hacker news with inline top comments    .. more ..    19 Jul 2013 Ask
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1
Ask HN: How do you manage your photos?
5 points by dome82  1 hour ago   4 comments top 4
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SamWhited 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I have two machines; my normal workstation which I use for day-to-day tasks (running Arch Linux) and a Windows box that does nothing but run Adobe Lightroom. My Arch box has a RAID5 array which I use for all backups and runs a SAMBA server which the Windows box can connect to. Photos that I'm currently working with / editing are on a small 10,000 RPM drive on my Windows box and when I'm done I move the folder over the network to the RAID array (and keep backups there even before I'm done). Photos are sorted into folders on the RAID array by date in the format `19 07 July 2013' this way they are sorted correctly alphanumerically and my eye can easily jump to the name of the month.I've considered moving the photo editing box into a VM but haven't gotten around to trying it.

I use Flickr to publish photos online.

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spicer-matthews 1 hour ago 0 replies      
http://cloudmanic.com/photomanic

I like to leverage Evernote for the storage engine. Unlike other cloud-based photo storage solutions if you stop paying for the storage you lose it. You "pay" once for lifetime storage. If you are a paid Evernote user you get 1 Gig of storage per month. Use it or lose it.

http://cloudmanic.com/blog/57/the-digital-photo-conundrum-a-...

http://cloudmanic.com/blog/58/photomanic-a-photo-gallery-for...

Yes, My company is the marker of Photomanic.

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schrodingersCat 59 minutes ago 0 replies      
My workflow is dropbox camera sync -> Lyn (OSX; worth the $20) -> (optionally) lightroom / GIMP -> Lyn library backup to cloud (currently Box because i have a 50gb account). My current project is to learn the flickr api and build a sync tool for it in python
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srathi 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I use Picasa on my Mac for local photo management and keep all my photos on Flickr for backup and sharing. I recommend the Flickr Uploadr tool for backup.

edit: typo

2
Ask HN: Best way to find a better job without contacts
4 points by tombell  3 hours ago   4 comments top 2
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zachlatta 1 hour ago 0 replies      
You'll need contacts to some extent (or at least they'll help a lot). Go to a local developer meetup and meet people/hand out business cards. Always have an example of your work with you to show to people.

If you're really desperate, you could try sites like oDesk or similar.

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joaoyc 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Having a portfolio of your work? It's a good way to start marketing yourself.
3
Leap Motion miscalculates shipping, won't let people use it until 22nd
2 points by danellis  2 hours ago   2 comments top 2
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dangrossman 33 minutes ago 0 replies      
This is the new normal for service-backed products. Pre-order any major PC game title; if it arrives before the official release date, the authentication servers to validate your copy and start using "the product you bought from a company" won't be online yet either. Leap Motion relies on servers and an app store, and they have big app developers committed to a launch on the 22nd, not earlier.
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kohanz 51 minutes ago 0 replies      
Perhaps the driver is not ready?
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Tell HN: I'm giving away hackerbooks.com (domain name + source code)
8 points by thibaut_barrere  9 hours ago   3 comments top
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thibaut_barrere 9 hours ago 2 replies      
Hi folks,

you may remember a little site I launched a couple of years back (now offline); hackerbooks.com aggregated books mentioned on HN and SO, with links to the quotes here.

Since I'm now focusing on https://www.wisecashhq.com my first SaaS product), I'm willing to give the domain name and the code (as-is) away if someone wants to take over and bring it back online (or do anything useful with it).

Any taker?

Contact me at thibaut.barrere@gmail.com if you're interested!

-- Thibaut

5
Not ad, Up to 200 books free for you, as i will be gone
10 points by ghosthamlet  10 hours ago   discuss
6
What book(s) is/are the best introduction to your field for non-specialists?
2 points by E-for-Endetta  3 hours ago   1 comment top
7
Ask HN: How do you apply for a tech job?
101 points by quietthrow  1 day ago   81 comments top 22
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lmkg 1 day ago 7 replies      
Other people are giving good comprehensive advice, so I'll just drop in 2 small points.

1. On any interview question, and especially on coding questions, don't be afraid to take some time to gather your thoughts. You will feel like you're under the microscope and you're obligated to say something. This is normal. Tamp down that feeling. A composed reply is better than a reply that came two seconds earlier. If necessary, practicing using canned phrases as a stalling technique--just saying "Excellent question! So, you see..." buys you like two not-awkward seconds.

2. In any coding exercise, spend more time talking than coding. You will have a large instinct school that your imperative is to find the correct answer. You must fight this. Your goal is to demonstrate that you can reason clearly, even if you arrive at a different answer than your interviewer. Before starting, explain your high-level approach. Be explicit about any assumptions you're making. Any time you make a decision, no matter how trivial, state that it is a decision and preferably why you did not choose alternatives.

3. There will always be a part of the interview where the interviewer asks if you have questions. Ask a question. It doesn't need to be anything special, just have a few on-hand. My favorite is to ask what the company culture is like, since that's something the interviewer usually doesn't cover.

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hackula1 1 day ago 2 replies      
Here are a few of the things I would recommend in no particular order. Most of them are pretty traditional.

1. Wear leather shoes. You could dress in rags, but if you are wearing leather shoes, it will make it look like you meant to. Scott Hanselman pointed this out on his This Developer's Life podcast a while back.

2. Show your github or linkedin profiles, but despite people saying "oh, this is my resume", no it is not. Quit being cute and spend 20 minutes typing up a real resume. Use one of the templates provided in most word processors. Your resume is not meant to stand out. It is meant to be used as a filter to see if there are any red flags. Think of it like just another piece of paperwork. Include your last 3 jobs (not 1 and definitely not 10), degrees, and a list of technologies you know. Do not include smarmy HR stuff like "Team Player! Great Work Ethic!" Make the resume custom taylored to fit the position you are applying for. Since you are not including everything you have ever done, just focus on the experience you have that is most relevant. Lastly, keep it to one page, with a normal font size.

3. Dress to the company +1. If they wear cargo shorts and t shirts, wear shorts with a polo. If they wear jeans and polos, wear jeans with a button down. If they wear kahkis and button downs, wear that plus a tie. If they wear suits... you probably do not want to work there so I would recommend wearing a tuxedo or nothing at all.

4. Always remember that you are interviewing them. Take charge of the interview. Ask about the culture and values. Ask the interviewer how they personally feel about X and Y aspects of the business. Ask about stability and/or revenue. If it seems appropriate (feel it out), ask where the person who's position you are filling is now and why they left. If there are red flags hiding, this is the question that will often reveal them.

6. As far as finding companies goes, pick a list of 10 you like, then email all of them. If they have a position listed, then mention the position, but if not, apply anyway and offer your services. Coders are in demand, and many companies will jump at the chance to interview an enthusiastic person who took some initiative. Pretty much ignore job requirements. They are so often unreliable, that you might as well find out in person. As long as you are fine with the stack, go for it.

7. Do not get tunnel vision. This is probably the most important thing. It is like buying a house. Do not fall in love with any one offer. You should never, under any circumstances, be applying for one job at a time. You always want multiple offers so that you can leverage them against each other. Also, if one falls through, it is no big deal. If you were going to apply for one job at a time, you are forced to go with jobs that are almost a sure thing. After all, if it does not work out, you could be out of work for another month or two. If you reach for something out of your comfort zone (something that is essential for growth), you might have a 20% shot of getting each individual job. You do not want this to be a 6 month process, so go for jobs in batches of 5. If you have a 20% chance at each, you will probably land one of them. I have seen many coders fall into the trap of feeling like they are being disloyal for following multiple leads at once. This is complete BS. Companies are interviewing as many people as they can, so do the same. You do not even work for them yet, so loyalty really should not factor in.

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majke 1 day ago 0 replies      
For me finding interesting companies is the hardest part. IMO you can rank companies in two dimensions: 1) companies that I'm enthusiastic about and would love to work for 2) companies that will employ me.

The trick is to find companies that are in both categories.

But the groups are fluid. You can gain more experience and therefore extend 2), or you can learn more about a company and therefore add it to 1). Or you can reduce expectations and have every single workplace in group 1).

When I look for a job I usually focus on individuals. Read an interesting blog post? I research on the author. Nice node.js library? Learn who wrote it. Amazing project? Who pays for its development and why.

This is a lifetime project, but yes, do follow individuals you admire.

If possible don't apply to jobs@..., instead send an email to a real human being. If a company has a blog, find an interesting author and contact him directly. You'll usually be told to send CV to jobs@ anyway, but it's always better (IMO) to have a friendly human-being advocate in your case.

Research github projects done by the company or employees. Try to contribute, it will not only give you an experience and a good topic for a discussion, but also can also show reveal communication patterns in the company.

Before going for an interview, try learning as much as possible about the company. From all sides: how many data centres, what AS'es, who is listed in whois entries, who is the biggest competitor, who are the investors, who are the customers, and so on. For me there are four groups of things worth researching: individuals, communication patterns and politics, technology stack, business (ie: money).

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NateDad 1 day ago 3 replies      
If you're looking for a job with specific qualities (uses X language, is in Y market, etc) then you need to expand your (people) network in those areas. Join as many groups related to those things as you can. Join meetups, mailing lists, G+ groups, find IRC channels, etc. The original poster was right to talk about networks, but it's not just about who you have worked with before, it's anyone you have interacted with on a sustained basis, and those groups are often just as good as working with people, sometimes better, because generally anyone can join those groups. Also, they're great learning resources.

It's in these groups that jobs are often posted before they're posted publicly. And if you've been an active and quality participant in the group, your response to the posting will be looked on favorably. You'll have a foot in the door without even trying. That being said, make sure you are always polite when talking on these groups, as it reflects badly on you if you are condescending, argumentative, or otherwise unpleasant.

When writing up your resume/CV, be 100% honest. Never fudge the truth. Most employers realize that not everyone can know everything. Briefly list the major technologies used at each job, and list a few prominent accomplishments (e.g. "rewrote client-server sync framework, decreasing server load by a factor of 10"). Keep your resume to one page if you have less than 5 years experience, 2 pages for anything over 5. Don't bother with anything other than company name & technologies used for jobs more than 10 years ago. Don't over clutter your resume with skills. Pick your top few. If you start having to write stuff like "XML" as a skill, you know you've gone too far. It's ok if you just have a couple... everyone has to start somewhere.

Never be afraid to say "I don't know" in an interview. If you don't know, say so. No one expects you to know everything, and it's far more valuable for an employer to know that you'll be up front about what you don't know, than to think you'll try to bullshit your way through any question. I guarantee you, they'll know when you're doing it.

Try to work through whatever problems you're given, whether they're brainteasers or coding problems or what "would you do if" questions. Always always talk out loud when doing these problems. It lets the interviewer understand your thinking behind what you're writing. That way, even if you're wrong, the interviewer may see your misunderstanding and help correct it. Most of the time, they're not looking for the right answer, they're looking to see how you work through a problem.

If you're doing coding problems on a whiteboard, always use the language you are most familiar with. It's hard enough coding on a white board without also trying to use some language you've only used in passing. Also, always walk through your code after it's been written to make sure it does what you expect. The interviewer will like that you're double checking your work, and it'll help catch and dumb errors. Think of it as running the code through a compiler and/or tests.

Ask intelligent questions about the problem before you address it... what assumptions are you making? Is it only ASCII or is Unicode accepted? Are we talking 32 bit ints or 64? Does this need to be thread safe? Questions like this, before even writing a single character on the board will show that you are a thoughtful coder that doesn't just blast out the first code that comes into your head.

Finally... dress nicely. You probably don't need a suit. If you're junior, I'd go with slacks, a button down shirt, and a tie. If you're mid level (7+ years), drop the tie. If you're senior (15+ years)... just make sure you dressed in clean clothing :)

Always offer to shake hands when you meet someone and when they leave. Look them in the eye and say "Thank you". Be nice. Smile freely.

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FigBug 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've been in the work force 12 years and had 4 jobs. My first job was my University Co-op that turned into full time employment after I graduated. When I want to change jobs I put the word out to my friends and ex-coworkers that I'm looking. Usually somebody will come up with something fairly quickly. I may or may not have to send a resume. The interview will be a formality. I've never just applied for jobs that are posted, that's what some of my friends are doing now and it seems very difficult, especially if you don't interview well.

I didn't even do anything particular to build my network. I just worked at a company with fairly high turnover for 4 years, so now I have ex-coworkers at pretty much every company in town.

I live in a fairly small city, 350,000 people. So it's pretty easy to get known in the tech industry without knowing that many people.

6
esusatyo 1 day ago 2 replies      
- Be honest about your experience, and tell them what you are really comfortable with. If you got 3 months experience in Objective-C, don't say 1 year, and tell them what parts/concepts of Objective-C you have used. Don't get too hung up if your skills aren't what they're looking for. Good employers know that someone with a strong technical background can learn anything given enough time.

- If they are giving you a puzzle, try your best to solve it. Do not be too worried if you can't solve it. Most of them will give you hints. I have been offered jobs when I couldn't solve their puzzles.

- If they're asking about opinionated questions (OSX/Linux/Windows, Git/Hg, Java/C, iOS/Android, etc), they are probably just testing your reasoning. It doesn't matter what you answer as long as you have your reasoning. Telling them you use Hg because your boss told you so is not good. It's always good to have a good lookout on new technologies.

- Go to meetups and talk to people. You will probably find a lot of jobs there. Be open, tell them you are looking for a job.

- Wear a t shirt and jeans. Drink lots of water and maybe a cup of coffee.

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toddhd 1 day ago 2 replies      
- On your resume, don't list what you did, list what you accomplished. For example, wrong = "Wrote new SQL and bug-fixed existing SQL on web application". Right = "Reduced a long running SQL call from 8 hours to 20 minutes"- Also try to avoid "fuzzy" statements on your resume. Make your accomplishments quantifiable. Wrong = "Rewrote a VB program so that it was a lot faster". Right = "Rewrote a VB program, reducing average run time from 60 minutes to 15 minutes"- Be prepared to defend any statement on your resume. If you made that program faster, be prepared to explain how and why- Apply for some jobs you don't really want before you apply for the ones you DO want. This is because interviewing is an art, and it really helps to "get in the mode" first. If you going to bomb the first few interviews, make them ones you don't care about so much.- Turn off your cell phone. Better yet, leave it in the car.- Have a personality. Hiring is still mostly about who "fits" the job. If they like you, half the battle is over. At the same time, don't be "chummy" with the interviewer. If you act like you two are best friends and should go out for a beer together, it feels kiss-assy and rarely if ever bodes well for you. - Prepare to answer common questions. Why do want to work here? Why should we hire you? What are you most proud of? What is your weakness? What was a time you had a conflict at work? Almost everyone asks these, and and sucks to answer with some dumb example. - Always try to rephrase the question asked to you before answering it. e.g. "Tell us about your SQL experience" - you reply, "So you want to know what kind of SQL projects I've worked on?" This makes sure you understand what was asked, and it also gives you a moment to think.- If you don't know, say you don't know- Have examples of your work. Code snippets are great, screenshots of UI's you've worked on, etc. When I bomb their pop-quiz (and I always bomb their pop-quiz, I suck at testing) it really helps to tell them that you can show them code from your daily job that better represents you on a daily basis.- Never talk badly about other jobs, even if they were awful. Try to have a reason for switching jobs (e.g. They were a great place to work, but there was really no chance for job advancement) as opposed to "That was a soul sucking job and they can kiss my ass"- Understand that most people performing tech interviews have ZERO training in doing so. If they aren't asking you questions that put you in your best light, then help them out, and offer up that information.
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kephra 1 day ago 0 replies      
The classical browse job offers, send resume, get an invitation to an interview, get the job does not work anymore. Optimizing for the best cover letter, great resume, or tricky interview questions is a cargo cult. The only reason to optimize here, is if you want to become a priest of this cargo cult, e.g. a recruiter, vocational guidance or other professions who exploit the unemployed.

I assume that "tech job" means something in IT tech like coder, designer, admin, and not something like an engineer or chemist.

I got all my projects over the last 35 years by listening to others peoples problems. Real programmers are cursed by infinite ideas vs. limited time. So ideas get a negative value. Just pick those ideas where the company has a great culture, and that sound challenging to you. So the positive work environment must balance the negative value of the idea. Ask yourself: The is company work environment good for solving the problem, or a hindrance. Do !NOT! talk to HR, but to the people who have the problem. I always talked to HR last, at the moment after signing the contract when they want my tax numbers and the like.

