hacker news with inline top comments    .. more ..    17 Oct 2012 Ask
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Rate my startup: taurus.io
2 points by ebzlo  1 hour ago   1 comment top
bdfh42 41 minutes ago 0 replies      
I am confused. The site headlines "Set up a product tour" - but then it looks like a set of fancy tool tips and jQuery UI covers a lot of that ground.
Ask HN: How important are UML diagrams at your work?
7 points by dacilselig  8 hours ago   6 comments top 5
pestaa 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm a unversity student in Europe, and most things we learn make exactly zero sense. I stopped assuming rationality when it comes to CS education a long time ago. Yesterday we had to implement adding two numbers over SOAP.

With that said, UML is not really used in small companies much, but when you feel a diagram would make it easier to understand a concept, chances are you're going to either draw UML or reinvent it poorly.

prodigal_erik 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I have seen class and sequence diagrams used on a few occasions. The others, never. My teams at Microsoft years ago were getting into statecharts (state machines made clearer with a few extra features, e.g., events which happen on any transition between groups of states) but not the UML notation for them that has apparently popped up. I have the impression these are more common in consulting shops which charge by the hour for reams of waterfall design docs which only roughly describe the actual software written as an afterthought. Even though the way we typically improvise software design is blatantly stupid, this stuff doesn't seem to be the solution.
CyberFonic 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I work in industry and teach SE part-time at one of the world's top universities.

Yes, we teach UML because it is the most widely used modeling language. It features many profiles for specific domains and there is a range of tools to choose from.

Embedded systems, avionics, motor vehicle, telecommunications systems are heavily modeled using UML and related techniques. Industrial control systems less so, but there are areas where they are being used more and more. In the commercial applications space, there is much advances to be made.

The use of modeling is a core feature of most engineering disciplines but only recently becoming a part of software engineering methodologies. A crashed program is easier to recover from than a bridge that crashes into the water or a microwave tower that comes crashing down in the first big winds. So the demand for modeling is going to take a while to become a "must have" in SE.

So if you want to work at the next Facebook then UML is probably not going to be important. But if you want to work at Boeing then you'll be needing it.

codeonfire 5 hours ago 0 replies      
In normal practice uml diagrams are not created. To put it bluntly, in many environments it would be a waste. Many people in the business world equate software development to sending an email or using excel. How do you explain a complex system or process diagram to them? All they understand is that there was a meeting so the software should be done in a day or so.
guilloche 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I do not want to say that UML is totally useless, but honestly, I did not even meet one single programmer who were using it.
UML may be useful for things other than CS.
Ask HN: How do you manage your daily Agendas? Tools/tips?
2 points by x3c  4 hours ago   1 comment top
Peroni 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Two essential daily tools for me:



Anyone Can Ride Rails - should I write this book?
7 points by AstonJ  13 hours ago   16 comments top 8
stevejalim 59 minutes ago 0 replies      
Why not see what the market thinks of your idea by trying the 'lean publishing' route? Check out http://leanpub.com as one [good] way to do it. It's working out pretty well for me so far. It would mean moving from OpenOffice to Markdown formatting, but the whole Dropbox + Markdown approach that Leanpub uses is pretty good and there is decent support for code blocks etc
thejteam 13 hours ago 2 replies      
Is your target audience absolute beginners to programming or experienced programmers who want to learn Rails?

One thing I Have never seen is a "why" you should learn Rails and what you can do with it. What kind of web apps can I build? What can I do with it? Why would I want to?

Personally, I don't go for the informal tone, but it wasn't over the top and many books tend to go that way so no problem.

I like that it seems you won't be preaching about side technologies like git or tdd. It is an added difficulty when people add extra complications to a book, especially an intro level book. My personal opinion, don't go preachy on formatting or style either, just use well written examples for people to learn from and they will pick up your style.

zafriedman 11 hours ago 1 reply      
A few observations. One, you haven't written that many pages, in fact you've written very, very few pages save for the preface and the like. This isn't an issue on its own, except theres no Table of Contents so it's hard for me to see where you are going to take it from here, or in other words what your vision is. The obvious result of this is that it's pretty hard to provide feedback. The flip side is of course, that you've demonstrated enough desire and initiative within yourself to endeavor to start the book, so unless you have a serious reason to stop, maybe forge ahead and try to finish what you started.

One other thing that I just want to put in your head, I'm not sure if I'm even going so far as to suggest it, is the possibility of flexing scope to write perhaps a 50 page e-book, not dissimilar to the Sacha Greif ebook (http://sachagreif.com/ebook/) but for getting from zero to the next book on Rails for absolute beginners. The benefit of this would be that you could probably spend about 20 hours writing it (I'm pulling this number out of my ass, so I could be waaay off about this time estimate) and therefore you've risked a much shorter amount of time, which I'm assuming is your main concern.

jfaucett 13 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't want to discourage you, I'm just gonna give you my honest personal thoughts. I think there is a lot of this kind of stuff on the web already. What I think there is less of (maybe there's also less demand for it), is deep rails or ruby VM type stuff. I do most of my programming in c/c++ though (so I'm no ruby expert) and whenever I need to pick up a scripting language or framework like rails, usually I try to grab something that has maximum code, with bar minimum and to the point explanations, and get annoyed whenever anyone talks about intro to OOP or starts explaining functions, variables, etc. So obviously, I'm not your audience for this book.

Having said all that I don't want to be a downer here, I think its great you're writing a book and possibly getting people interested in programming :)

diasks2 13 hours ago 1 reply      
I think you should keep going. In my opinion any materials that make it easier for beginners to get started on programming are a net benefit to society. Over the coming years I think there is going to be a divide between those that can program and those that can't as technology continues to be an ever increasing part of our lives. I am in full support of anything that helps break down the barrier to jumping in and getting started.

Great start and I look forward to seeing the finished version. Keep us updated on your progress.

bharad 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Nice start. I think you should keep going.
This might be helpful. http://techcrunch.com/2012/01/28/why-every-entrepreneur-shou...

