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Ask HN: Is "Ask HN" broken?
7 points by dgunn  2 hours ago   7 comments top 3
noodle 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I think it is broken, yes. Sunday, I submitted a weekend project, and despite having 6 votes and 8 comments, its weighted super low and comparing it to similar submissions, I see no correlation.

It got those first points quickly when it was top of the new queue, and once it fell off the first page of new, it disappeared into a black hole. Not a big deal, I would've just loved to get more feedback/ideas/comments.

edit: I went ahead and checked. Its showing up as #519 right now for me in the ask queue, behind things like 1 point submissions from 30+ days ago, and other stuff like that.

ColinWright 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Don't forget that the invisible flags affect the rankings. People seem to have become more aggressive lately about flagging things they think don't belong, and some have - to mind mind - rather odd views in that regard. A few flags from a minority of zealots with a misplaced enthusiasm and an item will sink like a stone, never to be seen again. I've generally found that that explains most of the otherwise apparently odd behavior, but I don't usually watch the "Ask" page.

Can you point out anything on the "Ask" page that you consider odd?

revorad 2 hours ago 1 reply      
There's definitely something strange going on. I often see really old posts with few points show up. Sometimes it's nice to see an old post, but it's at the cost of pushing out new posts.
Ask HN: Has anyone used Appcelerator (Titanium) for Android & iOS?
2 points by gdhillon  18 minutes ago   discuss
Ask HN: What is Your Personal Start Page?
4 points by ClintonWu  1 hour ago   6 comments top 4
jfb 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I need randomness in my life:


dgunn 1 hour ago 0 replies      
My current start page is google with instant on. But, interestingly, it used to be mint.com. I became very addicted to mint for a period of about 3 months. After that initial phase, I never used it again. Maybe I burnt myself out.
gyardley 1 hour ago 0 replies      
These days, my github account.
jeffool 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I'm old-fashioned; Google News.
LinkedIn's sleazy invite tactics
4 points by codezy  1 hour ago   6 comments top 5
cmos 1 hour ago 0 replies      
The exact same thing happened to me. Non technical family members whom I hadn't contacted in years were now excited to join this 'linkedin' thing. That goddam company made it look like I was reaching out to people I haven't talked to in years, creating awkward situations and making two weeks of my life far more stressful than they should have.

They even had some buttons to 'retract' the emails, but all those did was kill the link in all the emails sent out, creating another wave of emails from family members 'hey, the link is dead'.

I deleted my linkedin account and have not looked back. I strongly encourage everyone to do the same.

dgunn 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I had to report LinkedIn as spam in gmail because no amount of unsubscribing would stop them from spamming me. I have an account already but they refuse to leave me alone about it. Their tactics for most things are just sleazy. They only see their users as ways of getting more users. I'm not a fan. Although I still have an account, so I guess I'm not that upset.

LinkedIn should thank gmail for having such a good spam filter. Without it, they probably would have lost me as a user. :)

abbasmehdi 44 minutes ago 0 replies      
Have you noticed post-IPO and post acquisition products start to suck? Huffington Post used to be a favorite, until AOL took over. LinkedIn is turning into a spam machine.
singlow 1 hour ago 1 reply      
> I probably deserve some blame for not paying enough
> attention

Well, I have been annoyed by this before as well. While I would not blame you for not paying attention, I will blame you for something worse: using the same password on LinkedIn that you use for your email account.

soho33 1 hour ago 0 replies      
what is bad is you using the same password for your email and linkedin account!!
Ask HN: Is there any open database of book ratings?
2 points by AnupSavvy  51 minutes ago   discuss
Ask HN: How much can I make with 20k users
7 points by lerix  5 hours ago   5 comments top 4
illdave 1 hour ago 0 replies      
While it varies from case to case, have you considered running affiliate offers instead of just regular banner ads? Might be worth testing - if you could get banners up advertising the next big game, you can earn a commission if they pre-release through your ad. I've found that can often earn more than regular display ads, but might be worth testing. (By the way, while Amazon converts well, it only has a cookie length of 1 day, while most others have a cookie length of around 30 days, so you could also try testing different affiliate merchants).
jeromeparadis 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Well, it's a space with a lot of competition and the top paying ads go to the sites with millions of pages views. Ads are paid by CPM (cost per thousands) and the best paying ads are 10$ to 20$ CPM. So if you have 3 page views by Uniates, you can expect to make 600$ per month at most. In reality it would probably be a fraction of this. The ad market, especially in the US is trending towards lower CPMs even if the overall industry is investing more money.

Some models where you have a very targetted niche involve sponsoring content, reviews, videos, contests or events. But usually, you need a niche advertisers can't easily reach to make good money.

In general, don't expect to make a living unless you invest a lot of time in deals and grow your page views.

revorad 2 hours ago 0 replies      
You might make more money selling physical or virtual goods than from ads. As jeromeparadis pointed out, you need millions of pageviews and a good CPM to make even a decent sum.
dieselz 4 hours ago 0 replies      
This question can't really be answered as asked. Different industries yield different CPC/CPM rates. Additionally, how your users interact with the ads would also effect your revenue.

If you can monetize your user base through other means, such as creating a paid Pro version of your service, or a SaaS app marketed to your users, you have the opportunity to make more money than just advertising.

