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Ask HN: someone I care for is thinking of ending his life. I can't reach him.
10 points by oliv9286  3 hours ago   3 comments top 3
pallandt 1 hour ago 0 replies      
It's possible he just doesn't want to talk to you right now, if you've already made many attempts to contact him, leave it at that and don't escalate. You could be making him worse, even if you have good intentions.

Your friend is very young at 20, he may not realize this now, but has plenty of time to amend any past mistakes that at the moment he feels are 'unfixable'.

For the speediest recovery, he needs meds and hopefully an understanding psychiatrist that would find a way to prescribe him some without giving him a definitive/serious diagnostic that could hurt his future chances at getting a job.

It would also be good if his mother realized just how bad his current mental situation is, and that it's selfish of her to keep relying on him to continually provide for both of them. Does she not have any relatives that would take her in at least for a while, until he gets back up on his feet?

Your friend probably feels under a lot of pressure right now, and she's a part of the problem.

The best you could do for him is to support him, if he decides to keep living. There will be more jobs, as well as chances at going to college or gaining equivalent education via free Coursera, Udacity, EdX etc. courses.

He needs to start fixing his health first though.

Also, if you make any future posts about him, here or anywhere else, please try to be a little more ambiguous in order to protect his privacy as much as possible.

viggity 6 minutes ago 0 replies      
If you are concerned your friend is imminently planning suicide, you can call the police (look up the non emergency phone number) and ask them to do a "wellness check". My wife had a coworker who hadn't been heard from for a day so two women from the office had a wellness check done with the police and they found the coworker incapacitated in his home. See: http://www.ehow.com/facts_5823955_police-welfare-check_.html

also, depending on the circumstances and your local state laws, you can have your friend involuntarily committed for observation to a psychiatric facility, but a judge will likely have to be involved. To me, the Facebook post would be enough to seriously consider both of these options. (my wife is a social worker)

these may seem a bit extreme, but they are there for your friends protection. Its better to possibly lose your friendship and him live then having him end his life.

I hope this helps the immediate time being

EB5 44 minutes ago 0 replies      
Get him a job.

It does not sort out his psycological problems, but after reading his post, I assume this will at least stop this from spiralling out of control and give him some peace of mind, at least for some time.

I know this is kind of an unconventional advice, but I feel like his current down is more about his life falling appart, so fixing this is the first priority, then comes takkling the depression.

With a huge mortage and no job its hard to make him view the world more optimistically.

Just my 2 cents.

PS: Is somebody here from B.C, Canada and in need of a Web-dev?

Ask HN: I can't think straight, my life is in limbo, and I want to end it now
38 points by goodbyeworld  16 hours ago   34 comments top 31
jgrahamc 15 hours ago 1 reply      
You need to talk to someone. I don't mean you need to talk to a psychologist, you simply need to talk to someone now. There are many here on this site who have felt despair like you.

Go here: http://www.suicideprevention.ca/in-crisis-now/find-a-crisis-...

Find the number that is most appropriate for your part of BC and call it.

Your first two mistakes don't sound like errors to me, they sound like they were things done out of love for your mother. You have a heart. Your third 'mistake' only looks like a mistake now: life is long.

kio 2 minutes ago 0 replies      
Been there, done that. 1st off you have a chemistry problem in your brain. Not your mind your brain. This is a chemical imbalance that can be readjusted. A good 1st move is to printout a copy of your post here and hand it to a doctor. They have the antidepressants that will reset the brain's balance. You haven't done anything wrong and there are many people that are in your situation. We over-pressure ourselves creating a continuous stress that wears the brain down. When it happened to me the world actually turned grey. Amazing. You'll come out of this and then one day you'll be making a post that will help someone else. Oh,one other thing. About quitting that job, good for you. You have courage to speak your mind, that's a rare thing nowadays. You still have your skill-set and something better is just ahead.
sdoowpilihp 15 hours ago 1 reply      
First off, Knock it off; Your life isn't a joke, I can guarantee you that.

