Working with someone/getting personal help from more experienced than yourself is awesome. The trick is not to bother them with (to them) trivial questions, but show that you have put in the work and ask them for their guidance.
Look over experienced coders shoulders any chance you get, and talk to them, to understand their way of thinking. I think this kind of learning has a lot more leverage than doing yet another tutorial.
Luckily, I was tasked with developing a whole bunch of forms for a client-server application, which the IDE helped me out with a lot with its WYSIWYG editor, and the programming work was relatively easy (no I/O, no DB access, etc).
The keys for me were:
1. Having a mentor early on
2. Flattening the learning curve with an IDE.
3. Choosing the right project
The biggest thing to remember is to have a real problem you're trying to solve with programming. Just going through tutorials isn't going to teach you how to program. And then Google until you figure it out. I found it works best to get something functioning, and then go back and read the documentation or book about why it works how it does.
In my case, I started a company and didn't have the money (or desire) to find a developer to work with. So I sat in front of my computer and struggled through it. I had an actual problem that I wanted to solve.
Here, I'll do it for you: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/PT56NHC
... and now that I've gone to take the survey, I can't finish it because there is no suitable answer for question 6. Another of the questions I had trouble understanding the distinction between "None" and "0" as answers.
So I gave up.
Good surveys are really quite hard to design, and bad surveys are pretty near useless. It's pretty clear you're asking how much people will pay for something you're thinking of producing, so I suggest you think a lot harder about how you're going to get that information. I'll be very surprised if this survey gives you anything reliable.
We do pay for tools we find useful.
If a product could solve that problem (classifying updates and performing code analysis to determine if something could break) it would definitely be worth paying for.
Note also that you're asking the wrong people, and it's going to be hard to ask the right people with an Internet post. The best candidates for this tool are busy founders/CTOs/sysadmins/engineers who don't have time to manage their updates, much less take surveys on Hacker News.
i work for a small consultancy that builds bespoke solutions using open source code - we have loads of projects, some ancient (cvs!), and i am sure no-one has a clue what versions of what we used when (sure, it's documented for the client, but we don't have our own central list). now perhaps we should be better organised, but i suspect many other companies are in a similar position.
but if we were going to pay for this, how would it help us make money? is the idea that we can approach ex-clients and scare them with lists of security holes? or are they the target clients - perhaps they should be running this code to audit their systems? and that sounds so useful i am surprised that nothing like this already exists...?
It should also include the option "I don't know, depends on how useful it is".
I just chose a random answer since that option wasn't there (and the question was required).
1. Your idea has to be solid. Not just something you're excited about, not just something I can get excited about, but something that's genuinely good. Something that no one has thought of before, or a new edge to a market that hasn't been nailed yet. If I were an investor, I would have to want to invest in us.
2. You have to have a good understanding of the technical challenges involved in making your idea a reality. You should have an idea of what needs to be done so that your hopes aren't completely dashed when I tell you the facts of what it will take.
3. You cannot undervalue your time, or my time. No matter what, I'm taking a risk by working with you. You have to convince me that it will be worth my while, and you know what? You probably have to make it actually worth my while.
4. You have to be willing to accept feedback. If you start with a complete vision of what your company and product are going to be, you will be sorely disappointed when that vision fails to materialise. By taking critique during the development of your idea, you will end up with something better even than the perfection you imagined.
Just my 2¢.
Then after that, it's really all about chemistry. Are we going to be able to count on each other when the shit hits the fan...for the 20th time? Because bottom line, if we hook up to pursue a startup, we'll be married.
Conversely, if you post at midnight, you will get more time, but the time will be less valuable. So in the end, I think it probably evens out to the same number of users visiting an article.
The trick (not that I'm a big submitter) I would guess is to post things at all hours. I imagine many people have a habbit of only cheching at a certain time. Maybe it's their lunch break, maybe just before going to bed. By posting things at all hours of the day, you can reach all of HN, rather than just the subset that visits only at certain times.
if your submissions aren't doing well, reconsider the content, not the timing ;)
- George Polya - How to Solve It
Interesting book on proofs and a logical approach to problem solving. Original title was "School of Thinking"…
- Lancelot Hogben - Mathematics for the Millions- Silvanus P Thompson - Calculus Made Easy
Two older books that came well recommended (have been mentioned in this thread already). Not sure if that's due to the readers or their teachers nostalgia or well founded yet.
- The Manga Guide to Calculus
Erm, yeah. (I did like the Manga Guide to Databases, though)
- Benjamin & Shermer - Secrets of Mental Math
How to do mental arithmetics quickly. Good for igniting the spark and impress your friends…
Also, some book on mathematics by Russian, who employ some different methods in teaching, but I can't find the book nor its title right now, must be in some moving box. (Generally, talk to Russians. They're creepy when it comes to maths and chess)
I like the math part of The Art of Computer Programming (in the first book) by D. Knuth. It has exercises with solutions and, as the name says, is orientated towards maths useful for programming. Plus, it's a good read. The whole series came highly recommended, but I'm still in the first part, so I can't judge it yet. ^^
So head to khanacademy.org, start with algebra and work on all exercises. Then go to the other subjects.
I highly suggest you pick one particular graduate level math subjects and sounds interesting to you and make that your goal.
Of course the way of learning I suggest is not easy or fast, especially for someone who is busy with a full time job, but I guarantee that if you do it you will build for yourself some solid grounds, and you will feel yourself more intelligent.
Out of interest, I am curious why you need to become better at maths.
Once I got everything configured, it was pretty sweet. It wasn't hard to setup either.
The one thing is, from what I recall, they were a bit expensive. But they have free trials.