Ask HN: Do musicians/artists release MVP & iterate it?
7 points by selvan  16 hours ago   2 comments top 2
epoxyhockey 13 hours ago 0 replies      
From an indie rock musician's standpoint, I could interpret the MVP of a song as many things. A cool sounding riff, an instrumental (song w/o lyrics) or poetry (lyrics w/o instruments).

The quick answer is that my band performs none of those things in a concert setting. The most MVP we perform is a song that maybe doesn't have all of the lyrics worked out or maybe needing another section of music added to it - a work in progress. In our private practice sessions, of course, we build songs from scratch and you could make some comparisons to MVP.

I would compare music to hardware rather than software. You need to have things pretty well worked out before public performance because no one comes to a show to hear you play one riff and most audiences don't care to listen to a boring set full of rock instrumentals and no lyrics.

Also, it is generally difficult to get real-time feedback from an audience while performing rock music. Some audiences just stand and stare at you while bobbing their heads and other audiences jump around so long as there is a beat. You don't have the constant feedback that a comedian has after every joke. Pretty much the only feedback you'll get is that people will leave if you suck, or they will clap a little less after a song if they aren't as entertained. I have to ask my close friends after the show what they think of certain songs.

I don't think any musician creates music for the sole purpose of pleasing the audience. A musician creates and performs music as a means of self-expression. So, in my opinion, MVP and its market testing methodologies are less applicable to musicians.

frankus 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I've heard of stand-up comedians, playwrights, and musicians testing new material on small audiences to gauge how well it works, but that's arguably closer to a private beta than an MVP.

I also know that artists will often do studies of their ideas before doing a full-scale piece, but that's more along the lines of a development spike than an MVP.

The closest thing to a true MVP that I've heard of in music would be a band that labors away in obscurity for a few years, has a hit, and then re-releases some of their old material but with better production values.

Thinking out loud, I think the difference between the sort of software where an MVP is important and both music and art is that the former is a tool and the latter is entertainment.

The entertainment industry is built on novelty, and the sheer amount of material out there is so vast that the media can really only cover what's new, what's especially good, and what has made important innovations in the past.

If what you're building has utility above and beyond its entertainment value, you have the freedom and in some sense the responsibility to release early and often.

Tell HN: Suspicious but well-meaning new spam accounts?
32 points by zyfo  1 day ago   10 comments top 7
pg 1 day ago 1 reply      
I wiped them all. Please let me know if you see more. Here's a good place to watch: http://news.ycombinator.com/noobcomments
mkramlich 1 day ago 1 reply      
I've seen similar suspicious patterns on Amazon and eLance.

I discovered what appeared to be suspicious clusters of Indian accounts in particular, on eLance, all with ridiculous project descriptions, that are then all seemingly awarded to other accounts within the same "circle", racking up huge US dollar fee amounts in project awards, very quickly, with lots of suspicious mutual account birth timestamps (where both the project awarder and the project winner both seem to join the site on the same day, award a project to the other very soon thereafter, etc.). Shame that people engage in practices like this. Adds a lot of noise, drowning out signal. I've pretty much given up on using any low-bar-to-participate crowdsourced opinion site, and eLance-like sites, due to this phenomenon.

I'm also reminded of a guy I once worked with, who never seemed to do anything or deliver anything real, and yet has something like 50+ recommendations on LinkedIn. A talker/political kind of guy -- a middle manager. Whereas I know another guy, same company, who was super productive, heads-down coder, effective, delivered, innovative, very smart, solved lots of very big and very real technical problems while at that company, and he had like 1 LinkedIn recommendation -- an engineer, of course. You just know the first guy was offering "scratch my back, I scratch yours" deals to his mutual recommender buddies (assuming all of them were even real people), whereas the second guy was quiet, non-political, non-slimy, honest and humble. Again, any sort of crowdsourced opinion or social network voting system can and WILL be gamed, driving the signal to noise ratio down.

Solving this problem in general, in my opinion, is/was right up there with solving the spam problem for email.

lrm242 1 day ago 0 replies      
These are probably attempts to create aged accounts with karma to be used for spamming later. IMO, it represents an escalation of the spamming that HN has seen in the past.
Joakal 1 day ago 0 replies      
Thanks for this great thread, zyfo.

Have a good day.

Real: Several reasons;

1) A way to get points to go over HN's thresholds. It's quite a good idea if you want to game HN to upvote selfish support/articles and/or downvote undesirable comments/articles. It's more possible to get attention to flagged articles, but risky because moderators will look at the content and strip away flag and the up/down vote powers.

2) Train the spam filter to like those messages. Unlikely, but attempted against email spam filters though (Look up 'unsolicited bizarre nonsense email stories').

3) People with nothing to say but really feel that they must say something even if it's not contributing. I gather the sentiment is that those people should follow the HN guidelines and spirit because there are those that fear the immature link aggregator plague (Reddit, Digg, etc). There's no help for them otherwise.

threecreepio 1 day ago 0 replies      
These kinds of things definitely need to be overseen/'banned' somehow, but it's a bit easy to wind up catching too many real users in the net, that I'd rather have a few bad eggs around personally.

I feel plenty worse seeing users like http://news.ycombinator.com/user?id=EllieAsksWhy , with all their comments silently marked as 'dead' and made invisible without them having any idea what's going on, than I do having to ignore a few spammers.

