hacker news with inline top comments    .. more ..    25 Jan 2013 Ask
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Ask HN: which is the most influencing quote you ever came across?
7 points by justplay  2 hours ago   10 comments top 9
hendi_ 1 hour ago 0 replies      
"There's no profit in Peace" - Oscar Harrison, drummer from Ocean Colour Scene


ayers 1 hour ago 1 reply      
My favourite from Hacker News, not the most influencing but a fun one that I rather enjoy bringing up in the work place.

CFO asks "what if we spend our money training our staff and they leave?", CTO replies "what if we don't and they stay?" - JAVagueArgument

edparry 39 minutes ago 0 replies      
"Nothing is more fatal to the progress of the human mind than to presume that our views of science are ultimate. That our triumphs are complete. That there are no mysteries in Nature and that there are no new worlds to conquer."
Sir Humphry Davy
meatsock 1 hour ago 0 replies      
"Never Explain, Never Complain"
-- Cole Porter
"If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged."
-- Cardinal Richelieu
ayers 1 hour ago 0 replies      
“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.” - Theodore Roosevelt
xd 1 hour ago 0 replies      
"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." - Originated from a quote by Einstein.
needleme 1 hour ago 0 replies      
"Fail we may, sail we must" - A random fisherman talking to a dj/producer called Andrew Weatherall. He made out a song with this title then.
Hanneman 12 minutes ago 0 replies      
Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.
miia-s 1 hour ago 0 replies      
"The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple."
- Oscar Wilde
Ask PG: Did "Startup Ideas" lead to flooding the YC apps with these ideas?
15 points by trickjarrett  5 hours ago   discuss
Developer with recommendation engine experience for startup
2 points by nephronim  2 hours ago   discuss
Show HN: I wrote a book on idiomatic Python. Here's its insane build/test system
11 points by jknupp  15 hours ago   2 comments top 2
benji-york 8 hours ago 0 replies      
It won't help you with the translation part, but I have a small project that aims to take the next step in tested documentation after doctest: http://pypi.python.org/pypi/manuel/. Full documentation (tested with Manuel of course) at http://packages.python.org/manuel/
emeraldd 15 hours ago 0 replies      
What about something like Sphinx? It uses ReStructured text and a Makefile to control most of the stuff.
Idea: Hustler School
6 points by ezl  14 hours ago   4 comments top 3
orangethirty 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Someone who can sell doesn't really even need to have the app written to be able to sell it and gather funds. Your idea sounds attractive from the POV of the programmer, but from the other side it is not attractive. You have to realize something, people who can sell (who can really gather money like that) are worth more than most programmers out there.
Very few people can sell than those who can program. The "hustler" can just hire programmers easily. But programmers have a hard time finding good "hustlers." Why? Because good "hustlers" already have money and can pay programmers a salary. No need to dilute their value by taking in a co-founder.
josh2600 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Cool idea, but I tend to think "real" hustlers aren't the ones sitting around looking for products to hawk.

Maybe focus this a bit more and turn it into a course teaching hustlers how to be growth hackers?

brianmcconnell 13 hours ago 1 reply      
50% is awfully rich. A better way to structure this is to offer a smaller percentage (less than 10%) which vests on completion of agreed upon milestones (i.e. completed angel round, N licensing deals, etc). If the person delivers, and you enjoy working with them, negotiate a longer term agreement with 3-4 year vesting. You may find that he/she delivers, but is a nightmare to work with, so its important to have an out if that's the case.

I don't really like the idea of charging them up front. If someone is as good as they say they are, and are working full-time, their opportunity cost for salary is $10,000 to $20,000 per month.

My personal experience is that people tend to greatly exaggerate their ability and connections, so its important to have clearly defined deliverables/milestones, and a solid legal contract that covers less than ideal outcomes.

Ask HN: What's your blog?
34 points by devcom  9 hours ago   65 comments top 58
simonsarris 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I blog mostly about JavaScript/Canvas stuff, but my latest post is actually some advice that I kept repeating to different people until I finally made a post to point to. It's a piece on being positive:


I've gotten an enormous amount of thank you's for that post, mostly from when I wrote similar sentiment on reddit to encourage people, but its not really in line with the rest of the blog to date.

Unfortunately 100% of my blogging steam since last July has been forced into a book that's currently in the works (a tome on HTML5, nothing too exciting!). I'll be extremely happy when that's finished and I can return to blogging. I've gained a lot of intimate knowledge of Canvas in recent times, so there are an enormous amount of Canvas-related topics I want to cover. And the book, to say the least, is about ~200 pages of my canvas expertise and ~300 pages of "other" HTML5 :)

I'd really like to get more into storytelling too, alas, my time is so thin.

Peroni 21 minutes ago 0 replies      

I blog about how to improve your chances of finding work as well as how to improve your chances of attracting the best staff if you are an employer.

I also interview leading figures from the UK tech industry about their hiring processes in order to give job seekers a direct insight into what impresses these days.

jjude 15 minutes ago 0 replies      
My technical blog (not much updated): http://www.jjude.com; thoughts on all other things are at: http://www.jjude.biz
thesmok 26 minutes ago 0 replies      
I'm experimenting with electronics/microprocessor programming.
Also, i'm documenting some Linux and web-development hints there. Your know, things that take a couple of hours to figure out.
smtddr 27 minutes ago 0 replies      
my humble adventures in online game hacking.
mindcrime 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I blog so rarely at my personal blog that it's almost irrelevant, but it's http://www.jroller.com/mindcrime

The Fogbeam Labs blog gets an update now and again as well, although I don't publish anywhere near as much content there as I should. But I'm sitting on a whole pile of ideas for posts and half finished posts, etc., so at some point content should start showing up there much more frequently.


vjk2005 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I have a thing for insights. Sometimes simply flipping the normal order of things can make one see life in a completely new way[0] and that fascinates me no end. Eventually I started collecting these at my blog, vjk2005.tumblr.com, which has since expanded beyond a collection of insights[1][2] to include design[3][4], my ideas and thoughts[5][6][7], Photography[8][9], Japan[10][11], Travel[12], pithy quotes[13] and tidbits on technology and nature[14][15].

[0] http://vjk2005.tumblr.com/post/31520538726/the-foundation-of...

[1] http://vjk2005.tumblr.com/post/26155332078/the-power-of-char...

[2] http://vjk2005.tumblr.com/post/23733095311/sunnyballiette-ni...

[3] http://vjk2005.tumblr.com/post/31465598591/fractal-kitchenwa...

[4] http://vjk2005.tumblr.com/post/30946005549/how-to-draw-a-3d-...

[5] http://vjk2005.tumblr.com/post/31581467714/the-difference-be...

[6] http://vjk2005.tumblr.com/post/21642976591/does-time-stop-wh...

[7] http://vjk2005.tumblr.com/post/4615308706/gyrotasking

[8] http://vjk2005.tumblr.com/post/31453294194/qiu-yang-and-colo...

[9] http://vjk2005.tumblr.com/post/31319652284/breathtaking-orie...

[10] http://vjk2005.tumblr.com/post/26159184468/tokyo-1960s

[11] http://vjk2005.tumblr.com/post/21494313892/digital-fishing

[12] http://vjk2005.tumblr.com/post/23339995775/semporna-malaysia

[13] http://vjk2005.tumblr.com/post/39569214423/genius-is-an-afri...

[14] http://vjk2005.tumblr.com/post/30247705546/vladimir-lukyanov...

[15] http://vjk2005.tumblr.com/post/36638052985/the-most-beautifu...

jacques_chester 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Mine is linked from my profile. It's a mix of grandiose bullshit and book reviews (sometimes these are the same).

Periodically I link myself in comments because it's easier than rehashing what I've already written.

One day I complained about a particular blog hosting service and that's the one post that made it to HN's front page.

chewxy 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I write nonsense here: http://blog.chewxy.com

I'm also a contributer behind The Forking Chef (http://theforkingchef.com), the blog for Fork the Cookbook [0], which people have likened to be like Github for recipe: http://forkthecookbook.com

danso 7 hours ago 0 replies      

It used to be more personal, but now I try to blog about things related to work, including my photography.

It's Wordpress hosted on Dreamhost. It's been on HN a few times and the WP Super Cache plugin has handled it like a breeze.

I've always thought about changing everything to Octopress, but as long as Wordpress cache plugins work as promised, I guess there's not much need to

Mz 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I have several small websites. I think other people refer to all of them as "blogs". The one I think of as "my blog" is http://www.novemberwest.com/blog.

It's a hodgepodge -- bitching about personal problems, talking about relationship stuff, "women's issues", a few photographs of stuff in San Diego, miscellany. It was created with the explicit intention of having a sandbox to write about stuff that I find interesting, stuff of a sort which inevitably seems to inspire lynch mobs in online forums. So it helps me stay out of trouble on forums and email lists. It makes it easier for folks who can't stand me to avoid reading ...whatever the heck it is about me which historically kept me in social hot water no matter what I did. It is also helping me bleed off the chatter so that other writing I do is more focused and topical.

whichdan 8 hours ago 0 replies      
http://ambientdays.com/ I occasionally post YouTube/Grooveshark/SoundCloud videos. I kept trying to write blog posts (both on musical and technical topics), but I could never come up with a voice that I liked.
orangethirty 8 hours ago 2 replies      
Front page:




Marketing, sales, copywriting articles from my own experiences.Updated every couple of days. Will soon have content in Spanish.

Pronto tendra el mismo contenido escrito en Espanol.

blackhole 7 hours ago 0 replies      
http://blackhole12.blogspot.com for programming related rants or the occasional personal post from a rabbit-obsessed graphics programmer who says a lot of crazy things. Sometimes people even listen to me! But usually they just tell me I'm an idiot.
prezjordan 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I write sometimes on this: http://jscal.es

I post music on this: http://ilictronix.heroku.com

And I'm finishing my programming challenge blog: http://programthis.net

jlengrand 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Here is mine :

Started as an image processing blog, but turned into "my life as a developer" kinda blog.

