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Ask HN: Women of HN?
13 points by Mz  2 hours ago   2 comments top 2
Mz 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Oh, for the record, I am female. I sometimes forget not everyone realizes that. My bad. I also have a second user name that I don't use. I can list that if folks just desperately gotta know.
kirarev 40 minutes ago 0 replies      
Wow, there are so few comments on this. Are there really so few women on HN? (I'm female).
EC2 console is not working properly
2 points by aurelianito  50 minutes ago   1 comment top
robdoherty2 36 minutes ago 0 replies      
The EC2 API itself is experiencing some trouble.
So the console as well as the CLI and anything that depends on the API, like boto, is going to be flaky.


Ask HN: R&D jobs?
2 points by mattgreenrocks  57 minutes ago   discuss
Ask HN: Are startups a good market?
3 points by tchock23  3 hours ago   3 comments top 3
knwang 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Yes, and I would say it's much easier to make businesses pay than consumers. As a startup founder myself (http://www.gotealeaf.com), if your product helps me 1) increase revenue 2) cut cost 3) reduce risk 4) save time, paying is a no brainer.

The key difference is this: when you target consumers, people tend to have a fixed budget on discretionary spending and a fixed amount of time to pay with their attention. You will be competing with the big players with their unlimited marketing dollars, polished content, and not to mention the countless startups that are piling on.

When you target business, if you can help me with any of the above 4, just "shut up and take my money"

dlf 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Would probably need to know more about what it does, but as a bootstrapped startup, we've been very frugal about what we spend money on. To knwang's point, the value prop would have to be abundantly clear (which is always the case). Saving money isn't as important as saving time. Time, as you've probably heard, is the scarcest resource to startups.
ig1 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Have a look at what unbounce, launchrock, kickofflabs, etc. are doing, as it sounds like you're in a similar space.
Ask HN: What are some ways to raise money for a startup?
6 points by imwhimsical  10 hours ago   11 comments top 5
drelihan 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I guess it depends on what you are raising the cash for and how much you need to raise. If it is mostly to give you and/or your team a living stipend while you develop the product full-time, there are a number of tech incubators you could choose from or you could try to raise a few months salary from angel investors like me.

If you are using the cash more to buy an asset or equipment ( e.g. a food truck ), then you could try pitching it to a bank. I don't think they would go for it, but at least they would have collateral. If you have a personal car, you could try offering that for collateral as well.

- Part-time consulting. If you are able to consult 20 hours a week, that should be enough cash to cover a modest cost of living and maybe some extra to invest in your start-up. A lot of companies start this way. They build specific products for their clients and eventually develop a product/service of their own. Check out 37Signals story on how Basecamp came along.

- If you are developing an enterprise-level tool, you could try to pre-sell it to a large firm first and have them pay an advance. This is tricky, but possible if you are building a certain type of product and have the right experience/connections.

- Build an MVP in your spare time and start charging for it. You may be able to skip the financing step altogether. Either way, you'll have more luck raising funds if you already have some, but maybe not enough to be profitable, paying customers.

- Personal Savings

Some riskier ways to get cash:

- Cash in a portion of your 401k ( you'll pay a 10% early withdrawal penalty + taxes )

- Home Equity Line if you have enough equity in your home. Careful with this because you are gambling your home. Make sure that if the start-up fails, you'd be able to get a job making enough cash to cover the additional debt service on the equity line.

- Personal line of credit. You pay high interest rates and won't be able to borrow that much ( ~25k or so ). You've probably gotten offers like this in the mail before. Your credit card company sends you a blank check and says 6 months no interest loan. Same as above, if the startup doesn't make it, make sure you'll be able to handle the additional finance charge ( which will be crazy high ). Please don't do this one.

merinid 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Build a prototype/mvp/alpha/demo product. Something. Anything. Then depending on the type of startup, there are so many ways to get started. If you live in a big city, go to tech meetups and start gathering contacts who will help you get to angel investors. Or apply to incubator programs like YCombinator (there way more of these than you think). Regardless of the avenue, i repeat, work on your product and your pitch. Neither come easy.
jamesjguthrie 8 hours ago 2 replies      
IMO, the easiest way is to borrow from a bank.

If you're in the EU the EC give out startup grants. In Scotland we get them through our local Councils.

bobbaddeley 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Friends and family is an important one. It's not a lot of money, but investors are a little like sheep, and if you can show that you've been able to convince some investors and are committed enough to beg and borrow from your own family, then they are more likely to be interest.

Getting paying customers is the best way to raise money. No equity given up, proof of your business model, and that looks great to investors later on, too.

Incubator programs aren't all created equal. Do a LOT of work to vet them first. Many will offer a small amount of money, offer very little support during the incubator, have no connections at the end of the incubator, and then dump you with no support after the incubator, but kindly taking a percent of the company. There are some good ones, though.

Angel investors and VC are an option, but those are not easy to get and you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince.

The best thing to do is build your product and keep building it, and talk to as many people as you can. Resources will come out of the woodwork slowly, and connections will be made that will lead organically to what you need.

whichdan 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Have you looked into angel.co?
TechCrunch has turned into complete garbage
12 points by loceng  1 day ago   4 comments top 2
mtgx 1 day ago 1 reply      
I don't know where you've been but Techcrunch has always heavily promoted Facebook. In fact, a couple of years ago I thought they single-evenhandedly pushed the Facebook valuation from $20 billion to $100 billion in a matter of months.

They were writing an article about how Facebook gained another $5 billion in valuation every other week. Who else writes articles about valuations of a (still pretty random at the time) company every 2 weeks and about each incremental rise? I don't think I've seen that ever before, even on BusinessInsider, and they do a bit of that, too.

I may be exasperating a little, but Techcrunch was a pretty powerful force in the tech world then, and I do think it influenced valuations and put them on a feedback loop just by writing about them every 2 weeks, on how Facebook's valuation grew another $5 billion, and then that would influence investors and help it gain another $5 billion. Not to mention TechCrunch was also one of the very first sites to use Facebook comments. So although I'm not reading TC these days, I'm not surprised that you've noticed that.

seiji 1 day ago 1 reply      
Welcome to six years go? It never meant anything. You, too, can create a website and write whatever you want. The trick is, um, tricking people into believing you matter. They won that game a long time ago.
Ask HN: What is the best way to market an Android app for kids
10 points by Banzai10  19 hours ago   4 comments top 3
speeder 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I am cofounder of Kidoteca ( https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=Kidoteca )

We are yet to reach profitability, or have a awesome amount of downloads, but our total downloads so far in Android are above 50k, so we are not completely bad either.

First, if you have the money, throw money on marketing, really. Without money it is very hard to get far.

Second, Android tracks the quality of your installs, not only absolute downloads, so pay attention to the quality of the ad publisher you are using... we used so far:

AdMob: Solid, works well, expensive.
Facebook: kinda inefficient.
StumbleUpon: started only 2 days ago, so no data.
AppBrain: Could get a guaranteed download for 20 cents, and very fast, we could baloon the amount of downloads absurdly fast. But we noticed that the uninstall rate was also balooning, in the end after a while the active installs started to drop instead of increase, and our ranking plunged (and took 2 months to fix), so stay away from it unless you have boatloads of money to throw on it and use as initial download numbers platform.
Blogs: they don't do much on Android, on iOS it is better.

Long term: on Android all your apps tend to rise in downloads in long term if they are good enough, first because most apps on android are found by search, and android search is good (of course, this mean that if you have a crap SEO you are screwed), and Google Play take the app current popularity on its search ranking, as your app gets popular, it gets more popular. My apps usually are getting a 10% increase per week in downloads (at least for the first two months).

For launch, try to reach the "new free' or "new paid" in your category, it is not hard in several countries, and helps a bit, but don't focus too much on that, it is not a great thing like it is on iOS.

I have some friends that work in huge companies that make mobile games for hire. They usually spend the same cost of the app in marketing (ie: if you made the app alone in 3 months and paid yourself 3000 USD in monthly wages, spend 9000 USD in marketing).

danibx 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm also interested in this question. Any tips about marketing apps for kids?
orangethirty 17 hours ago 1 reply      
What type of app is it?
Primary Care for $20/month and $10 copay - Profitable
10 points by will_brown  21 hours ago   7 comments top 2
subrat_rout 20 hours ago 1 reply      
There is a similar healthcare start up with branches in California and Nevada with similar pricing model(medlion.com). They charge $59/month per adult, $39/month for senior adults and $19/month for 21 and younger.
I hope this model catches on throughout the nation soon. US is in desperate need of some disruptive model in healthcare with more transparent in pricing structure.
pulledpork 21 hours ago 1 reply      
How do you achieve such low costs?
Why you shouldn't do what Aaron did
499 points by Pitarou  5 days ago   153 comments top 47
zoba 5 days ago 7 replies      
I previously struggled with intense depression that lasted about 4 years. At the end of the four years, I had a realization that was so powerful that I haven't entered a period of depression lasting more than a week in the subsequent 4 years. My hopes are that this story, and the lesson learned by the end of it, may help others. In addition, its important to state that this is my story as it happened. I am one man, with one limited perspective on the world. I do not claim to know the details of everyone's situation and therefore do not pass judgement on their decisions regarding a very serious topic.

