hacker news with inline top comments    .. more ..    13 Nov 2012 Ask
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1
Ask HN: Someone is using our trademark to market our competitors site
2 points by akmiller  31 minutes ago   discuss
4
New to HN, where to start?
2 points by kmack  1 hour ago   4 comments top 3
1
Wilduck 25 minutes ago 0 replies      
Well, if you want to read things by some of the top contributing users, a good place to start would be the "leaderboard" [1]. Click on one of the users names, and click "comments". These are usually pretty fun to read (especially from those with high "avg" karma).

Also, to answer a couple questions you will inevitably have while browsing through their comments or old posts:

1) There is a karma threshold for down-voting (currently 500).

2) The "expired link" page you see is a known issue and is unlikely to be fixed any time soon.

As for guidelines:

Always try to add to the discussion. Be nice. This isn't reddit (humor is fine, but stupid jokes are not). Upvote on quality of content, not appeal of content.

[1] http://news.ycombinator.com/leaders

2
simantel 23 minutes ago 0 replies      
This is now two years old, but still a pretty awesome resource:

http://www.gabrielweinberg.com/startupswiki/Ask_YC_Archive

Also if you want to search with more control than Google provides, check out:

http://www.hnsearch.com

3
bockris 1 hour ago 1 reply      
The Guidelines link is in the footer.
5
Google checkout just shutdown us down
3 points by headShrinker  3 hours ago   2 comments top 2
1
sheraz 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Why not just switch your payment provider? You should be able to do a simple paypal IPN integration in less than a day.

  * Paypal IPN
* Stripe
* 2Checkout
* Dwolla

and a host of others.

2
Quekster 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I'm interested in your story and would like to know more so I could get in touch with Google. Please contact me at emil@thenextweb.com
6
Show HN (~ 2 months ago) course reviewer
2 points by ramblerman  2 hours ago   1 comment top
1
cadalac 1 hour ago 0 replies      
There was this list from reddit:
http://www.reddit.com/r/reddit.com/comments/cktxy/reddit_let...

I'm currently spending a lot of time at Udacity. CS101 was the first resource for learning python that I've been able to through start to finish. (Think Python is second place for me, also very good)

The one area that I still find lacking in on-line learning is math. I can't seem to find anything that's concise, interactive and effective. (Paying is not an option.)

7
Ask HN: How to earn $400 per month?
7 points by icemelt8  7 hours ago   7 comments top 6
1
canterburry 11 minutes ago 0 replies      
I also endorse oDesk or elance. I frequently find help there and have spent $400 many times over...so I know you can make at least that on even a small project.

The trick is how to make it every month. On these sites, your reputation will either help you or kill your business.

2
mmahemoff 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Good developers can charge $20/hr or more on oDesk.

Looking at your profile, there's no link. I'd suggest linking to your homepage and generally maintaining an active profile on at least Twitter and GitHub, and preferably some personal projects of the kind of thing you want to be paid to build. Anything like that will stand out when contract providers are looking to hire, given that self-reported work history is dubious.

3
tgflynn 6 hours ago 0 replies      
If you're a skilled developer you can easily make that much freelancing on elance.com.
4
a3camero 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Look on Craigslist and Kijiji in North American cities and reach out to people looking for websites. Charge people $500-1000. Repeat monthly.
5
thatusertwo 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Not sure if this is the answer you are looking for, but you could build 1 Wordpress site a month for a North American client and likely make more money than that.
6
T_Electronics 2 hours ago 0 replies      
$ell your creations on envato.com :)
8
The BufferApp Welcome Email
101 points by yakshay  1 day ago   15 comments top 8
1
patio11 1 day ago 1 reply      
That's well done.

You can split the product intro email and the personal intro from the CEO email, by the way. Stagger the CEO email by a bit and deliver it as text only, and many users will perceive it as if the CEO had just mailed them personally.

e.g.

Hiya,

I saw you signed up for the free trial the other day. My name is Patrick and I'm the founder of the company. Drop me an email any time if you have a question or need anything.

I know one guy who puts "Sent from my iPhone" on it but that strikes me as being more aggressive than I'd care to do. (If you don't like the "I saw you signed up for" verbiage then a) email this email to yourself, rather than to them, and b) copy/paste the text into a new email to the email address called out at the top. Then everything is literally true again.

2
neebz 1 day ago 1 reply      
I had a similar email when I joined InVision but unfortunately it gave a very creepy feeling.

----

Subject: Your insights?

Hi again,

I think you signed up a couple weeks ago now...

How has your team been liking InVision so far? Any new ideas on ways we can make our product even better?

Write me back, I would love to hear from you...

P.S. Did you know about the UX Toolkits section? You can download a bunch of totally FREE high quality UI widgets and stencils -- and we're adding new ones all the time. Check it out: https://projects.invisionapp.com/resources/

Thanks!
-- Clark Valberg

3
francesca 1 day ago 1 reply      
Joel and his team are awesome. They make a great product and make great decisions when it comes to their customer support. They also do great emails for buffer updates

---------------------------------------
Hi,

I hope all is going well with you! I'm super excited to share the news about a big new Buffer feature. You'll now be able to track analytics in real time for each of your social media posts to know exactly how much impact they have had.

The following analytics are in your account now:

For your Tweets: number of clicks, retweets, mentions, favorites and reach.
For your Facebook posts: number of clicks, likes, comments, shares and reach.
For your LinkedIn posts: number of clicks, likes, comments and shares.
Check out this blog post to get more juicy details about how the new Buffer analytics work.

It'd be awesome get any thoughts you have on the new real-time analytics feature or how you use Buffer in general. Just hit reply to let us know.

- Joel and the Buffer Team

P.S. The whole Buffer team (check out this picture of us! :)) is sitting here and we are waiting eagerly to hear about your thoughts and ideas. We'll be around to answer all your emails for the next few hours. Drop us a line!

---

My notes:

- from the team
- they are sticking around after sending the email to answer requests
- New feature description is short and sweet

4
muratmutlu 1 day ago 0 replies      
I signed up for Buffer but never got around to using it but I do remember this email and thinking how good it was
5
jamesdeer 1 day ago 1 reply      
I enjoy hacking email copy so I rewrote this for fun trying to make it a little easier to take in:

----

Hi John,

I'm Joel, the founder of Buffer. Thanks so much for signing up.

It's probably not every day you sign up to something new so I want you to know that my team and I are here to make you happy, 24/7.

You should try out our awesome browser extension. It'll help you share amazing content to your friends and followers twice as fast.

Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions!

Have an awesome day.

Cheers!
Joel

P.S. You can catch me sharing interesting content on Twitter, @joelgascoigne and the team and I usually respond to emails within a few hours.