Second, I can offer you some advice that may or may not be helpful. My father had years of familial strife and issues with his father, brothers, and step mother. One day, after a lot of careful thought, he sat his father down, and told him that he wasn't going to be part of the strife and silly games anymore. My father gave his father a phone number and said "I'll do everything I can to keep this phone number. If you ever really want to talk this stuff out, you can call."

It took about 20 years and a terminal case of brain cancer, but the phone call came. And more importantly, in those 20 years, my father was able to focus on building a family and a career of his own, free of the pettiness, bickering, and abuse of his own family. It's hard to draw a line in the sand and set boundaries. It's hard to admit that a person you love will never give you the praise or acceptance you want so bad from them.

If you do accept it though, and you do draw a line in the sand, I bet you're going to be much better off for it.

eshvk 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I am not going to tell you what to do or not to do. That is something for you to decide. However here are some things to consider:

1. You don't need your father to "want you" or "call you his son" to be happy.

2. You can sell your apartment or drop the mortgage. It is not the end of your life.

3. You can take care of someone else only if you love yourself first. You don't have to take care of your mother.

4. So you quit your job, big fucking deal. You will eventually find another job. Hell, you can find a job making fries. Remember that.

5. Everyone makes mistakes; yes, even mistakes bigger than yours. It is not the end of the world.

Look man, life is harsh for everyone. The world knocks you hard sometimes. You gotta be there for yourself. You gotta love yourself. That is the only way to fight.

WestCoastJustin 15 hours ago 0 replies      
You have options! If you need to talk to someone call the BC Crisis Line @ 1-800-784-2433 [1]. I have called it on behalf of someone before and they are extremely understanding. You can also go to a walk in medical clinic and they can give you a referral to talk to someone.

Unemployment can be a tough spot when you have obligations, trust me, I have been unemployed too, you are not alone in this fight! BC is a beautiful place to live, and there are plenty of jobs in the lower mainland. I'm not sure where you are, but in Vancouver, you can check out bctia.org Tech Jobs section [2], there are 1215 listings. If you live on Vancouver Island, check out Viatec's Job Listings [3].

I would suggest you call the crisis line and also apply for the BC Employment and Assistance program [4], which will likely help you cover your house payment while you look for work. If your mother is unable to work then you would look at getting assistance for her too.

Also, keep your options open, there are lots of day labor places which you can just show up in the morning and get paid cash. It's summer, so landscaping is an option, etc. There are lots of jobs outside of IT which will help you cover your costs. Constructions is also an option. You can almost walk onto a site if you have boots and a hardhat.

[1] http://www.crisislines.bc.ca/

[2] http://www.bctia.org/Resources/BC-Tech-Jobs

[3] http://www.viatec.ca/job-board/results

[4] http://www.eia.gov.bc.ca/publicat/bcea/BCEA.htm

nicholas73 14 hours ago 0 replies      
One essential skill in life is knowing how to deal with losses. Ever notice how you play hard when you are behind in any game, but if you fall from the top you feel like quitting? That's where you are right now, so it's actually a good sign. You are in a great career field and managed to buy a home. That's ahead of many people already. Recognize that you are actually ahead, and you can fight back from any loss. When you take a break from the game, you realize you can climb back up just as easily.

In your case, you just need to fix your mistakes. First, find another job. Second, decide whether you can afford your house. Losing it is not the end. If it was a mistake, cut it out and lose the stress.

DO NOT LET YOUR HOME BE AN EMOTIONAL INVESTMENT. The fact is, it was not right for you, and not right now. Your mother deserves the best but she would much rather see you happy. Losing a house is nothing compared to losing you.

Bottom line, you feel like you are losing, but you are actually very much ahead. Don't let yourself go, because you actually have much further to fall than you think. Just fix your mistakes and move on.

pedalpete 12 hours ago 0 replies      
You started your post with "I can't think straight", and I think that is something you can maybe focus on. You realise you are not thinking straight, you realise your life is in limbo. Those are not reasons to end it, rather they are reasons to get your thinking straight. As many others have mentioned, there is help available to you, particularly in Vancouver.