The story goes like this... In senior year of high school I 'formalized' my atheism. I'll save those details for another day, however, it suffices to say that I was confident that I was drawing the correct conclusion about the nonexistence of god. In thinking about the implications of a godless universe I realized the vastness of time, the insignificance of myself, and how nothing actually mattered. There is (or so I thought) no reason to do anything at all because its all going to be washed away in time. My drive to carry on vanished. Everything was futile, hopeless. Nothing I did mattered so why do anything at all -- why feel happy about anything at all?

I constantly thought of suicide. The ways I'd do it, the statements I'd try to make with it. It was an awful time, and it was all right in the middle of my undergraduate college experience. This continued on for a couple years as I tried as best I could with school while investigating how other people are able to cope with the magnitude of this concept. The reality I found was that most people don't cope with it, or rather, they cope with it by never even considering it. That only made things worse of course, everyone I'd talk to about this had almost nothing to say.

One day I decided I'd actually go through with it. As I lay on my bed I thought to myself "Alright, its been long enough. I've felt terrible and thought of suicide for years now. Either I'm going to man up and get this over with, or I'm just going to keep dreaming of doing it every day." So I bullied myself into finally committing to finish it, and there was a sense of relief. I asked myself why I hadn't decided to do it sooner. That was when I made the most fantastic discovery of my entire life, but first, some other things you should know.

During this time I was also struggling with being gay and, as a gay computer scientist myself, I found Alan Turing very interesting. It struck me as awful that he died in 1954, not long before The Beatles, free love, and the full onset of the civil rights movement. Just a few more years and he could have lived in, and possibly even helped to shape, a much more liberal society.

When I asked myself why I hadn't decided to do it sooner, I realized it was because I was never sure. I always hoped that I would find some clue that would change my mind. So I thought to myself: am I sure now? Do I have conclusive evidence that killing myself is the right thing to do? Am I certain there won't be some dramatic unforeseen shift in circumstances that would improve my life and make me not want to kill myself (like Turing missed out on)? No, I was not absolutely certain that life had no meaning.

We know so little of the universe and theres no way that any of us can be absolutely certain that suicide is the best choice without research that would take hundreds of years in understanding physics, the mind, and probably fields that don't even exist yet. Its possible that life does indeed have a purpose and we simply don't know it. The optimal thing to do is to continue on and do as best we can to discover this purpose -- because if there is a purpose, then actively looking for it is the smart way to find it. If there isn't a purpose, then the time we 'wasted' in search of a purpose wasn't really wasted after all because theres no way to judge whether it was time well spent without an ultimate purpose.

Getting back to the discovery... Probably mere hours away from killing myself, I realized that there was no way to know if killing myself was the right thing to do. There may be something to live for that I don't know about -- some overarching infallible truth embedded in the fabric of the universe that gives life meaning. This was a powerful idea: I should not kill myself because there may be a purpose of life. Now I decided to not kill myself...but what should I do next? I had no plans; after all, I had expected to be dead later that day. Well, it was simple. Nothing mattered except the thing that had kept me alive: the potential for a purpose of life.

I realized that every bit of my life should be based on discovering the purpose that may be embedded in the universe. The most important thing, the driving factor in all aspects of my life, indeed my very own reason for existence and purpose of life was to discover the purpose of life. "The purpose of life is to discover the purpose of life." It is beautiful.

There are many questions and implications that come from realizing this purpose of being alive but for now this comment is long enough. If you're interested in hearing more, let me know. I've thought a lot about this and (in true HN fashion) am building some tools which use ideas that stem from this one. I hope that my story of how I walked right up to the precipice of death and decided to turn back to life helps anyone who is also struggling with such issues.

seiji 5 days ago 1 reply      
Studies of suicide[1] show it's an escape from yourself (kinda obvious), but I think the insight is: it all starts with blaming yourself.

If you don't blame yourself, the chain of suicide doesn't start. People don't suicide themselves because somebody else has annoying life circumstances. Circumstances are relative too. Modern society is constantly throwing other people's success, joy, accomplishment, and bravado in our faces. It can make us feel less than what we are. It can make us feel like our lives aren't good enough. Stop comparing your life to anything you've read anywhere anytime. We live in an age of magic. Be a wizard.

Blaming yourself is a dangerous path to go down. Don't blame yourself. The world is big and time is long. Things will work out.

[1]: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2408091 and summarized at my http://suicidescale.com/ site.

mtowle 5 days ago 1 reply      
The following probably won't see the light of day-- few of my posts here seem to, for whatever reason. And it's not a lengthy diatribe on reasons for living or reasons for suicide. Much smarter men than I have written on that subject, both recently and throughout recorded history. If it's in such words you find your personal solace, please disregard what I have to say. I never found any solace in it, though; I don't believe in Epiphany Theory.

Currently 24, I've dealt with depression and suicidal thoughts on and off for 4 or 5 years now. That heavy depression where you don't take care of yourself, don't shower, don't brush your teeth, you eat just enough to stay alive (I once subsisted on 2-liters of Mountain Dew and 99-cent bags of Utz cheese puffs for weeks-- dropped my deuces like a wood-chipper). You avoid going to sleep because after 31 episodes of Futurama, all you can think to do is watch a 32nd. You avoid waking up because you don't want to...be alive.

You shut yourself in, you stop going to class, you don't answer anyone's phone calls, you cut yourself off from the outside. You set yourself up to make it as easy as possible. How can your parents miss you if you haven't talked to them in weeks? If anything, you tell yourself, the fact that their calls have gone from hourly to daily to weekly is a sign that they've almost let go...can't let them in now, or it'll be too hard for them when you're gone. Emotionally hard, anyway. Really, they'll be better off with me out of the picture. Everyone will. I'm doing everyone a favor--Mom, Dad, my brother and sister, my friends who obviously just pity me, everyone.

That was me 3 years ago. Today I'm happy! :) I'm fine. I'm doing awesome. I don't attribute the turnaround to blog posts, I attribute it to taking my goddamn anxiety medication. Consistently. Every freaking day. If you forget, fine, but take it the next day, and the day after, and keep freaking taking it. It helps. Take your meds, everybody. Give it a shot for a couple months and see if things change. If you still feel down, go back to your psych and tell them, and they'll prescribe something else. Epiphanies always feel like the answer, and meds feel like the enemy, but do everyone who loves you a favor and give them a shot. Please.

_delirium 5 days ago 3 replies      
In general I would agree. But if I were facing prison, it's tougher to say what the rational course of action is. It might be the decision I'd make if I were starkly given the option of suicide or decades in prison. The biggest question would be determining whether that's really the stark decision, or if there's a possibility of finding a way out of it. If acquittal is a possibility, making a decision too early would be tragic (but I'd also be afraid that making a decision too late may be tragic in a different way).

It's true that it's important to make sure that depression is not coloring your assessment of that: it's quite common for depressed people to have a view that things are hopeless when they aren't. But on the other hand, sometimes the world sucks, and not every situation has a good way out of it. For most people, things get better and what seemed like insurmountable obstacles will pass. But I don't think you can honestly tell someone that a major felony criminal case is a temporary setback, something that will pass, and only their depression is making it seem more hopeless than it is. In a large percentage of cases it doesn't pass, and the person isn't able to continue their life as a free person. A situation I hope never to be in, but I don't think the correct decision, if you're actually facing a choice of whether to go to prison for a long time or not, is obvious.

I can't say whether that was Aaron's own motivation, though, or how rational his thinking on the subject was.

Mz 4 days ago 0 replies      
If you react really negatively to the news of this suicide, one thing you can do is seek out company. I have basically been suicidal for years but I am rarely alone. I am actually pretty pissed off and disgusted by the bullshit I am reading on hn today. Most people are assholes most of the time, then someone commits suicide and they try to say something nice for a change. A forum I belonged to posthumously reinstated a former member whom they had banned. I thought they were assholes. They couldn't be supportive while he was alive but he committed suicide so now they have to find some way to make peace with the reality that they were assholes to him while he still lived. Suddenly, the faux niceties come out. Try being supportive and tolerant to the living. The dead don't need your bullshit fake nice words. They are beyond helping.

I may need to start a blog post. I am sure hn isn't interested in more of my cranky ranting about what is very normal behavior but which I happen to think is completely shitty behavior.


If you are at risk for finally offing yourself because Aaron did, try to avoid being alone. Suicide usually occurs when one is alone. Never being alone is a big part of why I am still alive, in spite of having abundant reason to say "fuck you, world, I have had enough of your shit".

hkmurakami 5 days ago 0 replies      
>Depression robs you of the ability to: 1. remember happiness 2. feel happiness 3. anticipate happiness 4. make considered decisions

I've spent many hours thinking about how each of us can dig ourselves out of our dark places when we unfortunately get stuck in them from time to time; I don't think I've seen the core symptoms of depression expressed so succinctly in these few years since my own difficult times.