One indicator, that might not work in other cultures (outside Germany), is: You got the job, if they take the time to show you the recreation facilities like coffee kitchen, smokers garden, after the interview.

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fecak 1 day ago 0 replies      
This question can lead to quite a long list of answers. I've posted several of my blog posts about job search here on HN over the past couple years (http://jobtipsforgeeks.com), and I write extensively about job search and career tips specifically for programmers and tech pros. I've been recruiting engineers for mostly startup and small software firms for 15 years, and I've run a Java User Group since 2000. During my career I've worked with thousands of job seekers and hundreds of companies, so I've managed countless job searches for engineers.

I recently released an ebook 'Job Tips For GEEKS: The Job Search', which is a step-by-step guide to most of the things you are asking about. It starts with the decision to start a job search, what strategies to consider and pros/cons of each (recruiters, posting resumes, emailing to online posts, and more random approaches, etc.) , implementing those strategies, how to protect yourself from recruiters, resume structure section by section, interview tips for phone and face-to-face, keeping metrics during the search (to track success/failure), talking about money, negotiations, balancing multiple job offers, refusing offers, accepting offers, counteroffers (including what recruiters are trained to tell you), and how to keep bridges intact after the job search.

It covers everything during the process in about 150 pages. I made a quick one page with links to buy and a link to a free section - http://jobtipsforgeeksbook.com.

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dhotson 1 day ago 0 replies      
Steve Yegge made some excellent points about writing a resume:

http://steve-yegge.blogspot.com.au/2007/09/ten-tips-for-slig...

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SubuSS 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Preface: I have interviewed around 300-500 people in the last 10+ years, spread between Microsoft and Amazon. This applies for finding a job with one of the Industry titans (Amazon/FB/Google/MS/Twitter etc.)

1. Prepare well. The number of interview preparation sites are way too many to mention.

2. Get your basics straight. If you are applying to a programming job, assume you are going to be grilled on Data Structures/Algorithms/Coding/Design patterns/OS. 3. Practice coding without an IDE.

4. Tune your interview preparation to the industry you are trying to get hired into as well. For example, if you are an experienced guy and plan to interview with us (AWS DynamoDB), you would be hard pressed to get by without Database Architecture/Concurrency/Distributed programming related knowledge. This also levels up or down according to your experience. If you have 10 years in the database industry the expectations are going to be very different compared to a college hire.

4.1. An addendum: We do hire a lot of people from other disciplines provided they prove that they are smart / willing to learn / can code. I switched from the Windows C++/C# shop to a linux Java/Perl/C++ shop for example. Do make your competencies clear to the interviewer at the onset.

4.2 Remember that you could be a very successful person in a different field/company, but as an interviewer if I can't relate your skills for the role I am interviewing you for in some way I can't hire you. This starts mattering more and more as roles become senior.

5. Know what you have been doing for the past few years. Prepare for questions probing your team skills/problem solving skills etc.

6. Know what you are talking about and what's on your resume very well - I can't stress this enough. I find so many folks who have a templated 'Skills' list like Java and are not able to answer basic fizz buzz questions.

7. Read up about the company culture and see what they actually value most. (again, way too many sites out there for this information). Amazon has a list of leadership skills that people look for. These might appear broad, but usually have direct effects on the interview process.8. Find someone inside the company who will refer you instead of cold calling.

Shameless plug: If you think you are well prepared and want a referral to AWS, contact me! We are hiring!

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krschultz 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you are in a big city, I have found that in person events are the best option. Meetups are everywhere. In New York specifically there is the New York Startup Job Fair, NY Tech Day, New York Uncubed, and a couple others.

Two data points, I met my current startup at NY Tech Day. My previous startup was met via one of the NY Tech meetups.

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cliveowen 1 day ago 3 replies      
I see really interesting and articulated responses here, so I'm wondering if anyone has tips on how to apply to jobs when you have 0 experience, like when you're straight out of college. I know most of you might be thinking "you have to build a portfolio/repository on github WHILE you're studying and then build from that" but often that's not an option. Maybe I'm particularly stupid but I don't have really time to do anything beyond studying for my courses. So I'm wondering, if you're just out of college and you don't have anything to show, plus you don't have much experience in terms of programming 'cause you just did 2-3 projects during your years as a student, what's the best course?
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tourbillonfunk 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm in the "no experience" boat. I recently decided to switch jobs; jumping from sales to a aspiring programmer. I'm dedicating the next 6 months (full time) to learning Ruby/Rails and becoming comfortable with HTML/CSS/Javascript.

A few things I'm doing to get prepared: 1) I'm enrolled in a online Ruby/Rails bootcamp (https://www.gotealeaf.com) it lasts for a total of 16 weeks and we're building out several projects. 2) Taking lessons at Treehouse, I'm always up for some extra practice! 3) Just started a side project that I will have completed by the end of the 6 months.4) Attending a weekly local Ruby meet up. Additionally, I'm getting involved in other local tech events, like Startup Weekend.

My plan of action is to make a trip to San Francisco (this is where I ideally want to relocate to) to speak to a few potential employers mid-way of my journey. Of course, it won't be a formal interview but I would like to let them know my plans and a get feel of their company, culture, etc. At the end of the 6 months, I will touch base with these companies and show them my progress. At that time, I will also reach out to additional companies.

What do you guys think of my overall strategy? Any suggestions?

In terms of my resume, what type of things should I list? Since, I won't have any "formal" experience, is completing the online Ruby/Rails bootcamp worth highlighting? How about my side project?

PS: I'm a female in my mid 20's coming from a luxury sales and customer service background.

Thanks in advance!

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rzendacott 1 day ago 1 reply      
I have a somewhat related question: How do you best present yourself at a career fair?

I did pretty well last year by being friendly and trying to show my passion for programming. This year, I'll be attending the Reflections | Projections Conference [0], and the companies I'll hopefully be talking to are on a completely different tier. What's the best way to make a lasting, memorable impression, especially if my school isn't particularly impressive? Do I mention my prior internships or side projects? Something else?

Thanks for any advice!

[0] http://www.acm.uiuc.edu/conference/2013/

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AustinGibbons 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you wish to target post-round startups, it can be a little bit easier to contact a vc firm's talent team (such as: http://a16z.com/talent-services/) who, if you pass whatever conversation / interview they give you, can recommend you to good fits within their portfolio.
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aswin8728 1 day ago 0 replies      
The most critical thing to remember when it comes to applying for jobs is "either you have it or you don't". You can embellish your resume, contact 100 recruiters, and have the most well developed portfolio on the planet, but when it comes time to apply your knowledge, you have to deliver. I have seen plenty of IT professionals who look fantastic on paper, but cannot think creatively or deliver under pressure. Take time to understand the industry, constantly strive to learn new technologies, and be infinitely curious. I am nowhere near the skill level of anyone on HN, but people much wiser than I am have instilled a sense of curiosity in me, and that's the most valuable character trait anyone in this industry can have.
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Monk_NT 1 day ago 2 replies      
- Don't lie on any part of your resume. If you have any open source projects on e.g. github, put the link to your profile on your resume (that helped me a lot).

- Say don't know if you don't know something, that is a legitimate answer

- If you get a programming assignment in your interviewing process, don't overengineer. For example, if assignment asks of you to take some data out from a webpage, don't use regexes, use a html parsing library instead.

- Remember that interview is also a conversation.

- If you decide to reject an offer, don't reject it impolitely, who knows, maybe in few years they will call you again, with a better offer.

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lgilchrist 1 day ago 0 replies      
Avi Flombaum gave an excellent talk on this a few months ago.

He dove into the six different types of technical interviews (cultural fit, brain teasers, whiteboard coding, cs trivia, code questions, and pairing) and how to prepare for each of them.

https://speakerdeck.com/aviflombaum/mastering-the-technical-....

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vitd 1 day ago 0 replies      
Whatever you do, do not under any circumstances go through the companys HR department to get a job. I work in one of the best tech companies in the industry, and our HR people frequently reject highly qualified candidates wed like to talk to before we even see their resumes. We know this because these same people often know people on our team, or on our friends teams, and we get their resumes through back channels. We almost always hire these people instead of whoever HR sends us.

As an example, about a decade ago, I saw an opening for someone with vector processing experience. I applied and highlighted my extensive experience with AltiVec processors in Macs. The recruiter actually sent me back an email asking why I had included all this irrelevant AltiVec stuff. It turned out he had no idea what vector processing was and didnt realize I had exactly the experience he was looking for.

Later, when they had an even better opening, I just emailed a guy on the team that I had met once or twice and he was very happy to pass my resume on to the hiring manager because he knew I had the experience needed from being on some mailing lists with me. I got the job and have been at it for 8 years. My bosss boss at the time said it was one of the best hires theyd ever made.

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neuromancer2701 1 day ago 0 replies      
How does an engineer/coder address skill gaps(before and during an interview)? e.g.- C programmer but very little C++ experience
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Achshar 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is interesting, we usually don't have such comments here. What happened?
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Ask HN: How could I automate the process of cleaning up my folder structure?
4 points by mna  6 hours ago   4 comments top 4
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sehrope 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Not sure your OS but if you're running anything with a decent shell (eg Linux, BSD, or Mac OS X) you can do this all from the command line. You should be able to do the majority of what you want with a combination of find/while/sed/mv. If the old-to-new naming scheme is too complicated for sed then replace it with a awk/perl/python/ruby.

If you're relatively new to using the command line to do things like this (I'm guessing yes) make sure to backup your documents first. It's very easy to accidentally delete/rename all your files with a couple typos (but don't let that scare you off from learning).

2
HarshaThota 5 hours ago 0 replies      
It doesn't help with renaming per se but Belvedere can help keep things organized.

http://lifehacker.com/341950/belvedere-automates-your-self+c...

3
lazylizard 3 hours ago 0 replies      
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Ask HN: which linux is better for web devs?
4 points by itsbits  7 hours ago   8 comments top 6
1
mhd 7 hours ago 0 replies      
The differences are pretty minute. It's boils down to a different default install and most likely a different desktop environment. If you're using the same applications -- and as a web dev, that's quite likely -- it's not that much different than modifying your Windows setup a bit (different start menu, theme maybe, small launcher app). Although those tiny differences matter a lot for people, so it's always worth checking it it, maybe in a virtual machine or a second PC. But switching to Mint really wouldn't change your daily work habits, and the system underneath is virtually identical.

As opposed to e.g. CrunchBang (desktop-wise) or Arch (system/packages)...

2
antman 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Depends on the server you will use. If its DebianLinux Mint LMDE is nice and if you use Ubuntu then, Ubuntu.
3
makerops 5 hours ago 2 replies      
It may be too big of a transition, but I really like crunchbang. I would just spin up a VM for each ubuntu, mint, crunchbang, and centos, and see what floats your boat.
4
relaunched 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Among my circle of nerd friends, we generally believe that if you aren't even considering a custom distribution, Ubuntu is the only way to go.

But on HN, I'm sure 'them's fightin' words'.

5
declandewet 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I personally prefer Ubuntu, my brother uses Linux Mint. I haven't found much difference between the two in terms of workflow, but Linux Mint does keep the Linux ethos more closer to it's heart than Ubuntu does, as Ubuntu has taken the direction of trying to create an easy-to-use-for-the-non-technical OS that can serve as a replacement for the likes of Windows/Mac (while not quite exactly there just yet).
6
codemonkeymike 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Linux mint is definitely the best transition from a lifetime windows user. Its like a sleek robust XP.
10
Ask HN: How do you manage your Twitter timeline?
17 points by dudeofjude  11 hours ago   32 comments top 25
1
petercooper 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been using it since 2006 and I now follow 1500ish people. I dip in and out. It's like a river.

I don't visit Hacker News or Reddit every 2 hours to ensure I don't miss a single story. Similarly, I don't want to read every tweet, RSS item, or whatever. E-mail is the only thing I do that for and even then half of it is filtered.

I'm considering creating a Twitter list for people for who I wish to see every tweet (e.g. my dad who just joined) but it hasn't been important enough to do yet.

2
peter_l_downs 10 hours ago 0 replies      
> Fourth way is via lists, I do not like going to twitter.com/<my_user_name>/lists/xyz // the url does not look good.

This seems like a ridiculous reason to me, but to each their own.

3
bromagosa 10 hours ago 2 replies      
I started using twitter as it comes, then when it became unmanageable I started using TweetDeck, but notifications were annoying and the client was way too heavy for my machine. The tab kept freezing all the time. That was a long time ago, I haven't checked it out for a while.

After all this, I switched back to plain Twitter and built my interest lists (smalltalk, music, friends, etc), but having to visit all these lists all the time became tedious too.

It's been around half a year I haven't read my Twitter timeline at all.

I know it sounds stupid for the way Twitter is meant to be, but until there is a functionality allowing you to silence people you follow, I just can't use it.

I know, why would you follow people if you were not interested in what they tweet? I guess I'm stupid.

4
thibaut_barrere 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I just do not manage it; I read it from times to times (and different times show different people because of timezones, too), since I believe useful stuff will be retweeted anyway.

Sometimes I think I may start using a list of "close relationships accounts" to make sure I don't miss anything personal, but I've yet to start doing this.

5
junto 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I use the old "dip-in-dip-out" technique.

If I miss a load of tweets then I just have to accept that I missed it. It isn't the end of the world.

6
fbuilesv 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I like to use Twitter to get in touch with the world without being overwhelmed too much stuff.

I try to keep my following list < 50. It's usually a mix of real life friends, interesting people on Internet and services I rely on. A couple of those should not be there but my current client (Tweetbot) allows you to mute them.

7
nekgrim 10 hours ago 0 replies      
1. I use Hootsuite website (and Falcon Pro on my phone). Hootsuite allows you to have 6 lists (and more, with horizontal scrolling) in the same page. Falcon brings me to the beginning of my timeline's unread part, so it's easier to know what I have to read.

2. All that I want is provided by others apps (Pocket for "read later", Hootsuite & Falcon for conversation history)

Twitter website is really useless for power users, it's a shame they try to kill every others clients with their API restrictions.

8
voyou 10 hours ago 0 replies      
"Skimming 200 tweets" in one go might be a bit of a pain, but all 200 tweets don't arrive at once. If you briefly check Twitter during short pauses of work throughout the day, your 200 tweets would probably come in blocks of 10 or 20, and that number of tweets is easy to skim. And if you find there are more tweets than that, just don't read them all - anything really important will surely be tweeted again, or (more likely) arrive via other channels.
9
brianwillis 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Much like email, Twitter becomes noisier than it is useful if if it has too great a presence in your life. The root of the problem is the volume of people that you're following, so I'd start there.
10
fallenhitokiri 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I only read Twitter on my iPad. If I have some time, mostly with a fresh cup of coffee, I open the app, load all new tweets and just read them. I follow ~80 people so this works okayish.

Some people are in a separate list. They basically tweet everything they can find or sometimes cry about stuff I'm not interested in for days. I just skim, over this list to see the interesting tweets.

Works for me, would likely fail horribly if I would follow more people.

I don't really need more features. Send 140 characters, read what others say, get a notification for mentions / DMs. The only thing I would find useful would be a synchronization between all clients. So my iPhone knows where I stopped reading on my iPad e.x.

11
Tichy 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I used to have a Twitter clients with tabs, and one tab for the people I always wanted to read (~40), and another for the rest. Since I don't have that client anymore, my Twitter usage has declined dramatically.
12
warcode 9 hours ago 0 replies      
1. I used Tweetdeck with lists to manage my timeline in the past, but I just end up reading the main feed anyway. Now I simply follow/unfollow based on what content I want.

2. These days, after streamie stopped working, I have my own streaming twitter client. Easier to get exactly what you want when you are your own customer.

I find that getting a near-real time flow of messages is more engaging than twitter.com telling me I can now press a button to get tweets from 1-5 minutes ago, but maybe thats just me.

13
tommaxwell 11 hours ago 1 reply      
1. I am a Twitter junkie, and have been since '08. It's rare that you'll find a time when I don't have Twitter open in a tab; I'm checking 24/7.

2. I just think the DM feature could be improved. It's too hidden in the current UI on desktop and mobile.

What I've found over time is that, somewhat unsurprisingly, following people I know always results in more interest and engagement when I'm scanning.

14
jrmiii 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Before Twitter made them kill it, I used IFTTT to append all the tweets to a text file. Then I could massively filter it in vim - I gave it it's own filetype so I send macros and bindings to do this.

