hacker news with inline top comments    .. more ..    10 Feb 2013 Ask
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Ask HN: First time in SF today and tomorrow " can I visit your startup?
79 points by davewasmer  11 hours ago   18 comments top 8
machrider 9 hours ago 1 reply      
If you (or any San Franciscan developers/gamers) would like to visit Goodreads, you should come by Tuesday night for our startup game night: http://www.eventbrite.com/event/5047240432/estw
d0m 10 hours ago 1 reply      
I had the chance to visit last year, It was an awesome trip. I visited HackerDojo, YC (Sneaked my way in a party.. but shh :p), Sendhub and randomly attended a trivia-party full of apple/google/linkedin employes, fun time. I wish you have as much fun as I did. Make sure to take coffees a little bit everywhere and pay attention to the conversations around you.. most of the time you'll hear business pitches which is fairly normal in this area.
alex_g 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I'd love to do this one day. Just out of curiosity, to you and/or any of the startups offering you a visit- what would you do while you visit? Just walk around the office and ask questions, or take a tour of some sort? I'd be interested to know :)
southpolesteve 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I did something similar last year: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3216323

I met a ton of great people and everyone was extremely accommodating. I hope you gets lots of offers. I think I ended up with ~70 invitations.

tjbiddle 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Great idea! I didn't make a post out of it, just had a few in mind that I wanted to visit, but it turned into me landing a job offer and moving across the country. If that's not what you're shooting for, I'm sure you'll still have a great time and meet some crazy awesome people. Good luck!
bradleyjoyce 9 hours ago 1 reply      
If you get down to SV I highly recommend connecting with the folks at SiliconHouse http://siliconhouse.us/ It's a great program and they are super connected around SV & SF. Let them know Bradley sent you!
juanbyrge 7 hours ago 3 replies      
Not my startup, lol, we run a tight ship here.

I'd checkout meetups though.

Jonovono 10 hours ago 1 reply      
ha I am pretty much in your same situation, but am looking for a job. Where are you staying?
I made $200K and PayPal locked my account
436 points by blasten  1 day ago   240 comments top 85
InclinedPlane 23 hours ago 4 replies      
Wow, the sheer quantity of unhelpful advice in this thread is simply mind boggling. Hey, let's all hate paypal because they "steal" people's money. Ignoring the seriously thorny legal bramble that the OP has run headlong into with nary a concern. There is a bounteous variety of comments of the form "Paypal sux! {Use X instead!}" Where X may be stripe, or wepay, or whatever. Ignoring the fact that stripe wouldn't help in this case (it's US only), if you go read the terms of service of stripe or wepay you'll find exactly the same things there as are at issue here. You'll need an SSN or EID or tax ID with stripe too, just as you would with a WePay business account. There's a reason for that, and it has to do with the law.

There are maybe only half a dozen reasonable, substantially helpful, and actionable replies in this whole thread (which would put it at maybe a 4% SNR), almost all the rest is useless. If this is what HN is going to be, I don't want it.

As for my advice, it's simple. Go talk to a lawyer as soon as possible, you have a lot of issues that need sorting and a good lawyer is absolutely necessary to get through those issues, and they'll help to put you on the right footing to deal with paypal. It sucks that you have been acting in good faith and doing good work and have gotten tangled in the mess that is the many layers of laws, regulations, and corporate policies that make up our modern immigration, taxation, and financial systems. You have my sympathies for that and I wish you the best of luck, hopefully you'll be able to keep the proceeds of your excellent work without any serious negative repercussions.

gojomo 1 day ago 2 replies      
Concur with javajosh's recommendation to find a California/USA-based lawyer for help. Advice from semi-anonymous strangers in internet forums is worth what you pay for it.

Generally, in the search for a lawyer, you get to talk to many (without charge) for 15-45 minutes each. You may be surprised how widely their estimations of the issues vary -- the law is the law, right? -- but you'll learn something from each conversation, and perhaps find someone you trust with your concerns. Also, legal confidentiality means that even if you've messed up on some tax/immigration/work-authorization/business things, talking with them honestly doesn't mean you've made any admissions that get back to the authorities (unless and until with their advice you decide that's the best course).

If a student in the US, your educational institution may also have a legal aid clinic.

You can probably get an 'ITIN', the equivalent to a Social Security Number for non-domestic individuals/entities who need an SSN-like number for tax/financial reporting purposes. See...


...and the related IRS pages. And again, just getting the number isn't admitting to anything or any tax liability. However, it then will be used by financial institutions (like PayPal) to maintain their internal and government-required reporting requirements. Separate from just tax issues, amounts in the tens-of-thousands (and sometimes less) are subject to reporting to control money-laundering from large-scale illegal activities.

ChuckMcM 1 day ago 4 replies      
Sad story, I agree with folks who say you should seek out legal advice.


If you are going to receive funds with PayPal and they are going to exceed the 'occasional sale' guidelines (which some people interpret to mean the same guidelines at the rule for sending an IRS 1099 form which is < $600 annually.

First establish your business presence in the US, that means creating an LLC, getting an EIN [1] and establishing a relationship with a US based bank.

If you get hung up on those steps, don't start taking money with PayPal because their zealous anti-fraud/laundering/drug program fires on a hair trigger. It didn't help that the OP is a student from Venezuela which is not one of America's trading partners.

I expect you will lose most of this money in legal fees. However, if the business is durable, and you manage to establish your LLC (that lawyer you got can help with that) then you will make it back and PayPal will back down. As long as the money trail can be tracked and everyone in the path reports it to the Federal Government so that they are satisfied it isn't part of a laundering scheme[2], or if it was they can catch the folks involved, you will be ok.

[1] http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/International-Taxpayers/Taxpa...

[2] This is how the laundering scheme would work. Some criminal enterprise hires a bunch of third parties to buy your 'widget' for an inflated price, say $10,000 per copy. You sell the 20 copies, get the $200,000, now you go to a coffee shop owned by the criminal enterprise and buy a Double Vente Latte for $180,000 made out of hand picked coffee beans. The crook now has $180,000 of "legitimate" income from his coffee shop, you have $20,000 in "profits" on your amazing Javascript widget, and 20 drug dealers have a bit of software they just delete from their hard drive (if they down loaded it at all). Everybody "wins." So the US Government wants to be able to subpoena your customer list to track the money from the drug dealers to you and then back to the crooks. Paypal helps with that. If you make it hard for them to do that, they keep you money.

nlh 1 day ago 6 replies      
Sorry to hear about the troubles :(

If this wasn't the umpteenth time I've heard this story, I wouldn't say this so pesteringly:

To everyone: Stop stop stop stop stop using PayPal. This happens over and over again. For once, thankfully, there are viable alternatives out there -- Stripe & WePay to name two (both of which I've had excellent experiences with).

Not saying they're panaceas or that there won't be security/freezing issues from the new guys, but PayPal has a documented, extensive, and repeated history of freezing accounts with large amounts of money in them over short(ish) periods of time.

patio11 1 day ago 2 replies      
Apply for a TIN - taxpayer identification number. PayPal can use it in lieu of an SSN. This will take you six weeks. In the alternative, consult a local lawyer and have them nastygram Paypal for you.
sp_ 1 day ago 3 replies      
When you say you're an international student, do you mean you're in the US on an F-1 visa? If yes, you might be in violation of your visa terms. If you have not researched this, please start reading at http://www.justanswer.com/immigration-law/330cd-holding-f-1-...
dangrossman 1 day ago 2 replies      
From your comments, you had multiple PayPal accounts (disallowed), were in Venezuela, using a US PayPal account, then transferring the funds to a PayPal account in Venezuela, and can't provide a tax ID for the US account. At the same time, you went from zero to hundreds of thousands in payments in just a few months. To PayPal, you likely appear to be a criminal involved in some type of money laundering or tax evasion scheme. I don't know enough about student Visas and international tax agreements to say you aren't actually engaging in tax evasion, perhaps unknowingly.

