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1
Ask HN: Review my startup, circcle.com
4 points by Circcle  1 hour ago   4 comments top 2
1
damian2000 49 minutes ago 0 replies      
My two cents, nothing major...

- I don't 'get' your logo. What is the round thing - a balloon or a speech bubble? The colour is a poor choice. Why the two CCs.

- Have you tried having the logo outlined in black or something, to make it stand out a bit.

- Other than the logo, I like the layout - simple and easy to use.

2
caffeinewriter 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Hmm, nice looking site. There are a few things that irk me with the layout though.

1. The header layout bugs the hell out of me. The logo, tagline, then the login button feel more like a blog post than a header. A little more emphasis on the logo, a little less on the tagline. Shorten it up, make it concise. Something short enough to be interesting, yet long enough to make a point. I know that's kind of general, but that's just my thought.

2. Make it responsive! If I resize my window, it should resize with it.

3. Utilize the space! You have a whole window to work with, use it! Whitespace is dead space. That kind of goes with the responsiveness of the site, because if you had a grid layout that would expand and contract with the view, you'd have a lot more of an effective use of space.

Overall, great site.

3
Ask HN: Why do so many people hate Ruby?
24 points by eric970  1 day ago   30 comments top 9
1
btilly 1 day ago 1 reply      
To me the biggest annoyance about the Ruby community is the belief that they invented everything and know how to do everything right if others would just listen.

And then, through unfamiliarity with what others learned a long time ago, they do it wrong.

As a random example, unit testing has been the standard for perl (note capitalization - I'm referring to the interpreter here) since it was released in the mid-80s, and for the Perl community since CPAN was created in the mid-90s. And when I say standard I don't mean that someone writes tests, runs it, then packages. I mean that - by default - nothing gets installed anywhere until it has passed its full test suite. Furthermore if I release a module to CPAN, I'll get automated emails about every OS and version of Perl that it didn't work on.

Core ruby still does not have good unit tests, and you have to go out of your way to run unit tests for gems. If you do that, you will find that a good portion were only set up for the author to run - they didn't think anyone else would ever do that.

And yet I've had Ruby devs with a straight face trying to tell me that Ruby is awesome for its testing culture, and everyone else has a lot to learn from them.

They are missing a lot, and don't realize it.

2
phatbyte 1 day ago 3 replies      
People don't hate ruby, people hate the ruby on rails community.

Personally I don't have any beef with them, but when I ask people about the RoR community I hear lots of douchebagery stories.

One of the most frequent is how cocky everyone in RoR feels towards other programmers in other languages and how "cool" their framework is and so on.

This started towards PHP programmers, then moved to Python(Django) and recently it's Node.js who's getting lots of flames from them.

So yeah..

3
memracom 1 day ago 1 reply      
I used to code in Ruby before Rails existed and I switched back to Python because they had addressed a lot of the problems with object-oriented and functional programming that made me look for something else. And then there was this wave of arrogance when Rails popped up and it seemed that lots of people with little standard of comparisons made outrageous claims about Ruby. Rails and the Ruby community borrowed a lot of work from Python and other communities but claimed that it was "invented here" and did not give credit to those upon whose shoulders they were standing.

Ruby is overrated. Python is in most ways Ruby's equal, and in some ways a superior community. Groovy, on the JVM, with Grails can do the same sorts of things as Rails and gives access to the whole JVM ecosystem of libraries that is far larger than the GEMs collection. Scala is an important language that more people should use because it guides a developer towards writing cleaner code and using architectural patterns that lead to much more maintainable code.

That said, I would rather see people build things with Ruby rather than with Java or C++, so I am not one of those who would throw Ruby out entirely. If people decide to replace PERL with Ruby, I would applaud that action, even though I believe that Python is a better way to go.

But due to the negative factors in the Ruby community I would not advise anyone to learn Ruby as their first language because of the great risk of becoming a first-language fanboy. Better to start with something else, even PERL, C++ or Java, so that they have some perspective on programming languages.

4
csense 21 hours ago 1 reply      
The syntax. Python's syntax is much cleaner.

I tried to find examples of Ruby's awful syntax in tutorials, but much to my surprise, the code in the introductory sections of a couple tutorials picked at random looks clean and the language seems nearly Pythonic. Contrast that with a function from an actual Ruby on Rails project [1]:

    def fresh_commits(repo, n = 10)
commits = repo.heads.map do |h|
repo.commits(h.name, n).map { |c| Commit.new(c, h) }
end.flatten.uniq { |c| c.id }

commits.sort! do |x, y|
y.committed_date <=> x.committed_date
end

commits[0...n]
end

Whoa! This code apparently calculates factorials (with the ! operator), absolute values (of course |x, y| looks like the length of a vector), and biconditionals (to someone with a math background, a <=> b means a => b and b => a). The function ends with an expression on the last line that doesn't look like it would have side-effects. WTF? There are question marks and colons in weird places in that file, too. I started to translate the function into Python, to show you how much cleaner it would be, but I simply couldn't follow what the multiple nested map's and uniq is supposed to do. I'm certain that the Python equivalent would be much easier to follow. (Even if you take "equivalent" to mean "list comprehension" or "itertools.map" instead of the most readable alternative, nested-for-loops.)

I don't think this project is particularly good or bad. I merely picked a random piece of Ruby code from an app I installed recently, and I feel the difficulties I had with the syntax of this function are representative of my struggles with Ruby as a whole.

All the strange symbols make Ruby code very hard to read. For me, the effort required to learn a language is directly related to the number of operator symbols it contains. Ruby is nearly as bad as Perl or shell scripts. (The operators-are-bad penalty to my impression of a language is reduced if same operator exists in other languages I already know well, like Python, C, C++, or standard mathematical notation.)

In Python, by contrast, you can usually get a fairly good idea of what syntactical constructs do without consulting the manual, even if you're unfamiliar with them. (To be fair, lambda is an exception.)

[1] https://github.com/gitlabhq/gitlabhq/blob/5a214ee6f198a90f41...

5
orangethirty 21 hours ago 1 reply      
You really can't hate a language (well, I do have a complex relationship with PHP). What people hate are stereotypes built around communities. Usually from the conduct of some individuals. Every community has them. I mean, even the COBOL guys must roll their eyes anytime someone writes some douche comment about the language.

Don't pay attention to them. There are many nice people in the Ruby community. People who are there for the code, and not the drama.