Hard to always find time to write though.

charliepark 8 hours ago 1 reply      
http://attnmgmtblog.com - The Attention Management Blog

A linkblog where I post excerpts and quotes a few times a week on focus, attention, distraction, intentionality, and doing good work, with an emphasis on managing attention amidst digital distraction.

rsoto 8 hours ago 0 replies      
http://www.therror.com/ altough I write in spanish about a lot of stuff, from videos to how to work and study. Currently I'm starting my own digital marketing agency.
srl 7 hours ago 0 replies      

My personal blog; various technical miscellany, representative of whatever I'm into at the moment.

tomfakes 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Ruby on Rails performance and scalability: http://blog.craz8.com
buf 7 hours ago 0 replies      

I talk about working at startups in San Francisco, specifically Eventbrite, this includes topics like growing a startup from 10 people to 230, health, productivity tips, and technical/industry related findings.

biscarch 7 hours ago 0 replies      

Started this year. Has some Riak Core posts, some personal content. I'm looking to post more about Erlang and other technical topics.

bennesvig 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Marketing-ish thoughts: http://bennesvig.com
kennethlove 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Just started it up (personally), but I blog about...shit, don't really know yet. Likely programming, personal life (dad, husband, etc), and the like. http://blog.gigantuan.net

My professional blog, mostly about Python and Django, is at http://brack3t.com

tectonic 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I post occasionally at http://blog.andrewcantino.com about stupid projects I do.
mtr 6 hours ago 0 replies      
On a related note, what blogging platform does everyone recommend for discussing your startup? Discussion here: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5114239
monty_singh 8 hours ago 0 replies      

Mostly just observations on the technology industry.

I've only updated my blog a few times in the last year, but have actually written a lot of "posts" in a notebook. I'm planning on posting some of the better ones online over the course of this year.

captn3m0 7 hours ago 0 replies      
http://captnemo.in Mostly ruby, node stuff along with some personal perspectives.
niclupien 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I like your blog dude ! I found your's and nathanbarry.com very intersting. The web app challenge is a great idea. I'm Australia for an internship and I gave the link to your blog to my boss for inspiration.
mikeevans 8 hours ago 0 replies      

I just post about random tech stuff. Gadget reviews, various things that people might find interesting/help solve problems.

madradavid 8 hours ago 0 replies      
http://blog.madradavid.com/ Startups,Coding,Africa
jmanzano 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Good Idea!

I blog mostly about node.js and Android, but basically whatever comes to my mind :)


redact207 7 hours ago 0 replies      

Nowadays focused soley on microsoft development (C#, MVC, SQL) with tips and snippets that address common daily issues of corporate devs.

arundhaj 2 hours ago 0 replies      
My posts are not like tutorials, however, things I tried & exprimented.
stephen_mcd 7 hours ago 0 replies      

Python, Django, and my open source work.

robbiea 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I blog about advancing your career, relationship building & entrepreneurship on http://robbieabed.com I've been on the front page probably about 4-5 times.
nickyoung 8 hours ago 0 replies      
http://www.therealmacgenius.com - The Real Mac Genius.com

An outlet providing: news, reviews, analysis, and opinion regarding Apple technology.

ajhit406 8 hours ago 0 replies      

Metaphorical rambling. Some revelatory posts; mostly crap.

Themes relating to entrepreneurship, technology, design.

sdi 4 hours ago 0 replies      

I mostly write about the things I am currently working on. Nowadays its about Android Development.

goyalpulkit 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I blog about things that I work on (mostly Android, iOS and jQuery) : http://pulkitgoyal.in/
ctruman 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I write about product quality and attempt to encourage the greater software community to pay attention to details and make great products. I review products and try and find what makes them not crap and what makes them total crap. I sift through the the crap to show you how to make sure your product is not crap. Don't make crap.
dave1619 7 hours ago 0 replies      
startups, productivity, apple - http://www.heydave.org
Gakuranman 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Although perhaps not quite the standard sort of site to be mentioned on Hacker News, I always enjoy reading this website. I write about my explorations of ruins, travels in Japan, photography and the occasional piece on design, SEO and other branding and marketing related material. Feel free to have a read if you need a break :).


khay 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I just started one... not really the best at blogging but I'm trying, just decided tonight I'm going to focus more on like code snippets and such from my projects.


nreece 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I blog about technology and startups at http://www.nilkanth.com
sraut 7 hours ago 0 replies      

Mostly about startups / investors in Australia, what it's like to be a uni student founder, having an app that exploded massively etc. Not really much technical stuff and usually blog only when asked to speak.

atm doing about 1k hits per month.

vampirechicken 7 hours ago 0 replies      
They Come With Cheese is my semi-ironic blog about cheese. http://www.theycomewithcheese.com
rexf 6 hours ago 0 replies      
blogging about programming topics and nyc. current topic is "jQuery without jQuery"


sbashyal 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I write about my hacks and thoughts here: http://hacksandthoughts.posterous.com/
rbchv 7 hours ago 0 replies      

I blog about making a living with software. I currently have several apps and started my own version of the Web App Challenge.

s_kanev 7 hours ago 0 replies      
http://blog.skanev.org/ -- a weird mix about academia (PhD student in computer architecture), photography (still advanced amateur) and long-distance running (marathoner).
sachleen 8 hours ago 0 replies      
http://blog.sachleen.com/ - just little stuff I've made. Now I'm focusing on an Arduino project.
lukencode 7 hours ago 0 replies      
.net, WinRT, wp7 javascript code snippets
simpsn 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I write about design and development and occasionally something weird/funny.

Here it is simp.sn

Maven911 8 hours ago 0 replies      

Articles on business, strategy, finance.
Along with offering financial trading training on the side

era86 7 hours ago 0 replies      
a blog about nothings: http://www.runtime-era.blogspot.com

ill be interested in reading everyone's responses!

vanwilder77 7 hours ago 0 replies      
my personal blog where I blog about the hacks that I do http://virendra.me
DamnSecure 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I blog mostly about it/information -security - both defense and offense (pentest) - tools and know how to be active in this field. The main goal is to get people talking and ask question on a certain topic. Interested? Please visit http://www.damnsecure.org
$700/hr for legal advice vs. $100/hr for a top software engineer " why?
42 points by dannylandau  14 hours ago   70 comments top 37
rayiner 12 hours ago 2 replies      
Prices are of course about supply and demand. The supply of business lawyers is limited, which keeps prices (relatively) high. What keeps supply limited? In practice, bar admission requirements are not the operative bottleneck. There are about twice as many JD's each year as there are jobs for them, and the prices for entry-level legal work (across the whole industry) have fallen far below that of entry-level engineering work. A programmer from a top 100 school with decent but not amazing grades can come out expecting to get a job and making $45k+. A lawyer with similar credentials might go a year without finding a job and end up making $35-40k at a small firm.

So what keeps prices high at the top end? The answer is branding. Business clients don't trust their sensitive legal work to firms that don't have brands. And these firms that have brands don't hire just anyone. Only about 10-15% of fresh JD's end up at a medium to large firm working on corporate law, and the majority of them come out of the top 20 (of 200+) law schools. There are only so many graduates of Stanford and Berkeley to go around, so only so many of them get hired and trained at business law firms, and only so many of those make it to partner and build up years of experience. This is the real supply bottleneck.

You've always seen this phenomenon in banking and consulting (business clients trust their M&A to Goldman, who hires from Harvard and Princeton, maybe Yale if they're really feeling pinched). Now, you're seeing it in engineering too. It used to be that large companies didn't care much about where you went to school or what your grades were. But these days, places like Google, Facebook, etc, disproportionately recruits from the Stanford/MIT set. As a result, salaries at these companies have bid up dramatically. I hear a fourth year engineer at Google can make $250k+. That's comparable to a fourth year lawyer at a top law firm. These salaries were unheard of in engineering back when places like IBM didn't care all that much about Stanford versus CSU.

keithwarren 13 hours ago 2 replies      
I truly hope he is not a great iOS developer because that rate is criminally low.

There is something magical that happens in the 100 pennies between 99 per hour and 100 per hour, a mental chasm that is in reality no different than 98/hr vs 99/hr but we make it into a big deal. Why he chose that number, and why people choose any number for an hourly rate is always a curious thing to me. We pick numbers that we think are palatable with no real regard for the same rigor we put into other processes. Has he tested his rate?

But the idea of hourly rates is accepting of the premise incorrectly...

My guess is that if he is truly great he could make some lawyers jealous. Charging $700/hr may seem far fetched for a developer but making 700/hr is a very different thing. 70K bill to a client for something that took 100 hours to make is a much more salient strategy if you give them what they want.

tzs 12 hours ago 1 reply      
One of chef Gordon Ramsay's signature dishes is lobster ravioli with celery root cream and shellfish vinaigrette. If you were to hire Ramsay to come and make that dish for a dinner party at your house, I'd guess his hourly rate would be pretty high.

Now suppose you hired Ramsay, but instead of a dinner party it was for your kid's birthday party--and all you want Ramsay to do is boil Oscar Meyer hot dogs and serve then on Safeway hot dog buns with Heinz Ketchup (and only that) on them, and later scoop some store-bought ice cream onto store-bought cake.

This is something you could hire a neighborhood teen to do for $20. Do you think Ramsay is going to do it for $20, because you are asking him to do something much simpler than make his signature food?

Of course not. He's charging for his talent and skill. If you want to misuse that by having him work on something that is trivial and can be done easily by someone with much less talent or skill, that's your problem.

I suspect that's what you are doing with the lawyer. A partner in a major firm has the skill and talent to work on very large and complicated matters that involve big companies and a lot of money--things like major mergers and acquisitions, IPOs, and such.

You are asking him for something that could probably be drafted by a paralegal from his office, and then checked over by a junior associate--the legal equivalent of boiling hot dogs.

patio11 12 hours ago 0 replies      
The only thing you need to so to charge $700 an hour is convince a business your services are worth that much, typically by saying that in X time you can deliver Y result which will increase revenue or decrease costs by some number Z, where Z is greater than your rate times X.

There exist at least some software developers who bill $700 an hour or north of that, by the way.

rm999 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Is it fair to compare a major law firm with an independent software engineer? At my last company (~3000 employees) when I did billable work they charged the client 300/hour. From a few minutes of googling I am reading that typical lawyer fees (not big law firms) are 200-300 dollar an hour, eg: http://www.topix.com/forum/city/utica-ny/TDV8TU0N3HTLL1UMK.

I've never hired a lawyer and I've never directly contracted myself out so I am by no means an expert on this topic. Great question though.

gnosis 13 hours ago 0 replies      
* Outsourcing hasn't hit the legal profession like it has software development.

