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Tell HN: Save 60% on all O'Reilly E-books
36 points by unignorant 4 hours ago   17 comments top 6
4 points by lt 2 hours ago 3 replies      
Here's the full list:


Any recomendations?

2 points by Tycho 1 hour ago 0 replies      
On the topic of eBooks, why on earth is the iBooks Store so useless? The selection seems to be tiny and the only way to browse is through very broad categories like 'non-fiction.' it's like Apple out it up there just for show and don't seriously care about it.
1 point by cubicle67 2 hours ago 2 replies      
"We're sorry, but your promotional code was invalid."

no joy for me.

Edit: works for ebooks only for me, not for printed versions. I'm outside the US, so that may be a factor?

1 point by cubicle67 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Anyone know if the RESTful Web Services book is any good, or know of a good resource? http://oreilly.com/catalog/9780596801687/
3 points by jrmg 3 hours ago 2 replies      
What's the source of this code? Using an unsourced coupon code is is in the least ethically troubling - how do I know it wasn't intended to be private?

More practically, how do I know I'm /allowed/ to use it, and O'Reilly won't be within their rights to bill me the full amount later when they work out what's going on?

1 point by asdfor 2 hours ago 0 replies      
The coupon is good for there video titles too (according to there homepage).
Building my web startup in Drupal vs. Rails?
4 points by Major_Grooves 6 hours ago   6 comments top 4
2 points by ajessup 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I've written sites in both Rails and Drupal, and so am somewhat qualified to say... it doesn't matter. Have your guy pick what he feels most comfortable with and run with it. Either Drupal or Rails would be a fine choice.

This is especially true if you're in a rapid, early prototyping stage. It's FAR more important that your guy can implement and test your ideas quickly using best practices he (or she) already understands, rather than scratching heads learning an unfamiliar framework.

For what it's worth, from what you've mentioned about your project, if you'd hired me I'd have probably recommended Drupal for this project - IF you know what you're doing, the basics of a Yelp-style review service can be implemented pretty quickly using user-contributed modules in Drupal, and you get a bunch of things (basic user and community management, action level ACLs, RDF, blogs, and regular CMS style functions etc.) for free. You just need to apply a theme and away you go. Drupal is a great fit for your use-case.

The catch is that the learning curve to Drupal is substantial - sitting as it does in a strange gray area between being a CMS and a framework, it's got some strange idioms that take some time to appreciate. If I was new to Drupal, the time saved by having those functions built for me would likely be more than offset offset by the effort I would spend trying to hack/understand Drupals themeing layer, get modules to play nice together etc. Futher Drupal is essentially written in a functional style (few objects at all to be found), which may be a bit of a mindf&*k for someone coming from an OO framework like Rails.

There's also the PHP/Ruby issue - best practices for deploying a Ruby on Rails app (and scaling it) are in many ways quite different from deploying a Drupal/PHP app. Neither is 'better' necessarily, but bear in mind it may also be a whole set of new skills your guy has to master.

Both Drupal and Rails scale very well (assuming you use them right, of course). Whitehouse.gov runs Drupal, and the front-end of Twitter ran on Rails (at least until recently). If you ever hit levels of scale beyond what these sites need... well that's a good problem to have :)

Finally, if you do decide to use (or at least try) Drupal, make sure you check out the Drush and Aegir projects, which will help enormously in deployment.

2 points by zeemonkee 4 hours ago 0 replies      
When building something for a startup the rule of thumb is to use the tools you know best. Your priority is to build something quickly, that you can show to potential customers or investors, not to learn a new tool. For that you can do a weekend or side project.

Aside from whether it's a good idea to use Drupal or not, why is he using something he doesn't know ?

1 point by kingsidharth 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Though it's not a good idea to compare a CMS (Drupal) with Rails(framework) but since your's is a review site - Drupal seems to be a better choice.

Most of the things that you will need for site are in-built. Including - user profiles, custom content types etc.

It will speed up your development time 10x.

Also, you can easily run Drupal on any shared hosting, while a Rail apps is enough to get you banned for server overload.

Drupal is right choice for user-generated content site. If you are building an app, then think of Rails.
I am not a very techie either but I own several content driven sites and some Rails apps, so sharing my 2 cents.

Hope you are not thinking of switching later. Rewriting the whole thing in another language will be waste of time and money.

1 point by MarinaMartin 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Do the tutorial at http://railstutorial.org. It's SO important for the non-technical folks to at least be able to whip up an app on occasion, to be able to hire technical people effectively, to communicate your needs effectively, etc.

Drupal is fine for a prototype, and your partner may want to cut his teeth on it because he just enjoys learning new technologies. What technologies is he familiar with?

Ask HN: Is load balancing essential, and where?
19 points by Skywing 17 hours ago   13 comments top 8
2 points by thwarted 15 hours ago 2 replies      
I've used both LVS (Linux Virtual Server) and haproxy, both on linux.

LVS (managed with the ipvsadm command) runs in kernel mode and mainly just routes packets, and perhaps does DNATing (depending on how you configure it). I've had the most luck with using the NATing option, I think the direct routing are a little bit harder to set up from a network topology standpoint, the NATing option is more, uh, "obvious". The drawback is that your topology has to be setup so that your LVS load balancer is also the default gateway. LVS is protocol agnostic, it's a layer 4 load balancer. In this setup, you'll need to run SSL on your webservers. You'll configure LVS with something like keepalived, which is a userspace program to do healthchecks and manage the kernel interface to LVS. There are others, but I'm only familiar with keepalived.

haproxy is a user-space program. It can be both a plain TCP load balancer but also can do Layer 7 load balancing of HTTP based on header matching and whatever ACLs you want to write. haproxy doesn't support SSL out of the box, you need to use something like stunnel in front of it. Of course, you can configure all SSL traffic and just use TCP load balancing, but then you can't do layer 7 load balancing (because haproxy can't see into the request) which is one of haproxy's strengths. Of course, since it is userspace, your web server will see your load balancer's IP as the source of the request. There is an apache module, rpaf (I think), that honors X-Forwarded-For headers that can be inserted by haproxy. I think something similar exists for nginx and lighttpd. You need a patched version of stunnel to have it insert X-Forwarded-For headers if you want to wrap haproxy in stunnel.

Right now, I'm preferring haproxy because the setup can be much more customized. It's also easier to firewall haproxy, since it's application level. Getting iptables and LVS to work well together is possible but can be confusing if you use NAT mode because of where LVS integrates into the IP stack in relation to where iptables integrates. haproxy has many more options to deal with timeouts and healthchecks than keepalived.

But if you're just finishing up a weekend project, load balancing may be a premature optimization right now. The thing to keep in mind is that you want to make sure your program will work with load balancing so it's easier to transition to it when the time comes. Things like not assuming there is only one node services all requests -- common problem with PHP and the default PHP session handler is that it writes its sessions to the local file system. If future requests come in and go to a different web server, it won't see the session. This often manifests itself as having to continuously login. You'll need some way to share session data between web servers (or store everything in (encrypted) cookies. This problem is in no way limited to PHP, however.

3 points by charlesju 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Here is my tip for you. Sign up for a hosted solution with a well known framework (ie. Rails). They will take care of all the server configuration issues so you can just focus on your application.

Heroku does this for free and scales up with you.

Engine Yard starts at $85.14/mo.

Google App Engine also does this for free and scales up with you.

1 point by frio 16 hours ago 2 replies      
For the webapp load balancing we do (which admittedly isn't very much; we're an ISP and aren't overly concerned with how quickly our homepage loads :p), we just use a DNS round-robin across a bunch of servers. We keep a short TTL so if a server dies, there's at most 5 minutes of downtime.

A better solution would be proxying, but we haven't had the need to step up to that: stick an nginx in front, put n backends behind it, and it'll distribute load across them as it sees fit. Of course, for reliability, you then need to drop a DNS round-robin on a couple of nginxes, so the whole thing repeats itself :).

But yeah, that's just for the frontend. For the backend databases, you'll want to look at replication and doing writes to one and reads from another, etc. We haven't had the need to do that, luckily :).

1 point by aonic 16 hours ago 0 replies      
nginx, and pound are two widely used web load balancers. You should be able to find plenty of blog posts and write-ups with sample configs for setting those two up.

For databases, at least with MySQL, you should setup a master -> slave(s) setup to send reads to slaves and writes to master. If you have many slaves, you can configure your DB classes to randomly select DB servers, or you can setup a TCP load balancer using something like HAProxy to load balance the slaves.

1 point by jmtulloss 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I you're using rails, just start out with heroku. If you're using Django, try djangy. It's way easier to let the pros do that stuff and just worry about how your app works.
1 point by dieselz 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I typically deploy on slicehost, so I setup a 256meg slice [$20/mo] and put nginx [http://wiki.nginx.org/HttpUpstreamModule] on it to split the traffic. This configuration can handle enough traffic that if traffic became an issue, I would be making enough money to move the application to a dedicated environment.
1 point by tomjen3 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Honestly, if you are just starting out I would not worry too much about it. Concentrate on getting a lot of users first, them worry about scale.
1 point by cd34 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Depends on your situation. Dual load balancers serving a virtual IP allows one to fail while still maintaining connectivity. Behind that, you might run a pool of machines doing static files (or use a CDN where they handle much of the redundancy for you) and machines that run your app along with machines that handle your datastore. Design your application's architecture so that you can pull off pieces to enable easier scaling.
Which programming book you just couldn't stop reading from start to end?
165 points by umenline 2 days ago   142 comments top 86
22 points by silentbicycle 2 days ago 4 replies      
_The Little Schemer_, _The Seasoned Schemer_, _The Little MLer_. Those are made to be burned through, though. Probably not one sitting (many ideas need time to sink in), but only a couple sessions each.

More recently, _Land of Lisp_. I already knew much of the material, but a very fun read. (Nice stickers, too!) I'd suggest this as a starting point for people new to Lisp, maybe even before _The Little Schemer_ (!).

I read most of chapters 3, 4, and 5 of SICP in one night and the following morning. (I'm on the second pass, doing most of the exercises, and nearly done with chapter 2. I'm taking a break, though.)

_Thinking Forth_, by Leo Brodie et al.

_The Awk Programming Language_ by Aho, Weinberger, and Kernighan.

_Programming Pearls_ and _More Programming Pearls_ by Jon Bentley.

I couldn't put _CTM_ (http://www.info.ucl.ac.be/~pvr/book.html) down, either. It took a while to get through, though - It's quite large. I tend to read two or three books in tandem and switch between them, but I was on that sucker 100% cover to cover. What a wonderful book!

I'm currently reading _Erlang and OTP in Action_ by Logan, Merritt, and Carlsson. I just got it in the mail yesterday, but quite good so far.

Also: When you're reading hard programming books, do the exercises! You don't have to do them all, though at least half is a good idea. It reinforces what you've read, and shows you what you actually know vs. what you just think you do. I tend to read the book first, then do exercises on the second pass.

18 points by drallison 2 days ago 2 replies      
Programming books are rarely page turners. I cannot think of one book to add to the (currently empty) list here. I find most programming books to be boring and discursive. Far too many fall into a pattern not too far removed from romance novels where, inevitably, the alpha male hero beds the heroine by chapter three. And if software engineering is considered programming, many of those books seem to be anchored in the occult where certain spells produce magical results for arcane reasons.

Personally I dislike tutorials and the pedagogy that comes along with that style. Even when well done they seem wordy presentation of the trivial and obvious.

Serious computer science books (e.g., Knuth's Art of Computer Programming, Hank Warren's Hackers Delight) take careful reading and study; I read them for pleasure, but it is a different pleasure that I get from, say, a Lee Child's Jack Reacher novel.

I think there are good reasons for this situation. The interesting aspects of programming are complex, involve a deep understanding of multiple levels of abstraction, and require considerable background knowledge. This is incompatible with a mindless read.

9 points by danieldk 1 day ago 1 reply      
I have never read a programming book from start to end, since most of them are either dry or not though-provoking. Three PL books that I liked very much are:

- Prolog and Natural-Language Analysis. An enjoyable introduction to Prolog and Natural Language analysis:



- The Reasoned Schemer. I didn't read the other Schemer books, but liked this one very much. Simple and to the point.

- Purely Functional Data Structures, for showing how simple and elegant functional data structures can be.

4 points by kabdib 1 day ago 1 reply      
At first I didn't think I had any, so I did a quick scan of my bookshelves:

_Anatomy of LISP_.

I also did SiCP cover to cover in a few months when it first came out.

_SmallTalk 80: Bits of History, Words of Advice_. Fantastic stuff; reading about making those early 80s processors run ST efficiently is like watching early rocketry.

_The Unix Programming Environment_. This should date me.

_Threaded Interpretive Languages_ (during the FORTH craze of the early 80s). Cured me of FORTH.

Tannenbaum's book on MINIX (bought it the day it came out, had it signed by Tannenbaum at Computer Literacy in San Jose. What a crowd. I miss that store).

That's about it. Of course there are many other computer-related books that I couldn't put down, such as _A Few Good Men from Univac_ and _The Soul of a New Machine_. But these are not about programming.

4 points by Someone 1 day ago 2 replies      
There was a time that I read every programming book front to cover (no Internet, few programming books in public libraries, not enough money to buy zillions of books, and loving reading all contributed to that) but some are more addicting than others. Looking at my bookshelves, I find many that stand out not only because I read them front to cover, but also because of their quality. Examples:

Inside Macintosh (especially the phonebook edition), (terse, but well-written, and describing a revolutionary system), but also some of the later books. For example,mtgs series on QuickDraw GX is tedious in it's repetition, but if you skip that, it nicely describes a very much complete 2D Graphics system.

How to solve it.

The art of computer programming (volumes 1, 2, and 3). What helped here is that my public library had them, but they are nice to read, if you have the mathematical background (it definitely helps to read this in parallel with a study in number theory, combinatorics, etc)

Anatomy of Lisp.

The art of the meta-object protocol.

Out of the inner circle.

The Soul of a new Machine.

Unix Internals, the new frontiers.

Effective C++.


More recently, I found the C# specification a page turner. Easy to read, and almost every section made me think about why they chose to do things different from Java the way they did (examples: complicate the grammar by including structs, having signed and unsigned ints).

11 points by adolgert 1 day ago 1 reply      
K&R's _C Programming Language_, because my father saw me start to write Schrodinger's equation in BASIC and said I should take a look.

Stroustrup's _The C++ Programming Language_, twice in a row, because I didn't want to be left out for not having taken Computer Science.

Butelhof's _Programming with Posix Threads_, because another book referenced its explanation of why Win32 threading had a bug because it could not, at the time, signal and wait on a mutex in an atomic way. There was something deep to find in those rowboats and bucket stories.

GoF's _Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software_, because when I complained to a mentor that I was struggling to organize a dozen scientist programmers, he handed it to me, laughing.

John Robbins, _Debugging Applications_, first edition, because it was the first time for me that code didn't have the disclaimer, "of course you should insert error-handling code here." Basic x86 assembly in one chapter!

8 points by rudenoise 2 days ago 0 replies      
Earlier in my development as a programmer, skimming books and hacking was standard. But, as programming became ingrained, reading on the topic became more and more enjoyable. Appreciating the intellectual approach, holding the ideas in my brain without needing a computer to figure out the concepts upped my appreciation of good writing rather than tutorials.

Books that I've really read and enjoyed:

JavaScript the Good Parts

Coders at Work

Programming Erlang: Software for a Concurrent World

On Lisp

The common theme: the authors reflect on the wyhs not just the hows. Programmer personality matters.

6 points by tokenadult 1 day ago 0 replies      
Does The Mythical Man Month by Brooks


qualify as a programming book for this thread (maybe not)? It has no information on how to write "Hello, World" in any language, and little how-to information about coding, but a lot of information about effective programming, and it is a very interesting, readable book.

3 points by binomial 1 day ago 1 reply      
Reposting a dead post which should not have been dead, from abecedarius:

    These had high I-want-to-read-itosity, I thought:
Abelson and diSessa, Turtle Geometry
Abelson and Sussman, Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs
Aho and Weinberger and Kernighan, The AWK Programming Language
Andrew Appel, Compiling With Continuations
Jon Bentley, More Programming Pearls
Jon Bentley, Programming Pearls
Leo Brodie, Thinking FORTH
W. H. Burge, Recursive Programming Techniques
Carriero and Gelernter, How to Write Parallel Programs
A. K. Dewdney, The New Turing Omnibus
Edsger Dijkstra, A Discipline of Programming
Richard Feynman, The Feynman Lectures on Computation
Friedman and Felleisen, The Little Schemer
Friedman and Wand and Haynes, Essentials of Programming Languages [1st edition]
James F. Gimpel, Algorithms in Snobol4
Paul Graham, On Lisp
Philip Greenspun, Philip and Alex's Guide to Web Publishing
Grune and Jacobs, Parsing Techniques: A Practical Guide
Daniel Hillis, The Connection Machine
Kernighan and Pike, The Practice of Programming
Kernighan and Pike, The Unix Programming Environment
Kernighan and Plauger, Software Tools in Pascal
Donald Knuth, Literate Programming
Glenn Krasner (editor), Smalltalk-80: Bits of History, Words of Advice
Susan Lammers, Programmers at Work
Wm Leler, Constraint Programming Languages
Liskov and Guttag, Abstraction and Specification in Program Development
Peter Norvig, Paradigms of Artificial Intelligence Programming
Chris Okasaki, Purely Functional Data Structures
Richard O'Keefe, The Craft of Prolog
P. J. Plauger, Programming on Purpose I. (and II and III)
P. J. Plauger, The Standard C Library
Jef Raskin, The Humane Interface
Stuart Russell and Peter Norvig, Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach
Toby Segaran, Programming Collective Intelligence
Toffoli and Margolus, Cellular Automata Machines
Niklaus Wirth, Project Oberon: The Design of an Operating System and Compiler
Witten, Moffat, & Bell, Managing Gigabytes
(mostly from my old list at http://wry.me/~darius/personal/books.html)

19 points by eliben 1 day ago 3 replies      
"Coders at Work" is very well written and flows like a good novel. You must be a real hardcore hacker to enjoy it, though :)

[Edit: I've actually posted a short review of it after I finished reading it - http://eli.thegreenplace.net/2010/01/09/book-review-coders-a...]

5 points by patrickk 1 day ago 1 reply      
Most influential programming book - question answered on stackoverflow with some great answers:


Not directly related, but here's a huge list of freely available programming books:


5 points by irons 1 day ago 1 reply      
Early in college I read the first edition of Jeffrey Friedl's "Mastering Regular Expressions" over the course of a long car trip. Still one of the most literate, humane tech books I've ever come across. Pity that the world hasn't yet heeded his call to bury the word "regexp".
5 points by diego 1 day ago 0 replies      
Kernighan and Ritchie's C Programming Language, Second Edition (when it came out in the late 80s).

