hacker news with inline top comments    .. more ..    12 Feb 2013 Ask
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Show HN: your personal, self-built productivity tool
10 points by westiseast  2 hours ago   1 comment top
houshuang 29 minutes ago 0 replies      
Here are a bunch of screenshots of my self-built academic productivity system - focused on reading PDFs, taking notes, extracting to a wiki, working on notes etc. http://reganmian.net/wiki/researchr:screenshots
Tell HN: We've Lost An Engineering Luminary - Bob Davis (IEEE)
110 points by jcr  1 day ago   9 comments top 6
ChuckMcM 1 day ago 2 replies      
The same Bob Davis that was a technical director at NetApp? I am assuming so since I don't know any other IEEE Bob Davis' out there.

I knew his web site went down (scsi.com) where did you hear of his passing? Is there / was there a service?

stephencanon 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I was a member of the IEEE-754 (2008) committee; Bob was our MSC liaison. I didn't know him well, but I was impressed by him. Considering that he wasn't a floating-point expert, but his enthusiasm and nearly boundless patience with the agonizingly slow standards process was truly impressive. He gave up an enormous amount of his time to standards work that most engineers assume is someone else's problem.
rooshdi 1 day ago 0 replies      
In this competitive world where a few receive fame and fortune, try to remember the efforts of those few will always be trivial compared to the combined contributions of the unnamed supporting masses.

Well said and thank you for sharing. I've never met your friend, but I respect his contributions and life as as fellow human. My sincere condolences to you, his friends, and family.

Argorak 1 day ago 0 replies      
> I'm admittedly not very good at this sort of thing, so please try to be patient, kind, and considerate.

No one, except grieving professionals, really is.

Seriously, thank you for writing this piece the way you did, it is a good one. You are right: I never heard of him. You made sure that I read your words about the loss to the end and got to know what he did a little.

atdt 1 day ago 1 reply      
Thank you for sharing. My condolences on the loss of your friend.
42tree 1 day ago 0 replies      
Rest in peace
Ask HN: How do you prime/start a community for your site?
11 points by jmilinion  9 hours ago   7 comments top 7
orangethirty 27 minutes ago 0 replies      
You fake it until you make it. Hire some interns and have them develop the community. Then market the hell out of it and watch it grow. Works really well. It also works with offline businesses. I know of a person who bought a couple of used cars and parked them in front of his store. Had someone come in and move/wash them every week. People always saw that the place was packed and stopped to see why.
chewxy 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Hi, I've tried starting multiple projects that faced this chicken and egg thing.

While I wouldn't call ourselves really successful, our latest venture, Fork the Cookbook succeeded by having what we call "single player mode". We had initially got people to add their favourite recipes into Fork the Cookbook (and in the last 5 days or so, this has come back to bite our asses), and thus, the 'single player mode' is essentially letting the users achieve something that can be done on their own (i.e. beautiful looking recipes for their personal collection)

Now after some amount of recipes, we're only starting to actively promote the community features (like forking a recipe).

All these came from our past experience in failing to gain enough traction on community sites. See my profile for more of my failed projects (there are a lot more listed on my latest blog entry where I was feeling rather blue).

aiurtourist 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Find an existing community and make them converts. Make your thing 120% better than the thing they're using and they'll start to use it.
peachananr 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I was able to prime a community once with my first startup, MyColorscreen.com.

Here're what I did:

I attached myself to one of the already well known forum (XDA-Developers.com) and post regularly with a link back to my service showcasing how my service was better than what people were doing on the forum.

Since I am the user of my own service, I also keep feeding new content regularly to fake that there was activity.

If you are the user of your own service, it is easier to ask yourself "where would I be socializing", and "what kind of content I would like to see".

Ask these questions and fake it until you make it. :)

ravenp 9 hours ago 0 replies      
It was actually the traffic from Google since day 1. Advertising may work for just the first few, but it costs too much to be sustainable. Many podcasts and journalists are startup friendly and would love to recommend you to their following too.
fragmede 4 hours ago 0 replies      

I can't find a link, but Reddit started with the admins having sockpuppet accounts to make it seem more popular than it actually was at the very beginning.

lucidrains 8 hours ago 0 replies      
to be honest, sometimes i think it's just luck...
Ask HN: Final Year CS Project Advice
4 points by Hirvesh  6 hours ago   8 comments top 4
akandiah 5 hours ago 1 reply      
There's a fair amount of work to do if you want to involve yourself in Windows installers. A Microsoft product which does this is System Center Configuration Manager (formerly Systems Management Server). This may be a starting point for your investigations of existing technologies.
stevoo 5 hours ago 0 replies      
There are many things that can be done with out a database.

I believe he set the restriction so you wont be going through a process of building something simple with a database. He wants something different.

Mine was a chess playing Lego robot. Although there was no database involved it was something unique.

You could still do a web-application that will do something specific. You don't need a database for those, you just need to find something that needs experimenting. It is not essential in completing your project ( although it would be nice ) but you must show the work you have done, the obstacles you have faced and what needs to be done next in order to be finished.

Also he said no database. So you can still save some basic stuff in a text file or XML file.

But it is up to you, what you feel comfortable with.
If you are good with css,ajax etc you can do some jquery fancy stuff to display something.
If you are good with c/c++ you can do an opengl world.

Find your strong points and build something there.

shail 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Premise: You are in no need for batch software installation.

I would say why not build a tool which you can use in your daily life. And if you find it useful, tell other hackers about it and see if it makes anyone else's life easier too.

This way you can learn the non-technical aspect of product development too (design, usability etc.)

ravenp 6 hours ago 2 replies      
I frequently use ninite.com which is similar. It's certainly a good idea.

I think "not using any database" is nonsense. Almost every piece of software in existence has to work with some form of data.

Ask HN: Should I Learn Python?
3 points by vicks711  6 hours ago   9 comments top 5
lifeisstillgood 33 minutes ago 0 replies      
reinventing yourself and wanting to be a fulltime employee?
Or reinventing yourself with the aim of freelancing, or even running a consultancy.

I would say that there is (at 5 hours a day with a family) a fairly long learning curve to get to the point where you have learnt enough python/javascript then built something with it to prove your chops and then got a FT job.

You might be able to learn enough in 3-6 months to have someone take a chance on a 36 yearold junior programmer. But we are an ageist sexist industry.

So, if you are done with CSS / HTML but do not feel a burning need to program (you would have felt it by now), then yes I suggest you learn to program, always good, but instead try finding a decent programmer whom you enjoy working with (I would guess you have met some) - and then set up a side project of freelancing yourself and him/her to local businesses or SF startups.

