hacker news with inline top comments    .. more ..    31 Jan 2013 Ask
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Quick "docs" for PHP and Python?
2 points by gusgordon  26 minutes ago   1 comment top
gamegoblin 21 minutes ago 0 replies      
There are many IDEs and plugins that already do this. PyCharm, for example.
Ask HN: How do you get your code reviewed?
5 points by happy4crazy  3 hours ago   4 comments top 4
tsm 2 hours ago 0 replies      
At work we use Gerrit, and code has to be reviewed and approved before it gets into origin/master. It's not the prettiest, but it worked well for what we were doing. GitHub also has good reviewing facilities.

If you don't have team members I'm not sure how to get reviewers though...maybe post on HN or a non-proggit subreddit? Or you could just join an open source project.

JoachimSchipper 1 hour ago 0 replies      
At work, we use Atlassian's Crucible. It's ok, although it tends to get confused on moderately "interesting" git repositories. That said, you can go quite far just printing out the code and writing comments with a pen.

We do high-security work, so code reviews are a standard part of the development process.

munimkazia 50 minutes ago 0 replies      
We just review each other's code within teams at my place of work, and sometimes it is even reviewed by people from other teams. It is a mandate any code should go for an honest line by line review by someone else before it goes into production. We get a lot of feedback about code organization, cleanup, improving flow, etc.
I just reviewed two small node.js projects in the last week.
joshstrange 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I personally have never used it but I saw Barkeep (http://getbarkeep.org/) and have it bookmarked as what I want to use on my next project. Barkeep was also featured on HN a little bit back if memory serves.
Ask HN: Anyone interested in knowing more about 3rd party selling on Amazon?
2 points by cm2012  1 hour ago   discuss
Ask HN: B2B or B2C?
3 points by ceeK  3 hours ago   10 comments top 2
dragonbonheur 3 hours ago 2 replies      
Maybe you should get a buyer, sell the business and move on to other things. Housing booms or busts don't last long and people often fail to realize the transition from one to the other. Education and its financing is about to change as well.

Unless you're really passionate about the sector in which case it would be better if you used their marketing infrastructure, thus B2B.

With B2C you'll have to compete with Craigslist and lots of other alternatives and competitors and you'll have to spend lots of money in marketing.

Of course I could be wrong so please take no offense.

byoung2 3 hours ago 2 replies      
Go B2B. Businesses will pay, consumers will not. If you can build a base of a few hundred real estate agents paying $50 a month, then you'd have money to subsidize a free version for consumers, but I wouldn't bother with B2C until you're making more money with B2B than you know what to do with.
Ask HN: What I don't understand about Bitcoin
3 points by brenfrow  4 hours ago   7 comments top 4
jstanley 4 hours ago 0 replies      
They are not indivisible units. I believe the minimum possible denomination is 0.00000001 BTC, or about 0.00002 cents.
jerfelix 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Right now they subdivide to 8 decimal places. .00000001

With minimal change to the protocol they could subdivide to much smaller units.

I think "bitcoin" is a confusing name, because it's really more like a group of account numbers, which can have money with 8 digits of precision to the right of the decimal point.

Think of a Bitcoin Address(es) as your account number(s), and your Private Key as your ATM card, PIN, and signature all wrapped in one.

If someone sends me 50 bitcoins, I have it in my "account" in the giant ledger in the sky. If I want to send 3.5 of them to someone, what might happen is that I create a transaction that sends 50 bitcoins to two different places... 3.5 to someone, and 46.5 to another account (of mine, my change!) in the giant ledger in the sky.

Or for simplicity, think of them like rewards points, and don't try to make it too complicated.

wmf 4 hours ago 0 replies      
This is why I don't like the name "Bitcoin". The system does not have any coins in it (unlike earlier work like Chaumian digital cash).
gus_massa 4 hours ago 0 replies      
The smaller possible exchange unit is 1E-8 bitcoin (0,00000001).
Jsfiddle with 500 Internal Server Error, Twitter with Overcapacity
6 points by chespinoza  5 hours ago   2 comments top
mootothemax 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Start by checking Twitter's API health page:


Which links to, e.g., what looks like big problems with the home timline:


I realise that I do a lot of Twitter and other API development, and so it's easy for me to say, but I don't think it's too crazy to suggest you should be looking in their general direction for answers first.

Ask HN: How do you get past pre launch jitters?
7 points by akhilrex  7 hours ago   4 comments top 4
geoffschmidt 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Stress and anxiety are understandable. You legitimately don't know what's going to happen, it could be awesome or it could suck, you've got a lot invested in it, and it will affect your life and the lives of those around you. Paradoxically, I've found that acknowledging and accepting these things tends to decrease my level of stress and anxiety.

Also, commit to doing your best (sounds like you have no problems there), and then you can just remind yourself: "My best will be good enough." You may or may not succeed, but if you remember that you did your honest (and self-examined) best, then you will always be able to be comfortable with yourself.

And finally, a motto: "Clarify by action."

gearoidoc 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Realise that regardless of what happens Everything Will Be Grand.

Let's take some scenarios here:

Scenario 1. The launch attracts a lot of subscribers and your infrastructure can't stand up to it or holes in your application are found.

Okay this is a pretty good problem to have - people want your product, nice. But the experience hasn't been A+, not nice. Guess what? People are (for the whole part) understanding and logical. They understand that software matures over time and, as an early adopter, they accept that they may have to put up with a bug or two. Software breaks, get it over it.

Scenario 2. You've thrown a party and no one shows up (aka few subcribers). Okay this sucks from a business POV but on the plus side you'll be able to pay your few early adopters some extra attention and find out why they chose your product. Use this information to improve your marketing.

Scenario 3. Middle of the road - an average number of subscribers, with some bugs discovered. This is a good sustainable start, keep it up (and crush those bugs you know about).

Regardless of what happens, things will be fine. Don't sweat it :)

dear 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Have you done a stress test on your system?
orangethirty 5 hours ago 0 replies      
How's your marketing doing?
Ask HN: Deploying django on github to AWS?
3 points by vshlos  4 hours ago   4 comments top 2
robdoherty2 4 hours ago 1 reply      
You have a number of options, not specific to django, depending on how complicated your setup is and how much manual work you want to do-- and you want to automate as much as possible.
Going from least automated to most-
1) ssh into your server, pull from the repo and restart whatever processes need restarting that feed your app. Ideally you have symlinks or pointers to your git repo folders so you don't have any file copying to do
2) write a deploy script using fabric (http://docs.fabfile.org/en/1.4.3/tutorial.html) that does what you did manually in #1
3) use a tool like puppet, chef, or even salt (python-based)

Ultimately, you need to be doing #3, but it helps to go through #1 and #2 to get a sense for how awesome deployment management tools are.

A couple things to keep in mind:
- server authentication with git: you'll want to use public key-based methods to pull from git so you don't have to deal with entering passwords
- dev vs prod environment settings: you'll want to have a smooth way to transition config settings between your dev and prod environments so you aren't editing files everytime you deploy.

These are just a few tips-- the overall guiding principle is to automate everything. Anytime you find yourself doing a task more than twice, write a script to do it.

SanjayUttam 4 hours ago 1 reply      
you might want to try stackoverflow.com - there isn't much technical support happening here.
Ask HN: Should reduced salary + vested options (after year) == market rate?
2 points by ishbits  5 hours ago   discuss
Ask HN admins: please stop editing submission titles
370 points by gnosis  19 hours ago   69 comments top 22
mindcrime 19 hours ago 2 replies      
You're probably wasting your time here. A previous thread about this got a lot of attention, and I got a nastygram from pg as a result, basically saying "quit wasting everyone's time with this issue." I don't think they're likely to change this policy anytime soon. Good luck, though.
tokenadult 15 hours ago 3 replies      
The guidelines of Hacker News


were actually edited to the current version quite recently, after an earlier discussion of this issue. The current guideline language is, among other details about titles,

. . . .

"Otherwise please use the original title, unless it is misleading or linkbait."

That plainly says that original titles are preferred.

The guidelines also say, "Please submit the original source. If a blog post reports on something they found on another site, submit the latter." So blogspam is plainly disfavored. Personally, I think that it is a rare blog that has many posts worth submitting here, and I'm always on the lookout for better sources from which to submit articles.


By the way, as a rhetorical matter, I'm surprised after reading through all the other comments before posting mine that I don't see a lot of examples of before-and-after titles to see if the submitters who don't like the curators preserving original article titles (or shortening original article titles in a way different from the submitter) are really coming up with titles that are much better than the original article titles. What are the most important recent examples you have in mind?

My own experience on HN is that when I see a cool article from a good source, and I submit it with the original, professionally crafted title, I sometimes submit an article that was earlier submitted by someone else, and sank into oblivion because it was retitled in some way that made the article look dumb. Few participants on HN have much professional experience in headline writing, and I'd rather have most submissions be submitted with their original titles based on my observations. (If you have convincing counterexamples, that is examples of HN-user-made titles that were really good and more helpful than original article titles, I'd be glad to consider those examples.)

readme 19 hours ago 3 replies      
I find their changing of titles to be accurate, usually. It's nice that they change linkbait titles to accurate ones.

Nothing is worse than when someone posts a story then twists the title to fit their own interpretation of it.

Thank you oh wise and objective admins.

davidroberts 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Very often the original article title assumes the reader is already familiar with a particular context, based on the fact he or she is already visiting the site it is hosted on. This of course does not apply to readers of Hacker News who see the article title totally out of context, surrounded by other articles.

I can see the value in editing titles that excessively call attention to themselves, include a comment by the poster, or inaccurately reflect the content, No one wants the front page of Hacker News to look like a page from Craigslist. The title should accurately describe the content of the article so readers can quickly decide whether to open it or move to the next one. The question asked by moderators should be whether the title fulfills this purpose, not whether it conforms to some bureaucratic guideline. Life is already too much distorted by slavish devotion to bureaucratic guidelines without bringing that mindset to Hacker News.

alayne 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't mind clarified headlines, but editorialized headlines bug the heck out of me and they can color the discussion. Today I complained when the title was "Are Placebos Really Sugar Pills? Or Something worse? instead of the original "Are Placebos Really Sugar Pills?" because it added innuendo.
coderdude 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Meh, it's dumb to call them incompetent over this. Have you seen how good they are at stopping spam, for one? Sometimes the changes make sense and sometimes they don't (depending on your point of view). I've seen it go both ways. This is hardly making HN worse. My suggestion: pick your fights, people.
DigitalSea 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Refresh your inbox, you're going to be receiving a nasty email from PG soon... Having said that, I haven't seen many instances where a renamed title wasn't accurate. However, I would love to see a little label below the new title informing everyone the title is edited from the original. All it needs to say besides the timestamp beneath is: [title edited] or even just: [edited]
charliepark 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Because this thread seems, sadly, devoid of examples (when there are plenty), I wanted to point out one that's active right now.

The front page's #2 link at the moment (http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5144325) is currently titled "Cache Rules Everything Around Me". That's better than the article's actual title, "Cache Money Hoes". I suspect that if the article's original title were used, far fewer people would have bothered to check it out, to have learned from it, to upvote it, or to comment in the thread about it.

I don't know if an editor will change it to the original title, but I certainly hope they leave it alone.

raldi 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I think I like the fact that the admins edit titles, but I wish the original title were viewable somewhere in the UI, especially when it gets referenced in a comment.
vacipr 19 hours ago 0 replies      
This has been discussed before.
enraged_camel 15 hours ago 0 replies      
My main issue with changed titles is that it makes the submissions incredibly difficult to find later. Often times I'll mark them in my mind as "interesting" to come back to later, but when the titles change I find myself having to scan through every single title.
nonamegiven 18 hours ago 0 replies      
MyTitle: Another discussion of something on HN that will not change.

If you don't use the original title it'll probably get changed. There's nothing you can do about that.

If you care, add a comment after submitting, and put the title you would have preferred there, as I did at the top of this comment. In fact you could do that even if you're not the submitter.

bennyg 17 hours ago 0 replies      
The only problem I have is that they tend to "Engineerize" the titles, if you will. The new titles are usually more bland. Maybe it's selection bias, but when I notice it's usually a "well, that was a lot more intriguing the first time I clicked this submission."

I dunno' - I can see the pros and cons of having more emotional or attention-getting titles, just as I can see the same for the "this is the information in the article" kind of title too. It's a tough line to balance on. Personally, I dig the emotion side more, but I also know I don't speak for everybody.

readme 16 hours ago 0 replies      
x-post from the consumerist thread:


--"Please change the link title"

grecy 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Worse is the articles they completely censor because they have some vested interest in the article not becoming popular.

i.e. http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5098218 had 200 points when it vanished from the front page.

bane 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm personally fine with the policy. In several cases, where the title was too long, their edit of the title was better than mine.
davidroberts 19 hours ago 2 replies      
I'd be interested in hearing the rationale for changing the titles.
6thSigma 18 hours ago 1 reply      
I think the submission system may auto-change some titles. For instance, I submitted an article awhile back with the title something like "5 Reasons Technology is changing in 2013" and it posted as something like "Some Reasons Technology is changing in 2013."

Not really what you're referring to, but I thought it was interesting.

jpdoctor 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Could not disagree more.

Hell, I wish they'd hellban question-mark titles.

geuis 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Dear alumni and editors:

Please continue changing bad titles, changing links to original content, hiding bad stories, and banning abusive troll users. You make HN a lovely place, despite your somewhat behind-the-curtains wizardly appearance.



betelnut 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Seeing both would be nice - something along the lines of:

"Original Title [A brief description if the original title is insufficiently detailed]"

deelowe 18 hours ago 1 reply      
I prefer that the headlines be rewritten. If I want what you're describing, I'd go to reddit.
Show HN: Reinventing the Activity Stream for Wishberg
3 points by beingpractical  10 hours ago   discuss
Ask HN: What makes a good entry-level developer resume?
13 points by isomorph  18 hours ago   5 comments top 5
nonamegiven 18 hours ago 0 replies      
The best entry level developer resume is a friend.
codegeek 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Entry level or not, the fact is that you have to try and convince the employer that you will be a good fit for them. So always think of this way: How can I convince this potential employer that I am a good hire for them? Start figuring out what the employer is looking for and then figure out how you can differentiate yourself from other entry levels like yourself.

Biggest mistake made by many (including experienced pros) is that they focus on their Resume instead of really trying to understand what the employer wants/needs. If you really have something that the employer is looking for specifically, your chances of at least an interview call goes up.

thejerz 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Not looking like you're entry-level.
FlyingAvatar 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Projects: especially difficult/interesting/field-relevant ones.

Honesty: if I can't immediately tell that you are over-stating your experience, I will find out in the phone screen.

Fit: something that helps me think that you'll be a good fit with my team from a personality stand-point. This may be represented by listing hobbies (though be careful with this) and the types of projects you work on.

Attention to detail: Your resume should look like something that's professionally crafted. If it doesn't, I am going to assume your code looks the same way.

Back when I was applying for jobs several years ago, I would tailor my resume for the job that I was applying for. The more your experiences matches the listing, the better. In my case, being somewhat of a generalist, I have some experience developing web, desktop, cli/server and embedded code, so I would rewrite my highlights at each job where appropriate to best address the skills being looked for.

jlengrand 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I would say side-projects, and being passionate during the interview. :)

All entry-level devs have the same kind of resume.
Find a way to be an exception, while being relevant to the position.

Always worked for me.

Ask PG: do you advise startups at YC to post ambiguous job postings like these?
5 points by khangtoh  14 hours ago   1 comment top
khangtoh 13 hours ago 0 replies      
That job posting has already been taken down.
Ask HN: How can so many people be wrong?
9 points by diminium  23 hours ago   17 comments top 16
orionblastar 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I am going to be honest here, and in doing so I will expect some downvotes because it goes against what the majority thinks is right and correct.

The majority is not always right or correct, they refuse to admit when they are wrong or when they are incorrect or have a flaw somewhere. Everyone is perfect, they think, there are no worries or problems to address, just write code and finish the projects and then you have an instant IPO worth billions. When your Dotcom has mostly yesmen and yeswomen (yespeople would be a better word to use) they cannot say 'no' to a bad idea and often when someone says 'no' they are fired.

Wait, Orion, these are good people, lots of talent and skills, studied at the best colleges, very popular and bright, all of them leaders, honor students, high IQs, the best of the best. How could any of them be wrong or incorrect on anything?

First to have a successful business you have to do research and analysis for the products and services your startup will provide and find out of any of them are feasible to work on. You have to find a problem that people need solved and solve it and then fill that need. You have to provide a good customer experience and have a good customer satisfaction and find the right market that allows opportunities for growth. You have to find 'turkey' projects that drain more expenses than they bring in with revenues and either fix them or get rid of them and develop new ones to replace them that can bring in more revenue.

Uh, we just work 80+ hours a week in a 'Hackathon' and create the best project with bleeding edge technology and the latest and greatest programming language and it will be an instant hit, right?

Nope, not if there is no market for it, not if it has tons of competition (like another Tetris or Suduko clone), not of you cannot find enough customers to find a need to use it or buy it, not if you cannot market the product enough to draw attention to it.

Well we had a great video game, original and clever about a Haunted House in the GO Language and raised money on Kickstarter and had some Crowdsourcing, but the project failed anyway.

Of course, there is a limited number of GO programmers out there, and the ones you had quit because the funding ran out before the project was finished. You needed more time, and more money to finish it. Sure you met your goal, but you didn't plan properly and budget properly to make sure the developers were well funded enough to finish the project even if it took twice as long as planned to finish. Now if you did it in C++ or Java first, and got a project out that brought revenue in, then you could have used that money to develop the GO version. Remember to use common languages first, and then use the money from those projects to develop on the less common languages.

Well we got a Dotcom and are selling advertising on it but we still cannot earn enough money despite having a large user base.

You are using a Dotcom Cookie Cutter business plan. Advertising is not enough for growth or even staying in business anymore. Many people use adblocker tech these days and very few click on advertising links for fear of a virus or phishing scam. Sure have free accounts, but also offer services free users won't have unless they are a subscriber. For example Youtube is having a $5/month subscription service come out for 25+ channels that have premium content after their advertising didn't work out.

