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Ask HN: hackernews coders have experience with high traffic web apps?
5 points by riskish 1 hour ago   4 comments top 4
2 points by brk 29 minutes ago 0 replies      
I've got a good bit of first-hand experience with this. The right answer depends a lot on the app and architecture.

Do you have to maintain state/session over a long period of time?

Can requests be load-balanced across different web servers or do they need to stay with the originating server?

How much content can be static?

How long can the data be cached for?

Will there be high-demand customers or topics/trends? (eg: think of how Twitter has dedicated Justin Bieber servers)

Will the traffic be bursty or climb steadily?

Is there a need for comments or user input to show up in real time? Does the content mostly come from users, or from some structured input on your end?

Does the site architecture lend itself to elastic scaling (either from your own standby machines, or EC2 style servers)?

These are just some things to think about.

2 points by iuguy 41 minutes ago 0 replies      
Worry about scaling when you can afford it. Many successful startups go through a transitioning stage but not all do. When icanhazcheezburger was launched it was a mix of PHP and .NET - oil and water. It still is!
2 points by moge 35 minutes ago 0 replies      
google James Golick http://jamesgolick.com/
He has some amazing conference lectures about how he scaled his 1.5million page view website.
2 points by jjoe 46 minutes ago 0 replies      
Hi Riskish,

My team and I deal with high traffic portals on a daily basis (as a hosting business). I'll be happy to listen, understand, and share with you ways to scale. Feel free to get in touch.



Ask HN: Does GTD or Pomodoro really help you get things done?
10 points by procrastinewbie 2 hours ago   6 comments top 6
1 point by frankus 11 minutes ago 0 replies      
It depends a lot on how complicated your life is. I use parts of GTD, along with a to-do list and a synced calendar, but then I have a day job, two or three quasi-entrepreneurial side projects, a house, pets, and a significant other.

What having some kind of a written/electronic system does is that it frees you from having thoughts of "crap, that's another thing I need to remember to do" interrupting your creative work. When you have a thought like that, you should quickly get it out of your head and into a trusted system (your "outboard brain").

Then every so often (it has to be often enough that you learn to trust your system), you go back and look at your list and see what you can and/or must do. Slightly less often (GTD suggests weekly), you go through your projects and, in an organized way, ask "What am I missing?", and write the answers down.

In short, once your life gets moderately complicated you'd be silly to try and keep all the stuff you have to do in your head. That's what computers and paper are for.

2 points by philwelch 57 minutes ago 0 replies      
I think you'll find most creative work is best done on your schedule, while most administrative work maps well to GTD. Administrative work (boring stuff like paying bills or doing laundry or status reports) should be separated from creative work (for more on this idea: http://www.paulgraham.com/makersschedule.html)
1 point by eswat 37 minutes ago 0 replies      
If this is working for you, just keep at it.

The problem I have with systems like pomodoro or anything that “forces” you to put leisure time in-between times of focus is that, for me, it's difficult to get into the zone when you're switching gears so much. If I really get into my work I might leisurely browse the net every-now-and-then and get right back to it without really thinking about it. With pomodoro I had to make a conscious effort to stop due to the pomodoro timer, with a slow ramp-up time right after.

I've also tried GTD years ago but it never really fit for me. A Post-It note with all the stuff I need to get done for the day works for me.

1 point by iuguy 1 hour ago 0 replies      
That's weird, I posted something similar today after postive experiences using the pomodoro technique -


(original HN submission here: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1910005)

I haven't tried GTD. My experience so far with pomodoro has basically helped in two areas: focus and distraction.

I'm finding that I'm much more focused on the task at hand (and have usually planned it) with pomodoro. I'm also more aware of my distractions. That's not to say that I don't get interrupted, but that I handle it a lot more efficiently.

As for things such as maintaining interest, I'm not sure if that's a goal with pomodoro, but it's too early for me to tell.

1 point by aheilbut 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I think (hope?) that the structured methods help when there are external factors driving priorities and potentially causing interruptions and interference.

In the absence of any outside influences, 'keep hacking until it's done' is probably close to an optimal strategy.

1 point by Travis 1 hour ago 0 replies      
For me, it's the structure that allows me to get things done.

I've only ever dabbled in GTD or Pomo, but the basic building block -- have a list of tasks grouped and broken-down by time -- is what lets me get things done.

I'm sure the processes recommended on top of that building block also help. But I'm set in my ways, and don't like much overhead, so I keep it simple just by keeping a Pomo pool around, without the egg timer.

Ask HN: What do you use for Mobile App Analytics?
3 points by mishmax 1 hour ago   3 comments top 2
2 points by bjonathan 1 hour ago 1 reply      
We are currently using Flurry basic version mainly because it's free and really easy to setup. I recommend it for those two reasons.

We are also planning to use Appfigures real soon for iTunes Connect download analytics (http://www.appfigures.com)

1 point by mishmax 55 minutes ago 0 replies      
Also, I see Localytics as another option. Anyone have any experience with it?
Ask HN: Peter Thiel's talk at MIT tonight
11 points by anemecek 4 hours ago   6 comments top 4
5 points by bsykora 3 hours ago 1 reply      
The live stream starts at 6:15 EST. http://www.justin.tv/mitef
1 point by vabmit 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm going. I'll make a blog post about it and provide a link.

I heard about it because I signed up for the MITEF's mailing list (I was a member a few years ago). They often have some very good events. The events can be a little expensive for students since the organization is somewhat targeted at alums and faculty. But, I'd recommend following them.

If you don't want to be on their mailing list, they have a Twitter news feed: https://twitter.com/mitentforum

4 points by munchybunch 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm here at MIT, and we didn't even hear about it. ):
-1 point by Qigglers 2 hours ago 0 replies      
He's just going to say you should drop out. Skip it.
Ask HN: People doing open-source development full-time
30 points by kia 9 hours ago   22 comments top 16
6 points by gregschlom 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Some examples:

- Hires: You start an open-source project, it gets some nice traction, a company start using your code in production, but they want to make sure you spend your time working on the project. They hire you to work full time on it. So you're technically employed by the company, but all the community is benefiting from your work.

- Consulting: you sell consulting services for your project, or an hosted implementation (think MongoDB or Wordpress, for example)

- Sponsorship: you get sponsored either by a company that has an interest in the project (but you're not an employee of the company), or by universities / research grants / etc... I think Nokia sponsors some KDE developers, for example. The European Union also spends some money sponsoring open-source projects.

- Donations (from individuals or corporations). Either in money, or in hardware / software / services / etc... Usually not a good way to make a living, as a developer, though.

One thing is for sure: it is definetely possible to make money with open source. But more likely as a project (ie: you found a company that develops a piece of technology which is open-source), than as a developer (ie: you're not very likely to make a living of being a regular contributor to open source projects)

3 points by abyssknight 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I know Microsoft has a team that does OSS work on .NET MVC and related projects. Not sure if they do that full time, but I'm sure if you ask Scott Hanselman or Phil Haack they can tell you.

In a lot of cases companies will buy the talent behind an open source project to get the support they need. Sounds funny, but when you consider a piece of software mission critical to your business its a lot safer to be able to pay the guy or gal and get their immediate attention. :)

I think Apple did that with the CUPS creator, and Rapid7 did something similar with w3af. Sometimes its called "partnering" or "sponsorship" other times it is an all out acquisition. It depends.

5 points by iampims 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Salvatore Sanfilippo, creator of Redis, has been hired by VMWare to work on Redis full-time. The development pace surged as a result. Joyent did the same with Ryan Dahl, creator of Node.js

It's possible, but keep in mind that those two are great developers, not everybody can do what they did.

3 points by mapleoin 7 hours ago 1 reply      
It's very simple, just work for a big company that does open-source: RedHat, Novell, Canonical immediately spring to mind.
3 points by sandGorgon 7 hours ago 1 reply      
4 points by trin_ 9 hours ago 0 replies      
donations. from inidividual users and from corporations. its not unusual for corporations to donate money to oss software that play a big role in their business/infrastructure.

also some companys make the step to employ these people full time and sometimes even to work on the software full time.

3 points by rythie 8 hours ago 0 replies      
There is a good breakdown of employers for the Linux kernel code here:
3 points by ogrisel 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I am full-time R&D engineer at http://nuxeo.com working on integrating semantic analysis technologies into our open-source document management platform and applications.

All my code is released under LGPL or ASL2 on either the company mercurial repo http://hg.nuxeo.org or on apache projects we contribute to (Apache Chemistry and soon Apache Stanbol).

The company sells support subscriptions, consulting, training and custom dev.

2 points by wccrawford 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Aside from donations, some get hired directly by corporations to develop the projects further. Obviously, there is some pressure to move the project in a certain direction when that happens.
2 points by rglullis 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Does grant-funded research count? Until last year I was working on http://esphealth.org full-time, and it's all GPL.
3 points by estherschindler 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I wrote an article last year about the "how to" of making a living writing open source: http://www.itworld.com/open-source/80180/building-your-caree... ...or, actually, a series of articles. Maybe it'll help. (Because it's not just "who's doing it" under consideration, but "how.")
1 point by xiongchiamiov 3 hours ago 0 replies      
My employer (a math textbook company) uses previously-developed GPL-licensed software to do online homework. We host it and provide support, further development, and preset problems and courses that correspond to our books. I get paid for doing server maintenance and hacking on the code.
2 points by angelixd 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I was a software engineer for a company doing open-source backup software for two years. Almost all of the code I worked on was released under the GPL (there were a few proprietary components I worked on).

It's entirely possible to find a salaried position where you develop open source software professionally. However, your employers will most likely not consider that a factor when assigning work.

2 points by technomancy 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Engine yard pays Charles Nutter and Tom Enebo work full-time on JRuby as well as Evan Phoenix and Brian Ford on Rubinius.
1 point by retroafroman 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I believe that the Banshee media player is maintained and developed largely by Gabriel Burt and Aaron Bockover, who are paid by Novell.

I'm betting that the of OSS development that is done by people who are paid for it, is seem as a marketing effort. Any large corporation have more than enough money for a few developers in their marketing budget.

1 point by bmelton 7 hours ago 0 replies      
SourceFire (http://sourcefire.com) makes Snort and ClamAV, both of which are open source, but they also have content revenue models, commercial products and a service branch.
Ask HN: Does anybody else get bad carpal tunnel/RSI? Any tips?
9 points by nikcub 6 hours ago   18 comments top 16
1 point by nikcub 14 minutes ago 0 replies      
Update: thanks for all the comments, absorbed a lot of info.

This post was v interesting:


check if out if you haven't read it. I am ordering the book today.

The author of that post talks about a pain that is difficult to distinguish from a sprained wrist or ligament damage. Mine is very different - it is a numb sensation that has a tendency to move around from the wrist, elbow and up into the shoulder.

I ended up going to emergency and getting a cortisone shot, which helped a lot. What I found out that RSI is a cause, pain or numbness are the symptoms, but the root problem can be any number of things. It is best to get it properly diagnosed by a doctor and there is a bit of trial and error involved. At the moment the cortisone is simply treating the symptoms.

I also found that rest doesn't help. I had the flu for 3 days earlier this week and I worked very little during that time - but the pain persisted. The first signs were a week ago but it really flare up last night and today. It was the worst only a few hours after getting back into work after being ill.

