hacker news with inline top comments    .. more ..    13 Jul 2011 Ask
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Ask HN: How many displays do you work with?
2 points by larelli  1 hour ago   6 comments top 5
nostrademons 1 hour ago 1 reply      
This isn't a very useful way of doing a poll now that the number of comment votes is hidden.
larelli 1 hour ago 0 replies      
1 display
larelli 1 hour ago 0 replies      
3 displays
larelli 1 hour ago 0 replies      
2 displays
larelli 1 hour ago 0 replies      
4 or more displays
Ask HN: Why isn't there a 'Number of Users Online' feature on HN?
3 points by jeggers5  2 hours ago   4 comments top 3
staunch 2 hours ago 1 reply      
What problem does that solve?
dmazin 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Adding a single small feature doesn't take up that much space, but what differentiates this small feature from another? Why not add that one, too? Therefore only features that provide significant value exist.
JimmyL 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Why do you want one?
Ask HN: My iOS app got pirated, what to do now? Raging? Nothing? Partying?
25 points by sippndipp  8 hours ago   33 comments top 21
stanmancan 8 hours ago 1 reply      
You can't stop people from pirating your app. Not to mention, I'm sure most of us have pirated something, at some point, as well. I'd personally let them keep the files up. As it's been said, another user is another user. He'll show it to his friends who might buy it instead of pirating.

Another option to help fight people pirating would be to offer a free version. Maybe limit how many things they can add to their list, and have it ad supported. The full version you pay for and gets unlimited items in their list.

If you do find a way to detect someone using a pirated version, instead of disabling the application, why not do something fun like create a "pirate theme" that gets applied so they know they've been busted. (The only drawback is if the pirate theme is awesome you might get people pirating it just to see what it looks like).

There's no sense in fighting pirating, it's never worked. As far as I know, no industry has had any real success stopping it. I say embrace it and try to use it to your advantage.

runjake 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I would say "party". It's one more user to add to your user base. One more user who (if your app doesn't suck) will end up showing it to someone who doesn't want to bother with the immense fuss of pirating and will just purchase it.
wccrawford 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Celebrate! People like your app enough to pirate it.

Because the alternative was that they wouldn't like it enough. There is no 'wanted it but didn't pirate it' option for bored, unethical hackers.

someone13 8 hours ago 0 replies      
If you want, you can try sending a DMCA notice to the file hosts to try and get the software taken down.

Here's the page for FileSonic: http://www.filesonic.com/report-abuse

Wupload: http://www.wupload.com/dmca

BitShare: http://www.bitshare.com/abuse.html

That won't stop the pirating, but it's something...

jbrennan 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Whatever you do, don't try to limit your app just if it's running on a jailbroken device. There are many legitimate reasons for Jailbreaking an iOS device. I've done it countless times to my devices (fellow iOS developer here), and I've never done so to pirate apps.

In order to pirate apps, you must jailbreak. But in order to jailbreak, you needn't necessarily pirate apps.

prestia 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I think one of my favorite approaches is reaching out to the individuals pirating the software. Post a comment on the page explaining that you are the developer of the program. Explain why you made the application and that, if people download and enjoy it, you would appreciate them supporting future development by purchasing the application through the AppStore.

You really can't stop people from pirating your application, but you might be able to convert a few would-be pirates just by reaching out to them with your story. It's easy to steal a piece of software from a nameless entity, but it's much harder when there is a human element involved.

Going into "legal mode" rarely solves these problems because it just puts people on the defensive (and this is coming from a lawyer).

dexen 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Make the app forever free and provide in-app transactions for some premium content/functionality.

Perhaps paid-for import/sync of bookmarks with some other movie bookmarking service -- with something comparable to MyAnimeList [0]. Or ability to exchange movie bookmarks and comments with friends over FB or G+; if you make it go through your central server, you can collect some fees for such service.

They say you can't beat free (`pirated'), but `pirates' can't beat your free version either.

Compete on quality.


[0] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myanimelist

janl 8 hours ago 1 reply      
You can't stop pirates and converting users of the piratery is not worth the effort. I hope this doesn't drain your revenue, but if you can just push forward and make paying customers happy and find new ones, that's where I'd spend my time.
beej71 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Probably worth a toast, but not worth worrying about. Your target market is and always has been the people who buy apps through the app store.

We have some free and some non-free apps in the store, and we've never given the piracy stuff a second thought. We were actually pretty stoked when we saw the first game pirated. It made us feel legit. ;-)

amdev 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Don't sweat it. This happens to our app, BillMinder, every release. Typically pirates won't use your app long and probably wouldn't have paid for it anyway so there isn't much lost revenue. Annoying but not the end of the world.
mkorfmann 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Maybe some people just want to test your app. I heard of plenty of people who download a pirated copy first, to see if it's worth buying. You could release a test version of the app, so these people don't need to download it illegally. Otherwise, people who pirate software wouldn't buy it otherwise also. So, consider this as an indirect PR for your awesome app.
shareme 8 hours ago 0 replies      

1 the pirate your app act tells you these things:

    -in their geographical area fro some reason they cannot but it or the price might be too high
-they love your app

2. Easier to turn those into paid conversions if paid app gets free updates.

Most of us here can not tell you not take legal action. However, can you turn this into conversions? I think you can.

On the android side I run into when I sell apps through non Google android Market stores as those do not have infrastructure of me checking a license api like Google Android Market does..the things above is my thought process and steps I will be using..

yllus 7 hours ago 1 reply      
My sympathies. I'm about to launch a PlayBook app and am fervently hoping that piracy is less of an issue with BlackBerry users.

Also - I came across http://getdenso.com/ a few days ago which appears to do roughly the same thing as your app - have you heard of them? I inquired with them for an API that I might utilize to bring a BlackBerry PlayBook app into existence, and I'd like to extend to you the same offer. If you've got an API I could use, I'd love to bring this functionality to my preferred tablet.

vidyesh 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I would suggest get a free app account limitation for 10 videos or so. This way you would get more users too and also some good exposure too as many would download you app being free. :)
Free user Conversion is your App magic ;) IMO, app is awesome ;)

Also check this, there might be an udpate on iOS5 and you might be lucky.


jodoherty 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I wouldn't worry about it. With iOS apps, it's much easier for people just to buy your app and have it installed and running on their device than it is to try and pirate it, so unless you're seriously overcharging for your app, most people will continue to just legitimately buy and use it.

You could also charge a small recurring service fee for accounts and then give the app away for free.

mborromeo 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Apple introduced an API to check if the device is jailbroken, but after 6 months removed it without any explanation.

However you can still make some check, like to check if the path /private/var/lib/apt/ exists or not. Since many package managers for cracked apps are apt-based, you should be able to get most of jailbroken devices.

Sadly (afaik), no way to understand if your app on a device has been cracked or purchased.

agento 8 hours ago 0 replies      
In this case I wouldn't worry too much.
The app itself is only really useful for registered users who have paid through in-App-Purchases.
mirrorskin 8 hours ago 0 replies      
As you already have the link to one site spreading your pirated app, I'd contact them and ask them to remove the link. Sure, this won't stop the pirates (or other folks sharing the file on other platforms), but it's worth a try.

Of cause, it would be interesting to see how many people are using the pirated version of your app, if it can be achieved with little effort.

alfbolide 7 hours ago 0 replies      
open source it, which you should've done at the first place anyway.
path23 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Rage! Hunt 'em down. Consequences will never be the same...
them0rtn 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Ask HN: Is our messaging about sharing contacts for businesses correct?
8 points by dtsakos  8 hours ago   1 comment top
Ask HN: What do you use to perform usability testing on wireframes?
2 points by olegious  2 hours ago   discuss
Ask HN: Best Books for Learning Web Design?
11 points by mitchelldm7  8 hours ago   8 comments top 7
LarryA 1 hour ago 0 replies      
The ones I've found that are good starting points:

Stylin' with CSS by Charles Wyke-Smith - its mainly a (good) CSS book but gives enough hints at good design so you don't go overboard.

Handcrafted CSS by Dan Cederholm with Ethan Marcotte - again CSS tutorial with emphasis on good design with CSS.

Once you get the handle on those (or before hand) check out the great examples in CSS Zen Garden. ( http://www.csszengarden.com/ ) Something you can pick apart and analyze. The cool thing about ZenGarden is the HTML is always the exact same file it's the CSS and graphics that make the designs different.

