hacker news with inline top comments    .. more ..    29 Jan 2012 Ask
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Idea HN: a master mind group to help each other out
6 points by sixQuarks  4 hours ago   4 comments top 4
silver_gr 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Yea, I guess that could work out very well if properly set up & organized, count me in.
mindcrime 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Sure, I'd be interested in something like that.
bkyan 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Sounds good to me.
m4ck 3 hours ago 0 replies      
According to Napoleon Hill's "Mastermind" principle? Sure, count me in.
Ask HN: Which communities like HN do you follow?
18 points by mapster  11 hours ago   4 comments top 4
SuperChihuahua 29 minutes ago 0 replies      
I'm following (and created) http://www.trejdify.com/ which is similar to HN, but it's only economical resources. The current site is a beta, but my plan is to finish the new version soon. The new version will also include a "tools" section with different tools one can use to improve your economical decisions
chmielewski 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't know if these fit the criteria of "community" or "like HN" that you're looking for, but:

Mostly IRC channels like #openbox, #debian and #debian-next on OFTC and #vim on freenode.



And as I've mentioned in a previous comment:






/r/debian (low volume of traffic/posters)

/r/solaris (very low volume of traffic/posters)

/r/openbox (very low volume of traffic/posters)

...and of course raspberrypi.org/forum

ohgodthecat 6 hours ago 0 replies      
http://reddit.com/r/netsec network and information security mostly
nathanpc 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Hacker News is so great that I don't know other similar communities.
Ask HN: How To Prepare a Site For Hacker News?
3 points by nathanpc  9 hours ago   4 comments top 4
nreece 7 hours ago 0 replies      
If you have a WordPress blog, you should use a caching plugin like WP Super Cache, Hyper Cache or W3 Total Cache. It will drastically reduce the server load and improve the performance significantly.

See caching plugins review: http://www.tutorial9.net/tutorials/web-tutorials/wordpress-c...

apsurd 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Ditch Wordpress.

Did your site make it to the front page?

My website made it to #2 on HN front page yesterday : http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3521309

I logged about 7k visits with ~200 peak concurrent visits. I wouldn't say that's server-stalling level traffic but the thing is my site is hosted on GitHub Pages so it's entirely static.

I don't mean to troll, I think there's a Wordpress plugin called supercache or something (google wordpress caching) .

But I do want to officially advocate that you rethink whether or not you _really_ need a mysql database, x plugins, and PHP to run a blog

davyjones 3 hours ago 0 replies      
You are better off asking such technical queries at ServerFault.com.

Aside, one quick thing I noticed was that you are using Apache. I would recommend that you switch to nginx. You are already handling your comments with Disqus. I would think that generating static pages and handling comments through Disqus is ideal.

ohgodthecat 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Wordpress is fine so long as you have a decent host. (See not super shared hosting like godaddy dreamhost etc)

The main thing you need to do is add caching to wordpress (both w3tc and supercache work fine) and if there is still a problem you are probably on the wrong host and should upgrade to either something like linode or a mediatemple grid server or webfaction basic plan.

If you're on a VPS and have caching enabled and still can't manage the traffic I'd say something is wrong with your configuration but just looking at your site I see no caching from either of the plugins I listed.

Show HN: SocialFolders, "Dropbox for social"
172 points by martinpannier  1 day ago   70 comments top 34
martinpannier 1 day ago 0 replies      
kmfrk 1 day ago 1 reply      
Great project! I remember seeing the possibilities of something along these lines, when I browsed the recipes of ifttt that crawled your social feeds for photos by yourself and others and saved them in your Dropbox folder. If this folder were shareable, it would create a different social network all by itself! And better yet, I wouldn't have to sign up for silly social networks and Facebook in order to get access to that data.

I don't know if this is disruptive, but I hope this will help break the data lock-ins networks like Facebook and Twitter photo services are using to retain and attract users. (And what happens if one of the sites go belly-up with all your data?)

If I could make one suggestions, the site as it currently is looks like one for a generic software download. You should, eventually, try to make it look more friendly and inviting as if to say that this is a social ecosystem of sorts.

Best of luck! If you're in SF or NYC, you probably won't need it with all the people who'll throw themselves at you over a great idea like this. :)

AndrewWarner 1 day ago 1 reply      
1) Glad you're charging because it makes me feel like you'll be around.

2) I'm trying to sync 1 file and it's taking over 20 minutes (so far)

3) It'd be nice to allow one-way sync. I don't want to flood my MB Air's tiny drive with every photo I sent to Flickr, but I would want to upload all of my Air's photos.

w33ble 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm definitely not your client base as the few things I do put on social profiles all come from my hard drive anyway, so I have no need to back up or export them.

That said, this service looks very slick and kmfrk makes a great point about using it to liberate your photos and such and make them available to people that don't have accounts. For example, links to facebook photos are useless for me since I don't have an account there, but if the people uploading their photos there could also have them mirrored to SocialFolders or even another network where I either have an account or don't need an account to view them, that would be sweet. If they could have that happen without doing anything extra on their own (after installing the software, of course), that would be pretty amazing!

mikeknoop 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'll admit I was initially turned off by the title of the post . It's really "buzz word" heavy -- but I checked out the YouTube video demo anyway and this is a great and much needed tool.
ed209 1 day ago 1 reply      
Promising start. My mum is always on at me to send her the pics of my daughter that I put on Facebook. It would be cool if I could grant her access to my Facebook folder (at the moment I accomplish this through dropbox) but your product removes a couple of steps. Will certainly keep an eye on this one :)

Have you seen http://theopenphotoproject.org/ ?

davezatch 1 day ago 1 reply      
Just a heads up, if you click on "Getting Started" at the bottom it sends you to the "getting-started-mac" page, and the download is for mac. If I click directly on "download" it knows I'm on windows, but through the getting started vector it serves me the wrong link.

Otherwise, looks amazing, gonna give it a whirl after work.

entropie 1 day ago 2 replies      
A simple upvote isnt enough. Awesome idea!

Edit: please give us a linux client.

oozcitak 1 day ago 0 replies      
Great idea and beautiful execution. I just copy/pasted a few photos from Instagram to Facebook. I will definitely use this.
bobwebb 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is awesome! Thanks for providing this service - there are loads of nice pictures on Facebook that I've been meaning to make a backup of for ages, now there's a tool that lets me do that without any fuss.
yatsyk 1 day ago 2 replies      
How can you compare it to Locker [1] ?

[1] https://github.com/LockerProject/Locker

drtse4 1 day ago 0 replies      
Nice idea and beautifully implemented, you just gained a new user. The "moving between services" is the real killer feature, imo.
neilk 1 day ago 1 reply      
If I modify a file locally, does that get mirrored elsewhere?

Also, I assume that such modifications aren't propagated to the other copies?

ThaddeusQuay2 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's nice, but it doesn't quite "mirror all the content I have" because it doesn't transfer comments. I claim ownership of all comments left by me, and by others, on my content. When a social network deletes a picture of mine, all the comments are lost, as well. This breaks the conversation, and cannot be fixed by simply re-uploading the original content. I understand that you cannot transfer comments from one social network to another, but the basic problem remains. Solve that, and you've got a real winner.
mikecaron 1 day ago 1 reply      
This looks like a great frontend for FUSE (or MacFUSE by Google, http://code.google.com/p/macfuse/). I think you guys nailed the user experience because FUSE can be really difficult to setup for n00bs.
iusable 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is one of those ideas that you see and go 'wasn't this done already?' But in fact it wasn't!