Expert C Programming, Peter van der Linden (a decade later).

Effective Java by Joshua Bloch.

4 points by ericb 2 days ago 0 replies      
I have seen a couple "cookbooks" that pulled me through pretty quickly. I like to see things that are neat, or tough to do layed out and in the process, find new toys to play with. It feels like reading a good magazine.
9 points by olalonde 1 day ago 3 replies      
Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach by Stuart Russell and Peter Norvig. Not really a programming book though.
7 points by ams1 2 days ago 0 replies      
12 points by pluies 2 days ago 2 replies      
Why's (Poignant) Guide to Ruby.

You may already have heard of it, as it's a classic in the Ruby community. It feels more like a work of art than a mere programming book, but you'll learn an awful lot while reading it. :)

3 points by MaysonL 1 day ago 0 replies      
Project Oberon by Niklaus Wirth & Jorg Gutknecht:

From the preface:
"This book presents the results of Project Oberon, namely an entire software environment for a modern workstation. The project was undertaken by the authors in the years 1986-89, and its primary goal was to design and implement an entire system from scratch, and to structure it in such a way that it can be described, explained, and understood as a whole. In order to become confronted with all aspects, problems, design decisions and details, the authors not only conceived but also programmed the entire system described in this book, and more."

3 points by charlesju 1 day ago 1 reply      
The best books I have read are ones that walk through a project from start to finish. I usually read through the entire book first without any programming. I take notes on the side and highlight key concepts. Then I walk through again and program the entire project. I haven't needed to learn a new programming language or framework in a while, but this method has proved to be fairly effective.

Simply Rails 2 was the last book I read like this 2 years ago. We are now one of Engine Yard's case studies.

4 points by rick_2047 2 days ago 0 replies      
This may not be a programming book but I could not put "The Elements of Computing Systems" down for the first 5 chapters. They are just brilliant, it wasn't a tutorial type of book. The authors don't give you anything actually. Just a bunch of specs and some background knowledge. But when I got down to it, that was all that mattered when presented in a structured way (and of course some reading and questions on the forum).
5 points by clutchski 1 day ago 0 replies      
6 points by joshes 1 day ago 0 replies      
I know it's not a programming book but I do feel that it is a definitive, landmark computer science book:

Godel, Escher, Bach by Douglas R. Hofstadter

Just a wonderful narrative of so many related topics across computer science, mathematics, cognitive science, biology, physics, etc. etc. And the author does get into some programming techniques and data structures (recursion, stacks, functional programming).

11 points by slevcom 1 day ago 1 reply      
Programming Perl

Larry Wall is a mad genius, I don't care if anyone says otherwise. Plus its frequently laugh out loud funny.

7 points by mronge 1 day ago 0 replies      
1) Code Complete

2) The Pragmatic Programmer

5 points by yellow 2 days ago 0 replies      
When I first decided to learn my first programming language, I bought a Wrox PHP for Beginners books and literally read every word (and practiced every example) over a weekend.

I learned two things from doing this: 1) PHP is a great language for beginners and 2) The details you read in a book like that won't stick with you forever, and you'll have to use the book as a reference anyways...

1 point by seymores 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Martin Fowler's Refactoring. Changed my life.
5 points by macdonald 1 day ago 1 reply      
Programming Pearls - http://www.cs.bell-labs.com/cm/cs/pearls/

A book that really makes you think about algorithms and the kind of clever tricks that are sometimes needed to make things work fast.

2 points by fleaflicker 1 day ago 0 replies      
4 points by codesink 1 day ago 0 replies      
I loved Stevens' books:

TCP/IP illustrated
Unix network programming
Advanced Programming in the unix environment

5 points by stretchwithme 1 day ago 0 replies      
Anything by Bruce Eckel. Very clear and coherent.
2 points by Rickasaurus 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm really enjoying O'Reilly's Beautiful * series. Instead being one of of your run of the mill how-to books they contain stories about some really cool projects.

One of my favorites in Beautiful Data was about the architecture of the Mars lander. Enthralling stuff.

3 points by rafaeldff 1 day ago 0 replies      
I agree with many of the mentions (Little Schemer is almost omnipresent), but would like to add a newer book: Growing Object Oriented Software Guided by Tests. The title may mislead one to think the book is a dry repetition of the same-old "OO principles", but it isn' so. The meat of the book is a step-by-step description of the development (through TDD) of a largish application; and somehow they managed to make the whole thing interesting. I wish more books would take on a large development endeavor in a narrative way.

edit: grammar

5 points by kodeninja 2 days ago 0 replies      
Effective Java was, for me, one of the programming books that was simply unputdownable! I've always been a fan of Joshua Bloch's work and this book is a real gem for any practicing Java pro!
2 points by PostOnce 1 day ago 1 reply      
Think Python. http://greenteapress.com/thinkpython/thinkpython.html

Can't overstate its usefulness to me. Programming was hard, Think Python made it easy.

1 point by wtracy 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm surprised that nobody has posted Learn You a Haskell for Great Good:

It's inspired by _why's Poignant Guide to Ruby.

2 points by zaidf 2 days ago 0 replies      
This had more to do with me just having gotten hooked to programming than the book. Still, the book VB 6 Step by Step totally rocked and contributed to me pulling all nighters programming random stuff in middle school.
1 point by brianto2010 1 day ago 0 replies      
Programming books are usually a chore for me to read through. I usually lose focus within 10 or so minutes. That said, there are a few exceptions:

  * _Why's Poignant Guide to Ruby[1]
* The Tao of Programming[2]

[1]: http://mislav.uniqpath.com/poignant-guide/book/

[2]: http://www.canonical.org/~kragen/tao-of-programming.html

Why's guide has enough non-text/geeky humor to keep me reading. And, it's mostly pictures! You're learning, but it doesn't 'feel' like you're learning.

The Tao of Programming flows differently than other books, which blast you with information. Instead of telling you stuff directly, it is anecdotal. Rather than didactic, it's like a parable.

2 points by stevefink 1 day ago 0 replies      
For Mac/iOS types, anything by Aaron Hillegass is an entertaining/insightful page turner.
2 points by stuaxo 1 day ago 1 reply      
Michael Abrashes Graphics Programming Black book is one of the only ones I've read the whole thing (maybe not in order though).

EDIT: The anecdotes in the book were entertaining, and the content interesting.

2 points by csl 1 day ago 0 replies      
Two programming books that I actually did read cover to cover was:

- Skiena's Algorithm Design Manual. Lively presentation of standard algorithms, with some very fun war stories thrown in. I found it a lighter read than CLRS and TAOCP (those are books you study).

- Segaran's Programming collective intelligence. Quick paced introduction to data mining in Python. The code in the book is very informal but easy to understand.

I read The Little Schemer in three or four sit-downs. (I think the author advises not to read it in one sitting.)

3 points by Keyframe 1 day ago 0 replies      
Sinclair ZX Spectrum BASIC Programming - the orange book with city in the skies.
1 point by yaongi 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think a lot of this depends on context. Programming books tend to require a certain amount of concentration, especially if covering topics novel to the reader, and if they have a decent information density. That's ok, I'd rather read something that takes some thought over a few days, than wade through a pile of verbose crap with little true information but finish it in an evening.

However, looking back over some books I've read for ones that I read cover to cover without much of a break, one was programming in scala - I thought it was well written, but it was also an easy read as I was familiar with much of the material, and it was very relevant to what I was doing at the time. There are books that I've really enjoyed where at least some of the content was truly new to me, like "essentials of programming languages", and "concepts, techniques and models of computer programming" - I can't honestly say I read the latter without taking a break every now and again though. But both of these books are very enjoyable and present the material in really nice ways. I wish I'd had these as an undergraduate.

I did read the pragmatic programmer a long time ago, pretty much cover to cover. Trying to reread it now, it (and the other books I've attempted to read of theirs) seem like the pop psychology of programming books. I enjoyed it at the time, and felt it was worthwhile. Probably a better book for programmers starting out. When I attempted to read it again I found it patronising and self indulgent.

1 point by Tycho 1 day ago 0 replies      
Code Complete by Steve McConnell, and VBA Excel for Dummies. I think the latter was a very well written book, and VBA programming is underrated because for many people it's a good place to start in terms of practical application and it also has the benefit of being an interpreted/scripting language, so you can get instant feedback like in Python. Beats typing main string(args[]) or whatever the hell it is before you even know anything
2 points by ludicast 1 day ago 2 replies      
I tend to get too distracted to give many books the cover-to-cover treatment. Some great ones that made the cut were:

1) Metaprogramming Ruby.

2) The Art of Rails.

3) Ruby Design Patterns

4) Services-Oriented Architecture in Ruby

These stick out for me. Even if the last one in the list felt a little "rushed to production", it still covered important topics you won't find anywhere else. Plus I find when a book has typos (either in the text or in the code), that just makes me engage with it a little bit more.

2 points by icco 1 day ago 0 replies      
Although not strictly a programming book, Coders At Work was amazing and taught me a lot about programming.
1 point by wazoox 1 day ago 0 replies      
Rodney Zack's "Programming the Z80". Yes, I'm that old :) As a side note, it's still an excellent book to learn the workings of computer hardware.
1 point by riffraff 1 day ago 0 replies      
in addition to others already reported: Object Oriented Software Construction by Meyer.Mostly because, like other great books, it proposes a problem and then presents a solution which exposes another issue and so on and so forth. Even if in the end one disagrees with all the proposed choices, the reading is great and the reasoning sensible.
9 points by guan 2 days ago 3 replies      
JavaScript: The Good Parts.
2 points by JSig 1 day ago 0 replies      
The best page-turner C# book I have ever read is "C# 4.0 in a Nutshell." This book comes from the guys who developed the awesome LINQPad. The book is filled with awesome nuggets and examples that were totally new to me. A lot of .NET books just read like msdn documentation. This is not one of them.


2 points by mfukar 1 day ago 0 replies      

I have yet to see any author of a programming book that possesses a writing style that will keep me reading. However, often it's not important, as there are other reasons to keep turning the page. ;-)

1 point by grok2 1 day ago 0 replies      
Microprocessors: A Programmers View (Computing That Works) : This is an older book and had fascinating explanations about how CISC (i386) processors worked and a comparison against RISC type processors and the implications for programmers. This book has fascinating historical info and if I recall correctly had a great amount of humor regarding the development of the various types of processors. Out of date now though and hard to get I think. An Amazon link if someone's interested: http://www.amazon.com/Microprocessors-Programmers-View-Compu...
2 points by ecaroth 2 days ago 0 replies      
Not exactly.a programming book, but I just read "Design with the mind in mind" and could not put it down. More about usability, but it has contributed to my programmimg in that it helps me think more about the overall feel and flow of a process, and how the brain comprehends things such as large dara sets and procedures.
3 points by m99sh 2 days ago 1 reply      
"Numerical Recipes in C"

This was the first programming book that actually made me laugh at times. The writer's style is wry and very accessible. His strong opinions and commentary kept me glued. Admittedly I didn't read every word but IMHO this is one of the classics.

Ditto for Sedgewick's "Algorithms" book.

2 points by route66 1 day ago 0 replies      
Sigh ... these kind of threads are expanding my TBR-list into financial oblivion.

On topic: Paradigms of Artificial Intelligence Programming by Norvig was a cover-to-cover session for me. It does not try to teach programming but to think about the structure of a solution.

1 point by synack 1 day ago 0 replies      
"Understanding Unix/Linux Programming: A Guide to Theory and Practice" by Bruce Molay does a wonderful job of diving into the workings of the Linux kernel without any prerequisite knowledge beyond an understanding of C. This book focuses on deconstructing common commands such as "tail" and "who" and explaining almost line-by-line how they work and interact with the rest of the system.

It appears to be a bit expensive at the moment, but it's commonly used as a textbook, so there's a plentiful used market for it.


2 points by beef623 1 day ago 0 replies      
1 point by mikelward 1 day ago 0 replies      
Learning Perl.
C Programming Language.
UNIX Programming Environment.
Programming in Haskell.

Code Complete.
Practice of Programming.

Cathedral and the Bazaar.
Open Sources.
Hackers and Painters.
Joel on Software.
Coders at Work.
Just for Fun.

SICP seems to be really well written so far, but it's not the kind of book you're going to read in one sitting.

1 point by andyidsinga 1 day ago 0 replies      
Restful Web Services - great book and really opened up my thinking about how things behind web services can "resources" with different representations - rather than remote function calls.

The original "Java In a Nutshell" - it was dry reading, but at the time is was sooo useful.

C++ Primer Plus by Stephen Prata - this was the book that got me into programing "as a career" so to speak. I picked it randomly off the shelf and it turned out to be foundational :)

2 points by CJefferson 1 day ago 0 replies      
"The Old New Thing" by Raymond Chen. It is full of fun stories, and also an excellent viewpoint into maintaining backwards compatability in Windows.
2 points by Mafana0 1 day ago 1 reply      
C# in Depth by Jon Skeet.

Pro C# 2008 and the .NET 3.5 Platform by Andrew Troelsen (there's a newer edition about .NET 4 which I haven't managed to read yet)

1 point by loumf 1 day ago 0 replies      
For something fairly recent, I read Collective Intelligence cover to cover.
3 points by lx 1 day ago 0 replies      
Modern C++ Design by Andrei Alexandrescu
1 point by icosahedron 1 day ago 0 replies      
Why's Guide to Ruby was pretty compelling, just for the strange humor in it.

Recently I've been reading "Functional Programming: Application and Implementation" with alacrity. Only 50 pages or so in, but very good so far.

1 point by jimmyjazz14 1 day ago 0 replies      
Not necessarily a programming book but Code: The Hidden Language of Computers Hardware and Software. It's really easy to digest and moves at a good pace. It may not change your world but it will make thinking about computer internals feel less mysterious and more fun.
2 points by bauchidgw 1 day ago 0 replies      
programming c, javascrpt the good parts ... i recommend reading them more than once, both are a work of beauty
1 point by davidjhall 1 day ago 0 replies      
One of my favorites, a long time ago, were the "Bible" series, like the Quick C Bible. They were the perfect balance between reference/encyclopedia of methods and a straight read-through for how I/O works, etc. I wish more programming books were written this way.
2 points by rapidfireaim 1 day ago 0 replies      
Seven Languages in Seven Weeks: A Pragmatic Guide to Learning Programming Languages. Bruce A. Tate
2 points by hgimenez 1 day ago 0 replies      
1. The Well Grounded Rubyist

2. Clean Code

3. Metaprogramming Ruby

1 point by jonsen 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've read several programming language manuals from start to end.
1 point by Vojto 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ruby for Rails by David A. Black.

The publisher is Manning, from which I'm currently reading another book (iPhone and iPad in Action) and it's pretty awesome too.

2 points by rasur 2 days ago 0 replies      
ANSI Common Lisp.

1st time: WTF?
2nd time: the light went on.

1 point by leed25d 1 day ago 0 replies      
There was a small handbook from Digital Equipment Corp, I think the title was something along the lines of 'PDP-11 Assembler Programming'. I loved it.
1 point by kqueue 1 day ago 0 replies      
1. The practice of programming

2. Advanced programming in the unix environment

1 point by epynonymous 1 day ago 0 replies      
programming books are typically reference manuals for me.
1 point by malkia 1 day ago 0 replies      
ANSI Common Lisp by Paul Graham
2 points by stelfer 2 days ago 0 replies      
I read Gallmeister's POSIX.4 with great zeal.
1 point by ljordan 15 hours ago 0 replies      
How to Design Programs.
1 point by pathik 1 day ago 0 replies      
Head First Java. Possibly anything by Kathy Sierra.
2 points by eterps 1 day ago 0 replies      
The art of Unix programming
1 point by tstyle 1 day ago 0 replies      
1) The Practice of Programming - Rob Pike
2) Programming Pearls
1 point by astroguy 1 day ago 0 replies      
Programming from the Ground Up by Jonathan Bartlett.
1 point by eqdw 1 day ago 0 replies      
Programming Pearls
K & R C Programming Guide
1 point by yamilg 1 day ago 0 replies      
HTML5 for Web Designers by Jeremy Keith
1 point by eterps 1 day ago 0 replies      
The elements of computing systems
1 point by eterps 1 day ago 0 replies      
Programming from the ground up
1 point by drdo 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ask HN: Designing a Parenscript alternative
7 points by evanrmurphy 11 hours ago   11 comments top 5
1 point by evanrmurphy 11 hours ago 2 replies      
Infix and unary operators are pretty straightforward, since they're just prefix versions of their JavaScript counterparts:

  (&& x y)    => x && y
(|| x y) => x || y
(+ x y) => x + y
(- x y) => x - y
(* x y) => x * y
(/ x y) => x / y
(% x y) => x % y
(+= x y) => x += y
(-= x y) => x -= y
(*= x y) => x *= y
(/= x y) => x /= y
(%= x y) => x %= y
(= x y) => x = y
(== x y) => x == y
(=== x y) => x === y
(!= x y) => x != y
(!== x y) => x !== y
(! x) => !x
(++ x) => ++x
(-- x) => --x
(. x y) => x.y

While the dot operator's base form should be a prefixed s-expression like all the others, it may be awkward to use in practice:

  (. (. ($ "body") (addClass "hidden")) (hide))

=> $("body").addClass("hidden").hide();

Since the dot operator is so common in idiomatic JavaScript, I propose allowing it to be infixed as a special case:

  ; expands to the above prefixed version

($ "body").(addClass "hidden").(hide)

For blocks we use a wrapper function rather than the curly brace block so that lexical scoping for variables can be ensured:

  (do (= x 5)   => (function() {
(++ x)) var x;
x = 5;
return ++x;

The ternary operator:

  (?: x y z)   => (x ? y : z)

Perhaps we can create a useful distinction between the ternary operator and if-statements by giving if implicit do (just as cond has implicit progn in Common Lisp), but I'm not sure what the most elegant solution is. Thoughts?


  (function)              => (function() {});
(function ()) => (function() {});
(function () => function() {
(+ 1 1)) return 1 + 1;
(= foo (function () => var foo;
(+ 1 1))) foo = function() {
return 1 + 1;

We could build a simple unhygienic macro system using the traditional quote ('), quasiquote (`), unquote (,) and unquote-splicing (,@) operators, as well as rest parameters (&). Here's how you might define a macro called unless:

  ; macro definition

(mac unless (x & args)
`(if (! ,x) ,@args))

; example usage

(unless true
(alert "Won't be executed"))

; expands to:

(if (! true)
(alert "Won't be executed"))

=> if (!true) {
alert("Won't be executed");

More coming...