It's not surprising they locked the account and asked for documentation. The tax code pretty much guarantees they would within a year in order to file the 1099-K on your account. This stuff is serious to them, both from a financial (the potential losses if this money disappears because it's not been moving legally) and regulatory fronts (US Patriot Act among others requires banks, like those underwriting your US PayPal account, to be able to accurately identify their customers). This might not be easy to fix.

JohnHaugeland 4 hours ago 0 replies      
So, I'm going to hold an antithetical position here, because I've been on the other side of this, but rather than panicking and screaming "villain," I took the time to understand what was going on, and I got a reversal. I think you can too, but you'll need to discard the common contempt for PayPal and consider that they might actually have a reason for what they're doing.


"PayPal has closed my account because I don't have a social security number. It seems like I don't qualify for one because I'm just “an international student” from Venezuela."

I just don't believe this one bit. People from Venezuela do use PayPal quite a bit.

More likely what this is actually about is that you haven't done the minimum to do business in America, which PayPal told you up front that they expected you to do.

They're not actually able to do business with you, because you haven't taken the correct steps yet. If you say "oh my god they're punishing me for being from the wrong country," you're screwed.

But if you figure out the problem, you can fix it.

Here's the thing. In America, like in Venezuela and most of the rest of the world, you're expected to pay taxes on money transfer. It's an income stream.

The social security number is how Americans track these things in their private lives. Sure, you won't get one because you're not American, but there are foreign equivalents, and they're cheap. We do want to do business with you; you just have to be clean.

PayPal can't give you your money until you do what the US Government requires. It would be illegal. It would make them into a criminal money laundering organization.

I'm not really sure; I'm no tax attorney. But, I think what you want is an ITIN - an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number. They are free, they're available online, and they only take a couple weeks to get.




It's very common in the tech community for people to hear "PayPal shut off an account? They're the devil!" But in reality, this is how America keeps its money from flowing to criminal organizations, and PayPal's hands are tied here.

If you took the time to talk to them, and said "listen, I didn't know there was a problem, can you help me understand what steps I need to take to get this turned around," it's very likely they'll actually help you, like they helped me.

The toxic Redditor behavior is getting out of control. Not every time a large company does something that seems punitive is it actually in the wrong, and in this situation, they're really just following the law. That's expected. That's correct.

Also, to put things in perspective, you seem to be frustrated that you have to wait six months to receive five years of an average American's salary. I mean, I don't think this is actually as bad as you're making it out to be, unless you've tied your entire life to taking money from the internet, and can't survive without it.

I think maybe you should consider the possibility of asking some of your users for a little spare cash through some crowdfunding site (full disclosure: I work for a crowdfunding site, which is why I'm not naming options right now, because it would be unethical.)

And then maybe just try to work with PayPal to fix the problem, instead of begging the internet to try to hammer-lock PayPal into breaking the law for you, because no matter how hard you try, that is never, ever going to work.

Try setting up a Google Voice account, and calling them on the phone. If they can hear your fear in your voice, the human will to do good and help will come out, and they will put in effort to assist. I promise. That's just how people work.

Also consider getting in contact with the American tax authority, the IRS. It's pretty common for people to hate and fear them, but they're actually wonderful people; their big job is to prevent rich people from cheating the system, and to support poor people, and your story is very sympathetic. Someone from the IRS will, if you just ask, put in hours and hours to try to help you, for free. That's what they do for a living.

You can choose to assume everyone's evil and out to get you, or you can choose to assume that you accidentally didn't get the rules right, and that fixing that could change things.

Which one of those assumptions you make will very significantly change the outcome you get.

There is a reason that people who expect good things from other people generally do well in life. They're able to ask for, and receive, more help. Bad things are fixed more reliably. Et cetera.

Just make a human appeal. "I didn't know I screwed up. I still don't know how. I earned this money legitimately, and I need it. Can you help me learn what I did wrong, so that I can fix it?"

Give them a chance to be good - maybe even a couple - and they will be good.

PayPal is not the evil faceless demon they're made out to be. International payments are complicated, and people from other countries often get domestic law wrong.

But I really don't think they want to cheat you; after all, they make their money by helping you do more business. Shutting you off doesn't do them any good.

Please consider approaching this like you might have made a mistake, because if it's you, and not them, then fixing it and changing this is entirely inside your power. Taking responsibility means acquiring power. Pointing fingers weakens you.

I hope the best for your situation. Please be safe.

anigbrowl 1 day ago 2 replies      
You have $200k sitting in your paypal account? Don't you have a bank account? What country are you in? What exactly did they say to you? How you mean you 'don't know how' you made $200k - you didn't expect to sell so much, or you sold $200k in one go with no idea who gave it to you? This seriously needs more information.
droithomme 1 day ago 1 reply      
The comments here are good.

One point not addressed in the comments is that whether PayPal ever gives you the money back or not, OP has earned $200,000 in income while in the United States and he owes the IRS and possibly the state government as well full US income tax on this amount since he was in the US at the time he did this work. It doesn't matter what his visa situation is, that has nothing at all to do with if he owes taxes. He is required to file an income tax return this year, and pay the taxes, end of story. If he doesn't pay the taxes, he might go to jail and probably will get a felony record and be permanently banned from returning to the US after release.

So this is a pretty serious problem and requires a legal team, which undoubtedly will cost the full amount on deposit to untangle.

He can't just walk away from the situation and let PayPal keep the money, unless he can get the amount he owes in taxes from a relative and pay it, which then puts him into debt.

richardjordan 1 day ago 0 replies      
Contact one of the Silicon Valley law firms that's used to dealing with these things. Don't go to some cheapo ambulance chasing lawyer who doesn't know what to do. Even if you cough up $20k in fees to a law firm it's worth doing. They'll help you set up a company for your product and steer everything through that to unlock your funds. A lot of advice on here is overly negative and misinformed. As someone who has had to deal with changes of legal status, setting up companies as a foreigner, and has dealt with the hell of PayPal account freezing, I can assure you this is fixable if you work with a reputable experienced law firm.
electic 1 day ago 1 reply      
I think there is a problem here. If you are saying you do not how how you made it then there might be truly something wrong with your account. It is rare for any open source project that is a js widget essentially to pull in 200k in six months. I think there is a bit more information at work here and you are leaving it out. I think what Paypal did was justified while they investigate what is going on.
blantonl 1 day ago 1 reply      
Disclaimer: I have a love hate relationship with Paypal. My organization runs most of our payment processes through Paypal.

With that said, some questions:

1) How were you able to process 30k/month through Paypal out of the gate without providing a government ID?

2) How much of the 200K were you able to withdrawal? If any? Do you have any of it in cash?

3) Did you experience an abnormal amount of chargebacks?

I'd love to hear your thoughts.....

saumil07 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hey Emmanuel - Saumil Mehta here from LocBox, we spoke a few months ago on the phone.

I would urge you to simply hire an excellent immigration lawyer to figure out your options w.r.t. the F-1 before you move forward. I have a San Francisco-based firm that I can refer you to if you like. They are (somewhat) expensive but they do deliver good results and they are not a big faceless firm - fast, efficient, get on the phone quickly.

Email me if you want to talk more. FWIW, I dealt with our dysfunctional immigration system for a decade - once having to forfeit a well-paying internship after forgetting to file a dumb piece of paperwork - so I do understand the pain of getting the shaft after busting ass, primarily because of immigration reasons.

Anyhow, hope this helps.