Love the idea and the intro. Instant User!

Tons of questions about the syncing features with different services etc.

instakill 1 day ago 0 replies      
The taskbar menu shows how much I've used of my quota, but what would be very useful would be the dropbox-esque bit of info that tells me how much of it has actually sync'd.
alias1 1 day ago 0 replies      
Very nice idea and so far the service looks pretty good. Congratulations :) I did find it a little hard to find the different pricing levels/what I get for them. I think having a page dedicated to the different account types (free, premium, etc) linked off the main menu would be good.
lazylland 1 day ago 0 replies      
This has serious legs, martin. Well done :) A similar idea has been in my "would-be-nice" list for eons, but its amazing to see it actually work.

Wishing you great success! Happy hacking !

djbender 1 day ago 0 replies      
If I have the same 100MB file set on multiple social sites through SocialFolders, does that mean I have the set on my local hard drive multiple times as well?
rheeseyb 1 day ago 1 reply      
Looks really good. First thought - you need some sort of feedback to let the user know that their files are downloading - I've linked my Facebook account and it's downloading hundreds of photos, but I thought it was broken as it just created a bunch of empty folders. The only way I could confirm that it is working was by checking my used quota. I'm using OSX Lion by the way...
edbyrne 1 day ago 0 replies      
Export/Backup for your Social Networks - great idea.

Can I get more than just photos (files)? Can I save my data or will that get you banned from a few of the providers you integrate with!

I use Backupify for this 'anti-Cloud' type service - it backs up my Gmail. Since I use more than one PC, I'd like to see this do similar to Dropbox - sync local, in the Cloud, and be accessible through clients on any device. I suppose I could do that by putting the SocialFolders into Dropbox - but I'm not sure I want to pay on the double then.

aDemoUzer 1 day ago 0 replies      
Great idea.
http://socialfolders.me/download-pc/ screenshots looks crappy.
quanfucius 1 day ago 0 replies      
So what happens when I copy my SocialFolder into my Dropbox folder? Does the universe implode? :D
vineet 1 day ago 2 replies      
I like it.

It did however take me till the last 30 seconds of the video to actually get how this would be useful to me.

Need to play with it to get you more feedback.

joeconway 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is a really nice idea, well done! I'm going to try this out for a few days but I fully expect to but an annual premium account. I'd quite like it if i could turn off the menubar icon in OS X though.
tuananh 1 day ago 1 reply      
Great idea, however If I want to share a set of photos on multiple services, I have to waste a lot of space !? will symlink works?
leouznw 1 day ago 0 replies      
great idea, so great that i'm helping to spread on facebook...
Still has field to find a way to keep just one file to all social networks, but maybe it will make the end user confused...
instakill 1 day ago 1 reply      
I am the only one that gets a time-out when trying to download the app?
carlsednaoui 1 day ago 0 replies      
Sweet video! I would suggest adding a clickable link on your youtube video description.
kin 1 day ago 0 replies      
I can find so much use from this. Great job!
webmat 1 day ago 0 replies      
The "remember me" option on the login doesn't seem to work. Not a big deal, but just pointing it out :-)
instakill 1 day ago 1 reply      
Lovely demo video. Who made that for you?
adir1 1 day ago 2 replies      
Sorry - this is so last century. We are heading Into the Cloud, not into "get my social content to my PC" era...
Ask HN: What was the HN thread on building own server for photo start-up?
5 points by sg0yc  12 hours ago   4 comments top 2
marklabedz 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I can't find the HN discussion, but the Backblaze Pods have been discussed here a few times: http://blog.backblaze.com/2011/07/20/petabytes-on-a-budget-v...

EDIT: Sorry - just realized the bioteam.net discussion centered on Backblaze pods.

ohgodthecat 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Here you go: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3384606 From Oyster.com)

This is the only one I remember, from a hotel review startup and I believe the server was just for backup.

Show HN: Readbo - Making a better Google Reader
4 points by xtrimsky_  13 hours ago   5 comments top 2
chubs 8 hours ago 2 replies      
I had a quick look, but it didn't work on my iphone.

I'd be really stoked if it was basically like google reader but had really nice typography - really that's all i want.

thiagofm 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Another rss reader, I'm so happy!
Ask HN: copyright licenses
3 points by tci22  13 hours ago   2 comments top 2
tstegart 12 hours ago 0 replies      
In the U.S., you can make a contract to sell just about anything in the future. Sell away. Unless its people, don't sell those. Or financial instruments; don't sell those either without filling out the right forms. Just know that if you don't deliver what the contract says, people generally want their money back.
dangrossman 2 hours ago 0 replies      
People preorder video games at stores all the time.
Ask HN: what do you think of our idea?
5 points by gdhillon  15 hours ago   9 comments top 5
joshontheweb 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Wouldn't it be more beneficial overall if you threw everyone into the same pool. Then the win chance as high as possible and anytime anyone wins, everyone wins? I don't really gamble, but if I did I'd try it as long as I felt sure I could trust the service.
kls 14 hours ago 2 replies      
I think you have a good niche, I don't think it will be huge but it could definitely provide a good income to a small team.

That being said, there are some trust issues that you will have to deal with and you should address them right up front. Basically right after a prospective users knows what you do, the next question in their mind is going to be how do I know I wont get screwed? you will have to solve for this problem.

I looks like you are letting them form their own groups, but I would assume for it to be truly powerful, users will eventually have to group up with people they don't know. Some people are going to want to pull in large number groups and their network will not be able to support that.

You should also track winnings if it is possible, so that you can build a winner rating for people. While it may not be a relevant state gambling is based of a lot of emotion so emotionally people with a winning record will be looked at as having a badge of honor and will be sought out to pool with.

You should research the laws to see if you can be a purchasing entity for tickets, that you then hold in pools for groups. You should check with state lotteries to see if you can become a retailer of tickets, if so you could build a revenue stream by selling tickets into a trust for pools. I would disclose any quick pick type numbers selected by the pool before the lottery drawings so their can be no question as to transparency of what is being purchased by the pool. Further, a system where you can estimate winnings would be valuable, basically taking the payout of the lottery and splitting it by the amount of people in the pool that way people get a good view of what joining a pool will return if it wins. I would use real immediate payout dollars and not the funny math the states use for advertisement.

vertr 15 hours ago 0 replies      
The design looks like a standard wordpress template. And it looks like it actually is based on your gallery images here: https://img.skitch.com/20120128-1gbrkerrmatub6d6c461xku3ht.j...

As far as the idea goes, it seems like you could come up with something that finds a better niche in the market than this.

saurabh 15 hours ago 1 reply      
>Playing lottery in groups can increase your chances of winning by 4000%

Can you explain why?

gdhillon 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Ask HN: Faking it until you make it?
6 points by robpa  15 hours ago   7 comments top 6
devs1010 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Just to clarify, Heroku and App Engine are essentially just a new breed of hosts, these applications aren't exactly created with Heroku or App Engine, they are using other frameworks that can be used on any host (or at least a lot of other hosts), they are being deployed and hosted there. Tumblr and Wordpress are primarily blogging engines so unless you're just starting a blog they probably won't get you far. What I would suggest looking into are web application frameworks, for example a lot of people who use Heroku are using Ruby on Rails, you don't need to know anything about Heroku to use Ruby on Rails, instead you can run everything locally while developing and learning and only later do you need to worry about pushing up to a host
dholowiski 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Techcrunch is hosted on wordpress.com - sure it's the VIP service but there are tons of big sites on WordPress. Either spend some time customizing a theme or look to spend $50-$100 on a premium theme - this will make you look much more professional, and there are many themes out there that don't even look like WordPress. If your idea will work on WordPress (or tumblr) then I think you're crazy not to use it.



mattblalock 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Just go for it. Don't worry so much about things like this. Give your project passion, that's all it needs.