I adjusted my ergonomics a while ago - I went from constantly being in a leaning back and feet up position with keyboard on my lap to having my feet planted, arms straight etc. Changing this still didn't prevent the most recent flare-up.

Thanks again for all the info, comforting to know that there are a lot of other ppl who experience similar problems and a lot of people have experiences that they shared.

2 points by KirkWylie 2 hours ago 1 reply      
1) Go to a doctor, and get diagnosed as to how bad things have gotten. You catch it early, and you just change behavior. A little later? Cortisone injections. Too late? Surgery that may cripple you.
2) Get your doctor to get you to a physical therapist that specializes in this. When I did mine I was in Silicon Valley and they were everywhere, but where you live YMMV.
3) Listen to the physical therapist and do what he/she tells you. ignore everybody else here.

For me, my #3 was "Code only, exclusively, and forever on a Kinesis Ergo or Maltron Keyboard, and never, ever, ever, for any reason, use a mouse; only a Logitech Marble Mouse". That might be the right story for you. It might not. My particular problems are with the messed up way I type on a flat (or flat-ish) keyboard, and wrist pronation from bad mouse usage.

Here's the thing: My Symptoms Are Useless To You. As much as this thread could turn into 50 people recounting their RSI stories, it's rubbish to you. Follow my #1, #2, and #3, and you'll be fine. Ignore any of them, for any reason, and you may cripple yourself.

There's a time and a place for "Ask HN". This isn't. This is a time a place for "Ask a bloody Doctor".

1 point by steve19 1 hour ago 0 replies      
About once a year I get it badly in the wrist I use with my mouse.

Switching the mouse to the other side really helps. Slowly it goes away.

1 point by metageek 5 hours ago 0 replies      
There's lots you can do. First: stop typing. Get voice recognition software. It is possible to program with VR; I did it for a year or two, by using ViaVoice's Java bindings to control emacs. (I stopped when I no longer needed it, not because it didn't work.)

Second: get a good keyboard. The Kinesis is a good first step. You may find that curved keyboards like the Microsoft Natural don't work for you--when I tried one, it required me to stretch my fingers further, which hurt more.

Third: find a doctor. (Actually, call the doctor first; but you should be helping yourself while waiting for the appointment.) If you're in the Seattle area, I can recommend Dr. William Ericson [1]. He did my surgery (years ago, before he moved to Seattle). Some time back, he figured out that a lot of the patients he was seeing, who weren't responding to carpal tunnel treatment, had something in common: extra ligaments near the elbow that pinch the nerves that go through the carpal tunnel when you turn your hands face-down. He can cut those ligaments--they're totally unnecessary; 75% of the population doesn't have them--and the problem goes away. Worked for me--very minor surgery; I was conscious for the whole thing.

[1] http://www.wbericson.org/

1 point by pivo 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I did have this problem in the past. I fixed it by switching to a Microsoft Natural keyboard (the $40 one). That got rid of the problem for me after about three days.

At first I thought the improvement was due to the ergonomic form of the keyboard, but after using my MacBook Pro's built-in keyboard for months with no pain, I now think that my problem was just that my original cheap, foam-sprung keyboard was just awful for typing. So maybe the answer is to just get a better keyboard.

Additionally, posture and angle of forearms to the keyboard surface is also a factor with any keyboard. Your forearms should be parallel to the ground and your keyboard flat, at least that's what works for me. If your chair is too low this might be forcing you to contort your hands in order to type.

For example, my MacBook Pro's keyboard works fine for me, but the external Apple wireless keyboard (with the same type of keys) causes RSI very quickly. Since the keys are essentially the same on both, I'm sure that this is because the external keyboard is angled (higher in back where the batteries go) while the laptop's keyboard is flat.

3 points by shrughes 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I got a piano and started playing difficult pieces on it. The pain and inability to squeeze things went away utterly completely.
1 point by Travis 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I notice it starts to come on from time to time. Starts with dull pain in the outside area of my wrists (wrist/arm juncture on the pinky side of the hand).

Icing at night works wonders for me. RSI can be due to inflammation in the tendon sheaths. Put an incepack (I wrap my in ace bandages to keep them on) for 15 minutes every couple of nights. Don't ice too long, don't let the ice touch your skin, or you'll risk some cold burns.

1 point by cjtenny 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I started getting it in the 8th grade, and this is what I've done to this point (sophomore year of college):

-In 10th grade, I switched to Dvorak, more-or-less on a whim. After two painful weeks of hating using a computer, I was semi-fluent in typing and could resume normal use. The key was forcing myself to use it for everything. Although this may be wishful thinking, I feel I have become able to type much more comfortably while using Dvorak, and my wrist pains lessened for a few years.

-I have tried to remove the mouse from most of my workflow; I do this primarily by using keyboard shortcuts and Emacs, although last week I started learning how to use vim because A) (proficiency with) two editors are (is) better than (proficiency with) one, and B) its commands seem shorter, which I think might help.

-When I do use a mouse, I now use an Evoluent vertical mouse; this has been one of the most important changes, and relieves much of my wrist pain. I've realized now how unnatural it is to have your hand flat while mousing.

-This summer, I used a Kinesis Advantage Pro contoured keyboard, and pending financial feasibility (e.g. I'm a college student and I owe $23,000 next month) I'll be buying one for my desk; that thing worked wonders.

-In the meantime, I use a Microsoft Natural 4000 ergonomic keyboard, which helps; I'm looking into cutting off the numpad so that the mouse isn't so far off to the right. It's been done before, there are resources online; it's not that hard.

-I've migrated much of my work to a standing desk; this makes it much easier to get proper posture (IKEA Fredrik desk). I have several barstools I can lean on or sit on at the proper height, if I need to rest, although I find I'm more productive standing.

-I stopped playing video games. (The pain persisted, but video games were the worst transgressor) (I didn't play much, but tetrinet / puyo puyo / etc can be pretty nasty to your hands and wrists)

Of course, all of these things probably have the sum usefulness of taking regular typing breaks and doing the proper stretches, which a doctor I met with years ago told me I should do; however, I've found myself to be quite bad at keeping up with that, both enforcing breaks and doing stretches for the duration. I like all of these options because once I set them up, I don't have to do anything (or at least, very little) to maintain (in my opinion) healthy habits for my wrists.

Maybe someday, though, typing breaks and stretching. Never push through the pain; it'll only make it worse next time. When it gets really bad, step back and stop. I never take Advil or any anti-inflammatory for the pain because I don't want to power through it and do damage when I should've listened to my body.

1 point by justrudd 6 hours ago 0 replies      
There is no one magic bullet for RSI. Mine got so bad that I've had the surgery for it. And that hurts. Or maybe I just have a low pain threshold. But after the surgery, it was fantastic. If you can afford it (i.e. insurance or have the money), I'd highly recommend you go to a doctor. It might not require surgery and only physical therapy. After my surgery, my physical therapist and I came up with the following list for me. YMMV.

Use a keyboard without the number pad. With no number pad, your hand doesn't have to move far from the keyboard to get to the mouse (trackball in my case).

I've got foot pedals programmed to be the control and alt keys so I don't have to move my fingers off the main keys at all (except for shift. I never could get used to using a footpad for shift). I've been experimenting with a foot pad for backspace as that is the longest throw I have right now.

Exercise your fingers. Get one of those stress balls and squeeze it. For a long time, I used electronic todo lists or wrote pseudo-code in VIM when thinking about an idea. Now I use notebooks, and I've taught myself to write with both hands (left hand is weak hand. I can read it, but no one else can :). So when I'm stuck or need to make a list, I'll write out what I need to accomplish. I'll squeeze the ball with whatever hand I'm not writing with.

Stretch your fingers and wrists. Before I start work in the morning, I'll stretch my fingers and wrists for 10 to 15 minutes.

I've got a stopwatch to time myself. I'll only code for 1 hour and 50 minutes. Then I'll stop, do nothing for 10 minutes (absolutely nothing. I'll just sit with my eyes closed. If I'm pairing, I'll turn over the keyboard), and then do my stretching exercises for 10 minutes.

One of my biggest contributors was posture. I'd sit slumped so my arms were way higher than they should have been. I've now taught myself to sit upright. I still slip at this sometimes, but I can generally catch it before I've done it too long.

Like I said before, those items helped me. I came up with that list with the help of a physical therapist that watched me work and made suggestions. Some of them may or may not work for you.

1 point by wglb 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I have had two runs of hand/finger pain. The most recent bout was the result of using a mouse and a not-very-good keyboard. I threw out all the mice and got a trackball and use it with my left hand, even though I am right-handed. I acquired a Kenisis keyboard and use that. I also paid attention to my wrist positions, and the height of the chair. Over the period of many months, the pain slowly went away and now there is none. I still use the left-handed trackball and at home I use an Avant Prime (remember the omnikey/Northgate keyboards?) and so long as I keep the wrist position good it works. At work, I have the kenisis.

(I used to have a kinesis at home, but an errant cup of tea (with honey) kinda put an end to that one. Now I do more typing at work.)

Dvorak would have not helped in this case. It was all about gripping the mouse and bad wrist juju while typing.

1 point by bdarnell 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Right-hand-only pain is likely to be mouse-related rather than keyboard-related (assuming you mouse right-handed). Try different pointing devices and see what feels best for you. I switched to a trackball (currently a Kensington "Expert Mouse") years ago at the first sign of pain, and haven't had any trouble with my mousing hand since. (I also use a Kinesis keyboard, and highly recommend it especially for emacs users to move the modifier keys to your thumbs)
1 point by sainttex 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Yes, it's the worst. My sister and another friend have it pretty bad from working in a coffee shops. Mine hasn't been bad, just a little uncomfortable at times.

It can help when it's really bothering you to wear wrist braces at night to make sure there is no movement and give the inflammation some time to go down. The only other fixes I've been told are regular wrist exercises and obviously making sure your work area is ergonomic. Have a look at some example exercises online, building up certain muscles can drastically help you out.

Good luck with it, hopefully you find something that helps.

2 points by curt 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Used to have it really bad then started doing more pull-ups and push-ups to strengthen the forearm muscles. While I still have occasional discomfort, the pain has disappeared.
1 point by laika4000 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm a technical writer and always treated rsi as an unavoidable occupational hazard. Then I read this:

What worked for him also worked for me.

1 point by deathflute 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I was having severe pain with this last month. Some steps that I took that have helped -

1. Minimize computer usage - the best way to deal with RSI is to rest your hands. So if you are doing something at the computer that you can avoid, stop doing it.

2. Avoid using a laptop keyboard/trackboard. Most of them are ergonomic disasters. I use a kinesis advantage pro now.

3. Mild exercise like yoga or cycling.

4. xwrits to take frequent typing breaks.

1 point by koichi 6 hours ago 0 replies      
You could try a different keyboard layout. Dvorak is pretty good, and there are a couple others as well:


Won't help your current symptoms get better, but could help in the future.

Ask HN: If my market is agencies (ad, mktg, etc.) how do I reach them?
3 points by marcamillion 2 hours ago   4 comments top 2
3 points by byoung2 2 hours ago 1 reply      
My company (an ad network) just had a booth at AdTech (http://www.ad-tech.com/) in New York. I think admission for the public is free, so that could be a great way to reach them all in one place. There are upcoming dates in cities around the world over the next year.
0 points by noodle 2 hours ago 1 reply      
> I know they read Ad Age and those sorts of publications, but what are the more lower-level outlets that I can reach them? Popular blogs that they read, etc?

if you don't know the answer to that yourself (if there is one), you don't really know your niche that well.

outside of straight up cold calling, though, this is the type of thing i'd be going after. blogs and such, to try and find some low-hanging but valuable fruit.