What software do you use to write your book?

eranation 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Whatever will be your decision, this is a great book title!
Ask HN: Why is subscription billing hard?
7 points by zdrummond  18 hours ago   10 comments top 4
dangrossman 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Think about a company like Comcast -- millions of customers, thousands of phone agents, thousands of contractors in Comcast vans hooking up home service, multiple regional websites, legacy customers from previous product iterations and acquired local cable companies. Add on to that multiple public and private billing plans, service credits, local deals/specials, grandfathered customers on old plans, a combination of fixed and usage-based billing, optional add-ons, and parent/children accounts for business and landlords. Imagine just how complex that "rules engine" has to be to get billing right.

The company that can manage that for Comcast is going to be delivering hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars in value. If they didn't pay someone for it, they'd have to employ and manage a large development team just to do billing. Lots of salaries. That's what justifies the price.

If you're a startup with 3 payment plans and sometimes you have to give someone a credit because you had some downtime, your situation isn't even 1% as complex, and you can get by with a $50/month service or a couple hundred lines of your own code.

skrish 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Depends on how complex your product and pricing model is. Zuora is slightly enterprisey customers and priced accordingly and they charge setup fee, customization fee etc.,

If you are looking for simpler products focused on small & medium businesses there are plenty of options available as well.

Of course if you are in North America you have Stripe as your first bet and for bit more sophisticated billing plus more options to do promotions, automated notifications, HTML emails, customer support portal, more complex metered billing, grandfathering of price plans (happens!), multi-gateway support etc., you should consider using a billing solution.

Disclosure: I am one a co-founder of http://www.ChargeBee.com, another Subscription Billing solution focused on small businesses.

Shameless plug: If you are looking for options to use payment gateway for credit card + bank transfers for recurring to save $$s per transaction you should try our solution (launching the ACH part very soon).

subsection1h 15 hours ago 0 replies      

    While doing research I came across Zuora [...]

What other solutions did you evaluate? Which of your requirements did the other solutions not meet?

After I research solutions to a problem, I end up with a list of requirements and a list of solutions with notes regarding each solution (e.g., pros and cons). If you were to post a complete list of your requirements and notes regarding each solution you evaluated, it would be easier to provide relevant feedback.

(If you didn't take any notes, you might want to consider the benefits of note taking in the context of a personal or company wiki.)

orangethirty 17 hours ago 2 replies      
How much is expensive?
Ask: Transition from Microsoft stack to...?
4 points by jesikel  11 hours ago   4 comments top 4
saiko-chriskun 11 hours ago 0 replies      
It's going to be hard to say much without starting some biased flame war, since in the end there's nothing that one framework can do that another can't, really.

All of the languages mentioned above have pretty good ecosystems around them. I think Ruby's is the strongest at the moment, but if you're more of a python guy no harm in that :P.

Honestly I learn as much as I can, and as such have done at least a little bit of dev work in all of the above languages plus some :P. Never hurts, and you'll be able to make a much more informed decision yourself afterwards.

MatthewPhillips 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Clojure or Node.js. Since both are first-class on Windows, you can continue using the tools you are used to.
nalidixic 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I also write on the Microsoft stack full time at work.

About a year ago I started working with Ruby on Rails for all my side work and hobby projects. It really is an awesome mind shift from .NET.

So I guess my vote would be take a look at Ruby on Rails!

mje 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I do rails and aps.net apps. Check out rails and also consider doing current .net apps OSS/rails style. See http://www.servicestack.net
Show HN: What's trending (keywords) on HN
6 points by jjhageman  18 hours ago   1 comment top
louhong 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Ask HN: Are microloans a scam?
3 points by negamax  19 hours ago   discuss
Show HN: Templated Webhooks
3 points by AffableSpatula  19 hours ago   1 comment top
AffableSpatula 19 hours ago 0 replies      
The link in the OP didn't seem to work, here it is again:


Show HN: My standalone PHP Debugger
11 points by phatbyte  1 day ago   4 comments top 2
chris_dcosta 1 day ago 1 reply      
Will it only install on 10.7 or is it that it hasn't been tested on earlier versions of OS X?
laurencei 1 day ago 1 reply      
looks interesting. any plans to release a PC version?
Ask HN: Where do you freelancers find your clients/work?
12 points by shahed  1 day ago   4 comments top 2
bdunn 1 day ago 1 reply      
I had a lot of luck frequenting events where small business owners are (i.e. people with problems and money.) Networking events, mixers, business lectures, and so on.

I also spent a LOT of time cultivating my past clients list and encouraging a steady stream of referrals.

When I was running my consultancy (before jumping ship to products), I had to maintain $100k+ revenue a month in client projects. Let's just say I got pretty good at the whole "getting work" thing :-)

timjahn 1 day ago 0 replies      
While you're specifically asking about finding your first few clients, this previous thread has some great overall advice for finding clients in general as a freelancer:

Also, we recently launched the beta of matchist (http://matchist.com) to help freelance developers like yourself find quality clients and get paid on time, every time.

We've built a memory storage service, we'd love your thoughts.
10 points by LemonadeDev  1 day ago   4 comments top 2
forcer 22 hours ago 1 reply      
how can you guarantee the data will be accessible in 50 years ? how can I trust you that you won't be gone in few months as many startups like this do.

Don't get me wrong, I like it and many people will surely use it, but I think the most important part is to persuade people you will stick around for long.

mcrider 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'd love to have a service like this that is polled by my devices as I go about the day. For example if I'm writing an email, visiting a website, or at a physical location (according to my phone), the service would give me gradated alerts based on the relevance of the current situation to various stored 'memories'. So, really, the next (un)natural progression of human memory. Just a thought, good luck with your project :)
I am a 14 year old programmer. I'm stuck.
17 points by zbaker1398  2 days ago   33 comments top 23
keefe 1 hour ago 0 replies      
have you checked out coursera?

I started when I was 8, first professional programming job in 10th grade...

The jump from intermediate to "complete" is indeed very large, so expect a journey.

You need to find something you enjoy working on that you evolve over the next couple of years to learn about software engineering and what automation is important etc. This could be a game or an extension to an open source game, it doesn't really matter. It will almost certainly be a failure in some sense, so it's good to get that first failure out of the way so you can scrap it, revisit, etc.

