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Ask HN: How does an experienced freelancer get work?
125 points by protoweek  1 day ago   72 comments top 30
ErrantX 1 day ago 6 replies      
I've been freelancing for ~4 years, "properly" for the last 2. This is what I have found works...

Your very best clients will come from personal recommendations. Avoid close friends recommending you; one of my first clients was recommended by a close friend, and you feel an obligation to both the client and the friend. Not fun - especially when you make a cock up and the friend calls you to say they are a bit let down. At least without the friend in the equation it is only your professional reputation at risk :)

But good clients come from acquaintances. My very best clients (around 5 regulars) come from a single friend I knew at university - they are marketing person with a big network. I didn't know them very well but they recalled I did software engineering, and got in touch a couple of years after we graduated with a client in need of help.

Tip 1: Check your wider network for possible good "contacts" and tap them for work. You don't have to be embarassed, they weren't that good a friend!

Avoid freelancer sites for the most part. You can get good income from them, but lets face it; you're looking for fun and varied work, with great money and time to call your own. Freelancing sites don't do that for you. They have limitations. You tend to find yourself grinding for work, which you then have to offer competitive prices for. People who post work to freelancer sites are often looking for value, not quality. What are you offering?

Especially this is important when starting out. I had a false start way back 4 years ago when I spent a week looking for freelancing work on those sites & failed dismally. So I went back to my day job.

Tip 2: Ignore freelance sites, mostly. At least till you are established

Learn how to sell yourself - and learn new skills! I started out as a "PHP developer". Screw that - now I am a "Full stack software engineer". I learned how to set up a server and optimise it for load. When a client I had previously done a days work for rang up, months later, in a panic because they had a flood of traffic and couldn't cope... I didn't have to turn them away, I knew how to get them up and running.

Use the right language; You. Are. An. Engineer. That is a skilled consultancy job. Don't undersell yourself as a code monkey jobbing for work. (of course, you then have to live up to that promise)

Tip 3: Learn new skills. Market those skills

Other good work comes from recommendations - these are the best because if someone has been told "Tom gets things done", and they call me, then they are already sold.

The way to make sure you get good recommendations:

- Be 100% professional and competent. Make the effort to write properly in emails, and to include an email footer etc. Little things that make you stand out as capable.

- Get things done. If it's broken, don't waste time. Fix it, then email them the result.

- Be pro-active. If I get a client ring up with a possible project I immediately follow up with an email summarising our phone call - adding some ideas if I can. It shows commitment to them as a customer in a way that adds value to the relationship (without costing them...).

- When the customer calls at 9pm with an emergency, don't fob them off. Fix it. They will happily pay your overtime rates (I once charged a customer £100/hr for overtime emergency work when the normal work I was doing for them was at £45/hr. And they gave me an added 50% bonus because they were so grateful)

- Genuinely offer "full stack". I designed a simple site once, sent the HTML and told them to FTP it to their web host.. the reply was "do what? do we need a domain address?". Clients want you to make things work for them; registering domains and FTPing files is menial in terms of your skill level - the client has no concept of this :) (#1 freelancer rookie mistake).

Tip 4: Be accessible, competent, pro-active and GTD!

Don't worry too much about your website or online portfolio. It's actually a distraction. Find work pro-actively - passively obtained work, unless you are marketing yourself beyond just the website, tends not to be as good!

Tip 5: Find work, don't let it find you

Contact design agencies and recruiters in your area. The latter will annoy you with lots of irrelevant calls ("We have an excellent full time role for you in the Aberdeen area" - uh, hundreds of miles away doing data entry you mean...) but I have also picked up some excellent clients through them. If someone is going to a design agency or recruiter then they have money to burn, and are often looking for a premium service.

Tip 6: Recruiters have clients with cash to spend

Go local. I canvassed my area for small businesses etc. that might benefit from a website. I threw together a leaflet & microsite, plus revamped my own CMS code... and spent a week dropping leaflets through letterboxes. It's good business because I can sell them a design & host package which brings me in half a days work plus yearly ongoing revenue (as it stands, I charge £65/year for domain, hosting and support & have 25 customers with several more interested. In hindsight that was too cheap, I could have gone to £100/yr I suspect.)

This might sound like small change, but the work is regular and if I don't have a "big" contract in a week I can usually fill it with this sort of work via a few phone calls. A couple of the customers have followed up with fully featured website (i.e. booking portals etc.) which earned me good money.

It will surprise you how many business are in your local area - and how much money some of them have to spend!

Tip 7: Look for work locally

That might sound like boring work for an engineer; but it's kinda fun, and very varied. It has also helped build up my design skills to the extent I could tentatively justify calling myself "designer" as well. The next idea I am working on is to partner with some local business improvement initiatives to run "internet" workshops and other technical training sessions for businesses. The first class is at the end of November and it is already oversubscribed - my profit should be > £5,000 for a days work (plus a 3-4 days reusable prep).

I also just launched, locally, an intensive "educate your company about the web/internet etc." consultancy. No clients yet, but some interest.

Tip 8: Diversify

Hope that helps (I know I drifted a little off-topic :))

MrFoof 1 day ago 1 reply      
Are you simply freelancing (one-man body shop) or consulting? The former is a short-term employee, the other involves "paying for a solution to a problem". Both are done for cost savings, but with a bit more up-front work to get in the door, the second tends to get you paid better.

I've actually taken this route as of a few months ago, and the best advice is to share your new plans with people you've worked with in the past who have appreciated your work. Former managers, CIO/CTOs, even contingency recruiters who have placed you in the past (worst case, you work something out on a corp-to-corp basis and they'll have plenty of work and leads for you).

I mostly do data warehouse ETL recovery/refactoring, database performance tuning, and some data architect work. The way I sell it is to distill my previous work down to some easily digestible details: "Automated recovery of existing processes, eliminating manual hand-held recovery. Improved performance of evening batch processes by 1500%. Reduced replication time to DR site by 70%". Then, when asked about details, feel free to explain it in excruciating detail over lunch. If they have a specific need, odds are you can get them the results their looking for -- explain your approach, common issues, and get in the door. Even for something like, "I need X built", you have to look past "I can do it" and try to figure out what the customer is looking to get out of it (increased sales, conversion, etc.) and explain not only how can deliver on those metrics, but ideally back it up with previous history.

I've had lunches with former bosses, and talked to former co-workers. I'm not the guy who networks at all (< 20 LinkedIn connections, ~20 friends on Facebook), but I was almost immediately inundated. I have more work than I can take on at the moment, which means I'm simply raising my rate by 60% for the next client -- and they think that new rate is just ducky.

Patio also covered this topic rather well: http://www.kalzumeus.com/2012/09/17/ramit-sethi-and-patrick-...

ianterrell 1 day ago 3 replies      
If you're doing web or mobile development or anything that is contracted out regularly, I highly recommend you make relationships with the creative/development agencies in your area. My experience is that the decent ones always have more leads than they can execute on at any given time, which leads to two scenarios:

1) They want to grow, lack full development strength, and will subcontract you to work under their name. The rates aren't as high as you could get on your own, but it's still good pay and you didn't have to go selling. Attend a few meetings, live with a project manager, but work from home and build the relationship.

2) Projects that are too small for them to consider are immediately passed to you (and their other staff). "Sorry, we can't help you with this one, but we can recommend this guy who's done lots of good work for us."

bryanlarsen 1 day ago 0 replies      
1: Only bid on projects that ask for "good English skills". That's the code that means they're not interested in bids from traditional off-shoring destinations.

2: Once you win a few contracts on the freelancing websites, your customers should start coming to you directly and recommending you to others. You can then you can start raising your rates to something reasonable.

3: Send an email to the leaders of all the open source projects you have contributed to. It's quite possible they have more contracting work than they can handle and are willing to send work your way since they already know and trust you.

Alan01252 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've been freelancing for just over four months now and there are only two ways I've found clients ( who will pay the rates I charge ) so far.

1. Emailed the larger web design and creative agencies in the local area. ( Maximum around 1 1/2 hour drive is acceptable to me )

2. Created a personal website, and did some very basic ( and always improving ) keyword optimisation, for my areas of expertise.

I've been busy for the last four months solid. Right now is the first time I'm actively looking for work again, and it's mainly because I stopped emailing companies. Big mistake.

It's worth noting that the clients who have found me via my website/blog ( I try to post at least once a week) are happy to pay considerably more than the web design agencies. From my experience most web design agencies don't know how much a good developer can be worth in terms of code maintainability and time saved delivering the project.

On another note I always recommend getting face to face with potential clients. My confidence in my ability shines through when I'm in stood/sat in front of them, and really helps to build that trust factor.

As repeated in many other replies here, and something I'm only just learning myself. Find a problem that people want solving and sell yourself as the solution to that problem.

I'm still not sure what problem I'm solving or can help someone solving, but I'm hoping to figure it out sooner rather than later. :)

Hope this helps.

tptacek 1 day ago 2 replies      
Don't use the freelancing sites. They're a race to the bottom.
anovikov 1 day ago 1 reply      
There is no such thing as being outbid on freelancing sites. All clients see these outsourcing companies' bids as simply a spam preventing from interviewing 'real' candidates. If they are not hiring you it's something else wrong, not the price. Try thinking about the way you write cover letter: this is the main thing a real customer pays attention to (contrary to what people think it is - feedback score, experience etc). Reason is that overwhelming majority of applications on projects are merely a spam, sometimes automatically posted by a script. Every application letter which clearly does NOT sound like a spam (e.g. contains some project specific details, something on your plan on how you would do it), stands out and gets an interview.
gallerytungsten 1 day ago 2 replies      

If you say "I don't know anyone" then start networking. Sure, it's easier said than done. But if you have the chops, and do just a few good projects, word will get around.