Now, don't get me started about those Visual Basic guys... :)

6
xijuan 1 day ago 0 replies      
Like many of the comments have already mentioned, people in the Ruby on Rails community are arrogant. They think they are doing things in the right way.
7
mingpan 1 day ago 0 replies      
From what I've seen, people are angry at a certain subset of the Ruby on Rails community, but then they take that anger and generalize it to the Rails community or even the Ruby community as a whole.
8
drstewart 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I see more arrogance here than I ever have in the Ruby community, to be honest.

I guess all communities can't be as tolerant and high-minded as C++ and the level headed discussions I see going on in the Linux kernel mailing list.

9
MrBra 1 day ago 1 reply      
> Why do so many people hate
Ruby?
Because they have sweated too hard to get a productive knowledge of their own favourite language with so much of "adapt your brain to the tool and remember how you did by heart" which in ruby never happens( it adapts to your human brain) and then they are turned off by the feeling of envy for this.
4
Ask HN: How can torrents be legally used for distributing copyrighted content?
5 points by anoncow  16 hours ago   2 comments top 2
1
patio11 15 hours ago 0 replies      
You're thinking like an engineer, not like a lawyer. Does HumbleBundle expect you to use the official distribution channel, which is a torrent? Clearly, yes, so using the official distribution channel (and all subparts of that operation) must be OK with them. (This is called "implicit license." It doesn't have to be explicitly spelled out in the ToS, just like most non-pedantic lawyers won't bother to write "We grant you a limited, non-exclusive, non-transferable license to make one (1) copy of our webpage within your computer system for the purpose of 'caching.'")

Rightsholders can arrange for many, many things which are illegal for non-rightsholders to unilaterally decide to do. That puts the "rights" in "rightsholder."

2
mikecane 15 hours ago 0 replies      
>>>and nowhere does it mention that the end user has redistribution rights

What's not prohibited is implied as allowed. You are worrying over nothing.

5
Do not look at this on a Mac.
7 points by funstuff  1 day ago   8 comments top 7
1
waxjar 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Makes the tab crash in Chrome. What's on the page?
2
quink 1 day ago 0 replies      
Being just on an Android tablet and looking at it, I'm guessing this is coming somewhere with crapping out, with a payload of composing diacritics, Mac OS X's forced (and idiotic) Unicode normalisation to NFD. This is just me judging from seeing what I'm seeing. But that would also explain why only iOS and OS X are affected.

Theoretically, but almost certainly not practically, this could also be the beginning of a buffer overflow.

3
DanBC 1 day ago 0 replies      
You used to be able to crash Internet Explorer (version 6) by putting <input type crash> in a web page. You can crash some other versions of IE with <script>for(x in document.write){document.write(x);}</script> on a web page.

You can hang up modems by typing +++ and then ATH

4
tjbiddle 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Fine for me:

Chrome 24.0.1312.56
Safari Version 6.0 (7536.25)
OSX 10.7.5

5
steventruong 1 day ago 0 replies      
As far as I've seen, this affects Mountain Lion
6
meric 18 hours ago 0 replies      
It doesn't seem to affect OS X Lion.
7
headShrinker 1 day ago 1 reply      
Also breaks iPhone OS 6.1 Safari and Chrome...
6
Ask HN: Would you bet on the survival of my company?
9 points by zerostartup  1 day ago   8 comments top 5
1
orangethirty 1 day ago 1 reply      
There is no company right now. Just a group of developers writing code with no purpose. You have already failed at building a business.

Shoot me an email if you are interested on getting out of the hole you dug yourself into.

2
relaunched 1 day ago 0 replies      
You aren't doomed, but you have to act. Scurvy is bound to overtake the crew and now is the time to act...and dropping the boat metaphor.

It's about finding a way to ring the bell. There are no shortage of business folks seeking talented dev teams and with a little networking I'm sure you can find someone worth taking a shot at selling the product and making it a business. The question is would a sale reinvigorate the team. If yes, reach out and let's chat. Lord knows I've gotten some great advice over the years and would love the opportunity to pay it forward.

Email is in my profile.

3
mikecane 1 day ago 1 reply      
>>>The truth is, we never REALLY tried!

Do you know that you can hire commission-only salespeople? They don't make money until they've sold something?

4
jkaykin 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Where are you located?
5
gamblor956 1 day ago 0 replies      
You need to hire a sales person to take care of sales/marketing for the rest of you.
7
Ask HN: Asking for bonus similar to what's paid to recruiters if hired w/o one
3 points by jtreminio  1 day ago   4 comments top 4
1
Peroni 19 hours ago 0 replies      
As a former agency recruiter and a current inhouse recruiter for a large dev company I can tell you categorically that you would be laughed out the door.

The purpose of paying recruiter fees is to reduce time spent searching and increase the range of candidates available.

If you directly apply for a role with a company that uses agencies then you stand a much higher chance of being interviewed as you will be saving them a significant sum of money if they hire you.

2
codegeek 10 hours ago 0 replies      
In theory, I would love to say "go for it". But it won't work. Companies are too smart for that. You can probably negotiate a higher salary but you cannot use the argument "I am cutting the middleman, so can I get his share ?" The reason clients pay recruiters is because they are lazy and simply don't have time/inclination to go find candidates. Even if finding candidates just mean that the recruiters fish for your profile online somewhere, match a few keywords and reach out to you for the position.
3
mingpan 1 day ago 0 replies      
A big point that recruiters emphasize with a client is that they can bring in good candidates who otherwise would not have had interest in a position (and whether they actually fulfill this is not the point here). Since you found and applied for the position on your own, you don't necessarily fit this category, and you might or might not be able to convince them of your argument.
4
davismwfl 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd say that depending on the position and company you can try and get a sign-on bonus, even using the fact that you saved them a 20% fee. Depending on your negotiating skills I could see it as a reasonable argument. Market conditions are such in a lot of places right now, solid tech people can make (and get) reasonable demands pretty easily. Worse thing anyone can do is say no, or cancel their offer. And honestly if they cancelled their offer you would be better off in my opinion.
8
Ask HN: how do I get an H1B visa and job in the US?
15 points by justforthispost  2 days ago   14 comments top 7
1
pbiggar 2 days ago 2 replies      
Like many foreign founders in SF, I've become a bit of an expert on immigration, so I think I can answer all these for you. However, I would say that no matter what, you should talk to a good immigration lawyer. Contact me privately and I can intro you.

Firstly, to clarify the process. You can actually prepare the docs and apply anytime, its just that there is a quota of 65,000 (+ 20000 extra if you have a Masters degree), and its done on a first-come first-serve basis. For the past few years, the visas haven't run out until after October, so you can really apply anytime.