Hacker news for busy people
6 points by andreas_bak 9 hours ago   2 comments top 2
1 point by sandipagr 1 hour ago 0 replies      
1 point by andreas_bak 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I must mention that The slide idea is taken from (http://hackerslide.com) by `peterc'
Ask HN: What metrics/data should be tracked for an ecommerce site?
5 points by poincare 8 hours ago   1 comment top
2 points by SHOwnsYou 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I built a pretty expansive ecommerce platform. This is what it included (kind of categorized):

Orders, revenue, average order, average revenue

Top search engine search terms, top referring search engines, conversion rates of search phrases

Top pages, top referrers, top user agents, total visits, visit duration

Top products ordered by quantity and revenue

New customers, first time buyers, total number of registered users

Top in-site search terms, conversions of those terms

Visits to order, cart views to order, checkout initiations to orders

I didn't include this overtly, though it can be done by putting two reports together -- Top customers by total expenditure and by order frequency

ASK PG: Why doesnt PG answer most of the "ASK PG" questions?
7 points by aitoehigie 17 hours ago   8 comments top 6
14 points by nostrademons 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Probably because he's a busy guy, and has plenty to do just answering questions from entrepreneurs that he has a financial stake in?
3 points by pg 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Often because I don't see them. I wouldn't have seen this one except that so many people flagged it.
12 points by nl 15 hours ago 1 reply      
1) Most Ask PG questions are dumb.
2) YC Interviews start this week.
1 point by jgrahamc 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Probably because many are answered by people here who already know what he would say.
1 point by lachyg 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I would say he answers most of them. The ones that I've seen, he's answered.
1 point by kreedskulls 7 hours ago 0 replies      
It seems that he responded to this one, you should have asked your question instead!
Show HN: shrtn.co - a revenue generating affiliate tool for the masses
11 points by processing 1 day ago   9 comments top 4
3 points by Cafesolo 1 day ago 1 reply      
Great idea. Congrats on the release!

A couple of suggestions:

- An API to generate shortened URLs automatically would be great.

- Some mechanism for supporting custom domain names.

Say, someone has a link shortener service with a decent amount of traffic. Both shrtn.co and the shortener owner would benefit greatly from an API/custom domain combo.

1 point by ultrasaurus 1 day ago 1 reply      
What's the amount of work involved in adding merchants? I notice the list grew a lot since last time, should we expect 20/month?

Oh, and there's no chance you've solved my personal bugaboo, and can redirect to Amazon.COM/CA/UK depending on a person's origin, is there?

1 point by sandipagr 1 day ago 1 reply      
Love the idea!

I think you should have some mention of how are revenues shared be it at 10-90 or 90-10. That was the first thing I went looking after.

1 point by processing 1 day ago 0 replies      
Clickable URL http://shrtn.co
Ask HN: GWT for Mobile Web Apps?
3 points by robertmrangel 4 hours ago   1 comment top
1 point by jefflinwood 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Can you prototype the UI in GWT first, and then see if it's worth the trouble to port your existing app to GWT?

There isn't likely to be that much code reuse with GWT between the client and the server - maybe some validation code.

I'd look at jQuery Mobile before GWT if I wanted to pick a Javascript framework for mobile web apps.

Hope this helps

Ask HN: Review my board game recommendation app
9 points by moconnor 10 hours ago   6 comments top 3
3 points by revorad 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Instead of making me think about and type two names of games into blank text fields, show me a popular game and ask me if I like it. If I say yes, show me another one I might like even more. If I say no, ask me to tell you a better one.
2 points by wahnfrieden 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I know your hash tag trick is clever and you got around needing a data store that way, but you really need to remember my input next time I visit the site. Most users aren't going to understand they would need to bookmark their deepest visit to your site. The site seems broken or sloppy when it doesn't recall my answers.

Can't you just keep it in a cookie instead?

1 point by moconnor 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Clickable: http://www.findanewgame.com for the app and http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1811024 for the HN thread on the 'making of' blog post.
Request HN: Do you know a good system administrator in the Toronto area?
4 points by markm 8 hours ago   4 comments top 3
2 points by bobf 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I sent an email to the address listed in your profile. I'd be happy to help point you in the right direction to resolve your immediate issues, just check your email and shoot me a response.
2 points by 3pt14159 7 hours ago 0 replies      
The best guy I know works at FreshBooks. http://www.freshbooks.com/our-team.php#rich Reach out to him, he may know some people.
2 points by gnosis 8 hours ago 1 reply      
What operating system do your servers run? How many servers are there? What web-server software do they run (apache/ngnix/lighttpd)?

Do you absolutely need someone to be on-site? Or would logging in remotely to administer the servers be enough?

Ask HN: How do I plug myself into the Hacker community?
12 points by Skywing 23 hours ago   6 comments top 6
2 points by il 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Two months ago I dropped what I was doing, sold everything I owned, said goodbye to my friends and girlfriend and moved from the Midwest to San Francisco. It was probably the best decision I ever made. Not that I was unhappy before, but it's so... different here.

It's almost impossible to not get involved in the tech scene and meet hackers in the bay area. Hacking permeates the air, and I'm not just talking about the tech kind. So many people you meet here are building something, creating cool stuff. You will frequently meet people who are working on things you use every day. You can go to tech parties, meetups, hackathons every day and meet new people if you want to.

Sure, there are some hackers, user groups, meetups in your area, and people will comment and tell you to go to those.
But, trust me... it's not the same at all.

As someone on HN once told me, move to San Francisco...whether you know it or not, your friends are already here.

You're 25, go for it. What do you have to lose?

1 point by alanthonyc 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Hi there,

I'm in a similar boat as you, in that my social circle is decidedly non-geek.
I've also been on a career path that, although pays well, hasn't been anywhere
close to the interesting stuff that I figure I should be working on given my

So for the past couple of years, I've been working on side projects that have
been much more interesting to me than my day job. It's been a bit of a sacrifice
in terms of social life and other hobbies, but ultimately worth it. After my
current contract ends in January, I'm planning to take some time off from my
main line of work to try and get a personal project off the ground. If nothing
else, I'll just get even more experience doing interesting stuff.

It's up to you to decide on what kind of financial footing you want to be before
making any kind of drastic change. Moving from Dallas to SF would (I think) be a
bit of a hit on the wallet.

I don't think you need to necessarily get out to California in order to get
started. There are a bunch of things you can get involved in over the internet
so that you can get geared up. That said, the meetups can be motivating, so it
would definitely be a boost if you decided to move. In the meantime, maybe you
can meet up with other like-minded folks around Dallas as well (or maybe

Anyway, sorry for the ramble, hope you figure out something that works for you!

2 points by jeffmould 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Try http://meetup.com for meetups in your area. Most of these groups are very welcoming to new members and you will start to meet new people.

I know it is past, but you can always start to plan for SXSW next year. Great, friendly environment to get out and meet people.

Look around for startups in your area. I can't think of any off hand, but I would be willing to bet there is at least one or two.

If you can afford to travel, maybe heading to San Fran/Palo Alto for a meetup wouldn't be a bad option. Not that NYC can't be a great place as well, but the costs might be a little more prohibitive (unsure what your budget is).

1 point by nl 21 hours ago 0 replies      
The easiest thing to do is plug yourself into language based user groups, simply because they exist in most large cities for most languages.

Python: http://wiki.python.org/moin/LocalUserGroups#Texas

Ruby: http://dallasrb.org/

Java: http://javamug.org/

.NET: http://ddnug.net/

If none of that works for you then http://www.dfwuug.org/wiki/Main/Welcome might.

1 point by user24 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Definitely start a blog - I start mine 6 years ago and it's been a huge motivator to create cool software projects, and it's connected me to like-minded people. Just get a wordpress install up on some random domain and start talking about your code.
1 point by dayjah 18 hours ago 0 replies      
email me to start with :) ossareh@gmail.com - there are loads of people over here (SF) that need talent - email me your resume or linked in and we'll work on getting you past your current hump.
Ask HN: Seriously, what's wrong with HTML tables?
11 points by anthonycerra 1 day ago   38 comments top 20
14 points by patio11 1 day ago 1 reply      
Comic sans, spec design, and tables: you just smile and nod when your designer friends start talking. Every tribe has its signaling mechanisms. This is his. Smile and nod.
12 points by ggchappell 1 day ago 2 replies      
This site sums it up pretty concisely:


Not that I agree with him entirely. In particular:

> 6. Once you know CSS, table-based layouts usually take more time to implement.

For a sizable site with layouts reused over multiple pages, yes. For a single page, or a site with differing layouts for each page, in my experience, no. Actually, I'd extend that first sentence of mine into a new reason: with CSS you can specify your layout once, and not have to redo it for every page. Doesn't work with tables.

> 7. Tables are semantically incorrect markup for layout.

My response: So what? (Yes, I know about the problems with screen readers, but that's a different reason, one I happen to agree with.)

And then, on the other hand, there are the things no one wants to say: the advantages tables have over CSS. In particular, it's obvious to me that CSS was not designed with modern layouts in mind. The fact that it works at all is really just an accident: it turned out that you can make columns using floats (how 'bout that?). Yes, using tables for layout is a kind of jury-rig, but to be honest, so is using CSS. And at least tables have a mechanism for producing columns, that was designed with columns in mind.

And then there are the browser rendering inconsistencies. With modern browsers, these problems are fading, but for older ones, the inconsistencies with CSS seem to be much more troublesome than those with tables.

5 points by alanh 1 day ago 0 replies      
Tangentially, if you are designing HTML email, tables and old-school HTML are the way to go, still. This is due to an even sorrier state of affairs in email clients than web browsers. (Not the least of which: Outlook, which uses Microsoft Word (!) as its rendering engine.)
4 points by GrandMasterBirt 1 day ago 1 reply      
From a purist/non purist perspective:

There is something inherently wrong with CSS tables for layout. There are also technological hurdles.

When using RAW CSS WITH NO FRAMEWORK laying shit out is hard at best. Which is why you should use one of a multitude of frameworks which give you css grid layouts. There are also frameworks which apply css 2 table cell properties to layout your page using tables without tables.

When using HTML Tables, you are guaranteeing that your site will NEVER scale gracefully with lower resolutions and mobile devices without CSS (dying). While sometimes you do want to say "Vertical" or "Horrizontal" box, on some devices neither helps. You need wrapping, text area resizing (and i dont mean textarea tags) etc.

So in the end of the day: Don't do Table-based layouts. BUT ALSO DON'T REINVENT THE WHEEL. I think it is an equal sin to hack up a new layout css for every page/project as it is to hack up a new webserver for every little 2-page static html server.

From a technological perspective, tables don't make for good layout containers. They don't respect their width/height properties like you hope they would. You need to account for the dreaded cellpadding and cellspacing defaults, child borders/margins, etc. Avoid it. Trust me, a bigger headache in the long run.

8 points by absconditus 1 day ago 1 reply      
This topic has been discussed to death elsewhere.