(edit: note, you have to mark "showdead" as "yes" in your profile to see what i'm talking about)

stefanobernardi 1 day ago 0 replies      
Since the presence on the homepage is given both by upvotes and comments, they are probably using these accounts to get more comments and get && stay on the homepage.

I guess pg will implement something against this pretty soon (just checking if the commenters on a thread usually only or mostly comments on that specific poster's threads and giving negative value to those comments should do it).

Best place to find resources to learn GAE?
4 points by 10001  12 hours ago   2 comments top 2
EastSmith 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I have found the best places to learn (new) things about GAE are Reddit [1] and Github [2].

[1] http://www.reddit.com/r/AppEngine/.rss
[2] https://github.com/search?q=appengine&type=Everything...

CyberFonic 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I haven't come across a "GAE for Dummies" book ... yet.

So far I have figured out everything by reading the SDK documentation. I would suggest making sure that you understand how Web App Framework which in turn requires an understanding of CGI and WSGI. The choice is yours whether you write single function Python programs and decode the URL using the app.yaml file or writing "chunkier" programs and doing some of the URL decoding in your program. I prefer to the former because it is easy to change functionality. But of course, your data model may suggest different structuring.

Ask HN: Great links for arduino hackers?
11 points by ritonlajoie  1 day ago   8 comments top 6
ritonlajoie 1 day ago 1 reply      
Here is my small list:

- http://hackaday.com/ : general and also arduino based hardware hacking

- http://makeprojects.com/ : great books & resources

- http://www.instructables.com/ : projects (some based on arduino)

- http://arduino.cc/forum/ : the arduino official forum

leh 1 day ago 1 reply      
I haven't found one yet. hackaday.com isn't Arduino only, but they cover a lot of interesting projects with Arduinos.
nottwo 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I maintain an Planet aggregator for tracking Arduino-related blogs that pique my interest: http://planet.nottwo.org

Kinda plain, but works well in my feed reader.

dramaticus3 1 day ago 0 replies      

get off the internet and build things

Will program Ruby for food
61 points by lobo_tuerto  3 days ago   40 comments top 19
stevenbrianhall 3 days ago 0 replies      
Would you consider staying in México for the same offer? I'm an American in Guadalajara, and getting ready to launch my Rails-based start-up, and would be interested in a trial run.
abbasmehdi 3 days ago 1 reply      
What are you seeking? Are you stable? The reason I ask is people tend to do these kinds of things after a break-up or other major, life-altering events. Have you thought this through? There are other necessities in life aside from 'food and shelter'. With your skills you can make a decent living anywhere in the world.

What's the whole story here?

octopus 3 days ago 1 reply      
You could try to use a website like vworker for finding programming jobs. I use vworker (formerly rentacoder) since 2006, I work only on my spare time on the site (less than 2 hours a day, sometimes even less) and I have a steady revenue from this of about 2k per month.

All you need is knowledge,determination and a good internet connection. It won't be easy to start, my first "job" was a two weeks project for ... 5$. Once you will have a good history on a site like that (I've heard odesk is also a decent choice) you could theoretically charge as you want per hour.

begriffs 3 days ago 2 replies      
Depending on someone to give you shelter, food, money, and possibly your work visa would make you rather vulnerable. This might create an unhealthy relationship with your one-man boss/landlord/roommate.
botj 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm getting a weird vibe from this. Maybe it's just the indentured servitude feel of it.
herval 2 days ago 0 replies      
With all the good-paying ruby jobs out there, all over the world, why would you REALLY prefer to work for free? Why NOT applying for a proper position (or better yet, a telecommute one that would allow u to travel and work from anywhere)?

Just curious...

jeffrey_w 3 days ago 3 replies      
I don't think there's much I could do in providing food & shelter, but I do have a rather ok-ish MacBook collecting Dust (Model 2007). Would that help?
lobo_tuerto 3 days ago 0 replies      
Wow guys, thank you all! Had some very interesting replies in the mail also, I`ll be answering them today and sorting one out. I`ll report back later.

I intend to create a reputation from this, so I can hop around the world lending my expertise while mutual help is given for each other.

nazar 3 days ago 0 replies      
I totally feel you. I coded a portfolio website for about 35$ recently. At least I had a shelter, all i needed was food :) Bad things happen.. Good luck!
gurkendoktor 3 days ago 0 replies      
Hah, I remember your name from some Ruby game dev! I am doing Ruby freelancing from somewhere in Taiwan now. Best of luck :)
systems 3 days ago 0 replies      
why don't you just elance(.com)? or something like it ?
vinifies 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hi, I'm based in Singapore. We're building a small team or competent rails developers to take on client projects and are also starting to explore our own startup idea. We're willing to work sth out with you! Email me at Kelvin@tinkerbox.com.sg if you're interested!
memeree 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hi, In the UK, interested in working with you on a few ideas; around 6 months work. Happy for you to work remotelym, If you're interested, email me. mosan.elahi@gmail.com
briandear 3 days ago 0 replies      
Wanna join a startup? Email me: superacidjax@me.com I need a strong Rails guy soon.
thijsc 3 days ago 0 replies      
You could contact any of these companies.


james-fend 3 days ago 1 reply      
a possibilty.. email me: james@freelanceful.com
xinuc 3 days ago 1 reply      
Do you consider Indonesia as an option? There's a high demand of ruby programmers in Indonesia right now.
zaczed 3 days ago 0 replies      
Drop me ya MSN or Skype or Twitter ? Wanna get to know you more! My Skype is zhen.zhi
khalidshaikh 3 days ago 1 reply      
Congratulations on your new job !
Ask HN: best language for hiring?
38 points by petervandijck  2 days ago   49 comments top 21
hello_moto 2 days ago 4 replies      
I'm going to make a bold statement that might not be well received around here.