I also found this article that could be useful:
There's a bunch of options for testing without buying a bunch of iOS devices. They also have more DeviceAnywhere-type services listed as well.
I hope this helps.
There's not a flight search engine that I know of that would group those airports together.
And two of those airlines (Easyjet, Ryanair) do not show up on flight search websites
Overall, good job, I don't see why people wouldn't want to use this.
p.s: Should you land in Verona Villafranca, come say hi! I live near there :)
I'd like it even more if you decrease the focus on the giant map and instead have a little form like
+--------------------------------+ | Leaving from: ______________ | | | | Going to: ______________ | | | | [Show me] | +--------------------------------+
Show me a mini map for my end points and let the rest of the screen show what flights I can take. Maybe with some controls to let me filter on things like "what car rental my company uses", "time on train from airport to city center".
Let me pick specific airports... but don't force me to.
The UI is too complicated and confusing. I can't get my head around it. Can you simplify it?
Zooming in and out of the map with the mouse wheel doesn't work.
Too many error messages. Instead of saying "you didn't pick any destination", ask me to pick one from a list or predictive textbox.
Don't show me destinations to which there are no routes. Spending five minutes clicking around to get an error message in the end is no fun.
Don't separate the to and from locations so much visually. Tabs don't feel right for that kind of thing. Anyway, it's just two fields, just show them together.
You didn't completely carry through the concept of going from place to place, rather than airport to airport. When I search for Paris as my destination, you show me a dot on Paris the city, and couple of dots for the airports. My instinct is to click on the dot for the city, not the airports. Let me select the dot for the city.
You could make this really intuitive by getting rid of the text boxes entirely. Let me just click on the map to do everything. Click to select both start and end locations.
For some reason "Airlinair" which is a French regional airline, redirects to "Airkenya" which is apparently the national airline of Kenya.
I also worry that your unique selling point (the fact that it helps to display hard-to-find airports) is difficult to word in an appealing way - who wants to go to hard-to-find airports? I'm not saying it's impossible though, but I think you'd benefit from finding a good way to word that. Good luck!
I told the site I wanted to go from Milton Keynes in England to Chattanooga TN. I selected the nearest airports to both (Luton and Lovell Fld) and it told me there were no routes.
Maybe if it would help out by automatically selecting different airports, gradually going farthur out from my selected points until it finds a hit, which in this case would be Gatwick or Heathrow to Atlanta.
If you're not in it for the money, are you sure it's the most interesting, inspiring or needed tool/app you could be working on, given that it seems the competition may take care of this need anyway?
I've learnt the hard way that you shouldn't let sunk costs of a project sway your decision to carry on with it.
All the best whatever you decide.
Like it overall, good project to say you have not completed it.
I'm always in a state of whether something is worth doing when someone as big as Google goes into the same sector but I think you are far enough along to make it a useful application.
I presume you monetize the application from airline referrals?
If you could draw lines from each starting point to each ending point with a price range of the flights available then you are solving a different problem.
You are visualizing that the trip from Tampa to Hawaii could be much cheaper if I drove to Orlando. If that 2 hour drive saves me $500 per ticket then it might be worth it.
Just a thought.
At a previous company where, for cultural reasons, lack of programming skill was not a barrier to being hired as a software engineer, approximately half of our software engineers could FizzBuzz. Of our outsourced coders, I'd put the number at one of the twenty I knew, and he would need extensive coaching to make it happen.
Some of these folks were at least moderately productive at tasks which you and I do every day which theoretically happen in an IDE but do not require much abstract thinking, such as changing labels on UI elements, adding new columns to tables (by copy/pasting a line which worked and tweaking it until output matched expectations), and the like.
As I remember fizzbuzz (print numbers 1 thru x, then fizz if divisible by 3, buzz if divisible by 5, fizzbuzz if divisible by both)
I did it in a text editor in under a minute. Got two errors because I did it without thinking, fixed it, and had a working solution in 90 seconds. It's taking me longer to write this response.
I can't imagine anyone who writes code daily who couldn't get this right in under 5 minutes given a text editor and a way to run the code, but I could imagine plenty of people who trying to do it on a sheet of paper who would make goofs. And most of those would make good employees.
Actual code that works (and running it from a terminal), we are seeing only about 15% tops maybe lower.
We have started sending a fizzbuzz-ish question, a relatively easy css question, and a word-problem about performance as pre-interview questions through recruiters. This has dropped our resume inflow dramatically and saved a lot of time, but that's depressing in a way.
We are looking for a Rails or PHP dev in waltham (near boston) currently without a lot of luck. The job has a lot of pros, but probably doesn't do itself justice on-paper.
I would love to say that you can tell from a CV whether or not they could pass FizzBuzz, but it's not true. I've interviewed MScs and PhDs that could not do FizzBuzz. Seriously.
The phone screener is your friend.
I dabble in code, but am no where near the level I would have to be to do any job in this area, I mean seriously. Took my two minutes to do it with a pen and paper in PHP, same with in JS, same in bash scripting.
How can anyone who isn't able to do this pretend to even have an interest, yet alone the ability to do the job?
if job requires "Hibernate" and I've used hibernate in my previous job, but have never configured it from scratch, only tweaked some models, wrote some EJBQL queries - does this count as "knowing Hibernate"? I've also never used Hibernate annotations, becasue we use hbm files, and we have templates to make the, so I'd have problems writing such file from scratch.
Do you check knowledge of required libraries on the blackboard? Do you assume people should know all the corners of such libraries, or do knowing some things and wanting to learn more if it will be needed suffices?
I use at work jboss, hibernate, jbpm, and many other technologies that are often mentioned in job offers, but I don't feel I can say I know them - only the parts that I needed to do the job. Is this considered not enough?