Now I use a Twitter vim plugin to do the same.https://github.com/vim-scripts/TwitVim

15
dho 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I filter out most of the noise with a Greasemonkey app I wrote a while ago: https://github.com/cakebaker/lessnoise
16
MojoJolo 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't always check all the tweets (I follow 108 people). What I mostly check and is excited to is the Twitter Interactions. Mentions, replies, follower notifications go there. And those are relevant for me.
17
jbrooksuk 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I used to use it quite a lot, but since using iOS7 on my iPhone and losing the quick tweet button in the notification center, my tweets have dropped. http://twitter.com/jbrooksuk

I wish Twitter had an App.net-type system where you can continue reading from where you left off.

18
sbtrct 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I follow about 80 people, and I tend to read my timeline in its entirety. I look at most links that people post, and any articles that seem interesting I mail to myself to read properly later, or favourite the tweet so I can take a closer look at it at some stage in the future.

I make extensive use of lists, divided into about ten categories, each with over 150 members. I add people to lists without compunction, whereas users I follow are subject to much more stringent examination.

The alternative, which I've been thinking about doing, is just following everybody and treating the timeline as a river.

19
thibaultCha 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Tweetbot for Mac is for me the best client by far. I follow 200 people but I have a list called "Light Timeline" that I first created to catch up my Twitter feed when I was off from it for too long. But now I only use this list, since Tweetbot deals with your lists as if it was your Timeline, you see absolutely no difference, except I now only follow 20~30 people, and I am much less distracted. (idem on my iPhone) Why not forget about Twitter web and give desktop apps a try ?
20
Ayey 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I have tried a lot of different solutions to manage my twitter feed. All from Desktop apps (Tweetdeck, Metrotwit) to commandline apps (TTytter + more). In the end i settled for Tweetbot[1] for iOS (Mainly iPad) so i have limited myself to only check Twitter when i'm on my iPad, which fits me quite nicely, so i dont get distracted when working on my PC.

[1] http://tapbots.com/software/tweetbot/

21
anuragramdasan 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I follow just a little under 100 people. A lot of those tweets are just some comments about current affairs, tech or random funny tweets. While I use no particular client to filter my tweets, but when I skim through my timeline I usually look for links.

If the tweet doesn't have a link, it is basically 140 characters of someone commenting on something and can be ignored. If it has a link, maybe it could be a tweet pointing to something interesting.

22
breuderink 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Like other people, I use the 'dipping in the stream' approach. Still, vocal people drown some of the other people. I am experimenting a bit with machine learning methods to rank tweets based on how interesting I find them. Does anyone know of similar solutions?
23
swah 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Some of the appeal of Twitter is that, unlike Facebook, there is no algorithm showing you just what it think is important.
24
dnsbty 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I like to just follow people whose tweets I actually want to read to begin with. Before following anyone I check their last few days worth of tweeting to make sure they don't post junk and that I will be interested in what they have to say. Twitter is not meant to be a friendship or connection manager like Facebook or LinkedIn so much as it is a way to get concise info delivered quickly. Obviously it can be a great networking tool, but by getting others to follow you by sharing good content, not by following junk tweeters in the hope that they'll follow you back. If you're too afraid to unfollow those whose tweets are junk you're not using Twitter correctly.

Edit: That being said, I feel like a client that would let people sift through tweets more efficiently could be great for those who don't agree with me and end up following 10k+ people, and that approach definitely isn't uncommon.

25
dudeofjude 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Can we all collectively come up with something like zero inbox in the context of tweets?
11
Offer HN: I'll build your iPhone App idea For $200
10 points by natasham25  17 hours ago   10 comments top 7
1
jmduke 16 hours ago 1 reply      
If you have the requisite skill to release two apps onto the App Store (both of yours look great, btw), you have enough skill to freelance at $100/hr.

I mention this because, as a nervous middle schooler who had fumbled around with Wordpress a few times, hosted a few sites for non-profits, but never did anything "big", I kept on telling myself "there has to be so much more to this, I need to get more experience, there's no way I'm worth more than minimum wage".

2
zachlatta 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Hi Natasha, I've been casually reading your blog and I'm familiar with your CS106 repo on Github (sent a few friends there for help when they needed it ;-)). Just want to say that it's nice to see you getting yourself out there!
3
dalacv 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Natasha, if you get inundated with requests and need assistance, let me know (vega dot andrew at gmail dot com) and I can help you out with by taking care of one of those clients for you by honoring the same deal.
4
31reasons 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow great offer! You really seem like a robot!
5
sk2code 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Email sent. Hope to work with you.
6
toutouastro 8 hours ago 0 replies      
if you need an api I can build one for you in rails for 200$.Emails : tsl.hacker@gmail.com github.lover@gmail.com
7
cdvonstinkpot 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Awesome, thanks!EMail sent.
12
Ask HN: Save Github: Improve Github's availability
2 points by wcdolphin  7 hours ago   2 comments top 2
1
dbond 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't think many will leave unless it causes issues in deployment.

It would be nice if githubformac/windows could cache the wiki and issues for my starred/cloned repos automatically, this would be more than enough to satisfy me personally.

2
sayit 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Maybe just stop telling it's a DDOS when it's human errors ?
13
Ask HN: I'm quadriplegic can you help me with my security?
469 points by escapologybb  3 days ago   168 comments top 56
1
giberson 3 days ago 3 replies      
Forgive the off the cuff suggestion here, it's the quickest and simplest thing I can think of though not an optimum way to use your laptop and you're probably hoping for a more elegant solution.

What if you install virtual box w/ some free OS (like ubuntu). Store all your personal information within the virtual machine which is configured with a secure login. Then you can leave the laptop unsecured so you can use your other apps to dictate the password to the ubuntu OS for login.

2
mikeash 3 days ago 1 reply      
How about bluetooth-based locking and unlocking, using an app like this?

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bluetooth-unlock/id576603568...

It looks like it may work with any BT device, so even if you don't have a BT-enabled phone, you could get a cheap BT headset or something, and keep it on you.

I'd also like to say that it's great to see you doing so well with technology. I had a quadriplegic friend when I was little (he was an adult) who had a nice setup for the time, but his independence was limited to a few things like Clappers for lights, TV remotes, and such. I sometimes wonder just what crazy things he'd be getting up to if he was still around today with a setup like yours.

3
samwillis 3 days ago 4 replies      
Hi! I'm on the train with bad internet right now and so can't go looking but have you considered face recognition software using the laptops camera? There must be an app that takes a look at the webcam when a password challenge is presented.

Anyone know of anything?

Edit:

Found one! https://www.keylemon.com/download-other-versions/

4
willvarfar 3 days ago 1 reply      
When I messed with army radios - these being the made-by-the-lowest-bidder-and-not-secret analogue variety - they were throat-operated. You spoke silently, and the microphone - pressed to your throat - sent speech over the radio.

It took practice to talk perfectly clearly, but it could be mastered.

Google "throat microphone".

5
bcoates 3 days ago 0 replies      
It should be possible to make an OSX app that disables the hardware keyboard and touchpad, that can be toggled by voice password.

The laptop only being accessible via voice recognition and one button should be enough to render the entire system unusable to casual snoops.

edit: Looks like you can disable/reenable the builtin keyboad/touchpad with terminal commands, so it'd just be a matter of scripting them to voice shortcuts: http://superuser.com/questions/214221/how-can-i-lock-the-mou...

ps: be sure to have a plan B to reboot your laptop while experimenting with this in case it locks out your controls somehow.

6
ealexhudson 3 days ago 0 replies      
Maybe use your current system with a rolling password, so that the previous password no longer works?

Obviously that would take a little feat of memory, or at least some kind of prompt, but you could memorize a poem or something and use that - it would prevent replay attacks.

Or, use an algorithmic password, perhaps one where you do a sum based on the time of day.

All these solutions require some level of coding sadly, but I would have thought it would be something a freelancer could knock up relatively cheaply.

7
cpleppert 3 days ago 0 replies      
>>But I can't password lock my whole laptop because OS X requires that password before it will load up any applications, and I can't put a password in without my apps.

Why not just have the mac autologin and then immediately go into screensaver mode?

At the very least set /System/Library/Frameworks/ScreenSaver.framework/Versions/A/Resources/ScreenSaverEngine.app to open on start

Thinking about solving this programmatically, it wouldn't be too hard to set up a secure locking replacement for a screensaver that would offer a challenge response system to unlock the system without using a password anyone who hears could repeat.

8
wissler 3 days ago 1 reply      
Here's a simple idea (lacking in specific implementation details, sorry):

- Figure out how to add a text filter between DragonDictate and your system.

- Program the filter to look for a special sequence, e.g. "cipher_mode"

- When in cipher mode, feed characters through a simple cipher. E.g. A -> C, B -> D, etc. No passerby is going to be able to figure out what you're doing.

- When the filter sees "cipher_mode" again then it stops filtering.

9
ig1 3 days ago 5 replies      
Maybe some kind of NFC device that you could wear so that the computer would lock/unlock when you were near it ?
10
camus 3 days ago 1 reply      
Since you are here , a few questions (not related to the current subject):you might be surfing on the web , given your condition , what are the annoying stuff you encounter that makes your surfing harder and that could be ,easily fixed if web developpers actually cared about accessibilty.

Do you have exemples of websites that use technology to facilitate surfing for disabled people , that could be shown as an exemple of good accessibility practice ?

thanks and take care.

11
luke_s 2 days ago 0 replies      
Your adversary is extremely simple. You haven't mentioned in your post if you are open to or able to do any custom coding.

I would suggest writing/getting an app written that runs in fullscreen and looks exactly like an OSX login screen. Bonus points if it can disable multi-tasking shortcuts such as the 3 finger swipe up. The app can be hardcoded to only accept one password - yours. Since the app is running with OSX logged on you can use your usual tools to enter the password.

It goes without saying that this won't fool anyone determined - you can just reboot the laptop to make the app go away. However it should be enough to stop casual passers-by.

12
3amOpsGuy 3 days ago 0 replies      
Would something like Keycard[1] work for locking the screen when you're not nearby?

I wonder if it could be set to lock at boot unless your phone (or BT headphones or whatever) is nearby.

I doubt this can be all that secure since it can be downloaded from the App Store, I'm pretty sure that means it can be force quit (it could not prevent this key combo since its restricted in the sandbox). It may be just enough.

[1] http://www.appuous.com/products/mac/keycard.html

13
Helgosam 3 days ago 1 reply      
As Tyler E suggested:

"Wonder if he could somehow get his one-button clicker to translate morse code into ascii."

Use the Arduino Leonardo to send native keyboard key strokes into the USB port of the Mac - it's robust and works every time - plug and play (once it's been programmed).

The Leonardo could be programmed to listen out for a specific pattern of switching and then send the entire password down the USB cable, or alternatively it could have some simple or complex feedback (lights / tones / onscreen keyboard display on a second mini screen) to allow individual characters/keystrokes to be sent down the USB cable from the Arduino.

I've been making stuff like this in the UK for the charity Scope, and their users - often people who have cerebral palsy. I could potentially make you something and post it over - if you are interested drop me a line.

14
DanBC 3 days ago 2 replies      
Yubikey would work if you could mount it so that you can touch the touch-pad with your nose. I don't know if that's acceptable to you?
15
s_q_b 2 days ago 0 replies      
Okay, sounds like an interesting challenge. Let's describe the problem and examine possible solutions.

Goals:1. Securely login to websites.2. Securely unlock a Macbook Pro.

Solutions to (1):A. (1) Can be solved with a password memorization app, once we solve (2).

So let's examine 2.

Solutions to (2):

Seems like there are two parts to this problem: authentication and OS X integration.

OS X has a login API that can be used to build extensions, or since the adversary is unsophisticated we could use an input blocking regular application.

Okay, so the integration piece is possible, and we can flesh that out later. So let's look at authentication.

A. Use Physical Authentication: Bluetooth, RFID, and Wifi devices come to mind. All of these require purchasing additional hardware. Buying new hardware seems inelegant though, so let's table this option for now.

B. Biometrics: Voice print ID or facial recognition. More promising, but false negative rate is too high, especially for accessibility purposes. Really don't like the idea of a temperamental biometrics program keeping you out of your computer.

C. Speech Recognition: Get voice recognition working on the log in screen. Apple has APIs for dictation and log in. This one seems promising. But then you might need a rotating set of passwords or an algorithmic password,, as others suggested, to keep passers-by from overhearing your password.

One more thought. Is there a way to set up Dragon Dictate as a native input device? If so, Mac lets you access the input device switcher from the log in menu.

16
ricardobeat 2 days ago 1 reply      
If you are using AbleNet's "Hitch" switch interface, by their description it should be able to emulate keyboard input without the SwitchXS software being loaded, but a manual doesn't seem to be publicly available.

This product called "Swifty" (http://www.orin.com/access/swifty/) also takes a switch as input, and can emulate a standard usb keyboard. With VoiceOver enabled in the login screen (Settings->Users->Login Options) this should allow one to login without using the keyboard.

Hope this helps.

17
nathan_f77 2 days ago 1 reply      
I would love to help build something if you can't find a solution. Maybe you could lock or unlock your laptop via facial recognition [1], or you could add an accelerometer that automatically locks the laptop if someone picks it up. Or just physically lock the laptop to your chair.

Or you could plug an Arduino into the USB port and use it as a keyboard device to send a stream of keypresses when you touch a button (just like a yubikey, except you could put the button anywhere.) The first button press could type in a password to unlock the computer, and the second button press could press a keyboard shortcut to lock it again. Or you could program it to recognize a simple morse code sequence. Let me know if you're interested in that idea, and I would be happy to program one and mail it to you.

[1]: https://www.macupdate.com/app/mac/36762/keylemon

18
lifeisstillgood 3 days ago 1 reply      
Just a thought but would a inverse keylogger work?

I would guess something like this- an arduino hooked up to something you can operate (BigBuddy?). This could then ask you for your PIN code (2 taps, 3 taps, 2 taps)

Once arduino is happy it will quirt a pre-stored key sequence into the USB port, acting as a keyboard, and unlock what you need.

I have no idea if it is really viable but its the best I have.

19
anonymous 3 days ago 1 reply      
I used to work with quads.I would use Sikuli.org (python script) automate most things.

Read this post about new treatments in China.Spinal Cord injury therapies and medical situation in ChinaMajor spinal surgeries in China. Advances in repair of cord.http://nextbigfuture.com/2013/07/spinal-cord-injury-therapie...

20
fnordfnordfnord 3 days ago 2 replies      
Hi, do you have any movement or dexterity in your fingers at all? If so, please offer details of this or any other control you have that might be exploited. I have a colleague who once-upon-a-time built a system of low-force buttons and other goodies that enabled a quadriplegic person to work a telephone very effectively, as in they were subsequently employed to do some kind of work over the telephone. Would something like that be of use?

I think you might also be able to make use of a kinect or Andriod/iPhone and some eye-tracking.

Also, do you know of these guys? It's where my colleague worked about twenty years ago. http://www.tirrfoundation.org/

21
quadstick 3 days ago 0 replies      
http://quadstick.com is developing a mouth operated programmable joystick/mouse/keyboard. A sequential combination of up to eight input signals (specific joystick movements and/or a sequence of hard or soft sip & puffs on four different tubes) can trigger the sending of up to six preprogrammed keyboard keys, or it can just recognize characters traced out on the joystick and send them one at a time.
22
yk 3 days ago 0 replies      
Perhaps voice identification could help. There seem to be quite a few solutions [1]. Unfortunately I do not have any intuition how good they are, but probably they can be broken with a simple recording of your voice ( or a recording of a passphrase). So before you trust these, you should probably play a bit with an mp3 player.

[1]https://duckduckgo.com/?q=voice+biometric+login

23
laumars 2 days ago 0 replies      
A simple solution might be to "double lock" your system. In addition to your password manager, use face recognition (via the laptop webcam). I know such a system can be easily spoofed, but it will stop the casual opportunists you described in your brief, and without requiring too much effort on your part to unlock (and I can only imagine how long-winded many of the otherwise simple tasks might be given your unfortunate position).
24
pbrumm 2 days ago 0 replies      
Maybe you could use a usb device that is physically attached to the chair, then a thin usb ribbon cable that plugs into the computer, but pulls out quickly. that way if the computer is taken it would auto lock the machine when the ribbon is removed.

It would take work to get setup again, which may make the NFC setups better.

you should also follow the leap motion device. https://www.leapmotion.com it could enable some facial recognition apps, or new approaches for data entry that are not just voice control.

