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Show HN: eBay rounding error results in incorrect credits
4 points by bdclimber14 1 hour ago   2 comments top
1 point by octal 40 minutes ago 1 reply      
I've never seen this. I wish there was an easy way to recreate this, without almost getting scammed or abusing the Ebay system.

You could be on to something though. How many people have been wronged?!

Ask HN: What would you like to see in Ubuntu 11.10, Oneiric Ocelot?
108 points by jasoncwarner 9 hours ago   144 comments top 78
35 points by kolektiv 8 hours ago 5 replies      
At the risk of being horribly down-voted, I'm going to say that I'd like it to "not look like crap". Unfair with no information, so here's some (of opinion form).

If I look at the screenshots for 10.10 (let's take a tiny example, I could pick on many - http://www.howtogeek.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/sshot23....), the general quality of finish on UI chrome and layout is shocking. The inconsistencies, poor spacing, bad grid, etc. make this jarring and painful. I'm sure people will say this is irrelevant. It isn't. If you're staring at something for many hours a day, this stuff is your subconscious indicator as to quality. It doesn't feel "right". Most Linux user interfaces (and this isn't Ubuntu specific, but you guys are probably most likely to have a go at fixing it) feel "uncanny". They're just a bit wrong. Things don't line up, they're odd sizes, they draw the eye in the wrong way.

In short, they're inelegant and clunky. They feel like non-native Java app interfaces (used) to do (and still do, to greater or lesser degrees). This isn't about visual style or theme, it's a quality case not a taste one.

If I had a little more time (or if anyone thinks this is unfair and actually wants it) I could annotate a screenshot and point these things out directly.

(Please note - if you feel that this is all fixed in 11.x then I apologise, but I will be very surprised)

// Edit: If anyone from Ubuntu would like to chat ever, I'd be more than happy. Contact info is in my profile.

26 points by mhansen 8 hours ago 4 replies      
Fix the 'Preferences'/'Administration' split in the gnome menu options. Most of the apps I find in there could be described as "Administrative Preferences", so I have no idea where to look for anything.

Samba is in Administration, but Network Connections is in Preferences.

Login screen is under Administration, and Startup Applications are under Preferences.

The split between Administration and Preferences is really artificial, and not helpful for dividing settings.

13 points by yesbabyyes 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I run Ubuntu 10.10 on a MacBook Air (back on Ubuntu after 3-4 years on OS X) and it runs great. I haven't tried Unity yet, but I will, I think I'll like it. I basically only run a terminal, mostly with vim, and Chromium. I have all terminals and Chromium windows in fullscreen, each on their own workplace. It works pretty well. In general I think a good way forward is fullscreen and a simplified UI, so Unity looks great.

There is one thing I wish you would work in and it's speed: Waking from sleep and turning on the wifi takes ages in Ubuntu. If there is something you can do here, that would make me happy!

EDIT: One more thing: I know installation with USB on a Mac is difficult to impossible, but if there is any way to make it easier on the Airs, I think it's a good thing. It's a very nice machine for Ubuntu, but it's really hard to install.

3 points by bk 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been using Ubuntu practically exclusively for about 1.5 years (on 10.10 now). I mostly do web development/design and general productivity stuff. Obviously, most things work great or at least well enough, otherwise, I'd have switched to something else.

Here's what I really want:

# Top 3 Desktop

- Place tracker (or whatever it is these days) search bar into the panel by default. Allow easy mapping to a key combination (e.g. win-space though that clashes with gnome-do). Not having an intuitive desktop search is really sinful.

- Allow me to define apps to (auto-)open in specific workspaces. This would make getting back into things after a reboot much faster.

- Sound - midi is just broken (on my machine) - alsa, jack, etc. I don't get it - this should just work. Midi matters for music production and learning (e.g. even for just playing guitar tabs).

# Other desktop

- Desktop zoom - it's overall done right, but please give me option (like in OS X) to move the zoomed area only when I touch the edge of the screen rather than keeping the mouse pointer centered in the zoomed area.

- Tomboy notes are quick and easy, esp. in conjunction with gnome-do and ubuntu one. However, they lack features (export, tagging), and they occasionally freeze on sync/crash, so not the most stable (no data loss yet though). They don't handle copy & paste well (bad html for lists if I remember correctly).

- No good evernote client. The current version runs ok in Wine though, so not super major.

- If you remap ctrl-alt-backspace, please tell me what the remapping is. Also, I've gotten into swap hell occasionally, and there was no way to force an efficient shutdown of a memory-hogging app, thus forcing hard resets, which have actually led to data loss on an ntfs partition that I keep for win7 interoperability.

- Don't mute the microphone after reboot. It makes for weird skype phone calls.

- Nautilus: add default "open terminal here" context menu

- For less geeky users: Make Ubuntu Software Center more prominent, also expand the choices in "Synaptic > Edit > Mark packages by task" and put them in Software Center as well. (e.g. graphics design, music, etc.)

- On my machine HDMI connections to an external monitor don't work. VGA gives me a headache because of artifacts (can't screw connector into notebook port).

# My biggest wish by 1000x

- Improve power management for notebooks. I bought a notebook with a long battery life, but I get roughly half the battery life on Ubuntu vs Win 7. I know this is hard, but this is seriously where Linux lags by far the most behind Win and OS X. This issue has the biggest potential to drive me away from Ubuntu/Linux again. If Win 7 had multiple workspaces, a visible desktop search, and an OS X like zoom function, I'd be tempted to put a small CLI linux in a virtual machine for coding and run Windows, just for the extended battery life.

- Also power-related: flash plugin CPU usage and stability are abysmal. It crashes all the time, across Chrome tabs (b/c flash is a shared process). So having a video open in a tab and opening another site with flash on it can kill the (paused) video in the other tab. This happens multiple times per day. Also flash ads/widgets in several tabs == hot laptop. My most frequent terminal command is "killall npviewer.bin". Java (plugins at least) has similar issues (very high CPU usage for apps that hardly do anything).

5 points by shii 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Fix nm/nm-applet and I'll be beyond happy. I'm sick of it randomly dying whenever it wants to, having to do

  sudo pkill -9 nm-applet && sudo nm-applet

...a billion times a day. Including always when switching user accounts. It's really bizarre. I'm tempted to use wicd, but the icon for it and UI sucks balls compared to nm-applet. I used to have an alias set to to do most of the dirty work, but in the end it's only a few keystrokes saved; I still have to type in my pass to become sudo, and exit twice to close the terminal.

Really gets aggravating when my dad or someone borrows my computer and I have to su -l into my user, go through the whole process above and logout (from shell) all over again. Seems like a ridiculous process just to connect to my wifi.

A related issue to this is saner default key management. I've been using Ubuntu since Intrepid, and I've never figured out how to get the default key management to stop bothering me when unnecessary. It's sort of alright that it asks me for the default key on bootup since I change my password around regularly and it's different from the first one I set, yet it for some reason is unable to remember any wifi profiles at all after the first password change.

Default apps like Gwibber and Evolution have never worked for me on multiple computers (am using 10.04+ 32 and 64 builds), while their alternatives like Pidgin and Thunderbird or Claws Mail work great and consistently. On the branding side of things, LibreOffice rolls off the tongue better than OpenOffice.org, but still has the pesky, stereotypical problem of open source projects with tacky and alienating names.

Applaud you all on your choice with Banshee, better player than Rhythmbox for sure. As long as libmobiledevice is rolled in, I'm happy.

Unity is a bold move that you all have already invested quite a bit of development time and energy into, but I unfortunately will not upgrade from 10.04 because of it. It's really alien to me and others whom I introduce Ubuntu to, and I don't really see what problem it aims to fix other than maybe trying to shake up the old UI/UX scene on the desktop from the WIMP to something less...WIMP.

Really, the only things I miss the most from Windows and Mac is iTunes Store, which I can view from my iPhone anyways (although it'd be nice on the desktop, but I understand that this completely not your fault but Apple's decision) and high-quality FPS games like Halo that aren't all just a rehashing of the Doom engine.

Great work and keep on building a great operating system. Ubuntu's visionary development and support ecosystem is really a marvel that I've enjoyed using and supporting over the years. I really appreciate what you all do at Canonical.

Good Luck.

EDIT: Also see[1] my comment on the large default icons, fonts, and spacing for everything in Ubuntu. It's been getting worse since 9.04 and all the many thick panels, icons and such really add up to a bad experience and amateurish feel. If you all could explain the need for such large solid-colored bars on both the bottom and top of the page as well as the the thick, solid-colored toolbars in every application (Firefox is a big transgressor here), that'd be great to hear.

[1]: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2317321

12 points by scrrr 7 hours ago 3 replies      
ok some quick thoughts, theres probably more but im not currently on ubuntu:

Please fix small annoyances in the GUI:

- make window movement and (more importantly) _resizing_ easier.

- add some sort of window-snapping-feature (like win7 or osx)

- fix colors in context menus (if i open the skype context menu in 10.10 i see black font on black bg, or brown whatever)

- make widgets generally better looking. they are looking ok now, but with small tweaks ubuntu could be gorgeous.

- remove the drum-sound when displaying the login-box after boot (completely unnecessary)

- give us a better default terminal-app (iTerm2 on mac is a good example)

i use ubuntu for coding, websurfing, skype and its just great for that.
id like to use it for photo editing, video editing, gaming.

11 points by kleiba 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Overall I think you guys have been doing a great job. I'm a happy Ubuntu user.

As for your question: I would be happy if you guys just took the "most popular ever" ideas from brainstorm.ubuntu.com seriously and just worked yourselves through the list. It's good to reach out to us users from time to time like you're doing here, but lots of users have already put in their votes on your own platform.

Other than that I can't wait for the 11.10 release!

1 point by kmczn 4 minutes ago 0 replies      
I also use Ubuntu almost exclusively. My biggest complaint is with the panel. It doesn't make sense to me to have both the 'notification area' and 'indicator applet.' Why is my wifi status indicator in a separate grouping from the battery and sound indicators? I prefer to have any sort of important indicators grouped together. When I place the groups side by side, there's a visible divider between them. I feel this is a waste of space and is detrimental to the overall look and feel. Another issue with this is that when I switch screen resolution or use an external monitor, the positions of the groups shift. I'd prefer if they were always just docked against the edge of my screen.
1 point by docgnome 26 minutes ago 0 replies      
Take what I say with a large grain of salt as it's just been my experience but... I've tried Ubuntu off an on for several years but never really been satisfied.

Mostly the problems I've had have been summed up by the only partly tongue-in-cheek tag line "Ubuntu: It's like Debian Sid but without the bug fixes" When it works, it works great. When it doesn't, it's hell to try to fix.

Stability is the number one issue. Stability of the apps (due to, I think, overzealous adoption of software that just isn't ready yet) and drivers (which of course you have little control over, but maybe try recommending an older, more tested, less featurful version of the driver as an alternative for when the new hotness dies a horrible death?). The kernel has generally been fine. I fully understand the desire for the latest and greatest software, but I'd rather run a version or two behind the bleeding edge in exchange for my apps not crashing all the time.

I also don't use GNOME or KDE or XFCE so I'm not really the target of any Ubuntu releases. So I basically would just chuck away most of the UI stuff that differentiates Ubuntu from say, Debian, and run StumpWM.

I did install Ubuntu on my dad's netbook and it seems to be working great though so... Maybe I just get the bad draw of hardware?

17 points by bluedanieru 8 hours ago 4 replies      
How about increasing the width at the edge of a window where it allows you to resize it to something other than a single pixel? That's one of my biggest usability gripes, at least for something that seems so obvious and easy to fix.

It's possible it's already been fixed (I use Lucid), in which case disregard. But I would upgrade for that alone.

7 points by bad_user 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm a long time Ubuntu user, currently using Ubuntu 10.10.

10.04 by the time I installed it was rock-solid. On the other hand 10.10 is not working properly - web camera is displaying up-side-down and my laptop many times freezes on shutdown. And it's like a cycle, one in every 3-4 releases doesn't cause issues for me.

Unfortunately I don't have the time to deal with these problems, find the cause, give feedback on mailing lists, etc...

If you could invest in a more stable / well-tested Ubuntu release (although I do know the next one is not a LTS) that would be great.

You guys also did a good job regarding usability lately, thumbs up.

8 points by train_robber 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Please show more love to us laptop users. I have had problems due to poor hardware support. I'm not able to use a lot of accessories that come in standard on my laptop like -

* Bluetooth support - It sometimes works, sometimes won't.
* Soundcards - A pain to make it work properly
* WebCam - Again, works on and off
* Graphics Card - Works perfect on my present laptop, but had to go through a lot of trouble setting one up for my friend.

Though I love the O/S and would continue to use it despite these issues, I think this is one major drawback that prevents a lot of people from switching to Ubuntu. It should work, out of the box with little twitching of buttons.

7 points by portmanteaufu 6 hours ago 2 replies      
I don't hear many people gripe about these issues, but I have two complaints:

1.) There is no way to mute / lower the volume from the login screen. This means that if I'm in a setting where I don't want to make noise (e.g. in a library, in a meeting, in a class) and boot up, there's absolutely no way for me to prevent my laptop from playing the wonderful startup .wav file. I have to log in before I get any sort of volume control. (My laptop doesn't have a hardware volume dial.) Granted, at this point I have it disabled, but it'd still be nice to have.

2.) When I've booted up, the first thing I do is open all the programs I'm planning to use on different desktops. (I love multiple desktops.) The trouble for me is, the windows all open on whatever desktop I happen to be looking at at the moment. I would greatly prefer that they open on the desktop I was looking at when I started them. That would let me start at desktop 1, open Firefox/Chromium, switch to 2, open an IDE, switch to 3, open Gimp, switch back to 1 and start web surfing. Instead I have to wait for the program to finish initializing before moving to the next step to ensure that it's on the right desktop. Or I have to right-click-move-to-desktop each window after the fact.

I'm a big Ubuntu fan, I've been using it regularly since Dapper Drake. It's really come a long way! Keep up the great work.

3 points by bootload 7 hours ago 2 replies      
"... I'm also quite interested in those who DON'T use Ubuntu and what their thoughts are on why they don't use it ..."

Using Ubuntu 8.04 64AMD desktop, downgraded from 10.x. User since Ubuntu 4.x.

I use the 8.04 install because a) got breach using default apache (maybe my fault/maybe not) b) because the changes in the sound system to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PulseAudio means audio trouble big time. As the distro has progressed I now get c) dependencies. Why do I need to install whole slabs of applications I don't want need, then get updates for apps I never use or want?

    "... When first adopted by the distributions, 
PulseAudio developer Lennart Poettering described
it as "the software that currently breaks your
audio".[6] Poettering later claimed that "Ubuntu
didn't exactly do a stellar job. They didn't do their
homework" in adopting PulseAudio[7] for Ubuntu "Hardy
Heron" (8.04), a problem which was then improved with
subsequent Ubuntu releases.[8] However, on October
2009, Poettering reported that he was still not happy
with Ubuntu's integration of PulseAudio.[9] ..."

