hacker news with inline top comments    .. more ..    29 Mar 2012 Ask
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Am I Investable?
2 points by earthshout  9 minutes ago   discuss
Apply with me to YC in the next 3 days and change the world
138 points by tempaccount987  3 days ago   71 comments top 14
potatolicious 3 days ago 3 replies      
What dmix said. Why are you using a throwaway account?

A co-founder relationship is very important, and my willingness to join you on this venture has less to do with your idea and more to do with you. Specifically:

- Who are you, and what have you done?

- What is your professional and personal experience, and what does it bring to the table in a general sense of running a startup, and in a specific sense, this idea of yours.

- Why you? I need to be able to trust my co-founder pretty much absolutely and unquestionably. What is your character and who can vouch for it?

Funnily enough, your idea and the fact that you have a prototype is a fairly minor signal compared to the above.

gavanwoolery 3 days ago 3 replies      
I hate conspiracy theories as much as the next guy, but there are a few basic principles I follow:

1) When people are making money off of something, they protect that method of making money, and evolve if necessary.

2) There are intricacies to our currency that might not seem immediately obvious. People depend on the discreet nature of physical currency - it controls the entire world of corruption (a lot of movies like to use diamonds as black market currency, but in reality its too difficult to rule out man-made diamonds these days, or to quickly evaluate the worth of a lot of diamonds). Corruption does not occur solely among gangsters, but all manner of people - from the most prolific bankers to the most "reputable" politicians. Digital currency can too easily be traced.

3) The government has made little effort to create its own digital currency, despite the fact that it would save tax payers billions, negating the need for the IRS, Mint, and reduce the need for the FBI and Secret Service (which monitors counterfeiting among other things)...and the corruption associated with physical currency. You might encounter more red tape and inertia than you anticipate -- if not now then when Visa lobbies its favorite candidate to create laws that work against you.

4) Third world countries are not a great target for digital currency IMHO, unless they have prevalent technology and understanding of it.

dmix 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm not currently looking to join a startup. But if I was I would rather have 5 paragraphs about who you are, why you are the right person for this problem and what you bring to the table... with 1-2 paragraphs about the idea. Team = more important than ideas.
AlexeyMK 3 days ago 2 replies      
I agree that credit cards are going to be displaced, but what is the rationale that the solution requires its own currency? Most transactions are very much within national (or European) boundaries.

I think companies like Venmo, Dwolla and Square (or even PayPal) are well-positioned to becoming credit card alternatives.

So: why Bitcoin/a separate currency?

runako 3 days ago 2 replies      
What dmix & potatolicious said, plus:

- The killer app in this space is whether you have an answer to "Why can a startup displace the incumbents?" and "How are you going to get people using this?" The answer to the second must be understandable by my dry cleaner, who would not trust bitcoin even if it were issued by the US Treasury. The prototype at this stage is probably about as useful as PayPal's first prototype (which was for a different idea, IIRC). Edit: not hating on Bitcoin, just pointing out that success here will derive in part from expanding its use beyond the core early adopters.

- Work on your writing & proofing. It may seem petty, but you're aiming big so this stuff matters. People (cofounders included) will pay attention to sloppy writing at this stage, using it as a proxy for information they don't yet have about you. Plus, when my cofounder emails senior people at major banks, will I feel compelled to rewrite the emails? Temp accounts plus poor writing => no response.

Hope this helps, and good luck.

brandonb 3 days ago 1 reply      
I know the OP and he's the "real deal." Hard-working, friendly, insightful, and smart. I'd definitely start a company with him if I hadn't already started one last year. So if you've been thinking about starting a startup but don't have a co-founder, shoot him an e-mail!
debacle 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't think you've properly thought this through. Many people have, and there's a reason we still have the system we have today:

How do you handle chargebacks? What about fraud? If you don't properly protect your users, you're not really providing a good service, and you need to make the rules incredibly clear for your merchants, they aren't going to work with you.

How are merchants supposed to respond to the volatility of bitcoin? For a currency that sees semi-wild (compared to standard FOREX) swings in value, they could be waffling between the red and the black on a daily basis. There's no value in holding bitcoins when there are better currencies out there.

Where do you make money? Transactionally? On a flat-fee basis? In loaning out the cash? The problem with banking is that the fractional reserve system has created a risk environment such that you can't make money unless you're leveraging your reserves for lending, and that's an incredibly complex system on its own. The big banks make money because they are vastly huge. How would you move into that scene? Is the intent to be acquired? How do you leverage startup inertia to compete against a company doing hundreds or thousands of times the volume in a day than you'd hope to see in a month?

Just a few questions. Many people have given this particular problem a lot of thought, and none of them have been able to make it work as of yet.

deepkut 3 days ago 2 replies      
Conceptually, I believe Bitcoins, or some derivative of them, will change the world. However, after writing a 25 page report on the legality of Bitcoins, I'm convinced the US government will view them as "domestic terrorism."

Yes, you read that correctly.

There are laws that state that anything that can be used to facilitate money laundering OR threaten the US economy is illegal.

Don't get me wrong though, I'm one of the most active Bitcoin fans I know, I think the concept is unbelievable. I just wanted you to know that there might be some additional legal barriers as you can gain traction.

Stay hungry, stay foolish.

ig1 2 days ago 0 replies      
IMO You're better off applying on your own and stating your intention to find a cofounder.

YC does occasionally accept sole-founders who plan to find someone else, as far as I know (I may be wrong) they've never accepted a team which was put together by strangers for the purpose of YC.