2 points by justin_vanw 1 day ago 2 replies      

Look at the source to amazon.com, netflix.com, google.com, bing.com. It's hard to find any big site that doesn't use tables for at least some layout tasks.

CSS is a really, really shitty method of doing layout. Fanboys will come out of the woodwork to try and prove that statement wrong, but in my opinion, it's true. I'm not sure how we ended up with such a terrible tool.

There are times when I have spent 10 hours trying to do some trivial bit of layout done with CSS, and finally resorting to a little table got it done instantly.

There are entire classes of things that you can't do with CSS, or you have to resort to bizarre hacks to get done (negative padding, etc).

I'm not claiming that tables solve every problem, but presented with the choice of spending hours figuring out some css hack and testing it in the dozens of browsers / mobile browsers that are out there now, and just making a table, I will just make the table and move on.

Edit: You should use CSS 90% of the time. Tables often let you do something easily that CSS has lots of trouble with, and I recommend resorting to them at that point.

3 points by icey 1 day ago 0 replies      
Honestly I just use them whenever I feel they're useful.

Tabular data goes in tables (including forms for the most part). Everything else goes in a DIV (or SPAN, I guess).

That being said, all of my tables are put inside of DIVs for layout.

(Also, I'm not a designer)

2 points by dgreensp 1 day ago 0 replies      
Purists consider it controversial, but using tables for forms is fine in my opinion if it gets you the layout behavior you want. CSS and tables just don't offer the same options when it comes to layout.

There are only two big uses for tables that I would avoid, and which are probably how this all started:

- Don't put all your content in giant tables for multiple columns, etc. Browsers do have to go to some effort to calculate column widths and such, and may delay rendering the contents of the table, e.g. until all the dependencies like inline images are loaded.

- Don't try to use big hairy pixel-precise tables for freeform layout, like when designers would carve up a mock in Photoshop, export the "slices" as 14 different images, and reassemble them using tables. This is a maintainability and usability nightmare and will come back to bite you.

People can get really dogmatic about not using tables. Perhaps you could find some forms you like and see what kind of mark-up they use.

2 points by hasenj 1 day ago 1 reply      
Because in the past, people used to use tables for everything. Want to add some spacing? Create a table with invisible columns that contain 1-pixel gifs "spacer.gif".

Now adays these things can happen with CSS, and you should use css to get spacing and positioning done right.

However, for layout, I completely disagree with the mainstream idea that "divs and css are better than tables for layout".

#1 argument, they say, is that tables are semantically incorrect for layout.

Well then, are divs semantically correct for layout? Absolutely not. Actually, tables are semantically correct for layout.

How else do you express stacking elements vertically and horizontally?

Floating divs to create layout is a horrible hack, and it's not maintainable at all.

Use tables to get the basic layout, but do all the styling with css.

1 point by qeorge 1 day ago 0 replies      
Accessibility, SEO, and maintainability are the business reasons.

But the larger reason, the why, is that its easier for a computer to parse. If you want to be part of the Semantic Web[1], you should make your pages as machine-readable as possible. Makers of screen readers will thank you too.

<table> means tabular data, not layout. But since no one follows that, parsers first have to determine which way you meant <table>. This is an unneeded complication. If everyone used the right tags (<div> and <span> for layout, everything else is semantic), writing a parser would be insanely easy and we could spend our time on more interesting problems.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semantic_Web

4 points by bsk 1 day ago 2 replies      
Here are a couple reasons:

- At one point the design becomes a nightmare to maintain. I've worked on some web apps, where we had pages with 15 levels deep tables in tables in tables ...

- Separating the semantic information in .html from the design in .css. Can help with SEO, screen readers, cashing.

1 point by barrydahlberg 1 day ago 1 reply      
It's a tool and just like a hammer, a little experience will tell you when to use it and when not too. I personally think using them for forms is a reasonable case if it suits you, I prefer the lighter markup I get with simple divs in forms though. You will find eventually that the rigid structure of tables gets a little annoying.

In the past we've seen huge messes of tables nested upon tables which creates bloated, inflexible HTML. This is usually done by people who would create huge bloated messes of divs anyway. What you should really be focusing on is creating clean, valid markup written with a sense of style and care.

CSS frameworks like Blueprint can make getting started with layout a lot easier for you if don't mind having an argument about the abuse of CSS as well.

1 point by iuguy 1 day ago 0 replies      
There's nothing wrong with using tables for non-tabular reasons, just like there's nothing wrong with using an 'under construction' animated gif while you're building your site or having a nice midi file playing in the background.

I'm sure some day someone will come up with some sort of standard that allows a regular website to look good on multiple devices with multiple capabilities, perhaps some sort of file containing style information that could tell the browser how to structure different sections.

1 point by JustinSeriously 1 day ago 0 replies      

Same reason that, when you code, you want to include comments, have good variable names, use reasonably-sized functions, etc. It makes maintainability and future extension much easier.

Forget about semantic purity. CSS has survived all these years because it's been very useful in a very practical sense.

1 point by robenkleene 1 day ago 0 replies      
Form data (which is what the original poster asked about) arguably _is_ tabular data, containing both header and data cells. I use the table header (<th>) tag for form labels and the table data (<td>) for form fields all the time. (Although it is marginally better not to do so, if your design allows it.)

The dogmatic view, that marking up your document with as few, strictly semantic tags as possible is ideal, has died down in recent years. I advocate the following approach: create your design and initial as-semantic-as-possible HTML. Starting doing the CSS, you run into problems that a table would help with? Either adapt the design, or just put in the table -- your guiding light should be semantic markup is great, but it isn't worth adding hard-to-maintain HTML/CSS hacks to your design in order to keep your markup perfect.

In otherwords, HTML/CSS hacks are worse than some bad markup here and there.

Always keep in mind that the HTML/CSS revolution was a _blogging_ movement. Usually keeping the markup strictly semantic is easy for a blog, as blogs are textual documents -- the type of data that and HTML/CSS were originally designed for.

I personally mainly work on web applications (think lots of buttons and forms), HTML/CSS perform far worse in this context. And I've wasted a lot of time extrapolating what is good advice for a blog to web applications were it can be terrible advice.

1 point by sammcd 1 day ago 0 replies      
Before CSS became popular, tables where used heavily, not just to show data, but also to layout page. As people started to use CSS for layout tables become the enemy.

Tables became bad, and CSS became good. So much that some people where using divs to show data for a while just because they hated tables so much.

2 points by towndrunk 1 day ago 2 replies      
The page you are looking at right now is full of tables.
2 points by abrudtkuhl 1 day ago 0 replies      
Tables = Use to show tabular data and forms

Tables != Layout

1 point by zoomzoom 1 day ago 0 replies      
Someone always points this out in these threads, but HN uses tables...and we all love this site. Theres no morality in web design, just results.
2 points by DjDarkman 22 hours ago 0 replies      
You can't make a scalable layout with tables.

You can't easily change complex table-based layouts, because you get lost in the td-s and tr-s.

You can make forms even easier with some clever CSS.

Ask HN: Anyone using Haskell in production?
73 points by iamelgringo 20 hours ago   32 comments top 12
18 points by plinkplonk 18 hours ago 2 replies      
I am using a Haskell/C combo for a distributed (on a "supercomputing" cluster) Machine Learning (commercial, non academic) project. About 20k lines of Haskell. A couple of 100K lines of C (Most of this will be moved to Haskell over time). Works like a charm.

As to why Haskell, I have not yet found any other language that combines its expressiveness and raw speed.

10 points by alrex021 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Well-Typed, a Haskell consultancy, seems to do quite a bit of work exclusively in Haskell.

For instance, they have developed an air traffic analysis tool for NATS[1] which they briefly blogged[2] about.

[1] http://www.nats.co.uk/

[2] http://www.well-typed.com/blog/39

9 points by vegai 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I wrote a pure Haskell solution that implements a messaging middleware from a proprietary legacy DB system to a network for activating mobile devices.

It was my first real Haskell project, and although I had lots and lots of book knowledge about the language, the outcome was quite warty. Nevertheless, Haskell delivered what it promised: the software was completed much faster than a roughly comparable C product was before (by a better programmer than me) and making changes to a finished product was very easy and safe and did not cause new bugs.

Perhaps the worst problem was the lack of quality libraries for doing some practical things, such as simple socket listening (I had to pretty much code Haskell like it was C in that part), and I had some trouble (bad memory leaks) from the curl library.

And even worser than worst was the problem that only one person got interested enough in the language that he helped me with the project, and, although he was able to produce working code in a month from zero experience, he ended up disliking the language.

6 points by eru 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Citrix is using Haskell for XenClient. Drop me an email, if you want to know more. My team at Citrix is using OCaml for XenServer. Both teams are in Cambridge, UK.

We are looking for people.

2 points by thesz 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I used Haskell on my every job last 12 years to quickly prototype various things to get problems exposed early.

This included: prototypes of image analyses (image registration), MIPS-alike CPU prototype, Direct3D pixel/vertex shader assembler language analysis (data flow patterns), prototyping various dynamic data flow CPUs, translator Fortran-to-Lisp (for our colleague who prototyped compiler analysis in Lisp), testbed for viodecontroller, VHDL-to-netlist translator (synthesable subset) for our modeling system, simple GUI for some kind of IDE for modeling system, DSeL for CPU model description.

I even tried to create integrator for "game physics" using infinite lazy lists using ideas from http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/summary?doi=

Most of my pet projects start as a Haskell source. Often they get abandoned, sometimes they evolve into something big.

This "pettiness" of Haskell projects play an important role: they can be thrown away because they are cheap, and they can evolve into something pretty big - easily.

1 point by T_S_ 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I am using Haskell to simulate data for a machine learning system. The project has other components we are planning to implement in Haskell.

You may fight hard with the compiler to get your program to compile, but after that "it just works". Also functional programs are bite-sized, so making changes feels easier.

11 points by rryan 17 hours ago 0 replies      
4 points by satoimo 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Barclays Capital uses Haskell to describe equity derivative instrument payoffs: http://lambda-the-ultimate.org/node/3331
1 point by dirtyaura 17 hours ago 0 replies      
My co-founder uses it for scripting and we do a little data manipulation on our game dev toolchain with it.

We were planning to use it a lot for a server-side code, but as my Haskell is rusty, we decided to go mainly with Python.

2 points by robinhouston 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Here is the section on commercial users from the most recent Haskell communities report: http://haskell.org/communities/05-2010/html/report.html#sect...
1 point by Locke1689 18 hours ago 1 reply      
I think jrockway is if he wants to comment. Financial services seem like one of the few industries that can get away with it.
1 point by baguasquirrel 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Dammit... Avoid success at all costs?
Ask HN: Pre-installed Ubuntu Linux Workstation Vendors?
3 points by dawson 6 hours ago   6 comments top 3
2 points by mooism2 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I've bought machines with Debian and Red Hat (back in the day) preinstalled from http://dnuk.com and would buy from them again. I've never bought a machine with Ubuntu preinstalled from them, but they do give the option.
1 point by hasenj 4 hours ago 0 replies      
System76 will start shipping to the UK soon


1 point by davidw 6 hours ago 1 reply      
What's wrong with Dell? I've had pretty good luck with both the computers themselves and the service.
Tell HN: Hacker News India
26 points by prateekdayal 21 hours ago   13 comments top 5
6 points by niyazpk 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Changing the name is the best course of action. The name 'hackers news' may not be copyrighted, but that does not make using the exact same name the right thing to do.