1 point by evanrmurphy 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Sibilant (http://sibilantjs.info/) and lisp.js (http://lisp-js.posterous.com/lispjs-a-lisp-for-nodejs-0) are two related projects.
2 points by mrpixel 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm quite curious about the examples. Maybe you should prefix the title with "Ask HN:". Write it in something lispy.
1 point by mrpixel 10 hours ago 1 reply      
(function() { var x;
x = 5;
return ++x;

This won't loop but just return 6.

1 point by mrpixel 10 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm a bit puzzled now as I don't see a real benefit comparing this to the existing "compilers". Even worse: there's no code base.
Ask HN: how to determine angel round valuation?
6 points by fhe 10 hours ago   5 comments top 5
4 points by patio11 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Much like "what is my fair wage?", this depends on negotiations, right? If you jointly decide to value the round at $20 million, then $20 million was the valuation. How about you ask them for a number, and then you say "That is too low, we're already break even so we don't really need your money, I suppose we might accept it if you were prepared to go up to $BIGGER NUMBER?"
3 points by joshu 7 hours ago 0 replies      
If you can send me details (contact info is in my profile) I can give you a rough estimate. I'm a pretty active silicon valley angel so I know what price deals are happening at lately.

If the investor is a fund, they will want to get 10-25% (at least) of the company for whatever price they invest, if they are taking a board seat.

You also can price the round later via a convertible note. They may balk at this, some investors do not like them.

But, seriously - 10 people in eight months? Why are you raising capital? It sounds like you are rocking.

1 point by staunch 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Whatever makes you and your investor happy after the deal is done. If it was me I would expect to give up 10% - 30% depending on the size of the investment and who's making it.

Pay a lot more attention to issues of control and the other deal terms. They will help or hurt you a lot more than having a little more or less stock.

1 point by fhe 5 hours ago 0 replies      
thanks for the comments. i was really hoping someone would give some kind of framework to think about valuation. things like whatever makes me happy or try to get as high valuation as possible are not so instructive. i know valuation at this stage is more art than science, but i hope there's some structured way to come up within a reasonable ballpark.
1 point by photon_off 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm far from an expert on the topic, but couldn't convertible debt be an option?
Give HN: 3 character .net domains
48 points by mslagh 20 hours ago   38 comments top 13
20 points by duck 20 hours ago 3 replies      
Can I ask why you registered all of those in the first place?
9 points by there 19 hours ago 0 replies      
1 point by Cougar 4 hours ago 0 replies      
It is interesting to see, how different people find use for different pointless character combinations :-)
1 point by endtime 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Sent you an email about 9T3.net - thanks for doing this. :)
1 point by s3graham 14 hours ago 0 replies      
And I thought I was a domain packrat! :)

The 4xx ones seem like they could be useful.

1 point by SingAlong 12 hours ago 0 replies      
If possible, I would like to have 4jn.net (sent you an email)
1 point by bmelton 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd love to take 9j0.net off your hands.
1 point by alastair 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Would love 4KQ.net - have sent you an email. Thanks :)
1 point by moondistance 14 hours ago 0 replies      
If possible, I'd love to have 9w2.net, thanks! (sending email now)
1 point by theDoug 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Nice cache of domains! No use for any of them here, but there's good potential for many.
1 point by stevenbrianhall 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Just sent an e-mail about 2UL.net, thank you!
1 point by stevenj 19 hours ago 1 reply      
If possible, I'll take 3FY.NET. Thanks!
0 points by newyorker 13 hours ago 0 replies      
These are only the .net domains! Wonder how many .com and other tlds you have!
Ask HN: Any high frequency trading hackers
98 points by astroguy 1 day ago   53 comments top 13
10 points by SandB0x 1 day ago 2 replies      
You won't find a better place to ask than: http://www.wilmott.com/index.cfm?&forumid=1
8 points by retube 1 day ago 0 replies      
HFT is, as the name suggests, all about speed - sub-millisecond latency in some markets. It requires a lot of physical and expensive resources, not to mention an extremely deep knowledge of the mechanics of whatever contracts you wish to trade and the exchanges they are traded on. Basically there's a reason this field is played only by the big banks and hedge funds. (I bank I know spent at least $10m setting up an HFT desk)

Algo trading is probably a much better option: basically trading off the back of quant/stat analysis you have done with respect to prices (or relative prices). You'll learn lots about whatever contracts/instruments/markets you're interested in, plus get to flex your geeky skills. And you can do it from a laptop at home over a regular intenet connection with some cheap, if not free, trading platform or api.

5 points by tiffani 1 day ago 2 replies      
Hadn't started implementing any systems yet, but earlier this year I ordered these and they've been ultra-educational at least for figuring out how to get started, vocabulary, etc.:

High-Frequency Trading: A Practical Guide to Algorithmic Strategies and Trading Systems

Inside the Black Box: The Simple Truth About Quantitative Trading

Quantitative Trading: How to Build Your Own Algorithmic Trading Business

7 points by ig1 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'd suggest maybe look at algo trading rather than HF, it's much more accesible to outsiders, plus you can use the algorithms on places like betfair and stand a decent chance of actually making money.
7 points by achew22 1 day ago 1 reply      
There are a lot of problems with HFT (high-frequency trading) that basically boil down to proximity to the exchange. If you haven't paid for a colo inside their datacenters you can't well expect to use the usual HFT tricks of putting in requests for things you don't want and then never making actions on them because your 40ms latency to the exchange will mean that the guys in the colo have acted on your move. I heard someone say that they got a colo for 10,000 a month (sorry, I don't have a source for that) so that kind of edges you out of really good HFT. Another thing to know is that you are running around like a chicken with your head cut off trying to grab pennies off a railroad track that is running bullet trains (I love that analogy). i.e. very dangerous. Slight mistakes can cost you hundreds of dollars ever 20ms until you hit ctrl+C in your script! I do wish you the best of luck and I hope you will write about your progress/experience in HFT on HN in the future.
4 points by a904guy 1 day ago 4 replies      
I've been working on an algorithmic trading system using machine learning, it is not HFT currently. It is currently daily (24h+ held equities), the intra-day side (~5-60 minute held equities) will come very quick after I feel comfortable with the machine learning side of things. The source of data will change, and a few tweaks to the actual trading system and it will be running intra-day. The HFT will only come around once I can get a small colo that can achieve the necessary <40ms transactions to get the benefit of the pre-window before orders actually hit the open market.


Sorry the interface was thrown together over a weekend (The actual back-end application was the primary focus for the last year as it was just me looking at it via command line) and quickly designed it with a large AJAX load at the beginning, I'll eventually change it to a static load then do ajax polling to update the data.

I cannot recommend any particular reading sources as I've been working with my financial buddies, that have been feeding me tips and doing my own discovery on the internet.

This was just a side project of mine but has turned into a really nice application. It is always calculating the better strategies (out of over 50 possible different methods/functions with variables ranging from 0-260 that are used to indicate open and close signals in any number of combinations). It has improved its strategy over the last week taking it from estimating ~60% to ~70% gains YTD. I have no doubt it will eventually get over 100%.

I'd love to collaborate with anyone wanting to get into this stuff as I'm flying solo.

4 points by Vivtek 1 day ago 2 replies      
Light speed seems to be a pretty important problem - the added benefit being if you crack that nut, further employment will be unnecessary.
3 points by JSig 1 day ago 0 replies      
In the big picture view it seems that HFT is becoming a crowded trade. I would think the competition would be a huge challenge. Maybe you should try to start off in foreign markets where there is some breathing room - if that's possible.

Here is an article about about wall street programmers leaving the big boys to go at it alone.


2 points by _grrr 1 day ago 0 replies      

* The need for speed, at every level of the architecture (network, tcp/ip, hardware, app)

* Reducing order (send/ack) round-trip times, this generally means putting your servers in a data cetre as close to the exchange as possible (co-located, if the exchange offers it). If your trading across multiple exchanges simultaneously it gets trickier.

* Sourcing market data - can you source direct from the exchange, rather than through a 3rd party like Reuters? Again, it comes down to how fast you can re-act to the market.

* Back-testing - you need historical data to test a model, then you need a way of testing the model - what are you going to test against? How are you going to simulate the exchange?

* Expense - it's expensive - market data, co-location etc etc all costs, as others suggested. HFT is generally short term positions, with some arbitrage strategies holding positions for less than a few milliseconds. A medium term (intra-day) type strategy requires less intensive (expensive) technology as your not trading to capture market prices that might only be extant for a few milliseconds.

1 point by drallison 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Maxeler Technologies (http://www.maxeler.com)supplies turnkey FPGA-based acceleration that supports high speed trading with trading latencies on the order of a few microseconds. Software development for the accelerated platform begins with a client's "known to work" proprietary code, which Maxeler accelerates. When latency is an important performance factor, the Maxeler trading server needs to be collocated in the exchange.
5 points by pkghost 1 day ago 2 replies      
What value does HFT create?
1 point by vijaymv_in 13 hours ago 0 replies      
One of the best book I read about electronic trading is Trading and Exchanges: Market Microstructure for Practitioners.
3 points by fertel 1 day ago 0 replies      
Get in touch with savvis to do a colo at NJ2.
Ask HN: What's your favorite online-backup tool?
48 points by sabj 1 day ago   85 comments top 33
3 points by CRASCH 1 day ago 0 replies      
It depends on the platform and what type of backup you are looking for.

It used to be that a backup was a full or image backup. It is a bit funny how I used to say I have a backup and it meant a backup of my entire computer. If I didn't, I'd say I had a backup of the database, or a backup of home. Now if someone says I have a backup I assume it is just of some of their files.

There are really now three types of backups.

Image or full backups - These are far more useful. You can actually fix your computer without reinstalling and reconfiguring everything.

Partial backups - Files and Folders, unfortunately letting the software try to select the "Important Files" is fatally flawed on windows. They generally select based on file name and location. If you use any software slightly off mainstream you will want to make sure those data files are backed up.

Sync - Sync software maintains a copy online which is good for most files and is essentially an extra copy or backup. But some files or directory structures are troublesome like build directories, databases (especially email databases like outlook pst files). Make sure they support multiple versions...

Begin shameless plug...

Hybir Backup recently won "Software Product of the year" from the DaVinci Institute.

I wrote Hybir Backup https://www.hybir.com It is windows only for now. Hybir Backup performs full online backups and full local backups (simultaneously). Bare metal restores can be done from the windows PE 3.0 recovery environment.

The interesting part to the technology is the data identification and global data de-duplication technology. Essentially only data unique to your PC needs to be uploaded. First backups on relatively clean machines are pretty quick. If you have a bunch of unique user data, you will have to upload it just like the other services. The advantage is all of those other files are backed up too.

During a full restore only files that are truly different need to be restored to fix the computer greatly speeding the restore process when a computer won't boot, but the disk is still functional hardware wise.

Another cool feature is that if you backup online only, and need to do a bare metal restore, you don't have to download the full image. You can simply backup another PC to a USB drive. You probably need another PC to burn the recovery CD you didn't burn before the problem anyway. Any data that is common and identical on the USB drive will be copied from the USB drive. The unique bits will be downloaded at the same time. You have a fairly good chance of not having to download the OS, MS Office, etc.

The software is free to use for local image backup and supports network drives. It works great for a small office environment and includes the data identification technology. This makes it really efficient storage wise. It is probably the only free local backup solution that has global data de-duplication.

37 points by quesera 1 day ago 12 replies      
Tarsnap. Simple, cheap, efficient, honestly secure.

I can't imagine storing personal files and photos somewhere "out there", managed by someone else, in readable form.

Seriously, how do you Dropbox (etc) fans sleep at night?

5 points by jobenjo 1 day ago 1 reply      
I've been happy with Backblaze. Good cpu usage, and I restored files easily with a nice web interface.

I switched from Mozy because the client was much more efficient. If you're looking at Mozy and Carbonite, definitely check out Backblaze.

(Also, I met the CEO a few years back--seemed like a smart guy).

5 points by sbierwagen 1 day ago 2 replies      

Not cheap, ($.80gb/month) but bulletproof, and about as hacker-friendly as it gets. As you may be entirely unsurprised to hear, you can use rsync with it, as well as sftp, webdav, etc, etc, etc.

6 points by xeno42 1 day ago 2 replies      
I've been pretty happy with Crashplan ( http://crashplan.com/ )so far. The free version will allow you to backup to one or more remote machines which you can seed via a hard drive if you want to avoid uploading hundreds of Gb for the initial backup. They have options to backup to their data center too for a competitive rate (unlimited storage).

Transfers are encrypted, de-duplicated and compressed, supports file versioning and it all works very well.

The only downside I've had is that their Java client uses a lot of memory both on my OS X and Linux boxes (haven't tried Windows) - It's using nearly 600Mb of resident memory right now.

4 points by scraplab 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm surprised Duplicity hasn't had a mention. It supports full and incremental, zipped encrypted backups (using GPG) to S3/SCP/FTP/local/etc. Under the hood it uses librsync for fast binary diffs.

Duplicity + S3 is somewhat similar to tarsnap. It's not quite as friendly - you have to put a bit more effort in - it doesn't provide easy key generation, and it doesn't support snapshots, but you have no reliance on any third party service other than S3.

If the Duplicity software disappeared off the planet you could still recover your files - it's just split gzipped encrypted files.

Oh, and you can install it on OSX using homebrew: `brew install duplicity`

http://duplicity.nongnu.org/ unfortunately the site seems to be down for me right now - here's the cache: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:2s6jQju... )

6 points by jkahn 1 day ago 2 replies      
I use JungleDisk (https://www.jungledisk.com/) - it's good because it can be used for backups, syncing, and previous versions of synced folders. It also does multiple users and multiple operating systems (Mac/Windows - probably does Linux too but I haven't checked).

It's also quite cheap.

I previously used Mozy, which was excellent, but only does backup. Mozy was much more efficient over the wire, better at notifications and better about resuming very large backup sets. But unfortunately doesn't do synced folders and the rest.

3 points by bartman 1 day ago 1 reply      
I won a Spideroak ( http://www.spideroak.com ) plan and have been using it for about a month now. It works, uploads are fast, I can't comment on how easy a restore would be. The only thing that's really annoying is that a search for updated files uses 100% CPU.

Other than that I can warmly recommend JungleDisk ( https://www.jungledisk.com/ ), been using it do backup my source code and documents for about a year now without any major problems. I don't even notice it runs anymore. I'm using it with the S3 backend.

6 points by brianwillis 1 day ago 2 replies      
Don't be too quick to overlook Dropbox. I use it for almost everything.
3 points by Goosey 1 day ago 0 replies      
Dropbox and external HDs for now. Trying out AeroFS as a possible migration path; I have outgrown the reasonable price point of cloud storage.
4 points by coverband 1 day ago 1 reply      
Assuming you want Windows, try the fast & free application called Duplicati:


Their 1.0 release is out and works excellently with S3. It can't be set up as a Windows service yet, but that functionality is on its way.

For Linux, my favorite is another free utility called Amanda Network Backup:


Supports S3 and MySQL backups. Really easy to set up and has commercial support if you need it.

4 points by trampsymphony 1 day ago 0 replies      
My personal favorite (Mac only) is Arq: http://www.haystacksoftware.com/arq

It uses Amazon S3 for storage, has versioned backups, very lightweight and fast, and leaves all Mac metadata/permissions intact. I've had 0 crashes or problems in a year of constant use.

They also supply an opensource tool you can use to restore your backups, in the event that you don't have access to your licensed copy of Arq (like if your laptop gets stolen)

3 points by petercooper 1 day ago 0 replies      
Dropbox for me. The seamless multi-machine syncing just adds another dimension thay makes it a must have for me.
3 points by Mithrandir 1 day ago 0 replies      
I use ADrive. ( https://www.adrive.com/login ) They give you 50GB free. No SSL support for free-users, so you might want to encrypt sensitive files. (Use the link above to log in with SSL for free.)

But to be really honest with you, I'm considering leaving ADrive for my own external HD only. That's the safest, not always easiest, solution.

1 point by thaumaturgy 1 day ago 1 reply      
We used to recommend Backblaze to our clients (and set a few up with it), but when they announced a while back that they had entertained a purchase offer, I pulled the plug on that. I can't in good conscience recommend an online backup service that's not in it for the long haul.

We now try to get people set up with Carbonite, mostly because of its pricing, ease-of-use, and compatibility with most platforms.

I'd love to find something with a good white-label reseller program, but no luck so far.

2 points by joanou 1 day ago 0 replies      
I love AltDrive.com. But I'm partial since I created it...and took 5 years doing so. I think tarsnap is good but it seems more for hackers and IT types. Reading their blogs, they do seem to well understand security and encryption.

AltDrive has a free two month trial for either home or business users. You can control your own encryption key too. It is highly secure and uses AES-256 EAX mode encryption. It works in Windows, OSX, Linux. Plus other OSs for business users. It is easy to use and is full featured. There is also a white label offering for the business service.

Check it out. http://altdrive.com
I'm always looking for feedback of any kind that would help improve it.

1 point by sahillavingia 1 day ago 0 replies      
For quick file uploads (to share or when I'm hopping around campus), I'm surely going to plug my new project, Crate [1] (though I have it better than most, with access to the sexy Crate for Mac app).

[1] http://letscrate.com/register?inv=hn

1 point by bobds 1 day ago 0 replies      
One interesting open-source solution is Areca: http://www.areca-backup.org/

Multi-platform, encrypts, compresses, incremental/differential backups to FTP, network drives, local drives, usb sticks and it has a GUI.

1 point by hippich 1 day ago 0 replies      
Backup-manager - http://www.backup-manager.org.

I posted a blog post about using it on server - http://www.yepcorp.com/blogs/pavel-karoukin/simple-backup-so...

I am using it to backup both my dedicated server and laptop.

Basically, this is bash script with config file and some dependencies to Perl libraries to upload files to S3. Since it's bash script - it's very customizable.

1 point by bound008 1 day ago 0 replies      
Has no-one on here hit problems with backblaze's number of file limitations and xml data structures?

see: http://harijan.wordpress.com/2009/04/27/the-real-backblaze-b...

what the author does not make clear is the statement:
"the bzfileids.dat is causing my computer to stop."

this is how i found the article originally, the bzfileids.dat on my computer was too large and at that point the only solution is to reinstall the software. which invalidates your old backups and they are purged after 30 days.

