hacker news with inline top comments    .. more ..    19 Oct 2012 Ask
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1
Ask HN: Subscription based E-Commerce
2 points by nurik  2 hours ago   2 comments top 2
1
mahendrabaid 20 minutes ago 0 replies      
From a buyer perspective, I find it bit challenging. Generally, people don't like to commit for a fixed expenditure.

Having said that, as mentioned below; there would be some areas or products where it would work as it would save on other expenditure.

I believe like offline world, online also would have all models. It is on use to make most of a particular model.

2
haxplorer 1 hour ago 0 replies      
It is a very healthy business model. Since repeated transactions are kind of guaranteed to happen, the company could spend confidently on acquiring new customers. They don't have to spend time and again on the same customer to acquire newer transactions from them.

Here is how most non-subscription based e-commerce companies today work:
The company shows some traction, gets good funding, acquires customers at a cost higher than the value of the current transaction, with the hope that the customer would later come back to buy more, and the company could recover the acquisition cost over time, and make profits. But every other competitor in the space is doing the same, and the customers have multiple places to buy from. So, the company ends up acquiring the same customer time and again, and all these costs get added up to the customer acquisition cost. But in the early stages, the lifetime value of the customer wouldn't be evident, and the company might end up spending lot more than the lifetime value to acquire transactions in the short term.

This problem doesn't happen with subscription based e-commerce companies, as long as they provide a good service and are able to retain the subscriptions. They could pay for advertisements on a cost per acquisition model, and count only new customer acquisitions, and subscription upgrades are conversions. This way their customer acquisition cost would be constant and under control.

Here are some of the areas where subscription based e-commerce would work well:
1) Groceries, fruits and vegetables
2) Cosmetics and sanitary products - Facial creams, lipsticks, skin care products, after shave lotion, shaving foam, kitchen napkins, toilet papers, sanitary napkins & tampons, condoms, cleaning agents, detergents, etc.
3) Baby products - diapers, baby oil, talc, etc.
4) Medicines - Diabetic, blood pressure control, cancer drugs, etc. - But there are regulatory concerns here
5) Undergarments, socks, etc.

Most of this is already being done by some company or the other.

2
Ask HN: Review my startup, ReminderBook
11 points by boocow  10 hours ago   13 comments top 7
1
bmelton 10 hours ago 1 reply      
It's a VERY attractive site, and exactly the kind of design that I love. Taglines are clear and concise, call to action buttons are distinct and easy to find. All in all I love it.

The one question I have (and it isn't a critique, mind you) is that each of your plans seems to coincide fairly identically to AppointmentReminder.org (Patrick's offering) but is more expensive. Is this a white label offering of his? If not, what additional value to do you feel you're offering for the extra coin, or do you just believe that he's leaving money on the table?

2
latchkey 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I thought of this same idea awhile ago and then realized that http://apptoto.com stupid domain name) beat me to it. It has great integration with Google Calendar and is less expensive than your service.

p.s. I own MissReminder.com if you want to buy it. imho potential for much better branding... ;-)

3
aymeric 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Yes, very sexy design. Clearly inspired from 37Signals, but I don't see a problem about it.
4
holoiii 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Very professional looking. Did you design this yourself?
5
147 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Do you have any customers yet? If so, where did you find them?
6
albumedia 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Congrats...I like it.
7
vishalzone2002 7 hours ago 0 replies      
i suggest doing A/B testing. its a great design but your entering price point is a bit high.
all the best
3
Im selling some domains to help bootstrap my startup
2 points by rehashed  4 hours ago   discuss
4
Ask HN: Have you had a good experience with ordering from Lenovo?
4 points by phaus  7 hours ago   7 comments top 7
1
meaty 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I've not had any problems and we've ordered 63 machines from them since July. To be fair they are not customised ones though.

As for support, all companies suck but they are several orders of magnitude better than HP and Dell. We've had not had anything break for a year or two which is good and when we did (a t420 doa), it was resolved in 4 days.

2
shrughes 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Lenovo has had some problems with suppliers in August and September. My order of a custom laptop a year ago was super-quick, and I've only been hearing about it taking multiple weeks to get a laptop shipped since mid-August. I've only heard about bad customer support with Ideapads (edit: also the only complaints I've heard were from hysterical bad customers), and Thinkpads are known for having good customer support, with a separate customer support department. I had great turnaround time on getting problems fixed 6 years ago.

A recent datapoint on shipping speeds is that a W530 ordered Sept 28th arrived at the door on Oct 18th.

3
octaveguin 1 hour ago 0 replies      
You might try a third party reseller. For some reason, ebay seems like the place to get new thinkpads. I guess they also have a large refurbish market there, too.

I just bought a t430 off of a reseller there - needless to say, it wasn't customized but I got it in a few days time. It also cost around $150 less than the lenovo website.

4
donniezazen 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I have a Lenovo Thinkpad T420. I ordered it in late 2011 through their website. I wanted to buy a Windows free laptop as I use Linux. I called them up. They agreed to send me a Windows free laptop at a reduced price. All hassle free and quick. I have never had any problems with my system and hence never had to contact Lenovo. I personally highly recommend Thinkpads.
5
epikur 5 hours ago 0 replies      
The x230 or X1 Carbon are great. I have an x220 and recently put OSX on it. I got mine off a forum, though, so I can't say how well the online ordering process works.
6
webstartupper 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Bought a customized T510 during Christmas 2010 online from lenovo website. Absolutely no hassles with shipping. Dunno if things have changed since then though.

The reason I love Lenovo is for their build quality.

7
lsiebert 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Expect to wait a month regardless of what lenovo says. Also, apparently ibm retirees can get you a crazy discount at lenovo. I personally really like my T530.
5
Tell HN: LocBox is spamming HN users
35 points by jason_slack  8 hours ago   18 comments top 10
1
dangrossman 7 hours ago 2 replies      
I don't like this submission at all. It IS acceptable to reach out to people on HN, and other communities like it, to see if you can work together or their startup can help you out. I love getting mails like that, especially from a 2+ year old member that is asking for advice or a chat, along with introducing what he's working on.

Presumably that's why you have an e-mail in your profile when there's nothing compelling you to share that. That someone actually used that e-mail should not result in public defamation and linking their business name with spam. Networking is something lots of professionals do -- and you can opt out by simply not giving out your e-mail, or saying so in your profile.

Now we can see that he also sent the same mail to some other people. That's much less 'cool', and I agree that businesses shouldn't harvest profile e-mails just to market to us. But you gave no indication you knew that when you came here to call it spam -- and you should really be sure before making serious claims that could have ramifications for his company for years. This submission is gonna be in search engines forever with his company name and his target keywords in it.

2
saumil07 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Hello all - my name is Saumil Mehta and since I guess I'm the mastermind behind this whole thread it behooves me to reach out and respond.

First of all, I'm sorry to jason_slack for the major inconvenience caused by my email. It was written by me, came from my work email account (saumil.mehta AT getlocbox.com, in case you care to know), was sent 1-1 not en masse (you can check the headers) and was in no way intended to get anyone ticked off.

Secondly, yes. I've emailed well over 100 people personally in the last 15 days. A bunch of the emails have had very similar body copy so that is also accurate. I read Hacker News a decent bit and always search around for folks doing frontend work by using the search box and if I like their submissions/comments and sometimes if I just find their username intriguing or entertaining I poke around for their bio for their email and send them the note you see above. I do it nights and weekends after my "day job".