I shouldn't have these problems (sans maybe (a)). Have used linux since '96 I'd say I've got less stability in the late 9/10 releases at sub-system level. Especially sound. When I get worse results than when I configured Ubuntu 4 or Slackware or RedHat or OpenSuse or Mandriva I ask why am I using this distro? (yes I've used/installed them all and some)

Moving to obsd. The 6m dev cycle is a pain but it's got gnome, is safe, secure & free of cruft of useless apps. I'll miss apt-get :(

1 point by jasonkester 6 hours ago 3 replies      
Coming from the Windows world, I've had nothing but frustration trying to manage the one Ubuntu box that I have running on EC2. The OS and desktop seems workable, but the tools available to interact with it are simply not there.

An example: I VNC into the box, pull up a file in the editor, head back to my Windows machine, copy some text, head back to the Ubuntu box, hit "paste". Nothing happens. [skip forward past 4 hours of frustration, trying to get copy/paste working]. Still no luck. All I can find is random posts on the internet saying essentially either "you can't do that". Or, "that's easy, just..." followed by 24 steps of command line interaction to get it working on one specific configuration (that I don't have).

Another example: Trying to transfer files back & forth between my windows machine and a remote box running Ubuntu. Same 4 hours of frustration. Same complete lack of progress.

I realize that you guys probably don't consider this to be a Ubuntu problem. That it's just an issue with 3rd party tools. And that it's simply a case of one of your users who doesn't know what he's doing. Those last two things are undoubtedly true, but the first one definitely is not.

This is your problem. If you want people like me using your OS for their servers, you need to give us tools to do it. Connecting to a remote Windows server lets me step seamlessly into it via Remote Desktop. Copy/Paste works correctly without me ever having to think about it. I can even see my local file system on the remote box and vice versa. That's the standard we're accustomed to in the Windows world, so that's what you're going to need to match if you want us using your OS.

If you can get that working, I'm there. I realize it will probably involve you guys releasing your own VNC client and your own SSH Tunneling thing, and otherwise reinventing the wheel half a dozen times. But it will reduce friction for people who want to use your stuff. And as far as I can tell, that's what you want.

3 points by hussong 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Thanks for reaching out! I've been using Ubuntu (currently 10.10 64-bit) as the sole OS on my laptops for the past four years, mostly for email, web, office, and a little front-end coding.

I wish it was easier to replace Evolution. It always felt way too sluggish for me, so I'm using Thunderbird and would love to get the same desktop integration that Evolution has (never bothered to set it up manually).

Empathy seems like a decent IM client, yet I'm still using Pidgin to connect to Skype via dbus (Skype for Linux is not very pretty). Apparently the plugin would work on Empathy as well now, but I was too lazy to set it up.

I'm generally too lazy to switch applications after a dist upgrade. When I don't immediately see a clear migration path for my profile data, I just stick to the old app. I guess that's why I never used F-Spot or Shotwell.

Rhythmbox doesn't minimize to tray anymore. Closing the window leaves it running in the background, but there's no icon in the tray. Not sure if this is intended or just a glitch on my install after two auto-upgrades.

Better support for Tablet PCs would be awesome. I eventually got everything set up on a X200 Tablet, but it's not much fun going through dozens of mostly outdated forum posts to make screen rotation and pen input work.

With all the back-and-forth regarding GNOME/Unity and app selection, I'm debating going for Xfce on the next install. That being said, the Ubuntu desktop is awesome! Mac makes me feel stupid and I never ever want to go back to Windows...

7 points by nolite 8 hours ago 4 replies      
Not sure if this is appropriate for your question.. but I've been using Ubuntu for 5 years now as my sole OS, as a programmer. I'm thinking of switching to Mac OS soon because I'm sick of hacking my computer to have it "just work":

- Every time there's a new release, and I update, it leaves me with a crashed unusable system. Its happened so much that I've scripted out my entire install and configuration process

- I have to kill Firefox in order to make sound work in VLC... wtf?

- My bluetooth mouse works 50% of the time

- Wifi doesn't usually work with the built in managers.. I often have to install wicd

That's the gripe side.. will report back later for more UI related improvement ideas

11 points by Garbage 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I have always favored Pidgin over Empathy. I think Pidgin is more feature-rich client than Empathy. Still didn't get a good reason Ubuntu replacing Pidgin for Empathy as default IM client.
4 points by Joeboy 6 hours ago 1 reply      
For my job I use Ubuntu for Python and web development, and I have no serious complaints. For the rest of the time, I would like nice integration between jackd and pulseaudio, and a good realtime kernel for audio recording etc.

In general I don't understand why people want to put so much energy into arguing about what it looks like, how the menus are arranged etc. I've seem a number of people try, and subsequently abandon, Ubuntu. Each time it's been because of things being missing or broken, not the superficial bikesheddy colourscheme stuff people like to argue about.

On the subject of Accessibility, my ex had carpal tunnel syndrome and went back to Windows (largely) because there was no usable speech recognition software available. As I understand it the main barrier is a lack of sufficient corpus data, which seems like the sort of thing Ubuntu might be in a position to push for. http://www.voxforge.org/

1 point by shortlived 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Hi Jason -

I've been using Ubuntu for about 1 year as my main development machine at work. Here are a few quick suggestions:

* use Clementine as default audio player (rythmbox rescanning each time was killing me, plus some other annoyances that I can't remember). I tried all of the other players and found Clementine to be just perfect.

* use pidgin as default IM client. I must have SIPE to integrate with Office Communicator and at the time of install this was not working in Empathy.

* Look at what Linux Mint is doing with UI. As soon as I can, I'm switching.

Big pros for mint:

* nice color scheme

* single taskbar (at bottom) = more screen real estate and single point of action for my mouse.

* ability to search programs and anything else that lives under the Mint Menu (this is huge).

* conservative and transparent (with regards to risk) update system. I've had some ups and downs with updating packages and I wonder if the mint ranking system would have prevented that...

1 point by daleharvey 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I recently made the move from Ubuntu to OSX, next time I buy a laptop I want to move back to Ubuntu, these things would help.

1. Make the install extremely smooth on mac hardware, including trackpad and hibernate support.

2. The recent UI touches are nice but still a long way to go, http://polishlinux.org/reviews/ipod_i_linux/ipod_in_nautilus... for example looks terrible, the osx finder is pretty bad but at least it looks nice.

3. This is out of your control, but when I move to linux it is akin to giving up designing, there is very little to no choice when it comes to 3rd party design apps.

I do still use Ubuntu via virtualbox regularly, you guys impressed me massively in the last few years and its amazing that ubuntu can even compete, let alone often outperform osx and windows in a lot of areas (even some ui issues, spaces on osx are terrible) So thanks for all the great work, hopefully I can get back to being a full time ubuntu user soon

1 point by Sapient 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I am currently a full time Ubuntu user and have been for the past 6 months. All my previous attempts to switch from Windows to Ubuntu have lasted only a month or two (and I have been trying every year since 1998 or so), so I am extrememly happy with the progress that was made which has allowed me to continue using Ubuntu for the last 6 months without feeling the need to go back to Windows. But I have some gripes.

One of my biggest gripes if the way fonts are handled. This is a huge issue for the web. For some reason, some package I installed, added a bunch of god-awful bitmap fonts, the most noticeable one is some sort of 8x8 bitmapped Helvetica font, which led to every single page using "Helvetica" in the font stack being rendered with a tiny non-aliased font. This was not limited to Helvetica, but also applied to a large number of other fonts. As an example, here is what I am forced to use as I type in this very comment.

•"$ fc-match Courier
courR12-ISO8859-1.pcf.gz: "Courier" "Regular"

I initially fixed it by overriding all my Firefox fonts to the Ubuntu font, but then I lose all the typography people are so careful to use nowadays.

I was eventually able to fix most of it by figuring out I could could override individual fonts in the /etc/fonts/local.conf file, but thats a really bad solution, and I cant tell you right now, the disgusting fonts have DEFINITELY been a reason I have moved back to Windows in the past.

Also, please get someone to fix the ridiculous resize handles, I work at relatively high resolutions, even so, those handles actually feel like they are less than a pixel thick!

The "Open With" dialog fills up with hundreds of duplicates I have to manually remove, especially when using wine.

Please fix everything in this list http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2322064

Apart from these problems, and a few others I will probably remember once I click Add Comment, 10.10 is in my opinion, the best Linux distro by far.

3 points by RK 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I use Ubuntu on all of my machines (netbook, desktops, servers, EC2). One thing that drives me nuts every time I have to deal with it is the print to file dialog. Why can't it just act like a normal save file dialog? I hate having to (usually) choose "other" as the path and use the normal dialog to choose a directory, then go back and type in the file name in a different text box on the main printing window.

Generally I think Ubuntu has been a great distro that has made a ton of progress.

1 point by mquander 4 hours ago 0 replies      
My laptop runs hot on Ubuntu, and I don't know how to fix it. I have an HP Envy 15, and just idling at the desktop leaves the thing at 50 deg C with the fans on medium. It's pretty frustrating. On Windows, I'm 10 degrees cooler with little fan activity.

Everything that I would expect to be broken appears OK; the CPU scaling works right and scales down my processors, dmesg claims recognition of ACPI and thermal zones, and in general power management seems to be working fine. But it's hot nevertheless. I upgraded my BIOS to the latest from HP. My ATI card works best with the radeon drivers from xorg-edgers, but I've tried both fglrx and the stable radeon driver with no improvement with regards to temperature.

So that's what irritates me the most. Oh, and it takes forever to wake up from sleep and hibernate -- longer than it takes to cold boot.

2 points by d0m 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I would go with UI improvement. I feel like linux has always been "ugly" visually.. even from its first years with red/blue dialog in console. Linux hackers just seem not to care about UI as much as designer would.

Without being harsh, when someone used with Windows or Mac look at Ubuntu, it always look a little "goofy" or "quickly done". Of course, they don't know the beauty of unix, how files are the main part and so important or how configurable everything is. The only thing they see is "A weird kind of Windows that isn't as pretty".

But then, who is your main target audience? Are you trying to make windows/mac newbies switch to Ubuntu? I say that because, if it was only for me, I'd say the best thing you could "add" to ubuntu is to remove all the extra stuff and keep in minimalist. (Warning: I use archlinux with fluxbox). I guess it all depends of your audience. But if I get it right and I'm not really your target audience, working on the UI would be the next big thing.

2 points by rufugee 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Desktop sharing with Compiz enabled. Currently you can share an Ubuntu desktop (System->Preferences->Remote Desktop) easily, but viewing these shared desktops doesn't work with any of the regular VNC clients (vinagre, xtightvncviewer, etc) if Compiz is enabled...which on most Ubuntu desktops is true by default. This leads to a confusing experience for the non-technical user.
1 point by rufugee 3 hours ago 0 replies      
The biggest annoyance for me has to be the fact that the gnome panel constantly seems to get confused on the order in which icons and gadgets should appear. I'll spend 30 minutes getting the notification area, icons, menus, etc arranged just as I like them, and then notice the next time I login that they're rearranged. And God help you if you ever resize the panel, even temporarily, because they get completely screwed if that happens. It's very frustrating, and is a problem that's existed since the gnome panel was invented (yes, I've been using it that long). Even more frustrating is that once they're screwed up, they seem to tend to lock in place to the extent that fixing them back the way you like becomes a real exercise.
1 point by mhw 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm looking forward to trying out Unity and seeing how that handles, so it's hard to make any constructive comments based on the current UI knowing what's coming in 11.04. That said...

As a laptop user, it has always felt like suspend and resume could be a bit quicker. You've spent a lot of effort getting boot time down - how about spending some optimisation effort on resume.

While I think about suspend/resume, it really bugs me that I have to authenticate to the screensaver before I can suspend my laptop. I'd like a configuration option to allow Fn-F4 to suspend even if the system has the screen lock running.

I understand that much of the tool chain is in place to just 'do the right thing' when installing on an SSD (partition alignment, trim support in kernel). To make users aware, though, the installer should really call out that it is optimising the installation for SSD so the user knows it has been identified correctly. It would be useful if the installer could also recognise SSDs during upgrades and give some advice on what's not configured optimally too.

When I plug a USB memory stick in a short time after I removed it, reopen the nautilus windows that I had open last time. This would help in the situation where you're moving things back and forward between two machines.

1 point by sofuture 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I actually have no complaints whatsoever about Ubuntu (except for the 'you must use google+gconf to turn off the login screen sound'). In fact, I've found it so appealingly easy to use over the past few years that I've switched to FreeBSD just so I'm a little bit over my head again :) I may be a perversely unique case and you probably shouldn't cater to me!
1 point by rufugee 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I truly believe Ubuntu is missing a huge opportunity regarding apt repository statistics. They should be able to track (at least on the mirrors they control) each time a user installs a particular package. Collecting these sorts of statistics and making them public via the Ubuntu website or through Synaptic would add a lot of value to the user community, IMHO. When I'm looking for a particular type of software in the repository, I for one would love to know how many downloads a package has had and how those stats compare to other alternative packages.
2 points by middus 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Concerning applications: I absolutely miss Grip and would be very happy if you could add it to the packages again. I really liked it because it is very unobstrusive but configurable to the max.

So far I have not found a nice replacement for Grip. At the moment I'm using XCFA, but I'm not very happy, because I have to do a lot of things manually, like replacing _ with spaces in directory names (in filenames there are spaces, very strange). What tool do you use for cd ripping (mp3)?

3 points by Rhapso 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Window Snapping: with options to snap inside or outside of monitors in a multiple monitor setup, ie, snap to the side of a screen of 1 monitor, or snap to the side of an entire desktop.
3 points by saulrh 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Win7-style window management shortcuts would be cool. The grid plugin for compiz is close, but Win7 has a few details that make it a bit better (for example, wrapping a window around to the right when you hit win-left on a window that's already left-snapped).

Installer options for remapping caps lock, like Google did with its ChromeOS laptops. I use it as an easy-to-reach control key; other people I know turn it into another super for easy window management or an escape key for vim. Useful functions for the average grandma might include "search the web", "open gnome do", or "open Unity's 'everything on the computer' page".

Include KeePassX in Ubuntu, provide solid integration for it (possibly even with Ubuntu One), and present it to the user on installation. Encourage users to use it to create strong passwords and to maintain separate passwords for every service and website.


I use Ubuntu 10.10 for most of my real work. I'm a computer science student, so I do a lot of programming, answer some email, surf the web, and spend a ton of time reading and writing papers.

4 points by jitendra_ 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I have been using Ubuntu for 3-4 years now and have been using it for everything from day-to-day stuffs to development. I am quite happy to see how Ubuntu has matured during this time frame.

But, I wish some improvement is done on improving hibernate. It takes ages to hibernate and system sometimes freezes. Moreover, my experience with battery life on Ubuntu vs Windows suggests Ubuntu manages power poorly.

I haven't used Unity yet but look forward to trying soon.

1 point by Tomek_ 4 hours ago 0 replies      
- Make it possible to use it without touching/seeing/knowing of existence of terminal at all. That means, for example, that it would be possible to install all the essential programs and tools (Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Flash, audio/video codecks, Java,...), run and configure most popular servers/deamons (Apache, RDBMSes, etc.) using GUI only. Make the GUI a main way of operating the system, not a fancy wrapper over a console.
- Make it _less_ customizable, strip off gazillions of options and make default ones good enough.
1 point by mhw 4 hours ago 0 replies      
In portable systems (laptops and netbooks) the system should be able to work out its location from things like visible WiFi SSIDs and other onboard hardware. This would enable a few cool things:

* Tell the user that their normal WiFi router is probably turned off if it's SSID is not visible while others previously observed in the same location are present.