I responded to your previous post about your PM, and I'm sorry to hear that didn't work out. Don't give him and the company the satisfaction of knowing they beat you. You're not done, you've still got work to do in this world.

There are MANY, MANY people far worse off than you at this moment, and they're pushing through, and fighting for something better. You're not alone, things will get better, as long as you stick it out, and know that you can.

Get your thinking straight, get out of limbo. You don't need a job or degree to define you. You don't need a father or family to know you exist. Your mother clearly knows you exist, and I suspect she needs you. What will happen to her without you.

Didn't Steve Jobs also not have a relationship with his father? Did that stop him?

thifm 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Man, I'd like to let you to know something: it's not about how fucked up you are, but how you deal with it.

Just to begin, I live in the third world and you live the life I wish I could.

So, you can get a job somewhere else. Do it. Now, let's put some focus on your life: YOU HAVE TO DO SOMETHING.

I have quit my job also but I got my shit straight by doing college and shit, even though I'm from a poor family and all my class had more money and 'happiness' than me.

You know what? Happiness comes from the inside, from the outlook you have of life. If you created this post right here, right now, that can only mean a good thing: you are striving for the best. I've been suicidal for a long time in my life and thats because I was trying, you know. It was hard as hell, but that made me hard, and this is what you become once you go over all those problems, everything will look small.

dccoolgai 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Assuming this isn't some kind of juvenile troll, you just wrote like 9 paragraphs of English prose without any obvious spelling or grammar mistakes... that puts you in the top 1% of people that can write. That's something.

Here, listen to this:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-WHW-QNswE

There, fixed it.

cpncrunch 12 hours ago 0 replies      
You are good to be rid of your shitty job. Nobody should have to work 80-hour weeks (unless there is a good reason, but generally there isn't) or put up a boss who thinks you aren't committed to your work because you haven't updated your friggin linkedin profile.

Also, home ownership isn't everything its cracked up to be. I live in BC as well, and I currently rent. I used to own a home in Alberta, but sold it when we moved. We realised that renting is generally cheaper than owning (when you add the fees and cost of having the capital tied up), and a lot less responsibility. In many places in BC (Vancouver, Victoria) owning a home is financially nonsensical.

Thirdly, it's time for you to start thinking about yourself as well as your Mother. It's good that you care about her, but sometimes you can burn yourself out by doing too much for other people and not enough for yourself. What good will it do your mother if you stress yourself out so much that you kill yourself?

404error 15 hours ago 0 replies      
2 weeks ago I was in a similar situation. I had suicidal thoughts, and was deeply depressed. I've had suicidal thoughts before, but I had never actually planned my own death before. It felt like there was someone else in my head and no matter how hard I tried I couldn't get the voice to stop beating me up. I was losing it. It felt like who I am was being stripped away from me. I was fine one day and the next I just lost it. I immediately looked for help, and rallied a support group. I went to a psychologist who then talked to my doctor and got me on anti-depressants. By the end of the first day I took my medication I felt 100x better. Turns out I might have been born with low serotonin levels. I had been diagnosed with depression at 17 but ignored it (now 28).

I know you might feel lost right now but you cant give up. Stay positive and seek help. It will get better I promise.

facorreia 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Call 604.872.3311 or 1.800.SUICIDE or go to http://youthinbc.com/about-us/contact-us/ for online chat.
jrn 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm up in mackenzie brushing minimum wage, sometimes less, it is piecework; nothing like physical labour, to motivate yourself. We've got work till Aug 12. You will be stung by hornets everyday and we work from 4am till 3 PM. There is a significant cost outlay to get a brushing saw, so I don't recommend this job. 25 bucks a day camp cost. Treeplanters and brushers pretty chill.Just in case you don't have enough hours for ei.

Edit-- also fathers don't really matter that much, for happy lives.


scheff 10 hours ago 0 replies      
There are some good answers and advice in the comments here. One thing that appears to have been missed is - there is an underlying issue that you may or may not have identified yet which will have a major impact on your psyche. Being rejected by a parent is one of the most soul-crushing things that can happen to a person. Our sense of self worth and our relationships with others is largely defined by our relationship with our parents ... the one people who are supposed to love us unconditionally.