Look there is other things too, sometimes people in the minority can see things the majority cannot. But in a startup Dotcom often people in the minority are kicked out or excluded. Don't let a silo mentality or a social kliq take over your corporate culture and community. You need a diverse bunch of people, not Pod People who are all alike. Don't exclude people aged 40 or above and only hire 20somethings, you need people with experience even people who failed and learned from it (Steve Jobs was kicked out of Apple in 1985, learned from his failures started up Next and bought Pixar, and then came back to save Apple later learning from his past mistakes) or that can be a mentor. Don't exclude people who are mentally ill, they may have a creative imagination that your company needs for brainstorming and coming up with new ideas and innovations (Would you kick John Forbes Nash Jr. out because he is schizophrenic?) and don't demote someone when they turn mentally ill, accommodate and support them.

I myself have been excluded from my local startup community in St. Louis. I posted about it on another thread, I got invited by someone in that community who asked me to email him. I did email him, saying I want to help out, never got a response back. They had an event recently on Google+ that said to "Include Everyone" to solve the problems, but for some reason I am never included. They will say so publicly, but when it comes to doing it, well that is a different story.

You see I have two degrees one in computer science and one in business management. Most startups often overlook the business ends of things, and that is a major flaw and downfall.

alid 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Such a good question! It illustrates how for ideas to flourish they need a platform and strategy to be organized and improved upon.

For example there's a great innovation tool called the Lotus Blossom Technique - you start with a concept, but then add layers of ideas or improvements to the original idea (like peeling a blossom) until you reach a core (and much improved) idea. The results of this are much more effective and targeted than traditional crowd-sourced problem solving - such as via forums - that can often involve lots of orthogonal voices shouting ideas yet lacking structure.

I love the Lotus Blossom as a creative thinking tool, yet can imagine on a larger scale it's an issue in itself to organize (e.g. who leads the process? how to make everyone feel 'heard'? how to keep the brainstorming on track so ideas are strengthened, not watered down?) So, when it all boils down, it's understanding and adapting to human psychology (at both an individual and collective level) that solves large-scale problems. This would be an awesome problem to solve!

tokenadult 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Human cognitive illusions are powerful. It is by no means guaranteed that any number of human brains attempting to grapple with a problem will arrive at a correct answer. Democratic and scientific processes of sharing information and authority help a great deal, but one commonality all human beings have is fallibility, and crowd-sourcing more fallible brains doesn't eliminate that instrumental problem in truth-seeking.

(That said, I do appreciate the disagreement I often receive from other participants on HN as a reality check on my own thinking.)

TrevorJ 19 hours ago 0 replies      
A few confounding issues: first, how do you define 'wrong'? Can you prove empirically that a better solution exists than the answer put fourth in any given example?

Secondly, if we can prove that better solution that the crowd-sourced one exists, then can we prove that it would be more or less likely to be hit upon by an individual working alone or by the crowd? IE: what configuration provides the greatest likelihood of choosing the correct solution, and how do we quantify that?

Thirdly, it is very possible that for any given problem, there's not a 'correct' answer that can be attained reliably given the known data. One trillion people working together would be not more likely to predict the winning lottery numbers tomorrow for instance -the information they have available to them simply is not adequate.

My gut feeling? Group decision making is useful for certain, narrow reasons but doesn't become more powerful in a linear fashion when you add more people. There are inefficiencies of scale that come in to play which begin to outweigh the benefits of distributed decision making.

eduardordm 20 hours ago 0 replies      
One answer could be:

Given that success is a combination of problem, solution and another variables, the probability of someone finding the correct combination is very small. This is why the fly-or-die model startups like to choose is so cruel. Sometimes it looks like a startup is a lottery ticket and VCs are buying as many tickets as they can to secure the prize.

The probability of 1 zillion or just one person finding the right number is the same for each individual. What you could do is to become multiple tickets by pivoting or getting together with another individuals.

TheTarquin 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Your premises are flawed. Human brain power is not an additive substance. So 1000 brains are in no sense of the term 1000 times more powerful than one brain.

Crowds don't actually have wisdom. All they really have is consensus.

As such, if a problem is the kind of thing that one person usually gets wrong, then it's also the kind of thing that the majority of a million-person crowd will also get wrong.

_______________ 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Truth isn't a binary, it's a gradient. There's both rational and emotional truth in many things we label wrong or unjust.

Meanwhile, we evolved to sift through information rapidly towards self-preservation. This has obvious drawbacks like any other broad algorithm would. Let's not get proud of whatever cohort we identify with; logical fallacies are the norm at any level of intelligence.

Many of our truths conflict with other societal and even personal truths. You can want children with a loving wife and still find pleasure in extramarital affairs. Both have sound biological and psychological rewards that carry paradoxically self-sabotaging complications.

Add to that cultural and technological shifts, disparities in wealth and power, the weakness of language, and many other complications which won't fit into the box I'm typing in.

Truth is complicated and dynamic enough as a philosophical concept, let alone with the innate irrationality we all share.

brudgers 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Everyone is fallible. How do you know that you are not in regard to the failure of the masses?
redegg 20 hours ago 0 replies      
There goes a great saying:

The IQ Of The Group Is The Lowest IQ Of A Member Of The Group Divided By The Number Of People In The Group.

pedalpete 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Can you give an example of this spectacular failure you are referring to?
adziki 22 hours ago 0 replies      
of those brains, how many are actually analyzing the problem, vs just regurgitating information posed by someone else?
kappaloris 20 hours ago 0 replies      
We still are limited by all the information theory stuff.

Sometimes the point is not about the 'processing' power as much as it is about the fact that some problems need massive quantities of information to be solved, information wich might be simply unavailable, for example.

jejune06 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Groupthink can also be an issue as well within certain pockets of communities.
gesman 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Crowd-anything is rare right...
brandonsavage 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Your question assumes that humanity, at least in large quantities, is a rational actor. I think history shows us that's not true.
michaelbrave 19 hours ago 0 replies      
whats interesting is that swarms of bugs actually do become more intelligent collectively.

but I think it almost works inversely with people

Github SSL replaced by self-signed certificate in China
182 points by teawithcarl  4 days ago   74 comments top 20
agl 4 days ago 1 reply      
Firstly, thanks to GitHub using HSTS on github.com (although not www.github.com), the certificate error will be fatal in Chrome and (I believe, but haven't checked) Firefox as long as you have visited GitHub previously.

(It's not preloaded HSTS so it would have to be learnt from a previous, unattacked connection.)

I know that the unbypassable errors for some sites upset the more technically minded people, but I think that incidents like this show its value.

The CloudShark trace shows what appears to be Firefox connecting to the GitHub IP address, but the server clearly isn't GitHub from the config. The server appears to be configured to accept the client's ciphersuite preference, but doesn't support DHE nor ECDHE.

The server is also only 9ms from the client - that's clearly not crossing any oceans. I'd also guess that the server is overloaded at the time because the ServerHello (which doesn't take significant processing to generate in this case) takes 900ms to come back.

Sadly, it appears to show the user overriding the certificate error and talking to the server anyway :( Hopefully that was a fresh FF install just to see what would happen (which would explain why HSTS didn't prevent the override).

Lastly, the certificate appears to be self-signed, but the Authority Key Id doesn't match. One assumes, based on "OpenSSL Generated Certificate" that OpenSSL was used, but the person may have had some trouble. I'd guess that they generated a CA certificate first (with the same Subject) and then signed the certificate in question as a leaf. Many of the tutorials that you'll find online are for that sort of setup so perhaps they weren't very familiar with X.509 certificates.

moxie 4 days ago 4 replies      
To clarify, this looks more like someone turning off SSL access to GitHub than a proper MITM attack in the traditional sense.

The certificate in that link is just a self-signed certificate, not something signed by a CA:

Issuer: C=US, ST=Some-State, O=github.com, OU=github.com, CN=github.com
Subject: C=US, ST=Some-State, O=github.com, OU=github.com, CN=github.com

So your browser will warn you that you are not making a secure connection. Firefox users, for instance, will have to make 5 clicks to get through that warning and visit the page.

I think "China turns off SSL access to GitHub" might be a more appropriate title.

songgao 4 days ago 10 replies      
This reminds me the Firefox certificate "bug"[1] two years ago. A China certificate root server was added into trusted servers in Firefox and Chinese hackers started to submit bug report regarding this, since people don't trust certificate servers run by China government. Man-in-the-middle attack was exact what Chinese hackers worried about.

If they put this fake certificate in a certificate root server that's in the trusted server list, they can easily get anyone's account who's using affected browsers.

It's weird that they start with Github. It's not a website that's popular among human activists or any other people that China government might be interested in. Instead, it's popular among programmers and hackers, who are the main group and forces in China to help people bypass GFW to access blocked content. I suppose this attack might be what the government uses to test reaction and capability of hackers.

Seriously, this is really, really, bad.

[1] https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=542689

EDIT: added link for bug report

moonboots 4 days ago 0 replies      
Fortunately, it looks like Chrome prevents users from clicking past the ssl errors. This Chinese chrome screenshot[1] shows that there's only a back button (for English versions of this page, see [2]). Unfortunately, it appears that IE allows users to click past the errors[3]. I'm also interested in how the 360 browser[4], which has been gaining market share in China, handles the error.

Does anyone have any theories why China would use a self signed certificate when it's very indiscreet? A lot of users will just click through if given the opportunity (around 60% in chrome before new security measures prevented it[2]), but I doubt many users with truly sensitive private repos would do this.

[1] https://twitter.com/GreatFireChina/status/295236912594186240...

[2] http://www.imperialviolet.org/2012/07/19/hope9talk.html

[3] https://twitter.com/chenshaoju/status/295139636718743552/pho...

[4] http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4499168

jacquesm 4 days ago 2 replies      
What bugs me about stuff like this is that there will always be mercenaries, guys just like you and me that will do anything as long as it pays. The Chinese government wouldn't stand a chance if they had to do this stuff themselves. Mercenary coders are nothing new, we have them in every country (and sysadmins, companies and so on).

But you have to wonder what goes on in their heads, what mindset would prompt you to sell out like that.

runarb 4 days ago 0 replies      
Many are mentioning the Chinese government, but are there any signs that they are involved?

How do we know that this isn't just a hijack of a Chinese isps dns server or something similar? Maybe the same that happened to Goolge Morocco just a couple of days ago ( http://arabcrunch.com/2013/01/breaking-google-morocco-google... ).

dguido 4 days ago 3 replies      
I was wondering when Github was going to start supporting HSTS and 2-Factor Auth. I'm betting that it gets bumped in priority after this event. Nothing like an incident to move along security requirements!



shimon_e 3 days ago 3 replies      
In China now. Ping to github is 280ms. The cert I receive is valid. So either they stepped up the game or it isn't universal.
j45 4 days ago 2 replies      
It sucks my client will be able to say he was right about now allowing source code to be hosted on github.

(We ended up setting up a gitlab box and it works just as well)

kevingadd 4 days ago 1 reply      
How would this fake cert work? It doesn't seem to originate with a root or have any associated information. Do browsers actually accept certs that look like this?
No1 4 days ago 0 replies      
Some speculation as to why they're targeting Github:

- the Chinese gov't is trying to identify users/developers of train-ticket-purchasing bots [1]

- they are is interested in capturing some intellectual property contained in private repos

- it's just an exercise to watch & learn how computer-literate users circumvent a MITM attack

Given the recent Github blockade, I'd go with the first.

[1] http://www.techinasia.com/github-blocked-china/

chimeracoder 3 days ago 0 replies      
How long ago did this start? I wonder if it has anything to do with some of the issues with Github I (and others) were noticing on Friday[0]

[0] https://twitter.com/davidbalbert/status/294941563673522176

xfs 4 days ago 1 reply      
I guess it was a planned public test or technical verification of certain larger project about live traffic decryption on national level. There really isn't a plausible political reason of github being targeted. Maybe targeting github can get data about user response or verify scalability of the infrastructure given recent high https traffic volume from China to github.
qschneier 3 days ago 1 reply      
FYI there is a petition on whitehouse.gov to deny those people who work on GFW entry US.
dpeck 3 days ago 0 replies      
The natural result of the "code is speech" argument?
matthewrudy 4 days ago 0 replies      
I should report that from my Shanghai based VPS I don't get this problem.

Perhaps this is localised, or was just a trial for a few hours.


teawithcarl 4 days ago 0 replies      
Read the Twitter stream - affects people inside China.

Still, shows the depth and corruption the China (gov't).


darkhorn 4 days ago 0 replies      
How did GitHub learned that there were man-in-middle attack?
teawithcarl 4 days ago 0 replies      
Here's another (safe) "tweet" by China geek alerting the situation.

RT @chenshaoju 

qschneier 3 days ago 0 replies      
Censorship in China is a big business, for the companies that have connections to the officials, for the universities that rely on the funds, and for the officials who use this as a stepstone for their career. It is so common that you can even find many fresh graduates who worked for the GFW in the job market.
Ask HN: What's the Best DMCA, Privacy Policy, and ToS Boilerplate Out There?
5 points by rpm4321  19 hours ago   4 comments top 2
pasbesoin 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I found HN's approach to be interesting. (I looked when I noticed the new link in the footer.)


I can't speak to how "good" or "correct" it is. OTOH, pg usually seems to put some good thought into such things.

dangrossman 18 hours ago 1 reply      
What are you referring to when you say DMCA boilerplate? You don't dictate anything about that, the process is defined by statute. Copyright holders send infringement notices to your DMCA agent listed at the copyright office, you disable access to the content in those notices in a reasonable time, you gain the safe harbor liability protections.
Ask HN: Review Habbit - An App to Build Your Ideal Future Self with Habits
53 points by evac  2 days ago   32 comments top 13
dlf 2 days ago 2 replies      
Wow, this is really clever! At first I was thinking, "what is this? Why is there a story?" ...but if you stick with it it's very, very good. You're a very gifted illustrator and storyteller. I actually thought you borrowed the illustrations from a storybook. If things don't work out with the app you may have a future as a children's author. In fact, maybe you could publish a book version of this as a companion to the app?

I wonder if the entire experience would be better if the entire UI for the walkthrough at the beginning was the storybook without the shelf(?) and the black background, then after the story is at the end make the "last page" a fullscreen app?

The dark colors and the image mirroring was distracting and it isn't clear what its purpose is until the screen rotates, which is a very cool effect. I wonder if there's a way to achieve the same effect without rotating the screen though.

That said, an app for building habits is something I've thought about before, and I think your execution and creativity is way better than anything I would've imagined. Gamification feels like a needed component, but I wouldn't have thought of this. It almost feels like Legend of Zelda for self improvement!

Goopplesoft 2 days ago 1 reply      
Holy shit thankfully I played through the beginning.

So here are some unedited experience thoughts so far (played 10 minutes or so with it):

-Something is off about the landing page. TBH I left and then came back because I felt like an asshole for leaving, but there was nothing on the home page that told me how that site would help me build habbits/fix my future site.

-Make it more indicative that the home page slideshow leads to getting started with the website, I was still confused when I hit the end and it said "A request for the habbit"... I again you almost lost me at this point, I didnt know that was when the badassery began.

-Then I filled out the form and the page moved magically and what seemed like an incomplete app looking for a start date mailing list was a app full of life, and I am immediately glad I stuck through

-I will be a constant tester to improve myself, and look forward to giving a lot of feedback. But for now definitely look into making the landing page more 'hooking' and more explanative.

sylvia 2 days ago 1 reply      
clickable link: http://www.habbit.me

This is interesting from other productivity apps (namely calendars and to do lists) that I've seen in the past. The witticism in your name reinforces the theme with the story, and the design for 'Mr.Habbit' is also unique. Design aside (which is nice, by the way), the interface is relatively easy to use and I've set a few habits for tomorrow.

edit: Found some areas of improvement, I'll add more to it if I can think of anything.

- The site (mainly images) take some time to load, and vary between three to five seconds. Still an OK waiting time -- not the best. More importantly, it takes some waiting time for logging in and out. The clock animation also lags a bit as it turns and zooms in. I like that it goes from sketchbook / drawing to cg art.

- There isn't an easy way to go to the "future self" section of the site other than manually typing or bookmarking "habbit.me/futureself". The other way is through clicking "Enter Time" at your account's dashboard. Might it be better to start right at the future self page (especially for logged in users), rather than starting at the dashboard every time?

That's pretty much all I can think of, if there's any more I'll add to this post. With a few improvements, I think that you definitely can go far and I wish you the best of luck.

marcomassaro 2 days ago 1 reply      
Wow. Just wow is all I can say. HUGE props to anyone who can learn to code and design in just a year and put out the kind of website you did (design, illustrations, interaction etc). I was expecting to see a cliche SaaS app website, but love that you took a story approach which brought me right in.

A few thoughts:

- Very hard to see the logo. I respect and understand that you are going for a subtle look with it, but maybe a hint brighter would be nice.

- Didn't realize when I was creating my "self" that I had to click the speech bubbles from my future "self" in order to advance forward.

Other than that - awesome work.

AlexDanger 2 days ago 0 replies      
Stunning site and remarkably original approach to an old problem. I look forward to giving this a proper trial.

I dont suppose you have data on the age distribution of people using the site? My 13 year old self might have sniggered at the storybook style but the way you've dealt with the psychology of motivation and habits seems suitable for all ages.

recuter 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is unique. I have no idea how well it can convert or whether or not it will actually work and help users, but it is lovingly made and I hope you flush it out.

I think there is something here.

dcolgan 2 days ago 3 replies      
Wow this is beautiful. The opening captured my attention well and it guided me through everything so that I knew exactly what was going on. I love the little story at the beginning. The site engages me emotionally which is something that a generic goal tracking site wouldn't do. I'm going to give the site a go around to start some habits I've been wanting to start and see if it helps.

As an aside, do you have a monetization strategy for this site?

alex_g 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Honestly one of the coolest sites I've seen in a while, but if I hadn't read the comments, I would have left the site right away- there's no hook to get a user to stay there!

But the design and effects/transitions are crazy awesome and they're pulled off perfectly. I really like how it gets you to think about who you want to be first- so then you can choose habits that will help you get there. To be honest though, I'm currently using an app Lift that I found a few days ago. If you made a mobile version of this, I would switch in a heartbeat, however!

milkmiruku 2 days ago 1 reply      
misc quick random thoughts

I loved the intro. I've seen the Epic Win framing, but a friend I found who was using it ended up not turning it on to see all the things they were not epically winning at. This made me think of The Diamond Age.