Thirdly, I work at and run a venture-backed company in San Francisco. It's the best job I've ever had and as everyone knows, learning from and working with good folks is paramount. It is also challenging to connect w/ the same folks.

With that backdrop set, I will admit freely that I like to ask for help. A lot. I ask lots of people. I cold email a lot of people. I do it with potential customers, potential partners, potential investors, potential folks that might be interested in contracting w/ us or joining our team. I always do it respectfully IMHO. Hell, I've even done it to Patrick Vlaskovits who was kind enough to respond in my stead on this page (hey Patrick!).

The outreach I discuss above has actually been excellent. It has yielded lots of fun conversations over email and Skype and several great phone and in-person conversations with folks in the community. I used to be a (decent but never great) developer. I love shooting the shit w/ other developers. A lot of it goes nowhere because most folks are busy at their day jobs or startups or are booked for contracts or don't care to work w/ us after talking w/ us. Some of it has resulted in freelancing contracts that has really helped my startup. That's all par for the course but a great investment of my time and (hopefully) anyone that takes time out of their busy day to talk to me.

In case you care, the response rate that I tabulated manually in my Google Apps account has been well north of 25%. That tells me that folks are, generally speaking, happy to talk to me and that I'm not wasting their time or trying to sell them timeshares.

I have had exactly 2 people tell me to go take a hike over email. That's ok too. When it happens I always apologize for the inconvenience and move on. But by and large the Hacker News community has been fantastic to connect with and learn from.

Lastly, a philosophical point. We all know startups are hard and millions of dollars of funding does nothing to change that. The only way to hack it after being at it for 18 months, I've found, is to ask for help very proactively, even of folks I don't know. It has stood me in great stead in every endeavor - fundraising, contracts, partnerships, customers, office space leasing, personal sanity maintenance, you name it. I hope you will agree and if you don't, feel free to email me or call me at (415) 322-9308 and flame me over the phone in the middle of my work day :)

Thanks all and good night!

3
famousactress 7 hours ago 0 replies      
That's sad. I got the same email (word for word to my eyes), and while I don't mind at all when people email me via HN it's pretty obnoxious that I spent 10 minutes out of my day writing a pleasant and thoughtful response to someone who couldn't be bothered to do the same.

I hope this doesn't cause me to second guess the next email I get from an HN user, since so far this is pretty aberrant in my experience and I've been really delighted to be in touch with the (admittedly few) folks who've pinged me this way.

4
orangethirty 8 minutes ago 0 replies      
Now I'm jealous. I didn't get the email. Saumil, send it over. Let's talk. Someone who is willing to do this campaigns is someone I want to get to know.
5
danso 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I got that same message too, except that he made specific reference to how my JavaScript related posts caught his eye. Since most of my JS posts are along the lines of "can someone design some sort of training wheels framework for Backbone?" I figured he was casting a wide net.
6
semanticist 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I received this a few days ago, and only got around to replying this afternoon, to quickly ask for more details.

It felt like a bulk-send to me when I first looked at it, too generic, with no indicator of why they might want to work with me. If they're looking for JavaScript guys I'm especially surprised they contacted me.

I definitely don't think this is cool - contacting someone you find via HN because you have something relevant to discuss: that's actually awesome. Mass sending the same generic message to anyone who lists an email address: that's just spam.

7
mattdeboard 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I too received this email, more specifically about JavaScript. Obv tacky & tasteless but probably working for him.
8
ollysb 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Seems there are different views on this. Maybe you should add something to your profile indicating if you want to receive unsolicited emails from startups.
9
Jach 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I also received the same email four days ago. I'm curious what tool they used to harvest email addresses. I'm very behind-the-times in what harvesters bother to implement these days, if they've gotten to the point of having a regex match on /[emailchars]+.{,20}(gmail|yahoo|etc)/, then I'm impressed! If there was any manual work involved though, it's sad that it went to waste on a generic non-templatized email.
10
vlaskovits 7 hours ago 3 replies      
FWIW Saumil is good dude, doing good stuff.

Note to Saumil: use a "spinner" script next time buddy. ;)

6
Ask HN: Splitting profits between a programmer and a sysad/network engineer?
3 points by ajushi  7 hours ago   2 comments top 2
1
fusiongyro 6 hours ago 0 replies      
You're about to learn that you should absolutely never postpone figuring this out until after you go into business. There are almost certainly going to be hard feelings. If I were you, I'd split it 50/50 and call it even, unless that's really unfair to your friend somehow. Then spend tomorrow figuring out how you're going to split profits moving forward in a way that neither of you feels shafted--or you'll lose your friend or your business partner, or both.
2
mithras 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd make a realistic list of hours worked, both take your hours * hourly rate out of the total, pay the outsourcing fees and divide the rest 50/50.
7
Ask HN: Review my startup, drone.io
17 points by bradrydzewski  18 hours ago   11 comments top 5
1
cinbun8 18 hours ago 1 reply      
* Why are sign ups restricted to google+ and github ? https://drone.io/auth/login

* The layout of the pricing page is odd. Use the plan name as a column instead of a row. Most folks are used to seeing it that way - https://drone.io/pricing

* Do not start by showing the user a free plan. Users scan a page from left to right. Don't give them something they will easily choose right away.

* Get yourself a 'features' page that highlights what you offer in bullet points.

2
codegeek 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Your "Get Started for FREE" button does not really stand out at least in IE8. It looks like another link on the homepage. I suggest you make it more appealing
3
fallingmeat 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Looking forward to trying it out with my several Ruby tasks. Would be nice to easily setup a CI test on them. I've tried several before but none have been simple enough to use on a whim. Drone may fill that gap.
4
rdwallis 17 hours ago 2 replies      
Looks really good. If you add GAE integration, you'll convert me immediately.

I'm on a very slow connection and it's much faster to do a git push than to deploy a compiled application.

5
codegeek 18 hours ago 0 replies      
9
Ask HN: Review quick tool to check if an email is disposable (one time)
4 points by davedd  18 hours ago   2 comments top 2
1
csense 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Having to enter my email on a site is a major roadblock. Enough sites keep sending me unwanted mail that I seriously hesitate before signing up; I don't give out my email unless I'm pretty sure I know what I'm going to get, and I want it badly.

I often use a mailinator address when I'm not serious about signing up. It's very convenient.

2
davedd 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Valid link: https://gudado.com/tools/freeemail.php

It also has a simple/open API that anyone can use (being using that on our own sites).

thanks,

10
Ask HN: Do you want a more affordable solution for user testing your website?
14 points by rnochumo  1 day ago   6 comments top 4
1
ngilmore031 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I have used these guys multiple times and have always been pleased with the feedback. Can't beat it for the low prices.
2
creativeone 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Who does the reviews and how long do they average?
3
codegeek 19 hours ago 0 replies      
4
gqgy 1 day ago 1 reply      
Go get 'em!
11
Ask HN: Are tech companies becoming more unrealistic in hiring?
10 points by diminium  1 day ago   14 comments top 5
1
yen223 1 day ago 2 replies      
It would be acceptable if salaries rose along with requirements. I do not see that happening where I am.
2
wladimir 1 day ago 0 replies      
Not only tech companies. At least here in the Netherlands the requirements for any job have been going through the roof, and border on the unrealistic. I think this is a result of there being a surplus of people competing for jobs so they feel they can make more demands.
3
khyryk 1 day ago 1 reply      
I don't think it's just you. Hopefully enough people get sick of the "Required: 5 years of experience in every programming language created in the last 20 years" bullshit sooner rather than later.
4
rkjbnz 14 hours ago 0 replies      
They are unrealistic and its been this way for a while. A lot of companies over rate themselves, they want the best and brightest but if the candidate is too good they won't stay at an inferior company anyway so depending on the position someone with less education or experience but is a good learner would probably be just as good if not better.
5
devlablt 1 day ago 1 reply      
Well, nowadays you can see additional C/C++ and Java requirements for Web Developer position. The problem is, that some CEO's (or other persons, responsible for hiring) don't have any idea how to hire a programmer, and what he/she should know.
12
Ask HN: How do I make a link clickable on HN?
3 points by am2267  17 hours ago   4 comments top 4
1
benologist 17 hours ago 0 replies      
For comments you have to just type the url, no text or tags.

http://google.com/

For submissions you can submit a url or text but not both, and URLs in the text don't get parsed.