To take it to the next level, try to find a company that is run by or that employs a master sales person. Take that person to lunch and get a crash course in sales. Because once you have the referral, you're warm; when you know how to close, you'll be hot.

eggbrain 1 day ago 0 replies      
My guess is that you are an experienced developer that worked for a company and never saw the outside clients -- meaning you have no reputation in the field outside your resume.

I'd partner with a web-contracting agency in your area to start doing work through them -- something where you work directly with clients on a day to day basis.

After you've worked for a dozen or so clients, you'll start to have a reputation, and from what I've found with friends, once you quit your contracting job you'll find clients wanting to still give you work based on what you've done. From there word of mouth does a good deal of work, and going to networking events and forming relationships does the rest.

rglover 1 day ago 0 replies      
Don't be adverse to meeting people. Some of the best work that's come through my studio has been the result of meeting with someone six months prior and them remembering my name/work.

Reach out to people you feel you can help. Don't be arrogant, but offer an honest and articulate reasoning for offering up your services.

As a developer, have (at least) two things online: a list of recent projects (could be as simple as a Github account) and a blog/notebook with some of your work. I know a lot of the developers that I follow just from coming across an article or tutorial they wrote.

Try putting up a personal site that says who you are (a profile, photo, etc.), what you can do (services), and a rough cost estimate of working together (i.e. my projects start at $X,XXX and average $X,XXX).

Sell yourself on HN. Make sure your profile says what you can do and has contact info. Also, checkout the monthly "Seeking Freelancers" thread. It's a great jumpstart when you're looking for work.

andrewhyde 1 day ago 0 replies      
As a designer I found this is the magic work equation:

1) Find a project
2) Finish project on time and budget exceeding expectations
3) Wait for client to send you referrals

Repeat steps 1-3.

bdunn 1 day ago 0 replies      
Talk to business owners that have problems. Then solve them.

Freelancer marketplaces are a race-to-the-bottom commodity market.

MattBearman 1 day ago 0 replies      
First tip: steer clear of freelancing sites, you're better than that :) Seriously, I tried them a bit, but the vast majority of jobs there buy on price, and that's a competition someone with decent rates will never win.

When I started freelancing I got my first gig through the HN Monthly 'Ask HN: Freelancer? Seeking freelancer?' thread, highly recommend posting in there on the 1st of each month.

I get steady work through the agency for whom I used to be a full time employee (only now I get paid double, AND get to cherry pick my work. never burn bridges)

I also cold called all the local agencies I could find offering my services, and that's got me a fair bit of work.

I've now got 5 big clients that give me enough steady work to live on, so I'm no longer actively seeking new clients. However I still get people emailing me having found me through google searches and HN. With google searches it's mostly people searching for local devs, eg: 'Freelance PHP developer Hampshire', so try optimising your website for those kinds of keywords.

And of course, personal recommendations is always the best way to find work. Good luck with freelancing, there's nothing like having the freedom to work when and where you like. This summer I took 8 weeks off to motorcycling around Europe, couldn't have done that so easily if I was an employee :)

sgdesign 1 day ago 0 replies      
I would suggest reading Brennan Dunn's eBook: http://doubleyourfreelancingrate.com

You might also want to start by making a name for yourself by working on your own projects (iPhone app, web app, etc.). If you make something cool, you're bound to have people asking you to make cool things for them, too.

timjahn 1 day ago 1 reply      
We're building matchist (matchist.com) to solve this exact problem.

Don't compete with low-cost overseas developers and spend all day bidding for projects.

Instead, sign up for the matchist beta (http://matchist.com/talent). We believe in matching you with projects you want to work on and have the skills for.

padobson 1 day ago 0 replies      
Have conversations with people that need problems solved.

What's your main area of expertise? Go to online communities where that expertise is discussed and join the conversation. When somebody enters the conversation that needs a problem solved, you'll be headed towards a new client.

Social networking is your friend. A month ago, I got a new client using Quora - through a question I asked about how to find new clients.

The more companies you talk to, the closer you'll get to finding somebody that needs you. Remember, they want you to consult for them as much as you want to consult for them, so go out there and find them. From my perception, the environment is very pro-consultant right now.

russelluresti 1 day ago 0 replies      
Freelancing is all about relationships. If a possible client is looking for a freelancer to complete a project, the only difference between Developers A and Developer B is their price (because, the client isn't going to understand the skill/talent of the two developers - they're not developers themselves). But, if you're able to form a relationship with them, then you're not Developer A anymore, you're James. And there's a HUGE difference between James and Developer B. The client knows James, the client trusts James. The client knows James wont' screw them over.

So, I'd say make your approach a very personal one. Try to get them invested in you as a person. This will be difficult to do with those "one-off" jobs, but will work great for clients that have multiple projects that need to be completed. It also works well if you work as a contractor for local agencies (as suggested by @iantrerell).

Also, a decent source of information is Freelance Switch (http://freelanceswitch.com/).

RileyJames 1 day ago 1 reply      
We've just launched a startup in Australia called Dragonfly (http://dragonflylist.com) which focuses on connecting talented local designers and developers with freelance work at creative, digital and ad agencies.

The plan is the launch into the US in the next few months (SF, LA & NY initially).

There are some key differences between our platform and recruitment & outsourcing

1. Transparency: There is no middle man on the platform. Agencies can search all the freelancers on the platform and contact them directly (phone & email is available on every profile).

2. No Rates!! - There are no rates shown on the platform. All rate are negotiated directly between the freelancer and the agency. Freelancers rates fluctuate on factors such as agency size, contract length, project type and general happiness working with the agency. It also means no one on the platform competes on price, but rather skill & ability.

3. High Quality: All freelancers on the platform are vetted before they get access (likewise the agencies are vetted as well). We verify that freelancers have 3 - 5 years experience in their field and have worked with agencies before. This keeps the quality high and maintains that skill & ability is the focus rather than price.

4. Local: The platform is focused no local freelancers. This is what agencies are looking for, and it allows freelancers to leverage their key competitive advantage over foreign workers... they are LOCAL!

Keen to hear feedback, and if you're looking for local freelance work sign up. We will get in contact with you when we roll out in your area. Our platform is focused on playing to the advantages of local freelancers.

UntitledNo4 1 day ago 0 replies      
In addition to things that were said, I found some good work on Elance.com, and small projects then evolved to things that kept me busy full-time.

For me it was a bit intimidating to begin with since I had to compete against developers whose bids were a fraction of the price I quoted. However, I soon found out that there are still people out there who value quality and are willing to pay more for it, so the "secret" is to make sure you put a quality bid. What worked for me was:

1. Make sure that your offer refers to the project description. Even highlight issues you find. There are lots of people out there who don't read the details and so people offering work appreciate it when someone actually read and thought about their project.

2. Describe how the project relates to an experience you have. Show a couple of examples work you have done with similar nature.

3. Include a sample of your work. In a couple of projects I was told that I was the only person who did that. I won both contracts although I had the most expensive bid.

4. Be responsive if the customer is asking questions before they make the decisions. Despite not winning all those projects where I had contact with the customer, it gave me an insight to their thought process, and even when I didn't win, it was useful to know I was a runner-up (and where possible, why I didn't win the contract).

5. Don't under-price yourself. There are probably cheaper developers than you, but are they as experienced as you are?

6. Don't over-price yourself. There are some naive customers who estimate a work to be more expensive than you think it should be (yes, really). It's tempting to be greedy and up your price, but I found out that being fair led to long-term relationships and to people who kept me so busy I didn't have to look for new clients for a while.

Hope this helps.

Edit: formatting.

verelo 1 day ago 2 replies      
Work your real life connections, you'll start by taking some pretty crappy work (it'll possibly feel like a career downgrade for a bit) but word will spread and opportunities will present themselves. You just need to produce great work, and stick to it.

Only key advice i would suggest is simply not to lock yourself into one contract for too long, unless its a great one. Nothing worse than some great work coming up, and not being able to take it because you're already too busy.

larve 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wouldn't dismiss these freelancing websites altogether though, it takes a bit to identify potential good clients, a lot of people got burnt by the outsourcing companies and are actually ready to pay sensible rates. I got my current job through one of these sites, first taking on a node.js job and then moving to basically full-time freelancing. I don't make that much as for jobs I got through personal and industry contacts, but the client is pretty much the best I ever got. That kind of freedom and respect (and quickly paid invoice, like 10 minutes after I sent them) is worth its money too.

But else, industry and personal contacts, building up contacts through giving speeches and being a part of the development community (user groups, etc...) works best for me.

codegeek 1 day ago 0 replies      
My experience says that you need to be good at at least one of these. Ideally, you should do all IMO:

1. Network especially with people you have already worked with/for in industry that you are now freelancing in. Most ppl underestimate this. For example, I have a list of contacts whom I email at least once a year just saying hi. I usually do it during christmas/new year eve. Never burn bridges with anyone and always try and stay in touch.