* You can't just read a legal book over the weekend and call yourself an attorney.

* Open source and Free software. While lawyers do do some pro-bono work, there's not nearly as much of it being done as there is volunteer work being done by software developers around the world.

petercooper 13 hours ago 0 replies      
He is very bright and hard working, but can anything justify $700/hr.

Are you going to employ him at the $700/hr rate? If so, you would have justified it. Unless the $700/hr were just a ploy to start a pricing negotiation, rather than what he typically bills, the cost is being justified by the people keeping him in business.

That aside, if he works for a big firm, it'd be fairer to compare his rate to that of what a consulting firm bills out its developers (which is very far north of $100/hr).

wallacrw 12 hours ago 0 replies      
All major Silicon Valley law firms (Gunderson, Wilson Sonsini, Fenwick, Cooley) will defer your fees to get you as a client. You should negotiate at least $15k-$20k of deferral of fees if you are a startup, which means you won't cut them a check until/unless you get financed. They should also offer you a discount on their normal rates of 10-20%. And they may ask for warrants; up to you to issue these. They may pound sand, but if they really want those, then you should be getting a lot of legal work for free.

The vast majority of legal work they do for you as a startup is form work, so don't ever pay a partner more than a half hour to review it. 90% of the work is literally changing names in a document: incorporation docs, board notes, issuance of options, option plan, assignments of IP, and financing docs should all be standardized. I know this because I worked at Gunderson as an attorney.

What you want from startup lawyers is a clean form that your investors have seen before. Don't do anything that makes an investor think twice. Any form from the firms I mentioned above will do.

Net net: you shouldn't worry about $700/hour. It's too much, you shouldn't be hiring that particular attorney, and even if you do owe thousands of dollars, you shouldn't have to pay it until you're financed (which means you have the cash anyway).

jonknee 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Because you're getting a steal from the iOS developer and you're also going direct vs through a firm for the attorney. To keep the situations similar you would need to hire a consulting company and see what they charge you per hour (or find an indie attorney).
jaredstenquist 13 hours ago 0 replies      
This is why I built LawyerClock. I got pissed off at the long calls with corporate attorneys for $600+ per hour (per partner!).


* I coded this during lawyer meetings.

gnosis 13 hours ago 2 replies      
I've known network consultants who charged banks and other Wall St firms $2600/hr for troubleshooting. A network outage could easily cost some of these firms millions of dollars per hour, so paying $2600/hr to fix such an outage is petty cash in comparison.
dfc 13 hours ago 1 reply      
A failure of a free market for legal services. Anyone can become a professional ios developer, there is free entry/exit in this market. The ABA artificially limits the number of potential lawyers with the Bar and requiring you go to an accredited school.[1] An intelligent individual cannot educate themselves in the legal field in their spare time and get to the point where they can hang their own shingle in the same manner an ios developer can. The number of potential lawyers is further reduced by the patent bar as well and states that do not honor out of state lawyers.

[1] With the exception of a few states where one can still "read law" under a judge or attorney and take the bar.

itsprofitbaron 13 hours ago 0 replies      
During late 1990s aka. "the dot com boom" there was a severe shortage of corporate lawyers in Silicon Valley due to the deal work exploding with record IPOs, M&A and VC activity etc.

Alongside the shortage, the cost of living in the Bay Area was rising which increased when there was an exodus of lawyers from law firms going to the Bay Area for in-house opportunities at startups. As a result to combat this, Law firms in SF/LA increased their associates pay which was then being matched throughout the rest of the country.

Once this happened it resulted in the increased wages leading to the prices at the level they are because:

- Noone wants to cut their wages - companies also do anything they can to prevent wage cuts even if that means reducing headcount.

- Law firms prestige are linked to money - in order to attract the best talent they compete on price by paying the highest starting salaries and bonuses. Likewise in order to keep the rest of the employees motivated they pay the same salaries across departments. Thus they then had to tackle the issue of the increase overheads so law firms increased their rates to manage increased overheads and to increase profitability of the firm ensuring they keep their best talent around.

However, with that said the reason lawyers are expensive despite the "oversupply" of them is because if you require a law firm with experience that is able to handle complex litigation, transactions etc and is able to allocate a significant amount of man-hours at your case then you're going to have to compensate them in order to do so.

So to answer the question are lawyers expensive, they're not. You can find one to handle basic paper work inexpensively however, if you require an experienced lawyer who can handle complex litigation, complex litigation, transactions etc and is able to allocate a significant amount of man-hours at your case then you're going to have to compensate them in order to do so.

femto 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Is it feasible to program a machine learning system (such as Watson?) to run a straightforward legal case, with a natural language interface?

Presumably the majority of "bread and butter" legal cases don't require an innovative step? Rather, they involve rolling out a set of standard arguments and countering a set of standard arguments put forward by the opposition, a bit like a chess game? I'm talking straighforward stuff, rather than the types of cases that set legal precedent.

If so, wouldn't it be a case of cramming a machine full of the necessary legal information, then doing a search to navigate a path to a winning position? If a winning position with the required certainty could not be found by the machine, the legal advice might be "call a human lawyer".

chaz 13 hours ago 0 replies      
There's a good thread on Quora about the price of lawyers. Without logging in, the first answer is available here: http://www.quora.com/Attorneys/Why-are-lawyers-so-expensive-...

The second answer, which is also helpful, uses graphs from these articles, which helps illustrate the bimodal distribution:

skadamat 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Well first off, he can value his time however much he wants. As a partner at a major law firm in SV, he's incredibly busy so his time is extremely valuable (any distraction like consulting only makes sense at a rate of ~700 per hour for him) and as a partner, he's probably making millions at the firm. If he spent 5 more hours at the firm and was able to generate a multiple of what you're paying him for 5 hours of work (3500), then he's probably not charging enough, right?

If you want general legal advice for startups, talk to startup-friendly law firms. Many have packages where you give up 1-2 thousand bucks only for X number of hours + turning your startup into an INC or LLC or whatever + a small equity stake. For other law firms, you'll just have to talk to them and figure out what their rates are. Most are more in the 50-100 dollar range. Don't skimp on legal expenses, if you get sued for a few million dollars, you'll regret skimping on paying a better lawyer a few thousand bucks more.

swampthing 13 hours ago 2 replies      
* law firms are inefficient in their use of technology

* legal work is more likely to be boring, so you have to pay people more to do it (this is related to the first point above)

* if an app has a bug, it's usually easy to spot - if a contract has a bug, you may never know about it until it bites you. so you pay for the best attorney you can get, in the hopes of getting fewer bugs

* lawyers are more at the beck and call of their clients - really need something done overnight or over the weekend? they'll do it (though they'll resent you for it)

Suncho 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Because if they were paid anywhere close to the same amount, who would choose to be a lawyer? Being a software engineers is way more fun! =)

Regardless, I wouldn't worry about it because software engineers will be automating away lawyers soon anyway. ;)

bengotow 13 hours ago 0 replies      
1. A top iOS developer usually costs more - between $150/hr and $200/hr in my experience. In the valley, it might be even more. Maybe your guy should be charging more, maybe he doesn't feel like it! A lot of guys I've worked with don't realize how much they're worth. Either way, hold on to him and give him a bonus when he finishes the project on time.

2. I think you're paying $700/hr because you 1) went straight for a partner and 2) you went straight for a major law firm in the valley. It's also a mindset difference. I think lawyers charge based on the value they add, not the hours they work, whereas developers typically think about hours. A developer who writes a piece of code that saves you $1M should charge $100k for it, and a lawyer probably would. On the other hand, your developer would probably charge you 1.5 hrs * $100 / hr.
* Full disclosure: I'm a developer and I have lawyer friends, but

vannevar 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I think this is a transient phenomenon. The software profession is only a few decades old, while there have been centuries of lawyering. Not all lawyers make anywhere near $700/hour; in fact, I'd say the average lawyer probably makes about as much as the average developer. A developer aristocracy has yet to emerge, but as time goes on you'll see rates at the top end rising much faster than the average, and there will be $700/hr developers.
Terry_B 13 hours ago 0 replies      
In addition to the other reasons here, I think when it comes to lawyers and doctors, people typically want "the best".

Are you willing to take a risk with your health or getting into legal trouble?

So the price of the best people just keeps going up and up.

With developers, there is more of a concept of "good enough". As long as you find someone that can build the thing and it works, that's good enough.

whyme 13 hours ago 1 reply      
1. Lawyers incur more liability with their work.

2. The quantity of workload they provide per job is less, thus pricing is more dense (i.e. companies realize programmers work thousands of hours for a project and that the project viability would collapse at $700/hr)

3. In many cases you have no choice but to hire a lawyer, while more often you can say no to a programmer should the economics not support the project.

4. A lawyer has to go to school for approx. 6 to 8 years (at least in Canada) while programmers have a wide variety of education levels.

I'm sure I could list more...

lukevdp 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I charge $100/hr and I'm nowhere near a top developer. I'm sure the top developers are charging a lot more
rdouble 13 hours ago 0 replies      
He's not really your friend if he's charging you $700 an hour.
Osmium 13 hours ago 2 replies      
Generally, a lawyer has a lot more responsibility that a software engineer. The repercussions of a bad legal error can be felt for a long time. A software mistake? easily fixed.
njharman 12 hours ago 0 replies      
software eng did/does not have to

go to law school (or take any college really)

pass the bar (or any certification at all)

maintain his membership in bar (or any level of professional conduct or accountability)

be legally responsible for the work he performs (in same way lawyers, doctors and other accredited / certification passing professions must)

See also supply and demand. Every half skilled monkey can be an iOS developer (or any kind of developer. Honestly, it's really not that hard. Compared to lawyering, doctoring. Also developer != architect, lead, technical manager, entrepreneur, etc which are all much more difficult. OTOH people who couldn't hack EE or that drop out of college can be successful developers.)

grumps 13 hours ago 1 reply      
I think it's already been pointed out but I'll clarify a little more.

You've hired an independent developer, at a reasonable rate.

Hiring a lawyer from a law firm, comes at the rate of the firm. He bring to the table the resources of a large law firm, and along with the cost of operating a law firm. In addition to his nice salary.

If you had hired an tech consulting firm you'd be looking a similar hourly rate if you brought in a partner.

znmeb 12 hours ago 1 reply      
You want to charge $700 / hour for programming? You want to be a professional in the same sense as a doctor or a lawyer? Fine!