Beware web design books that concentrate purely on web design - some of them are trying to be too artsy and cutting edge, look inside the book before buying... also some may be specific for templates in WordPress, Joomla or some other CMS.

DanielBMarkham 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I used to respond to book requests so much on hn that I created a website where you can review hacker books and share your list with other folks over here. hn-books.com

For web design, here's my list: http://hn-books.com/#BC=0&E0=2&EC=1&FC=0&Q0=...

Note that if you like, you can sort by knowledge level and book format.

eswat 42 minutes ago 0 replies      
Don't Make Me Think by Steve Krug

The Elements of Typographic Style by Robert Bringhurst

Non-Designer's Design Book by Robin Williams

Sargis 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I have seen this question come up on HN countless times, but I have yet to see a good answer. Why hasn't anyone written a good web design tutorial/book? I've read quite a few Photoshop/css tutorials, but none of those helped me understand the fundamentals of good design. The only thing that helped me suck less at designing was the "Non-Designer's Design Book", so I suggest reading that for starters.
icco 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't know about books, but I took an introductory art class at my local junior college and it helped me a lot. Just understanding the basics of color and how artists go about laying out pictures translated a lot to helping me at least understand why designers did things online.
ch00ey 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm not quite sure on books, but there are a TON of resources out there to help you get a solid web design foundation.

Here are two resources that I read daily and provide a lot of good juicy material:


imp 7 hours ago 0 replies      
For HTML/CSS, Bulletproof Web Design is a great book. It doesn't get into graphical design though.
Ask HN: I Found My Competition. Now What?
3 points by saucerful  6 hours ago   4 comments top 4
Mz 50 minutes ago 0 replies      
Last month they had 100k unique visitors and about 4x as many pageviews.

I don't think this is enough information to go on. What kind of money are they making off that traffic? How qualitative is the community? What are the working conditions? Are they in debt up to their eyeballs and there isn't any more pie to go around even if they felt you had something of real value to bring to the table?

You haven't posted anything which really indicates they have a solid business. I have known of sites in the past with traffic but little to no income and lots of frustrating other issues. I think you need more info to have any hope of making a reasonable assessment of the situation.

Best of luck.

hoodoof 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Kinda sounds like you have a sense that you are owed part of their business? I'm not sure they will see why.

Imagine you spent 3 years developing your code, building your business to 100K uniques, pulled togething a team of 3 developers. Then a guy turns up and says "I had that same idea 12 months ago, I'd like a job and a I think I deserve a slice of the company too.".

What would you say to him?

rick888 5 hours ago 0 replies      
This just validates your idea. There are always better ways to market a product and make it unique enough to win over your competition. It sounds like they still have a small team, so if you want your own company, just keep working on your own project.

It just means there is more work ahead of you.

What do you expect to get if you join their team? They already have a product in place with a pretty big community, the only thing you can really expect at this point is to be an employee. Your "piece of the pie" will be your monthly salary. This will also destroy your chances of starting your own company (mostly because they will have an NDA/Non-compete)

winsbe01 5 hours ago 0 replies      
build your product. competition is a good thing; dominating a market gives people a lot to gripe about.

plus, having a fairly direct competitor with 100k uniques gives you 100k people who already are attracted by the 75%, and may be overjoyed at the last 25. Just keep going and stick to your vision.

Ask HN: What do you all use for your documentation / help / community software?
4 points by chunkyslink  11 hours ago   2 comments top 2
p4bl0 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I think that the answer to your question, as many other, is "it depends", because it is too open. What kind of documentation? For what kind of tool? Is it a web app? Is it a programming language? A library or a framework? Is it a desktop app? Also, who is the target of this documentation? Everyone? Programmers?

Depending on the answer to these questions, the answer to your question could vary from "make a video tutorial" to "write some man pages and a good README file" (with "FAQ page", "wiki", "html and/or pdf complete reference" in between).

If your question is more about the "how" than the "what" then I suggest using a format which you can compile to different othe format such as HTML, PDF and man page (I already worked with DocBook but I didn't like it very much, maybe reStructuredText is a good candidate I'll have to try some day).

LarryA 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I find dokuwiki to be a great wiki - does not need a database if you don't want one. Stores data as text files and images, so easy to look at source data. The access system is nice, can set up access groups. With the right template you can make it into a nice little CMS. Have used it at work and Staff seem to be able to get a handle of it pretty easily.
Decentralized Zero-Conf VPN: what do you think of this guy idea?
2 points by djit  11 hours ago   discuss
Ask HN: The Big Trends
4 points by photon_off  1 day ago   2 comments top 2
curt 1 day ago 0 replies      
Really think the next batch of big companies are going to be those that bridge the digital-physical divide. Seamlessly integrating physical products into the digital world. It'll start off in the entertainment space (there are a couple already) and then branch out into other areas. The problem, there aren't many people that have experience in both web based and physical product areas.

Also I'm waiting on the mobile and social game companies to take their brands into the physical world with television, merchandising, movies, and everything else. Huge opportunities to build continuing long-term brands. Hollywood is so risk adverse, if you can bring a proven property to multiple media types with a known market, it's a no brainer.

There are also huge opportunities in the developing world, they rely far more heavily on mobile devices which presents a huge opportunity.

wallacrw 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't think we've yet exhausted all of the opportunities that collective action has brought. Obviously, we believe in crowdfunding at CivicSponsor, but I think it's a demonstration of the potential for (as the previous commenter discussed) integrating online interactions with the real world.

Check-ins sort of got us there, crowdfunding is a step closer. Anything that draws real connections that have value from the easy-to-create online connections that social networks offer has the potential to be huge. I'd say Groupon and AirBnB are really part of that trend, and I don't think it's over just yet.

Ask HN: Why Usethesouce isn't much alive now?
2 points by bhavin  1 day ago   discuss
Tell HN: Use Google+ to take notes
7 points by blago  2 days ago   4 comments top 2
pitchups 2 days ago 1 reply      
You do not need to add anyone to the circle. Keep the circle empty and it will still work. This is based on a hack published originally on Google+ : https://plus.google.com/107797841320768724118/posts/ghXafbr4...
AwesomeTogether 2 days ago 1 reply      
I did it, and posted in that circle, but when am I supposed to get this to-do?
Is the idea that I review my own posts to see the to-do list?
if so, what happens if I have a bunch of other public circle posts? the tasks-list post will get pushed down....
Ask HN: Why don't the current startups looks like Google's 1999 video?
6 points by realp  2 days ago   4 comments top 4
ARobotics 2 days ago 0 replies      
Random hypothesis: Risk.

In 1999 dot coms were making everyone rich and would continue to do so forever. Everyone was getting funded, going public, growing. It didn't appear working at a tech startup was a risky endeavor likely to leave you unemployed in a month.

Today, startups are viewed as very risky. They might go bankrupt, your stock options might be worthless, you might end up with several years of your life gone with little to show for it.

What group of people is going to have the risk profile best suited for that environment - young, single men sounds like a reasonable answer.

keiferski 2 days ago 0 replies      
My guess: because too many of today's startups are more concerned with the profitable exit than they are with building a diverse, long-lasting organization.
tluyben2 2 days ago 0 replies      
Yes, and why no dogs. We used to have dogs in the office, it was fun.
Ask HN: Learning other (non-programming) languages?
4 points by mitchelldm7  2 days ago   8 comments top 8
auganov 1 day ago 0 replies      
99% of all that is crap. Period.
Persistence + dedication + passion and you can learn any language for free to a functionally fluent level in less than 2 years doing 3-4 hours a day.

No different than hacking effort-wise.

The catch is that some amount of rote learning is a must.
Immersion, real life practice etc is all cool, but it's just not the most efficient way.
The never dying argument that children learn languages fast because of total immersion is some kind of a joke. They don't learn fast, it takes them a lot of time. The only thing they pick up fast is the accent and what I would call language intuition. But building up huge vocabulary takes them a lot of time.

So you if you want to be on the fast track you have to combine rote learning and immersion.
Rote learning for cramming in TONS of vocabulary, you can do 50-100 a day with flashcards. Immersion for getting the feel.