1 point by foobarbazetc 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Desktop: CrashPlan
Server: tarsnap
1 point by krung 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Consider - http://www.phpmybackuppro.net/ nice tool and its free
1 point by greattypo 1 day ago 0 replies      
No one has mentioned my current favorite, iDrive. I didn't want to spend more than $5-10/month on online backups, and found that Tarsnap, Dropbox, JungleDisk, etc all got expensive too quickly to back up 100GB+.

I wanted to like Mozy but the mac client crashed on me and the uploads were slow.

iDrive gives you 150gb for $5/month. Plus the mac client is reliable, the uploads are quick, and they let multiple computers share space if you want.

1 point by tomasr 1 day ago 0 replies      
I used Mozy for a while. It was OK, but the desktop/server distinction doesn't always make sense. Never did have to try it in a substantial restore, though.

Nowadays, I keep most of my stuff backed up locally on external hard-drives, but also started using dropbox recently for smallish set of files (sharing, mostly, but serves as a backup of sorts as well).

2 points by ljordan 1 day ago 0 replies      
I sought around for one for awhile to little avail; Dropbox works for me. I have relatively modest needs.
1 point by justinludwig 1 day ago 1 reply      
What's wrong with s3? It's cheap and simple. If you use linux, try http://live.gnome.org/DejaDup -- it provides a dead-easy gui to automate backups (to s3, or to other kinds of storage).
2 points by dnwalters 1 day ago 0 replies      
Tried Carbonite and CrashPlan, but have settled on Mozy to cloud backup my 2TB RAID network drive. $5/mo or $55/yr, unlimited storage for one 'machine'. Good client tool for the Mac with bandwidth throttling and intuitive file picker. And fast indexing.
1 point by anarchitect 1 day ago 0 replies      
Backblaze, a ReadyNAS as a Time Machine server and JungleDisk. I know I could drop Backblaze or Jungledisk, but I never got around to deciding between them.
1 point by kurtsiegfried 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'd place another vote for SpiderOak. The fact that you can pool storage between computers on a consumer plan is great, and their DIY API looks promising.
2 points by whatevers2009 1 day ago 0 replies      
Dropbox and Amazon S3. Carbonite and Evernote in lesser use.
1 point by 32ftpersecond 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ubuntu One is free for a certain amount (relatively large) and larger plans are really reasonable. But, not sure if you're running any Linux boxes.
1 point by swankpot 1 day ago 0 replies      
Sugar Sync

I've never compared; I just use the first one someone invited me to use. 5GB free.

2 points by maheshs 1 day ago 1 reply      
Ask HN: What advice messed up your life?
129 points by amichail 2 days ago   236 comments top 78
65 points by jdietrich 2 days ago 9 replies      
Never, never, not in a million years, listen to a single word of advice uttered by someone who isn't happy with their life. They have absolutely nothing to teach you. This is strong stuff, granted, but I think it is tremendously important.

Every single piece of bad advice I have ever received was from someone who didn't like their life. If you're unhappy, you have two basic options. You can do something to make yourself happier, or you can rationalise a reason why happiness isn't possible. The former is generally a steady upward slog. The latter is like quicksand - the longer you're there, the more solidly you become stuck.

All the bad career advice I got was from people who didn't like their job. Some believed that jobs were just inherently unpleasant, so you might as well go for the unpleasantness that pays the most and gives the best pension. Some believed that good jobs were just inaccessible for 'the likes of us', so there's no point getting you hopes up. Some were so uncertain of their employability that they took the first job offered to them and never dared do anything to jeopardise it. I heard rationalisations dressed up as philosophy, as ethics, as macroeconomics, but they were rationalisations all the same.

Learning from the mistakes of others is useful and productive, but an unhappy person can never provide any insight into how to be happy. Either they don't know what would make them happy, or worse, they do know but won't do it. Never underestimate how hard someone will work to rationalise why they just can't go back to college or start their own business or visit Europe or leave their awful wife.

When seeking advice, ignore status, intelligence and experience. Seek out the happy people, they're the only people who can help you.

52 points by hasenj 2 days ago replies      
Not from any specific person, but the idea that you have to step outside your comfort zone and do X and Y even though it doesn't come naturally to you.

Every time I did that things got messed up and I ended up worse than I was before.

If you're outside your comfort zone, you will act in non-authentic ways, and when you're not being authentic, you can't be the best possible you.

Examples of stepping outside comfort zone:

* Wear a suite and act professional for a job interview

* Say hi to random strangers so you can make friends (even though you're introverted and doing this makes you look like a fool)

* Go to social events where you don't know anyone there.

EDIT: thanks for the down votes. Now let me explain why this is bad advice:

- Act not like yourself for a job interview:

This is bad because instead of showing them your strong points, you'll be busy trying to hide your weak points and seem like a "good, obedient" employee. Eventually you fail at both: your bad points will still show, while your good points won't get a chance.

- Begging friendship from random strangers:

Makes you look like a fool, insecure person that nobody wants to be friends with.

EDIT2: I'm not talking about little steps. Venturing into new areas is fun. Throwing yourself into the middle of an extremely uncomfortable situation is completely different.

One of the reasons I found "step outside your comfort zone" to be bad advice is that they never tell you how far to go and when you should stop. It seems consequential that you never know when you have gone too far, because you're outside the zone where you can use your intuition sensibly. If you were able to tell that you've gone too far, then by definition you're still inside your comfort zone.

If something only makes you a little bit uncomfortable, it will feel like it's still inside your comfort zone, and if you're trying to follow the "step outside your comfort zone" advice, you'll be tempted to go even further.

26 points by kadavy 2 days ago 1 reply      
"You should buy a house - it's the best investment you can make!" This was the advice I was given countless times when I lived in Nebraska in the early 00's, at my first job out of college. Thank God I didn't listen.

It just didn't make any sense: I was 23 years old, had plenty of talent, and could't wait to get out of Nebraska, but I was supposed to buy a house? I couldn't think of a worse way to spend my money, time, and freedom.

Instead of spending my evenings fixing up my "house," I was blogging and learning to code. Instead of spending my money on a mortgage and property taxes, I bought GOOG & AAPL.

After a few years, a startup in Silicon Valley found me, liked my blog, and moved me out to California. Once I was done working for other people, I had enough of a stock portfolio to fund starting my own business.

If I had followed that advice, I would still be in Nebraska, would owe more than my house would be worth, and would hate my job/life.

"The best investment you can make" is always in yourself.

38 points by Jach 2 days ago 6 replies      
I'm not exactly sure how to word it, and I'm not aware of a single source who advised me on it, but it seems like there's a pervasive feeling in society that "If I want to learn something, I need a teacher." I outgrew this mental model around 14, and now in college I feel so much further ahead of many of my peers who are lucky to have taken a HS programming course once before choosing a programming degree. I wish I had outgrown it much earlier, I feel like there was a lot of lost potential in my earlier years that I wasted because I had no interest in teaching myself things. Who knows how devastating this "cultural advice(?)" is to people who still haven't outgrown it.
22 points by chegra 2 days ago 1 reply      
"Quit your job and start a company" - Yep, that totally didn't work out as I had hoped. Stuff that are easy to do when there is no pressure suddenly become impossible. Thinking about it as walking on a board one foot wide on the ground, easy right. Now, put that board one thousand foot up in the air now try walking on it, not so easy now that your life depends on it. For some bootstrapping after your normal work hours is a better path to startup.

"Change the system from the inside" - If you are apart of a system that encourages physical and mental abuse of its members, don't try to change it, leave. Systems include: Fraternity, Brotherhoods, Cults, Gangs, Churches, Country, Jobs and the like. In general don't try to change systems, just move to a better one.

36 points by kabdib 2 days ago 3 replies      
Close call: My dad (a college prof) saying to me (when I was 17) that computers were a dead end and that I should do something else.

I ignored his advice. I've had a fantastic career and shipped a bunch of different products.

30 years later, he apologized to me.

30 points by hackerdude 2 days ago 0 replies      
In 1987 or 88, when I was a teenager, my parents, noting my emerging passion for coding, tried to sign me up for a Explorer Scout "post" whose focus was programming.

This should have been good, but I came back from the first meeting not wanting to go back. I just didn't click with the group, and the language/environment they were using (Fortran on an IBM System/3x0 variant, I think) were of no interest to me.

This upset my father, in particular, because he was convinced that the programming I was doing in my bedroom (C, on a Commodore Amiga) was of no value. Programming a personal computer was fine for a kid, but making a career in software meant doing "serious" work, which to my (very non-tech) parents, meant programming IBM mainframes.

In retrospect, their career advice was about as bad as it could have been. I was learning exactly what I should have been learning. I was completely right to ignore them and continue doing what I was doing.

Except I could never shake the idea of "serious" vs. "not serious" software development. So while I continued to learn C, then learned C++, when I finished college in the mid-90s I went into a "serious" industry . Despite living within walking distance of Netscape's old headquarters, I completely missed out on the dot-com era, justifying it by telling myself that I was doing "serious" work. And while I've never been unemployed, until this year, I can't say I ever did anything remotely notable, or fun, either.

And worse of all: it became obvious within the last 3-4 years that my industry was a career dead-end. If I stuck with it, I'd eventually be one of those stereotypical unemployed, and unemployable, 40-something developers.

But there is a silver lining: over the last couple of years I started playing around with some new technologies and ended up reinventing myself. Earlier this year, I quit my old job and am now working for a startup that's doing stuff that's nowhere near my Dad's old idea of "serious". But I've treated my new job seriously, working harder than at any time in my career. And I'm happier now than I've been in nearly a decade.

28 points by iamwil 2 days ago 1 reply      
"It'll just happen when you least expect it."

It's just something people say to console, not actually anything that's remotely useful or true. Magic never happens on its own. You have to go out there and make it happen.

30 points by geoffc 2 days ago 0 replies      
In the early 80's at Rice University my academic advisor steered me from computer science which I enjoyed (APL rocked!) to chemical engineering because "computers will be programming themselves in 20 years and comp sci isn't real engineering anyways". I hated chem eng but after a decade of detours final came back to coding. I didn't mind the detours but it was spectacularly bad advice and I was dumb enough to take it.
19 points by johnrob 2 days ago 3 replies      
It didn't mess up my life, but when I was in high school the conventional wisdom was that being well rounded helped you get into good colleges. I spent a lot of time playing team sports and the saxophone; neither of those are hobbies of mine today. I wish I had spent some of that time doing something that would still be relevant to me today, like programming (there are a LOT of successful founders that started programming in their early teens; I didn't start until college).
14 points by petercooper 2 days ago 1 reply      
I wouldn't go quite as far as "messed up" but between 2003-2007 I was frequently hassled by people to "buy a house" because it "never goes down (much) in value."

I argued that that was a nonsensical claim, although over the previous 30 years it was pretty much true (the UK dip in the early 1990s was quite short and localized). In mid 2007 I noticed prices continuing to go up and up and bit the bullet. Naturally, I exchanged contracts the very month before prices started to go down. Out of principle, I'm stuck with this house until it's worth more than I paid for it ;-)

14 points by rfrey 2 days ago 0 replies      
Worst advice for me was "don't let any doors close", "keep your options open", and variations on that theme. Did a lot of damage because it sounds so reasonable, yet the net effect is to prevent or forestall commitment.
82 points by Wilduck 2 days ago 4 replies      
"You're smart." It took me five years of coasting on that presumption before I realized that being "smart" isn't nearly enough. I'm still working (after a few more years) to develop the habits that would have come from hearing "you're a hard worker."
12 points by groaner 2 days ago 0 replies      
I learned to resist peer pressure and defer gratification early on. Sound advice, except I followed it to an extreme. Now I dress like a slob and have no motivation in life, and I don't even care.
14 points by ora600 2 days ago 1 reply      
"You should be a DBA, its a good career for a woman".

Even though DBAs have more flexible hours, I wouldn't recommend a job with a pager to my worse enemies.

10 years later and I'm still trying to come up with a good way to get rid of it.

4 points by etherael 2 days ago 1 reply      
That investing time and effort into the skills necessary to build things with technology is a waste because within a couple of years it will all be outsourced to third world countries and there will be no jobs left in this area for people in first world countries. I should develop my interpersonal skills, design and creative arts ability with a view to becoming a translator between large corporate insensibility and those that will have to actually get things done for them in the future in aforementioned third world countries.

This was not 100% terrible advice, because it did make me actually look outside the sphere of science and technology into areas I was before utterly uninterested in and considered to be faintly grimy. However in retrospect the premise is utterly flawed and there would have been much, much better ways to expand my interpersonal skills without feeling guilty about being passionate about technology and actually getting things done with it myself.

I got this advice in 2002. As long as I actually considered it useful, my life has been worse, as soon as I gave up on it, my life immediately got immensely better.

25 points by Almaviva 2 days ago 3 replies      
Variations of "you'll just meet someone" and "dating will get easier in your 30s" and "the important thing is you do well in school, and everything else will follow". Fuck that. Someone should have shaken the shit out of me when I was 18, forced me to go to a school with a normal gender ratio, and gotten me to strike while the iron was still hot while I still had some sexual attraction to women, and never take for granted any time a woman is vaguely interested.
15 points by tiffani 2 days ago 1 reply      
"Watch your mouth." and "Wait your turn." Perhaps, it's something girls are harassed about more than guys, but until I stopped following that "advice" (early college), things were quite mediocre for me.
7 points by starpilot 2 days ago 0 replies      
"Happiness comes from achieving goals"

I achieved plenty, but realized late in college that constantly studying was a defense mechanism for depression and loneliness. It's my biggest college regret. I even think that if I had studied less and spent more time getting to know housemates and classmates, I would have been happier and more relaxed, leading to higher grades. Sharing life with others is a reward in itself though, which took me a while to understand.

8 points by cookiecaper 2 days ago 1 reply      
I've found most "conventional wisdom" to be bad advice. "Wait for marriage", "wait for kids" are both bad advice. "Go to college" is not necessarily bad advice, but the universal expectation that one will do so is bad, and it is bad advice for a lot of people. There's a lot of other bad advice out there.
1 point by motxilo 27 minutes ago 0 replies      
"There is nothing unfixable but death". Bullshit, mom.
15 points by mduvall 2 days ago 5 replies      
Everybody in college pretends to be not working hard as they like to admit, thus the advice that comes from colleagues along the lines of "don't do the homework, it's really a waste of time" when everybody is actually doing it, could screw you over. It didn't mess up my life per se, but definitely had an impact on my grades when I was a naive freshman.
12 points by YuriNiyazov 2 days ago 0 replies      
"You should buy a house in the ghettos of Philadelphia, property values are skyrocketing".
3 points by mindcrime 2 days ago 0 replies      
Pretty much everything I was ever told about love, dating, sex and romance, prior to discovering the "seduction community" a couple of years ago. Then again, it's not that a lot of the advice I got about women was bad, it just wasn't useful. Take the stock "be confident" tidbit for example... well, that's not bad advice (in that being confident is not harmful) but it's not actionable advice, because telling someone who isn't confident to "be confident" is useless. I also bought into the generic "there's somebody for everybody, don't look for a girl, you'll just stumble into somebody one day and it'll happen if it's mean to" crap. Uuuuggggghhh...

Outside of that, not much. But I tend to be pretty selective about the advice I take anyway... I'm the kind of person who tends to "keep my own council" more often than not (or, as my dad would say, I'm hard-headed). So I tend to ignore a lot of the well-meaning advice I've been given.. so I miss out by ignoring some good advice here and there, but I also avoid most of the bad advice.

For the most part, I'd look back and say that approach has worked out well for me.

3 points by hugh3 2 days ago 0 replies      
Y'know, I've racked my brain and I can't recall ever following any bad advice.

I can remember a lot of good advice that I didn't follow, though.

Conclusion: maybe I'm just not very good at following advice.

3 points by arithmetic 2 days ago 0 replies      
Well, this advice didn't mess me up but pushed me in the opposite direction.

When I was a kid, my parents told me that little girls like me should study in a local college, get good grades, find a comfortable job (preferably an accountant), settle down in the same city (as my parents) and get married by 21 (years).

My college was in a different city as compared to where I grew up. This really helped in teaching me how to live on my own. I took to computers, interned at a couple of companies and got hired by another software company, moved to the United States, and dated and married a fellow computer nerd a little over a month ago (let's just say I'm way over 21 now).

I think I did well.

3 points by lisper 2 days ago 1 reply      
"Honesty is the best policy." This is quite possibly the single biggest lie we tell our kids. There are times when dissembling or even outright lying is the right thing to do. It's important to learn to recognize when telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth is not the right thing to do. It's not easy.
5 points by zaidf 2 days ago 0 replies      
Its hard for me to find any piece of advice that 'messed' up my life per say. From the sounds of it, it seems like I'm blaming some advice when I should be accepting majority of the blame myself.
9 points by CWIZO 2 days ago 1 reply      
"You must go to college" by everyone. What a waste of perfectly good 3 years (I finally dropped out then).
5 points by ryan-allen 2 days ago 2 replies      
I wouldn't stay it stuffed up my life, but I wish I hadn't listened to it:

"Music is a hobby."

I'm catching up though.

2 points by ohyes 2 days ago 0 replies      
Bad advice can't mess up your life. Taking action on bad advice can mess up your life, but the advice itself can't do anything. I can't think of any examples of situations where I took particularly bad advice, but if I did, it is totally on me.

From that perspective; that I am in control and making the decisions in my life... I can't really say that any of the decisions that I have made have 'messed up' my life.

Whatever I've done, it clearly seemed like a good idea at the time. I probably couldn't have made the decision any differently.

(I find this kind of an interesting paradox, as my agency with regard to one thing, bad advice, implies my lack of agency with regard to my own bad decisions).

2 points by tommusic 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's interesting: when I look back on my life so far, I don't feel like my path has been messed up significantly because of any particular piece of advice.

There were times in my life where acting on a particular bit of advice kept me from getting what I wanted. Those were frustrating times. But those times caused me to learn to deal with being frustrated; to stop and reflect on why I was reacting with such emotion.

There were times when the advice that I received was unclear, which made it easy for my motivation-to-follow to falter. I would waste time and not get homework done. Familiarity with a topic would grow more faint and my class performance would show it. And then I started to learn how to best use my time to learn the material. (In small groups, using multiple forms of engagement; reading/writing/speaking/listening)

The advice that, on-balance, seemed least helpful at the time:

* "such-and-such will happen when you least expect it"

* "don't ever give up"

* "don't run with scissors"

But in later reflection these lead me to different conclusions about these same items:

* The advisor understands that you're in pain, but really likes who you are when you're not moping. They're trying to help you get there, but they're not sure how.