In my mind, this is the same as asking if its okay to not use linen for my biz cards.. it doesn't matter.

mapster 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't believe your idea only gets one shot, necessarily. You measure customer feedback and iterate. Just build it and build a profitable business. Then come back and tell us how your successful web business started out, or still uses, Wordpress. Wordpress is VERY functional for many startup uses, so as long as your copy, design and UI are up to snuff, and your service is the best you can make it, you have a decent chance.
littledude 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd actually be more impressed if you start making money and validate your idea without writing a line of code.

go do it :)

FredBrach 15 hours ago 1 reply      
>> Or would I be laughed off of the internet/HN for appearing amateur?

No you won't. Not on HN at least. Be yourself and make what you love, everything gonna be alright.

Ask HN: What is the coolest things that have been done in/with node.js?
10 points by DiabloD3  1 day ago   6 comments top 3
hk_kh 18 hours ago 1 reply      
This map shows in "realtime" when users around the world take or leave bikes in a bike sharing system scheme of their city: http://citybik.es/realtime

Or, if you want, here's the popular gif cursor party done in real life http://citybik.es/cursor_party

tlianza 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Trello does a pretty good job, I think: http://blog.fogcreek.com/the-trello-tech-stack/
cims 23 hours ago 0 replies      
We've recently launched http://www.codecloud.io which provides a NodeJS back-end for apps, and you can start coding right away from your browser. Of course we think it's pretty cool, but you be the judge :
Finally switched from apache 2 to nginx 1.0.5
2 points by wiitel  10 hours ago   discuss
Ask HN: Programming/startup related podcasts worth listening
3 points by thiagofm  14 hours ago   1 comment top
dlagillespie 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Jason Calacanis' "This Week in Start Ups" is always entertaining an insightful
Ask HN: Are there news archives for commercial use
4 points by satavahan  14 hours ago   1 comment top
shafqat 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Contact me and I'll set you up. We (NewsCred) have fully licensed news and archives from 750+ news sources. All available through an API. You can use it for commercial use but there is a fee. I can give you a HN discount ;-)
Kill Hollywood? Let's fix politics instead: kill lobbying.
230 points by cies  4 days ago   97 comments top 44
JunkDNA 4 days ago 6 replies      
I recognize that Lawrence Lessig is beating this particular drum lately, and he's probably way smarter than me. However, I can't escape the idea that money is the mother's milk of politics. It's like water in that it always finds a way through an obstacle, no matter how much you put in its way. If you eliminate overt lobbying, organizations will find a way to route around whatever laws are in place to lobby covertly, in ways that are likely much harder for the average person to detect.

Furthermore, I'd point out that, depending on the form of a ban on lobbying, the recent SOPA protest might not have been able to happen. Google might have been prevented from blacking out their page as would Wikipedia, lest they run afoul of anti-lobbying laws. That's something worth thinking about.

It's also not just the business sector that has lobbyists. There are tons of other groups. The Sierra Club and NRA are two biggies that come to mind. As an individual, it's much more efficient for me to throw in with one of those groups to ensure my interests are protected than it is to do it myself. Both are exceptionally effective at getting what they want because they spend all day keeping an eye on elected (and unelected) government officials and their continued existence hinges on their success.

I'm not arguing that we have to like this current situation, but it's hard for me to think of a better scenario that doesn't infringe on the rights of people to assemble as a group and voice their opininon via financial support, advertising, etc... Just because some of the time we don't personally like the result of lots of lobbyists, doesn't mean this is the root of all evil. In the end, all the money in the world isn't going to compel ordinary citizens to vote for someone who doesn't have their interests in mind. Exhibit A would be John Corzine who had an incredible fortune at his disposal in his reelection bid as governor of NJ and still lost to Chris Christie in 2009.

dazzawazza 4 days ago 4 replies      
If you remove lobbying from a political system then the elected officials exist in a vacuum with no information coming from outside sources. Remember charities and NGO's also lobby government (as well as the churches, mosques, temples, big pharma, little pharma, oil, mothers for this or that, fathers for other stuff, governments for war, governments for peace.... this list is endless).

The problem isn't lobbying. It's corrupt elected officials who at best accept bribes/payment to fund an overly expensive electioneering machine. The problem is that lobbying happens with no public over site and now accountability.

The problem is more complex than just removing lobbying. Do you really want government making decisions without asking companies advice? The same companies that the government expects to implement strategies?

Say for example the USA predicts a 20% increase in crude oil use over the next 10 years. Where the refineries should go, where the oil is best sourced, how the petrol products are best distributed are all important questions that the oil industry is well placed to help answer. Not dictate of course but their opinion should matter.

EDIT: Before anyone accuses me of supporting the current system please give me the benefit of the doubt. I understand the system is inadequate as it stands but to remove lobbying just creates another problem of equal gravity.

malandrew 4 days ago 2 replies      
Lobbyists are further proof that shipping code wins and they know this. We can discuss this all we want in the blogosphere, but so long as they are the ones implementing the laws, those are the implementations and architectural decisions we're going to have to live with. Congress is a commit generator, and most of the "code" put in front of them for review are written by lobbyists.

From my understanding, it isn't Congressmen that write the laws most of the time. AFAIK, many laws are written by industry and then handed to Congressmen read and modify, and such bills are handed with explanations and arguments to why they are needed. Such a process with always result in laws that move in the interest of lobbying powers due to the very nature of how negotiation works. In every negotiation, you have an "anchoring" effect, where the final outcome will be near the starting point. With that in mind, lobbyists define the starting point and therefore where the anchor is hooked on every debate.

The only solution I can come up with to this is a requirement that every single bill needs to be drafted in the open with a commit history of who made each and every commit to a bill. Only with this in place would we be able to see how much of the laws are written not by government but by industry. It would also give the people (specifically active concerned citizens) a voice early on in the process so that the position on which the "anchor gets hooked" is more balanced and representative.

Politicians, and especially lobbyists, today say things to the effect that it is difficult to draft laws and discuss things out in the open. What those that complain about this fail to understand is that that is the very essence of democracy. Democracy starts at the beginning of the discussion of public policy, not at the point at which policy comes to a vote.

Dodd, during his speech where he remarked that SOPA was a watershed moment, even said, "the white noise has made it impossible to have a conversation about this. We've gotta find a better way to have that conversation than we have in the last two weeks." This attitude is a clear sign of someone that doesn't understand what a democracy is. That white noise is democracy in action and the best thing we can do is make sure that democracy is happening at the inception of every idea that evolves into a law.

We basically need a super easy, useable git for laws accessible by everyone.

mcherm 4 days ago 0 replies      
You are missing the point. PG didn't say "Kill Hollywood" in order to get revenge on them for SOPA/PIPA. (He _did_ title the piece in a provocative manner that _suggested_ he was seeking revenge. That title certainly bought the piece some notoriety.)