There is no smart people in what you think "webby" is.

Smart people tend to be the master of their domain: data mining, capacity planning, operations, specific business domains, embedded magicians, security experts (the real ones, not the fake ones), OS masters, programming language linguist.

Most people can write RoR, Django, CodeIgniter apps (or, known as the CRUD app). Very few people can do Business Analysis, Data Analytic, understand (and fix, improve, innovate) Healthcare, or bend Oracle as they wish so it worth for their bucks (surprisingly not a lot people can do this).

You can hire a $100k Ruby developer that know Ruby inside out, but what are you going to do with that knowledge except to build a company around Ruby language? (improve VM, sell enterprise supports, etc). I don't think you'd hire this fellow to write a crud app. That would be a non optimal business decision.

Node.js is the new hotness. Alpha-programmers will flock there for a while just like they did with RoR. So you're going to hire these programmers for 2-3 years, 4 max before they jump out. What are you going to do with Node.js other than to re-write pretty much almost everything that exist in another platforms already.

New language/platform becomes popular, people (early adopters) flock to it, then the notable ones (the next early adopters) flock to it as well, then the rest. I don't mean to disrespect the people who improve new platforms but most problems have been solved. All they do is to re-implement that in another language. MVC, ORM, Caching, Routes are still what they are in other platforms.

3pt14159 2 days ago 5 replies      
I'll actually answer your question.

Ruby and Python are now too good at doing webby stuff in that there are not enough Ruby devs to meet the demand of companies without skyrocketing salaries. It is easy to hire good Ruby devs, provided you have $400k to spend per year, but that isn't your real question.

Your real question is what languages will people really, really want to work for my company to use because nobody else is using them. I can only think of a couple: Common Lisp, Closure, Scheme, Smalltalk. There are others that are happy-fun languages but not necessarily I love you languages that few startups are using: Scala, server side CoffeeScript, Io, F#.

But the problem you run into there is that many of these languages don't have as many webby aspects to them which is why fewer startups use them in the first place.

I'd probably recommend Scheme because it has the best book of all time: http://www.amazon.com/How-Design-Programs-Introduction-Progr... That book can teach anyone how to code Scheme. Although all the languages I listed are awesome.

0x12 2 days ago 1 reply      
If you see the language as the 'barrier' that people have to jump over in order to be accepted as smart then maybe go for something exotic. Clojure or Haskell?

I'm not sure if a test like that is meaningful or not, you can narrow down the field of applicants substantially but you may end up with people that have more theoretical than practical knowledge.

gaius 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's never easy to hire smart people.
michaelochurch 2 days ago 1 reply      
I don't think there's "one" language for this purpose.

Don't pick C++ or Java. If you need the Java libraries, consider Clojure or Scala. Don't pick C: it's a fine language, but too low-level for what you want to do. Javascript literacy is a must in web development. So learn it, but not only it.

What's more important is that you choose a language that you are comfortable with. You can learn basic Python in a couple of weeks. Is Python a perfect language? No. Is it "good enough"? Generally, yes. (Switch to Scala if it's too slow or if you find dynamic typing doesn't suit your needs.) Then build a great demo. You're going to get more leverage, in terms of hiring smart people, out of having a great demo than having picked the right language.

sycr 2 days ago 0 replies      
Instead of looking for fashionable languages, why not look for a history of creativity and a passion for learning? And you can never, ever underestimate the value of good communication skills.
jianshen 2 days ago 0 replies      
Your product vision and company culture is what will draw good talent in. Work on building out those principles and learn how to communicate them efficiently to prospective talent.

Smart people tend to adapt (in much the same way you're trying to right now) and they will ultimately follow passion and vision over the convenience of knowing the same tools as you.

RandallBrown 2 days ago 0 replies      
If you want to work for a small startup, Ruby seems to be what most people are looking for. If you really want to show off your programming chops, learn something lower level like C++. Of course you said it should be "webby" so another option is something like C#, as long as you don't mind Windows.
agconway 2 days ago 0 replies      
This dataists post of the popularity of programming languages is relavant, though the data may be a but outdated.


Thankfully, the good folks at Redmonk revisited this analysis recently.


dennisgorelik 2 days ago 0 replies      
Pick a startup first.

Make sure you'd like to work for this startup with these people for years.

Then pick development language that's most suitable for that startup.

cppsnob 2 days ago 0 replies      

Understand the foundation and everything else becomes a lot easier to learn. And yes, you can do the web with it. Many still do.

Mikera 2 days ago 0 replies      
Probably Clojure - It's cool, has a webby angle, you can cherry-pick the good Java libraries and to quote Eric Raymond: "Lisp is worth learning for the profound enlightenment experience you will have when you finally get it; that experience will make you a better programmer for the rest of your days, even if you never actually use Lisp itself a lot."
Bootvis 2 days ago 0 replies      
The problem with this strategy is that your potential hires are more experienced in whatever language you choose so gauging their skill solely on this particular aspect is hard.