* Adjust settings based on location: When my laptop is in the office at work, I typically want the sound muted and the lockscreen active. When it's at home I want the sound turned up and the lockscreen disabled.

1 point by runjake 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm colorblind, so maybe it's that, but
the latest color scheme & widgets are awful. Maybe it's an American thing.

Don't try to be clever with design, most everyone sucks at it. "borrow" concepts, colors, & looks from iOS if you have to.

1 point by h00k 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I use Ubuntu every day, both at home on my laptop, netbook, and at work for an IT consulting company.

I have family using Ubuntu (it makes support a hell of a lot easier), and yes, I'm one of those, "My grandma uses Ubuntu," guys.

I have a small, spattered list of some things:

At the office, I am familiar with our Microsoft Exchange 2007 settings. I am still unable to get Exchange support using Evolution outside of our work network. I forget what the exact (incorrect) version error was, haven't played with that since Maverick's release, but is holding me back from true Exchange support. I think Evolution needs a little love. I saw that some bugs were reported upstream, but it didn't seem like they were being taken care of.

Consistent Quit/Close/Applications-that-minimize-to-tray is something, from my understanding, that has to be taken care of per-application, but it would be nice to have it consistent with what minimized to where. Currently, on Unity, closing Skype sends it to the tray, which isn't visible in the indicators. I have to either remember to minimize it and not close it, or throw it on a different workspace.

Of course, Windicators are something I'm looking forward to.

Also, I don't know that a Terminal Server Client (currently TSClient, but I read somewhere Remmina was going to take over, wooo!) is completely necessary on a default install. For an everyday user, they might not need to connect to a Windows RDP or anything else via VNC. No, it's not a large package to have on a default install, but I'm not certain that it's required for mainstream, everyday use (You know, similar to reasoning behind Gimp).

Perhaps there's something of substance here that may help.

Thanks for the hard work, and I'm excited to see the next release, and I'll (as always) be sure to run the bleeding-edge and report bugs as necessary.

2 points by Kilimanjaro 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Trim the fat, like firefox did to mozilla, just the essentials. No openoffice, gimp, etc. Personally I just use it for coding and surfing. I know it is good for avg joe to have office and graphics tools, but then give us two versions, 'basic' and 'full' editions.
1 point by acconrad 1 hour ago 0 replies      
VPN support must be drastically updated. I have to have my machine dual boot windows so I can log into my company's VPN using Cisco AnyConnect. I would love for Ubuntu to solve this so I no longer need Windows. Ever.
1 point by kamme 6 hours ago 0 replies      
As an Ubuntu user since day one I don't like the way the distro is going. As some other users said before, the UI is not that great and lately I've seen ridiculous 'fixes' for bad decisions. For example: https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/notify-osd/+bug/46...

This is seen as a feature, it's basically a top right growl style notification bubble, but they added an 100px top offset so it wouldn't interfere with other applications. Why? Because the user can not click the notifications away, they have a delay and waiting is the only way to remove those bubbles. This has to be one of the worst decisions ever. Look at growl/OSX, it works. In this case it's fine to copy a feature and not try to be different.

Another thing I absolutely don't understand is all the media/audio frameworks there have been since 4.10 (not really an Ubuntu only problem), why not stick with one that just works? IMHO, Ubuntu should experiment all they want with unity, notify-osd, placing window buttons to the left, ... but please, just provide a basic install option that just works without all the fancy new stuff (that is probably thrown out soon anyway because something else comes up).

Just make it work. Steve Jobs seems to be able to impose decisions on a large group of people, but he also seems to have thought about most things really really well. Lately Ubuntu seems to adopt everything as long as it doesn't look like something everybody else has.

Sorry if I'm ranting, but as an Ubuntu lover the last few years have been a serious disappointment.

2 points by riffraff 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I have not seen notifications in 11.4, but the system in 10.10 seems silly to me, probably because I'm used to growl. I keep trying to reach to the notification to interact with the application calling for my attention and it just makes it disappear :/
2 points by nekoZonbi 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I use ubuntu as my main OS, for development and 2D/3D graphics design.

Really like what I have seen of unity.

A small detail: I don't like the drums and the jungle default sound effects, when starting ubuntu. Windows & apple are far better in this regard.

In applications, I don't like plain text menus. I think it would be a great idea, to add a some by default way, in wich all the applications plain text menus could be collapsed inside an icon, like in firefox4 or google chrome.

As always, make the default theme to look brilliant.

Ubuntu is great, just keep the awesome work.

1 point by Sindisil 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I use Ubuntu (10.10) almost full time on my personal machines, and am part of a movement toward Ubuntu at my day job (from RHEL5.1), where I use Linux between 25 & 100 percent of the time, depending upon the projects I'm working on in a given period.

10.10 is most of the way there, and, if all the panels and launchers properly auto-hide in 11.4, I have hope that it will only add polish. Great job so far!

That said, I have a gripes and wishes (which I may post about later, if I have time), but my single greatest annoyance is quite simple really: the window manager has no option to keep focus from being stolen.

I know that both Gnome and Canonical are allergic to options, which is indeed the best default stance from a UX standpoint. However, this is right up there with mouse activated window focus behavior, which you do have an option for.

Especially on my netbook, where I'm running many apps full screen and process startup is relatively slow, I rage every time I start a couple programs, start working in the first that comes up, then get pulled away to some f'ing trivial dialog in the next, losing keystrokes. Worse, occasionally dismissing a dialog I didn't intend to.

I know that apps can be written to be less rude, but part of the beauty of *nix windowing is that the window manager gets the final say, so even rude apps can, at best, whine a bit (i.e. blink their window header and/or their button in the window list panel widget.

1 point by ZeroGravitas 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm not sure if this is fixed yet, it seemed to get better then worse over the last few years, but I haven't tried it under the next release:

Getting Ubuntu working behind a proxy seems overcomplicated. At least in the near past you needed to set the proxy in the browser, for the command line, for updates and probably other things individually.

Getting it working for updates is particularly annoying for people not sure what is happening as the errors you receive are, at best, generic "internet not working" errors. Is it possible for a desktop to know if it's behind a proxy? If so then better error messages can be provided. But you should only need to set it once regardless.

3 points by abdulla 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I would genuinely like the option to use GNOME 3. I'm considering moving to Fedora to try it.

It would also be great to see Systemd used. Rather than Upstart.

A global menu and a launcher (like Gnome Do) are some of the first things I install after upgrading. Along with Docky.

I realise some of these are fundamental changes to the Ubuntu way, but it's what is drawing towards alternatives, and further from Ubuntu (which I've used since Warty).

4 points by db42 7 hours ago 1 reply      
1. add search to the panel by default.

2. IMPROVE the search functionality and make it as effective and useful as provided by MAC OS.

1 point by rbanffy 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I would kill for an OpenSolaris-like time slider for BtrFS volumes. And having ZFS-like block deduplication too wouldn't hurt.


2 points by ins0mniac 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I keep switching between Ubuntu and Archlinux (on my development laptop) every few months. I'm currently on 11.04 and tried Unity for a few days. It kept crashing on me (I do realise that I'm using something that's still beta) but could not bring myself to like it as it's too much effort for me to deal with disappearing window borders, menus when you are busy working.

One thing that's struck me as odd is that though the boot up to login screen has improved drastically over the past few releases, login to desktop takes a really long time. I am talking about stock installs (nothing extra in startup applications). (There are some forum posts that indicate that compiz might be the root cause for this and I still havent' had enough time to track these down)

I haven't had too much trouble with drivers and configuration (Lenovo T61p..) but the lack of current versions of packages that I rely on for daily work (e.g. eclipse, etc) in the repositories or the ppa drive me to switch to archlinux temporarily.

2 points by berkes 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Give some love and attention to the average "developer" using Ubuntu.

What comes to my mind: Pre-bundled "meta-" packages for developers. One .deb that sets up LAMP, logviewer, mysql-gui and so on. Or one deb that sets up source-crontrol, like git, including one of the many GUI frontends.

Ubuntu, or Canonical, should be biased towards certain development tools: Just like KDE has one default set of development tools. That way, development and improvement gest more focus: instead of four mediocre, unfinished git frontends, Canonical can pick one and hope the community will make it The Very Best Ever. Same for editors, IDEs and so on.

I see many developers moving to Mac, because the development tools (editors, frontends, IDEs) there are simply better, prettier, easier and more polished. We should keep these people on board.

1 point by fooandbarify 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I suspect this is a complicated issue, but my biggest gripe with installation has always been related to third-party drivers. It would be cool if there was some way to bundle wireless card drivers with the install CD/USB stick, for example. (Was recently setting up a machine where wired internet was not readily available - I know that's sort of an edge case.) I know that problems related to the drivers themselves are out of your hands, but making it even easier to track down and install the right drivers would be a step in the right direction.

As was mentioned over at http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2321584 power management needs a lot of work.

Nevertheless, I'm eternally grateful for the excellent work you guys are doing over there. Please keep it up!

3 points by makethetick 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Even though it's easy to fix, moving the min/max/close buttons to the left is a major annoyance.
2 points by mahrain 5 hours ago 1 reply      
For people who are looking to switch to Mac OS X for it's looks and usability and are planning to buy Mac hardware just for the OS or stick with Windows, Ubuntu GNU/Linux would be an option on their current hardware.

I use an AWN dock in Ubuntu and would love to have the time to research/hack my way to the Universal menu bar. It would be great if Ubuntu would have a standard (optional) Dock and Universal Menu Bar.

2 points by mhansen 8 hours ago 1 reply      
As a dev, it'd be great if vim, git, and ruby were included with an install, like how OS X does.
1 point by the_imp 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Vertical panels need more design and testing.

I haven't tried 11.04/Unity yet, but my experience with previous releases has not been encouraging w.r.t. setups without any horizontal panels.

For example, with 10.10 I need to set the background to translucent (the default tiling is broken when vertical), edit the Ambiance theme to then have panel applets actually have a translucent background, replace the default window list with DockbarX, and replace the panel menu bar with just a main menu. And the clock applet calendar view is still broken, showing up above the applet.

For comparison, on Windows 7 none of that is necessary -- the panel works just as well vertically as it does horizontally.

2 points by abraham 7 hours ago 0 replies      
The number one feature that keeps driving me back to OSX is the four finger swipe to activate expose. If Ubuntu had a similar feature I would probably be running it right now.
2 points by hobolobo 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I have recently installed 10.10 on a dual-boot Win7 and Mint 10.10 laptop. The main problem I faced was that whereas in previous versions I could delete partitions and then install into the free space, 10.10 does not have this option.

In order to get it to install, I had to quit the installer, resize the windows partition using gparted and then select 'Install next to other OS' (I can't remember the exact wording).

It was a bit frustrating to see the really helpful option 'Install into free space' get removed.

Otherwise, a brilliant OS. I use it on the desktop at home and on my work laptop.

1 point by va_coder 6 hours ago 0 replies      
To help new users making the switch to Ubuntu you could work with OEM vendors to provide a Ubuntu + VirtualBox + Windows install. That way users can occasionally switch back to Windows, if they have to.
1 point by va_coder 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd like a sync thing so that my system settings (e.g. vimrc) and other things are easily replicated from machine to machine.

I tried Ubuntu One but for whatever reason I couldn't get it to work.

2 points by va_coder 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been using Ubuntu for the past 4 years. It just works.

Thank you

1 point by ghotli 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I never use the GUI.

Removal of ruby from apt-get and replacement with a working system wide rvm installation that can be overridden with individual user rvm installations.

1 point by lovskogen 3 hours ago 0 replies      
As a user I shy away because of the option magnitude, too much. As a designer I shy away because no app can beat Photoshop, sadly.
2 points by va_coder 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Work with OEM vendors to provide a kick ass Ubuntu tablet!
1 point by janoulle 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Currently, resizing windows in Ubuntu 10.10 is a royal pain. Depending on the application, there can be a little triangular 'thing' on the bottom right on which I can clearly point my cursor to and click to drag. However, many applications like firefox, chrome and some other installed apps don't have this 'triangle'. It makes for several wasted seconds of trying to get my cursor on the less-than-10px border in order to resize the way I want. I'd be very happy if you looked at this issue. Thanks and I'm actually looking forward to Unity. Just for the difference. :)


2 points by viktorsr 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Keyboard shortcuts are inconsistent in Ubuntu.

On Mac, Cmd-C always means Copy (even in Google Docs), and Ctrl-C does what it should in Terminal. Compare that to Gnome's use of Ctrl-C in all apps except for terminal, where you have to press 3 keys (Ctrl-Shift-C) at once.

Go to line is Ctrl-G, Ctrl-L, and Ctrl-I in different editors.

3 points by swah 8 hours ago 1 reply      
A dark theme is for "hackers", not for the general public.
2 points by fzkl 7 hours ago 0 replies      
1) Ability to dock windows on left half or right half like Windows 7. Make it even better with quarter screen size docking
2) Make terminator default terminal or install it be default
3) Install nautilus-open-terminal by default
4) Transparency controls for windows
1 point by rufugee 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Make the Compiz "Grid" plugin enabled by default.
0 points by mhansen 8 hours ago 1 reply      
When I boot up, I always get a message saying

Disk Drive UUID=blablablablablablablabla-blabl-blabla-bla could not be found.

Wait for mounting, or continue?

This message is scary and gives me no actionable information (what's the uuid of my cards? I don't know!)

2 points by zahardzhan 7 hours ago 0 replies      
In Ubuntu 10.10 Meta-P keybinding used to turn off screen, but, GOD DAMN, I use it in Emacs. I don't know how turn make this binding free.
2 points by MaurizioPz 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I would like to see a bit more resources directed at the Kubuntu project.
0 points by panacea 7 hours ago 2 replies      
It's called "Ubuntu Oneiric Ocelot"?

Yet presumably you want to increase the install base?

Do you not see a problem here?

1 point by ubuntuftw 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I <3 Ubuntu (server and desktop)
1 point by coffeejunk 5 hours ago 1 reply      

  * Fix multihead (>2 displays)
* consistent ui
* make the window resize area bigger. 1px is NOT enough

2 points by taken11 6 hours ago 0 replies      
OTR support in Empathy
1 point by alphomega 6 hours ago 1 reply      
A tool that lets me easily change the key mappings would be great. Swapping ctrl and capslock is really handy (and Esc with ` or ~), however I've found it difficult to change in the past.
0 points by laskito 6 hours ago 0 replies      
A better name.
-3 points by lawliet 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Drop the ugly GTK, build a beautiful UI toolkit. Pwn the OS X UI.

Here's your indicator:

OS X is beautiful, (I heard it is used internally in the heavens and rumors say God built a hackintosh for himself)

The more OS X switchers to Ubuntu you get, the more you can be sure you are in the right path. The less you get, the farthest from beauty you are.