2. Get found by people/clients/recruiters/employers by building a strong online presence. I constantly get good offers through linkedin. To do this however, you need to focus on a more specialist profile vs. a generalist profile. Focus on your niche, add the right keywords and experience, get recommendations online in that domain and frequently update your profile.

lesterbuck 1 day ago 0 replies      
The Ruby Freelancers podcast covers a large swath of language independent freelancing knowledge: http://rubyfreelancers.com/

They highly recommend two books for freelancers, "Get Clients Now!" by CJ Hayden, and "Book Yourself Solid" by Michael Port. The Hayden book, in particular, might be viewed as agile marketing, so developers can feel right at home.

rwhitman 1 day ago 0 replies      
The best paying and most reliable gigs generally involve either face to face meetings at least once, or a referral from someone you've met face to face. Focus on finding clients where you can meet them. If you don't have any leads try cold emailing local-ish businesses that will have a lot of dev work (design agencies, medium to big co's) or use local forums like craigslist etc.
lnanek2 1 day ago 0 replies      
Go to meetups and other tech events. Make friends with people and talk about their ideas. Give out your card. You'll get propositions to help people constantly. Some of those people will be willing to pay. The more you get asking you, the higher you can raise your price.
ecaroth 1 day ago 0 replies      
Not sure where you are located, but most big cities have regular tech networking events, seminars, skillshare classes, etc. The VAST majority of rewarding, quality work I have done freelancing was for real-life people (businesses, many startups, etc) that I met at network events. Get a decent personal business card and make sure you tell people what you are capable of doing, and that you are available for work when you meet them. You will be surprised how many opportunities come out of the woodwork.
maxer 1 day ago 0 replies      
As a web developer php type guy..

Things i have done to get work-

Network- attend tech conferences and talk to people

Blog about your area of interest

I ran google adwords on specific key terms, this helped to get a decent bulk of work with a 20x ROI

Over time your network will build up.

niggler 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'd recommend you put your email in your profile. I have some work for a competent web developer ...
davewasthere 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't know how I get work, but I always seem to be busy (for the past four years of freelancing at least).

Main thing is to put the word out. Have projects of your own. Offer advice freely. Be helpful. I normally have more work than I want and can be fairly choosy.

But I've got to admit, if it all dried up, I'm not sure how I'd go about 'looking' for work. (that said, I'm not sure I'd want to)

johnnyg 1 day ago  replies      
If you'd like a phone interview with CPAP.com shoot me an email at johnny dt goodman at cpap dc.
Ask HN: What programming language do you recommend starting with?
10 points by whereareyou  13 hours ago   21 comments top 15
jfaucett 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Pulling on the parallel to human languages I'd say c is the latin equivalent (except that c is still actively in usage). Basically, c was there first, you could and still can build anything in c and though its easier than x86 its full of pendantic features much like the latin case system. Also because c has been so successful its had a huge influence on just about every succeeding language - again much like latin. So I'd say learn c meets your requirements. Nonetheless, just learning c won't get you acquainted with many usefull features, just like knowing only english won't let you realize that common words like collegue or friend can carry gender connotations that automatically tell you if its a male or female friend/collegue (or that word order isn't important when your language has cases).

In that respect I think Java plays a role similar to say 18th and 19th century French - the post latin lingua franca. Java took a lot from c, but implemented many new concepts and design philosphies to programming and brought them to a wide audience. Although Java is kind of on the decline, and many other newer languages like Go push the envelope further, Java and java philosophies have still had a large influence on PHP, Ruby, Go, etc.

As far as what the english equivalent would be in this contrived metaphor... I'm unsure maybe we'll just have to wait, but in the meantime with c and java you shouldn't have a problem understanding just about any programming language currently in use.

inetsee 12 hours ago 1 reply      
If you are serious about thinking that Latin would be a good precursor to learning other languages, then I would recommend that you learn Scheme. Scheme is a dialect of Lisp, which was one of the first programming languages. Scheme was designed to be used to teach the fundamentals of programming, and was used for quite a while at MIT in their introductory programming course. The textbook that was used for the course (Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs) is freely available online, as are quite a few video lectures that teach from the book.

There is another dialect of Scheme called Racket, that has an entire development environment intended to make it easy to learn Scheme. Racket uses another book titled "How to Design Programs", that is also freely available online.

Learning Scheme will give you a solid foundation in the fundamental concepts of programming.

If you would rather start to learn programming with a more mainstream language, Python is the programming language that MIT is now using in their introductory programming course.

For more information use your favorite search engine to look up "mit ocw gentle introduction programming" or "sicp" or "htdp".

orangethirty 7 hours ago 1 reply      
You have a fairly good understanding already, although you have not realised it. Being able to see that there are a set of core principles (Meta principles, if you will) at work behind every language is a big (and hard) step for beginners to take. Alas, you already surpassed that point. Yet, you should not waste any time learning how to code. Invest your time learning about patterns. Every program out there is a pattern. From the moment you start to think about how it may work, to the moment you ship it, all you are doing is thinking up patterns that aim to solve a problem. Let's take for example the following problem:

     You have to get some data from the user through 
a webpage. The pattern to do that is to include a
form in the webpage where the user types in the
data we want. Then the user submits the data by
clicking on a button. Following that we receive
the data and store it in a variable or
array (like a bucket, but for data). From that point
forward we process it with things called functions
,which are nothing more than little bits of code that
only have one task to complete. We then test to see
if that data is in a condition that we can use it.
Thus we include in the pattern a set of conditionals
to test if the data is good to go. If its not good to
go, then we either fix it or trash it. Our pattern
might include some functionality to tell the user that
the data typed in is good, and conforms to what we
need. We may also need to return the data in modified
form to the user. Maybe the user wanted to know
what is the meaning of the word *perro* in English
, so we send back the answer to the user. Perro is
dog in spanish.

Now, let's write a simple program that follows that
same pattern.

<!-- the form where the user submits the data-->
<form action="/submit" method="post">
<input type="text" name="search">
<input type="submit" value="search">
<!-- /of form -->

//the following code is not secure at all.

$input = $_POST['search']; //look up there where it says name="search".

function translate ($input)
if($input == "perro") //does the user want to translate the word "perro"?
return "dog"; //if he/she does then give him the translation.

return "I don't know.";

//let's use the function to test the data.

$output = translate($input);
echo $output; //this displays the information back to the user.


But wait, we can also do it in python. Let's use a simple python program to show you how.

     #Python 2.7.X

input = raw_input("What do you wish to translate?") #get the data from the user.

def translate(input): #the translate function.
if input == "perro":
return "dog"
return "I don't know"

output = translate(input) #use the function on the data gotten from the user
print output #display the results back to the user.

See the similarities in the programs? Notice the pattern? Even though they are two different languages (three if we include HTML), they both follow the same basic pattern to solve the problem at hand.

You must now focus of learning new patterns of how given problems are solved. For example, getting data from a website, processing it, etc. Patterns do get more
complicated as you advance, even to the point of not being able to understand them. But dont feel bad, most problems are solved using the simple stuff.

From here on, I would focus on learning every possible language I could get my hands on. But learn by doing, and not by reading (read -> test and repeat).

If you need any assitance, feel free to email me. Best wishes.

csense 7 hours ago 0 replies      
> Where should a beginner who is interested in coding start?

Python is a very easy language to learn and is also very powerful.

> Is there a language, like latin, that can help form the basis for understanding other languages and make learning easier?

Assembly language. It's a text language that corresponds one-to-one [1] with machine language, the numbers which are given directly to the CPU for execution [2].

I would not recommend assembly language to a beginner, but rather to an intermediate-level programmer who's already proficient in at least one other language. The main problems with it are (1) it's not portable, (2) it's not easy to find tutorials and documentation geared toward beginners, (3) it's not easy to find programmers who are comfortable with it, and (4) it tends to produce very long, difficult-to-read programs.

So even if they know assembly language well, most programmers don't use it directly very much; there's a reason that it's mostly a dead language outside of very specific areas.

Learning assembly language immensely helps your understanding of how computers work, and gives you some idea of what operating systems and higher-level languages must do behind the scenes to provide the tools that they give you.

To summarize, assembly language is a mostly dead language, with very limited direct practical use in modern times, which, when learned, will greatly help your general understanding of other languages -- and which cannot be avoided if you want to master complete knowledge of how computer software works.

[1] Modern assemblers often provide higher-level tools like labels, macros, and linker data, so the correspondence isn't necessarily one-to-one.

[2] I originally said "used directly by the CPU", but modern CPU's, at least in the Intel world, translate the user software's machine code into a proprietary internal code that's only visible to the hardware. This is largely a workaround for the fact that the x86 is constrained by backward compatibility to be a CISC-style machine, even though we now know RISC-style machines are much simpler and faster. The extra abstraction layer provided by the translation from backwards-compatible user instruction set to the internal proprietary instruction set means the latter can be RISC, can be shuffled around however the chip designers want, can use a strange number of bits per instruction, can be tied closely to tiny architecture details which may change in next year's chip, can actually change instruction order to increase speed as long as we can prove it doesn't change the semantics of the user program, etc. And all we software people see of this is that, inside the CPU, magic happens -- which makes our programs run faster.

shrughes 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Just start with Python. I don't know why some people are not recommending Python but they don't have your best interests at heart, they aren't actually thinking of the language that's quick to get up to speed and enjoyable to learn with, and instead are going with some absurd platonic ideal designed for a parallel universe in which their recommendation might make sense.

I'm specifically pointing at the highly voted posts mentioning C and Scheme.

gyardley 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I wouldn't approach it this way.

Instead, I would think of a project I wanted to build, pick a language well-suited for that project, and then learn that language as I got building. Learning through doing is the best way to make learning easier - far better than studying the programming equivalent of Latin.

LarryMade 12 hours ago 0 replies      
There is assembly language, which is the root to all higher level languages... but I would not recommend anyone start there unless they are using a micro-controller or other tiny platform.

If you aren't too savvy on computer concepts I would suggest python - probably the easiest to get into and whatever platform you are on (Mac, Windows, Linux) python exists for it, has libraries for just about anything you want to explore, sound graphics, etc.