JoshTriplett 1 day ago 2 replies      
First, before you do anything else, find a reputable payment provider and switch your payment mechanisms over to that, so you don't keep getting money sent into a locked account. And with your new payment provider, make sure you sweep all money you receive out of any account they have access to as soon as possible, up to whatever limits they have on how much you have to leave around for chargebacks and similar.

I'd guess that PayPal wants an SSN so they can report your revenue to the IRS for taxes. If so, they might accept an EIN or TIN instead, which you can obtain as a business (which you probably want anyway if you plan on doing that much business).

Alternatively, if you are not actually in the U.S. (you didn't say explicitly), you may need the local equivalent instead, though good luck getting PayPal to accept anything that doesn't follow their script.

In any case, the instant you get access to your PayPal account again, get all the money out of it before they change their mind, which they frequently do, and switch over to the reputable payment provider you picked in step 1.

Finally, next time you start doing business with a service, even a popular one, search for negative experiences with that service and take them seriously. You now know not to use PayPal ever again, but that still leaves quite a few other services out there to get burned by.

rikacomet 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hi, I'm not a expert on US laws, but given how it mostly works, yeah you are in the wrong, if they say so. But all is not lost I suppose.

You must find a lawyer in any case, a good one! though there is no guarantee it will work, but if something would work, it would be this or a clear provision/flaw you may find on your own (I take it that you won't be able to)

Three legal courses might work on broader terms, leave the actual litigation to the lawyer.

1. The lawyer may prove that someone, who is a US citizen, a family member preferably, or a family friend, is the real owner of the product, and you mis-stated your facts. (meaning, you didn't say under oath, that the said service/product was your and yours ALONE)

The lawyer would take his cut in all cases, and if anything, you should give your family member a cut as well, in this case. Its better than nothing out of 200k$!

2. You may establish a US company, preferably in a state where tax is low and norms are lax, based on strong advice of your lawyer, with preferably the same name as your product. The lawyer in this case would prove (or try to)
that the company would receive the money (being a separate legal identity), and a friend of yours who is a US citizen, would be the trustee of the company.

Similarly to above, lawyer will get his cut, your friend would do as well (unless he is the nicest guy on the planet, if he does not take any money, do PM about it on reddit@rikacomet).

3. The lawyer, may establish, that there was an error in your understanding of the US laws (which is clearly so), and since paypal allows for you to be a member of any country, you shall recieve it upon changing the credentials of yours, to your native one's. The lawyer, shall argue, that the payment made by your customers, would hold true, despite you changing ONLY your address details.

Alternatively, if all your payments were made by credit card (which might be the case), you may contact, all your customers, to initiate a cash back (where they will legally call back money from their bank, after stating that a huge flaw was made, and the original deal holds untrue) the bank would know its way with paypal, so no worries there, but what you need to worry about is bank making a case against you. So you would need a lawyer again over here.

Disclaimer: Always, talk to a professional lawyer about legal matters, mine is only mildly suggestive in nature based on laws existing in my country.

NOTE: Please be very careful, while finding a good lawyer, while you do, make sure to make it clear to him, that the payment, would be only a cut out of the 200k in question here, and not out of your pocket.

Take this on a legal document in WRITING, with his signature and official stamp heads, in presence of 2-4 witnesses etc. You really don't want to lose 200k, and then also pay a American lawyer out of your pocket!

btown 1 day ago 1 reply      
I've been testing turn.js v3 for personal projects and am seriously considering buying it for production use in a business; it's the only thing out there for dynamically-rendered flipbooks. Sorry to hear about your troubles. At that level of revenue, I'd seriously consider charging using something like Stripe or Braintree. Your target audience (developers) won't consider typing a CC number as such a huge inconvenience.

Another note - releasing the 4th release's source code under something like the Affero GPL (or a similar noncommercial license) could drive adoption of that version, since many people like to "try before they buy" - and would like to do so with the most feature-filled version.

ck2 22 hours ago 1 reply      
So much for the kinder, gentler paypal.


I guess it was all talk.

Never, ever, keep more than $100 in a paypal account (or as much as you are willing to lose immediately, forever).

Also, if possible, close the bank account your paypal is tied to as they will draw from it as they see fit without your consent.

sinak 1 day ago 0 replies      
I highly recommend contacting executiveoffice@paypal.com. I've had many problems with PayPal in the past, but they were the only group able to make corrections to my account and release funds.
javajosh 1 day ago 2 replies      
Hi Emmanuel, I'm sorry for your troubles. Sounds like Paypal is being unreasonable - hardly the first time. I would suggest a two-pronged approach:

1. Find a lawyer who can advise you, definitely based in the US, and almost certainly based on CA, the home state of PayPal. As you (potentially) have $200k in cash, you'll have no problem finding excellent representation. Hopefully you can get away with spending only a few thousand.

2. Select a different payment processor. You can do this immediately. Stripe has a good reputation, but there are others as well.

3. (Optionally) Post your progress. Especially if the lawyer can give you good advice that is applicable to others in your same situation, you are potentially saving other innovators many thousands of dollars not to mention headaches.

Good luck.

jey 1 day ago 2 replies      
Where does PayPal ask for an SSN? That doesn't sound right.
shocks 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Hi there. Congratulations on your success, I'm very sorry to hear you're having problems.

The issue seems to be that PayPal are worried you're doing something illegal and are not going to pay tax. My advice would be to get a lawyer so you can do everything required to pay tax correctly. In the mean time, try to get some written confirmation from PayPal that your money will be safe while you are resolving this issue - that last thing you want is the money 'disappearing'.

eof 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Find an american friend with a SSN? I am not sure this would really work, but it's definitely worth a shot. Of course your friend will have to count it as income; but honestly this will probably be a lot cheaper than hiring a lawyer if it works. I don't really see a downside to trying this method; since you can't really lose the money that's already gone.
stickydink 1 day ago 0 replies      
You should talk to a lawyer immediately. You should also read up on just what exactly your visa allows you to do. Assuming you have an F-1 visa, you are pretty much (with some small exceptions), not allowed to work. This includes self-employment, freelancing, anything.

What you should have done (and this is still a legal uncertainty) is have the funds tied to a Venezuelan bank account, your Venezuelan personal and tax identification. It's a little late for that, however.

Best of luck retrieving your funds. I wouldn't be surprised if you got PayPal to release them (they are not themselves a government, so just require enough information to cover their own ass). But expect to be asked some very serious questions by USCIS. For that reason you don't want a regular lawyer, you main issue here will be trying to convince the US you weren't breaking your visa terms.

You need an immigration lawyer.

dexter313 1 day ago 2 replies      
I was always wondering, if PayPal locks a 200k$ account, where does that money go?
codexon 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Is anyone else amazed this guy made 200k with an open source js library like this?

What am I doing with my life?

StavrosK 1 day ago 0 replies      
Don't you have one in Venezuela? They were more than happy to accept my Greek id.
anovikov 14 hours ago 0 replies      
With any money transfer/payment service, DON'T keep money on it. Withdraw to cash every week, and spend or keep in a bank vault. I normally don't even put real mail address anywhere and ask different people to do ATM withdrawals. I am not doing anything criminal at all, but WHO KNOWS? It's always better to be protected especially when it doesn't cost me anything.
donohoe 1 day ago 1 reply      
webjac 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Hey Emmanuel, long time no speak.

I would suggest you go to a lawyer as well, I know how hard it is for us Venezuelans out there. I had a PayPal block once as well and managed to solve, it takes time and a lot of documentation, however it was not even close to the ammount you're mentioning here.

There are alternatives like creating your own company and giving the info of your company to PayPal, that way everything will be as legal as they might need.

Let me know how it goes, best of luck bro

drucken 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Get any job (#), including part-time and temp jobs, and you instantly get a US social security number.

That said, Paypal are acting like dicks, as usual, since you do NOT need an SSN to open ordinary bank accounts in the US.