Now you can argue with that, as you were expecting a more generic indicator, but sorry, this is one of nature's mysteries

Show HN: GetToLike.me - a place to meet people with similar interests
8 points by andyhin 2 hours ago   15 comments top 9
3 points by nyellin 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Cool. I think meeting new people (not necessarily for dating) is one area that social networks still haven't perfected. I predict that interest-based social networks will gain popularity as people grow tired of their junk-ridden Facebook feeds and start to look for people they can communicate with about topics they care about, rather than topics that their friends care about.
1 point by znt 21 minutes ago 1 reply      
Whoah I logged in using FB and it converted my surname from 'Başçıl' to 'Ba...ŸÃ§Ä±l'. I can't even read the new version let alone pronounce it. And I cannot edit the field, it's grayed out.
2 points by nyellin 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Why does your app need access to my pictures and videos? That creeps me out.
1 point by notintokyo 39 minutes ago 1 reply      
I spent way too long trying to get my likes to conform to allowed characters. It doesn't like periods in them or unicode characters, so I had delete 30% of my likes.
1 point by mikerhoads 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Cool idea, seems like facebook makes their recommendations based only on mutual friends, which is great for connecting to other friends or people in your network. This interest based approach would do a better job of meeting brand new people altogether.
1 point by Limes102 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I think showing only the people who have a mutual interest is good, but I disagree with hiding the rest of their interests with people who are actually able to view their profile.

Perhaps think of it more the 'Like' button on Facebook

2 points by andyhin 2 hours ago 0 replies      
1 point by silent1mezzo 2 hours ago 1 reply      
When setting dates and stuff the Year and Day fields are switched...
1 point by octal 2 hours ago 1 reply      
No programmers have signed up yet. :/
Dreamhost's core network goes down at 2:20AM.
8 points by wmeredith 3 hours ago   1 comment top
1 point by kingofspain 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Middle of the night is middle of the day for some :)

Some of my sites are offline (now I know that pingdom really is active at least!). Luckily they are personal, non-critical sites. It's the first serious outage I've had since joining 8 months ago.

Ask HN: Developers looking for a startup job?
3 points by muvvio 2 hours ago   1 comment top
1 point by RiderOfGiraffes 1 hour ago 0 replies      
And for those of you who might be interested, this is effectively a repeat of a post from 18 hours ago, where there is already some discussion and a few more details:


Not many, though. Still doesn't say if remote working is possible.

Rate my startup: Holono, showcase your projects and build a portfolio
3 points by ozziegooen 2 hours ago   8 comments top 3
1 point by sagacity 6 minutes ago 0 replies      
Clickable: :)


1 point by jsavimbi 1 hour ago 1 reply      
This is good, I like it.


- Lose the hippie on the front page.
- Even-off the weight of the login options. Consider making the Fb login less prominent and equal in stature to the "normal" login and also consider enabling Google and/or Twitter auth as well.
- The registration form needs to be a little bit more preemptive like the facebook link being facebook.com/(html input follows text)
- get thee to gravatar
- you need some visual design help, but that can come later (tone down the reds, bigger fonts in forms, etc.) consider a theme.
- I love the random button

Good work, I hope you get a lot of users.

1 point by codeslush 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I like this - good job on your first Rails project. Similar to about.me, but actually much more useful (in my opinion).

Very well done!

Tell PG: You have a duplicate content problem
11 points by rubyrescue 6 hours ago   1 comment top
3 points by sagacity 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Good catch.

Here is a clickable link:


Ask HN: Keyword extraction library recommendations?
7 points by RiderOfGiraffes 6 hours ago   3 comments top 2
3 points by bgraves 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Not sure if this is what you're looking for, but NLTK [natural language toolkit] is great. http://www.nltk.org/

Getting Started: http://nltk.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/doc/howto/index.html

FAQ: http://www.nltk.org/faq

The NLTK Book (free online): http://www.nltk.org/book

NLTK Book Chapter 7 Extraction Information from Text: http://nltk.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/doc/book/ch07.html

New Startup Now Pulling In Over $100k in Monthly Revenues
255 points by kumph 1 day ago   74 comments top 31
13 points by gyardley 1 day ago 3 replies      
Are you making money from iTunes affiliate fees and simply passing a cut of it on to your users, or are you charging application developers for placement?

Right now the biggest cost-per-install networks are doing 50x to 100x your revenue and growing quickly, and they're hiring every experienced salesperson they can possibly find. That's your true competition for app developers' advertising dollars, not the little stuff like 'Daily App Dream'. You probably need sales more than developers.

82 points by rms 1 day ago 1 reply      
Best startup hiring post I have seen on HN in years.
42 points by JCB_K 1 day ago 1 reply      
"Let's forget about getting acquired and build something with which to acquire!"

Love that.

5 points by emmett 1 day ago 1 reply      
"In titles, please don't describe things by their relation to YC unless they're actually associated with YC."


8 points by taphangum 1 day ago 0 replies      
Awesome-ness. I love these kind of stories.

I'm actually working on an iPhone game, Link:http://beathub.net. Was rejected by YC before (not on this idea though).

Would love to talk more via email about possible partnerships, advice you may have.

Just started an Ask HN thread also for those who are interested in offering their advice on this: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2318920

Edit: Just got downvoted, i know how this comment can be seen as self promotional but it isnt. My intention is to be brief and to the point.

17 points by kingsidharth 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is so much better than those YC-rejects bragging about raising a fund as if that's a prerequisite for success. A positive cash flow is something to brag about for sure. Congratulations!
17 points by kumph 1 day ago 0 replies      
I see that my title has been edited by one of the admins at HN.

Just so you know, the original title was:

YC W11 Reject Now Pulling In Over $100k in Monthly Revenues

I like that much better, but it conflicted with the submission guidelines, per emmett's comment.

19 points by minalecs 1 day ago 1 reply      
Awesome work man. I'm with you. I've been seeing this in the top 10 free apps. Can you share any insight into your marketing strategy, and how you got some traction ?
33 points by xuki 1 day ago 1 reply      
Dude, get a designer on board.
5 points by bvi 1 day ago 0 replies      
Something really refreshing about this post. Congratulations on your success, and best of luck!
2 points by fsipie 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Can anyone explain this business model to me? I find it very confusing, both in terms of how it works and why people sign up to this. This is not a criticism, as obviously it's brilliant and profitable, but rather an indication of my own limited knowledge 8)

Does it work like this?

1. Devs pay to feature their apps in this app
2. Users install the app and can like & install apps for points
3. After a certain amount of points (which seems huge) a user gets a free itunes gift voucher

14 points by joebo 1 day ago 1 reply      
100k per month with a free app? Can you elaborate on the revenue model?
11 points by myearwood 1 day ago 1 reply      
HN changed the title of the post. That's not cool.
7 points by nischalshetty 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ok, I am going to do step 1. Apply to YC and get rejected.
1 point by dazzla 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm a single founder with no investment working on mobile apps for daily deals. I've been working on my mobile apps (iOS and Android) for longer and I'm not getting anywhere near that kind of revenue. I would love to talk to you about marketing. I'm very inspired by your post. Any chance you have time for a chat?
2 points by lubos 1 day ago 0 replies      
congrats man, I'm so happy for you. your attitude is great, finally someone who dreams real big! go ahead and thumbs up
1 point by ScottBurson 1 day ago 0 replies      
Very cool. What's particularly interesting, I think, is that it's still possible to have a big hit like this in the iOS ecosystem, if you understand that ecosystem very well.
2 points by nhangen 1 day ago 0 replies      
Love the bravado. And further proof that building something on the iOS platform is a great way to make some money.
1 point by jswinghammer 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is a pretty good idea. It connects devs who want to sell apps with people looking to buy more apps. I am always looking for a cool game or app. Congrats!
3 points by weaponizedgames 1 day ago 0 replies      
Kumph, congrats, but what's your plan for when Apple clones your features and look-n-feel to be included inside their own App Store app?
1 point by richcollins 1 day ago 1 reply      
It's too bad the app sucks at its advertised purpose (finding good apps). I was excited when I read the description and saw how many people were using it.
1 point by chocoheadfred 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wonder if you make make more adding functionality from another app that I use that looks at your installed apps and suggests new ones based on that. Seems like you take age into account. Why not other factors like gender, interests, hobbies...in addition to popularity. All of these would be able to deliver better recommended apps. I would hesitate on just featuring the apps that pay you the most. Maybe hold out on those really good ones until you are able to prove success, which you might be able to do now. Too bad I can't see the app on my droid.
1 point by OoTheNigerian 1 day ago 0 replies      
Is this the same app someone asked for a review of a while ago?
1 point by us 1 day ago 0 replies      
I assume current monetization is by in-app ads? I came to this assumption base on the fact that the app is free and I have yet to download it. Either that or you charge people to be in your app.
1 point by zone411 1 day ago 1 reply      
Congrats. Are you sure that any possible additional competition because of this post won't matter to you, though? I am involved with some successful and already well-established websites and the last thing I would do is share how much they make on here.
2 points by hnfwerr 1 day ago 2 replies      
Are you applying to YC again? (for the 2011 summer batch)?
1 point by eevilspock 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Great. Another idea that taps into human irrationality and weakness.

Maybe Netflix should stop trying to come up with quality recommendations, and come up with a scheme like yours. The real reason to watch movies is to get paid a few bucks someday.

1 point by sinaiman 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is so awesome and inspiring, congrats!
-4 points by vlad99 1 day ago 3 replies      
This is not a solid business that might get acquired in the end so they are not interested in 1 hit wonders.
-4 points by Estragon 1 day ago 1 reply      
Not exactly a YC-reject in the usual sense, if you just missed the application deadline...
Ask HN: Advice on non-profits
3 points by TallGuyShort 5 hours ago   2 comments top 2
1 point by gyardley 2 hours ago 0 replies      
You only really need a non-profit if you're going to accept donations and you want the donations to be tax deductible. It's almost certainly going to be a 501(c)(3) organization, like most non-profits.

Managing a 501(c)(3) involves as much administrivia as managing a regular corporation - it's not for those afraid of paperwork. There's also some non-trivial fees for registration.

A concept called 'fiscal sponsorship' exists, where an existing non-profit can fold you under its wing and pass through donations - that might be the route to go at first until you're sure it's worth getting your own 501(c)(3) status.

1 point by Rhodee 40 minutes ago 0 replies      
If you don't plan on taking money-save time and opt for fiscal sponsorship. It boils down to an existing non profit allowing your operation to borrow its federal EIN and you getting the benefits of being a non-profit. You will still need to create a board and do all the other stuff-just later. They also charge. I've worked @ "projects" that were sponsored that charged 7-10% for the sponsorship. It often included all the back-end stuff.

I'd opt for an LLC and then consider becoming a "B-Corp" (look it up). It sounds like the technology may have a business model in the future. If you want to be part of it as a founder-and not an employee-don't opt for the non-prof route.

Ping me if you've got q's.

Ask HN: Do you Hate or Love your competition?
5 points by known 6 hours ago   3 comments top 3
2 points by gyardley 5 hours ago 0 replies      
It's a natural feeling. I couldn't stand an early competitor of mine, a few years back.

That said, the competitor evolved one way, my company evolved another way, and all the time I spent thinking about my competitor was completely wasted. I would've been much better off just working on my product.

Later on, my company merged with another competitor. There's no way that advantageous deal could have come about if I'd felt the same way about them that I felt for that first, no-longer-competitor. I would have let my emotions blow the opportunity.

Happily, by then I'd learned that business is just business - it's not personal. Go out and win, but remember that your competition is made of people very much like yourself.

1 point by Limes102 1 hour ago 0 replies      
When you meet self actualisation, you get bored. I think it's always good to have something to keep you on your feet.
1 point by hobolobo 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Why do you hate them?

Competitors can be detrimental to your business, in the sense that they take customers away from you, but they can also be a source of inspiration. If your competition is doing better than you, perhaps you could look at what they do well and try to emulate them?

Simply hating them, you expend effort for no reward. Learn from your enemies, they may have a lot to teach you.

Ask HN: Looking for a version control based backup tool
3 points by ikrima 5 hours ago   1 comment top
1 point by flashingpumpkin 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Have a look at this: https://github.com/hbons/SparkleShare

It's using git as a backend to sync.

Ask HN: An Acceptable Erlang
25 points by Lewisham 19 hours ago   31 comments top 20
11 points by daleharvey 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Erlang very purposefully has very very little syntax, it may seem unfamiliar and some people may always see it as ugly however once you figure out where the commas and semi colons go you are pretty much done learning the language.

And no I havent found anything that comes close to erlang that isnt erlang, I dont think thats an accident, erlangs primitive syntax is a distinct advantage.

10 points by mnemonik 18 hours ago 3 replies      

Reia is a Ruby-like scripting language for the Erlang virtual machine. Reia brings you the best of both worlds between Ruby's friendly syntax, reflection, metaprogramming, and the amazing power of blocks, and Erlang's immense abilities for concurrency, distribution, hot code swapping, and fault tolerance.


Lisp Flavored Erlang:

LFE, Lisp Flavoured Erlang, is a lisp syntax front-end to the Erlang compiler. Code produced with it is compatible with "normal" Erlang code. An LFE evaluator and shell is also included.


As far as I know, both languages are still a work in progress (I'm not very familiar with either, though). Even if you try either of these options, I really recommend also sticking with Erlang until you "get" it. It will click eventually.

3 points by mononcqc 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm the author of Learn You Some Erlang, and as pointed out by rvirding in the comments, I've also written a blog entry about the syntax (http://ferd.ca/on-erlang-s-syntax.html). I'll be adding this entry in the book at some point in the future.

Hopefully the entry helps understanding the logic/meaning behind the punctuation in Erlang's syntax. Also, as pointed out in another blog post (http://ferd.ca/an-open-letter-to-the-erlang-beginner-or-onlo...), I would just add that a different syntax helps getting in a different mindset, which is particularly useful when learning new paradigms. It might seem like something really annoying, but you'd be surprised how often we see people trying to shoehorn whatever concept they know from imperative or OO programming (or even some functional idioms) into Erlang. That just doesn't work most of the time. You have to learn the basics and forcing you out of your comfort zone by way of syntax might help with this.

It's not all bad!

4 points by Ixiaus 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Are you sure it isn't the functional paradigm of the language that is frustrating you? That is usually the hurdle for people and not the syntax in my experience - I luckily had quite a bit of experience with Scheme and Haskell so recursion and pattern matching weren't alien to me at all - the idea of taking the car of a list (or head in Erlang) and recursing on the cdr (or tail in Erlang) can be pretty mind boggling for new comers.

The syntax is actually pretty friendly IMHO - it's specifically meant to be as side-effect free as possible.

Keep plugging at it (like many things) and it will grow on you.

6 points by rvirding 18 hours ago 0 replies      
If you view the comma and semicolon as separators instead of terminators it works much better. It is also what they really are.

A semicolon separates two clauses, either two if/case/receive clauses or two function clauses and means or. Either choose the first clause or the clause following the semicolon. An if/case/receive is terminated with an 'end' while a function is terminated with a dot.