I attribute this to two things, first I think our phone screenings work well enough to keep out people who really can't do FizzBuzz, and second that I'm fairly generous during interviews. I often don't expect real code, sometimes I'm satisfied with just a discussion of the algorithm (no white board coding at all). I don't expect code to compile and I even let candidates use undefined "helper" functions (although I usually only allow that if I get the feeling that they could implement them if asked).
* For those that are curious I have two favorite questions - print out all the permutations of a given (ASCII) string and describe a search algorithm for a sorted array that has been split in two and the two pieces have been swapped (i.e. - 4,5,6,7,8,1,2,3).
The last test I did help administer was for a VB+SQL job, and the first question was to write an example of a valid INNER JOIN. I'd say at maximum 25% of the candidates could do this.
Improving SNR? I did once have a potential employer get me to do a time-limited online test. If you wanted you could always stick your questions into one of them, so you can at least do the fizzbuzz-level screening without calling them in and sitting them down.
Of those that passed: one had Masters in Library Science looking to change careers. The other was a fresh out of college CS major from Illinois State.
Next batch, I think we'll add another trivial question: count the number of vowels (a, e, i, o, u) in a string.
On average it takes people around 5 minutes to do.
We have people do it on a whiteboard to get them standing up and moving.
We get about half our interviewees unable to solve problems that are similar or easier during interview. Whether that's nerves/stress or simply an indication that they got someone else to do the homework for them we don't know.
One candidate even phoned a friend during the coding part of the interview to get some answers. For some jobs he'd be hired, but not for most.
If you're not weeding out these people with a 10-15 minute phone call you'll waste a lot of your and their time.
I found about 10% nailed it right away with code that would compile and run. These were generally people who had been coding a lot recently.
Half of the rest (say 45% of total) got close: Minor syntax errors, logic errors, stuff that an IDE/non interview situation would have fixed.
45% just spaced. Couldn't right the for loops, conditionals. Couldn't write basic code.
But we've cherry picked the CVs a little. And probably only interviewed 50 people over the past couple of years. (And hired 5)
Our success rate is surprisingly low.
Although I've already given feedback within the app, I'll just repeat myself here.
1. It would be great to able to continue a conversation with the person who has given you feedback, right now, you just see the feedback given to you.
2. I think it's important to get to know the person giving you feedback because from there you'll be able to tell whether he is the right type of user for your app.
Great idea and nice simple execution, just reviewed a few sites!
Not sure if it's just me, but it doesn't display the full page when showing me someones site to review - it shows the top third and then just grey space (using the latest version of Chrome on a Mac).
I really like this idea, would use it a lot on the upcoming days.
Thanks for making this.
Edit: I keep getting the test site asking me to skip. Maybe you should remove it?
Any other path, including funding your own start-up is possible, but harder because you are now out of a job so your runway is very limited.
Every now and then YC funded companies will list jobs, right now on the http://news.ycombinator.com/jobs page there are 7 jobs listed, some of which might fit you well.
So that you're not asking for a job but are signalling that you'd be interested in one. I know people with limited experience being offered jobs at great companies just from these meetings and if they know who you are you've immediately got a far higher chance of getting it.
Luckily it's a good time to apply as there's more of a developer shortage than job shortage in tech. If you're savvy then it's not hard at all. Showing things you've hacked together or a portfolio is more important than ever.
All of this seems like a lot more effort than the normal sending out resumes but it's much better. Also I don't recommend cold calling. Start using Twitter more, follow the founders or people within these startups on Twitter and join in with their conversation, show that you're a meaningful, savvy person. Then you can say "I'm going to be in the Valley, think I could swing by and see what you're working on".
About a year and a half ago, I was stuck for a week away from home traveling for work. Searching for something to read while I was gone, I popped into an Atlanta Barnes and Noble and futilely tried to find some books which were on my Amazon wish list. Of the five or six I looked for, they didn't seem to have any, save for "Hackers and Painters" (which required a storewide manhunt to track down where exactly they had decided to shelve it).
I read it in my hotel room that night and spent the rest of the week enthralled by the thought of quitting my job and working at a startup (either my own, or someone else's). When I got home, I told my girlfriend that I was possibly in the middle of something, and would need to take the next few weeks to decide if I was about to upend my (our) life. She was understandably nonplussed by this discussion.
Fast-forward a few weeks and I managed to come back down from the ledge. It may have just been the comfort of home, or the general inertia of a content over-priviledged life; but I reverted back to my previous plans, and set aside the fanciful notion of slaying dragons and working at a startup.
So by all means, you should read it. Just be careful about your mindset when you do, lest you also be swept away by notions of ramen dinners and liquidity events. Like a call to the sea, it has the potential to plant itself in your mind and than drive you mad if unheeded. You've been warned.
Probably worth linking to here.
While I enjoy pg's writing and I think the essays convey a good message in spirit, I do think there's quite a substantial populist aspect to some of them.
I'm glad I read all of them, but if I had to choose, I'd probably get On Lisp in deadtree format first.
I get the sense that PG wrote the essays and that book so they could be read many years in the future. Call it a decade for the timely ones, and much more than that for the rest. A few of the updates would be along the lines of "This needs to change from the future tense." For example, this brief review of the iPhone from 2001:
With Web-based software, most users won't have to think about anything except the applications they use. All the messy, changing stuff will be sitting on a server somewhere, maintained by the kind of people who are good at that kind of thing. And so you won't ordinarily need a computer, per se, to use software. All you'll need will be something with a keyboard, a screen, and a Web browser. Maybe it will have wireless Internet access. Maybe it will also be your cell phone. Whatever it is, it will be consumer electronics: something that costs about $200, and that people choose mostly based on how the case looks. You'll pay more for Internet services than you do for the hardware, just as you do now with telephones.