I think coursera would be a great place for you to start, though it may require you to learn a new language (this is one step on the journey towards advanced in X language, I expect it would be octave/matlab) I'd recommend doing the introductory machine learning course and whatever other stuff interests you.

From the quality of your writing, you're quite bright for 14 - so stick to it and don't neglect your physical health and artistic/emotional/cultural education because you need to be free of distractions to reach highest level.

trotsky 2 days ago 1 reply      
While I'm sure this won't sound terribly appealing to you, my advice would be to pick a medium size open source project that you're interested in and does code reviews. Start small by contributing bite sized fixes or features that they already have listed as things they want to do - many projects have lists like that for newcomers. If you do that even just a few times and get your code accepted you'll have gained more skills and knowledge about how to build a successful piece of software than almost any classroom would offer. In my experience many projects will be very welcoming to someone like you and yet be willing to hold you to higher standards than most teachers would.

After you did that you'd be much, much more likely to be able to build a successful project on your own.

gruseom 2 days ago 0 replies      
What sorts of things are you interested in? You'll have better luck working on something you find exciting.

If you get stuck on technicalities, two good things to try are (a) Google code search (http://code.google.com/codesearch) for examples related to what you're doing (for example, if you were trying to make an S3 connection from Python, you could check http://code.google.com/codesearch#search/&q=s3connection...) and (b) a relevant IRC channel if there is one.

If there are any programmer meetups in your area, try going and asking for help in person. When I was your age and trying to learn programming, I didn't know anyone who could help me. In retrospect, that was the #1 thing that held me back.

geofft 2 days ago 0 replies      
> The problem is that while I know all the ins and outs of python(ish) this task seems daunting.

This seems entirely expected -- you have a good background in a programming language, but no real training in software design, which is to say, in breaking down a large project into useful components, setting and using appropriate abstractions, and managing complexity. This is unsurprising, since this is an entirely different sort of task than just knowing the syntax of a language.

There are several good options here, like the textbooks _Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs_ and _How to Design Programs_, both freely readable online. Reading things like ESR's summary of the UNIX philosophy (http://www.catb.org/esr/writings/taoup/html/ch01s06.html) might also help -- much of the UNIX philosophy exists to manage complexity in a huge system.

Another good option is to look at high-quality existing free/open-source software and understand how it's designed and why. If you can, find something you want to change in it and contribute it back. The skills you'll develop in understanding how to find your way in a large software project will serve you well in designing a large software project yourself.

ecspike 2 days ago 0 replies      
My answers are more general to your growth as a programmer and not as a means to an end for help to make that desktop app.

Google Code-in starts next https://code.google.com/opensource/gci/2012/index.html .

"The tasks are grouped into the following categories:

  1. Code: Tasks related to writing or refactoring code
2. Documentation/Training: Tasks related to creating/editing documents and helping others learn more
3. Outreach/Research: Tasks related to community management, outreach/marketing, or studying problems and recommending solutions
4. Quality Assurance: Tasks related to testing and ensuring code is of high quality
5. User Interface: Tasks related to user experience research or user interface design and interaction"

You could even win a trip to Google HQ in Mountain View.

I did the college version (Summer of Code) and it was a very rewarding experience. I think the code-in can put you in contact with some organizations that might want to mentor you. The Mozilla Foundation has a bunch of projects you can contribute patches and fixes to as well.

If you don't know it already, learn how to use git. I would also suggest the book Programming OpenSouce Software by Karl Fogel (just google for it, he offers it free online).

rickdale 2 days ago 2 replies      
I remember being in your shoes. My advice is to get a web server and to start hacking it. Create websites, mess with databases. Install some open source apps and figure out how to create a module. You can do it; one step at a time; the daunting feeling will turn into great gratitude. I feel like there are better people here that can give you more overall sound advice, but hopefully this provides you with a platform to at least keep moving.
DrJosiah 2 days ago 0 replies      
For what purpose are you writing software, and what is your desired destination?

Do you want to program something interesting for you? (then figure out what you want to program, figure out the technologies it would take to make it happen, then learn them, and do it)

Do you want to get better at the trade so that at some point someone will pay you to program? (then go through MIT's OpenCourseWare: http://ocw.mit.edu/index.htm on CS topics to build up your fundamentals, then start reviewing/helping/hacking on open source for a while)

Do you want to use programming as a tool to do other things that you are interested in? (look around at what topics are necessary to understand, learn more about those topics, and go for it)

Personally, I knew when I was young that I would be into programming; when I was 5-7, we did LOGO in school, but there weren't really any programming courses worth anything in my high school (Cobol, Fortran, Hypercard, and Pascal), and I took the two electronics courses that were offered. I held myself back until college, where I did my best to learn and program as much as possible. After college, I went to grad school, continued programming as much as I could (I wrote an editor in Python for Python, dozens of data compression libraries, several distinct MUDs, ...), and got a PhD in theoretical computer science. Since then, I've been working in industry (because the academic market is crappy right now).

So I again ask; what is your destination? If you don't know yet, that's okay. You can improve your skills, your fundamental knowledge, and your technique without taking formal classes (see my link to MIT's OpenCourseWare). Heck, you may even be able to do so without talking with others (though it is hard). Once you do figure out your destination, it's a lot easier to ask for directions to get there.

bobfirestone 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I have only been coding for a couple of years and know the feeling. There are so many things you could know that thinking about it is intimidating. A few of things I think you should do...

1. There are a lot of free CS courses being put online. Start with the courses at Udacity.com they are the most "friendly" to start with. Then move up to the university level courses at coursera & edx.

2. Find a local user group. Connecting with other programmers in your area gives you a support network to ask questions to.

3. Study algorithms.

4. Write lots of little command line apps. Don't worry about them being useful just focus on making the code good.

5. If you are not already doing it take all the math classes you can.

You are 14 and that is a good thing. If you stick with it and keep learning you will be a badass when you are 18.

computerslol 1 day ago 1 reply      
Unlike your peers, there is no precedence for you. There is no preconfigured direction for you. There is no magic set of courses to get you where you want to go. Don't be discouraged, this is a very very good thing.

Reading Hacker News might get you excited, thinking "There are tons of people just like me out there!", but we are geographically distributed; and most aren't like you at all.