2
inetsee 16 hours ago 0 replies      
What you could do is submit a post describing the website and
why HN readers should be interested in it. Then immediately post a comment with a clickable link to the URL.
3
arscan 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Urls don't become links in the text of the submission. They do become links in comments.
4
codegeek 16 hours ago 0 replies      
To make a link clickable in a comment, you need to prefix it with "http://.
13
Ask HN: What kind of hackathon do you like?
11 points by rvivek  1 day ago   5 comments top 5
1
darrennix 1 day ago 0 replies      
The best hackathons I've been to had no required APIs but did have sponsored APIs with nice prizes for the best implementations. They also had experts on the APIs running around helping reduce the learning curve.

Those guys help a lot when you've only got 24 hours to get over the hump (ask the Firebase guys).

2
cdawzrd 1 day ago 0 replies      
I like the idea of having a general theme, and then presenting what you've built at the end somehow. I'd rather not do a hackathon that required we use a specific API or product, or otherwise restrict what you work on. Instead, make the hackathon about building things along a certain theme ("music", "transportation", "education", etc).

Also, I may be biased as a hardware engineer, but I only consider hackathons that welcome both software and hardware projects.

3
rvivek 1 day ago 0 replies      
Thank you so much everyone for your feedback.
4
jkaykin 1 day ago 0 replies      
I love hackathons like AngelHack. Great Api's from awesome sponsors but you aren't required to use them.
5
picsoung 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hackathons like in the Social Network movie... :)
Always fun but schools may not agree to host it on campus...
14
Ask HN: Why do companies not pay market when promoting from within?
6 points by nopal  1 day ago   4 comments top 4
1
jasonkester 1 day ago 0 replies      
Mostly because they can. Developers don't have a reputation for being hard negotiators. Most won't even do so much as ask for a realistic salary adjustment when switching positions. Companies are more than happy to use this to their advantage and simply give you a token raise unless you make a point of negotiating yourself something better.

As a developer, it's important to realize this and act accordingly. Don't be afraid to tell them that since you're being moved to a position that should pay $X, you'll need them to pay you $X from here on out.

Further, you've also identified the key reason that people move from job to job so frequently in this industry. That's how you get raises. You're never going to convince that Fortune 100 company to double your salary twice over the course of your first four years out of school. You'll have absolutely no problem convincing the market at large to do that though.

2
chrisbennet 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Unfortunately, that is just the way it is. As companies get larger they tend to favor mediocrity over greatness. It is very difficult for them to place an individual value on a developer and thus it's difficult for the developer to "capture" that value.

Also, social dynamics favor not pissing people off over rewarding high performance. For example, they would rather lose a developer X than pay him/her what they're worth because it would be "unfair" to all the other developers that they are currently paying below market.

Of course, raising everyone's salary to reflect market rates "doesn't make sense" in the short term and the short term is what concerns most individuals in the company. If manager Bob gets "good numbers" this quarter, maybe he gets a raise. If manager Bob, keeps down technical debt, attracts good devs and does stuff that in general aligns with the company's long term goals it may not look as good on this quarters numbers.

Your best bet is to go to another company. If you're very lucky, another developer will leave for a lot more money and management will wake up and give you raise. A company I left once gave the remaining developer something like a 50% raise.

3
codegeek 18 hours ago 0 replies      
This is an issue that I feel strongly about and have a few words to say. In 2012 working at large (Fortune 100) companies, the only way to get a significant (or market correction) raise is to quit and get another job. It is unfortunate but thats how it works.If you stay, they will give you the standard 3% raise or so.
4
joelrunyon 1 day ago 0 replies      
1 word: leverage.

It's easier for you to take a below-market value without switching companies than it is for you to quit your job, take a risk and hope for a higher value on the open market.

The best thing to do in this situation is to have leverage. other offers, networks, or a side business that lets you call them out on their offer and start negotiating for something better.

15
Show HN: Fight bias with Details Redacted
2 points by simantel  16 hours ago   4 comments top 3
1
Spien 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Interesting idea. Are email addresses redacted? Is the redacted data configurable?

I like being able to round file resumes from weedwizard420@gmail.com and domains like hotmail, msn, or aol.

2
simantel 16 hours ago 0 replies      
3
snoldak924 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Maybe turn it into a SaaS API? Sort of like a XSS-filter but just for pronouns.
16
Ask HN: Is there a web service API provider for receiving MMS?
2 points by tzz  18 hours ago   1 comment top
17
Ask HN: What are you working on right now?
8 points by marcomassaro  1 day ago   36 comments top 17
1
bmelton 1 day ago 0 replies      
Trying to figure out how it was that my big dumb self not only deleted one of my Slicehosts (on purpose) but also apparently deleted the backups of the database that were exported, the other host to which I was making longer term backups, and my backups of the backups all within the past month.

Alternately, trying to find caches of the content. I had some 'An Extremely Gentle Introduction to x" type of posts on the blog that people seem to be missing. :-\

2
xackpot 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I am working on integrating location based casual groups in my current app Finderous (http://www.findero.us). Features that I am implementing:
1. Multilevel groups. i.e. groups at city/county/state/country levels.
2. Open/Closed groups. Anybody can join an open groups. And if you have a passphrase, you can join a closed groups.
3. Multiple threads in each groups.

Pretty exciting the way it is shaping up.

3
kstenerud 1 day ago 0 replies      
Finishing up integration of https://github.com/kstenerud/KSCrash/tree/feature/new-struct... into our app.

It does zombie detection in the wild now!

4
timjahn 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm working on matchist (http://matchist.com), a service for freelance developers that provides them with quality clients and projects, and gets them paid on time, every time.
5
Spoom 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm working on a social card game platform targeting web / Facebook, phones, and tablets.
6
hoka 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Building a CRM/Sign in system for groups. Will let groups have events, set membership expiration, process payments, and measure effectiveness of advertising and referrals as well as manage their email list
7
sapan 1 day ago 0 replies      
Fixing bugs and working on the new version of Croppola: A intelligent image cropping app for iOS http://tinyurl.com/croppola-ios. Also building a new app similar to Croppola that allows us to intelligently crop images while we shoot them from camera.
8
am2267 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm working on a social network for startups
http://www.investopad.com/
9
mcrider 1 day ago 3 replies      
Fixing a few (mostly mobile) bugs and trying my damndest to market http://flapcast.com -- A web app for streaming and sharing your podcasts.
10
bharani_m 1 day ago 1 reply      
I am working on Airball - http://airball.in - an elegant dribbble viewer built with Backbone.js.