Maybe start with local businesses, build up the working rapport. (Try charging retainers!)

If you just want a change, maybe running a side business that might one day become a FT operation is it.

networked 6 hours ago 2 replies      
The choice between Ruby and Python is something of a matter of taste. For what it's worth, Ruby on Rails appears to be more popular than Python's Django (though a quick search didn't give me any current numbers). In present day web development there is really no getting away from PHP, so you should learn it whether you choose Python or Ruby; same goes for JavaScript.

To make it easier to answer your question you should provide more background on your past programming and general computer experience.

tagabek 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I was able to pick up Python pretty effortlessly (coming from a zero programming experience background) through Udacity's search engine course. If you're coming from little or no experience, you can easily pick up on Python. Like everything else, it just takes time to get used to.

If you happen to go the Python route, here are a few resources that helped me:

Udacity's Search Engine Course

Google's AppEngine (for Python development)

Django - Web Framework for Python

RaphiePS 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Do you know JavaScript yet? That's essential for front-end development, and if you get pretty good at it you can use it serverside with Node.js
throwaway420 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Additionally, is Python 2 or 3 currently a better choice for new Python developers that want to potentially release a new project?

I've noticed that some of the highly recommended Python libraries are still not Python 3 compatible. This makes the choice a bit harder to judge from somebody who isn't experienced with the direction of the ecosystem.

I made $200K and PayPal locked my account
460 points by blasten  3 days ago   261 comments top 92
InclinedPlane 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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.
dangrossman 3 days 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.

sp_ 3 days 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-...
droithomme 3 days 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.

anigbrowl 3 days 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.
richardjordan 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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.

JohnHaugeland 2 days 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.

KennethMyers 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Former administrator of an international student program, here. If you're an international student, you can work for the school (at least you could at mine). We used to give kids literally 1-hour careers sitting at a desk in our program at minimum wage so they could get social security cards. If you were to furnish Paypal with a valid ss#, could you then get your money? That's a lot of money. If your school won't do it, I'd work on tranfering your 1-20 to another school that will.
rikacomet 3 days 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 3 days 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.

lectrick 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Next time, ask for payment in Bitcoin, and avoid these outdated clumsy troublesome international payment law troubles in their entirety.
ck2 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days ago 2 replies      
Where does PayPal ask for an SSN? That doesn't sound right.
shocks 2 days 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'.

logn 2 days ago 0 replies      
You can get a Taxpayer Id Number in about 10 minutes from the IRS with basically no questions asked (they want to make it easy to pay taxes, even for sketchy situations). The TIN might be a substitute for SSN.
dexter313 3 days ago 2 replies      
I was always wondering, if PayPal locks a 200k$ account, where does that money go?
stickydink 3 days 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.

StavrosK 3 days ago 0 replies      
Don't you have one in Venezuela? They were more than happy to accept my Greek id.
donohoe 3 days ago 1 reply      
codexon 3 days 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?

eof 3 days 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.
sisk 3 days 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.
redact207 3 days 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?
contentgorilla 1 day ago 0 replies      

Give him a call. He has handled cases for me with PayPal. He comes highly recommended, just search his name.

He can fix this mess without high expenses.

drucken 2 days 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

purephase 3 days 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.

webjac 3 days 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

edouard1234567 3 days 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.
fastspring 1 day ago 0 replies      
Perhaps FastSpring would be a good fit for you. Any country the US isn't banned from doing business with is applicable. Users pay in various global currencies and the order pages are translated. I'm the CEO. Funny that you mention Venezuela, my wife just got a grant to do art history research there so I may be visiting soon.
anovikov 2 days 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.
therandomguy 3 days 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.
Raz0rblade 3 days 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 ...
mikecane 2 days 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.
praz78 3 days 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 :)
cjbprime 3 days 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.
heldrida 3 days 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!

sturmeh 3 days ago 0 replies      
You'll get your money in a few weeks, PayPal are just enjoying the interest for now.
georgek1029 2 days 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

pbreit 3 days 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 3 days 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.

jonathanmarcus 3 days 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
jc527871 1 day ago 0 replies      
What you could always do is apply for an international business licence that allows you to have a satellite office in the united states. The only problem that you would have with that is you would first need to establish a business in your home country. At that point you would be issued a EID or Tax ID number for your business which would enable the US federal government to take taxes out on any profit that you make with in the USA. Hope this helped and I hope you well in all your future en-devours.
marizmelo 3 days 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.
rafaelm 3 days 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.

donniezazen 3 days 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.
bambax 3 days ago 0 replies      
It seems turnjs.com is still using PayPal... At this point you should switch to another provider...
centdev 3 days ago 1 reply      
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 3 days ago 0 replies      
You need an ITIN, which is the equivalent of an SSN but for non-US taxpayers receiving payments from US sources.


jonramz 2 days 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.

heifetz 3 days 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.
rwanghacker 2 days 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.

WorldOfHacker 2 days ago 0 replies      
Call Paypal, Don't be stupid to email them, these are useless, when big money is involved. Call them, Talk to them, they will help you out.
rgovind 3 days 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?

camus 3 days 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 ...
unreal37 3 days ago 0 replies      
Apply for a TIN. That's equivalent to a SSN for tax purposes.
sidcool 3 days 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 3 days ago 2 replies      
I'm flabbergasted by how 200k can be reached within six months with that product.
dexter313 3 days ago 1 reply      
Were you lying about being an american student?
twanlass 3 days 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

NicoJuicy 3 days 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.