I have seen its impact on friends and family, and it remains as a major influencer all throughout life if not addressed. I recommend speaking to a specialist about this.

oliv9286 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Please don't die, someone somewhere needs you, she hasn't had anyone she enjoys talking to as much in 2 years. She nearly lost her mind when she saw your facebook status, couldn't sleep, couldn't eat, couldn't focus on work, ditched the dinner plan that she had. Tried to phone you every half an hour but you wouldn't pick up.You never knew it was the most fun game jam and hiking she's been to, and how much she enjoys failing at badminton with you. And how sad she is about going back to college because she won't see you as much anymore. And how she's crying her eyes out reading this. Just don't die, please, i beg you.
mooneater 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Im in BC too, would be happy to chat, just msg me or reply to this comment with a way to reach you, what do you have to lose? =)
gotrythis 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I spent half my life feeling suicidal, and I'm talking daily graphic suicidal fantasies.

But something I heard once stuck. "Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem", and I made it my mantra. And you know what? Eventually life got better and now it's fucking awesome. There is always a chance of that, unless of course you kill yourself, and then you miss out on all that future joy.

lake99 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Given your ID, I know you probably won't see my reply. But still, here's my 2's worth:

> I have entered this world unknown to all except 2 people, both of who do not care if I existed or not.

Why exactly is that relevant? Your life can be worthwhile for you, whether or not anyone else knows about it. If you got to eat the best meal ever, would it taste any worse to you if no one else knew about it?

> soon I plan to leave this apartment and just walk.

Sounds good to me. I mean... the ending of toxic relationships. Do take care of yourself.

alexburan 16 hours ago 0 replies      
File for unemployment. Find another job. If you are a developer, you will find a new job in a snap.
gregorymichael 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I am so sorry you're going through this. Remember, you can always procrastinate ending it all, and do it later while you examine other options.

There is a community at DevPressed[1] of developers who struggle with depression.

I am a developer and gave a talk on my struggle with depression and the greater issue of Developers and Depression [2]. Email me if you'd like to chat - greg at baugues.com

1. http://www.devpressed.com

2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yFIa-Mc2KSk

iwannatalk 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Man, I feel your pain. Reading your post gave me strength, knowing that I'm not alone. I woke up this morning wanting to read Viktor Frankl's "Man's search for meaning" because inside I'm crying and I've broken.

I've known rejection my whole life. By my father, by family, by girls, by kids at school. When you give love and get rejection in return, it hurts. I stopped expecting anything in return when I give. I was picked on by every bully that came my way since primary school. My grandmother gave me nicknames all the time. I had no friends growing up and I thought of running away every day. I dropped out of college to support myself, took some financial risks and lost all my money. I quit my job a couple of days ago and I still have to get a new job. I'm on my last dime as I'm typing this.

But I know, somewhere on this earth, there's someone who needs me. I know it doesn't have to be someone I know today, it doesn't have to be my family, the girls that rejected me or my father (he wasn't there for the 20 years I needed him, then he passed away and we never met, having only spoken twice on the phone for no more than 2 minutes each time). Maybe it's an orphan who needs a mentor, maybe it's a woman who will think I'm "the one". Maybe it's a startup that needs another programmer, maybe it's just someone on the side of the road who just needs someone to talk to.

My good man, I just told you my story to show that there's still hope for people like us. We've known the worst, we've known failure and rejection but that's what makes us strong. We know how to give even when everything around us seems like a conspiracy to make us quit. You just gotta hold on. Speak to someone, call the suicide watch line. It will get better if you're willing to speak to someone.

All the best

jason_slack 12 hours ago 0 replies      
If you received a full scholarship to law school, then you must have a good head on your shoulders.

Talk to someone, keep your chin up.

Contact that law school and explain you needed to provide for you mom and see if they will let you in now! I have no idea if something like that would exist but doesn't hurt to explore it.