The essays are great, read them.
A good/bad analogy is a good book (or the good book), most of the advice has very long shelf life.
I created my HN account soon afterwards and applied for YC that winter (rejected). I haven't done much in all this time, though. Books can carry you only so far.
BN (nook): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hackers-painters-paul-graham...
That being said, many (most?) people benefit (or even need) a relatively distraction-free environment. This means no TV near your computer (particularly relevant if you work from home), stopping distractions from other people and can go so far as cutting yourself off from HN and other prime sources of distraction (there are various programs, plugins and extensions for this kind of thing).
As for distractions from other people, this can take many forms. If you work from home, it means saying that certain time blocks are for work and you're not to be disturbed. It's easy for other people to fall into a pattern where they'll ask you for stuff or to do stuff simply because you're there.
In my case I can't stand people walking around me, particularly behind me. I position my monitors such that I don't really see people walking by and, where possible, position my desk such that no one walks behind me. If that's not possible, I at least ensure I don't have a thoroughfare behind me.
Other people can distract you by asking things they could easily find out themselves. Joel Spolsky talked about this  as a reason for giving engineers private offices. It's too easy to ask a colleague "where is X?" when you could find it in 30 seconds thus crashing them out of "the zone".
Headphones help a lot here. Some people are distracted by music. Many will argue they're not. Testing indicates otherwise . Still I find the right music with its distractions, at least for me, tends to trump the distractions of other people so it's still a win. People tend to bother you less when you're wearing headphones (it's a psychological barrier).
There's also a certain "fake it til you make it" aspect here too, which is another way of saying that your inability to focus is the sum of many behaviours. You probably have many bad habits and you need to change them one at a time. Blocking distractions like HN, reddit, etc is one way of doing this.
Another is, well, just grinning and bearing it. This can take you far but could lead to burnout. Part of this is attitude though. If you're stuck doing something uninteresting (or simply an uninteresting phase of something otherwise interesting) finding little challenges and measurable milestones in that can go a long way.
I've been exactly where you've been. AND I did almost all the things that people here suggest. Thought I had ADHD and took Ritalin. Thought I had a depression and took Prozac (both of which I definitely cannot recommend, as they screwed badly with my short term memory).
I've tried gazillions of plugins, "hacks", to-do lists and the like, only to see that if you're smart (I assume you are because you're posting here), your subconcious is only smarter. If there's one universal truth I got out of these, it's: You can't shit yourself.
I've personally read Getting Things Done, The Now Habit, Eat That Frog and consumed lots more of self-help from some of the distinguished authors there are, including Tony Robbins, David Allen, Steven Covey, Brian Tracy, Keith Ferrazzi, Leo Babauta etc. (just to name a few).
I can honestly say that all of those books gave me something, some pushed me over the edge for a week, but then I slipped back into procrastination and self-pity. So here's the deal: For some of us, it's just much harder to stay focused on our goals and dreams. All that can and will change, but only with the right leverage, and your missing piece of the puzzle might be a different one that someone else needs. Anyway, I'll be listing the things from all those excellent books above that helped me most (repeating some of the excellent suggestions here), and finishing with my personal missing piece, that I only received a few weeks ago.
So what helps?
- Get rid of your TV if you have it. Completely. That's really just a senseless time-sucker and you won't miss it within a week.
- Babysteps, babysteps, babysteps. Taken from today's Hacker News: "I can not emphasize how important baby steps are. They are the key to avoiding fatal frustration. I have a law that helps define the size of subtasks: DO NOT EVER LEAVE THE COMPUTER IF YOUR PROGRAM DOES NOT RUN." http://all-things-andy-gavin.com/2011/09/11/video-game-progr...
- Fighting your urge to "procrastinate" all day long leads to lots of decision fatigue that will make everything just worse: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/21/magazine/do-you-suffer-fro... . The best way around this is to create habits, as they will get you on autopilot through difficult procrastination situations within a month. Some great thoughts on this from Leo Babauta: http://zenhabits.net/will/My personal take on this: The key is starting out VERY slow (one habit a month at the most) and keeping your expectations really low. The habit itself needs to survive through all times and is more important than the actual outcome. Example from me: I do exercises right before showering, but the least I do is 5 pushups. That sounds like nothing, and actually it isn't but I do them no matter what - drunk, late, sad, happy. Habits will eventually carry you through everything, but you just stick to them. Suggestions for you: Not reading e-mail after or before a certain time, turning of the computer completely at a certain time. Stuff like that.
- Building on that, affirmations and meditation are extremely powerful as a habit too. I've written an article on this if you're interested: http://www.growinup.org/?p=5
- Gym and sports definitely helps your willpower, as long as you don't discover another way of procrastination in there. It can happen ;-)
- Knowing what you really want. Maybe you know already (I certainly did), but you're too scared and unfocused to really take action. If you're too scared, watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lk0hSeQ5s_k If you're too unfocused, read this: http://focusmanifesto.com/Anyway, know what you wanna do and where you're going.
- All these things helped me in a way, but the final piece for me comes here as promised. I've had a huge fight with my wife for all kinds of reasons related to my procrastination, and she told me something I've never forgot. I've distilled the essence of what she told me on a paper and I read it every night. Here it is, for you all to read:
"Every time I pray, I feel you falling down this black hole, but I cannot help you. Only YOU can do it. No amount of reading or games or [insert your timesucker here] can fill that emptiness inside of you. So don't do stuff out of an impulse. Do it conciously. Whatever you do, choose to do it and accept the consequences. Don't be guilty about anything anymore - just accept that you made your choice and be responsible. There's no need to lie to yourself. It's just ok. Live, breathe, be gentle. There is one and one way only out of the frustration, anger and depression: Accept your choices. Love yourself. Leave the guild behind and FOLLOW YOUR HEART".