Porphy 2 days 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!

pknerd 3 days ago 0 replies      
Wish these companies could make Terms and Conditions Human Readable
judegomila 3 days ago 0 replies      
This happened to me back in 2007, contact me for tactics.
readme 3 days ago 0 replies      
Lawyer up. This is ridiculous.
iapi 3 days ago 0 replies      
Get a TIN its an alternative to SSN for non-us citizen who are doing business with United States
ll6068 3 days 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.
ForFreedom 3 days 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.
darkhorn 3 days ago 1 reply      
Why you didn't pull your money from PayPal once every week?
plumeria 3 days ago 0 replies      
After you get your money back, dish Paypal and use Stripe.
puppetmaster3 3 days ago 0 replies      
Ha ha. Not PayPal Fault! Your fault for using them.
rodyce 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days ago 0 replies      
Use WePay.com
volandovengo 3 days ago 0 replies      
Paypal are bastards, as simple as that.
rorrr 3 days ago 0 replies      
vishalzone2002 3 days ago 0 replies      
i did suggest you ask this question at Quora too
bilyy 2 days ago 0 replies      
get a lawyer, get an accountant, get incorporated.
neo0oen 3 days ago 0 replies      
i've no idea.
But wish u good luck
StavrosK 3 days ago 0 replies      
That is extremely useful, actionable advice.
Mattbunner 3 days ago 0 replies      
wow, that's crazy? Holy crap
sharemywin 3 days ago 0 replies      
Do you have a cousin in Nigeria?
donnfelker 3 days ago 1 reply      
Use PayPal - get screwed. Rinse, wash, repeat.
Ask HN: Any interest in a Brisbane, Australia HN meetup?
3 points by zensavona  7 hours ago   2 comments top 2
JacobAldridge 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Definitely! Just got back from London, and #HNLondon was one of the highlights of my month. Have been wanting to replicate that out here at some point, though I'm only slowly getting back into the community to see what the alternatives are.

My email is in my profile - feel free to drop me a line.

rsmaniak 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Absolutely, count me in!. Email in profile.
Ask HN: What should the curriculum be for a Computer Science high school?
5 points by snilan  11 hours ago   6 comments top 5
csense 2 hours ago 0 replies      
A lot of my favorite programs in middle and high school were written in QBASIC.

That's because you could write stuff like

PSET (8, 3), 10
CIRCLE (100, 200), 45
LINE (15, 15)-(25, 25)

Drawing stuff is really a lot more interesting than boring text manipulations or algorithms -- especially for a beginner of middle/high school age. Programming is fun because you're creating your own world with its own rules -- and that resonates right away with a student when that world is something they can visualize and interact with using realtime graphics, rather than just read about with text output.

Python/Pygame is probably the closest modern equivalent. Especially if you put some of the boilerplate like window creation in a file, and tell them to copy it into their program's directory and import it. (Or, having them run the boilerplate file, and having that file import the student's code, might work better.)

Show minimal drawing stuff right away. Then you can go in a lot of directions. Use a FOR loop to draw a pixel or circle going from left to right across the screen at a speed of one pixel per frame. Then you want it to reverse direction at the right edge, so you can show IF statements. Show how you can simplify the code by using negative numbers, this will introduce the concept of having velocity. Having a circle reverse direction is a little trickier than a pixel, because you have to take into account its radius.

Then make your objects go at 45 degrees to the coordinate axes -- more on the velocity concept without being too difficult/technical. Or have an arbitrary number of them -- now you have arrays. Or teach them how to replace circles with an image downloaded from the Web. Then put a background on it. Then introduce user input into the equation. Maybe you can click the mouse to spawn a new particle or move the particle to the mouse location. What happens if it's a circle, you did the radius fix, and the user moves it closer to the edge than it would naturally get? Then think about gravity: Just have the velocity increase a little in the "down" direction every frame. Of course, if you're imagining the bottom of the screen as a wall, then you have to figure out how to stop it when it tries to fall past the bottom of the screen.

A little more work, and you have a simple platform game. You just have to come up with an input scheme, figure out how to do vertical walls, and how to make the "bottom" be different heights depending on the x coordinate. Then have enemies that can "collide" with the player.

For a class project, every student (or small group) picks a different feature to add to the engine -- moving enemies, scrolling, healthbar, dangerous terrain, levels defined by files, levels generated randomly, enemies that shoot, players that shoot, (you could have them "toss baseballs" or "cast spells" if "shooting" is too violent), an animated player sprite (a great idea if there's an artistically talented student in the class, though even the most lacking artists could still complete the assignment with a quick visit to opengameart.org), or student ideas (must be approved by teacher). The teacher picks a couple features of his own to implement. Then everyone gives their patches to the teacher (for grading). After the patched versions are submitted, the teacher publishes them as diff -u style patches to the entire class, and everyone now has to add as many features as possible. This teaches the students a little bit about how collaborative development works in practice.

Having a high school devoted to CS lets you do a really good job with this concept, because you can devote an entire course to it. This should be their first CS course. Its primary purpose is inspiring them, motivating them, getting them excited for the possibilities of what they're learning. It will also:

Introduce students to different program constructs.

Introduce some physics/mathematics theory for the particular problem domain.

Introduce students to the way mathematical modeling/theory can be applied to a practical programming problem.

Introduce students to the use of external tools, libraries, assets, their OS's command-line interface, and API docs.

The beauty of having a high school devoted to CS is that you can have an intro-level project-based course that doesn't have to be comprehensive in any of these areas; later courses can do that. If you don't need recursion or string manipulation, you don't have to cover it. If you don't cover every available tool or every corner of your API docs in this course, that's fine. If this course is in Python because it's the best language for the purpose, but the AP exam is in Java, that's perfectly okay -- they can pick up Java in another class. The goal at this point should be to teach them how, not what -- that is, focus on how to program, and only cover what tools are available on an as-needed basis.

Having current or past large-scale projects when you're programming is useful because it alters your perceptions. Your brain recognizes when the thing you're learning is applicable to the project. This connection helps the memory become more permanent -- the brain flags it as "important" since it's related to something it spent a lot of effort on in the past. The connection also helps the memory become more integrated -- there's now a "pattern match" between the concept and its real-world application, so it's easier to both remember the application when you're confronted with the concept, and remember the concept when you're confronted with the application. You may not cover the entire AP CS content, but what you do cover, you can be sure your students will remember when they take the AP exam 3+ years later.

jdietrich 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Machine code on an 8-bit processor - ideally an old microcomputer, failing that an ATtiny. It's the only sensible way of teaching the fundamentals of how computers actually work. A reasonably bright young teenager can easily understand a computer from the metal up, so long as that computer has a bare-bones instruction set and no more memory than can be copied onto a couple of sheets of paper. There are a number of excellent books written for the Vic-20 or Timex 1000 that cover all the fundamentals in an accessible way.
logn 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I think the AP Computer Science C++ program (both semesters) was excellent preparation for everything college and the real-world threw at me. They teach it in Java now which I'd support. My high school had an intro programming course before this as well.

People will get into religious wars about what language to to teach by my $.02 is that Java is sufficiently close to C/C++ for low-level prep and close to JavaScript/Ruby for scripting.

malandrew 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Is AP Computer Science any good? When I took it, it sucked horribly. That was when it was Pascal-based. The following year they moved to C++, which I heard was an unmitigated disaster. IIRC Allen Downey, a guy known for his great CS textbooks, was so fed up with the clusterfuck that was the AP Computer Science curriculum, that he wrote his own textbook for the intro course the taught and he based it on Python.