Instead, PG said "Kill Hollywood" because the SOPA/PIPA debacle finally made it apparent to him that these industries are ripe for replacement. Imagine you notice that some middleman in a purchasing chain is starting to try very hard to include terms in their contracts that prohibit their customers from going directly to suppliers. This might make you realize that this middleman is scared of becoming unnecessary as customers go directly to suppliers. The middleman is in a position to know their industry really well... perhaps it's time for you to start up a business matching up the customers with suppliers directly (for a tiny cut, of course), thus killing off the middleman and making yourself a successful company in the process.

Well, that's what PG saw going on here. The SOPA/PIPA behavior made him realize that these media companies are focusing on keeping their position rather than on improving their services, which made it obvious that they are in danger of LOSING their position. What a perfect time to launch a company intended to profit from the large-scale changes that will be happening anyway.

JumpCrisscross 4 days ago 0 replies      
There is good economic literature on how bribery evolves into its more transparent and regulated form, lobbying, as a society develops. There is an equally developed literature on the returns on lobbying. Book-ending all of this is the legitimate claim that no elected official can be expected to understand everything of consequence and so will probably need to be "educated" (the base claim of every lobbyist, whether in good faith or not).

Killing lobbying, sadly, is not an option. It will force the influence vectors under the table and cause all sorts of nastiness. People wanting to influence power isn't bad; it just needs to be effectively channeled.

What is needed is more transparency. Going both ways.

Going up, we need some way for politicians to effectively guage the support or opposition to a proposed piece of legislation. The ad hoc activism model we have going now is Dark Ages crap.

I can see a future where reps and senators pledge to use an online polling platform for bills that voters registered in their district sign up to voice up with, and where not pledging to use such a system will be anathema to one's campaign.

Going down, we need something that makes campaign financing more effective. By more effective I mean that instead of finding out about donation opportunities ad hoc I have a systematic way of ensuring I have considered every candidate and that every candidate has been evaluated on every issue pertinent to me. Not terrifically complicated software.

Second stage of top-to-bottom transparency revolves around informing voters, but I think that is fairly well covered for the amount of influence it has and the number of people who regularly and actively follow elections.

rayiner 4 days ago 1 reply      
There are too many in the tech community that are susceptible to such bullshit reductionist viewpoints. You don't gain anything from ignoring the fundamental features of reality. There are two inescapable points:

1) We live in a highly interdependent society of 300m people. Such a society needs to be governed. Indeed, it needs a lot of government, like any amalgamation of people that are forced to interact with each other. The debate about "more versus less government" is only sensible in the margins. Its really more of a question of "good versus bad government."

2) The public needs to advise elected officials. Because of (1), elected officials have a huge range of issues to deal with. It is literally impossible for them to educate themselves about those issues. Lobbyists fill to role of educating officials.

You're not going to be able to run a society that has, e.g., no regulated industries (see 1) or one where representatives of those industries do not weigh in on that regulation (see 2). Forget about such childish ideas.

Stuff like "get rid of lobbying" is as useful in political debate as statements like "get rid of gravity" are in aerospace engineering. Yes, that would make certain things easier, but...

jcampbell1 4 days ago 1 reply      
Lobbying in its most basic form is simply free speech. I should have the right to assemble with like minded people and say whatever I want. We should also be free to contact politicians with the message, or pay for ads on TV with our message. How do you stop this and claim to be a free country? I don't much care for Citizens United, but I am certain the founding fathers considered political speech to be covered in the 1st Amendment.

I agree with the idea, but the devil is in the details. Congress should start with a cooling off period for staffers to work for lobbying firms, but I don't even know what it means to "criminalize lobbying".

hawk1701 4 days ago 1 reply      
I live in Connecticut, and people should be aware that we have a great campaign finance system here (best in the country, IMHO) that's made an enormous difference reducing the power of lobbyists at our State Capitol.

To show how the system works, I'll give an example. A typical State Senate campaign runs a budget of about $100k. Under our Clean Elections system, participating candidates must raise $15k in small contributions of $100 or less per person. They then qualify for a grant from the state of $85k to round out their budget.

The grants are funded by state auction of unclaimed property and the like, not by taxpayer dollars (though even if we didn't do it this way, clean elections would still be a worthy thing for taxpayers to support).

This system is purely voluntary, but 75% of all candidates participated in the last state election. Our current governor was the first ever elected under this system.

Of course, this kind of reform doesn't happen out of the blue. A previous governor of our found himself thrown in jail for bribes and corruption. Afterward, both parties found themselves competing to "out-reform" the other, and this campaign finance system was the result.

Politically active folks I know tell me that lobbyists at the State Capitol in Hartford are less than half of their former selves. They still exist, but don't hold nearly as much power as they once did, when we called our state "Corrupticut."

Our system isn't perfect, but I think it's far better than anything that's done in any other state.

More states should move in our direction, but that will require overcoming their own lobbyists first. Not easy, but we are proof that it's possible.

Sadly, many outsiders don't like our system. The US Supreme Court also might destroy it (and a similar system in Arizona). It would be like Citizens United all over again.

But don't just take my word on all of this. Here's more info for the interested:


car 4 days ago 0 replies      
An important measure to change the skewed dynamics of political financing in the US would be the additional funding of political parties with money from the government. An example of this is Germany, where parties receive money from the state according to the number of votes they collect, in addition to other funding sources. This relieves the pressure to raise money from corporations, and makes politicians less dependent on "money interests".

EDIT: Wikipedia article going into more detail, see under 'Political Revenue': http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Party_finance_in_Germany

danielrhodes 4 days ago 0 replies      
Lobbying is constitutionally protected, and rightfully so. Without such a protection, the government is under no obligation to open a dialog with citizens. When people organized against SOPA, that was lobbying. That ability to talk with your representatives and leaders should not be removed.
eof 4 days ago 0 replies      
What the OP really meant, I think, was kill corporate contributions to candidates/officials/campaigns.

A company should certainly be allowed to hire someone whose soul job is to educate politicians.

Probably though, they should not be able to buy them fancy dinner, give them gifts, etc. Probably it is even fair to say that lobbying must be transparent. Either through some new system which interfaces citizens with their officials; or, through some direct transparency with regard to intentions of the lobbyist.

Money is the problem, not the lobbying.

schwit 4 days ago 1 reply      
There's a number of little things that would make lobbying less effective.

- Move legislators back to their home district

- Term limits

- Permit them to only accept contributions from registered voters in their district

- repeal the 17th amendment

buff-a 4 days ago 0 replies      
The fundamental problem here is not money. It is not lobbyists. It is the artificial market of privileges created by the members of the US Government.

The US Government should not have the power to regulate Doctors, drugs, food, oil, imports, exports etc. It should not have the power to go to war without clear and present danger. It should not have the power to make the Oil business viable by stationing floating fortresses in the gulf at our expense.

For those of you who want to tell me that we need "People To Regulate" Doctors, Drugs and Food: ask yourself, "Is the head of Monsanto the person I want to regulate Food?", because that's what you have. To Regulate Transport Safety, you have a man who makes high-power X-Ray machines.

The problem is not money or lobbyists. The problem is that there is a reason for them to spend their money. Of course, there will be a small number of fundamental rights that will need to be safeguarded - but they will be small, clear and understandable by Citizens.

bad_user 4 days ago 1 reply      
Should, could, would - are all nice and all.

Convincing democratically-elected representatives to stop receiving money, money they use to buy votes, is a futile fight. Even if you do, many will just be corrupt and still accept money or other kinds of payment. IMHO, I'm starting to think that this system is really good - at least you have the means to find out who paid what and to whom.