I thought I'd gotten it wrong and that instead of my name, I was supposed to have entered a habit, think I misunderstood the text.

How do I undo task completion? Things got slightly confusing after entering three habits. I didn't realise I'd started one, then refreshed and completed it accidentally. The rotating green circle showing Done is nice, but erk, I am not worthy yet! Maybe similar and other-colour to show something is in progress?

(edit; I guess that Done Today relates to the growing of the plant? Apologies, I'm slightly confused. I'll leave it open and come back later.)

(edit2; got it started but not green now)

Even though it says done, I can't start another task. I check the first task, almost forgetting that I need to mouseover the figure and click (having to wait to mouseover to get the advice doesn't help, someone might not try that) to enter the task options. I can pause it there, then change. Doing that from the clock page would be one less hidden away click. Also, a transition to get into the task zone could help? If that stalk is going to grow as time goes by, make it pulse glow or something to gain intrigue?

One can enter items for future years. I see now I then choose to 'Set as Active Future Self'. I like that idea of context switching, the "future as existence in progress", but the UX/IA is not entirely intuitive yet. A way to jump between myselves from the panelled screen would be quicker.

How far might you looking to use the metaphors? "Story Mode" for the younger at heart? Golden thread and such could be worth using. Or a pool of suggested habits? Or questions that can be answered to help gain insight (and track past selves later on)? Or Oblique Strategies? Or an anonymously networked Half Bakery like spiders web that can be visited and interacted with.. And/or a dream diary?

Could a length of time be involved for some types of habit that require it? "'Do something for 35 minutes related to your _project work_!', suggests the Habbit to your Second Future Self, as you both stroll along the banks of time.."

Somehow suggest to users to bookmark and maybe pin the tab?

mooze 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is so cool! There are a few issues (clock hands load before the face does; no detailed 'about' section) but it's pretty impressive as it is.

Since I'm following in your footsteps and about to start the 'build' phase, I'm curious about the tools you used: which host, stack, framework etc, and why did you choose them? Did you learn everything from scratch?

Congrats on the launch btw, it's quite a feat:)

onlyup 1 day ago 1 reply      
Wow, honestly.. wow. My initial impressions are that this is fantastic and I am already planning on sticking with it!

You say "where your main objective is to build your future ideal self (or selves -- you have a future self at every age)" in the OP. How can you have more than 1 future self?

klaut 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is so beautiful!
I will use it to set some habits i failed in the past.
Braadworst 2 days ago 0 replies      
Ok this is awesome. I really need this. When I try to change my way of life, I mostly do a good job in the beginning but than all of a sudden I find myself once again where I left off. It is really frustrating. I need to find something more sustainable. So I hope this helps me Thnx!
Show HN: CentUp - Launching in late February
7 points by lenkendall  1 day ago   2 comments top
fananta 22 hours ago 1 reply      
This is actually really interesting..
Ask HN: How do you stop regretting?
223 points by regretting  5 days ago   127 comments top 96
danilocampos 5 days ago 4 replies      
Hi. Sorry you're hurting.

A professional specializing in cognitive behavioral therapy might be especially helpful to you, in just a few sessions. You need to break the pattern of thought that leads you to fixate on your regrets, shortcomings and other negativity. With all of this taking up space in your mind, you'll have a hard time finding the attention or energy for the many exciting options open to you.

Put another way " with your hand full of the whip you're using to beat the hell out of yourself, it isn't free to work on real things.

Meanwhile, tonight, right now, take a moment and write yourself a letter. Write from the perspective of the kindest, dearest, most understanding friend you can imagine.

As this friend, express understanding and compassion for the hardships and missed opportunities you've endured. Offer encouragement. Catalog all the disappointments of your history if that's what you feel like doing " but do so in a way that says "Hey dude. That hurts. I totally understand why you're feeling bad. It's cool."

In short " give yourself a break. And repeat the exercise any time you're having a rough night like this one.

There's no time machine. There's nothing you can do to go back and change things. All you have is right now. Today. This moment. In any given moment, you get to decide your stance and attitude. You can't reverse your past, but you have full control over how you dispose of every single second between now, as you're reading this, and when you die.

It is guaranteed that your experiences are 100% unique to you. It is impossible to know what emergent qualities will arrange themselves to suit your unique success.

The other guarantee is that for as long as you spend time thinking of the past instead of building the future, the unique value of your experiences will remain locked up, unused.

The mind is an incredibly powerful yet fallible pattern matching engine. It can find anything, from any input, it seems. Just the same way you can make a face or a zoo animal from a pattern of water vapor in the sky, you're making a failure out of a pattern of events in the past. In both cases, it's illusion.

There's no instant fix. Patterns of thought take time and effort to change. All I can tell you as that only you can decide to change course. It'll be hard. It won't always be fun. It won't be overnight. But you can definitely do it. And anything is better than this feeling, right?

Here's Dave McClure's blog on his late bloom, which perhaps will give you some perspective on just how much road there still is ahead:


rosser 5 days ago 2 replies      
Here are a few things from my experiences with regret you should consider:

0. You could probably benefit a great deal from talking with someone professionally about what you're going through. It's not a panacea, but it can definitely help.

1. There's absolutely no point in comparing your life to someone else's. They simply aren't comparable. Your life is yours; their lives are theirs. You're here in this world to have your experience, not theirs. Judging your experience of life in light of what you perceive to be another's experience will do you no good whatsoever. Worse, you're probably wrong in how you perceive their life. For all you know, the people you think have it so awesome are miserable, themselves, and secretly think your life is the shit " and round and round we go... Just Stop. Now.

(Full disclosure: I still have trouble with this one myself, to an extent, but only with age any more. I turned 40 last year, and work in technology, so I'm always surrounded by 20-something youth and vitality. Maintaining my equanimity can sometimes be challenging in that environment.)

2. Whatever it is that you're regretting, you need to understand that you couldn't have acted differently at the time. Between the circumstances around the event, who you were at the time of the event, who the other people involved were at the time, and so on, there really wasn't much anyone could have done, but exactly what they did. (Aside: as much as people reading along at home might want to, please don't use my phrasing here to spawn a free will vs. determinism debate. While I, personally, find that stuff fascinating, this really isn't the place for it.)

This was a very, very hard one for me to come to grips with. I used to have some pretty debilitating regrets, myself. There were choices I'd made that, when I thought of them, I'd feel physical pain, as if struck. Seriously, I remember many occasions where I'd be in the shower (the most common place for this to happen, for whatever reason), or going about my day in some other fashion, when Situation X would pop into my head, and I'm suddenly doubled over as if someone just punched me in the gut. I'm not exaggerating.

Worse, those regrets were holding me back in situations like the one I was regretting. Let's suppose, for sake of discussion, that my regret was over "blowing it" with "the girl of my dreams." Every time I was in an even remotely romantic situation after that, my regrets would be foreground in my mind, instead of being present to the situation I was in. I doubt I have to belabor how much life I missed out on because of that...

After a lot of soul-searching, and a rather expensive and painfully-wrought epiphany or seven, I realized exactly what I describe above: given who I was at the time, who the other people were, the circumstances we were all in, &c, there simply wasn't another outcome for the situation. The only way it could have played out is exactly as it did. After that, regret for my choices made as much sense as regretting it being cold that day.

Please take care not to misunderstand: that doesn't mean you shrug and walk away. Every experience in life, pleasant or painful, has something to teach us. Often enough, the more painful the experience, the more there is to learn from it " we learn that fire is hot by being burned far more quickly than we do by being told. So whatever the lesson(s) might be in your situation(s), sit down with yourself and strive to find them, honestly, and without judgement. They're there, and the rest of your life will open and flow out of what you take from them.

zerohp 5 days ago 1 reply      
Almost 3 years ago something flipped in my brain. I felt similar to you for many years before that. At the time I was obese, so I worked on that first. Eight months later I was still overweight but significantly stronger and healthier.

During that time I saw how I had limited myself at work because I didn't feel confident enough to ask for more. During my annual review at work, I made it clear that I felt undervalued. My employer eventually responded, but it was too late. I had already started seeking a new job.

I interviewed at a few places and I took the highest offer, even though it was the least interesting work. That job allowed me to work from home and gave me a lot of solitary time to reflect. Even though I've been programming for my whole life and I earned a great salary, I had never gone to college. It was a regret I had held for many years. For the first time it was possible to go to college, because of the flexible hours allowed by my job as a telecommuter. So at 34 years old I started taking classes at my local community college.

Fast forward a year and a half, I quit work and transferred to one of the top computer schools in the country (top 5 in EE, CS, and CompE.) Sometimes it feels strange to be 15+ years older than my classmates, but then I remind myself that it's never too late to achieve my goals.

The last couple years have been the best years of my life. I have no more regret because I am doing everything I can to realize my potential. It's never too late.

TLDR: Be honest with yourself. Reflect, Analyze, and have the confidence to pursue your dreams.

mindcrime 5 days ago 0 replies      
I think everybody deals with some of these feelings from time to time, but - for me - it comes down to simply choosing not to indulge in regret. It's a wasted emotion to me, as it does nothing to make anything better, and there's nothing I can do about what's in the past. Somewhere, somehow, over the years, I've adopted something of a stoic mindset (even before I knew what stoicism was) and my outlook is just kinda rooted in that.

I also, for whatever reason, am much higher in terms of self-efficacy than self-esteem, and my self-efficacy is such that I pretty much always believe that tomorrow can be better than today, because I see no reason to believe there is any limit to what I can still accomplish.

That said, it gets tougher sometimes. I'll turn 40 this year, and I was just diagnosed with diabetes a few months ago, and my doctor is now investigating the possibility that I may have something called Cushing's Syndrome. Uuugh, ya know?

But when I start feeling deflated, I usually just put some metal on and jam out... Here, try this:




I also keep reminding myself of that scene near the end of Matrix:Revolutions where Agent Smith is asking Neo "Why, Mr. Anderson, why do you keep getting back up? You know you can't win. Why, Mr. Anderson"? and Neo is like "Because. I. Choose. To." Sends chills down my spine even now and reminds me that we get to choose (for the sake of argument, let's say I believe in free will). So I can't control what happened in the past, but I can damn sure choose to influence what happens in the future.

I am objectively in a place I am not happy with, but am convinced things cannot get any better. You may say that I'm not speaking rationally, but reality can validate every one of my worries and regrets. I don't think I am exaggerating or fabricating anything, rather I am reflecting on what has happened and observing patterns, or so I think I am.

Do any of you have any experience with this?

Yeah, it's called depression. Somebody below mentioned CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), and from what I've seen/heard, I second the motion to find a pro to talk to about that. But in the short term, you can try some basic CBT like stuff on yourself. Check your inner dialog and when you find negative thoughts in you mind like "Things can NOT get any better", stop and ask yourself "is that really, really, absolutely true?" Force yourself to look for an "existence proof" of even ONE small counter-example that disproves the thesis that "things can NOT get any better." Once you find that counter-example (and I'm pretty sure you can) then you have to force your inner dialog along the lines of "OK, now I see that it's not true that things can't get any better. So what other ways CAN things get better?" and "what steps can I take to move things towards a better state?", etc.

You can also try going meta and ask yourself "OK, I just thought this really negative thought. Why? What prompted me to think that? And is whatever it was really that significant? Can I just stop thinking about $WHATEVER?" etc. It's amazing how much you can change your mood and emotions by just consciously thinking about your inner dialog.

Anyway, I'm not expert or professional, so by all means, seek professional help if you find the negativity persisting and if it's affecting your day to day life in a bad way.

monsterix 5 days ago 0 replies      
One great way to fix and feel better is to get out in the sun on a beach or somewhere open and absorb a lot of vitamin D.

This is obviously not medical advice, but if I were you and if the mood swings were not too strong (agonizing) then I'd see the sun at least 20 minutes every day. That, and a lot more focus on the work that I want to do from now, a life that I want to lead from here on.

ChrisNorstrom 5 days ago 2 replies      
"I never saw [them] as more hardworking or intelligent than I"

Maybe that's your problem. You're so confident in yourself that you just expect things to happen for you. (That's what my problem was)

1) "I would be in competition with others who've been practicing their trade for many years."

Common dude that's just BULLSHIT. What do you think college students go through?! They enter a market without any experience, competing with people who are well established and experienced. That's what people do, that's what companies do. The Google guys starting working on a search engine in an era when Microsoft, Yahoo, Lycos, & Alta Vista were established competitors. Same with Facebook > Myspace, same with Walmart > K-Mart > Sears Roebuck, with MS Word > Word Perfect, and the list goes on and on. A bunch of inexperienced no-bodies little by little outrun an experienced established player. Statistically & Historically speaking, you have a chance. So get that "I can't compete" argument out of your head. THAT is what's holding you back.

2) There's "problems" and then there's "issues". Problems can be solved. Issues can never be solved, they must be adjusted to. A flat tire is a problem, a hatred of men because of experiences with your father is an issue. And just like losing your legs, not having a childhood, and jealousy due to insecurity, your "deep seeded regret" is an issue. You cannot fix it. You can only normalize to it, understand it, and move on from it.

3) Cognitive behavioral therapy, as others have mentioned is REALLY amazing and works very well for issues. I got over body dismorphic disorder using CBT. You can't change the world to make yourself feel better, you can only change yourself, your point of view and way of thinking and that's basically what CBT is. CBT can be done with a therapist to talk you through learning to recognize and later stopping the thoughts that lead to your regret. Or you can learn about CBT methods and do it yourself like I did. (I talk to myself 6-12 hours a day which is why I went the self-mediate route. Therapists took too long and were too expensive.)

4) Learn that there is a dark side to dreaming, wishing, fantasizing, and desiring. A very dark side that leads to nothing but disappointments and regrets of not having reached the dream, wish, fantasy, or desire. We've been conditioned our whole lives to dream big and keep trying but when you don't reach those dreams you've set yourself up for decades of regret and heartache. You need to stop comparing what you have to what you wish you had, and instead compare what you have with what others do not. You're lucky, realize that.

j45 5 days ago 0 replies      
My belief: Whatever my mind got me into, it could get me out of.

My experience: It was up to me to learn how, and it's possible.

My realization: You get more of what you put your attention / energy into, be it worries, or possibilities.

There is a reality that can't be babbled around, or slippery/tricky rationalized around.

These are what I've found to be general truths. Not mine, or anyone's, but laws that only seem to get harder, truer and stronger the more I test them and try to break them.

Nothing exists but right now. The past is done, the future doesn't exist. The past is a perception. The future is a hallucination. What is possible tomorrow only depends on what you do now.

It's not about the destination, or the journey, but cultivating always, your mindset for any journey. The destinations are just postcards along the way.

Regret/Bitterness is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die.

Worrying is like praying for what you don't want to happen.

Do not feed the monsters of negativity, they don't do anything.

What you regret is standing still. So move. The world isn't passing you by, you just aren't moving.

Inaction and analysis paralysis is only defeated by action. Thinking doesn't solve many problems worth solving. Doing and figuring it out as you go does. No one figures out their life before they start, are you sure you aren't doing that?

Having a victim's mentality dis-empowers.

Building a mindset of responsibility empowers.

Empowerment is to learn that leadership isn't about leading others, or following someone, but learning to lead yourself, one thing at a time, and those things coming together over the long run.

You're not alone. You're not the first to think of fell what you do. You're not the last. As soon as you can understand this, you can get over your barriers, and over yourself to get on to something better. There is no higher action than right action in the present.

You first have to start by learning to be a friend to yourself and developing and maintaining some healthy and positive inner dialogue. Through that one is able to face and get through most things based on the fact that "I can stumble my way through this if I let myself figure it out".

Instead of worshiping doubts and the insurmountably of them, dare to live and live in possibility. Innovation, creation, and change for the better exists in cultivating a mindset of possibility.

Thinking isn't doing. Feeling isn't doing. Acting is doing. The only people who are busy looking at others are the ones who aren't busy doing and learning positively from it.

If the above doesn't reveal to you that you aren't alone, and there isn't a way to get through it, I'll leave you with this: Nothing is unique. Not you, or any problems. There is little issue or perspective that hasn't been thought or explored or agonized over before.

Instead of spiraling downward in a self-loathing cycle of reflection, get some new input to reflect on. Input and reflection go hand in hand to get the epiphanies that help you see things for the better.

For me, the sentences above aren't lines. They're all anchors and keywords tied to lessons learnt alone, without a soul to talk to sometimes, and great support in others. They are my statement of progress and what I still have to look forward to. It's taught me the only real thing I know for sure about life is to learn the most I can about myself to be the best I can.

I am the startup, and how well I develop myself will determine how well anything I work on develops.

Feel free to keep in touch. These are the kinds of conversations I live for, we don't spend enough time working on our insides, and do nothing but distract ourselves from it until we can't bear to anymore.

Most importantly, get moving, keep moving. Inward, onward, upward. You are in the drivers seat.

gee_totes 5 days ago 0 replies      
Your experience is familiar to me. It sounds like you are trapped in the negative thought cycle of depression. Your constant regretting is making you unhappy.

We get tired of being unhappy and think about what's wrong, what went wrong, how we got how we got here, etc. and try and think of a solution for our unhappiness.

Trying to think your way out of regretting will not work. Unfortunately, there is no trick or hack that will suddenly stop this cycle of regret cause it to unravel, leaving you happy and satisfied and confident with the decisions you've made.

"The problem is that we try to think our way out of our moods by working out what's gone wrong. What's wrong with me? Why do I always feel overwhelmed? Before we have any idea what's hit us, we're compulsively trying over and over to get to the bottom of what is wrong with us as people or the way we live our lives, and fix it. We put all of our mental powers to work on the problem, and the power we rely on is that of our critical thinking skills.

Unfortunately, those critical thinking skills might be exactly the wrong tools for the job."

What you might want to try is relating differently to these feelings of regret, especially when you notice that your mind is entering these cycles. It is important to realize that this is just a passing feeling.

"But we don't like to feel sad because it can quickly turn into a sense that we are somehow flawed of incomplete; so we call in the intellect to focus on the mismatch between what 'is' and what 'should be.' Because we can't accept the discomfort of the message, we try to shoot the messenger and end up shooting ourselves in the foot."