Fred Hebert, the author of Learn You Some Erlang, wrote this on syntax: http://ferd.ca/on-erlang-s-syntax.html

5 points by pivo 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd suggest sticking with Erlang a little bit longer. I've only recently learned the language myself so I know what you're talking about. However, for me after a few weeks working with it off and on everything just clicked and now it seems very natural, even enjoyable.
5 points by bayareaguy 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Erlang is easier if you know a little Prolog. Perhaps you could download SWI-Prolog[1] and spend a little time doing simple logic programming[2]?

1- http://www.swi-prolog.org/

2- https://sites.google.com/site/prologsite/prolog-problems

5 points by marcc 18 hours ago 1 reply      
The Erlang syntax isn't that bad. Don't be intimidated by it. You mention the line ending punctuation as a specific cause of concern which is difficult to learn. Let me try to help:

To start, a comma goes at the end of a normal line of code. Most lines end in a comma. There are exceptions though, but easy to manage ones. A semicolon will go at the end of a case statement or an if statement. But no punctuation goes at the end of the last case or if statement in a block. The same logic holds for ending a function. A function is ended with a period, unless there is another function with the same signature. In this case, you end with a semicolon.

I answered a similar question on SO a while back:

That was my answer back in '09 as I was learning Erlang. I absolutely love the language and agree that there is a learning curve, but the syntax learning curve is pretty small.

3 points by felixmar 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Go [1] is a fairly new language that has lightweight threads and supports message passing through channels. The language is pretty quick to learn, especially if you already know C.

[1] http://golang.org

2 points by tgriesser 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Not sure if I am fully answering your question, but I found that some of the web frameworks and demos helped me understand the basics and get working with it much better, particularly http://nitrogenproject.com/demos and http://www.chicagoboss.org/. It helped me relate existing examples to sort of pick up on the syntax a bit, still have a ways to go.
2 points by hassy 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Stick it out, you will get used to it. Comma is AND, semi-colon is OR, and period means END of function definition.

LFE is probably your best bet in case you never learn to like Erlang's syntax, as it's only a thin layer above Erlang to provide a Lisp syntax + more powerful macros and doesn't try to bolt on any new semantics a la Reia.

3 points by the-kenny 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Are you familiar with Erlant/OTP?
Real applications rarely use 'pure' message passing, but wrap everything in OTP's behaviors.
2 points by yzhengyu 18 hours ago 1 reply      
I can only echo what pivo said and tell you to stick it out longer. You can try it out in a suitable development environment which will help out greatly as you wrap your brain around the syntax.

Once you're done with Erlang, you should move on to Haskell. :)

1 point by Montagist 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm in the same boat on this one. I got an Erlang book, read up everything I could on the -background- of the language (It's older than Java!) Got all mushy over the features and the promise of potential 99.99 uptime or whatever the statistic. This functional programming syntax is difficult, though. I'll probably play with something like Reia (Ruby syntax, Erlang vm) but I realize I'd still have to get a good handle on the Erlang language regardless. I really feel like it was an arbitrary design choice :\
1 point by tobyhede 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been going through something very similar myself:

It's not like I am a noob, either, I have a ton of experience programming and I have used functional languages before (my first university language was gofer, an implementation of haskell).

I've attempted Erlang in anger twice now and have ended up terribly frustrated1.

I am currently working on a node.js spike - experimenting with zerommq and node.js to see if I can get something acceptable working robustly.

1 point by nandemo 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Try posting a problematic piece of code on StackOverflow.
1 point by justinbaker 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I know. I have the syntax too. It's just one of those things where you have both a bad and a good side. It's about trade offs.

On the bright side, https://github.com/josevalim/elixir was recently released and made me actually like Erlang a bit more. Ruby like syntax with the power of Erlang without a performance hit.

1 point by jesstaa 18 hours ago 0 replies      
The comma, semicolon, period thing is a bit weird in erlang it's a hold over from prolog and makes complete sense in prolog. But the semantic differences of erlang make it a bit more vague.
1 point by Turing_Machine 18 hours ago 0 replies      
How about Reia?


Ask HN: What is the status and future of Jython?
24 points by ertug 22 hours ago   8 comments top 4
6 points by ibejoeb 21 hours ago 2 replies      
Meetup uses it to some extent. I don't know how much, but I'm told by some of the programmers I know. I think it was Andrew who gave a Jython talk at Meetup HQ a few months back.

Jython is a great way to leverage the huge the amount of libraries and infrastructure available on the JVM. It also lets you reuse what you might already have, which might allow you to (covertly?) transition languages. I use it regularly.

If you're not already entrenched in the Java world, you probably don't need it. I use it because my clients are comfortable deploying WARs, EARs, JARs, SARs, etc. Oracle and IBM sell a full stack, so there's never any scrutiny.

Technologically, you might want it. Despite the tendency to ignore them, Java has a lot of superior tech that comes in handy. You'll get real threads, connection pooling, distributed transactions, fantastic async I/O libraries; Jython inherits all of this. If you need this, it's available. You don't have to roll your own. (You will have to learn it, though, and I think that's what really drives NIHS...) Understand that Jython does come with a performance penalty on some tasks, but pays dividends on others. You can also spot tune with pure Java to some extent.

So it's really a strategic thing. If you're selling into orgs that have established practices, or if you need really serious throughput, Jython will probably be a good choice. If you're building a web app that you run on your own infrastructure and you've already chosen Python and Django, you're probably better off without the extra layer.

2 points by pan69 21 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm not sure about the development state of Jyhton, but like others have already said, using the JVM opens up an enormous box of Java platform goodies. With Jython you can build your web app front-end with Django and your backend business logic with Java, Scala or something else. It also gives you the ability to create worker thread etc.

This is a great online book about using Jython:

1 point by beaumartinez 21 hours ago 1 reply      
> Jython 2.5.2 Has Been Released (March 3, 2011)

It's being actively developed. I know IBM uses it, at least in WebSphere.

About scalabilty I don't know, but it compiles to Java bytecode and the JVM is very mature (with Jython itself being mature as well), I'd wager that it scales well.

However, why are you using Jython with Django when you can use CPython? You're adding an additional layer of abstraction that will incur a performance hit.

1 point by ylem 20 hours ago 0 replies      
You might talk to some of the people at the Diamond Synchrotron facility in the UK. They are using it to allow scripting for control of their instrumentation. In my own use, I do remember there being some annoyances with getting a ^C into a text based client we were working on (from java), but that might have just been me. Also, I would suggest being careful with the possibility of memory leaks when calling java from jython (sorry, can't remember the details now).
Ask HN: My site isn't sexy or social, but I'm very proud of it: what's next?
11 points by dmazin 13 hours ago   24 comments top 8
3 points by Mz 13 hours ago 1 reply      
I like it. I think you can find a way to make it viral. "Sexy" is a matter of perception. I see no reason this can't become what the Cool Kids in College all want. You need someone (like me) who is completely neurotic about their grades and feels the need to call their sister and have a nervous breakdown for 30 minutes because, gasp, my first grade on my first paper after returning to college 8 years later was below a 95 (clearly the end of the world). This person also needs to be someone that other people like/look up to/want to emulate for some reason. (This was me at one time in some circles on the internet where I got treated like a "rock star" and compared to one -- though it definitely wasn't me in high school.) In some geeky circles, someone who is smart and grade obsessed can also be someone "cool" that others are enthralled by. Find those folks. If they will use it, others will use it.

Rather than sharing grades, I think I would find a means to share some measure of what value the product brought. One possibility: Show that their grades improve when they use this. Another possibility: Show that they stress less about school now that they are clear where they stand at all times. Another possible angle: Now that they are stressing less, they have more of a life because they are clear what they need to do and can set aside the whole obsessive grade focus on Friday night (or whatever) and have a little fun. This last idea might need some additional support, like some kind of study tracker/support tools in that regard. But that could be seen as a direction to grow in.

Disclaimer: I'm only on here due to insomnia. If someone completely shoots me down, listen to them instead. Its possible I'm incoherent. Thanks.

1 point by lylejohnson 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Thankfully, I am long past the point where I have to worry about my GPA. But there was absolutely a time in my life when I would have used something like this, had it been available.

I can tell you that my wife's a schoolteacher, and that her school system has a web-based system where parents can log in and check on their kids' grades. She has a lot of parents who check that site religiously. All that is to say that while it may not be a "sexy" site, you've definitely hit on a useful idea here. Good luck!

1 point by exline 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I think there is a viral angle. There were a group of friends at college, all CS majors and we competed on our grades. We all wanted to one up each other.

I can see the ability to have a score board of some kind where you can share your grades with friends. This could help spread the word a bit.

3 points by hparra 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I like it too. You took a small problem and offered a solution to it. It won't change the world, but it will probably change someone's day.

You will eventually be able to determine that someone is doing well or poor in their classes. Why not use this to recommend tutors or tutoring jobs?

BTW, Your honesty and courage to face rejection inspires me. Thanks.

1 point by michaelpinto 10 hours ago 1 reply      
1. I'd listen to some actual students and find out what the selling points are to them, and do some A/B headline testing ("Pain-free grade calculation" seems better than "Do you know what your grades are?")

2. That url is terrible " you need the words "grade tracker" in it: http://www.wolf-howl.com/seo/how-to-choose-a-new-domain/

3. You should allow a signup via Facebook (especially for college kids)

4. Maybe have a simple screenshot video instead of those stills?

1 point by redrory 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Firstly congrats. Getting your first app "out" is hard. You seemed to do that with flying colors :)

What's the technology behind the site?
Do you have a blog?
I'll love to hear more
send me an email (my HN username at gmail.)

1 point by naithemilkman 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I think it looks sexy :)

Why won't you mention your 200 hours? Conversation killer with the chicks?

1 point by dmazin 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Ask HN: How do you implement site Admin?
9 points by albahk 13 hours ago   5 comments top 3
8 points by patio11 12 hours ago 1 reply      
If it needs access to the production DB, I use regular ol' authentication/authorization for pages built into the site. If you're not me and you access it, you get kicked out. (There are a variety of reasons why one would not choose this approach for extraordinarily sensitive setups, but it is quick to implement and adequate for teaching tools.)

Things typically get promoted to my admin panels after I get sick of doing them manually on another site (e.g. log into Paypal for refunds or parse-and-crunch a CSV repeatedly).

I keep all my notes either in paper or Dropbox. If I had a team, I'd have a wiki running on a physically separate machine. (Putting software with that sort of risk profile on a machine with production data scares me.)

2 points by staunch 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I use SQL/SSH as the admin interface at first. Then I gradually migrate things to a web-based version for tasks that are common or need to be accessible by others.

For me the slowest part about implementing most of an app's functionality is making it simple and hand-holding. For admin functionality I only do that when it's really helpful, the rest of the time it's barebones, which means it's fast to do.

Security wise I highly recommend putting all the admin functionality on a VPN/tunneled-only accessible URL/IP/Server with appropriate IP ACLs. This prevents a lot of the most common types of security mistakes from becoming big problems.

1 point by endtime 10 hours ago 0 replies      

    $ pip install django

The Django admin gives you the basics for free, and it's quite easy to add admin controls to the existing pages. All you have to do is add a boolean field to the admin form (which creates a checkbox in the object's admin page) and then override the admin form's save method so you can check the value of the field.

Ask HN: What are your best life hacks?
133 points by vail130 1 day ago   167 comments top 57
39 points by patio11 1 day ago 2 replies      
1) Own a business suit. It hacks other people, because whatever problem you are trying to get resolved does not happen to the sort of people who wear business suits. It also hacks yourself - you'd be amazed how hard it is to sound like an absent-minded twenty-something when you look like the CEO of a multinational. (Trust me.)

2) Writing letters - on paper, physical letters - is the most underrated professional skill there is. Every bureaucracy in the world is a machine to turn letters into things you want. When possible, hand-deliver the letter while wearing a business suit. (Not joking.)

3) You will end up like the people you associate with. Choose friends carefully. (Want to lose weight? Make thin friends. etc, etc)

4) Crock pots: cooking without all the sucky, time consuming parts.

19 points by jasonkester 1 day ago 2 replies      
I've got a lot of mileage out of this Employment Hack:

Treat your job as an unimportant thing that's easily replaced, as opposed to your Career that's Important and Fragile and something that you should never ever mess with for worry of ruining your entire life.

If you're not sweating your Career, you're more likely to do silly things like take too much vacation, even long sabbaticals. You're more likely to stand up to silly policies in your Big Company and even find ways to work them to your advantage. If things start going downhill, you'll be more likely to simply bail and go find someplace better.

But if you get into this space where you worry that you're going to be laid off at the first little screwup, and that will mean you have to move into a cardboard box and ask for spare change at the offramp, you're only going to get deeper and deeper into that space until you're stuck. And you're going to cling to your crappy job as though life depended on it while they keep treating you worse and worse.

I have thoroughly employable friends in their 30s who live in constant fear of being laid off, and it's ruining their lives. And I have the example of myself, who didn't sweat it too much, spent the better part of his 30s on the beach with a laptop, and seemingly landed on his feet, more employable than ever.

It's just a job. Try not to give it too much importance.

27 points by reeses 1 day ago 2 replies      
* Pick an editor and stick with it. If it's EMACS, learn enough keybindings to be useful and learn elisp. Go through the phase where you run gnus for email and erc and all those silly add-ons. Get your .emacs up to 50-100k. Use that for a few years then throw it all away.

Look for force multipliers/secret weapons:

* Use an IDE. Yes, this contradicts the first point, but an IDE with intelligent context-based autocomplete (MSVC, IDEA, etc.), inline API references, and an inline debugger.

* Learn how to use a debugger. It's programming from the opposite direction: partition the problem space and drill down.

* Learn how to use a profiler.

* Learn your shell and those weird little commands like seq, find, awk, sed, perl -p -i -e, cut, tr, etc, and bash string manipulation.

* Scripting language!

Non-programming, work related hacks:

* Dress well. You'll be taken a lot more seriously if you have a well-tailored suit coat/sportcoat/etc. Even over jeans and without a tie. Watch what happens when you get on an airplane with a nice sportcoat. Make sure you understand accessories, too. Doc Martens don't go with "business casual," nor do white gym socks.

* Outline what you're writing. Whip up a quick outline then flesh it out. You'll save yourself revisions and write an organized email/document/paper first time through. I can write more in 30-90 minutes than most people can in two days.

* Master your grammar and spelling. Don't screw it up and you won't have to proofread. Learning two or three other languages (at least one romance language) will make this much easier.

* This has been said all over the place on HN, but be expensive. Their perception is your reality.

* Always have a point of view when walking into a discussion. If you need your outcome, keep feeding everyone until they come around to your way of thinking. Eventually you'll overcome everyone else's objections.

* Document presentation style is very powerful. Learn to use LaTeX with custom fonts (this ties nicely into outlining), or even Sweave to include R calculations, print it out on thick stock, and put it in a folder. I swear clay-coated 400dpi NeXTLaser output fom FrameMaker got me a +0.5 on every paper I wrote. Be consistent with this so people recognize your "brand". It makes it very difficult for people to sell your ideas as their own.

* Know a little about a lot. You never know when you'll have a chance to talk about Croatia when you're in the elevator with the CEO.