If you really want to learn a new language I would go for one that fits your problem domain or what your friend use.

swalkergibson 1 day ago 0 replies      
Why do you suppose it is difficult to hire smart PHP developers? Facebook seems to be doing just fine, and as far as I know, most of their codebase is still straight up PHP. Bottom line, build something that customers want. The customer cares that the solution solves their problem, not that your technology stack is bright and shiny.

This is worth reading:

amorphid 2 days ago 0 replies      
Focusing on being a better coder and communicator is your best bet. It'd be more interesting to solve advanced problems and only know PHP than to pick up another language and never have really solves problems anyone cares about.

If you still want pick up a new language, in my work as a recruiter in San Francisco I see a shortage of web developers who are good with Ruby.

gtani 2 days ago 0 replies      
ruby/python shd be relatively easy, I recommend immersing in Java ecosystem, including scala, JRuby, groovy, clojure.
blackiron 2 days ago 1 reply      
Python is versatile, easy to learn and has lots of nice libraries. Check out Paul Graham's article about python and hiring smart people http://www.paulgraham.com/pypar.html
zhemao 2 days ago 0 replies      
Instead of answering OP's question, most posters seem to be saying "learn language X because it is my favorite language and the best programming language ever!" Completely unhelpful, although not entirely unexpected.

If you want to learn a language with a strong developer community and is well suited to building web applications, either Ruby or Python would be good. Personally, I prefer Python because I find the syntax to be clearer and easier to understand, but that's just my preference.

For the most part, the specific language isn't that much of a problem. Good programmers generally know more than one language and can learn a new one fairly quickly. Therefore, you shouldn't limit your hiring to people who are highly experienced with one particular language.

diN0bot 2 days ago 0 replies      
node.js, google closure library
gtb 1 day ago 0 replies      
Do you want to do a startup to make money or win a IQ competition?
VagisaurusHex 2 days ago 0 replies      
scientific Python!
Ask HN: Is Integrating with 3rd party product legal? (EU, US)
5 points by JanezStupar  1 day ago   discuss
Ask HN: 1 minute Survey About Open Source Software in Your Products
36 points by bretthardin  3 days ago   21 comments top 10
ColinWright 3 days ago 5 replies      
If you really want people to do this, why do you make them copy and paste the URL into their browser? Why don't you provide a clickable link?

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.

kevinherron 3 days ago 1 reply      
I marked "I only use free tools", but what I really wanted was an option like "This isn't worth paying for".

We do pay for tools we find useful.

mtogo 3 days ago 1 reply      
It's good etiquette to post the results page with the poll so that it benefits the entire community, not just yourself.
huhtenberg 3 days ago 0 replies      
Consider making all questions optional and you'll get more people answering.
BrandonM 3 days ago 0 replies      
A metacomment related to question 6: Ubuntu tells us exactly how many packages need to be updated, and the update is as simple as executing a single command. The problem is ensuring that functionality is not broken by things like API or subtle behavior changes. This means that updates end up happening infrequently since they need to be regression tested on a development server before being pushed to production.

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.

andrewcooke 3 days ago 0 replies      
i clicked on the "only free tools", but this is an interesting idea. how are you planning to implement it? a tool that scans our git, hg, svn and cvs repos and tells us what we have would be quite interesting (although there's the obvious hurdle of trusting third party code enough to ever run it).

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...?

JoshTriplett 3 days ago 0 replies      
Same objection to question 6 that other people have mentioned: I wouldn't pay for a service that tells me about open source software updates (because I keep up with them myself already as part of my usual process of staying informed), but that doesn't mean I don't pay for services in general.
bitops 3 days ago 1 reply      
I agree that Question #6, the keystone, is poorly designed.

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).

ScottWhigham 2 days ago 0 replies      
I bailed at question #5: "How many open source packages that you build your product on are currently out of date?"

It's just too vague and it implies that I'm lazy/behind. Let's say I'm using jQuery 1.x, for example, because when I was building/testing last, that was the most stable version. Today jQuery has probably 20 more "updates" since I rolled mine into production - the version number has incremented 20 times - but it doesn't mean I'm "out of date", does it? I don't believe that I have to update my use everytime jQuery goes from 1.34 to 1.35 to 1.36 all the way to 1.99.

So "out of date" is a bit problematic for me in that I don't feel the need to test/use every incremental update.

rickette 3 days ago 1 reply      
Only 6 questions, I've seen much worse surveys ;-)
Ask HN: What tech podcasts do you listen to?
9 points by rkalla  3 days ago   9 comments top 5
swanson 2 days ago 1 reply      
I listen almost exclusively to TechZing and 5by5's Back to Work[1] these days. Maybe mix in a Changelog[2] episode if I'm interested in the project being covered.

Back to Work isn't really tech or programming related, but both hosts do have tech backgrounds. They mainly talk about things like dealing with fear, workplace issues and personal productivity. There is humor and chemistry so I'd say it might be right up your alley. The first couple episodes aren't that good (it seems like they are circle-jerking each other until you get to know them), but stick with it till at least Episode 5 (one of my favorite podcast episodes ever).