If the above blocks in quotation marks sound familiar to you, I suggest picking up a copy of the book "The Mindful Way Through Depression"[0]

Full disclosure: I'm reading this book right now, as it was recommended to me by a counselor a few years back. I also am not a psychiatrist (or lawyer, or doctor).


tunesmith 5 days ago 0 replies      
Others have written more eloquently than I, but just a couple of data points.

I'm in my early 40's right now and have recently gotten interested in a couple of technical subjects and have been learning at my own pace. I gotta say, these last few months of doing so have felt extremely rewarding. It doesn't seem to matter so much that other people out there are more experienced and also younger. There are also plenty of people that don't know a darn thing about what I'm learning. What is mattering is that it is interesting to me.

Ten years ago I think I compared myself to others a lot more, at least in a debilitating sense. So it might be something that calms down over time.

Also, there's one other trick that I've done in the past that has helped a lot. Sometimes we have those black cloud moments where it seems like things won't get better. Next time you're in a moment like that (or now, if it applies), promise yourself to take a mental snapshot of who you are right now. And promise yourself that if (when) you experience a moment of feeling better, you will remember that snapshot, and talk to that version of yourself, and reassure that version of you that things really did get better.

First time I managed to do that, I experienced that future black clouds were much, much easier to deal with - because I had proven to myself that they were just illusions.

svdad 5 days ago 0 replies      
> Do any of you have any experience with this?

Um, YEAH. And just started seeing a counsellor about it. I don't think there's anything wrong with me (or you) but I want someone to talk to about it.

I disagree with "Efforts taken at this point to turn things around would be futile." I'm living proof. I bounced from job to job for 10 years, then lost a job in finance in 2007 at 33, went back to school, got out in 2010 at 35 and now have a job as a software engineer. Yeah, I'm competing with young turks 10-15 years younger than me. Yeah, sometimes they're better... but a lot of the time they aren't. It turns out I actually did learn a few things bouncing from one job to another, and people do see that.

Is it the best job I could have at this point in my life, am I as rich as I could be, as if I had done everything "right"? NO. I threw away a bunch of fucking brilliant opportunities earlier in my career. But is it a good job that will give me a platform to build a satisfying career in the next 20 years? Absolutely.

The really hard thing for me at this point is figuring out where I really do want to go. In my case, a lot of the bad decisions were to do with "grass is greener" feelings -- I'd see one job that looked cooler than my current job, go out and get it, then decide it wasn't that cool and bounce to another one. So now that I've finally recognized that, where the fuck DO I want to go now, and how do I figure that out?

I think that's really important. Calling it "finding your passion" is bullshit, though, because it's not really about passion -- it's about making a sensible decision, taking everything into account including financial situation, family responsibilities, and the realities of various careers, as well as, yes, what you like to do. I'd love to be an astronaut, always wanted to, but -- life sucks -- it ain't gonna happen now. Not that it is 100% impossible, but I'm not willing to make the sacrifices it would entail. But there are great, exciting, satisfying things I can still do.

Another thing that's hard is making sense of the past while still keeping my focus on looking ahead to the future. That's what I'm trying to do now. I don't want to keep repeating broken patterns, so I feel like I need to think about what I've done in the past and understand it, to some extent, so I can see what I did wrong and how I can make sure not to do the same thing again. I think I've identified some of those things, but that's the main reason I'm seeing the counsellor -- I want to talk out my analyses of my past decisions and try to understand them and use my "lessons learned" for the future. I don't think completely ignoring everything that has gone before is right -- I did that for a long time and ended up making just the same mistakes 10 years later. But obsessing about the past is (obviously) not helpful either. It's a hard balance to strike.

So, you aren't alone. Very much not alone, I think. Hope you're able to make some sense of things. You can ALWAYS turn things around.

lisper 5 days ago 0 replies      
> Efforts taken at this point to turn things around would be futile

That's the depression talking. Others have said this, but I'll pile on because it's true: talk to a therapist.

I know what you're thinking: no therapist can possibly help you. You're so much smarter than any therapist. You've thought this through, and you haven't been able to figure out the answer, so a therapist won't be able to either.

You're wrong. Here's why. You're a geek, so you're used to thinking about every challenge as a problem with (at least potentially) a solution. Depression isn't like that. It's not a problem with a solution, it's something that happens to you that you need to learn how to manage. You can't fix depression any more than you can fix getting sleepy or having to go to the bathroom. What you can do is learn how to deal with it. And a good therapist can help you with that. It's not an easy process, but it's well worth the effort. You'll still get depressed, but it will hurt less.

thoughtcriminal 5 days ago 1 reply      
You're in your early thirties? Then your just getting started my friend. Most people (including me) didn't get my act together and start doing good stuff until I was in my thirties.

Personally, I got going late because my parents taught me very little in my childhood. They were poor and dumb. I'm not saying that to be mean or disrespectful, and I do love them, but they did not have their act together, so to speak.

So, take all this worry and negativity and use this energy (because that's all it is, energy) and channel it into work you want to do. Keep on iterating, trying new things, being curious.

BTW, this may sound weird, but there is something you do better than anyone else in the world. I firmly believe everyone over 30 does. Whatever that skill or ability is for you, see if you can leverage it. Now is the time to mine your strengths and exploit your uniqueness.

Okay, joyful work is ahead of you my friend. Get off HN and get busy.

corporalagumbo 5 days ago 0 replies      
Someone once told me a nice metaphor for life. It goes: life is like a big, big river. Everyone starts at different points in the river - some start further upstream, some start further down. No matter who you are though, there are always people who started usptream from you. You'll see them cruising down the river, laughing and splashing, like it's second nature. And it's easy to be jealous of them, even to become fixated about the part of the river they saw and you didn't. So you try and swim up the river to get back to where they started from. Of course that doesn't work, because the current is far too strong, so you just end up tiring yourself out, and when you get too exhausted to keep going, you look around and realise you're in exactly the same place as when you started.

You can do that for as long as you want. Ain't gunna do anything except tire you out. Eventually though you can accept the place you started in the river, and let the current take you down-stream. That's when you start living - when you accept the limitations of how you started in life and open yourself up to your own unique possibilities of your life adventure.

Also, my dad was 42 when he started university. He became a lawyer. Granted, university in my country was cheap at the time, and granted, he would be more comfortable now if he'd started earlier. But he made a good start, and it was better than sitting around and resigning himself to being unqualified.

On that note, I want to stress: it is never too late to re-qualify. And it's always worth it. Don't be embarrassed, don't come up with reasons why you'd never be successful - just go for it. Give it a shot. It'll work out in the end.

wilhelm 5 days ago 0 replies      
All of this may be true. What are you going to do about it? Remain in that hole of sweet self-pity until retirement? As the song goes: "it's not going to stop - till you wise up". It's easy and comfortable to give up and whine instead. I know. I've been there.

First, get a shrink. Yes, really.

Second, get to work! It takes ten thousand hours to truly master a craft. That's about five working years. You'll probably be working until you're 67 or so. If you start learning a new skill now, you'll master it at 37 - and for the remaining 30 years of your working life, you'll do great.

Sure, the ambitious 20-somethings may have a head start. But over the next decade, that'll even out. Just stop feeling sorry for youself and do the damn work that's needed.

(Note: The following paragraph assumes you're not supporting a family.)

If you hate your job, quit. Yes, I know you probably don't have enough savings to feel good about that. But there's no better motivation than impending doom. If you know your runway is up in two months, you'll hustle like mad thouse two months. And you'll get there. Really, what's the worst thing that can happen?

Is that really worse than where you're at now?

davidroberts 5 days ago 0 replies      
I'm 55 and currently barely scraping by on temp jobs and freelance gigs. As I look back at all the mistakes and missed opportunities, mainly caused by obvious glaring faults of my own, or in what in retrospect could be considered very dumb decisions, I certainly feel some regret. Lack of focus, maybe ADD long before people knew it existed, quitting great jobs to start a failed business or non-profit or to work overseas. Going to grad school, then skipping classes and homework to spend all night on personal projects that never really amounted to anything, getting mediocre grades, then eventually dropping out. Not able to make up my mind what I want to do for a living.

But then I see my loving wife of 30 years who has put up with me, two kids in college who call me up for advice (not necessarily taking it, but it's the thought that counts) and a high school kid who talks to me and laughs at my jokes, good health, a decent if small home, and many, many, many friends from all the places I lived, and not really even one real enemy.

Then I wonder. Would I have been as happy if I had gotten that fancy degree? Kept that job that would have had me away on 6 week business trips twice or three times a year? If I'd not followed my dreams, even though they didn't pan out?

When I die (and at 55 it starts looking a lot closer), although I never amounted to much, maybe I'll have friends and family saying goodbye as I slip away and it will seem more important at that moment than a big job and major accomplishment. At least I can feel that maybe the world is happier and nicer a little bit because I was here. I smiled at people and they smiled back and there were two more smiles added to the world happiness account. Maybe it turned out OK not focus on career and DOING BIG THINGS.

Maybe nothing has stuck for you so far, because you haven't found what would really make you happy. Please, keep looking. Be open. Cultivate positive relationships. Help other people who are suffering. Make the world cleaner, nicer, safer, brighter, more fun, even if just through a kind word to the person sitting next to you at Starbucks, or picking up a piece of litter and dropping it in a trash can.

And if you do want to turn things around, it's definitely not too late, if you want to try again. I've had at least two great chances since I was 40. The only reason I'm not doing them now is because I ended up moving on because they weren't really what I wanted. Maybe they'll be what you want.

Most of all, don't let the world's idea of what is worth doing define how you evaluate your life. They have no idea what constitutes true happiness for you. Only you can know that, and sometimes it takes a while to find out.

fusiongyro 5 days ago 0 replies      
Sounds to me like undiagnosed depression. Treatment helps, and I do mean antidepressants. Fooled by Randomness also helps. Volunteerism helps. Doing things helps. Throw yourself in with the salt of the earth.

Once you get your mood straightened out, you will find that day two of progress is worth more than years wasted on regret, but the mood disorder is not something you should expect to succeed at thinking your way through.

Evbn 5 days ago 0 replies      
You aren't dead. You have more wealth than the median if not 90 percentile human, in the most peaceful and wealthy and entertainment rich era in world history. Don't create a world where only number 1 gets to be happy. Enjoy the companionship of normal people, don't obsess over the richest, smartest people you know, appreciate that everyone has something to offer and just be productive at something and lend a hand to a friend or stranger and enjoy the view.

Beyond basic health and safety, you get to choose the rules of the game of your life. Making contest to make the most money or be the championship is the stupidest game to play. Collaboration beats competition.

bane 5 days ago 0 replies      
First: Everybody has regrets, often very deep and hurtful regrets. Remember that when you think about the successes of another. They're living with their own unique set of places where life didn't work out for them.

Second: There's going to be somebody who's better than you in anything you do. But nobody is going to be better than you in everything you do. You are a unique collection of skills and should only really think about self improvement for your own sake, not about competition against others on cherry picked sets of capabilities.

Third: Try and live a life that, if you picked out only the highlights and wrote a book about it, would be a damn interesting read. Meditate on those good parts, those personal adventures, those things you never thought you would ever see, hear or experience. Take great satisfaction in those things -- for they are yours and yours alone. If you think you haven't done that yet, start today. That transition into a life of experience will in and of itself be a place in your life's book where the adventure began.

mikecane 5 days ago 0 replies      
OK, I'm older than you and have been going through this right now. Let me tell you what the biggest pile of absolute bullshit is in what you just wrote:

>>>Efforts taken at this point to turn things around would be futile

That is absolute bullshit. You don't know what the future looks like nor can you say any new efforts would be futile. You've just jumped the tracks, are stuck in a rut, and all you're seeing is the damned rut. I can't help you get out of that rut -- the rut is different for each of us -- but you must find your way out. Having great days isn't a matter of just waking up to great days. It's building great days one small step at a time during lousy days. Think of it like compound interest with money. Do at least one damn thing to move forward each day. You don't need a plan -- plans won't help, only create the potential for more disappointment -- you just need to move. Move, move, move I'll leave it to others here to suggest practical steps. But standing still in that rut is death and life -- even miserable life -- is better than death. Death is finality. Life is practically infinite potential, whether you can see that right now or not.

redschell 5 days ago 0 replies      
Early 30s? You might like this:

“[Julius] Caesar served in 63 BC as a quaestor in Spain, where in Cadiz he is said to have broken down and wept in front of a statue of Alexander the Great, realizing that where Alexander had conquered most of the known world at thirty, Caesar at that age was merely seen as a dandy who had squandered his wife's fortunes as well as his own.”

dinkumthinkum 1 day ago 0 replies      
I would say just snap out of it. I mean that sincerely. All those things you mention don't matter. People in far worse position than you, assuming what you've said is an accurate portrayal, go on to become very successful. Sure, you could say they are anomalies. But, you've made it to this site, you don't write like a moron, I find it hard pressed to believe it is hopeless.

You are here so I wonder, do you have some interest in programming? Many people have programming jobs that don't have CS degrees. You mention your age, and sure out in the Valley there are those types that have the mindset of Logan's Run and about age 28 is time when programmers need to be put out to pasture, but this is not true in most places, probably not totally true in the Valley either. If you want to do programming, or anything, learn skills and go for it. You don't need to be so attractive that 90% of companies want to hire you; you just need to find that one person that will take a chance on you.

I recently met someone much older than you, take six months learning .NET and C# (this is not an advertisement for that platform just a real example), then found a job as a contractor at a government agency (or sub contractor) and started building experience, now he has no problems finding programming work. It's not glamorous mega high paying stuff but it's not bad and he's not even that driven. So, early 30's is not the end of the world.

How to stop regretting? Spend some time with animals, zoos, dogs. They live in the moment. Start doing that for awhile, but work on a plan for your future but don't look back. It's pointless.

Also, you're not alone. A lot of people feel this way, even people you might think of as pretty successful.

Good luck and get out there!

JacobAldridge 5 days ago 0 replies      
Past > Present < Future

I cannot change the past. I cannot change the future. I only have choice in the present, so that is my point of power.

Past > POWER < Future

This simple little framework helps me avoid regret, and also becoming lost in fantasy-land about what my future may entail. Note that it doesn't absolve me of responsibility to learn from the past or plan for the future - but both learning and planning are 'present' actions!

YuriNiyazov 5 days ago 1 reply      
Honestly, there's a whole field of professionals that's designed to deal with problems like these; it's called psychotherapy. It helped me, though not for this exact problem, but for something related.
Jach 5 days ago 0 replies      
There are lots of great comments on this page. I'll offer something different, which is a critique on this section of your post:

> Efforts taken at this point to turn things around would be futile, whether that means going back to school or picking up a new skill; I would be in competition with others who've been practicing their trade for many years.

Emphasis mine. This is bullshit. In three major ways. First, just because someone has been doing something a while, doesn't mean they're very good at it. Just because someone started 10 years ago, doesn't mean another person can't surpass them within a single year. Practice does not make perfect (it does usually make good enough though).

Second, I'm going to assume you kind of sort of like programming, but if you don't then I'll suggest that as a new general skill for you to pick up. Every year job-n00bs graduate with a CS degree and yes, some of them do in fact get a job programming--even some of the incompetent or just somewhat-worse-than-mediocre graduates. Yeah, if you pick up programming, you'll be "competing" with them for the basic jobs. Yeah, some companies have age bias, a lot don't. And maybe this year you don't get a job you want. So focus on improving the skill that company wanted over the course of the following year (a great thing about programming is that "on-the-job" is not the only way to improve your skill), and when you try again, you're still in competition with a fresh crop of n00bs, but now you have a year of practice on them. Some people are always going to be ahead of you. Big deal, the demand isn't exactly drying up.

Third, there are plenty of fields that are dying for new blood. It doesn't matter if it's inexperienced blood, that can usually be fixed. And there are who knows how many unknown frontiers of thought and work left to explore. If you're really worried about competing with people who have decades of practice and experience, then find something that no one on Earth has been practicing for "many years", and do that.

akulbe 5 days ago 1 reply      
I have some experience with this. I never went into a slump that I would consider clinical depression. I'm not sure if that's what you're going through, or not. I'm certainly not that kind of professional.

My experience is this: regret is a black hole of the worst kind. It sucks you in, and there is no end to it, and it is unmerciful in the worst way.

However, how you choose to respond to your circumstances is completely within your control. This was something Victor Frankl (a man who survived the concentration camps during the Holocaust!!) talked about in "Man's Search for Meaning"

I will hit 40 in November, and there are parts of my life that I wish had ended up differently, but I don't poke that bear.

I have learned to be thankful for where I am, and what blessings I have in my life now.

(for me, I'm happily married, and have a health baby girl, a home of my own, a job I enjoy)

I would posit to you that it would help, if you took an inventory of what you have to be thankful for... and started from that position, that life may look a bit brighter.

You can change your circumstances in life. It may not come as quickly as you like... but it will come, with work.

I am sorry you are hurting... but I couldn't disagree with you more, that efforts to turn things around now would be futile. Nothing could be further from the truth.

If you like, I can share with you where I've come from. My history isn't something I'd like to put here publicly, but I'd be happy to share with you, through a different venue. You can email me at the address listed in my profile.

factorialboy 5 days ago 0 replies      
I had a similar feeling few years ago. What worked for me: Meditation.

Why? Because it stresses on the now.

It's practical too. There's nothing you can do about the past. And sitting and internally whining doesn't help. Do whatever you're doing now and give it 100% attention.

In the end, if you're lucky, you'll realize the futility of it all! :)

BklynJay 5 days ago 0 replies      
1. Stop feeling sorry for yourself. It's ok to mope for a day or two. Get it out of your system. Then get it together for long enough to act, because you have work to do.

2. You're in your early 30's and you feel like all your decisions have been made and that everything about your life is set in stone? I can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt, that isn't true. You're still young. Don't focus on what you've done. Let that be chapters 1,2 and 3 in your biography. What do you want chapters 3.3 through 8 to say? Do you want them to say, "He made some mistakes and let them rule the rest of his life"? Or "He got his act together and made opportunities for himself."

You're on Hacker News. HN is absolutely rife with stories of people creating opportunities for themselves.

One last thing: "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."

shad0wfax 5 days ago 1 reply      
Wow, I feel similar and I am in my early 30s as well. I have taken some steps to change though.