I am also trying to make a Titanium desktop app out of it.

11
soneill 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm working on http://www.couchster.com

Currently working on resolving some CSS issues and a few other code problems.

12
27182818284 1 day ago 0 replies      
Retrofitting older web apps into a new responsive design that adjusts well for iOS and Android
13
147 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm working on a service that handles drip email marketing for businesses.
14
ceautery 1 day ago 2 replies      
Adding an HTML5 Pacman widget to function as my blog's header. Eat all the text, new text pops in. - http://cautery.blogspot.com/
15
orangethirty 1 day ago 0 replies      
Building Nuuton.(nuuton.com
16
dzenanr 1 day ago 0 replies      
Working on a domain model framework called Dartling.
https://github.com/dzenanr/dartling
17
justplay 22 hours ago 2 replies      
fixing indian education system
18
Why dojo toolkit get so little spotlight on HN compared to other js frameworks?
2 points by ergo14  19 hours ago   3 comments top 3
1
jfaucett 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I love just about everything about dojo. The source is easily understandable (compared to jquery in my opinion, also the extensive inline documentation is very well done), and it is a great framework. Having said that I think dojo never caught on to the mainstream masses not because it lacked online docs or a nice browsable api like jquery has (although it wouldn't have hurt it), but mainly because you simply have to understand what you're doing when you use dojo. jQ abstracts so much from the dom and simplifies it to such an extent that a complete newb can in notime get some web interactivity going (which is all most people have wanted / still want). Also the fact that jquery keeps its purpose domain small (just dom api, no graphics widgets, etc), means it concentrates on the 80-90% common use cases for site owners.
2
petercooper 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I run JavaScript Weekly (for context, it's an e-mail newsletter with about 33k subscribers) and I get asked this quite a lot.

The answer is made up of many variables but comes down to it not being as popular, it not having anywhere near the volume of plugins being made for it as jQuery, nowhere near as much content produced about it, and so on.

Dojo is great but there doesn't seem to be a concerted effort to promote it in a way that it hits critical mass with regards to other people generating screencasts, tutorials, plugins, etc, that do well on sites like HN, Reddit, or even getting shared on Twitter.

For something to have wide exposure, it doesn't matter how good it is. What matters is how it's promoted, pitched, and marketed. Things like jQuery, MongoDB, and Rails have done a great job of the latter even if they're not the most technically excellent solutions.

3
kls 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I think the issue is that Dojo and jQuery are very different in their aims, Dojo is a comprehensive toolkit, where jQuery is more focused on selectors and the dom, it has grown over time but it is not as complete as Dojo or some of the other project that's goal is to be a comprehensive toolkit. Dojo targets the same market as YUI or Ext and out of those I personally prefer Dojo. Dojo is a good tool when you are looking to replace a tradition large application with an HTML based equivalent. It's not so great for packaging up a 3rd party widget that people can just drop on their page.

Further I see Dojo as following the Java or .NET model of one large well integrated project where building apps with jQuery is more like the Perl approach of small projects contributed by a host of individuals. So with jQuery you generally go out and get Require.js, Underscore.js, Backbone.js and piecemeal together your libraries as you need them. There are merits to both models but some prefer one over the other. For me I use both, but it depends on the requirements. If someone wants a large corporate app replaced with a HTML version, I choose Dojo, if someone wants a widget that they can give out to third parties I choose jQuery.

19
Show HN: "101Start" a Simple App to Search Faster on iPhone/iPad
5 points by noirman  1 day ago   2 comments top 2
1
hansy 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I remember seeing something similar a while back for iPhone which I was very excited to try out (but never did).

I can't recall the app name, but I remember the UI. After typing a certain term, you could cycle through different webOS-style cards which represented different queried services.

I've been looking for something like this for a while now. Solid start.

2
BillSaysThis 1 day ago 0 replies      
Nice idea. You might want to look into adding auto-suggest from Google or one of the other services and adding a set default engine option (to enable hitting enter/return).
20
Rate my startup: taurus.io
7 points by ebzlo  2 days ago   11 comments top 6
1
jameswyse 8 hours ago 1 reply      
FYI your site is returning 500 "We're sorry, but something went wrong."
2
bmelton 1 day ago 1 reply      
The site is quite attractive, and the product looks compelling. I can think of at least two places where I'd use it off the bat (and the pricing is right as well).

I'm guessing that since the beta isn't ready yet, that's why you don't currently have a demo, but I'd rather like to see a demo or have a trial period before purchasing.

3
martin-adams 1 day ago 1 reply      
Looks intriguing for what I can see. My comments so far are that I'm left wondering the following:

- How is the product tour presented to my end users, is it something I host or you host?
- How well will it work with the somewhat crazy HTML/CSS I may have on my product?
- Is $3 too cheap for something like this as it's somewhat specialist, i.e. I have to be a web site owner to use it?

Would I use it, not sure really. I don't have any live projects yet that would warrant a product tour.

But it's nice to see work in this area. My only other comment is the homepage colours aren't quite a vibrant as I would have liked - personal opinion.

4
bdfh42 2 days ago 1 reply      
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.
5
veesahni 1 day ago 0 replies      
A tour of the product using the product would be great :)
6
Concours 1 day ago 1 reply      
21
Ask HN: Your best passive income sources?
230 points by robbiet480  8 days ago   217 comments top 58
1
nostromo 8 days ago 2 replies      
Real estate. (Ok, not 100% passive, but what is?) You can buy a duplex for not much more than a single family house in many US cities and, thanks to the low interest rates for an owner-occupied mortgage, rent out half and live for free.

Unlike tech, you will not have a giant windfall with real estate; but also unlike tech, it's very easy to price your product, find customers, and figure out what your cashflow will be for years to come.

2
patio11 8 days ago 2 replies      
Halloweenbingocards.net will probably hit about $6k this October (BCC will hit maybe $10k). Not bad for $250 paid in like 2009 or so.

I did a course on lifecycle emails for SaaS businesses recently. That did pretty well - a few hundred sales.

3
apike 8 days ago  replies      
Two years ago, when we started Steamclock, we spent our first two months building a niche iPhone app. We've done point releases but not added much, yet today it pays our rent. http://www.steamclocksw.com/weddingdj/

We haven't done any serious research or marketing for it. We simply focused down and built the highest quality app we could build, and it worked.

4
JoeCortopassi 8 days ago 1 reply      
[Related]Ask HN: How much recurring income do you generate, and from what? (1 month ago)

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4467603

5
jawns 7 days ago 0 replies      
This is probably not your ordinary type of passive income, but it's income for work I would otherwise be doing anyway, so hopefully it counts.

I run Correlated (http://www.correlated.org), a site that publishes one surprising correlation a day, using data generated by readers.

It was never really intended to be a money-making project, although I did give display ads and affiliate links a try, with very little success.

And then ... a book deal fell into my lap.

I had been shopping around a book proposal for "Experiments on Babies" (http://www.experimentsonbabies.com), and one of the publishers that was interested in that book also happened to note that I was the creator of Correlated, and asked if I would be interested in a separate deal to turn Correlated into a book.

I got a very nice advance for the two book deals, and in the case of Correlated, the writing involved is, for the most part, what I'd be doing anyway, deal or no deal.

6
veb 8 days ago 1 reply      
I use TeeSpring (http://www.teespring.com) to create t-shirts and market them towards people on my Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/ModernSherlock).

Generally does very well. Way better than other stuff I've tried, like SEO/Marketing etc. The only problems I have is using a crap design, so it pays to know what the audience really wants before I try selling it to them.