Either Scheme or Python should be the basis of an AP CompSci course.

Check out How to Design Programs version 2. The authors of that book have spent more time on the problem of pedagogy in computer science than anyone else I know. They've really thought the whole thing through very well.

crynix 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Shouldn't web programming come before Python/Java? In the class I'm teaching the students picked up Javascript and HTML/CSS much quicker than Python or Java.
Ask HN: First time in SF today and tomorrow " can I visit your startup?
86 points by davewasmer  2 days ago   22 comments top 9
machrider 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days 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 :)
brandoncordell 2 days ago 1 reply      
I once tweeted Tom Mornini CTO and co-founder of EngineYard to see if they had any stickers I could have to put on my MacBook because it was "too plain". Within a few days I had a box of stickers and hand-written postcard that said to give them a ping if I were ever in San Francisco. They said they'd be glad to show me around EY and take me too lunch. I still haven't been able to take up the offer (although I will one-day because they are on my dream-list of jobs).

Might be worth a shot seeing if you could drop by the office. They seemed SUPER nice. I still have the postcard tacked up in my office :D

bradleyjoyce 2 days 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!
tjbiddle 2 days 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!
southpolesteve 2 days ago 1 reply      
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.

juanbyrge 2 days ago 3 replies      
Not my startup, lol, we run a tight ship here.

I'd checkout meetups though.

Jonovono 2 days ago 1 reply      
ha I am pretty much in your same situation, but am looking for a job. Where are you staying?
Ask HN: Software for exploring billion row sized datasets
6 points by tomx  18 hours ago   5 comments top 5
lukev 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Using a language that supports an interactive development library might speed up the process for you.

I use Clojure, and like Incanter for this kind of work. I also use Datomic as my data store, when I can, which makes it quite easy to perform ad-hoc queries.

Of course, the fact that your data is too large to effectively fit in memory means that, whatever you're graphing, you're going to have to aggregate it a bit first before you can visualize it. That's really the hardest part of what you asking, and how you do that efficiently depends entirely on what your query is and what kind of data store you're using.

I'm not aware of any off-the-shelf software that does what you're talking about, unless it fits into an OLAP-type schema (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OLAP_cube) for which there are several products available.

lutusp 18 hours ago 0 replies      
> Given billions of rows of data across a few tables, how do you best make sense of it?

Your inquiry won't go anywhere until you describe the problem you're trying to solve. Be specific, if only for a single example problem.

I say this because there's no generic solution to accessing a large database -- the solution depends on the goal.

runarb 18 hours ago 0 replies      
When you mentions billion row datasets MapReduce and Apache Hadoop comes to mind, but that requires that you are capable to do some computer programming.

There may also be a lot of existing solution to present/summaries/graph you data, depending on what it contains and witch program created it. Can you give us some more insight into what kind of data you have?

teyc 15 hours ago 0 replies      
SQL Server and Excel PivotTables uses Vertipaq. The main idea is data along columns tend to not change very much. Therefore, one is able to compress data in memory in columns, achieving a very high degree of compression.

Perhaps you can roll something like this as well.

jamessb 16 hours ago 0 replies      
There are GUI analysis tools that produce graphs directly from databases, eg Tableau http://www.tableausoftware.com/solutions/big-data-analysis
Ask HN: Independently learning design?
84 points by nicholjs  1 day ago   37 comments top 18
breckinloggins 1 day ago 6 replies      
I'm in the same boat. I'm not very good but I'm starting to get better at design. Here are some tips, which might be useful. None of these are affiliate links and I'm not associated with any of them, if that matters.

- It's cliche, but read "The Design of Everyday Things" by Donald Norman [1]. It gives you a good sense of design's place in the greater world. The best design principles are as at home in a product development firm as they are in the software world.

- I own "Design for Hackers" by David Kadavy and I think it's pretty good. The content may or may not be "obvious" depending on your skill level, but he phrases things in a way that is understandable and reassuring to the engineering set. [2]

- There's a guy on HN (Jarrod Drysdale) who produced an eBook called "Bootstrapping Design". I haven't pulled the trigger on a purchase yet, but I need to. I've read his sample chapter and am subscribed to his newsletter and I think he's an excellent coach. [3]

- I keep a bookmark folder called "design inspiration" and when I find really cool sites or apps I save them here. You might also want to keep a clipping diary or something where you can keep notes for yourself about what you like and don't like about certain things.

- There's nothing wrong with imitation, within reason. EVERYONE stands on the shoulders of giants and the guy who designed that awesome site or app probably started by shamelessly copying existing stuff. In fact, I recommend that you spend some time trying to EXACTLY copy things you like. You'll start to get a feel for how to accomplish certain affects and, in general, you'll get design a little more "in the fingers".

- http://ux.stackexchange.com/

- Have a project. Have a project. HAVE A PROJECT. It's very difficult to just "learn design", just as it's very difficult to just "learn programming". Unless you're just a natural autodidact, you can read all the tutorials and books and whatever but, when it comes time to do something on your own, you'll just be sitting there staring at a blinking cursor (or an empty Photoshop document) unless you have some place to start.

I hope this all helps, and don't be afraid to share stuff on HN with us. There are plenty of folks who would love to give you positive criticism and feedback.

[1] http://www.amazon.com/Design-Everyday-Things-Donald-Norman/d...

[2] http://www.amazon.com/Design-Hackers-Reverse-Engineering-Bea...

[3] http://bootstrappingdesign.com/

artursapek 1 day ago 3 replies      
Go to art school, like I did. Hahahah. No, I'm kidding, don't. But do become educated about the past. Buy some books. I recommend starting with Paul Rand http://www.amazon.com/Paul-Rand-Steven-Heller/dp/0714839949 I love that book. I'll never let go of my copy.

The most important thing is not to focus too much on current trends. They're mostly bullshit that will be forgotten fast. The reason I say study the past is because everything old that has been documented is actually worth studying. It's "stood the test of time," if you will.

I think a lot of designers today focus too much on what's happening NOW, reading today's blogs and knowing the trends and whatever. So they go make things with an extremely narrow perspective and think they're designing when really they're retracing the only thing they know.

People don't know nearly enough on say, 50's modernism. Or the Bauhaus aesthetic. Watch the Eameses' films. Know the greats. Respect them. Broaden your awareness. Graphic design was huge before computers.