* Admitting defeat is OK, and you can change focus (pivot) without stopping (giving up) entirely. This is a loophole. Use it.

* This has always been a good idea. Still is.

The advice I would offer would be to use advice wisely. Don't follow it blindly; reflect often, and be adaptable.

15 points by frankus 2 days ago 0 replies      
Don't have sex until you're older.
13 points by dedward 2 days ago 0 replies      
None. I messed it up all by msyelf.
1 point by mattm 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Listening to any advice that wasn't what I truly believed.

I believe the only valuable advice you can give to someone is along the lines of "Do what you feel is the right thing for you to do."

3 points by Tycho 2 days ago 2 replies      
Stuff they tell you in Sunday school which is impossible/undesirable in practical terms yet leaves a lingering sense of unworthiness about one's own character and a lack of healthy ambition:

- love thy neighbour

- don't be selfish

- don't care about money/possessions

- don't judge

Oh, and also: install OpenOffice.org

1 point by Goosey 2 days ago 0 replies      
I believe I understand the intention of this entire thread: in order to flush out good advice try to first highlight 'bad advice'. However I hope that all those who read it and all those who posted in it remember something very important.

Regret is suffering. It is being attached to a different reality that you "should" be experiencing that is somehow better than the reality you are in. Everything that happened in your life, every single stupid thing, was required/essential/instrumental in your life being exactly as it is right now.

I hope we can make use of this thread as a means to help us guide future decisions without it functioning as a way to make us feel regret. Do not expend energy suffering over that which is not only out of your control, but an illusion. Your past is not reality: you are, right here, right now.

10 points by stelfer 2 days ago 0 replies      
Pretty much everyone who I looked up to who was an X and said: "You should be an X".
3 points by a5seo 2 days ago 0 replies      
Advisor suggested I should go ahead and to start my next venture concurrent with my 3 yr earnout on the company I'd just sold. Long story short, my idea + my money + 25% of my time + nontechnical cofounder getting salary and 40% sweat equity = 9 mos of dev turned into 24, launching after several competitors, all seed money burned on dev, no money for marketing, slow sales ramp, running out of cash, selling my stake to another investor for 50% of what I paid. Company still exists, cash flow breakeven, but my equity is all but washed out. Had I focused 100% I would have 100% of a very nice micro ISV.
1 point by ajude 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Going to University.

Even though I had a great time, got two great degrees and actually found a really good job in the City I cannot help but feel why I couldn't have gone straight to work skipped all this debt and invested even more money/time in other endeavours like getting solid operational experience in a company. For instance, my head of opts at my firm built the biggest mutual fund in the UK around the age of 20.

2 points by jraines 2 days ago 1 reply      
"Houses always go up in value" -- paraphrase of David Allen's "Automatic Millionaire Homeowner" which convinced me to buy a place in Atlanta in 2005. Could've been a lot worse, but taking on a mortgage & furnishing a place at 23 was not the best idea.
3 points by wyclif 2 days ago 0 replies      
"You should know what you want to do with your life by the time you start college." (Age 17 for me, US citizen.
3 points by Aron 2 days ago 0 replies      
Skipped a grade in elementary. The relative physical immaturity circa puberty made socialization tougher, and the virtues of the move are dubious. I think I'd rather have done the reverse.
1 point by groaner 2 days ago 0 replies      
"Good news should travel fast, bad news should travel even faster."

Sure, but not in an environment where "shoot the messenger" is the m.o. I learned to keep my head down pretty quickly, and now I'm looking for an exit strategy.

1 point by radioactive21 1 day ago 0 replies      
Knock on wood, nothing that has ruined my life, but little things that I have caused me opportunities.

-"Should I tell a recruiter or HR person about my current salary?"

Friend of mine said always tell, reveal everything and be truthful. The reality, I got fucking low balled on salary, pretty much they would not go above $5K of what I currently made. It wasn't till I spoke to someone else that told me NEVER tell your salary, either say you rather not say or give a large range. So far giving a range has worked out for me every time. I give a large range and they tend to lean towards the high end.

- Never talk about sex, politics and religion on a date.

I found out it is the BEST way to quickly find out if you are compatible or not with someone. I am referring to if you're dating for a serious long term or possibly marriage relationship. Of course the way you talk about it does matter.

I have done this to everyone of my dates and I can tell right away if it's wort the effort or not. Usually it's the politics that is the deal breaker.

4 points by drpancake 2 days ago 1 reply      
My parents: "Economics is where the money is; don't switch to Computer Science"

Glad I ignored that one. At universities in the UK, you choose a degree at the beginning then that's it.

1 point by zackattack 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I think it's best to listen to advice from people with the results you want. Moreover, it's best to understand the rationale behind successful people's processes rather than copy them outright.
2 points by bstar 2 days ago 0 replies      
Without a doubt, I would say all advice on my college education. The first bad advice I got was that I absolutely needed to go to a small school that would give me more personal time in the classroom. This ended up stressing me greatly in school... I wouldn't find out until long after I graduated that I excel greatly in environments that require me to investigate and learn on my own with some guidance.

The other poor advice was that county college is only for loosers. My advisors and teachers impressed this on me bigtime. In retrospect, county college would have been awesome to buy me a year or so until I was able to maturely handle a challenging curriculum. I needed some time to learn how to learn and gain some confidence in my ability to learn.

3 points by amichail 2 days ago 0 replies      
The pressure to do well in school/university had a really negative impact on my life.

Better advice would have been to find a way to make money that I enjoy.

4 points by iopuy 2 days ago 0 replies      
Study Project Management instead of Computer Science, then you can manage teams of Computer Scientists!
1 point by thingie 2 days ago 0 replies      
Anything coming from people significantly older than me, who are still talking about how they wanted to live their lives 20 or 30 (even 40) years ago, in a world completely different from the current one.
1 point by goldroger 7 hours ago 0 replies      
You only take as you've given, and now your hope is all but gone - though you lost your way (Now is not forever). But I know your pain. We all fall sometimes you're not the first !
But I know it hurts. In the end you'll find what you deserve, still I know it hurts.
1 point by grandalf 2 days ago 0 replies      
"Just do your best". This advice is intended to allow focused effort without harping on competitive aspects, but it has the effect of detaching the doer from any sense of responsibility for the outcome, and also leads to self-deception if you lie to yourself and claim that you did your best.

Sometimes it's OK to do less than your best, other times your best isn't good enough. Results are what matter, so figure out what result you want and accomplish it.

2 points by dmoney 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't think anything messed up my life, but if I had it to do over again, I might choose music as a career and programming as a hobby, instead of vice versa.
4 points by J3L2404 2 days ago 0 replies      
No advice messed up my life, I did.
7 points by jiganti 2 days ago 2 replies      
You're special.
1 point by j_baker 2 days ago 0 replies      
"Go to college, get a degree, and get a good GPA."

It isn't that this is necessarily bad advice. It's just that it was bad advice for me.

1 point by ronnier 2 days ago 2 replies      
I was never told this, but I know it is said, and said often that "you can be whatever you want". I don't believe that, nor do I think it's healthy for children to be told it because it's flat out not true.
2 points by bromley 2 days ago 0 replies      
"Just do it, you've got nothing to lose."

In my experience, the people that make this statement rarely understand opportunity cost. It took me years to figure out that it's OK to let new opportunities pass you by if pursuing them would take your time away from the opportunities you're already committed to.

The more successful you get, the more opportunities come your way, so I think this is something successful people have to figure out eventually. If you make a success of one opportunity, it's always at the expense of another. It's good to be selective.

2 points by TotlolRon 2 days ago 0 replies      
Things along these lines:

As long as you've made something that a few users are ecstatic about, you're on the right track. ... It may take a while, but as long as you keep plugging away, you'll win in the end.

That's not realllllllly how it works in the valley.

1 point by GrandMasterBirt 2 days ago 0 replies      
Bad advice:
Don't be a programmer, programmers can't find work and is miserable work.

I had a major passion for it at the time (pre college) and had I taken this advice from everyone in my family, I would probably be working in McDonalds at this point.

3 points by delinquentme 2 days ago 0 replies      
Attractive females are scarce... turns out females actually out number males ...
2 points by ible 2 days ago 0 replies      
"Go with the flow" - it's ok for being friendly, but crap for making the life you want to live
"Run away from a fight" - A knife fight sure, but in grade school and in metaphor it's pretty bad advice.
"Smart is sufficient" - it's not even necessary
1 point by tomotomo 1 day ago 0 replies      
Worst advice: Go back to school and get your bachelors in the middle of an economic bubble.

Wait til it bursts, you can go back then when it's harder to find lucrative work.

2 points by aelaguiz 2 days ago 1 reply      
My best friend told me re: having to pee at night "you just gotta go man otherwise you will just lay there and suffer" since that day I've not had a full nights sleep. I'll never forgive him.
1 point by amorphid 1 day ago 0 replies      
I listened to too many people who told me what to do instead taking in information and making up my own mind.
1 point by codeglomeration 2 days ago 0 replies      
Nothing that messed up my life, but the pieces of bad advice I'm glad I dropped are "you should try to please everyone" and "a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush" which are a rough translation of two Romanian proverbs encouraging obedience and complacency.
As soon as I ignored those I started accomplishing meaningful things.
1 point by ashleyreddy 2 days ago 0 replies      
Growing up I though engineer meant making cool shit. But going to engineering school meant learning things from first pricipals and not making cool shit. I should have gone in to arts and gotten laid more while making stuff on my free time.
1 point by laxj11 2 days ago 0 replies      
"don't try too hard"
I used to be a star student/great work ethic. then i figured that i was working too hard thanks to this advise and my work ethic became horrible and i am struggling to keep my grades. always work at full capacity. itll get you places in life
1 point by tomotomo 1 day ago 0 replies      
Oh, don't get greedy when taking supposed insider tips about a stock :)
1 point by SRSimko 2 days ago 1 reply      
Go to school, get a good education, go get a good job and live happily ever after. Guess what the world changes and that doesn't cut it anymore. Now I believe in making my own future.
1 point by imran 1 day ago 0 replies      
awesome comments guys ! i love hacker news :)
btw totally agree with jdietrich and ericb ..
0 points by buckwild 2 days ago 0 replies      
"I want you to hit me as hard as you can." A whole downward spiral started from there. Until I hit bottom. :-D
1 point by hellrich 2 days ago 0 replies      
Complete your degree - if you don't believe in it, it isn't worth the time!
1 point by loginitin 2 days ago 0 replies      
that "You should fear GOD"....its like a new born baby should fear his mother....utterly useless, rather opposite of truth GOD loves us as desperately as one can possibly imagine
1 point by agentcris 1 day ago 0 replies      
GPA is just a number. It isn't important.
2 points by wtimoney 2 days ago 1 reply      
"Don't bother people"
1 point by neworbit 2 days ago 1 reply      
"People are mostly good"
Review our site: Ditchit.com.au
5 points by bhoung 16 hours ago   7 comments top 5
1 point by twelch 25 minutes ago 0 replies      
I like the idea. My penny pinching mother and father will LOVE the idea. I'm just wondering how you can make any kind of serious money from uber-thrifty people like my parents.

I'm going to spread the word about you guys anyway. Best of luck!

1 point by brc 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Ok, here goes:

On the design front - as this is a new site and probably a new concept for some, I would spend at least half your home page real estate explaining with some very simple graphics what the site does and how. Don't make the assumption that people understand how it works. You have sort of a story in the 'about' section but you need to reshuffle this. Look at 37signals product landing pages for inspiration. The 'surprise me' links are a good idea, I'd just have these on the front page and remove the regular stuff like old monitors.

Your product listing should have clickable images/headers. People expect to make a mouse click anywhere in the general vicinity of a thumbnail and get to the detail of that image.

You've used the term 'ditched time' - but it's not clear what this means. Does this mean the item was available up until this time, or does it mean it is available from this time onwards? I'm assuming that for the person disposing the goods, there is a set time limit for how long they are goign to hang onto stuff before it goes in the tip or charity bin. So you should have an 'available from' and 'final ditch date' or something similar - a window of time in order for the person who wants it to take action - even better would be one day to entice the person collecting to commit to doing it. Short timeframes encourage action. A 'time window' in terms of a clock or bar graph would be a good reminder of this.

You might also want to put in some geo-location so people can enter their postcode and find stuff near to them. It's not that complicated as the geo-location for postcodes data is freely available and not very volatile. It's not difficult to write a basic algorithm that calculates this for you.

Finally, and I'm not sure if you have this or not, but your main problem is going to be stale inventory. You'll need to be aggressive in finding ways of removing old inventory from the site, whether that be in a voting system or aggressive removal of items after x days. If potential users continually find that items they want are already gone they will give up on the site.

For promotion you should do some guerilla action on places where cash strapped people are. I'm thinking university campuses. A good idea would be to get a heap of old junk like pots, pans, couches, wardrobes - stuff which is useful but not desired. Spray paint your logo with a simple template and dump it where people will find it. Something like 'find free stuff with ditchit.com.au'. With any luck you'll get in trouble with the authorities and have a good story to hit the media with and generate your own PR. You could also do this with a roadside dumping of stuff if you think you can locate a good place for it. Think of the sorts of places people park their cars with 'for sale' signs in them.

Alternatively, pro-actively list someone's stuff on the site and then organise users to come around and clean it out, then take the 'story' to a local newspaper (the free type will do). They're desperate for content so you'll have no trouble getting in. Use the 'residents helping residents' angle and they'll eat it up. People who read free local newspapers are bang on your target market for both disposers and collectors of unwanted stuff.

You might also allocate a few hundred bucks for garage sale purchases, and go around and build up some inventory to move through a variety of planted user accounts. Much cheaper promotion than anything else because you need the network effect to kick off your site.

Good luck and congrats for getting to launch.

1 point by ra 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Nice idea. I like the concept and never really thought much of freecycle as it's really nothing more than a semi-managed yahoo group.

Your first big challenge will be to get enough people to use it to generate critical mass.

Maybe you could promote your items as links on freecycle to generate some traffic?

Also, most local forums have some sort of "buy it sell it" area. Given that it's a free service I'm sure you could get some interest via whirlpool, ozbargain, ocau and maybe even more specialised sites like aussiehomebrewer etc.

Start building some links to your site.

Good luck.

1 point by slindstr 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Clickable: http://www.ditchit.com.au

Congratulations on getting something out there - for me that's always the hardest part!

One thing I noticed is that if I remove the value to any of the $_GET variables in your urls I get a mysql error. Not sure how you're handling the data coming in to display listings, categories, etc. but be sure to guard against SQL Injection (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sql_injection).

Also, don't forget to add some meta tags (like description and keywords). I always forget to do stuff like that so I bookmarked http://lite.launchlist.net/ to help myself remember.

1 point by 2bHalfMad 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Create your first product is hard, maintain it is much harder.
Ask HN: Best way to find a technical cofounder?
3 points by rwjackson5 12 hours ago   5 comments top 4
3 points by coryl 7 hours ago 0 replies      
My advice isn't really advice, more of an observation based on my limited world experience. But here it is.

If you are looking for a cofounder, stop looking for a cofounder. Look at like this: if you were looking for a wife or a girlfriend, you would not be asking women whether or not they'd be interested in marrying you on the first date.

All friendships have to start somewhere and have a base of interaction. So why not network and make friends who are programmers? Find people to bounce ideas off of, discuss tech news, ask for opinions, etc. Offer your skills, abilities and network to them, work with them on side projects if possible.

If your not interested in investing your time into something like that, then really what you're looking for is someone to hire to do coding work for you. In that case, find someone to hire.

1 point by smoody 11 hours ago 0 replies      
This site can be a good place for such a thing... however, unless you're willing to give a high-level overview of what you're doing (at a minimum), you probably shouldn't expect very many people to make serious inquiries.
1 point by a5seo 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Startup Weekend and Cofounder Speed Dating. Also hanging around coworking places (and being friendly but not annoying)
1 point by sandyc 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd suggest looking into what would be required to get started technically yourself, and in the ensuing learning process you'd not only educate yourself so that conversations with your future co-founder would have some decent merit, but you might find someone along the way ;)
Ask HN: What are current trends in webdeveloping?
57 points by john33 2 days ago   38 comments top 18
30 points by mattmanser 1 day ago 0 replies      
For the last few years? Looking at the answers so far, I think a lot of us have short memories!

Depending what few means, my list is below. Some of these things may have been the new hotness when you ducked out, but I'm listing what has become mainstream:

- MVC, makes building websites more robust, every major language has a framework for this now

- ORMs, every framework has a pluggable object-relational mapper for getting rid of your basic CRUD code

- Ruby on Rails or Django (Python) are mainstream ways to develop web applications. Both based on MVC.

- People still hate PHP, but it's still incredibly popular

- Internally a lot of companies still use ASP.Net, it's still awful, but ASP.Net MVC is pretty good

- In data transfer JSON is king, XML is dying, SOAP is dead (thank god)

- if you're developing a sales site, include a/b testing

- The rise of the API, lots of online services now offer online APIs. You can also plug a lot of functionality onto your website by using other people's services (e.g. uservoice.com for feedback, visualwebsiteoptimizer.com for a/b testing)

- Javascript frameworks make writing javascript much better, jQuery has pretty much won the framework war

- Lots of plugins are available for the js frameworks. No more having to roll your own table sorting solution

- Cloud Computing can be a cheap, reliable and scalable way to launch an app now. At minimum know about Amazon s3 (storage), but you can now host whole applications on scalable systems

- OAuth, you don't need to roll your own login system anymore for certain types of web application

Oh yeah, and for web design:

- Use divs, not tables for layout. No-one even argues about this one anymore

- Wordpress + a theme is an acceptable way to create a good looking website

- Know the basics of SEO, your clients often will

- As a rule of thumb, if you're nesting lots of divs, you're probably doing it wrong

- use a reset.css. A lot of people also use a grid for layout, something like 960.gs

- Html5, we're getting some more tags (mainstream soonish, probably when IE9 is released as I'm guessing most IE8 users will upgrade; IE8 doesn't really support the good bits). Depressingly being lauded as amazing when it's actually very meh. Still mandatory learning though.

- The browser landscape has shifted dramatically, IE is dying properly now, Firefox is mainstream, Chrome is amazing, Safari is used a lot more because Macs sell more as do IPhones (you probably can't have missed this ;)

17 points by arkitaip 2 days ago 4 replies      
Big trends are:
mobile computing and development: developing apps for smart phones and other mobile devices is the gold rush right now. Every company seems to be working on offering an app right now.