OK, so your questions:

1) Interviews are a crap shoot, so you should apply to lots of companies. More than 10 definitely. February is not too late. If they're going to bring you over on a visa, than its likely that you'll do a few phone interviews, then be flown over for a full day of interviews.

2) With a job offer, you'll almost certainly get a H1B, so long as you apply in time. You'll need to have a relevant degree and not have any criminal convictions, but otherwise it should all be fine. When these fail, its typically because the company or their lawyers made an error or got busy. I've heard of people who got screwed because the visa person at their company was incompetent or too busy, and didn't get the H1B in before they ran out, or made silly mistakes. If possible, be involved in the process (ask for ETAs, offer to help, get on conference calls with the lawyers, etc).

3) There is a lot of lore around this, with people saying that you have 10 days, or a month, or whatever to get out of the country. The thing you want to avoid is being "out of status". If you are out of status for 180 days, you might be kicked out of the country for 3 years. Other than that, there are no hard-and-fast rules, and everybody knows it takes time to get a job.

If you do leave the country, you'll still be on your H1B, and so won't be subject to the caps when you get your next job, which makes it all much easier.

FWIW, I misunderstood some rules when starting CircleCi, and had to get a job quickly: I was able to get one in 5 days. If you're an engineer, there's a massive need for you in SF/SV, so you won't have any problem finding a job on a short schedule like that.

A final thing to note is that H1Bs aren't the only option. There are tons of visas that might work for you depending on where you're from, your qualifications, the company you're applying to, etc. Look into the L1, O1 and J1, and to any visas that apply to your country of origin (eg Australians look at E3 visas).

Happy to answer any more questions, and feel free to reach out to me privately at paul@circleci.com.

And we are hiring, see: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5151422. Please apply!

2
eshvk 2 days ago 0 replies      
> 1) people who got a software developer job with the H1B visa. How many companies you contacted? When did you contact them? Is February too late? Were you interviewed remotely or at their US office?

Getting a job like @pbiggar said is a total crapshoot that is completely stochastic. Interviews are weakly correlated with how good you are. So you can apply as often as you want. Now, I am assuming you are not in the U.S. so here are issues that can happen: Very few companies will fly you out here for an on site visit. This means that quite a few companies will balk at the idea of recruiting someone that they just can interview on Skype (unless you are very good.)

I got a job offer in June last year ten days or so before the H1B cap was getting over. I got the H1B filed successfully under the nick of time because my company has an excellent lawyer. On the other hand, delays during the filing process could mess with you.

3
fourmii 2 days ago 1 reply      
Not trying to put you off, but H1B's are so difficult, mainly due to the small number available each year. I got one year's ago, but I'm not a dev. As far as I know it's not too late, particularly if the hiring company uses lawyers who have good connections at the USCIS.

If you're looking for dev jobs at companies that sponsor H1B, I noticed today in the Who's Hiring that some are offering H1B sponsorship.

Good luck, it's a arduous undertaking. Out of interest, what country are you from? There may be other visa types available to you. For instance, aussies get their own E3 visa which is essentially a H1B.

4
manishsharan 2 days ago 1 reply      
Instead of trying to move to USA for a job and facing the H1-B cap and all the legal hassle, why don't you try Canada instead. There are no arbitrary Visa caps in Canada. It is easy to get immmigration once you have a job in Canada and generally you will find lots of software developer jobs in Canada.
5
mtimur 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think the most important part is finding employers who are willing to provide H1B.

You can access to the employeers who offers H1B package. their previous H1B applications and H1B salaries from this website. http://www.myvisajobs.com/

You have to pay some fee to access this records but definitely a good point to start.

6
adamof 1 day ago 1 reply      
Hey, could you point me to the website where you read about the dates connected with H1B? In particular I am interested in when is the earliest I can travel to the US if I apply in April 2013?
7
alexwebmaster 2 days ago 0 replies      
I would advice you to wait until immigration reform is passed. The process of hiring foreign nationals with computer skills will be greatly improved due to the growing concern than America is falling behind in technology.
9
Ask HN: Where should I advertise to find a great DevOps person?
5 points by redguava  1 day ago   8 comments top 6
1
WestCoastJustin 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'd suggest craigslist.org. One major pet peeve is BS in job postings. Don't ask for 5+ years with a technology that has been around for 3 ;)
2
orangethirty 1 day ago 0 replies      
I run a mailing list specifically for software related jobs (including DevOps). Check it out here (http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5150829). Its free, and an effort to reduce spam from recruiters.
3
czbond 1 day ago 1 reply      
It may be harder to find DevOps industry specific (unless you're say in the financial/energy sectors/health care sectors which have specific operational requirements. (eg: security, etc).

Look at Stackoverflow careers, and specifically contributors in the "Server Fault", "Super user", and "Unix/Linux" sections.

Linux boards on google groups and local Linux meetups.

4
anderspetersson 1 day ago 1 reply      
It's not industry specific, but there are probably alot of DevOps on HN, so you could use the "Who is hiring"-thread: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5150834
5
atsaloli 1 day ago 0 replies      
Email sajobs@lists.lopsa.org

LOPSA is a professional association by and for system administrators.

6
ig1 1 day ago 0 replies      
10
What we discovered about InstallMonetizer
324 points by pg  13 days ago   178 comments top 6
1
notJim 13 days ago 5 replies      
I dunno, 1. and 2. seem like a cop out to me. When crappy freeware Windows installers provide a checkbox (checked by default, of course) to opt out of Bonzai Buddy or a million Ask.com toolbars or some bullshit malware scanner, they are still shitty and sketchy, and it's disappointing to me to know that YC is now behind a company that makes such software. And saying this crapware is popular does little to assuage my concerns. If users are "choosing" to install these things, it's unclear to me how informed or aware of a choice they're making. I bet successful viruses and worms are also popular by this metric.

By the way, here's an example of what we're talking about: http://imgur.com/8SGXUPP. Oracle bundles the ask toolbar with Java installs now. This is the default state, i.e., the box is default-checked. Why, users love the ask toolbar, they probably have a 95% install rate!

2
SandB0x 13 days ago 2 replies      
I think people will be wondering if this resembles the founders' ideas when they were funded by you, and if this represents the kind of company you wish to be funding.

You may of course defend the product on technical grounds (accept buttons, EULAs, etc) but I find it hard to believe that you truly think it is anything but a nuisance to end-users.