(#) You may need written permission from your school to work.

Source: http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10181.html

sisk 1 day ago 0 replies      
These sort of things generally revolve around tax reporting. As an international student, you should be able to get an ITIN or TCN which, I believe, they also accept.
mikecane 13 hours ago 0 replies      
See what this poor guy is going through? There are a lot of bright people here. Sounds like a start-up opportunity for someone. He can't be the only person who winds up in this situation. Solving this could open the door for others who have the skills to make money like he did.
redact207 1 day ago 1 reply      
Why is PayPal's policy to wait until the account accrues significant funds and then lock it? If the OP doesn't have an SSN then why wouldn't PayPal block the account from being registered in the first place?
georgek1029 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Have you tried?: How to Unlock a PayPal Account http://www.ehow.com/how_7657756_unlock-paypal-account.html via @eHow

Also, other comments have stated that if the lock msg. came via email it could be a phishing scam. Try to avoid supplying personal info if looks like a suspicious email.

More: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PayPal#Criticism

Raz0rblade 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Maybe make it work using a different bank system and IBAN payments IBAN is international, you might consider opening a IBAN acount in Venezuela. I'm in europe and i like Ideal much more then paypall. As "Ideal" is much more secure. Other options might be bitcoin, or maybe game dollars wich can be changed to hard valuta like lindendollars ...
purephase 1 day ago 0 replies      
This really sucks. PayPal is terrible for doing stuff like this, and I really feel for you. While I don't have any specific suggestions for dealing with PayPal, maybe you could setup a Crowdtilt or similar fundraising opportunity and link it on your site?

I love turnjs btw. Very slick tool.

therandomguy 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you are on a student visa you are not allowed to get that money even if you had a SSN. You will be violating the rules of your visa. After you graduate, find a job and go on H1-B you still can't earn any money outside that job. No paypal, not adsense, no stripe. Eventually if you decide to apply for a green card these things will come up and you will have to leave the country.
edouard1234567 1 day ago 0 replies      
First, I didn't know about turn.js, just checked it out, it rocks!
Second : You are probably breaking emigration laws. I'd recommend you consult with an emigration lawyer ASAP.
cjbprime 1 day ago 0 replies      
Sad to hear this, I've used and appreciated turn.js. Hopefully the tax situation works itself out as other commenters have described.
sturmeh 21 hours ago 0 replies      
You'll get your money in a few weeks, PayPal are just enjoying the interest for now.
heldrida 1 day ago 2 replies      
Why do people keep using Paypal ? Paypal is always taking money from people. Always! It's interesting what's going to happen here. If he can't get his money, is Paypal going to have it ? Why is there the assumption this guy is in the US ? Even if this guy was not legally in the US, this is still his money.

If you are young and don't have a national insurance number yet, ask them to change your account holder to one of your parents and give them the NI.

I'd basically create a website reporting this issue to the general public and attach all emails and information you can get from them. Also, I'd change the payment method in your website to something else LIKE RIGHT NOW! You should never, ever trust Paypal! Like NEVER!

You should also report this to the media, they will love it! $200K is a lot hell of money!

rwanghacker 10 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't know why people always use Paypal when it's had a history of screwing people over.

Use Google checkout for merchants, I've used it and it's really really easy to setup as well as safe.

pbreit 1 day ago 1 reply      
Do you or your parents have bank accounts in the US or in your home country? I would suggest working with PayPal to switch your account to your original country and seeing if you can then get the funds withdrawn.
linuxhansl 1 day ago 2 replies      
It boggles my mind how PayPal can again and again get away with this.

The ability of PayPal to be a bank and yet avoid being one legally is interesting.
If you hold somebody else's money you are a bank, whether you call yourself that way or not.

bambax 18 hours ago 0 replies      
It seems turnjs.com is still using PayPal... At this point you should switch to another provider...
marizmelo 1 day ago 0 replies      
Sorry about what happened with you. The only why you could get the money is to had the PayPal account linked with one account in Venezuela instead of US. According with your F1 status (and mine) you cannot earn any money in US while studying, unless you get authorization from school to work out of campus (CPT), or after conclude your studies (OPT). Even under CPT/OPT you cannot earn money other from other place than the place you work on. Sorry, I wish you the best luck.
jonathanmarcus 1 day ago 0 replies      
You should contact David Marcus, Paypal's relatively new CEO. At least one other HN thread shows his willingness to help: http://ndy.gd/JJgB
rafaelm 1 day ago 1 reply      
Maybe they have issue with the fact that you are from Venezuela? I've sen multiple venezuelan PayPal accounts being blocked because they know sometimes they are used for getting around CADIVI (currency exchange restrictions). Maybe your nationality and the fact that you made that much money triggered some flags.

From a fellow venezuelan, hope you get your money back. And congratulations on your success even in this unpleasant situation.

praz78 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Emmanuel, sorry this happened! We can fix it... I sent you an email with my PayPal email address and my cell phone (call/email if you wanna understand what might have happened here). I have also sent his thread off to folks within PP who can help lift/adjust the restriction. Should be sorted in no time, dont lose hope :)
donniezazen 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you go to school here in US, you are allowed to work on-campus and that will make you eligible for a SSN. Check with your international center.
centdev 22 hours ago 0 replies      
PayPal is not as crooked as people say they are. Just start a company with someone in he US. Payments go,to their company and they pay you. Assuming its a legit business "don't know how I made" 200k doesnt sound legit.
gamblor956 1 day ago 0 replies      
You need an ITIN, which is the equivalent of an SSN but for non-US taxpayers receiving payments from US sources.


NicoJuicy 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I once saw a topic where the new CEO requested that people with problems contact him in person.

I thought it was david@paypal.com, i'm not sure.

rgovind 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Sorry to hear your situation.

For others: Assuming this problem is solved, in future, can an international student collect payments in his home currency? Will US govt allow full time students to do side businesses?

heifetz 1 day ago 0 replies      
I would get a lawyer in the US. They might think that you're laundering money, until you can prove your id.
camus 22 hours ago 0 replies      
question , why the hell would you let 200k sitting on a paypal accound for 6 months ? i dont understand. At least invest that money in obligations, life insurance or something ... even with 3/4% returns it is worth it, you could almost live without working in Venezuela ...
jonramz 12 hours ago 0 replies      

If you get a job offer, such as a 5-10 hour a week job at your college, you are ALLOWED to apply for a SSN.

This is what I would recommend doing if you are just looking for an SSN. But do understand that working without permission is a huge no-no.

As far as applying for pre-completion OPT, you could do that... it will take 2-3 months to get approved and you will start using up the 12 months of OPT you get per degree level. If you choose to go this route, make sure you actually register your business with your local clerk's office and report it.

One other commmenter mentioned a STEM extension. The one problem with STEM is that you have to work for an e-verified company.

I hope I was helpful, I am an international student advisor, but I am not your advisor at your school who I would recommend speaking with.

unreal37 1 day ago 0 replies      
Apply for a TIN. That's equivalent to a SSN for tax purposes.
sidcool 1 day ago 0 replies      
Good luck buddy. I can only hope you get all the necessary help. That's because I am not in any position to help you.
icedog 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'm flabbergasted by how 200k can be reached within six months with that product.
dexter313 1 day ago 1 reply      
Were you lying about being an american student?
twanlass 1 day ago 0 replies      

I can't help you get back the money that PayPal has frozen, but I can help you keep selling it and ensure you keep what's yours.