YC places a huge emphasis on team (over everything else in the application) and team dynamics play an important part in that. They need to know the team won't fall apart when under pressure as that's one of the main reasons startups fail. If you pair up with someone you've never worked with, then neither you or YC have any indication how the team dynamics will work.

asto 3 days ago 1 reply      
I don't think alternative currencies have a long-term future. The only reason they exist now is because people and governments in most countries are quite ignorant about technology. Once they become more widely used, they will start causing a whole lot of problems* and will be banned by governments.

The real solutions, in my opinion, have to use real currencies or they will face a severe risk of death by regulation.

* Use for illegal activities.

* Problems with controlling capital flow across national borders.

* Problems with estimating money supply in an economic system etc.

fossuser 3 days ago 0 replies      
Paypal had enormous problems with fraud that almost killed them (and did kill their competitors).

I think Bitcoin is awesome, but it offers users no protection - it's more of a cash replacement than a credit card replacement. This is something that might end up being difficult to handle (something to make sure users will understand).

utunga 3 days ago 2 replies      
a little unfair to tack this response on to this particular post, but it reminds me (again) how much time people spend on the outward appearance of apps around alternative currency without addressing the part that's actually hard.. how do you give an alternative currency real value?
mirsadm 3 days ago 0 replies      
I would also suggest not to make it sound like a job interview. At the moment you have an idea and not much else. If you want to find a cofounder then you need to be the one showing people why they should choose to go with you not the other way around.
kirinan 2 days ago  replies      
I like the idea, mainly because its such a big domain and a hard problem. I don't feel however that you should find a cofounder this way. Since this is such a tough domain to begin with, meeting someone and then starting a business together within days is setting yourself up for failure. The idea of changing the world is cool, and may be able to bind people together for the immediate short term, but what happens when you hit the really bad lows in the startup? You haven't known each other for very long, and may split. That being said, I'm sure you have already thought about that, and are ready for that risk. If you are, then god speed and I really do hope you can change the world.
Ask HN: To Ask for CC on Signup or Not?
3 points by tronathan  14 hours ago   4 comments top 3
jefe78 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Please understand this is just my opinion. I don't speak for anyone else nor am I necessarily an accurate representation of anything. This is my anecdote:

I have NEVER signed up for a new service that required a credit card up front. I HAVE signed up for free accounts, saw the value and then converted.

This is a little different for certain brands, i.e., AWS and such. However, for an unknown brand to want my CC info? Not a chance.

paulsutter 12 hours ago 0 replies      
When in doubt, A/B test. Be sure to track the whole funnel, not just the initial signup rate.

My guesses:

- asking for a CC up front might make sense if the trial customers are burdensome and you want to focus your efforts on customers more likely to pay.

- if you are an unknown entity, or the pain level of your customers is low, the CC prompt may dramatically reduce signups.

But forget my guesses. When in doubt, just try it out.

handthatfeeds 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Unless I'm buying something I won't be giving up my payment information. Maybe not all users are as worrisome as me though.

Things that I sometimes give payment info for (but they do not charge right away) is when something is a free trial that converts into a paid subscription after X time.

Otherwise for freemium I'll give my payment info at the time of purchase but for the free part, heck no.

You also have to take into consideration that giving away your credit card info feels like you are making a purchase so even though that may mean the people are more willing to purchase when they do give info it doesn't necessarily mean it is a good idea to require it.

Ask HN: why QR reading capability isn't integrated to smartphones
2 points by Juha  13 hours ago   5 comments top 3
arn 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Because QR codes are a stop-gap and won't exist in a few years?

Seems like low-power Bluetooth will replace QR codes in the not-so-distant future.

kellros 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Well, I'd say it's because of legal issues. A couple of months ago I was investigating QR codes.

Other than the fact most (if not up to 80%) of people either don't know what a QR code is or how to 'read' it.

It's a pretty clever design, at its core is encoding binary data to an image (largest is about 512KB if I remember correctly).

Liability comes into play when you consider that it's possible to encode a virus or other malicious code into QR readable format which people can willy-nilly scan into their phones.

simba-hiiipower 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Windows Phone has built-in QR scanning capability. It was integrated into the OS as part of the last major update (7.5/Mango).

It's a feature of 'Bing Vision' which allows scanning of QR Codes, Microsoft Tags, Standard Barcodes, and Text. This is built-in to the general Bing (Search) feature of the OS and is avaliable on all Windows Phone devices.

19 points by shainvs  2 days ago   10 comments top 5
computerslol 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Remember there is no one single right way to do anything. Don't accept everything you read as gospel, read it as suggestion and find your own way. There are many sorts of programmers out there, philosophically as well as functionally. Try out a lot of styles. Try fixing a lot of different problems to find your own style, then use it to do things nobody has ever done.

There is a LOT more to programming than code, just as there is a lot more to painting than paint, a lot more to music than notes, and a lot more to writing than words. The better you get, the better you will learn to play computer. Someday, if you keep at it, you will be good enough to try teaching the computer how to play human :D.

HTML is a great way to interface with humans. Once you feel comfortable with it you should move into server-side programming next and see where it takes you :D.

The projects you should be most proud of are the ones where you do something nobody has ever done before; but to get to those you have to learn what others have done, and learn it with respect.

At the end of the day, it's you and your computer having fun together :). Your computer can do a lot of valuable work, but only with your help!

dpritchett 2 days ago 1 reply      
There's no speed limit: http://sivers.org/kimo
adrianpike 2 days ago 1 reply      
Practice, practice, practice. Come up with ideas - build them. Improve upon them. Build more projects. Build new things with different technologies, or in a different way.

Look back on your old code, and marvel at how _wrong_ it was. Rewrite it better.