Also, something like this may make it less desirable to steal, and be another way to mount it to your chair.https://www.stoptheft.com/products/stoplock

25
snom380 3 days ago 1 reply      
Does DragonDictate still work if you switch users? If so, you could encrypt your home directory, add a second user, and set OSX to auto-login to that user (and auto-launch DragonDictate).

If not, I think your best bet is a Bluetooth solution or some hardware token. For instance, an Arduino or Teensy ($20) programmed with your login/master password, and with a small microphone connected would be able to respond to certain voice commands and act as a regular USB keyboard, typing in your pass phrase.

You could also have some software on the Mac to automatically lock the screen or shutdown the computer if the Arduino is removed.

26
peacetara 2 days ago 0 replies      
You have a button you can push (#3 in your list above). So this means you are well on your way. You would need to create(or have created for you) a password app, that would open on startup, and prompt you for your password. Of course entering a password using a keyboard isn't so great, but since you have a button, you can ask for a certain set of button pushes, in a certain order. (Whatever works well for you).

i.e. you spell 'cat' in morse code with your one button. Or whatever. The important thing is that it's something YOU can do, and is likely not anymore easily guessed/caught than someone shoulder surfing someone typing the password on the keyboard.

That said.. I want to point out, you mention this is because you are worried about your PA's that are helping you with things maybe taking liberties you don't want them to. If you don't trust your PA's I think you should work on getting their trust (and vice versa), or look into replacing them with people you trust. If you need help with advocacy around this, reach out to your local Independent Living Center.

Good Luck!

27
dobbsbob 3 days ago 0 replies      
Was this posted by Hal Finney? He's unfortunately a quadriplegic now but still programs.
28
asselinpaul 2 days ago 1 reply      
When you talked about the yubikey, it's actually not too hard to built a two factor token yourself. Using an arduino, you could wire it in a way that would be convenient for you to operate.

http://lab.infoserver.com.br/wiki/index.php/Projects:arduino...

https://github.com/damico/ARDUINO-OATH-TOKEN

29
X4 2 days ago 0 replies      
@OP

a) How about buying an external Fingerprint reader that's close to your thumb or wearable?There are tools that automatically find windows with input fields.

b) OR, instead of dictating a password, you could hire someone to write software that extracts a fingerprint from your VOICE's characteristics. You would have to train it to diferent types of voices you have (morning voice/tired voice/hoarse voice etc.)

Every person's voice has characteristics that make it unique and cannot be reproduced by another human. Only a computer could do that and that would require a lot of effort to break the unknown algorithm used in your computer first

c) use existing software like this: http://demo.authentify.com/biometric/ or similar. I just googled for voice authentication/fingerprint.

30
escapologybb 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, I went to bed not expecting much of a response but you guys have come up with some excellent solutions, I'm getting round to specific answers as quickly as I can!

I'm clearly missing something obvious, but I can't for the life of me figure out how to edit and update my original question; can someone put me out of my misery? :-)

31
im3w1l 3 days ago 2 replies      
Questions on the threat model:

-Is the computer turned off or on?

-Do you want toa) protect your computer from being stolen?b) protect your weird fetish from being discovered?c) protect your online banking credentials?

32
noivad 3 days ago 1 reply      
There are bluetooth screen lock utilities that allow one to auto-lock and unlock the machine based on the signal strength of whatever Bluetooth device you pair it with. I would look into the hands-free Bluetooth speakers (meant for auto use) with a Wheelchair power to USB convertor (most likely the easiest would be via an auto 12V DC adapter). That way you can have a mic/speaker mounted on the wheel chair to control the machine as well (if you dont have a wireless mic already). Any Bluetooth device capable of being paired will work though. This will prevent someone going through your laptop while you are away. I actually have one I use on occasion at coffee shops called Bluetooth Screen Lock available on the App Store, but there are other free and low cost apps that do the same thing available. The on I use allows me to set the sensitivity so that it will lock after being about 6 feet or more away, and unlock when I am within that distance. I can also set it to lock at the maximum BT signal range as well.
33
mkhalil 3 days ago 0 replies      
Face recognition is the best answer I can come up with to unlock the computer. Setup a usb-wrist band that when you computer gets pulled away from will auto lock.
34
gabriel34 3 days ago 0 replies      
Unlocking a computer programatically is hard and should be so. Locking on the other hand isn't. Perhaps you could lock upon fail to NFC authenticate every x seconds.That only answers part of the question, since the attacker would still have x seconds to snoop around every time he logged in, but would be such a nuisance that he probably would give up.
35
nicwise 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm out of my depth in more than one way here.

How about rigging a bite switch to the ubikey (either directly or via something like a raspberry pi / beagle bone). That's assuming that the only issue with the ubikey is you pressing the button.

Maybe (if it has an rpi) it needs a sequence. Bite. Pause. Bite bite. Pause. Bite. Etc.

I suspect you'd need someone to build it for you but I doubt there is a shortage of capable or willing people here. Sadly, my electronics skills are not up to it :(

I'm always impressed by people with accessibility issues using technology (or whatever is the correct term - sorry if that's at all offensive :( ). I've managed to make one of my apps a lot more useful to blind/partial sighted people after talking to a guy who can't see. It took me about 30 mins, and made the world of difference to him.

36
fsck0ff 3 days ago 1 reply      
Well I guess you could use something like that:http://notimpossiblelabs.com/eyewriterwith some software modification (pure speculation as I haven't even checked the code) you could use eye movement and blinking to simulate mouse input and with on screen keyboard you should be able to write your password somewhat securelyhttp://www.ted.com/talks/mick_ebeling_the_invention_that_unl...

also shouldn't be expensive to build...[edit] link to the github repothe software can be found here https://github.com/eyewriter/

37
gaetan 2 days ago 0 replies      
I dont know much about Apple computers but on a Windows PC I wouldnt use startup password to avoid friction when starting the PC.For login in a website, I would use an application like Keepass. For my private data, I would create a virtual encrypted disk with Truecrypt.If you leave your PC alone or take a nap, just close Keepass and Truecrypt and your data are secured. And to enter the password when you start Keepass and Truecrypt, I would create a few pages text file on my desktop and just copy/paste a combination of 2 or 3 words so I wouldnt need to speak my password loud.
38
johlindenbaum 3 days ago 0 replies      
There's an application that lets you lock individual applications, but which should allow you to unlock it with dictation, as the rest of the OS is still working. Mac App Blocker (http://knewsense.com/macappblocker/)

There's also QuickLock which was/is a workaround to lock OS X quickly without using the screen saver + immediate password requirement. http://www.quicklockapp.com/

Note: I haven't used either, I'm just googling and looking at videos.

39
gcr 2 days ago 0 replies      
Would some sort of active face verification be close to what you're looking for? Your webcam would always run, then when it sees you, it unlocks; when it no longer sees you, it would lock.
40
gmrple 3 days ago 0 replies      
If you're interested in a custom hardware solution, the folks at hackaday.com may be helpful.
41
photorized 2 days ago 0 replies      
Don't know if this has been discussed already - have you considered a proximity-based sensor, where your device is locked when it's away from you?
42
voltagex_ 2 days ago 0 replies      
It may be possible to enter Morse code using the single button switch. I knew someone who used one of these for a while, but not for password entry.
43
bauer 3 days ago 0 replies      
The next Kinect is supposed to be able to detect eye movement. I don't think it would be too hard to implement something that would prompt for a sequence of eye movements after pressing the single button switched described by OP. I don't know if this would take care of both use cases, but I think it would take care of the first.
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gillis 2 days ago 0 replies      
How about some way of voice recognition? Maybe through a raspberry pi with a mic connected to it. There are surely some pre-made algorithms / scripts for this sort of thing. So once the voice recognition is passed and validated the password would be entered via the raspberry pi.

Just my two cents!

45
wehadfun 2 days ago 0 replies      
Could you re-route the keys to random unicode values so that if someone types 'a' they get '%' instead. That way if someone took a few pecks they would hopefully get frustrated
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trekky1700 3 days ago 1 reply      
There's a program out there that can use a webcam to detect where you're looking on a screen. It performs a "click" if you hover over a button for a few seconds. Mix that with an on screen keyboard and that might work. I don't know if those options work with OSX though.
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maerF0x0 3 days ago 0 replies      
someone could build a login sequence that uses yes/no questions that only you know the answer to. Then it would just be a matter of how many bits of protection you want. eg: 32 questions would be something like 32 bits of entropy. Kind of laborious but also fairly secure because the order and selection of questions could be randomized, so someone would have to shoulder surf many questions in order to break in.

eg: Is this your mom? (with a picture). Is this your favorite color (a color showing). Is this your phone number? Is this your house? Do you like cheese? Do you like candy crush (ok, no entropy there, the answer is always "yes") .

now, does someone want to make this product?

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itswitch 3 days ago 0 replies      
If you could have a seperate, physical voice to text converter, it would act as a physical keyboard and type in your password, etc.
49
quasistoic 2 days ago 0 replies      
If I understand correctly, you use neither the traditional keyboard nor the trackpad. Can you disable both, or at least configure them to be very difficult for the casual passerby to use? As an example, any non-traditional keyboard layout that doesn't match the labels on the keys is likely to confuse and annoy the average user to thr point that they give up very quickly.
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deodar 3 days ago 1 reply      
You can set LastPass to prompt for the password every time you need to login to a password[1]. This presumably disables password caching in the plugin. Would that solve the your first problem?

[1] https://helpdesk.lastpass.com/account-settings/security/

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obk1352 2 days ago 0 replies      
have you thought about using your single switch with an onscreen keyboard? I am not sure if OSX will let you automatically show an onscreen keyboard for the login screen (not sure why they wouldn't), but this would be as secure as you typing in the password via a real keyboard, and you wouldn't have to deal with all the other things that can go wrong.Also, have you tried to use a Quadjoy mouse http://www.quadjoy.com/ this gives you full mouse use, and gets you out of jams when Dragon decides to stop working and your PCA isn't immediately available.
52
boojumz 3 days ago 1 reply      
couldn't you just completely disable the keyboard?
53
tater 2 days ago 0 replies      
Using multiple keychains would also help.
54
UnclePeepingSam 2 days ago 1 reply      
In your case, would you like to wear a brainwave sensor, so to manipulate your laptop directly ?
55
ngoertz 3 days ago 2 replies      
We have patented something called PassRules which does not disclose your secret during normal use. It's the perfect solution for you but unfortunately we don't have a version for Mac -- only Windows. But if there's sufficient interest we might just develop one. Check us out at www.itsmesecurity.com
56
nawitus 3 days ago 2 replies      
If you're not using whole disk encryption (or even partial encryption), then it doesn't really matter if you use a login password or not. The attacker can just clone the hard drive to gain access to your files.
14
Freaking fun Java web hacking
5 points by jebblue  16 hours ago   2 comments top
1
cryptos 12 hours ago 1 reply      
This API is not as smart as JAX-RS or Scalatra. Spark code contains much clutter and redundancy (repeated paths). Frameworks like this would profit from Java 8 lamdas.
15
Ask HN: Has anyone here self-published a book? Any advice?
119 points by desouzt  3 days ago   81 comments top 43
1
ilamont 3 days ago 2 replies      
I started self-publishing how-to guides last year and created a company around it. I started with a single title (Dropbox In 30 Minutes) that I wrote in about 10 days and released through Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing program and as a PDF. It was a low-cost, lean, DIY approach. I had friends proofread it and created a simple product website using a modified Blogger template. I even did the cover myself. I just wanted to see if the topic and the concept resonated with readers. It did, so I began to optimize -- I hired a professional graphic artist to redo the cover (1), distributed the ebook to other platforms (iBookstore, Kobo, and the precursor to Nook Press), built out a better website on WordPress, and even created a paperback version through the CreateSpace print-on-demand service. I also started writing new titles, and eventually, contracted with other writers. There are now eight "In 30 Minutes" guides, and I am expanding into areas outside of software. You can see the current catalog here (2).

My advice to anyone else considering self-publishing:

* Start with Amazon KDP and CreateSpace. Both services are easy and fast. It's the quickest way to test an idea.

* Be prepared to iterate quickly based on reader feedback.

* Consider paying $100 or $200 for a decent cover. You can find designers lurking around the online writing communities (such as kboards.com for fiction) or hire someone on oDesk. Make sure they have experience designing book covers, which will save time and frustration.

* Have someone proof your manuscript. I see lots of writers who skip this step, and suffer in the ratings and reviews as a result.

* Have a cover blurb and Amazon description that grabs people. Also, make sure that readers can easily find out about you, either through the product listing page (which Amazon grabs from Amazon Author Central) or your own product website.

* If you want to use other platforms, Apple's iBookstore seems most promising. It's hard to set up, though. "iTunes Producer" is a very rough piece of software. However, if you've worked on iOS apps in the past at least you will be familiar with iTunes Connect, which is used to set pricing and monitor sales.

* I have sold many PDFs, but I am not sure how that would work for fiction. I started with e-junkie but switched to Gumroad (3) which has a much better interface.

Marketing is tough. One thing you can do once you have a print version through CreateSpace or another service, join Goodreads (a social network for people who love to read) and set up a Goodreads Giveaway (4) (a contest for your book that Goodreads runs -- usually a few hundred people sign up, and you have to send out 10 or 20 copies to winners that GR selects). It's free to set up, but you'll have to purchase and send out copies of the book to the winners of the giveaway. The advantages of this: Readers often write reviews, which are seen by other GR members. Many other people will put the book on their "to-read" list, and some will go out and buy the book right away because they don't want to wait to see if they won a copy.

Good luck!

1. http://www.digitalmediamachine.com/2012/09/do-people-judge-e...

2. http://in30minutes.com/

3. https://gumroad.com/

4. http://goodreads.com/giveaway

2
bdunn 3 days ago 6 replies      
I've self published two books now ("Double Your Freelancing Rate" and "Sell Yourself Online: The Blueprint") Together they've netted me a little over $100k in revenue.

1) Don't write in a vacuum. Build an audience of people who want to buy (double points if you presell to them), and deliver value to them once a week in the form of takeaways from chapters you've just written, thoughts you have on the subject, etc.

2) "It's a comedy book" means you're likely selling to consumers, and it's pretty hard to explain the value (e.g. why someone should pay you for your book) when you're selling to a consumer.

3) Don't promote the book, promote blog posts that reinforce what you're writing that end with a call-to-action to join a mailing list.

4) I'd usually say setup multiple packages, but again, I'm not sure if that'd work for a consumer product.

3
michael_nielsen 3 days ago 4 replies      
A subquestion, if I may: Anyone know a good way of finding designers for the cover? Preferably designers who've done some work in publishing before, since what makes a good book / ebook cover is not the same as what makes a good website design.
4
SuperChihuahua 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm also about to publish my first book (about a guy called Elon Musk). Here are some links I've saved that were interesting to read:

Selling my e-book on Amazon (http://snook.ca/archives/writing/selling-ebook-on-amazon)

How you can make a million writing your own e-book (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/moslive/article-2040044/Kind...)

How to Write and Promote New York Times Bestsellers: Tim Ferriss and Jack Canfield (http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2012/09/01/how-to-write...)

How to (Really) Make $1,000,000 Selling E-Books Real-World Case Studies (http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2013/04/04/how-to-make-...)

How I Used Hacker News to Sell My eBook (http://rubysnippets.com/2013/04/26/how-i-used-hacker-news-to...)

An eBook pricing model that resulted in $100,000 in sales (http://blog.asmartbear.com/selling-ebook.html)

5 rules to sell thousands of copies of your ebook (http://mir.aculo.us/2012/10/20/5-rules-to-sell-thousands-of-...)

5
colinismyname 3 days ago 1 reply      
I've published 11 books, and that's actually how I make my living these days. My older books are on entrepreneurship and related topics, while my later work is narrative nonfiction (travel-based tales from my lifestyle on the road) and, more recently, speculative science fiction.

I've played in the completely self-controlled arena and more mainstream platforms (Amazon, Kobo, etc), and am happy to answer any questions you might have :)

Broad advice: Think very carefully about what you hope to achieve with your book. If you want to build a brand/platform/business/audience long-term, put out some free work to start, and show people what you're capable of. If you're looking to make a living from this book, publish some smaller works (blogs or short ebooks) first, to give people that sample, and build up a small list.

Treat your readers with respect, but don't take all advice given (filter!). Don't over-advertise. Do your best to incentivize sharing of your message and work without straying into over-marketing territory.

Recognize that you'll make a lot more money publishing yourself (through something like Gumroad or e-junkie), but you can get more organic traffic through a platform like Amazon (and there are MANY pros and cons to both paths). Also recognize that you can play in both arenas: use Amazon to gain new readers, and have other work available outside their ecosystem.