6
srik 1 day ago 0 replies      
The once from Mixergy, Im afraid I might have deleted mine, but it was unique and offered a lot of customised value.
7
timjahn 1 day ago 0 replies      
Joel and his team are AMAZING at this kind of stuff. My favorite is how at the end of every email blast they send, they put a PS at the bottom that says feel free to hit reply, they're standing by for the next few hours to answer all replies to that email.
8
wjamesg 1 day ago 0 replies      
Agreed, keeping it simple. It'd be cool if more services resorted to well-crafted text-only emails. Never going to happen, heh.
9
Ask HN: Technical Question: Django for web/mobile app
2 points by xackpot  3 hours ago   4 comments top 2
1
byoung2 2 hours ago 1 reply      
The backend has php scripts that either return json objects or simple responses

I am a PHP developer and I ran into this question recently. At the startup where I work, we have a web app that is completely Ajax driven. When we decided to convert those Ajax endpoints to an API to be used with a mobile app and possibly open it to the public, I did some research and eventually decided on node.js and Restify. One of the draws is that with an Ajax webapp, we already have a team of JS devs on staff, so there would be less of a learning curve. I'd suggest looking into it.

EDIT: I forgot to address the multithreading part. I believe that node.js is not true multithreading...it is event driven, so it can use a single thread more efficiently, which should achieve the same effect.

2
ddorian43 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I wanted to make use of multi-threading provided by python?

As far as i know that line is automatically false. Yes you can use django for returning html and json(django-tastypie for example).

Also please put more info in the title.

10
Nexus 4 is already sold out on Google Play Store
5 points by ergo14  9 hours ago   2 comments top
1
fatjokes 8 hours ago 1 reply      
In the US?
11
Ask HN: You're a founder, do you ignore recruiters?
5 points by chris_dcosta  9 hours ago   5 comments top 5
1
SandB0x 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I think you've answered your own question.

My opinion: There's almost always some $ threshold above which it makes sense to take on a freelance job. Choose your threshold and make it clear to any recruiters. It's always worth keeping good relations, as you say.

2
kevinelliott 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Unlike some of my colleagues, I am polite to recruiters. I never know when they might put me in touch with an early stage hire, even if it's out of scope from what they're doing now. Also, you never know when you're looking to scale and having some relationships in place can be helpful.

Don't forget, that even though they can be annoying and a bit out of touch with what position reqs actually are, they're human too, and a little short but polite response about your situation can go a long way.

3
destraynor 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I just tell them exact truth. I'm dedicating everything I have to my company (Intercom), and as such I'm not listening to offers. If they want to check in in a year or so, it's no harm but the answer will be the same.

Firm politeness never hurts. But it has to be firm.

4
thiagodotfm 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Say you've raised your rates because the industry lately have been getting you A LOT OF WORK, then ask for a value that would be interesting to you($200+/h?). If the client runs away, you still have chance to get back to him after a while.
5
edent 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Neither. You say that you're currently working on a project and they should contact you again in X months.

I usually say 3 months - but it depends on your confidence.

12
Ask HN: About to start an internship with Google. Any advice?
5 points by anon-coward  13 hours ago   3 comments top
1
Peroni 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Some non-technical advice:

* Ask tons of questions. Not questions for the sake of questions but relevant, interesting questions.

* Get to know people. It's never too early to start networking and you'd be surprised how likely it is that you'll cross paths with some of these Googlers further down the line.

* Pay attention and work hard. A good work ethic is unfortunately a rare commodity. Showing a willingness to get your head down and get stuck in won't go unnoticed.

13
Ask HN: Is getting a visible tattoo a terrible idea?
5 points by t-row-a-way  15 hours ago   7 comments top 7
1
jasonkester 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Like it or not, we live in a world where people judge one another on appearances. And naturally some of those people will be in charge of hiring you and advancing your career.

With that in mind, there are several ways that one can stack the deck against one's self. Morbid obesity, poor personal hygiene, vampire costumes, and, yes, visible tattoos can all serve the purpose of closing a door that might otherwise be open to you.

The questions you need to ask yourself are how important is it that all possible doors remain open, and whether you're in a position in life where the occasional closed door leading to an environment you don't want to inhabit might actually be a good thing.

And of course, the big question. Is there even the smallest possibility that several decades from now your life, values, opinions, career, etc. will have evolved to a place where you find it really really inconvenient to have a marker of the social situation and personal biases you happened to have at age 19 permanently stamped onto the back of your neck.

I certainly wouldn't want that guy in charge of my tattoos today.

2
patio11 14 hours ago 0 replies      
People in our industry occupy, how shall we put this, a broad range of the continuum of compliance with middle-class American values. You can find people with tattoos. You can find people who subscribe to religions which are, broadly speaking, against tattoos. You can find both of those people at the same table, talking about code.
3
runjake 3 hours ago 0 replies      
As an older guy with several visible tattoos, I'll chime in: "don't".

At some point soon, you'll mature and get older. And you'll realize that faded, unintelligible blob of ink really isn't that important to who you are.

And people will judge you. It hasn't really hurt me a whole lot in life, but I definitely had to jump over that initial hurdle of "I'm not a threat" again and again.

4
brudgers 4 hours ago 0 replies      
It's certainly not "curtains" for a career. It might lead to changing jobs. Then again, it might lead to getting promoted.

A few years ago, I showed up for an interview in a suit, tie, and wingtips. A coworker hired about the same time, showed up for his in tee-shirt, baggies, and Teva's.

He was a better fit for the corporate culture and stayed for seven years. I left after about a year.

On the other hand, in the US, either get it, or don't. Making a big deal and asking permission is a sign of weakness.

5
michaelpinto 14 hours ago 0 replies      
If you're asking the question that means you have doubts, and a tattoo isn't the kind of thing you'd want to have a doubt about. Also keep in mind that tattoos go in and out of style, so what looks cool today may look like Popeye in twenty years.
6
biscarch 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I've seen a nice proportion of people in tech startups, etc with sleeves or similar compared to other professions (Typically less people than a representative portion of lead singers, but more than a similar sample of teachers). It doesn't seem to hold them back, and I plan to get (more of) my own in the future.

The view I take is if someone has such hostility towards my tattoos that we can't work together, we probably shouldn't be working together anyway. (Tattoos to me are representative of my life story and are given a lot of thought/designing)

7
ewokhead 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I have a huge tattoo on my arm.

I am happy and I consider myself successful.

It depends on what you mean when you say "curtains for your career" I would imagine.

15
Ask HN: Good places to learn UI/UX?
4 points by isuro  20 hours ago   2 comments top 2
1
GarrettVD 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Hey,

I would have a look at "The UX Book: Process and Guidelines for Ensuring a Quality User Experience" by Rex Hartson & Parha Pyla. I picked it up on Safari Books a few weeks ago; it really gives you an in-depth look at both the theory and processes involved in UX design.

Also, have a look at the diagram on this page: http://uxdesign.smashingmagazine.com/2012/08/29/beyond-wiref... I have it pinned to my cubicle wall.

-G.

2
hiddenstage 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Don't Make Me Think by Steve Krug is a must read.
16
How to provide value
3 points by mcface3000  20 hours ago   discuss
17
Box should have explicitly used 64-bit variables in API instead of int
4 points by bitcartel  1 day ago   discuss
18
How to get a job as a C++ developer?
3 points by symbion  18 hours ago   2 comments top 2
1
bennyjoseph 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Here are the key things you need to learn:

1. Memory Management - Java takes care of it all for you, whereas in C++ you have to manually allocate and de-allocate memory, otherwise you will have memory leaks.