Email me - tyler [at] simplegoods.co

readme 1 day ago 0 replies      
Lawyer up. This is ridiculous.
judegomila 22 hours ago 0 replies      
This happened to me back in 2007, contact me for tactics.
iapi 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Get a TIN its an alternative to SSN for non-us citizen who are doing business with United States
pknerd 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wish these companies could make Terms and Conditions Human Readable
Porphy 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I wont be much help but I can confirm that PayPal does this often and it IS reported upon frequently. I, personally, have had thousands of dollars held (just above 20k USD) for 8 months (6 month hold and 2 months of furious phone calls to get a check cut).

I will never use them again as I believe they stifle innovation and are a harm to small businesses that are "making it".

PayPal is very much one basket for all your eggs...don't get duped! Get other baskets!

ForFreedom 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Next time always remember to withdraw your earnings no matter how small the amount, once its in an account other than your bank.
ll6068 1 day ago 0 replies      
INAL either, but I have gone through the ITIN process. If you follow this route you will need to send notarized documents(birth certs, passports). The difficulty is that the US will not recognize notarized by any one out side the US. This was not explicitly stated(a few years ago), after having ITIN applications rejected 3 times, we took the paperwork to the US consulate, they processed it and it was all good.
darkhorn 1 day ago 1 reply      
Why you didn't pull your money from PayPal once every week?
plumeria 1 day ago 0 replies      
After you get your money back, dish Paypal and use Stripe.
puppetmaster3 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ha ha. Not PayPal Fault! Your fault for using them.
rodyce 1 day ago 1 reply      
You can get a social security number with you F1 or J1 visa.... I just did when I got my MSc. For example, if you work as a T.A. or R.A. you get a SSN.

Good Luck!

stch2 1 day ago 1 reply      
Sorry, they stole your money. This is a big advantage of theirs, they aren't regulated like a bank so they have no trouble taking money from marginalized people.
jfccohen 1 day ago 0 replies      
Use WePay.com
volandovengo 1 day ago 0 replies      
Paypal are bastards, as simple as that.
rorrr 22 hours ago 0 replies      
vishalzone2002 1 day ago 0 replies      
i did suggest you ask this question at Quora too
bilyy 14 hours ago 0 replies      
get a lawyer, get an accountant, get incorporated.
neo0oen 23 hours ago 0 replies      
i've no idea.
But wish u good luck
StavrosK 1 day ago 0 replies      
That is extremely useful, actionable advice.
Mattbunner 19 hours ago 0 replies      
wow, that's crazy? Holy crap
sharemywin 1 day ago 0 replies      
Do you have a cousin in Nigeria?
donnfelker 1 day ago 1 reply      
Use PayPal - get screwed. Rinse, wash, repeat.
Ask HN: What's the Best VPN Service These Days?
2 points by rdegges  27 minutes ago   1 comment top
mschuster91 10 minutes ago 0 replies      
The most disturbing point on VPN services is that they all claim "we don't hold data on users and will not log/provide logs to law enforcement", but when they are confronted with the question "what do you do when law enforcement knocks with child pornography or lolicon accusations?" (lolicon is comic depiction of child porn. some places forbid it, like Germany, others allow it).

I haven't found a service yet that said "Nothing". The point is not that I want child porn, but rather: It's child porn today, and tomorrow it's "Criticizing the bankster regime" or anything other political.

Ask HN: Popular hangout spots in SV for entrepreneurs and investors
4 points by havoc2005  3 hours ago   1 comment top
calbear81 13 minutes ago 0 replies      
A lot of hackers hang out at Red Rock Coffee in Mountain View (2nd floor) and use it as an informal office. I've heard stories that some VCs get deals done at Buck's in Woodside over breakfast and I've seen VCs getting drinks at the Madera at the Rosewood Sand Hill.
College professors grading essays purely by computer - is this legit?
12 points by AskHNForHelp  8 hours ago   3 comments top 3
dalke 7 hours ago 0 replies      
The details at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turnitin may be of thin help. At least one Canadian student has protested, and won. The number one point I took from it would be to advise her to not agree to the clickwrap license. Then she could at least protest about the abuse of her copyright.

If you two want to really stir things up, you can start a company which does text analysis of student essays and hire her with an exclusive contract to provide corpus material.

Some background for the company. "katengine.com" appears to be owned by Knowledge Analysis Technologies. http://www.forbes.com/forbes/1998/1228/6214047a_print.html has more info about the company, which was acquired in 2004 by Pearson Education http://kt.pearsonassessments.com/whyChooseUs.php .

If the teacher will be using the 'Intelligent Essay Assessor' from http://www.mywritinglab.com/learn-about/writing-practice.htm... then yes, it's a variation of LSA, as you found. There's a fact sheet there with a picture of what the GUI might look like.

Based on that name, http://www.d.umn.edu/~tpederse/Courses/CS8761-FALL04/Project... says "This was developed in the late nineties by Tom Landauer and his team and is based on Latent Semantic Analysis. In this, using a matrix transformation technique known as Singular Value Decomposition (SVD), deeper hidden relationships between words and documents are discovered, and these relations are used to understand relation between words and sentences."

I found http://writing.ucdavis.edu/news-1/carl-whithaus-essay-publis... which describes an essay critical about machine grading. I couldn't find that essay though.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/29/robo-readers-the-ne... quotes: "A prankster could outwit many scoring programs by jumbling key phrases in a nonsensical order. An essay about Christopher Columbus might ramble on about Queen Isabella sailing with 1492 soldiers to the Island of Ferdinand -- and still be rated as solidly on topic, Shermis said." as well as "Computers also have a hard time dealing with experimental prose." So she might gum up the works by using an unusual but legitimate style.

Speaking of gumming up the works, I suppose that the essay must be submitted to the teacher in a text or word processor format? That is, hand-written or printed essays are prohibited? Or embedding a strange font which shows a "b" for "a", etc., and where the text is transposed accordingly? Pull quotes to throw off the formatting? Hidden text, colored white? That would be subterfuge.

Edit: Pearson also has "second-tier graders", says http://news.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2757605&cid=395... , with a human involved.

JohnHaugeland 3 hours ago 0 replies      
So I guess I think that you might be well advised to go to the dean and say "listen, we pay you good money, and we expect our instructors to actually do their jobs, rather than to farm them out to machines."

At the same time - and I mean no disrespect - this is community college we're talking about. The purpose of community college is to pick up skills, rather than a liberal arts education; you should, at that price, expect to get a somewhat reduced response.

I am with you here; this seems lazy and inappropriate.

But you get what you pay for. OKCCC is $75 a credit hour. By contrast, my alma mater currently charges $24,000 per year (out of state,) and nominal is 15 credits a year. Even trade schools tend to cost several hundred dollars a credit hour.

At that kind of price difference, you have to realize that you're forcing a lot of corner cutting.

jpwright 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Only if students are also allowed to submit essays generated by a computer.
Ask YC: team that you wanted to fund, but one member you didn't like?
11 points by keytar  7 hours ago   6 comments top
pg 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Depends how many total founders there are, and whether the one we were dubious about was CEO. I don't think we'd fund a co if we didn't like the CEO. Whereas if there were 3 founders and we disliked one who wasn't the CEO, it probably wouldn't be a problem.

Incidentally, you are probably overestimating the degree to which you'd lower their chances. We often fund groups on the nth try. PagerDuty was those guys' fourth try. Even Dropbox was Drew's second try.

Ask HN: What are some companies that do "presentation interviews"
2 points by freework  3 hours ago   2 comments top
ovechtrick 3 hours ago 1 reply      
rapgenius.com does
Open Source HTML5 Screen Sharing: Share your screen, right from your browser
7 points by mlakkadshaw  11 hours ago   15 comments top 10
drivebyacct2 11 hours ago 1 reply      
HTML5 make it sound like something that can be done cross browser, rather than something via the chrome.* apis for their extensions. That having been said, I've read about something of the sort related to WebRTC, Chrome seems to be interested in making in possible at least: http://blog.chromium.org/2012/04/chromes-webrtc-roadmap.html
pilooch 11 hours ago 1 reply      
clickable http://http://deadsimplescreensharing.com/

Haven'tried. Suggested fix: on http://deadsimplescreensharing.com/#tutorial
Comming Up -> Coming up

prakster 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Hi Muhammad,

If you want to stand out in the overcrowded screensharing space, build this one feature:

Allow me to send a URL to anyone so I can see THEIR screen instantly, without them having to download crap.