But, let me interpret it a bit differently from what others are making it here from what I have personally experienced (I felt the same until about a year ago): "I don't think you are depressed. You just fear failure and are not very happy leaving a comfort zone. You are just not willing to let your guard down and fall on your face (letting go of a status/lifestyle). You are obviously smart and it hurts that with your abilities you have ended up in a way that doesn't make you proud."

This is purely my observation, based on what I felt, and I might be completely off the mark in your case. I still feel compelled to tell you though. So here is a bit of my story:

I had worked almost a decade in technology that amounted to nothing. I din't put the effort required to do a Masters (would have been easy for me), and I still regret that I din't take a shot at pursuing a Phd.

I desperately wanted to change the status quo, and decided to do the most stupid thing that most would recommend - "do a startup". Needless to say that startup failed, but if there is one thing I can say is that I have been the "happiest" in my life in the last decade. Now, not that I don't still have those sinking doubts about my abilities, but they don't recur as often and I am extremely optimistic on some of the things I am pursuing. But, here are some key takeaways that I have (and I hope you can maybe relate to it) -

1)"Set yourself up" - I had to set myself up. Taking the plunge - leaving the comfort zone, a well paying job, moving out of the country (immigrant here) etc, was never easy. I have an amazing wife, who has stood by me and constantly pushed me to take this plunge. She is now the sole bread winner (but was still studying when I took the risk), but she convinced me that it was worth it. I moderated my lifestyle about 4 years ago and started saving for this as well as some money for my wife's masters. It helps to plan, so please consider finding your "minimal footprint" required.

2)"Think longterm" - The problem with most is that we need immediate tangible results. If I am putting 6 months into something I need to see monetary results. I think letting go of that to some extent might make it easier to change. Obviously I lived a fairly frugal lifestyle without paychecks. The advantage of still being 30 and having a simple life is that you have at least another 30 rewarding years :). Thats how I look at it. So think how you can make your next or so years awesome.

3) "Own a dream" - Ok, sounds cliched. The problem I had was that I was not able to make up my mind for a long time what I wanted to do. Taking the plunge - "my first risk", changed everything. It sort of really opened the door to many other ideas and what distilled from it is a clear goal. I now will pursue my entrepreneurial dream for couple more years. See #1 for setting yourself up for this. In the field I am interested in, I have really very limited expertise. I am building it each day. I used to feel overwhelmed looking at how much there is t know and the really smart people already there, but I have learnt to tune out of this. I am trying my best to chip a little away each day. I try building stuff at home to see if I am learning something new. It sure feels effort wasted at times, but I think it makes me more confident. Maybe its my bias, but I think focus and hardwork sure helps someone like me who hasn't got the chops already.

Its been more than year since I made these changes and I have a failed startup to show, but I am already working on another one. In the grand scheme of things it can be construed as a "waste" but I have stopped listening to that thought or others who say it :). Hope this can help.

braveheart1723 5 days ago 0 replies      
Same - I've felt like that for the last 4 years, a few big events shocking yourself into a self reality that you're not really where you want to be, and every day you think about it and it fucking hurts... I have no advice cause I still haven't gotten out.

It was fine when you were younger and you said to yourself that one day it'll work out... cause it always does. Whether it's the gold medal, job, girl, song, music career, as long as it was in the future, that gives you a little comfort in thinking, well I'm not there now, but maybe later. There's a point where you realize... you're never getting there.

That fuckin hurts.

All i know is the pain usually comes from that gap, the gap between where you are, and where you want to be, and how you see NO way to get to it. All those fallacies of 'work hard, apply yourself' aren't working, they've worked in other areas of your life but there's just things you've lost that you'll never reach again, completely out of your control. Whether it's because of your race, your starting circumstances, a disability, your genes, your parents, your timing, whatever it's out of your control.

All I can say this is a lot more common than you think.

I'm guessing you're in Tech as this is hackernews, stop for a moment and have a look at fighters and athletes.

They suffer from exactly the same thing and on top of that their stretch is usually never more than 4 or 5 years... There's a moment in their career where no matter how many hours they put in the gym, on the bike, on the road, in the pool, they'll never be at the top, never, they start drinking... and it's game over.


Rickson Gracie is an absolute legend... he has a couple of quotes in there, about really wanting the win, after so much training, effort, and dedication, while at the same time, not really wanting it. It's a strange paradox. He's closed one chapter of his life and moved on to something else

"I don't think about competing, I've competed my whole life. Why would I want to compete anymore? So that's out of the question. The fans are the ones who just don't understand, and the fans who would like to see me fight, are just going to have to live with it. Unfortunately, that's the way it is. I don't live and I've never lived by someone else's expectations. I never fought for the fans. I always fought to honor my Jiu-Jitsu and my family. Now there are others to do that. Competition is over, it's behind me now. I don't want to move forward thinking about competing. I want to go forward thinking of supporting society, setting a good example for kids, teaching children to become better people, not hitting machines, as there is in MMA today. I am the philosophy of Jiu-Jitsu, the philosophy of good relationships between dads and sons, between respect, discipline, and honor… All these things that have made me what I am and have really stood out in my life. No longer a victory or a possible defeat. I think I can live without the money I could make. But I can't live knowing that because of the money I got in there and lost. I'd be fighting for the money and that in itself brings a loss to me. I never fought for money. So, I'm not going to start now"

He looks kinda happy... who the fuck knows...


Artists are the same, if you're not deluded, you'll never be Raphael or Vermeer, never, and you have to deal with that every day. I guess the trick is about turning that gap into ambition and something creative, using it to drive you forwards into something constructive.

Like you say the rational part of you kicks in after a week or two when you realize those steps you're taking aren't really getting you there.

Good luck !

rooshdi 5 days ago 0 replies      
Forget everyone else's "success". Forget the past. It's irrelevant. What do you want to do now and into the future? What are your dreams? Life is fairly short and not fair to many people, but most of us are quite fortunate to have good health and opportunities to seize our dreams. What are yours? Start with realistic dreams you can achieve now and work step-by-step towards larger ones. You can do it. Failures are the footsteps of success. Just keep dreaming towards that door. It will open one day.


regret-me-not 5 days ago 0 replies      
Yes, I do have some experience with this.

At the age of 33 I thought that my life was a complete mistake. The evidence was clear: despite a start as a brilliant child prodigy, I had history of depression and self-isolation. I didn't got to a great university, just a glorified community college. In the doldrums of 2003-4 I was applying for work slinging PHP at local used car websites and not even getting those jobs.

I was sick of trying. So I decided to just... give up, and see what happened.

I had this feeling that regular society wasn't for me - that all I could do was to be a homeless drifter. So I gave up looking for work, and just waited for my rent and other expenses to deplete the last few hundred dollars.

So then I had nothing to do. No obligations. No jobs to apply for. No need to compete with my ex-colleagues.

With nothing better to do I decided to hack on a few things that amused me. We're talking tiny little scripts here, in weird, obscure areas. And then I posted them online. And then, they got some attention, for being weird and different. And then my phone was ringing with calls from recruiters. And a few months after my plan to become a homeless person was set in motion, I was filling out my orientation forms at a campus in Silicon Valley.

You may be discounting my story as a fluke. And I got super lucky. But you can also see how flawed my thinking was. And maybe your thinking is similarly flawed.

I thought I had nothing to offer, and yet I was a reasonably well-educated person, with a great deal of knowledge, and a certain measure of creativity and even passion for certain topics. And I bet you're the same way. If you're on Hacker News you probably know something about something. Are you sure you aren't blocking yourself?

The reason we get blocked is that we compare ourselves to others. Google "growth mindset" versus "fixed mindset". Too many of us are taught "fixed mindset" - you are smarter, therefore you are better. If you are sucking at something, it's because you are inferior. This is such a painful conclusion, you start to numb down your emotions to deal with it. Which is why your brain probably feels fogged, and why it's doubly hard to climb out of this state.

Your post is dripping with fixed-mindset thinking. According to you, learning new skills is impossible, or will take too long, or isn't worth it. Why? You aren't saying that you can't learn this stuff. You aren't saying you can't have a good career. You're saying it's not worth it because others will be further along. Think about this. It is not rational. You will have nothing if you don't learn new skills (or at least change what you're doing).

Furthermore, in today's market, it is not a matter of being the best in one thing. It's about finding your unique niche. By utter luck, I stumbled into doing that for myself. I'm not the best in X or Y or Z but I am among the best, or at least employable, in people who do X+Y+Z.

My motivation was despair, which freed me from having to compete, and let my natural inclinations take over. But on the whole, rather than despair, I recommend joy. ;) Looking for what's fun will put you on a better path. You'll home right in on what you're supposed to be doing. I guarantee it.

It will be hard to get to that space. You are depressed and have accumulated bad habits from a lifetime of fixed-mindset thinking. And this is fucking with your rationality, no matter what it seems. One way to fix your thinking is cognitive-behavioral therapy. See if you can find a professional in your area.

datalus 5 days ago 0 replies      
I'm in the same boat as you. I graduated from a top CS program almost a decade ago. I've only worked at two companies, the first a startup and the second is a cushy corporate job. I had a stepfather who was amazingly successful at my age, but just last year his life ended quite abruptly. It was really hard to not only lose him as a mentor, but as a friend and family.

It really stirred in me that life is what you make of it. I'm actively seeking outside help and hope that going into my 30s will be the biggest step forward in my life equipped with the knowledge of where I came from in my 20s.

To say that the 30+ comments on this thread so far has been incredibly useful to my own personal experience is an understatement.

I thank you OP for making this post. I've been on a bit of a downturn lately but this discussion has made it feel all the more surmountable. I wish you well, you're not alone in this struggle.

viscanti 5 days ago 0 replies      
A big part of this is that you're comparing yourself to others. The only thing you can really control is your own actions. It's much better to focus on where you are and where you want to be. Are you making progress or not? If not, what can you do to get where you want to be?

It's about progress every day towards a goal. Whatever has happend has happened. You can't control the past. But you can absolutely control the future and where you end up. Focus on what you can control (your actions going forward) not what you can't (the actions of your friends or what you've done in the past).

People successfully re-invent themselves much later than their early 30s. You've got nothing to worry about. It's not too late.

epsylon 5 days ago 0 replies      
Lots of good advice was already given here, I'll just add my two cents.

> You may say that I'm not speaking rationally, but reality can validate every one of my worries and regrets.

If you're thinking rationally, then you should realize that regrets are useless. Only the lesson that you can learn from the regret is valuable. All this energy that you are wasting on regretting something is energy that could have been poured into honing a craft.
The most important thing perhaps, is to optimize not for the arrival, but for the journey itself. Whatever your goal is, do something little that will bring you closer to it, every day. But this little something, you must enjoy. (Of course, if you feel like you can do more than "little" and still enjoy it, do it !). If you enjoy programming but feel like you don't know a lot about languages or some technology, then get started on that language or that domain you don't know and that scares you (be it C++, Haskell, AI, 3D...). Practice some of it everyday.
It works for other domains as well : eating healthier food, exercising and practicing sports, practicing a musical instrument.
The 10 year rule is really scary but don't forget that with every year of practice, you'll feel like you've learned a lot. It's not some kind of hard threshold, where you learn with great pain for 10 years and at the end, you get a flash of genius and you instantly become a master. It's progressive, and it compounds.

Embrace the mistakes. Mistakes are part of how we, humans, learn.
I can definitely relate to your feeling, because I have had a lot of regrets concerning my life choices as well. I realized a few things about it : I would have done some of these mistakes at a later point in my life most probably, and making them earlier taught me a lesson earlier. Some other stupid mistakes were due to character flaws of mine, and eventually I realized that I should strive to change these flaws as well. It's not easy, but I'll give it a try. Anyway, there is no point on dwelling on the past. If you'd like to be at a better place, start moving towards it, it doesn't matter if it's 100km away and your first steps are only 1cm. The steps will be exponentially longer with time " and maybe you'll realize your goal is not where you envisioned it at first, but it doesn't matter because it's easy to change your goals once you have gained momentum. As humans, it is also a natural tendancy (and imho a good thing) to always keep your goals challenging. For example, as an amateur guitarist, over the years I have come to discover that there are always more challenging pieces of music to play, and more extremely talented guitarists whose mastery I would yearn for. But I still enjoy playing at my modest level.

You are in your early 30's which is still very, very young.
(My taekwondo teacher, now a 4th dan black belt, started taekwondo in his late 20's. He is very impressive, and looks 10 year younger than he is.)

yason 5 days ago 0 replies      
There's a saying "Be yourself. Everyone else is taken."

You can't change the past so you can only learn from it. I sense that you're not fully ok with who you are yourself and where you come from, and that leads you to the fallacious conclusion that you're somehow not good enough.

The question is, what is your identity built on? Is it things that are internal to you and which don't depend on other people's opinions, or is it things that are external to you, leaving you wide open to judge yourself?

DigitalJack 5 days ago 0 replies      
I deal occasionally with regret. I think it's pretty natural if you spend a lot of time introspecting.

I'm sure there have been times were we all have dreamed of being able to go back in time and do things differently. Or go back and visit prior selves, tell them to do things differently.

Which brings up an interesting proposition. What if you could write a letter to your past self, say 2 years ago. What would you say? What would you tell yourself to do differently?

Write that letter. Be real with yourself.

Now, having written that letter, read it back. Except think of this letter as having been written by your future self a couple years from now to you in the present. Perhaps some specifics can't apply directly, but you likely will have found some things that you can start applying to yourself now.

This is an idea that has been bouncing around my head lately. I have not done it yet, but perhaps this weekend I will spend some time reflecting on the last couple years and pen that letter to myself.

tehwalrus 5 days ago 1 reply      
As others have suggested, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is going to help enormously with this - I have personal experience of it, and it is very good.

Depending on where you are, you may need to wait to get an appointment (I had to wait 4 months to see a CBT worker on the NHS in the UK) so in the meantime, you may want to try this book:


Which is an 8 week course of ways to meditate to practise breaking the negative spirals of thoughts.

My partner and I are currently working though it, and while it can seem like it's talking down to you some of the time (especially if you're a geek like me) you should persevere, as the actual conclusions, practical advice and meditations are very helpful (and have been shown to work in clinical trials.)

Good luck, life gets better than this! :)

jessedhillon 5 days ago 0 replies      
I don't like to go give advice because, well, it's often just wrong. Not my advice, all advice. But I will do it because I think this could help you:

Lower your expectations, but raise your commitments.

What I mean by that is: stop looking at your less-studious friends and thinking how much farther you should be. Stop looking at your life's circumstances and thinking how much better others have it. Strive for something more immediate: a new job, promotion, getting a meeting with someone important to you. Whatever. Then, plan the sequence of actions you need to undertake to make this happen, and commit to executing them.

In my personal experience, feeling exactly the way you described, I've found that all of it stems from not actually getting anything done. Expecting to be in such high places, but having such a small inventory of achievement. So I'm reversing that: collecting achievements, committing to completion and expecting only to move on to the next commitment.

In my experience the despair came from feeling that I was powerless to change my circumstances. This approach directly affirms that I do.

(The particular phrasing of this advice comes from Venkatesh Rao)

6ren 5 days ago 0 replies      
1. While you reflect on the past, you neglect the present - which is the only place you have power/agency. You have none over the past, so focusing on it will give you the impression you are powerless. When you stop exercising your options, you may start to believe you can't exercise them, then you stop looking for options/choices/opportunities, and stop seeing the ones you already have, and finally believe you have no options. You can reverse this by focusing your attention on where you do have power. Like a muscle, exercising your power increases it; by noticing your present options/opportunities, your eyes will get better at seeing them.

2. A way to feel satisfaction from progress in the present is to take a tiny action, and to compare yourself to where you were a moment ago. Tiny steps count and they add up. Add a little to a little and soon you have a big pile. A journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step; any journey consists of steps.

This is the approach I try to take when I feel as you do, and it helps me. As others have said, you're hurting, and it's important to take care of yourself. Think of yourself as suffering a physical injury, and taking small steps is physiotherapy. Don't push too hard at first, try for a level that will help strengthen you, not for performance in itself.

Richard Feynman said that nature's imagination is greater than your imagination. You are part of nature, your cells, your mind, your potential. There's more to you than you can ever know.

ScottBurson 5 days ago 0 replies      
You do sound depressed.

I think you also need to forgive yourself for your mistakes.

There's hardly anyone who doesn't make some wrong turns in their 20s. (And I'm not saying everyone has it all figured out by 30, either.) Your situation is not even unusual, except that you're feeling so bad about it.

I'm a lot older than you are, and I assure you that it's ludicrous to think it's too late for you to have a good life. Actually, things can get steadily better into middle age, though perhaps not as fast as you would like.

nollidge 5 days ago 0 replies      
> You may say that I'm not speaking rationally, but reality can validate every one of my worries and regrets.

Depression lies.

sebcat 5 days ago 0 replies      
Cheer up, mate. Always look on the bright side of life.

I used to feel like that. To be honest, I still do, sometimes. Most of the time though, I try to broaden my perspective on things. So you're not the industry leader. So you're not the conqueror of worlds.




I make more money than my mother and my father. My mother is a teacher who studied at the university. I think master, but I don't really know. She takes an interest in children with learning disabilities. My father is a metal worker. My mother can't hear for shit because all those children make a lot of noise. My father has heart disease and bad knees.

I, on the other hand, don't have a degree. I have not worked hard to achieve anything in my life really. I code, people give me money. Good money. More money than what is given to honest, hard working people.

I'm not a name, or anyone to care about. Sometimes it feels as if I have conned my way into making a living, because everyone in my family works harder than me. My grandfather is still working as a carpenter to get by. I also think he does it because he likes it. It is what he knows. But still, his knees are busted up, his hip is too. And his back hurts. He's old and should be enjoying his retirement.

The world is unfair. And a fucked up place. My country has a social welfare system. A relatively good one. If you are unable to work, the state will provide for you. Not much, but still enough to get by. No real need to be homeless, yet people still are.

I've visited the US a couple of times for recreational purposes and for work. To me, it seems as if everyone believes that if you work hard and pay your bills, you will go far.

It's not like that.

It's about circumstances. It's about chance. It's about luck.