Killing Hollywood, or at least doing something to make them think twice the next time, now that's doable.

dspeyer 4 days ago 0 replies      
The lobbying system enabled hollywood, but it didn't force it. They could have attempted to make an honest profit. Plenty of industries do. Instead they chose to attack the internet. They should be held accountable.

I'm sick of the "corporations only want to make money so shouldn't be held accountable" meme. The fact that they have no intrinsic consciences makes it more vital that they be held in check by extrinsic punishments.

wallacrw 4 days ago 1 reply      
I think it's important to note who the lobbyists are trying to speak for: it's you as a voter. Same with money.

Bottom line: you cannot buy a political office anywhere in America. You still must be voted in. You also cannot directly give money to a politician for their personal benefit; money can only be contributed to their (re-)election campaign. It's valuable because it buys media (that's 60% or more of a campaign cost).

So money, and lobbyists, are just proxies for large blocks of votes.

To fix this problem, you really need voters who stand by their own principles and aren't overly influenced by one-sided media (that's the only reason a politician needs money).

You also need to somehow disconnect the influence of media and advertising from actual voters. Would love to hear ideas on that particular problem.

More realistic changes include those that Lessig proposes: finance campaigns through what is effectively a capped tax credit offered to every taxpayer to allocate among candidates as they see fit, then repeal Citizens United.

urza 4 days ago 1 reply      
I was very amazed to learn that in the USA you can legally give money to politicians so that they would vote for something. It is illegal in my country and I have trouble finding rationale why on Earh, could this be legal anywhere?!
jugglinmike 4 days ago 1 reply      
Lawrence Lessig has much to say on the subject:


Basically, publicly-funded elections could remove the corrupting influence of corporate money. Still not clear on how we get there, but I may pick up his latest book to learn more

sylvinus 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm not expert on the subject but one should also consider how it goes into countries like France where lobbying is already illegal, but still happening in other ways or channels.
raintrees 4 days ago 0 replies      
When I last argued for eliminating lobbying, it was pointed out to me that lobbying is supposed to equal representation, and "don't I want a representative government?"

What about limiting lobbying? The amount of money involved is obscene, at some levels. Why not change it to one US dollar per lobbyist maximum?

Although this may not be a great idea, my general intention is to level the playing field a bit, make the job less attractive/lucrative.

The same could be done for political positions, as well. It is my understanding that when the framers put this union together, they could not make a living being a representative. When all was said and done, they went back to their real method of earning a living, whether farming, law, medical practice, etc.

dspeyer 4 days ago 0 replies      
Lobbying is a fundamentally stable thing. As you observed, the economic incentives to do it are strong. And lobbying is a very general thing. Truly blatant bribery is illegal, but there are many, many ways that someone with money can help a politician and communicate what they want in return. It's hard to imagine closing that off without massive collateral damage.

Hollywood, on the other hand, is vulnerable. They're a middleman in a world that doesn't like middlemen. If we destroy them once, they won't come back.

wdr1 4 days ago 0 replies      
Part of the problem is that it's only labelled "lobbying" if you don't like the cause.

Corporations paying for legislation relating to oil drilling rights? That's lobbying. Unions paying for higher teacher salaries? Well, that's different!

zerostar07 4 days ago 1 reply      
That was exactly what i thought when I read that call: they are aiming for the wrong enemy. I thing you should add Old Media along with lobbying, they are both dinosaurs. The way to go about it is this: divert the public's attention from major mass media, give them easy access to information about politics, and promote public discourse. Make politicians unable to hide their actions and intentions, but also train the voters to look into the substance of matters, not superficialities.
sdizdar 4 days ago 0 replies      
I don't think the problem is lobbying.

The problem is that we, as electoral body, are interested in politics only and only if something outrages like SOPA happens.

It is not enough just to show up and vote who whatever had nicer TV comercial. Know your representative, talk to him/her, call offices, etc. Be involved.

enqk 4 days ago 0 replies      
The athenians had a way to kill lobbying / corruption:

Make it a democracy with direct participation, removing professional politics out of the equation. If everyone is participating in any vote (and this should scale now much nicely thanks to technology) and magistrates / executive branches were randomly selected for short mandates and with oversee of the complete electorate, then the only person to corrupt would be the citizens themselves. And that is a lot more expensive.

agentultra 4 days ago 0 replies      
I remember someone suggesting we monitor the democratic process using something like github for legislation documents.

It probably wouldn't end lobbying entirely, but it would make the process a lot easier to monitor.

caublestone 4 days ago 1 reply      
I see lobbying reform as just a bandaid to the root of the issue. The root of the issue seems to be that congress just has to many opportunities and decisions to make for the welfare of a giant and growing population. They are open to input from millions of different parties all trying to grab a piece of the taxpayer pie.

I really think the solution needs to be limiting the decisions that congress can make by limiting the amount of funds made available to them. The idea that congress should control all of the tax payer dollars made sense when the only expenses were Infrastructure and Security. But now there are just too many expense possibilities.

I would love to see some "real" action against the way congress is spending our money. What if everyone didn't pay their federal taxes in April? If I a board does a really terrible job at running a company, they usually don't get paid and often lose their jobs. Sure we have elections, but it's very clear that these elections favor the incumbents (ahem, lobbying). What if we really challenged their structure?

drKarl 4 days ago 0 replies      
Completely agree, as I stated yestarday in a comment:


Lobbyists are the cancer of Democracy.

harichinnan 4 days ago 0 replies      
Coming from India, I would see lobbying as an essential part of democracy. At the end of the day, businesses need a way to get to law makers and get laws passed that favor them. The alternative is in India. There are no real lobbyists like you have in America. Companies find it hard to run perfectly legal businesses in a left leaning country. They resort to bribing even to get things done, something that would be trivial in US. Here in US, you have law makers like Gingrich who take up a job as a lobbyist/consultant for companies while taking a break from their day job. In India they take bribes and continue to work as law makers to perform the same thing. I would take lobbying any day vs. bribing. I think of it like this. Left leaning parties oppose lobbying and eventually end up taking bribes. Right leaning parties OK lobbying and play it by the rules by setting up lobbying companies and declaring themselves as lobbyists.
RexM 4 days ago 0 replies      
It kills me inside when people talk about democracy as though that's how the United States always was and want to "restore the democracy"

Please watch this video before you decide to toss around the word democracy. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KFXuGIpsdE0

shanmoorthy 4 days ago 0 replies      
In Australia we have a government run registry which documents all lobbyists and their activities:

The closest I could find in the US in a quick search was followthemoney.org and the Senate Office of Public Records site (which maintains an archive of filings as required by the Lobbying Disclosure Act).

Is transparency just a matter of making these isolated pieces of information more easily accessible and transformable/visual... and using an easy call to action to petition or donate to pro-bono lobbyists who serve the public as counteraction to corporate (or even foreign) lobbying.

warmfuzzykitten 4 days ago 0 replies      
The problem isn't lobbying, it's bribery. We accept as normal at the national level behavior that might be prosecuted at the local level, but would almost certainly get the rascals thrown out of office. Perhaps the strangest thing about American culture is the almost complete lack of corruption in every sphere except politics.
learc83 4 days ago 0 replies      
One way to improve the situation is to remove the limit on representatives of 435.