* Master Google-fu. It's amazing how many people don't know how to search effectively. If you can do it quickly enough, you'll appear to know everything. Email comes in at 10:04, you see it at 10:05, you reply with an answer by 10:10, and you're a wizard.

Home/life hacks:

* You can make whatever you want with wood, metal, acrylic, fabric, drywall with a jigsaw, dremel, table saw, heat gun, welder, cutting torch, sewing machine, etc. It's all hackable and doesn't require a lot of training. Your city probably has a coop with classes, or you can enroll at a community/junior college and get access to all kinds of crazy gear. Or you can tear something apart and see how it's made, then wing it.

* Buy clamps. C-clamps, vise grips, spring clamps, etc.

* Buy a globe and spend time just eyeballing it, spinning it around in your hands. Geography will imprint itself in your head.

* Always have something to read. Use any downtime to read it.

* Keep food stashed in your car, desk, etc. A Luna/Clif/Power Bar will get you through that low blood sugar phase, or more importantly, get your partner through it when they're cranky and they have no idea how close they are to being left in a ditch by the side of the road.

* Put your stuff away and keep your place clean. Hire a housekeeper to do this for extra points.

* Either have someone wash and iron your shirts (a couple bucks a shirt) or find a really good non-iron shirt (Brooks Brothers makes some that work really well). Ironing your own shirts is a waste of your life. Make sure they fit.

* Get exercise, especially cardio. Strength training isn't bad, either, but cardio will make you feel good all day.

* Learn to fight, or at least to defend yourself. Never be afraid of physical intimidation. The pain from just about any fight-related injury will go away in a day or two, and you'll heal not long after. Get that into your head and you'll come across as one of the people bullies should avoid.

* Always be creating something. I have two or three projects in some stage of completion. They can be pointless (a coat for your dog?) but it gives you something to focus on and get tangible progress.

* Compound interest. Friend AND enemy.

* Realize that everyone worthwhile has one or two peccadillos. Don't get hung up on them as long as the rest of the package is excellent.

* Daydream. With a piece of paper and pencil or pen nearby.

* Don't type too much on a frickin' community forum. You look like someone who has nothing better to do at 6am on a Sunday morning. (Oh yeah, DST...I wondered how it got so late.)

13 points by Eliezer 1 day ago 2 replies      
Sitting next to another person while writing increases my writing productivity by at least 400%. In retrospect it took me way too long to break down and try this.

My shot at immortality costs me $120/year for membership in the Cryonics Institute and $170/year for $250K of 10-year term life insurance of which $50K goes to CI.

I lost 20 pounds on Seth Roberts's fixed-point diet (aka the "Shangri-La diet") and gained 10 of them back after the diet stopped working, but it's ridiculously easy and works better for some people than others.

An awful lot of the rationalists I know have moved to open relationships.

24 points by geuis 1 day ago 4 replies      
Use the other door. The next time you're in a crowded place, like a mall, and lots of people are trying to enter or exit, take notice. Almost 100% of the time, most of the people will all be filing through one door that is open because other people are going through it. This is despite the fact that there is probably one or more perfectly good doors to the left or right of it.

Something similar for revolving doors. Most venues that have revolving doors also have normal doors for wheelchairs, deliveries, or whatever. Stick a large group of people together, and they start clumping up trying to go through the revolver, instead of just going through the other doors.

Being aware of this crowd behavior is a great way to bypass lines, avoid frustration, and beat the crowd.

16 points by jarin 1 day ago 3 replies      
I don't really keep a traditional to-do list anymore. I tried GTD several times over the last 5 years and it's just too cumbersome (and having a huge to-do list is pretty daunting). I keep high-level project to-dos organized in Basecamp, project ideas are organized in soywiki, and any critical reminders are in Google Calendar (with alerts).

The real hack that I do though is every morning I take a post-it note and write down 3 things that I will finish that day. Then I stick it to my monitor and do the things. After that, I relax and play Starcraft 2 or work on personal projects.

Before I started using the post-it note, I would have a day or two where I was really productive, followed by several days of lackluster productivity. Now, by committing to fewer items per day but actually accomplishing them all, I'm way more productive overall, my clients are happier, and I'm actually making progress on my personal projects.

21 points by mantalk 1 day ago 2 replies      
Life is an experiment. Whatever you do, try, learn, iterate.

Remember, though, that time is your precious resource. You'll never, ever get it back. All life hacks must either extend your time, shorten tasks, or make your time more meaningful.

Here are a few things that came to mind:


* Make a check list. Once you start, you won't be able to believe that you lived life without one. Can't overstate this one.

* I wrote a script that takes screenshots every half minute and lets me see what I've been doing. Huge time-saver. Check-lists also help.

Mental/Spiritual/Creative Well-being:

* Read an actual book that's actually not on a screen. Don't do anything else concurrently.

* Keep short, creative side-projects/weekend projects that you can be excited about. It'll keep your creative juices flowing.

* If you're in a rut, start saying "yes" to things more. It's too easy to stay in.


* Cold shower in the morning, and/or swimming in cold water. A few minutes of this and you'll feel like you ran 10 miles.

* If you're going to enjoy soda or something bad for you, enjoy it in small sips.

* F.lux for your eyes.

* Eat when you're hungry or low on energy. Don't eat when you're not hungry or not low on energy.

Social interaction:

* "Flirt" with everybody. Men and women. Don't overdo it or be weird about it, but the qualities that are successful in flirting tend to be endearing.

* Pay attention to people. "Being there" mentally can be hard, especially when you're tired or your company is tiring, but you've got to try.

* Low self-confidence is a road to all bad things. You're better than that.

* "I like your shirt/watch/shoes/bag" and get ready to hear a story.

* If you can use someone's name, use it. If you can't (and I forget names _all the time_) see if you can introduce a nearby friend.
->* Need help remembering names? Apparently this is an old sales trick (I haven't tried it but it's brilliant): index names in your phone book by category, as you may know WHERE you know a person from but may not be able to remember their name. So for a guy you know from college and whose number you have but you can't remember his name, you can go through your "College" contacts to find "College Ted." Hopefully the name resonates when you see it; I haven't tried this yet.

Time for sleep, I think, but hope these are helpful to someone...

4 points by danilocampos 1 day ago 3 replies      
When pulled over by the police:

Surrender completely, be kind, considerate and honest. Haven't gotten a ticket in nine years. More, if you're curious about the step-by-step:


Having a notebook:

A notebook large enough to comfortably dump your thoughts into but small enough to be always near your keyboard is awesome. The notebook helps with procrastination, especially when avoiding some gnarly bit of code you don't know how to write. I just start describing the problem and how I might solve it.

After awhile, I have:

- An idea of what I need to look up

- A basic list of tasks

- A clearer understanding of what I need to do

9 points by pmcginn 1 day ago 4 replies      
I used to be bad at names, but eventually I figured out if I repeat a name a few times within seconds of learning it, I generally remember it. "Hi Kevin, nice to meet you, I'm Pat. I was going over there to refresh my drink, you need anything Kevin?" It can sound a little weird, but it's made a huge difference for me, and people love it when you remember and use their name.

Quit drinking so much soda, and switch to diet when you do. (I lost a ton of weight like this. Seriously, a bottle of Coke is over 200 calories. If you drink multiple sodas a day, you can cut out the caloric equivalent of a Big Mac and fries without altering what you eat at all.)

Buy as many monitors as you can fit on your desk. Consider a bigger desk.

6 points by nhebb 1 day ago 2 replies      
- Persuasion: Mention an idea in passing then wait a week or two. Mention it again in terms of "you know that idea you had ...". This is a surprisingly effective hack on stubborn managers. If they think they'll get the credit for an idea, then they are much more likely to go along with it.

- Drink a glass of water when you first wake up. It will curb the temptation for high carb breakfast foods and reduce coffee intake.

- If you have annual reviews, write a list of your accomplishments for the past year and send it to your boss about a month before reviews are done.

- 10% rule: Allocate 10% of your work time to pet projects that make you happy. The projects should be for the company, and if you have to put in extra hours to find the time, do it. Don't tell anyone about them until they are completed/successful. Bury the failures. This tactic puts a little control and satisfaction back into your life if you have a job that sucks.

- Barter: You'd be surprised where it works. I got a $100 off a jacket at Nordstrom doing this and $50 off a TV.

- Pasta: If you're on a ramen budget, bulk pasta is just as cheap and more nutritious.

4 points by lionhearted 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you have to make an important proposal, get it on really nice paper. Go to the print shop and ask what they can do - it's amazing what $15 gets you in terms of wow factor.
5 points by Evgeny 1 day ago 0 replies      
Here is my financial "hack" if you can call it so. Helps to save some time and money when you really need it.

Plan all your meals and everything else during the weekend. Buy stuff on the weekend. Then, your commitment is not to pay for anything Monday to Friday. No coffees, icecreams, drinks or whatever else you might be tempted to buy. If you feel like you need something desperately, put in on the list and buy when the weekend comes. Rinse and repeat.

5 points by alinajaf 1 day ago 1 reply      
If you're working on projects outside of your full-time job, do it BEFORE work. Go to sleep relatively early, wake up at 5 and put an hour towards your projects every day.

You can work in the evenings as well, but you've done your work, so there's nothing wrong with chillaxing with your other half/friends/beer/PS3/any combination of the above.

3 points by iuguy 1 day ago 0 replies      
Your brain is a very elastic thing. I've found over the years that I can reprogram (for want of a better word) my head and my personality.

Case in point - Up until 5 years ago I was petrified of needles. My mum used to have to inject herself twice a day due to diabetes until she moved to a pen when I was a teenager, so you think I'd be happy with needles. Oh no. I was scared out of my wits by them. Petrified that they'd hurt more than anything going in. Of course, when I had to have an injection for anything I'd look at it, tense and terrified so the experience would be horrific. I reprogrammed my mind to avoid tensing up, not to look at it, to focus on something else and to accept that this is going to hurt, but not as much as my mind thinks it would, and after a few injections I'm now able to have them without freaking out. A couple of months ago I developed pericarditis and had to have a catheter - normally this would freak me out, but I knew that along with drawing blood samples it had to happen and I had to let it happen so I dealt with it.

I also used to get very stressed out very easily and had a quick temper. I realised that I needed to do something about it as I could flare up and it would upset those near to me. I in effect forced my mind to realise that when I got angry, upset etc. over something that I could not change, all I was doing was upsetting those around me and raising my blood pressure over something that I had no control over. Getting angry at this point has absolutely no chance of any form of positive outcome. Thus, if getting angry doesn't help solve the problem, but not getting angry at least makes you feel better about the issue and better prepared to address the problem, it's much better not to get angry. It took several months of working on it and I do occasionally get wound up easily by some things but I'm definitely a much calmer person as a result.

I've done heaps of other things to my mind and personality in the hopes of making me a better person - becoming more sociable, more comfortable speaking in public, no longer wanting 'stuff' in my life, all with pretty good success.

3 points by X-Istence 1 day ago 1 reply      
If I am in a conversation with another developer because they asked for my help I will stop talking if it looks like they are 1. either ignoring my advice 2. or have understood enough and are busy doing what they need to do or 3. are busy doing something completely different.

This way I don't waste my time, and I can quickly get back to what I was doing. I tend to spend a lot of time explaining concepts even to people that may know what I am talking about so that I don't have to be interrupted again.

I work better while in an almost empty room with no movement around me and no noises other than the music I am playing.

I tend to spend too much time multitasking so I have disabled all of the notification features on most of the apps I use (such as Mail.app, Adium, Twitter, and others) now they can't interrupt me with an badge stating how many messages I still have unread in my Inbox. It has given me a cleaner experience.

Socially I have started cutting out those people that only demand my time but don't provide me with anything. There is no reason why I should be spending my time writing a long reply when I know you are not going to read it or provide some sort of adequate answer to the questions I posed in an attempt to help you. This is in real life as well, phone calls and the like.

16 points by jsilence 1 day ago 2 replies      
Socks tend to become lonely, loosing their other half, which makes you end up with lots of single socks in the drawer.

I ditched them all and purchased 20 pairs of the same socks. I never pair them up, but simply dump them in the drawer after washing.

This way I don't have to pair them up and I never have to quest for "the lost sock(tm)".

4 points by zaidf 1 day ago 0 replies      
Too lazy to create reviews for a final? Create a google doc with a chapter number on each row and email your class asking x people to signup to do y chapters each. When done have em paste it into a master doc. Boom! You have a crowdsourced study guide!
3 points by Udo 1 day ago 3 replies      
Okay, just life hacks, no tech:

Figuring out how to skip boring classes and phys ed in high school (mostly) without getting caught. Ah, good times.

Bypassing uncooperative assistants on the phone in order to schedule meetings with their superiors (OK, not my proudest moments actually).

Faking attractiveness and social intelligence in order to get girls with all kinds of tricks, including infamous wing man maneuvers.

Wow... I better stop right there. Those are all kind of terrible :-(

5 points by kouiskas 1 day ago 3 replies      
Use a vertical monitor for your code editing. Having twice as many lines of code in front of you at once makes a big difference. Most skeptics haven't really tried it.

Stop wasting time obsessing about the best coding setup and the best editor. I've seen very poor developers with incredibly advanced typing shortcuts that they spend hours perfecting. They still write shit code (maybe they do so faster...). I use the standard configuration for an editor I like, which is a text editor only, not an IDE. I think the extra seconds here and there I spend typing repetitive parts of code give me time to think about what I'm going to do next. If you've ever spent half a day writing macros that save you milliseconds, then you're fooling yourself into thinking that you're increasing your productivity. And as I've mentioned, "lost time" isn't lost if you're spending it thinking about the problem you're solving.

Limit your use of debugging tools. I'm self-taught and in my early years of programming (Pascal) as a teenager I just didn't know how to use a debugger. It's given me a 6th sense in figuring out where the problem is in the code when I encounter a problem. Developing that ability makes you work faster because most times you know immediately where the problem is, instead of hunting things down in the debugger in a systematic fashion. Next time you're tempted to immediately fire up the debugger, just don't and try to figure it out only by looking at the code.

3 points by pella 1 day ago 0 replies      
What if a simple mental exercise could improve your memory and intelligence?


Dual N-Back Community [ lot of tips: Dual N-Back, Brain Training & Intelligence ]


Memory hack .. [ Anki is a program which makes remembering things easy. ]

#4. Medication hacks:

ADHD: http://curetogether.com/blog/2011/02/22/what-patients-say-wo...

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: http://curetogether.com/blog/2011/02/03/surprising-new-data-...

#5. self-monitoring / Self Tracking

tips: http://quantifiedself.com/

#6. Lonelyness hacking:


9 points by cambriar 1 day ago 1 reply      
I wanted to listen to my music in a way that my iPod wouldn't allow. So that day, about a week ago, I wrote an app to play my music the way I wanted. It has a big button, when pressed once marks that position of the song, twice immediately loops from the first mark to the second.

I felt like I had just grabbed a wrench or something and fixed a part of my life, but the wrench was Xcode.