Second choice would be C - lower level than python but more understandable to the neophyte than assembly would be. C runs a lot of system functions on popular computers.

dragonbonheur 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Just learn BASIC, which will give you the least frustration and the most enjoyment. Head over to basic.mindteq.com and choose a compiler (yes, compiler - they exist) and integrated development environment. You might be interested in Freebasic, which will enable you to create games or other software without having a whole lot of dependencies to download. There are versions for Windows and Linux and you can easily interface C code to create slick GUIs on both. Head to zetcode.com to find out how to mix GTK to freebasic. Head over to petesqbsite.com to find a great community and lots of tutorials.

Other nice BASICs are AutoIt (Win), FnxBasic (Win), Envelop (Win), Microsoft VB Express edition (win), Gambas (Linux), Xbasic (Linux and Windows), GFA32 (win)

After learning that language you'll be able to move on to others, even to C which has pointers because freebasic uses pointers too.You'll find a lot of tutorials on the web and a great community for almost all of those.

Lots of people are going to say BASIC is inadequate for serious computing but if you go their way you'll find that the desire to learn has left you by the time you finish reading even one text. Ultimately it's your decision, not theirs.

TL;DR: You can learn BASIC in a weekend. Great community, easy to learn, will accomplish great things, will help you understand other languages.

ninthfrank07 7 hours ago 0 replies      
If you enjoy watching videos, I'd recommend starting with the CS101 Udacity course (Intro to Computer Science: Building a Search Engine), which you can find here:


This courses will introduce you to the Python programming language and will also explain you how search engines work. It's a perfect course for a beginner, because it assumes no prior programming knowledge. It's also very interactive, because you often have to answer questions or to implement your own procedures in Python (you can write you code, run it to see the output and submit it for validation directly in your web browser).

Looking at the syllabus, you can get a very good idea of what exactly you will learn throughout the course:

Unit 1: How to Get Started
(Your first program: Extracting a link)

Unit 2: How to Repeat
(Finding all of the links on a page)

Unit 3: How to Manage Data (Crawling the web)

Unit 4: How to Solve Problems (Responding to search queries)

Unit 5: How Programs Run (Making things fast)

Unit 6: How to Have Infinite Power (Ranking search results)

Unit 7: Where to Go from Here (Exam testing your knowledge)

I took this class a few months ago and I found it extremely interesting! Especially Unit 5, where you will learn how to implement hash tables (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hash_table).

8jef 12 hours ago 0 replies      
If I were some alien coming to Earth and asked myself what language to learn, I'd start with English, not Latin. English seems like a pretty obvious start when trying to communicate the earthling's way. Then, once I've mastered English, I'd drill a bit and find out about its roots and cousins: French, German, Latin, ancient Greek, etc. Then I would learn Chinese.

So my first question would be: What's English equivalent in programming languages? PHP? Java? C? Then, because programming languages have entered in a very fast paced evolution period recently, with new languages popping out every given month, what programming language the most prominent programmer elites are using right now? Go? Any other C variant? JS? Ruby? Etc.?

jspiral 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I tell the majority of people who want to dabble with programming to start with javascript, because the environment setup to make something run is so trivial, and they get positive reinforcement from making something that relates to other sites they actually use, not command line output.

If you're really looking for a latin equivalent, I agree with the previous posters (a lisp, python, and c all have merit and are worth getting to eventually).

My own early learning path was basic -> dos shell -> c -> c++

I'm glad I learned c, wouldn't really mind having missed C++.

zachgalant 11 hours ago 0 replies      
The programming language isn't really the important thing to learn. The important thing is learning how to think and how to break large problems into smaller ones.

I really recommend against starting with C or assembly because they are hard and can discourage you. Even trying to start by making something with Ruby on Rails can be very discouraging.

The best way to start is to work from the beginning and learn the fundamentals of programming and how to think rather than focusing on a language.

I'm making CodeHS (http://codehs.com) to help teach beginners in the most user friendly way possible by stressing the way of thinking rather than the programming syntax.

We're providing help to beginners because we know that people can get stuck.

We're about to change our pricing, but for now, you should check out the free trial. We'd love to hear what you think.

mitchi 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Java or C++. Both have great IDEs (Visual Studio, Eclipse, Netbeans) that come with a debugger and make tools, so that you can focus on learning the language before learning what a linker and a compiler is.
The debugger is also a must for learning properly by trial and error.

Don't bother with anything else.

Uncompetative 10 hours ago 0 replies      
The most beautiful, well designed, programming language I have ever encountered in my 20 years of research is the equational programming language Q:


ishbits 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Maybe go straight to functional. Check out Scala.
Ask HN: Review my startup idea
6 points by djsamson  10 hours ago   2 comments top 2
dangrossman 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Hair salon / barber specific CRM systems already exist. Every shop I've been to has a computer in front the same as any retail establishment. They put in the names of customers when they come in and ask if they are requesting anyone specific to cut their hair, and that goes in too.

At the very least, every chain hair cut place has such a system already because they use it to keep track of employee hours, clients per hour, revenue and tips paid by credit. The national chains even have membership cards and customer reward systems integrated into their POS systems.

Here's a list of 145 hair salon software systems: http://www.capterra.com/salon-software

Many of them have iPhone/Android apps for both ends.

If your barber shop still hasn't tried anything but a sign-in sheet, maybe it's not a burning need for them.

systemtrigger 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Software will eat the barber. Managing the queue via mobile is a step. The big lucrative API embraces robotics.
My Adsense story - 1 billion impressions and shut off with no explanation
14 points by ilovecars  16 hours ago   11 comments top 5
cft 16 hours ago 2 replies      
Given the average eCPM of $1.00-2.00 from AdSense, that account earned between $1m and $2m in its lifetime. This is probably the only company in the world that can shut down such a high earning account with a template no-reply email with no explanation and no recourse for even a simple phone call. This is what monopoly means in practice. Such a Shame!
xSwag 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Similar story here, although I'm happy I got had this unpleasant experience with my first big website and learnt not to use them ever again.

This was my first website, over 2 years it had around 80M impressions and then suddenly, one day, everything gone. I was actually planning to drop out of school to continue with it as I had days where I was making $500-600 per day. Took a critical hit and the site actually fell through due to it. Fortunately, it happened before I dropped out and I'm happy about that, I try to avoid all ad networks now and try for private sponsors.

ig1 12 hours ago 1 reply      
It seems feasible to me that a reasonable person could see a gallery of the "worst car crashes" as violent, your definition or mine of violent could vary but it does fall under the bounds of what people could understand that term to mean (i.e violence doesn't only mean harm to people).

Glorifying car crashes is definitely in an iffy area (you have to remember that in some places it's not unheard off for people to steal and crash cars for fun).

jbwyme 14 hours ago 1 reply      
I've had such a terrible experience with AdSense. My account was locked with $10k in the account and the only explanation they gave was "click fraud". Had I been committing click fraud I would have shrugged it off and moved on BUT there was nothing fraudulent going on at all. The account got frozen and the money I'd earned was lost. AdSense certainly acts like a monopoly and it's extremely frustrating. Now I cannot even use AdSense for any future projects which unless I'm running a high-traffic site severely limits my advertising prospects.
dotborg 14 hours ago 0 replies      
like AdSense bans are anything new, yet another news about it on HN, coincidence or..?
Haskell, Scheme & Julia?
5 points by klrr  15 hours ago   1 comment top
adrusi 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Haskell is a general purpose functional language with some very interesting properties. A fairly large community uses it for personal projects, but it's not used much in business.

Scheme is similar to Haskell, but is simpler. Its more of an academic language, and was for a long time used as the primary language used in computer science courses in MIT and other schools. Its in the family of lisps.

Julia is designed for scientific computing. It is targeted at people who are not "programmers" but have to program for the purpose of performing scientific simulations or complex calculations. It let's them express these algorithms in a concise and simple manner, while still having high performance so that their simulations execute in a reasonable amount of Time.

Ask HN: What do you want to know?
2 points by orangethirty  7 hours ago   3 comments top 3
vyrotek 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Honestly, I was interested up until you said you weren't sharing what you're actually building. There's plenty of generic startup info out there and without some context I doubt I'll follow this.

Good luck though! Let us know if you decide to share what you're up to.

Donito 6 hours ago 0 replies      
"The Open Startup Project is about giving you total access to what happens behind the curtains of a newly minted startup."

How is that total access/open if you don't disclose what you're building. It would much much more interesting, in my opinion, to be able to relate to your stories if we have the proper context.

anigbrowl 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Clearly, we want to know what your product is. If it isn't good/successful, then all the other stuff is irrelevant, and this is little more than oblique/viral marketing.
Ask HN: Are there any resources to learn how to think about programming?
3 points by physloop  8 hours ago   6 comments top 4
_pius 7 hours ago 0 replies      
"Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs" (SICP) by Abelson and Sussman is a must read.

Some other foundational texts I'd recommend:

* "How to Solve It" is a (the?) classic introduction to mathematical problem solving. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/How_to_Solve_It

* CLRS ("Introduction to Algorithms") is the classic introduction to solving problems through computation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Introduction_to_Algorithms

Those texts are useful for "programming in the small." [1] As you get closer to "programming in the large" (basically putting together non-trivial software systems), some good things to look at are:

* The "Gang of Four" book ("Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software") introduced the idea of design patterns to software engineering and provides a useful toolbox and vocabulary for thinking and talking about putting programs together.

* Joshua Bloch's "Effective Java" is an insightful set of heuristics on writing good code. Like with Gang of Four, you can get a lot out of this book by looking past the implementation language and thinking critically about the rationale behind the prescriptions in the book. I'd also recommend Bloch's talk, "How to Design a Good API and Why it Matters" (http://www.infoq.com/presentations/effective-api-design).

* A recent talk I found insightful is Rich Hickey's talk, "Simple Made Easy" (http://www.infoq.com/presentations/Simple-Made-Easy). In this talk, Hickey makes a strong argument for simplicity in software and the ramifications for the working programmer. I'd also recommend his talk, "Hammock Driven Development."