Then apply the broad ideas you absorb from that to the medium you're working in. That's my advice. There's no Stack Overflow for design. It doesn't work the same way as programming. You're not going to become a good designer by visiting websites.

nsfmc 1 day ago 0 replies      
a long long time ago, i wrote a post here on hn on how to get started on web design [0], but since you already have the technical bit, you can just skip ahead to the Design part.

That said, I don't think that many "howto design" books are all that interesting (and the best design books are mystifying in a way which defies reason), but you will find books about the nuts and bolts of design which are very good even if you're totally green to the field. The other most important thing is that you keep making things. Even little things. Make them and show them to people and get feedback. Lather, rinse and repeat.

Anyhow... You will want to specifically look for books on Typography, Color, Layout, Photography, Contrast/Scale, and Poster Design. Poster Design is actually sui generis despite appearing to be a subset of graphic design.[1]

My belief is strongly on the side of typography being the most crucial skill a designer needs (since its use of space/contrast/layout) is basically design in a micro level, rather than on the macro (page) level. The skills you pick up in typography do translate over, but it takes lots of practice. Since illustrators are readily hopping into many design jobs, our best bet is to differentiate ourselves with our exhaustive knowledge of typography.

A great book on "Book Typography" is Cyrus Highsmith's Inside Paragraphs.

A good book on "Display Typography" is Wolfgang Weingart's My Way to Typography.

Three good books on "Typographic Fundamentals" are: Ellen Lupton's Thinking With Type, John Kane's Type Primer and Erik Spiekermann's Stop Stealing Sheep (and find out how type works).

One excellent "Typographic Reference" is Robert Bringhurst's Elements of Typographic Style.

One good book about "Design Process" is Nancy Skolos & Tom Wedell's Graphic Design Process.

No design book suggestion will be complete without mentioning Emil Ruder's Typographie, Josef Muller-Brockman's Grid Systems and Armin Hofmann's Graphic Design Manual.

That said, a good starter is layout/formmaking Christian Leborg's "Visual Grammar," part of Princeton Architectural Press' Design Briefs series[2] (all of which are good for skimming the next time you find yourself in a bookstore/amazon showroom).

Finally, I never realized it until I made a joke about it, but you can summarize many of the principles of good UI Design in PEP 20, which is to say that if you care about API Design and Code Cleanliness and all that stuff, then you probably already have the right attitude towards graphic/visual design. Take those principles and apply them visually when you make anything or use them as a rough litmus test for your designs then break the rules as you see fit.

Have fun! Relax. Don't Panic!

[0]: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1605228
[1]: While poster design employs many of the same structural techniques as Capital-D Design, it has its own rules which are useful to know, but above all it is free to play with scale in a way which is difficult in web and book design. Still, knowing about it will inform your own work and probably make it wayyyy more fun.
[2]: http://papress.com/html/book.list.page.tpl?action=seriessear...

subpixel 1 day ago 0 replies      
In my experience the very best way to develop design chops is to get a sense of the kind of design you like, and then let that influence the look and feel of your own projects.

At first you will be copying other peoples' style and that is okay. As you proceed and improve you'll start doing your own thing. Great artists steal, etc.

Of course, without your own projects, you'll get nowhere, as has been pointed out.

Design it Yourself is a pretty good read:

As an aside, there's very little of the camaraderie/collaboration you're probably used to from the hacker world in the design world. (Though http://hackdesign.org/ looks rad!) No one has written The Cathedral and the Bazaar for design yet. Know that upfront and you won't be surprised when designers act more afraid than excited at the prospect of unskilled hackers trying their hand at design.

Don't buy into the suggestion you need to worship 'the masters' of graphic design to learn to do your own thing. The web is not just paper that you can click, it's a new medium. You'll learn as much studying design on the web as you will from books.

vickytnz 1 day ago 1 reply      
http://hackdesign.org/ is trying to cover this exact niche (I'm following along as a designer just out of curiosity, and it's pretty cool).

Mark Boulton's A Practical Guide to Designing for the Web (Five Simple Steps) http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0956174019/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_f-cg... is also a good start.

There are the usual suspects such as Nettuts, Smashing Mag, Core77, Creative Review, Design Observer (though that's more intense).

For web typography, try http://kaikkonendesign.fi/typography/ and the older (but based on a lauded print book for print type design) http://www.webtypography.net/

Just for the insight into the nutty world of type design, I like the MyFonts newsletter: http://www.myfonts.com/newsletters/cc/201301.html

If you want to get more into IXD, Cooper has a good list: http://www.cooper.com/journal/2013/01/self-study-interaction...

ctbeiser 1 day ago 0 replies      
Having self-taught myself a lot about design, let me give you a few pointers.

The number one rule is that you have to start paying attention to the design of everything. Don Norman's "The Design of Everyday Things" is a good start on developing this, and you really shouldn't miss it. But this applies to everything: when something's nice, figure out why. Notice typefaces, and form a mental library so you can identify them.

It's a bit of an odd path, but I'll also suggest, since you're interested in interactive systems, reading several great Human Interface Guidelines. Apple's OS X ones are my favorite (You might even want to get an older version, because they're a bit more general), but the Nokia Meego ones are worth a look too. Most others are too mediocre to teach you anything though.

Some other books I have to suggest:
Bringhurtst's "The Elements of Typographic Style." Definately read some kind of lighter treatment of type first, so you know humanists from geometrics, serifs from sans, high and low contrast, and so forth, but if you want to really get it, this is the book. If you go in knowing that some of what he's saying is opinion, this is the book you need to read.

The Universal Principles of Design: It's really not the best book, and there's some things, like the readability research, that's actually just complete crap, but it's an alright, quick overview of a few dozen concepts. If you understand the concepts in it, skip it, but as a first intro, you could do worse.

The Humane Interface: Other than Raskin's whining about the Canon Cat not being a hit for slightly too long, it's got some interesting concepts that all designers should understand.

Thoughtful Interaction Design: This one's very theoretical, and very heavy reading; it's really about a way to view the design process, and how it proceeds, more than it is about how to design. Don't read it until you've done a few projects.

The Visual Display of Quantitative Information: This is a great book on presenting information. Just ignore the ridiculous stuff about minimizing ink, and think of it as minimizing the cognitive load.

For a quick overview of a couple interesting concepts, you might try method.ac, reading the wikipedia pages on Fitt's Law and http://worrydream.com/#!/MagicInk and trolling through http://informationarchitects.net/blog/.