2. Learn the Standard Template Library (STL). C++ has a much smaller library of pre-built code that Java. The STL is very good for some basic data structures like map, set, etc.

3. Pointers - Java has references, C++ has pointers. You need to learn how to use them safely.

4. Polymorphism - Similar to Java but syntax is a bit different

5. Operator Overloading - You can redefine operators such as "+" or "-" to make your code look cleaner. This can be dangerous, but very useful if done correctly.

I think that is a good start. Overall the transition to C++ should be relatively easy once you master memory management and pointers.

2
lumberjack 12 hours ago 0 replies      
http://cplusplus.com/doc/tutorial/
http://www.horstmann.com/ccj2/ccjapp3.html
http://www.4p8.com/eric.brasseur/cppcen.html

I was in a similar situation just lately. The above are some very good introductory stuff I found very useful.

19
Ask HN: Percent of time spent developing internal tools?
72 points by asher_  3 days ago   45 comments top 25
1
JangoSteve 3 days ago 1 reply      
Of course it all depends on your actual business, income (i.e. how much time can you afford to spend on internal tools), needs, etc. Since you're talking about client-facing software, I'm going to assume you're in a software development company, which narrows it down a little.

For our company, we don't develop internal tools for any given problem until it's a real pain. You'll know when it's an actual pain (as opposed to just an idea), because you'll keep seeing it crop up in your day-to-day work, and if you talk about it with others on your team, they'll say, "Yeah! I know exactly what you mean, I was thinking about that the other day."

We wait until it's a real pain for a couple reasons:

1) We want to make sure we're not wasting our time; we're mostly engineers, and we all get real, unadulterated enjoyment from building things. It's only too easy for our enjoyment and enthusiasm for building a solution to fool us into thinking there's a problem. But usually, if everyone on the team is instantly excited about the prospect of solving some problem, that's usually a good indicator that it's a real problem.

2) The longer we can put off something, the more information we'll have when we go to solve it. In other words, we give ourselves time to figure out first how we want to work, and then find or build tools around that, rather than trying to fit our system to some tool.

The second reason is really important too, because when we sit down to really think about every facet of a problem, how it affects our work and how we have been putting up with it and working around it, we'll often realize the best solution isn't some new piece of software; it's merely leveraging some tool we already have slightly differently.

For one example, we started losing feedback and updates in email, because some person on the team would get left off the email (e.g. someone hit "reply" instead of "reply-all"), and we wouldn't realize it until some task went un-resolved for several days. We could have built or implemented some sort of support desk system and made it the clients' responsibility to make sure tickets are submitted and then integrated it with email. Or, we could just create a unique email alias for each client, which copies everyone involved. The latter took 2 minutes and improved communication threefold.

If you keep growing, you'll eventually reach a point where anything less than a full-blown software solution just isn't going to cut it. But by that time, you've seen how the team deals with the problem over time, and all the pitfalls of other smaller or less-custom solutions, and you'll be able to build the most awesome solution possible.

2
6ren 3 days ago 2 replies      
Tools are automation.

Rule of thumb: do it manually three times before automating it. That way, you'll have a fair idea of what it is supposed to do (which is the hardest part); you know whether it's predictable enough to be automated; and an how often it will come up.

A programmer is someone who takes 5 hours to automate something that takes 5 minutes

3
taliesinb 3 days ago 0 replies      
My answer at this very moment in time is around 1/3. Which seems a lot. Though these projects have been less about automating drudgery and more about unlocking new workflows and ways of understanding things.

When I first started working at my job I sneakily built a suite of tools for visually working with NL grammars (instead of just buckling down and writing the grammars). Although I don't maintain it anymore, it's now used by an entire team. It was great that my then-managers saw that I was on to something and let me obsess about it for a few weeks.

I recently spent a few weekends writing static code analysis tools to analyze our codebase. There is some pretty exciting stuff that can be done there. It hasn't paid off quite yet, though I know it will.

Another project I've been juggling with my 'official job' is a nice new logging system with all kinds of cool features. There are so many challenges about making a piece of infrastructure work technically and culturally across a large team, however. It's much easier to estimate how long the technical part will take.

I've also written a bunch of tools that just failed to find any real use. In retrospect, these were mostly vanity projects of some kind, whereas the projects that have worked have always been about scratching an itch that I can see other people have (whether or not they articulate it).

4
meaty 3 days ago 1 reply      
I have actually automated myself out of a job before so be careful! Fortunately the company saw the value of this and contracted me on an adhoc basis.

I wad the unfortunate administrator for a large virtual mail system in the uk which was run off exim and flat files across 50 machines (one per client). This took 3 guys full time to manage as the machines were all over the uk and needed regular maintenance. I centralized everything and moved it to two virtual postfix machines backed with postgresql and wrote a web interface and set up scripts for backup and administrative operations, including integrated dns management.

Now, 12 years later, these guys are one of the larger hosting companies in the UK...

Automation almost always pays off, but not how you anticipate in some cases.

5
drewcrawford 3 days ago 0 replies      
As a client-oriented business, I am a proud disciple of the Gospel of Tools.

1. Tools are one of the few institutional advantages that are in the domain of the programmer (rather than the MBA or the sales force). There are many shops out there that suffer from a lack of technical leadership and compete on the basis of (absolutely incredible!) strength of the sales force. Software developers don't win at that game.

They can, however, win at having the best tools. You have to have some unfair advantage, and in most developer-run studios, tools are easier to cultivate than sales methodologies.

2. Customer-facing tools provide customer-visible value. If you're writing error-reporting software that helps debug issues on customer systems, that's providing visible value. If you have client dashboards that show the status of their project and predict ship dates, that's visible value. If your network protocol is faster than REST for your vertical, that means faster software, and that's visible value.

It's all about giving your customers something to hang their hat on to select your shop. If they are getting "good vibes" from the other sales guys, but your software automatically builds them a Powerpoint deck of the project status to present at the weekly update meeting, then there's some class of customers who will prefer working with you, and you are better insulated from competition.

3. If you and your competitors don't do tool investment, then all the boats will rise at the same speed. But if you are doing tool investment, your boat will rise faster. At some point you can do the same job and provide better value than anyone else. When people figure that out, your competitors are forced to first, cut prices to remain competitive, and second, raise expenses to try and achieve tool parity. But you've already got a long head start, so they will either run out of money, license the tools from you, or just focus on the more sales/MBA-receptive customer base, and shrink to a niche offering.

4. As I've hinted at, tools can be valuable and can be licensed to other shops. The only way to really get out of the client "rat race" is to become a product company. Tools are an easy way to make that transition; you have a built-in customer base and an intimate knowledge of the problem domain.

6
andrewf 3 days ago 1 reply      
I can think of many things that could qualify at "internal tools." The question is broad and the answers depend on what your business is, who works there, and what they do (yourself included!)