The constitution originally provides for 1 rep for every 30,000 people. If say we go back to that.

vide0star 4 days ago 0 replies      
Casino Jack documentary is a pretty good insight into the more unfortunate side of the lobbying process.


cjoh 4 days ago 1 reply      
Lobbying is protected by the constitution. Best of luck.
zombiehands 4 days ago 0 replies      
We must think of the system as a whole. Analysis it as a whole. Then change it for the better. Both lobbyist and politicians are running the system. I dream of a day where the Internet can support a direct democracy, instead of a elected representatives.
dholowiski 4 days ago 0 replies      
Why not do both? Why not kill hollywood, and kill lobbying? What, exactly in Hollywood is worth saving?
Florin_Andrei 4 days ago 0 replies      
Money in politics is the root of all current evil.
klahnakoski 4 days ago 1 reply      
The problem is not lobbying, the problem is politicians know their term in office is finite, and they must continue to work on their career development while in office. Essentially, the big corporate lobby groups and politicians have an unwritten contract: A politician that pushes for favorable industry legislation is guaranteed a good job when his term is over.

The only solution I can imagine to mitigate this problem is to keep politicians in the government after their term has ended forever. I have no idea what they would do, maybe review legislation, be in committees, or just stay home. But, given the average age of a politician, I would imagine the increased payroll would not be to onerous.

Wrap 4 days ago 1 reply      
Agreed, but you need to go a step further; it's the Presidential system that needs to changed.

google "Presidential vs. parliamentarian system" and you'll see what I'm talking about

morninj 4 days ago 0 replies      
The problem isn't lobbying. The problem is the corruption that occurs when lawmakers grow dependent on campaign cash (much of which comes from those who lobby for wealthy interests).
ObnoxiousJul 4 days ago 0 replies      
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
rj200 4 days ago 0 replies      
As some people have pointed out lobbying isn't all bad - the problem is the disproportionate influence of organisations with lots of money and corruption.

How about this for a solution: regulate lobbying like sex. Anyone can do it but you can't pay a professional to do it for you.

joccam 4 days ago 0 replies      
To illegalize lobbying permanently, we have to clean house as a nation (easier said than done). That amounts to doing at least three things on a permanent basis:

1. Purge congress, and rehab it with genuinely honest legislators (not career politicians) --- for each and every state (or at least the vast majority of them).

2. Purge at least 5 corrupt Supreme Court Of The United States (SCOTUS) members, and replace them with honest, real justices. But you can't just fire SC justices (unless we change the law, that is; see #1, above)... so this process could take time (i.e., not overnight). And two more things relating to SC justices: first, we need to remove or rehab the corrupt farm system of justices which feeds corrupt ones to SCOTUS candidacy in the first place (and probably the farm system for politicians for #1, above), and second: ...

3. We need to purge the executive office of corruption, including the political party running as both democrats and republicans --- and rehab our political system to create real choice, honest Presidents and cabinets, and select honest SCOTUS justices (i.e., second part of #2, above). Only then should we expect to make any real progress as a nation, or more to the point, only then should we expect to have any chance to derail our current national train wreck.

So, your observation and point are spot on, but we have our work cut out for us. We need Democracy to work, but ours has not been so resilient under pressures of wholesale internal corruption. Can we recover our democracy, or, as far as our national political will is concerned, are we already the walking dead (harsh, but perhaps true)?

Bottom line: we need to rehab our democracy, our nation, our culture, our political expectations, and our political will, and perhaps our political science education system (i.e., from missing in action to addressing organized corruption head-on in curriculum), and then have a go at rehabbing as a nation.

Ask HN: Where is the best place to find a true internet marketer for a startup?
3 points by huuleon  15 hours ago   3 comments top 2
ig1 13 hours ago 1 reply      
What kind of marketer are you looking for ? - SEO, SEM, PPC, Viral, PR, etc.
amac 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I can't answer your question explicitly, but how about making your initial customers also your initial marketer? Word of mouth is one of the best, if not the best, ways to market your product or service.
Ask HN: Will you buy Facebook stock?
11 points by barredo  1 day ago   7 comments top 5
staunch 1 day ago 0 replies      
Their valuation is 5+ years ahead of a dream that only may come true. So unless you're bullish enough to hold onto it for a long time, or you're gambling on short-term volatility, it seems like a bad bet.
jmsduran 1 day ago 1 reply      
Although I do not own a stock portfolio yet (it's on my financial to do list), I personally would be wary of owning Facebook stock at this moment or in the near future.

People have been buzzing over a Facebook IPO for at least a year now, so when the moment comes you bet it will be a highly publicized event. Pre-IPO investing is already risky to begin with, and I have a feeling that all this media frenzy may make Facebook's stock unnecessarily volatile at the start.

Sure, the people buying in now may get lucky and see the stock rise in value, but it's also possible that this IPO may just turn out to be another Groupon. Although I'm still in my 20's, I'm not much of a risk taker when it comes to personal investments. Sorry, but I'll pass for now.

mrkmcknz 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've loaded up with a few shares via second market and I literally can't buy enough, even my grandmother is in Facebook.

It's going to be an industry leader and there will be strong demand from money managers which one would imagine will only lead for a strong buy sentiment.

DealisIN 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Definitely plan on swing trading at IPO...no plans to keep in long-portfolio...yet. Will get back to you when I review prospectus.
dcpdx 1 day ago 1 reply      
I remember people saying Google was steep at $85 when it IPOed in 2004. I think at their most basic level, they're fundamentally the same: Google defined search, and now Facebook is defining social. I'll be picking up some shares after the initial spike and resulting dip. Then settle in for years of steady growth (hopefully).
Ask HN: Time to drop a client?
10 points by togasystems  1 day ago   9 comments top 8
tokenadult 1 day ago 0 replies      
One of the odd things about many businesses that involve providing expert services is that clients partly evaluate quality by assuming that high-price providers must have better quality. That may or may not be true, but if you are dedicated to developing your craft, you can learn how to provide high-quality services. Then you should make sure to bill for those high-quality services, to get proper return from your investment in developing your skills.

My wife is a solo-practice businesswoman (a piano teacher). From the beginning, I have advised her always to set her rates as high as those she hears about from other teachers in town. I know enough about her musicianship and her thoroughness as a teacher to know that she is worth as much as any piano teacher in town, and every minute that she contracts for at a lower price is a minute she could have contracted for at a higher price. Over the years, she has had quite a few long-term clients, and she has become quite busy. She is very grateful, of course, to clients she had when she was still building up her portfolio of clients. But whenever she adjusts her rates or her terms, she eventually sends out notifications of the new rates and terms to ALL clients, and the clients she wants to keep stick with her lessons. She has been sufficiently busy for a few years now that if a client balks at terms or conditions, she thanks them for their previous business and moves on. There is no need to keep a bothersome client in a world full of clients who are looking for the work to be done well and are willing to pay for that. Just make clear what terms properly reward you for your skill, and keep your life from being too bothersome, and serve the clients who meet those terms.

chrisbennet 1 day ago 1 reply      
>I brought up the idea of raising the price and it was quietly swept under the rug.

You don't "bring up" the new rates, you "inform them" of the new rates so they can plan accordingly. Cheap clients are just not worth it.

gigantor 1 day ago 0 replies      
Loyalty is a two way street. Many of us have 'preferred' clients who were there during the earlier days, but you need to remember that you were still working hard providing a service to them before and now. As a business, it's up to both sides to ensure and maintain a worthwhile business relationship, unless you're desperate for the money and are willing to compromise.

A few more points to consider:

* As others have mentioned, $25 is very low for consulting. Try shooting for at least hourly salary * 1.5.

* Think of what rate they would pay your replacement given today's market rates.

* You've likely grown in skill and experience from 4 years ago, so your rate should show it.