The name 'hacker news india' may deceive at least a few people into believing that the site is somehow affiliated to the original site.

Furthermore, I don't think that using the same name will somehow make the site in par with the original hacker news. It will be the quality of the discussions that will decide the fate of the site.

I believe that the same name was used with the best of intentions, but now that the mistake is being pointed out, it is better to change the name.

2 points by plinkplonk 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Bad Idea. I am Indian and I plan to stay away from this.

"Hacker News" is a name used by PG for his webapp and you shouldn't use it (or variants) for yourself without getting explicit permission from him (You didn't did you?).

Imagine setting up a "Google India" or "Stanford India" site and claiming "if they want to operate these sites they can, we are not making any money off this". If those are shady, so is this.

If you just want an HN like forum, why not use the open source arc code but make your own name?

While I am not convinced there are issues that are exclusive enough to "Indian hackers" (shudder) that need a separate forum, others may have such a need. Good for them.

But please don't steal the name of a successful site without explicit permission from the owner.

Overall an amateurish move, if not illegal. (All purely imo - my fellow "Indian hackers" can downvote)

My response = flip bit. Move On.

4 points by gsivil 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Are you sure that you can just starting using this name?
1 point by rick_2047 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Where is the ask and jobs sections? I love the first and long for an indian edition of the latter.
1 point by cshekhar 19 hours ago 2 replies      
What different things you are going to do with HNI ? I mean I wanted to know the purpose of creating whole new thing similar to HN. Also need to manage both accounts personally I don't like many accounts.
Ask HN: do you know of any sites similar to pythonchallenge.com?
9 points by aitoehigie 16 hours ago   6 comments top 6
4 points by thomas11 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Programming Praxis has a ton of interesting problems, many from fundamental Computer Science and often with a functional bent.


1 point by sushi 1 hour ago 0 replies      
http://www.codingbat.com/ has good python challenges. Simple but good.
5 points by shogunmike 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Have you come across Project Euler? http://projecteuler.net/
1 point by JoshCole 4 hours ago 0 replies      
You might consider checking out http://notpron.org/notpron/levelone.htm. It doesn't give programming puzzles, but from what I remember it was part of the inspiration behind the python site you mentioned.
2 points by AjJi 10 hours ago 0 replies      
You can try Marathon Matches at http://topcoder.com/tc SRMs which are, almost, weekly competitions don't allow Python
2 points by PilotPirx 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Ask HN: Can Startups Do Well AND Good?
5 points by onwardly 20 hours ago   13 comments top 11
1 point by jakarta 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I think this totally depends on the business you are running. If you have outside investors, I think they will for the most part dislike the idea of a percentage of income going outside of the business.

Plus, if your business requires capital to be reinvested in order to fund growth, that's where your cash flow should go.

In most cases, all your focus should be on growing your business because chances are that will allow you to donate and have a positive impact on the world if it's able to survive and make you wealthy.

There are a few cases where I could see your idea working out though:

I've analyzed some mostly family owned businesses with very low capital requirements. For example, there is one that builds a special component for aircrafts. Each year, the business generates about $800K in free cash flow. All that does is pile up on their balance sheet. In a normal company, the shareholders would ask for a dividend, but in this case, the family could donate that annual $800K in FCF with no problem.

There's also a European hedge fund, The Children's Investment Fund, that donates 0.5% of their assets to charity or $30M a year since they run $6B.

1 point by zachallaun 2 hours ago 0 replies      
http://shrtn.co (posted on HN very recently) has an interesting take to being charitable. They allow users to gain money by placing shortened affiliate links into their social posts. Another option is for users to donate any affiliate money they generate to charity. In this case, shrtn.co will add 20% of the money donated.

In this way, you get to 1) do some good, 2) benefit from the marketing of it and 3) retain most of your profits.

Seems like a damn good middle-ground to me.

1 point by JCThoughtscream 20 hours ago 0 replies      
...why would it NOT be okay? Startups might need cash, but so do big corps. If we're talking about "donating equivalent to big corporations," then obviously we're talking flights of fancy. But we're not. I'm sure there's tax incentives for it; you've alluded to marketing incentives. But in the end, it's just a matter of whether or not the startup thinks it's financially in a place to do a little good.

Penny Arcade's got a staff size you can count on one hand; they run one of the best-known charities in gaming circles. They're not a Big Co. by any account, even if they've since developed Significant cultural presence.

1 point by asanwal 12 hours ago 0 replies      
The best examples I've seen are Tom's Shoes and Better World Books where the 'do good' element is part of their business. Tom's Shoes gives a free pair of shoes and Better World Books does similar things with books. In these cases, their charitable work fits with their business and so it's additive - not an add on.

IMO, adding on a "% of revenues goes to X charity" has become so commonly used that I think many are skeptical. I know I am.

1 point by coryl 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Only if it fits into your business model, IMO.

Just because your small startup gives away a small percentage of profit to charities doesn't mean you'll get a net positive benefit out of it. In most cases, you'll clearly end up with a net negative.

It's not really a trick you tack onto your existing product; it has to legitimately fit into your business model and market.

1 point by nl 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Do you advertise and/or market your company?

Charitable giving by companies can often be thought of marketing that may have taxation benefits.

OTOH, it isn't exactly the most efficient or trackable form of advertising.

1 point by barrydahlberg 20 hours ago 0 replies      
The most recent example that comes to mind is Duck Duck Go:


In this case the founder is obviously not critically in need of money, it still helps though.

1 point by cuchoperl 7 hours ago 0 replies      
In a startup cash is scarce. You can find best ways to give other than cash. For example, take your team to do some volunteer work in your community. Extra karma if your cause is consistent with your company's story.
1 point by dominostars 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I love trying to think of ways to make a startup do 'well and good', but donating to charity is a weak way of doing it. You're probably not making much money, so your donations will not have a substantial impact. Employees are more likely to feel that your $10,000 would have been much better utilized growing your company, than being sent to charity X to do who knows exactly what.

You can more directly do 'well and good' by doing well FROM doing good. Recently, I listened to a radio program about startups that were trying to do just that. For instance, one non-tech startup was based on collecting and selling unused fruits from people's yards. Employees can feel good because they have directly improved their community, by utilizing food that normally goes to waste.

1 point by fabiandesimone 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I think we should all do this. However, for me is a timing thing.

I have this goal where I would like to create a Non profit (charity, etc) for every cash positive company I'm able to create. I'm not there yet, but is something that I take with me on every project I start.

1 point by gaelian 20 hours ago 1 reply      
What if rather than giving a hard percentage of one's earnings, one could try something like giving your product/service away for free or at a large discount to non-profit/educational orgs or the like? This is the kind of thing that I would consider as being far more realistic, at least at the earlier stages of a startup.

I've seen numerous startups do something like this. You're doing good, and you hopefully get some good publicity/reputation out of it as well without being out of pocket.

Ask HN: What do geeks in Palo Alto do on weekend nights?
64 points by vishaldpatel 2 days ago   54 comments top 29
15 points by rcoder 2 days ago 1 reply      
I lived in Palo Alto for a couple of years, and basically just didn't go out (weekend or otherwise) after 8pm unless one of my friends with a car wanted to drive to San Francisco for the night. Caltrain is fine during the day on weekends (e.g., for shopping and dinner outings) but shuts down far too early to really do bars/clubs/concerts in the city and still get home. (BART has similar issues, if you're trying to get in and out of east bay.)

The upside is that the city is only 40 minutes away; the downside is that SF tends to be kind of a black hole for culture, sucking everything cool into the city limits and leaving the south bay with all the strip malls, supermarkets, and car dealerships.

If you're going to school or working a startup, it can be survivable. There are enough coffee shops, cafes, and restaurants around downtown Palo Alto to let you pass a lazy Sunday afternoon pleasantly enough, and the occasional trip to SF by car (or by train, with a hotel stay in the middle) helps to alleviate the boredom.

9 points by dotBen 2 days ago 2 replies      
Here's a different perspective to show the grass isn't greener on the other-side:

I've lived in San Francisco for 4.5yrs and sometimes I feel lost for interesting places to hang out in the evenings here in The City.

I'm not really interested in the pretentious hipster scene bars of Mission, I don't like the LA-wannabe scene of Marina and most of SoMa's clubs cater for East Bay bridge and tunnel crowd (before you think I'm being snobby I find the East Bay crowd unfriendly to city living folks, and all of the violet situations I've witnessed in clubs/bars have been from East Bay types. We're not talking Berkeley types but the more 'heavier' Oakland/Freemont/Hayward scene).

And everything closes at 2am (although granted, that's a CA-wide policy).

I guess I say all of the above with the disclosure that I'm a native of London, a 24/7 city with more bars and clubs than you could visit in a year.

36 points by garply 2 days ago 0 replies      
Code. Sometimes under the influence.
8 points by neilk 2 days ago 1 reply      
Beats me. I had to leave the South Bay because it was driving me insane.

I worked on an acquired events-related startup, and when we lived in the South Bay, none of us went to any events.

Although SF is tantalizingly close, it is always too much of a hassle when you factor in transportation or parking.

5 points by zackattack 2 days ago 1 reply      
I grew up in Palo Alto. There's 3 options that come to mind:

* Happy Donuts on El Camino, which is open 24/7 and often is filled with geeks coding at all hours. Lots of people are happy to talk and socialize / be engaged in conversation.

* The downtown PA bar scene: Rose and Crown & Rudy's are probably the most geek-friendly. Old Pro is ok if you're also into sports. Blue Chalk & Nola can be good hangout spots but I wouldn't label either of them first choices.

* California Avenue has Antonio's Nut House. Lots of notable geeks can be seen there. I heard [redacted] was mobbed the last time he went in.

Going to San Francisco sucks unless you already know where you can sleep. I recommend making friends with some local residents and crashing with them after going out (with them). I actually met a dude on HN and we've been out partying in SF a few times; I crashed on his couch a couple times and it's been real sweet.

I also recommend Hacker Dojo, which is open late if you're a member, or 'til 10 if you're a guest, and they've been having some nighttime weekend talks recently.

Finally, I recently moved back to the area after growing up here, and would like to make some more friends, especially tech & business minded people. Contact information is in my profile. I would love to buy you the drink of your choice at any of the above-mentioned venues and hear about what you're working on.

3 points by wooster 2 days ago 0 replies      
* House parties - at peak, I was throwing a house party once a month.

* Hacker Dojo - almost always something interesting going on. Highly recommended.

* Bars - Rose & Crown or the Nut House.

* Watch a limited release film at Aquarius or CineArts.

* A lazy afternoon drinking wine at Vino Locale followed by dinner out at a nice restaurant.

* Board games, poker, or whatever with friends.

* Chill out by the pool at a friend's apartment complex.


6 points by acabal 2 days ago 1 reply      
Nothing. That's why I left. Some folks like the SF nightlife scene but I wasn't a big fan of that either. Too many hipsters. Plus it's impossible at nights because of the lack of transport back to the south bay.
14 points by nspiegelberg 2 days ago 0 replies      
Despite the facade of University Avenue, Palo Alto is a pretty tame suburban atmosphere. I tend to drive or Caltrain out to San Fran if I want to do something on the weekend.