I spent Christmas week with friends in Hawaii, and I told my friend (who has lost an older brother to suicide -- so we talk about this sort of thing from time to time) that being conscious of "happy times" like this and making an effort to remember these great moments during our difficult moments is probably a key factor in preventing suicidal thoughts in us. He agreed.

vannevar 5 days ago 0 replies      
So why didn't I kill myself? Somewhere in my guts, there was a stubborn belief that "this will pass".

This is a critical point. If you know someone who is prone to depression, it's important to understand that they may simply be incapable of generating this kind of hope within themselves. Depression is not merely the loss of happiness, but the loss of the belief that you can ever be happy again. That's why intervention is so important when someone is suicidal: http://www.save.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.viewpage&p... .

orionblastar 4 days ago 0 replies      
Life has been shitty to me. I've attempted suicide about 13 times and failed. I decided not to attempt suicide anymore as my survival meant the universe (even God) didn't want me dead yet and there is more to learn and more to do in life for me.

Since a young age I've been bullied and abused by my peers (if you can call them peers, children can be mean and so can adults) and it drove me into a depression. I vowed I would not become like the bullies, and took a stand of non-violent citing that "Might does not make right" and after being beaten up for a while for not fighting back I took up martial arts to defend myself. I learned how to avoid fights and how to defend myself without seriously harming the other person.

Eventually I got into computers, when every other teenager was out getting drunk or stoned, I was writing programs on a Commodore 64 (The only computer my father could afford for me and my two brothers, and I got laughed at for not being able to afford an IBM PC or Apple //) and kept track of my brother's baseball statistics for one of my first programs (saved to a Datasette cassette drive, before we could afford a 1541 Floppy Drive) and I wrote other programs in BASIC as well.

Before I left for a university with record ACT scores, so I didn't need to take the SAT to get in (Combined ACT and SAT scores were required and my ACT score along was high enough) my father bought me a Commodore Amiga 1000 with the 5.25" external floppy drive and the PC-Transformer software (to run MS-DOS programs) and a 1200 baud modem. I joined a fraternity and half the guys were nice and the other half just hazed me and bullied me and harassed me and finally I took up under-aged drinking and smoking cigars. I feared what I was becoming as I developed a hubris that I knew everything (it was the alcohol talking) and so I left to take up college elsewhere.

I went to a college earned a degree, worked in their computer labs and helped out students. It was nice, but not ideal.

When I was working I was always picked on and bullied and harassed by managers and other employees. No matter what job I had, I was always given more work to force me to quit, etc.

I had a job as a programmer, big salary lots of benefits, I did really good work but was bullied, harassed, and abused, and management did some of it as did other employees. Finally from the stress of a toxic work environment I developed schizoaffective disorder. After that I was on short-term disability and when I came back I was fired two weeks later for having a panic attack at work because they moved me to an open area near foot traffic and a book shelf and people walked by and mocked me and laughed at me.

Any job after that I was just hired to take them to the next level and reach goals, and after that fired. I was mocked, abused, and harassed and bulled at those jobs too.

Eventually I ended up on disability, too sick to work.

I am doing my best to get better and try to get back to work. I am working on some ebooks and trying to write programs again, but due to the emotional, psychological, physical, traumas I developed writer's block, so my work goes slow.

I was able to finally clear the negative thoughts out enough to write a Fibonacci Sequence in ANSI C on GCC under Ubuntu 12.10, I wrote psuedocode in a paper notebook and ran the code in my head and wrote the variables down on paper to debug it. Then I wrote it in under 15 minutes on Ubuntu. It isn't much, but at least I was able to do something. That much is worth living for.

I have a wife and son, so I live for them as well.

buro9 4 days ago 1 reply      
Is it possible to have a rational discussion on suicide without it offending someone's own will to live?

Is there a natural law that suicide breaches, is this why it upsets and offends so many at the thought?

I'm personally of the deep belief that suicide is an option. And it's also something I think of at times. I think of suicide when I'm up, when I'm down... but generally never when I have a struggle and something to fight for. I think of suicide semi-frequently and always have.

I view suicide as an option because I don't believe in afterlife, or that life is a gift (from whom? we're supposed to be thankful how?)... life and personal existence is a bizarre improbable thing, we are here but nothing follows and nothing will remain of us in the grand scheme of things.

When you know life is fundamentally irrelevant, that we are but a speck of dust... what's the difference between a span of 40 years and a span of 80 years?

I like to think that life should be qualitatively lived, struggles endured in a constant hope of experiencing a high-quality of living.

Is there anything so deeply flawed with viewing my life as being mine to do with as I please, and also acknowledging that if I come to some point that a remainder of my life would be lived in misery that I might choose to exercise a right over my life to end it on a qualitative high?

I don't find that these arguments differ greatly from those in terminal illness (whom most would sympathise with), but like many things that are unseen (mental illness, emotional state, state of happiness or sadness)... the unseen seem to be accepted as being unreal, fixable, unacceptable.

Yet there are times that suicide can almost be thought of as noble. When a lover dies and the lone lover pines so greatly and finds that they cannot continue to have any quality of life without the other person.

I don't believe that I've ever been clinically depressed, and am a very optimistic and hopeful person. Yet my reasoning isn't offended or appalled when I see reports of suicide, and nor could I make a claim that I would never consider it. It is, for me, part of living... as death is for everyone... and as we ponder death beyond our control, I also ponder death within our control.

I find it hard to comprehend the reaction of others to stories of suicide that seem to follow misconceptions about someone having to be depressed, or the time of year... I don't think suicide is the product of a person with a fault in some way, I find it to be a rational thing.

julienmarie 5 days ago 2 replies      
I just see a lot of people talking about cognitive behavioral therapies. I guess it's one of the differences in the "psy" area between the US and Europe where psychoanalysis is more widespread.

I've also known some deep depressive years (after my mother committed suicide). The cure has been to read ( Nietzsche mainly), to embrace it, to listen to my brain, to little by little understand it. Understanding that depression is a pure symptom of our humanity : it's the moment you loose meaning in your life ( as Nietzsche says, the Human being is the only animal who needs meaning to live ). And then, you realize that the meaning of your life can only come from one source : yourself. We are easily trap by the need of approval, the need of existence within the eyes of the one who surrounds us. These approvals do not exist and are only projected, forecasted, approvals, it's our own devils. We are free to put whatever meaning we desire on our lives, as long as we respect others. Life is a permanent challenge to ourselves. This is the reason this is the most beautiful journey... Life is short anyway, let's make it a beautiful adventure. There is nothing to lose, everything to gain.

rohamg 5 days ago 1 reply      
Thanks for posting this. I too am alarmed at the HN community's response. It is surprising how such strong talent can feel so powerless- you'd think hackers would be less susceptible to giving up given that we can change things with our bare hands. It's easy to give up, it's incrementally harder to say "this will pass", it's hardest of all to snap ourselves out- slap ourselves in the face and remind each other of the immense privilege we all were born into, and see problems in the world with a sense of duty and responsibility, not despair. Honestly- I'm a bit shocked at the sense of entitlement people have of life sometimes, expecting happiness to be delivered on a platter (or via API). Life is a startup, it is a fucking war: keep busy and fight the good fight. If we're on HN we're already in the top 1% - if we have problems we should get out there and do something about it.
mherdeg 5 days ago 1 reply      
Just as a heads-up, his last name is spelled "Swartz".
guylhem 5 days ago 1 reply      
The "rationalist" approach that I use is to consider :

- death is a final state

- it always happens, sooner or later

- there are ways to alleviate pain, whether physical or moral (drugs and such)

- suicide is a capital sin

Even if death seems or is a better option, it makes sense to wait for it (and even to hope for it - there are really bad moments in anyone's life).

And if you do not believe in god, the first 3 items are good reason enough to wait, and a valid 4th one can be :

- suicide means killing perfectly good organs, than in other situations could have save many people needing transplants.

Feelings and emotions are fallible, especially during depression, a disease of our emotion-processing system.

misnome 5 days ago 0 replies      
It's a repeat of what others have said, but thanks again for posting this - much of the comments in the other thread seemed to be.. unhelpful, if not downright antagonistic.
pfortuny 5 days ago 0 replies      
Yes, this is quite difficult to convey and to explain but some times it seems like you have to just stay on and believe that it will pass.

Because it will pass.

But the hard thing is to believe it and that is where help is needed, I would say.


buchuki 5 days ago 1 reply      
Thank you for this, I've been meaning to author something similar, but I'd choose the exact same words.

After 20 years of depression my death was averted by the words "I'd rather see you institutionalized than dead." Two weeks on the psychiatric ward and an ongoing series of changes later, I now lead the happiest life possible. You can, too.

So now, I give these words back to the community. I don't know who you are, but with all my heart: I'd rather see you institutionalized than dead.

amyyyyyyyyyy 4 days ago 9 replies      
I'm going to put my thoughts down here.

The sections will be:
Escorting and sexuality
Drug and alcohol addiction
What I want
The plan


I work as a software engineer. Well, I would, if I was able to hold a job for more than 6 months without the company getting tired of me. I'm good at what I do. My bosses love my output. I have open source projects and contributions. Even on my first programming job at a startup at 18, the CTO was shocked on my first day. Repeat that shock for every job. But the companies get tired of me because I have a reputation for coming in to work straight from nightclubs, drunk, drugged up, tired, needing to snort coke at work just to stay awake and productive.