You will become an instant 'crorepati' :-)

Johnyma22 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I did some work for Mozilla on a HTML5 browser sharer: https://github.com/JohnMcLear/browsermirror -- Not sure how well supported it nowadays, kinda old project.

Your extension brings my browser to a really slow pace.

jpinkerton88 10 hours ago 0 replies      
It's working for me, but it is really slow. Like showing up a minute later. Seems like it would be awesome and useful when not so latent.
benbro 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Can you share only the browser tab or even what happens on your desktop? Does it use VNC?
benbro 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Is the extension code open sourced?
I only see the server code on github.
mlakkadshaw 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Please tell me if anyone is facing delay or latency issues.
Johnyma22 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Hi from the Etherpad team :)
vovafeldman 10 hours ago 2 replies      
Not working for me, I'm getting
"No Connection" screen :(
Ask HN: I am designing a iOS app. Is there a cheat sheet for sizing?
6 points by allsystemsgo  11 hours ago   4 comments top 3
eduardordm 10 hours ago 0 replies      
No, you need 'textures' for both displays, but not geometry. The geometry has not changed in retina displays :D (This question was answered dozens of time @ stackoverflow, you should check there)

This is why I'm converting an open source app I built to just render everything (using CG, not CALayer) instead of using images. Yeah, images are faster. But I hate to repeat myself and exporting images from photoshop is more time consuming than it seems.

(Edit): Images are usually faster, but that's not entirely true if you use only CG calls on a drawRect. From a memory standpoint, keep in mind that a PNG file will occupy the 'framebuffer' + the original image + all the crap that comes with UIImage. By drawing it yourself, you will burn a little cpu time but than only the result buffer will allocated.

michaelpinto 10 hours ago 0 replies      
You want to think in terms of aspect ratio first, and pixels second. Currently (and this may change) the iPad has the same aspect ratio that's shared between an iPad, an iPad with Retina and an iPad mini. On the other hand the iPhone 5 and say the iPhone 4s have different aspect ratios since the iPhone5 is taller.

Also don't forget that your design has to be responsive so that it can go from horizontal to vertical. And then keep in mind that if at some later point you want to port to Android that there really aren't any fixed aspect ratios since there are so many devices.

My advice is that you should sketch and then use an app like Keynote to see what your interface looks like on the device. You can be shocked sometimes just how different things feel when you go from a personal computer to a mobile device.

program247365 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Check out the articles here: http://bjango.com/articles/

Great resource for what you're looking for. Including downloadable Photoshop actions to make it all easier.

Free domain
2 points by alex_g  7 hours ago   1 comment top
alex_g 6 hours ago 0 replies      
OpenX Ads Delivering Trojan?
2 points by sneakest  7 hours ago   discuss
Ask pg: Should I be more active on HN?
4 points by RKoutnik  11 hours ago   1 comment top
itsprofitbaron 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Work on your startup.

There's no better way to get YC's attention than applying with a startup which is seeing strong user growth/revenue in a large (or potentially large) market.

Ask HN: What exactly does the equity % on a job offer mean?
3 points by jeremy_k  10 hours ago   6 comments top 6
JohnHaugeland 3 hours ago 0 replies      
So, the percent isn't really enough to get answers; there's going to be a lot more information here.

But generally speaking, in American tech companies, the current norm is something like "a four year monthly vesting with a one year cliff."

If you have that, what that would mean was that you got no stock for your first year. If you got fired in month 11, you'd be out in the cold on equity completely. This is a safety measure for the company: you can't always be sure you're hiring the right person.

But if you get past the cliff, then you receive all the stock you would have gotten during that time.

A four year monthly vesting means that you break your stock up into 48 monthly groups, and receive it in those pieces one at a time. So, assuming the one year cliff, you'd get one quarter of your promise the day that cliff ticked over, then 1/48 of your promise every month thereafter until, after four years, it was fulfilled.

Meaning if you got a 1% offer (which is large,) and you got fired at exactly year 2 of a four year vesting, you would walk away with one half of one percent of the company.

There is a book that I read which I found very, very helpful in understanding the arcana. It's called "Venture Hacks," and despite that the title pretty obviously panders to software nerds, it is chock full of very valuable information, and is presented in a way that I found very, very readable.

It is quite uncommon for a company to give you a percentage up front. Hiring is difficult; sometimes a complete clown looks really sophisticated, and two months in, when you realize they basically just lied their way through the interview, you don't want to send them away owning a piece of your thing after having done nothing.

But, the amount of information you gave us is incomplete, so we cannot actually give you a solid answer.

jaytaylor 10 hours ago 0 replies      
>> If the offer says 0.5% - 1.0% is that upfront? Is that over time? Is it different for any company? What happens if you go through funding?

It all depends on the legal details of your contract. If the it stipulates that equity will be a certain amount even after other's go through dilution, then that's what it is (this is a rare promise to receive in my experience). If nothing is promised, then your percentage is at the mercy of the of the board.

In situations like this I always have a lawyer review my legal agreements so I can get solid answers to my questions BEFORE I sign anything.

tferris 10 hours ago 0 replies      
It's always over time and then called vested or vesting. Usually it's 4 years, if you negotiated well 3 years. Often you get a 1 year cliff too which means you get nothing if you leave in the first 12 months. And finally you get in general virtual shares restricted to sell them in case of an exit. 5 years vesting is very very unusual. Depending on the stage on the importance of the role you can ask for more or less. The some good articles in the net explaining how much one should get. The higher the risk the more equity.
ig1 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Fred Wilson wrote a nine part blog series on employee equity which you should read:


From the startup view point rather than employee viewpoint, but it should give you most of the stuff you want to know. One additional point you should consider is what the tax implications of the equity will be.

psadri 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Most likely for a startup:

The equity vests monthly over 4 years with a 1 year cliff. This means that you don't vest anything for the first year (if you leave, you don't get anything). At 1 year, you get 1/4 of the equity vested. Every month thereafter, you get 1/48 vested.

The above is the most normal. You will have to check the terms for your offer.

Funding: If the company raises funding, everyone typically gets diluted by a certain %. On the positive side, the company's total value will hopefully more than increase by more than your dilution :)

spo81rty 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Probably equity vested over 3-5 years. Could be SARs, stock options, profit interest only stocks or other methods of equity bonuses.

Equity is great but since 90% of startups fail, choose wisely if you are taking a pay cut.

Ask HN: How can I send a package on an infinite voyage on the internet?
3 points by 3327  12 hours ago   4 comments top 3
zorlem 11 hours ago 1 reply      
To the original question: no idea what do you mean by package, but you can't send a TCP/IP packet to the "Internet" that will be looped forever - there is a field in the header called TTL, that gets decremented by each host along the way. When a host receives a packet with a TTL of zero it will discard this package. Therefore, to transfer a packet ad-infinitum you need a router to modify the TTL in-transit. The other option would or to configure several routers to not decrement the TTL and loop a packet between them. But that's not "Internet" anymore.

After your elaboration: There is a nice concept by Michal Zalewski (lcamtuf) to http://lcamtuf.coredump.cx/juggling_with_packets.txt make a transient storage between servers where the data will be stored in packets that are always in-transit.