* There are other ways to show loyalty, such as market rate with 10% discount or providing a value added service.

* The nitpicking and increased expectations comes naturally when you're taken for granted. At this point there's very little you can do to win.

* Opportunity cost. The time you're investing doing work you feel is inadequate can be found looking for and doing better gigs.

kls 1 day ago 0 replies      
They are now nitpicking at a minimum of one hour billed for one-off projects

For no other reason that this, I would drop them. I do not like having to justify my time after the fact. They hired me because I am the expert, as such if it takes 5 hours to complete, they should have an issue with that up front not after the work has been preformed. If a client tries to negotiate hours after they have been performed, it is the last time I work for that client. The issue is, what if they have a huge emergency that required a good portion of hours, if they nit pick over a few, there is a good possibility in this situation, they will have buyers remorse after the crisis is over, potential stiffing you with a lot of hours, worse yet a lot of hours at a sub par bill rate. There is a high potential for you to get stuck holding the bag with a client like this.

devs1010 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't know what kind of work you are doing but $25 is low even if it was a full-time gig, for doing just small tasks its absurdly low, I think you're right to drop them, that they would even expect you to be available for tasks less than 1 hour and then to nickel and dime you on that is ridiculous, you only get that kind of privilege when you're employing someone full time.
asktell 1 day ago 0 replies      
Increase your rate. Let them know that 2012 is a new year and every year, at some point early in the year, you increase your rates to reflect the growing cost of living, but more importantly, the growing value of the skills you've acquired during the preceding year. There is no reason you can't double your rates if you have enough clients who are willing to pay at those rates. If they don't value your work at your proposed rate, they'll drop themselves.
mapster 1 day ago 0 replies      
You could always find someone with suitable skills to freelance for you. Pass off these clients to? So you keep them, but you don't actually handle their project. Of course you will have to state this to them.
zeroboy 1 day ago 0 replies      
The first thing I recommend you do is increase your self esteem. Respect yourself and the hard work you've put into your craft a little more, and you will never ask this question again.
Hacker News for Marketing?
2 points by dwong  16 hours ago   1 comment top
JayNeely 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Rand Fishkin (SEOmoz CEO) and Dharmesh Shah (HubSpot co-founder / CTO) are working on a site for this now:


Why 6AM Works For Me
10 points by hhastings  1 day ago   6 comments top 3
robgough 1 day ago 1 reply      
What time were you going to sleep before and now? I'd be interested to see a followup in 6 months or so to see if you manage to keep it up.
joelmaat 1 day ago 1 reply      
Its best (for most hackers) to work at night through to the early morning. Zen. 1am - 8am. Then you go to sleep, wake up after lunch and do it again.

Get your diet together so you don't need too much sleep :).

vinayan3 1 day ago 1 reply      
Do you feel tired waking up at 6AM? For some reason, I feel very tired waking up at that hour these days. I use to wake up at 6AM for nearly 2 years because of commuting.

What are you doing with your time in the morning? Usually no one else is up and around.
When I woke up early I found that I could always workout and never have to trade exercising with other activities in the evenings.

Show HN: We made a site to crowd fund lobbying.
46 points by sankho  3 days ago   27 comments top 11
Mizza 3 days ago 2 replies      
I applaud your effort, please open source your code! As the founder, you'll be too busy to keep the code flowing with all the other stuff to be done, and lots may want to help with this.

Also, this was an Onion article: http://www.theonion.com/articles/american-people-hire-highpo...

Life imitates satire.

newbusox 3 days ago 0 replies      
As others have mentioned, if you don't have an attorney helping you with election law matters, I'd recommend hiring one or consulting with one. You really want to make sure you don't run afoul of election and campaign finance laws (there might be personal liability for you, if you do)--and, if you state that you do comply with these laws, you'll give people that donate a lot more faith that their money will actually be delivered to the correct groups. These laws all exist in a nebulous area which requires some time/effort to sift through.

I'm an attorney and, although I can't give you legal advice, I can try to steer you in the right direction, presuming you're not already in touch with a lawyer.

DevX101 3 days ago 2 replies      
You should lobby to limit the influence of lobbying. Seriously.
caller9 3 days ago 1 reply      
I had been considering a site called "Rent A Rep" where you would donate money to a pool tied to an outcome of a vote. So a No vote on SOPA would have a pool. Once the votes were in, the Legislators voting that way would get a cut of the pool. Contribution limits would be at $100 and no companies could take part. With something so enraging as SOPA, the pool could get pretty huge.

Direct monetary democracy.

I dismissed the idea as too cynical and possibly illegal? A promise of monetary compensation for your vote is probably illegal. Monetary compensation with a suggestion of what the vote should be is completely different. The payment is not contingent on the action. I'm not sure that the money pool with no named recipient in advance abstracts that away enough.

JayNeely 3 days ago 1 reply      
Who's doing the actual lobbying? How are you ensuring accountability that the groups receiving the funds are advocating actively enough, and doing it in a way that you support (e.g. no backroom deals, future consulting jobs for politicians, negative ads)?
thinkcomp 3 days ago 1 reply      
We thought of doing this for PlainSite (http://www.plainsite.org) but unfortunately the law precludes it. We'd love to work with you though. aaron.greenspan at plainsite.org
saizai 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm working on a related project: http://makeyourlaws.org / https://plus.google.com/100183759660923071401

Unlike PlainSite, it's open source and AGPL. Also some differences of approach which are hard to summarize here. Happy to collaborate with anyone interested.

zipizap 3 days ago 2 replies      
I'm portuguese (not a USA citizen), and I spend and send my own money to support investigations against lobby, bribery, political-corruption, and such parasite-fenomenons that deter democracy. Do that instead, and I'll fund you. It would even be funny, as private investigators could be contracted, and the reports could be released in internet, as if were episodes of a serie - it could also be amusing!
teeray 3 days ago 0 replies      
taphangum 3 days ago 0 replies      
I don't know know what the legal issues associated with this are. But this is an excellent idea.
kevination 3 days ago 1 reply      
Isn't this what PACs are for?
My 1-yo. son and I are at MIT today, what should we do/see?
2 points by lupatus  18 hours ago   3 comments top 3
Turing_Machine 17 hours ago 0 replies      
You'll probably see something interesting if you wander through the new Media Lab building, though it's difficult to predict what. :-)
pnathan 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm told there's a Lisp machine in a museum somewhere on campus. I'd find that interesting.
robdoherty2 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Go to the MIT museum!
It's small enough to see in a few hours, and it's got robots!
Ask HN: I'm 17. Should I drop school for YC S12?
5 points by ninthfrank07  1 day ago   7 comments top 7
pg 1 day ago 0 replies      
No. It's almost certainly a mistake to leave school to start a startup at 17, and particularly so if you don't have a cofounder.

I don't think anyone should consider starting a startup at 17 unless it's one of those rare situations where you stumble on something that takes off, and not focusing on it full time would mean letting it die. Zuckerberg was in this position, for example. But it is extremely rare.

ameen 58 minutes ago 0 replies      
Don't. School is really important. YC can wait. Messing up the present for an uncertain future is not really the way to do things.

And such poorly thought-out decision taking skills might eventually impact how (potential)investors would think of you.

jiggity 1 day ago 0 replies      
NOTE: This comes from an earlier response, but I thought it would be relevant.