As said above, I can't hold down permanent work. One nice thing I have going for me is that I'm a young, pretty good looking girl. I don't look my age. I look 15. Men love that. They get off on me being their little girl and them being my daddy who want to fuck their little hot teenage daughter. The sex is boring for me. I like girls. I went through a long period of not knowing if I'm straight, lesbian, or bisexual. I think I like men but only in the sense of having a "daddy". I have a real birth dad of course, but I want a "daddy" - that older guy who looks after me, loves me, helps me get through my early twenties, gives me advice. I suppose this is what people call "having daddy issues".

Escorting can go really wrong. Sometimes clients beat the shit out of their hookers. It's only happened to me once, thankfully. I got tied up in a dark room and beaten and whipped. On the positive side, getting beat up escorting builds character. It makes you really, really strong. I can take a ton of abuse from other people (but not in my own head).


It's debatable whether I'm a coke addict. I don't desperately need it, but I want to use it. Thanks to being a hooker, I get lots of easy and free access to cocaine. I use 2-3 times a week.

Alcohol is what will destory me. I used to be a teetotal, innocent, quiet, shy teen. Now I'm an alcoholic, confident, loud party-girl with an arrest record of "Drunk and Disorderly", "Drunk and Disorderly", "Drunk and Disorderly". I love vodka. I need vodka. I have two bottles in my fridge right now that I'm going to start pouring once I finish this letter. I'm having a quiet night in (been out 4 nights in a row now) so will drink myself to sleep.


They hate me for reasons I won't go into.

Shit, this is the hardest bit to write. I've been typing non-stop for 10 minutes and now I'm unsure what to say and hesitating.

My mum... she doesn't want me anymore. I know she doesn't, even if she says she loves me. She never shows appreciation to anybody for anything. My dad worked hard to provide for my sister and I (because my mum hasn't worked in decades, lazy bitch). My first memory of my dad was when he took me to a party that his workplace threw for the children. I was the shy one who was too scared to talk to anyone. He eventually dragged me out and into the car and shouted at me. I was a fucking disappointment, obviously not (yet) the outgoing loud confident child everyone would prefer. I wish they had just got a divorce instead of the constant arguing they've had since before I was born. I was desperate to move away from home because I couldn't take their arguing anymore. Now when people argue in public it still upsets me.


It makes me happy. It didn't used to, because I was such an awkward kid and teenager. But now I fucking love being the center of the dance floor; the one up on the stage; the naked girl; the one guys talk to in clubs and pubs.

I was at a gangbang last night. I was there through an escorting contact. I was the first person to get naked and fuck. And then I just didn't put my clothes back on. Walking around nude and having the men look and me and wank at me was what I wanted -- attention. I wanted to fuck the other girl, though.


A secure job. A better flat (my current place is a tiny studio). Not having to suck dick to afford things. Not having alcohol withdrawal symptoms after just 48 hours sober. A family.


Obviously, because this is a suicide note, the plan is suicide. The question is "when" and "is there anything I want to do first?". Suicide has been the plan for as long as I can remember.

My first genuine suicide plan was two years ago. I was going to travel South East Asia, spend all my savings having fun and fucking hookers (haha, but I've become one! twist!!). And then die. That didn't get executed - instead I ran away to another place and just did nothing.

Like I said in the "Attention" section, I enjoy that and it makes me happy. So maybe I should just seek that out. I was reading a story earlier - http://longform.org/stories/little-girl-lost - go read it, it's good - and this story is about a girl who ran away to Los Angeles to seek out fame. She got the fame. She became one of the biggest porn stars of her era. Then she shot herself in the head at 2am.

Another thing I read earlier - http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/13/magazine/here-is-what-happ... - about Lindsay Lohan. She still gets acting gigs despite being a crazy bitch.

If they can do it, why can't I? I could run away to LA, Hollywood, whatever. I'd have a go at trying. I would be homeless but I have enough saving to last a year. If it doesn't work out, I can end it all. Finally end it all. It would be a relief from my stress and problems and this suicidal voice in my head that's taunted me for my whole life - which is ironic because I wouldn't get to feel the relief, because I'd be dead.

dear 5 days ago 2 replies      
Why people need to feel so depressed to commit suicide? I don't understand. Programmers are supposed to be rational, non-emotional. Take it easy. It's just another day in the universe. It doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things.
toyg 4 days ago 0 replies      
As somebody who flirted with depression before, I can assure you that what I'm feeling now is pure, unadulterated rage.

The world was robbed of a genius by petty bureaucrats and greedy, hypocritical "non-profit" profiteers. This is obscene.

jdefr89 5 days ago 0 replies      
I am currently suffering from a depressive episode. I am diagnosed OCD/ADD/Motor tic disorder... I also am in recovery after an addiction to oxycontin. I must say, reading the news was very sad, but at the same time, I know why he did it. I CAN understand why someone would do that to themselves, b/c I have considered it myself. But, I always remind myself that these feelings are transient and I will have good days.. You can't take life so seriously, you need to live and laugh regardless of who you are and how smart you are. Like the force of gravity, depression knows no socioeconomic boundaries -we are all susceptible to its effects.
klrr 4 days ago 1 reply      
Somone sent me this when I asked about a programming problem,
"The 0th step to solve any problem is to make sure you really understand the problem statement. If you are unable to understand what you read, seek help, you really need it."
It triggered suicidal thoughts and I've had many in the past but those times a very kind person got me on better thoughts. But I don't want to waste his time anymore, and I don't want these thoughts either. Is there anyway to stop them?
navs 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm currently going through CBT and on multiple meds. None seem to be working and my uni life suffers, as does my work life. Having no social life and no friends doesn't help. Yet I keep at it. Life is full of so many possibilities, so many variables that I have yet to consider. I hope when next it comes time for me to contemplate my existence, I can hold on to that hope for an unseen, unspeculative future.

I'd also like to add one more thing Depression robs you of: Self worth.

paupino_masano 5 days ago 0 replies      
The main thing to realize is that it can be a long process but it WILL pass. To be honest, I'm not sure when it disappeared from my every day life, but after one of my therapy sessions I looked back at the last six months and realized it had gone and I was actually happy. Previously, I had become convinced that it would never leave me, and that it was just a part of who I was. In fact, I was even at the time attached to it and didn't want it to leave as I was convinced that it was where all my creativity came from. Looking back I realize that it now only hindered it.

Things do get better - just make sure you get help as no one should do it alone!

dave9999 5 days ago 0 replies      
Suicide Hotlines (USA):



Please if you are depressed or suicidal seek professional help.

primespiral 5 days ago 0 replies      
I too am concerned about the Werther effect.

Traffic on reddits /r/SuicideWatch has exploded. [1]


aaronthrowaway 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'd like to add that I went through something very similar, although on a smaller scale. The prosecutor was charging me with ridiculous things, giving me the option to plead guilty or go to trial and keep appealing until I went broke, and ending up in jail on top of it.

When I read Aaron's story, I understood exactly how he felt. I felt like killing myself so many times. The prosecutor destroyed my family, my livelihood, my reputation, my life. And there was no "victim" either. I was completely alone at the end of it.

I'm on year 2 of starting again, and I'm telling you it does get better. A lot better.

I hope that Aaron's story sheds some light on the lack of empathy, and straight up bullying the prosecutors employ against vulnerable people. They went harder on me when they found out I lost my job. They are bullies, plain and simple.

benatkin 4 days ago 0 replies      
Fortunately common suicide logic, which should be defeated whenever it comes up, doesn't apply here. Aaron had extenuating circumstances. Those that are shaken because you thought Aaron was too strong for this: you're probably still right. There are plenty of smart people like Lawrence Lessig and Cory Doctorow who have cited the very real threat of a long prison sentence as a factor.
tomd3v 5 days ago 1 reply      
Good post, but it is much more difficult to believe in "this will pass" when you could be sentenced for 35 years.
philippeback 5 days ago 1 reply      
What kept (and still keeps) me running: I don't want to let the suckers win. I want to see the movie of my life for as long as possible, no matter how wrecked that could be.
And record yourself when you are okay. Play the movie back to yourself when in the dumps. It helps.
pknerd 5 days ago 1 reply      
I think this is the stage where the religion or faith come to rescue. We in life faces things where you find no logical way out other than looking for someone who we believe is superior than us. We surrender to that force and try get calm as much as we can.
genwin 5 days ago 1 reply      
> TL;DR If Swartz's death is triggering suicidal thoughts, you must understand that this will pass, and life will be worth living.

This is a common refrain but it won't always really pass. Our society is so harsh at times (mainly due to you-know-who type of people), with the damaging effects staying strong until death, that leaving can be a reasonable choice. What I wish Aaron had done is left in a different way, perhaps to a country with no extradition treaty with the US. There are few of those places left however, as the US tightens its depraved grip on the whole world.

mds_ 5 days ago 2 replies      
I don't know. I've been coping with chronic depression for over a decade and I'm absolutely sick of hearing "oh, you're still young. It will get better". Reading that just pushes me towards the edge.