If you're smart enough you can pretty much skip speaking practice, I know, very controversial. But if you feel like you can, then yes you can. I strongly believe it can even make things worse for some people. Because they develop bad habits too early.
And I'm talking real life practice here.
DO talk to yourself in that given language. Think in it. Even speak it aloud to yourself. But don't find language partners for speaking.

If you really feel like you want to do the language exchange thing then you can do it very early on, say the first month of learning. And only do text based. It's a good introduction to very basic written language.
It quickly gets too easy, so you need to be aware when it stops being a learning tool and starts being 100% fun.
If you can, just stay away.

Rote learning will be the hard work part of the equation, so I say try to do as much rote stuff done as you can and when you feel you're burning out just switch to stuff that's more in the immersion department. Then go back and repeat.
With that method extra time that you put in actually increases the rate at which you learn exponentially.
If you do 1 hour a day I'd bet that even in 6 years you'll have a long way to go. Do 6 a day and you can get fluent with an accent that is close to native accent in a year. Of course mileage varies.

Classes are totally not an option. They are full of COMPLETE slackers, language learners really do not have a good reputation, especially at an early stage (who does?).

1 on 1 tutoring is good, but don't let the tutor set the pace. The tutor is not for you to practice speaking/listening with. Of course you'll do that with him, because ideally you'll be only speaking in the target language. But his main role is to prepare your daily fix of material to cram and give you an answer when you need it. (less frequently makes little sense, bi daily at most).

I often find that it takes TONS of time to actually come up with what I'm going to cram in. Especially once you go deeper. So you can outsource that to the tutor.
And do communicate that you want to go FAST (if you do :-)).

Ok. I guess it's enough, I just love learning languages. Most people think my approach is crazy, but well it works for me and I'm sure it worked in past for many many others.

If anybody wants some more crazy tips from me just post here or my email is in the profile.

T-R 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'd definitely go for the classroom. Unless you're living in the country, it can be pretty hard to maintain the discipline to cram vocabulary at a reasonable pace without anyone checking on you. Also, at some point you'll at least need someone to practice with, ask questions, and check your grammar.

If you're looking for tips - when I was taking multiple languages at once (Japanese, Chinese, and Korean), between classes I listened to music from the language of the class I was about to go to, to get my mind switched into that mode. I'm also under the impression that the music helped with my pronunciation a lot (but not with listening comprehension as much as I'd've expected).

creativeone 1 day ago 0 replies      
It seems like moving to a country where the language is spoken isn't an option for you.
Here is how I advanced my Hebrew before moving to Israel. My prior knowledge was that I was able to read and write, but didn't really understand much except for mom, dad, table, chair.
- Pimsleur audio course - while driving I would listen to these mp3s. About 12 hours worth of participatory conversations. I think this should be required.
- online live tutoring - I got a discount for this online tutoring service, about $15 per hour I paid to have a teacher give me a private lesson with a digital whiteboard plus camera. Great for learning basic concepts, grammar, and also conversational.
- textbooks made for learning - first complete a book that is made for English speakers. Then get a book that is made for children or for people learning the language with no other language support. Like an ESL book with only English inside.
- make some friends that speak the language. This is ultimately the most important step. Nothing you learn in books or mp3s will stick unless you practice with real human beings.

Good luck!

code_devil 2 days ago 0 replies      
I have been looking to learn spanish. My personal preference is to take a classroom course so you will have real people to interact with and remember the vocabulary. And then you can follow up that with online material.

During my search, I also found
1. iTune podcasts (Coffetime Spanish) and many more
2. My local library has a tie-up with MangoLanguages
3. Verbling ( a new site backed by YC)

Rosetta stone is always there, but is something I would consider once I have take a classroom course first.

poissonpie 1 day ago 0 replies      
Michel Thomas has worked for me - French, Italian and Spanish...It is all audio-learning though - no written per se. I've gotten surprisingly good results - at least enough to hold my own in simple conversations from the CDs (they are about 8 hours each for a basic course).
declancostello 1 day ago 0 replies      
The more you study the better you get so try http://alljapaneseallthetime.com

There's some great posts about methods and motivation on that from someone who learnt Japanese in about 18 months.

namank 1 day ago 0 replies      
Classroom courses!

If not, then properly structured distance education courses are amazing.

Structure I like:
Weekly assignments based on book
Assignments are both audio and written
Exam based on comprehension

hrasm 2 days ago 0 replies      
I was able to augment Pimsleur's Japanese tapes with some reading to crack the old Level 4 of Japanese Language Proficiency Test. It was a very good starting point. Worked well for me I would say.
Ask HN: I need a friend but I'm having trouble
43 points by jwdunne  6 days ago   37 comments top 25
gabrielroth 6 days ago 2 replies      
Here's something that's easy to forget: Everyone else at a Hackspace or a meetup or a user group is there for the same reason as you. If they just wanted to write a bunch of code they'd be at home in their bedroom. If they go to one of these events, they're hoping to meet like-minded people. The more people there, the better. So they'll be pleased if you attend.

This goes double for the organizers, by the way. Imagine organizing one of these events: booking the space, posting about it online, arriving early to set up ... Your biggest nightmare would be that no one shows up. When you arrive, walk up to the organizer, introduce yourself, and thank him for his effort. I guarantee you he'll appreciate it.

almost 6 days ago 2 replies      
If there are Hackerspaces nearby then you're in luck, just go along! Don't worry about being smart enough or anything silly like that, there won't be an entry test :) Seriously though, you can just turn up and have a look at what people are doing, that's what everyone does at first. Try and talk to people about the stuff they're working on, it'll be interesting plus everyone loves to talk about their stuff.

And the more you go along to things like that the easier it gets. You'll be surprised how soon you start to feel totally comfortable with it.

Lastly, considering widening your interests. There are loads of very interesting and nice people who aren't into tech. Just because that's (one of) your interests doesn't mean you can't mix with people for whom it isn't a focus.

wzdd 6 days ago 1 reply      
I can't vouch for the Manchester hackspace but I can say that the London hackspace has been one of the most friendly and welcoming groups I've ever visited. Admittedly I did go with a friend the first time, but everybody there was happy to stop and chat with me and tell me about what they were working on, and there were several ongoing group projects which welcomed extra people (one of which I have now joined). So, I would say that it's worth mustering up the courage to drop in one evening.

You are certainly good / smart enough to go. Like anywhere, each project has a wide range of people, from domain experts to complete newbies. Try to visit with the mindset that a) you will be friendly and interested in what people are doing, and b) you won't be intimidated. :) In practise, I don't think (b) will be a problem.

mrspeaker 6 days ago 1 reply      
Go to the hack spaces. Go to every event. Even if you say not a word to anyone. Have a project and work on it. Nerds are not very good at making other nerds feel welcome: it's not that we are unwelcoming, it's just that we forget. Eventually someone asks if anyone has a recommendation for a templating engine, or a knows the syntax for a reg ex.

Then you're in.

hammmatt 6 days ago 0 replies      
I'm not the brightest guy in the world. But I can tell you that human companionship often comes in forms that you do not expect.

I wouldn't look only for technical people to talk to and hang out with. While I'm sure that shared interest can create a strong bond between you, there is more to life and the soul than computers.

I'd like to recommend three books to you that really changed my perspective on how to deal with people. Arguably any value I have in communicating with people comes from the lessons of, or derived from using, these books.

1) Life Would Be Easier if it Weren't for Other People
2) How to Succeed With Women
3) The Demon Haunted World, Science as a Candle in the Dark

The first is the most important, how you convey yourself to others and how they convey themselves to you. However, the book focuses on the dysfunctional aspects of communication. This book has made my more worth living in every single way.

2) How to Succeed with Women. You didn't mention whether or not you have a girlfriend. This of this like Cosmo with useful advice for me. Basically, it is how women look at dating and how men often don't even come close to thinking about what they want.

3) Just a great book on human nature.

Good luck buddy. Got carried away.

robgough 6 days ago 1 reply      
I live in Manchester, UK.

I don't know how easy it is for you to get into the city centre on weeknights, but Manchester has plenty of user groups nowadays - some of which are rather well established.

I'd recommend you start with something like the tech-generic Geekup http://geekup.org/events/ which tends to get a wide variety of geeks, and then from there you may also want to get involved with the more specific user-groups. You should also join the mailing list and introduce yourself - do this today!

Admittedly I've not been to a Geekup yet myself, but I know plenty of people who go through some of the other groups I attend and they're all very friendly.