6 points by ZhannaSchonfeld 1 day ago 2 replies      
The best life hack advice I ever got was  from my first internship. It was at an engineering firm and as I was sneaking out the back stairwell for a cigarette (yes, I was a smoker for a brief period, shame on me) I ran into an engineer and he asked what I was doing, so I made something up and said I was running an errand. I returned his question, "what are you up to?"

Engineer: "I'm carrying a clipboard" 
Me looking confused.
Engineer: "if you ever want to look busy, just carry a clipboard...."

Worked every time!   

3 points by bergie 1 day ago 0 replies      
When writing code, use Literate Programming. Not JavaDocs-style API documentation, but actually explain what your code is doing and why inside the code itself. When explaining stuff you will be able to catch bugs before even running the code.

And as bonus, you'll have documentation that isn't a burden to maintain.

Docco or Noweb are good tools for this. Here is one of my Docco examples:

11 points by statictype 1 day ago 1 reply      
Brush while in the shower.
5 points by saulrh 1 day ago 1 reply      
Two here.

1) Make the placebo effect work for you. There is an overwhelming amount of evidence that says that the placebo effect works. Deep down, I know that the placebo effect works, and that simply thinking that I'm getting better makes me better. So, whenever I feel like I'm about to get sick, I tell myself that I can make myself feel better - and I get better. I got this working a few years ago and I haven't had a cold or allergies since.

2) Whenever you get a new program, hit every button. Every last one. Click on every menu option, check out every dropdown, explore the entire preferences and settings dialog. Eventually you'll start to develop an odd intuition for finding things, even in weird GUIS and ones that make no intuitive sense. It also means that you've seen that one button in the corner that does exactly what you want, which is very helpful.

4 points by karolisd 1 day ago 0 replies      
Do open mics, whether it's comedy, poetry, or music. Put yourself in front of a crowd. You might bomb and embarrass yourself. But afterwards, you'll still be alive. You'll walk back to your same life, but stronger.

I totally agree with the business suit. There's nothing like wearing a suit. (I wonder what it would be like for a woman to get fake tits? Is that the equivalent? I'm not being sexist just making a joke)

Keep track of what you eat. Before you eat something, remember everything you've eaten that day. Keep it up and you'll be surprised how much your eating habits will change.

Bike everywhere.

Go with your gut. I think a lot of us love analyzing things to death because we love flexing our brains. Use the gut.

3 points by farout 1 day ago 0 replies      
Stop reading unless it can help you immediately - got this tip from 4hour week from Tim Ferris's book.

Books are first vetted for fit by analyzing the star3 comments in Amazon. Then I write what I will do once I read this book before I read actually it.

I read the book and then do the items. Then I analyze: did this book do what I needed it do. To help me become better at predicting.

I used to read about 10 books/week for the last 15 years. Now I only read 2 per week and many weeks none because I am too busy doing ... and WOW what a difference. I wish I started doing this earlier.

9 points by wattjustin 1 day ago 0 replies      
Focusing on actual productivity instead of all the apps, software, and techniques to get things done. It's taken a while to learn that, but a very valuable lesson in my opinion.
5 points by yoshgoodman 1 day ago 4 replies      
Get your self tested for ADD,

I know this sounds weird but up 10% of people have it.
And with treatment,I got tested and my coding started to become more in depth.

My concentration is more then i can ever imagine. Before I would work 30mins 30 mins(a life hack I got from HN previously) off like a previous. Now I can work 2 hours straight with even better results from what I would do in 4 30 min work sessions.

3 points by edge17 1 day ago 0 replies      
measuring the quality of a parking spot based on walking time rather than proximity. people spend so long circling for parking, if you just part 3x as far, you'll save way more time and won't burn fuel needlessly while circling.
6 points by camperman 1 day ago 0 replies      
StrongLifts 5x5 - real strength and fitness for geeks like me.

Getting Things Done using Org mode (very simplified).

The Unschedule from The Now Habit.

Many tips from The Four Hour Work Week.

Make lists. Not too many. Mostly do.

I'm sure I'll think of more...

3 points by Mahh 1 day ago 2 replies      
Putting myself in positions where I have to pull through.

Like signing up to be a TA at the university -- now I know that I have to really master the course content.

Or telling people that I do/will do x and y.. so now I have to do x and y or else I'm a hypocrite and that sure would be bad. I tell my friends that I get out of bed by counting down out loud from 5..0, and that I ALWAYS get out of bed at 0. And I've convinced myself that I'm a hypocrite or fool of some sort if I don't follow through, just because i told people.

Also made a fun screen scraper last week for a course at the University that filled up with only Seniors and Juniors(has at least 100 students trying to get in). Crontabs to run my script which logs me into the course website and checks the spot availability of the class(and then alerts me if it's open). That's fun because only me and the other CS kids could possibly do this.

4 points by rodh 1 day ago 2 replies      
My trick for remembering names: When I meet someone new, I try and think of someone else I know with the same name (a friend, famous person, etc.), and picture the two standing next to each-other.

With unique and foreign names I try and thing of an object or animal that sounds like that name. Sometimes I've had to get a bit more creative, like associating my Nepalese acquaintance Badu with Fred Flinstone (yabba dabba doo), but it always works.

2 points by fijter 1 day ago 0 replies      
1) Job/Tech related: When starting a new project try to think of something new, something you wish to achieve. Like "I'll switch to VIM for this project in stead of TextMate" or "I'll use CoffeeScript here in stead of Javascript". This way you develop yourself further every project and it won't feel as much like you are doing the same thing all over again every time.

2) Start your own company / start as a freelancer. Come on, you can do it ;) It's not for everyone but ever since I've started doing this I haven't had any regret for doing it. You will have lots of extra time and freedom to try new stuff; And once you have the right clients you only need a couple of hours a week to get the same amount of money you now get working your ass off fulltime. Only do this if you know you are good at what you do. Make sure you've worked in the same field before so you know what to expect and be aware of.

3) Not going to work for yourself? Switch jobs once you get bored. I've seen people work at the same job for so long they go into auto pilot and they don't develop any further. In the last 5 years I've had 4 different full-time jobs, at every switch you will learn some new stuff, either tech or business related. No one ever questioned my loyalty and I've had I nice raise every time I started something new.

4) Some big buildings with lots of companies in it have a private parking lot with some guy in a booth checking out if you can park there (most of the time this is for suppliers or people with some kind of access card). Just approach the barrier, smile at the guy in the booth, and raise your hand. Most of the time they will just let you through. If they don't they will ask you why you are there. Just say you are delivering a package for Company X, they will let you through, no further questions asked.

3 points by hanifvirani 1 day ago 1 reply      
As some of you might know, trains are very crowded here in India. I take a train to work. My simple hack is a marked position on the station where I stand when the train arrives in order to be the first one to grab the handle of one of the marked compartments that I always get in. After the people on the train alight, I can sneak in quickly. Using this hack, I am the first one to get inside the compartment 90% of time, no matter how large the crowd is.
3 points by Gatsky 1 day ago 0 replies      
1 point by RK 1 day ago 0 replies      
Whenever possible, pass off laziness as efficiency.

Don't be afraid to take your own path. When I decided to switch research topics during grad school, no one was actually doing what I wanted to do, but I was able to convince a couple profs to work with me, successfully have them apply for an NSF grant on my topic, and form a brand new research group of questionable officialness.

I think this has been mentioned before. When purchasing stuff in (US) stores, you can generally swipe your card and enter your PIN before they are done ringing your items up. Makes things go a little faster and you feel like you're in the know.

2 points by gbog 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Only one hack: get the f... out of your country, go to Africa, China, India. Don't bring any survival kit, live the life of these billions of humans, you'll never need fancy lifehacks anymore.
3 points by math 1 day ago 0 replies      
"do your time" working for the man in a developed country for 5-10 years, saving as much as you can as you go. Then move to a developing country to freely work on projects for pretty much as long as you like. In terms of lifestyle, there are pros and cons, but so far the pros are far outweighing the cons.
2 points by dalys 1 day ago 0 replies      
I never put a really big task on my todo list. Instead of having "Write 500 page report about XYZ" on your todo, break it down to smaller jobs, but not too small. So instead, write down "look on wikipedia about xyz for 60 minutes", "open up Word, come up with a first draft title, and write down the chapters needed". Makes it A LOT easier to get started on something! If the task is too big I, and many others I suspect, just procrastinate. You end up with half a day gone just thinking about how hard and big the project is, instead of just opening Word and writing down a title, which is better than nothing.
2 points by eof 1 day ago 3 replies      
Last time one of these threads came up, someone mentioned using the privileged security lines even without a first class ticket or whatever frequent-flyer status you need. I just flew out of Chicago and skipped a pretty decent sized line without any fuss from anyone.
1 point by olegious 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Only diet advice you'll ever need- cut out grains from your diet. Will never have to worry about weight again. Eat meat, fish, fruits and veggies. Have one cheat day during which you eat anything you want. Easy. Simple. No diets, no counting calories. Done.
2 points by jschuur 1 day ago 0 replies      
Always take the stairs, and feel good about the fact that you're just a little bit less lazy than the people taking the escalator.
1 point by Nervetattoo 1 day ago 0 replies      
Overdo things " especially breaks.
At work I stopped drinking coffee from the machine and do it as labourous as possible; Grinding the beans, making preferably one cup at a time using an Aeropres. This makes me refocus on the coffee and thus have an actual effective break. Obviously the coffee itself gets hell-of-a-lot better!

I fullscreen every app I use to avoid multitasking. My terminal (vim user) has opacity so I can glimpse the browser behind it for visual cues on what I'm working on.

Turn off all notifications that goes beyond a tiny status light, or similar. Decide for yourself where to focus, dont let the email, IM refocus for you!

Weekly dinner plans. On sunday or monday, plan every dinner for the week. Shop once on monday. This saves you money and makes it a lot easier to eat what your body really needs.

Social life; Volunteer! Its the best and easiest way to make friends. Period Especially if you have trouble in this department.

7 points by Jayasimhan 1 day ago 2 replies      
Never do anything to kill time.
2 points by Tharkun 1 day ago 0 replies      
When a meeting goes off topic, stand up and walk out. It's a good wake up call for all involved. And if they suddenly decide that there's something important they were meant to ask you but forgot because they were too busy discussing the weather, they'll ask you before your hand hits the door knob.
1 point by mark_l_watson 1 day ago 0 replies      
Most of my life I have worked a maximum of 32 hours a week. Not only does this give me time for exercise and extra fun, but also time to promote my career, not a particular job, by offline learning of new skills and writing. The 20% "lost" revenue is a reasonable cost.
1 point by nazgulnarsil 1 day ago 0 replies      
Setting goals and then pursuing those goals along any avenue, not just the obvious ones. Empiricism along the way.
1 point by handzhiev 1 day ago 0 replies      
- Do the hardest/ugliest/most boring things first. The rest of your day will get better and better

- Remove sugar. Not consuming sugar will make you feel less sleepy/lazy and healthier. If you can't live without it, try to replace it with fruits or dark chocolate

- Ride a bicycle. It will help you save money, be healthy, feel cool, and even save time

- Put money aside for buying various stuff (I have "tech fund" and "travel fund" for example). When you want to buy something big, use money from the fund

- Never get into consumer debt

1 point by atgm 1 day ago 0 replies      
I bake chicken wings and drumettes for a slow, but low-fuss dinner. Cover with salt and spices, rub in three tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, bake on aluminum foil for 50 minutes at 190 C.

In those 50 minutes, I can clean my apartment, go for a walk, start the laundry, or whatever. The prep time for dinner takes me all of five minutes. They taste delicious and it's very easy to scale up (provided you have oven space) for visitors.

2 points by hoget10 1 day ago 0 replies      
Have a little chime that goes off every five minutes. If you're not doing something worthwhile when the chime goes off, then start doing something worthwhile (for me that's whatever's next on my to-do list.).

www.online-stopwatch.com/interval-timer/ works great.

3 points by todorovS 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I would say listen to Baz Luhrmann - Wear sunscreen. The song is one big life hack and one of the best ones in my mind.
1 point by lothar 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Rejection Therapy. Seriously. You meet more people, get more stuff and lose the ego. I find I'm a lot friendlier and social because of it: http://www.rejectiontherapy.com
2 points by MarkSimpson 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ask your superiors for advice, even if you don't have any intention of following it. They'll love you for it.
1 point by netaustin 1 day ago 1 reply      
Get good at every system (software or otherwise) you depend on, and stick with them. Don't take on new systems until it hurts too much not to.

For me, this means that I run the same GTD/Pomodoro routine day in and day out using Remember the Milk. And I won't evaluate alternatives until I can't help but.

1 point by cosmok 1 day ago 0 replies      
I have forced myself to stop checking mail, facebook, time, etc. on my mobile after I have decided to rest. I have slept better since then.
1 point by mynameishere 1 day ago 0 replies      
Stopped eating lunch and lost 50 pounds in about 6 months.
Ask HN: good places to find less experienced engineers?
11 points by joshu 15 hours ago   13 comments top 8
10 points by aditya 15 hours ago 0 replies      
What about engineers straight out of college? Or is that too junior?

Also, re: how to interview junior people. I'd say the one thing they don't have is experience, or to measure a senior engineer's abilities it makes sense to ask how many times have you built this <insert rocket ship> before, and what did you learn?

For a junior engineer, it is enough to test for willingness to learn, and aptitude for problem solving. Personally, I hate brain teasers and straight up algorithmic complexity type questions. But, given a real world system, asking them how they would build it is usually a good start. So, test for ability to understand big problems, break them down into smaller problems and then figure out a way to attack each small problem.

Curious about other people's interviewing ideas.

7 points by pmb 14 hours ago 2 replies      
College career fairs.
1 point by nickadams 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Rochester Institute of Technology (http://www.rit.edu)

Look for recent grads and co-op students. Less experienced -- maybe -- but definitely not less talented.


2 points by shailesh 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Two scenarios:

1. With 2+ years of experience, the person should be able to solve a small programming assignment and upload it on GitHub / BitBucket.

2. Evaluating an absolute fresher is a little hard. Puzzle and a simple programming problem helps. Great care has to be taken in designing or even selecting what kind of puzzles to be asked. Also, the puzzles tend to get shared very quickly by candidates who appeared for the interview rounds. This needs to be factored in those puzzles.

2 points by goalieca 13 hours ago 0 replies      
You've found one fresh out of grad school right here ;)
1 point by SkyMarshal 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Off the top of my head, both reddit/r/[learnprogramming|coding|lisp|haskell|etc.] and Stackoverflow questioners who are asking things a junior engineer would typically ask. Maybe the same at Quora too.
1 point by JoachimSchipper 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Internships (for students, obviously)? Joel is a big fan. Do note that this takes a while...
1 point by FirstHopSystems 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Figuring out the basic concepts they are familiar with might be a good start. If they have the capability to learn from other more experienced engineers.

Having the means to figure out what domain a challenge/problem is in would be another plus.

EDIT: Defining a Junior engineer might be a good place to start.