Maturation of social media: it's time for businesses to actually start getting value from social media. Developing useful services, products or even approaches could be very profitable. at the very least, you should know if, when and how to use social media for your business.

html5/css3/js frameworks: right now there are lots of technologies competing to be the platform for next generation web apps/sites. html5/css3 are around the corner and look very promising, even for very complex apps. We are also seeing how javascript frameworks are becoming absolutely necessary tools for everyday web development. Solutions such as node.js take js to a whole another level. These web standards might soon become powerful enough to compete with Flash for audio/video centric sites.

"New" languages: ruby and python continue to gain market shares while there are new promising languages such as Scala and Clojure.

Cloud computing: hate the term all you want but companies such as Amazon are revolutionizing hosting and computing. Also check of what hosting companies such as Linode or Slicehost are up to.

NoSQL: if you are working with very large data sets the various solutions offered by the NoSQL camp might be interesting. Be, however, cautious because it's all very new and challenging to use in production.

Game mechanics aka gamification: more and more sites are using typical game mechanics to create richer user experiences. Facebook, Zynga and Foursquare are the most successful companies doing this.

SEO: the biggest news on the SEO front is ... that it isn't news anymore. Everyone is doing it and so should you - from the very first day. Facebook and Twitter has had a huge impact on SEO and web marketing but the basics are the same: create great content/services and build relationships.

Web design: graphical trends come and go but the things that are here to stay are:
a/b testing;
using web standards (again html5/css3/js) instead of flash, images and other, less flexible/semantic technologies;
better layout support for mobile devices;
css frameworks such as Sass;
CMS frameworks such as Drupal or Wordpress are commonplace, even for very demanding sites.

7 points by andrewvc 1 day ago 0 replies      
One trend, if you can even call it that, that I really like is version controlled virtualized dev environments.

Tools like Vagrant (a toolbox for Chef + Virtualbox pretty much), (http://www.vagrantup.com) Make it possible to version your stack alongside your app and only require one person on the team to maintain it as new requirements for configuration or software get pushed to dev VMs with their regular git updates.

3 points by TamDenholm 2 days ago 1 reply      
Its quite hard to give an unambiguous answer because its quite a vast subject with many niches in it and what some people consider a trend, others might not.

Node.js, has got a lot of press at least here on HN as well as other places. Obviously HTML5/CSS3 and associated technologies now being implemented in the browsers. Javascript is still going very strong, i think it'd be fair to say if you dont know JS well then you're at a significant disadvantage, even with the likes of JQuery that makes it easier. NoSQL is also an already vast area worth research that is continually growing.

Game mechanics, location aware sites, scaling issues and as always API availability come up often.

I've probably missed a few things that others will suggest, but i wouldnt worry about it too much, once you hang around for a while in the communities over the internet you'll notice the trends for yourself.

4 points by olefoo 2 days ago 0 replies      
The good:

* Typography on the web is almost acceptable

* Real time interactivity has a functional standard now (websockets).

The Bad:

* Some people are spending a lot of time papering over the cracks in CSS.

* The semantic web is still 5 years away from mainstream acceptance.

The Ugly:

* Spam you will always have with you.

* OpenID still rules in theory but sucks in practice.

4 points by clyfe 1 day ago 0 replies      
Coding the whole app in JS in the browser and using the server only for proxying data and validation/filtering.

See: SproutCore, Cappuccino, Backbone.js, JavaScript.MVC

Avi Bryant's "Django is obsolete, but so is everything else"


Yehud Katz's


1 point by giardini 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Many here are emphasizing the rise of client-side Javascript methodologies and I would like to play Devil's advocate. Instead I argue that client-side solutions will fade because they are largely unnecessary.

Desktops today have multiple CPUs and high bandwidth. But hand-held devices do not, and that is the sector expected to grow faster. The same solutions that worked on a desktop yesterday with dial-up are needed for hand-held devices tomorrow.

Yet, as wifi proliferates, bandwidth increases and latency decreases, the distinction between server and client fades and where processing occurs becomes less important. The least expensive solution will likely prevail. It seems that server-side centralization of processing is more likely both in the short and long run, despite the current plethora of client-side tools, frameworks and methodologies.

My assumptions include the first 4 of the "8 Fallacies of Distributed Computing" (below). But my belief is that market forces will drive acceptance in hand-helds of what has already been accepted in cellphones (that is, inexpensive, unreliable, insecure, limited-bandwidth solutions), and simultaneously drive network solution providers to more reliable, secure, higher-bandwith capability and so those maxims no longer fully apply (or, better said, the customer no longer cares).


The 8 Fallacies of Distributed Computing:

1. The network is reliable

2. Latency is zero

3. Bandwidth is infinite

4. The network is secure

5. Topology doesn't change

6. There is one administrator

7. Transport cost is zero

8. The network is homogeneous.

1 point by bd 2 days ago 0 replies      
Big thing in 2011 will be hardware accelerated 3d.

You know the time is becoming right when, after many failed attempts, there is not just one but three viable platforms: WebGL, Adobe Molehill and Unity on Google's NaCl.

All three should finally pop into mainstream sometime during the next year.

Disclaimer: I'm biased, spending a lot of time on WebGL recently [1] ;)

[1] https://github.com/alteredq/three.js

2 points by DanielRibeiro 2 days ago 1 reply      
The support of other languages other than javascript. Mentioned by Joshua Block on a recent panel (http://www.infoq.com/presentations/Future-of-Programming-Lan...), but can be seen by the adoption of coffeescript, and by the project that compiles LLVM languages into javascript: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1941447
2 points by alexro 2 days ago 0 replies      
'Mobile' and 'Location' is the new 'web 2.0' setup at the moment. Everybody can spell these at their sleep but few know how to make profit out of it.

Another under-explored opportunity is 'social games' where unlike traditional games people focus more on social interaction than on the game dynamics and interface quality - think minecraft or farmville

1 point by zokier 1 day ago 1 reply      
It's interesting to read the comments. Many mention that Ruby is still growing, but I have the feeling that its already peaked and now fading[1]. I also thought that NoSQL was just a silly fad, mostly being laughed at[2].

[1] http://www.google.com/trends?q=ruby+web%2C+python+web

[2] http://www.xtranormal.com/watch/6995033/

1 point by siculars 1 day ago 0 replies      
-nosql: 'post-relational' or 'non-relational' persistent data stores.

-nodejs: server side javascript

-api mashups

-oauth and all the identity systems. facebook, twitter, google

-location: foursquare and the like

-mobile apps

-html5/css3 will be the new hotness

2 points by EJE 1 day ago 0 replies      
In addition to the NoSQL camp, it seems that a new method to replace tier 3 programming is CouchDB. Specifically, the CouchApp.org that was posted yesterday on HN. The CouchApp "can be served directly to the browser from CouchDB, without any other software in the stack".


1 point by Pewpewarrows 2 days ago 2 replies      
Much less of an emphasis on the "enterprise-y" languages and frameworks like Java and .NET, and people finally realizing how terrible PHP is as a language. Python and Ruby continue to gain lots of momentum, specifically Django and Rails.

Uing HTML5/CSS3 now, long before the specs will be completed with things like the HTML5Shiv, or my favorite, Modernizr.

Because of the ever-increasing popularity of frameworks like Django/Rails, it's very easy to write your API first, then dogfood it back onto your main website and mobile apps. It's the best way to quickly identify flaws in your own API and constantly be striving to improve it. Some companies are even choosing to get their mobile development done before their website even completes.

Connectivity is huge now. Whether it's not needing to roll your own user registration or auth system anymore by just using OpenID, or keeping your users connected with their favorite social sites while still on yours through OAuth, your website is no longer mutually exclusive from the rest of the internet. Average users almost expect you to be social and integrated.

3 points by elroyjetson 2 days ago 0 replies      
Mobile. I can't emphasize that enough. Mobile is getting smaller and more capable with every generation. Technology that everyone agree's has huge potential in this space, like augmented reality and geolocation, have yet to produce any clear winner must have products, so the market is wide open in this space.
2 points by to 1 day ago 0 replies      
nodejs & mongodb are the most important trends for me.
an evented language and a easy scalable nosql db.
0 points by pbhjpbhj 2 days ago 0 replies      
Define "web developing". I know it sounds silly, but it means different things to different people - I'm a lone web designers in my spare time, some people call that web developing. Do you really mean just backend client-server interactions or do you mean GUI, UX, SEO and what-not up front too?
Ask HN: To go open source or not? I can't make up my mind
12 points by kiriappeee 13 hours ago   19 comments top 11
6 points by jdietrich 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Unless you solve a specific problem that is worth a lot of money to businesses, the intrinsic value of your software is probably much smaller than you think. Most of the value in most software businesses comes from development, design, optimisation, sales, marketing and so on. In particular, selling software to large companies is a slow, expensive process that has little if anything to do with the quality of your software. You mention AI and NLP in the comments, which makes me slightly nauseous as regards the actual commercial prospects of your software - such projects tend to be academically impressive but monstrously expensive and near-impossible to market. Obviously I'm purely speculating, but I'd suggest getting your product out of academia as quickly as you can and talk to your potential customers. It's very easy to waste years of your life and a pile of VC money on a brilliant product that nobody wants. If you haven't read Steve Blank's "Four Steps to the Epiphany", stop reading this and go buy a copy now.

Open sourcing a project has many potential benefits. It looks excellent on your CV and is usually the best way of getting hired by someone you'd actually want to work for, as it proves that you can actually program. If your software becomes widely used, there are excellent opportunities for consulting, writing proprietary add-ons, books, speaking engagements and so on.

You say "i don't want some big company coming and taking my source and putting it into their product even if they do credit me". In fact, that's exactly what you want, because overnight you become the world's leading expert on a product by a big company, with everything that entails. GPL it and they can't distribute the software without also distributing the source. They can use the software internally of course, but guess who they're going to want to hire if it becomes mission-critical? That's the basic reason to open source a piece of software - it opens the possibility for other people to develop, market and become reliant upon software you wrote.

If you're willing to bet every penny you have and every minute of your life for the next ten years, then make a business of it as a proprietary product. You've got a great deal to lose, but you could end up richer than Croesus. If you open source it, all sorts of opportunities may open up for you with very little effort on your part.

8 points by daleharvey 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Professors of computer science arent always the best people to take business advice from.

First question to ask is do you want to make a business from your project? if so, then you really need to worry about IP rights, which are commonly given to the university if I am not mistaken.

Assuming you do want to make a business and IP issues can be worked around, then you can begin to question whether open source is best or not. Without knowing more about the project its impossible to give any suggestion either way, all I can say is being open source does not mean you cannot build a business by any means, a lot of people conflate open source = no money but that is not at all true.

1 point by kiriappeee 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Ok it would clearly help to tell what the idea is. So what I am building currently is an engine and a commercial level software on top of it to automate the checking of stylistic consistency in a document. The application of it is pretty broad but to sum it up into a few points

1) Plagiarism detection in education. It can be used as a means to detect plagiarism of individuals outsourcing their documents (thesis) through identification of differences in style (inconsistency).

2) Forensic studies. Letters submitted to court have often been suspected of being doctored by others determined to put a suspect behind bars at any cost. Can help there by identifying inconsistencies in style.

3) Literature studies. Educational tool to help professional creative writers improve their consistency in style

This can be expanded in many other ways, such as history where the software could aid in solving mysteries of disputed authorship of texts. The possibilities grow even more if you think of it merging with other types of bio metric studies.

Right now what I am building the software under is the 1st point and it is titled Multiple Authorship Detection Automation. Hence the interest from the academic field :). Ok. Hit me now.

1 point by michaelchisari 8 hours ago 0 replies      
You can make a lot of money on open source (Red Hat, Wordpress.com, etc), but you have to approach it from a whole different perspective and business model.

What is definitely a lot more difficult, even impossible, is the insane level of valuation that closed/proprietary companies have (ie, facebook, twitter, etc). Which means that your valuation will have to more accurately reflect your revenues and profits.

Which may not be a bad thing. It definitely makes it harder starting out, VC's are still very wary of open source, but it keeps you more honest in the long run.

If you're looking to get big fast, and cash out early, go proprietary, and ride the wave. If you want to build a solid company, you can definitely do that with open source.

2 points by YuriNiyazov 10 hours ago 1 reply      
It would really help if you described the idea here. If you are considering open sourcing the project itself, then I am sure you can describe what it is without being afraid that someone can run off and copy the idea.
1 point by psawaya 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Is this an ethical or pragmatic dilemma? If it's the latter, going open source could be a great or not-so-great business decision, depending on your business model. So you should tell us more about your project.

If it's the former, you can find plenty of debates on the ethics of free software online.

1 point by tgflynn 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Without knowing more about what you're doing I'm hesitant to give advice.

However what I would say is if you think the work is something that can be applied more or less directly to real world problems, represents a significant improvement on the current state of the art and you have potential investors, well personally I wouldn't open source it.

If that's not the case open sourcing the implementation might make sense. One advantage to you is that it might help you get a good job, if that is your goal.

1 point by kingsidharth 12 hours ago 1 reply      
If you want to go Open Source, go by all means. You can still make money by selling enterprise solutions to big names out there.

Think about it this way, if this project of yours becomes a big name, then you will be a respectable figure. And then it will be easier for you to raise funding or whatever for any of your project.

But you won't need that really, open source can support the founders - it almost always does.

1 point by mrpixel 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Hmm... I suggest you keep it closed and try to make some money out of it (don't look at me like that, Mr. Stallman) and if doesn't work out just make it open - and should it become sort of a success make some green with it indirectly (e.g. get nicer jobs).

What is it anyway?

1 point by Mithrandir 12 hours ago 0 replies      
My personal opinion is to "open-source" (or, more technically correct, free) it.

If I say anymore, I'll get DNed. :)

1 point by krung 5 hours ago 0 replies      
"I still have this urge to go open source" -- perhaps you try the Freemium Model ?
Boston area Comcast DNS down?
6 points by madmaze 12 hours ago   8 comments top 7
2 points by dugmartin 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Comcast DNS was not resolving several domains for me last week so I switched over to Google's DNS. Use and to switch if you can't resolve anything.
1 point by desigooner 11 hours ago 0 replies      
It's back up for what it's worth .. confirmed with a couple of people .. was down for a couple of hours ..
1 point by wmf 12 hours ago 0 replies      
So switch to a different DNS server and see if it works.
1 point by ryutin 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm having the same problem around dc. Change dns to use google: or . Problem solved.
1 point by peterpaul 11 hours ago 0 replies      
same here, setup and as default on my router and its allset
2 points by gsivil 12 hours ago 1 reply      
yes I have the same problem here in Cambridge
1 point by madmaze 11 hours ago 0 replies      
it seems presistent connections wernt affected..
Ask HN: Does YC fund video game start-ups?
14 points by waru 14 hours ago   7 comments top 3
9 points by pclark 14 hours ago 1 reply      
3 points by egometry 13 hours ago 1 reply      
2 points by mkramlich 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't think that what YC provides and does well really "fits" what a fledgling video game developer needs. I can think of scenarios where it could fit. Just not in the general case.
Ask HN: Feedback on my mobile motivation site
5 points by trickjarrett 13 hours ago   4 comments top 3
1 point by trickjarrett 13 hours ago 0 replies      
1 point by kiriappeee 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Tested on chrome. works fine. tested on htc desire. didn't work. Browser version webkit 3.1 . I swiped.. tapped.. swiped.. several times. Then it suddenly started changing and all the taps and swipes happened with a really delayed reaction.

Oh but i like the site a lot! :) cheers

1 point by cantbecool 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Looks and works good. I like the quote "Strength is the product of struggle."
Ask HN: Why does no one talk about working or interviewing for Apple?
133 points by mmatey 5 days ago   90 comments top 31
86 points by jaysonelliot 4 days ago 1 reply      
I interviewed with Apple last year, and I wasn't asked to sign an NDA. That said, I didn't actually see anything that would have required one.

I didn't apply to Apple - they found me. A year later, I'm still not sure how that happened, since I don't know anyone there. It could have been through a public talk about user experience that I gave (the position was for UX director of the Apple web site), it might have been through something I wrote, or it could have been as mundane as a LinkedIn search.

I went through a series of phone interviews in the usual ascending order. Everyone I spoke with was very sincere and conversational, there were no MS or Google-style "tests" to go through. We looked at work I'd done, I talked about my approach to UX, we got to know one another a bit.

Eventually, they flew me out to Cupertino (I live in NYC), and put me up at a nice hotel near the Apple campus. I spent a full day in an interview room, meeting various members of the team I would be working with, both above and below the position I was being considered for.

The only time we left the conference room where the interviews were happening was to take a stroll over to the cafe for lunch. I went with most of the team, and we talked about day to day life at Apple, what it's like working with tight security, the fancy Apple buses that take employees from SF and the East Bay to work, people's personal projects and hobbies, etc.

I got some insight into the way Apple works, and predictably, there was none of the corporate silliness that you'd find in a less confident company, none of the buzzwords or process for the sake of process. I could see that they all worked incredibly hard, but the fulfillment on everyone's faces made me want very much to be a part of it.

In the end, I didn't get the job - they ended up either not filling the position at all, changing their team structure, I'm not sure - they left me feeling very good about myself and the experience, probably the best way that I've ever not gotten a job.

The main impression I was left with was that I had just wandered back to a pre-dot com era where people worked incredibly hard to make great things, rather than to maximize profits or burn towards an IPO or whatever. It was one of the most human job interviews I'd ever been through.

43 points by KuraFire 5 days ago 5 replies      
For the people working there, talking about it on a public forum is cause enough to get fired, and hiding behind an online alias is not going to give you enough protection. Apple is full of really smart people, who like their jobs well enough not to risk losing them so casually and for such little incentive.

As for the process of interviewing: for a lot of the more interesting jobs at Apple, interviewing involves signing an NDA. Hence, whether or not they end up getting hired, they're contractually prevented from talking about the interview process.

Having worked there in the past myself but not anymore, I can speak only _somewhat_ freely about it all. The interview process can be intense, taking up to several weeks and with a minimum of 4 interviews, but usually 7 or 8. Often, for practicality reasons (travel to Cupertino), all those interviews are done in a single day, and if it's more than 8 it'll be done across two+ days. As for the specifics of an average interview itself, I can't really say anything.

And as for working there, my own experience was largely fantastic, but it wasn't for me in the end. Apple's campus is by far the nicest I've seen of all the major companies (and I've seen all the ones in Silicon Valley), and though there is always a constant pressure, stress and a major (and insane) deadline to make, working there is incredibly satisfying. Unless, perhaps, you're at MobileMe. But maybe that was just me.