7
spiredigital 8 days ago 1 reply      
I'd have to say my two eCommerce businesses. They took a ton of time to setup and market initially, but now they generate a full-time income as I have a team in place to manage operations.

I love to work on them and often do, but I'll frequently take weeks off at a time to travel and everything continues to run smoothly. The entire business is based on the drop shipping model, so I don't have to stock any inventory and can run the business from anywhere. Plus, the initial capital outlay was just $1,500 so I didn't have to take on any risk.

For anyone interested, I blog about running my two businesses and eCommerce in general at:

http://www.ecommercefuel.com

8
choxi 8 days ago 1 reply      
This might not be the kind of answer you're looking for, but the best way to truly passively increase your wealth is to take care of your personal finances (e.g. pay off your student loans, pay off your credit card balance, invest in a lifecycle fund, see if your employer offers a 401(k))

I personally really liked the book I Will Teach You To Be Rich -- it has a poor name but it's dense with incredibly practical advice particularly for people coming right out of college suddenly making an income.

9
suresk 8 days ago 5 replies      
I really like building developer tools and kind of miss doing it full time. I built a tool for testing/playing with REST services last year and sell it on the OS X app store:

http://www.uresk.net/httpclient/

I'm not getting rich off it, but it usually brings in a few hundred bucks per month and I like hearing from fellow developers who benefit from using it.

10
mcantor 8 days ago 1 reply      
I sell posters of a vim cheat sheet I designed (see my profile for link). I ship my inventory to a 3rd-party fulfillment provider who plugs in to Shopify with a custom app, so all I have to do is re-print when the inventory runs out and handle the occasional customer service problem. Digital downloads are a total freebie.
11
rjurney 8 days ago 3 replies      
In California, selling cannibas to a co-op you belong to as a patient could be a nice supplemental income. An Aerogrow makes it easy, and with six legal plants, you can grow at least 1.5 pounds every 90 days. I think it works out that you can make $10-15k/year for not much work.

And no, my wife would not let me do this :)

12
andrewljohnson 8 days ago 3 replies      
Our highest selling app (a hiking app) makes 15-30K/month, depending on the season. Our other navigation apps don't make quite as much yet, but some are getting there. You can figure out from my profile which it is, but I didn't want to name it in the thread and have this be something that turned up in searches.

I wouldn't call it totally passive, but if we ignored it, it wouldn't stop making money. We have consistently grown the sales over the last couple of years, and we are about to introduce a premium in-app purchase.

I have always thought making iPhone apps was a good business, despite what you hear on this forum.

13
danneu 7 days ago 1 reply      
I make (well, past-tense at the moment) almost $2k/month on a vBulletin play-by-post gaming forum I started back in 2007. One single adsense banner below the navbar.

I actually burned out within 6 months of trying to bootstrap the fledgling forum with fake activity, clever backlinks, and entertaining the trickle of registrants.

Burned out enough to take a a break for a while. Came back months later and it was a bustling forum of activity. Apparently I'd just reached that critical mass necessary for the community to be autonomous (able to entertain itself and cajole newbies to stay) before I took that break. Nowadays, I do very little beyond pay the server bill. It's staggering the amount of work volunteers (moderators) will put into maintaining a community and I'm grateful.

Recently had adsense disabled on my website after some automated process decided my website was "mature/adult-themed". The automated email cited a post in our forum's off-topic spammy section where some user copy and pasted the phrase "sexual intercourse" over and over again in Mandarin. Just some non-Mandarin-speaking teenagers being silly for a moment. Now I'm working on getting adsense reactivated.

14
ericdykstra 8 days ago 0 replies      
Not 100% passive, but fantasy sports has been a nice side income for me this year. I used to play a lot for almost nothing, but then found daily fantasy games (pick a new team every game day, play against other people) and have made a decent return on my investment.

I play on fanduel.com almost exclusively. If you have any questions or want some help getting started, send me an email (in profile). My referral link if you're so inclined: http://www.fanduel.com/?invitedby=yudarvish&cnl=da

15
sinak 8 days ago 3 replies      
Two friends and I started http://repeaterstore.com straight out of college. Within a year it was profitable, and within 3 it was doing $3 million in revenue (and about a 15% profit margin). It's pretty much stabilized since then, and we hired a manager to monitor the operation. Most stock is shipped through drop shoppers, we just have 2 customer support people to handle phone calls and emails. Forthe last 2 years we've been working on new, more interesting startups - but having a stable source of income has been incredibly valuable in letting us bootstrap until we could raise funds from VCs. Niche eCommerce can be awesome.
16
kolinko 8 days ago 2 replies      
Real estate - I used to own two flats, and get $200-$300 from each one of them. I recently sold one though - I think I can make a better use of the money by other means.
iPhone/iPad apps - I did two or three successful apps, right now they bring in $20-$40 daily. The last time I touched/promoted any one of them was last December, and the sales are quite steady now.
I bought some S.DICE shares ( http://polimedia.us/bitcoin/mpex.php?mpsic=S.DICE ) @0.0032, spent 800 BTC on them I think. Got ~20BTC from dividends first month, ~5BTC dividends the second. It's very risky, but there is some potential for growth there.

All in all I get ~1200 USD of passive income which would be considered an average pay in Poland. I've got a startup on top of that which brings a lot more though.

17
bigethan 8 days ago 1 reply      
Airbnb. High value customers and very little overhead on my part. Not totally passive, I guess, but takes up very little time and makes us a decent bit of money on the side.
18
neel980 8 days ago 1 reply      
A supportive working wife, nothing beats that :)
19
hendi_ 7 days ago 0 replies      
Bunker App (https://www.bunkerapp.com)

Bunker is my SaaS solution which I market to freelancers and consultants who are looking for a complete solution for their small business (from creating quotes and proposals over project management and time-tracking to invoicing and payments).

Most other services specialize on a subset of what's needed (e.g. they're only doing invoicing, or only time-tracking, or only project management) and you have to go shopping for multiple solutions (and cross fingers that all of them integrate well with each other!). With Bunker my focus is on providing a complete, well-integrated experience.

So you could say my niche is "covering multiple niches" ;-)

I'd say that Bunker provides me passive income because my support burden is negligible and my churn-rate less then my conversion-rate. So if I wanted to I could go completely passive, but I'm committed to improve the app further and grow it.

20
dangrossman 8 days ago 1 reply      
I launched http://www.improvely.com/ in August, and it's already eclipsed my other sites in recurring revenue.
21
bdunn 8 days ago 3 replies      
Planscope (https://planscope.io)
- predictable, more-growth-than-churn SaaS revenue

Compared to my book, which fizzles out when I'm not actively marketing it, building a B2B subscription product is the best, most turnkey income source I've ever had.

22
da_n 2 days ago 0 replies      
I make about $80-100 per month in Adsense from a 'scratch your own itch' website I made to help calculate battle outcomes in a game. Did it over a weekend. I don't actually play the game anymore, was taking up too much of my life. Working on a new version though as the code is a shambles and it isn't responsive and most visitors come from iOS, I didn't know much about JavaScript or responsive design at the time I wrote it so a horror show underneath. http://battlecalc.net
23
pkamb 7 days ago 0 replies      
The Mac App Store. Consistent sales of my $8 app EdgeCase and the $3 Reddit Notifier. Plus the more expensive One-Hand Keyboard.