If you find that you like Back to Work, maybe try Build & Analyze after.

Changelog has the technical detail, if you are looking for more of that. They seem to be releasing less often these days (or maybe I'm just not following it as closely) and the whole "we love sass, we love ruby" recurring theme is kind of annoying.

But I really love Tech Zing the most, so I'd be keen to find any other recommendations that are similar.

[1] http://5by5.tv/b2w
[2] http://thechangelog.com/

2nd_planet 22 hours ago 1 reply      
* Ruby Show
* JavaScript Show
* Ruby Rogues
* Software Engineering Radio
* The Changelog

As you can see, I like podcasts; but all of them are fascinating and fun! :-D

JacobOscarson 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you want something that's more about how live is as a developer, This Developers Life is very good, and with a solid knowledge about how to create good radio. http://thisdeveloperslife.com/
royalghost 2 days ago 0 replies      
I mostly listen to Java Posse and Stack Overflow podcast. I used to listen to Pragmatic Programmer podcast but I don't find any new one these days.
LVB 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'll second the 5by5 network. Dan has created some great shows. In addition to those already listed, check out The Talk Show (w/John Gruber) and Hypercritical (w/John Siracusa).


Is there a term/concept/pattern for pushing authorized actions onto an object?
3 points by harrylove  1 day ago   2 comments top
vyrotek 1 day ago 1 reply      
I depends what it means to be 'authorized' to do something. Do your want to object to only 'know' how to do something it is authorized to do? You might be able to borrow some ideas from the Strategy Pattern to accomplish this. You could assign the object specific strategies for certain tasks based on the permissions you determined and then for the life of the object it would know what it could do and how to do it.
Ask HN: Hosting Django: Heroku, Gondor, or myself?
6 points by typicalday  2 days ago   1 comment top
iamscanner 2 days ago 0 replies      
I experimented with Gondor and Epio(http://ep.io) at one point when I wanted to get out of hosting Django projects on my own servers - I can't speak to what it's like on Heroku, but Epio was significantly easier to get up and running with than Gondor was - just about as magical and hassle-free as the first time I tried Heroku with a rails app.
Which technology stack to use for car pooling over web and mobile
5 points by szcukg  3 days ago   3 comments top
timkeller 3 days ago 1 reply      
The problem you describe does not require a complex technology stack.

Front-end: HTML5, sure. Considered JQueryMobile for the mobile app?

App: Use whatever you're most comfortable/experienced with. Even if that's PHP, use it.

Database: Have you been looking at MongoDB specifically because of its good geo-spatial indexing? If so, that makes sense. But if you don't need it - just use MySQL/Postgres. You'll be able to reach your goal without the learning curve of using a NoSQL DB.

O'reilly *Free to Choose* - Save 50% on All Ebooks & Videos (code B2SDEAL)
12 points by nkassis  5 days ago   discuss
Proposal: Linear Algebra Study Group
47 points by gruseom  6 days ago   61 comments top 30
tzs 6 days ago 1 reply      
It would be best to do this somewhere that supports MathJax (http://www.mathjax.org/). HN does not, which could make it awkward to discuss math in an HN thread.

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.

tptacek 6 days ago 1 reply      
Chapter ever two weeks plus exercises sounds simple, doable, reasonable. Let's do it that way.

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. :)

aamar 5 days ago 0 replies      
Interested; please include me. Once the book arrives I'll have to confirm I can make the time.

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.

silentbicycle 6 days ago 1 reply      
I'm interested, except I recently bought his _Introduction to Linear Algebra_ (to go with his opencourseware). I'll probably eavesdrop and do the exercises in that one instead.
michaelchisari 6 days ago 1 reply      
I think this is a great idea, although I don't know if I'm a good candidate for it, since I never officially got past a Pre-Calculus level.

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.

ebiester 6 days ago 2 replies      
Which textbook are we talking about? Timing isn't perfect for me, but I'm willing to at least try until everything catches up with me.
nkurz 6 days ago 1 reply      
I'd like to be involved (email in profile).

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?

endian 4 days ago 0 replies      
It seems one can get the International Edition of the 4th edition from Abe Books at a greatly reduced price:


ivan_ah 6 days ago 0 replies      
> Time to trade in a few hours of internet
> downtime and actually learn something.


Some tools I can recommend are
dokuwiki with jsMath plugin
and 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.

dthakur 6 days ago 0 replies      
I'm in; I have the book; Is the next checkpoint on Sep 27 (Chapter 1)?

With 8 chapters, this will stretch past Dec, is this correct?

mquander 6 days ago 0 replies      
I'll get on board; I need to relearn this. Email in profile.
marshray 6 days ago 1 reply      
Count me in. I already have Strang's textbook and have watched some of his lectures.

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.

timgluz 6 days ago 0 replies      
How about OpenStudy studygroup for MIT linear algebra course?
tsycho 6 days ago 0 replies      
I'm in for this. A chapter every 2 weeks sounds like a good pace without any unnecessary pressure.
How do we coordinate? @gruseom, would you like to take the lead?
ajdecon 6 days ago 0 replies      
Awesome idea, I'm in. Time to go get Strang...
skeptical 6 days ago 0 replies      
Yesterday I pushed a tiny javascript algebra on github. I'll just leave the link here:

It might be useful for you guys to check solutions and such.

notaddicted 6 days ago 0 replies      
I'm interested! please find my email in my profile.
trenthauck 6 days ago 0 replies      
Would definitely be interested in this. Use it everyday for stats, but would like to get better at the fundamentals.