1. Get a PhD in computer science or software engineering.
2. Submit to state licensing, certifications, fees, examinations and codes of conduct.
3. Buy liabilty insurance in case your screw-ups hurt someone and they sue your incompetent ass.

Look, doctors and lawyers have been around at least since civilization arose, say six to ten thousand years. Programming as a profession independent of, say, doing math or building weapons systems or accounting has been around only since the 1950s, and it wasn't till the 1960s that large numbers of people got paid to do nothing but programming.

andrewgjohnson 13 hours ago 0 replies      
The problem is there's no lawyers charging extremely low prices in third world countries and it's exceptionally unlikely that you would hire a lawyer that isn't within an hour's drive from you. The same can't be said for programmers.
djblue2009 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Even though there may be a surplus of lawyers in general out there, that specific lawyer can charge that much because (this sounds obvious) people are willing to pay that much. If he specializes in a certain area with the potential for a big upside for a client - doesn't have to be monetary - think immigration law (however, usually these clients can't necessarily pay that rate), people are willing to pay for peace of mind and hopefully just once for the job done right.
K0t4 13 hours ago 0 replies      
You sure it isnt $700/hr that hes with the client? Not trying to justify it but theres a lot of backend work like research that goes into legal advice and that cost is usually lumped in with the cost of the hour he actually talks to you. Also law school is very expensive and people know that so they can mentally justify paying more. You can make $100/hr programming and have no education. Plus their are tons of programmers who make more than $100/hr
Mankhool 11 hours ago 0 replies      
It is his firm billing him out at $700/hr. He's not putting that full amount into his pocket.
hhuio 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Because software people don't ask for more.

developer auction offers I'm getting is 85k to 130k so far, for someone with close to 10 year experience in the valley! wtf

dahurr 13 hours ago 0 replies      
To add what others have said, lawyers went through more schooling at much expense. $700 is a decent rate for a partner at a top law firm.
alexdmoore 13 hours ago 0 replies      
no, you are taking to the wrong person in the firm. You need the more junior lawyer who can likely do your work too. Major partners are only needed to do huge deals or very complicated legal procedures. Just ask around.
ekm2 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I do not get the logic most of you are running through:Lawyers have had a lot more education AND there are many of them out there,so they get paid more?
azzkicker 13 hours ago 0 replies      
You missed out meeting a lawyer early in your life. You didn't get to see his lifestyle. But I am guessing you did meet a software coder early in life which left a huge impression. That's all. Remember, life isn't fair... you're a digital ditch digger! (DDD)or(3D)or(D3)
Why you shouldn't do what Aaron did
504 points by Pitarou  12 days ago   157 comments top 18
zoba 12 days ago 8 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 12 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 12 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 12 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.

hkmurakami 12 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 12 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... .

Mz 12 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".

orionblastar 12 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 12 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.

rohamg 12 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.
julienmarie 12 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.

mherdeg 12 days ago 1 reply      
Just as a heads-up, his last name is spelled "Swartz".
guylhem 12 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 12 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.
dear 12 days ago 3 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.
buchuki 12 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.

pfortuny 12 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.


amyyyyyyyyyy 12 days ago  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.

Ask HN: Which developer laptop should I buy?
106 points by tapan_pandita  4 days ago   112 comments top 47
kami8845 4 days ago 5 replies      
I picked a new machine for my job a couple of days ago, so this is still fresh on my mind. Keep in mind that this is from the perspective of the UK (US is generally MUCH cheaper, oftentimes machines cost 50% of what they do here).


First, my criteria for the new machine are:

- Portable, screen size between 12" - 14", preferably as thin & light as possible

- SSD (No weird HDD/SDD hybrids)

- Reasonable resolution. 1080p here is overkill, 1366x768 leaves something to be desired

- No graphics card, I don't have a use for it, excess power usage & heat, another part that takes up space, adds weight, can break and needs driver support

- No optical drive (same reasons)

- Battery life 5+ hours

- Reliable brand. Good ones are Apple, ASUS, Samsung, Toshiba, Lenovo. Sony maybe but only with expensive models. Acer & HP are immediately disqualified. I really like Dell for some stuff (monitors, towers) but they seem to have a bad reputation for making reliable laptops.

- Good value for money. I really dislike over-spending even if it's not my own money

- Good Linux support

- Solid build quality

I don't care that much about performance. Sandy/Ivy Bridge is generally fine for me, and for the stuff that I care about (mainly reading/writing text) raw CPU power doesn't matter that much.

This filters things down quite a bit and brings us to the following models:

- Macbook Air 2011 (including this as it's a very similar machine to the 2012 but with apparently better Linux support)

- Macbook Air 2012

- ASUS Zenbook

- ASUS Zenbook Prime

- Lenovo X1 Carbon

- Samsung Series 9 900X3D

- Samsung Series 9 900X3C

- Lenovo X220

- Lenovo X230

Another requirement is dual external monitor support. Doing this on a laptop and under Linux turned out to be quite the tricky problem and the issue that probably consumed most of my time spent. For laptops with only 1 display out, there are 2 ways of working around this:

1. USB to HDMI adapter. Basically an external graphics card. This requires USB 3.0 for bandwidth reasons (USB 2.0 gives 35 MB/s. 1080p @ 32bpp is 8 MB / frame, meaning single-digit FPS rates at most) which disqualifies the MBA 2011 since it only has USB 2.0. Even with USB 3.0 from most of what I could find, these things are not really supported under Linux and probably best to avoid.

2. Matrox DualHead2Go. This is a cool invention that pretends it's a 3840x1080 display to the OS and then splits the signal digitally into 2. Costs about 120 GBP, but with not letting the OS know that it's actually 2 displays, also comes the OS not knowing that it's actually 2 displays: Fullscreen doesn't work properly for a lot of applications. And even though this could be made better through some window manager trickery, that feels like hacks, piled on top of more hacks. I also don't want to carry around this box just to drive 2 external monitors.

So, that means all laptops with only 1 display-out are out! (The X1 Carbon actually has a USB 3.0 Port thing with 2 DVI outputs but it seems to depend heavily on drivers (they only support Windows and are "working on" Mac support) so I've excluded it) Leaving us with:

- ASUS Zenbook

- ASUS Zenbook Prime

- Samsung Series 9 900X3D

- Samsung Series 9 900X3C

- Lenovo X220

- Lenovo X230

I used the Zenbook Prime and Samsung 900X3D in-store and initially liked the Zenbook Prime keyboard more than the Samsung. However more research reveals that ASUS seems to have big quality control issues with these (endless stories about shipping and re-shipping faulty units). This seems to be an especially big problem with the touchpads & SSDs of the original Zenbook. Also in the UK, they only carry one almost maxed-out Zenbook Prime configuration with SSD, which costs about 1500 GBP (linked above). A more sensible (albeit still expensive) configuration is also available, however only from Germany. Going through the order flow, the delivery time from Germany is listed as 3-18 days. Ordering an item like this where lots of people have complained about quality issues from another country seems to be asking for trouble. In addition to that, support under Linux seems to be non-straightforward https://help.ubuntu.com/community/AsusZenbookPrime, and I'm not thrilled about 1080p on a 13" screen.

The Samsung Series 9 looked great from everything I could see. It's super light and yet solid. However since it is so thin the keys lacked notably in pitch. It's uncomfortable to type on (and I went multiple times over multiple days). In comparison I enjoyed typing on the Macbook Air much more even though it's similarly thin. The keyboard seems like an afterthought on the laptop. Since typing is really what I care about the most and I've gone through the pains of having a laptop with a keyboard I don't enjoy typing on with the model I'm currently writing this email on, this also seems like a sub-par choice.

So the Lenovo X220 / X230 is the last laptop standing! There are 2 choices here (or really 4 with the tablet versions), they are all pretty much twice as thick as any other model, though similar in terms of weight (others 1.1-1.5kg, X220 / X230 1.3-1.7kg depending on configuration). I think the X220 is the better choice here even though technically "discontinued". They're both standard voltage CPUs (compared to some of the ULV CPUs on other units) so performance is easily enough for my needs. In addition to that the X220 seems to be the laptop of choice for Ubuntu kernel developers http://www.hnsearch.com/search#request/all&q=x220+uds , while I've read about a lot of people having problems with the X230 and the Linux 3.2 kernel (Ubuntu 12.04 and Debian Wheezy). Also with the X230 they've switched from their traditional ThinkPad keyboard design to a chiclet-style keyboard for reasons that are not ultimately known to me, though probably some combination of standardisation (every other major vendor has been using them for years), cost-reduction, ability to add back-light, size reduction and other factors. In terms of typing experience there isn't a lot of data online, with some people saying it's "good" on both and others decrying the typing experience on the X230. I think the X220 is slightly preferable, especially considering how much cheaper it is now. The standard X220 goes for 600 GBP and 825 GBP for the tablet version while the X230 goes for 1100 GBP and the tablet version for 1700 GBP. All of these with HDD and thus requiring adding about 200 GBP extra for a SSD. So it seems that the X220 wins in almost all regards. The X230 does have slightly less weight (I think about 100-200g), and faster CPU/GPU performance but those factors are negligible to me. I think I like the tablet version on the X220 more as comes with an IPS screen and I can see myself use the laptop in "tablet mode" a lot.


In the end I picked the X220 and ordered it off ebay (new). The gist seems to be that unless you want to run a bleeding-edge Linux kernel I would recommend staying away from new (3rd gen Ivy Bridge e.g. i5-3xxx) laptops such as the ASUS Zenbook Prime / Lenovo X230 / Macbook Air 2012 as there's frequently issues w/ them.

enduser 4 days ago 7 replies      
ThinkPad T530 or W530 with the 1920x1080 screen upgrade. The W530 is marginally heavier but cheaper in some configurations and takes 32GB instead vs the T's 16GB. Install an aftermarket Samsung 830 (not 840) SSD if you have the money. The 840 uses cheaper flash chips than the 830, which is a top quality SSD.

ThinkPad build quality is unrivaled. The keyboard is almost as nice as my HHKB. The hinges are rock solid. The keyboard has drainage ducts. Everything is designed to be serviced.

shrughes 4 days ago 0 replies      
Good powerful and light developer laptops include:

The Lenovo X230. Downside: Only a 1366x768 screen.