Stay away from ux.stackexchange.com, news.layervault.com, PSDtuts, et. c. It's almost all crap, about tools rather than actual designing. In general (very much in general), if a blog post on design is short, it's crap, 95% of the time.

seanlinehan 1 day ago 1 reply      
One method that I've found useful is to completely re-create somebody else's design in Photoshop. Find a website that you really like, take a screenshot of it, paste it into Photoshop, and recreate the whole thing.

The benefit of doing this is three-fold. For one, you are more than likely not going to functionally know how to re-create some effects which will force you to go out and read targeted tutorials. Second, you will notice the subtleties of the design that you are unlikely to notice when just looking, which will help build your design intuition. Lastly, you won't waste time trying to come up with an idea and failing through the execution; you will start with something great and end with something (hopefully) great.

Clearly this isn't the way to learn the creative side of design, but it will build up your skill-set such that you will actually be able to execute when you have a vision.

dreamdu5t 1 day ago 0 replies      
The only necessary book on design, at only 46 pages, is "Notes on Graphic Design And Visual Communication."

I have met AIGA award designers and Internet design celebrities who don't know some of the basics laid out in this short book.

It's probably the only handwritten book you'll ever read: http://www.amazon.com/Crisp-Graphic-Design-Visual-Communicat...

bennyg 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's all about metacognition. You need to look at the designed things in your life and understand WHY you like or dislike them. Look at the spacing of text, the font choices, the color choices, the contrast between fonts/colors/etc, the shape of things. Design is also how things work, not just how they look.
starpilot 1 day ago 0 replies      
http://littlebigdetails.com shows some really exceptional examples of ergonomic design.
codebaobab 1 day ago 0 replies      
Here's a similar Ask HN from a few years back:


I recommend Before&After (a magazine and a couple of associated books)


zengr 1 day ago 0 replies      
I have started out with Graphics Design course[1] at Berkeley Extension in SF downtown (good for people who work in the bay area).

It's once a week, I enjoy learning the very basic elements of design like understanding and using shapes.

Other than that, keep reading books and ux.stackexchange.

In my day job, I work as a software engineer.

[1]: http://extension.berkeley.edu/spos/graphicps.html

gbog 1 day ago 0 replies      

  Inoculate yourself against bad design and subscribe to Jakob Nielsen  newsletter.

seanMeverett 1 day ago 0 replies      
Subscribe to dribbble's popular RSS feed. You'd be surprised how good your taste becomes just by being surrounded by it. Also, you'll start to pick up details about how they do it. You just study it at the pixel level and try to replicate in photoshop. That's the best way I've found...
rikacomet 1 day ago 1 reply      
step 1: Go through lot of tutorials in Photoshop, replicate different type of effects, patterns, actions.

step 2a: move on to Illustrator, once you start needed quality images.


step 2b: start using your html/css knowledge with your new found design skills, to start making websites

after that you are pretty much done.

Tomino 1 day ago 0 replies      
maybe you can check out http://psd.tutsplus.com/
canibanoglu 1 day ago 1 reply      
Would you mind giving a link to the post about JavaScript that you mentioned? I would really appreciate that.


Ask HN: How do I as a layman get involved with speech recognition?
4 points by allsystemsgo  15 hours ago   1 comment top
mindcrime 15 hours ago 0 replies      







I'd start by playing with Sphinx. It's a pre-made library that will let you get started with speech reco at an application level. If you just want to build apps that use speech recognition, it might be all you need. If you want to do research into cutting edge speech recognition technologies, dig into the papers and stuff on arxiv and citeseer, and follow that "research" link from the Sphinx wiki.

Show HN: My forum project; a different philosophy than Discourse
6 points by pessimism  1 day ago   7 comments top 3
arxanas 23 hours ago 1 reply      
It looks the same as regular forums to me. What features does it have that regular forums don't?

• “Written in Python and uses the popular Django framework”: Doesn't really mean anything. Not a feature.

• “Mobile CSS that adapts the layout to your iPhone”: That's a front-end issue, which forums can handle just fine without switching from phpBB or whatnot.

• “A redesigned, mobile-friendly admin interface”: Also front-end.

• “Experimental dyslexia support”: Also probably front-end. Dyslexic users probably have different default settings for text anyways.

• “A powerful editor for writing and creating content”: These have existed for several years.

' “Super simple Markdown-based formatting learnt in no time ...”: Okay.

' “... with automatic, typography-friendly SmartyPants conversion”: What does that mean?

' “You can even create tables for data- and fact-based discussions!” Tables are not exactly revolutionary and forums have had those for a long time. Granted, Markdown doesn't necessarily. Do you have quotes, though?

• “Values security and privacy with such things as: SSL support, PBKDF2, password-hashing, django-secure vetting”: These aren't “features” we should have to look for actively. They should be a given.

• “Complete HTML fall-back support for people who block JavaScript”: Forums have had that since the beginning of forum-time.

pessimism 1 day ago 1 reply      

[1]: https://gist.github.com/ndarville/4753948

[2]: http://pony-forum.com

[3]: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5172905

[4]: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5096009

EDIT: Looks like Travis is acting up, even though all I did between my last working build was to edit a Markdown file.

Socketubs 1 day ago 0 replies      
Oh yeah please, leave me trash all these old PHP forums!
Good project!
Which node.js apps have you made?
4 points by jmanzano  1 day ago   1 comment top
dangrossman 12 hours ago 0 replies      
The real-time dashboard for W3Counter runs on node.js [1].

I also put together Bookmarkly [2] when I was learning Backbone.js; the server-side of it is node.js. The code's on github [3].

1: http://www.w3counter.com/features/pro

2: http://bookmarkly.com

3: https://github.com/dangrossman/Bookmarkly

Ask HN: List of SaaS with number of users?
2 points by Nick5a1  14 hours ago   2 comments top 2
Nick5a1 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm thinking I could use twitter followers or alexa rank as a proxy for number of users. Anyone know where I could find a list of SaaS offerings?
Nick5a1 13 hours ago 0 replies      
And to also answer my own query, programmableweb.com seems to be the best resource.
Ask HN: Anything fancy in your .vimrc?
2 points by gaving  17 hours ago   3 comments top 3
logn 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Working in data I often had tab delimited files. So you'd want your tabs to show up as real tabs when typed and not converted to spaces. Otherwise for code convention is almost always spaces. So I use this.

  syntax on
filetype plugin indent on
:set paste

set shiftwidth=4
set tabstop=4

autocmd FileType ruby,eruby,yaml,java,clojure,html,css,xml
\ setlocal shiftwidth=2 |
\ setlocal tabstop=2 |
\ setlocal expandtab

goldfeld 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I have too many. I have many ideas for plugins as I'm getting into vimscripting (and have since released one) and I use vimrc as a staging area for those ideas to grow on me.