I think for it to be most efficient, we should use the book that coincides w/ the MIT lectures.

ejanus 6 days ago 0 replies      
I am in! I live very far from Amazon.com and I don't have Kindle. Is there a place to source the book's pdf version?
mavelikara 6 days ago 1 reply      
I'd like to join this.
biofox 6 days ago 0 replies      
I'm in. Does it matter which edition we use?

As for notation and sharing images, this is a great tool... provided you know LaTeX (which is worth learning anyway):


mwhooker 6 days ago 0 replies      
I'm in. Though I don't think HN is the place to run the study group.
szcukg 6 days ago 0 replies      
I'm in. I have the 3rd edition of this book
ecruz3 6 days ago 0 replies      
I'm interested in participating.
jcarden 6 days ago 1 reply      
I'm game. Where do we sign up ?
seandevine 6 days ago 1 reply      
That sounds good to me. Here in Chicago? If we need a location, my office and apartment building are options...
cranil 6 days ago 0 replies      
if you're relearning, you should use Horn and Johnson's Matrix Analysis IMO
mkl 6 days ago 0 replies      
I'm in, probably.
Show HN: wābisābi " distraction-free writing
10 points by ruidlopes  5 days ago   15 comments top 6
loevborg 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is really excellent. I like the concept a lot. Here are some of the things I really like:

- This uses a proportional font. Most web-based editors I've seen so far used monospace, which, frankly, makes them bad for writing prose. The font is really nice, too. Also, importantly, proper line spacing!
- The F11 feature is clever.
- The word count on the bottom is unobtrusive and elegant.

My use case is writing long (30.000 words+) documents with few formulae. Right now I use Vim, which is nice feature-wise, of course, but not perfect for prose. I write using "markdown" markup, for headings, italics and so forth. I use pandoc to turn it into LaTeX and xelatex to turn that into a PDF. It works beautifully, even for academic texts.

What I love about Vim are its key-bindings. It would be fantastic to add this to wabasabi. I don't whink I'll use another editor which doesn't have this feature. I'm sure I am in a tiny minority in this respect.

You could also add pandoc integration in the future. It's a great piece of software. It also has a few extensions to markdown, including footnotes and bibliographic references. It's extensible as well.

I just wrote this comment using wabisabi, and I like the experience a lot. Are you going to turn this into a commercial project? If you need help, send me a mail (in my profile).

revorad 5 days ago 2 replies      
I like it but one of these comes out every week and none of them ever stick around :-)

So I'm reluctant to invest any time in it. You need to stay around and make me come back.

The F11 thing is clever, but please also add a mouse-clickable button.

The name also probably means something relevant, but it's impossible for me to remember.

Here's an idea: get listed on the Chrome Web Store. If I install your app from there, I'll see it every time I start Chrome.

scottyallen 5 days ago 1 reply      
Very slick. I tend to jump into fullscreen MacVim when I want to write distraction free, but this is clean enough I could see using it for some tasks.
sunspeck 4 days ago 1 reply      
I love this breed of editor. Your implementation is pretty sweet, especially the quick save/email controls.

I'd much rather, though, just see a list of my documents than the too clever hidden dropdown. Right now it's two clicks and a three-key stroke just to open a saved document. Not so wabi-sabi.

And the word count is useful, but for "distraction-free writing" I shouldn't be forced to see it all the time.

tingletech 4 days ago 1 reply      
I could not figure out how to type anything (I'm using firefox) and now firefox is stuck in full screen mode and I can't get out of it.
djeckhart 5 days ago 2 replies      
Your control-command-F shortcut conflicts with the native "Enter Full Screen" shortcut on OS X 10.7; I can't see how to create a new document without remapping the default key binding.
Ask HN: recommendations for temporary office space in SF?
7 points by lemming  5 days ago   4 comments top 2
vrikhter 4 days ago 1 reply      
How many people are in your group? Do you need private offices or are you ok working in an open environment with use of a conference room when necessary? How long do you need it for?

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://www.rocket-space.com/

- http://wework.com/ not sure if they're opened yet)

- http://bayarea.the-hub.net/public/space__Hub%20SoMa.html

Also check out (http://www.loosecubes.com/) for companies renting out extra space in their office.

Email me if you have questions about NextSpace.

lee337 4 days ago 0 replies      
If Oakland is an option for you then check out http://techliminal.com
Ask HN: I was asked to leave my job and now I want to work in the US. Advice?
5 points by greenie  4 days ago   5 comments top 3
brackin 4 days ago 1 reply      
If you want to work at one of the best startups you have to do more than apply. You should try and pick a strategic place, such as the valley or NYC and attend lots of events there and visit startups. When asked what you're working on you could say just finished working at bla, hacking on this in my spare time but looking to work out here.

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".

0x12 4 days ago 0 replies      
You should put up a portfolio of the stuff you've done and apply to a start-up that's already funded for the quickest route to what you want.