Since then I've been living by it and haven't gone back to bad. Truth is, I HAVE been reading Hacker News and playing a round since then. But I chose to do it because I felt like it. I didn't hide it, I didn't feel guilty about it. Taking responsibility for every single thing that you do sounds harsh, but it helps you grow enormously. Think of it: That way you also reap full honor and appreciation for everything you do. So next time you feel that urge, just do the following: Think about what you're about to do. What will it lead to? Will you accept that outcome and take full responsibility? And then just do it - or not. It works the same way if you're already in the middle of that procrastination mess. The second you see you made an unconcious choice, make a concious one instead. Will you continue - or stop and do something worth it?
I told you it's gonna be a pretty long post. So you finally arrived here, congratulations. You already took the time to read it - now take the time to do it, and you won't fail anymore. Promise.
1) Pomodoro Technique. Aim for something like 14-18 pomodori per day. (Assuming 25 minutes per pomodoro.) If you do the math you may think "oh that's not much" but you'll be exhausted by the end of it.
2) Install Rescuetime and religiously use it to track how your time is spent during the weekday. Use their "Stay focused" function when you are sprinting on a pomodoro.
3) Get a second device, like a tablet, which you use for surfing, reading, and leisure. Your laptop is no longer for that. It's exclusively for producing and for serious work.
Now I'm finally getting better, but it took several things:
1. Baby steps. Spring 2010 was the first time that I understood that taking less courses means that I have more energy per course. So I started with one, then two, then three. Now I have five ongoing courses at the same time, and I don't (quite) feel overwhelmed. My studies progressed last year at modest speed that is about 1/3 of the speed usually recommended, but my grades improved significantly.
2. Seeing psychologist. She told me about the benefits of taking it easy at first. And my friends didn't have to listen to all of my troubles.
3. Doing something really interesting. I switched to mechanics. I'm particularly into product development. I really don't seem to mind a single course that is not so interesting if it gets me closer my goal (this was actually a big surprise to me).
4. No TV. But movies with friends is a big YES.
5. Getting good IRL friends. I don't feel the need to IRC anymore.
6. Clear shift between work and leisure. If I walk 800 meters to school and spend there 8 hours I can count that I get something done. I might check HN few times, but I just cannot browse the Internet for the whole day.
7. Might seem counterintuitive, but no work on Sundays. Jews we're right. Having at least one day a week when you just don't do anything productive can boost your productivity a lot. And it surprisingly helps to actually have really good time when you're not working, you might think that it drains your energy, but it doesn't.
8. I don't really know if it truly helps or not. But I often think about what I want in life, and how I'm going to get there fastest.
9. For some reason, it seems that getting older helps a little. Maybe it's because you get a stronger feeling about wasting your life.
10. There is no word "should". You either do, or you don't. Sometimes you might do something. Some stuff you haven't yet started, but it's stuff you're going to do, not something that you should do.
11. & 12. Make starting easy for yourself and plan what you're doing. I find it easiest to start by planning. So I plan what I do today and I actually start doing it tomorrow. Planning what I'm going to study tomorrow takes like 30min so it's not a biggie. I feel like I have started so it's easy to continue. And I get sense of control of what I do. Planning counts as doing!
13. Don't ever plan to grind through everything at one go. Those 14 hour work days are going to ruin your motivation to the next job.
14. Get a calendar and a clock. Use them. Then get completely rid of them when you have a day off.
Everything here actually just boils down to three things. Remember to have free time and make it good and remember to plan really well what you're doing.
Aside from that, the Pomodoro technique helps me quite a lot. Not only do the 25-minute stretches provide a clear, definite period of focus, getting yourself to think about tasks in 25 minute chunks forces you to more deeply plan how you'll spend your time. Often, we don't get started on tasks because we feel overwhelmed, because we don't have an actual plan or scope. As a side benefit, I'm seeing my time estimation skills getting better as I work on this.
I thought for a long time that I am kind of addicted to the internet and that this is the reason I am wasting a lot of time there. Over the years I tried a lot of stuff to cut down consumption but nothing really worked.
What finally helped was the realization that the excessive internet usage is really just a sympton of more underlying problems and not the problem itself . (For example if there is no internet, I use books instead):
I use (and still use) the internet as a way to flee from reality and all its associated problems. Especially at work when I have a difficult project I automatically open the browser to hide from all the problems which comes from the project.
So in order to get to work I have to make a list of smaller task I have to do for this project and then start with the one which is the easiest one because this reduces the likelihood that I distract myself.
Some more infos on my specific situation:
2) When you feel like stepping away from your work (which may be immediately), attend to the thoughts, emotions and physical sensations you are experiencing at that moment.
3) Report your findings here.
You have to find the root cause of your problem in your own way. For some that means seeing a counselor or talking to a loved one or mentor who understands you.
I say take a holiday somewhere nice and peaceful without a computer or book in sight. Just sit and think. Let the noise in the mind pass.
* begin bullet pointed list
-break down steps to achieve each bullet point -some could be as simple as "google xyz"
Each morning I wake up, do the dad thing, have a bowl of cereal (food is important) and try my hardest to sort my email on the laptop/phone before heading into my office. Inbox zero is something to be proud of when you can keep it up. When I say sort my day, i mean not only email but take the bigger tasks of the day and block them into my schedule around phone calls, lunch and all. This gives me a clear overview of ONLY what im concerned of for one day, and is very liberating when you've got more than 3-4 things on your plate at any given time.