I've found the most fun I've had was when I was working on side projects while taking relevant courses. I ended up staying at MIT for all four years + an extra year for their 1 year EECS Masters program. After graduating, I got into the YC summer batch. While at school, I was working on a variety of different side projects. I purposely picked relevant subjects like Machine Learning / User Interface Design / Behavioral Psychology that seemed to fit into the project.

Not only did it help me understand the subjects better, it let me master a number of direct cross-applications into web products. It does wonders for your creativity when you are actively thinking about new products while being exposed to so many new techniques.


On the topic of dropping out, an aspect that gets underemphasized is how strong of an ideation muscle you have. The more you do it, the better ideas you come up with. School for me was an excuse to building new things while hanging around taking a few classes. As each year passed, I realized I got better and better ideas. Back then, the first few "promising" ideas that I came up seemed like game-changers that would transform the world. Now I realize if you are the kind of person who comes up with good ideas now, you'll come up with great ideas later on.

Use those years in college to train up your ideation muscle along with your implementation skills (web dev languages / backend management / mobile dev, etc.) During your final year, apply to incubators using your uber product development skillset and amaze everyone. Not only will you no longer have the temptation to return to school, you will be putting yourself up for review when you are strongest.

gamechangr 1 day ago 0 replies      
You have plenty of time for YC. Wait!!

Eventually,you will have to get a H1 visa to work in the US and that is really hard to do without a university degree. Stanford has many, many applications.

You may consider going to community college (first two years of university) in Silicon Valley. Cheap and much easier to be accepted with many of the same students that are in Stanford or Berkeley.

Good luck!

scottmcleod 1 day ago 0 replies      
No, not the best idea-Play around with startups, try different possible co-founders, build some small products. Then reach out to local mentors and people in your startup scene to get a better understanding of the space.
brmj 1 day ago 0 replies      
Here's a heuristic: Questions of the form "I'm 17. Should I drop school for X?" should be answered in the negative for essentially all plausible values of X.
rudiger 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ask HN: Which SaaS products does your startup use on a daily basis?
6 points by bwm  1 day ago   7 comments top 7
dangrossman 1 day ago 0 replies      
* http://www.rackspace.com/apps/email_hosting/ IMAP/webmail)

* http://www.snapengage.com (sales/support chats)

* http://www.zendesk.com (basic KB & support tickets)

* http://www.github.com & http://www.springloops.com (public & private repositories)

* http://www.geckoboard.com (dashboard of financial state of the company)

And I'm a power user of my own SaaS products:

* http://www.w3counter.com (realtime visitor analytics)

* http://www.w3roi.com (ad performance tracking)

* http://www.dialshield.com (automatically calls high fraud risk customers during the checkout process on my ecommerce sites)

bkyan 1 day ago 0 replies      
Services I use for consulting assignments:
basecamp (file sharing),
harvest (time tracking),
go-to-meeting (screen sharing),
skype (phone calls),
gmail (e-mails),
hellofax (faxing paperwork that involve my signature)

Services I use on my own projects:
url2png (thumbnail generation of web pages),
pusher (real-time data push of server stats to a web page),
google analytics (visitor stats)

My own SAAS projects:
mindcast (corkboard for mashing up 3rd-party saas windows and notes),
shadowcatcher (screen capture and screenshot sharing utility)

nc 1 day ago 0 replies      
At my last startup

Pivotal tracker,
Campaign monitor,
Send grid,

Good question, would love to see others chip in!

dchuk 1 day ago 0 replies      

1) github
2) pivotal tracker
3) campfire
4) olark
5) cheddargetter (technically)

noveltysystems 1 day ago 0 replies      
Chargify, SnapEngage, SalesForce, Campfire, Pivotal Tracker, GitHub, DropBox, BufferApp
tonyarkles 1 day ago 0 replies      
Basecamp, Bitbucket, Xero
webbruce 1 day ago 0 replies      
Why "Killing Hollywood" isn't the answer
6 points by shoham  1 day ago   7 comments top 3
samlev 1 day ago 1 reply      
I think that the major problem that many people (myself included) have with the music and film industries is that they actually show very little interest in supporting, nurturing, or rewarding the talent that they rely on. The call to "kill hollywood" isn't a call to wipe out these large companies on principal; it's a call to bring in a new breed of companies which give everyone (artists and consumers) a better deal.

The real problem is that people have been beholden to these monopolies who very obviously don't have their best interests at heart. We are now, thanks to internet and unprecedented levels of connectivity between people, in a position where we can (with a bit of effort, admittedly) take back some control and build something better for everyone.

So that's how I see it. This isn't a knee-jerk reaction to SOPA/PIPA/ACTA (at least, not entirely). This is a call for people to make the world a bit better before the incumbent powers that be destroy our chance to.

ScottWhigham 1 day ago 1 reply      
"Unless and until the tech industry can do this, and help develop new ways for artists to empower themselves, the self-righteousness will backfire, the way it did for musicians who railed for generations against the powers that be and are now left with

I'm also a musician and software developer but I don't agree that there are "less employment opportunities in the industry than at any time in the last 100 years." That is just ludicrously false. You're saying that, in the Great Depression, to pick an obvious example, times were better and easier for musicians? Or during World War I? Or WWII?

Sorry - I think this is the golden age for being an artist. Never before has it been so easy to record and distribute. I can self-record as many albums as I want today for $3000 worth of pro-sumer level gear. I can print physical copies of the CDs for $1.50-$2 each and sell them for $10 at shows or make $7 by selling them online. I can sell digital copies for $0 upfront cost to me. I can have a free website with any number of sites. I can post my events on Facebook at no charge.

I'm sorry - I 100% disagree with you here.

VikingCoder 1 day ago 1 reply      
"the movie and tv industries are and have been the best employers of artists this side of the Medici clan."

Your definition of "best" and mine are vastly different.

They exploit artists, for great profit. There's such demand that they are able to exploit many artists. The costs are so low, that they can afford to employ many more artists than will succeed. The artists love their craft so much, and are often so desperate to make it big, that they will work for ridiculously low wages AND absolutely zero job security.

We all know that distribution used to be hard, and now it is not. Distribution used to be the main reason why you needed to sign with a label, or a studio. Reaching a "good enough" level of quality used to require an enormous, up-front investment of capital. Now, it doesn't.

Kill exploiters. Reward supporters.

Anti-ACTA protests escalate in Poland
21 points by hastur  3 days ago   1 comment top
zalew 3 days ago 0 replies      
as of 0330utc+1 ACTA has been signed in Tokio by Polish ambassador.
Want to learn RoR- will move anywhere to learn
4 points by gamechangr  1 day ago   14 comments top 6
steventruong 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Curious on a few things... Honest questions:

1. Do you have any programming background or is this a first?

2. Why deadset on RoR?

st3fan 1 day ago 1 reply      
Hey gamechangr, why not grab a book on RoR (like the excellent pragprog one) and start learning it from your comfy chair at home. No need to move anywhere.
joebadmo 1 day ago 2 replies      
I think this is what you're looking for: http://www.devbootcamp.com/
heliostatic 1 day ago 1 reply      
Thoughtbot created https://www.apprentice.io/ which is starting to get some momentum.
sharksforcheap 1 day ago 1 reply      
I have been curating a bunch of really handy links that helped me to learn. they are at newbietoruby.com in the resources section.

I was in your situation a little while ago and moved to SF to be where just about every other person on a bike is a developer. If you want to learn and you want to learn quickly, SF is the place to be.

gamechangr 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ruby on Rails (for the search engine
       cached 29 January 2012 10:05:01 GMT