3
RyanZAG 13 days ago 1 reply      
Confusing inept users into installing random toolbars[1] that break their browsers and force them to call IT pros to 'clean up' their computers is pretty scummy. Sorry, but it is.

You can make a lot of money doing all kinds of popular things -- pimping women, selling drugs, selling 'likes' on facebook, selling botnets that create fake clicks on advertisers, ponzi schemes, etc. Some are illegal, some are just barely legal, but they are all damaging to someone. This line of business is known as 'scummy' and InstallMonetizer is plain 'scummy'.

Simple fact, trying to rationalize it doesn't help.

[1] http://installmonetizer-review.blogspot.com/
" 3. Which type of bundled software does Install Monetizer include in your installation package?
Most of the bundled software are toolbars, though the company is always changing which software are available. When I first started Install Monetizer they offered just two softwares. A toolbar called White Smoke and good old Real Player. Today they have about seven install packages available. However, only USA Search and Facebook Profile turned profitable."

4
thaumaturgy 13 days ago 0 replies      
People pay businesses like mine to remove the sorts of software that IM bundles. From the end-user's perspective, they don't understand how this stuff gets on their computer, and they don't feel comfortable removing it because they don't want to break anything.

Put another way: people "get" this software for free, and then pay other people to get rid of it.

And then other scuzzy companies have built a niche industry around the "PC tune-up", prompted by stuff like this software, charging a lot of money to people who don't know better. And, often all these companies do is run software that has been specifically designed to remove junk software.

A lot of this niche is exploitative, taking advantage of people who don't know better, and it's all supported by the bundling of this crap. That goes well beyond "opinion"; "opinion" might be, "Facebook is crap", but there isn't an entire market built around people paying other people to shut down Facebook accounts. Users aren't "choosing" to install these things any more than someone might "choose" to step on a pile of doggy doo in the park.

IM really isn't your responsibility though, so thanks for getting them to flush out the OSS-wrapped stuff at least.

5
withinrafael 13 days ago 3 replies      
Paul, I'm one of the two people you're indirectly addressing with this HN post. (The second is Long Zheng.)

I wrote here: http://www.withinwindows.com/2013/01/16/installmonetizer-qui...

Long zheng wrote here:
http://www.istartedsomething.com/20130115/y-combinator-is-fu...

I'll respond to each of your items individually.

1. OK.

2. Maybe. Or more likely users are mistakenly installing these applications because the offer screen is made to look exactly like the EULA acceptance dialog seen in every other installer.

But we don't expect this to be fixed. Anti-malware vendors have stepped in and are improving their definitions to catch this garbage but it's very much a cat/mouse game. (IM has been detected a few times, btw.) IM is very aware of this "threat" and designed their system around random domain names to mitigate detection issues as they arise. (Think about it -- Does IM, a legitimate company, really need to use fcgoatcalear.us and fcvalcsoi.us domain names? Come on.)

3. No idea where you got this information, given InstallMonetizer bundled software shows no actual EULA. The only EULAs shown during install are ones provided by the package author and the offer advertisers. Can you clarify this point, please?

4. Wrong. Existing IM bundles out there still send PII in the clear. This isn't something they can just flip a switch on and fix. (I saw IM edited their privacy policy to note the new hashing procedures but sadly that doesn't cover the bundles on the Internet today. So it's wrong.)

5. Yeah, I saw the company slip in the "Open-source software is a community product and you may not use our co-bundles with it" line. What a slap in the face of those who use commercially-permissive OSS libraries in their software...

6
powrtoch 13 days ago  replies      
I don't understand all the moralizing going on in this thread.

VC is about funding the companies that could make a lot of money. When did we start expecting them to be the morality police?

Sure, if YC wants to build up a reputation for funding "honorable" startups, then they can choose to do so (and will choose to do so to the extent that they think it makes business sense). The comments here that say "This might be bad for YC's image and hurt YC long term" are all well and good. But lots of them amount to "this is bad and you should feel bad", and these just seem disconnected from the reality of market economics.

If YC doesn't fund some scuzzy but profitable company, someone else will. You can't solve job-outsourcing by asking companies not to outsource jobs, because the companies that play along will just get their asses kicked by those who don't. If you want to solve this problem, you have to do it at some other level (usually the laws and taxes level).

It's unreasonable to demand that YC pass on profitable businesses just because we don't like what those businesses are doing. I agree that IM doesn't seem to be making the world a better place, but that's not a problem that gets fixed by asking everyone to cooperate in starving them out.

Perhaps there's a line at which it's worthwhile to call out people for following the incentives that the market has given them, but I think this line is probably a lot closer to the "murder" end of the spectrum than the "installer checkboxes" end.

(Expecting downvotes, think I'm okay with that.)

12
Implore HN: Celebrate and encourage young developers who post here
286 points by danilocampos  13 days ago   115 comments top 19
1
kyro 13 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."

2
Cogito 13 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.

3
vishnumenon 13 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?

4
davidw 13 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.
5
jacquesm 12 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.

6
joshmlewis 13 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.

7
lifeisstillgood 13 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.

8
ktrgardiner 13 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.
9
ddunkin 13 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.

10
luisivan 12 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.

11
justjimmy 13 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.

12
mmanfrin 13 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.

13
qzxt 13 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.
14
devonbarrett 13 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.
15
wuster 13 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.
16
trishume 13 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.

17
iuguy 13 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.

18
pekk 13 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.
19
zmitri 13 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.
13
Ask HN: Does a college degree matter?
3 points by Techasura  1 day ago   16 comments top 5
1
lutusp 1 day ago 1 reply      
> i have heard Friends and colleagues say that a college degree is a must and i might face some problem in future without it.

Maybe, but are you aware of how many billionaires are college dropouts, starting with Bill Gates? :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_college_dropout_billion...

Does the above mean you will succeed without an education? No, it means you might succeed without a degree, an entirely different proposition.

Try to draw a distinction between education and schooling. As Mark Twain supposedly said, "I have never let my schooling interfere with my education."

> ... i request [sic: ask] HN users to input [sic: offer] their opinions [sic: views] so that it would help me correct [sic: change course] if i have done a mistake [sic: lost my way] min [sic] my life.

I can't begin to list the problems with the above sentence, so please put English composition on your list of educational objectives -- with or without time spent in schools.

The bottom line is that you're asking the wrong question, and education is by no means limited to schools. For many, the best education is life itself.