*I would highly recommend the "Destroy All Software" screencast series by Gary Bernhardt (https://www.destroyallsoftware.com/screencasts). These screencasts show an experienced developer working through small programming problems in a test driven style and explaining the reasoning behind his decisions as he goes along.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Programming_in_the_large_and_pr...

pwg 8 hours ago 0 replies      
You might consider reading "Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs" (SICP) by Abelson & Sussman

At least one version available here: http://sicpebook.wordpress.com/ebook/

MaysonL 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Try "A Discipline of Programming" and "Structured Programming" by Edsger Dijkstra (the second with co-authors C. A. R. Hoare & Ole-Johan Dahl).

Also, Project Oberon by Niklaus Wirth, for showing how it can be done well and clearly.

SICP and How to Solve it, as others have recommended, are also great, ditto Project Euler.

itswitch 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Try solving riddles, mathematical problems, etc. That might help to get you into the right frame of mind. Don't shoot fish in a barrel, try to think about a problem at first. What is the problem, what are you trying to solve? Now, think of the approaches to solving it. How do you get the answer? Then fool around, and twiddle with things until it works. Try to separate problems into types of problems, each type requiring a certain type of solution, and fit you problem into these lists. Just my two cents.
Ask HN: What do you think about the website?
4 points by bryce910  19 hours ago   6 comments top 4
acostoss 19 hours ago 1 reply      
A few things:

* You're using what I would assume to be your hilight colors a bit too strongly. It is great to use the orange for your CTA, but the orange and the green in the table are a bit overbearing.

* Your table columns do not align, making it potentially confusing to others that view your page. They might not understand you're making a comparison, which can be ploblematic.

* Your subheading font is too heavy, making the text less readable.

* The copy at the bottom could use some work. The messages are too wordy. Ideal copy in those areas should be simple, not too wordy, and really push your product. Potential users read this to judge your product if they haven't already been snagged by your CTA at the top of the page.

* Testimonials always look better with a picture. Even if you have to use a stock photo, it adds credibility.

* I just noticed, your page doesn't have much of a headline. Compare to http://artistsnclients.com, a project of mine. At the top of the page, there is a very obvious CTA, along with some persuasive headlining text. This should, ideally, explain your product in one sentence, and then make the potential customer feel as if they owe it to themselves to sign up for your product.

There's probably a lot moreto be said, but I can't be getting too nitpicky here. Good luck!

codegeek 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Firs thing: Your homepage does not tell me anything about what your site/company does. No idea.

Colors, too many. Tone it down.

SirPalmerston 16 hours ago 1 reply      
I have to agree with acostoss on several of his/her points.

In addition, your footer doesn't completely cover the page - http://i.imgur.com/nHcrl.png

Also, you don't have a favicon.

SirPalmerston 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Ask HN: If I threw a technology "science fair" for startups/etc would you come?
2 points by jayzalowitz  12 hours ago   2 comments top 2
project23 8 hours ago 0 replies      
How is this different to existing conferences (both hardware and software) where there are a ton of booths and table and people showcasing what they do? Products, services, startups and non-startups alike... Maybe I'm not understanding the difference. Not saying that not differing would affect attendance in any way but I have a hard time answering if I'm not sure I see the personal value proposition. Especially if its just to see what other startups are up to, quite a number of conferences like that around here (probably different for other locations).
whichdan 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I would absolutely go to one in Boston.
Opinion - Campus question app
2 points by psandiego  15 hours ago   3 comments top
caw 10 hours ago 1 reply      
First off, do you need an app or just a website?

I can tell you that most of the stuff you're questioning about already exists as separate forums, and you'd really have to demonstrate value to have it in one place. There's already a rate a professor website. Theres abundant course data, along with GPAs per semester so you can draw conclusions. Campus jobs are posted on boards across campus, along with some subleases. Help with campus life is vague, why should I trust you (aka anonymous people that claim they're from my school) rather than people I know?

Basically, college kids will probably have a network to get this information from, whether it's a fraternity/sorority, or just their friends from class.

Should you do this, you're going to have a hard time with data startup, because most of the other sites have crowdsourced data over time. If it's not useful, no one will use it, and no one will put data in it.

I'd also argue that those questions are not daily decisions. Once a semester maybe.

Can anyone explain the business case for Adsense's no-contact banning policies?
4 points by thenomad  1 day ago   2 comments top 2
kijin 1 day ago 0 replies      
If too many people generate fake clicks, advertisers will no longer want to place expensive ads with Google. That loss could easily amount to 10 (or even 11) figures. Over 90% of Google's revenue comes from advertising. Even a slight reduction in that revenue could cost billions.

If AdSense is associated with websites that contain copyright-infringing material, Google could find itself on the losing side of a gigantic lawsuit with the MAFIAA. That loss, too, could easily amount to billions.

If AdSense is associated with any other kind of content with questionable legality (child porn, hate speech, bomb-making tutorials, etc), there could be similar financial ramifications, or worse, damage to Google's brand. This can also be worth billions.

So it might make sense, from a purely financial point of view, to be overly aggressive in banning AdSense users. A few false positives might cost tens of millions of dollars, but that could be the lesser of two evils if the alternative is to let a few false negatives slip by.

Edit: As for lack of communication, someone at Google seems to think that letting people know too many details about exactly which page violates which policy would allow the bad guys to work around those policies, leading to more false negatives. Security through obscurity! Similarly, if you ever set up a mail server, you'll quickly realize that Google doesn't let you know exactly what you need to do to get rid of that pesky "via your.hostname.com" message. You could try adding DKIM and cross your fingers, but there's no guarantee. That's an anti-spam & anti-phishing feature, and Google doesn't want spammers and phishers to know its exact policies and algorithms.

According to Wikipedia [1], AdSense represents 28% of Google's ad revenue. But unlike ads placed in Google's own pages, Google needs to pay out the majority (~68%) of that revenue to website owners, so AdSense's actual contribution to profit is much lower than that. Google has plenty of other places where they can place ads far more profitably, even if a lot of third-party websites dropped AdSense.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adsense

hcho 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Publishers are Google's product. The bans are a product quality assurance exercise for them.

They do not really lose any business when they cut out a publisher. They almost always have plenty of other options to display their inventory on.

Ask HN: Should I leave working at a startup in favor of university?
8 points by aurorae  1 day ago   14 comments top 6
lumberjack 1 day ago 1 reply      
If I were you, I'd take part time college classes and keep my current foot in the industry. Yes you will take longer to finish your degree but you don't have to worry about that if you are already employed. Besides, employers will respond better to somebody who is in the process of finishing their degree as opposed to somebody who never started in the first place. Finally worst that could happen is that you get fired and you don't find other employment. In that case you can enroll for full time study.
alid 13 hours ago 0 replies      
If you choose not to go to uni, employers will want to know that you didn't go because you were too busy building, learning and achieving. So if you choose that route, be hungry to learn and experience more. Stand out by learning best-practice, being a confident communicator, networking, and by building your portfolio with paid employment and with exciting personal side projects :)
xackpot 1 day ago 0 replies      
You know what, my standard answer would be: "Go take a degree if you want to cross the screening barrier at companies for a job. This is what companies usually do to avoid spending time looking for individuals who don't have a degree but are awesome".
But over a round of beers at a nice pub I would say is that the education system is highly overrated. If everybody started looking for talent of an individual, leaving aside the educational certificates they hold, we would have society working at its full potential.
In my opinion, the aim should be learning, not getting a degree. Also to get higher up, you don't need a degree. Just because one has a degree doesn't mean one is capable of executing the task assigned to. Suppose, you get a degree and grab a job, but you fail to deliver. Are you still gonna get higher up? Now say, you get in without a degree, but really churn out a stellar performance at work. Is anybody going to stop you from climbing up? What is the difference between the two scenarios? One is of course the degree and the other one is the quality of work you are putting in.
I really didn't give you an answer as you might have subconsciously made a decision but I hope I have propelled you to think more and take a right direction.
change 1 day ago 1 reply      
Forget the job for a second, what about your life goals... Will you be satisfied with your lack of a degree?

How long do you think you will live for?

With current and future medical technologies you can expect a long life… let's say 100+ years. So, in how much of a hurry are you to get a job and make cash?

Even if education and other life experiences don't impact your employability, they are probably still worthwhile. And if you don't have that change the world idea lined up, then you're not missing any boat to go learn and explore.

lutusp 1 day ago 3 replies      
Just my personal opinion:

* If you work in the field of software development, you may acquire a deeper appreciation for the value of a more complete education. This may increase your level of devotion and commitment if you return to school.

* By working in the field, you may acquire a better sense of which educational areas have value, and which don't need your attention.

* By working in the field, you will meet people with different degrees (and no degrees), and this may allow you some insight into which degrees have which prospects.

So my opinion is that working in the field has nothing but advantages. By the way, many colleges agree -- many of them recommend a "work-sabbatical" to give students some perspective on their educational choices.

> Can work experience really count more than a degree?

Sometimes, yes. It depends on the individual. Count the people in the field who don't have a college degree:

Bill Gates, Paul Allen, cofounders of Microsoft.

Larry Page, one of the cofounders of Google.

Mark Zuckerberg, you know -- Facebook?

Larry Ellison, Oracle founder.

The list goes on. The fact that none of these captains of industry has a college degree might mean something.

puranjay 1 day ago 1 reply      
I've long advocated eschewing an education in favor of real world experience. But at the same time, I know I draw my self-worth from my education. I wouldn't be as confident a person as I am today if I wasn't educated. There's nothing stopping you from pursuing a business or even intellectual pursuits without an education, but ask yourself if you will feel truly fulfilled without an education?