Remember, too, that there are still things that Big Six publishers (and their smaller, traditional publishing counterparts) do really well, and ideally indie authors don't see the publishing world as 'us' and 'them' just two sides of the same coin. You can build up a library of work that you indie publish, and then seek a traditional contract and have more control over the process (having an existing audience to leverage), and the negotiations (they provide prestige that can get you in places that are otherwise difficult to get your book, like airport bookstores, and PR materials that can help you get on talk shows and such some people still won't consider you a pro author until you've got a Penguin or HarperCollins logo on the spine of something you've written).

(Also: Consider the phrase 'indie published' over 'self published,' as the latter tends to imply the equivalent of a garage band, while the former implies something more akin to indie films or indie music personal preference, but something to note when you're telling people how your book is published).

Again, happy to expand on any of this if you want to reply here, or shoot me an email colin at exilelifestyle dot com

Best of luck whichever path you end up taking!

6
danso 3 days ago 1 reply      
I self-published a book on Regular Expressions...it's free, but people have donated a few hundred dollars to me:

https://leanpub.com/bastards-regexes

I used the Leanpub platform, which is more targeted toward technical writers, though it provides a great number of conveniences if you're writing something that is published in piecemeal.

I think the general advice is...get known. If you are self publishing, then you are on your own in terms of promotion. Put together a list of bloggers/sites who might be interested in reviewing your work and send it out. Create your own micro-site devoted to the book and publish excerpts that you think might stand on their own and generate interest.

Self-publishing is only easier in the sense that it is easy to put something out there. It doesn't make it any easier to get discovered or be successful

7
jfolkins 3 days ago 0 replies      
My friend Duncan McGeary is writing again.

His timeline is.

- Hermit, single guy, writes and gets three books published in the 80s

- He Marries

- Purchases a pop culture / comic book / store of awesomeness

- Can't keep writing and keep up his business and his family, so he quits writing

- The business expands (Sports Card Bubble, Pog Bubble, some other bubbles) opening 3 other locations

- The business contracts (bubbles pop)

- Focues on making one location super solid

- Gets his business dialed in

- Finally pays off all his debt, store is doing really well

- Works two days a week at the store, hires solid employees

- Devotes other remaing days to writing books

- Has been publishing ebooks

- Has tried to go the traditional publishing route

Take aways

- The dude has been around the block

- He writes at least one blog post a day (he has been doing this for 5+ years)

- He shares A LOT about what he is doing (store front business, book writing strategy, business strategy)

- He has hired artists

- He has hired an editor

The one warning I'll give, is a lot of the time his blog is him processing. You really are reading the guy's journal. So it may feel he repeats himself. I personally enjoy existing in the guy's head. It is a different type of blog. One where you eventually see him work stuff out and you almost get that "AHAH!" moment with him.

I really respect Duncan. I'd tell anyone interested in either business or writing to follow the guy.

http://pegasus-dunc.blogspot.com/https://twitter.com/PegasusBookshttp://amzn.to/149vsQG

8
espeed 3 days ago 1 reply      
Guy Kawasaki just published a book on self publishing called APE (Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur): How to Publish a Book (http://apethebook.com/).
9
zrail 3 days ago 1 reply      
<shameless plug>I actually just announced the launch date for my self-published ebook this morning: http://www.petekeen.net/announcing-mastering-modern-payments...</plug>

I've been working on it for a few months after reading Nathan Barry's excellent book Authority. Based on that I started a mailing list right away and have collected a few hundred email addresses that I can market to.

I can't say I have any concrete advice (bdunn's advice sounds great, though). Best of luck to you!

10
michael_nielsen 3 days ago 2 replies      
A related question about making books freely available:

I'm currently writing a book about neural networks and deep learning. Ideally I'd like to make the book freely available online, with paid ebook and hard copy versions. But I'm uncertain about the impact a free online version will have on sales revenue. Anyone with much hard evidence? Or suggestions for how to make a reasonable amount of money, while keeping the book freely available?

11
cpymchn 3 days ago 0 replies      
Hmm. There is self-publishing and then there is not publishing with a legacy publisher.I recommend the later -- every writer needs a little help.

So technical stuff out of the way:* don't use MSWord (probably obvious), but it is way easier if you write in UTF8 with basic mark-up for italics. Markdown is great.* create an epub and then think about Kindle. You want to be everywhere. You need both formats so (Amazon is your primary target market) but it's easier on everybody if Kindle formatting comes second.* eReader specs are all over the map -- it's like a throw back to the browser incompatibilities from 10 years ago -- so clean mark-up is vital. If you want your book to look good on as many devices as possible, don't use a conversion meatgrinder (like calibre) to create files. Do look carefully at lean pub.com or pressbooks.com, especially if you don't need your hand held in this area.* you will need to buy an ISBN, either directly or through a third party

Editing* you need an editor -- your wife, your neighbour, a freelancer -- somebody needs to edit your work. Don't be fooled otherwise, even if you write a blogpost a day and have for the last two years. Good editors will catch problems with tone, spot areas that are confusing, and generally shape the work. This is especially important because writing down complex thoughts is hard. A lot of people think they have a book in them, when really they just a magazine-length article or a blog post or an idea for a tumblr. A good editor will call BS on your ambitions.* proofreading is not editing. Have someone that isn't you or your editor look over your work before you publish

Selling and Marketing* If you are going to spend any money what so ever on your project, spend it on the cover. Self-publishing is plagued by terrible covers and even pro designers trip up when they try to approach ebook images. Do yourself a favour and hire a real book designer. If you can't afford it upfront, publish first and then redesign the cover later.* You want to be on Amazon, B&N, Kobo, iTunes, and (maybe) Google Play. You can take this upon yourself or get help from a service like SmashWords or Bookbaby.com* And of course sell on your own site and through your own newsletters using shopify or the like.* Again, it should be obvious your book is not going to sell itself.

All that said, the hardest thing is the writing so get to it.

12
codegeek 3 days ago 1 reply      
have you looked at http://leanpub.com ? It is a great platform to self publish.
13
cjg 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's a trade off. Publishers can give you marketing, proof-reading, cover design, book layout, etc. But you get paid much more per book if you self-publish and you have more control over the final product, price, marketing strategy, etc.

It's relatively straightforward to get freelance proof-reading and cover design. You could use something like LaTeX to layout the book and if the market you are targeting is relatively niche then you can market it at least as effectively as a publisher, by using a blog / website.

How much hassle do you want? How much money do you want? Is there a publisher who wants to publish your book? Do you have a ready made market?

I've self-published a book on a niche topic. I used Lightning Source, a print on demand company. They expect you to give them everything print-ready. Some print on demand companies like CreateSpace will hold your hand a bit more.

Personally, I enjoyed learning all the things that were needed to get my book into print. It's also nice to make much more per book (~70% or the cover price rather than ~10%).

14
jamesbritt 3 days ago 0 replies      
I've self-published a book about Open Sound Control: http://osc.justthebestparts.com/

It's meant to be something of an adjunct to some other in-the-works books. These other books (one about hacking the XBox Kinect, the other about the Leap Motion) make use of OSC, and I didn't want them to become bloated or sidelined by an explanation of OSC, especially for people who may not need it.

One of my goals is to keep the books short, on-topic, and to the point (hence "just the best parts").

Some advice: Know the limitations of your publishing formats. I started out writing the book on the Web, only to learn that HTML that works nicely in a full-size browser can end up as crap when rendered for epub.

Yesterday I did a giveaway of my book because it was my birthday. I think that did more to get attention for the book than anything else. (I'm leaving the free download in place for a few hours more if folks here want to grab it.)

People often say you need to promote the book with blog posts and stuff. I agree, but what it means is you are, in a way, now writing two books (or something). There's not just the work to create the book, there's the work to create the material to promote the book.

I've made the book available online as well, but even then it's hard to get attention. I've started doing some screencasts of some of my OSC software.

Bottom line is I tend to write because I enjoy it and I want to make certain information available to people. I want to see more artists get comfortable with technology. Ideally, though, I can manage some decent return on my time so I can continue doing it.

15
thesmileyone 13 hours ago 0 replies      
16
raminassemi 3 days ago 1 reply      
We haven't done it yet but are in the midst of the process. We talked with Kevin Gao who sold more than $100,000 of his ebook in a single year and is now running HyperInk (a publishing company you might want to look at). We shared what we learned from Kevin here -> http://www.kickpreneur.com/what-kevin-gao-taught-us-about-pu...

Hope you find something helpful there.

17
guynamedloren 2 days ago 0 replies      
While we're on the subject, what are some good tools for receiving feedback, editing, and incorporating that feedback?

Draft (http://draftin.com) is pretty good for this, but not designed for larger scale projects like ebooks.

Leanpub is awesome for distributing early / unfinished copies and opening the doors for feedback, but as far as I know, does not have any built in tools for collecting and integrating feedback or edits (gramatical, writing structure, etc).

Any ideas?

18
cpncrunch 3 days ago 2 replies      
I used iuniverse. Their service is pretty good, although their support can be sucky and they tend to spam you a lot with newsletters (it's almost impossible to get off their mailing list unless you yell at them a few times). I think I'd still use them again.

Some advice:

- Spend a lot of effort on designing the cover, as you can't easily change it afterwards and it makes a big difference to whether or not people will buy your book.

- Proof read it thoroughly multiple times (and get someone else to proof read it as well if you're not 100% confident in your own spelling/grammar).

- Don't expect to sell many copies unless you do a bunch of marketing yourself.

19
spatten 3 days ago 0 replies      
Hey, co-founder of Leanpub here. There is lots of great advice in this thread, and the comments about Leanpub have made my day. I just wanted to say that you should feel free to shoot us an email at hello@leanpub.com if you have any questions.

Good luck, whichever route you choose.

20
joshuacc 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm self-publishing two in-progress JavaScript books with Leanpub, and have had a fantastic experience so far.

They basically share a Dropbox folder with you and let you edit your book in Markdown. For me this means that I'm easily able to work with my normal text editing tools rather than learning something completely new. When I want to publish/preview a new version, I just log into their site and hit the appropriate button, which will autogenerate the PDF, epub and mobi files, putting them in the shared Dropbox folder.

The other nice thing about them is that they will let you start selling your book while it is still in progress, so you can get feedback from real customers about what they would like to see in the book.

A Drip of JavaScript: https://leanpub.com/a-drip-of-javascript-book

Jasmine Testing: A Cloak & Dagger Guide: https://leanpub.com/jasmine-testing

21
msg 2 days ago 0 replies      
The only place a writer signs a check is on the back...

Use this to avoid scams:

http://www.sfwa.org/other-resources/for-authors/writer-bewar...

Best of luck!

22
maxprogram 3 days ago 0 replies      
Self-published a book in April, which is now selling in Paperback and Kindle versions (http://www.amazon.com/Berkshire-Hathaway-Letters-Shareholder...). It's been doing pretty well although there was a built-in audience and it's not too difficult to market a book when the author is Warren Buffett.

I did a printing of the book and am selling the physical version on Amazon Advantage. Advantage takes a 55% cut of the List Price, and handles all shipping, ordering, etc. I just have to send them inventory when needed.

The program works, but so far in my experience it's a huge pain in the ass. They send out Purchase Orders when they need more inventory and it's pretty unpredictable (an order could be 4 copies or 900, which means shipping really changes my COGS). They also "lost" a shipment of 800 books that took them a month to find. So I wouldn't recommend Amazon Advantage unless there isn't another option.

23
mark_l_watson 3 days ago 0 replies      
I have used publishers like Springer-Verlag, McGraw-Hill, J. Wiley, etc. in the past - a nice experience. I am now using leanpub.com and I am very happy with them. They take all the hassle out of writing.

I recently released the 4th edition of my Java AI book on leanpub.com https://leanpub.com/javaai and in a few weeks the 3rd edition of my "Loving Common Lisp. The Saavy Programmer's Secret Weapon" will be released.

Leanpub.com pays 90% royalties, minus a $0.50 handling charge so you might be pleasantly surprised how much money you can earn.

24
mkramlich 3 days ago 1 reply      
I published my first book a month ago. Fiction. E-book. So not unlike a vanity press of old. My book is a comedy as well. Well, sci-fi comedy adventure with some romantic elements. The Dread Space Pirate Richard. With most of the majors including http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00DIAYCLW/

I'm so new to it don't feel I can give any authoritative advice. I have sold copies. I have not hit the lottery. But it's a great feeling of accomplishment. Feel free to ping me via the email addr in my HN profile.

My next book will be technical, on Software Performance and Scalability. Then switch back to a sequel to DSPR.

25
aaronjg 3 days ago 0 replies      
Gayle Laakman has a good post about self-publishing, and a lot of the hidden downsides, and why going the traditional route is often better (and more profitable).

http://www.technologywoman.com/2012/07/09/the-dirty-truth-ab...

26
SupremumLimit 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've self-published 2 editions of C++11 Rocks (for Visual Studio 2010 and Visual Studio 2012): http://cpprocks.com

I wrote a post about some of the things I learned from it: http://korban.net/2013/04/10000-in-sales-of-my-c-book-easier...

Two things I can say (also discussed in the post above): I wouldn't go with a traditional publisher now (with the exception of Pragmatic Programmers), and marketing isn't as hard as I thought, but it's definitely a long term effort.

27
podperson 3 days ago 0 replies      
I published a book on Cheetah 3D (a nice 3d program for Mac OS X that conspicuously needs a manual). You can find out about it here http://loewald.com/c3dbook/

The main thing I learned is that if you need to sell your book for more than $10 (if it's aimed at a vertical market) split it into multiple $10 books or you'll be screwed by Amazon (which gives lower royalties for books between $10 and $20 than for $10 books). I ended up only selling my book through Apple and Lulu (and BN but that's useless).

Another problem is I've found most of the epub tools I've used to be fairly awful. Were I doing it over again I'd probably write the whole book in markdown and convert it to epub using scripts.

28
trvd1707 3 days ago 2 replies      
I published 4 books. First I used chapbooks.com, which no longer exists. After that I tried lulu.com and the problem was the distribution. They don't have a good deal to distribution worldwide and part of my audience was in other countries other than US. I then switched to using createspace from Amazon. The process was a lot easier and smoother with Amazon and the distribution is better there too. I started with the print on demand version and it was very easy to make the ebook version. The books are available on Amazon site and can be sold worldwide.
29
andrewhyde 3 days ago 1 reply      
I self published a book over a year ago. Happy to share all my sales data and let you know how I formatted it.
30
Macsenour 3 days ago 0 replies      
If someone hasn't mentioned it yet: http://www.smashwords.com/about/how_to_publish_on_smashwords

I found it to be a great resource for finding information as well as people to do the cover and/or formatting of the eBook.

Yes I have one out... :)

31
rmundo 3 days ago 1 reply      
Glenn Fleishman's latest The New Disruptors podcast episode interviews a guy who did just that. Should be very relevant to what you are looking for. http://www.muleradio.net/newdisruptors/31/
32
redtexture 3 days ago 0 replies      
Publicity and visibility will be your biggest challenge. There's a reason Charles Dickens was on an American reading tour in 1867-1868: visibility and publicity.

Here's an example of a graphic novel self published, initial print run crowd funded. A Possibly useful example.

Jason Brubaker developed a following for years by blog, showing the actual pages and process for creating his intended book. Then he took his community to kickstarter to fund the initial print run, and initial orders too, and initial publicity beyond his blog (aside from guest posts at other comic author blogs). He's done a second one book the same way, too.

The book: reMind

His fundraising story:"Grassroots Funding with Kickstarter.com"http://www.remindblog.com/2010/10/14/grassroots-funding-with...

33
maris 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm founder of Sellfy and we have many ebook publishers on our platform - we see what works and what doesn't so I'm happy to share few tips if you are interested.

Here are few quick tips:

1) Build your audience beforehand (email, social) as it will power your sales once you launch your book.

2) Try to do guest blogs and get reviews from other bloggers on your book. Send them free copies etc.

3) Launching is easy but holding the revenue steady requires a lot of work so plan to spend some time post-launch to promote your book.

*) To optimize revenue think about several pricing options.

Feel free to contact me maris[at]sellfy for more info!

34
ewest 3 days ago 0 replies      
* Get a copy editor

A copy editor will challenge your sentence structures, paragraphs, overall flow, and much more.

Compare what you wrote before the copy editor did their work, versus after - you'll see a big difference.

Note that copy editing is often an iterative process - so you'll work with the editor as you complete your revisions.