26 points by stevefink 5 days ago 1 reply      
Probably because most of the people working there would like to keep their jobs.
13 points by cosmicray 5 days ago 1 reply      
There were 3 basic periods at Apple: the beginnings (aka Steve I), the Dark Ages (roughly '85-'97), and Steve Returns.

During the Dark Ages, Apple leaked internal information badly. One of the first things that Steve did upon return was try to clamp down (and fire people if necessary). He even had one of those WW-II posters "Loose lips sink ships" tacked up. And there is a certain truth to that. Competition has heated up (esp in the mobile space). Anyone and everyone would love to know what Apple is working on now, and what they will announce next month. Witness the kerkuffle with gawker over the iphone 4 engineering test device.

So people at Apple learn to say nothing, or move on down the road.

3 points by geebee 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is a really interesting question, and got me thinking - maybe google's brutal interview process has a secondary purpose - to increase the allure of working at google?

This reminds me of a business case I read once about the difference between Mac Donalds and Burger King. That Mac Donalds uses a batch processing method that is faster but requires a higher skill level, whereas BK uses an assembly line, and that this affects their advertising. MacD's ads often double as recruiting ads, whereas BK tends to emphasize "have it your way" (easier to customize when you make burgers one at a time).

Maybe Google wants to interview more people than necessary, and subject them to an interview that leaves them thinking "man, you need to be at the top of your game to work there!" as a way of increasing the prestige of working there (and perhaps getting more top applicants?)

The thing is, I don't really see why this strategy would apply more to google than apple (unlike the MD vs BK thing...)

One thing is sure - devs are all aware of google's notorious interview process, but we (well, I should really just speak for myself, so I) never really hear these stories about apple.

14 points by Bud 4 days ago 0 replies      
I interviewed for Apple earlier this month. I didn't get the position, but I really enjoyed the challenging interview process and meeting the 7 people who interviewed me.

I had a phone interview with a manager, and then a three-hour process at Apple HQ in which I was interviewed by three pairs of employees from the team I was applying to work with. I was very impressed that they devoted so much employee time to talking with me. They were very friendly people, and asked an interesting variety of questions, ranging from puzzles to how I'd handle various theoretical work scenarios to technical questions of various kinds.

The gent who recommended me told me that he had to apply six times before getting hired, so I'm planning to keep applying, for other positions.

There. Now someone has posted about interviewing at Apple. Happy? :)

11 points by theDoug 5 days ago 1 reply      
My first guess would be respect for the company. Secondarily, plenty of results in google reveal that the policy (if somewhat unofficially) is that you can say you work at Apple on your blog, etc, but not really blog /about/ Working At Apple. Even if there's no official policy on it, it's just better taste to say "The thoughts of John Doe" and not represent oneself as "John Doe of Apple."

"There's a PR department for that."

All that said, there are plenty of writers/bloggers who work at Apple. Randsinrepose.com is a personal favorite, and contains the writing work of Michael Lopp who may be an engineering manager at the fruit company. This policy of sorts goes much further back than iPhone/Android or any other blog-hyped non-competition.

7 points by xentronium 5 days ago 2 replies      
I believe that they've got somewhat strictest policies on talking about internal stuff.

Well, at least that's what some bloggers write about [1] and I haven't heard about any counter-proofs.

[1] http://gizmodo.com/5427058/apple-gestapo-how-apple-hunts-dow...

40 points by naithemilkman 5 days ago 2 replies      
The first rule of working at Apple - No one talks about Apple.
5 points by limmeau 5 days ago 0 replies      
When Glyph Lefkowitz (of the Twisted project) was hired, he posted unboxing pics of his job offer to his blog (which has since been closed down). He praised the usability of the letter.

Second-hand mention in: http://www.geek.com/articles/apple/unboxing-an-apple-job-off...

6 points by pitdesi 4 days ago 1 reply      
I interviewed at Apple for a product manager role. I have an MBA, and they were an on-campus recruiter. I interviewed on campus, then they called me to tell me I was going to have a 2nd round interview in Cupertino. 2 weeks later, I haven't heard anything and I am scheduled to be in Mountain View for a GOOG interview. I email them, telling them that I'd be happy to come in and save myself the time and them the travel expense...

They email me a week later (post my interview) and tell me "that should work..." They really have a crappy set of recruiters working there. Ultimately, I needed to accept another job (ended up being at AMZN), and Apple never actually got back to me. I've heard some similar stories about recruiter ineptitude there.

3 points by adamtj 5 days ago 1 reply      
Whether it's intentional or coincidence, it's interesting how it parallels their products. There are approximately three people who work for Apple. They are the shiny, slick interface. Everything else is an implementation detail.

Jonathan Ive is like OS X. Nobody knows how OS X actually works, but they know the name and that it is why their screen shows such pretty things.

7 points by zandorg 5 days ago 0 replies      
There's folklore.org but that's like 25 years ago.
16 points by fogus 5 days ago 1 reply      
3 points by HectorRamos 4 days ago 0 replies      
I interviewed for Apple a few months ago. I didn't get to the NDA signing part (I backed out because another opportunity came up during the process) but still wouldn't talk about the interviews I went through because I still hope to go back and try again someday (in the slim chance that our current venture doesn't work out).
8 points by noobuntu 5 days ago 0 replies      
The man in the black turtleneck will find you if you talk
3 points by epynonymous 5 days ago 1 reply      
but i think the author's got a point, you never hear about any stalwarts of software dev defecting to apple, do you?
2 points by the_jc 4 days ago 0 replies      
I blogged about my experiences both in Apple Retail, and in "corporate" Apple for a number of years. Eventually I took it all down, though not due to any pressure from the company. I took it down because I was inundated with emails from 15 year olds who wanted to know how to get a job in an AppleStore. But I worked for Apple for 6 years in Retail and AppleCare, and interfaced extensively with hardware engineering. I'm not sure I'd have anything interesting to say, but if you have any questions, I'll try my best to answer them.
2 points by misnomer 4 days ago 0 replies      
I worked at Apple EMEIA for a year and, truth be told, the interview process there depends.

It depends on where you want to work. If it's in Cupertino I'm told it's a completely different story to the EMEIA office. Having worked there, I can vouch for there really being a culture of absolute secrecy. It's quite common for one team to not know what's going on in the other corner of the room with another team. Secrecy has gotten even more prevalent in the EMEIA office (the office being made up of project managers alone, it was formerly less secretive than Apple World Wide/Cupertino) since the Gizmodo iPhone 4 affair. As regards fear related to Apple's security paranoia? It was moreover regarded as an irritation.

Going back to the interview process at Apple EMEIA (I can't say for Apple WW), it depends entirely upon who interviews you, which team, for what role, and what level. There is no set pattern. There may be an NDA for the interview process, there may not. It depends on the role and the person you are seeing. I know some who've had only two interviews, some who've had nine. It depends.

1 point by momotomo 4 days ago 0 replies      
The NDA comments across this thread are interesting, in the company I work for we NDA on just about every single external interaction. We're an IP black hole - anything you do using company resources (including sitting interviews) is considered our IP and is controlled as such.

We often get PHD students in to do research for us, and we compensate the hell out of them - because nothing they do ever leaves the walls. They sign a series of NDA and IP related contracts up front and don't get to use any external assets internally or vice versa.

The structure of the business itself is a mess of interwoven black box systems / IP and our own work, so it gets pretty aggressive / tight lipped whenever anyone is dealing with other people / companies, even internal branches.

1 point by darwinGod 5 days ago 0 replies      
Regarding NDA's - Don't most companies sign some sort of an NDA with potential hires/ employees??Still, interview questions of most companies are available if you google well enough.
But yeah, the difference is humongous- Apple doesnt seem to have the faintest thing similar to mini-microsoft :-)
1 point by madridorama 4 days ago 0 replies      
i have a friend that works at apple, and other than providing a vague job description and saying they like it, they don't discuss details.

i think it's the culture, your work speaks for itself. he puts in long hours (on par with goog really) and has a great salary and perks.

1 point by AlexC04 4 days ago 0 replies      
The first rule of interviewing at apple is that you do not talk about interviewing at apple.
1 point by anonymon 4 days ago 0 replies      
If you go to Apple, you might be surprised to find out that you've already agreed to some form of NDA with them. Especially, for example, if you're a part of any Apple Developer program. They might not always feel compelled to remind you of this, however.

I wouldn't know, though; I don't think I recall ever having been to Apple. No, not in a million years. I do find this Apple sweatshirt which I must've found at a thrift store to be especially comfy, however.

1 point by dnsworks 4 days ago 0 replies      
Remember the Oompa Loompas?

Same concept.

1 point by JustinD 4 days ago 0 replies      
It's simple.

If you want the job,

And you're smart,

You'll keep your goddamn mouth shut.

1 point by lwhi 5 days ago 2 replies      
Fear is a man's best friend.
1 point by te_chris 4 days ago 0 replies      
Sounds like a cult tbh - and I'm a mac fan.
1 point by bpm140 4 days ago 1 reply      
The first rule of Fight Club?
-2 points by rohan037 5 days ago 0 replies      
We all talk about how Megan Fox is hot, but then return to designing a descript schemantic intended to woo the girl next door.

And I dont mean to say that apple is out of one's league.

-2 points by revorad 5 days ago 2 replies      
There's enough talk here about Apple, maybe not about working or interviewing there, but honestly there's just way too much talk about big companies on HN already; we don't need more.

What's the point of this meta thread anyway? Are you planning to work at Apple? If so, why don't you just ask specific direct questions about that?

Flagged for zero content.

Ask HN: Working on Startup projects at night and weekends
10 points by zonked 1 day ago   6 comments top 5
3 points by geophile 1 day ago 1 reply      
My story:

In 1995 I had a technical idea underlying a product, and tried to do it at my current company. It was an uphill slog due to lots of resistance, and it just wasn't happening. Java 1.0 had just come out. My company was thinking about client-side Java (which is how Java was initially positioned). My idea made more sense server-side and I liked Java. I decided that my idea was potentially useful and decided to do it on my own. I gave myself eight months to build something and then figure out what to do with it. I had no idea how to sell it, market it, did zero market research. I have a very understanding wife.

Eight months later, prototype is done and working great, and I had been trying to find interested parties. A tech giant in Redmond was "interested", but only because they were hiring people in my area of expertise. They were going to buy the software to hire me. It was basically a signing bonus. But I visited and could not stand the place.

A friend of a friend put me in touch with a VC who put me in touch with a local startup who bought my software for a decent amount of equity. The startup went on to a good exit and I lived happily ever after.

Obviously, I was extremely lucky. The idea I just had to work on happened to actually have some value. But I just as easily could have been fooling myself. Things are very different now, due to open source, and I think that the path I took wouldn't work any longer. Certainly not for the technology I worked on, (there are now many open source products available), but obviously lots of software that used to be proprietary now isn't.

As for what you should do: Do you have a technical idea, requiring innovative software? (I'm assuming you are a software engineer.) Or do you have a business idea that requires only well-understood technology? If it's the latter, and if you are primarily a techie, the risk of fooling yourself is much higher.

No matter what you do, be very careful about IP issues with your current employer. They can lay claim to anything you do while you are employed. Review your employee agreement and think about whether your idea overlaps anything your company cares about. I suggest talking to a lawyer with some experience in IP and employee agreements if you decide to pursue your idea while employed. (As I was about to sell my software to the startup, my old employer accused me of stealing trade secrets, which nearly killed the deal. They had no basis for the charge -- they were on a fishing expedition. But it made my life miserable for several weeks.)

2 points by mgkimsal 1 day ago 0 replies      
Anything can be achieved (OK - I'll never play for the NBA, but almost anything can be achieved).

You may have some legal issues regarding IP if you stay at the current gig and have any degree of intermingling of your 'work' and your 'side work'. You should probably review your current work contract, and perhaps seek legal advice on this point.

You will never have enough time for your side project if you're working full time for someone else. That said, many people working full time for themselves still don't have enough time. At least some of this comes down to being disciplined and focused. You can practice being disciplined and focused while keeping your fulltime gig, at least for a while longer.

"Burn rate" or "runway" - how much do you have in terms of savings to see you through? Are you independently wealthy, or do you need a steady stream of income? If so, calculate out how much you need, then determine what your comfort level is in terms of 'i could survive X months with $0 income'. My tolerance for risk isn't what it used to be - I'd want at least a solid year of expenses banked before I struck out on a venture. But you may be different - everyone is (kids, bills, etc).

As romantic as 'quit the day job!' is, have a strong plan in place first (imo). You can accomplish quite a lot 'on the side' while testing the waters before quitting the full time gig. Not everyone can, but many can.

I think we had a session on this at http://indieconf.com a couple weeks ago. :)

1 point by bherms 1 day ago 0 replies      
It depends on the project really. I've been doing the nights/weekends thing for a while now for a new startup of mine and I couldn't be happier. Could I launch quicker if I quit my job? Absolutely. Is it necessary? Nope. If you're happy with your job and enjoy receiving a steady income, keep your job, work on the project until you get a real gauge of what you want to put into it and how quickly you want to launch, then make a decision then. My personal plan is to stick with the job, work on the project until I'm ready to launch, then to see in a small test market what the viability and money potential really is. Then, if I think it looks good, I'll quit and dedicate more time. I'm obviously biased, but it's absolutely possible to build a product in your free time.
1 point by adamramadhan 20 hours ago 0 replies      
yes it will, do you know github ? its a side project btw, try see https://gist.github.com/6443 . a must read for side projects.
1 point by JerryH 1 day ago 0 replies      
Personally I left and went for it 100%, then I'm 100% committed to getting it done, and don't have the fall back excuse or mentality of the "day job".
Ask HN: Which mobile advertising platforms do you use?
11 points by slindstr 1 day ago   discuss
Ask HN: Would you like to see a book on Racket?
46 points by noelwelsh 4 days ago   13 comments top 7
1 point by andrewcooke 3 days ago 1 reply      
I would. But I'd like it to be something more than introductory. So, say, at least half the code should include static type, there should be good coverage of readers, expanders, etc.

I think there's a gap for a good language that's both powerful and easy to use. Scala has screwed up with 2.8, being overly-complex, and Oracle (not Scala's fault, obviously). Meanwhile, Python is continuing to expand, but people become frustrated with its limitations. Racket could be the next step for such people, but they don't want an introduction - they want the real meat.

2 points by mahmud 3 days ago 2 replies      
Calling it "Racket" is just appealing to the cognizanti. Put "PLT Scheme" in the title and more might be interested.
1 point by djacobs 3 days ago 0 replies      
Yes. The only reason I chose Clojure over Racket was the increasing popularity of "Practical programming" books for Clojure. Let's see Practical Common Lisp in Racket?
1 point by pdelgallego 3 days ago 0 replies      
I, definitely, will buy a book about how to write my own programming language in Rakcet.

I has been following Lisp In Small Pieces, but I will love to see something that teach to write different kind of languages like Forth, a OO system in Racket, compile to Javascript, ...

Good luck.

1 point by kulpreet 3 days ago 0 replies      
Racket is a great place to start with functional programming. We just spent one-third of the school
year in AP Comp. Sci. playing around with it before starting JAVA. I'd definitely be interested in learning more.
1 point by terra_t 3 days ago 1 reply      
19 upvotes but no comments?
1 point by spdegabrielle 3 days ago 1 reply      
The book needs a section on the IDE & plugin system.
And the logic programming stuff too.
(you said you wanted suggestions)
Remind HN: Unicode hacks
35 points by olalonde 3 days ago   19 comments top 6
28 points by tptacek 3 days ago 3 replies      
This is a classic web security problem; most famously, WinAPI systems have a "flattening" function that would convert things like PRIME U+2032 into ASCII 0x27 (the tick that terminates SQL statements). Database engines can also interpret character sets differently than the rest of the app stack, leading to similar problems. UTF-7 cursed Wordpress for something like a year in which multiple preauth SQL injection flaws were discovered.

The answer to these problems is whitelist filtering and neutralization; if a character isn't known-safe, substitute its HTML entity alternative. If you're writing blacklist filters that need to know what spaces are, you're already playing to lose.

4 points by olalonde 3 days ago 3 replies      
Seems like Twitter is "vulnerable" to U+00A0 tweets: http://twitter.com/#!/olivierll/status/7852651047817216

For those who are wondering, you can type Unicode codes directly from your keyboard (Ubuntu: Ctrl-Shift-u, other OS: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unicode_input)

2 points by VMG 3 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting - just tested it in python and everything is removed with str.strip(), except "\ufeff", which also has zero width.

    >>> print("\ufeff#")
>>> print(len("\ufeff#".strip()))

1 point by olalonde 3 days ago 0 replies      
For more details on the potential visual spoofs: http://unicode.org/reports/tr36/#visual_spoofing
7 points by citricsquid 3 days ago 1 reply      
1 point by stwe 3 days ago 1 reply      
‏There are also other unicode hacks like changing ‏ text direction (U+200F)‏.
Ask HN: How many people would buy a 1:1 monitor?
8 points by seanalltogether 1 day ago   12 comments top 6
2 points by arn 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't need 1:1, but I'd love some large format 4:3 sizes.

I have a 30" 16:10 Apple Cinema display as my main monitor and a rotated 4:3 20" HP LCD on my right. While I like the 30" monitor, I'll admit the sides of the screen go to waste. But I love the height, and I like being able to compartmentalize onto the second monitor.

In my mind, a great setup would be two 4:3 equivalents of the 30" display side by side. So instead of 2560 x 1600, it would be 2133x1600. Same height, less width. And I like having two because of the organization issue.

4 points by pwg 1 day ago 0 replies      
Because 1080 vertical lines equals a HDTV 1080p image size, and economies of scale mean that 1080 pixel tall display panels are less expensive than their cousins (because they double as televisions). And because they are less expensive, every monitor maker has decided that "1080p should be enough for everyone".
4 points by michaelelliot 1 day ago 1 reply      
Our eyes are positioned next to each other on the horizontal plane. This is why a screen ratio with a larger width rather than height makes sense.
2 points by wwortiz 1 day ago 2 replies      
Buy one and rotate it sideways (all modern OSs have support for this and plenty of monitors rotate freely).
1 point by bherms 1 day ago 1 reply      
You can still buy 4:3 monitors. I have a 27" center monitor with a 19" monitor on each side. I love it. Unfortunately, though, 1600x1200 monitors are pretty pricey for the size.
1 point by bengarvey 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think it's because it's easier to move your head side to side than up and down.
Where to start in London?
20 points by olliejudge 23 hours ago   12 comments top 9
3 points by ig1 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Startup Weekend Cambridge is in a couple of weeks and should be a good place to meet people.