Possible "internal tools" that come to mind are:
(1) Analytics
(2) CRM-y stuff for the sales and support people
(3) Deployment and testing stuff for technical people
(4) CMS-y stuff to enable non-technical people to experiment with, or even implement, things that are client-visible. And for technical people to do so more efficiently.
(5) Backup, redundancy, disaster recovery etc

If none of these seem more important than others, I guess you need to ask: where is the business now? Where will it need to be in <x> months? How are we getting there? What are the pain points? How can the above improve this (versus implementing new features)?

One cherry-picked example: should technical staff time be spent on improving sales? If sales are your company's limiting factor and you don't have enough salespeople, making them more efficient is really important. If you're still in a soft launch-ish place, then it's not. If you have enough salespeople but not enough leads, maybe mining your own data, or public data, could produce some.

7
PommeDeTerre 3 days ago 1 reply      
How is this different from any other business decision that you'd make? Estimate the costs, estimate the benefits, estimate the rate of return, and proceed if the rate of return exceeds that of the alternatives.
8
chewxy 3 days ago 0 replies      
My team and I spent a lot of time developing internal tools (and/or integrating them with other tools like CampaignMonitor and stuff).

Throughout our massive amounts of failures, we've learned some things (and some things the hard way): there are basics, and there are nice-to-haves. Get the basics right.

Our basics include an entirely zeroMQ based service-oriented architecture (after 8-9 different iterations over the past 4 years). We spent a lot of time writing a ZMQ based DHT, and service wrappers (kinda like zeroRPC[0]). Other basics include a standardized front-end A/B testing based off genetify[1], email service (with AWS' SES), paypal service, our fair matching services and many others.

The one thing to note is that these basics didn't come overnight though. It came through many many iterations of different products that failed. We merely picked up the components that worked best.

There were things that were nice to have like automated testing and deployment options that we considered. Even using tools like Puppet and/or Chef, we determined, were not quite a good use of our time, considering our release schedule isn't all that crazy, and deployments can be managed by one human being.

But our situation does not apply to you. You need to think about what fits your situation, and your styles. Maybe you are the kind that pushes a release to production servers every 5 minutes. Then yes, having an automated test and build system would be extremely useful.

Start with simple stuff like crons and tiny scripts. Let your internal tools evolve on their own. Don't jump in to write massive automation for your systems. Instead, do it in small parts, just enough to help you.

Hope this helps.

[0] http://zerorpc.dotcloud.com/

[1] http://genetify.com/demo/

9
bosky101 3 hours ago 0 replies      
imho, internal tools form a big part of your competitive advantage

you could spend all your time building these, and still just have scratched the surface.

10
jakejake 3 days ago 0 replies      
First off, such a great question.

I think there is a danger in trying to make your own life too easy at the expense of making your customers lives easier - especially during a startup period.

I think for tools you have to just do the math. If it takes you 10 minutes once a week and the tool you build takes three hours to develop - then the effort will start paying off in 18 weeks. If it takes you 8 hours to build the tool the you don't break even for 48 weeks (almost a year).

There could be other reasons to build a tool, though. For example the process is error-prone and a tool will ensure it is done properly. Or it enables a non-tech staff to take over something that allows them to help customers better.

Lastly one task is always worth automating - that is data backups.

11
gbog 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'd leave the short term to short sighted people. In chess, in wars, in business, in software, the world belong to those who see far away.

As Napoleon said: l'intendance suivra, which means that short term and ancillary problems will be solved anyway.

Another way to say this is that if you keep the general long term direction, it will be ok to use dirty hacks to fix in fee minutes the short term problems, you will know how to do it in a way that we'll not hinder the long term path.

But make sure your tools and automation are really in line with the long term direction.

For example, building a chrome plugin to speed manual testing of a web app would be wrong, architecting it to be fully unit testable would be right.

12
wrath 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think before you start automating you business and processes you first need to know if your product will get any traction. Spending the time on making sure you have the best possible MVP is the most important thing, IMO. You may be launching a lot of tasks manually and modifying the database directly from the console at first but so be it. The fact is that creating internal tools is very expensive and only indirectly provides benefits to your product.

You'll know when you'll need to build better automation to your product; there won't be enough time to get everything done in a day.

That said, there's a downside to following this approach. When you will need to build automation tools you'll be conflicted with spending your time on automation or on improving your product. Improving your product directly provides benefits, tools indirectly provides benefits. It can be sometimes hard to convince yourself or others that you need to spend x% of your time on internal tools.

Where I work we're at a point where automation is very important. As the CTO of the company I constantly have to challenge the CEO and others that spending money on tools will give us some benefit in long term. The rule (or high level design pattern) that we are trying to implement is for every module of our product, there is a tool to understand the data better for debugging purposes (e.g. a UI to see what step in the workflow the process is in and/or what errors happened, etc), and if data is generated, there's an API/Service to get the data out easily.

13
markokocic 3 days ago 0 replies      
Everyone on this thread focus on business decisions should something be automated based on perceived monetary value.

However, there is another important aspect in developing internal tools. In a lot of setups, developers rarely have a chance to investigate new technology, new development approach, different architecture, even different programming language on a day to day basis. Work is mostly done using predefined set of technologies.

For tools, the technology requirements are almost always much more relaxed, so the developers themselves gets to choose and try different approaches. While not every tool might end up being success in strictly measured time/money saved sense, in the long run it will help developers stay up to date with the technology, and even apply lessons learned in the real/product development.

As a bonus, employee retention might improve as people won't get bored so soon if they have a chance to try doing something new from time to time.

14
asher_ 3 days ago 2 replies      
I see I need to add more specifics about my situation.

I work at a university developing research software (primarily - some is also external customer facing). My customers are internal customers, thus profitability and other business measures are not directly my concern.

The biggest issue I face with this is that my customers are non-technical people, so if I were to tell them that our infrastructure is now software defined and I have implemented analytics that will allow me to optimise the caching layer, they will most likely look at me with a puzzled expression and perhaps wonder what I'm actually doing since those things don't provide direct value to them.

The types of internal tools I am thinking of are things like; analytics, automated deployments, CI server etc.

One comment suggested I do a simple calculation like any other business decision. This is something I cannot for the life of me work out how to do. Internal tools will increase my efficiency in the future, so I guess at best I could estimate a payback time for some of these tools (like automation). Even so, how short a payback makes it worthwhile? For other tools, like analytics, how can this type of calculation be made?

Additionally, there are some things that are the "right way" to do things, such as software defined infrastructure vs managing it manually (which I currently do). Investing time in this won't have any immediate payback, but is nice to have in place in the case of a large failure when I need to recover quickly. These types of value calculations for me are not easy to make.

sourthyme, I like the idea of spending one day a week working on this stuff. Perhaps I need to have a conversation with my bosses/customers about this and try to explain to them the value that internal tooling will bring.

Thanks for the answers so far, please keep them coming.

15
mvkel 3 days ago 0 replies      
Easy! If this is your company, dedicate as many resources as possible to get you to profitability the fastest.

Would adding better analytics allow you to convert more prospects? Sounds pretty important for getting business, despite it being an internal tool.

If you're pre-revenue, or pre-sustainability, all your efforts need to depend on becoming sustainable. Otherwise, you're making a great product for nobody.