You didn't mention your age. Being under 18 may influence which groups you can attend (a fair few are held in pubs/bars) but a fair few groups regularly meet at MadLab which I don't think has age restrictions.

I can understand your trepidation (been there, still experiencing that!) but you won't regret attending any event. Good luck.

pavel_lishin 6 days ago 1 reply      
Everyone who says, "Just go, don't be shy!" has either never been shy, or gotten over it so long ago that they don't remember how it feels.

A good way to dip your toe in the water is to find an IRC channel that meets every so often. You can get to know people there, so when you first show up, you'll already be somewhat familiar with them.

darklajid 6 days ago 0 replies      
I feel for you and hope some people here are able to bump you into the right direction. It should take nothing more than 3-5 contacts and you should be good to proceed (by joining one of them to another geek event, easily extending the network with lots of stress removed).

You're not alone with these fears - in fact, you're probably in a field where this seems to be well-known (and sometimes the stereotype). I moved to Israel recently and, while not the prime example for being an introvert, I tend to sympathize with you.

Except for one contact (via HN, no less) I've yet to convince myself to join a local networking event - and I even declined a nice (via HN, no less..) invitation for a meetup recently, because I felt that I couldn't 'show' or 'offer' something of interest.

Bottom line: You're not alone with your situation and your fears. Asking for help here is already a great step, now just accept some of the offers from people around you.

Contact the guys that are available and set up a date as close to now as possible. That way you won't try to think it through for a long time ("Should I?"..). Jump! :)

geoffw8 6 days ago 0 replies      
Not a single one of my friends is tech savvy. We have a music guy, a general knowledge guy, a sports guy and me, the tech/biz guy. As well as a few other unspecifieds.

I don't agree you need them instead of your old friends. Get a few web contacts, go to a meetup, its not like you live in the Scottish Highlands or something!

agentultra 6 days ago 0 replies      
Shyness is hard for me to over-come. I feel a lot of pressure to conform to expectations of me when I meet new people. It doesn't help that I think I'm weird and so very different than everyone else. I might say something stupid or strange and no one would want to talk to me. Often I just don't even bother going out. I'm that shy.

Here's what I've learned from meeting lots of smart people over the years:

Just be yourself. It's simple advice I know, but here's where it hits home: nobody can fault you for learning. If you try and act really smart and knowledgeable but someone catches you faking -- that's bad. But if you're just honest about what you do know then people will trust you and want to help you.

It's a big hurdle and not one I always make successfully; but I know it's always worth a shot. You just have to get out there and try it.

TimLangley 6 days ago 0 replies      
Hey ;-)

How can we contact you - can you put an email address or equiv in your contact

I work for a start-up based in the center of Manchester and always looking for interesting people to hang out with (or to employ ;-)

Alternatively there are several grass roots (hackspace type groups in Manchester) [PHP-North West, GeekUp, Manchester Digitals that are all very welcoming]

Feel free to from me a line (tim@canddi.com or @TimLangley) and maybe we can catch up for a beer / coffee after work one evening


mattm 5 days ago 0 replies      
How to get over shyness:

1) Take up some kind of partner dancing as a hobby eg. salsa, swing, etc. It doesn't matter as long as it looks like fun. This will force you to connect with people and push your comfort limits.

2) Start going to social dances after you know a few moves. Usually the class teacher will be able to tell you where you can dance socially. This will get you in the habit of asking women for dances.

3) To make friends, you need to invite people to do things away from the place you know them from. So if you meet someone you seem to get along with, say something like "Hey, I'm thinking of going to see this movie this weekend. You interested?" Since you've been asking women to dance, this should be much easier by this time.

And don't think you won't meet programmers dancing. I once asked my teacher once why so many of the regular guy dancers were programmers or accountants. She said that it wasn't just limited to my city but all over the world, programmers and accountants make up a disproportionate amount of the male dancers.

drtse4 6 days ago 0 replies      
Regarding the idea of going to Hackspaces i'd say that the idea is nice and that you should just go and see if you like it (lucky to have one nearby).
If you are referring to this: http://hacman.org.uk , they seems to have an irc channel, chat a bit with them about what they do and i guess that you'll feel way less frightened.

Afraid of not being "good" enough? Not a problem, more things to learn for you and i don't see why "less experienced" people should not be welcomed.

You didn't say in your post if you are interested in a particular technology, in addition to hackspace i'd search for local usergroups (ruby,python,etc...) and check if they meet in RL sometimes.

Shyness in some cases can just be a question of habit and perspective, both things can be changed/altered.

petercooper 6 days ago 0 replies      
I know robgough already mentioned it (hi Rob!) but go to http://geekup.org/ - the next one in Manchester is on the 12th. It's was designed exactly for folks like you (well, not exactly, but you're not expected to have lots of geek cred or anything!) and there's also an online mailing list so you can get to know some names first. There are meetups all across the North.

Also, check out #nwrug on irc.freenode.net (oh and #geekup actually - but I don't go in there much). I hang out in there and it's mostly people from around Manchester or Leeds. It's ostensibly a Ruby channel but, to be honest, it's rarely discussed. It's great having new people come in and get to know us - happens all the time. If you end up in there, I'm 'petercooper' there too.

yesbabyyes 6 days ago 0 replies      
Hi! If there are hackspaces where you live, that sounds like an awesome place to find like-minded friends! Try not to worry about being shy or frightened - a hackspace is likely a place where many people have felt that way, and that's ok.

Also, have you reached out to your friend-of-a-friend web developer? Sounds like someone you could be making your friend. If s/he's also in/around Irlam, I guess s/he also could need a like-minded friend. Either ask your mutual friend to bring you both out and socialize, or be brave and reach out directly. Tell him or her how you feel about not having someone to discuss these matters with, and ask to meet up!

jeggers5 6 days ago 0 replies      
"how do I know if I'm good / smart enough to go",
nobody will care that much as long as you are nice to people ans try to make friends.

Besides, I'm sure you're just as smart as most of the people in attendance.

Trust me, if you go, and make an effort to make new friends, you'll come home with many new people to talk to.

MrKurtHaeusler 6 days ago 0 replies      
I would say the smaller the group the better.

With a larger group there are already smaller groups of people talking together and it is hard to approach and invade their discussion for an introvert. And the discussions are also more likely to be presentation style where everyone sits and listens to an expert.

With a smaller group, e.g. meeting around a pub table, you are almost forced to take part, and are a part of the discussion from the beginning.

I greatly prefer the two groups I belong to that have less than 15 people and meet up in pubs, compared to the larger ones, that have good information but are less useful for me for meeting people etc.

revorad 6 days ago 0 replies      
None of my regular or close friends are programmers. A couple who are live quite far. I know how you feel. So I started going to the local Hacker News meetups and have met some fun people.

I know I'm not as good or smart as most of the people I meet there but I find people are quite helpful. So, it's best to think in terms of how much you can learn from them and get better.

In fact, I've arranged to meet a couple of hackers tonight just to help each other out with projects and hang out.

The only way to stop being lonely is to go out and seek out new friends and do fun stuff together.

CyberFonic 5 days ago 0 replies      
Being shy and lonely sucks, but can chose to rise above it. My approach is to pretend (to myself only) to be an interviewer. Go up to people at gatherings and ask questions and be interested in the answers. You'll be surprised how quickly people open up and you will learn heaps of interesting stuff. BTW there's more to life than technology. I have been introduced to some amazing technical people through non-tech social contacts. When asked about what you do, you could briefly describe it and follow-on with a comment about not knowing many others in high-tech. You'll be surprised what the connections being offered.
Hisoka 6 days ago 0 replies      
I used to be very introverted and would always keep to myself. Then one day, while playing a game of pick-up basketball, a guy started asking me about the idea of being a CS major in college. I then went on to discuss the pros and cons of being a CS major, how easy it was to start a business in technology vs other industries, and how it appealed to my need for creating and achievement. By the end, he thanked me for helping him make a very important decision in his life. Afterwards, I realized how being shy was holding me back from positively influencing other people in the world.
infinite_snoop 6 days ago 0 replies      
Hey James,
Your question encouraged me to look into this myself as I'm working in Manchester a lot at the moment.