Yet in the end it is your book, so you don't have to follow the copy editor's suggestions if you think you're right/know your topic more than he or she does/etc.

35
disputin 3 days ago 0 replies      
Not personally, but heard this a few days ago:http://www.blubrry.com/theeconomist/1795098/kal-kal-kallaugh...
36
joedevon 3 days ago 0 replies      
Try out netminds:http://netminds.com/
37
gt5050 3 days ago 0 replies      
You could try using PapyrusEditor (http://papyruseditor.com )

PS: I created this tool, let me know if you need any help.

38
pknerd 3 days ago 0 replies      
Since this forum is about hackers and developers, do developers buy ebooks related to programming or other technologies? Any tips or stats available?
39
thinkcomp 3 days ago 0 replies      
I self-published a book and built a platform around the sourcing for it.

http://www.aarongreenspan.com/authoritas.html

I answered a question on Quora about this general topic a while back.

http://www.quora.com/Self-Publishing/Are-there-any-self-publ...

40
bitlather1 2 days ago 0 replies      
You can get some feedback on authonomy as well. It's free.
41
joshlegs 3 days ago 0 replies      
42
Link- 3 days ago 0 replies      
Yeah, go up to Link #4 on the front page.
43
pallandt 2 days ago 0 replies      
Congrats and good luck with sales!
16
Ask HN: How do I delete my Account, Comments, Submissions?
7 points by X4  20 hours ago   2 comments top 2
1
sdoowpilihp 19 hours ago 0 replies      
http://jacquesmattheij.com/The+Unofficial+HN+FAQ#deleteaccou...

Rumor has it that you can make an appeal to PG.

2
thesmileyone 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Facebook NEVER deletes anything, it hides it from view yes, but it is always on their servers and shared with whoever pays for it.
17
Ask HN: How do you conceptualize the internet?
4 points by vicbrooker  15 hours ago   1 comment top
1
terrykohla 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I think that seeing it as a physical place helps conceptualize a virtual world.

I'm neither a programmer or a developer.

When I go online, it's like I'm out on the street. I'm exposed to others. I can interact with others. I can walk into a shop or a bank and conduct business. I can walk into a theater or an arcade. I can walk into someone's place, an open house or a private house. But it's not physical, it's all virtual, it's all built with code, data and information.

18
Ask HN: Recommendations for mobile analytics product at scale?
21 points by appdeveloper  1 day ago   17 comments top 11
1
mattdeboard 18 hours ago 0 replies      
What does "we're now at scale" mean? I realize this sounds snarky but I am asking sincerely. Maybe it would help if someone could finish the following sentence in such a way that it's equivalent to "we're now at scale": "We have so many customers that ..."
2
smilliken 1 day ago 0 replies      
A few thousand dollars a month is a modest budget if you want to outsource this. Try negotiating price if there's a vendor that does everything you need.

If you only need to analyze <1B events at a time, then an old-fashioned relational database is fine. Beyond that, CitusDB, Redshift, and Vertica are analytics databases that might be in your price range.

Bigger mobile publishers will usually consider analytics a core competency and handle it in-house; if you continue to grow you'll quickly reach a point where it's no longer possible to outsource this.

3
liamgooding 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hey,

at http://Trak.io we can definitely handle that data volume, all data analysis is done retroactively and in realtime.

Note: However we don't automatically track any events, as we found most people were collecting a ton of garbage event data that they would never use. So you'll need to setup the events to be tracked at the beginning of the integration.

We don't have iOS or Android SDK's, but a raw REST http API (and JS) but we'd be open to discussing what we could sort out to win your business ;)

A/B tests: date vs. date cohort segmentation, event vs. event cohort segmentation, property vs. property segmentation. And groupby (breakdown by) view.

Trends

Linear funnels are in progress, but again for an app this size let's talk about what we could do.

The main way we differentiate ourselves from Mixpanel (and similar) is that we're trying to go for as simple interface as possible. Essentially, if analytics tools or reports are complicated, they just wont get used. So we're sticking to a very design-led product which may or may not suit you, depending on what exactly you're looking for.

Email me on liam@trak.io if you want to chat further :)

4
kposehn 1 day ago 1 reply      
We have a platform that is similar to what you need, but geared to the web. The advantage is adapting to your use case would not be a huge issue and I've been intending to go that direction anyway.

Hit me up if you would like, my email is in my profile.

5
zmitri 1 day ago 0 replies      
Would using Google Analytics work? I know it's not as easy as Mixpanel but they have a lot of tools. They also have an Objective C SDK.

There's a YC company called Heap Analytics that offers pricing based on monthly unique users. I've never used it but it's the only other thing I can think of.

6
raviparikh 1 day ago 0 replies      
We (Heap) recently launched our iOS library. In addition to retroactive funnels and arbitrary key/value pairs, we let you retroactively define events without having to ship new code to the app store.

For instance, you can define an event as a "Touch on a UIButtonView". Then, we dig into your users' entire past activity to let you instantly segment on that event or include it in funnels. No new code is required.

We haven't publicly launched our Android integration yet, but we should be able to figure something out - ping us at team@heapanalytics.com. We're flexible on pricing and would love to help.

7
sdossick 1 day ago 0 replies      
My company ( PushSpring ) has a product that lets you track arbitrary data and events about your mobile app users and then segment them. We also offer the ability to send targeted messages to segments you define via Push Notifications, as a way of keeping them engaged (or re-engaging groups who've left). We're working with some of the largest publishers in the app store.

Love to chat about your requirements -- hello@pushspring.com if you'd like to discuss.

8
gorkemcetin 1 day ago 1 reply      
Countly is an open source, realtime mobile analytics solution with an enterprise plan. Funnels and segmentation are currently being developed and planned to get ready for mainstream due 1-2 months (advanced segmentations being quite earlier). Check http://count.ly for a list of features and benefits.
9
endlessvoid94 1 day ago 0 replies      
You get what you pay for.
10
LedZeppelin 1 day ago 1 reply      
What information are you looking for?

Geographic location, age, gender, education?

11
marcooda 1 day ago 1 reply      
appfireworks.com is launching soon - apply for beta.
19
Ask pg: why have hellbans become so widespread on HN?
121 points by anigbrowl  1 day ago   113 comments top 24
1
pg 1 day ago 1 reply      
As I said 4 weeks ago, the reason you see good comments from banned accounts is that people who behave abusively don't do it 100% of the time:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5926081

If my proposed plan for a new "pending" state for comments

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6009523

works out, we'll just unban most of the accounts that were banned for being garden variety idiots or assholes, and their good comments can be promoted individually by other users.

Incidentally, when a comment is dead, it's not always because the user is banned. E.g. the comment that seems to have set off anigbrowl

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6060403

was not killed because the user is banned, but because it was a dupe.

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6058500

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6058489

When you see stories that are killed rather than comments, it's usually because they've been submitted by sockpuppet rings. There are quite a lot of those accounts on HN now, and many of them are smart enough to mix a variety of other sites in with the sites they're promoting. Benologist, who helped us catch some of them, has more details here:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6061108

2
benologist 1 day ago 1 reply      
There are a lot of spammers either automatically submitting links or manually continuing to do so long after being identified and they're not always obvious. The other week I found a network of ~20 accounts that had each been submitting one generic tech link a day for up to 1.5 years, if you browse when that network does their daily submissions you'll see almost a full page of dead links that look legitimate.

The ability to upvote dead comments out of oblivion would be useful for commenters.

Edit: as luck would have it that group is submitting a batch right now - http://i.imgur.com/MVvfoaC.png - all those dead accounts (+ aynlaplant, flag to help kill it) are spam though they don't look like it at first glance.

3
GuiA 1 day ago 5 replies      
The goal of HN is post quality.

One potential explanation is that false positives (banning a good user) don't bring down overall post quality, false negatives (not banning a bad user) do.

4
RKoutnik 1 day ago 6 replies      
He may have tightened up the restrictions on voting rings. I know one YC user who was banned, and the only issue was that he'd send out links to a couple of friends asking for upvotes.

I feel that there's Catch-22 here - so few people browse/upvote in `/new` that one's practically forced to get friends to upvote, but then runs the risk of automated banhammer. More transparency would be great. It's ironic that pg calls for openness in government but governs HN behind closed doors.

5
rickdale 1 day ago 3 replies      
I used to have a different HN account. At some point I realized that I stopped receiving points. I looked at my comments and someone had commented on my last comment, "Is this spam?" and then like 4 other people concurred my comment was spam. But it wasn't spam. I got bullied out of my HN account. 120 karma points down the drain.
6
DanBC 1 day ago 0 replies      
i) sometimes the domains, and not the users, are what is banned.

ii) Some hellbanned users know they are hellbanned but continue to post anyway

iii) The recent uptick may be connected to the flood of piss-poor threads about politics. I'm not sure. I'd like to see some kind of numbers to confirm that there are more hell-banned users.

There are several things you can do with hellbanned posts. You could check the user's post history and try to work out what got them banned, and then send them an email to let them know they're banned. That's one reason why it's important for people to have an email in their "about me" section of their profile.

It might be worth-while investigating a tweak, because it seems HN is reluctant to flag and downvote poor content, and that might be because HN users are reluctant to cause a hellban.

7
consz 1 day ago 1 reply      
I agree, I spent over a year posting regularly (1-2 times a week) on an account that was hellbanned before I finally found out nobody could see my posts.

It also bothers me that downvoted posts have lighter/more transparent text. It makes it really hard to read, and most downvoted posts are interesting to read, so it's damaging to my eyes to have to read those posts with some weird text editing on it.

8
vyrotek 1 day ago 3 replies      
Speaking hell banned users. Here's a comment from one of them right here! Sometimes they scare me a little. This is an example of it doing its job. Sadly we do have false-positives sometimes too.

---

TempleOS 27 minutes ago

God is perfectly just. Niggers deserve hell. Hell is the absence of God.God says... by_the_way no_more_tears middle_class thats_just_wrong little_buddy test_pilot not_in_my_wildest_dreams this_might_end_badly catastrophe husband good talk_to_my_lawyer ohh_thank_you thats_right au_revoir so_let_it_be_done off_the_record like_like experts ridiculous

9
pygy_ 1 day ago 1 reply      
Case in point: https://news.ycombinator.com/user?id=loginalready

I reported it to info@yc, two days ago, but I didn't get any answer.

10
millerm 1 day ago 0 replies      
Happened to me. I was a member for a long time. On a single occasion I believe I accidentally responded to the wrong comment and I got banned. I was posting for a long time before an admin informed me I was banned. I had no idea why until I looked back at my responses and I noticed one out of context.

I had always been a fan of this site and try to join in a discussion once in a while to be part of a community. It really ruined my day when I found out I had been banned. I felt betrayed and lost my 100+ karma.

11
stock_toaster 1 day ago 1 reply      
I also have showdead on, and sometimes I consider turning it off, as some people really do warrant it. It is indeed sad to see some other people railing against the wind though.
12
stfu 1 day ago 0 replies      
Is there actually any discussion among those who are hellbanned? Otherwise it could be argued that if somebody keeps posting without noting the lack of interaction they probably aren't that much socially aware in the first place.
13
superflit 1 day ago 4 replies      
Do not talk against the lefties or any vocal group you will be ok.

Because there is no 'disagree' people down vote.

14
jacques_chester 1 day ago 0 replies      
There are more users.
15
mschuster91 1 day ago 2 replies      
Interestingly, this post had 8 upvotes, now it's only 6 - I thought posts could not be downvoted?
16
dfc 1 day ago 0 replies      
"I know that on a site called 'Hacker News' informing users that their username or their IP has been banned or restricted is asking for trouble,"

Does PG have a policy against this? I seen people point out that so-and-so was hellbanned before and never noticed any repurcussions and I have also seen people repost useful comments from users who were hell banned.

Or do you think "the trouble" stems from the word hacker in the site name?

17
arikrak 1 day ago 0 replies      
Instead of hellbanning, couldn't the site just rely on more extensive algorithmic ranking of comments and submissions? That way comments that are probably low-quality will only appear to a small number of users.
18
mynameishere 1 day ago 0 replies      
And why haven't I been hellbanned yet? Look at my comment history! Look at it!!! Did I get grandfathered in or something?
19
ancarda 1 day ago 0 replies      
I find it interesting hell banned users are still posting. For instance, i'm sure TempleOS is aware he's banned.
20
DiabloD3 1 day ago 0 replies      
So what stops everyone from protesting and using showdead? Doesn't that basically depower mods?
21
shravan 1 day ago 3 replies      
How are you able to tell whether you've been hellbanned or not? Have I, for instance?
22
paulftw 1 day ago 4 replies      
omg. you can be banned but still allowed to post?!

how do I check whether my account is banned?

23
TerraHertz 1 day ago 1 reply      
Well that's interesting. I didn't even know there was such a thing on this site.

All net forums have owners, and almost all have defacto restricted topics - things the owners simply won't allow.In many cases, one of the restricted topics is what well known 'cultural entity' the owners are members of.

What does differ is the degree of sneakiness in what's forbidden, and the methods used to enforce the restrictions.

In a few cases it's forthright - there's a FAQ listing forbidden topics; you say what you're not supposed to, and you're banned. But that's rare. It's more often the case that forbidden topics are so forbidden that they aren't even mentioned in the rules as forbidden. And the site's operation is structured to provide means of quietly removing offending comments from public view.

It's all about controlling the perception of common public opinion, while avoiding being seen to do so. There are many tricks used.

In almost all sites, there are cliques of semi-official mods, with the power to remove/alter what's visible. The Wikipedia global warmist clique being a prime example. Even when the clique isn't officially part of the site's control system, Megaphone-like back-channel organization makes very powerful manipulation via mass down-voting and pile-on criticism possible.Then there's the HB Gary-esque 'multiple personas' methods, by which groups of paid shills can exert far more web influence than they should be able to.

But what's really disturbing, is when forums that pretend to be open and politically unbiased, are structured to provide hidden methods of control - and they are clearly using them.

For instance, on reddit the '500 visible post limit' provides a way of vanishing politically unwelcome posts. On 4chan, the ephemeral nature of everything makes it easy to vanish posts faster than they otherwise would.

With ycombinator I thought the control method was pretty obvious, and I'd experienced it myself. Make any mention of anything related to 'topic-Y', and get instantly downvoted into the negatives. OK, I could live with that. It's a pity, but then hardly anything unique in this sadly upside-down, tiny-dot ruled world.

Now it turns out... that ycombinator is also applying 'holo-net' techniques?Am I understanding this right? A hellbanned person sees their own posts appearing normally, but they are hidden to everyone else (unless they turn on 'showdead' - and now I have to go find out how to do that.)

You know, that's a _very_ immoral and deceptive facility to implement in a forum.It almost reminds me of... stereotypical behavioral characteristics of... something I can't mention here, for fear of being hellbanned.

My gradually recovered vote count is now 54. I expect it to now suddenly go negative. Again.

I hope you guys realize that free, open and unrestricted public debate is crucial to the maintenance of civilization? And that deploying means of distorting and controlling debate will achieve only one thing in the end - the collapse of civilization into a hell of violence and insanity. It takes time, but it's inevitable. Special interest groups, whether ideological or ethnic, are never capable of acting rationally in the interests of the greater good. They always behave like drowning persons - strangling those who are keeping things afloat.

Of course, whether certain special interest groups actually want to bring down civilization - that's a fair question.

24
untilHellbanned 1 day ago 1 reply      
i'm waiting to see how long it takes for my username to get me hellbanned
20
Ask HN: What's the best site/app that you use to manage your money?
2 points by desouzt  11 hours ago   8 comments top 5
1
wikwocket 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Microsoft Excel. It is better to budget using a hacked-up spreadsheet that matches your workflow, than to have no budget at all.

Also, it is installed just about anywhere, is very powerful yet easy to learn, allows advanced charting/visualization, and is easy to customize to your heart's content.

2
terrykohla 5 hours ago 0 replies      
May be existing apps already do, but...

If I could create my own, I would include a feature to keep track of everything that has to do with filing my taxes so that you know what to expect at the year end.

I would also like to see a feature that can keep track of your investments and have like a pie chart of your asset allocation which I find to be very important.

3
barylen 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Intuit's Mint. Provides some really nice advice sometimes, such as how to avoid X or Y fee. (Some accounts that require $100+ in your checking account to avoid a $5 monthly fee)

https://www.mint.com/

You connect it to your bank account.

4
torbica 11 hours ago 1 reply      
YNAB 3(http://www.youneedabudget.com/)

Simple. Multiplatform. Sync over dropbox.