16
twanlass 3 days ago 0 replies      
Very little. A lot of people automate waaaay to early (it's the engineer in you). Of course this is very dependent on your situation (startup vs agency/shop).

I always suggest a digital assistant first. Pay $4-10 an hour and let someone else do it. Wait until that cost becomes a thorn in your side.

17
pbiggar 3 days ago 0 replies      
As a datapoint: when we (https://circleci.com) did our market research, we estimated that a development team spent about 12% of its time on the parts of testing/deployment that we would replace (mostly setting up a CI server w/ continuous deployment).
18
twelve45 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think Yishan Wong's thoughts on this really hits the mark:
http://algeri-wong.com/yishan/engineering-management-tools-a...

It is incredibly important to get your tools right so you can operate as efficiently as possible. At my company we didn't get around to this till much later, partly due to the dilemma you mentioned abt focusing on customer-facing software vs. internal tools, and partly due to the fact that the people who would benefit the most from automation (e.g. finance folks, inventory managers, etc) don't have the same obsession with automating away mundane tasks like us engineers do.

This lack of tools hurt us quite a bit once we started scaling, in ways that impacted some customer relationships (because occasionally we didn't invoice or ship correctly, etc). We have since invested significantly in tools, but we should've done this to begin with.

To make the customer vs. internal tools compromise easier, you may even want to get some basic tools in place via contract work/offshoring and then revisit these later once you have the time/resources. The hard part really is determining what to automate, and how much, and those are decisions that you should make. The development itself can be done by someone else.

19
stcredzero 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is the wrong question to ask. The questions to ask are about ROI and opportunity cost. If you spend 6 months on a library that lets you do a 6 hour job in 1, then that's a good investment, if you can afford the up front cost.
20
sigsergv 3 days ago 0 replies      
When you really need tools, couldn't survive without them and couldn't buy some 3rd-party so then you have to create some internal piece of software. And it's not a matter of time or resources, just accurately calculate will it help or not and decide.

Of course internal software MUST be developed using the same quality standards as your frontend program (VCS/tests/code review/etc).

21
sourthyme 3 days ago 0 replies      
For new projects or existing projects that desperately need tools, %80-%90 percent is good. The rest can be used for small changes that have visually large results to keep the uppers happy. After you have a basic tools stated %20 or one day of the week to work on tools is good.
22
malkia 3 days ago 1 reply      
For a game studio, that's significant portion of your time.
23
mokash 3 days ago 0 replies      
Well, I'd say that if you consider a task to be long, repetitive, time-consuming and something you have to do often, work on something that wil make that process a lot shorter and help you save time in the future.
24
typhonic 3 days ago 0 replies      
A part of the consideration should be the cost of buying the tools. If you have to build all your own tools, there may be another element to the analysis.
25
w_t_payne 3 days ago 0 replies      
Initially, about 80%, dropping to much less later on.
20
Contain that Facebook Like button
2 points by flexxaeon  16 hours ago   discuss
21
Indieconf conference for web freelancers this Saturday
4 points by mgkimsal  1 day ago   discuss
22
Ask HN: Why don't people talk specifics about money and salaries?
78 points by nathanbarry  3 days ago   83 comments top 22
1
ChuckMcM 3 days ago 3 replies      
The answer is actually pretty simple, it causes a lot of problems and very little is any "good" comes out of it.

The problems seem to originate from two things; first people often judge their own 'worth' by comparing their work output to others, and two, people who don't understand the details of a particular job seem to think it is much easier to do than it really is.

So in the first case person A, who thinks highly of themselves, and very poorly of a co-worker person B, finds that the co-worker is getting more compensation than they are. This triggers a management issue where someone has to explain to person A the discrepancy. There are a number of real explanations (like Person B is actually doing a harder job and/or providing a more valuable role) that Person A, may be unable to accept.

Or person B may have a role that is significantly different, like they are in marketing (vs engineering) or finance or analysis. Can you compare salaries for someone who cranks out a thousand lines of code a day with someone who can tell you precisely which of those lines of code are making the company money and which ones aren't? Both are great skills, that latter is harder to find, you might pay them a bit more. But explain that to the person writing code? Not easy.

When I was at Google it was proposed a number of times (by engineers) that everyone's salary should just be part of the info available. They didn't do that, but I could see someone like the 37Signals folks or some startup doing it from the start.

I've not worked at a company where that was the case so I can only speculate on what it might be like. For folks who were internally OK with their own perception of self worth it wouldn't matter, for the sociopaths it would give them a new game to 'win', for folks who were not OK with their own self worth it would be devastating.

I do know that individuals can change this, so when your out socially talk freely about specific amounts of money you earn, or save, or spend. But be forewarned that it will make them uncomfortable. But if you can get a community built up where its considered the 'norm' then converting your workplace to use it (assuming they have enough of that community employed) can work.

2
sakopov 3 days ago 1 reply      
Simple: it only benefits you, not your employer. Here is a personal example from a not so distant past for me. The economy tanked when i graduated from university with my Comp. Sci. degree. It seemed as though every company in the area was on hiring freeze. Relocation didn't seem like a good option at the time. So, i was offered 35K at the place i was interning, when i was supposed to start out at 50/55K considering experience. During my stay there i busted my butt, was praised for my work, got amazing annual reviews, promoted to senior software engineer and over 2 years got bumped to 60K. My manager actually told me i am the best resource on the team. Anyway, i was lead to believe that the company just didn't pay much their software devs. Until one day i was talking to a friend of mine, a very talented web designer who was actually hired at our company to do web design but them got bumped to our engineering team. He told me he was offered 75K and knew that some folks on our team made 85K. My jaw dropped. I left the company 3 weeks later. The new place doubled my salary. I was counter-offered at, again, a much lower number than others on the team. Would any of my hire-ups wanted me to know this? Of course not. They'd lose me earlier. This is how you retain people.
3
_delirium 3 days ago 3 replies      
In the US, mostly worries about social problems from disparities. Parents may not want their kids to know if their family is substantially wealthier or poorer than their friends' families. Heck, adults might not want to know it either. At some level of very-wealthy or very-poor it becomes obvious, but there's a broad set of salaries in the middle that are broadly lumped in as "middle class". Many people in that tier think of themselves as just middle class, and socioeconomically roughly on par with other middle-class people. To maintain that polite fiction, it can help not to know that you actually make 2x as much as your friend, or vice versa (in many middle-class communities, salaries of both $120k and $60k can be found).

Companies similarly worry about a hit to team cohesion that could result if team-members find out that some of them are paid much more than others.

4
Cushman 3 days ago 5 replies      
We could talk all day about the various sociological explanations, but there is one very clear economic incentive for the salary taboo:

It enables companies to pay employees as a whole much, much less.

Doesn't need much more explanation than that.

5
mbesto 3 days ago 6 replies      
This is interesting, because it's mainly an American thing. My friends in Sweden, Norway and Germany never hesitate to speak about compensation. Here in the UK, it's sort of in between.

My theory is that American's believe the ability to assess your own salary and worth is largely part of the attributes of success and worth. Other countries believe more in the employer to define this.