Read through open source code. I learned things from reading the Linux kernel source that made me absolutely destroy my C classes. I've learned dirty hacks from Rails' source that I use all the time.

But seriously. Hack lots of code and write lots of experiments.

firefoxman1 2 days ago 1 reply      
That's really awesome that you already built something with your knowledge. I learned HTML/CSS when I was 13/14 but didn't really do anything useful with it for several years.

One really important thing I've learned since then is don't read HN too much.

You'll get too caught up in "best practices" or the hottest new libraries that you won't ever finish a product. It's a habit I'm working on, but it can be summarized as doing "Enough for Now"

   1. Assume there will always be tools that are better than the ones you have now.

2. Assume that events in the world will continue to happen or not happen
regardless of whether you learn about them immediately.

3. Assume that you understand and control an embarrassingly minute percentage of
the universe.

4. Assume that none of this matters if you're determined to make something you
care about today.

- Merlin Mann, sayer of smart things

dlf 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is really cool! Congrats on starting!

There are some really good resources now. Perhaps find out what technologies they'll have you use at your uncle's company. If you'll be using Ruby, it might be good to start with Code School (http://tryruby.org/levels/1/challenges/0). CodeAcademy.com is doing their instruction in Javascript. For Python, I've been using Udacity.com and Learn Python the Hard Way.

Good luck!

Ask HN: more sites like HN
175 points by adityar  7 days ago   94 comments top 17
udp 7 days ago 2 replies      
> Where do you go after you exhaust HN?

My editor of choice to get some work done. Stop procrastinating!

karterk 7 days ago 0 replies      
To me, HN is as much as about the community here as it is with the kind of news I get. Sometimes, I get more value from the discussions on HN than a few articles on the front-page put together. We have some amazing people here.

THAT - is very very hard to reproduce.

stevengg 7 days ago 2 replies      
Nothing like HN but if im looking for something to read i will check




http://grantland.com/ for sports

krelian 7 days ago 1 reply      
Are you checking the new page? A cursory look shows that 30 new links were posted in the last 19 minutes. Either you're a very fast reader or looking for a very specific kind of content.
IvarTJ 7 days ago 0 replies      
If you really have the time to read everything on HN, then maybe have enough time to read a news source that requires more concentration:


m0th87 7 days ago 1 reply      
WillyF 7 days ago 1 reply      
Rand Fishkin and Dharmesh Shah started Inbound.org - http://inbound.org/ - to be a similar community for online marketing. The links posted are pretty good, but so far the comments aren't adding a ton of value. Hopefully that will improve.
samaraga 7 days ago 2 replies      
Reddit's subreddits are really a nice place to be. Not the funny/wtf/vidoes/politics etc, which will overwhelm you quite fast. There are some really useful subreddit which are of good quality, but because of their smaller sizes, are difficult to know about.

I feel these subreddits are worth a try:
compsci (http://www.reddit.com/r/compsci)
explainlikeiamfive (http://www.reddit.com/r/explainlikeimfive/)
programming (http://www.reddit.com/r/programming)
(There are a links to other subreddits of similar type in the sidebars of these reddits, which can be further explored).

One caveat is that lots of articles/links/posts from those places turn up here at HN as well. So there is factor of duplicates involved.

All any of your interests might have its own subreddit. If it exists and there isn't too much trash, those can be looked at.

dotcoma 7 days ago 1 reply      
minimax 7 days ago 0 replies      

When you find a post you like on HN, add it to your RSS reader. I find my reader feed to be generally more interesting and relevant than the HN frontpage, but I keep coming back to HN for new sources.

mad44 7 days ago 2 replies      
duck 7 days ago 3 replies      
You might find my Hacker Newsletter project (http://hackernewsletter.com) useful if you're not on HN all the time. It comes out every Friday. In addition to that, I'm working on another newsletter that will provide even more reading on a daily basis. Details on that will be in next week's issue. :)
torstesu 7 days ago 2 replies      
Business news: http://forlue.com/
davidw 7 days ago 0 replies      
The Economist: http://www.economist.com - or get a Kindle and load up on books.
Ask HN: Which platform? (Windows 8 vs iOS)
2 points by grouma5  17 hours ago   1 comment top
j_col 17 hours ago 0 replies      
EnyoJS, because it's cross-platform.
Are you applying to YC Summer'12? If so from which country are you?
2 points by akshat  18 hours ago   6 comments top 6
Matsta 3 hours ago 0 replies      
New Zealand here!
dirkdeman 15 hours ago 0 replies      
The Netherlands represent!
akshat 18 hours ago 0 replies      
ninthfrank07 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Yes. Canada.
kshitizanand 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Yes. India.
housewife 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Tell HN: Second Hacker News Space Coast/Melbourne, FL Meetup on Wed, April 4th
7 points by Killah911  1 day ago   5 comments top 3
Killah911 1 day ago 1 reply      
FYI, we're meeting at Sun Shoppe Cafe in Downtown Melbourne. There's WiFi there too!
damessiah699 1 day ago 1 reply      
Looks Awesome can't wait to be there!
Subarna 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Sounds great to me. All the Coders Hackers are in the same place!!
Ask HN: projects for self made web based analytics?
2 points by viandante  22 hours ago   1 comment top
ig1 57 minutes ago 0 replies      
Have you seen chart.io, not open source but it seems similar to what you're describing
Show HN: App in Review
15 points by jackmcdade  2 days ago   6 comments top 4
coryl 2 days ago 1 reply      
Cool, but I don't think this will give developers any clue about where they are in the queue. There's probably hundreds if not ~thousands of apps submitted daily? If you're a new developer you're probably really excited about getting on the app store, but after the first couple submissions, you'll be like "meh, I have work to do".
iisbum 2 days ago 0 replies      
Although this was our first app submission to the App Store, we could tell how frustrating an experience it can be.