In my experience it's much easier to price higher on the Mac App Store compared to iOS. Especially when you're selling a constantly-running notifier/utility. Feels more worth it when the app is passively used every time you use your Mac, as opposed to whenever you happen to find and use the random app on your 3rd home screen in iOS.

- EdgeCase http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/edgecase/id513826860?mt=12

- Reddit Notifier https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/reddit-notifier/id468366517?...

- One-Hand Keyboard http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/one-hand-keyboard-one-hand/id...

24
thangalin 8 days ago 1 reply      
http://www.davidjarvis.ca/entanglement/

A paltry $100 per year in ad revenue.

25
tudorizer 8 days ago 3 replies      
Good timing with this thread. My attempt is with making iOS games. Trying to mix pleasure and profit. First attempt is http://clumsyandthestars.com/. Working on a second one now...
26
ashray 8 days ago 1 reply      
I started a site 13 years ago and it is one of the largest sites in it's niche right now. Very very popular. I do work on it many hours a week (can range from 0 to 100 hours/week) but I don't really have to. I just love working on it, adding new features, etc. I would definitely call the work passive or hobbyist - even though sometimes I'm up till 4 in the morning working on X new feature.

Income is in the early 5 digits per month range (USD). Traffic dropped a bit from August to September so I've been working more on it lately :)

27
ryangilbert 8 days ago 4 replies      
nflbyeweeks.com - gets over 1,000 uniques each day and generates between $2 and $5 each day with Adsense. Not overly impressive but it's still nice.
28
scheff 8 days ago 1 reply      
I'm about to write a book on precisely this topic. I have been looking hard at addressing this issue over the past 10 years so that I can focus on what's important (Startups!). And I believe that I have finally found the best passive income source, given the limitations that people like ourselves are working with.

I'm still in the process of experimenting with my method to see how far I can take it, but the basics of it work already.

A lot of what people define as "passive income" is questionable. Most, if not all, passive income investment strategies require you to hold down a job, or other income, while financing assets that some day, HOPEFULLY, will be paid off enough that you don't have to work ever again.

Most of those plans take too long for my satisfaction. There are other means and methods if you learn and apply yourself. My book will hopefully detail and compare my method with a majority of others.

The obvious ones to look at, if you can invest time and/or money -

* Share trading
* Property investment
* Property flipping/options
* Google AdSense (or similar)
* Affiliate marketing
* Tim Ferriss' muse / 4HWW
* Network marketing/MLM
* Website flipping

All of them have varying degrees of learning curve and time commitment to make happen. Few people will tell you how much commitment you need to make, they just focus on dangling the carrot.

29
pacomerh 8 days ago 0 replies      
Very low ones, the first one is selling a set of shutterstock pictures, aprox 100 bucks a month. And the lowest one, 30-40 bucks a month with adsense clicks. Basically a list of powerpoint presenations (chain letters) for the spanish speaking. I spend 30 min a week. I get the PPS files, convert a couple of them to html and put them on a wordpress blog. edit: forgot to put a url http://powerpointz.com
30
Matsta 8 days ago 1 reply      
Facebook was definitely my biggest earner until they decided to crack down on everything at the end of last year and basically screwed everyone over.

It's the same deal for SEO, used to be a easy way to promote Adsense, CPA offers and what not, but the penguin change just makes it harder and harder to rank for keywords.

2012 has been definitely a slow year for Internet marketing, the worst I've faced since I started in 2006.

31
vu0tran 8 days ago 0 replies      
How timely. I'm actually starting a challenge for myself to see if I can bootstrap something to at least $5,000 in revenue a month. I've tried and failed many times, but this time, I'm going to force myself to only live off what I can make with this product.

http://vutran.me/blog/desperation.html

32
raintrees 8 days ago 0 replies      
Real Estate, multi-family rentals.
33
byoung2 8 days ago 0 replies      
I have two sites that I built 3 years ago that still rank well for a few valuable keywords. Each site has hundreds of pages of content but one page on each site is number 1 on Google for keywords that pay $5-10 per click. Not a lot of traffic, but enough for a few hundred a month from adsense and affiliate links.
34
fudged71 8 days ago 0 replies      
Amazon affiliate links somehow floating through the abyss and still pulling in pennies.
35
Jemaclus 7 days ago 0 replies      
For a long time I refused to sign up for Amazon Prime, and I'd order things that cost $19 or $23, and I'd hunt around for something that would bring in that additional $6 or $3 to meet the minimum price for free Super Saver Shipping (USD $25). I got tired of hunting around for that, so I built http://finishmyorder.com/.

I get like $6/mo in affiliate fees, but I don't really advertise it so I'm lucky I get even that.

36
seanlinehan 8 days ago 0 replies      
I was making a few thousand dollars a month from a coupon site. The Panda update completely knocked me out of the rankings for the past 4 months, but I've been slowly climbing back up on my top keywords. It was literally no work whatsoever - I wrote a script to aggregate coupons automagically and outsourced SEO. Turns out the latter wound up killing me. (If you're an SEO master, please reach out to me on Twitter) :)
37
enobrev 8 days ago 0 replies      
No matter how hard I try, all my eggs only seem to fit into one basket at a time. I don't recommend it, but it has worked well for me thus far.
38
abhishekdesai 5 days ago 0 replies      
SignInStyle.com

Launched in 2007 as a free service, got covered in CNBC India. Got loads of requests overnight so had to make it paid afterwards.

Around USD 2-3k income without doing lot of efforts.

It is one of the most unique ideas you can ever come across. Requires no paid marketing. You get extremely happy when Olympians, photographers use signatures designed by you on their websites and photographs as autographs.

Highly gratifying passive income.

39
SeoxyS 8 days ago 0 replies      
Airbnb + legacy Mac & iPhone apps. 50k/yr on average.
40
bosco 8 days ago 1 reply      
pixurwall.com - about 2-3k hits a day generating $20-30 in revenue. Cost 200 bucks to make and has been pretty consistent for over 8 months.
41
mgz 8 days ago 0 replies      
I have built http://search-logs.com back in 2006 in a couple of days and ad revenue still lets me work on interesting projects, not worrying about getting a "real" job.
42
kcorey 8 days ago 0 replies      
I make lower 5 digits per year from http://docrobot.co.uk.

It's effectively an online desktop publishing system aimed at making it easy for HR teams to deliver TRS (Total Reward Statements) in 10% of the time, at 10% of the cost, and with fewer errors.

It took a couple years to write, so I wouldn't say it was an easy investment, but it was fun to write. These days it ticks over and I don't spend much time on it at all.

Perhaps I should work on advertising more...

-Ken

43
icoder 8 days ago 0 replies      
I created http://www.colormandala.com

It makes ~2 dollars a day from adsense. Breadcrumbs, but I haven't spend any time on it for like half a year. Amazon affiliate adds almost nothing to this. Being in the Chrome Webstore seems to have helped a lot in page visits.

I still wonder from time to time if I should put some effort in upping this a bit. But my time is limited and the app doesn't fit my current strategy (mobile, mhealth specifically).