Cool fact - In Norway, everyone's income is public domain: http://skattelister.aftenposten.no/skattelister/start.htm

6
losvedir 3 days ago 1 reply      
I dunno, just an American cultural thing, and varies by country. When I was in China, it was just a natural part of conversation: "Where are you from? What do you do? How many brothers/sisters do you have? How much do you make?"

I'm cringing at all the responses in here saying "this is why", as if it's some universal truth, when really it's just rationalizing the particular culture people have been steeped in. Why don't women walk around topless at the beach? Just culture. Some cultures see it as perfectly normal.

I wish people were more okay with it here in America. I make it a point to answer honestly if anyone broaches the subject, and to ask my close friends. Doing my part to change things. :)

7
michaelochurch 3 days ago 0 replies      
Unfortunately, compensation is taken to be like a performance review, but objective, so you often need to change your story later for career reasons. In finance, some firms won't hire analysts who didn't make top bonus, which means you need to figure out what that level is-- and it varies widely. (Top bonus in a shitty year is often less than the lowest-tier in a good year, at least for entry-level roles.) If you let too many people know what you make, it gets harder to reshape your story if you need to do it.

(By the way, this should be obvious, but you should avoid naming numbers unless you absolutely have to. If a future employer asks what bonus you got, just say, regardless of what's true, "I received the highest bonus available for my role and seniority and I'm contractually disallowed to give specific numbers.")

This is also an area where it's hard to tell whether you'll need an upward or downward revision until you're in that situation. Upgrading makes it look like you were a strong performer whereas downgrading gives you a socially acceptable excuse for leaving a job or a better "trend". Of course, the smartest thing to do is not to give these numbers out ever.

I actually think LinkedIn is a bad idea for a lot of people, for the same reason, but pertaining to job titles and dates. Accidental consistency risk is enough of a danger (people who forget their exact job titles 12 years ago) to be cautious, and then consider the fact that, although people don't anticipate ever needing "creative career repair", shit happens and sometimes people do.

Finally, my attitude is just that it's none of anyone's business what I, personally, make. I'll gladly share my estimates of what various levels of engineer can earn on the market as it currently is, and my general sense of what engineers are worth, but strategically important information ought to be safeguarded, especially in this world.

8
Spooky23 3 days ago 0 replies      
Secrecy around compensation became widespread when anti-discrimination laws came about because it's easy fodder for complaints and lawsuits.

It's pretty trivial to figure out what household income is within 10% if you know a person at all. Your privacy isn't something that employers give a hoot about.

9
lazyjones 3 days ago 2 replies      
If your parents never talked about money, you're lucky - you probably grew up having enough of it not to worry. In poor families, money is a popular topic. I suspect that is one of the reasons why the nouveau riche brag (talk) about money frequently, while those who grew up rich are more discreet.

As for salaries - it's a cultural thing, in the US/UK it is common to mention salaries in job offers (so you could compare easily), in other countries it isn't (or wasn't, like here in Austria, where new laws require mentioning minimum wages ...).

10
novemberin 3 days ago 2 replies      
It's totally cultural. In the US, people who have enough money to get by don't talk about making or spending money. And they don't really want to either, because it allows people who make 60K a year and people who make 250K a year to both call themselves "middle class". Even close friends don't necessarily know each other's salaries.

But all is not lost. It's hard to find a startup job where you won't be working closely with people from cultures where discussing your salary, rent etc. is perfectly normal.

That's how I was able to discover that as a woman I was making 75% of what my male colleagues were making. That's a Pandora's box type discovery, and I did stew on it for a while.

But I liked the company, and I didn't want to leave, so I saved that information for the end-of-year talks. They ended up bringing my salary level with the others', and then I was asked politely not to do that again.

It was quite uncomfortable for my boss - despite what you may think, your boss probably doesn't remember your exact salary - and I think my salary was an oversight (I was one of the earlier employees) rather than an intentional slight or because I'm a woman.

But still - what are the chances that could have happened if I hadn't asked my colleagues?

Don't ask, don't get.

11
lutusp 2 days ago 0 replies      
> Why don't people talk specifics about money and salaries?

Writer can't think of an explanation for secrecy about money and salaries.

> When I went to negotiate my first salaried job I had no idea how much to aim for. Was $30,000 a reasonable salary? $60,000? I realized then that everyone's aversion to talking about money had left me in the dark as to how the business world worked.

Writer inexplicably still can't think of a reason for secrecy about money and salary.

The reason is obvious -- keeping you in the dark pays off. The employer benefits from your ignorance. Other people in your approximate position, but who have the job you seek, benefit from your ignorance. Everyone benefits from your ignorance except you.

All I can say is, wait until you actually have some money and/or a salary. Then you'll understand.

> Why is everyone so hesitant to share their salaries and other financial information?

Because information has intrinsic value, and particular kinds of information have high intrinsic value. How many times have you read about a settlement between businesses in which the terms were sealed by a court order? Can you think of a reason why?

12
nathanbarry 3 days ago 1 reply      
Related: has sharing financial information, either personal or about your company, ever caused you problems?

I am very grateful to everyone who showed me, through their transparency, that it is possible to make a living through self publishing books and software, so I've made a commitment to share my own numbers.

But I'm wondering what problems this transparency has caused as well.

13
rayiner 3 days ago 2 replies      
It's awkward and not relevant information. You can get on payscale the same as everyone else. Especially in the US where income is really significant in terms of basic needs like healthcare and there is no cultural norm that all sorts of work are respectable and worthy.
14
cluutran 3 days ago 2 replies      
People attach a lot of emotion to it. If you make a lot, then it's bragging. If you make very little, it's embarrassing.

I think the more we talk about it, the more we have to gain. It only hurts bad employers.

15
rpeden 3 days ago 2 replies      
In some cases, it's not just against company policy, but is included in the employment contract the employee signed when they were hired.

I guess the legality of such a clause will depend on where you live, but for people who have something like that in their employment contract, the risk may seem significant enough that it isn't worth violating it.

16
gte910h 2 days ago 0 replies      
Those with information about salaries have power. Those who do not have them do not. Do not tell yourself stories to make you think it's good you don't know everyone's salary. You're disadvantaged by not knowing it.

Just like you're disadvantaged when you fill out the "past salary" boxes on job apps.

17
e12e 2 days ago 0 replies      
On a side note, at least in Norway, every publicly traded company has to file a yearly earnings report, with income and expenses. Seeing how much is spent on salaries, divide by the number of employees, and at least you know if you're paid above or below average (just remember to allow for certain tax expenses the employer pays as "part" of the salary, I suspect that would be different in most countries).

Not feasible (or meaningful) if you work for IBM, maybe -- but for a smallish company that should work. If you can't do that math, you probably shouldn't be doing software engineering either...

18
johnrgrace 2 days ago 0 replies      
First, salary is often times the most direct way a company says how much you're worth. Thus salary in our monkey brains equals status, and real or percived differences leads to conflict.

Second, some companies like to get away with underpaying people. I'm not sure it's smart but they do. I know I worked with someone who did the same thing I did for 45% less.