I came across this which might interest you: http://madlab.org.uk/events/

I even added a calendar event to my Outlook to remind me of the Android meetup but I'm not sure if I will pluck up the courage to attend!

ig1 6 days ago 0 replies      
Checkout meetup.com and find local tech meetups, there's also the Manchester Linux User Group. A lot of these events are either pure socializing or talks followed by pubbage, so there's not really much to worry about when it comes to being "good" enough to go.

Twitter is also a good place to meet people.

Tarks 6 days ago 0 replies      
Just go, seriously go and walk up to whoever is in charge of whatever event you're at and say that you have a huge interest in the field and you'd love to learn more, people that host those type of events usually really love enthusiastic people.

As a side note, don't mention just wanting a friend, people don't respond well to desperation, so don't act that way and you'll have an easier time making new friends.

Podenemos 6 days ago 0 replies      
Same problem, but I live in hellhole, in Manchester you should be able to find many contacts...
timruffles 6 days ago 0 replies      
If you're ever in London, feel free to drop by Picklive in White Bear Yard for a hack and a coffee :)
Ask HN: Does this exist? If not, why not?
5 points by travisfischer  3 days ago   10 comments top 6
staunch 3 days ago 1 reply      
All Mint.com really did for 90%+ of people is display pretty charts of their finances in a completely automated way. The "big idea" they had of helping people transform their financial lives was mostly bullshit and never realized IMHO.

It was really: enter your bank account credentials and get instant visualization of what you spend your money on. Useful, but hardly life altering for most people. "Wow, I spend a lot on eating out. I should cook at home more."

If you really want to be the Mint.com of food you would create an iPhone app that OCRs your restaurant and grocery receipts and displays cool charts of what types of food you eat. "Wow, I eat a lot of unhealthy food, I should cook at home more."

I suspect the solution to the problem you've identified doesn't look anything like Mint.com. The startups that are delivering pre-made meals are probably closer to the mark.

It should be possible to affordably deliver quality food to people's houses on a bi-weekly basis. You could take into account all requirements you specified.

You get a package, open it up, drop the meals into a pot/microwave and instantly get a fresh healthy meal. That's the only real "drag and drop" solution.

jmcasanova 3 days ago 1 reply      
My wife uses Kraft sometimes and when you select some of their recipes you can say add it to your shopping list. It then breaks it down into categories like, dairy. of what you would need but that's about it. I guarantee you if something like what you are asking about existed my wife would use it in a heartbeat but she has not found anything yet.
petervandijck 2 days ago 0 replies      
A lot of the (paying) dieting sites offer similar functionality. Because of the way the dieting industry works (sign up in January, drop out 2 months later), the focus is usually not on improving the UX but on improving signups, so I don't think any of them are very good.
calebhicks 3 days ago 1 reply      
I've used DailyBurn.com for much of what you are talking about, as far as tracking what I eat. But I haven't used the specific mail planning feature as I am not a paid member.
petervandijck 2 days ago 0 replies      
"if I can find enough support for the project I would make it a priority" -> it tends to work the other way round :)
steventruong 3 days ago 1 reply      
Check out this site: http://www.livestrong.com/
Ask HN: Best way to accept payments online?
9 points by jeggers5  4 days ago   11 comments top 4
fastspring 9 hours ago 0 replies      
You may want to check out FastSpring, which is all-inclusive, enabling you to focus on building and marketing your app.
dieselz 4 days ago 1 reply      
Ask stripe.com for a beta invite. I recently implemented their billing solution quickfast. 3.5% + $0.30 on each transaction, but no need for a merchant account. Get in contact via http://twitter.com/#!/stripe
_THE_PLAGUE 4 days ago 1 reply      
As long as it is not pay-pal. The company I work for, which shall remain nameless, had much of its staff "cannibalized" by pay-pal. One manager of mine mentioned to me he turned down an offer from pay-pal because of its total lack of security, he basically felt it would be unethical to work for pay-pal, given the total lack of attention to security of people's bank accounts that it had. So, not sure the answer to this one, but at least, from "inside" knowledge here, do not use pay-pal.
satyamag 4 days ago 1 reply      
It depends on which country you are in and what platform you are using I suppose. If it's in the US then Braintree is a good and easy to setup payment system. I haven't personally used it but have heard about their ease of setup. Of course, you could use paypal if you are elsewhere but you might have to spend some effort setting it up.
I'm almost homeless: Why you should not go outside Airbnb's payment system
36 points by GreenTomato  1 day ago   59 comments top 22
boyter 1 day ago 3 replies      
I guess I should pass this piece of advice on. If you have roaches in your house (or anywhere for that matter) there is a simple cheap effective way to get rid of them.

Boric acid. Just sprinkle it around the place (its not toxic to humans, or comparable to salt anyway), on the sideboards, and anywhere else the roaches are likely to go. It will kill them all pretty quickly.

I recently had issues with the neighbor having lots of them and boric acid really controlled them. Before applying I saw at least a dozen on any given day. Afterwards I was (un)lucky to see one a week.

cobralibre 1 day ago 2 replies      
Roaches are unpleasant, and I empathize, but Texas is going through a historic drought right now. You can expect to find thirsty pests heading indoors.

And I haven't heard of $500/month rent in Austin in over a decade. For rent that cheap, expect hardships.

nhangen 1 day ago 1 reply      
Just roaches dude. Yeah, it's a PITA, but at worst you could've called an exterminator and saved several hundred bucks. Due dilligence, and don't be a wimp.
diogenescynic 1 day ago 0 replies      
"The host isn't returning our calls. He finally comes around the next day.

We tell him that we are leaving and that we can't stay because of the roaches.

He claims that roaches are just a part of life in Texas and are completely normal.

He does give us back $160 dollars in cash though and tells us he will give us the rest later when he gets it. He says he will keep in touch"

Sorry, but I think you're being unreasonable by asking for too much. It's the same as the adage about Fast/Good/Cheap--pick two, you can never have all three. It sounds like the owner was busy, not avoiding you--he comes over the next day and that's avoiding? He gives you part of your money back and doesn't lie about the issue. I'm failing to see a problem here.

I also find the entire story highly exaggerated: An apple that we bought and put on the counter had been cored out by what I imagine was an army of roaches that night.


"When I see him he tells me he moved back in and took the place off airbnb and doesn't feel he owes us anything because we should have sucked it up and dealt with the roaches.

I say I will feel it was fair if we pay half, and he says life isn't fair."

Again, this is completely reasonable. He owes you nothing, you didn't sign a contract. You had unrealistic expectations that under any circumstances would have been disappointed no matter what the situation.

Edit: I'm becoming more convinced this story is entirely fake to begin with looking at what questions the OP has chosen to answer/ignore.

jjcm 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm not sure what the situation in Texas is, but I know many homes in Hawaii specifically will mention that refunds aren't available due to roach occupation in the home. Cockroaches there are quite literally a way of life. Doesn't matter how clean your house is, you will have them. You kind of get used to them while living there, and after a while they don't really bother you. Texas may very well have the same situation, so he may not be lying when he says that they're a way of life. Can't be sure though.
jinushaun 1 day ago 0 replies      
All this over some roaches? Seriously? I don't know where you're originally from, but around here (Virginia), insects indoors are a part of life. Having recently moved from cold Seattle, I've never seen so many bugs in my life. I feel like I'm in the jungle.
philwelch 1 day ago 0 replies      
We had to rent another place and pay another month's rent. This place doesn't have a real kitchen, so we are buying much more expensive food and burning money faster.

You can simulate a great deal of a kitchen if you buy a hot plate, a rice cooker, and maybe a microwave or toaster oven. You'll have to wash dishes in the bathroom sink. It sucks. But eating out isn't always your only option.

darksaga 1 day ago 0 replies      
Good story, good life lesson. You tried to game the system and got jacked in the process.

Let me tell you, I hate bugs as much as the next guy and I feel for you. I lived in some dumps, but never with any roaches. I went to college up north in Minnesota and we used to all pitch in and get bug bombs for our house. About once every 6 months always did the trick.

You don't say in your article why you needed to move to Austin in the first place. What was it about where you were living which wasn't conducive to your start-up succeeding?

kragen 1 day ago 2 replies      
This is a great story! Thanks for sharing!

It's not really surprising that someone who was willing to cheat AirBNB out of their cut of the deal was also willing to cheat you. You've got to watch out when you're dealing with people like that.