2
rdouble 1 day ago 1 reply      
It's useful to have a degree if you ever plan on moving to another country. Almost every visa requires a degree. If it's a points based visa, you get a lot of points for a degree.
3
SEJeff 1 day ago 1 reply      
For a sysadmin/network admin/help desk role (generally speaking) the answer is sort of. As someone who does a lot of tech interviews, I would take a person who writes open software and engages in discussions on mailing lists that I can find via google more than a person with a 4 year degree from $no_name_school. Having worked with plenty of people from Harvard who are poor employees and coworkers, I feel it just depends on the environment and role.

For a software developer role, you generally need a degree. Some of the harder algorithmic aspects can be super hard to learn on your own. However, any degree can be trumped by experience. I see github as the absolute best resume available.

It is possible, but very difficult to get any job in upper management without a degree.

Disclaimer: I've worked professionally in tech for 10+ years, lack a college education, and am very successful. However, I did a technical job for 4 years in the US Army.

4
czbond 1 day ago 0 replies      
It does. It also help you learn to structure your thoughts and analysis processes.

If you are a developer, you don't need one now. But my gut tells me with the lack of current developer supply & no barriers to entry, that underclassed developers will start flooding the market. A C.S. or similar degree will help out.

You may not want to now, but you may prefer to do something more than "hands on keyboard" at a later date - that's where a degree helps.

5
orangethirty 1 day ago 2 replies      
Do it. You can only gain.
14
I'm giving rrrewind.com to a hacker who wants to take care of it.
6 points by earlyriser  2 days ago   6 comments top 4
1
earlyriser 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hi. Thanks for the interest. It's not for the first taker, I'll be checking your profiles and projects and it will be for the person I consider most "matchable" with the project.

Thanks a lot for the comments & emails I'm getting. It's still time, I'll take a decision next week.

2
skram 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is very interesting to me and my work on tracking health issues and pop culture on social media. I'll email you to see if someone else hasn't already gotten to it first!
3
true_religion 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'd love to take it over, shall I shoot you an email?
4
alex_g 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'd love to take it over and work on it if you don't have interest in it anymore. You can email me: alexgrn7@gmail.com

thanks!

16
Ask HN: What todo app do you use?
6 points by combataircraft  2 days ago   14 comments top 13
1
vacipr 2 days ago 0 replies      
You should give https://workflowy.com/ a try.
Probably the best thing the internet threw at me last year.
While it's great for todo you can do lots of stuff with this website.
2
tobylane 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm still looking for one where I can share with specific people (who can then update), and sublists. Closest thing I can find is Workflowy, possibly Cotton, but neither say what each person did, or even what's new.
3
CWIZO 2 days ago 1 reply      
I use Trello: https://trello.com
4
mooism2 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm happy with Remember The Milk (and pay the US$25/year to get it to sync properly with my iphone; my girlfriend is happy using the web version on her ipad), but I haven't tried anything else to compare it to.
5
hashtree 2 days ago 0 replies      
Fantastical integration with Reminders for the longer term stuff. It's lovely to have your todo and calendaring information in one simple app. The natural language processing rocks. Like a little assistant. They have an iPhone app in addition to OS X.

For the day to day stuff, good old memory or per-project notebooks.

6
balac 2 days ago 0 replies      
todo.txt (http://todotxt.com/). It works from the command line, has mobile apps, syncs nicely with ssh / dropbox, and saves into a simple to read / port text file.
7
revorad 2 days ago 0 replies      
https://catch.com/ is really nicely done.
8
ceeK 2 days ago 0 replies      
I use Things. It's expensive, but I like it. (http://culturedcode.com/things/)
9
ponyous 2 days ago 0 replies      
http://www.realmacsoftware.com/clear/ I'm using this on wp and it's great.
10
PankajGhosh 2 days ago 0 replies      
I use Any.do http://www.any.do/
11
jorgenblindheim 2 days ago 0 replies      
I use Symphonical: www.symphonical.com

It's only for web atm, but mobile should be around the corner..

12
hianwa 2 days ago 0 replies      
after trying a few, I gotta stick with wunderlist
13
rafaelcanovas 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wunderlist is great.
17
Ask HN: What universities are good? (Undergrad)
3 points by gamechangr  2 days ago   18 comments top 8
1
zerohp 1 day ago 2 replies      
The assumption behind all the "college is a waste of time" advice is that you're smart enough, and willing enough to teach yourself. I am like that, and I'll assume you are too. Being smart enough isn't enough, you have to expose yourself to a variety of ideas.

I started programming in basic in 3rd grade. I graduated high school in 1996, spent three years in tech support and started programming professionally in 1999. According to my salary I never missed anything by skipping college, but I always felt like I missed out. Two years ago, while working as a telecommuter, I decided to pursue a degree and started taking classes at community college. The math and physics courses opened my mind to ideas that I never really put much thought into. College opened my eyes to ideas that I never would have studied on my own. I quit my job and enrolled at University of Illinois this spring.

While I have not yet pursued research, I know that there are many opportunities for undergraduates to research in computer science. Professors typically want junior or senior undergrads because they have enough coursework in the fundamentals to be useful. Right now there is a huge push from the school to get experienced freshman and sophomores into research. They have a funded mentorship program that pays graduate students to work with one or two undergrads on their research. The problem is that they can't get enough underclassmen to apply to the program.

Many of the people that post on Hacker News that post a low opinion of the college education were educated in college themselves. Only a very small minority of posters have seen both sides of the coin. I have become a completely different person in the last two years since I started college. This experience has been far more costly for me, at 35, than it is for a typical college-age student. If I add my tuition, fees, and expenses to the opportunity cost, due to lost salary, I am paying $140k a year to go to college. I have no regrets; this has been the best experience of my life.

You've probably heard the old saying that youth is wasted on the young. I think college is also wasted on the young. Those that denigrate college were not yet self-aware enough to realize the benefit they gained from that experience.

2
caw 1 day ago 1 reply      
Take a look at US World News & Reports and their top 10 list. Any of those would be good choices. There was a syndicated article featured on Yahoo a while back about best value colleges, and Georgia Tech was top value (cost vs avg salary when you get out). I know they are in the top 10 for undergrad CS.

There are undergraduate research opportunities available, where you basically take research as a class. At GT it's called UROP (Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program). I know a few people who did it for CS, and they offer it in their other programs of study as well.

As far as language goes, I think I had 2-3 classes at most in a particular language. Some didn't have a language requirement, it was whatever. In no particular order, I used: C, C++, Cg, Java, Smalltalk, Ruby, Bash, Perl, PHP, HTML/CSS/JS, Matlab, Python, Processing, and SQL (if you count that). I also didn't know how to program before I went to college.