I start my day by leaving my calendar up on my laptop/device on my desk and focus in 1.5hr chunks on projects at a time. If I have to bump something I will, but try my hardest to stay super focused for that block of time. This means I do not send email from my work machine while in that 1.5hr block (productivity move) nor do I pick up the phone. Voicemail is there for a reason and i can send from my laptop on the side quickly if it's important but code/work stays visible all the time to help me get back into it quicker.
5-10 mins before that 1.5 hr block is over (changes daily of course) I notate where im at and stop working. That's a hard thing when you're on a roll, but it's key to feeling better about focusing. Spend 15 mins to get caught up on email or anything I missed and the last 15 to get up, get a drink, walk outside, etc.
I'm a week into this new routine and it's helped a lot. I stil have the fatigue of having too much with not enough time, but teamed with a whiteboard for the macro level, I really enjoy the day-by-day structure and feel much more accomplished by dinner.
2) Try using a program like VitaminR, http://www.publicspace.net/Vitamin-R/which acts as a timer to keep you focused. You might find that working becomes a sort of game, and you will be less tempted to abort your work because you can see that you only have 5 min to go.
Here are some links:
some counterarguments: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/27/health/research/27budd.htm...
I am using (the first few chapters of) "Full Catastrophe Living" with the tapes.
If this fails for you, then it could be a multitude of reasons, and you should consider some of the options recommended here (maybe change your job?).
* Multiple desktops, each with ONE purpose. Alpha does email (in mutt over ssh) while Beta does web browsing, Delta gives me an IDE and Gamma gives system info.
* My email and my browsing are seperated. This lets me focus on email, then on browsing. Since I do a lot of web development, I run two browsers, Firefox for my normal everyday stuff and Chrome for my development.
* I use a little time-tracker. Teatimers and other such things are great for this. Since I use XFCE a lot of my development machines, I use the "Timer" plugin. The activities I dont want to do for long call 'xscreensaver-command --lock'. It forces me to get up.
* I regularly stand up, walk around, get my mind some more oxygen.
* I keep a todo list in Tomboy. + items are done, - items aren't, ? items are 'do I need to do this today'.
* When on Windows, I use The Guide on a flash drive to do my todo lists. I also keep track of time with a buzzer timer.
* I listen to music which lasts 5 minutes at a time (often chiptunes) which keeps me on task. This is a personal preference.
Your best bet is to sit down, allot yourself X minutes to chekcing email, Y Minutes to check news and the rest is 'work' time. If you start dwadling off on other things, stand up, take a break and just get back to what you have to do.
Then I just decided to quit! And got into my own startup. Boy!!! Now I am not finding time to do anything that does not help my goal of building a company ground up. I can see through my own eyes that it is just lack of a passionate goal and a worthy cause that has just tricked my mind into surfing & wasting time on internet.
So, my suggestion for you would be to take up a goal worthy of you. If you want to continue in the same job revisit your goal and one that is extremely challenging as if you are running your own company and not working for another one. Good luck!
Where do you work? (industry, firm size, position, geographic location, etc.)
What are your coworkers like? Do you enjoy being around them?
Has the problem come up lately or has this been ongoing? Did it start with a current project? Office organization? For as long as you remember in your life?
What are the consequences going forward? What have they been in the past?
How old are you?
If I'm wrong and you are just easily distracted, then consider getting rescue time. I used a similar iPhone app to condition myself to work for most of the day. After a few weeks I would feel not feel accomplished if I didn't see in my reporting that I worked for the allotted period that day.
Second, you've chosen a path that aggravates your seemingly short attention span. I was in a similar situation, working alone and producing very little. After much trial and error, including trying therapy, medication, and numerous self management techniques, hiring an assistant proved to be the simplest solution.
My assistant helps with everything not directly related to what I do to generate value. She schedules appointments, nags me, runs errands, and a wide variety of more complex things. It took some practice getting used to working with her, but my productivity shot through the roof my and more than covered the costs of paying her. The most important part is that she works right beside me, and I sublet a small office space for this reason.
My email is in my profile if you want more info.
Not sure of the original source, but it's just a paragraph or so, easier than reading a whole book. Some discussion of it on reddit here: http://www.reddit.com/r/seduction/comments/h7cce/the_purpose...
don't stress about it - happens to everybody
If you are thinking a lot and have unresolved issues in your mind, get a notepad and write out everything EXACTLY as your mind is thinking of them. You don't have to do any analysis just because you are writing. Keep writing until you have nothing else to write about. You should find yourself thinking a lot less about those unresolved issues now that you've taken inventory of them by writing.
Here are a few ZenHabits articles that help too:http://zenhabits.net/how-to-defeat-burnout-and-stay-motivate...http://zenhabits.net/the-lazy-manifesto-do-less-then-do-even...
Rather than thinking in terms of how much time you do or should work, set your objectives and make sure to finish what you started.
Working on Classical OOP languages (c++, java) all the time ? Try prototypal oop languages like JS/Lua.
Working on too much higher level/web application stuff ? Delve into the linux kernel.
If none of these work, take a break. By break, I mean ABSOLUTELY no computers at all. NO BOOKS either. Go off to play some ping pong, go to a movie, or better - go someplace where you don't do ANYTHING for around 1 week except roaming and watching nature or any kind of beauty.
Maybe it's 1 week, maybe it's 2 - but if you really enjoy hacking - you will find yourself raring to get back to your PC and begin hacking away after this break.