The 13" Vaio S. Upside: Pretty much the lightest full-power 13.3" laptop, 1600x900 screen, a comfortable keyboard, $880. Downside: None? The screen is only pretty good, instead of being a high end, high color gamut screen? It lacks a Thinkpad keyboard. It has HDMI instead of DisplayPort. This is a good general purpose laptop.

The Lenovo T430s: The downsides relative to the 13" Vaio S is that it has a worse quality screen, it's slightly bigger at the same resolution, and has worse GPU, as if that even works on Ubuntu. The upside is that it has a Thinkpad keyboard and the DVD player can be replaced with a hard drive bay or battery, and it has a mini-DisplayPort port.

The 15" Vaio S: The lightest 15" laptop option in your price range, at 4.45 lbs. You can get a quad core processor (without VT-d support, though, and I'm not sure about staying under $1000), and it has a 1920x1080 IPS screen (with orange tint problems).

I'm told the Vaio S's work fine with Ubuntu. However, you should carefully check forums online to make sure of their hardware support.

If you want to consider ultrabooks, the X1 Carbon is worth checking out, but a version with 8 GB of RAM is expensive with marginal benefit compared to, say, the 13" Vaio S, or the ASUS UX31A for that matter.

I'm a fan of Thinkpad keyboards but if I had to own only one computer, it would be the 13" Vaio S, because of the GPU and better screen, and (to my subjective opinion) better size. If you don't care about GPU at all, and if you don't care about screen color or viewing angles that much, a T430s is a good bet. Both are below the threshold for me where descreasing the weight further doesn't matter.

harel 4 days ago 0 replies      
I just got a Thinkpad T530 though without the full HD display. It goes to 1600x900 which is the minimum acceptable resolution in my opinion and on the 15" screen that gives you quite a bit of real estate. I've been a Thinkpad user for many years now and they never fail (almost, the T61p had a limited life span due to a faulty Nvidia chip but that problem wasn't limited to Thinkpads).

My criteria when I buy a laptop is (in that order):
1. Does it reach the min acceptable resolution of 1600x900?
2. Does it have a Matte screen (non reflective)?
3. Will it run my editor, a web server, two databases, a few other server apps and daemons and Chrome with many tabs open including some heavy Javascript apps.

I've had the T530 for over a week now, and it doesn't disappoint. My only complaint at the moment is that the power supply is a 135W one and its very big. I'm looking into using my T61p power supply which is 90W (but same voltage), so that might solve it.

Having said all that, I was very much tempted by the new Ultrabooks, in particular the X1 Carbon and the Asus Zenbook but in the end resolution, matte and screen size won.

tehwalrus 4 days ago 1 reply      
I would suggest the new Retina MBPs, but apparently it is ["a sod to get working"](http://www.hackermusings.com/2012/08/booting-linux-on-a-reti...)

When I ran ubuntu on my (relatively old, 2009) MBP earlier this (edit: last) year it was an OK experience, but the multitouch gestures weren't on a par with OS X. Battery life was fine, hardware support other than multitouch was also fine, sleep on lid close was great, etc. no problems.

I'd recommend an Air from your description, nice and light, and Apple make the best hardware by far, especially if you do have the $1000 it costs.

AngryParsley 4 days ago 3 replies      
Why limit yourself to a $1,000 budget? If you're writing code, that's a small percentage of your yearly income. If a more expensive laptop makes you 5% more productive, it's worth buying purely for economic reasons.
w1ntermute 4 days ago 1 reply      
I would highly recommend the ThinkPad X1 Carbon. I'm typing on it right now and the keyboard is a joy. See my first impressions of it here: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4848375
rlpb 4 days ago 0 replies      
Remember to check http://www.ubuntu.com/certification/desktop/ for laptops certified to work with Ubuntu. This is an easy way to ensure compatibility.
fencepost 4 days ago 0 replies      
I know that some of the Mac crowd love the small-screen options and my previous laptop was a 12" 1280x800, but I can't imagine working routinely on a screen that small in either inches or resolution these days.

The biggest question is how are you going to be using it? Mostly at a desk with an external monitor as well? On airplanes in coach? Any client presentations?

What I ordered earlier this year is a Lenovo T430 with the resolution bumped to 1600x900 ($+50) on a 14" screen; they now also have the T430s (slim) and T430u (ultrabook) which are both thinner and lighter. If you want larger, the T530 lets you go up to FHD (1920x1080) but at a significantly higher cost.

Looking briefly now, the T430u drawbacks include a limit of 8GB (probably a single slot), no mSATA or WWAN slot, and a display of 1366x768 with no choices. That last would've disqualified it for me immediately.

The T430s weighs a bit more and has more options, but also starts around $950 and that extra money really only buys you about 12 ounces less weight. I was looking hard at budget, so it also wasn't an option.

I'd recommend the T430 with a third-generation processor (specifically for HD4000 graphics). There's a nvidia option using Optimus, but I'm not sure how good it is under Linux (or whether it really buys you much performance). Bump the screen to 1600x900, bump the Wifi up to the 3x3 option (both things you can't really add later and which don't add that much to the cost). DO Add the fingerprint reader; smart cards and color sensors only if they fit your needs. Also add the backlit keyboard - you can't get it later, and when you need it it's really kind of nice to have. Also add Bluetooth up front. If you're ordering one, start with the lower model (not the "with Faster Processing" one), you can upgrade the CPU during the selection process but not downgrade it from the more expensive starting point. Starting from the lower model also lets you get Windows 7 (Home or Pro) instead of Windows 8 if you're going to keep Windows at all and don't like the Metro UI.

I stuck with the smallest HD and stock 4GB, adding another SODIMM to go to 12GB was dirt cheap, and I'm easily able to run KUbuntu in VMWare Player under Windows 7 Pro. You can replace the optical drive with a HD caddy for under $20 and have a second SATA III drive; you can add either WWAN -or- a mSATA drive (SATA II), there's some form of caching that can be set up with mSATA but I didn't bother. If you're going the full disconnected user route, you can add assorted battery options to get you up to (theoretically) 30 hours, 6-8 is easily feasible by just upgrading the stock battery - I haven't seen the "up to 9.7" with the 6-cell battery but I suspect that going to a SSD would be a big part of that.

After you get it, set up a power-on and hard drive password in the BIOS and configure the fingerprint reader under Windows to let you bypass those with a swipe. Throw on TrueCrypt and encrypt the entire drive as well.

One caveat with the newer ThinkPads, they did fiddle with the keyboard but it's still great. The big key I miss is the Menu key (right-click equivalent), but you can emulate it with Shift-F10 on Windows.

Physical keys that aren't present and workarounds:
Context Menu/right-click = Shift-F10
Break = Fn-B
SysRq = Fn-S
ScrLk = Fn-C
Pause = Fn-P

And finally the page/screen forward and back buttons were replaced and the pageup/pagedown buttons moved to be with the cursor keys.

Deejahll 4 days ago 2 replies      
After a lot of deliberation, I just picked up a Lenovo x230 for about $950 pre-tax. Running Linux flawlessly was one of my primary criteria for purchase. It arrives tomorrow so I'll comment then when I know whether or not I've made a terrible mistake.

I think the touchscreens are just gimmicky toys. Useless to me. But since Intel soon won't let you call your thin laptop an "Ultrabook" unless you include one (and Windows 8), and non-developer consumers are obsessed with tablets and consuming Internet with their fingers, it's getting difficult to find new hardware without one.

I wrote about how I arrived at my choice, among others including the $1500 Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition (Includes Ubuntu), the $350 Asus Q201e (Includes Ubunutu), the $500 Asus Q200, the Samsung Chromebooks ($250/$550), and a $150 used Asus 1015PX Netbook: https://plus.google.com/106336989542410513415/posts/avV5eL1P...

I also considered momentarily the $900 ZaReason Ultralap 430 and the $670 System76 Lemur Ultra. I would have liked to support Linux-only vendors, but both at 14" were too big for my preferences. I tried an Asus 1025CE but the recent Atom CPUs require crappy proprietary video drivers from a Linux-unfriendly vendor, it was a mountain of pain to try to make it work.

One comment: If you buy a custom machine from Lenovo.com, ignore the lies they tell you about shipping dates and just assume it will take 30-45 days at least.

d0m 4 days ago 0 replies      
Just wanted to point out that I had a macbook for a couple years on Linux. When it died, I decided to try other ones. I was very disappointed for lots of different small reasons - but can be summarized as "it felt cheap". Cheap trackpad, not great touch on keyboard, no backlight on keys. Anyhow, 3 weeks ago I bought an air.. formatted everything and put back Arch on it and loving it. It's a few hundred bucks more than your 1000$ but I think it's worth every penny. Some like to say (and I believed them) that you can have something as great for half the price.. but that's just not true. It may be cheaper, but they've screwed on parts that are not necessarily obvious.
klapinat0r 4 days ago 1 reply      
> Has anyone tried running Ubuntu (dual boot or otherwise) on a Macbook Air

There's a very good resource here: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/MacBook

I've recently installed freebsd (as the only OS, no dual boot) without any hickups what so ever. Full disclosure: It was an older macbook, about 4-5 years old, and I can't tell if it works for or against its chances of running Ubuntu.

I was surprised that it went about so easily, I must admit.

If wanted, I could write a blog post on my exact instructions, but all in all, you may need a tiny bit of OSX at hand to get the install going (seeing as a MacBook Air does not have a bootable device, such as a CD/DVD drive).

So in conclusion, Ubuntu on a MacBook Air should be very possible: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/MacBookAir4-2 with the only exception of Thunderbolt

imperialWicket 4 days ago 0 replies      
If you're going to run ubuntu as a primary OS, the Bonobo Extreme is worth investigating from system76.

I have a high-end Latitude E65* without any issues, and a Thinkpad W530 that is also working well - both are running CrunchBang. I didn't encounter any software/Linux-specific issues on the Dell that weren't on the Thinkpad. The Thinkpad feels nicer, but it cost a lot more.