As far as paying for colleges go, you may want to check into reciprocal in-state tuition agreements between states. I think most of the time it's for bordering states if your state doesn't have a good program of study. Otherwise, I'd highly recommend work-study, co-op, or internship programs since you'll earn money and get experience as well.

3
logn 1 day ago 0 replies      
Just about any school of any sort with a CS program is good enough. The point of all this writing on college not being worth it is that the expected value of a $200K education is not much higher than a $50K one, or maybe even $10K.

>"Are there still places out there that offer a diverse undergraduate Computer Science program that goes beyond teaching Java and C++ and focuses on the application of these technologies to create things?"

You won't find much of this taught in the classroom. Seek out schools with strong co-op or intern programs. Many community colleges even have co-op programs. Co-ops are basically forced internships and the college does a lot to get you hired. But it's really not much different than spending your summers interning.

4
ig1 1 day ago 1 reply      
I think your view has been skewed by a relatively small number of anti-university articles, the reason you don't get pro-university articles is that it's the status quo so people don't feel the need to argue for it.

The majority of successful professional software developers (if you look at say Google or at YC founders) hold degrees.

5
michaelkscott 1 day ago 1 reply      
There are lots that are good.

MIT, Stanford, Caltech, Berkeley, CMU, Harvard, Princeton, UCLA, UCSD, Cal Poly, and hundreds more.

6
aaronz8 1 day ago 1 reply      
Remember, there are multiple ways to accomplish things, and some are more suitable for some than others.

1. Some people learn theory first, and from this discover more advanced theory that helps them eventually apply knowledge.

2. Some people learn applications first, and learn theory as necessary.

In the software industry, it's very easy to fall into the trap of #2. I mean... it's way more fun to build something that people can use, than read a textbook and hear a professor talk.

However, you should keep in mind that if you choose this path, you are starting at the same starting line as everyone else. Learning the theory behind applications gives u the advantage of having a starting line that is ahead of most people.

Consider this scenario:
You are an incandescent lightbulb assembler. When you first started, you did not make them very well. Some of them didn't light up, some of them were dimmer than others. However, as time went on, you made better and better lightbulbs. Soon, you become the world's best incandescent lightbulb assembler.
But, someone invented LEDs. You don't know what's wrong with your bulbs, since there is nothing inherently ~wrong~ about incandescent bulbs. But you know nothing about why it works, only how to assemble it.

7
Skywing 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think I now understand why the naivety of a high school student is a good thing. Wish I could go back to those days.
8
SpikeDad 1 day ago 1 reply      
What state? You're not likely to get a good value from an out of state schools considering the cost.

What's your GPA? If it's top of the class, then you don't have a problem. Otherwise, you'll need to look in state again.

And if cost or GPA isn't an object then michaelkscott comments are the most valid.

19
Ask HN: How can so many people be wrong?
9 points by diminium  4 days ago   17 comments top 16
1
orionblastar 4 days 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.

2
tokenadult 4 days 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.)

3
TrevorJ 4 days 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.

4
TheTarquin 4 days 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.

5
alid 3 days 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!

6
eduardordm 4 days 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.

7
brudgers 4 days ago 0 replies      
Everyone is fallible. How do you know that you are not in regard to the failure of the masses?
8
_______________ 4 days 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.

9
redegg 4 days 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.

10
pedalpete 4 days ago 0 replies      
Can you give an example of this spectacular failure you are referring to?
11
adziki 4 days ago 0 replies      
of those brains, how many are actually analyzing the problem, vs just regurgitating information posed by someone else?
12
kappaloris 4 days 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.

13
jejune06 4 days ago 0 replies      
Groupthink can also be an issue as well within certain pockets of communities.
14
gesman 4 days ago 0 replies      
Crowd-anything is rare right...
15
brandonsavage 4 days 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.
16
michaelbrave 4 days 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

20
Ask HN: Alternatives to Kickstarter?
9 points by neltnerb  4 days ago   10 comments top 6
1
neltnerb 4 days ago 0 replies      
Oh, if anyone is curious, the older projects are at:

http://led-artwork.com/

and

http://saikoled.com

Neither website is very good, just some html I threw together to get something online. Naturally I would significantly improve those sites when I'm shifting from "show and tell" to "trying to sell stuff for realz".

2
mittermayr 4 days ago 0 replies      
Also, this: http://selfstarter.us

built by the guys behind Lockitron (https://lockitron.com/) because there were issues with kickstarter.

but don't forget: having a donation/payment setup all wired up does not ring the cash register just yet. it's 90% promotion, 10% collecting payments.

3
dear 4 days ago 1 reply      
Just charge 5% more. Think of all the work to build, maintain and market your own selfstarter site. It's not worth it.
4
mittermayr 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'm working on a similar project: http://www.indiegogo.com/aircubus/

been using indiegogo after kickstarter seems to be very cocky about identify validation (bunch of great e-mails).

5
alberthartman 4 days ago 0 replies      
Awesome stuff! Ditto the comments that the biggest challenge will be getting your name out there. Depending on your focus and bandwidth, the DIY approach of Lockitron may work, or you may wish to just go Indiegogo/KS and focus on the promotion side yourself and let someone else handle the payment plumbing. You'll have to promote either way.
6
NonEUCitizen 4 days ago 0 replies      
Why not charge more to account for that 5% overhead, FCC certification, etc. ?
21
Show HN: CentUp - Launching in late February
7 points by lenkendall  4 days ago   3 comments top 2
1
anonymous1983 2 days ago 0 replies      
I remember a company that was doing the same thing a few years back. It was tip.. something.
2
fananta 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is actually really interesting..
22
Ask HN:Whats the problem with SVG?
21 points by lousy_sysadmin  7 days ago   discuss
1
jahewson 7 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.

2
lmm 7 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.
3
nwh 7 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/.
4
mbq 7 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.
5
pre 7 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?

6
youngtaff 7 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

7
timrogers 7 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...
8
lsiebert 7 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.

9
Turing_Machine 7 days ago 0 replies      
You might look at http://openclipart.org/ to see how they're handling it.
10
wisty 7 days ago 0 replies      
IE6. XML viruses.
23
Show HN: My first weekend project-ThreeBar, a welcome bar for content promotion
9 points by andrewmunsell  5 days ago   7 comments top 4
1
josephwesley 5 days 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).