Moreover, you may miss out on the 'college phase' part of life (and what a glorious phase it is) and regret that later. Trust me, every single guy I know who started working early is jealous of college going kids who get to spend the best years of their life doing the best possible things on earth.

Announcing Toronto HN Night
8 points by 3pt14159  1 day ago   discuss
Ask HN: Alternatives to Adsense
9 points by Newbie_Blogger  1 day ago   5 comments top 5
thenomad 1 day ago 0 replies      
The Usual Recommended Suspects for alternative ad networks:

- Media.net . Good customer service. They just teamed up with Yahoo to offer contextual ads - this one could be very interesting.

- Lijit. Run by the people behind Federated Media, they're, again, friendly and reasonably easy to work with.

- Skimlinks / Infolinks. Inserts contextual links into your pages. Many people hate this idea, but it does monetise reasonably well.

Of all of these, Media.net is the only one I've heard of equalling Adsense's payouts.

Other options that are a bit more work, but can generate substantially more than Adsense on some sites (advertising and copywriting know-how is kinda vital, though):

- Clickbank: affiliate sales of ebooks. Often sleazy-feeling, but can generate good revenue.

- ShareASale: Affiliate programs for physical products. There are some good, well-respected names running affiliate programs with these guys.

- CPA networks: now we're getting hardcore. Generate cash by feeding leads to MMORPGs, colleges, dating sites, and so on. Well outside the scope of a short comment - mail me if you're interested in this stuff and I can point you to some good resources.

hcho 1 day ago 0 replies      
Selling your stuff(books, videos, seminars etc) beats any kind of advertising hands down.
Selling your advertisement spots yourself is the second best, if you can pull it.
Affiliate programs seem to do well for some bloggers.

If you are after an ad network, there's no one that can beat Adsense, I am afraid.

true_religion 1 day ago 0 replies      
Another alternative is to have an agency sell spots for you.

You tell them how much you need for a spot, and they'll do their darnest to get the listing out.

If you contact me (email in profile), I'll put you in touch with a few people I know.

Ofcourse, you'll need to (a) have a site operation and (b) have at least more than 5000 visitors per day.

roothacker 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Hey, had an awesome experience working with Media.net guys. Would definitely recommend giving a try. I had worked earlier with several other, but had the best experience with them.
jkaykin 1 day ago 0 replies      
How should I decide on learning front-end vs back-end development?
4 points by markzuckerwho  1 day ago   5 comments top 4
jfaucett 1 day ago 0 replies      
You asked frontend or backend so I'll give you my answer, but this just comes from my personal experience over the past 10 years as a software developer, nonetheless I think its fairly true for the industry at large and will be for some time to come. The short of it - do backend. Why? Basically, if you know Software Design patterns, Java, C(++), a server side scripting language or two like Ruby or PHP, in tandem with some Frameworks, you can always get a Job - at least in my experience. I've lived and worked on several continents (US, South America, Europe) making software and its always been very easy for me to get a Job (my language skillset is C/C++/Java, Ruby/Jruby, and Javascript). I have collegues and friends that are frontend/UI designers and though they also always tend to be able to find jobs its not as easy because the demand is lower.

To go about learning "backend" I'd say start with c and java. Knowing c will force you to understand how your computer works at a very low level, and java will give you a solid understanding of object orientied programming and software design patterns. Stick with javascript too, because its only getting more important and you can do both Backend and frontend with it - also for someone starting out I think its a really easy language. I wouldn't say learn such and such framework, just read lots of source code and build you own apps, and make sure you're having fun and know you'll always keep learning.

Lots of luck!

orrenkt 1 day ago 0 replies      
I started learning to code more seriously about 6mo ago, so I know what your shoes feel like :)

There is simply a ton of stuff out there, and following a 3 year plan to cover 15 different languages and frameworks just seems intimidating as hell. Though I agree that it's all important.

My advice it to come up with a simple project idea and go and implement it - it doesn't even have to be a 'product' per se, just something fun that will function as a goal for you to work towards. As an example, my first project was making a simple twitter-like feed where you can make posts on a page, they go to a database, and then come back out on the front end dynamically. This might take a great hacker 20min to make, but I think it's a great first project because it lets you see and really visualize how the database<->server<->browser loop works. And I think getting the concepts driving things is really the key.

Another great idea is to pick some web service you love that has an API and try to build something fun with it - start with just figuring out how to make a GET request, parse the response, etc, and then build up from there.

CodeAcademy is fun and great to start with, but I think because the problems are all structured for you, it shelters you from having to do the most important thing - figure out what you need to know to solve your problem, and how to learn it. If you pick a small project and spend a lot of time on google and stackoverflow trying to find out how to get each step to work, you'll learn a ton, but you'll also learn how to become really resourceful when you're trying to solve a problem. And as for what languages to learn, I think the cool thing is your project will end up driving what you have to (and want to) learn.

I'd also add, as an aside: you're 16, so stop worrying about jobs!! Just do stuff that's fun and keep learning, and it'll all work out.

ChuckMcM 1 day ago 1 reply      
Why choose? Its not like its not possible to understand the full stack and you've not even gotten to and age where most folks would be starting college. Work through the various web frameworks (Bootstrap, Node, Django, Rails, ...), then look at the API systems that people have setup, then move on to Varnish / Nginx / Apache followed by CGI scripting, databases, and Python / Perl / Go / Java back ends. Should be able to get to all of that by the time you're 19 maybe 20. Follow what ever is the most fun / engaging / thrilling.
Sharma 1 day ago 0 replies      
Jobs are plenty for both BE or FE.

For back-end, read an overview of Python/Django and Ruby/Rails syntax and how these work and then analyse which one you can understand intuitively.

Whichever language/framework you choose get in to the lower level details and you will master the things.

For FE, after HTML/CSS start with Graphic/Logo designing(With Photoshop/GIMP or wait for thanksgiving and you will get lots of deals on Adobe products) and UX principles.Again see if these things come to you naturally.

After doing little bit of both you should be able to decide yourself which one(FE/BE) is better for you.

All the best!!

Ask HN: How to deal with losing interest in your passion?
76 points by sun123  5 days ago   68 comments top 28
reverend_gonzo 5 days ago 3 replies      
Take a break.

I had the same thing when I was 25. I ended up quitting my job and buying a one-way ticket to Europe. I didn't think I would ever write code again. I spent about three months backpacking Europe, then came back and spent a few more hanging around and doing odd jobs around town. Eventually, I started code in my free time again, and about a year later, came back into the profession refreshed.

Now I know what I need to do to prevent burnout again, and it's primarily that I keep other hobbies, and I have friends that aren't work-related. It lets me get away when I need to and still stay interested in what I do the rest of the time.

But that's more maintenance, sometimes you need to shotgun into that stage by cutting out everything for a lengthened period of time. If you really are a hacker at heart, and it sounds like you are, you'll start writing code again soon enough, and you'll know you're back.

You'll also have stories and other life experiences as well, which make you a better, more rounded person.

peteforde 5 days ago 3 replies      
I went through the same thing you're describing, and I came to a very simple conclusion (in hindsite) that the other commenters haven't touched upon. I quietly suspect that I'm right, and it makes me sad that it feels like such a dirty secret.

When I was a kid, I loved coding. From the ages of 6-19 I didn't really want to do anything as much as hack on cool projects. The only thing that would make my life perfect " obviously " would be to get paid to code, so that I could do it all of the time and pay bills, too. I'd be the luckiest guy on earth.

So, why was I horribly sad (not depressed, btw - that's a disease which you don't bring upon yourself) as a professional developer at 25? I used to be so engaged, but then I could hardly concentrate on what I was doing, and it was very difficult to get started each day.

One day it hit me like a lightning bolt: the reason you do something impacts whether you can enjoy doing it or not. That's why being a prostitute is not generally considered the best job ever; I found that coding other people's ideas was like not getting to choose who, when or how to have sex.

For me, the solution was to gradually move out of coding day-to-day into a more pure consulting role while reintroducing lots of fun personal coding projects, which are mostly just as fun as I remembered from when I was a teenager. 8-9 years later, I simply don't take on paid coding projects.

As a corollary, I'm really into film photography and I flat out refuse to get paid to shoot, because I have no interest in difficult brides or screaming babies. I figure that I deserve a passion that isn't corrupted by my need to pay a mortgage. It's like an endless chain of discoveries and happy accidents that brings me mental calm and occasionally professional (consulting) opportunity.

I recently went to the Luminance photography conference in NYC, and during breaks I met as many people as I could. Every working photographer seemed stoic and anxious, and all of the aspiring photographers verbally differentiated between their "arty" work and the stuff they had to shoot in order to pay the bills. Not one of them thought that there was any hope of them having fans that would appreciate them the way a painter would. [Granted, painters often have patrons... but I digress.] I found it all quite sad.

Needless to say, I suggested that they all learn to code as a career so that they could take photos out of love. I said that if they needed to pay their bills with their camera, they would develop an increasingly abusive relationship with photography.

Don't worry about "coming back with a bang". You only live once, so stop hitting yourself.

mrcharles 5 days ago 3 replies      
Find a hobby. Something that is completely mindless, and won't use any of the centers of your brain that you use for programming. If you do love programming, you may just be burnt out; if you are like me, you spend long stretches coding for most waking hours. Eventually you'll run risk of burning out.

Me, I build plastic robot models. It's no brain power at all, just precise physical motions. It's mindless and enjoyable, and at the end of the day you have something to show for it.