Then again, if you have someone to hang with, all these awesome Open Space Preserves makes for great hiking/biking. My favorite is Astradero just because its a 5 min drive from my house.

23 points by sep 2 days ago 0 replies      
I bet that in some startups, the following answer applies: "The same thing we do every night, Pinky - try to take over the world!"
8 points by nostrademons 2 days ago 0 replies      
Go play Starcraft or Rock Band with a bunch of friends from work.
6 points by rflrob 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm a big fan of Friday Night Waltz (http://www.fridaynightwaltz.com/), which is cheap, fun, social, and darn good exercise too.
3 points by kelnos 2 days ago 0 replies      
After wasting 6 years living in the peninsula and south bay, mainly because I was afraid of the commute (I still work in Santa Clara), I moved up to SF a couple months ago. Best decision I've made in recent memory.

I'm lucky in that my work schedule is flexible, so I get to/from the office in 35-45 minutes. Much better than the 2-hour train/light rail commute would be.

I agree with one of the other posters that the best places to hang out seem to be in and around the Tenderloin, Nob Hill, etc. I do enjoy the Mission as well, but that's a little farther for me, and I prefer to walk places when I can. SoMa is kinda eh, North Beach is a wasteland, Marina... not so much.

3 points by dzlobin 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is something that has bugging me for some time; why is there such a lack of nightlife in Palo Alto? Does anyone know what the latest allowed time for a bar to be open?

Anyone interested in opening a hacker friendly bar that's open late and has coffee/wifi during the day?

Edit: I'm actually quite serious. I have restaurant experience and it sure as shit seems like its in need. Anyone at all interested should drop me a line!

5 points by jacoblyles 2 days ago 0 replies      
Go to tech parties where you stand around and drink with the same people you code with during the week.
3 points by juiceandjuice 2 days ago 1 reply      
I just moved here in October and I don't really know anyone. The more I'm here the more I wish I lived in SF. The ridiculous thing is that it takes me 25 minutes to get to work from where I live (the Willows in Menlo Park) to SLAC because the intracity traffic is so SLOW.

Basically though, I think the bar scene here blows. It's cool that a lot of the food places are open late on University though.

That being said, while I think long commutes generally suck the life out of people, I'm seriously thinking about moving to Noe Valley or the Mission and commuting on the 280.

Anyways, I'm up for doing stuff if anybody here wants to. I still don't really know anyone in this area.

1 point by timcederman 2 days ago 0 replies      
On weekends on the peninsula there is still plenty to do. Catch up with folks at their houses, go to bars/restaurants like Town and The Refuge. Go to Rooster T Feathers in Mountain View for a comedy show. Pampas in downtown Palo Alto has a great Friday night happy hour.

Other times I'll drive up to the city. When I lived in Mountain View I used to occasionally get a hotel room in the financial district - $70 on Priceline for a 4* hotel. Now I'm in San Carlos it's only a 20 minute drive to SOMA which is great, or otherwise 40 min by train.

2 points by jarin 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm glad you posted this, as I'm considering working at a startup in Palo Alto. If I end up moving up there, I can say with near-certainty that at least one geek in Palo Alto will be out drinking beers on weekend nights!
3 points by citizenkeys 2 days ago 1 reply      
palo alto doesnt even have a good movie theater. you gotta drive to mountain view.

mountain view has the movie theater, which is basically next to google. mountain view also castro street, with the red rock cafe, lots of good little restaurants, and some night life.

2 points by hunterjrj 2 days ago 2 replies      
Reading these posts it seems to me that there is a huge opportunity for an entertainment-oriented entrepreneur in Palo Alto.

For Heavens sake, someone open up a bar for these guys and don't charge a cover for women!

3 points by daniel_levine 2 days ago 1 reply      
Go to the city. Go out in Palo Alto. Work. Play board games with friends.
2 points by billmcneale 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you're single, you have flexible hours at your work and you want to meet girls, move to San Francisco. Period.

Once you get married and have kid, move to the Peninsula and wonder how anyone could ever enjoy living in the City.

All the single girls are either in SF or work for Google, so you know what to do.

1 point by citizenkeys 1 day ago 0 replies      
I got another good tip:

Paul Graham's essay on "Where to See Silicon Valley" is a valuable primer for anyone not familiar with the area. A must-read for anyone that wants to "get" the area:

The two tips I personally found the most useful:

* Red Rock is a great place to meet other people working on start-ups.

* Taking the 280 between Silicon Valley and San Francisco is infinitely more scenic than taking the 101. Plus, you can avoid the 101's frequent airport traffic.

1 point by neworbit 2 days ago 0 replies      
Work out. Network if there's the right events. Fairly regularly play games of one sort or another (poker night, RPGs, and lately a reasonable amount of Starcraft 2). Watch really dumb movies and have a couple drinks. I like to take a day off a week and just do creative things; lately that's been composing, remixing, and nanowrimo sorts of nonsense.
2 points by epo 1 day ago 0 replies      
What do most geeks do? Most probably don't socialize at all.
1 point by wicknicks 2 days ago 1 reply      
Three are more restaurants in Palo Alto/Mountain View than you can imagine. I had a very good time trying different ones out (sometimes with people from work).
1 point by tstyle 1 day ago 0 replies      
I lived and worked on University ave for 2.5 years. Every so often we'd walk over to Nolas or Old pro, realize that it's still crowded and crappy, and go back to the office and code.
2 points by nicelios 2 days ago 0 replies      
I see geeks at Rudy's Pub in downtown Palo Alto every time I'm there.
1 point by harlowja 1 day ago 0 replies      
Join a club, go indoor rock climbing (see planet granite), do running, biking, find something you are interested in @ meetup.com and go to there events.
3 points by internet_meme 2 days ago 0 replies      
Antonio's Nut House on Cal Ave with friends.
Ask HN: Startup accounting for SaaS model?
4 points by wensing 8 hours ago   4 comments top 2
2 points by jeffepp 8 hours ago 2 replies      
Accounting software is typically similar to Quickbooks for tax purposes.

You can check out http://lessaccounting.com - they make accounting suck less.

If you are looking for a financial dashboard or forecasting, here are a couple interesting apps: http://indinero.com &

1 point by tylerrooney 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I haven't used Xero (xero.com) for a SaaS business but their accounting webapp is quite solid and customer support has always been incredibly helpful.

They also have an API if you're looking to possibly programmatically add transactions: http://blog.xero.com/developer/api

Ask HN: How do I crawl out of the "Senior Engineer" hole?
86 points by throwaway_boy 1 day ago   53 comments top 28
29 points by webwright 1 day ago 1 reply      
You don't want to be a manager, but you want to move up from Senior Developer? Directors and CTOs generally are (largely) managers. A big part of their job is sales (selling product vision to the engineering team, selling engineering realities to executives, selling jobs to prospective hires, etc). Do you want that role?

The organizational pyramid is just that. Not every senior dev moves up (or should move up if happiness is a priority). You shouldn't look to your peers to tell you what's next for your career. How do you want to spend your time at work compared to how you're spending it now? Do you want harder technical problems? More product design work? Something else? You've already expressed that you don't want to manage folks, which closes off a lot of paths.

22 points by toast76 1 day ago 1 reply      
It's like reading an Ask HN from me. You sound like me about 3.5 years ago.

I was in the same situation, dev lead for 10 years. Bored. But I hated shuffling papers more than I hated being a drone...even if I was a senior drone.

What you need to do is start your own Startup.

What you're lacking in experience is only a problem if you need to actually manage people. You must likely have plenty of experience actually running a project... why not run your own project. Do consultancy on the side (even to your existing employer), but get out and do your own thing.

In time, you'll hire your first employee, then your second etc. There is far more career progression when you're growing a pyramid beneath you.

11 points by apike 1 day ago 1 reply      
In an organization that doesn't have a defined career path for engineers (which is to say, most organizations), you need to take responsibility for yourself if you want it. If you're on a team of engineers and nobody is leading, then step up.

Help newer engineers learn skills, help interview people, help run meetings, and instigate new projects. Cook up a new product or feature, and champion it. If it goes well, you'll be the de-facto tech lead.

Of course, you might just be at a very flat organization where nobody reports to an engineer. In many companies there is no formal idea of a tech lead - you report to somebody who used to be an engineer, but is now a manager.

4 points by abyssknight 1 day ago 0 replies      
Where I work there is a career path for technical people, but it tops out at the "Senior Staff" level. Now, as far as the role goes, you can be an individual contributor up to a point before becoming a "manager". You can lead a team from a technical standpoint without being a "manager". Those are what we call Technical Leads, Software Architects, and Chief Engineers.

My suggestion would be to ask (or even take) on a leadership role. Fake it til you make it, and put the results in your annual performance review. Write it up really well, and make sure you show results and not just state what you did. Show that your leadership adds value.

You do not need a formal leadership role to do this.

Mentoring is a quick way to put a notch in your leadership role, especially in your position and level of expertise. Share best practices with some junior engineers, and help them learn, grow.

You can also take on tasks outside of the office to build a proof of concept or the like that saves the company money or adds value. I have a mentor who became a senior manager after developing what became our enterprise email infrastructure during off hours with a small team of colleagues. He's now a CIO of a large part sector of the company.

A third idea, and we love this one where I work, is community leadership. Whether its helping out at a local non-profit, or spearheading a one time event for a holiday food bank, these are great opportunities to demonstrate leadership. (They're also a good idea in general, and great karma!)

That said, I am right there with you. I spent 4 years working in software development outside my current company, another 2 years at the company, and just now entered a leadership development program. There is a tremendous amount of soft skill development involved in the program I am in, and it really does help (even if it frustrates me at times).

7 points by mikeryan 1 day ago 2 replies      
So there's a slight cognitive dissonance here. Outside of an architect role - the only real way up is taking on more management tasks.

A lot of larger companies are seeing this as an issue so they are adding gradients to what a SSE is (SSE 1, SSE 2 etc) but really the answer is you're going to have to move up via a team leadership role and this means more management and less engineering.

8 points by variety 1 day ago 1 reply      
I see peers (coworkers who eventually moved on to other places) who make these strange leaps from Sr. Engineer to Director or CTO and I don't understand how they did it.

Really, the only thing you're lacking -- and I do not say this lightly, or mean this disparagingly -- is chutzpah.

The simple (and sad fact) is, that for the vast majority of these CTO/COO/CEO types, whether they happen to possess great talent, or not -- what happened to catapult them through the glass ceiling into that "leadership" role was one of two things: (1) they were already working in an organization for some time and there was suddenly a vacuum, a great need for someone to "pick up the reins", and the were seen as "the only one in the room"; or (2) they were simply very brash, and repeatedly but persistently insinuated themselves into the "technologist, visionary, co-founder, (what have you)" role and eventually (perhaps with the help of a thick skin and/or immunity from the crushing weight of self-doubt that afflicts most normal, healthy people I know) it finally stuck -- someone finally believed them, and they got that brass ring -- that CTO job in their 20s, million-dollar funding for their company, speaking gigs at TED, whatever.