2
GFischer 5 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.

3
andrewmunsell 5 days ago 0 replies      
A clickable link: https://threebar.net
4
dgunn 5 days ago 1 reply      
Where do you plan to promote this product? Do you have any plans for marketing this?
24
Ask HN: What is your dumbest project on Github?
24 points by pjungwir  10 days ago   23 comments top 14
2
zenojevski 10 days ago 0 replies      
A (general purpose) migration tool written in bash.

https://github.com/zenoamaro/rash

Honestly, I planned to do much more work on it before showing it to someone, like tests (yes) and a real launch script, and then it would probably become less ridicolous. Or maybe not.

But even then, why not? I had fun building it, and I learned a lot. And if there's something in the world that I like, it's a fun toy.

3
jakebasile 10 days ago 0 replies      
I wrote my own dotfile backup tool[1]. I am, as far as I know, the only one that uses it. Untold millions of these exist, I'm sure there are many that do it better.

Now that I think about it, most of my stuff on GitHub is, well, not necessary. I always think to myself "I enjoyed writing it, maybe someone somewhere can find it useful."

[1]:https://github.com/jakebasile/dotback

4
krapp 9 days ago 0 replies      
I made a watermarking plugin for jQuery/canvas mostly because someone asked if it was possible to do entirely in javascript (for a Business Catalyst client, so no backend was available) and after I explained why it was a terrible idea I went ahead and tried it anyway.

Most of my projects are like that... experiments and self-education which are probably useful just to myself.

https://github.com/kennethrapp/cmark

5
robotmay 10 days ago 0 replies      
Regrettably, this is my most popular piece of code I've released: a ruby gem for parsing a goddamn stupid text format used only by the website Rightmove. I pity the poor fools who have needed to use it.

https://github.com/robotmay/blm

6
eduardordm 10 days ago 0 replies      
ActiveRecord, except it isn't active (nor record). Not an actual project, just a piece of code.

https://github.com/eduardordm/inactiverecord

7
mc 10 days ago 0 replies      
Funny you ask, last night, I got Wordpress running on Heroku.

https://github.com/mchung/heroku-buildpack-wordpress

Why? For the lulz.

8
Jemaclus 10 days ago 1 reply      
I tried to make a PHP-based (it's my primary language at work, so easy enough to dabble in) version of the classic BBS game TradeWars. (https://github.com/brianseitel/oasis-wars)

I got universe generation down (though it's slow), and I started on populating it with ports, but I couldn't quite figure out how to properly figure out how much the traders should charge for goods.

Anyway, it was fun while it lasted, but I got distracted by other projects. Maybe some day I'll come back and work on it some more...

9
endgame 10 days ago 0 replies      
http://code.google.com/p/endgames-stuff

Where I store little throwaways. Metscrape2 is probably the most interesting.

10
whichdan 10 days ago 0 replies      
https://github.com/DanL/shortener

A URL shortening API using Django. I had more-or-less never used Django before this. If I'm committing any Pythonic sins, by all means, elucidate me.

11
hamax 10 days ago 1 reply      
Most of my personal projects are at least a bit embarrassing, but those two are the worst:

XML to LaTeX parser (failed proof of concept) https://github.com/hamaxx/lml

And shell simulator in JS (just for fun project) https://github.com/hamaxx/jsbash

12
pjungwir 10 days ago 2 replies      
I'll go first. Here is a command-line utility in C that counts:

https://github.com/pjungwir/range

I thought I had a worse example, but it turns out it's not on Github . . . yet. :-)

13
pantoine 10 days ago 0 replies      
https://github.com/PAntoine/look

There is many, many, many reasons this is bad. Just look at the command line.

PS: It also duplicates several unix CLI functions, just like the project in question.

14
ao5357 10 days ago 0 replies      
Mine is intentionally bad: https://github.com/ao5357/retina-spacer-gif

Perhaps other projects are unintentionally bad, but the above-linked was intended to be funny.

25
Ask HN: What I don't understand about Bitcoin
3 points by brenfrow  3 days ago   7 comments top 4
1
jstanley 3 days ago 0 replies      
They are not indivisible units. I believe the minimum possible denomination is 0.00000001 BTC, or about 0.00002 cents.
2
jerfelix 3 days 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.

3
wmf 3 days 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).
4
gus_massa 3 days ago 0 replies      
The smaller possible exchange unit is 1E-8 bitcoin (0,00000001).
26
Ask HN: Are any of you salaried under pay-for-performance?
4 points by _______________  4 days ago   10 comments top 5
1
ig1 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'm not sure why anyone would take such a deal, it's not uncommon for developers to have bonuses tied to performance but I would expect that to be on-top of a competitive base salary and not in-lieu of it.
2
codegeek 2 days ago 0 replies      
All else being equal, I would say No deal. reduction in base salary is a huge thing. Let me tell you why. Lets say you do take that new job with the salary reduction, best case you get that 20K bonus. Now, if you want to switch jobs, most employers will consider your base salary first and bonus second because bonus is not guaranteed. Your leverage or power to negotiate goes down with a lesser base salary. Worst case, you don't even get the bonus (oh we had a bad year u know) and there u r. 20K reduced base with 0 bonus. Your next potential employer wont care less why u took a reduction. They see reduction, period.

I know i m sounding harsh here but thats the reality of salaries these days. I understand that startups might have a little more flexibility but as a professional with 10 years of work experience, I would never ever suggest to take a salary reduction. You just don't know where you will end up next.

3
mcotton 4 days ago 1 reply      
I've never heard of that and unless you are happy with the worst-case base salary I would renegotiate. Having been a part of many bonus systems, I never plan on the bonus money to actually hit my bank account.
4
Mankhool 4 days ago 1 reply      
What about benefits? My current employer values benefits at 22% of one's gross salary. I'm a contractor so they figure if I am going to be an employee that I should work for X - 22% + a non-guaranteed performance bonus of 7-15%.
5
codeonfire 4 days ago 1 reply      
You won't get it unless it's up front. Common sense should prevail here, why structure it like this except they don't want to pay you?
27
points by    ago   discuss
1
kami8845 14 days ago 5 replies      
I picked a new machine for my job a couple of days ago, so this is still fresh on my mind. Keep in mind that this is from the perspective of the UK (US is generally MUCH cheaper, oftentimes machines cost 50% of what they do here).