The system76 machine costs less than both (spec for spec), but I haven't used one. That said, they only build ubuntu machines - which might be right up your alley. If you want to save a little money, they have cheaper models in the 15.6" size too.

minimax 4 days ago 4 replies      
Several people commenting here have X220s. Anyone have one with the IPS panel? Is it worth it? I hate how the colors on my laptop shift as my viewing angle changes.
wheaties 4 days ago 3 replies      
Whatever you do, do NOT get anything with Windows 8 on it. I got a beautiful Acer Aspire M which has a great screen, backlit keys, decent CPU, less than 5 pounds, 15" screen, ultra-thin, you name it. The pain of getting Linux to run on it, I can't even begin to tell you.

Worst part is, I like it so much that I would buy one again (if I could get Windows 7) without hesitation.

Adaptive 4 days ago 0 replies      
I have an x220 with both touchscreen and pen running Arch/xmonad. I almost never use the touch capabilities, though I use the pen a fair amount for screen annotation and photoshop. I like pens but if you are a serious developer on a laptop you are in text/keyboard mode most of the time and just don't need a touch screen, imo.

Also, love the keyboard. I use the extra slice battery for it and get about 10-11 hours per charge on that slice plus the standard battery (real world, though I think they make a claim for more).

I have a great lenovo charger that includes usb ports, but sadly I think they discontinued it. I use it constantly for charging my mobile devices even when not charging the laptop.

clebio 4 days ago 0 replies      
I have been running Precise Pangolin on a Samsung series 9 15" (NP900X4C) for a while now (with Xmonad, too). It works wonderfully and all the external hardware I've tested (Logitech HD webcam, USB headphones, ...) have worked fine. Only recently, I've been hitting a hard wall trying to use WebGL (for Acko.net's MathBox, specifically). Despite trying for the past two weeks, I could not get this to work and have resorted to dual-booting to Windows 7 (where WebGL does ... just work). This seems to be an issue with Intel HD 4000 graphics under linux (which System 76 laptops and the Lenovo X1 Carbon have in common). It was not obvious from the RedHat website whether RHEL suffers this, so I've sent them an email (but no reply yet).

If anyone knows an actual fix (i.e. not just the various things suggested in obvious search results), I would buy you a beer. But, yeah, replacing this machine with a System 76, or re-partitioning and dual-booting, or buying RedHat are all options I'm willing to consider, so there's that. Other than WebGL, I heartily recommend the Series 9 laptops (I had a 13" series 9 previously, as well).

andrewcooke 4 days ago 1 reply      
x220 (8gb with samsung ssd, ips) running ubuntu. works fine, but i'm thinking it's way over your budget. x220 has been around long enough that refurb or second hand is probably a good deal...

[edit: huh, look it's now x230...]

RobGR 2 days ago 0 replies      
I purchased a Dell XPS-13 through the Sputnik program ( http://dell.com/sputnik ) and Ubuntu was pre-loaded, it worked fine. I did not like the mouse much, but I don't like any of the touchpads - I bought it specifically for the Sputnik program, not the hardware - but I found it overall to be very nice and useable. I am generally a ThinkPad fan.

It was fast, could run development environments in VirtualBox well, had a long battery life, etc. Even the speakers and microphone where better than I was used to for Skype and etc.

Unfortunately it was stolen before I ever had the chance to get involved the Sputnik stuff. It was kind of expensive as laptops of that size go, and I have to decide if I should get another one or not.

azarias 4 days ago 1 reply      
The Asus Zenbook is great, and fits within your budget (a number of options starting from $700-$1200). One of the first ultrabooks to support Ubuntu well. We use these at work.
pilsetnieks 4 days ago 0 replies      
Since you're planning to run Ubuntu and for $1000 the only thing you can get from Apple is the low-end 11-inch Macbook Air (64 GB HDD), I'd suggest to go for a Thinkpad. I've had nothing but great experiences with Thinkpads in my company, even the low-end ones.

Then again, maybe it's worth to give OS X a try - you can run the same software as you can on Linux but you can also run all the Mac software which is just so much better than anything else out there with a GUI.

napolux 4 days ago 0 replies      
I will go for a good linux-supported ultrabook with a lot of RAM and a decent SSD. Look at the ASUS ones.

Look here, BTW http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3719720

voltagex_ 4 days ago 0 replies      
I am currently looking for an ultrabook but for the last couple of years I have used the following setup:

* (Acer) eMachines E732Z bought on clearance for $400

* Drive bay adapter + SSD to replace the DVD drive

* Upgraded to 8GB/RAM

Total is <$800AUD (even less because the SSD was a spare)

merinid 2 days ago 0 replies      
Any machine can be made adequate for programming. Hack at it. So the only concerns I have left are: design, portability, durability. This thing is moving bits from space to space! It goes on subway adventures and inter continental. Macbook Air with Fedora Linux.
EyeballKid 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm running Ubuntu on a Thinkpad X230 (with the IPS screen), and loving it.
The windows 7 install it came with was the usual crapware trainwreck, but not really my problem - the Ubuntu install was quick, smooth and trivial.

It's a lot zippier than I was expecting, and even the intel 3D was surprisingly quick.

My only real niggle is the trackpad - it seems to jump multiple pixels at a time under ubuntu, and feels very rough. I suspect pointer acceleration is being applied more than once, although I never use the trackpad so I've not investigated in any depth.

eccp 4 days ago 0 replies      
There's a database of desktops and laptops compatibility on https://friendly.ubuntu.com/ which helped me to decide which laptop to buy a while ago. I ended up buying a Dell Inspiron N4050 at that time, zero regrets.
Benferhat 4 days ago 0 replies      
Wait for the upcoming WQHD Samsung Series 9. [0]

[0] http://www.engadget.com/2012/08/31/samsung-series%209-wqhd-u...

DanBlake 4 days ago 0 replies      
Get last years Vaio Z. It trumps everything in this thread and can be had for about 1k if you scrounge eBay. It has every single thing you want and beyond.
gazd 4 days ago 0 replies      
I've been using the Dell XPX 13 with Sputnik. Got the laptop off Ebay with 256gb SSD for about $800. Been pretty happy with it.
miga 4 days ago 0 replies      
As a user of X31, X41, X301, I expect that X220 or X1 will give you resistance to direct spills on the keyboard, and accidental dropping to the floor and convenient experience. But wouldn't try any GPU development there.
If you want fast compile times you may also want to move something with faster CPU - X series always had slower ULV.
singingfish 4 days ago 0 replies      
I just got a macbook air (13" 8GB). It's very nice and fast and well designed. I probably won't run Linux on it, but if I do I'd just do it in VirtualBox.
pessimizer 4 days ago 0 replies      
I've been loving my Zareason Ultralap. Ships with your choice of linux distro, and is thin enough to impress the Macbook kids..
mstefff 4 days ago 0 replies      
I just got the System 76 Lemur Ultra a few weeks ago. Intel i5, 128GB SSD, 8GB RAM. It's amazing. Ubuntu works perfectly. All hardware works perfectly. Their support is top-notch and almost instant. With shipping, total was like $860.

Peace of mind going forward with new Ubuntu releases is priceless.

lampe 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'am on a Asus Zenbook Prime ux31a with ElementaryOS Luna(Cool Ubuntu Distro).
It's a 13,3 Ultrabook with a 1920x1200 Resolution.
I'am a webdeveloper and always on the go.
Somepeople say it is a Macbook Air Clone but it is not ;)

i payed about 1050 euro for my version

cpbotha 4 days ago 1 reply      
They are over your budget, but I would still consider the Asus UX31A (the A is important) or the Asus UX32VD, both the models with full HD 1920x1080 IPS displays. The UX31A comes with SSD, but the spindle HDD in the UX32VD (it also has a small SSD soldered in) can be easily upgraded to SSD. Also, the UX32VD has an NVIDIA GPU.

When you're programming, you don't want to be held back by a bad and low resolution (anything below full HD) screen. Also, there are a number of positive reports of getting Linux going on both these models.

nordsieck 4 days ago 0 replies      
IMHO, for non-compute bound developers the single most important thing on a development machine is high resolution.

Both the Dell Latitude e6500 and the Lenovo Thinkpad T500/W500 are 15", high-end Core 2 Duo machines with WUXGA (1920x1200) screens. You can probably snag one on Ebay for $300-$400. Add in an SSD and max out the ram for another couple hundred dollars would be my suggestion.

That's the best developer machine short of a Retina MBP.

edit: updated Thinkpad models, added header.

rushone2009 4 days ago 0 replies      
System 76. Just Google it. They bare built specifically for Ubuntu and are within your price range. Their laptops are actually Clevo/Sager remade to work perfectly with Ubuntu.
drfritznunkie 4 days ago 0 replies      
I just went through this a couple of weeks ago, looking for a personal laptop to do some independent work on. I'm a huge Thinkpad fan, and both of my desktop keyboards are Thinkpad USB trackpoint-only keyboards, so that should tell you something about my biases...

Anyhow, I wasn't looking for something particularly portable, my work laptop is an X200 (pre-trackpad) which is the perfect travel companion. Unfortunately as others have noted the X-series is plagued by minimal resolution, so I wanted something with a much larger screen. We issue X230's and T430's at work, so I am very familiar with them. I'm not a huge fan of the 430s, it's size I want, but they don't offer it with a FHD IPS screen.

So I ended up buying a T61P with the 1920x1200 screen off ebay for $230, and put 8G RAM in it (unofficially supported by the 965 chipset, check thinkwiki.org for more information). It's in near perfect shape except for loose hinges! Installed Xubuntu 12 on it and everything works wonderfully. All the secondary channels are lousy with T6x's, spare parts are plentiful and Thinkpads have the BEST factory repair manuals bar none.

So pretty damn happy for <$400 invested.

If you wanted to run dual/triple monitors, take a look at the Advanced Dock, you can install a PCI-e? card in it. Right now my ghetto "triple" head setup is my x200, t61p, and t60 ($50 with the 1400x1050 IPS!) all running synergy, so I can at least have multiple reference sources open on the x200/t60 while working on the t61p and copy/paste between them.