What I vastly prefer working with managers/principals in the first category, I find the latter path to "greatness" is far more common. I don't mean to belittle these kinds of characteristics, or to say charisma and the ability to sell one's self isn't important, or anything like that. But it does seem is that part of what keeps (very good) engineers in that "worker thread" category, it seems, has (very sadly) a lot to do with what made them good engineers in the first place -- the ability to stay humble, stay focused on just being really excellent at what they do, not for the vanity (or the outsize paycheck) but simply for the sake of excellence itself -- and above all, not taking themselves too seriously.

2 points by ekidd 1 day ago 2 replies      
The game industry uses the title "Lead Programmer", which I like. A lead programmer supervises "Senior Programmers."

This role combines architecture, project management, and some light management responsibilities for the team. You're still writing code, but you have overall responsibility for the technical parts of the project. It sounds like you've held this position at least once, and succeeded.

Beyond this point, you'll either need to move to organization with a full-fledged technical career ladder (and try for a title like "Distinguished Engineer" or "IBM Fellow"), or pick up more management skills and go for "CTO" or "VP of Engineering."

I'm learning management skills, and enjoying it: There are lots of problems which can only be solved by changing an organization as a whole, and not just by writing code. Even if that code is very sweet.

4 points by Musashi 1 day ago 1 reply      
1. Most HR departments use "Senior Software Engineer" as a catch-all title for techies. Irrespective of the title that work gives you; you should name yourself as an Architect or Technical Lead or Consultant, or all of the above for the various roles that you've done (any other role that you can back up with from your experience and skills). So long as you've been doing that work there is no harm in that. Your skills and experience should back you up in the title, whether or not the actual title of the role was such.
If you retain the title of Software Engineer, then that is all that recruiters will view you as.

2. Remember; YOU OWN YOUR CV/RESUME! You can write whatever you like and think will sell you best. Don't say you're a Chess-Grand-Master if you aren't but write that which sells you and your skills and shows them in the best light. You don't need to write everything; focus on your strengths and those areas that show your team leadership and advanced skills. Structure it appropriately and you'll be able to include all your skills (so you appear in search results) and target your strengths.

3. Look for some certifications in an area that interests you that if you tag to your resume/CV will give you the leg up you need. PRINCE 2/PMP/ITIL if you're looking for management leanings; MS/SUN/Oracle architect/DBA certs if you want to keep a foot in dev.

4. Get an MBA or MSc in a specialisation.

5. Find a niche - personally, I'm in Security, but there are plenty of others out there.

6. If your present company won't give you the opportunities, leave and find a place that will. If your skills and experience isn't recognised, then there's no point playing the sucker for them.

7. Double check yourself; the problem may be with you. Work on your soft skills: Make sure people like you (don't become a kiss ass, but just try to get on with people - especially managers); Work on your communication skills (Email, powerpoint, speaking, presenting, mentoring, documenting, making a proposal).

If you don't want to be a slave to a manager/HR hiring you, then you can always go the start-up route. I have little to no experience here, so I'll just leave that hanging as an option. :-)

17 points by gauthr 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you want to get leadership experience, you will need to take on a role that requires it. To get that role, you will have to ask for it. The minimum requirement for leadership is the ability to get things that you want.
3 points by joshhart 1 day ago 0 replies      
Some companies have technical positions beyond Senior Engineer.

LinkedIn goes up the technical chain like so:
1. Software Engineer
2. Senior Software Engineer
3. Principal Software Engineer
4. Software Architect

All of our architects still code, I believe. Some quite a bit. There are also Engineering Managers, Directors, and Senior Directors, but this is going the management route. Most engineering managers here code a bit, and a few directors still code (or at least script useful queries for helping diagnose issues when working cross team)

I think it all relies on stepping up to the plate, either technically or managerially.

3 points by jonathanlambert 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't know what to say " we're super aggressive in my company about promoting talent to technical leadership roles. I run a small (22 person) product/professional services company.

I think it might be the companies you're working for. If you're talented, and you've talked to your boss about it, she/he should respond in the shorter term with an opp. to accomplish your career goals. Or you need to leave the company and get a technical leadership job.

You might just be too tolerant to the paycheck.

I think that's why so many posters are suggesting you start your own startup. Get aggressive (politely) about what you want. Once you know what you want, the world either responds or whatever limits that circumstance goes away (if you're really clear).

My 2c. Startup or be clear with your boss or company switch.

< blatent advertising >
BTW, we're hiring tech leads. :) If you do Drupal or Mobile, email me. :) And no, this does not affect my advice... I'm just saying...
< / blatent >

3 points by zachster 1 day ago 1 reply      
I've always thought there should be no cap on either salary, or glamour for advancing developers. We've all seen how a single person can drive the productivity of an entire organization. The career path promoting great developers into managers (and eventually CTOs) tends to take people out of something they're great at and put them into something they might not be so good at.

On the flip side, the best technical managers I've worked with were not very technical at all.

I did take the route of advancing into a CTO position. There were parts of it I really enjoyed, and parts of it I dreaded. Those overlapped predictably with the parts I was bad at...

I would do it again, for the right project. But with a much clearer understanding of which responsibilities I will take for myself, and what I which I will delegate.

My advice to you would be to focus on the parts of your job you love, and make sure you're getting the credit and rewards you deserve. If that means you're a Senior Developer for the next ten years, it should also mean you're getting profit sharing, an office (if you want one) and a recognized position as a driver of the company's future.

3 points by bigbang 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Sorry to digress, but does an MBA in any way make the senior engineer to a management role go faster, in a software company?
2 points by Aegean 1 day ago 0 replies      
You need to show your management that you can handle architecting a design from scratch or take a leadership role. Nobody will ever see your potential and offer you the role. You have to take the initiative and express your attitude on this. If they don't listen then you can switch your job to one where you have more control (i.e. a startup) or start a startup yourself.
3 points by dalore 1 day ago 0 replies      
Sounds like you should do your own startup. Then you can be whatever title you want.
1 point by locopati 1 day ago 0 replies      
Even in a team where there is no architect or tech lead, there's room for leadership. What parts of the process don't flow smoothly? How well is information shared within the team and to other groups that you work with? Who makes decisions about the planning and organization of dev projects? Who brings new hires up-to-speed and mentors them? There are lots of places where you can take on more than just dev work and you never know where that can lead.

Mind you, I don't see anything wrong with being a Senior Dev if that's what you're happy doing. In general, I think there's value in an experienced developer who enjoys their work, can articulate technical concerns to the non-technical, mentor new tech hires, and carry some institutional memory.

2 points by lubujackson 23 hours ago 0 replies      
First of all, forget titles. There's really a mush of random titles near the top now, and they can mean COMPLETELY different things depending on the company. Think about your job on a personal level. What skills do you want to refine? What skills do you want to learn? What skill do you want to flex every day?

I don't think that minimal experience managing will completely ground you, but if you want to be a CTO, start to think like one and learn the things that CTOs have to know. You can always start at a young company and grow into a role if you pursue it. Good, young companies like to hire hungry people who want to grow into their roles. You might also get advice from some good headhunters, who see people in your position all the time.

1 point by rms 21 hours ago 0 replies      
If anyone is looking for a product job, I just came across one of those rare awesome product jobs.

Mention that you saw the job listing via my comment on Hacker News and I'll split the "unusually large" referral reward with you or give the whole thing to your favorite charity.


1 point by dspeyer 21 hours ago 0 replies      
My first thought is that this is the sort of problem managers are supposed to help with. If yours is a good one, raise the issue with him. Failing that, my thoughts:

It sounds like the position you want doesn't exist at your company. The next steps:

1) Figure out exactly what you want to do. Write specs? Write the most difficult code? Mentor other engineers?

2) Look carefully to see if the position exists after all, with some non-obvious name.

3) If not, figure out what employer or class of employer would have such a position.

4) Apply.

2 points by trizk 1 day ago 0 replies      
As a very senior (and hopefully talented) software engineer, you should be getting a fairly decent paycheck. Here two workable options, bound to get you the result you want, with a degree of risk: 1) Save money while working on "side-projects" at home. If and when one of them take off you should be able to fund through early growth 2) Join a very small, interesting start-up and take a relative pay cut for equity. If the start-up grows you will naturally assume a technical leadership role such as Director or CTO.
2 points by crenelle 1 day ago 0 replies      
Folks who go beyond Sr. Engineer are very much into putting their ducks in a row -- with extreme prejudice. They become CTO, Consultant, Senior Member of the Technical Staff, Fellow, Startup Partner. That person initiates projects, begins the R&D, writes the proposal, estimates the budget, create slides and do presentations, evangelizes the ideas. You sometimes orchestrate prototype development if you don't get to put one together yourself. If necessary you take the idea and build a company around it.
2 points by maxawaytoolong 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's easy to become a CTO at a small enough startup.
1 point by shorttime 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Do you want to stay at the same company? There's always the option of moving on to something new with more opportunities. Being able to do that opens a lot of doors and one can climb the ladder quicker rather than waiting for someone to retire/leave. The reason I say this is because many companies only promote people based upon the company's need and not the individual worker's merit.
1 point by stevewilhelm 22 hours ago 0 replies      
May I suggest that you talk to some of the peers that you mentioned that have moved on to other positions. Ask them how the "strange leaps" came to pass.

You could also ask these peers how their current positions differ from that of a Senior Engineer. What is better, what is worse, what did they find surprising, etc.

Finally, ask the ones you really trust for an honest assessment of your strengths and weaknesses.

In my experience, many Senior Engineers have a hard time moving up to larger (in scope) problems or projects because it requires relinquishing ownership and control of subsystems (silos to use your term) to other engineers, other teams, and other companies. To do this well requires political skills many Senior Engineers lack.

1 point by greyman 1 day ago 0 replies      
Where I work, if one doesn't want to be a manager, he can go up by being Architect and then Senior architect. Those roles doesn't require leadership experience...simply, the best engineers who doesn't want to manage people will become architects.
2 points by clark 1 day ago 1 reply      
The alternative track is 'research scientist'. That's the title where you get to play on the company's dime. Unfortunately, it usually requires a PhD and have a strong publication history.
2 points by paolomaffei 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm sorry but don't you a have a Project Manager position in your company for overseeing whole projects?
1 point by CyberFonic 1 day ago 0 replies      
You must be a very capable senior engineer. Management will not promote someone who does good work, reliably.

You might have to gain some leadership experience in an alternative way. Something outside of your work like sports, charities, politics, arts - something that interests you.

Ask HN: I wrote this, what now?
12 points by nl 1 day ago   9 comments top 4
1 point by ig1 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I had actually planned a startup building something similar (+ip geolocation to pick appropriate affiliate links), however I ended up moving onto another idea because I couldn't make the numbers work out.

To make the same amount of money as from CPC ads, you have to get a much higher click-through rate than CPC ads conventionally get. I wasn't convinced I could build contextual ad technology that would result in the higher CTR to make it worthwhile. Congrats if you've managing to pull that off, I'd be interested to hear what the equivalent CPC/CPM would be of your ads.

My own business plan was to target sites which can't use Google Adwords, primarily sites which require logins to access content (dating sites, small social networks) or do dynamic page generation.

Another good market might be blogs which don't monetize very well at the moment if your tech works well in that context. I believe jgc posted a while back saying despite his high traffic on his blog he couldn't see traditional adwords bringing in much.

My plan to monetize initially was to take a percentage cut, use your affiliate code 20% of the time and the websites affiliate code the other 80% of the time. That way you avoid having to handle the payments yourself but get income very early on.

