.
  • Discussions are emerging regarding the necessity for stricter penalties and legislation to safeguard privacy as well as criticism over Google's internet dominance and the effectiveness of the settlement remedies.
  • Concerns were raised about the complex management of location history settings, unpermitted alteration of device settings by some apps, and the requirement of a Google account to activate location tracking.

“Inverse vaccine” shows potential to treat MS and other autoimmune diseases

  • Researchers from the University of Chicago's Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering have created an 'inverse vaccine' to potentially cure autoimmune diseases, including multiple sclerosis and type I diabetes.
  • Contrary to traditional vaccines that train the immune system to identify and combat viruses or bacteria, this new vaccine eliminates the immune system's recognition of a specific molecule, avoiding autoimmune reactions.
  • The 'inverse vaccine' uses the liver's process to flag molecules from deteriorating cells with 'do not attack' labels. Preliminary lab tests show the vaccine effectively reversed multiple sclerosis-related autoimmune reactions, and safety trials have already commenced.


  • Researchers at the University of Chicago have developed an "inverse vaccine" aimed at treating autoimmune diseases by eliminating the immune system's memory of problematic molecules.
  • This vaccine provides a more precise alternative to current immune suppression therapies, promising more effective results.
  • There remain concerns regarding potential side effects as well as the broader understanding of autoimmune diseases. The role of the smallpox vaccination and the significance of maintaining immunity are also being debated.

California passes bill to make it easier to delete data from data brokers

  • The California legislature has passed the Delete Act, a bill aimed at simplifying the process of deleting personal information from data brokers for consumers.
  • The California Privacy Protection Agency would be tasked with creating a system for consumers to request the removal of their records from data brokers in a single request, increasing transparency and control over personal data.
  • Some businesses and industry associations expressed opposition to the bill, citing potential unintended consequences and potential harm to small businesses. The bill is now pending approval from the governor.


  • California has passed a legislation focused on empowering individuals to easily erase their data from data brokers, although it exempts companies like Google and Facebook already obligated to delete data upon request.
  • The main goal of the bill is to enhance personal data control and privacy protection, yet concerns have been raised regarding its effectiveness and the exemption of specific businesses.
  • The discussion also introduces topics like data selling, credit scores, and existing regulations' effectiveness. The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), its implications, potential loopholes and the complexity of data deletion are further explored. The bill mandates agencies to create a deletion mechanism and penalizes non-compliance.

How Instagram scaled to 14 million users with only 3 engineers

  • Instagram achieved significant growth, reaching 14 million users in a little over a year, with a small team of only three engineers.
  • They accomplished this by adopting three guiding principles and a reliable tech stack, including technologies like AWS, Ubuntu Linux, EC2, NGINX, Django, Gunicorn, Postgres, S3, Redis, Memcached, pyapns, and Gearman.
  • They also took advantage of monitoring tools like Sentry, Munin, Pingdom, and PagerDuty to ensure their infrastructure's effectiveness and reliability.


  • The article tackles Instagram's impressive feat of scaling to 14 million users with a small team of only three engineers, illustrating the potential efficiency of small team sizes in startups.
  • It highlights Instagram's simple but effective architecture and discusses the use of microservices in application development, with reference to their benefits and challenges.
  • The text also delves into practical implications of scaling databases and Instagram's database architecture, and mentions the challenges faced by Roblox in implementing microservices. – discover all subdomains for a domain

  • Subdomain Center is a research project developed by ARPSyndicate that employs tools like Apache's Nutch and OpenAI's Embedding Models to discover more subdomains than any other service.
  • To avoid misuse, the service restricts users to a maximum of three requests per minute, and potential downtime might occur due to increased demand.
  • Along with Subdomain Center, ARPSyndicate offers a command line utility tool, Puncia, and other resources pertaining to exploit observation, attack surface management, vulnerability scanning, and open-source intelligence.


  • The forum discusses the vulnerabilities and risks tied to subdomains, and users share different discovery methods, such as scanning the IPv4 internet, leveraging certificate transparency logs, and using proprietary tools.
  • There is apprehension about privacy and security issues of publicly visible subdomains and the difficulty of securing internal subdomains, with advice to practice caution when opening ports and exposing services for additional safety.
  • Implementing port knocking or using Tor are suggested for enhanced security, along with the advantages of using IPv6 over IPv4 in these contexts.

Yes, Android 14 still allows modification of system certificates

  • The blog post challenges Tim Perry's assertion that Android 14 restricts all changes to system certificates, providing evidence that adjustments can still be made and users can revoke system certificate trust.
  • The author asserts that developers are able to add trusted system certificates through ADB (Android Debug Bridge), a versatile command-line tool used for communicating with a device that runs on Android.
  • While acknowledging changes with Android 14, it is concluded that user freedom is preserved, and these alterations aid over-the-air updates to the certificate store, thus implying an expected update to tools compatible with Android 14.