19
lakeeffect 3 days ago 0 replies      
Employers have an advantage by discouraging workers from knowing the average wage they can lower the common wage. Its been adaptive culture to not speak of wages, hence the importance of union standard wages as a need to help those less skilled in finance and valuation not get undercut.
20
akaru 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think the only thing non disclosure benefits is the company. I lived abroad for many years, and salary was freely discussed. I think doing so is great for an employee.
21
pebb 2 days ago 0 replies      
Because most people are insecure. (By talking salary, I helped a co-worker raise his salary at the company by 40%, matching a new hire. It's unbelievable)
22
kinble32 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is a US thing. It's not true in many other countries.
23
Ask HN: Fiction books that entertain and educate?
11 points by tehayj  2 days ago   12 comments top 10
1
viviantan 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Haruki Murakami:

1Q84 -- title's a nod to Orwellian dystopia; awesome mystery with a dash of sci-fi that takes place in a parallel universe sort of Tokyo; the English editon's 3 books in one so it's quite looong

Wind Up Bird Chronicle -- another 3-books-in-one psychological thriller, but the plotline's really just a device for telling the story of the Soviet-Japan border clashes during WWII and the atrocities committed by both sides; I loved the story but it's long and really weird, even for Murakami

Hardboiled Wonderland And The End Of The World -- really fun and imaginative book about a guy who can encrypt data by passing it through his subconsciousness, and ends up getting stuck there himself; I think this was the book that made Murakami famous in the US

2
pizza 2 days ago 1 reply      
Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle! I read it yesterday afternoon. "Science" (i.e. what other people think of it) has a big role in it, but there are a lot of facts in it, too. It's a well-written book that'll leave you thinking for sure..
3
murtza 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Here are two fiction books that I really enjoyed and learned from:

1) Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes. This book is an emotional roller coaster. After reading it, you will better understand what life is like for the mentally challenged.

2) Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. You will get a glimpse into the life of Russian aristocracy in the 19th century. More importantly, you will learn about love and human relationships.

4
fbuilesv 1 day ago 1 reply      
Neil Stephenson's Cryptonomicon (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cryptonomicon) is not only great science fiction, it'll also teach you a bit about math, integration properties, cryptography and even Perl!
5
AutoCorrect 1 day ago 0 replies      
The Goal, by Eliyahu Goldratt. It's a great book on manufacturing clothed in a fictional story.
6
nopassrecover 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's worth checking out Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality (http://hpmor.com/). I know I avoided it for too long due to fanfic stigma but it really is a great read that makes you reflect on the way you think.
7
tokenadult 1 day ago 0 replies      
8
lsiebert 1 day ago 0 replies      
I find good biographies can both entertain and educate. Try surely you are joking mr feynman.
9
gadders 1 day ago 0 replies      
Sophie's World: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sophies_World

Atlas Shrugged.

10
amair 1 day ago 0 replies      
24
When someone blocks ad's what really happens?
3 points by idealform01  1 day ago   3 comments top 3
1
unsquare 4 hours ago 0 replies      
If the Publisher ( Website Owner ) is selling directly ( No Middle Men / Network ) to the Advertiser and hes transparent , he will use a way to track "real" impressions. Ads that aren't shown to the visitors won't count. ( This is only for CPM based ads ) Publishers know that people use adblocker and can easily detect it , it's not uncommon to replace the blocked ads by an internal image / message asking you to disable it on their website.

But yes , if you buy advertising on some websites , you may pay for impressions that never happened.

Feel free to ask more questions on the subject.

2
lumberjack 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd imagine that you can create a script that would run always that alerts the provider that the user is blocking ads. Then to eliminate false positives you inject some code in your ad script that disables the other script from running. That's probably just one of many possible approaches.
3
jameswyse 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've noticed a few websites begging me to turn off adblock, I'm not sure how they detected it though. I think adblock removes the ads entirely from the DOM so perhaps they're just checking if their elements still exist with some JavaScript.
25
Ask HN: Who wrote Orca?
14 points by VonGuard  2 days ago   16 comments top 7
1
_delirium 2 days ago 1 reply      
> first I've heard of software failures being involved in election coordination failures

There are a bunch of vague reports that Obama's team had a similar failure of a big new computerized voter-tracking system on Election Day 2008, but they had also distributed the traditional paper "strike lists" to volunteers, so those were used as a fallback.

2
kefs 2 days ago 1 reply      
One of the comments mentioned a rumour of it being a division of Accenture in India.. which would be a story in of itself.

http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2012/11/inside...

3
rhizome 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm sure there were enough failures in planning and execution for it not to be attributable to any one person, perhaps by design.
4
gruseom 2 days ago 0 replies      
Most enterprise software projects sabotage themselves.
5
activepeanut 2 days ago 2 replies      
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanlon%27s_razor

  Never attribute to malice that which
is adequately explained by stupidity.

6
rbanffy 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder if we'll ever see a decent post-mortem of this, with detailed information about the proposed architecture, hardware and software, where the servers were hosted etc.
7
damian2000 2 days ago 1 reply      
From my reading of it they didn't do enough user testing or training. But this may have been outside the scope of the contracted firm; they probably delivered exactly what has asked for, and no more.
26
Looking for a Technical Co-Founder
7 points by naushadparpia  2 days ago   12 comments top 6
1
OafTobark 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Few things...

1. The dot isn't required, your email will still work without it

2. I'd imagine people would be more appreciative if you actually pitched your idea. I know you responded below but more details in the original post is better. As well as more info about you i.e. what is the mystery school, what your background is before this, did anything else, where are you even located, etc...

3. I saw your response to another commentator and I don't agree that you need to build something to see if people will use it. Part of doing business is to go out, and get committed users who are interested in the idea. 130 pages is obsessive and it sounds like none of which included actual customers committed to the idea and feedback. 130 solid leads would be better than 130 pages at this point.

3
timjahn 1 day ago 1 reply      
Does your idea solve a problem? Are people willing to pay you to solve that problem for them?

Three months of paperwork is great, but if the answer to the above two questions is no, said paperwork is sorta useless.

4
scottc 1 day ago 1 reply      
Hey,

Just curious if this idea has been validated yet. Three months is quite a lot of time to spend on research - I'm curious if you have validated that people would use it.

I'd be interested in hearing about the research. The question I have is, why did you compile so much information? You mentioned 130 pages... that just seems like a lot for someone familiar with "Lean Startup" methodology.

Also, what is the idea? I don't need all the details, but I hope you can disclose the basic premise.

5
calbear98 1 day ago 1 reply      
What area is your idea in? You don't have to give exact specifics, but you can and should say what space it is in.
When looking for a co-founder you want someone who shares your passion and vision about the product.

Also, in your research have you spoken directly to potential customers/users?

I'm a technical founder seeking co-founders as well.

You show a lot of drive and dedication. Best of luck!

6
akantamn 2 days ago 2 replies      
Hello Naushad,

I am not a technical person, but I am exactly at the same place you are right now;- looking for a tech co-founder.