1 point by notahacker 14 hours ago 1 reply      
If you're marketing to webmasters, maybe a Skimlinks style model where you manage all the affiliate programs etc on behalf of the end user and pay them a cut of the revenues generated from their site?
1 point by gregpilling 22 hours ago 1 reply      
How about an openx style business model? or try to get some feedback from the affiliate marketers at WebmasterWorld.com and see what they think.
Tell HN: Make sure you can be contacted as described on your user page
18 points by tshtf 1 day ago   17 comments top 4
10 points by seiji 1 day ago 1 reply      
Also, once again: the email field is not public. Write contact information in the profile field.
10 points by bigmac 1 day ago 4 replies      
Or, some enterprising Arc programmer could add inboxes to HN and submit the patch to pg. I'm quite fond of using that feature on reddit. Although it is used somewhat rarely, it comes in handy when I do need it.
3 points by jacquesm 1 day ago 1 reply      
What makes you think it didn't work ?

If someone does not reply that does not mean your communication was not received. No answer is also an answer...

Your own profile lists an email address but no name, last name, information about you nor any other info.

Maybe give the good example and flesh out your profile a bit ?

0 points by tjpick 1 day ago 1 reply      
There's plenty of good reasons not to make it easy for random internet strangers to contact you.

It's hacker news, not stalker news.

Ask HN: Berlin - costs of living, python jobs?
52 points by zalew 1 day ago   59 comments top 10
17 points by maxklein 1 day ago 2 replies      
There are a lot of jobs in tech, but they mostly seem to be small companies trying to pay little. So to get by at 15€ a hour, you'll probably find a lot of offers.

Accommodation is cheap, I pay 400€ for 50sqm, a friend of mine pays 550 for 70sqm with 3 rooms. That's in a central part of town. In general, between 320 - 600 you can find a pretty reasonable place for a person to live alone.

Döner costs €2.50, a chinese meal off a stall costs €3.00, a restaurant meal in some small restaurant 5€ or 6€, in some normal restaurant maybe 9€ to 12€. Beer costs €3 in most clubs and bars, cocktails €4.50 to €8.00.

Transport costs €70 a month for the train? Not so sure about this. Parking is easy on the outskirts, but the very center of town you usually need to pay in a parkhouse.

Lots of english speaking people, and it's very popular for euro-immigrants (france, england, spain, etc), so a very western europe scene, and very easy to get by on english only.

Berlin generally has a bad work climate (I've heard people say), so if I were you, I'd apply for 10-20 jobs from Warsaw, then come over, stay a week in a ferienwohnung, do all the interviews and if you find one you like, move here. Moving without a job could put you under undue pressure. Warsaw is just 4 hours by train, is it not?

I believe there are a lot of young companies in Berlin, so I don't think the Airbus style jobs are really available here.

6 points by maryrosecook 1 day ago 3 replies      
Ableton, the company I work for, are based in Berlin and are looking for Python devs: http://www.ableton.com/jobs It's a really nice place to work, and the pay is OK for Berlin.

Great summary of cost of living and tech scene from maxklein. You can live very cheaply here, if you work at it. Some bars serve a half-litre of beer for 1€, some reasonable apartments can be got for 120€ a month if you can live with coal-fired heating.

The other tech company I know well is SoundCloud. They are great. They are mostly Ruby-based, but they're expanding the technology they use rapidly at the moment, so they might be flexible.

Good luck: Berlin is a fantastic place to live.

5 points by ig1 1 day ago 1 reply      
Berlin is fairly cheap, cheaper than any other major city in western europe at least. Accommodation prices can vary widely, they can go from as little as 200 euros/months for a studio on the outskirts. I was paying 800 euros/month for a large one-bed flat in fairly central east berlin (P-Berg).

Lots of startups, probably some doing Python, not sure who off the top of my head. Most recruitment in Berlin seems to be done via social networks rather than via job boards, so your best bet might be to get involved with the startup community and get some leads from there.

4 points by BvS 1 day ago 3 replies      
Ramen-style about 600€/month (living with a roommate, prepare your own meals -> maybe it could be even lower if don't go out at all, don't buy new clothes, ride a bike instead of public transportation... )

Have your own space, go out sometimes, take cab once in a while... about 1.200€+/month (obviously open end).

Add at least another 130€/month for health insurance.

Unfortunately I don't know about any python gigs but if you are familiar with RoR, let me know... As a freelancer (RoR) you should get something between 300€ - 800€ / day (deepending on your experience).

Update: For Startup-Jbs you might want to check out: http://www.deutsche-startups.de/startups-jobs/stellenangebot... (not only programming and not only Berlin).

Another place would be: http://www.jobisjob.de/berlin/ruby/jobs (Rubyjobs in Berlin)

You might also consider to get an (free) account at www.xing.com (kind of Germanys LinkedIn which is used by many recruiters).

If you would consider/interested in working for a non-profit (including non-profit pay ;-(, please check out www.betterplace.org or www.spenden.de (the later will relaunch soon). They are/will be done with RoR and are sometimes looking for programmers (mostly freelancers). If interested I might be able to help here.

5 points by fbailey 1 day ago 1 reply      
1. cost depends on your location - central is no longer cheap
2. there are a lot of startups but I'm not sure which one is developing in python

try this map to find startups http://www.businesslocationcenter.de/de/B/iii/1/seite11.jsp

there seems to be a django Berlin group http://groups.google.com/group/django-berlin

4 points by shanked 1 day ago 7 replies      
Somewhat related...

As opposed to Berlin specifically, how should an American software engineer get a job in a different country? I'd like to experience different cultures and I'd like to move to another country (after finding a job) but I'm not sure how I should go about doing it.

Initially, I think western Europe is the most ideal place since I do not know any other languages, some place where many people spoke English would be ideal.

If anyone has any tips for how an American (with no foreign contacts, or fluency in other languages) can land a job in a western European country, I'd be very interested in hearing them.

3 points by sambe 1 day ago 1 reply      
I had the option of moving to Berlin or finding something else, and whilst I liked some aspects of Berlin, eventually decided not to move there. Of course, everyone is different but the relevant points to the question are:

1) whilst it is cheap - and rent is included in that statement - it is also big and low density. I felt that I wouldn't want to live away from the central, fashionable areas as the rest of the city feels a bit deserted. Living there probably adds 500EUR/month to your costs.

2) most of the "entrepreneurial" action seems to be in the arts. I didn't see lots of technology and/or international companies e.g. if things don't work out for you.

I have a friend from Berlin running a technoloogy company who loves it there though - and he seems to be able to hire a reasonable amount of talent. And some people don't mind the commute/quiet life as much as me.

2 points by pdelgallego 1 day ago 0 replies      
I lived in Germany for a couple of years, most of the time in Hamburg, but I used to go Berlin quite often.

The cost of living in Berlin is very variable. I love Kreuzberg, you have good and cheap options to dinner for ~10 euros (e.g around Görlitzer Bahnhof you have some good vietnamese and indian resturants). The rent should be around 250 - 350 E a room. In east berlin you can find cheaper pelaces to live in.

I dont know about job post, but just contact the Berlin Python User Group. I am sure they can give you some good advices about it. The mailing list dont look very acttive, but I am sure is still the best place to start (http://starship.python.net/mailman/listinfo/python-berlin)

2 points by Uchikoma 1 day ago 1 reply      
I can only write from my perspective, 110qm are around 950 EUR including heating, but this is a more expensive part of town (not the most expensive though). Fairly cheap compared to other large cities in Germany.

There are many tech jobs, most companies are hiring.

As a developer you might make 35-60k EUR a year, depending on the company and your skills.

Transport is currently 72 EUR a month.

Meals are around 5 EUR for lunch, 10 EUR or above in the evening. Pizza is below 10 EUR. Beer is around 3 EUR.

1 point by yule 1 day ago 0 replies      
Regarding where to look for jobs, I'd suggest stepstone.de, heise.de/jobs and also xing.com (a LinkedIn-like site with more german users - the Python and Django groups also have a dedicated forum for jobs).
Tell HN: Land of Lisp's Barski M.D. speaking about Clojure (11/18 DC area)
42 points by fogus 1 day ago   14 comments top 5
9 points by drcode 1 day ago 0 replies      
What??? You're promising them a live performance of "Land of Lisp"???

I didn't authorize this... Oh well, I guess I'll have take a trip to the basement and dust off my acoustic guitar :-)


13 points by jiaaro 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'd be willing to donate some money to help get this recorded
3 points by drcode 1 day ago 1 reply      
Since folks are asking about a recorded presentation: Tell you what, I will do my best in the next month to do a second presentation with video. If there's video I'd probably want to structure the talk a little differently.

So I think we'll stick without video on this talk, but I promise to do what I can to have a second talk somewhere that includes online video in the next month or so.

-Conrad Barski

13 points by draven 1 day ago 2 replies      
Is there any chance this will be recorded and made available for those of us who are unable to attend for some reason (like living on another continent)?
2 points by sandipagr 1 day ago 0 replies      
added to the calendar! looking forward to the talk
Sign of the times?
14 points by cherenkov 1 day ago   6 comments top 6
11 points by LeBlanc 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you want to change this then you and anyone who agrees should do the following:

    1. find and submit interesting stories to HN

2. visit /newest often and upvote stories that aren't fluff

If you and all the other people who love HN do this, it will substantially improve the community.

1 point by mathgladiator 20 hours ago 0 replies      
> Since when did 100 lines of web application code become innovation?

When it makes executing and polishing the products easier.

> I am not sure if there can be a scale for innovation but a 100 line web 2.0 application is no match for the integrated circuit.

So, |EE| > |CS|?

100 lines of well written code in a functional programming language can do marvelously things. Just look at: http://norvig.com/spell-correct.html and then tell me how connecting AND and OR gates compare intellectually?

> Where is the innovation that focuses on the hard problems?


> code is just code

Or education material so those that come after us skip 10% of our problems.

> Pasting code on blogs and sites is just show-off

Or marketing

> What seems to be also missing is the appreciation for incremental and painstaking detail oriented innovation.

In aggregate, you get to see the results of people's pain staking details in whatever form they market it as. A post may represent a good night of hacking or a year of research to produce one moment of clarity.

1 point by KevinMS 1 day ago 0 replies      
As a developer myself, I can tell you, code is just code. Pasting code on blogs and sites is just show-off; much like the friendly sales guy in a suit who is flashing the latest smartphone at the airport to appropriate the phone's coolness.

As a developer how can you say this? Code isn't just code, its good code or bad code. I cant count how how many good coding solutions to problems I've found on blogs, and how much time it has saved me.

1 point by J3L2404 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think you neglected an important category:

(6) Building Things (physical things)

For me, the two biggest responses when posting stories to HN were both woodworking related projects w/instructions.


1 point by olalonde 1 day ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of this great article by Tim O'Reilly: http://radar.oreilly.com/2009/01/work-on-stuff-that-matters-...
1 point by canadaduane 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've recently been thinking about Steve Blank's characterization of start-up companies as essentially "searching" for a business model to "execute".

I think the reason so many noteworthy things not directly related to entrepreneurship pop up on yc news is that this "search" process uncovers unexpected things along the way. It's a kind of nexus for new thoughts and unusual twists.

Many of us engage in the entrepreneurial search process and at the same time co-opt it for other purposes. There is a lot of value in the overlap.

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