  • The discussion highlights system certificate modifications on Android 14 and the implications and potential benefits of rooting devices, including gaining access to certain features and apps at the expense of others.
  • Users are assessing alternative methods, such as ADB + Frida or Magisk + safetynet-fix, for making modifications and balancing user freedom with device protection.
  • The post underscores the importance of user ownership in the face of growing hostility from Android and Apple devices. It commends Apple's security measures while suggesting the incorporation of a developer mode with warnings.

The first week of US v. Google – Defaults are everything and nobody likes Bing

  • The US government has started an antitrust trial against Google, accusing the tech giant of establishing its search engine market dominance through forceful deals rather than through fair competition.
  • The case will revolve around Google's practices involving defaults and data usage in maintaining its monopolistic position, and also scrutinize whether these actions are beneficial to the consumers or only serve Google's interests.
  • The trial will explore the potential harm to consumers and advertisers due to Google's dominance, and the crux of the judge's decision will be determined by whether free products like search engines can indeed cause consumer harm.


  • The U.S. v. Google trial investigates whether paying to become the default search engine breaks competition rules, aiming to set clearer guidelines.
  • Critics suggest that employee statements are being misused, diverting from real anti-competitive practices. Key concerns raised are Google's dominance, a dearth of effective competition, and the consequent impact on other search engines like Bing and Mozilla.
  • Users express dissatisfaction with current alternatives, voicing a demand for better search engine options. Other discussed topics encompass internet usage, Chromium's independence, and Mozilla's financial viability.

How to store a chess position in 26 bytes using bit-level magic (2022)

  • The article presents an innovative technique for storing a chess position compactly in 26 bytes.
  • The method leverages the unique placement of kings and pawns to represent captures, castling ability, and en passant target, alongside a distinctive encoding for promotions, thus reducing the necessary storage space.
  • The storage technique includes the use of bitmaps and sorting for efficiently characterizing different aspects of the position, thereby enabling storage of a chess position in just approximately 26 bytes.


  • The articles delve into methods of compressing and storing chess positions more compactly and efficiently to reduce data requirements while maintaining crucial information.
  • It covers various strategies like bit-level magic, use of blockchain technology, storing move history, memory recall and compact encoding specifically for chess engines. It also highlights the advantage of compressed formats over JSON.
  • The aim is to enhance performance, storage, and processing efficiency in chess databases and applications.

Books for Game Developers

  • The post presents a detailed list of recommended books for game developers, encompassing numerous subjects pertinent to the field.
  • These books provide valuable insights into computer graphics, game programming, artificial intelligence, as well as physics and dynamics simulation.
  • Other topics covered in these volumes include design and application, linear algebra, optimization, and algorithms, providing a comprehensive knowledge base for aspiring and established game developers.


  • The forum discussion surrounds a collection of game development books, involving recommendations for further reading.
  • There's a tribute and reminiscing section for a respected, deceased game developer, suggesting his influence in the field.
  • The discussion places emphasis on quaternions; a complex number system users find beneficial in game development for representing 3D rotations.

Johnny Cash Has Been Everywhere (Man)

  • Iain Mullan utilized MusixMatch, Toma.HK, and Covers FM during Music Hack Day London 2012 to create an innovative hack featuring Johnny Cash's song "I've Been Everywhere."
  • The hack entails a map showcasing the geographical span the legendary artist, Johnny Cash travelled, as described in his song.
  • This creative geographical representation is visualized using Google's and INEGI's mapping data.


  • The article highlights a website named "Johnny Cash Has Been Everywhere (Man)" that charts all the locations mentioned in Johnny Cash's song "I've Been Everywhere."
  • User discussions in the article centre around related topics, including the shortest path between mentioned destinations.
  • The discussion also touches on personal subjects such as Johnny Cash's addiction issues.

Optimizing LLMs from a Dataset Perspective

  • The article explores the strategy of optimizing large language models (LLMs) using fine-tuning with carefully selected datasets.
  • It details the process of instruction fine-tuning a 7B parameter language model on the LIMA dataset and mentions the potential of auto quality filtering.
  • The article also refers to the NeurIPS LLM Efficiency Challenge and emphasizes the significance of both LLM-generated and human-curated datasets.


  • The article examines the concept of refining large language models (LLMs) by utilizing them to formulate smaller, superior quality datasets.
  • The process entails training a broad model on diverse data, using it to distill the source data into untarnished datasets, and subsequently training smaller models on them. The aim is to develop models that are more accessible, faster in making inferences, and possibly free from copyright issues.
  • Other techniques to enhance the intelligence of LLMs, like retrieval augmented generation (RAG) and the utilization of fine-tuning datasets for language translation, are also discussed.