---------------

First, my criteria for the new machine are:

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

- SSD (No weird HDD/SDD hybrids)

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

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

- No optical drive (same reasons)

- Battery life 5+ hours

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

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

- Good Linux support

- Solid build quality

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

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

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

- Macbook Air 2012

- ASUS Zenbook

- ASUS Zenbook Prime

- Lenovo X1 Carbon

- Samsung Series 9 900X3D

- Samsung Series 9 900X3C

- Lenovo X220

- Lenovo X230

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

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

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

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

- ASUS Zenbook

- ASUS Zenbook Prime

- Samsung Series 9 900X3D

- Samsung Series 9 900X3C

- Lenovo X220

- Lenovo X230

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

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

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

--------------

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

2
enduser 14 days ago 7 replies      
ThinkPad T530 or W530 with the 1920x1080 screen upgrade. The W530 is marginally heavier but cheaper in some configurations and takes 32GB instead vs the T's 16GB. Install an aftermarket Samsung 830 (not 840) SSD if you have the money. The 840 uses cheaper flash chips than the 830, which is a top quality SSD.

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

3
shrughes 14 days ago 0 replies      
Good powerful and light developer laptops include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4
harel 14 days ago 0 replies      
I just got a Thinkpad T530 though without the full HD display. It goes to 1600x900 which is the minimum acceptable resolution in my opinion and on the 15" screen that gives you quite a bit of real estate. I've been a Thinkpad user for many years now and they never fail (almost, the T61p had a limited life span due to a faulty Nvidia chip but that problem wasn't limited to Thinkpads).

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

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

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

5
rlpb 14 days ago 0 replies      
Remember to check http://www.ubuntu.com/certification/desktop/ for laptops certified to work with Ubuntu. This is an easy way to ensure compatibility.
6
Adaptive 14 days ago 0 replies      
I have an x220 with both touchscreen and pen running Arch/xmonad. I almost never use the touch capabilities, though I use the pen a fair amount for screen annotation and photoshop. I like pens but if you are a serious developer on a laptop you are in text/keyboard mode most of the time and just don't need a touch screen, imo.

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

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

7
voltagex_ 14 days ago 0 replies      
I am currently looking for an ultrabook but for the last couple of years I have used the following setup:

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

* Drive bay adapter + SSD to replace the DVD drive

* Upgraded to 8GB/RAM

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

28
Ask HN: What did you buy accidentally that added so much value to your life?
10 points by julianpye  7 days ago   15 comments top 9
1
rdegges 7 days ago 2 replies      
For me, there are two things that immediately stand out:

An Amazon Kindle, and a subscription to Audible.com.

When I bought a Kindle, I really did so on a whim (they're cheap!), but they're actually incredibly awesome devices. Ever since I've gotten one, I've read far more books, learned a lot, and have greatly improved my personal satisfaction. I've always been the sort of person who feels 'guilty' when I don't read frequently, and having a Kindle around has really solved that problem for me. It makes it very easy to swipe, read a few pages, and set back down (while code is compiling, whatever).

The Audible.com subscription has also been really amazing. If you're not aware, Audible is an Amazon company that sells audiobooks. You can listen to them on your mobile device (Android, iOS, etc.), and it's a great companion for running errands, commuting, doing chores, or working out (unless you're lifting weights, in which case you may want some real music >:)).

Audible has essentially helped me read through an extra ~40 books last year, all of which were really educational / helpful.

2
anthonycerra 7 days ago 0 replies      
The base model Kindle with ads.

I take the train every day and using an iPad 2 to read is really inconvenient and invites theft. The Kindle fits in my coat pocket, is a delight to read with (sitting or standing), and no one wants to jump you for an e-reader.

3
xauronx 4 days ago 0 replies      
An automatic wire stripper. I was at a convention center and it seemed like such a scam (one of those douchey salesman). I threw out the money for it because it wasn't too expensive and seemed neat. One of the most enjoyable tools I have to use. Not sure why, maybe it's just from the years of using knives/nail trimmers/crappy wire strippers as a kid.

Kind of like this:
http://www.amazon.com/Automatic-Wire-Stripper-with-Cutter/dp...

4
lazyeye 7 days ago 0 replies      
Sennheiser radio wireless headset for the TV - can watch TV at any time day or night without disturbing anyone. The sound quality is excellent. As its radio (not infra-red) I can move around the house still listening with perfect sound.
5
robodale 4 days ago 0 replies      
Hiring a lawn mowing service to mow my damn lawn. This way I can shake my fist at the youngsters to 'stay the hell off my lawn' from my porch/deck, rather than stop my mower, take off my hearing protection, put down my can of Old Mil, then shake my fist at them...
6
samdelagarza 7 days ago 0 replies      
A rice cooker
7
goshabo 6 days ago 1 reply      
Noise canceling headphones from Bose - had no idea how quiet and focused I could get with them on in public spaces
8
Ralz 7 days ago 0 replies      
An iphone charger for my car and also bluetooth for my car so I can stream podcasts/music and make calls without having to touch my phone.
9
palidanx 7 days ago 0 replies      
All public radio. In Los Angeles - kpcc, and kusc.
29
Ask HN: What is the threshold of karmas that will allow me to downvote comments?
7 points by xijuan  6 days ago   7 comments top 3
1
bdfh42 6 days ago 1 reply      
Why would you want to do this?

Vote up that which is good and allow the indifferent to languish.

2
zeynalov 6 days ago 1 reply      
500
3
benn_88 5 days ago 0 replies      
Over 9000
30
Ask HN: Which programming language and framework should I learn?
5 points by roschdal  5 days ago   10 comments top 7
1
dutchrapley 5 days ago 1 reply      
If you're interested in leaving your mark on web development, focus on becoming very proficient in JavaScript. Then take a look at any one of the currently popular JS frameworks/toolkits: Backbone, Angular, Batman, Knockout, etc.
2
danso 5 days ago 0 replies      
Ruby and Rails is currently in high demand right now. But so is Python.
3
wifarley 4 days ago 0 replies      
I prefer Django so my next statement may be slightly biased. I have a friend who likes Rails. I understand why, he's a mouth breather. I would still suggest Django even though my friend, who was dropped several times on the head by his parents, would recommend Rails. This debate is still at large, but in the end it comes down to preference. Python I might compare to, I'm bad with metaphors but something that is perfect and organized. Rails is similar to a group of sorority girls, drunk, on karaoke night at the bar. Tempting but I would probably leave
4
codegeek 5 days ago 1 reply      
Language: Python

Frameworks: Django, Flask (in that order for employability)

Language: Ruby

Frameworks: Rails, Sinatra

5
roschdal 5 days ago 1 reply      
Thanks for the replies! Ruby on Rails and Backbone it is, then!
6
anderspetersson 5 days ago 0 replies      
Rails (Ruby) or Django (Python).
7
saluki 5 days ago 0 replies      
Rails
       cached 4 February 2013 05:05:02 GMT