Hoping this little tool and help relieve some of that frustration for us and other developers.

paulingalls 2 days ago 1 reply      
One of the biggest challenges with something like this is that not every app is treated equally in Apple's process. If you have the ear of the right person, you can get your app bumped up in the queue. I don't know how often this happens, but it may mess with your numbers...
jackmcdade 2 days ago 0 replies      
Clickable link: http://appinreview.com/
Best tools for remote collaboration?
2 points by hyung  1 day ago   1 comment top
ianox 23 hours ago 0 replies      
How about tmux (http://tmux.sourceforge.net/) for remote pair programming?
A+ for O'Reilly Customer Service: Keep the books and donate them
179 points by nagoo  12 days ago   discuss
kranner 12 days ago 2 replies      
+1 for O'Reilly Customer Service: when they released The Cathedral and The Bazaar (or was it Free as in Freedom?, can't say for sure), I wrote to them saying that it was funny that a book on free software wasn't itself free to read.

They shipped me a free copy and a Python T-shirt (to India). I was in my teens: life-long fan since.

spxdcz 12 days ago 2 replies      
I had the fortune of visiting the O'Reilly offices in Sebastopol a few weeks ago (thanks Mary!), and this gracious attitude permeates the building. It may be one of the happiest, friendliest offices I've had the fortune of visiting. Plus, the Make offices are just incredibly cool - like a real-life Willy Wonka factory, with hundreds of cool half-built gadgets scattered around.
ma2rten 12 days ago 2 replies      
As much as I share your admiration for O'Reilly, this is seems to be common practice. It's just more expensive to get the items back in inventory again than what they are actually worth.

See this thread: "Microsoft suggests customer donate extra X-Box they sent him."

bryanlarsen 12 days ago 2 replies      
I may be too cynical, but I bet that the authors of those books didn't get paid. They were probably marked as "destroyed" in O'Reilly's accounting system.
pasbesoin 12 days ago 1 reply      
I've had some concern about the quality of some more recent O'Reilly titles. Nonetheless, I've long felt and continue to feel and hope that their heart is in the right place.

I've seen this with authors who work very hard to make their primary mission communication and education, without "sweating the small stuff". And I've seen it at the top, with the way Tim has run and cared about the business.

It's worked, with me. Currently, I might be better off purchasing single titles than maintaining a Safari subscription. But it's nice to have instant access when I need it. And, damn it, someone has to promote a rational, useful model for ebooks. (Purchased copies feel more like my books, rather than a DRM-choked "license" (aka timebomb). With Safari token-based downloads, that even includes titles from other publishers', e.g. Addison Wesley.)

I now find some other publishers who likewise earn my respect and support (e.g. Pragmatic). But O'Reilly was one of the first to be there, especially in commercial digital publishing on a large scale.

franze 12 days ago 1 reply      
cool story

sadly i can never order another book from them, ever after i made the mistake of ordering and actual reading "Couch DB" http://shop.oreilly.com/product/9780596155902.do and "The Art of SEO" http://shop.oreilly.com/product/9780596518875.do front to cover (as i do with 80% of all books i purchase)

It seems like o'reilly is no longer in the book publishing business, but in the business of collecting blogsposts, printing them on paper selling them via their outstanding brand - without any quality assurance of any kind (other than choosing still outstanding cover pics.

additionally i made the mistake of ordering "Data Source Handbook" http://shop.oreilly.com/product/0636920018254.do via Amazon, paid my $29.99 and only realized in the moment i opened the box, that it actually has 42 pages and no real content. thanks to jeff b. i could return it to amazon.

its very sad what happened to o'reilly - there was a time you could pick-up/buy any oreilly book, read it from front to cover and then know more about the topic than 99.999% of all other humans on this planet - and you had a very good base of actually becoming a real expert on that topic, these days seem now very long ago.

Erwin 12 days ago 2 replies      
I've had the same experience with Amazon, when orders have gone wrong which I think is even more impressive given they're much larger and public. It shows is possible not to put short-term profits first -- some people excuse "evil" acts by companies as being required by shareholders.
yakshaving 12 days ago 0 replies      
I had a chance to see Tim O'Reilly speak at SXSW. He was giving a talk expressly about this: Creating more value than you can capture.

I took some notes on it if anyone wanted to check them out.

I guess the real amazing thing here is that Tim's generosity and ethos trickles down to his entire company and everything they do, including customer service.

I hope more technologists and organizations work the same way. It really just is better business.

mrbill 12 days ago 1 reply      
"UNIX in a Nutshell" and "Essential System Administration" helped kick-start my career back in '95-96, and I'll always be grateful for that.

I was in their "O'Reilly Irregulars" group a few years ago, where folks volunteered to go inventory/catalog the ORA books at their local favorite bookstore, in exchange for a free book or two a month. I also ran banner ads for ORA on a couple of my websites. Marsee and the rest of the crew there are wonderful people to deal with.

I go out of my way to buy ebook versions of their titles directly now even though I could pirate them easily for free.

plessthanpt05 12 days ago 0 replies      
And this is why O'Reilly is leaps & bounds ahead of everyone else in technical & scientific publishing -- particularly regarding the respect it has gained from people in said fields!
eric_bullington 12 days ago 2 replies      
While we're praising O'Reilly, I should mention Safari Books Online. I'm sure you've all seen the promotions for the service in any O'Reilly book you purchase. I'm a subscriber, and it's a great service. I get electronic access to almost every book in the O'Reilly library, plus books from a number of other tech publishers, all for a little over $20 a month ($45 if you want to get rid of the 10 books/month limit).