I know some of your story. I lived it. I've had a lot of success, and here's how I came about it:

Write a list called "What I want to be making by the time I'm 30", and devote it to memory. Stay abstract and philosophical. Talk to people who know about who you'd need to hire to accomplish those goals, and go learn to be those people. You have time, but not as much as you'd think. It takes 10 years to master a skill, and I'm guessing you'll have at least 4 to master before your list is ready for implementation. Start now. You can do more than one concurrently. The further along you get, the easier it will get. The goal is to master. Maintain a hunger for purity. Don't use something until you know exactly how it works, and why it was created. If you like something, try writing your own version.

It will be very hard at first. Keep that list in mind for motivation. Get jobs requiring your required skills, and always volunteer for the tasks your coworkers are afraid of. You will make mistakes, you will fail from time to time, but every year you will get better, stronger and faster.

Someday (if you stick with it) you'll be able to invent and build things that are yours, and yours alone. Things that matter. Things that change lives. Corporations will depend on you specifically. You will move the state of the art forward and make the world better.

Make sure you never forget what it felt like when you were new. When you'd take out a pen, and draw interface designs for a product you can't build yet. When "This would be so cool" outweighed "This will be so hard to build". Create your own challenges and break through them.

You'll do great :). I'm looking forward to a chance to hire or compete with you some day.

saluki 2 days ago 0 replies      
For starters create a basic web app. Pick something you or you and your friends/family are interested in.

Maybe a to do list app or maybe an app that you can chat with your friends on or track your DVD/other collection . . . organize photos or maybe a family meal planner.

Pick something you are interested in and then start trying to build it at a basic level.

There are lots of tutorials out there for the individual components you'll need.

Once you have the basics up and running then start adding features.

As far as the APIs go choose something simple for starters, like obtaining a piece of data you want to incorporate into your app via an API and go from there. Maybe creating a basic HTML5 mobile weather app.

You are going to have to learn some things on your own even in college so don't worry about advanced classes not being available at your school. Classes are typically going to be behind the latest trends anyway. They provide a good foundation but won't cover everything you need.

Some ideas for new things to check out . . . skills to learn.

Learn to develop mobile websites and apps using jQuery Mobile.

Learn Ruby on Rails.

Create some simple iOS apps.

Create a websites for friends and family.

Good luck!

csalvato 1 day ago 0 replies      
Don't underestimate yourself. Don't be afraid to shine through.

Start small. Maybe start with a single cloud platform, like Evernote or iCloud. Once you know the ins and outs of a particular platform, and are an expert on that, move on to the next one.

Baby steps, just keep moving in the right direction and DON'T STOP and DON'T BE AFRAID.

You are experiencing a fear of success. Overcome it, and just keep your head down and ship.

lsiebert 2 days ago 0 replies      

It seems like you want support in expanding, mentorship etc.

There are a couple of options you have. You can see if you can take classes at your local junior/community college in python.

You can try to do what you want, and when you get stuck, go on a python mailing list, a irc channel, stackoverflow.com, a python user group, a hacker space, etc.

You can also decide things are too hard and give up, or put things off. I won't judge you, programming is often difficult and frustrating when I'm doing new stuff.

Anyway, do something else, dive in, or give up.

ashr 2 days ago 0 replies      
Start with www.coursera.org. There, you will find classes with varying degree of difficulty. If you can, audit a computer science class in the nearby college/university. Build something that you think you would be able to use yourself. Build it bottom-up, one small feature at a time.
andrejewski 2 days ago 0 replies      
I have a similar problem, but I'm off by a year. I'm fifteen and have basically run out of any CS-related classes to take at my school. I have shifted into math classes (Calc, Stats) to help me get some "computation" this year at school. Just as someone who was where you are, I'd say don't get discouraged by what your school offers and try to work on your craft outside of school. Depending on how much you have learned about CS and programming, maybe learning more and iterating on some side projects would suffice. It's definitely something that is hard to get over, you're not alone. Keep developing.
michael_fine 2 days ago 1 reply      
Hey, I'm 15 and feel like I was just in your position. Emails in my profile, if you'd like to talk, or you can Skype me at michaelhfine
jason_slack 2 days ago 0 replies      
This may be out of the box a bit, but if you think going from "intermediate to advanced" (your wording) will be huge, maybe that is exactly what you need?

Get it? It should be scary. You are doing something new to you.

Watch the movie "Indie Game". If you dont have the $10 to buy it I will gift it to you from iTunes.

Ask questions, you are 14, you wont be bothering anyone. If someone gives you a hard time it is because they are jealous. E-Mail in profile.

orangethirty 2 days ago 1 reply      
I have some teenagers working with Python on Nuuton and you might feel at home with them. They are building the main search crawler, and some of the APIs, so its also a cool and interesting project for you.
Send me an email (address in profile). If anything, I can at least point you in a good direction.
pbreit 2 days ago 0 replies      
Check out Web2py which is a simple download and enables super easy development of Python-based web apps.
dotborg 2 days ago 0 replies      
Don't waste your childhood on programming. Get some other knowledge outside of computer science.
hoodoof 2 days ago 0 replies      
Build something small that does a little bit of what you find interesting. Try to do less. The more you take on up front, the harder and more daunting it will be for you.
biscarch 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is going to be short but my advice is "Jump In".

As long as you keep at it you'll learn how to swim in larger and larger oceans.

You can ask questions on sites like StackOverflow or in IRC if you get stuck.

zengr 2 days ago 1 reply      
Find a mentor.
yishengjiang 2 days ago 0 replies      
You should become a PowerPoint ninja if your school only offers PowerPoint.
Why Y Combinator News is so popular?
5 points by martinbc  1 day ago   8 comments top 8
geoffschmidt 1 day ago 0 replies      
Because HN actually has the best content, it doesn't have to do any of the other things you mention to get users. So it can focus on the thing that really matters, which is the value that users get from the site, which in the case of HN has nothing to do with graphic design or trend-following social features.

If something is low quality, but many people use it anyway, that means that there is a part of it that is truly world class.

paulsutter 1 day ago 0 replies      
When the evidence strongly contradicts your assumptions, you may want to revisit them.

I'n here because the featured articles and comments are well aligned with the interests of technology entrepreneurs like me. HN development effort is wisely directed towards improving voting and ranking.