L4mppu 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Yes thanks for pointing that out..
3327 11 hours ago 0 replies      
To elaborate this is more of a theoretical question. E.g data of size X (doesn't matter) that is always in transit.
Ask HN: How do I spread the word of my project?
8 points by wereHamster  1 day ago   9 comments top 7
fduran 1 day ago 0 replies      
Some suggestions:

- populate the FAQ page

- create pages for specific platforms like Rails, Django etc, (right now it looks too generic), add a blurb for those in the front page

- reduce friction for the "contact me": add a "subscribe to newsletter" email field to start capturing people interested. Send a newsletter from time to time with relevant developments in the project

- promote your project in the (Rails etc) platform niches (forums etc), also in DevOps area

- Write blog articles with examples of how your project helps (starting out with a real problem is better) or even write about anything related (say deployments) and plug your project at the end. Good luck.

johnmurch 1 day ago 1 reply      
One way to spread love http://sidekicking.com/1912/lesson-exceptional-customer-expe... - Cookies and Hand written notes

Also - watch http://startupschool.org/2012/rusenko/ - it takes time. Focus on hand reaching out to a few people. Doing searches for related posts/projects - checking users profile and reaching out by hand :)

Good Luck :)

samuellevy 1 day ago 0 replies      
Try reddit it r/shamelessplug, try other communities.

HN isn't the be-all and end-all of views. In fact, it's usually good for a server-crushing influx (if you manage to hit the magic sweet spot of "interest" and "timing"), but most of that traffic disappears after a day or so. If it's really cool, it will start getting shared around on twitter from HN, but that won't new you a huge amount of traffic.

Reddit will usually provide a smaller amount of traffic in one hit, but it'll keep coming for a week or so - the way stories move on there are just generally different. If your tool is relevant to a particular subreddit, then that's your best bet for getting consistent traffic.

Finally, put a link to your tool in the comments here - it's worth another shot.

ismaelc 21 hours ago 0 replies      
You can try hackathons. You'll meet tons of developers there, and you'd have fresh ideas to steer your small tool to a kickass tool! Feel free to message me if you're keen to be involved in hackathons
sabalaba 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's not clear what your tool does or how it can help me now.
negrodamus 1 day ago 0 replies      
Your app is targeted at a very specific audience. I have no clue what it does. I'm not even familiar with Heroku at all. Figure out exactly where those people look and deliver it to them.
orangethirty 1 day ago 0 replies      
Shoot me an email.
Ask HN: A friend has a plan to get a job in UK, worried about legal implications
5 points by gallinaponedora  15 hours ago   10 comments top 5
CWIZO 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm a Slovenian currently looking for a job in London. As far as I can tell there are many "direct" job postings. You just have to look a bit:

http://www.cwjobs.co.uk/ http://roundabout.io/ http://workinstartups.com/ http://www.gumtree.com/ https://jobs.github.com/positions?description=&location=... http://www.3-beards.com/jobs http://careers.stackoverflow.com/ ...

I've also had good experience with recruiters so far. Haven't gotten a offer yet, but I did get a face-to-face interview for next friday :)

jrogers65 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Being a web developer in London who has dealt with many agencies, I call bullshit on this. Not one recruiter who I have dealt with has been a problem for me, quite the opposite, in fact. There is something wrong with your friend's perception of reality; that is to say, she is delusional and paranoid.
pcowans 14 hours ago 0 replies      
It's certainly not difficult to apply directly to the big tech players - you can find these pretty easily with '<company name> uk careers' Google searches:


I don't really have any experience applying to mid-range companies, but intuitively it doesn't feel right that anyone should feel the need to conceal their identity when searching for a developer role, especially if your friend is experienced enough to be optimising salary rather than worrying about getting a job at all. Are you sure there hasn't been a misunderstanding?

MattBearman 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm a UK based Web developer, and about three years ago I was looking for a job in the London area. While some of the recruiters I spoke to were a little bit pushy, they were nothing like the experience your friend previously had. So I think the fake cv thing is probably unnecessary.
hazza1 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Not sure in which field your friend works but I'd say things are no longer like this, most medium to large firm resent paying for agents so put their jobs up on their websites and encourage applicants.

Pretty much go to any major firms homepage and they'll have a list of open positions that you can apply directly for.

Personally I've never had an issue with using recruiters and have used them in conjunction with applying myself. I prefer the buffer of using them but you can't beat your own research.

Ask HN: What is the role of jokes in Hacker News comments?
10 points by tokenadult  1 day ago   15 comments top 9
pg 1 day ago 2 replies      
The best sort of jokes are those that are (a) funny and (b) implicit in some substantive comment.

Unfortunately most jokes here, as on most forums, fail on both counts. The most common way to fail (a) seems to be to recycle overused catch phrases in insufficiently novel ways.

corysama 1 day ago 0 replies      
Jokes on HN are strongly discouraged. As much as people like them, their presence creates a feedback loop that drives the noise-to-signal ratio through the roof. Jokes can be made, understood and voted up very quickly. In a democratic situation like HN, this leads to a large volume of replies and up votes that quickly drowns out all relevant conversation. The more threads that feature jokes, the harder it becomes to discourage them in the future. It seems the fate of all vote-based forums to eventually devolve into a sea of memes (HN -> Reddit -> Digg). HN's anti-humor downvote brigade gets a lot of pushback, but they are so harsh because they are doing their best to hold back that tide.
davidkellis 1 day ago 2 replies      
If I want jokes, I go to reddit. I think, for the most part, they don't belong here.
minopret 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Merely humorous comments detract from the true comedic function of Hacker News, to satirize Reddit. I'm kidding?! As to the community, it seems to support our gracious host's objection, not to jokes as such, but to jokes based in meanness or stupidity and to the ease with which such jokes proliferate. Here is a post that quotes this objection specifically: http://www.kottke.org/09/02/the-fluff-principle-and-other-th...
gregcohn 1 day ago 0 replies      
Most comments that don't add substantively to the discussion seem to generate downvotes. Which is too bad, as I like the funny.

That said, it seems like it would be hard to control for only occasional (and ideally funny) jokes in a community like this -- if jokes were generally rewarded, hn could become a jokefest like Reddit, dramatically reducing the signal-to-noise ration many of us appreciate it for.

TL;DR - use jokes sparingly, and make 'em good.

(edited for a typo)

runawaybottle 1 day ago 0 replies      
Jokes are the reason reddit comments deterioted so quickly.
lifeisstillgood 15 hours ago 0 replies      
To get to the other side.
laneshill 1 day ago 0 replies      
beep boop boop boop i am a programmer and i am a robot boop boop beep boop
gadders 1 day ago 0 replies      
They make the aspies nervous
My girlfriend who's an MD wants to learn how to program. How should she start?
14 points by DrorY  1 day ago   21 comments top 8
eaurouge 1 day ago 0 replies      
MATLAB isn't too hard to get started on. It is, after all, a high-level language; and I rank it as providing a higher level of abstraction than Ruby and Python. To get started, ask her to read a MATLAB primer[1][2]. That's all she'll need to get started.

Her time is better spent learning to make the most of whichever MATLAB toolboxes she needs for her research. A course on basic linear algebra, and/or other math topics, is also more relevant than learning how to program.

1. http://www.stanford.edu/class/ee278b/matlab_primer.pdf

2. http://faculty.olin.edu/bstorey/Notes/matlab.pdf

Edit: I just want to reiterate that one can use MATLAB without knowing how to program. I see other comments suggesting a full on programming course but she doesn't need this at all. In many engineering courses, first year undergrads can be expected to learn all they need to start "programming" with MATLAB over the course of a weekend.

lutusp 1 day ago 1 reply      
Because for her, programming will be a means to an end, and that end is data analysis and statistics, I recommend that she learn Python and its scientific and analytical libraries like numpy and scipy.

Python is relatively easy to learn, it's free, and it can produce useful results with little effort.