It's been great for when I need to review some new technology (e.g., HTML5) but don't want or need to read an entire book about the topic in question. And it works great on my Kindle. Also -- and I'm sure O'Reilly is aware of this -- when I find something particularly good on Safaribooksoline, I sometimes end up purchasing the "deadtree" version of such books so I can have a physical book to read when I'm away from the computer/Kindle.

chx 12 days ago 0 replies      
I do not buy computer books often. I have the Internet :) there are exceptions, of course. One such is SQL and Relational Theory. Not your "learn this in 24hrs" book, that's for sure. More my size, so to speak. Imagine my delight when on Jan 20 I find an email about how I get a 40-50% discount on the 2nd edition for buying the 1st. Nice. And no DRM. Superb nice. I have a strictly Linux environment from phone to servers and DRM'd eBooks are a pain to deal with.
lispython 12 days ago 0 replies      
I was first so impressed when I saw The O'Reilly Guarantee( http://shop.oreilly.com/category/customer-service/oreilly-gu...), they will give you a full refund for any reason and any time.

They trust their reader and will not suppose them speed readers, while Kindle library will not do the same thing.

Moto7451 12 days ago 0 replies      
When I worked at a store with a book section, it was often times cheaper just to eat the mistake than to hassle the customer and pay for return shipping (especially for the store's self published titles).

In fact its probably the cheapest way you can get customer loyalty. If you really take care of a customer, they'll often times stick with you even if you're slightly more expensive than their alternatives.

ppjim 12 days ago 0 replies      
I happened something similar to request a book on lulu.com. Asked for a book and after a month had not arrived (I had requested by mail). As I said they were going to send me another book. After 3 days the book arrived at my house and inform them by email to cancel the second book. They told me the book and was on his way, so I could donate if I wanted. :)
avallark 12 days ago 0 replies      
Brilliant. I like what they do with the digital versions of the their DRM free books as well. I currently have atleast 9 books from them and you can download .epub/.mobi/.pdf all drm free! Love them.

And of course , big thanks for docbook!

plasticsyntax 12 days ago 1 reply      
Actually I believe you aren't even legally obligated to return them, whether they pay for shipping or not. This is to prevent mail fraud (someone sending something and then invoicing for it).
snarkulosity 12 days ago 0 replies      
Bizarre; I had _exactly_ the same experience a couple weeks ago. (It was Programming Perl, 4th Edition, for what it's worth.)

I donated the spare book to my local library.

joaquin_win 12 days ago 0 replies      
I had a similar experience with Amazon, they refunded me the extra bluray remote for the PS3 and told me to donate it and even said that maybe my local library would want it (???).
acomjean 12 days ago  replies      
I had a similar positive experience with a gift subscription to Make. The site woudn't take my credit card. so I tried again. Then again. Then again the next day, finally success.

Credit card shows 3 charges.... friend gets 3 copies of the magazine.
They took care of it promptly. Sent me a couple make t-shirts.

Loyal O'Reilly cusomer/ oReilly radar reader.


Ask HN: How is clojure doing?
7 points by kamaal  3 days ago   4 comments top 2
gw666 3 days ago 1 reply      
I've been programming in Clojure for 2 years and still consider myself a beginner.

(Re. #2) Because of Clojure's immutability, you program differently than you would in a state-based language (most mainstream languages). So learning Clojure is not that helpful in preparing you for Common Lisp or Scheme. Just learn Common Lisp or Scheme, if that's your final goal.

(Re. #3) I've seen web pages detailing jobs in Common Lisp. Search, and you'll find them. Short answer: I don't think there are that many. Some independent programmers who have (or take) the liberty of using whatever language they want, get to use Lisps that way.

Re. "I'm not too deep into Java" and similar statements: FYI, Clojure is built on top of Java and depends on Java being used to get things done. Clojure doesn't implement various things because of this; the language assumes that you know Java well enough to "drop into" Java when Clojure itself doesn't provide. (Clojure makes it very easy to do this, most but not all of the time--and the exceptions aren't documented.)

KingMob 3 days ago 0 replies      
Well, my $.02:

1. In terms of employability? Not much immediately, but perhaps more in the future as Clojure matures, more places use it, multicore languages become "hot", etc. I have no idea what the demand for Clojure is like in India, though. It will certainly make you a better programmer, however.

2. Yes. The biggest hurdle is learning a Lisp, not in switching between Lisps. The actual keywords used may vary, but the underlying concepts will be quite similar.

3. Here in New York, I rarely see Clojure jobs advertised for, but there's definitely people interested. I suspect it's mostly being used personally, and for some small in-house projects at the moment. I expect I'll hear of some startups using it as their language of choice in the next year.

4. I love it, but I'm only using it at the personal level. I think it's an extremely well thought-out language.

Ask HN: do founders get a salary after raising angel round?
85 points by sixQuarks  11 days ago   51 comments top 13
patio11 11 days ago 5 replies      
Norms are in a rapid state of flux on this. I was told by people I consider extraordinarily credible that in the last two years their best companies, whose angel rounds would have resembled Series A a few years back, offered founders salaries roughly approximating market value of eqivalently skilled engineers employed in the area. (i.e. $120k not $40k, in the Bay area.)