1.Getting things Done
2.The Now Habit
If it's just getting mired up in what to do, the first will help
If you have agreed to do silly things, the second one will.
I was bored and not doing what I really wanted to do. I was suppressing my dreams and taking the safe (and boring) path.
Changing an existing pattern is much harder than starting a new one. Strong associations in your brain link things together.
Creating new pathways may not be as easy as following old ones, but is more flexible. And it helps keep your brain young.
Best of luck.
I never used such an app before, which is very important to remind that you have something to do.
The easiest way I'm able to finish things is by working with others. People I care about, and who in turn cares about getting the work done. I.e. caring by proxy. 
update: the situation you describe indicates that you just don't like your job. You have no joy in doing what you're supposed to do. So, consider the possibility of changing your job to something you're really like and enjoy.
We want to make the launch a success but don't have much planned other than an HN post. Ideas? (I'll drop you a line with a beta invite so you can see it too... anyone else who wants one can drop me a line to move up but please fill out this form beforehand https://docs.google.com/a/transfs.com/spreadsheet/viewform?f...)
We could use your help in thinking about how to gain customer traction... Any tips/thoughts you have would be useful and much appreciated.
I plan to change the deal page that currently looks like livingsocial. Also, I'd like some external thoughts on whether or not to pursue the daily deal site. We plan to give the deal for free, customer pays the merchant direclty, we charge the customer in the end a 15% of all total sales and we further commit to spend 50% of that 15% to sponsor an event at their location. This event will act as a promotional event where our site's users can come for free. This way we are further helping the businesses to build their brands.
I'm actually in the market for becoming more awesome. I just sold my first Board/Card game to a publisher, and it's time for me to start working on my brand. What I need: a space on the internet.
I'm currently teaching myself HTML/CSS so I can code up a site. What I need, but haven't even started figuring out:
-what is my best option for registering my domain name? namecheap comes up a lot... I'd like whois obfuscation as I don't have an actual business location/phone.
-who should I register my DNS with? Do I buy this in a package when I register the domain?
-since I'm doing plain HTML, should I look at a host that offers basic web-hosting or a vps for future proofing? Who should I go with for hosting?
-I'm expecting a very small amount of traffic. Should I just go with a service that does all of this on the cheap?
It's almost crunch time for me to start doing press releases... so, I've been putting this lesson off until after I have a site coded. Thanks!
Do you have any suggestions for improving the customer experience on http://www.ties.com/ ?
Could you please have a quick play with my new site http://giniji.com? I would like you to answer a few simple questions:
How fast/slow/responsive is the site for you? Is it clear what it's for? Would you recommend it to a friend? If yes, why? If not, why not?
Would you mind giving a shout-out to Correlated (http://www.correlated.org) on your social networks?
The problem is that I oscillate my focus through all these areas. You can't exactly call it focus :) It is hard to develop further in one area or another.
Do you have any advice for me? Thanks!
Any feedback you have on the idea/design/execution would be incredibly helpful and greatly appreciated also.
HN Post: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3004684
Examples: 1) The stuff we eat isn't meant for us to digest (junk food, fast food).
2) Food was scarce in caveman days so overeating wasn't detrimental. Now food is abundant, and more tempting, so it leads to obesity
3) We don't need to hunt for our food, and sit for 8 hours a day.
4) We live in crammed cities, everyone is a stranger, and everything seems impersonal. Back then we lived in a tribe, or close community and everyone depended on each other for survival.
5) Temptations are all around us, from sex to alcohol, drugs, food, etc, which puts a strain on our willpower. In the past, such temptations weren't present, so the dopamine rush we get from having sex, or eating food just allowed us to survive. Now, it leads to cheating on partners, overeating, etc.
UPDATE: Not sure why I'm being downvoted. I'm not being intentionally negative, or anything. He asked if anyone wanted help, and I need arguably the MOST help out of all the people asking questions. I'm pretty depressed about the state of the world and want to know what I can do to change that.
40% seems a bit steep, but if you are also getting an OK (below market, but not terrible) salary for working on the project, then it sounds great (unless there are some legal traps). If they want you to hire dozens of staff, and everyone lives off ramen and the hope that some VP will be interested in funding the next step (for a huge chunk of the remaining equity), then it's not so great.
From my experience, startups can work on one thing at a time (and that's hard enough). The more difficult you make it for someone to associate your company with your product, the worse off you will be. You can always change your company name later.
Businesses that scale tend to have multiple products, so tying product name to company name could restrict your positioning going forward.
I'm personally at Nextspace (http://www.nextspace.us) and really love it. Its on 2nd and Market. There are a few other co-working spaces that are much better than Regus in the area:
- http://www.sandboxsuites.com/ (multiple locations in SF)
- http://wework.com/ not sure if they're opened yet)
Also check out (http://www.loosecubes.com/) for companies renting out extra space in their office.
Email me if you have questions about NextSpace.
Enigma: http://www.enigmacorp.com/ was good to me, YMMV.
I have tried to go the in-house route as well, and got KILLED on procurement. Without existing relationships, I had multi-month leadtimes on a lot of parts. Again, YMMV.
Get in touch with some people whose electronics products got funded on Kickstarter. Also have a look on http://www.quirky.com.
There are three reasonable ways to add MathJax support to a site.
1. Get the site owner to do it. The site owner simply has to toss in a script tag that loads MathJax from the MathJax CDN and sets some configuration options. Someone would need to convince PG that this is worthwhile. (I've done some timing tests, and MathJax doesn't seen to cause any noticeable performance problems when used on pages that contain no math. Any decent browser caches the script so load time of the script is not a problem).