If you do get a Thinkpad, seriously consider looking at the used market, they're usually crazy cheap used.

kennywinker 4 days ago 0 replies      
Linuxshopper.com is a pretty cool site for browsing compatible machines.
kxxoling 4 days ago 0 replies      
No Lenovo, it just sucks. Some friend of mine and I have Lenovo devices, most of them got problems in short. Maybe it just happens in China, but all I want to say is "lenovo sucks"!
Seems ASUS Ubuntu Netbook fits you most, but I prefer Macbook Air+Mint Cinnomon.
grimborg 4 days ago 0 replies      
X220 here (with SSD), happy with it.
monksy 4 days ago 0 replies      
I really like my Sager laptop with a OWC Mercury Pro SSD in it. I've had really good Linux support with it. [Baring NVidia Optima].
gregors 4 days ago 0 replies      
Asus N56VJ-DH71 15.6-Inch - not an ultralight but not a monster either. Personally I want the fastest cpu I can get even at the expense of battery time. Less than a $1000 with a proper cpu. Just swap in an ssd and go.
bbissoon 2 days ago 0 replies      
Lenovo Thinkpad - accept no exceptions.
mguijarr 4 days ago 1 reply      

I recently bought a Toshiba Portege Z930, running
Linux Mint 13. I just had to upgrade kernel to
have it working without any problem (before I experienced
some random freezes). I am very happy with it.


wazdee 4 days ago 1 reply      
very happy with x1 carbon
MTWomg 2 days ago 0 replies      
15" Retina MacBook Pro.
Proposition HN: I Will Validate Your Startup Idea With 100 Real Customers
11 points by Felix21  2 days ago   14 comments top 6
orangethirty 2 days ago 1 reply      
The title is misleading. You offer 100 real customers, but then go and say that you will help acquire 100 beta testers (potential customers, as you say). Plus your profile is empty, and there is no sign of your work anywhere.

People, beware. This might be a scam. There are many "internet marketers" who do this. They get you wound up and charge you a couple hundred bucks and then run away.

I'm not accusing the OP of being a scammer, but he needs to provide some background.

Founders Beware.

hmexx 1 day ago 1 reply      
The format of this proposition looks oddly familiar
1337biz 2 days ago 1 reply      
Interesting idea
- what's in it for you?
- who are you?
slyv 2 days ago 1 reply      
I do have a startup idea and I am very interested in this proposition. But, the idea is still fully in development and no actual "beta" is available, as I am still developing the product. Is this proposition still open for just an "idea" test?
em00guy 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is great proposition. I've been running into something I might call Premise 4: Not knowing precisely who makes a meaningful beta customer.
taigeair 2 days ago 1 reply      
what field are you in?
Ask HN: I want to do exceptional work, but I'm in a rut
9 points by scottrb  3 days ago   10 comments top 8
robflynn 2 days ago 0 replies      
I know the feeling well. I was jobless for a while simply due to being in a rut. When my at-the-time job dissolved, I began applying for places and interviewing. I found one company that I really wanted to work for and interviewed there. Their business was based on open source software that I had a pretty big part in creating. I understood how both their front end and backend systems worked. It would be fun!

My phone interview went exceptionally well. I was sick before the in person interview and then flew out for the meeting. I had a terrible flight and didn't sleep well the night before (3 hour time zone difference.)

I showed up for the interview and did pretty well until it came time for some whiteboard coding. I knocked out the first problem pretty easily. The second one wasn't too bad. I completely choked on the third one. It was something that I had done at various other interviews -- I should know this! Unfortunately, I began panicing about the fact that it was taking me too long to get my brain moving and I did not even begin to complete the problem.

A week or so later I got the call that I didn't get the gig. A gig that was perfect for me -- I already knew a chunk of the code base! My self esteem bottomed out and I pretty much lost my sense of self worth. I don't know why I let it hit me as badly as I did.

After that, I spent two years not really looking for a job. I just floated around -- kind of depressed and in a fog. I did a few small consulting gigs when I could. I mostly just... existed.

At some point, I realized that I wasn't going to get anywhere if I just let my life go like that. Something finally shifted and I got my motivation back.

I picked up my consulting work to get myself to a sustainable point and then hopped from there to a pretty nice gig doing something that I feel is beneficial to society (developing software to bringe accessible educational materials to blind, deaf, hard of hearing, and visually impaired individuals.)

That's done a lot for my sense of self. I still wonder where I would be had I not let that failed interview get to me the way it did. I can't even explain why it hit me like that.

Now I'm mostly hopeful and wondering what path my life will take next. There's still that little nagging voice in the back of my head that tells me that I really screwed myself for those two years, but, that's pretty easy to drown out.

Now if I can just get the ADD under control.

I realize that I kind of got off topic. As I began responding to you I started to realize that this was feeling rather cathartic, so I decided to ramble on a bit.

As for my advice -- These ruts and fogs are natural and happen from time to time. What's your passion? What would make you feel good about yourself if you were able to do it as a job? It's okay if you don't know right now. In the meantime, think of some problem areas that you would like solved. Use some free time to solve those. The 'creative juices' will begin to flow again.

One more addition - I typically do web apps or various internal tools for companies. For a change of pace, I started working on a game in my spare time. I find that it causes me to think in different ways and has awoken my rabid desire for more knowledge.

dfc 3 days ago 0 replies      
From a Lincoln biography:

"Speed (Lincoln's friend) recorded the dramatic exchange that began when he came to Lincoln and told him he would die unless he rallied. Lincoln replied that he could kill himself, that he was not afraid to die. Yet, he said, he had an 'irrepressible desire' to accomplish something while he lived. He wanted to connect his name with the great events of his generation, and 'so impress himself upon them as to link his name with something that would redound to the interest of his fellow man.'This was no mere wish, Lincoln said, but what he 'desired to live for.'”

orangethirty 3 days ago 0 replies      
Sometimes we just need to power through our struggles. Its OK to feel like you do. And you shouldnt feel bad about it.
Maybe try something new? Or even try something old? I get my coding going by reading the code Ive written in the past and fixing it. Or visit github and read code and make annotations.

You are right that going from intermediate to advanced is a much longer journey. Its a tough ride if you are not in it for the long haul. Maybe you are judging yourself too hard?
Realize that anything worth doing takes time.

rjbond3rd 3 days ago 0 replies      
Don't overthink it. Scratch your own itch and create something. Since you have some perl background, create a useful utility and get it up on github. Do it again tomorrow, and keep going.

No utility is too small. You want to get into the ecosystem of reusable code and just getting out there. At some point (soon), your learning will go exponential.

shail 2 days ago 0 replies      
I would highly advise you to take a really long break (if its financially viable). Just decide that you will not do something until you really really can't help not doing it.

I think this whole process goes very similar to something else :).

dragonbonheur 3 days ago 0 replies      
Learn another language and program for another platform. Why not order a Raspberry Pi or a similar device and get GAMBAS running on it? You could be developing cool Linux software in no time.


MaysonL 3 days ago 1 reply      
fprotthetarball 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm in a similar rut; I just don't feel like doing anything most of the time. When I do...it seems like there are so many barriers. Upon reflection, I know these setbacks are day-to-day things that everyone deals with, but they seem much more substantial to me at the time.

What seems to be working for me: Ramit Sethi's material. He always seemed scammy to me in the past, but when patio11 started mentioning him I had to take a look. He's quite motivational -- I haven't really made a lot of progress out of "meh" and into the zone yet, but I at least feel like I can.

(unaffiliated; throwaway account so people don't know about the rut :))

Is there a K&R for SQL?
8 points by nonamegiven  4 days ago   7 comments top 3
jonsen 4 days ago 0 replies      
Database: A Primer by C. J. Date, if you can find it


svennek 4 days ago 1 reply      
(disclamer: I have more than a decade experiences in doing SQL)

I would say Mr. Joe Celko's "SQL for smarties" (and basically anything he has written (look him up for references)....

I have had the opportunity to talk to mr. Celko, and he added (as I asked him what he thought was the best database-book) the "Manga Guide to Databases" (seriously!), I am reading it now (but I am only in the second chapter), and it seems very good...

If you need a good database which honors the standard behaviour closely and has super documentation (and very clean codebase), take a look at Postgresql. The fact that is is free and open source (bsd licensened) does not hurt at all :)

unwiredben 4 days ago 0 replies      
I found the book "The Definitive Guide to SQLite" to also be an excellent primer on SQL, especially for small application developers. It doesn't cover the variants used in big databases, but handles the basics quite well, along with giving lots of insight into SQLite's specific implementation.
AaronSW may have left everything to Givewell, an efficient meta-charity
89 points by Eliezer  12 days ago   11 comments top 5
sethish 12 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.
bmm6o 12 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.

Grognor 12 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 12 days ago 3 replies      
I am quite sad today - I really am. :-(
ASupporter 11 days ago 0 replies      
So sad for friends of AS
I have 2 heavy, unused HP Pavilion dv6500 laptops. What should I do with them?
3 points by bencooling  3 days ago   5 comments top 5
gatsby 2 days ago 0 replies      
Email Brad Feld (brad at feld dot com) if you're looking to donate them - he's seeking laptop donations for the students at Monarch HS.

Source: http://www.feld.com/wp/archives/2013/01/request-for-laptops-...

david927 3 days ago 0 replies      
Sell them. (How much?)
JoachimSchipper 2 days ago 0 replies      
Drop them off at a local school/library/hackerspace/cool thingy?
shail 2 days ago 0 replies      
keep them for another half a century. then sell them as antiques.
zack12 3 days ago 0 replies      
send it to me i have ages old computer( running ubuntu) with CRT monitor.
Ask HN: What is the best way to market an Android app for kids
11 points by Banzai10  8 days ago   5 comments top 3
speeder 7 days ago 1 reply      
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 8 days ago 0 replies      
I'm also interested in this question. Any tips about marketing apps for kids?
orangethirty 8 days ago 1 reply      
What type of app is it?
Can We Get Congress to Investigate Aaron Swartz's Prosecution?
19 points by pemulis  11 days ago   2 comments top
suraj_sindhia 11 days ago 1 reply      
Please do. I may try.
Ask HN: Best language for finance?
2 points by hwallace  3 days ago   4 comments top 3
metajack 3 days ago 1 reply      
I can't speak for best, but:

Ocaml is used and praised by Jane Street [1]

Python has a nice suite of financial tools available [2]

It may be that the best tool for analysis and for trading are different. For the former you want visualization tools and interactive exploration, but for the latter, you may need raw speed or relative safety of the code.