Even if I was to be "cured" somehow‚Ä"is living half a life of misery worth living half an enjoyable life? Not to me. No amount of "happiness" can offset the misery.

I know everyone means well but it might not have the intended effect. At least not for me.

tbjohnston 5 days ago 0 replies      
Thank you for this post and helping to get the word out.
Chanoch 4 days ago 1 reply      
If all the encouragement isn't doing it for you, this one helped me:
Your death won''t stop the pain - you won't feel any (if you're lucky - there are many more failed attempts than successful ones) but your family, your friends will never recover. At least you can handle it - too many people don't understand what it's like to live with the pain, think about them before you go.
tekromancr 4 days ago 1 reply      
I have been trying really hard to fight my own depression for the last 5 years, and this news hit me at a particularly low point. I really want to thank the OP for posting this and helping me derail some suicidal processes I had running since discovering this. I really need help, but I am not in a position to get it, so thank you for helping me live just a little bit longer.
hajrice 5 days ago 0 replies      
I'd also suggest anyone that has ever faced depression or currently is facing it checks out this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GGp25fn25Cs
throwaway438904 5 days ago 0 replies      
Good post, don't let any news affect your judgement of what you need to do in life.

At the same time, the general attitude towards suicide makes me even more uncomfortable being alive. I don't feel ill and it seems really condescending to say that I haven't been in my right mind much in years. I find it really consoling that some time I'll happen to die or get around to killing myself.

To me, suicide would bring immediate advantages. I'd never feel bad again. I'd never be happy again too, but that doesn't bother me and I wish it wouldn't bother you either. It's fine to say you feel uncomfortable with others killing themselves and it's definitely important to consider that prior to committing suicide, but please don't claim that not killing myself would benefit me. Maybe you think that's an example of my inability to make considered decisions/judgements. To me it just resembles any other moral or political argument where calling either side mentally ill doesn't help.

Suicide is wrong, usually. It just affects the people around you way to much. But for me and many other people it would also be really awesome.

DivisibleByZero 4 days ago 0 replies      
Thank you for this.

Depression at any level is very real and very serious. Most people will tell you to talk to friends and family. You will be alone, it will be hard; but most importantly, you will be OK. It does get better.

bestest 4 days ago 2 replies      
Kill oneself? Why the hell would I do THAT? Yes, humanity sucks. Yes, people are swarms of mindless creatures. Yes, the law is not fair. Yes, politics sucks. Yes, pollution is bad. Yes, children curse and get worse with each generation. Yes, everything is more or less pointless. But I don't fucking care. Life is too good to be being rid of.

And there still are chances I might once again would want to live on this planet.

How I feel about Aaron's (or whoever's) death? I don't fucking care. Seriously. Get over it. He accomplished as much as any other of us (don't ever underestimate yourself) -- it's just very subjective. And he was weak enough to kill himself. Don't think any person committing suicide is worth the praise Aaron is getting.

The fact that HN's front page is full of links more or less related to Aaron's death makes me sad and disappointed and not want to live on this planet anymore.

Selfcommit 4 days ago 0 replies      
This Kid, and he was still a kid, accomplished more and ended his life in less time than I've been alive.
Both a motivator, and a tragedy.

Remember Happiness.

specto 4 days ago 0 replies      
It is good to know there are others with my thoughts. Sometimes I feel like it's only others that keep me going. Nothing about myself.
rlambert 5 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for posting this, Pitaroua. It is really well put and important stuff for people to know.

== Ross ==

azizali 4 days ago 0 replies      
Well said, and thank you for posting this. Really
zemanel 5 days ago 0 replies      
in the end, it's a good thing hope's a double-edged sword
waynesutton 5 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for posting!
hekker 5 days ago 1 reply      
Beware, there are no respawn points in RL.
Ask HN: Do I have to sell to my cofounder? What can I expect?
4 points by olebrown  15 hours ago   2 comments top 2
andymoe 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't know (probably not obligated to do anything) but I keep seeing questions here that should really be asked to an attorney or advisor you trust. So I'd like to make a suggestion to the community of programmers and entrepreneurs here young and old. If you get a job or happen to be in a position where contracts are involved ask around and find an attorney to read over your employment contract or other contract you run into. It should not take them more than an hour or two. They can usually give you a nice bullet point email or a quick phone call of what's in there and what it all means. It helps if you give them a list of your concerns upfront.

Now you have a relationship with an attorney and have developed some kind of trust with them. That's awesome! (Keep sending them your employment contracts when you change jobs! There are some crazy things in there!)

So you find yourself out on your own and need advice on something really important like if you have to sell your shares of a business you started to your co-founder so they can raise another round. Who are you going to ask? Your trusted attorney who hopefully reviewed your original contract with said co-founder!

brudgers 7 hours ago 0 replies      

If you have an operating agreement it would ordinarily cover buyouts and the conditions under which they are mandatory.

Otherwise, any obligation to sell is less likely under ordinary circumstances.

Ask HN: Downvoting without replying
9 points by xk_id  1 day ago   15 comments top 5
ScottWhigham 1 day ago 2 replies      
I don't understand that line of thinking actually (that people should reply when they downvote). Do you get upset if someone upvotes you but doesn't not reply? It seems they are done for opposite reasons.

Some of the reasons I upvote:

  - I agree w/ OP

- I appreciate the time taken, or the thoroughness of the response/post

- I appreciate that the post adds to the discussion

- I appreciate that OP was able to ask a question in a nice way

- I feel someone has added something significant

- I get a cheap laugh that isn't terribly pun-y

- I had too much coffee that day

Some of the reasons I downvote:

  - I don't agree w/ OP and I think they are either wrong are spreading misinformation

- I think OP is using FUD or other "techniques"

- OP has included a lot of hyperbole

- OP responded without being kind, thoughtful, or thorough in the response

- OP made a blanket statement with no citation ("Blue is clearly the wrong color. Period.")

- OP did not add anything significant ("+1 here too")

- OP went for a cheap laugh with pun-y, low-wit, or over-used memes ("That's what she said!")

- OP posted something that I feel is not HN-worthy or against the guidelines

- I had too much coffee that day

I'm sure there are more on each side. So did you do any of those?

jacquesm 1 day ago 1 reply      
I take it you are referring to the comments in the chomsky thread:


Only one of which got downvoted without any critique, and it was a one-word comment that did not contribute to the conversation at all. Such one word comments defy the purpose of communication.

brudgers 1 day ago 0 replies      
I will give my standard response. Downvotes happen for all sorts of reasons - I've downvoted stuff because I was being an asshole. It happens. I have bad days. Occasionally, I will respond to a comment I downvoted. In those cases my response will imply that I downvoted. But usually I don't respond because any response would be mostly unproductive.

I've also been downvoted more times than I care to remember. Someone might say I shouldn't care. They would be wrong.

The healthiest way to look at downvotes isn't to ignore them. It is to treat them as editorial feedback on the quality of my post. Maybe my point wasn't communicated clearly. Maybe my assertions are unwarranted based on the support I offered. Maybe my tone is corrosive to the community. Maybe even my idea is stupid or flat out wrong.

There are a few options. Sometimes I just take the hit. I said what I meant and mean what I said. Sometimes I will edit my comment - rewriting is writing. I don't usually mark my edits unless they make the discussion confused.

And sometimes I will recognize that my comment is lousy and delete it.

Those are the things that are within my control.

In the end the best response to downvotes is to write better.

dfc 1 day ago 2 replies      
I think that a lot of times a downvote can simply be interpreted as an "I disagree with your position" comment. I think there is a pg quote along those lines somewhere in the archives.


After a little research this is the closest thing I can find that pg said. Maybe I was mistaken in my recollection.

"I sometimes downvote things that seem mistaken. I think most users do."[1]

[1] http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1006808

Mz 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't see this one covered: Sometimes a downvote means absolutely nothing. I am on an android and I sometimes accidentally downvote when intending to upvote, click a user name, or just trying to navigate.

I prefer feedback. I had a hard time getting it for a long time. But not all votes are meaningful. I think it helps to remember that. And when a vote is fatfingered, the person who did it may not even realize it.

Ask HN: I want to learn photoshop for web design, how do I get started?
10 points by ksat  1 day ago   3 comments top 2
maxbrown 6 hours ago 0 replies      
IMHO with CSS3 you can design a site that's nice enough in just HTML/CSS... if you're already a web developer I would spend your time designing in the actual HTML/CSS. Start trying to mimic good design elements. You probably won't get to the absolute top tier of design, but my assumption is you want to get to "good enough".

If you're insistent on Photoshop first, I would start with a bunch of tutorials:

a12b 1 day ago 1 reply      
I think learning designing is more important than learning Photoshop, because it's just a tool.

I recommend you to watch some play by play from peep code. Since I watched them I understood the process to design a good UI:



Ask HN: Why is Democracy Now banned?
8 points by cma  1 day ago   2 comments top
tokenadult 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm guessing a lot of their content has resulted in off-topic political debates in the past

That would be reason enough for a general site ban on new submissions. Most of the participants here on HN who have been here longer than I have, and especially those who have higher average comment karma than I have, are united in saying that HN is not the place for political threads. Quite a few of the experienced members of HN flag any new post that deals mostly with politics rather than with the core topics of HN, especially if the source is not a high-quality source. That gradually adds sites to the list of sites that are autokilled on submission.