Jackmc1047 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Your life is not a joke. You've sacrificed tremendously to help someone who doesn't even seem to appreciate it. Your desire to sacrifice repeatedly for someone else is incredibly meaningful and rare - and such actions are far from mistakes. Empathy and compassion are the essence of meaning and you have an incredible ability to provide this love even when it is not reciprocated. Someone who lives this way could never be a joke.

You deserve happiness and you deserve to have your tremendous compassion recognized and returned in kind. I hope you will be able to put yourself in an environment that is free of negative individuals, because anyone lucky enough to be exposed to your tremendous selflessness could not help themselves but to respond with love and appreciation.

throwaway3930 4 hours ago 0 replies      
A lot of the comments are really condescending and unhelpful. There's a lot of posturing Silicon Valley bullshit on this forum, and it really sucks. If you can't say something genuine, shut the fuck up!

You aren't weak. Everyone can break, and everyone breaks in their own way. If you head down this road, always realize that the people telling you to suck it up are the ones who have their own problems they haven't dealt with. The vast majority of humanity are like piranhas to pain, wanting to rip apart yours in an attempt to fuel the broken soul inside of themselves. Your pain matters, trust me. You matter. You just need some help. You aren't a pussy, a fag or a loser. In fact, the people who don't offer help or make you feel bad usually have the dumbest reasons in the world for acting that way.

Sucking it up and soldiering on is exactly what has lead you into this mess. Now is the time to examine your life, possibly on your own or with someone who cares. It isn't easy and it may take years, even if you "know" what the problems are.

You are an adult man caring for your mother and she treats you badly. Something tells me you aren't the bad person here. You obviously know that somewhere if you felt the need to tell us in that way, and you just wanted it confirmed. I'm confirming it for you. Narcissistic parents suck. Please realize that your parent, despite how you feel for them emotionally, are a person like any other whom you didn't get to choose. Your dad also sounds like he needs his ignorant, posturing face knocked in...no offense.

Your problems are environmental. Maybe you have mental health issues too, but you're describing a toxic life with a forfeited opportunity, a terrible job, a useless, cruel father and a mother who needs a reality check.

If you die now, you never get to see it get better. You never get to experience reciprocated love, discovering new parts of yourself or pursuing a dream. You never get to live , which it sounds like you haven't done much of.

Don't do it.

jstark 7 hours ago 0 replies      
You do belong! but need to clear your head. you will think more clearly if you do the following 4 things:

1. get good sleep. 8-9 hrs for at least 5 days.2. go to the gym. run. lift weights.3. eat healthy. no sugar.4. try to reduce your stress.

also may want to consider seeing a psychiatrist. they may add 5-9, but will start you on 1-4.

qqqqqqq7777777 15 hours ago 0 replies      
When I was really depressed I thought it would be just another failure if I talked to anyone about it. You're very brave.

I noticed you didn't post contact info. If you decide to I'll talk to you. Maybe we could talk to someone more specialized as well if you want to.

superconductor 15 hours ago 0 replies      
It sounds like you have a lot of upside. You're smart enough for law school and a good enough programmer to get hired by a company.

Now you're going through a down cycle in your life. That's only natural. What you need now is to identify what resources are available to you. Find your safety net: are you eligible for employment insurance? Social assistance? Where is the local food bank?

Identify what you may need and start making phone calls and visits.

Your situation isn't much different than a severe storm warning. You know a storm is imminent. You need to calmly and purposefully make preparations. Bunker down. You'll survive and be wiser for it.

chudi 15 hours ago 0 replies      
You sound like you have a Narcissistic parent, you sound like me no too far in time, this is a phase, don't do something stupid.

Read this, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissistic_parent check this subreddit http://www.reddit.com/r/raisedbynarcissists/ and call a help line or talk to some stranger in a park.