Just last week I put this to have modified buffers in my statusline:

  set statusline+=%{GetModifiedBuffers()}
function! GetModifiedBuffers()
redir @b
silent! buffers
redir END
return system('echo "'.@b.'"' . " | awk '$3 ~ /\+/ {printf ".'" " $4 "*"'."}'")

I also have something I'm calling Streamline, which allows you to navigate relative lines while seeing absolute lines.

Also just yesterday I hacked something which allows me to block hjkl for more than one consecutive press, while binding their double presses to some other action. So pressing j once gets me down one line, pressing a second consecutive time activates Streamline which then, without a count, takes me to lines multiple of ten, so it's my way of scrolling when I don't know the outlook of the file (given a count of 4 while on line 37, Streamline would take you to line 44). This is still not on my online vimrc, but the rest is at github.com/goldfeld/dotfiles.

ryanaghdam 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Does Vundle <https://github.com/gmarik/vundle>; count as something fancy?
One line of code to see heavily downvoted comments
4 points by michaelkscott  1 day ago   1 comment top
bjourne 23 hours ago 0 replies      
A more elaborate solution is to install a userstyle (http://userstyles.org/) and a browser plugin like as Stylish. There are dozens of themes available related to hacker news: http://userstyles.org/styles/browse/all/hacker+news.
Ask HN: (How) Would you do it all over again?
5 points by elboheme  1 day ago   6 comments top 6
kgc 1 day ago 0 replies      
I would have told myself not to study so much and to meet more girls.
yen223 1 day ago 0 replies      
I would move my ass to a first world country before I ran out of money to do so.
unimpressive 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'd have recognized the beauty of mathematics earlier so that I could be doing cooler stuff now.
kombinatorics 1 day ago 0 replies      
Although I'm only 19, there are a ton of things I wish I could go back and talk to past me. Too many times have I missed out on opportunities and lost advantages.

Ah well.

factorialboy 1 day ago 0 replies      
Start meditating a lot earlier. Started mid 20's.
orangethirty 1 day ago 0 replies      
I would not change a thing.
Ask HN: What is a better recruiting strategy, casting a wide net or targeted?
2 points by psadri  22 hours ago   7 comments top 4
abuiles 15 hours ago 1 reply      
As Peroni mentioned, Targeted is more effective yet difficult.

A good approach to this is something that I would call "passive targeted recruiting", basically implement policies as "always be recruiting" and having your doors open (office-hours work great for this), take 1 - 2 hours of your week to talk with people interested in knowing more about your company, etc. Also I would say enforce cultural fit over technical, I saw Polyvore's about page and see that you do a really good job selling your culture :).

We release recently an interview with Daniel Doubrovkine about office-hours http://bit.ly/WFhVvo, he also writes a lot in his blog about hiring http://code.dblock.org/help-me-fix-tech-recruiting-become-a-...

Hope it helps! I would be interested in discussing further about the subject if you want (email is in my profile).

Peroni 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Targeted can be highly effective but it arguably takes longer and is significantly more difficult which is why the majority gravitate towards the wide-net approach.
codegeek 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Depends on the type of role that is needed. Usually, there are generalists, specialists and some in the middle. If you are looking for a very specific niche/area/experience, then targeted recruiting is probably going to be more effective. If you need a more generalist role, then it might be worth mining the wider/generic sites.
scotthtaylor 22 hours ago 1 reply      
The guys at Somewhere are doing some pretty interesting things: http://www.somewherehq.com
Ask HN: Is Posting Startup Job Offering (not a YC) Legit?
2 points by tzury  23 hours ago   5 comments top 3
shanelja 23 hours ago 1 reply      
There is a monthly who is hiring topic and most people tend to wait for that and as I'm not a moderator, I wouldn't take my word for it, but I would assume that it would be frowned upon.

The reason jobs are segregated is because it would make for boring reading if all recruiters started posting their job listings on here and it would become hellban-on-site very quickly.

orangethirty 20 hours ago 0 replies      
You can have the job posting appear on codejobs[1] for free. Just send it to codejobs.newsletter@gmail.com


lurifaxn 22 hours ago 0 replies      
It would be great if you would post it on www.startrigger.com as well.

You get access to a pool of students who are all top 15%. The students are from mostly top 30 universities ranging from Harvard to Oxford.

Its free!

Show HN: I created a mailbox-app clone for the Chrome developer console
4 points by berzniz  1 day ago   3 comments top 2
dgunn 1 day ago 1 reply      
What am I missing? If it requires knowledge of recent news, I've been travelling for the past 2 days and have had very limited access to the world outside of my own head.

So far my investigation has lead me to the bottom of mailboxapp.com's homepage where there is a ticker which uses similar language to describe my placement in their app's user adoption.

xedeon 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ask HN: Non-Technical (Internship) Opportunities
3 points by cosmie  1 day ago   2 comments top
jimbobob 1 day ago 1 reply      
Where are you located?

Your background sounds very similar to mine and I now work in Advertising Operations, which was a job I did not know existed when I was in school. Working in Marketing or Data Science in a startup might also be an option for you. Have you looked into those fields?

Feel free to email me if you would like to discuss further. eric (dot) rygh (at) gmail.

Ask HN: How can I tell when someone read an email I sent them?
3 points by Brian_Curliss  1 day ago   7 comments top 6
shail 6 hours ago 0 replies      
When you receive their response.

Is it only me or someone else too feel that tracking through invisible image etc. is kind of violating privacy?

fitandfunction 1 day ago 0 replies      
1. Make it short
2. Add a link to your domain
3. Add getClicky to your domain

A large number of readers will click on your link. As a recipient of some of these emails, I almost always click on a company name just to get more info on the company. So, if you keep the message tight, you can usually see if they read the email because there's a hit on your website.

the_economist 1 day ago 0 replies      
You can't, unless the recipient's email client displays images. Most do not do this by default.

If the user chooses to display images, you can include a link to a 1x1 image in the email, and then monitor your server logs to see who opens it. There are plenty of software packages that do this.