Ask HN: I am from Brazil, how I find mentors?
11 points by speeder  2 days ago   14 comments top 8
benologist 2 days ago 0 replies      
Lots of smart people online writing blogs, whatevering on tumblr, chatting on irc etc. Find a credible of information and somewhere you can ask questions like a forum or stackoverflow or even hn for some things.

Later this year go to this and meet real life people who may be suitable mentors. There's probably also many startup and whatever industry events, conferences, etc that may have interesting people attending.


goatcurious 2 days ago 0 replies      
Try http://mentii.com -- it's still in beta but there are a few startup advisors / mentors explicitly offering help.

disclaimer: I run Mentii and happy to help you find the right mentor if no one responds (reach out to me at sumit at mentii dot com)

kumarski 2 days ago 1 reply      
You might not need mentors or advisers as much as you might perceive.

Focus on building product and talking to customers. I learned this from Paul Graham. If you hit a fork in the road, then you might.

GFischer 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm from Uruguay, but I believe there are a few startup hotspots in Brazil.

The past Tuesday, there was an event here, which showcased the finalists from the LATAM Startup Challenge. All finalists were from Brazil, and I was extremely impressed by them, and they seemed very approachable, maybe you can get some of them to help you find the local startup scene.


I've also seen several Brazilians commenting over here too.

No idea if they can help an IT startup, but there's SEBRAE:


also the brazilian software chamber Softex:


The Uruguayan chamber (CUTI) usually finds mentors for new startups, maybe the Brazilian equivalent does too as well.

roseleur 2 days ago 0 replies      
Another thing I can suggest is to network via sites like LinkedIn. I actually got contact with another HN-poster from Brazil! And best tip: if there's no group where you live yet, you can start one!
viniciusfmelo 2 days ago 0 replies      
I`m facing the same problem , i`m from Brazil also, i would suggest you to have a look on Quora:



Also if possible could you send me an email, I'd like to keep in touch with you. viniciusfbm at gmail

felipebrnd 1 day ago 0 replies      
Recently i got an edition (12/2012) of the INFO Magazine and it has a interesting article about a Startups competition which happened in S√£o Paulo a month or two ago.

Maybe worth looking into their site or go around and buy the magazine.

thifm 1 day ago 0 replies      
Move to Sao Paulo. I had to, so do you.
Is learning a framework harder than to learn programming?
4 points by nicolasd  1 day ago   8 comments top 5
dutchrapley 1 day ago 1 reply      
It depends on context. If you have never built a web application, it can be very difficult task grasping what exactly Rails does for you (even it your are experienced in programming languages). For someone who has been building web applications for years, the it may be easier for that person to understand the pain points that Rails solves. Since Rails is domain specific to web development, you're not necessarily learning programming, but really how to apply programming to web development based on the framework's conventions. The bottom line is that you're learning something new. How hard the learning is depends on the foundation you're currently have that you can build upon. Having a foundation in a programming language doesn't necessarily mean that you're poised get up and running quickly with a web framework if you've never done web development.

The art of building web applications today, in itself, is much more complex than it was 10 years ago - mostly due to the every growing selection of tools that make it easier for experienced developers to build web applications. This in turn can make web development seem daunting.

Personally, when I started learning Rails, I had a foundation of working with rudimentary frameworks in other languages. When I discovered Rails, it did quiet a bit of what those other frameworks accomplished and then some. Then it took it further and pushed the envelope (i.e. REST support for urls and routing, more recently including CoffeeScript and the Asset Pipeline).

While there's a ton of learning resources out there for learning Rails, it can be really hard to put them together and figure out what in what order you need to learn new concepts.

That being said, I think The Flatiron School did an excellent job getting together a list of learning resources: http://prework.flatironschool.com/ - Just a heads up that it recommends CodeSchool and Tree house which are subscription services. If you're serious about learning, I'd consider the subscription cost to be a small investment.

The one resource that Flatiron Prework didn't mention is the Rails Tuturial: http://ruby.railstutorial.org/ruby-on-rails-tutorial-book

If you really want to dive into ruby, I'd recommend The Well Ground Rubyist by David Black.

Millennium 1 day ago 1 reply      
Is Rails really all you're learning? From your post, it sounds like you're also learning Ruby, which is a very different language from the ones you list: the syntax and common idioms differ, of course, but in some ways the paradigm also differs. Django wouldn't be any easier, because and the things I said about Ruby apply to Python as well.

End result: in your particular case, "learning the framework" and "learning to program" amount to basically the same thing. What makes it harder this time, as opposed to the first time you learned to program, is that last time you had no preconceived notions. Now you do -that's inevitable- but only some of those notions will apply in this new way of programming. This would be just as true if you went in the other direction; you haven't learned things in the "wrong" order or anything like that. A "wrong" order probably doesn't even exist.

The good news is that you're not alone. This happens to everyone when they first hit something wildly different from the way they first learned to program. As you do more of them, it gets easier, but the first big wall is always a shock. Good luck getting over the wall.

redspark 1 day ago 0 replies      
Have you studied the documentation for rails and how/why it does things the way it does. Have you become proficient with Ruby?

Trying to learn an MVC framework without understanding the underlying architecture is definitely a large task. Trying to do that without a firm understanding of the nuances of the programming language used is even harder.

noptic 1 day ago 0 replies      
It really depends on the frameworks documentation.

It does not matter if you want to learn framework a language or how to use a products API.

What really matters is if there is a good a documentation and some tutorials to get you started.

I often settle for the sollution with less features but a better usabilty.

govindreddy 1 day ago 0 replies      
yes indeed.No where and nobody explains magic behind frameworks.I agree that it is very difficult to learn framework.I think many develops their apps without many things without any understanding.
AaronSW may have left everything to Givewell, an efficient meta-charity
88 points by Eliezer  5 days ago   11 comments top 5
bmm6o 5 days ago 1 reply      
I haven't followed Givewell recently, but they were involved in a fiasco over at metafilter where they were sockpuppeting to promote themselves and bad-mouth competitors. Unethical behavior of the founders aside, the devil is in the details and you should do your homework before falling in love with their elevator pitch.

http://metatalk.metafilter.com/15547/GiveWell-or-Give-em-Hel... is the main thread, but search metatalk for several follow-up threads.

sethish 4 days ago 0 replies      
Aaron has had a very expensive federal court battle. It may be that he still had leftover money from the sale of reddit, but Lessig's blog on the subject suggested financial troubles.
Lets remain silent on this topic at the moment, unless this turns out not to be the case.
Grognor 5 days ago 1 reply      
I should have expected no less from someone with such clarity of thought and breadth of study.

Relevant link, a post of his: http://www.aaronsw.com/weblog/stepback

denzil_correa 5 days ago 3 replies      
I am quite sad today - I really am. :-(
ASupporter 4 days ago 0 replies      
So sad for friends of AS
Ask HN: mini scale with mobile phone to learn food portion sizes
2 points by kuwachi  15 hours ago   7 comments top 4
brudgers 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Advantages of visually determining portion sizes are that it is always available, discreet, and requires no cleanup.

Mayo clinic guide to portion control:


simlevesque 15 hours ago 1 reply      
It will be the greatest thing to happen to the drug dealing industry since the pager.
ericcumbee 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Integration with things like MyFitnessPal and Fitbit would be great. i've found that the less data i have to manually enter the better i do. i've had a fitbit one and aria for about a month now and thats what i have found. i'm having a hard time imagining a scale the size of a bluetooth headset would work. it seems like something the size of a deck of playing card would be good. i dont know enough about the mechanics of a digital scale but i could see the utility of building it into an iphone case
jlengrand 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I would definitely buy this.

I am searching for that for months now.

AsK HN : Is it a good idea to write an ebook on MVP development?
7 points by anujkk  1 day ago   6 comments top 5
brudgers 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Your story developing an MVP could be interesting. A book which pretends that a non-project is an MVP probably won't be.

The passion of execution is what makes Getting Real interesting. http://gettingreal.37signals.com/toc.php

stevejalim 4 hours ago 1 reply      
nerdfiles 1 day ago 0 replies      
It helps. Each product can now be viewed as a general scientific hypothesis; so publishing your work is essential.

You wouldn't be writing _on MVP development_ but rather exposing to everyone just how well you are at executing it. In my mind, your question seems like asking, "Is it a good idea to write an ebook on the scientific method?"

You have to manage what kind of philosophical posturing you're going to make. What you will write about may not necessarily translate to other projects, and that'll be for the fact that your hypotheses will be defined by the nature of your product. I believe what I'm saying is consistent with "don't choose your tech stack first" since the product's nature determines what the tech stack will be.

redspark 1 day ago 0 replies      
It sounds like you want to write an ebook sample application tutorial and just piggyback on a lean startup keyword.