Couldn't you have hired exterminators for US$310? Let alone US$700. Also, Hostelling International Austin charges US$28 per bed per night with a shared bathroom in the room, so your (potential) savings on the AirBNB deal are at least good for a week in a youth hostel.

ismarc 1 day ago 0 replies      
Drop me a line if you're looking for a place to rent, depending on what you can afford, I know a cheap, crime free, close to grocery store/bus lines apartment complex and have lived in nearly every part of the city, so I can at least guide you on where to look. Nothing else, I can pay for a beer.
Hisoka 1 day ago 2 replies      
You should've stayed and recorded the whole ordeal. Would've been an incredible story to tell to journalists afterwards
drivebyacct2 1 day ago 0 replies      
Airbnb as a means to a business end and cash outside the system meant to protect you in cases where things can easily go wrong? And no handling of the situation except to run from the roaches? Business is a tough place, especially if you only have two months worth of money ahead of you...
dawie 1 day ago 1 reply      
What are you working on?
dcpdx 1 day ago 0 replies      
Welcome to Texas. I had never even seen a cockroach before moving to Houston from Michigan in 2008, but I saw my first one within the first three days of living there (and I was living in a $1,200/mo apt. in a nice area). Maybe to reduce your burn rate you could catch a few and roast them over a fire to save on food costs :)
duncan_bayne 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hey, look at it another way: they've included food in the $500. http://articles.nydailynews.com/2010-04-15/entertainment/270... ;-)
DomainNoob 1 day ago 0 replies      
This has a little bit of the feel of those Craigslist AirBnB stories that came out about a month ago. Could they be farming HN now?
shii 1 day ago 1 reply      
Cool story bro/Airbnb team.
tsewlliw 1 day ago 0 replies      
Austinite here. Roaches infestation is absolutely NOT something I would expect to see, no matter how much or little I was paying. a couple of them, whatever, but if youre debating whether you can sleep the night, you're not renting from a person that lives on the same plane of reality.
leeHS 1 day ago 0 replies      
What is your startup? Post a url..I'm interesting in checking out what you're working on.
teddytruong7 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's true that roaches are a PITA when it comes to your own living space. But imagine what story you could have told if part of your startup's success came from overcoming this event? Hahaha it sounds ridiculous -- but really, people would have loved it. Also, I feel that the best decision would have been to get a master bedroom for $500.. You and your co-founder would work together anyway. What is so bad with sleeping in the same room together? Might as well since you're spending so many hours with him anyway. Become ramen-profitable then move in somewhere else!

Still, a great article that serves value to the community since many of us will use AirBnB sooner or later.

athan 1 day ago 1 reply      
totally a fake article. all it needs is a "he was Nigerian".
ruby_on_rails 1 day ago 1 reply      
lol, I can't believe you posted this for the hn trolls. LOL, I am giggling so bad they downvoted one guy for being humorous, but the disrespectful trolls go unabated. I love HN more trolls here than 4chan. Only thing missing is nudy pictures to distract the trolls.

Ohh and gl in austin.

Ask HN: Have the non-tech self-employed been abandoned?
8 points by DanI-S  4 days ago   8 comments top 6
noahc 4 days ago 0 replies      
The only way to make this work is to offer small businesses a 'package' solution and not consulting.

Small business consulting sucks because of 1,000 reasons, but mostly because you aren't paid anything, aren't paid on time and are viewed more as a technology slave than a consultant.

The package idea gets around the later, but you still have payment issues.

tgriesser 4 days ago 0 replies      
Right now I'm working on a startup called Get On Social, which addresses exactly the market you've identified. The premise is simple - reducing updates on Facebook Pages, Twitter, and LinkedIn down to the simplest means possible - a single daily email which prompts a business owner for updates with their business, at a reasonable price of $10/mo. This is a steal in comparison to the hundreds of dollars a month some small biz's are shelling out to "social media consulting agencies" which essentially act as a proxy for their business's message.

We're pretty limited in our features right now, but we've already gotten awesome reviews from the demographic you've mentioned, non-tech self employed who understand that there is a need to keep a good presence online but don't have the time nor desire to learn a new UI's, remember to log into multiple accounts per day, and determine what and how to post.

Some difficulties we've encountered are:

1. The amount of support that goes into something as simple as signing up for a web-app
2. Many business owners still don't trust using a credit card online and
3. Require a face-to-face meeting before they make any decisions on something

It is definitely an undeserved market, but also one that requires more offline networking, development, and explanation - not just A/B testing a landing page and getting good links on popular tech blogs.

Link: http://www.getonsocial.com

a3camero 4 days ago 1 reply      
What do you mean by "evaluate her requirements and build the simple online presence she needs"?

If it's custom work based on a spec developed by interviewing her, it's going to take a while to do. It's probably not going to be "simple". Maybe simple off-the-shelf software will work for her though, how about Wordpress?

Actual SEO takes a long time to do and has a very long-term (re: months). This will be costly.

Can she afford online advertising? It's expensive (see yesterday's discussion of AdMob).

Sounds like at least a couple weeks of full-time work. How much would that cost at your mother's Tai Chi instructor rate? 80 x $50/hr? Many web consultants charge more. Even at $50/hr that's at least $4k + the inevitable extra time required.

Sounds expensive and not so simple. This probably will come off sounding really harsh about your question but cost is what it really comes down to. There's a gap between what people need to charge to make it work for them and what small businesses like your mother's are likely willing to pay. How can that be closed? Standard software. Not evaluating her requirements.

Hisoka 4 days ago 0 replies      
The problem is that most of these people can't afford to pay a lot for this service.
sixtofour 4 days ago 1 reply      
I don't know much about marketing or SEO, these are merely the uninformed impressions I had when I read your post. Anyone who knows better, please jump in.

"She doesn't have the time or the knowledge it takes to promote herself online."

It sounds like her problem is less her web site, and more her lack of time or ability to market her business.

If she can't market her business, then an improved online presence would end up being an ineffective "build it and they will come" project.

A marketing web site is just a tool, and your mother in law should be actively using her tools, not buying them and laying them down.

TWAndrews 4 days ago 0 replies      
That sounds like a pretty good business opportunity. Simple SEO for small businesses.
Ask HN: Dealing with Burnout
6 points by dlikhten  4 days ago   6 comments top 3
jarrettcoggin 3 days ago 1 reply      
I had a similar situation while I was at a university. I was taking extra classes, trying to work a part time job as close to 40 hours a week as I could to pay the bills, interviewing, and a significant other. I did this for about a year before it all came crashing down. When it did come crashing down, I was apathetic for about a month. I bombed out of classes, almost got fired from my job, and the SO stopped seeing me for a while.

My biggest suggestion is to find something that lets you blow off a lot of steam/release a lot of stress in a short amount of time. For some people it's sports or boxing or whatever. For others, it's partying. Whatever it is, it has to be something you do alone, away from everything else. When you do this activity, it has to be your full focus. You can't think about the startup or the job or anything else.

I didn't figure out what this release would be for me until I had graduated and was working. It turned out to be lifting weights and just fatiguing my body until I pretty much couldn't walk. I tried to do this before everyone else woke up so there was no one there to grab my time. I did my best to make it to the gym 3-4 times a week at 6am-7am. There were plenty of days I aimed to be in the office at 8:30, but I would be so exhausted that I would need to nap for 15-20 minutes. I still made it a point to get in by 9am.

My three requirements for something like this is:

1. It has to be physical.
2. You have to be alone. No one interrupts this sacred time.
3. Whatever it is, put more than 110% effort into it. Make sure you are putting everything you got into it and that you aren't spending any energy thinking about something else.

On the other side of this coin, you need to talk to someone about it. Let them know what's going on and that you need someone to vent to. The worst thing you could possibly do is bottle it up.

This is what works for me, but at the same time, your mileage may vary.

joshuahays 4 days ago 1 reply      
I completely understand your struggle. I'm working on our startup with two other team members. We're all in our mid-twenty's, two of us married, one of us with a kid, working full-time (sometimes more-than-full-time jobs).

We've been doing it for a year, and as much as we continue to push, we just don't seem to have time for anything. Our finances have taken a hit, our personal lives have taken a hit... sometimes it's hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel and sometimes it feels like we're just building until someone notices.