[1] https://ocaml.janestreet.com/?q=node/61
[2] http://wiki.quantsoftware.org/index.php?title=QuantSoftware_...

andyjdavis 3 days ago 0 replies      
I don't have any personal experience but perhaps you could trawl through some job boards or wherever the kind of job you would like is advertised. Look for what languages they mention.
infinii 3 days ago 0 replies      
Excel/VBA and C++
Ask HN: are there any more Aaron Swartzs in trouble because of such things?
12 points by shail  10 days ago   2 comments top 2
1337biz 10 days ago 0 replies      
How about Auernheimer/weev who is going to end up in jail very soon for similarly ridiculous charges?
DrWhax 10 days ago 0 replies      
I guess we should demand the DoJ stops prosecuting people who are fighting for civil rights and not corporations.


Ask HN : companies using Gamification
5 points by shankar1221989  6 days ago   7 comments top 7
gyardley 6 days ago 0 replies      
There's tons, like you say. It's more interesting when it's used outside the corporate world - for example, by the Israeli Defense Forces:


gatsby 6 days ago 0 replies      
Lots of non-tech companies utilize some form of gamification:

-Airlines: frequent flyer miles

-Hotels: reward/loyalty points

-Food/Beverage industry: punch cards, LevelUp, GoPago, McDonald's Monopoly games, Coca Cola's QR codes and cap rewards, etc.

taigeair 6 days ago 0 replies      
Hey guys I'm actually writing a piece on this! Why do you ask? I'll have my first post on it next week. Add me on twitter to be notified: @taigeair

There are so many companies using gamification. Some big ones: SAP, Oracle, EMC, Samsung, NBC, Deloitte, Rogers Communications, Bell Media, CA Technologies and eBay.

Check out:

There are startups like Box, 4sq, and Codecademy using it too.

Here are some studies:

Take a look at customers of Bunchball and Badgeville.

brudgers 6 days ago 0 replies      
Microsoft uses gamification for training - e.g. Visual Studio Achievements and Ribbon Hero.
ekryski 6 days ago 0 replies      
Agreed lots of companies are. In fact, almost all successful companies are in some fashion. It might just not be what you would expect. Fred Wilson touches on it a bit in this video http://www.avc.com/a_vc/2012/12/video-of-the-week-the-golden...
zumbojo 6 days ago 0 replies      
Stack Exchange (including Stack Overflow, etc.): http://stackexchange.com/

One of Jeff Atwood's blog posts on the topic: http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2011/10/the-gamification.ht...

27182818284 6 days ago 0 replies      
Google entered it in a big way with Ingress and the http://www.nianticproject.com/
Ask HN: I just sold the company… now what?
9 points by nivals  9 days ago   discuss
shanelja 9 days 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 9 days ago 1 reply      
Why not look at the numbers and come up with a specific "Offer HN?"
orangethirty 9 days ago 1 reply      
May you provide an email address?
Ask HN: Any interest in a free course on patents and IP for startups?
11 points by scromar  10 days ago   discuss
pbhjpbhj 10 days ago 1 reply      
You should cover, or at least note, jurisdictional differences and interactions, promotion of patents to national/regional/international phases and such. For example "How will having a US patent help me against a European developer?", "Someone has copied my whole site and is serving it from Papua New Guinea, can I sue them in the US?"

As an aside could I make a request that those posting on legal matters or on subjects that are highly regionally variant note which region they're posting from.

co_pl_te 10 days ago 1 reply      
I'd also be very interested in such a course. Law in general is way down there on the list of things that interest me, but I'd rather be readily equipped with such knowledge than blissfully ignorant.

Although not specifically related to patent law, I'd really like to know more about choosing the right lawyer/firm for one's startup.

There's so little I know that I feel I should know. I think you'll find a lot of HNers that would be interested in such a course.

zeynalov 10 days ago 0 replies      
I'm also interested. Do we speak about online courses? You can add my email to your newsletter list, to say when it'll be ready.
Justen 10 days ago 0 replies      
I know very little about patents so I can't offer another topic, but I'd be very interested in everything you listed.
kevinrpope 9 days ago 0 replies      
This would be great - where do we sign up?
sidrt 10 days ago 0 replies      
+1. I'd very much appreciate this course
midibite 7 days ago 0 replies      
I'm interested.
forcer 10 days ago 0 replies      
Ask HN: What are some ways to raise money for a startup?
6 points by imwhimsical  8 days ago   discuss
drelihan 7 days 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 7 days 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.
scottbartell 2 days ago 0 replies      
Look into crowdfunding. You don't have to give away any equity and a successfully funded campaign basically validates your MVP.
imwhimsical 7 days ago 1 reply      
I find none of the answers here will work for me. I'm looking to make a small product, which I believe is a great idea. I need to hire designers and developers every now and then.

Borrowing money from people is not an option, and neither is will banks help me in any way " I'm a student,and 17 years old.

I have little or no savings. So yea...

bobbaddeley 7 days 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.

jamesjguthrie 8 days 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.

whichdan 7 days ago 1 reply      
Have you looked into angel.co?
Ask HN: best music background to work?
12 points by creonik  11 days ago   discuss
anons2011 43 minutes ago 0 replies      
soma.fm - Mission Control, Space station or Drone Zone

di.fm - Chillout, Minimal or Ambient

bassdrive.com (liquid dnb)

kroger 11 days ago 1 reply      
Like many people, if I'm thinking and designing I prefer to have no music. If I'm doing these things in a noisy environment I may listen to some rain recordings such as [1].

When I'm coding I mainly listen to classical music. The problem is that I need to listen to things I know very well or I'll get distracted, so I end up listening to the same compositions over and over again, to the annoyment of my wife ;-)

These days the compositions I list the most while coding are:

- Beethoven String Quartets, for instance [2] (I really like the fugato at 5:00 ;-)

- Mahler Symphonies, for example [3]

- Ravel music

- Some Monteverdi madrigals [4]

I like to use headphones, either a Sennheiser PX 200 [5] or a Sennheiser HD-280 PRO [6].

[1] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WvRv-243Cmk

[2] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55PIXCQgEfE

[3] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HkoeH5BtLyQ

[4] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UkDyNzPUQbo

[5] http://www.amazon.com/Sennheiser-PX-200-II-Headphones/dp/B00...

[6] http://www.amazon.com/Sennheiser-HD-280-Pro-Headphones/dp/B0...

hboon 11 days ago 0 replies      
I've tried white noise, Naturespace, Kap Slap mixes, Pop mixes, Gregorian, etc.

I've found that I am pretty productive in a cafe these days, so I started listening to tracks of cafe background noise when I work from home recently, such as "People Talking in Coffee Shop" by Finnolia Productions [1].

Might write more about this if it works well enough.

[1] iTunes affiliate link: http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=dE0y3GuqVK4&...

radq 11 days ago 1 reply      
I usually listen to one of the Music for Programming[1] mixes, and when I'm in the mood for more ambient music I listen to Brian Eno.

[1] http://musicforprogramming.net/

jlengrand 11 days ago 0 replies      
Best site I could find was created by a fellow HN follower :)


I listen to it everyday and never get bored :)

whichdan 11 days ago 0 replies      
There are a couple threads on this already.

turntable.fm's "Ambient Chillout & Trip Hop" room is usually quite good.

deathwithme 11 days ago 1 reply      
Depends on your work. For instance, if you have a good software design a web application, you can code it with heavy metal music because listing metal music with programming is improving the velocity of coding.
rex64 11 days ago 0 replies      
I usually listen to slow tempo piano jazz or rainymood.com
vojant 11 days ago 0 replies      
Depends on the mood I'm in. From slow piano/classic to techno.
keva161 11 days ago 0 replies      
I usually just go on 8tracks and listen to the first 'coding' or 'programming' playlist that shows up.
Ask HN: Are desktop apps dead?
12 points by pknerd  11 days ago   discuss
SchizoDuckie 11 days ago 1 reply      
No. Desktop Apps are not dead. Desktops (with a full-fledged keyboard, plenty of screen real-estate and proper multi-tasking are alive and kicking for content creation

For content consumption, tablets and phones are much more convenient, especially since they are used with well-optimized GUI. This will not change until there are new and better ways of inputting (and working with) large amounts of text, audio and video on portable/touch devices.

mooreds 11 days ago 0 replies      
As always, the answer is "it depends". What is your market? Who are your users?

It is better to start with the market and problem you want to address, then find out what kind of platforms they possess (and plan to continue to possess) and build for that platform, than to start from the technology side.

democracy 5 days ago 0 replies      
There are some advantages and disadvantages of desktop or web apps. Some things can be done with only desktop apps. So they are not dead any time soon. Also nothing stops you from creating a native desktop client for your web app if you need one. But it only depends on your specific app. You could probably share you app idea so we could give a better answer. cheers.
ig1 11 days ago 1 reply      
You're conflating two issues, method of delivery and method of payment. There are a number of very successful desktop app that are SaaS (Dropbox and Evernote come to mind).

The reason that SaaS is so popular is that it provides a much more predictable and reliable income over one-off sales.

mikecane 11 days ago 1 reply      
It depends. Consumer or commercial market? Productivity or games? Low-priced popular or high-priced niche?

EDIT to add: Win, OS X, Linux? Also, I would not do any desktop program without also thinking about how it would be as a tablet app -- iOS, Android, RT.

jimmmylost 11 days ago 0 replies      
We prefer SaaS because of:
1. Data Safety (and sometimes for high risk information companies prefer a desktop app for privacy)
2. Multi-Platform
3. Access from everywhere
4. A better UX (in most cases)
5. Maintenance,Maintenance and Maintenance (a bug in your desktop app is terrible, but SaaS? you can solve in for all customers in a second)
6. Prevent hack and cracks! (That's really a huge money-loss)

Really these are very serious problems.
But there are some cases you should use desktop apps.

mbreckon 11 days ago 0 replies      
See also: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5023123 Do you think the desktop is dead?
dotmanish 11 days ago 1 reply      
A lot of geeks on HN bought JetBrains' Desktop IDEs during their End-of-World Promo (going by the responses to that thread).

Not Everything Yet.

imwhimsical 11 days ago 0 replies      
Depends on what you're making. With OS X, I don't think desktop apps are out of the scene just as yet. I see a lot of great apps on the Mac AppStore which are throttling sales. Coda, iA Writer, and Mindnode, just to name a few.
dear 11 days ago 0 replies      
We can all go for a vacation if the Internet is down.
Ask HN: Google+ Communities
2 points by QuantumGuy  4 days ago   discuss
       cached 25 January 2013 13:05:01 GMT