I will also report this observation: "You'll think this is crazy. I thought it was crazy. But the last REDACTED deals I did included a partial cash-out for the founders." (I.e. rather than selling 10% of the company for $800k deposited in the corporate account the deal was $600k for the Corp and a $100k check for each founder.)

joshfraser 11 days ago 0 replies      
I worked 3 years at my last startup paying myself the absolute minimum possible. When the startup failed, this meant I didn't have any savings and immediately had to dive into consulting work. Part of the reason you take investors is to share the risk of the startup. In retrospect, I wish I'd paid myself more and hedged my bets a little better. Most startups fail leaving the founders burned out and broke. Now, I agree you shouldn't be making a fortune, but you don't want your personal finances to ever be a distraction from your business. You should be figuring out how to make your business successful, not worrying about finding money to eat or pay rent. You'll have plenty enough to stress over at work.
michaelochurch 10 days ago 0 replies      
They should, and if one chooses not to take a salary because he can afford it, he should be getting equivalent equity.

I don't know why this "garage myth" gets so much romance. It works for rich kids who can fall back on their parents, for students, extremely well-established people who have lots of savings and connections to fall back on, and for people who can time-travel back to the time when rents were reasonable in Silicon Valley, Boston and New York. In practice, you cannot have long-standing (over 6 months) financial pressure and keep up the level of job performance that a startup demands. It does not work that way.

ericflo 11 days ago 2 replies      
Maybe this would be a good question for a poll. We pay ourselves each 40k/year.
anemitz 11 days ago 1 reply      
It's normal to take a livable salary. For the founders I've spoken to in the Bay Area the range is somewhere between 40-60k/year. The variance depends on your expense policy and how you've setup your work environment. For example if you expense all meals, coffee, and you live and work out of an apartment, it's easy to get by on less than 40k which can take care of things like car payments, student loans, etc.
eddy_chan 11 days ago 3 replies      
Really depends on how big your angel round is. If you've raised 200k and you've got 3 founders who all require 60k salaries each you'll get a year of runway which isn't very long and that's not even taking into account the possibility or need for taking on more employees.

I recognised early on that 'end of runway' anxiety is very real for me, as it creeps up it really affects your decision making on product direction and how you spend your time.

I would prefer to work backwards and do whatever it takes to make the angel round cash last at least 24 months without sizeable revenue with the salary capped at somewhere between 60-70k if the angel round was big.

If that cuts your salary from 60k to 30k so be it, make the necessary adjustments, it might even include taking a part-time gig consulting/designing/selling or whatever it is your skillset allows you do. In the same vein that the cash you spend now is 'expensive', any cash you earn on the side is should be viewed as a necessary investment of time to help you reap the returns later if your startup salary can't stretch to cover all your costs.

suprasanna 11 days ago 0 replies      
I worked with a few venture firms last summer and got to meet a lot of the entrepreneurs they've funded. Most of them were working out of a angel or seed round and all were being paid.

The understanding is that you as the entrepreneur will put in 100% (more like 150%) of your effort & time into the company so, naturally, that eliminates other direct work for a source of income. The venture firm was providing them a salary but it was always explained as just enough to cover living expenses (rent, food, car, etc). In terms of numbers, this will obviously vary greatly depending on cost of living in your area but consider what would be just enough for a modest life.

Taking as little money as possible from the round for a salary is actually in the best interests of the entrepreneur as well. The money raised early on is very "expensive" in terms of equity given up for it. If you truly believe in your company and idea, you'll realize that the 40K or 60K salary you want now actually costs you $400K if/when you exit or IPO. Of course, this is just an sample, optimistic scenario but hopefully you see my point.

debacle 9 days ago 0 replies      
You can't live without a salary, and you can't be productive unless you're alive. Putting money into a start up and expecting the founders to not take a salary would be like putting money into a bakery and expecting the owners not to buy flour.

As far as what is acceptable, it depends on your market, the idea, the investors, and the founders. I've seen as low as 40k (approx 50% market value for the founders if they were employees) and higher than 100k.

therealarmen 11 days ago 2 replies      
If you can swing it, don't take a salary at all. You'll thank yourself later.

Otherwise, anything between $50k-$90k (Bay Area) is reasonable depending on founders' personal situations. My current company has raised <$1m and there hasn't been any pushback from investors so far.

kkt262 11 days ago 3 replies      
If you live in a place like the SF Bay area (or anywhere with a state income tax), take as little as possible for your salary. 60k max, and if possible even less than that because whatever you take as salary you'll be losing 30%-40% of it immediately (which could better be used for your business).

You can expense your rent out of your company since you will likely work out of a home office. Car and (maybe) meals as well.

houseofmikko 11 days ago 0 replies      
Yes. I think worrying about how to pay your rent takes away from the value you can be adding to the company. I also would add, that I have seen my friends startup in which 1 founder took nothing, cause he was covered, another took about 60k, and the third took abut more cause he had 2 kids.
timcederman 11 days ago 0 replies      
It varies. Depending on the size of the round though, at least a living wage is acceptable, so this will differ by region.
diegogomes 11 days ago  replies      
Obviously, unless you're rich. Go for USD 500 more per month than you need to live (food & rent).
Learn the Basics of RBD and SQL
5 points by FranProgrammer  3 days ago   3 comments top 3
bartonfink 3 days ago 0 replies      

It's a website that's meant to accompany a textbook I used in college, but you don't really need the textbook. This site has slides that cover the material well enough to get started. Note that it's relationally-specific almost to a fault, so you won't get a whole lot of insight into NoSQL if you decide you want to go that route later.

bgilroy26 3 days ago 0 replies      
I got a lot out of Anthony Molinaro's SQL Cookbook, it had a surprising amount of theory in it.