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.

dirkdeman 4 days ago 1 reply      
Do take notice that you can't just come to the US and work there. Your employer-to-be has to arrange a H-1B visa for you. This can be a drawback, albeit not a big one.
Ask HN: Why do so many startups simply depend on FB alone, for the login?
9 points by vijayr  6 days ago   7 comments top 5
ig1 6 days ago 1 reply      
Because developer time is incredibly valuable to startups, the amount of users who don't want to use facebook/google/etc is relatively small so it's not worth spending the extra time to implement.

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.)

davewasthere 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Using FB as a login is really a usability thing more than a time saving issue.

The friction of having to choose yet another password to sign up for an account is negated somewhat by using a FB/Twitter/Google-type oAuth/OpenID solution.

I'm a big fan of federated login and prefer to see it on sites where possible. But equally, I'm not sure I agree about making your site completely dependant on FB. Although if the app also requires social graph, then they're not really losing out all that much are they?

arkitaip 6 days ago 0 replies      
The absurd part is that some developers believe that account creation is difficult/hard for users who are very sophisticated early adopters and privacy conscious.
harel 6 days ago 1 reply      
Auth, regardless of how long it takes should be built in your app, not farmed to 3rd parties. First fundamental building block of any app and its still, by far, NOT the most complicated part of any website. Farming out auth to facebook or Google should be an optional extra, not a mandatory process. I do have a Facebook account but I rarely want to link it to anything else. I'm still upset with StackOverflow for forcing me to use a Google account to log in as I use google Apps which are not yet deemed Google Accounts.
j_col 6 days ago 0 replies      
> It'll hardly take a couple of hours to write a simple login script, no?

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).

Ask HN: What issue tracker do you use?
5 points by imperialWicket  4 days ago   3 comments top 3
rickette 3 days ago 0 replies      
Jira + GreenHopper. So far the best issue tracker i've worked with. Former professional experience includes Mantis, ClearQuest (bleh) and StarTeam.

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.

saiko-chriskun 4 days ago 0 replies      
Internally we use github (haven't tried many others, honestly, just integrates well and gets the job done.)

Publicly we use tenderapp. Always loved their design and UX flow.

edmarferreira 4 days ago 0 replies      
We are using the github issue tracker. It's not powerful but is easy to use and free ( if you already using github for git hosting
Ask HN: What should I do when a client doesn't want to pay?
9 points by marcusEting  6 days ago   10 comments top 7
turtle4 4 days ago 0 replies      
How bad is the relationship already?

Personally, I wouldn't burn a bridge with a client who could either return later or pass along some word of mouth, for $1200. If the relationship is already spoiled to the point that you don't think either of those things might happen, I would just explain to the customer that you can't afford to do any more work without payment, and then walk away. Don't retaliate/do additional work to turn off the site or whatever, just literally walk away from it as is.

If you still have a decent relationship, I would just explain to them that you have $1200 into the project, and you understand where he is coming from, but would really appreciate it if he could do better by you. If he returns with a negative, say thanks, and please pass along any other opportunities, give him whatever access he needs and walk away.

Retaliating in any way isn't going to get you paid, it just will spoil your reputation, which is worth alot more than $1200. Even if you are right and he is wrong, if he happens to be at a bar with someone and that person mentions they are having you do some work for them, whether he responds with "Oh yeah, he is a decent guy" or "Oh man, did he burn me once" could make a difference.

Life lesson the hard way.

PonyGumbo 4 days ago 0 replies      
If the website is live, shut it off until they pay you. This has worked for me 8/10 times (the other two times, they just disappear forever, and you weren't going to get that money anyway). If you've ever been broke or strapped for cash, you know that you pay the bills you have to pay first - the ones with consequences - and pay the others last. This is what they're doing. If you want to get paid, you've got to be the mortgage and not the Netflix bill.
ericHosick 6 days ago 0 replies      
Don't just shut things off. That may give the customer the ability to say they have cause against you.

Also, there is always small claims court and it would not be very helpful for your cause if the client claims that their failure was in part caused by you shutting down the website.

stephenbez 6 days ago 1 reply      
"F*ck You. Pay me"

Really good video about how to get clients to pay you.

First question is, "Do you have a written contract?"

erasmus777 4 days ago 0 replies      
I think it's worth it to try to get the money. $1700 is a decent chunk of change. If you're running your own business, you deserve to get paid like anyone else. If you let this guy jerk you over, what about the next person who does it? After all, it's sure to happen again.

Write a letter that recaps your original agreement and explains what they owe you. Then set clear procedures for moving forward. Very clearly explain the penalties for failure to pay:
* After 45 days, I will terminate your service.
* After 60 days, I will turn this over for collection
* etc
Be professional and dispassionate. If you have a friend or relative who is a lawyer, have them print the letter on their letter head.

Emphasize that you've enjoyed working with the client and value your relationship. You can be empathetic: you know the economy's tought, yada yada. You can even offer them a bone: e.g., you'll take 5% off the bill if they pay within 30 days.

Even if you never get the money, you'll know that you stood up for yourself and gave it a shot and did so without being a jerk. Better to take a stand now and gain strength from it.

jjm 6 days ago 1 reply      
So you have no contract with terms?

Leave them be. You need to move on to your next contract, one with a proper contract. My guess is you'd make more money focusing on the next gig.

Live and learn right?

ZipCordManiac 6 days ago 0 replies      
Shut everything off if he doesn't pay up and move onto the next client. No reason to let their company rip you off.
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