The most complicated and most mysterious part of creating an MVP is using your customer feedback loop to determine what the MVP needs to look like. Merely creating a HN clone without also outlining your feedback loop and why you determined an HN clone to be your MVP would not hold much value.

djb_hackernews 1 day ago 0 replies      
Sounds like a tiny market of poor people.
Ask HN: I just sold the company… now what?
9 points by nivals  1 day ago   9 comments top 3
shanelja 1 day ago 1 reply      
I apologize for the vague post but I saw an article earlier on about how some supposedly fantastic (wiggles?) widget company was unable to pay their hosting costs and was having to scale back and shut down, hopefully someone seeing this post can point you in the right direction but I'm sure that you guys could come to an amicable and affordable solution!

----- EDIT -----

Just spent 15 minutes searching furiously and managed to find this: http://forum.chumby.com/viewtopic.php?id=8457 - that's the page which the HN link led to, here is the link to the HN page: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5058788

Quite surprised I managed to remember and find that but hopefully I've helped to create something good today!

brudgers 1 day ago 1 reply      
Why not look at the numbers and come up with a specific "Offer HN?"
orangethirty 1 day ago 1 reply      
May you provide an email address?
If this is your recruiter, tell them they are doing it wrong...
3 points by jmspring  1 day ago   10 comments top 4
jmspring 1 day ago 0 replies      
My problems with the email:

"killer company"
"game changing <blah blah blah>"
"cutting edge aspects"
"breakthrough cloud-enabled"
"change the way we..."
"ramp up quickly"

Basically every sentence has a phrase that is cliche. More facts, less hype. I seriously expected to read something about social and local in this.

The same email can be written without the hyperbole.

larrys 1 day ago 1 reply      
"An example of how not to reach out to people"

Would be helpful, for the purposes of discussion, if you added your thoughts on how you would write the same email that in your opinion would have worked.

chris_dcosta 1 day ago 1 reply      
Recruiters know nothing about anything, but I wouldn't dismiss this just because the person was trying too hard to make it attractive.

At the end of the day, the client is the person that can properly tell you what it's about and I haven't come across a recruiter yet that could tell me the difference between javascript and php. It's not their job to know such trivial details...

Be nice it may just be worth it.

3825 1 day ago 2 replies      
Any recommendation on what they should be doing instead?
Ask HN: would you pay $2000 now to host forever?
4 points by jayzalowitz  1 day ago   16 comments top 13
coryl 1 day ago 0 replies      
I would never pay a huge lump sum for a "forever" or "unlimited" service. Nothing lasts forever, nothing is unlimited.
johnfuller 1 day ago 1 reply      
One way you could do this and make it feasible to last forever would be to form a non profit to take donations and volunteers, build a P2P system and get enough of a fan base to keep it going. That way you would only need volunteers to maintain the client software / protocols. The only cost would be the entry point domain and the servers to keep the web presence going, though it's possible you could find a hosting service which would donate the server space. Donations should cover any other costs.

The sites would need to be static snapshots and piggy back off the main domain. You could direct traffic from external domains, but those domains would likely die at some point. Perhaps you could even partner with a DNS service such as CloudFlare so that users could have an option to direct traffic to your service when certain actions happen (site is down for a certain amount of time.) The domain would still die eventually though, and the links would go with it. Ultimately I'm not sure that losing links would be a big deal anyways, as links to your main domain would die off eventually as well.

This service would be sort of like a love child of Tor and archive.org except that it would specifically be setup so that your site would always have a URL to reach the site directly rather than having to do a search. Archive.org might already have a scheme where links to a site snapshot will never change, but I'm not sure about that as it's probably not the main focus of the service.

I think this would be more interesting that attempting to build a commercial service. A commercial service would probably end up being like a ponzi scheme where you would need enough new users to cover costs to pay for the old users. Archive.org and Wikipedia seem to be doing okay though, so perhaps you could go the same route as a non profit but on more typical hosting infrastructure.

prodigal_erik 1 day ago 0 replies      
After hearing TextDrive change hands and waver on a commitment like this, it would have to be some kind of well-capitalized trust or foundation obligated not to default.
merinid 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Can you elaborate on the calculations. I don't quite see it. Let's say you use a run of the mill host like Dreamhost and pay around 110 dollars a year to host and renew, you would run out of money in 18 years. And if you truly wanted your service to be forever, you would want to trwat that 2000 as an endowment, which again doesn't make sense from a numbers standpoint (you would be LUCKY if you made 10pct a year).
ISL 1 day ago 0 replies      
Forever is a very long time. How forever is forever?
whichdan 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I absolutely wouldn't pay for more than ~5 years of service at any given time. That said, a model like NearlyFreeSpeech.net would make a lot of sense -- pay-as-you-go out of a fund that you keep putting money into.
leoedin 1 day ago 0 replies      
You'd need investment returns of at least 1% above inflation to pay for the cheapest hosting "forever". Is that feasible?
duiker101 1 day ago 0 replies      
I already heard this end it ended really badly for a lot of customers because then the company changed. I don't remember the full story or the company but now I would not do it.
dawson 1 day ago 1 reply      
Can you share your numbers and how you came up with $2000? (genuinely interested)
michaelpinto 1 day ago 0 replies      
The problem with "Forever" in tech is that things change so fast that the only thing you can count on is that companies won't last forever -- even big ones.
devendramistri 1 day ago 0 replies      
It depends on what is "forever" here. Like in some mobile plans in India, the lifetime validity ranges from 2 to 5 years. There would be some time limit (off course in years). So after looking at that number one can decide.
stewie2 1 day ago 0 replies      
I still have 50 years to live at least. how many companies can last that long?
dkroy 1 day ago 0 replies      
I believe I would, depending on the restrictions.
Can We Get Congress to Investigate Aaron Swartz's Prosecution?
19 points by pemulis  3 days ago   2 comments top
suraj_sindhia 3 days ago 1 reply      
Please do. I may try.
Ask HN: young people
4 points by musiic703  1 day ago   12 comments top 10
yolesaber 1 day ago 0 replies      
What precisely do you mean by "interested"? As in, interested in the culture (news and blog posts and so forth)? Interested in working at one? Founding one?

Your observation is, of course, incredibly anecdotal and depends on myriad factors. For instance, if you are going to a college outside of a major startup hub but near a big tech sector (such as NC or Atlanta) you'll find people aren't necessarily as interested in startups because of their lack of presence and the security of knowing there's a blue chip job awaiting them. Meanwhile if you find yourself in the Valley, there's certainly plenty of young people who are interested in startups, whether working at one or founding their own.

For what it is worth, I go to school near NYC and lots of my peers are interested in startups to the point where my small-ish school is considering entrepreneurship tutorials and hosting tech fairs that are focused on small businesses and startups.

Personally, I just turned 22 and am interning for a startup right now and am looking to work for one in the city when I graduate in May.

gatsby 1 day ago 2 replies      
I think it's more an initial aversion to a lot of risk and lack of direction, as opposed to a lack of interest in startups or small companies. At my previous startup and at my current company, we have a lot of 24-29+ year olds (as opposed to 18-23 year olds) joining us. Upon graduation, they likely have some student debt, often don't know what direction to take at 21 or 22 and end up working at a large tech company or for a bank, etc. for a few years (who offers them grandiose promises of big paychecks and stability) before they take the plunge and join a startup.
gverri 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think the possibility to "change the world" and make something useful out of your life (and even make some money out of it) appeals to a lot of young people.

It's important to remember that most startups founders/employees have a tech background. I don't think the startup model is being well evangelized in other domains of knowledge. We are now seeing an increasingly number of Designers/Marketers adopting the "culture". But these professions are deeply connected with technology also.

Most of my friends with non-tech background don't even know what a startup is, although things seems to be changing.

duiker101 1 day ago 0 replies      
I am 22 and I am really really interested in startups. I know have a good job and don't feel like chaining it but if I would I would go for a startup.
xSwag 1 day ago 0 replies      
17 year old here. Heard the term "startup" when I sold my first website at 14 and have been shipping products ever since.
pmtarantino 1 day ago 0 replies      
I am 22 but I've been into startups for a few years. I have launched some websites and all, but I think at this age, it is better to have a secure job which will provide you money.
excid3 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm 23 and I've been interested in startups for years. The hard part is knowing what possibilities are out there when you are younger.
musiic703 1 day ago 0 replies      
I ask friends and family around my age (23) and their like yea will do it...but it seems like they all loose focus cuz if school or their job.
L4mppu 1 day ago 0 replies      
I am 15 and startups are one of the things i want to do in future.
gverri 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm also 23 and working on startups since I was 21.
Ask HN: Beyond Excel, how might a non-technical analyze large amounts of data?
5 points by areohbe  1 day ago   9 comments top 7
rpackard 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I worked R & D at a big consumer packaged goods company and ran into a lot of these 'excel messes' especially dealing with raw materials specifications. Here are my suggestions:

The 'R' programming language is pretty useful for statistics and could be used to aggregate a lot of files (and its free). Also if you want to generate dynamic reports using templates then you should look into sweave which is a package in 'R'. (http://www.stat.uni-muenchen.de/~leisch/Sweave/) You could build beautiful PDF reports that you simply run a script to generate if they are easily created into a template. But that would also require learning Latex for creating documents, something that is used heavily in the academic world but I have yet to see it in the business world.