44
khet 8 days ago 1 reply      
I spent 2 weeks on a Themeforest xhtml/css theme about 3 years ago. It still gives me a 40$ every month. Nothing to brag about but it takes care of my hosting bill :)
45
dshimy 8 days ago 0 replies      
https://www.jabwire.com - collaboration tool for software projects, SaaS revenue
46
dhechols 8 days ago 0 replies      
Last February I started a small YouTube channel surrounding eSports called DrZealotTV. http://youtube.com/DrZealotTV

Although it hasn't even broken even, I'm now equipped with a ton of expertise and I have a few efforts I'm working on that I think will be quite popular. :)

47
hodder 7 days ago 0 replies      
Stocks work the best for me so far. Specifically Graham style net-nets.
48
demostenes 8 days ago 0 replies      
My website about PC processors http://www.jaki-procesor.pl/ in Polish) gets me around 200$-300$ per month. US version http://www.best-processor.net/ is barely alive tho.
49
collegeappz 6 days ago 0 replies      
I've learned that my passive income sources have become nonexistent and going into the biz. That's to be expected in the early years of a startup. If anyone has other advice if I were to have pennies to save, do share.
50
ww520 8 days ago 0 replies      
Real estate
51
nsoonhui 8 days ago 0 replies      
Setting up an ecommerce shop and let my friend runs it.
52
kkoppenhaver 8 days ago 0 replies      
A site that I've recently stumbled across and been reading through voraciously is smartpassiveincome.com. It has some pretty solid tips and in 3 episodes of his free podcast, he goes over 8 potential types of "passive" income business models.
53
marcelfalliere 8 days ago 0 replies      
> theonemillioneuromap.com

I got 4 euros (minus google checkout fees) so far.

54
armenarmen 6 days ago 0 replies      
I own aidsforhearing.com a shitty amazon store selling hearing aids, go figure it's made nothing.

ideas?

55
ispekhov 8 days ago 1 reply      
Whoever is offering stock as an income opportunity is not smart. And if you think stock is a passive income opportunity, you are dumb. Go read James Altucher.
56
pczzy 8 days ago 1 reply      
I have a website, http://www.mfrbee.com . Not a lot of traffic, but enough for a few hundred a month from adsense.
57
ispekhov 8 days ago 1 reply      
Go download Qriket app for your iPhone. It lets you scan QR codes and win money. Not a tedious task that will net you $20 per day.
58
vjz 8 days ago 2 replies      
Tax-free municipal bonds
22
Ask HN: How will the Geosocial mobile proximity app/network nut be cracked?
4 points by opensource  1 day ago   2 comments top 2
1
AznHisoka 1 day ago 0 replies      
IMO, I think it's a solution in search of a problem. Hence the reason why you need to come up with a compelling value proposition.
2
simantel 1 day ago 0 replies      
It already has! Grindr is a runaway success in the geosocial space.
23
Anyone Can Ride Rails - should I write this book?
8 points by AstonJ  2 days ago   24 comments top 12
1
countessa 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Okay - if you are going for the absolute beginner market, then, in my opinion, you have too much front matter. I'm new to code, I want to build something cool - let me at it now, not 20 pages in.
2
thejteam 2 days 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.

3
helen842000 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm glad you start from a 'what you'll need' point of view. This is often missed in most books where they just start with a code 1+1 example.

If you are aiming for total beginners - as in, new to programming and not just new to Ruby/Rails then you might have to re-word your About this book section.

You mention TDD, Git, 'default Ruby stack' within the first 8 lines of the book. While these are important points regarding the book - they only make sense to programmers of some kind.

I think if you give away a sample chapter of your book then this will be the first thing they read. You've got to convince the new folks you'll look after them & that they will actually get as far as building their first app. You may want to consider adding a book subtitle. I presume the readers you want to attract might not even know what Rails is! Maybe something like - Anyone Can Ride Rails - A fresh programming guide for enthusiasic beginners.

I like the informal tone as it's reassuring. I also second the what is Ruby/Rails & why should I use them, what can I build with it etc?

4
zafriedman 2 days 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.

5
jfaucett 2 days 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 :)

6
stevejalim 2 days ago 1 reply      
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
7
diasks2 2 days 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.

8
fawyd 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm a RoR beginner with a little know-how from other languages like PHP and think you should also include some other interesting parts like Stackoverflow, GitHub, Heroku etc. There is plenty of stuff out there with no real description for a programming-beginner. In my early days I have search for a long time a good description for what a gem is.
And this is only one example, lol.
10
bharad 2 days 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?

11
eranation 2 days ago 1 reply      
Whatever will be your decision, this is a great book title!
12
creativeone 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm a ruby & rails beginner so I would definitely be interested in a book like this.
24
Ask HN: What did the really successful programmers do differently?
212 points by BadassFractal  11 days ago   168 comments top 2
1
edw519 10 days ago  replies      
How to be an Excellent Programmer for Many Years

(Excellent==Successful. Money & fame are more difficult to control.)

1. Choose a small subset of available technology, learn it intimately, and embrace it. Then evolve that subset.

2. Understand the pros and cons of various data structures, both in memory and on disk.

3. Understand the pros and cons of various algorithms.

4. Understand your domain. Get away from your computer and do what your users do.

5. Be ready, willing, & able to deep dive multiple levels at any time. You must know what's going on under the hood. There is a strong correlation between "number of levels of deepness understood" and "programming prowess".

6. Use your imagination. Always be asking, "Is there a better way?" Think outside the quadralateral. The best solution may be one that's never been taken.

7. Good programmer: I optimize code. Better programmer: I structure data. Best programmer: What's the difference?

8. Structure your data properly. Any shortcomings there will cause endless techincal debt in your code.

9. Name things properly. Use "Verb-Adjective-Noun" for routines and functions. Variables should be long enough, short enough, and meaningful. If another programmer cannot understand your code, you haven't made it clear enough. In most cases, coding for the next programmer is more important than coding for the environment.

10. Decouple analysis from programming. They are not the same thing, require different personal resources, and should be done at different times and places. If you do both at the same time, you do neither well. (I like to conduct analysis without technology at the end of the day and start the next morning programming.)

11. Never use early exits. Never deploy the same code twice. Never name a variable a subset of another variable. You may not understand these rules and you may even want to debate them. But once you start doing them, it will force you to properly structure your code. These things are all crutches whose use causes junior programmers to remain junior.

12. Learn how to benchmark. Amazing what else you'll learn.

13. Learn the difference between a detail (doesn't really make that much difference) and an issue (can end the world). Focus only on issues.

14. Engage your user/customer/managers. Help them identify their "what". Their "how" is not nearly as important.

15. Write a framework, whether you ever plan to use it or not. You'll learn things you'll never learn any other way.

16. Teach others what you know, either in person or in writing. You'll accidently end up teaching yourself, too.

17. Always tell your customer/user "yes", even if you're not sure. 90% of the time, you'll find a way to do it. 10% of the time, you'll go back and apologize. Small price to pay for major personal growth.

18. Find someone else's code that does amazing things but is unintelligible. Refactor it. Then throw it away and promise yourself to never make the same mistakes they made. (You'll find plenty.)

19. Data always > theory or opinions. Learn the data by building stuff.

20. At some point, run your own business (service or product). You will learn things about programming that you'll never learn as an employee.

21. If you don't love your job, find another one.

2
patio11 11 days ago  replies      
Break down what "success" means for you, then figure out how to achieve the really important parts of that formula.

For example, my cursory read of your list of programming success stories plus "they've made a difference, they're well known and respected" suggests that you might care about your status among geeks in particular. There's nothing wrong with that, but it would counsel very different career moves than if you cared about your status among "the typical person who reads the New York Times." You might, for example, aim your moves towards a high-status industry that skews geeky (like, say, videogames, which is across almost any other axis a terrible place to work), startups, advertising firms which employ anomalously high number of PhDs and get disproportionate love from geeks, etc etc, and away from where many extraordinarily talented programmers are likely to work (in a dark hole writing important code that the world will never know or care about even though it keeps their planes in the sky, moves their food to their table, makes sure that when they call 911 a phone actually rings, etc).