2. The user can use a Greasemonkey script to load it, for browses that support Greasemonkey scripts. Here's an example that loads MathJax on Reddit: http://userscripts.org/scripts/review/108770. This could trivially be modified to work on HN instead of Reddit.
3. Safari doesn't support Greasemonkey scripts. There is a Safari plugin to add that functionality, but it does not work very well. I wrote a Safari extension to load MathJax (or Tex The World, discussed below) on Reddit: https://github.com/tzs/Reddit-Math-Display-for-Safari. This could easily be modified to work on HN instead of Reddit.
On Reddit, in /r/math, the convention is to use LaTeX delimited by [; and ;] to mark math, and to use a script called Tex The World to render it (http://thewe.net/tex/). That script finds the math, and sends it off to CodeCogs.com where it is rendered and an image is returned for display. This occasionally causes problems due to the load on CodeCogs.
To work around this, someone has a hacked version of the that script (link available in the sidebar on /r/math) that uses the Google Chart API to render small equations and does some kind of caching.
I'd recommend NOT using either of these. The author of TeX The World stopped work on it quite a while ago. There's no licensing information on the site so it is not clear if anyone else can take it over, and by using an external service to render the math it is fragile.
MathJax seems to be the best approach. That's what they are using at mathoverlow and math.stackexchange.com. Note that if MathJax is loaded by the page itself, rather than by an extension, then it works great on iOS and most other major mobile web devices, in addition to pretty much all major desktop browsers, without the need for the end user to do anything special.
Once we feel like we've picked our book, let's decide on a date to start; 2 weeks from that date, one of us will just post a "STUDY HN:" post for the first chapter.
We can figure out the formalities, like, what do those threads look like, once we get started. :)
In terms of how: I was part of a terrific, useful "HN reads SICP" group a while back (http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=428248, couple of us made it through to the end). In that case the meeting place was simple (irc) and we generally linked to our answers on pastebin/github/personal site which supported whichever features we needed it to. An HN thread per "meeting" could work similarly as a hub.
It is probably useful for each person to chime in separately, e.g. "I agree that this is the right answer" or "I also have this confusion", despite this not being ordinary HN etiquette. That allows us to know how many people are participating and evaluating answers, which is difficult, especially given hidden comment points.
I recently decided in the past couple weeks to go through Khan Academy from the very beginning (simple arithmetic! :), and run through every one of their exercises. I'm moving pretty fast through all the refresher courses, and I'm amazed at what I've retained (and disappointed at what I've lost).
I've completed 113 out of 171 exercises in my off hours in the past couple weeks, and once I've gotten through them all, I'm going to run through MIT 18.01 Single Variable Calculus, 18.02 Multi-Variable Calculus, and 18.03 Differential Equations.
From there, I was planning on doing MIT 18.06 Linear Algebra, so even though I don't think it would work out for me to jump in to a group like this without the proper background, I'll be following the progress of things closely.
In fact, the idea of HN being a platform for self-directed group education is a brilliant one. While there are already websites focused on that, I know we're all impressed enough by the HN readership that there is an obvious advantage of organizing it here. Hopefully this experiment can work for other areas of study as well.
Are there significant differences between editions? For those not employed by Thomas, the 4th edition is a expensive book even when used. The 3rd, by contrast, has many affordable used copies available. And are the international versions identical?
Some tools I can recommend are dokuwiki with jsMath pluginand etherpad for live collaboration/note-taking
http://piratepad.net/sj8l1FIUIK --> I started one pad for this project.
If someone is willing to setup a public dokuwiki on their server, I can provide examples of latex code for matrices and vectors.
By the way, some less applied materials include:
With 8 chapters, this will stretch past Dec, is this correct?
However, I was quite impressed with a few minutes of Khan Academy I watched the other day. I don't know what the dependency chain is for their L.A. modules but that site seems to have some good metadata and group organization tools.
http://math.chapman.edu/~jipsen/tiddly/tiddlymath.html(related example: http://deferentialgeometry.org/)
It might be useful for you guys to check solutions and such.
I think for it to be most efficient, we should use the book that coincides w/ the MIT lectures.
As for notation and sharing images, this is a great tool... provided you know LaTeX (which is worth learning anyway):
I do understand that some people may be overwhelmed by Jira the first time around. It has quite a few bells and whistles. But when the number of issues grow (and it will) you'll be glad those bells are available.
Jira is quite flexible. Do invest some time in tweaking your workflows but don't overreact by introducing 20+ issue types, 30+ issue states and 100+ roles.
Publicly we use tenderapp. Always loved their design and UX flow.
I have made a password-protected Google Doc spreadsheet. I think it's a better choice than Writeboard since it supports multiple users and there's no risk of breaking somebody else's entry.
Here's the link:
http://thinfi.com/7ir -- Password is the same
Let me know if you think this is a good idea or not.
If anyone else is coming from Boston, let me know, maybe a carpool would be more efficient (we can take my car).
Also, with the title "YCNYC", it sounds like this is going to be a NYC based funding cycle, but all the online literature still points to the West Coast. Where are they planning on holding this funding cycle?
I think you underestimate the complexity of managing your own auth. It takes a lot longer than a couple of hours to do it right. Testing alone would take longer than that. Authentication is one of the most important part of many apps, it's not something you should be skimping on or doing in a hurry. It's much better to pass it off to a third-party until you have the time and resources to do it correctly.
(here's a bunch of things you might not have considered: password resets, https, stopping spam bots creating accounts, users changing email addresses, etc.)
Completely agree, makes sense to do the simple thing first, then optionally add auth from other services later. Given that I recently nuked my Facebook account for example, having Facebook-only auth on a site effectively blocks me and others like me from signing up (never a good thing).