Another approach which I would try is to use a programming language to dump it into a relational database and then use SQL to access the info (which is heavily used in business setting). This option also also allows for others to use it with familiar business tools. My unconventional tools of choice would be Ruby and using Rails to build an interface.

brudgers 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Tabulus might be an option.


rjempson 1 day ago 1 reply      
It depends what you are trying to do exactly, but the excel add-in called powerpivot could be useful if you are trying to aggregate data and do adhoc analysis.

It is free :


I have analysed lots of BI tools, which could be useful in your scenario, but most require a bit of technical / database knowledge to iron out wrinkles.

Mz 1 day ago 0 replies      
GIS software?

Most data has a physical location associated with it (street address, lat-long, something mappable). "A picture is worth a thousand words". Mapping data can help you visualize and mentally process heavy data loads. And Excel is one of the database formats typically compatible with standard software so with a smidgeon of luck you can probably kind of plug and play.

lsiebert 1 day ago 0 replies      
R is where you want to go.
infinii 1 day ago 1 reply      
Try the R programming language
calculated_risk 1 day ago 0 replies      
matlab, stata, c#
matlab is by far the best in my opinion
Ask HN: What about the others like Aaron Swartz?
29 points by donohoe  4 days ago   discuss
Ask HN: Why was Aaron Swartz so special?
34 points by lucb1e  5 days ago   20 comments top 12
bendmorris 5 days ago 0 replies      
I didn't know Aaron and had simply heard his name in the news a few times (i.e. over the whole JSTOR fiasco), so I'm struggling to understand why I personally am responding so strongly to this. I guess there are a lot of little things that add up. For one, the tragedy of debilitating depression. It's always sad when someone loses all hope and decides to end their own life, whether you know them well or not.

Another dimension is the absurdity of the prosecution he was facing, which may have contributed to his despair. The government was making him out to be a thief trying to profit from what they represent as millions of dollars of stolen property. In reality, he was freeing information that rightly should have been free. I believe very strongly in that and I admire the guts it took him to make such a public and illegal statement about it. It's a shame that it cost him so much.

Finally, there's a sense of the things he might have accomplished. He was certainly prodigious and his accomplishments at such a young age really can't be overstated. When Steve Jobs died he had already had a chance to leave his mark on the world. Both could've done more if they had lived.

There's also the fact that he was a YC alum and Reddit cofounder so he has inherent ties to many in this community. So I guess for many it's a very personal loss, and for me it's a complicated but still deeply profound tragedy.

>But anyone with a brain could have developed a technical specification and a website that turns out to be good.. right?

Absolutely not. Many have the technical skills to attempt this, but few have the foresight and drive to succeed, especially at such a young age. What were you doing at 14? People like Aaron Swartz are rare and should be celebrated.

daltonlp 4 days ago 0 replies      
Aaron is special to me, because I care about the things he cared about. He also answered my emails.

I remember doing what he did to JSTOR, to mytopo.com in 2001. This was a perl script that fetched topographic map tiles, and stitched them together to make a big map.

I printed that map, and brought it on a boundary waters trip.

I remember feeling puzzlement when I saw the north-south tile boundaries didn't quite match.

I remember thinking and testing, and realizing this must be due to the map projection error.

I remember feeling satisfaction using a pencil to calculate how to adjust for the projection. I remember feeling elation when the edges matched exactly.

I remember feeling fear, knowing I was breaking rules. I was doing all this from the office of my employer, after hours.

I remember feeling excitement because of the fear.

I remember the the look of concern on my girlfriend's face when I described the accomplishment and showed her the map. "Oh honey," she said, "Did you hack?"

Half a decade later, I remember writing python scripts to scrape color names from paint manufacturers, to build the first dataset for colr.org. Also in perl.

I remember researching whether color names could be copyrighted.

I remember feeling rather fearless after learning they could not. I remember feeling distinct pleasure at adding "cadbury purple" to the dataset. I remember doing this from home, with no connection to my employer.

I remember porting colr.org to web.py. I remember learning web.py at the same time I learned python, and feeling thankful to Aaron for creating it.

I remember my friend Hamid. He was from Iran. We met in college, studying electrical engineering at a state university. It was not exactly MIT.

Hamid and I were roommates for a year or so. He was older than most US college students. This was because Hamid had lived in hiding for 8 years, during the Iran-Iraq war.

To avoid conscription, his family sent him to live with an uncle in another city. He lived and worked in the basement of the uncle's electronics shop, repairing TVs and other appliances. After the war ended in 1988, Hamid's family got him out of the country.

Hamid rarely talked about this time in his life. But I remember one time someone asked him what that war had been like.

He replied, "You look out the window, and you see the missile come. You see it hit your neighbor's house."

Hamid had a tough time with the math courses required for electrical engineering. He outright failed a few, but he re-took them and passed.

He was a genius in the lab. He could, and would, help anyone with their hardware labwork. He didn't just help, he taught. He was patient and kind. He understood analog electronics with an instinct strengthened by years of practice.

While we were roommates, he took a VCR out of a dumpster, and fixed it. That VCR had been smashed to pieces.

Hamid made really good milk tea.

After he graduated, Hamid was hired as an RF engineer. He spent years driving around the US building cell networks. He told me much of his work involved correcting poor antennas designed and installed by incompetent engineers. "The company is so desperate to build, they hire anyone with a pulse", he told me.

Hamid broke his nation's laws. If he had been caught by the Iranian government, he would be imprisoned or executed.

I remember following Aaron's drama-filled departure from reddit, and some of his further escapades. I remember feeling like this dude was amazing, but maybe too intense. I remember hoping for his peace and happiness, but fearing it might not be in the cards. Aaron lived in interesting times, and he was devoted to stirring up more interest.

I remember the cold feeling in my stomach when I read about the JSTOR arrest. I thought about the topo maps, and the colors.

I remember feeling less regard for Aaron, because he had been caught doing a bad thing. Why did I feel this way?

People break laws, and laws break people.

The law broke Aaron. He was not made of iron. He was made of person.

lost-theory 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'll tell you why he was special to me, even though I have no personal relationship to him.

I am only a year older than him, also a python user, also interested in the same things he was interested in. I followed his progress, read his essays, used his open source software, and am a user of the sites he worked on (e.g. reddit, infogami, jottit). I admire his work a lot and look up to him.

I think his life, ideals, and work resonate with a lot of people here on HN, moreso than Steve Jobs. He's the quintessential hacker. A lot of people identify with that, and are upset over the injustice done to him in the JSTOR case, FBI investigation, etc. That's why you see this kind of reaction over his death.

legutierr 4 days ago 0 replies      
He was a man with a good heart who, in his attempt to make the world a more just place, made himself the enemy of the powerful and as a result was faced, unjustly, with the loss of his fortune, his freedom, and ultimately, his life.

In other words he fought the good fight--the fight that many of us wish we had the time, courage, or resources to fight--and lost.

orangethirty 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'm probably missing something, so tell me please.

We are all hackers. As a collective we mourn the loss of a collegue. Someone from our generation who dreamed of changing the world though code and actually did. That is why the community has responded in such way. He is one of us.

gojomo 4 days ago 0 replies      

Or simply read some of the upvoted obits/tributes. People knew, used, and admired his work, and many here knew him personally.

Good day, sir.

ALee 4 days ago 0 replies      
Few people are uncompromising in their ideals and have the talent to enact that vision, especially at a young age. I think it's because aaronsw represents something we all respect and for some, greatly admire. For the HN community, it's as if a key political figure died and we were the key community that knew her, knew of her, and knew her work. A good example may be a civil rights leader, dissident, or environmental leader. For me personally, Aaron was fighting the good fight.
handzhiev 4 days ago 0 replies      
Besides being apparently bright mind (some would say genius), and freedom activist, he suffered depression and committed suicide. You should seek the reason in the combination of all these factors.
jetsnoc 4 days ago 0 replies      
He was one of us, someone many of us have talked to or met so it hits close to home whereas Steve Jobs was an archetype a billionaire inventor who had lived his dreams.
bibinou 4 days ago 0 replies      
YC alumnus.

edit: he was in the first batch, actually.

littlemerman 5 days ago 1 reply      
He fought for freedom of information.
rprasad 4 days ago 1 reply      
It depends very strongly on your point of view and the context.

I do not consider Aaron Swartz to be very special in the legal sense. His case was a simple hacking case (as the crime is defined in federal statutes). There was nothing special about it politically or technologically or procedurally. There was nothing special about the "victim" (JSTOR) or the victim choosing not to press charges. Indeed, even the fact that he killed himself is not unique because the incidence of suicide is higher with white collar crimes.

I am aware that my viewpoints on this differ strongly from most of HN, but if you read the comments by the other lawyers on HN, most of them generally agree with my sentiments in this regard.

Aaron was apparently very gifted technically (RSS spec, reddit co-founder, etc.), but as I know little about him in this regard, I cannot intelligently discuss this aspect of his person further.

BLE / iOS Framework for App Developers
4 points by tburke_quark  1 day ago   2 comments top
bennyg 1 day ago 1 reply      
A coworker and I have hacked Siri up to do some interesting things for a project (all NDA unfortunately) and are very interested in getting her to function flawlessly with a Bluetooth device.
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