Making the "innovations" you describe would be like using cake frosting to put a fancy design on a grilled salmon.

I love the existing low latency/low bandwidth design of HN. It works great on my iphone in limited connectivity conditions, much better than normal websites. It's a real plus, but minor compared to the quality of articles and comments.

27182818284 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Every other social news site tends to pull away from techish news. Hacker News does it too from time to time, but on the average, it does a good job at it. I also love people like Peter Norvig jumping in and talking about a subject or some random startup "Show HN"ing their new product.
coryl 1 day ago 0 replies      
For me:
- Really good articles and content posted and upvoted.

- Good quality comments and lots of expertise from individuals from every sector of tech.

- No trolls / bs comments like most anonymous forums (ok, a few, but they get downvoted quickly).

project23 1 day ago 0 replies      
I can't answer for others but here are my personal reasons (in no particular order):

1. The community. Its better than anything I can find elsewhere at the moment for its size and diversity.

2. The content. This, like the answer above, is the same.

3. Engagement levels are decent.

Please note that better does not mean best, it just means its better that anything else I can find.

thejteam 1 day ago 0 replies      
The slightly obnoxious answer would be volumes of people trying to suck up to the YCombinator decision makers. Despite this sucking up, the discussion, especially if you are good at scanning through comments, is still the best I have seen. So that is why I like it.
saiko-chriskun 1 day ago 0 replies      
As with all things, community (i.e. network-effect) is what's most important.

e.g. craigslist

pmtarantino 1 day ago 0 replies      
People using it.
Ask HN: Lost my passion for development, anyone else been through this?
11 points by passionlessdev  2 days ago   8 comments top 7
michaelpinto 2 days ago 0 replies      
Yes as a fortysomething who has been hanging with techies since my youth i can tell you that yes people can grow out of love with writing code. If said person doesn't have another immediate road they often become managers of people who write code, or go into a related field like information architecture. Also frankly once you become a thirtysomething you often tend to get settled down with a spouse and perhaps even kids -- so the joy of spend an all-nighter no longer becomes a joy.

Although I suspect that your problem is that you didn't like to code in the first place (which you sort of said). I think the thing to do is to find something related and realistic that you have enough passion to keep you going. So can you be a rock star at age 30+? Maybe, but it's a long shot. But I bet that there is something that is viable that does get you excited. And I suspect that you're smart if you had the ability to go another country and earn a living (maybe your passion has something to do with that?). But whatever you do, don't try to fake a passion.

staunch 2 days ago 1 reply      
You can make a career in music, though it may not be making music itself. Leverage your current skill (programming) to get yourself into a music-related job. Start making band web sites, or social media crap, online merchandise sites, or whatever it is that these people need. Meet people in the industry and figure out what might be fun for you to do. Maybe it will involve making music, or maybe something you find even more enjoyable.

Programming can open doors into just about anything these days.

markenstein 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm not a psychologist, but I notice some things that I look at differently.

You mention "being an average programmer" and learning new things feeling like work because they make you feel "too dumb or stupid."

So what is fun? Something you are good at? What are your expectations?

You also mention "trying to find my passion" Cal Newport wrote some articles of how "following your passion" is dangerous advice because it doesn't work like that.

Perhaps you are depressed and you just need to find some meaning behind what you are doing? Have you read Man's Search for Meaning?

Because being good or bad at programming doesn't have to affect the enjoyment you get out of it. I know some grumpy rock-star programmers who seem to unconsciously be chasing this concept of being accepted or loved when they finally reach whatever level of perfection they have invented for themselves. Imagine how frustrating it must be for them, every flaw is preventing them from receiving what they desire.

I worry that your line of thinking is: I'm not happy. -> OK maybe it is because "I'm not a good programmer." -> OK, let's try becoming better -> Progress with natural setbacks -> (Frustration because you aren't becoming happier) -> Maybe it is because I'm not a good programmer -> OK, maybe I need to do something else.

Also, moving to a new country is hard for everyone, it sneaks up on you.

devs1010 1 day ago 0 replies      
Consider going into project management, this seems to be what some people do when they don't want to be a developer anymore. I have worked with PM's who used to be developers and had basically completely stopped coding and went solely into management. One guy, at my last job, I don't think had even close to 10 years experience as a developer before he went into management. If you go this route, please don't become the type who attempts to trivialize the work of the people who do do the coding, the aformentioned PM had this attitude and it was rather obnoxious given that his skills had deteriorated (or were never there in the first place) as far as actually being a developer.
damian2000 2 days ago 0 replies      
A few years ago I went through a patch of about 2 years when I gave up my s/w development job and founded a small online business selling electronics. It paid the mortgage, but not much else. It was exciting, but at the same time it also increased my respect for having a stable job with guaranteed income every week.

Have you thought about combining some form of software development with your love of music? Not sure what exactly ... maybe an educational app to learn how to read music scales or something.

saluki 2 days ago 0 replies      
Keep a positive attitude.

It's tough feeling average when everyone wants to be a rock star but most people are closer to being average.

As far as your day job "that's why they call it work" it's not always going to be fun and exciting. You'll go through periods of time where you lose and regain your passion.

The guy working heavy construction in the construction zone on your way to work probably isn't 100% happy with his career either.

If you've been doing this for 7 years you are smart and you can keep up. Consider changing to a new company or new project. Sometimes managers have a way of making you feel not smart enough or able to keep up.

A career change is possible, typically you'll have to take a lower salary.

Music is an awesome hobby that you can do on the side. So keep learning musical skills and making music. I had a band in college so I had the dream of being a rock super star that has been replaced with being a tech super star (SaaS apps, big house, five cars).

So keep a positive attitude at work, maybe seek out a new project or maybe a new company for a change of scenery.

A nice distraction from your day job would be focusing on your music in the evenings and on weekends . . . if you have an interest in starting your own business look at starting a music related website or SaaS app or a SaaS app to replace your day job income. StartUpsForTheRestOfUs.com has a good podcast to learn more about that option.

The economy is tough out there so appreciate having a stable job as a developer.

Good luck.