I just wanted to say that this is a very well written post (just my opinion, I am a newbie too). I would use this as a template when I am looking for a technical co-founder.

Good luck!

30
Ask HN: Soundproof headsets?
25 points by pg  4 days ago   19 comments top 13
1
gleb 4 days ago 1 reply      
There are limits to what you can accomplish by putting anything in and over your ears. It's about 37NRR. That's because even if you completely block your ears, the bones of your head still transmit a lot of sound. To make it really quiet you need a helmet.

I'd try good earplugs first, earplugs and your headphones next, earplugs and noise protection ear muffs next.

A simple $25 test is to get Laser Lite foamies and Leightning L3 earmufs. That's the best you can do without a helmet in actually blocking noise. If that's good enough you can optimize for comfort/size/style from there. If not, then try tricking yourself by pumping white noise through headphones on top of earplugs.

Personally, on planes I use http://www.howardleight.com/earplugs/laser-lite foam earplugs. 32 NRR. Any drug store or Amazon in bulk. You can still hear people, but even crying infants don't bother you much. And they get rid of engine noise. Most comfortable earplugs I've found. You need to learn how to put them in properly. Good enough NRR that when you open your mouth it gets noticeably louder.

When shooting I double up and wear MSA Sordin Supreme Pro-X upgraded with gel seals over earplugs. Get the neckband version. http://www.srstactical.com/communications/electronic-ambient... Sordins are 20 NRR by themselves. Probably 35NRR over earplugs.

For indoor handgun shooting I like Howard Leight Leightning L3. http://www.amazon.com/Howard-Leight-R-03318-Leightning-Shoot... 30NRR and extremely comfortable. Probably 37NRR over earplugs. They are big enough to cover a lot of area around your ears. When doubled-up you can't understand other people and can barely tell they are talking.

2
rdl 4 days ago 1 reply      
If you just want to block sound:

Get some earplugs (squishy silicone work quite well). Put them on under some earmuffs. I like the Pro Ears (just get the cheap passive ones). It basically buys you 29-30dB from the plugs and maybe the same up to 33dB from the muffs, which is pretty good (as much as 35dB?).

If you want or will tolerate music (or background noise):

In Ear Monitors, ideally with custom made earmolds. Try a cheap pair first just to see if you're comfortable with the feeling of having earphones crammed in your ear canal, but if you like those, I'd strongly suggest getting custom earmolds made at an audiologist (maybe $200).

I have both Etymotics ER-4s and Logitech Ultimate Ears 6vi.

I wore them (underneath my electronic shooters muffs, sometimes, other times bare) on ranges with 14.5mm machine guns firing, as well as on helicopters, and they are awesome. Essentially 29-30dB earplugs and audiophile-grade headphones. As a plus, they're the size of a set of earbuds.

These are what professional musicians wear on stage.

The absolute best are the custom Ultimate Ears (well, there are 2-3 other great brands) -- they go up to about $1500. You can get what I have for $100-300, and those are also great.

Also, uh, Ambien. For her or yourself.

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gruseom 4 days ago 0 replies      
I wear earplugs, then put headphones over those, then play brown noise via (ugly but reliable) http://simplynoise.com. The combination of earplugs and sound works surprisingly better than either does alone. But I've not tried the Boses.
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retrogradeorbit 4 days ago 0 replies      
Extreme Isolation EX-29s. I have a bunch of them from my recording studio. 29dB of isolation. Me and my partner never fly without them. She puts earplugs in under the phones but I tend to listen to music or noise.

In my opinion sound isolation headphones blow away noise cancelling headphones for air travel. As long as you're comfortable with the look.

http://www.extremeheadphones.com/products/ex-29-headphones

Some other suggested the etymotics, but I can't stand in ear phones, or ones that rest on your pinna. I find them so uncomfortable. The Ex29s are circumaural so are very comfortable for long sessions.

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JesseAldridge 4 days ago 0 replies      
Try your headphones + http://simplynoise.com. I like to set it to brown noise. It's not perfect, but it helps a lot.
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pasbesoin 3 days ago 0 replies      
You have my sympathy. I've been waiting some decades for a real solution to this problem. Unfortunately, the physics involved and available so far have proven fairly intractable. (I've tried variations of most of what's been posted here. And I can't use music as a block -- too distracting.)

If someone really takes on this problem, my anecdotal experience is one of having encountered a significant number of people who would buy in. People looking for an Apple-like experience: High quality manufacturing and performance combined with a simple choice or set of choices. This includes ergonomics; for example, in addition to not providing complete attenuation, tightly sealing over-ear muffs can become extremely uncomfortable, tiring, and physically distracting during extended wear.

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gbog 3 days ago 0 replies      
Noise canceling is harder in high frequencies. You'd need ultra fast mike, circuit and loudspeaker to inject in the air the same wave in opposite phase, before it arrives to your ears.

Our maybe a pill, like some analgesic, freezing your auditory nerves for a while.

I have noticed that loud speaking is much less disturbing if you don't understand the language, maybe a drug messing your language brain could help, but if the purpose is to think about something else it will not help...

I bet the best fix is to tell this women you have misophonia, and pray her to tone down a bit.

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santry 4 days ago 1 reply      
Etymotic's in-ear headphones are pretty great, especially if you spring for the extra $100 to go to an audiologist and get custom ear molds made.

http://www.etymotic.com/ephp/er6i.aspx

or, with an iPhone compatible microphone:

http://www.etymotic.com/ephp/hf2.html

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eduardordm 3 days ago 0 replies      
You need actual airplane headphones. A Bose would be around 2k USD. David clarks are cheaper but they are a bit heavy.

You can stand in front of a V6 engine at full throttle and will barely hear it.

Those are the ones I have:

http://www.bose.com/controller?url=/shop_online/headphones/a...

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bmelton 4 days ago 0 replies      
You aren't likely to find anything that will be soundproof altogether. The best 'headphones' you can find to eliminate noise are likely considered 'ear protection' on a gun range.

If the objective is a standalone device for noise isolation, those are the closest you're likely to get.

Slightly better would be the earbuds you see with scalloped inserts (the kind that look like this: http://gearmedia.ign.com/gear/image/article/771/771337/gdc-2...) -- they have more layers of insulation when inserted, and have the added benefit of being able to be augmented by speaker-borne audio.

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checoivan 4 days ago 0 replies      
Since buying phones mid-air is though, I'd suggest an app that does binaural beats like ambi-science, or one that generates white noise like the sound of a waterfall or a fountain, that would drown the noise and the mind wanders off instead of focusing on the sound.
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rms 4 days ago 0 replies      
In a pinch, standard silicone earplugs work extremely well when you disregard the instructions and slowly push them deep inside your ear canal until you have a perfect seal.

With the Bose noise cancelling earphones, it's actually considered a feature that they don't block out conversational frequencies.

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SurfScore 4 days ago 0 replies      
I guess you couldn't go wrong with theBoom...
http://www.theboom.com/v/military/index.asp

Bose does make some commercial-grade noise canceling headphones. They're like 1k but I'd be willing to bet they would work too

       cached 13 November 2012 21:05:02 GMT