In terms of being financially successful? There are many, many approaches to it. Most of them boil down to figuring out how programming solves a problem for a business, quantifying that value, and then shaking the money tree.

I think HNers sometimes have an unnecessarily narrow view of the solution set: for values of financially successful which include "I don't need to be a billionaire but I'd sort of like to earn, I dunno, doctor money rather than marketing manager money" it includes things like "Run a small boutique consulting firm", "Become an individual specialist in a few very valuable things and just charge market rates for them", "Use your programming expertise to found a non-tech business and ROFLstomp on one core area of operations due to your unfair advantage", etc etc etc.

25
Ask HN: Why is subscription billing hard?
8 points by zdrummond  2 days ago   10 comments top 4
1
dangrossman 2 days 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.

2
skrish 2 days 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).

3
subsection1h 2 days 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.)

4
orangethirty 2 days ago 2 replies      
How much is expensive?
26
Show HN: What's trending (keywords) on HN
8 points by jjhageman  2 days ago   2 comments top 2
1
louhong 2 days ago 0 replies      
2
001sky 1 day ago 0 replies      
Cool but kindly suggest extending threshold. An option for a 30 day look, for example, would be a good addition.
28
Ask HN: Can I visit your startup in SF?
88 points by maxcameron  6 days ago   83 comments top 28
1
petercooper 6 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.
2
volandovengo 6 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?
3
arram 6 days ago 3 replies      
You're welcome to join us for lunch at ZeroCater. Email in profile.
4
kloncks 6 days ago 1 reply      
We do payments (https://www.ribbon.co) and would love to show you our offices in SOMA.

hany@ribbon.co

5
reiz 6 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.
6
SwaroopH 6 days ago 1 reply      
Come visit Startup House (5th and Harrison) to meet us (http://attico.us) and various other startups.
7
enjo 6 days ago 1 reply      
Not California, but if you find yourself in Denver/Boulder I'd love to show you around:
8
stefanobernardi 6 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

9
zocoi 6 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
10
froseph 6 days ago 1 reply      
Drop by whitetruffle ( https://www.whitetruffle.com/ ). We're located in Rocketspace coworking space. @froseph or joseph@whitetruffle.com
11
porterhaney 6 days ago 1 reply      
Will you be bringing poutine?
12
mnicole 6 days ago 1 reply      
This is exactly the tool I've been waiting for; great work and good luck!
13
scylla 6 days ago 1 reply      
Come stop by. http://www.appdirect.com

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

14
jjmanton 6 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.

15
bernardom 6 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)

16
ultrasaurus 6 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.
17
tomblomfield 6 days ago 1 reply      
This is an awesome tool. How did I not know about it?!
18
revicon 6 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
19
dsowers 6 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.
20
jaymstr 6 days ago 2 replies      
Definitely welcome to come visit LaunchRock. I'm jameson@launchrock.com.
21
ishake 6 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.
22
briancary 6 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?
23
mstank 6 days ago 1 reply      
Wow, great product. Any examples of companies using it or are you still in the early stages?
24
gobengo 6 days ago 1 reply      
Come hang out with us (me?) at Livefyre. 3rd/Market downtown.
ben@livefyre.com
25
tatianajosephy 6 days ago 0 replies      
We'd love to see you at CrowdFlower. Email forthcoming.
26
jaequery 6 days ago 2 replies      
where do i sign up to invest?
27
taigeair 6 days ago 1 reply      
good luck guys!
28
larrys 6 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.)

29
Ask HN: Before you launch a site, what are final actions you take?
17 points by msomers  4 days ago   13 comments top 4
1
kornnflake 4 days ago 1 reply      
Before launching I do:

* Minify Html, Css, Js using the YUI Compressor

* Compress images using tinypng.org

* Run the tests I wrote during development

* Do a final stress test using blitz.io

* Generate a XML Sitemap for search engines and edit the robots.txt

* Run a spellcheck using checkdog.com

* Setup monit to make sure my app restarts after a crash ;)

Guess that's it ;) Funny side story: I launched my weekend project receiveee.com last week and failed big when moving to production. During developing I ran the app under admin, but I ofc didn't when moving to production. BUT, my app includes a smtp server which couldn't run on port 25 without admin rights. No error appeared, but not a single mail arrived. Even took me 10 minutes to find the problem :D

2
kevinconroy 3 days ago 0 replies      
If you mean before initial launch of your site, do load testing. Nothing worse than crashing on day 0.
3
sskates 4 days ago 1 reply      
Careful of spending too much time on this, it reeks of premature optimization. You'll have much more knowledge of what's important to spend time on after you launch the site than before.
4
JBMmagdaong 3 days ago 1 reply      
Creating a website for me expresses the hidden creativity in your mind. But before producing a well defined website, you have to consider a lot of factors first. To Begin with, a web designer must first consider how to have an effective “optimization”, it's the greatest command that you have to remember in creating a website.

Next to optimization is get rid of Java script and CSS off to your page in order to have a better and faster coding process which lead to easy managing of your web content. Removing Java Script and CSS well produce greater space that speeds up web progress. Like for example, if you have a 20 KB document, eradicating the java script and CSS will convert this file from 20 KB to 15 KB, thus as I've said will then speed up processing.

Aside from removing Java and CSS, you should also remember to validate the code of your web according to W3C standards. The purpose of this is to prevent “accessibility issues” which is not good for search engines.
Another step is having a browsable navigation link by having an HTML navigational structure that includes footer text, links, DHTML and etc. But remember that using a Flash or Java Script is a big no because this will lead to coding blocks which can be dangerous to your web content.

Another thing to consider is your URL constructions. Please refer to Squahhot.com for more information about how Query Strings URL works.

With all this processing steps, let us be careful also with our web content. You should not duplicate your web content, or just simply copy paste it from other sources. Doing this will prioritize your ideas, and preventing similarities of content from other sources (that's if you just copy and paste it).

With all this in mind, the last step in creating an effective website is to launch it with “Proper Foundation”. Try to check if you have applied all the necessary means such as XML sitemaps, RSS Feeds, stuff like that. A properly founded website should have no issues with regards to loading a page, browser compatibility, SEO elements, robots.txt validation and etc.

30
Ask HN: What's the best option for easy payment processing?
7 points by jongold  3 days ago   7 comments top 5
1
dangrossman 2 days ago 1 reply      
Code against SpreedlyCore and you can point your account at Stripe, SagePay, PayPal, or whoever offers you the best rates at the time. If PayPal burns you, you change one variable in your code and all your payments hit a different payment processor. The differences between all the payment APIs are abstracted away from you, and similar to Stripe/PayPal, payment data never touches your server so most of the PCIDSS compliance burden disappears... yet customers never leave your site, either.
2
yitchelle 3 days ago 0 replies      
I asked a similar question for online payment systems for Europe. You may get some insight from the discussions..

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4379697

3
pilsetnieks 2 days ago 1 reply      
Braintree has recently expanded into the EU (https://www.braintreepayments.com)
4
helen842000 3 days ago 0 replies      
I guess it depends on what you're selling but what about Gumroad? Works well for digital products/downloads.
5
ragsagar 2 days ago 0 replies      
try chargify.
       cached 19 October 2012 12:05:01 GMT