The only thing I can tell you is that the harder you work now, the better you're life will be and the more fulfilled it will be later. Remember: entrepreneurs work 16+ hour/day jobs to avoid working 8 hour/day jobs for someone else. Keep your head up!

rick888 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is the problem with working on a startup while you are working a full-time job...you are essentially working all the time.

I can't imagine having a wife+kid to deal with too.

This is why I quit my main job to pursue my startup (with a year of savings). I now have time for my friends and personal life and can work on my own company.

I know it may not be possible in your position, but this is what you eventually need to do.

Ask HN: Please help me get out of this infinite loop of n00bness
5 points by Brewer  4 days ago   14 comments top 5
IgorPartola 4 days ago 1 reply      
If you are a student, I would join the Google Summer of Code. You can actually get paid while learning something. You could also look for Open Source projects that need a maintainer. Or grab one of the lists of startup ideas and try to implement one. Yet another solution would be to try to implement a web server or a framework just for fun.

You are right in that you need to work on projects to become a better programmer: that is the fastest way to learn. There are a ton of problems out there that need solving. You just need to find ones that interest you.

veyron 3 days ago 1 reply      
First redefine "better". Better is not measured based against a report card. Strong programmers are better able at taking problems and representing them in an efficient manner in a programming language suited for the job.

Are you interested in an ambiguous project or one where the rules are pretty well-defined? Both are useful: the latter cultivates the ability to connive solutions to clear problems (building the mechanics), and the former cultivates the higher-level ability to dissect and attack a problem.

As an example of the former, just fish around for ideas from this and other sites, or just try doing something based on your own idea.

As an example of the latter, try to build something where the protocol is well-defined. For example, build a simple web server or quantitative trading platform or web-based git client. In all cases, the protocols are fairly straightforward, and you merely have to implement them.

jacksondeane 4 days ago 1 reply      
You are going to hear this anytime this question is asked.

A: "Build Something!"

Reading books and following tutorials are all well and good, but you are not going to fully understand what it takes to be a professional developers until you start creating full applications.

Don't worry about the design, or perfect architecture, just come up with a small idea and build it.

fribblerz 4 days ago 0 replies      
Would suggest to go through these - really helpful

1) http://programmers.stackexchange.com/q/43528
2) http://edweissman.com/53640595

johnny22 3 days ago 1 reply      
contribute to an open source project that does something you like, but not quite good enough.
points by    ago   discuss
pg 17 days ago 5 replies      
I can't afford to. If I could afford to, I would have quietly done it. But real estate in Palo Alto is very expensive, and most of YC's investments are still illiquid. (Not that I have 5-8% in any case. We assume we get diluted down to 2% by exit, and I am one of several partners in YC.)
Ask HN: Is there a search engine which understands regular expressions?
18 points by gnosis  7 days ago   20 comments top 5
stevelosh 7 days ago 1 reply      
Regexes would be great, but I'd settle for a "raw" mode where the search engine just searches for the exact string.

Example: putting the following into the Google search box:

    "*foo" "bar->baz"

Finds any page with foo, bar and baz, even thought I tried to tell it that the asterisk and arrow were important.


pittsburgh 7 days ago 0 replies      
I've also tried to find a search engine that supports regex and have come up empty. I hope somebody on this thread pleasantly surprises me, but I now doubt one exists.

Since parsing regular expressions is so slow compared with performing an indexed search, it's difficult to think of a way to make that scale for a dataset as large as the public web. There's also the problem of having to protect against regex denial of service attacks: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/ReDoS

I've been able to (very partially) make up for the lack of regex support by taking advantage of Google's operators and wildcards:



Some examples:

   "solar|lunar eclipse 1700..1800"

"William * Clinton"

Columbus -Ohio -Georgia -Christopher

This is hardly a replacement for regex, but it's the best I've been able to come up with.

smoove 7 days ago 1 reply      
I guess the main problem is that you really can't build an index for regexes, you would need to apply the search regex "live" to all the documents the searchengine knows - this will not scale at all.

Also, if you let a user search for any regex, it would be really easy to overload the server, by entering very complex regexes.

pbhjpbhj 7 days ago 0 replies      
I've a vague recollection of using some limited subset of regular expressions in maybe about year 1999-2000? However, I have a very bad memory and could be confusing with some specialist tech databases I used to access.

Before I adopted Google I used Teoma, AllTheWeb, Magellan/Excite and probably some others so it was possibly one of them? Anyone recall such a thing?

Edit: Looks like http://www.searchlores.org/main.htm#exalead (Exalead, private beta) is doing regular expression search.

motochristo 7 days ago 1 reply      
http://duckduckgo.com/ might help. I know it utilizes the bang syntax.
Ask HN: Where to live in San Francisco (URGENT)
4 points by bherms  4 days ago   5 comments top 5
YuriNiyazov 4 days ago 0 replies      
I was in a similar situation a little while ago. Here's how I handled it:

Two weeks at the pacific tradewinds hostel. While there I found a 3 month room sublet in a house with other people in the crappy part of the Mission. From there, I found a 3 month studio sublet in Berkeley. From there, I found a permanent, large house sublet in a nice part of Oakland (Rockridge) with a roommate.

I don't have bad credit, but none of these places asked me for a credit check. Basically, what I am saying is, you will have a way easier time once you are actually here on the West Coast, and I strongly recommend the East Bay (Berkeley/Oakland) as a place to start rather than SF proper - cheaper, and landlords seem more eager to let tenants in without running proper background checks.

jacksondeane 4 days ago 0 replies      
I moved to SF from NYC 2 months ago. I constantly checked the "rooms/shared" and "sublet/temp" sections on craiglist and sent numerous emails/calls.

I would recommend just finding anything you can, in your price range and in a central location for the time being. You are going to have a hard time doing this remotely, so find a cheap hotel/hostel.

Don't plan on working too much when you first get here, you should be spending any time you can looking at apts. and locking one down.

I was looking for something very specific (location) and eventually found it. The whole process took a few weeks, 2 remotely looking and 1 in SF.

aashay 4 days ago 0 replies      
Getting a place like that last-minute in SF is going to be very difficult. It's difficult enough finding apartments in SF even if you plan ahead.

+1 to CouchSurfing and AirBnB. Just keep an eye on Craigslist.

If you don't work in the city proper, consider living outside of the city. Emeryvill and Berkeley are good bets. Be weary of Oakland as some parts are sketchy and unsafe. South Bay has several cities too but that may end up being pricey.

phlux 3 days ago 0 replies      
Padmapper.com -- If you have bad credit, but have cash, you can offer more than just first and last to get around that typically.
_pius 4 days ago 0 replies      
Also check out CouchSurfing.org and AirBnb
Tell PG: HN seems to be broken...
11 points by sc00ter  7 days ago   4 comments top 3
stephenbez 6 days ago 0 replies      
I assumed this was a feature. After you've read a lot of the current news, here are some interesting "Ask HN" questions that not too many people have seen yet, and now look at some of the best submissions in HN's history.
Houston 6 days ago 0 replies      
I've been experiencing this problem for over a week now.
benologist 7 days ago 1 reply      
After #150 seems to be normal again.
OK -I'm convinced. How do I start programming in JavaScript?
33 points by ColinWright  12 days ago   discuss
ZackOfAllTrades 12 days ago 1 reply      
My path so far with javascript (with examples!):

Desire to make neat web pages. Learn enough jQuery so that you can make something move and change colors with maybe two lines of javascript instead of 20. Keep trying to one up yourself in what kinds of cool shit you can make (I use the term shit because you won't be making anything useful persay, but it will be something that will make friends say "Shit, that is cool. How did you do that?")

Start to learn more and more jQuery until you think in callbacks and events.
Use the canvas to make weird patterns (treeowls.com).
Make something using Ajax (try the hnsearch api: pretty fun http://zacharymaril.com/HNSearch/Topics/testing-api.html).
Try to solve a hard problem with JS that requires lots of computing (some work with Ramsey theory: http://zacharymaril.com/thoughts/constructionGraph.html) .
Mess around with Three.js (http://mrdoob.com/blog/post/693) and Processing (http://zacharymaril.com/).
Use chrome or firefox with the debugger.

Then get bored with frontend stuff and jump into node on heroku or whatever hosting service is popular but has good documentation. Make a chatroom with a lazy bot(zackbot.com) and a static file server. Look into the database bindings. Look at the stuff DailyJS puts out on node(http://dailyjs.com/tags.html#lmawa old with bugs, but very in depth for the time). Make something neat (still working on that part).