It doesn't sound like you're looking for a cookbook type book though, what I think you're looking for is books by C.J. Date and Joe Celko.

macarthy12 2 days ago 0 replies      
Free online course on DB from standford


Ask HN: A good intro to distributed systems?
5 points by ___Calv_Dee___  3 days ago   1 comment top
___Calv_Dee___ 3 days ago 0 replies      
To follow up... This seems to be a good start http://code.google.com/edu/parallel/dsd-tutorial.html
Ask HN: 45 Dutch students are visiting Berlin. We'd love to visit some startups.
6 points by ewoutkleinsmann  3 days ago   discuss
Ask HN: What is the best advice I can give my wife on finding freelance work?
3 points by krmmalik  2 days ago   5 comments top 3
Akram 2 days ago 1 reply      
Elance, FreelanceGuru really suck for newcomers. It's almost impossible to get a project if you don't have a good credit score. I would recommend trying places like constant-content or FreelanceSwitch.

A friend wrote this post on WF, hope this would be of help.


You can scroll to the "Like Writing" section.

paulhauggis 2 days ago 1 reply      
You could try craigslist or the equivalent in your area. Also, if you do get a project, ask for a % of the money up-front. All of the non-serious people will go away.
What happens when you die?
5 points by eureka  4 days ago   13 comments top 6
dangrossman 4 days ago 1 reply      
A list of almost 40 services that tackle this problem:


Some of them are YC-funded companies.

cd34 4 days ago 1 reply      
The other day someone wrote a deadman switch app that sent notifications to two emails. You had to click a url to keep it alive every 30 days. I can't find the reference and a few searches didn't come up with anything, but, perhaps someone else might remember the link.
adrianwaj 3 days ago 1 reply      
When I read the title, I thought this thread was going to be about what happens on the other side, not this one. Damn.
cpt1138 4 days ago 1 reply      
Some way that you would wipe browser history would be something I&bksp; ahem some might pay money for.
paulhauggis 4 days ago 1 reply      
I was actually thinking this was a discussion on what actually happens? I really want to know.
raghav305 4 days ago 1 reply      
it's not a market dude ..

if you really wanna do something about this .. first think of it as a service ..

Do you actually get projects from the Hacker News Contractors spreadsheet?
22 points by joelmaat  9 days ago   4 comments top 4
anujkk 8 days ago 0 replies      
No. I never got any projects but I don't do consulting/freelancing anyway. However, I got over dozen requests to be co-founder from people who told me they found my details in that spreadsheet.
rrrhys 9 days ago 0 replies      
I had no idea there was one.
cshipley 9 days ago 0 replies      
It did for me!
Ask HN: Thoughts on a super ytmnd generator done in javascript?
2 points by samsface  2 days ago   1 comment top
My letter to the Finance Minister as featured in the Economic Times
2 points by Akram  2 days ago   discuss
Show HN: yet another weekend project, Learning Curve
3 points by yiran  4 days ago   1 comment top
yiran 4 days ago 0 replies      
Ask HN: Are there opensource alternatives to backend services like Parse?
10 points by Ecio78  7 days ago   1 comment top
latch 5 days ago 0 replies      
I wrote mogade, which is a leaderboard/achievement/stats service. It's open source (https://github.com/mogade/mogade-server) and hosted. I don't know of anyone hosting their own; everyone uses mogade.com (maybe because it's free).

As you say, building something with the basic features of Parse is trivial. And, if you tailor it to your app, you can get a much cleaner API and better performance. I've wondered how parse will scale as long as it allows ad-hoc queries on unstructured data.

FWIW, I wrote the WP7 Parse library, just to get familiar with the service.

I'd be game for writing an open source implementation using ruby or node.js, I just wonder if there's really any market for that. It seems to me that if you want to go through the trouble of hosting it yourself, you'll spend the week or so to build your own. Otherwise, you'll use Parse.

Ask HN: Livestream for upcoming demo days available anywhere?
2 points by brianmac  3 days ago   discuss
Ask HN: Does Anyone Write Code With an iPad?
10 points by Toddward  8 days ago   10 comments top 8
bnycum 7 days ago 0 replies      
I've attempted it. I use Panic's Prompt to SSH back into one of my machines and program from there. I do not have an external keyboard for the iPad, but using the on-screen keyboard is just a pain. You have to think how you are going to be switching between the different on-screen keyboards to find very frequent used keys like brackets, parens, semicolon, etc. This works in a pinch but not for long periods of time.

With having an external keyboard it's another pain to reach up and touch your screen to switch apps. Just stick with a laptop, you will thank yourself in the end.

CyberFonic 8 days ago 1 reply      
I tried using just the iPad and the on-screen keyboard took up too much of the screen for my liking. Bought an Apple Bluetooth keyboard - it was better, but function keys, etc are not fully supported. Eventually went back to using a MacBook Pro. For me having a keyboard; not having to prop up the iPad; and being able to function without a wireless broadband connection dropping out, slowing down is a more productive experience. And ... I really prefer to have bigger screen. Sometimes use the iPad in a Logitech dock as a second screen with AirDisplay - now that is convenient - but not on the road.

In your situation I would seriously consider getting a MacBook Air.

bergie 8 days ago 0 replies      
Here is that original blog: http://yieldthought.com/post/12239282034/swapped-my-macbook-...

Would be interesting to know if he is still happy with the arrangement

chaosprophet 7 days ago 0 replies      
Writing code on an iPad would require an external keyboard and a propping mechanism - both of which have their problems.

When working with an iPad half the keys on the external keyboard are useless. And it just so happens that these 'useless' keys are the ones we hit a lot while programming.

The propping mechanism should be sturdy enough to not fall over since tasks such as alt-tabbing now require that you reach over and touch the screen, which should ideally be situated at a distance of 20inches from your eyes when typing. Shuffling between touch gesturing and typing wastes a lot of time.