Sometimes i feel guilt because I receive more money than my family. Sometimes I feel as if I could've done something more with my life.

When I feel like that, I just say 'fuck it'. It is very liberating. Force yourself to think happy thoughts. You will be happy.

The world is still fucked up. People still die of starvation, rape and mass murder in the world, while the people from wealthy families prosper in the west. But the world is not yours to fix.

Just enjoy your time in this world, it will not last forever.

bbunix 5 days ago 1 reply      
I'm 50. Made millions. Lost millions. Regrets? Sure.

But it's really a question of perspective. A friend of mine needs 2 kidneys and a liver (try having the "regrets" discussion with them). When I look around, really look around and see the situation a lot of people are in, I get grateful. And gratitude is the answer to that situation. Make a list of all the things you have to be grateful for. You're on HN, you're educated, a bunch of people here care.

Go help someone else. Volunteer at a homeless shelter. Visit the sick in a hospital. Go to the SPCA and pet the animals. Take action.

It's also the middle of winter. I used to suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder living in Canada. Fish oil + vitamin D + exercise helps. Moving to Key West helped more :)

Finally, I had to accept that I was exactly where I wanted to be. I took all the actions to get me here. I take the blame. I own it. Mine. Figure out where you want to go, big goals, small goals - and take daily steps to get there... you're either getting better or getting sicker... make the choice to take the actions to get better.

And this may involve asking for help. You've made a good start here, but there might be underlying depression as others have mentioned... therapy of some sort... meditation (my favorite)... stopping drinking or drugging...

This too will pass. Hang in there. Use this situation as the impetus you need to change some shit that needs changing. And I want to see the next post from you as "Tell HN: Feeling Better, here's why"

Good luck!

yesimahuman 5 days ago 0 replies      
I might be too young to have the regret, but I feel the comparison to others quite often. Honestly, I think this is the realm of professional help if it is debilitating. I think a consequence of being a heavy thinker means we analyze every situation as if we are merely a player in some strange social arena, and we often feel we are losing.

What helped me the most was realizing that money and success wouldn't make me happier, but that investing in the relationships and values I had would. Money and success is merely one social metric, and it's often rather shallow.

Good luck!

andyl 5 days ago 0 replies      
I think everyone has thoughts like these, more or less.

What worked for me: meditation. Right now I'm listening to series of training sessions by a guy in redwood city - here are the recordings for the first three weeks.




This might not be your thing, but if come across something like this that is a good fit for you, it can be great. Best is something that you physically do from time to time, not just read/think about.

ahoyhere 5 days ago 0 replies      
Get the audiobook -- AUDIO BOOK -- of When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron. It totally saved my regretful ass. The thing about regret is your natural reaction is to run away from it, but that only makes it worse. And it makes you feel like a coward. So whenever you think of something you regret, whenever it pops into your mind, you start running, and that creates this unbearable vicious cycle. This audiobook is the first major step to breaking the cycle and eliminating regret.

This is always my go-to recommendation for friends who are hurting, and without fail, if they listen to it and try it, they tell me it's been transformative for them, too.

BTW, I had a LOT of things to regret (most of them a lot, lot worse than the list you shared with us… not to trivialize yours, but I was reliving the ways I'd hurt people badly and caused disasters that effected them 5, 10 years before).

blablabla123 5 days ago 0 replies      
I do also have this from time to time, but not very often. It does not occur to me when I have things to do that are meaningful to me. Like working on a cool hobby project, having fun with friends, thinking that my work is fun.

Maybe your life is really boring right now, so you have reason to be frustrated. This is good, isn't it? This probably means you need to change something. Obviously what you do, but maybe also your attitude. You should rather look forward and think what you can do and not what you could have done.

Not sure what you are interested in, maybe you want to go rafting, learn climbing, learn Vietnamese, learn to cook food that others can eat, create a funny website, go to another country, go to the Military, run like Forest Gump through the US, or maybe walk through the US... So much stuff to do.

Also stop whining, maybe you need to watch some more Clint Eastwood movies. And in addition some documentaries about refugees in Africa or child soldiers. Afterwards you feel more sorry for them than for you. What also helps, talking a cold shower in the morning (or hot-cold ;)), making some push-ups, eating breakfast. You'll feel much more vital afterwards. (Speaking from experience.)

Anyway: stop comparing yourself with others and don't forget that they paid a price for being so disciplined.

Mz 4 days ago 0 replies      
I was one of the top three students of my graduating high school class. People expected big things of me. I also had undiagnosed medical problems and an abusive childhood behind me. I chose to go deal with my personal issues instead of pursuing public accomplishments and approval. I didn't stop feeling like a loser until my medical condition was properly identified when I was 36. After that, I was finally able to start getting my act together.

But it wasn't quick or anything. There was a lot to address. I still feel frustrated with a lot of things, even though I am pretty confident of the choices I have made. I know I still have massive public image problems, which makes me crazy, and a lot of things feel incredibly unfair to me.

Just start working on your problems. The only remedy for regret is to fix things that went wrong. When that is not directly possible, still try to fix things. (I know a woman whose child died. She is still researching his cause of death in order to benefit other people, even though it won't bring her child back.)

"Nothing takes the past away like the future." -- Madonna

regretting2 5 days ago 0 replies      
Wow. Hello me?

I've been dealing with a lot of the same issues and regretting my past and hating myself for the decisions I've made.

Recently I've been working on realizing that my self-worth is not based on anything I've done. My/your self-worth is entirely based on my/your confidence in myself/yourself that I/you can do whatever we put ourselves too. No arguments! No debate based upon what has happened in the past! None of that!

Now, I know that is much easier said than done. Trust me, I know.

For what it's worth, I would get very anxious about working on anything either because I would be afraid of failing, being judged, or just because I haven't been able to do it in the past. This caused me to get very depressed, in the medical sense of the word, I've been seeing a psychologist for a little over a year now. My doctor recommended a book, "The Now Habit" which helped me learn how to schedule better and gave me a little insight into, what had become, habitual anxiety and procrastination. Combined with monthly talk sessions I've been able to remove a lot of the anxious and depressed feelings, which allows me to focus on my view of myself.

Eventually, after I almost lost my job and my grandmother died, he put me on a low-dose SSRI. It has helped immensely. It hasn't affected the highs in life, but it dampens the lows.

(I only started seeing a doctor after I saw how my depression was affecting my, the girlfriend, now wife. Not after it ruined a company I was starting and my college education. I wish I had gone earlier, but I was convinced that it was something I could solve on my own.)

This has, honestly, been the hardest part. I've struggled with the anxiety for a while. Recently, however, I found that reading is a way for me to relax. I used to try Hacker News or Reddit, but neither of those felt fulfilling. I would try programming and felt bad that I would work on a project that isn't important. Then I started reading again.

Reading has allowed me to settle down internally and then I can sit and do what I was anxious about. It may help that the first book I've pulled out is "Failure Is Not an Option: Mission Control From Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond" by Gene Kranz. It covers the history of the space program, a subject that really interests me, but has also been a rallying cry for me. Mr. Kranz talks about the successes and failures of the early program, and how they moved forward after a setback.

My rallying cry has been "Tough and Competent," from the Kranz Dictum after the Apollo 1 fire (excerpt to follow):

"From this day forward, Flight Control will be known by two words: 'Tough and Competent.'

Tough means we are forever accountable for what we do and what we fail to do. We will never again compromise our responsibilities. Every time we walk into Mission Control we will know what we stand for.

Competent means we will never take anything for granted. We will never be found short in our knowledge and in our skills. Mission Control will be perfect."

"Tough and Competent" reminds me that it is possible to move forward and become better than what you were without forgetting what has happened or sweeping it under the rug.

From there I've started working on some of Pratchet's Discworld series again. I only note this because it doesn't all have to motivational books, but I think I lucked out picking that one first.

codex 5 days ago 0 replies      
First of all, the responses to this post are breathtakingly good. This is one of the best threads I have ever seen on HN, and I am proud of the community. Take time meditate on the content here, because it is gold.

I have little to add, save this: try to think less and do more. That may sound strange and counterproductive, but I've found that the mind is a complex, dynamic thing, and without proper calibration, it can go into bad loops, like a broken record. You're experiencing some of those bad loops now. Your mind needs recalibration. "Doing" is that recalibration. You can't think your way back to the straight and level. You need experience with new things. Don't fear, don't think, just do. Constant effort, being too busy for fear or introspection, is the proper environment for a correcting mind. At least, it works for me.

visualR 5 days ago 0 replies      
Early 30s is not too late. I know a guy going back for a MS in Stat who is 40s -- no previous data related jobs. Stop comparing yourself to other people, just work on things youre passionate about. Most people dont. You are already successful if you can do that.
JohnHaugeland 5 days ago 0 replies      
> Early 30's and experience debilitating regret on a daily basis

Eventually you'll realize that regret takes time, and that that time could be better spent doing the things you wish you already had.

Think it hurts that you didn't do anything as a child? Wait'll you realize that as a young adult you just stared at the wall thinking about your childhood.

There's nothing you can do about the past. There is something you can do about the present.

Crack open the compiler and make today the day things changed. That way, five years from now, when you're looking back, there'll be that line where it turns into pride.

iuguy 5 days ago 1 reply      
Can you change the past? No.

Can you change the future? Yes.

I think you're placing a lot of importance on things that don't matter. There's only one real thing you can achieve in life, which is to enjoy it. Anything else is secondary.

Comparing yourself to the best parts of others will always fail as you're more aware of your own failings than theirs. Life isn't a competition.

As for being convinced things cannot get better, try changing the things you can and see if elements of your life improve.

I do think that you might get better results talking about it with close friends or a professional rather than random people on the Internet, but focusing on your regret stops you from moving on, which is why it's important that you don't.

marmot1101 5 days ago 0 replies      
I have a lot of experience with this. I'm just pulling through the other side of this regret.

I am in my early 30's as well. I opted to work right out of high school and take 10 years getting my 2 year degree. I worked for a very long time with a decent employer, and I built up great skills along the way.

In the past couple of years though things started getting bleak. I was hitting the boundaries of what this employer could offer, and I could even say that it was a bit of an abusive work relationship(probably mutually). My mood started getting foul. People who I was good friends with I was having trouble getting along with. I was drinking a lot to smooth things over. My family life suffered. Things were a mess.

One day I just had enough and got into counseling. I took control. I changed jobs, and stepped away from friends for a while and worked on family. I doubled down on education(I had started on my bachelors a while back, but I recommitted). Things got a bit better.

Then things went down a bit again. I started reading more HN and r/programming to build up my professional chops. I started feeling inadequate. I felt like this new job I had wasn't cool or startuppy enough. Doubt crept back in.

So I had conversations with a lot of people. There was a guy on HN that was taking stories and giving advice. He helped me a bit. I have a pen pal kind of friend who has had cool experiences. He helped me a lot also. I talked to family and friends of all stripes about my concerns. Basically everyone had the same thing to say, that I was living a good life. That the kind of things I felt I should be doing have their tradeoffs as well. That I should focus on what I am doing instead of always looking for major improvements.

And then I came to the realization that I was trying to live up to someone else's yard stick. It took me 10 years to get an associates degree because I was raising a family. I lost my startup because I didn't want to spend my entire life at a keyboard. I was beating myself up about my job because I was trying to measure my career as an engineer against that of the internet's best and brightest entrepreneurs. I was trying too hard.

So take it easy on yourself man. I am sure that you have some pretty awesome stuff going on in your life. Take time to appreciate the things you enjoy. Discard things that don't work for you anymore. Put down HN for a while if you it is making you feel like you aren't doing enough(I had to for a while). Make a change if it is smart for you to do so, and don't beat yourself if it isn't the right time. But above all else, just cut yourself some slack.

mbesto 5 days ago 0 replies      
dmoo 5 days ago 0 replies      
I'm not sure how best to put this, but try hanging out with dumber people. It's like this, sometimes we can't help comparing ourselves with others but we mostly have a habit of only looking up and not down. In this industry you are encouraged to look at the brightest and learn from them and their habits so that you too can be a 10x programmer. Not everybody can be a 10x programmer, that's just how it is.

Chances are you are somewhere near the middle of the curve, that's where most people are but there is a climate around at the moment where everybody is supposed to be ahead of the pack but that's not possible so relax, do your best and see how that turns out.

Before the light from our sun reaches the centre of the Milky Way anybody who is left will have long forgotten about the achievements of everybody who has ever been alive up until now. All that really matters is the people you care about and who care about you. Focus on that and the rest of it will take care of itself.

fauigerzigerk 5 days ago 0 replies      
It's never too late. You're not on a race track competing against others who have a huge head start. There is no single track and no single finishing line.

Things cannot only be done better or worse, faster or more slowly, they can also done in an infinite number of ways. An infinite number of new things have yet to be invented. No one is ever far ahead of others in terms of having ideas and creating things that others like, simply because there is no "ahead" in an infinite dimensional space.

If you pick up a new skill that I have been perfecting for the past 20 years and we both try to make something new that others like, there is no reason to believe that you will be any less successful than me 6 to 12 months down the road. Unless it's theoretical physics perhaps ;-)

fernly 5 days ago 0 replies      
To judge yourself by contrast to others is one of the most efficient ways of making yourself unhappy! Consider: if they are doing better than you, you are jealous and you think badly of yourself. If they are doing worse, then you may think better of yourself, until you realize that you are taking pleasure in someone else's misfortunes, a pathetic thing to do!

The alternative is to replace the relative standard of your peers' success, with an absolute standard. That could be your own past (how far have you come since x; what have you learned since x; what wisdom have you gained since x, and so on) which has the advantage of showing you ways to go forward. Or it could be a national or global standard: how wealthy, how comfortable, how skilled are you with respect to the average U.S. male of your age? Which will probably at least be flattering.

ollysb 5 days ago 0 replies      
The world bears on you, expectation, floundered. But with it awareness, have you learnt nothing? I have your age but not your regrets. Regret is the belief that you have no opportunity to correct your decisions, this is almost never correct. There are many paths to any goal, and goals are never as clear as you suspect. Choose your destination and live in the fog, if you want to you will find a way.

Most people find competition, but what are you winning? Do you want the prize or the step ahead? What were you aiming for anyway? Do you really want it or is it simply the most obvious thing to do?

INTPenis 5 days ago 0 replies      
I regret over tiny things, words said, actions taken in seemingly insignificant situations, sometimes years ago!

It's hard but mantras have been my solution. I just literally shake myself out of it. I can't avoid the feeling, I can't dodge the actual regret, but I can instantly shake it off and go on with my life.

I don't think it's optimal, but it's the best I can do. Try to stay positive.

ctdonath 5 days ago 1 reply      
You did what you did in good faith to yourself.

Circumstances beyond your control were beyond your control.

Assess your position as a matter of fact, and proceed forward in good faith and honest intent as circumstances allow.

Early 30s is just getting started. I didn't have a sense of having a good grip on life until 40.

Do what needs to be done.

Take care of your own square foot.

Stop looking backwards.

If you need professional help, get it.

boringkyle 5 days ago 0 replies      
The best advice I got was:

  1. Never compare your beginning to someone else's middle

2. Don't look to the past. It's all dead back there.

Also, one way my accounting friend explains it to me is that anything that's already happened is a sunk cost. Like in business, you shouldn't worry about the "could've. would've. should've." What you evaluate are the future costs/benefits of your decisions. I've been there man, and I still get into that mood now and then. It's normal. It will pass. Smile. Get sunlight. Do something good for someone. And sleep and wake up early. These are the things that help me still.

brudgers 5 days ago 0 replies      
"Do any of you have any experience with this?"


But I've been through it before. I see the value in what I do have. I see the changes in my life since I was forty. Since I was thirty. Since I was twenty. Since I was ten.

Last year I realized that I missed my chance to sport a mohawk. I won't star in a porno with cougars. I'll never be a FIFA referee. These are my missed opportunities.

Otherwise I've got forty years of creative life in front of me and no excuses.

dcgibbons 5 days ago 0 replies      
Your feelings are extremely common. In fact, most men especially will likely experience these thoughts in their 30s and 40s to varying degrees. I know I have.

I can tell you that ultimately what you have to do is forgive yourself, not only for past mistakes but for letting yourself waste time on regret. Then, the next and most important step is to take responsibility: no one else but you is responsible for how you are feeling, and what you will do in the future. Taking responsibility is one of the most liberating things people can do for themselves, and yet is one of the hardest for most of us.

Do not worry about it being too late; it is not. I have known plenty of people that have come back or joined engineering, or something else, very late in their life (you're still a young pup compared to them!) and have been successful. You have to set goals for yourself, execute against them, and continue to remind yourself that you are responsible for what happens.

Don't look around at people who became billionaires in their mid-20s and decide you haven't done enough or aren't talented enough. There are so many factors that go into huge successes like that. Hustle and hard-work are indeed a huge part of it, but so is timing, luck, and their placement in the universe.

I would also ask you to think hard on if a good school, etc. is what you need versus hard work. Think hard on what your goals are and the steps you need to get there. Don't spend time on something that isn't really going to help you.

dutchbrit 5 days ago 0 replies      
Stop regretting and do something about it. You can sob and feel sorry for yourself, or you can get your act together and sort out your life. It's never too late to change, if you are passionate about something, you shouldn't have any major issues excelling in that field. You don't need a great education. Pick up some books. Things can always get better, but that usually takes action on your own behalf. Good luck, and hope my comment doesn't come over harshly. Think forward, take a break, and put everything into perspective.
zemanel 5 days ago 0 replies      
As someone on his 32's who deals with a mix of feelings similar to those everyday, internal and external factors apart, and still has to get up, get work done for fun an bills, that has consulted specialists because not feeling well mentally is as "normal" as getting a cold and seeing a physical doctor, what mostly works for me is the growing realization that:

* i am only being me and the combination of my weaknesses and strengths is what makes me unique.

* just because i may not ever be a top performer / achiever, does not mean that i cannot contribute in a very helpful way to many things and people around me, and i have.

Many things are built, or helped built, by people that don't "make headlines". When one accepts that, life in these circunstancies get's a little bit easier to manage.

edit: minor rewording.

gprasanth 5 days ago 0 replies      
I think there is no point in regretting. Regret can only lead to more regret in future if you don't concentrate more on the present.