There's a lot of posts here saying take a break, but you really have to make sure that you are truly taking a break, and not just substituting programming with something else that uses the same parts of your brain.

edit: Here's one of the first models I built. Unpainted just to see what it looks like. http://www.flickr.com/photos/37553996@N07/sets/7215762298535...

krschultz 5 days ago 0 replies      
Passion can be rekindled, but doubling down on the subject is not the right way to do it. You are probably a little burnt out and a little jaded. Pickup a hobby far away from programming and use that as your fun time for a few years. When you get back to programming as a fun thing, you will enjoy it far more.

Snowboarding has been my passion for about 10 years. I snowboard 50+ days a year, I moved out to Colorado for a time just to snowboard absolutely as much as possible. I race, I go into the park a lot, I jump off cliffs, I go into the backcountry, I worked at a ski shop, I read all the magazines, buy the DVDs, and I watch the weather forecast incessantly.

But I'm burnt out on it. I moved back to the east coast, the mountains and weather aren't as good, and I'm totally jaded. If its not fresh snow, steep trails, perfect weather I feel like I'm wasting time and money. Unless I live at the mountain, I can't get any better than I am now (whereas before I enjoyed the challenge of getting up the learning curve). So I just decided to stop.

I picked up surfing instead. I'm terrible at it, but the challenge is thrilling. Now I can enjoy the learning curve again and I don't need 'perfect' conditions. It's fun just to get out there and do something.

And I'm sure when I do go back to snowboarding in a few years, it will be far more interesting.

So for you, I would say make programming your job, and something else your passion/hobby. Take a couple years off from programming outside of work, and come back to it with renewed purpose.

taude 5 days ago 0 replies      
Having worked in software engineering for 17+ years, I've learned a few things (and gone through at least two-bouts of serious burnout). One was at the end of the first dot-com boom when getting engineering jobs was nearly impossible, so it was a forced long-term vacation. I went to Europe for a bit.

1) In my 20s, I worked all the time. Didn't live a very balanced life, this lead to burnout, especially if you're working in a startup environment where you think you'll retire at 30.

2) I quit engineering twice (but after 6+ months off, new developments in technology that stimulated my imagination eventually brought me back)

3) I've learned to manage not working the burn-out dream, that likely in the long run, your 80 hours weeks aren't going to pay out. It's proven to me that there's plenty of successful people and companies who work realistic hours.

4) Hobbies. I prefer those where I get excercise (like cylcing). Gives me time to clear my mind and keep my body fit and invigorated. I also enjoy gourmet cooking.

5) Managing workload, prioritizing things that are important and recognizing things that you think are work but really procrastinating.

6) Learn other professional skills than typing text into your favorite editor/ide. Speaking at conferences/local user groups, managing project budget, managing teams, managing bigger teams. Doing these other things makes you appreciate the few hours of coding you have left in the week.

campnic 5 days ago 0 replies      
There is a misconception, extremely prevalent on HN and in the startup community, that you're dead at 35. Really, if you are 25 and not certain about what you want to do, the real 'risk' you should be taking is trying something completely different.

Don't set yourself up for a miserable life. Become a well rounded person. Try something else and see if it clicks for a while.

hluska 5 days ago 2 replies      
TL;DR - Aging is weird, but it beats the alternative.

Other commenters are giving you excellent advice about burnout. I agree with what they say, but want to toss in a different perspective.

When I was in Grade 9, there was a hip hop group called Kris Kross. At the time, I thought they were great. So great, that I went out and bought their CD, put it on repeat and listened to it for weekend long BBS marathon.

Today, I'm a little embarrassed to admit I was that passionate about the wack emcees who wore their clothes backwards. I haven't listened to them in years. Yet other bands that I worshipped in Grade 9 (ie - Bad Religion, NOFX and the Dead Kennedys) are still extremely important to me.

I'm 35 now and my passions have ebbed and flowed through the years. They are more fixed now, but they went a little wild between my teens and mid 20s. Heck, in high school, I was a straight edge post punk who wouldn't be friends with people who dared to smoke pot near me. By my third year of university, I was conducting pharmaceutical experiments on myself at raves.

We ebb and we flow. We change just as constantly as the landscapes that surround us. We fall in and out of love with new ideas, people, sounds and pursuits.

Take a deep hard look at whether or not you may be burned out. Try new things, immerse yourself in whatever seems exciting, and read new books. Learn to climb. Scare yourself half to death. Write a book. Get tattooed. Your passion for programming will likely come back. Or, it may be gone forever. Embrace the changes, my friend, you're going to learn an awful lot about yourself over the next few months!

Best of luck and remember that smooth seas never made a skilled skipper.

tzaman 5 days ago 1 reply      
I think every developer faces the same problem at one point. What helped me personally was actually working less and find new hobbies (that don't involve computers), and one thing in particular: running. It's hard to keep your enthusiasm at a high level if all you see is work - despite the fact that you might enjoy it. Go out, meet your friends, eat well and excersize.

EDIT: Recently I was attending a startup meeting and there was this video, where one developer said Sleeping and eating are overrated. What a load of crap - following this advice is the best way to burn out. We are not robots.

steve8918 5 days ago 1 reply      
After graduating from college, I completely immersed myself in computers, programming, networking, system administration, etc. I taught myself how to program, got a job programming, learned just about everything I needed to learn. I would work, and then when I came home, I would sit in front of the computer learning. It got to the point where if I didn't spend time learning, I would feel guilty.

This helped me immensely, because I accelerated in my career and knowledge really quickly. But then, after about 10 years, I had gained about 50 lbs, and suffered through some personal issues. I was completely and utterly burnt out. I stopped being curious about technology, and couldn't bring myself to even turn on a computer after work, except to play games or online poker. This period lasted for about 5 years.

What rekindled everything for me was that I found something new to be passionate about, namely algorithmic trading. The entire topic absolutely fascinated me and continues to fascinate me, and that's where I regained my passion. I've been spending a lot of time on this topic over the last few years.

My advice to you is just take a break. You're probably burnt out. Give it some time, and you'll probably go back to doing it, or you'll find something new to be passionate about.

chris_wot 5 days ago 0 replies      
I'm no psychologist, but is it possible that you are suffering from a bout of depression? I have found that my depression caused me to lose interest in most things. It came back, but it took a while...
bougiefever 5 days ago 0 replies      
I'm a programmer, 15+ years, and I took up beekeeping. It's nice to do something so completely the opposite of what I do at work. Bees are captivating because they are such complex creatures, but they are almost completely driven by instinct, so they are somewhat predictable. They drive what I need to do to help them succeed, but I still need to use my brain to figure out what help they need. It's a nice balance from writing code and being completely in my head all day.
personlurking 5 days ago 1 reply      
Another angle unfortunately without a solid solution.

If I told people to associate me with one word (a subject), pretty much anyone who knows me would say the same word. I've spent over 10 years learning about it but I've become jaded because just like any subject, you can study about it and you can do it. It's the doing it that has made me jaded and that has effected my will to study it as well.

My best theory is that I simply never defined it for what it is and has been: a goal. In effect, I summited and now I just feel like I'm at the top looking at the view. The solution, it seems, will inevitably be to search out another mountain to summit.

nasmorn 5 days ago 0 replies      
I wanted to quit computers several times but always gravitate back to them eventually. I even did a whole masters program in economics to find something different. I personally am just the type to cycle between workaholism and hedonism. After putting too much into work I get really appalled by it and need to spend time travelling and just generally living life. Every time I spend 6 weeks not working I have a burning desire to do and learn again. Maybe you just did too much.
The hardships of travelling are vital for me because at first everything is so great and you really need to do it until it isn't anymore. Eventually you will long to get back to your passion.
aleprok 5 days ago 1 reply      
Currently in the same position. I am only 22 and still studying in university about computers, but I have not touched to vim now for 3 months even though I used to write few hundred lines of code everyday as a hobby since i was 15 or something like that.

Most likely my dilemma is that I seem not to be able to decide where to specialize and programming alone has become quite boring. I kinda want to do everything and can not decide which is the most fun of games, web, mobile, desktop or security.

Kurtz79 5 days ago 0 replies      
Make programming a mean, not the end.

There are countless fields where what you have learned over the last 5 years can be of use, and feel fresh again.

Let's say you have spent the last years learning programming for web applications. Find a job (or star a personal project) where programming is applied to embedded systems, or medical devices, or videogames, or finance, or whatever.

And do not think that because you have been learning about "programming" you have to be a "programmer" if you don't want to. Try to have an experience in sales, management, design. You might lack specific knowledge in the role, but will have much more knowledge in the technical details than other people with specific experience in the role.

If you have been working just on private projects (say, a start-up), find a job as an employee in a good-sized company. Or the other way around, if you have some savings.

You are so young there is plenty of time for finding where you want to set, do not feel constrained by what is expected of you.

3amOpsGuy 5 days ago 0 replies      
Been through the same too, it was about your age at the time too - wonder if that's a common theme.

I fixed it with a change of direction. I'd been tackling a bunch of stuff that my heart wasn't in, figured out what i did still like (turns out i wasnt doing any of it day to day), engineered a change of circumstances at work and popped out the other end feeling happy again.

End to end about 4 months. Did involve a fair amount of persuasion - what i wanted to do didn't fit with the organisation at the time.

outworlder 5 days ago 0 replies      
It could be temporary. As others have commented already, this could be burnout.

There are other angles that you should consider. Is it only affecting your job, or are you apathetic on other things too ? If it is the latter (specially since you said 'everything'), it could indicate depression.

In my particular case, a mild form of depression always sets in whenever I am sleep deprived. This can go on for months if left unchecked. Go out, have some fun, sleep a lot and see if it helps. Have your health checked (physical and mental).

If everything checks out, you might just need a change of scenery. Another city, another job, a slightly different area, etc.

troels 5 days ago 0 replies      
In my early twenties I got tired of programming and started studying history at the university instead. I lasted about two years, at which time I had so much freelance programming work that I couldn't focus on the studies enough to pass tests. So I dropped out and got back into programming.