For these reasons, an iPad would make a pathetic medium for coding. However, there was a link recently to an iPad IDE which focused on trying to get a lot of work done with as little typing as possible. I haven't tried it out yet, so can't comment on how useful that would be.

meepmorp 8 days ago 1 reply      
I've done it before, but it kinda sucks without an external keyboard. Even then, not optimal - having to switch between apps to view docs or test in a browser is kind of a pain.

Just get a computer.

kellyreid 8 days ago 0 replies      
I've tried. It just never goes well. I tried remotely accessing my desktop at home. nope. tried all the text editors on the iPad. Nope.

every attempt to code on it has ended in me saying "next time I'm buying a macbook".

so no, do not try. you want a laptop.

debacle 8 days ago 0 replies      
I've tried coding on my webOS... thing.

It's relatively easy but I don't think the tools are there yet. You'll definitely be more productive with an actual keyboard.

zack12 8 days ago 0 replies      
i don't have an iPad, never even touched one:(
Why hi-rez displays (like the iPad 3) consume more power and generate more heat
6 points by algoshift  6 days ago   5 comments top 3
algoshift 1 day ago 0 replies      
Prompted by an offline discussion I thought it'd be a good idea to talk about the other effects. I focused my post around the power requirements of the image processor circuitry. However, there are two additional components to an LCD display system: Display logic and Backlight power.

Display logic is, as the name implies, all of the circuitry required to drive the pixels. This is everything from the data connector on the raw LCD panel up to and including the TFT transistors on the glass itself and the transparent interconnects (also on the glass). The on-glass circuitry has complex parasitics and capacitive loading that also causes a fluctuation of drive current based on the randomness of the images.

Here's sample data from a 24 inch 1920 x 1200 LCD:

  24 inch, 1920 x 1200
Idd for full black screen = 1,700mA
Idd for a black/white dot pattern = 3,050mA

As you can see, a pattern with maximal excursions in the data causes the display logic current (and therefore, power) to nearly double.

In very (very!) rough terms this current is also a function of display resolution: Twice as many pixels will demand double the current. Going back to the iPad 2 vs 3 example, the the new iPad has exactly four times the pixels of the iPad 2 display, therefore, it should require four times more display logic current than the older model under all uses cases.

The backlight may or may not demand more current as display resolution increases. Comparisons of displays of equal physical size but vastly different resolutions do not reveal a this effect to be an absolute rule. A lot depends on the design of the panel and the internal optics.

alok-g 3 days ago 1 reply      
While you are correct, there is another aspect to power in displays:

The most important component of LCD power is the back light that illuminates the display from behind. The overall transmission of LCD is only about 5% or so, which means that the back light behind is as much as twenty times brighter than what the user sees.

Increasing the pixel density implies that the pixels are smaller. Which means that the circuitry takes a larger fraction of the pixel [1]. Which means that more of the light is blocked. Which means that the back light now needs to be still brighter to compensate. As a result, iPad 3 back light uses 2.5 times more power than iPad 2 back light [2].

I am interested in knowing more about the logic and interface power in the way you have described. Please let me know if it is possible to get in touch.

[1] http://www.extremetech.com/computing/122725-what-the-ipad-3s...

[2] http://www.displaymate.com/iPad_ShootOut_1.htm

me2012 6 days ago 1 reply      
Interesting! Thank you for sharing!
Ask HN: Why did YC fund two startups that do exactly the same thing?
18 points by araneae  6 days ago   discuss
cleverjake 6 days ago 0 replies      
"PicPlum acquired the assets of a previous Y-Combinator company PicWing, and took over its printer relationship and initial user base."

(via http://techcrunch.com/2011/08/12/yc-funded-picplum-beautiful...)

tptacek 6 days ago 0 replies      
Aren't these the same company, with two different branded services? Didn't Picplum acquire Picwing some ways back?

Also, Picwing didn't start as an online photo sharing service. It was, if I'm remembering right, a hardware product. The service there now was a fallback for them.

lyime 14 hours ago 0 replies      
One of the founders of Picplum here.

We acquired the Picwing last year when we started Picplum. The core idea behind Picplum was based on Picwing.

dazzla 6 days ago 0 replies      
I think the same team runs both now. However maybe they are both abandoned now as I can't get any response to support emails.
itsprofitbaron 6 days ago 0 replies      
They also funded competitors in the email CRM space as well.

They even say in their FAQ that they will - http://ycombinator.com/faq.html

c1sc0 6 days ago 3 replies      
Why not? Isn't competition supposed to be a good thing? Also: if you're convinced an idea is going to be big, why not bet on a few companies at the same time? This is not a horse -race.
kevin_wan 6 days ago 0 replies      
they don't want put all eggs in a single basket.
Thunderdome 6 days ago 0 replies      
Two startups enter, one startup leaves.
Show HN: Swap contacts by scanning QR codes on your phone
4 points by imaginaryunit  5 days ago   6 comments top 4
bdfh42 5 days ago 0 replies      
I have been generating just such a QR code on my Android phone for a few months - to pass contact info to others. Works OK.

Not sure about the "referral" tracking bit - but I am probably not your typical user.

Lot of "prior art" using infra red signals from back in the early Windows mobile days - might be worth finding out where that went in the business environment - and thus potential paying customers.

dwshorowitz 4 days ago 0 replies      
Really smart idea, site looks solid. I must admit that I'm not a huge fan of QR codes, but you mention in your response to Jordhy that it's more fail safe than Bump.

Looking forward to checking it out.

debacle 5 days ago 0 replies      
jordhy 5 days ago 1 reply      
I like you concept, but already use Bump. How is this better/easier than Bu.mp?
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