“Whatever happened, happened for the good; whatever is happening, is happening for the good; whatever will happen, will also happen for the good only. You need not have any regrets for the past. You need not worry for the future.”

[this one is from Bhagawad Gita]

pyalot2 5 days ago 0 replies      
I have, intensely. Yet I came to believe that the root cause (the external situation, real, perceived or otherwise) and the emotional reaction to it (self-doubt, depression, sense of failure) do not need to be intimately connected.

In other words, your emotional health is not contingent upon your external circumstances to a large degree. To wit, a lot of very distinguished persons (as well as celebrities) battle very hard with the exact same feelings that you have. A lot of people in circumstances you might consider worse than yours (oh just watch a couple episodes of dirty jobs on discovery channel) are quite happy. Of course the reverse applies as well, but you can see how in the larger scheme of things, external circumstances do not dictate your emotions.

kamme 5 days ago 0 replies      
Well, you always have time to change. Thinking you can't gets you into a negative spiral downwards, and to be honest is also false. When I was starting to run I talked with a 55year old guy who ran a marathon once a year about it being difficult for me to start since I didn't have any experience. He casually told me it was hard for him too when he started 5years ago. He never did any sports prior and had to start from scratch at 50... I realize now 'not being able to' is actually 99% of the time all in your head. Just find a way to start easy and keep going...
dougk16 5 days ago 0 replies      
Not sure if you've read this, but it might help a little: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desiderata#Full_text

Specifically: "If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself."

My personal advice: go exercise until you can't take it anymore...you'll feel great.

misleading_name 5 days ago 0 replies      
I feel like you describe pretty often. I think the trick is to sleep, exercise, and concentrate on what's going on right now. You can't change the past, you can only change what you are doing right now, this second. You have control over that... hang in there. Also, rosser, you're answer seems very helpful.
jjacobson 5 days ago 0 replies      
How did you feel two years ago? Two years from now you could be in a very different place.
scorpion032 5 days ago 0 replies      
If you are happy where you are right now (one has to be always, because the possibilities are endless); and if where you are right now is a sum total of everything that has ever been before (which it is); then how can you ever regret anything that happened ever before?
eflowers 5 days ago 0 replies      
This may seem cheesy, but damn. It's 4 minutes long, watch it. You think you are more convinced that things can't get any better than this guy was?


carl_ 5 days ago 0 replies      
There's lots of good comments above, I don't have a lot to add beyond stick in there and for some reason this song and it's lyrics worked for me in similar circumstances: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bioYs6oAD8g&t=1m55s
thiagoperes 5 days ago 0 replies      
1st - Change your username.
2nd - I'm positive that If you don't change your mind, the thing you'll regret the most in the coming years will be the way you're thinking right now.

There's still a lot that can be done. Lots of people succeeded after their 30's.

Hugh Hefner started at 26: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hugh_Hefner

2 videos for you:
- 8 characteristics every sucessfull person has (based on a study) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6bbMQXQ180
- Steve Jobs on Life http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYfNvmF0Bqw

polskibus 5 days ago 0 replies      
Do what the politicians do: take credit for successes, blame failures on others/environment. Jokes aside, read Fooled by randomness (or another book treating about randomness in everyday life), perhaps you'll find something there that will lessen your focus on yourself.
jpasden 5 days ago 0 replies      
I think there are only two ways to deal with regret: (1) accept that you can't change the past, and (2) make sure that you learned something from your mistake(s).

Not learning from your mistakes at all and continuing to suffer from them is enough to depress anyone. So if you haven't yet learned what to take away from your experience that will help you in the future, concentrate on that.

Also, early 30's is NOT too late to start over, in almost any field. You just have to find something that you're passionate about, and yes, you do have a lot of catching up to do. There are a number of success stories out there that start that late in life. Read about them. In some cases, experience gained from early failures even make for bigger successes down the road.

takshak 5 days ago 0 replies      
I may or may not have direct experience with this but I can comment on this part: "I would be in competition with others who've been practicing their trade for many years. It feels as if it's too late."
You will be pleasantly surprised how motivated learning of one month triumphs over years of experience of people who are just getting along with the job. If you have passion for any skill then you are already ahead of most people.
So " Efforts taken at this point to turn things around would be futile" is wrong unless its half-hearted effort.
I don't know about going back to school but I can definitely say: Full-hearted "efforts taken at this point" not be futile "for picking up a new skill" unless the skill is physically demanding.
epicjunction 5 days ago 0 replies      
Advice from Paul Graham:

Don't regret your 20s: you were not ready for commitment:
This was my reason for not starting a startup for most of my twenties. Like a lot of people that age, I valued freedom most of all. I was reluctant to do anything that required a commitment of more than a few months. Nor would I have wanted to do anything that completely took over my life the way a startup does. And that's fine. If you want to spend your time travelling around, or playing in a band, or whatever, that's a perfectly legitimate reason not to start a company.

Source: http://www.paulgraham.com/notnot.html

kamphey 5 days ago 0 replies      
Think of 10 things that you would NEVER EVER in a million years actually do. Do one a year for the next 10 years.

Usually the thing you think can never be done or won't ever happen is exactly the thing that you will do.

The way to break the thought cycle is to step out of it. Take action. Just an attempt will cause enough chaotic energy that something will happen.

I tried to go a whole year by saying YES! to everything.. even if it meant to lie, to fake, to break someone's heart. (I know you might think Yes Man, the book or the movie, but honestly it's true and it really helps)

We respect people for their attempts and subsequent failures sometimes more than their successes.

biswajitsharma 5 days ago 0 replies      
I do not think there is anyone in the world who does not have regrets and have not committed mistakes in life.
Best part is, mistakes are best teachers of life.
You are in early 30s, let's say average lifespan of a person is 70 years. So big question is will you let go of your coming 40 years for the lost 30 years? (and i am sure, you have not lost all of your last 30 years, there probably are more positives than negatives if you take a deeper look).
Theory 2 - (as said by Peter Norvig) it takes 10 years to be really good at something.

Which means you have 4 things that you can be really good at in your coming life.
So my friend go claim those.

funkwyrm 5 days ago 1 reply      
Aside from the great general advice you are getting here:

You can always go back to school or learn a new trade. The only thing preventing you is "being in competition" (your words) with people who have more experience.

Don't compare yourself to people who have more experience. For example, if I were to pick up Computer Science today (late 30s) I would be happy to compare myself to 20-somethings who have a similar level of experience.

Of course, I have more life experience, hence other skills and perspective, and that is enough for me.

orbnam 1 day ago 0 replies      
One great way to fix and feel better is to get out in the sun on a beach or somewhere open and absorb a lot of vitamin D.
This is obviously not medical advice, but if I were you and if the mood swings were not too strong (agonizing) then I'd see the sun at least 20 minutes every day. That, and a lot more focus on the work that I want to do from now, a life that I want to lead from here on.
thewarrior 5 days ago 0 replies      
My two cents : You cannot love anyone or anything else fully without loving yourself first .
also_regretting 4 days ago 0 replies      
I don't have any advice to offer, but I do feel what you are going through, as I am in the same boat, also around the same age.

I had a very sheltered life, and that didn't help. Friends have moved on - to bigger jobs, having families and kids etc, while I feel like I'm a big failure (well - I make decent money, have some job - that's pretty much my "achievement" in life). Most of them are no better than I, in terms of intelligence or ability. I suppose where I failed, was execution. These days I get depressed often, though I am getting better at not showing it outside. Suicidal thoughts have crossed my mind, more than once.

Anyway - I just thought I'd say that you are not alone. There are probably more people like us.

In terms of what can be done to change (my situation is probably more complicated than yours, as an immigrant) - I am not sure. I've often wondered if it would be nice to have a support group (or a mastermind group) that can help - without judging and without being harsh. I haven't found one yet. If you like to get in touch, reply to this comment. May be we can support each other, may be we can find others. If not, good luck. My thoughts are with you.

roryasdfasdf 5 days ago 0 replies      
I was feeling similarly for a long time except on one point: I think you are really wrong about taking a different path being futile. Your reason for not starting something new because you won't compare to people who have been doing it for years is not a good reason. There are tons of people who have been doing their job for years and are just plain not good at their job at all. Aim for their jobs for now. If you pick something else you want to do you are definitely going to end up being better than they are if you bust your ass. And they have jobs. So what is stopping you from beating them? Nothing.

You said you view yourself as more hardworking and intelligent than most people, even some very successful friends. Well part of the gift of being intelligent is that you have the capability of retooling yourself and picking up something new. You also have the other component for being able to do that as well, being hardworking.

Things are guaranteed to not get any better if you don't do anything, and your reasons for not doing anything are not good ones. If you are a smart, hardworking person and you set a reasonable goal for yourself there should be nothing holding you back barring your own motivation.

Finally, if you actually do decide to get moving in a direction, print this out and put it on your wall:


amerika 5 days ago 0 replies      
You're going to have to make your peace with it and move on.

Stay away from the psychologists; they never help, because it's not in their business model.

Consider doing something different, if only because you may be totally uninspired by the path you're forcing yourself to follow.

Remember, pounding square pegs into round holes is for Baby Boomers only.

orangethirty 5 days ago 0 replies      
If you feel like talking be sure to email me (in profile). I will listen. I'm not a doctor or anything. Just being friendly.
tcbawo 5 days ago 0 replies      
Your life improve substantially, given focus and clarity. Most people make a mixture of good, fair, and horrible decisions every day. If you go from a 50% hit rate to 75%, it can make a huge impact in your life. I look at it like "pot odds" in the poker game of life. Don't dwell on your previous lost hands, focus on maximizing the opportunities you are given.
Denzel 5 days ago 0 replies      
Early 30s? Let me tell you, it most certainly IS NOT too late to go back to school if you want to. My mother is mid 50s and planning on going back to school for accounting. She's always liked accounting, and wants to pursue it after she retires.

Life isn't over until it's over.

z0a 5 days ago 0 replies      
The only advice I could give is to simply forget about the past and look to the future. Honestly, early 30's is not late. Just keep moving forward. Remember, you can't change your past, but you can change your future.
dear 5 days ago 0 replies      
Look forward! Think yourself as a fresh new guy to this world. Start over again!
thesuperbigfrog 5 days ago 0 replies      
Stop it: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Ow0lr63y4Mw

You cannot change the past, so do not trouble yourself with what is past. Look forward and plan where you want to go from where you are. Use what you have and keep on keeping on.

Show HN: My first weekend project-ThreeBar, a welcome bar for content promotion
8 points by andrewmunsell  2 days ago   7 comments top 4
josephwesley 1 day ago 1 reply      
First off, great design on your site; it's beautiful. Question: How's this any different from the HelloBar? Not that it has to be. Just wondering if it is.

To answer your question, yes, I would be interested in this product, and a lot of other people would be as well (most of whom are using the HelloBar). So is there a use case? The answer is yes.

How to improve: I would consider making options that are the size you show on the site and also larger. Something that slides down and looks beautiful and serves the purpose that a pop-up serves. I feel like this would be less intrusive than a pop-up (everyone hates them) and would allow website owners to show more info than a single line. So as you mention, an author could have a "drop-down" instead of a "pop-up" that shows their new book and entices orders.

The main function seems to be getting special offers in front of people without needing to alter the website dramatically. An example of this would be a company that's hiring but doesn't know where else to mention that on their page. So for stuff like this, it looks good, and the one thing I'd be interested in would be the option for a larger drop down that could show more than a single line but still looks beautiful (which your site currently does).

GFischer 2 days ago 1 reply      
The bar looks nice :) . The site itself (threebar.net) took a long time to load.

Nitpick/question: Is "Try for free" good copy, or is "Try it free" better?

The titles feel a bit "lost" on the yellow ribbon ("What is it", "Pricing").

Also, I "feel" something missing next or above the one, two, and three options. Maybe icons/images or something.

I'm not a designer, those are just my first impressions.

About the service itself, it's not something I want, but I'm probably not your target audience.

andrewmunsell 2 days ago 0 replies      
A clickable link: https://threebar.net
dgunn 2 days ago 1 reply      
Where do you plan to promote this product? Do you have any plans for marketing this?
Ask HN: What Git features would you like to know more about?
6 points by shepbook  1 day ago   4 comments top 4
koopajah 1 day ago 0 replies      
Recovering from a mistake is something i'd like to see. I've been able these past few months to recover from wrong rebase/squash/merge/reset even after a few days by using "git fsck" and "git reflog" but it was hard for me. Hard to find the proper commands and especially understanding why the last one worked in the end while the previous did not.
brianwillis 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm still relatively new to git, but rebasing is something I'm struggling to wrap my head around.
extofer 1 day ago 0 replies      
The one feature I thought that made more sense to me when I learned it was Branches... the more about branches and pull request the better. That and rm --cached as well
jonathanmarvens 1 day ago 0 replies      
The internals of Git.
Ask HN:Whats the problem with SVG?
21 points by lousy_sysadmin  4 days ago   23 comments top 10
jahewson 4 days ago 3 replies      
SVG implementations on browsers have historically been poor, though this is certainly improving. You'll hit many bugs and unsupported features. IE < 9 doesn't support SVG at all, and Safari < 6 only does so in XHTML. SVG fonts are sparsely supported. The alternative - rasterising SVG on the server - is a heavyweight task, I've not found any libraries which can do this quickly.

The worst problem may be SVG itself - SVG 1.2 which dates from 2004 was abandoned, and most browsers implement SVG 1.1 which is rather lacking in features. This makes it hard if you're a designer to produce SVG documents which a browser can actually render.

At a bare minimum any SVG hosting project would have to involve some sort of SVG lint, to make sure that browser-incompatible SVG elements are not present, implement workarounds for browser-specific bugs, and check that there are no <script> tags etc. The sheer size and complexity of even SVG 1.1 makes it non-trivial. One pragmatic approach to sanitize SVG may be to round-trip SVG -> PDF -> SVG via cairosvg and pdftocairo, though it may burn some CPU.

lmm 4 days ago 3 replies      
XML being XML, it's hard-to-impossible to host SVG without allowing people to store arbitrary XML on your service, which sooner or later is going to be abused.
nwh 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'd considered making one some time ago, but gave up when I realised that somebody had already purchased http://s.vg/.
mbq 4 days ago 1 reply      
_Arbitrary_ SVG is a security/privacy problem -- it may inject JS or exploit quirks in rendering to manipulate site contents, import external images and fonts, or simply be a render bomb. And it is hard to filter out those problems.
pre 4 days ago 0 replies      
It's not hard, probably the image hosts concerned merely didn't think to include it.

You can upload svg files with the right content type to Amazon S3 without trouble, is that not good enough?

youngtaff 4 days ago 0 replies      
My question is why do you want to host your SVG images elsewhere?

If you just want to shop them you could convert them to bitmap or host them on GitHub

If you want to include them on your website, they're small and compress well with gzip so why have the complexity of relying on a third party services

It you have too much traffic to be able to host them yourself then you should look at something like a CDN e.g. Cloudfront, infront of S3

timrogers 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm guessing you could maybe host it with Gists, using the raw link? Although the content type headers might be an issue...
Turing_Machine 4 days ago 0 replies      
You might look at http://openclipart.org/ to see how they're handling it.
lsiebert 4 days ago 1 reply      
It's not hard. However, I'd note that IE didn't have built in support until 2011, and the first browser with native svg support was Konqueror in 2004, whereas gif and jpeg have been around for a lot longer.

Isn't SVG just XML? I'd assume you could host it that way.

wisty 4 days ago 0 replies      
IE6. XML viruses.
IOS 6.1 (out now) fixes the POST caching bug
5 points by afyzendo  2 days ago   discuss
Ask HN: What have you launched this year?
27 points by michaelkscott  2 days ago   41 comments top 26
Mz 3 hours ago 0 replies      
After 5 years and 1 month, last week I finally launched my comic.


No traction. Lots of crickets chirping. Kind of what I expected, though.

murtza 1 day ago 0 replies      
I launched http://wikicancel.org/ this month.

WikiCancel is a subscription, contract, and account cancellation guide. There have been over 40k unique visitors so far. More importantly, visitors are contributing content. I am humbled by the response the site has gotten so far, and I am going to continue to improve WikiCancel based on user feedback.

It was featured on Lifehacker: http://lifehacker.com/5978253/wikicancel-is-a-collection-of-...

Featured on Swissmiss design blog: http://www.swiss-miss.com/2013/01/wikicancel.html

Lots of Tweets including a tweet from @brainpicker who has 298k followers. List of tweets: https://twitter.com/search?q=wikicancel

cryptoz 2 days ago 0 replies      
We launched pressureNET 3.0 this morning. It's an open source Android app that collections barometer measurements from phones and tablets, and sends the data to atmospheric scientists for analysis. Regarding traction, we'll see! The app itself has more than 17,000 downloads and we've collected more than 10,000,000 measurements. Version 3.0 is a very big update, the first that includes proper visualization and sharing of data, so I think we're doing well.

Here's our announcement blog post: http://www.cumulonimbus.ca/pressurenet-3-0-sharing-visualiza...

And the app on Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=ca.cumulonimbu...

olieH 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I launched Cheddar for android. If you havent heard of it, its a really cool To-do list and was only available for iOS and the web.
The app is doing quite well and the code is open source.

Here is the link to the app: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.creativepe...

And here is the code:

orangethirty 1 day ago 0 replies      
1. Hack-fy. Sci-fy for hackers. It flopped.

2. FizzBuzz Tshirt. Flopped.

3. Protocademy. Codecademy but for prototyping electronics (which is a huge market). It needs funding ( less than $50K ). I'm currently looking for investors who would like to invest in a startup with a proven business model that generates profits. Seed is needed to hire talent and infrastructure, but its not a lot. Marketing has been under way and there is a good amount of interest in it (because I tested the market and developed the marketing before developing the business). If you are interested shoot me an email (in profile). There is a prototype ready that you can see in action to see how good the idea is. Note that Im not looking for co-founders, but investors.

4. Marketing Bits. Highly successful launch of my marketing newsletter. It is growing like crazy (new subscribers ever day) and has an open-rate of about 40%, which is about 3 times industry average. It is about to be profitable (in less than 1 month). http://bit.ly/14qYrwl

5. Nuuton. Should launch in March.

speeder 1 day ago 1 reply      
My Meteorology and Clock app for kids.