Python: http://www.python.org/

Scipy: http://scipy.org/

Examples of scipy's output: https://www.google.com/search?q=scipy&hl=en&tbo=d...

zachgalant 1 day ago 1 reply      
She needs to check out http://codehs.com (disclosure: I'm a cofounder).

We make it really easy and accessible for people to get started even without having a background.

We've had students aged 9 (http://blog.codehs.com/post/39684965497/9-years-old-and-codi...)

to 85 (http://blog.codehs.com/post/37288742720/im-85-and-i-learned-...)

We focus on teaching the fundamentals of thinking like a programmer, so even though the site is based in JavaScript, she'll be able to apply her knowledge towards matlab.

Also, it's really fun, and if she continues, she will learn to make a mobile game or two along the way.

You can email me at zach@codehs.com if you or she have any questions. Or just sign up for the free trial to check it out.

We give personal feedback to all of our students on all the code they submit, so they're sure to improve and not only write functional code, but code with good style.

drallison 1 day ago 0 replies      
She should start by learning the mathematics and statistics that she will need to do the theory and the analytics necessary for her research. Then she can learn how the mathematical and statistical ideas can be applied using tools such as Matlab. Programming is seductive, because of the instant feedback it provides, but it does not provide much insight; math and statistics provides insight but connections may be obscured by a sea of data. What's needed is the combination of the two.
sitong 1 day ago 0 replies      
You might want to start with some lecture notes from universities. A quick google search led me to these:

Stanford: http://white.stanford.edu/~knk/Psych216A/
MIT: http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/electrical-engineering-and-comput...

If she needs both stats and matlab help, your best bet is probably to search something like "statistics and matlab tutorial" on google:

dragonbonheur 1 day ago 1 reply      
Get a book. That's how people learn. No exceptions.
haukur 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't know Matlab myself so I don't know of any Matlab-specific tutorials but check out Project Euler: http://projecteuler.net/problems
slosh 1 day ago 1 reply      
codecademy! codecademy! codecademy! codecademy!


Start with web fundamentals

Ask HN: How do you stay focused on your 9 to 5 whilst bootstrapping a startup?
17 points by hackNightly  2 days ago   12 comments top 6
mindcrime 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's hard, damn hard. For a quite a while I was lucky enough to have a very boring, mundane, easy $DAYJOB where I could go in, slog through fixing a couple of bugs, and go home, retaining most of my creative, emotional, and intellectual energy for the startup. By my current $DAYJOB is a lot different... more challenging, but also more fun. But it really makes it hard to balance things.

I wish I could say I had some real solid advice for you, but all I can really do is share some anecdotes in the hope that you can glean something useful from that.

Basically, I try to compartmentalize my thinking as much as I can. During the day, at the 9-5, I mostly try not to let myself get drawn into thinking about "startup stuff", except during lunch. I treat lunch time as "startup time" and I often leave the office, go to a restaurant or coffee shop, and do startup work for an hour there. The delineation isn't perfect though, as I do keep a browser tab open all the time, with Gmail for my startup email address, and I do answer and send a few emails or whatever, throughout the day.

I might also, rarely, pop into the wiki for the startup and make a few notes about an idea that occurred to me, or a link I found or something.

Then, after work at the $DAYJOB, I immediately go back into "startup mode" most evenings. I leave the office, drive to a Barnes & Noble or something, sit in the cafe with my laptop and get back to work. Since I know I have "startup time" built into the evenings, it reduces some of the temptation to think startup stuff while I'm supposed to be working.

Now the fortunate thing is, my $DAYJOB employer knows about the startup, is an entrepreneur himself and is generally supportive. As long as I'm getting my work done and not letting things slip, he doesn't mind if I leave work early on occasion, or take a long lunch now and then, to have a meeting related to the startup, or whatever. I will also sometimes just flat out take a vacation day, to accommodate the need to do something for the startup.

I also allocate almost 100% of my weekend time to working on the startup. So the toughest day to stay focused can be Friday, since I'm mentally preparing to shift gears into startup mode for the weekend, and as Friday winds down, I might start drifting that way a bit. Luckily, Friday afternoons here are usually pretty relaxed.

The toughest part, really, is dealing with meetings during the day. Writing code, market research, writing, etc. I can do anytime. But meeting potential customers, investors, partners, etc., is a challenge since my daytime availability is somewhat limited. Basically I just try to schedule meetings for either A. over lunch (and just take a slightly long lunch), B. as early as possible in the morning (so that, at worst, I come in a little late), or B. as late in the evening as possible.

It's tough to balance both, but it can be done...

bcambel 2 days ago 0 replies      
At the time I was working for a .NET consultancy firm, every morning around 6 am I was learning and coding in RoR.
1.5 h uninterrupted time every week day for 2 months makes a huge difference. Plus the weekends.

Don't forget to embrace a healthy down time. You body and mind need to relax.

padseeker 2 days ago 0 replies      
I generally like my job, so it has not been too bad. But there are moments when I'm way more excited to work on my startup idea as opposed to my full time job. I think it depends on how much creativity and engagement your full time job requires. I have had to push myself away from my startup for a few weeks so I can catch up on sleep as well as focus on my creative energies on my job.

I wish I had the time mindcrime has - I have wife and kids so my job is pretty important. I find time late at night as well as on the weekends when I can.

thoughtcriminal 2 days ago 1 reply      
If you're passionate about your startup, it's impossible.
owksley 2 days ago 1 reply      
It isn't easy, although paradoxically I prefer the 9-5 to be interesting work in its own right. It is surprising how many ideas can flow from your day job into your own projects.
codenesium 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't think it's possible. Just put 30 hours into the startup on the weekend and try not to work on it too much during the week.
Ask HN: How do you choose a topic when writing?
4 points by BrewerOnRails  1 day ago   10 comments top 3
mindcrime 1 day ago 1 reply      
I think you have to start with "What is your purpose in blogging", for one. Are you trying to make money directly off the blog, via Google Adwords? Are you just doing some personal branding, trying to establish yourself as an expert in a field? Are you blogging to promote your company's products or services? Are you blogging to promote a political agenda? Etc, etc...

In either case, one tip is to keep a wiki page available, or a notepad and a pen, and as you go throughout your day, let "stuff" that you bump into spark ideas to write about later. Write those ideas down. Maybe you see a link on HN and you have a strong reaction to it... make a note, and blog about that.

If you use Quora, go back through all your Quora answers, and take some of the more interesting ones and expand them into blog posts. If you don't have any, browse Quora and see what questions catch your interest. Blog what would have otherwise been your answer.

nglevin 1 day ago 1 reply      
If it's something you're passionate about, write about it. What you love will really show through your writing, give it a bit of color.

Don't get too hung up on being an original provider of content. Few people are. Rather, think more about presentation. Anecdotes, history, even trying to spin something into a more modern context. They all matter.

Keep writing. Keep writing often. It's the only way to get better.

ScottWhigham 1 day ago 1 reply      
I don't really get why you feel you need to basically do non-stop blogging. If you have something to say, great - say it. If not, then keep quiet until you do have something to say. What's wrong with that approach?
Ask HN: Do Parse's secret URLs provide reasonable security?
7 points by kabell  2 days ago   2 comments top 2
logn 1 day ago 0 replies      
There might be more attack vectors with this, but generating a long random string is the basis of a lot of security mechanisms.
hnwebservices 2 days ago 0 replies      
This method seems fine for protecting data as far as I can tell.

I would definitely recommend using https though because only the hostname is sent in plain text, the URL should be fully encrypted in an https request.

On the other hand, I'm not sure how reasonable this method is from a liability perspective. If a client accidentally forwards a secure url to someone who causes them to lose money, then there might be a chance that you could be liable for not securing your product effectively.

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