Art_Yu 2 days ago 0 replies      
Following passion is a good thing. But it's simple to say, not as somple to do - you still have to make your living. Kinda "catch 22"... I felt same way when I graduated college and found myself thinking about it more and more. Once it got all over me - I knew I had to make my choice.
It's hard - but if you're seriously thinking about turning your life to another path, which I guess you are, take a break for a few days and think deep. But if you make the approach to change your lifestyle, get ready to work twice as much to succeed for real.
Ask HN: Can I visit your startup in SF?
88 points by maxcameron  4 days ago   83 comments top 28
petercooper 4 days ago 7 replies      
There have been quite a few threads like this on HN over the years (including one I made :-)). I wonder if there's some way of formalizing or aggregating the concept of visiting other companies, it seems there's an audience for it.
volandovengo 4 days ago 1 reply      
Kera looks great! Is it currently an idea that you're trying to validate or are you currently coding it up and waiting to launch?
arram 4 days ago 3 replies      
You're welcome to join us for lunch at ZeroCater. Email in profile.
kloncks 4 days ago 1 reply      
We do payments (https://www.ribbon.co) and would love to show you our offices in SOMA.


enjo 4 days ago 1 reply      
Not California, but if you find yourself in Denver/Boulder I'd love to show you around:)
reiz 4 days ago 1 reply      
Hi Max. My Name is Robert Reiz. I am the founder of http://www.versioneye.com. That is my second Start-Up. I am coming at the same time to San Francisco, from Germany. I like your product, I like Canadians and of course I like Beer :-)
I will contact you.
SwaroopH 4 days ago 1 reply      
Come visit Startup House (5th and Harrison) to meet us (http://attico.us) and various other startups.
mnicole 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is exactly the tool I've been waiting for; great work and good luck!
stefanobernardi 4 days ago 1 reply      
Max, Kera.io looks awesome, congratulations.

Happy to have you guys visit, and we'd love to talk about using the product too.

We're in SOMA. stefano ]a-t[ betable.com

froseph 4 days ago 1 reply      
Drop by whitetruffle ( https://www.whitetruffle.com/ ). We're located in Rocketspace coworking space. @froseph or joseph@whitetruffle.com
zocoi 4 days ago 1 reply      
Checkout http://openco.us/, they are doing a kickoff today where you can spend an hour visiting a startup in their list, from airbnb to zynga and beyond
porterhaney 4 days ago 1 reply      
Will you be bringing poutine?
scylla 4 days ago 1 reply      
Come stop by. http://www.appdirect.com

We're based in San Francisco but founded by two Canadians.

bernardom 4 days ago 1 reply      
Very, very cool startup.

For us non-technical folk, you might wish to add a section to your how-to explaining how Kera.io would interact with proprietary data; for example, if our app happens to be financial, would you be able to see any of it? Or is the script hosted on our end?

(This may be obvious to a dev, but not to me, and therefore caused me to send this to our devs to ask)

jjmanton 4 days ago 1 reply      
I am from Atlanta and I dont even know most of the startups around here.

Seems like there might be a need for the startup map.

ultrasaurus 4 days ago 1 reply      
Max, I'll shoot you an email, PagerDuty is originally a YYZ startup too and we're at 2nd and Bryant in SOMA.
tomblomfield 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is an awesome tool. How did I not know about it?!
revicon 4 days ago 1 reply      
Hey Max, stop by Gigwalk when you're down here, we're over on 4th and Bryant. I'll pop you an email. -Matt
dsowers 4 days ago 1 reply      
Your software is really cool. Just wondering why you haven't completed your website yet. The "how it works" just takes you to a google doc. Anyway, best of luck. If you want to venture to Lake Tahoe, I'd be happy to grab a beer.
ishake 4 days ago 1 reply      
Originally from Toronto myself. Part of a startup called Insight (YC). We're based in Palo Alto. Happy to grab a coffee when you guys are here.
jaymstr 4 days ago 2 replies      
Definitely welcome to come visit LaunchRock. I'm jameson@launchrock.com.
briancary 4 days ago 2 replies      
Hey Max - we'd love to meet you guys in person and have you check out our sweet office and awesome company (ReTargeter). How about Friday the 26th?
gobengo 4 days ago 1 reply      
Come hang out with us (me?) at Livefyre. 3rd/Market downtown.
mstank 4 days ago 1 reply      
Wow, great product. Any examples of companies using it or are you still in the early stages?
tatianajosephy 4 days ago 0 replies      
We'd love to see you at CrowdFlower. Email forthcoming.
jaequery 4 days ago 2 replies      
where do i sign up to invest?
taigeair 4 days ago 1 reply      
good luck guys!
larrys 4 days ago 4 replies      
I find this entire approach fascinating.

That someone can post this on HN and get a bunch of invites back.

Does doing something like this scale? What if everybody just decided to post "hey I'm coming to SF is there a place for me to crash" or "hey I'm coming to NYC anyone want to have coffee?" or "I have a problem writing perl..."

Since there are companies that you are trying to reach, and you must have some idea of the type of company you want to reach, why not put some effort into doing something other than the obvious easiest thing which is to post an "Ask HN" and see who bites?

(For the record I wouldn't feel the same way if a top commenter who spends much time on HN made a similar request because at least they have put time and effort into HN (and I don't consider my karma as anywhere near that point for the record.)

Apple repairs ask for root password
7 points by pragone  2 days ago   1 comment top
xuki 1 day ago 0 replies      
I remember the authorized Apple repair shop here asked for my password as well, I asked them if I could create another account with password, they said it's fine. Just make a throwaway account and delete it afterward, no big deal.
So you think you know C?
3 points by dmk23  1 day ago   10 comments top 4
mds 1 day ago 0 replies      
I get that the answer is "undefined". But I decided to figure out why at least on my compiler I get "14".

    $ cat t.c ; gcc ./t.c

int main() {
printf("%d\n", a());

int a() {
int i = 5;
i = ++i + ++i;
return i;
$ ./a.out
14 # ??