Please talk to someone, get help with a shrink.

vimarshk 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I have had some worse situations, friends leaving, people dying in the family one by one struggling to find a job, finding acceptance and so on. I just began to think in the same way. Think about your mother and about the bright future, not on your past, start afresh. Even Gold has to go through fire to prove its purity. Just wait for things to fall into place and hustle, life will be awesome soon.
northwest 11 hours ago 0 replies      
One more thing:

If you do suffer from depression (and it sounds like it), you also need to know the following about it, before doing anything else:

Depression happens when your brain doesn't have enough neurotransmitters, such as serotonine, dopamine and some others (= some chemicals).

Where does that come from?

It can be a genetic predisposition and it can be your life circumstances (such as toxic people, toxic work conditions, a couple of "bad habits" or emotionally heavy events in your life) and often it's a very individual cocktail of those things.

But the take-away is this: In the end, it all comes down to A FEW MOLECULES IN YOUR BRAIN that are (temporarily) missing and that COMPLETELY WARP your vision of things. In other words: your brain is lying to you! How can you make the right decisions with that? You simply can't. And nobody can judge you for that.

You now probably see why taking one's life is not necessary, when you can correct the issue with meds almost instantly (within a few hours) and then get your shrink to help you back on track for the long term.

northwest 16 hours ago 0 replies      
You would probably benefit from working all of this through with a shrink. And no, I'm not part of those who believe shrinks are for crazy people.

EDIT: We think we make "mistakes". In reality, they are not mistakes - they are simply the things we logically had to do, given our initial genetic equipment combined with the environment we were born into (everything else is just a logical consequence of these 2). So there's no shame to be had or judgment to be made (judgment is something only uneducated people use).

EDIT 2: If you're feeling depressed, you may also benefit from adequate medication (but you need a shrink to evaluate this point). It can lift you onto a whole new level you may have forgotten it exists.

EDIT 3: And don't forget that every human being has an inherent value which is the same for everyone. You are worth exactly as much as Bill Gates or the slum kid. All the other judgments we make regarding ourselves are just artificial constructs.

EDIT 4: "You would probably benefit" was an error: You will definitely benefit!

What awesome idea did you have that never went anywhere?
9 points by zacmartin  11 hours ago   14 comments top 13
stevoo 12 minutes ago 0 replies      
i have build http://cygamerentals.com/Although i have a few customers it is nowhere near a successful as i would want it to be.I blame my partner as he did absolutely nothing.I designed, redesigned, advertised (ads,social), told people about, personally delivered games while he did nothing.

This is where a good partner would have helped a lot !

fbnt 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Back in 2004/2005 (pre-youtube era) I created a site with a voting system similar to Digg/Reddit where instead of links or text people could upload video files. My servers were able re-encode any video format into flash, and queue the videos into the voting system.I would grab the videos at the top of the stack (the ones with the most votes) and broadcast it on a streaming video channel shown in the front page. The streaming would've been non-stop granted that I had at least 24 hours of material uploaded each day, and guaranteed to only show the best videos voted by people.

It never took off because I was a scrappy student in the middle of nowhere (Italy) and 180$+/month for a dedicated server somewhere in PA was hurting my savings. I ran the prototype for a few months and then I decided to go back to my engineering classes. Sometimes I have the feeling that if I were born in SV I could've built something serious out of it.

alockj 40 minutes ago 0 replies      
Thought my mate and I had a winner with http://www.ultimategiftlists.com - basically create your own wishlist (by adding any item you stumble on across the web) and then share a link so people can buy it. But it never really flew..
chewxy 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I created edgeyo, which was a kickstarter before kickstarter. It didn't take off because the model was kickstarter + stock exchange made it extremely complicated to use. Then we found out there were laws everywhere about running a stock exchange, and there are laws about company funding... it ended up being too much to handle
krapp 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I wanted to build a public database of mechanics and motion. Using some web-based 3d modelling script like Copperlicht and (unknwown magic) I would set up a wiki like site with some standard human and machine models and people could add animations for those models, like martial arts moves, or dance moves, or... whatever.