5
cjbenedikt 11 hours ago 1 reply      
what exactly do you mean by "manage money"? Investments or...???
21
Tools to monitor website performance?
2 points by victorhooi  11 hours ago   3 comments top 3
1
samwillis 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Munin is probably the best known open source server monitoring tool. It is relatively easy to set up from memory, I think it was just a case of uncommenting a load of config lines for the things you want to monitor in the standard Ubuntu package.

http://munin-monitoring.org/

2
domrdy 4 hours ago 0 replies      
New Relic is pretty great if you want a hosted solution.If you want to roll your own I'd suggest starting with something like yahoos boomerang [0]. It gathers metrics on the client and sends them to your server over a beacon/pixel endpoint. I also really like this bookmarklet [1] to visualize the window.performance object.

[0] https://github.com/yahoo/boomerang[1] http://kaaes.github.io/timing/

3
thomaslee 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Well, there's New Relic (disclaimer: I'm a New Relic employee). It's not open source, but it's pretty solid & our agent guys pride themselves on an easy install process.

Alternatively, some folks prefer to roll their own solutions using things like Graphite and/or statsd.

22
What are the roles and motives of non-profit colleges?
4 points by pixelart  17 hours ago   5 comments top 2
1
impendia 15 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm a college professor. I'll try to say a little something.

Colleges certainly aren't altruistic.

For the most part colleges, and even more so, research universities, want to be "better than each other". The competition isn't for money so much as for its own sake.

It is easy to find out what colleges think is worth bragging about: visit any of their homepages.

It is important, as patio11's quote suggests, to remember that the interests of different groups -- undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, administration, alumni -- are not necessarily aligned. When I was an undergrad at Rice, in addition to the student newspaper we had "Rice News", rather similar in content to the "news" on university homepages. I regarded this as propaganda and sneered at the "faculty newspaper"; now that I am on a university faculty, I realize that the faculty don't read these newspapers either.

From an administrative level, most everything costs money. You can build new buildings, fancy new dorms, start new programs, poach famous faculty, etc. And so they think about money a lot. Departments don't have to think about where the money comes from, but they are always fighting to get a piece of it.

Professors want good students to teach, time to do research, and to be left alone by the administration. University administrators always have pet projects (at South Carolina it's the "Carolina Core") and it's rare to find a professor who gives a damn about any of them.

You mention "a compassionate job of preparing eighteen year olds for adult life". But "adult life" means very different things to different people, and many professors, certainly including myself, are extreme outliers. So I personally stick to teaching my students math, and trying to get them excited about it -- that is what I am good at.

2
codeonfire 13 hours ago 1 reply      
There's no such thing as 'non-profit'. Every human being has to fight for 'profit' to survive. Profit is calculated after administrator or executive compensation is subtracted from revenue, so therein lies the motive of the non-profit.
23
Ask HN: What is necessary for a launch?
4 points by chacham15  22 hours ago   7 comments top 4
1
xcbnxcbxmcb 14 hours ago 0 replies      
You should maximize the "wow" moment your product delivers. Since you say it is heavy on "server integration", I guess you would need to focus on monitoring & server capacity and of course, features that directly address your users' problems instead of fringe, nice-to-have add-ons. Everything else (analytics, payments, non-core features) can be left out or done in a way that minimizes effort (Stripe + Google Analytics should take up very little of your time)

Your users are not all the people who visit your site because of the "launch" but those for whom you can solve "the problem" well. I will definitely go back to a product that solves my problem, even if it has a lot of bugs. As proof, I've used buggy UML tools, code editors, video/audio editing software for years because they're very good in at least one aspect I value.

A lower-risk approach: Suppose you list out the benefits of a "launch" (example: growth from 0 to 10K users, investor interest, attract/keep talent) and then separate out the components of a launch (example: Techcrunch release, beta mailing list, investor reach-out). You may be able to de-risk by going after individual components and only building whatever is necessary for each individual component. For example you can attack the mailing list first without worrying about scale to handle traffic that a press release would bring.

2
makerops 22 hours ago 1 reply      
1. There are a ton of monitoring solutions out there, we need to know more about your stack first. This is easy enough nowadays to be a requirement imo, even for an MVP that actually has a semi-functioning app

2. Gross. Get all that stuff seperated as soon as feasible.

3. I like stripe, fwiw, and use it in all my webapps.

4. see answer 1

5. Talk to your users, a lot.

3
rct 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Use http://www.segment.io for your analytics. You insert only one script into your site and the service lets you use up to 30 different analytic providers. Many of these services provide the first 30 days for free, so try as many as you like and see which ones you like best.
4
thibaut_barrere 22 hours ago 1 reply      
0. A warm list of emails about people interested in the service (this really helps!).
24
I need help moving forward
3 points by rolledover  20 hours ago   4 comments top 3
1
beat 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Your goals are a mess. You know what you don't want to do (whatever it is you're doing), and you want to be "very wealthy".

That's probably not what you really want.

Wealth, by itself, doesn't mean much. Wealth can buy other, meaningful things, and it can serve as proof of accomplishment, but it's not an end in itself - only a means to an end.

Why do you dream of being very wealthy? Have you ever been very poor? Have you felt trapped?

Why do you want to leave engineering? What don't you like about it? Is it the work that makes you unhappy?

As Mr Morden asked in Babylon 5, "What do you want?" Figure out what you really want. You have some money. Quit working on anything for a while. Go sit on a beach and stare at the sunset for a few months. Walk to Peru. Read War and Peace. Get your mind in order, and figure out what you want, rather than just what you don't want, and means-to-undefined end fantasies.

2
lsiebert 18 hours ago 0 replies      
You need to go meet people and interact with them. Find a meetup and go. Take a class. Something like that.

You have a big goal, but not a road map. You need to build knowledge in your problem Domain.

3
ada1981 15 hours ago 0 replies      
If you are looking for a coach, I've worked with and inspired a great number of entrepreneurs and creatives. I'd be happy to give you a free session to explore and make some recommendations for you moving forward. Anthony (at) 175g (dot) com
25
Ask HN: When teaching myself, how can I learn to engineer instead of just code?
8 points by MPetitt  1 day ago   6 comments top 6
1
fbuilesv 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm currently writing an article about this but the two most helpful things I've found are:

1. Be thoughtful and patient: Instead of writing down whatever comes to my mind, I try to take a couple of minutes thinking about the ramifications of what I'm doing before writing the actual code. In some cases I'll mock several ways of doing the same thing and try to get a "feel" from them [0].

2. Know and use your tools! Unit testing, debuggers or code analyzers are there to help you. You don't need to use all the tools all the time but by becoming proficient with them you'll make your life easier and you can get a deeper understanding of what you're doing.

[0] My "feel" might not be your "feel", it's probably not even the right way of doing things in many cases, but with enough time programming you tend to recognize what "feels" good and what doesn't.

2
ilaksh 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Software engineering knowledge is similar to other types of knowledge, like Java or Node.js programming knowledge. It is available on the internet.

There seem to be quite a few people who still think that software engineering is about planning, creating design documents or sequence diagrams, building the ultimate design, etc. Although planning and design are important, this general viewpoint is outdated.

I believe the the keys to software engineering, rather than coming up with the ultimate plan or design ahead of time, are A) separation of concerns, and B) tight, closed, feedback loops with incremental improvement. Your tools and processes are going to embody the core engineering principles.

As far as separation of concerns, there are many ways to do that well and to do that poorly. But I believe that currently Node.js with its simple, one-purpose per module system with semantic versioning gives you the best head start in that direction.

Another core feedback loop for contemporary software engineering is automated testing: unit tests, integration tests. Unit tests keep the loop tight.

Continuous integration is also key and can be thought of as a way of making sure you have a closed loop because it means that all of your tests _have_ to pass before you deploy which means that you must immediately make corrections when you have failing tests.

Another critical aspect of contemporary software engineering is quickly incorporating feedback from users and other stakeholders.

So short iterations are very important. However, you can't just take a few pieces of this whole thing that you like and ignore the rest. If you do short iterations without good testing, you will be screwed. You need the whole process to fit together. That is one way that a lot of 'agile' teams go wrong-- the manager thinks 'agile' just means he can release more often using basically the same process and tools he was using before.

I believe that the most important aspects of software engineering are the most recent developments in tools and processes and these are often not yet incorporated into many university courses or majors in software engineering.

So anyway, just google for the names of the popular build, test, and CI tools are for your platform and also learn about whatever abstractions and component systems are available for your platform. Then you have to try to use that stuff to learn it.

3
staunch 22 hours ago 0 replies      
1. Create something.

2. Recognize its failings.

3. Fix that thing, or create something new, without those failings.

4. Repeat indefinitely.

4
reiz 11 hours ago 0 replies      
If you want to engineer something you should learn about software design pattern. The wiki page is a good start: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_design_pattern.
5
JacobH 23 hours ago 0 replies      
To put it short, understand the limitations of what you're trying to achieve, and find out what you can afford to add and what you can skimp on a little without notice or, to add performance elsewhere.

Without limitations you're just coding, fiddling, dreaming..

6
deadfall 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Engineering is a bit of an art form in my opinion. It is about style and how you tackle a problem. I recommend reading Hacker and Painters.
26
Ask HN: What weekend Project to show off ability to develop in other languages?
4 points by MonkoftheFunk  19 hours ago   9 comments top 6
1
fbuilesv 11 hours ago 0 replies      
This a list of projects I'd like to implement, a couple of them are there only because I want to learn the specifics about a language/tool: http://mheroin.com/projects. Some I consider fun:

* Basic HTTP Server in X language (Go in my case)

* Controversipedia: Take a dump of Wikipedia, publish only the controversy/criticism of entries.

2
MonkoftheFunk 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Found a good list of projects http://www.dreamincode.net/forums/topic/78802-martyr2s-mega-...

Going to also find open source projects

3
MonkoftheFunk 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Knowing a language versus getting creative with it is different. Perhaps start with criteria for a project larger then a todo app. The project would need to deal with databases, session / account management, tracking input/output, maybe some calculations, parsing, multiple forms/screens, and maybe reporting, anything else? But would that all make it a bit much for it's worth to an employer?
4
BookPage 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Maybe try and contribute to an open source project? Find some bugs and create fixes, I'm sure it will look good on your resume and you'll be helping out the community at the same time :
5
groundCode 11 hours ago 0 replies      
RSS readers seem the app-de-jour :)
6
ahefner 18 hours ago 1 reply      
MP3 player.
27
Ask HN: When did people start paying for your SaaS and why?
161 points by n_coats  6 days ago   74 comments top 19
1
patio11 5 days ago 3 replies      
I got the first paying customer for Appointment Reminder the first day it was open for business. (DB id #22, after a bunch of test accounts and friends & family demos.) ~2.5 years and ~$1,000 later he still happily pays $29 a month. This was not unknowable prior to launching the site (though I was still on pins and needles): I had already walked the sales pitch for it to enough businesses in downtown Chicago that I was pretty sure some number would buy what I was selling if it were put in front of them.

I think people who are pre-business vastly overestimate the difficulty of getting the first sale and probably vastly underestimate the difficulty of reaching scale. Gail Goodman has a presentation on the Long SaaS Ramp of Death. When you say those words in a group of SaaS entrepreneurs you'll see pained recognition on everybody's faces, even those (of us?) whose businesses are fairly successful. Dear God does figuring out the scalable marketing piece take time. (I've got it figured out for Bingo Card Creator, but have only isolated bits and pieces of the orchestra playing in disjointed fashion for Appointment Reminder.)

http://businessofsoftware.org/2013/02/gail-goodman-constant-...

I kind of feel like I beat on these drums to death, but organic SEO, AdWords, lifecycle emails, and an optimized first-run experience are sort of my favorite arrows in the quiver for increasing sales. That and a whole lot of just grinding it out.

Also, tie a string around your finger for Rob Walling's presentation from Microconf 2013 where he takes HitTail, a SaaS he acquired, from ~X to ~30X in recurring revenue over the course of a year. (There are numbers in the presentation but I remember him asking us to be circumspect about them.) He goes into month by month detail of what he was doing, and you'll understand the level of sheer frustration involved until hard work and ingenuity starts to reveal "flywheels" (his word for scalable/repeatable acquisition channels). As far as I know, this isn't on the Internet yet, but I expect it will be late this year.

2
jdlshore 6 days ago 3 replies      
I run http://letscodejavascript.com, which is a screencast for professional JavaScript developers. It's not exactly a SaaS, but as a subscription business, it runs on the same fundamentals: rate of acquisition, churn, customer lifetime value, cost of acquisition, etc. We have X00 subscribers and gross low six figures. The show is bootstrapped and profitable, but not yet enough of a success to allow me to hire additional employees. I launched five months ago, at the beginning of February.

> When did people start paying for your SaaS?

I launched on Kickstarter, so in a sense, people started paying right away. There were two pivotal moments in the Kickstarter: First, I got a nice bump from posting it here on HN[1]. Second, I sent announcements out to a bunch of JavaScript blogs and newsletters. The only one that posted about it was JavaScript Weekly, but that led to a lot of people backing the project, and that led to an additional surge of publicity and backers. Part of the reason JS Weekly posted the project was because it was already successful, thanks in part to the HN surge, so there was this definite sense of success leading to success.

When I launched to the public, the series had already been airing to KS backers for about seven months. I had been collecting email addresses the whole time from people who wanted to subscribe but missed the Kickstarter, and I had somewhere north of 1,000 addresses by the time I went public. So I sent out three "you can subscribe now" emails to that group, over the course of a month, and got a large number subscribers as a result. One of those people posted to HN[2], which led to about 70 more new subscriptions, and JS Weekly posted about the announcement as well.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3977240

[2] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3977240

> How many times did it take before you got it right?

This particular venture was a modest success from the beginning, but I'm still working on getting it right. :-) I have a pretty compelling product (based on subscriber feedback), and it's profitable, but I think it could be a lot more successful than it is.

However, this is the latest attempt out of several to launch a SaaS business. The rest were all complete failures, in that they never generated a dime.

> What have been the biggest factors in your success in terms of gaining traction with your SaaS?

1. Let's Code JavaScript is based on a similar screencast I produced for free on YouTube[3]. That screencast was done as an experiment, but it got pretty good traction. So one smart thing I did was to recognize the appeal of the format and turn it into a subscription product.

2. The timing was right. JavaScript is essential to the web, and increasing numbers of people are dealing with large codebases that need serious software engineering. I'm filling a significant need that a lot of programmers are facing.

3. I'm well known in the Agile community and already have a decent following. That provided the "seed capital" to make the Kickstarter successful--and as I said before, success has bred success. It's also made it much easier to get the word out once I opened the show to the public.

4. Posting to twitter, then my blog[4], then Kickstarter, allowed me to conduct a series of low-cost market tests and fine-tune my pitch. The Kickstarter took a surprising amount of effort, but it was all focused on the market. Building the market first and the product second was a great experience, especially compared to previous product attempts, and I can't recommend it highly enough.

[3] http://www.jamesshore.com/Blog/Lets-Play/

[4] http://www.jamesshore.com/Blog/Proposing-Test-Driven-Javascr...

> In particular, what marketing/promo tactics have served you best?

1. My existing network and reputation.

2. The copy on the Kickstarter page resonated with people[5], and I've gotten a lot of compliments on the demo video[6]. Both of these reinforce the existing need people have for professional JavaScript.

3. Being linked on news sites (such as HN and JS Weekly) and link aggregators (such as [7] and [8]).

I wouldn't say that I've found the "right" marketing and promo tactics yet, though. I put a lot of effort into a "press tour" after the public launch in February. I spoke at a user group and several international conferences. It took a huge amount of effort (mostly because I had to pre-produce videos to air while I was away on those trips) and I can only point to eight subscriptions that directly resulted from those talks. I'm sure it helped raise awareness of the series, so it wasn't a total loss, but it seems pretty low bang-for-buck.

Next I'm going to focus on (free) content and in-bound marketing. I've always been good at this, so I have high hopes. My conversion numbers are very good, so if I can get more people to visit the site, I think I can go from "scraping by" to "major success." Time will tell.

[5] http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/188988365/lets-code-test...

[6] http://www.letscodejavascript.com/#demo

[7] http://pineapple.io/resources/lets-code-tdjs

[8] http://devblog.avdi.org/2013/06/21/a-list-of-programming-scr...

I hope this helps! One last note: I found this video from Constant Contact about their experiences marketing their SaaS to be enlightening: http://businessofsoftware.org/2013/02/gail-goodman-constant-...