$ gcc t.c -c -o t.bin
$ gdb t.bin
(gdb) disassemble a
Dump of assembler code for function a:
0x0000000000000030 <a+0>: push %rbp
0x0000000000000031 <a+1>: mov %rsp,%rbp
0x0000000000000034 <a+4>: movl $0x5,-0xc(%rbp)
0x000000000000003b <a+11>: mov -0xc(%rbp),%eax
0x000000000000003e <a+14>: add $0x1,%eax # add 1 and store it in i => 6
0x0000000000000041 <a+17>: mov %eax,-0xc(%rbp)
0x0000000000000044 <a+20>: mov -0xc(%rbp),%eax
0x0000000000000047 <a+23>: add $0x1,%eax # add 1 and store it in i => 7
0x000000000000004a <a+26>: mov %eax,-0xc(%rbp)
0x000000000000004d <a+29>: mov -0xc(%rbp),%eax
0x0000000000000050 <a+32>: mov -0xc(%rbp),%ecx # move current value of i (7) into %ecx and %eax (both registers are now 7)
0x0000000000000053 <a+35>: add %ecx,%eax # add them together => 14
0x0000000000000055 <a+37>: mov %eax,-0xc(%rbp)


zellio 1 day ago 1 reply      
The answer is D, D a thousand times D.

Firstly, from Wikipedia

A sequence point defines any point in a computer program's execution at which it is guaranteed that all side effects of previous evaluations will have been performed, and no side effects from subsequent evaluations have yet been performed.


Secondly from Annex C of the C99 Standard:
Sequence Points

1. The following are sequence points described in

- The call to a function, after the arguments have been evaluated (

- The end of the first operand of the following operators: logical AND && (6.5.13); logical OR || (6.5.14); conditional ? (6.5.17).

- The end of a full declarator: declarators (6.7.5);

- The end of a full expression: an initializer (6.7.8); the expression in an expression statement (6.8.3); the controlling expression for a while or do statement (6.8.5); each of the expressions fro a for statement (; the expression in a return statement (

- Immediately before a library function returns (7.1.4).

- After the actions associated with each formatted input/output function conversion specified (7.19.6, 7.24.2).

- Immediately before and immediately after each call to a comparison function and also between any call to a comparison function and any movement of the object passed as arguments to the call (7.20.5).


Now onto this statement

i = ++i + ++i;

lacking in sequence points between the double assignments is undefined and has been undefined for the life of the language. It is as undefined as all of it's ugly brethren and should be left to die.

Why does this question keep popping up?

bandy 1 day ago 1 reply      
Which version of C? The answers vary. For 1st ed. K&R, you're going to get implementation-specific behaviour, which might very well vary whether or not optimization is enabled.
anigbrowl 1 day ago 1 reply      
b). ++i increments i before the equality operation and is evaluated inline.

PS why, are you having hiring difficulties or something?

Ask HN: Do you stretch before coding?
3 points by nerdfiles  1 day ago   4 comments top 4
codeonfire 1 day ago 0 replies      
Usually if its something I'm not excited about coding I warm up with a sudoku. Other than that I sit down and immediately start working without a thought.
xackpot 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't stretch before coding per se, because I am usually standing while coding, so I am already alert. but I do stretches in between coding sessions, like may be every 20-30 minutes. My wife is a physical therapist and I usually follow most of her advise to keep myself energized throughout a marathon of coding.
project23 1 day ago 0 replies      
mansigandhi 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ask HN: Going to Startup School After-Party and want a free dinner?
2 points by nopassrecover  1 day ago   2 comments top
nopassrecover 23 hours ago 1 reply      
And I have a ticket. I love awesome people.
What's your favorite CSS framework, and why not not?
5 points by mcartyem  2 days ago   6 comments top
structAnkit 2 days ago 1 reply      
In my eyes the two biggest CSS frameworks would be Bootstrap (obviously) and to a much lesser degree Foundation. Fortunately these two are almost exactly the same in terms of what they achieve and how you integrate them into your app. The decision you have to make is whether you prefer LESS or SASS for a CSS pre-processing language, whether you like the saturated gradients and rounded shapes of Bootstrap or the boxy but shinier theme of Foundation, and other quality of life (for the developer) and aesthetic preferences.

I prefer Foundation due to my preference of SASS over LESS (I was also personally convinced of the benefits of SASS and Compass over LESS by Brandon Mathis and Chris Eppstein) and because it also looks unique in an online world plastered in Bootstrap and other similar-looking frameworks.

Ask HN: Steps for first SEO
3 points by hodbby  2 days ago   4 comments top 3
hansy 1 day ago 0 replies      
Great beginner resource for SEO:


draftable 2 days ago 1 reply      
What's your background? Are you a programmer? Maybe check this out:
helen842000 1 day ago 0 replies      
Thorough keyword research. Focus on quality not quantity. Maybe decide on one particular phrase you want to rank for first.
Ask HN: How do you approach learning new languages?
6 points by hwallace  3 days ago   4 comments top 3
deveshz 2 days ago 0 replies      
Though there are sites like
CodeAcademy : http://codeacademy.com
CodeSchool :http://codeschool.com
LearnStreet : http://learnstreet.com
which are providing good content for learning particular language. They are very basics.

Chose what you want to learn - if you want to learn building a product, understand what are the languages and frameworks you want to use and try learning their basics first. Then chose a Cookbook and see tutorials on the web (TutsPlus is a good place). Develop on your own. And keep solving the bugs. Construct for all languages are same.

frou_dh 2 days ago 1 reply      
I've personally found language books that spend chapter after chapter introducing syntax and standard library to be brutally boring, and never finish them.

There's a lot to be said for just having a project idea in mind and picking up knowledge on the fly as you try to hammer it out.

jsmartonly 3 days ago 0 replies      
Each language has been created in different context, trying to solve problem by using different approach.

Sure, they all need basic IF-ELSE, WHILE... But it is really helpful not to focus on too detail of technical side at the beginning. At high level, understand why author needs to create this language? Why the author did not select existing solutions at that time? This kind of "culture" background will help you understand language much deeper and avoid a lot of confusions.

I hope this will help.

Ask HN: Getting custom electronics made
5 points by kevinprince  3 days ago   1 comment top
mchannon 2 days ago 0 replies      
The solutions run the gamut from laser printing (or handcarving) your own traces and using copper etchant to getting complete boards made.