Read a bunch of Javascript/jQuery blogs. If you learn that way, pick up JS The Good Parts. Read anything/everything by Steve Yegge, John Resig, and Ryan Dahl. Use the jquery documentation from the website, then get frustrated with it and use jqapi.com

But that is all based on one approach. It sounds like you are interested in more backend stuff. Starting out with node would probably be what you looking for, but without much know how of how to make things work, you might not get thrilling enough results to actually stick with it. I would say stick with the frontend to learn how javascript works and where it came from and then when you get really really bored go mess around with node.

tilt 12 days ago 2 replies      
Disclaimer: noob here.

I found this interesting (and perhaps you're ready to unleash the functional programming already)


mikemaccana 12 days ago 0 replies      
- Ctrl Alt I

- Type:

console.log('hello world');

- install node on your ubuntu box. Then type


Which starts node's interactive console. Then type:

console.log('hello world');


Congratulations, you're now a javascript programmer, client and server. Go look up Rebecca Murphey's JQuery guide (it's a good Javascript book too) and continue learning.

J3L2404 12 days ago 0 replies      
JS has some odd syntax warts so you might want to keep this around for reference.


ColinWright 12 days ago 0 replies      
See also: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2713691

That's the question I thought I was asking, although the comments here are also useful, so I thought I'd keep them separate.

mun2mun 12 days ago 0 replies      


And JavaScript: The Good Parts book as others recommended.

laughinghan 12 days ago 0 replies      
JavaScript: The Good Parts by Douglas Crockford is highly recommended.

To accompany it: http://www.quora.com/What-are-the-most-important-things-to-k...

tobylane 12 days ago 1 reply      
Do learn Node.js, Coffeescript and JQuery, but don't be dependant on them, they aren't anywhere near as common as say Django.
pbreit 12 days ago 0 replies      
Eloquent looks like a nice resource. I'd also suggest diving in to jquery pretty quickly since that's what many spend a lot of time in.
kungfu71186 10 days ago 0 replies      
Check out John Resig. He's a genius with javascript. He also has a few books.
Let's turn the tables for once
10 points by mschonfeld  7 days ago   2 comments top 2
pedalpete 7 days ago 0 replies      
Clearly you've got the technical chops, there are many other considerations that go into a hiring decisions.

Who is doing the hiring at the places you have interviewed? Is it a CTO (or similar) who may view you as a threat to their position? Is it an HR manager who wonders if you're more of a lone-wolf rather than a team player?

You say you haven't been able to get a straight answer from anyone, but what is the question you've been asking?

Turning the tables may seem like a creative way to solve the problem, and I always like taking the opposing view, but in this case, it seems like you're being overly aggressive and pointed (common for us programmer types), and that may be coming across in an interview.

Drop me an email (address in my profile), and I can see about setting you up with an interview in the LA area for a recently funded start-up that I believe is still hiring.

kv1s 7 days ago 0 replies      
One man makes Linux drivers for 235 USB webcams
8 points by jonovos  4 days ago   1 comment top
Startup Therapy: How to deal with feeling like you live a lie?
7 points by suicidebunny  6 days ago   9 comments top 8
mikeleeorg 6 days ago 0 replies      
I found finding a supportive, compassionate community a great comfort. For me, that meant finding & making friends with people in a similar situation as mine, going out for coffee, lunch or dinner with them every so often (~2-6 times a week), and using them for support when the roller coaster was dipping fast.

Of course, finding such a support system is easier said than done. I was fortunate that many of my former coworkers were in similar situations, so I just reached out to them. I haven't had as much luck in meetups and conferences, but perhaps you may. Friends of friends were sometimes a good source too - whenever I heard that such a 2nd degree connection was also an entrepreneur, I'd invite them out for a casual coffee and make sure they knew I wasn't out to get anything from them, apart from meeting fellow entrepreneurs and perhaps finding a sounding board. A few worked out, most didn't though.

I should add that I personally find great comfort in being able to help others too. So in reaching out to these people, I sometimes found myself helping them as much as I was being helped - and that reciprocal relationship was what really made it work, IMO.

Another idea: See if you can rebalance your life to include more of your family and friends again. I know that's not always easy in a startup with insane deadlines, but you can start small. Put aside one day a week for family & friends. Or even one meal a week. And make sure you stick to that schedule too.

Debt is another matter, unfortunately. It took a lot of financial discipline to work down my debt, but after several years, it happened.

Hang in there. You're not alone. There's a huge community of entrepreneurs riding the same roller coaster. (One friend told me it's like being manic-depressive; I totally agree.) I hope this helps.

nreece 5 days ago 0 replies      
While it may seem difficult and lonely at the moment, do remember that your happiness is in your own hands. If you are not able to do the things you want to do, then maybe you should "start" doing things you want to do. Do small but exciting things each day. The key here is to seriously ponder over maintaining a fair work life balance.

Take some small steps and make some time for your friends and family. Cut down on activities that you think are a waste of your time (like commute, TV, excessive browsing, shopping etc). If you make room in your daily schedule for things which are equally important, you'll slowly start to see that your mood and attitude towards things will improve. And finally, always look ahead. Past is past.

salemh 5 days ago 0 replies      
Set a schedule weekly in advance of MUSTS, then, your (realistic) breaks: personal, friends, and family. Then fill in the rest (even if it needs to be "flexible" with duties).

Helped me when I ran a (non tech) small business at 90 hours a week, planning out every 15 minutes from 6:00 am - 10:00 pm.

Eventually I burnt out and had a nervous breakdown, so be careful with allotting yourself that personal time. Their is a reason I believe it to be priority #2 outside of the MUSTS or those items which cannot be changed in your schedule.

Look at outsourcing the mundane, hiring for what you can, and learning to delegate (if relevant). Most people are horrid at delegation and that will become an incredible boon for you in the future.

blackboxxx 6 days ago 1 reply      
I am going through what you describe right now.

Here is what I am doing:

- brainwashing myself. I am reading positive books like Peaks and Valleys by Spencer Johnson and The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino. I didn't have the time so I made the time. Everyday.

- I am reaching out to my family members and pushing away from work.

- I am enjoying the sunshine and trying to laugh more. Both are free.

- I have spoken to my accountant and the tax man about dealing with some of my debts. There are other debts I don't know how to deal with, so I don't worry about it.

- I am learning a new language. It's another way to change my thinking. This post explains the idea behind it: http://dreaminespanol.com/spanish-lifehacks/eradicate-bad-me...

If you ever catch yourself hating life or yourself, you must stop. It's a downward spiral and completely toxic. Take corrective action now.

Start your life over again. You can. That's why we have a new day every 24 hours. Start over as many times as you need to to get it right.

khakimov 3 days ago 0 replies      
Same things (startups, money, lovely wife, kitten) with one exception - I've just moved to LA from Russia and it looks like restart life. No friends, no support, bad english and deep digging into my head/soul/purpose alone at Starbucks ;)

Don't worry, maybe it will be a new pivot in your life.

ps: ocean, workout, surfing, cycling, interesting podcasts and books work very well for me.

suicidebunny 5 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for all the comments. These are the steps I am going to take to change myself:

1) Keep a weekly schedule as suggested by salemh, including 'off-time' & 'force-yourself-to-reconnect' time

2) Work off my debt. One $ at a time. And YOU can help!

Check out this link & tell me if it's a good idea or if I'm nuts. If you like it, spread it!:


actionbrandon 5 days ago 0 replies      
workout some. helps me clear my thoughts when im feeling shitty. and im not a jock, and i hate working out. I've been doing it everyday for a month now after deciding to make time for it and its make a huge difference.

with a clearer mind and more energy you will probably realize your situation doesn't suck so bad and think of ways to solve it.

hagyma 6 days ago 0 replies      
Where's the lie here?

I assume you collected some debt while you pushed your startup instead of everything else. You should start pay it off immediately! If you just pay $10 now, let's do it and keep doing it as you can. No amount is to low!

From friends and family... you can't really be alienated, they just welcome you back anytime. :)

My mom still rings me a few times a day ( waaaaaaa ) and I'm usually unable to pick up, so... I just call her back... today... or... tomorrow. ;)

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