Good luck!

3
josh2600 6 days ago 3 replies      
I work at 2600hz and I'm the head of marketing so I feel pretty comfortable chiming in here :).

>When did people start paying for your SaaS?

I think the earliest indicator I had that people would pay for our product was when someone said "Wow" when they saw it. We started the company out as a consulting venture because we couldn't raise VC money. The launch of the SaaS platform coincided with the V2 of our GUI, and so we had a strong indication from the consulting that folks would pay, but it was quite relieving to actually see dollars coming in to our coffers.

>How many times did it take before you got it right?

I think it's honestly still a work in progress. The first time I felt ok about asking someone to pay for our product was when I was comfortable using it myself and when I could see real value when positioning it to people. This was roughly a year after I started (I'm in my 3rd year now) because we didn't get it right on the first iteration at all.

>What works for traction?

Content. We started doing Expert Q&A sessions that attract a lot of attendance, but they're active traffic acquisition channels for us. Each presentation nets about 1000 views a month right now, so there's a lot of value in continuing to develop that kind of high-quality content. I think people in your industry value expert commentary, so if you're in a position to provide it, do it. (We are at $X,000,000 in revenue in a little over 3 years, bootstrapped, so I know it can be done).

>What promos work?

Promos usually don't work. We're not in PayPal land where your cost of acquisition can be $20 per customer. That's insane. What works now is great content, syndicated effectively.

>What marketing tactics?

1) Great content

2) Speak at conferences

3) Charity (Not because it's going to pay you back, but because people love the things you're passionate about)

I think the best promotion/marketing advice I can give you is to be passionate about what you do and represent that passion with class. That's the ticket to success, in any walk of life :).

TL;DR: Content Marketing + Syndication. People will buy your SaaS when it solves a problem you yourself experience daily.

4
pbiggar 6 days ago 2 replies      
This is for https://circleci.com. It was about 6 months in.

We started making a very general CI service, and it took 3 months to realize that we should refocus on web-apps only. At that time, we started to get a bit of traction: maybe 10ish customers were using it, and after a month we asked them to pay.

Most said they would, but for many, the service was too slow and it caused their tests to fail. So we spent another 6 weeks rewriting the backend to make Circle incredibly fast (we had been using t1.micros, we changed to huge machines with LXC, and many custom tweaks), and then our first paying customer, Zencoder, paid.

So we only got it slightly wrong once in this startup, but we had both fucked up a startup before, and learned a lot from it (mostly talk to your customers, and make sure what you're building is something they really need and want).

For us, it wasn't marketing/promo tactics at all, it was just to focus on a great product. Our biggest growth has come from word-of-mouth, and our biggest customers (eg Kickstarter, Shopify, a few more I can't name) came in organically. We got a reputation as being best of breed, and spent a lot of time focusing on how to improve lives for customers.

Rather than thinking in terms of tactics/promos, I would focus on making sure that people want your product, and they want it so much they tell their friends (in our case, colleagues at meetups and over twitter). That's long-term sustainable growth. (You certainly do need short-term growth tactics too, but its harder without the great product behind it).

5
chaddeshon 6 days ago 3 replies      
I launched BromBone a few months ago. About 150 people signed up and tried it at least once. Most of them never came back after that. No one ever paid.

A few weeks ago, I refocused BromBone into a subset of what it was before. I've already got a handful of paid accounts and I expect a few more soon. I'm not rich yet, but some people paying is way better than no one paying. There is hope this time.

For BromBone, I think there are two main things that have made the difference:

1) The first version of the service would make developer's lives a little easier but still leaves a lot of development for them to do. The new version completely eliminates a pain for them with very little work on their part.

The first version could have been helpful to a lot of different people. I thought a bigger market would be better. Instead it meant:* I couldn't focus on one community* I had to try to market to communities I didn't really understand* It fix half of a lot of people's problems, but didn't completely fix anyone's

2) The new version has a landing page that looks more like a traditional SaaS landing page. I tried to go my own way to much with the previous landing page. I'm not a designer, and I didn't pull it off. I think the new landing page looks more legit to people and makes them more likely to recommend it to their boss.

--

BromBone v1 was a "Headless Browser as a Service". BromBone v2 is "Make your AngularJS, EmberJS, or BackboneJS website Crawlable by Google".http://www.BromBone.com

6
bdunn 5 days ago 0 replies      
I launched Planscope in February of 2012, and by the end of the first month, a little less than 30 people converted from a trial to a paid account, many of which are still around.

I credit a pretty aggressive campaign of relentlessly understanding my first batch of announcement customers businesses, their needs, and what was keeping them from having an ber-consulting business with the lack of crickets on launch day. Then again, I really didn't make launch day that big of a deal, outside of it being the first day I flipped the switch on the marketing site.

I'd have a LOT more customers if I knew what I know today about why people buy / don't buy project management software, and I likely would have focused first on audience building over building a SaaS. But that's sort of the point, right? Get something out there that people pay for, figure out why people are buying and why (more) people aren't, and continuously improve on that. So it's not as much of a Eureka moment that suddenly made Planscope take off as it was a lot of shots fired in a dark room, and inching up the brightness with each subsequent shot.

One thing that has worked really well for me: Gaining a customer through something other than my SaaS. I sell books, workshops, host a newsletter and podcast, etc. All of these are focused on making some component of a consulting business better. Planscope also helps better a few select parts of a consulting business, but has considerably higher adoption friction than a book purchase (e.g. ditching your current PM software and convincing yourself, your team, and your clients to shift somewhere else is not an easy task.)

So after someone's "entered my ecosystem" and started getting value from me through information, there's a good chance they'll discover Planscope, and by then they'll be familiar with my consulting philosophy and have enough trust placed in me to adopt my SaaS (there's more than a good chance, actually there are autoresponders in place to ensure it.)

And the proof is in the last few months of signups: more than 60% of all new accounts come from my newsletter or have read one or more of my books, and the overwhelming majority of support requests start with "Hey Brennan" :-)

7
josscrowcroft 5 days ago 0 replies      
https://openexchangerates.org was running as a free, no-signup-required ad-hoc currency API for about 8 months before a friend of mine kicked my ass and made me install a signup. I spent months playing with PayPal, test accounts, sandboxes, writing features nobody has yet used - but ultimately, when I put a "pay now" button on, I got my first subscriber the same day.

The old advice rings true: the hardest thing was asking for money. People were happier to pay than get it for free, because it ensured this service they needed and loved would still be around, and its developer could eat :)

The service really only grew thanks to the feedback of those early (and future) paying customers, too. They have asked the hardest questions, requested the most useful features, etc. - that has shaped the product and business more than anything.

8
mtkd 6 days ago 0 replies      
I see a lot of SaaS marketed directly at 'users' e.g. developers etc.

In 'enterprise' the person you need to be pitching is the CFO/FD - when finance teams see SaaS they love it - even if net it costs more than existing solutions over same period.

1) It helps to qualify/budget projects - splitting the service cost monthly by default

2) SaaS can be turned off - unlike massive cap-ex or long-term op-ex commitments

9
theflyingkiwi42 5 days ago 1 reply      
I've launched a few different businesses, two SaaS business and one software product.

In all three cases people bought it on day one or the first day after the trial expired. The first SaaS business I just posted on a few forums to come check us out. I was shocked when people purchased a yearly plan when we were still very much in beta.

However, it took two years before it started taking off, and then it suddenly did take off due to word of mouth. That was great, but also a double edged sword. Once better funded competitors arrived in the market, word of mouth went to them, and our sign-ups started to drop off.

To counter it, we did competitive upgrades. That was really our most successful campaign though it only worked online. We did advertise it in magazines but few people every signed up because of it.

With my latest SaaS, we had access to a huge opt-in email list. Lots of sign-ups on day one, and quite a few converted to paying customers once the trial ended. That said, having now done that for a year, we're still experimenting with different pricing and feature options.

I think the key to a successful SaaS business is to really understand your lifetime values, and how churn affects it. It can really help you define a successful marketing campaign.

Every model I've ever run on digital marketing shows that it will take approximately 5 to 12 months for it to start paying off. Add in your other overhead and it takes 2 years before you really start making money. But at that point, you will start making serious money.

To summarize, the most effective marketing tactics I've used are:

- competitive upgrades- referrals credits- e-mail marketing- white label branding of the same service with a major player in your industry (yes, you'll cannibalize some of your other sales but can be worth it)- google adwords

Once they are in, try to quickly onboard them. Once people start deriving value, churn decreases significantly.

10
sr3d 5 days ago 1 reply      
I launched http://marrily.com early December 2011, and within a few days I had the first sign up. I didn't advertise at all but had a soft-launch on HackerNews. Since then Marrily got mentioned on a few magazines (Brides, and NYMag) and totally via organic sources (they found me and reached out). I did a bunch of give-aways and sponsored-posts too. Building partnership is important since it creates endorsements and synergies. Depends on the industry, but for wedding in particular, traditional prints still give very good results. Even 6 months after the printed article on NYMag, I still have vendors contacting me for partnerships and new customers signing up via that source.

My current pending failure is that I haven't made much progress since the launch but ended up getting a full time job for a while to rebuild my savings. I spent all my money working/not-working on Marrily and I was pretty broke when I started working again. I'm not giving up, but more or less spend some time to grow personally and professionally so when I resume, it will be another exciting stage of the journey.

BTW, Rob Walling's interview in babuskov's comment is really good, full of food for thoughts.

11
jeffblake 6 days ago 1 reply      
When I first started goodnights http://www.goodnights.me & http://www.guestmanager.com I had a grand vision to take on a huge goliath, raise money, get employees, yada yada, the whole "start up dream". The product took many turns, adapting to customer demands.

After realizing event ticketing is quite the classic commodity, I asked myself, how can I differentiate my offering? I can't compete on features, service fee kickbacks, venue relationships, etc. So I built a guestlist component and targeted it directly for nightclubs. And so, after a couple failed fundings, working with crap people, I had a great product, a couple loyal customers, poor marketing. I've spent (am spending) tons of time to clean up the company (get it down to just me, no overhead, etc) - I've dropped the whole 'startup thing', now I'm building a SaaS company for myself & my customers, and see where it will take me. I prefer the freedom and debt-free lifestyle of living that it affords me, over being a CEO of some venture funded company.

But to really answer your question, I got my first (SaaS) customer by hanging out every night at nightclubs, getting a couple people to evangelize using my software through the beta's. Once it was good enough, such that I didn't have to do anything for the club to operate itself, I went to another nightclub and just sold them on it. It wasn't that hard because the product is good. The clinching feature in my case is the ability to add a guest to the iPad via SMS - promoters love that. Now I am trying to figure out how to scale up my efforts, see if any partnerships make sense, maybe move geographically (I'm in Vancouver, but American)

12
czbond 6 days ago 1 reply      
It took a while. We went from 0 to $100k in a year - with $500k before year 2, but we're SaaS for SMB's within a well defined niche. It was a long hard slog of pitches, demos, and conferences. I've since left as CTO because I didn't want to be in the niche we needed to pivot to.
13
griffordson 6 days ago 0 replies      
When?

Year 1 - 5 figuresYear 2 - 6 figuresYear 4 - 7 figures

Why? We knew the industry and knew the problems before we started. We had someone nearby who was desperate for a solution and confirmed they were willing to pay the high rate we were looking for. Technically, we had an interest in the types of technical problems they had and had spent years playing in those areas on side projects.

While working on an MVP we continued selling the vision to other prospects using nothing but balls and a PowerPoint presentation. We landed a second customer for year one and worked hard to keep them happy. Our MVP was barely that and we iterated based on the feedback we got from the first two customers.

Our fee structure puts us in a position where we only make money when our customers do. That makes it very easy to prioritize features based on how valuable they will be to our customers. This creates a nice tight feedback loop. When combined with our fanatical customer support, we have many die hard fans who do a lot of marketing for us in an industry where many of the prospects are good friends with each other and use trade shows as a chance to get together and drink with old friends and brag about the cool stuff they are using to help them with their business.

14
JonoBB 5 days ago 0 replies      
I founded http://www.accountportal.com about 4 years back. We had our first paying subscribers within the first month, but growth over the first 12 months was very slow.

Things continued to grow at an moderately increasing rate after that. Our initial app was based on Adobe Flex (i.e. flash backend); worst decision ever. The iPad was released - initially we thought (hoped!) that the decision to not support flash would be overturned in time. After a few months it was clear that we had to change.

It took us 6 months to completely rewrite our app, during which time growth pretty much flat-lined. However, the rewrite was probably the best decision ever, since it has allowed us to move much faster then we ever could before, and subscription rates increased.

I'd say that it took us 3 years to get it "right". There are still loads of things we need to improve (product tours, engagement emails, etc), but we're getting there. Those first years were tough, and many times we thought of giving up. We're now doubling numbers every 12 months. We're up against some pretty huge competition, and those kind of growth rates suit us just fine given that we have always been 100% bootstrapped and that we're now cash positive.

The two biggest factors in gaining traction were:(i) Trying loads of different approaches. Different marketing channels, different prices, different emails, different anything. Having said that, we sometimes get some really weird stats coming through that have no rhyme or reason. Why is one month 3 times more subscribers than the previous month, and then back down again? Sometimes it just feels like a "roll of the dice". (ii) Not giving up. We were in the fortunate position of being able to stick it out for a long time (some may say longer than we should have). I sometime heard stuff like "good entrepreneurs know when to give up", and I'd guess that some (most?) would have in the same position as us after a year or two. The early years were an absolute slog - so be prepared to think in terms of years, not months.

15
thibaut_barrere 6 days ago 1 reply      
I launched my first SaaS (https://www.wisecashhq.com - cash flow forecasting for freelancers and SBOs) in private beta one year ago.

I enabled the (upfront) paywall a couple of weeks ago and have currently 15 or so paying customers (the early adopters got a 20% lifetime discount).

For marketing, I'm going to use twitter, useful blog posts (educational, howtos) related to cashflow AND how to start your own SaaS successfully.

In terms of getting traction, I think that putting a very basic landing page a year and a half ago helped me get traction - I mentioned the product quite often on twitter while working on it.

16
somid3 6 days ago 1 reply      
they never did. everyone said they would, but when push came to shove, no one.
17
martydill 5 days ago 0 replies      
Well, for http://surveylitics.com, they haven't yet. ~50 people have registered for the free plan, or created a free survey, but no paid signups yet. The site's been up for a few months now.

I haven't done much marketing yet, though. Or reaching out to potential users or industries. Or really, any of the things that you're supposed to do... so it's nobody's fault but my own.

There are lots of great tips in this thread. I'll definitely be giving some of them a try.

18
dexcs 6 days ago 0 replies      
I run https://www.dozeo.com, a online meeting tool, and we had 2 minor changes in our software. We listened to customers and coded what they wanted to have.A public API was our biggest move towards a bigger customer base... My guess is that everyone wants to build his own thing and we can provide them a good software...
19
ngcoders 5 days ago 0 replies      
We started http://wpoven.com , 2 weeks back , first signup was 3 days in.

We never did any launch page, pre launch advertising ( actually a mistake) etc. But we own some other sites where we placed our banners. A one to one chat helped us secure our first client.

28
Ask HN: How do you find a US job, as a foreigner?
4 points by nvr219  1 day ago   1 comment top
1
Irishsteve 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Visa is the biggest hurdle I'd imagine.
29
Building a periodic table of programming languages; suggestions/feedback?
3 points by benshyong  23 hours ago   3 comments top 3
1
angersock 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Your reset button doesn't bring back the stuff I clicked on. :(

The real Periodic Chart has some rough guidelines for why elements end up where they do--weight, and so on, and things in the same columns have similar behavior in some ways (charge generally, as I recall). You might want to consider doing something similar for this--have all the prototype languages next each other, the lispy ones next to each other, etc.

Cool project though!

2
quietthrow 4 hours ago 0 replies      
My two cents.The idea is good but I am not sure if you are presenting it in the most user friendly way. When one selects a category or year its hard to easily get a clear picture of whats 'on' or falls in the selection selection and whats 'off' (whats not part of the selection criteria).
3
informatimago 23 hours ago 0 replies      
the perfect gaz column is filled with Lambda calculus, LISP, LeLisp, MacLisp, ZetaLisp, Scheme (with all its isotopes from rs, to r7rs) and of course the most stable of them: Common Lisp.
30
Ask HN: Any development teams in need of free ops help?
4 points by makerops  1 day ago   discuss
       cached 19 July 2013 20:05:01 GMT