Not only did I regain my passion for programming, but I actually like to believe that the skills I learned there made me a better programmer to boot.

TLDR; You're young - Try something different for a while.

SatvikBeri 5 days ago 0 replies      
There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding exactly how passion works and what causes people to enjoy their work. Cal Newport wrote a very good book that dispels many of the myths surrounding the idea of passion and loving your work that might help you diagnose what's bringing you down and how to get past it: http://www.amazon.com/Good-They-Cant-Ignore-You/dp/145550912...
endymi0n 5 days ago 0 replies      
It gets everyone who's really passionate from time to time. I'd recommend Richard Feynman, who (as a Nobel Laureate) also completely lost interest in physics at a time - here's an abstract about the subject, but the whole book is gold and funny as hell on top: http://loooongway.wordpress.com/2012/04/15/my-english-is-ver...

For me, it's about composing and IT. When I studied musicology, I couldn't compose anymore and just wasn't creative. Then I changed to studying physics and soon burned my interest in the same way. Both of them definitely came back, and by now, I try to keep my interests more balanced!

helen842000 5 days ago 0 replies      
TL:DR - Stop, be ok with taking a break. Give yourself chance to discover what's left.

The thing to remember is that it's ok to have changes in interests. If our interests never changed we wouldn't make progress.

It sounds like you've got to a point where you are super comfortable with what you know.

Personally after I finished my CS degree I took a big break (2 years) from technology, building things and fixing things. Actually I felt like I hated all of it and that worried me a lot. I wanted to let all the learning settle & see what interest in the field I was left with - if at all.

After two years I made the decison to go into the applications support side of things as I realised I still loved the people part of it. Being the bridge between customers & developers, fixing things & I'm still doing that now. Even my interest in development has come back and I'm building things in my spare time again.

Also my partner & I have transitioned from taking photographs as a hobby, to professionally. I find that each time we get a photography job there's a little 2 month cycle where it goes from being great fun to just being 'done' with it. At that point we take fewer personal photos.

After a little time, the interest comes back we start photographing for fun again and then we get another job and it goes full circle.

I think you can only force creativity so long before it becomes work with obligations etc - that's when the interest fades.

chrisbennet 5 days ago 0 replies      
The "take a break" is spot on but I think a lot of burnout/loss of passion is related to what sort of work you are doing. If you are "paying your dues" in job that doesn't interest or challenge you it's going to be hard to stay excited. I look forward to going to work (almost) every day and I've been a software developer as long as you've been alive. At one point I was getting burnt out doing C++ and then C#/.NET came along and all the "newness" reinvigorated me. Maybe you need to change jobs or technologies?
rossjudson 5 days ago 1 reply      
I went through this a lot later in life, and what worked for me was "going academic". I hit Lambda the Ultimate and started challenging myself to learn a lot of really advanced stuff. I'd pick out papers that were hard to understand and go through them step by step, as many times as necessary.

I'd also recommend learning to do something complicated in your personal life, like flying, or diving, or fixing cars. Complexity doesn't exist just in software; it's all around us. Embrace it in your personal life and it will balance what's in your professional life.

justinhj 5 days ago 0 replies      
Change is as good as a rest. I've certainly found that to be the case when these sorts of feelings manifest. Working on a different team, a different project, a different boss or company down the street often completely refreshes your outlook.
realrocker 5 days ago 0 replies      
I dated a Biochemist for a while to get out of my burn out. The effects were chemically soothing.
gdonelli 5 days ago 0 replies      
Short answer:
Take time off (a few months) and then work on your project.

Long answer:
I worked for 4 years at Apple as a software engineer and I exactly felt like you. When I quit to find my passion again, I could not touch a computer for more than 3 months. It was really hard. I loved engineering and design so much. It felt like I lost the most important thing in life.

I was seriously burned out. I spent time with family, travelled and started appreciating life again. After 5 months off, I was eager to get back in technology. I am now working on my own thing (http://beta.shoeboxify.com) and love my life again.

alexrbarlow 5 days ago 0 replies      
I found a break and then working on what I only found interesting (playing around with weird languages, open sourcing things etc) was the trick, it got me really excited again about what will always be my life
unobliged 5 days ago  replies      
Grad school is a popular choice, and many would favor candidates with 3-5 years of work/project experience. The application process also helps you reflect on what your goals are, why you did what you previously did, and so forth. Taking an exam like the GRE/GMAT/LSAT/etc can also be good mental exercise and give you something mindless to do in between introspection for essays/apps.

Alternatively, it can also be cathartic to do some volunteer work. It certainly would put a smile on someone's face and perhaps provide some different perspective on life.

Ask HN: Review my startup, fliqq.com
5 points by dstarin  1 day ago   4 comments top 4
debacle 1 day ago 0 replies      
There's a scroll bar inside the nested div on the homepage (latest FF).

Really takes away from the design.

hiphopopotamus 1 day ago 0 replies      
I want to punch Don!

Seriously though, why would I use Fliqq instead of Facebook?

brandoncordell 1 day ago 0 replies      
clickable: http://fliqq.com
timinallyill 1 day ago 0 replies      
exciting concept. the synchronous engagement is gonna hurt you in terms onboarding and retention
Ask HN: I tested an idea with AdWords, are the result good enough to work on it?
7 points by gws  2 days ago   7 comments top 5
bkanber 2 days ago 0 replies      
What you haven't yet told us is: what's the lifetime value of a customer of your service?

Your stats above show an acquisition cost of $4.75 per user. That feels a little high, but you also have to consider the "landing page vs real product" problem. You may have gotten a higher conversion rate if you had a real product launched. You also don't have any experience yet advertising your product, so we can assume that the user acquisition cost will go down because of that as well.

So considering all that: what's the lifetime value of a customer? $10 or $100? If it's closer to $100, then even an acquisition cost of $5 would be great, but if you end up spending $5 to get a $10 user then either a) your idea isn't that compelling, or b) your marketing is suboptimal (edit: or c-- your product or industry demands that type of return, which probably isn't the case here).

So while I don't have "the answer" for you, you should start thinking about lifetime value of a customer and what you expect your user acquisition cost to become 6 months after launch. Weigh those two against each other and you'll have a good idea of whether this is worth pursuing or not. Best of luck!

djsamson 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is a good preliminary test, but more customer development needs to be done. You need to have problem and then solution interviews. Don't just show them your solution and ask "Will this help?" Of course it will to some extent.

You want to get a really good understanding why these people have this problem and how they've tried going on without your product. Ask them how much they would be willing to pay to get their problem solved. Then ask if your solution is helpful and show them a demo.

Steve Blank is the Godfather of customer development. I highly suggest the Startup Owner's Manual. But if you don't have time to read that all right now, just realize you need some in-depth interviews (preferably in person interviews) and then use the Google Adwords landing page test as a mass scale test.

Good luck.

mapster 2 days ago 0 replies      
Ok. So it cost you $127 to get 27 emails. Before you ask HN (is this good enough), you should ask these 27 people if they will in fact buy. Then you will have a sense if there is a market. Now it is pure conjecture. Be bold and ask. If you get mixed responses, ask them if you could interview them. Then pivot as necessary and iterate. Only your customers can tell you if the idea is good enough. You want their 'yes, I will buy" and not Adword stats to tell you if you should build or not. Best of luck
tocomment 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'd say go for it. It sounds like a cool idea.

Maybe you could market on forums like the four hour workweek?

junto 2 days ago 1 reply      
That landing page (http://unbouncepages.com/test-your-idea/) has a spelling mistake "online bsiness ideas".
If you had an exaflop computer today, what would you do with it?
2 points by Devilboy  1 day ago   4 comments top 4
daurnimator 7 hours ago 0 replies      
For everyone here that says "sell it":

The better approach is to meticulously disassemble it, and patent the crap out of everything inside.

Then replicate it and sell them!

After 10 years you should license the patent for free.

mchannon 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Sell it. (Probably in pieces to a few different interested buyers) :-)

Aside from making jobs for people in the US supercomputing industry, I don't see any application for faster versions of these same CPU-style supercomputers beyond low-rent stuff like climate modeling and physics research.

If the time traveling supercomputer's manufacturers start heading in the GPU direction, mining Bitcoin would be a pretty good way to monetize the appliance, if selling it wasn't an option.

dalke 1 day ago 0 replies      
Rent it out to people who want the compute power. Sell it to the same. Nothing I'm doing needs that much ability, so the profit from selling it could easily fund the purchase and use of a more moderate system, as well as fund other projects I'm interested in seeing done.
danwills 1 day ago 0 replies      
I would use it to render huge fractal images, do interesting and complicated path tracing (ie physically-based raytracing in mantra or luxrender), and explore reaction-diffuson simulations. All assuming, of course, that completeley parallel and compatible code is available for all of these.
Edit: happy to write such code myself too.
Ask HN: Most Innovative Web Frameworks in 2012?
7 points by jfaucett  2 days ago   5 comments top 5
da2nana 2 days ago 0 replies      
Thumbs up for PlayFramework, our web app dropifi.com is built on java/play. Play combines the awesomeness of the Java JVM with the simplicity of a "rails like framework" into one framework.
e-dard 1 day ago 0 replies      
Another Flask hacker here. Use it for all internal projects at work. 4 so far in 2012.
lewispollard 2 days ago 0 replies      
Silex is nice for APIs and such. Laravel 4 looks like it will be great when it finally arrives.
kumarski 2 days ago 0 replies      
Zurb Foundation?
codegeek 1 day ago 0 replies      
Flask (Python)
       cached 30 September 2012 12:05:01 GMT