I wrote a general list of london startup events a while back:

4 points by MoreMoschops 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Hit the streets around Silicon roundabout. Find their blogs, get yourself invited to the Friday pub trips (or just turn up and get talking; if you've got what it takes to start and run a business successfully, that won't be a problem for you).


1 point by benreyes 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Also take a look at Lanyrd http://lanyrd.com/places/london/

My advice with the London tech scene is be wary when you go to too many events and not spend enough time building. Try to be selective after a while. Read this post in TechCrunch EU that pretty hits it on the head: http://eu.techcrunch.com/2010/09/23/the-london-startup-scene...

I think everyone in the London tech scene has the experience of going to one too many events. I was also talking to someone at HNLondon who recounted stories of hot-tubs and naked ladies back in the pre-facebook Paul Carr days. Yeah pretty much sums it up.

Also if your interested in general hackery London Hackspace is a pretty good place: http://london.hackspace.org.uk
Tuesday nights are pretty much open nights. We have a laser cutter, MakerBot and loads of other fun equipment (incl. homebrew beer)

2 points by carterac 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I find that events are a good starting point. You can check out the startupdigest.com for London.
2 points by agaton 18 hours ago 0 replies      
http://www.techhub.com/ is a good start, especially TechHubFriday.
1 point by ljf 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I'll be starting a monthly networking event for creative professionals shortly. I'll post a link here. if you add your email to profile I'll email you when it starts.
1 point by jaggs 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Join the London OpenCoffee meetup at meetup.com, as they hold regular weekly meetings every Thursday in Central London for tech start up folk, and you should be able to get some good contacts there.



1 point by _grrr 21 hours ago 1 reply      
The MiniBar meetup - last Friday of every month - is for internet professionals and entrepreneurs (nr. Brick Lane / Liverpool St) http://www.meetup.com/minibar/

They are well attended, have guest speakers, and best of all - free beer ;-)

1 point by chomchom 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Lots of good people meet at the Londroid meetup. We'll be having another one soon and you'd be very welcome: http://www.meetup.com/android
Cat *.c >tmp.c && gcc -O3 -fwhole-program $YOURFLAGS -o ohmygawditsfast tmp.c
11 points by mrpixel 19 hours ago   7 comments top 3
5 points by wtallis 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Or, just use LLVM's link time optimization:


1 point by amock 17 hours ago 0 replies      
It's not a C compilers, but Mlton is an interesting SML whole program compiler. There's also JHC for Haskell which is nifty but can't quite compile all Haskell programs. I also found the Stalin Scheme compiler very interesting since it seems like a whole program compiler for a dynamically typed language like Scheme should be able to do a lot of interesting things.
1 point by leppie 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Why not just pass *.c to gcc ? Same thing isn't it?
Wikileaks attack fake?
5 points by oomkiller 18 hours ago   7 comments top
2 points by mfukar 18 hours ago 2 replies      
Maybe you should ask this guy [1].

[1] http://twitter.com/#!/th3j35t3r

Ask HN: Are early adopters rich?
18 points by phillian 22 hours ago   31 comments top 17
9 points by jedberg 20 hours ago 2 replies      
I would personally say the opposite is true for me. When I was in college (and poor, living paycheck to paycheck), I would try every new thing. Mp3? What's that? Let me download some. This thing has some kinks? No problem, I'll figure it out and post my findings on a newsgroup.

But now, as my income has gone up and my free time has gone down, I find myself doing less early adopting, and waiting a bit longer till all the college kids work out the kinks for me. Sure, I'm still an early adopter in the grand scheme of things (I dropped cable a few years ago for torrents, for example), but I'm definitely picking things up later in their lifespans than I used to.

3 points by waterlesscloud 19 hours ago 1 reply      
I haven't had cable since the early 90s. I got frustrated at how annoying it was to set up service with them when I'd be paying $1000+ a year to them. So I gave up trying to make it easy for them to take my money and just never signed up up when I moved. I don't miss it, and I wish all the companies involved doom and gloom.
1 point by jerf 14 hours ago 0 replies      
In general, I would say that "early adopters" are not necessarily rich so much as flush with disposable income.

This is actually a weird case, because usually being an early adopter requires a financial outlay to purchase some product that provides some sort of superior service of some kind. In this case, we see people with the early adopter mindset but trying to save money who are instead giving up some convenient service (at least, cable with DVR is convenient) for a cheaper alternative that is now merely "good enough". Because I've done it, and while I'm slowly putting the pieces back together as the world catches up with me, I have definitely sacrificed some things. I'm not getting superior service here, I'm cobbling together bits and pieces.

Still, we are getting there. Sports was a big hole but I just watched $MY_COLLEGE_TEAM's last game of the year online in HD over the Internet. That's progress vs. even just three months ago. Cord cutting is getting easier and easier.

3 points by hexis 20 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't have anything better than my own anecdotal impressions, but it seems to me that early adopters tend to be smart, rather than rich. That said, most people I've known who were smart and not rich were also young. Most people I've known who were smart and responsible eventually started to accumulate money. So, even if an early adopter isn't rich now, chances are they will get there in time.
1 point by jsz0 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Sorting out the wealthy vs. non-wealthy is difficult. Way too many factors to consider. It's probably safer to say that early adopters are more willing to spend their money on technology/gadgets/service but it's not directly tied to income. If you can put aside maybe $2-3K/year you can be a prolific early adopter these days. It's confusing though in the context of cord-cutters because they're doing it to save money. Cable TV is just way too expensive.
4 points by Retric 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Despite what you might hear if you make more than 60k USD a year you are fairly well off.

For the US take your salary divide by 50k and say "I make X times the average household income in the USA."

1 point by rythie 19 hours ago 0 replies      
You say are not rich, but you even though you like tech. you might not be an early adoptor either.

If you didn't have an iPhone or twitter account by 2007 or don't have accounts on lots of now failed startups from the day they got techcrunched, you're not an early adoptor.

I know I'm not particularly an early adoptor, most of my users are.

3 points by tomjen3 21 hours ago 3 replies      
Not really, but I would imagine they are generally male, with a college degree and extreme tech proficiency.
2 points by giardini 20 hours ago 0 replies      
No. But they have fun!

An acquaintance bought one of the first Compaq computers. He paid $4000 for it. He kept it in his office and would tell people: "When that computer came out, had I instead bought $4000 of stock in Compaq, I would be much wealthier today. Instead I bought the computer, learned to program it and did OK."

2 points by NEPatriot 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't think early adopters are necessarily rich. I think they set aside a portion of their income for early technology exploration in the same way some might for vacations or clothes.
1 point by icco 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Most college students I know these days who live in their own place (About 65% of the student population around here) don't have cable. This is because most are apt enough at using the Internet, that they can find all shows for free. Some use Hulu and the like, while others torrent, but maybe one in ten actually pay for cable.
1 point by siculars 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Cable free for the last year or so. I just could not keep paying 100$/mo+ on principal. Now it's just internet and netflix, obviously.
1 point by vaksel 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I think it largely depends on the value proposition of the service.
1 point by lukeschlather 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't think cord-cutters qualify as early adopters anymore. With Hulu's paid offering and Netflix, cable is pretty much useless. At this point people who still have cable are mostly hidebound or sports aficionados.

Well, that and they have too many functional analog TVs. That's the only reason I haven't switched my parents off is that we'd need Boxee boxes or similar, and they haven't quite come down in price to the point where I'd rather not just buy a laptop and pretend it's a TV.

1 point by madair 20 hours ago 0 replies      
1. Early adopters of ideas is not the same as early adopters of gadgets & services

2. That said, some new gadgets & services are stand-ins for others which are more expensive or less accessible

3. Except for #1 and #2, Yes, early adopters are male white privilege

1 point by vkdelta 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Not really. But they surely want to save some money on their Cable.
-3 points by sliceof314 21 hours ago 0 replies      
you're wrong, they all rich! rich! richer than astronauts!!!
Why don't gazzilionaires start their own countries?
38 points by jbverschoor 1 day ago   113 comments top 30
31 points by philk 1 day ago replies      
A number of reasons:

1) Starting their own country wouldn't offer them much they don't already have.

2) There's no unclaimed land. That means you either need to build your own land (which is really expensive) or take it off someone else, which probably makes you a criminal around the world and might ruin your life already.

3) Once you've got the land, you've got to defend it, and mercs[1] + military hardware gets expensive really fast.

4) Even then, the nasty things you'd have to do to establish a country and get it recognized around the world will probably cripple your commercial activities.

5) They don't necessarily have much ability for governing/retaining power.

[1] No-one is going to die for Gatestan out of patriotism.

18 points by rdl 1 day ago 1 reply      
Fundamentally, I think because the super-rich have great quality of life and freedom in most countries. They do tend to emigrate out of bad places (Russia, etc.) where they made their fortunes and move to places like the US and UK where they can comfortably enjoy them. If you have $10b in assets, paying 20-30% taxes on your annual investment income ($500mm to $1b/yr capital gains, so maybe a few hundred million in taxes) in exchange for first-world quality of life is quite worthwhile. You can always use offshore vehicles to defer recognizing gains, too.

Once you're already wealthy, there is a lot less reason to care about taxes on income.

20 points by patrickgzill 1 day ago 1 reply      
Dairy farmers farm cows. Hog farmers farm pigs.

Billionaires farm people.

Why would an active farmer, want to move away from his farm?

9 points by jasonkester 1 day ago 2 replies      
They have:


It's not a very good idea.

4 points by zokier 1 day ago 2 replies      
There was a reality based movie about a British millionaire trying to take over a small African country. Somebody probably could tell the details about that.

But I think that nobody runs their own country because it just sucks. And they all have already had far greater power and leverage via their companies than what they could imagine getting via own country.

But it's still strange that the gazillionares do not use their money on larger projects. Well, Google does all kind of interesting stuff. One thing I have thought would be cool would be building a completely new internet infrastructure to US, bringing 100Mbps speeds to every house and taking a huge step towards IPv6.

4 points by numair 1 day ago 0 replies      
Don't confuse the skills/intellect/resources necessary to be a successful platform developer with the skills/intellect/resources necessary to be a successful platform operator/provider.
2 points by arethuza 1 day ago 2 replies      
Go to Mars - cheaper, easier and probably far more rewarding.

So say you do really want to do it - even with say $100 billion will that really buy you enough land, infrastructure and pay everyone you need to have a fully functioning independent country until it becomes self supporting? I don't think you could set up a self supporting first world equivalent country for $100 billion even if you did have some decent land available (and there is none spare at the moment).

What about the government and legal system - is it going to be a full democracy? If not then expect to be pretty unpopular in the international community and if it is then why bother - who says the public will support your policies in your new country? If it isn't then expect some expensive, not particularly loyal and fairly heavy handed security forces who will probably instigate a coup d'etat within six months of the country being founded.

All the billionaires you mention have got there by being very smart - setting up their own country would be about the stupidest thing you could do.

5 points by sad_hacker 1 day ago 3 replies      
There are no undiscovered or unclaimed islands to start a new country. Existing countries are protecting their sovereignty and territorial integrity... in theory you can "build" a new country... an island, 22 km/14 miles from the border (territorial waters). Probably it's expensive.
There are many micronations: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_micronations Why gazzilionaires haven't started one - I don't know, probably their life is good enough to enjoy it in countries that already exist.

If anyone wants to start a new country and has budget - let me know. In the beginning we can make money by selling domain names, if ICAAN approves us. So we need to pick a good name for our country to get a decent domain name and make shitloads of money.

3 points by nickpinkston 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Paul Romer has a similar idea called "Charter Cities" which would be independent areas in existing countries.

Good TED talk on it: http://www.ted.com/talks/paul_romer.html

5 points by peterlada 1 day ago 2 replies      
Instead of that they could just support seceding California -Oregon-Washington from the union. They all live here anyway. It'd have about 50% of the economy and 99% of the innovation. No more bailing out the falling empire.
9 points by dageshi 1 day ago 1 reply      
I think rich people found a better alternative years ago. They're called yachts.
3 points by Apreche 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's easier to just incorporate a town. This has been done many times before, such as Celebration, FL.
4 points by baguasquirrel 1 day ago 0 replies      
Maybe they don't think politics is fun?
2 points by jackfoxy 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Because it would make them a target of vilification. It's much wiser to put a big chunk of your assets into a charitable trust and talk about raising taxes on the rich. That opens doors simply being rich does not.
7 points by spindritf 1 day ago 1 reply      
Maybe they're content with their influence over existing countries?
3 points by duffbeer703 22 hours ago 0 replies      
There are actually some proposals out there to build extra-national trade cities in Africa to encourage Western-style development, minus the intense corruption of African governments.
1 point by iwr 1 day ago 0 replies      
For one, there are almost(?) no unclaimed patches of land available. If you look at a political map of the Pacific, most of it is locked up between the EEZ of various states and micro-states.


Most of these countries are also very poor (Africa levels) and heavy recipients of foreign aid. So politically, they are corrupt and inaccessible.

So the best bet is to build an oil-rig styled structure or a large ocean-going ship. However, both options go into the hundreds of millions to the billions; a super-rich individual is naturally mobile, so he doesn't need a fixed patch of land that he politically rules.

That said, you may be interested in this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seasteading

1 point by robryan 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ah this is one of those things I've always thought would be a great idea in theory. Would be interesting to see if you could get a poor but large country to sell a large chunk of uninhabited land.

I don't think military is required, if you can afford the land your contacts probably put you in a better situation than many poor nations.

1 point by sabj 18 hours ago 0 replies      
As soon as I am a gazillionaire, I will do this. It will be my opportunity to test out all the theories I have learned in my political science studies.
2 points by peterlada 1 day ago 1 reply      
T is negative, but the concept of nation states is obsolete. It will be very apparent in 20-30 years. I'd not invest my wealth in nostalgia.
0 points by mjgoins 22 hours ago 0 replies      
This is what rich white men in Europe already did. It was called Imperialism.
1 point by yuxt 1 day ago 1 reply      
This utopian concept has been exaggerated by Ayn Rand in "Atlas Shrugged" when many successful entrepreneurs has moved away to start their own country.
1 point by jbverschoor 1 day ago 1 reply      
Ok.. But they could just buy out a small country, but that would mean no clean start.
Or they could build something in the ocean

Is military really necessary??

1 point by ebaysucks 1 day ago 0 replies      
Peter Thiel has funded The Seasteading Institute by Patri Friedman. Their goal is not to start a country, but to allow anybody to do so.
1 point by hootmon 1 day ago 0 replies      
The primary expense of any government is security, both local and national. Police and Military. Protect the property of the individual. Why should Bill and his buddies pay for an army when we do it for them? Taxes should be based on value received, which means that those with the most property get the most value, so they should pay the highest taxes, but in our country the opposite is in practice. We working stiffs, with very little property, pay the lion;s share of the police and military budget. ,
1 point by rbonvall 1 day ago 0 replies      
It has always been the other way around: people try to own countries in order to have a gazzilionaire-like lifestyle.
1 point by wladimir 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm sure this will come as soon as 'real' countries start to fall apart, and the age of city-states will begin...
2 points by jbverschoor 1 day ago 1 reply      
Ofcourse, it should have a really nice tld..
1 point by mooism2 1 day ago 1 reply      
Why would they want to?
0 points by AlecDonut 1 day ago 0 replies      
In a gazzilionaire-country there would be no true wealth - just numbers!
Why Hacker news uses tables?
13 points by nikan 1 day ago   19 comments top 8
9 points by drats 1 day ago 1 reply      
If you read the thread JeremyBanks points to, you can see that pg thinks it's a waste of time to be hand crafting, to be optimising when it's already so small and to be following recommendations beyond what is needed from standards bodies.

More importantly it's about where you spend your time. Pg's a busy guy but HN is good advertising for his business. He does spend time optimising the whole thing though, technology and community. Just look at the experiment, now finished, to see whether displaying average comment scores would alter community behaviour in a desirable way. These and the other tweaks - downvoted comments fading toward background colour, the front page algorithm, the effect of flagging and associated moderation, when people get voting rights - are the things which improve the website. There are plenty of places and forums with which are standards compliant and have a lot of seemingly whiz-bang features, but their commentary sucks and their community has an aggressive tone and is ridden with trolls. Too many people here think it's all about the technology when there are other factors.

Even if pg held a "redesign HN" competition, to which many would respond for free, reviewing the submissions and implementing the changes into the server would be a waste of time compared to the opportunity cost of trying out something else to improve the community and defend it against degradation.

9 points by JeremyBanks 1 day ago 1 reply      
PG discussed this in this thread three years ago: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=100595
1 point by photon_off 13 hours ago 0 replies      
To me, I find it more limiting that child comments are not nested within their parents. For example, implementing a show/hide children feature is annoyingly difficult to do, as is showing trails leading to the parent. IIRC, all HN comments are DOM siblings of each other.

I couldn't care less about divs vs tables or spacer images. However, I really feel tree structured data should be encoded as such, especially when the document itself is tree structured. It seems more difficult to do it otherwise.

Not that it really matters that much. I have bookmarklets that add nesting and trails, but it was just annoying to make them. I realize I'm an edge case, and overall HN is hardly as impacted by it's markup as it is by the community.

5 points by epo 1 day ago 0 replies      
Tables are good for tabular data, they are also quick, easy and very cross-platform, the semantic zealots seem to overlook this. Using tables to lay out images or for a faux column effect is sloppy but really the whole table-hate thing is overblown.

EDIT pg made the same comment about tabular data in the linked thread.

5 points by kqueue 1 day ago 4 replies      
Using tables is not a bad thing. I don't know how people came to this conclusion.

gmail lists emails using tables. What's wrong with that?

1 point by stretchwithme 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Are you driving the exactly right car vehicle for you? Let's all figure it out.

Of course, you have all of the information we'll require to make this decision, so you'll have to answer all of our questions.

Oh, sure, we could just trust that understand the options and your own specific situation and have already weighed everything and taken the path that makes the most sense. But how would that be any fun?

2 points by ludwigvan 1 day ago 2 replies      
I believe this is a question worth revisiting by pg, because the site doesn't look good on mobile devices, even on the iPad.

Using css might make it easier through @media queries to adapt the site to different devices (I actually only care that it looks good, so a table based solution is actually fine with me), but nevertheless the site does need a revision.

1 point by RickHull 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Hi, I made a quick mockup of HN's frontpage using semantic markup and CSS. There are some issues as my CSS skills are not the greatest, but I think it's a very good start.


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