It is already up on Amazon, for Android we are awaiting for authorization from Apple, so we can do a simultaneous launch.

Also, it has no traction yet, but I am not sure it will have traction (although the combined downloads across stores being 100k looks impressive, it is a low number compared to some much simpler competitors).


askar 1 day ago 0 replies      
http://www.IslamicEventFinder.com - launched late last year - would help Muslims easily find and make use of all those Islamic events that happen around them all the time.

So far, finding the audience to adapt to this new medium is the toughest part. They are so used to just emails and word of mouth that it's getting really harder get some traction. I know there is a need for this but still struggling through to get some traction.

Any thoughts/suggestions on how to get past this hurdle would be much appreciated.

CKCAllen 2 hours ago 0 replies      
1) I decided to post my design sketches on a Tumblr blog. I figured other designers/product managers may benefit from seeing how someone else thinks through web and app design.
2) No traction yet - just launched three days ago at http://digitaldrafting.tumblr.com/
emilioolivares 1 day ago 1 reply      
1. http://www.flipmeme.com - Reddit + Imgur viewer built for myself and as a side project.

2. 320 average uniques per day, so not really.

Cheers! :)

pyfap 2 days ago 1 reply      
My porn startup.


Some traction with a few hundred users. I need to figure out how to do the advertising.

cmorgan8506 2 days ago 0 replies      

Launched it today! Mostly, I just wanted to prove to myself that I could finish a side project. Even if it was just a small one.

will_brown 2 days ago 0 replies      
1. www.ommageo.com - a video sharing social network using Google Earth as the UI (web version only, Launched last week)
2. Lets just say I launched around the same time as Vine, but have you heard of Ommageo or Vine? HAHA I am not deterred I plan on building out the iphone and android apps.
fananta 1 day ago 1 reply      
We launched Chime last night. It's a Chrome extension for dealing with your notifications in a simple way. Check us out at http://chimeapp.com

We've only informed our beta sign-ups about the launch and haven't really posted anywhere else. From the sign-ups we've got great traction so far!

eduardordm 2 days ago 1 reply      
Private social networks for groups and companies: https://www.metasocial.io

It failed. Already started working on a new thing.

bizpreneur 1 day ago 0 replies      
http://WHYLaunched.com - What Have You Launched - A site specifically related to your question. Users can submit their new "launches" or collaborate on other business ideas. Don't have a new launch at the moment? Feel free to browse the other submissions and give feedback. Very early stage but hopefully we gain traction soon.
snoerd 2 days ago 1 reply      
PartyBeamer turns any screen or projector into an interactive photo wall. During a party everybody can login with their own mobile and send pictures to the central screen.
It's working great, but I'm having trouble getting new users.
evac 2 days ago 0 replies      

It's a gamified app for building your ideal future self with habits!

It was just launched yesterday on HN so, for the first day of my first startup, I'm happy with getting over 60 users signed up already. Not sure how to tell what's good traction or not though.

factorialboy 1 day ago 1 reply      
rnochumo 1 day ago 0 replies      
http://www.chatplode.com - Simple image uploader that allows you to chat with others about your image in real time. Also set a time for the page to self-destruct. Thinking about allowing youtube and vine links to be chatted about too.
mittermayr 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've launched my first hardware product:
mjmead 2 days ago 1 reply      
A CRM for job searchers: http://www.jobsarium.com

Getting no traction...

wanghq 1 day ago 0 replies      
http://ex-prj.com. A place where you can post your not-so-successful & don't-want-to-continue side-project.
Si_FTW 1 day ago 0 replies      
PC Build Generator http://8bit.co/PCBG

1.)It made a few hundred dollars in Amazon referrals in the first month and very little the second month.

2.)Front page of a few (non default) subreddits, generated 65k builds, 4k visits last month.

Pretty pleased for my first PHP/SQL project put together in a couple of weekends.

MichaelEHowe 2 days ago 0 replies      
http://www.RocketLi.st - An event RSVP platform that incentivises attendees to promote the event in return for rewards, in turn giving the organiser free promotion and an insight into their attendees!

Launched it a couple of weeks ago... but finding it hard to get it out to SXSW event organisers before they use something else!

bobdylan1 2 days ago 2 replies      
Nothing. I'm in a bit of a pickle. I don't want to launch something that isn't going to succeed, but it's incredibly hard to predict if an idea is really worth doing. Any tips?
tim800 2 days ago 1 reply      
Nothing. I'm in a bit of a pickle. I don't want to launch something that isn't going to succeed, but it's incredibly hard to predict if an idea is really worth doing. Any tips?
Suggest HN: Write a book on business for Hackers
5 points by attheodo  1 day ago   5 comments top 3
joshkaufman 1 day ago 2 replies      
I wrote a book that covers general/universal business principles: http://book.personalmba.com

For common funding and legal issues, I recommend "Venture Deals" by Brad Feld and Jason Mendelson: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0470929820

For finance and accounting, I recommend
"Financial Intelligence for Entrepreneurs" by Karen Berman, Joe Knight, and John Case: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1422119157/

Here's my complete list of recommended business books, sorted by topic: http://personalmba.com/best-business-books/

Hope this helps.

ig1 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm working on a couple of books in this space, but not really those topic as I think they're pretty well covered elsewhere (see the writing of Brad Feld and Fred Wilson).

The first book I'm working on is on Startup Optimization which is a more practical guide to things you should be tweak to optimize for growth - hopefully I should have it done by the end of next month.

After that I'm planning to write another one about how to think about business models, user acquisition, metrics etc. focusing on more broader issue about how to analyze startup ideas.

Both are pretty experimental really, in that I've no idea if I can actually write about these topic in a way that will prove useful. But what's driving me to write them is that I've seen lots of startups mess up these areas and I want to try and improve that situation.

orangethirty 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I write marketing bits (http://orangethirty.github.com/marketing_bits). Its a blog/newsletter focused on marketing/sales/PR/advertising/protmotions with a touch of general business. It features real business wisdom from real startup founders.
Check it out, you can always unsubscribe. No need to buy anything. No one will spam you with stupid offers.
Ask HN: When (year) will GPUs probably reach 100 TFlops?
2 points by Mitt  21 hours ago   discuss
Implore HN: Celebrate and encourage young developers who post here
285 points by danilocampos  10 days ago   115 comments top 19
kyro 9 days ago 3 replies      
That blog article was one of the stupidest things I've ever read.

I never got the encouragement or support to pursue my hobbies at a young age, whether from parents or friends, and would've killed to have a community like this that could've praised me and pushed me forward.

To accuse a kid mentioning the fact that he's 14 in his submission title as being manipulative really reflects on how out of touch you are with the way humans operate. A kid his age is looking to show off his work, proud that he's not wasting his time on Power Rangers and Nerf guns, putting his focus and attention to furthering his meaningful hobbies. You encourage that, not dismiss him.

Time and time again, it's just remarkable to me how socially inept the lot of you are. When your child comes up to you and exclaims "Daddy, Daddy! Look what I've done!", you sure as hell aren't going to say "Heh, yeah, I did that too, but I was younger."

Cogito 9 days ago 2 replies      
Should age be included in a post's title? In most cases, the age can be disclosed in the comments without losing any information, and in the process removing any 'negative' connotations.

I posted something on the thread that started this whole dance a day or so ago, however it probably merits further expansion.

Most arguments that are 'pro' age disclosure boil down to "We should treat younger members of the community differently". This comes in many forms, like how we should be supportive, how we should mentor the next generation, and how teenagers are often insecure.

I agree with them, at least in general.

Arguments 'against' age disclosure have a few flavours; some say that we should treat posts based on merit, that we should not discriminate based on age, but mostly it comes down to "Posts with the age in the title are 'gaming' the system (purposefully or not)" and the meta-argument that such posts encourage talking about community instead of the post.

I agree with this side as well.

The thing is, placing your age in the title of your post is link-baity. It may be unintentional or it may be coolly calculated, but in most cases if you remove that piece of information the post title is entirely uninteresting.

So we have two types of posts to consider. The first are those posts where the age of the person involved contributes to how interesting the post is to HN. A completely fabricated example: "12 year-old entrepreneur youngest funded by YC".

The second type of post are those where the age of the person involved contributes to how the HN community responds to the post. A young developer's first app would fall into this category.

In the first case, I believe this is useful information to have in the post title. In the second this is useful information, however I do not believe it is useful in the post title. For these posts, I would much rather see the age included as a comment on the post.

In any post that use of age in the title gets called out for being 'link-baity', 'manipulative' or 'gaming the system' the main counterargument is that knowing the age helps the community know how to respond to the post. The age can be removed from the post title, and placed in the comments, addressing both major concerns.

[edit] improved summary.

vishnumenon 9 days ago 2 replies      
As the author of the "ugly and short-sighted essay" in question, I want to just mention that I meant no hard feelings to anyone of any age, and tried hard to critique the behavior, not the person, Sorry if it came across as ugly. However, I stand by my opinion. I believe that there are plenty of other places these teens can go for blanket approval and yes-men, such as friends and family. HN is, to me, reserved for unbiased and fair commentary. As an aside, I think everyone's post should be considered carefully and encouraged; however, it shouldn't be based on age. Also, in response to those who raised comments about how Mozart's age was relevant to his accomplishments, I must say that in our day and age, teens making apps is hardly that noteworthy anymore. Yes, it is impressive, but not exceptionally so.

Lastly, why exactly was my original post killed? What happened to it? I may not understand HN fully, but I thought something that fostered a good discussion would be kept. I can't even find the post anymore! Would it have stayed up if I had said I was 16?

davidw 9 days ago 1 reply      
Why not be supportive and friendly to everyone? I always find the "say it to their face" rule is a good one for formulating even negative comments. Rather than channeling your inner comic book guy, it helps you think of how to state something unpleasant in a constructive, polite way.
jacquesm 9 days ago 0 replies      
It's not just the blog article. It's also the attitude of people that will berate a youngster for being young and going out on a limb to show what they've made and making the mistake of telling us their age. That age thing is not a qualifier of pride, it's a guide to the mental state and the amount of experience the poster has. What amazes me most is that after seeing how one young developer gets treated that the next one still dares to post at all.

Danilocampos is exactly right. As far as career advice or tech advice, if you think I can contribute regardless of age feel free to contact me as well, j@ww.com . I can't promise to always be immediately available but I'll do my best.

joshmlewis 9 days ago 2 replies      
I'm 19, and I can give credit to a couple forums (The Web Squeeze and Forrst) and Hacker News for making me successful. If it weren't for a handful of people out of the buckets of everyone, I wouldn't have had the encouragement or motivation to be where I am today. I skipped college, and am cofounding my second company now and leading a team of talented people. I would have never guessed I'd be doing that..even two years ago. If it weren't for you guys and other forums giving me critique, criticism, and encouragement, who knows where I'd be. I've learned soo much from HN, it's ridiculous, but it has helped me in more ways than I can acknowledge.

Anyone can be an encouragement to someone like a younger me, but a lot of people don't. The ones who do however can really make a difference in peoples lives.

lifeisstillgood 9 days ago 1 reply      
Memo to self:

Make mentoring site (hackernewsmentor.com)
Where old and weary can openly agree certain SLAs
With the young and enthusiastic

If more of us see it publically more of us will be encouraged to answer a months worth of questions on perl

As for me - I could have done with a mentor not for technical issues - but for the life and career choices I made badly twenty years ago - but I would only have take. Advice from someone whom I technically respected.

ktrgardiner 9 days ago 2 replies      
I think announcing your young age alongside your project is important because it opens up more opportunities for others to guide you and help fuel your passion and talent. Without the age, people will assume that the creator is old enough to know what they enjoy and what they want to pursue. But with the age, you'll have people with more experience saying "Since you obviously like X, you should look into Y and Z. Here are some great resources on those topics." Advice like that is invaluable and we should encourage scenarios that result in it.
ddunkin 9 days ago 4 replies      
How about we leave age/sex/race out of it all and accept them into the community as peers and equals?

I'm all about encouragement, but if we treat them differently because of age, we are just sheltering them from the real world (the Internet hardly counts there, I know). The Internet may not be the safest place to be taught how to accept criticism, but it is a lot easier to take (and more productive) when the attacks aren't personal and instead directed at an app.

luisivan 9 days ago 0 replies      
I can't agree more.

I started my first project, Asturix, a Linux distribution, at age 12. I have found all kind of complications, most of them related with being young.

I live in Spain, where there are a lot of prejudices against youth. Also, the educational system here doesn't empower any "21 century" value such as creativity or inspiration. Fortunately, the situation is changing thanks to the media and other young entrepreneurs and I are starting to be famous in Spain.

On the other hand, working and studying in Spain at the same time is really, really, really hard. Oh, and we have a youth unemployment rate of 54%.

Right now I'm 17 and have founded a couple companies, what has been really hard due to legal issues - creating a company in Spain being underage is practically illegal.
I have also started an incubator for hackers from 12 to 18 so they can create their projects in a easier way.

This is a beautiful age for discovering your passion, but if people screw you out it can be a difficult one.

The talent is there, but we have to let it grow.

justjimmy 9 days ago 0 replies      
There is a reason why there is an age of consent, why there is a youth criminal system, why there are age limits.

Some of you clearly lack empathy.

qzxt 9 days ago 1 reply      
If this is in relation to http://vishnumenon.com/2013/01/21/im-35-months-old-and-i-mad... then I think you miss the point. I agree with the author of that and it is the most common sense post I've read, so far, regarding this issue. The reality is people posting their age doesn't simply mean "I am new at this. I know you guys aren't. I want you to check it out and give me encouragement and guidance." Simultaneously the people throwing out the "age is irrelevant" argument simply miss the point, also. I'm 19 and I've been programming for as long as I can remember starting with my shitty commodore64 hand-me-down. Along the years I have received much criticism and help and am immensely grateful to the people who took the time out to answer every question I had, trivial and otherwise - and believe me, there were plenty of them. However the idea of constructive criticism on HN, and sadly, in the hacker community at large is ironically more political than logical. "Criticism" seems to be code for "I'm smarter than you and I'll be damned if I don't make sure you know it." The hostility towards, not just kids, but people's projects in general borders on the pathological and that's what needs to be addressed. I wholeheartedly agree that kids who are building fun projects do need that nudge and that encouragement to go deeper down the rabbit hole, however we should indeed distinguish between encouragement and patting on the back. The problem is the risk of creating a Hollywoood mentality (Hollywood may be the bastion of acting but really most people are more attracted to the prospects of fame than actual acting). We need to give them encouragement that lets them enjoy the process, not just massaging their egos, and moreover we need to get them to enjoy constructive criticism and see it not as "boo-hoo they didn't like my stuff" but as "hmm I never thought about that." The reality is, the poisonous, know-it-all, thinly veiled political nature of our culture doesn't provide this.
mmanfrin 9 days ago 0 replies      
Two cents: I worry that we run the risk of acquiring that awful trend of reddit's to append some personal relation to every post (e.g. "My Brother did this...", "My SO made me a cake", etc) which has become a terribly abused trope.

The user account of the 14 year old kid who posted the Show HN that prompted this was a brand new account. The App Author was listed under a different name than the user account seemed to suggest. It screamed 'manipulation' to me.

I'm all for encouraging younger developers, but at a certain point you have to step back and evaluate whether we're promoting things based on merit or a sense of communal nepotism.

devonbarrett 9 days ago 2 replies      
As a 17 year old, I disagree, regardless of age, if someone creates or does something that is considered impressive, they should receive credit based upon that - not because of an arbitrary number that supposedly relates to their ability.
wuster 9 days ago 0 replies      
Agreed. I always make the time of day to talk to high school or college age kids aspiring to be in engineering or the sciences. Paying it forward if you will, because I got the same help when I was younger.
trishume 9 days ago 0 replies      
I'm 16 and Things I've written have made the front page twice, both times without mentioning my age. As a teenager, it feels really good to make the front page or #1 with no "omg they're young" bonus points.

Granted, it is encouraging to get bonus up votes for being young and achieving something.

iuguy 9 days ago 0 replies      
I'm all for people shipping. Age isn't really a part of it. What I'm not all for is people creating an account, posting the thing they're looking to promote and only posting in that thread - otherwise completely disengaged with the HN community.

You can argue that lurkers form part of that community. My counterpoint would be that if you create a specific account and post the thing you're trying to promote in the first 10 minutes, you haven't lurked enough.

Yes I know you can lurk without an account, but to reach the stage where that's considered acceptable you have to travel through if they felt they couldn't register an account for more than 5 minutes, if they felt they couldn't comment and plenty of other ifs, yet somehow they can create an account and post what they're promoting in 10 minutes, then only interact with people in their thread?

Young people should be encouraged. Aaron Swartz was 14 when he worked on RSS. But being young doesn't give you a free pass at being a spammer, and that's what kicked this whole thing off.

pekk 9 days ago 1 reply      
Other people shouldn't get encouragement and guidance and tolerance for their newness? Suggesting that you are an x years old child prodigy has become a cheap way of getting front page. If we are going to be nice to new projects we should be nice to them regardless of the claimed age of the author.
zmitri 9 days ago  replies      
In a lot of communities, the "this is my first post" is often celebrated. On HN it definitely is not, which is kind of strange. Glad you put this out there danilo.
Why 'The Enterprise' might be hard for your startup to break into.
4 points by bdunbar  2 days ago   5 comments top 3
codegeek 1 day ago 1 reply      
"You deliver a product"

Thats 90% of battle won. Problem is most "startups" don't even get to that point. The reasons are not as simple as just "I dont have time". Enterprise contracts are usually for many years and vendors have a very strong hold on enterprise clients. I support a multi million dollar vendor system at my employer and I can tell you even though most of the client "users" hate it, no one can even think about getting rid of it.

factorialboy 1 day ago 1 reply      
First hand experience selling Review19 - http://www.review19.com - to the enterprise: It is extremely hard.

Always nice to have the right contacts and have favors waiting to be cashed in.

orangethirty 1 day ago 0 replies      
People don't realize that part of building a product is documenting how to use it and building a support system for it. Enterprise demands documentation and support for everything. But people tend to think that their app is self-documenting. Nope. Never w has been. Never will be. You need to include support and documentation as part of the product and develop it alongside. You also need to price it accordingly.
       cached 31 January 2013 21:05:01 GMT