Tell HN: Friend's don't let friends apply to NYC Seed
21 points by throaway_nyseed 20 hours ago   9 comments top 7
1 point by Montagist 24 minutes ago 0 replies      
If you don't have the guts to stand by your opinion, how are we to take it (or you) seriously? I may have to look at them with a suspicious eye, but my opinion of you - whoever you are - has probably taken a greater hit.
4 points by throaway_nyseed 19 hours ago 0 replies      
excerpted from thefunded.com

I've held my breath on this one for a while, but we wasted an incredible amount of time with NYC Seed.... In fact, we very nearly lost our opportunity to raise good money because of NYC Seed. If you value your time, do not spend it here. They are a firing squad.


A few additional points:

- Owen says he wants to back startups, but in reality, he is absolutely risk adverse. Here's why:

- The NYC Seed investment committee is a firing squad. They know nothing about startups, seed funding, or the rest. They want to co-invest with Fred Wilson, and put out press releases, but they are mortified at the idea of losing money and will screw you over at the last minute if they fear that this might happen. This is the city, politics and tax-payer money we're talking about, folks. Bad mix.

- It was the longest "no" I've ever had. Ever. As I mentioned, we almost lost our chance at good money due to their process. They pulled out at the last second.

- Now they've re-positioned as an incubator / quick-start program. $20K for 5% of your company is a total screw job. Do not take those terms!

3 points by TheCowboy 19 hours ago 1 reply      
You don't present any solid allegations other than that he's a douchebag.

How exactly is he dangerous to the uninitiated?

What does it say on "thefunded" about him that should drive people away?

It's like you know about an abusive priest, but you won't say how exactly they're abusive, just that the priest is unlikable.

1 point by pclark 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Two sides to every story.
3 points by throaway_nyseed 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Excerpts from another post on thefunded:

And because Owen himself is not a professional VC (this was his first gig after being a startup entrepreneur), he doesn't really know how to relate to his board and investment committee. I'm aware of one case in which he SIGNED a term sheet, and then his committee reneged on it. I can assure you that particular company (and the other investors involved who assumed that he could deliver what he promised) will never engage with him again (although they won't say that publicly...)

2 points by throaway_nyseed 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Excerpts from another post on thefunded (he means Owen Davis but is confusing him for the actor Owen Wilson who is a pretty bad actor too so this is funny):

I've personally spoken to several people who have dealt with SeedStart and Owen Wilson in general (hackernews meetups / ruby meetups / javascript meetups / founders of some existing NYC startups) and I've literally heard nothing but bad things. Lot's of really good developers / hackers were extremely put off by the NYC Seed process, the attitude of Owen Wilson, and the general lack of technical competence of the people evaluating business plans. Why would I spend two months putting together an extremely comprehensive business plan and then sit down to a meeting with "investors" who had obviously not read one page of the plan."

0 points by SHOwnsYou 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Flagging this and I (publicly) invite everyone to do the same.

Anonymously bashing someone with your only real argument being that he is arrogant is ridiculous.

You have zero credibility and for all we know you are bitter for not getting selected for SeedNYC.

And please quit spamming this board with random messages from another website.

Finally, point of order - 20k for 5% is better financially than YC.

Show HN: Bootstrapped, Not Profitable *Yet*, & Proud: Pagify
40 points by johnnytee 7 days ago   23 comments top 13
2 points by nader 4 days ago 1 reply      
I just tried this out for http://thinkery.me and it's pretty cool. An option to change the color scheme would be great.

Here's the facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/thinkery?sk=app_141947329155355

2 points by jvdmeij 6 days ago 1 reply      
Such a cool product. The Wordpress for Facebook pages. Great stuff. Hats off.

Some small hints while using it.

* When editing your page it automatically saves, at least that is what the message tells you. But after clicking the upgrade banner top left and going back, my changes are lost. Using the latest Chome stable on Mac btw. After publishing the page, my changes were there though.

* Open the page result in a new window, so I can easily go back and tweak more

* When clicking on a header in the final page, I would like for it to close so I can easily open the next one.

* I am missing a feature to delete the whole page

* (Pro version?) I would like to rename the page as well as the page icon

* (Pro version?) Would love to add and edit more pages

* (Pro version?) Be able to change the style of the page (colours, fonts, borders ,..)

3 points by jeffepp 6 days ago 1 reply      
Very cool. When you do decide to start charging, I would charge > $5.
Super easy to use. I would buy right now :)
2 points by HardyLeung 7 days ago 1 reply      
this is a wonderful and easily monetizable application. Hope you're successful in bringing this to the mass. Two very minor aesthetic suggestions: (1) when I hit the play button, it should play automatically instead of just bringing up the popup, (2) plan & pricing ... I think it is better you say something about the plan rather than "free for now".
2 points by geoffw8 7 days ago 0 replies      
I like it a lot! From the design, to the music accompanying the video, to the way it looks so simple to use! Looks like you've done a great job.

To be honest, we'll probably use it ourselves!

2 points by Skywing 7 days ago 1 reply      
Looks very nice. Did you do all of the design work, or is this a purchased template? It looks great.
1 point by rumpelstiltskin 7 days ago 1 reply      
Great design!

How are you taking payments?

2 points by huuleon 6 days ago 1 reply      
Great work. I just tried it out and the process was very simple and easy. Keep it up. Good luck
1 point by johnnytee 7 days ago 0 replies      
2 points by blparker 7 days ago 0 replies      
Great work. Looks professional and polished.
1 point by netincome 14 hours ago 0 replies      
great app
2 points by JohnPlummer 6 days ago 0 replies      
Congratulations, nice idea.
2 points by asmithstudio 7 days ago 0 replies      
Glad to see this go live.
Ask HN: An Alternate Solution for "The Hacker News Problem"?
8 points by edburk3 17 hours ago   2 comments top 2
1 point by nkurz 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I think it's a fine idea, and certainly it wouldn't hurt to start collecting opt-in's. While the 'serendipity' argument is frequently presented, I think this is just a matter of coming up with a better recommendation algorithm.

This proposal is already on the "Feature Requests" thread linked from the bottom of each page. It's a pretty low traffic thread, so even a few votes might help to make it happen: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1878800

1 point by EgeBamyasi 6 hours ago 0 replies      
One thing that would increcea the overall experience for me would be the possibility to tag a post with a small set of simple tags(like Programming, Startup, Other etc) and on my memberpage be able to specify what tags are relevant to me and enabling /mytags to only show post with the appropriate tags.
Ask HN: Rate my startup - Simple security risk assessment
6 points by rakkhi 21 hours ago   1 comment top
1 point by rakkhi 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Startup Fair in Berkeley
5 points by shijing 17 hours ago   discuss
Ask HN: If ideas don't make you rich, then where do you start?
9 points by jgd111 1 day ago   5 comments top 5
4 points by trevelyan 1 day ago 0 replies      
In my experience, proper execution is second to marketing and distribution. You can have the best product out there, but if no-one knows it exists you'll have a hard time selling anything.

If you're looking to enter the same market as another product you know there is a market for it. So the problem isn't whether the idea is fundamentally good or bad -- it's whether you'll be doing something special enough to attract attention in a market where other people have already been working for quite some time to dominate distribution channels and get visibility.

1 point by petervandijck 1 hour ago 0 replies      
A few well conducted, in-depth interviews with people who use the competition's product should give you enough ideas on what the market really wants. User research does have its place :)
1 point by Mz 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you figure this out, give me a call.

I have a solution -- not a product, but a solution -- for a problem people are absolutely desperate for answers on. Only not my answers. I can freakin go to hell or something. And have been explicitly told that there is something inherently wrong with thinking I deserve to make some money off of offering something superior. I don't know what I am going to do next. I have wrestled with it a long time and continue to wrestle with it. But, no, just having a better answer does not, by itself, rake in the dough.

1 point by bmelton 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Build something, or find somebody to build it.

If the idea really is good, then you might be able to find a developer who'll work on it for partnership -- this is, in my opinion, another good way to get validation for the idea.

The other trick though, is figuring out what you bring to the table. Can you market it? Can you sell it? Can you raise venture capital? What can you do?

Imagine a scenario in which I have two people, capable of all the potential in the world, pitching me an idea. Imagine that I have a machine that can either add value to an idea, or add value to the business side of things -- whichever side I add value to, decreases it from the other side proportionally -- ie, if I add 25% of the 'value of the idea', I am subtracting from the 'business-management capabilities' by 25%. In the end -- and forgive me, I just realized how dumb this hypothetical of mine is, but now I'm pretty much pot committed -- I end up with two idea guys -- one who has 25% better business acumen, and another with an idea that is 25% better -- I'm picking the first guy.

Alternately, of course, you can bootstrap, hire people, yadda yadda -- I'm guessing this isn't an option, as you haven't already done it. But if the idea is SO GREAT that the only thing between you and success is the implementation, then get started implementing it, by whatever means you can muster.

2 points by keiferski 1 day ago 0 replies      
The idea does matter. Don't get caught up in the false dichotomy that plagues this issue.

Obviously execution is hugely important. But that doesn't mean that the idea is irrelevant. The key is to take a great idea (that has a market) and execute on it well.

Show HN: DemonTunes.com, web based music player.
3 points by NovaDesu 22 hours ago   4 comments top 3
1 point by andyhin 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Great site. I used to own audiolizer.com that did the same thing but with less features.

One thing that worked out really well for us was allowing users to import their itunes libraries/playlists. You just need to parse the iTunes XML and map them title/artists to YouTube videos and users would be able to import thousands of songs in seconds.

A few questions:

- How do you plan to make money?

- With YouTubes new song filtering, a lot of songs aren't the original pitch anymore- how do you deal with that?

- Have you considered using the Grooveshark API?

Good luck with the site!

1 point by revorad 21 hours ago 0 replies      
The interface is clearly a clone of iTunes, but boy is it done well! Nice work.
1 point by bglenn09 20 hours ago 1 reply      
did you do both the ux and the coding? It's very impressive work.
Hackers, is publicly viewable code good or bad in terms of employment?
6 points by bigtea 22 hours ago   10 comments top 7
1 point by exline 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Its a huge plus. We are in the process right now of hiring and that is one of the first things we ask about. Do you have any open source code we can view? This tells us several things about the person

1) They are interested in coding. This was done on their own time, away from work. This means they actually like to code.

2) A lot of work is done to learn a new language/technology. This often shows desire to learn and the ability to at least hack together something that is new to them. This is important because we will be asking them to come up to speed quickly in our code base.

3) You can look at the code and get a feel for how they code. We are a small team and each developer will have the ability to have a big impact (for good or bad). Getting an idea of how they think, how they solve problems is a huge plus.

I don't think you need to have a lot of code available. Pick your favorite project, or 'best' project and make it available. I see very little downside.

3 points by stanleydrew 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I can say from the perspective of hiring at Twilio that we often look first for a github or projects link in a cover letter or resume. Fairly often we decide to give someone an interview based on that. The opposite is often true as well. Without seeing code, a candidate who is on the fence may get passed over.

Ultimately we are looking for creative hackers, and public projects are crucial in determining the inquisitiveness of a potential candidate. Other employers may have different priorities, but I think most startups are looking for similar types.

3 points by grandalf 22 hours ago 1 reply      
I think as long as you contextualize what the goal of the project was, then it can only be a strength (it shows that you're not afraid to have some of your uglier code glimpsed by the world). We all write ugly code now and then.

My biggest fear when hiring someone is that they're so image conscious that every commit must look perfect... I know this ads about a 20% time overhead onto everything and not only is it extremely vane, is typically part of a quest to get job offers, etc. In general not things that are valuable to the current employer at all.

2 points by beaumartinez 21 hours ago 1 reply      
As is often quoted, "real artists ship".

If you publish code, even if it is buggy, you have proof that you can code (which is pretty important). However, I'd ensure that it works. If you are aware of bugs, document them in the code.

Would you buy clothes at a store that didn't let you see them until you bought them?

1 point by petervandijck 1 hour ago 0 replies      
It's very good.
2 points by jrallison 21 hours ago 1 reply      
My first step when determining whether or not I want to talk to a candidate, is finding any code they've made available online. I'm much more willing to talk to someone who has published bad code online, than someone who hasn't published anything.

It's great if I'm impressed with their code, but bad code isn't necessarily a negative. I'm much more interested in why they wrote it a certain way then looking at their code with no context. Everyone out there has written bad code, it's understanding the decisions made behind the code that's interesting to me, in regards to whether or not a candidate will make a good employee.

1 point by beamso 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I think it's good in terms of employment. I'm currently looking for work and some companies advertising positions / the recruitment firms advertising positions for some companies are now asking for github accounts along with cover letters and resumes.

(I've only seen this for Ruby jobs though... Java is tending towards 'Are you using these libraries in your current position? No? Thanks for your application but...'.)

Technical Co-founder/Advisor Opportunity For StickyFrames
3 points by adlep 20 hours ago   1 comment top
1 point by adlep 20 hours ago 0 replies      
We got a very promising lead from here few days ago, but ultimately Rob could not join due to a schedule constrains. We are both quite web/tech savy, however we do not have a lot of experience with developing complex web services so we'll need a tech lead. Both me and Dustin are willing to do some work on the site, learn, and help with specific function points.
Ask HN: Workload in Uni more than in a CS Job?
3 points by mcasaje 20 hours ago   4 comments top 4
1 point by macca321 4 hours ago 0 replies      
It depends how hard you find it, and how well you want to do. I know some people can get through with a good mark doing 3hrs a week 46 weeks of the year, and 80hrs the other 6 weeks (before exams and dissertation hand-ins).

I wouldn't recommend this though. Slow and steady wins the race, procrastination then working like mad makes you STRESSED

1 point by ayers 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I would general agree with this but I think it comes down more towards the type of person you are and the way jobs and study are viewed.

University is seen as a fixed term situation and is at an individual level. Here are the things you need to do, now go and do them by this time. Work is kind of the same but you have set hours that you are willing to do the work in. Generally this is 9ish-5ish. Your boss accepts that you have a life outside of your work(I hope) and will accept that you can only do so much during your set working hours. There will be times that you have to put in extra hours in the evenings or weekends but this should never be the norm. The time frame for the completion of a project is usually based on there only being a certain amount of time each week that any one person can give to the job. You can increase and decrease the amount of workers to change the completion time. While at University it is at an individual level and you cannot increase or decrease your clones. Being at University it is up to you to decide how many hours you are to spend on learning or completing something.

I know when I was a student I certainly spent over the "normal" 40 hours a week on my studies. During the end of my degree I was in the 80+ hours a week. This really does depend on the person though. Some people will do the bare minimum to scrape through with Cs and might not spend over 40 hours a week. I invested pretty much all of my time on my studies, so for me my workload took up a far higher amount of time during my degree than it does at my current job. This is all based on working for a company, not a startup(yours or someone else's) or contracting. They pose different parameters around working hours, workloads and motivations.

1 point by timthorn 20 hours ago 0 replies      
In my 3rd & 4th years of CompEng at University, I was consistently working between 80 & 120 hours per week. Although I've not worked in startupland, I have worked in one of the large consultancies and in a significant engineering company in both marketing and development. I've had peaks of required effort, but never had to put in anything like those two years.
1 point by stray 19 hours ago 0 replies      
He said it's very possible. He did not say it is very likely.

It is also very possible that you'll win a lottery.

But having said that, my advice is not to worry about the future (or the lottery) -- things will work out to your satisfaction.

Or they won't.

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