More information here: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/973143/tracking-email-bou...

tokyonoise 1 day ago 1 reply      
Check out http://www.rightinbox.com

Right Inbox puts a small invisible image in your email. If the recipient's email client does not particularly block remote images, then tracking takes place. Plus, if you include links in your email, they are also included in tracking. If the recipient clicks a link, then it is notified to you regardless of their email client or so.

helen842000 23 hours ago 0 replies      
BananaTag.com. They alert you to when the e-mail has been opened and if they click any of the links within the e-mail you sent them
toddrew 1 day ago 0 replies      
http://www.yesware.com/ is free to use and also works with the 1x1 image to track opens. You can also add trackable links.
Ask HN: in 2013, is it still worth learning RoR/Django?
32 points by urlwolf  4 days ago   30 comments top 14
shantanubala 4 days ago 2 replies      
Instead of using RoR or Django (or something really "opinionated"), try looking into Sinatra or Flask (or other small "micro-frameworks" and libraries) where you can mix-and-match your own libraries from different places. This will get you in the habit of weighing the pros and cons of using different packages and tools for different tasks, and it will also force you to learn how to chose the best tool for the job yourself.

I think Rails and Django are great, but they offload a lot of design decisions to the community -- this is great when you want to write maintainable code with a diverse team, but not necessarily the optimal setup for gaining the most useful skills for the future. If you want to be ahead of the curve, try using smaller and more focused tools. Even though an individual piece of the puzzle may occasionally need to be replaced, you will at least know that you hand selected the best tool for your use case, and won't have to shoe-horn another approach on top of it.

lifeisstillgood 19 hours ago 0 replies      
IMO this is the composition vs inheritence debate.

In the Python world, WSGI was really a break-through idea (a decade ago!) - parse the request up front and pass the text down a chain of functions each of which can modify the request / response.

That way the chain you build is the chain used.

Every python web server uses it behind the scenes, and then
tries to make bits of it "easier" for you by hiding the underlying goodness.

Its usually a good trade off, but it kind of takes away the point.

So, I would say, (python) learn how to deploy your own WSGI app on gunicorn behind Nginx. And put security in using repoze.who.

Then you can choose to replace your app with Flask. Or django. Or ...

build up from the ground

hcarvalhoalves 4 days ago 0 replies      
It's not a zero sum game.

Also, there's a lot of hype about JS frameworks and client side rendering, but you still need an API and server side rendering (Twitter just figured this out after going back and forth). Both RoR/Django are good tools for writing REST APIs on, and for learning about web development in general.

rartichoke 3 days ago 2 replies      
This conversation seems to come up often. Server side templating is still really important and isn't going away too soon.

There's still so many problems to solve before server side templating can seriously be considered obsolete.

1. Search engines still can't scrape javascript created content. Hacks like #! don't count.

2. Grade A browsers still don't properly support pushState() and if they are supported in some cases it's a buggy experience.

3. There's still a decent amount of people with JS turned off.

4. Having the client do the heavy lifting of your web site is a bad idea because the experience cannot be controlled. Anyone without a decent computer is going to get a sluggish experience and mobile performance is still very questionable.

#3 is probably the least important thing but it will also depend on what your site is doing. If I'm selling a product that with global reach and I ignore #3 then I'm throwing away money basically because India and China are massive and they have pretty high %s of people without JS or very old browsers.

chc 3 days ago 0 replies      
The idea of skipping Rails and learning Backbone instead makes no sense unless you just wanted to be a front-end guy all along. You still need a backend. Whether you like Rails' style of backend or prefer something like Sinatra is up to you, but you need something on the backend, and Rails is still a very strong contender.
AznHisoka 17 hours ago 0 replies      
If you want to remain an applications developer, then yes ROR/Djano is worth learning.

If you want to learn to build critical system components in the back-end, you can skip RoR or Backbone, and learn stuff like machine learning, NLP, or building distributed systems.

mneumegen 4 days ago 1 reply      
Backbone and jQuery do different jobs, they complement each other quite well.

For the next year you'd have a much better chance of getting a Django or RoR job than a Meteor job. Meteors still the new kid on the block so it's still in a process of picking up traction. Beyond the next year, who knows...anything could happen. As long as you understand the underlying principles of web development, picking up new technology should be trivial.

logn 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'd go straight to javascript for webapps, but Ruby is my favorite way to write map-reduce jobs. It's really well suited for big data work.
Zev 4 days ago 0 replies      
Both Rails and Django will be here for a long time, regardless of what the current fad of the day is.
readme 4 days ago 0 replies      
It's still worth learning COBOL, so I'm going to have to say yes.
urlwolf 4 days ago 0 replies      
Can anyone enummerate the apps that are 'as of today' better suited to RoR/Django?

The funny thing is that the django tutorial uses a poll app. This is an app that is ten million times easier to do, and more effective, in say meteor. But I'm sure other apps are not.

clarle 4 days ago 0 replies      

  > learn backbone instead of jquery

Backbone relies on some sort of DOM library like jQuery to function. Regardless, for any library, it's important to learn the fundamentals before using them, such as DOM basics in JavaScript before even using jQuery.

To answer the original question, yes, it's important to learn server-side frameworks since there's still many things about them that client-side rendering can't do (better search engine optimization, progressive enhancement, accessibility).

JacksonGariety 4 days ago 0 replies      
Don't compare backbone and jQuery. That's like saying "I want to build a bike, do I need a frame or a wheel?" Learn both. They work together.
rdouble 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'd skip RoR/Django at this point.
Open Source HTML5 Screen Sharing: Share your screen, right from your browser
9 points by mlakkadshaw  2 days ago   22 comments top 12
drivebyacct2 2 days 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 2 days ago 1 reply      
clickable http://http://deadsimplescreensharing.com/

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

prakster 2 days ago 1 reply      
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' :-)

wilhil 1 day ago 0 replies      
Was anyone able to visit this site?

I still have a tab open thinking that it was just brought offline through traffic... but just refreshed and still can't get on :/

Johnyma22 2 days ago 1 reply      
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 2 days ago 1 reply      
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.
dbond 1 day ago 0 replies      
Have you looked into using webRTC for the stream transfer and using the server only for signalling? Not sure if these apis are available within extensions but this would make the server much cheaper to run.
benbro 2 days ago 1 reply      
Can you share only the browser tab or even what happens on your desktop? Does it use VNC?
benbro 2 days ago 1 reply      
Is the extension code open sourced?
I only see the server code on github.
mlakkadshaw 2 days ago 0 replies      
Please tell me if anyone is facing delay or latency issues.
vovafeldman 2 days ago 2 replies      
Not working for me, I'm getting
"No Connection" screen :(
Johnyma22 2 days ago 1 reply      
Hi from the Etherpad team :)
       cached 12 February 2013 13:05:01 GMT