The happy medium I found was using ExpressPCB's cheapest service which included high-quality (if only small and 2 layer) boards, then buying from Mouser, DigiKey, or similar the components and soldering 'em on personally. Can probably make three identical small boards for <$100 (and 2-3 hours each soldering) as long as you don't have any exotic chips on your device.

As soon as you start drilling more than 3-4 holes (almost impossible _not_ to do) making the stuff at home just isn't fun unless you have high-end production equipment. Doing it the way listed above was actually pretty fun.

Ask HN: How to start a career?
6 points by ruswick  4 days ago   2 comments top 2
caw 4 days ago 0 replies      
I went to a 4 year university for a CS degree. The school is rated in the top 10 for CS undergrad degrees. I did a co-op (basically interning every other semester with the same company) to get work experience.

I didn't have any open source contributions, nor did some of my friends. I know some of my friends launched websites and start ups for experience, and that worked for them to get jobs. I don't have enough anecdotal data to tell you one way is better than the other, it's really your choice on how to get recognized, and what to get recognized for.

HN more than most will probably tell you not to go to college. If you want to join a big company, you'll need the college degree eventually. Depending on the company, they'll let you in on the ground floor, and perhaps pay for it, which a perk for you. Or you can work while you study to earn money to pay for school so you don't graduate with heavy debt. In any case, I saw some great advise here regarding colleges. "If you choose not to go to school, you still have to put in the same amount of work." I think that very aptly sums it up.

Breadth or depth depends on whether your goals are to be a subject matter expert, or more of a high level architect, dare I say manager. I work with very intelligent people who get hard problems solved, but not all of them can see the forest through the trees. I'm choosing the former, because I can apply my pieces of knowledge to fit the puzzle pieces together to provide solutions.

jfaucett 3 days ago 0 replies      
As someone with no cs degree, I'd say get one. Having said that from a "getting a job" standpoint it doesn't make much difference, and I've never had any problems finding work as a software dev. Mainly the only things that count are if you have experience and can program whatever it be java, c, etc plus whatever frameworks or stacks the company is using. However, keep in mind that if you want a job with a big coorporate company like Apple or Google, you're definately gonna need a CS degree, either that or just be a genius and have made something incredible like a new programming language that tons of people start using. As far as where to go is concerned, nothings stopping you from contributing to open source and doing freelance work, my advice would just be find one project (seriously, one is more than enough) that you're interested in and get involved.
Propose HN: HN Marketplace
4 points by niico  3 days ago   2 comments top 2
anujkk 3 days ago 0 replies      


Interestingly it has been taken down by its developer Joshua Stein after he was banned from Hacker News - https://jcs.org/projects/

od 3 days ago 0 replies      
Coincidentally, I've been working on this idea and I was going to show it today.

Show HN: HNBoard.com - Craigslist for Startup School / Hacker News


points by    ago   discuss
brackin 14 days ago 0 replies      
I'm not a YC founder so I'm sure those that are will be able to offer some specific advice but I know plenty of YC founders that have gone through this and I'm from the UK and applying for Winter 2013.

1. Usually companies that haven't incorporated outside of the US will register as a US company. If your visa situation isn't completely sorted it can be a slight deterrent to some investors but not enough to put anyone off. Usually not because you're not from the US but because getting kicked out of a country can put a founder in a tough place. There are many YC companies that do it every year and guys like Joel and Leo (AngelPad) from BufferApp raised their seed round for a US company from top investors and while they get their visa they've based their company in other countries.

2. There is a Visa for Angel Investors but I don't believe there is a visa doing the opposite. Of course if you have a degree your options open up considerably. It is technically somewhat possible to sponsor your own H1B but since you're a founder of the company and major shareholder, I doubt this would be accepted.

3. A lot of people I know go for the O-1A visa. Which is for Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement. If you can show getting into YC and success of your company has value to the US you will be able to say for up to three years at which point you can extend or look at your other options. It's not inexpensive or easy but is a good bet.

More info here: http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.eb1d4c2a3e5b...

namit 13 days ago 0 replies      
Great question, cause I am in the same boat.
One thing I was looking into was "Startup Visa", more info here: http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.5af9bb95919f...
The other thing was the E2 Visa, however for some unknown reason, it is not available to Indians due to lack of treaty. More info here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E-2_visa
As taurussai has mentioned, work on the application and interview and the amazing YC community can help sort out the rest.
P.S. - If any of YC Community would be open to sharing how to make it work, it would be great for future YC candidates.
MojoJolo 13 days ago 4 replies      
This question is also in my mind. Will tourist visa work for YC?
taurussai 13 days ago 0 replies      
You can do it -- a few companies in my batch (W12) have done it and we have a large YC international community to help answer all your visa questions. Answering your first 2 questions (briefly):

1. Don't know -- my thoughts would be it depends on customers (if it is worldwide/local to India, team location etc.)

2. Yes, it is possible through H1b/O1 visa (a number of founders have done/doing it)

* Would recommend focusing on the application and interview -- the YC team,international YC founders community and recommended immigration law firms will help you once you are in...

Rain_maker 14 days ago 0 replies      
Get in touch with guys from interviewstreet.com.. they have been there, done that
infoseckid 13 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks taurussai and brackin - looks like there is hope ;) ! Let me just go ahead and submit the application.

rehack - I am Eklavya but to fight the fight, I need to go to my Kurukshetra! ;)

ank_net 10 days ago 0 replies      
Ask HN: What's your favorite web analytics provider?
7 points by tomrod  5 days ago   6 comments top 6
duiker101 5 days ago 0 replies      
http://bango.com offers a LOT of options for website analytics. You can't really tell from the front page but i strongly suggest you to try the free 30 days period. From here http://bango.com/products/ click "Get Bango Analytics free for 30 days"
kaolinite 5 days ago 0 replies      
Piwik is pretty good for a free one. Has an Android app too (I assume iOS as well).
twog 5 days ago 0 replies      
Im a big fan of http://gaug.es which is now owned by github
eranation 5 days ago 0 replies      
Mixpanel is pretty nice
staunch 5 days ago 0 replies      
Clicky is nice for real time stuff, though Google does some of that now too.
pdenya 5 days ago 0 replies      
kissmetrics.com is solid.
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