It's either a stupid idea or a brilliant multimillion dollar idea for someone who isn't working off of their mother's old Dell.

rk0567 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I built a site : https://bootstrapthemes.me offline) it was a marketplace for buying and selling twitter bootstrap themes, but I couldn't get get quality designers in the network, so it failed, probably due to lack of quality themes.

The other one is : http://domainexchanger.net - a site for exchanging unused domain names.

fbuilesv 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I built a site called makeitpersonal (http://makeitpersonal.co) where you can highlight, annotate and maybe share song lyrics. Although I use it a lot, I'm probably the only active user (which by the way is OK, I built a tool for myself).
robszumski 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I spent a lot of time on http://buildafund.com/ which is a tool to create and track custom mutual funds. The end goal is to allow other users to invest in funds they can see are doing well.
Jeremy1026 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Mine would be daymealdeal.com. It was going to be a Groupon of lunch specials. I had it about 75% completed, but then I got a new job so it got backburnered, and now it is in the abyss.
rywalker 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I built an internet advertising network like Doubleclick back in the 90s when they launched, they did it so well that I became discouraged and stopped working on it.

In retrospect, if I had kept it going for the past 15 years, I'm sure it'd be a big business now.

sperm-donor 10 hours ago 0 replies      
But seriously, how about a site that manages agreements between people/companies etc.. we could do away with a lot of lawyers... :-
sperm-donor 10 hours ago 0 replies      
How about we had PKI to GPS signals..? That way we could trust they are correct..
sperm-donor 10 hours ago 0 replies      
What about that idea involving harvesting energy from people shagging?
Flynn (open source PaaS) 90% funded, only a day left...
23 points by rdsubhas  23 hours ago   4 comments top 4
argonaut 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Important to note that this is not like Kickstarter. It's not an all-or-nothing fundraiser. Any funds contributed will go through.
gabrtv 19 hours ago 0 replies      
googamooga 12 hours ago 0 replies      
arielpts 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Ask HN: why is the signup form behind the submit button?
4 points by alphamethyl  7 hours ago   5 comments top 3
patio11 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Every action on the website, including upvoting, clicking 'reply' (to a comment), using the add-a-comment textbox, and submitting things, will ask you to either log in or sign up if you haven't done that before.
pg 6 hours ago 0 replies      
To foil spammers. But we have other, better methods now. So maybe we can bring back a signup link.
gschiller 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Maybe it is because we do not want many new users who are not bright enough to navigate the website.
Ask HN: HN Political News Overload?
195 points by EzGraphs  1 day ago   142 comments top 40
davidw 23 hours ago 12 replies      
I've written a lot about this topic, but let's see if I can sum it up:

* Politics are way more important than most of what we talk about. So if we talk politics, we could easily fill the front page with it, and crowd out all the unimportant tech stuff. Who cares about Bootstrap when people are throwing bananas at a minister in the Italian government because she's black?

* People don't seem to get that you can compartmentalize: I care deeply about politics, but I also like having a high quality tech site that is about tech and startups. On these threads, people say that if I don't want politics on HN, I must not care about politics at all. Couldn't be farther from the truth. I also love to follow professional cycling, but I don't want politics on those sites either.

* Way more people care about politics than the stuff that makes HN HN. If we open the floodgates, it will attract lots of people who will dilute the site. As noted elsewhere, I think this is something of a feedback loop.

* I don't like the divisiveness of the subject. There are frequent posters here who have said they are Republicans, and given their statements on religion, maybe they're even in favor of $a_very_divisive_issue. I do not want to get into that discussion with them. It won't help anyone, will likely alienate people from the site, will probably lead to hurt feelings, and so on and so forth. I want to talk with these people about tech and startups. That's what we have in common.

* The quality of many of these discussions is not high, and for anyone who has been on this planet for a little while, little of it is a new or interesting contribution to the subjects under discussion. You can find the same topics discussed all over the internet, in every language.

* I think that the site has been "holed below the waterline" by the NSA stuff and the subsequent flood of articles, as well as the "outrage" articles about various grave injustices. Those tend to get a lot of upvotes and heated discussion too. I do not think that it will recover unless PG & Co start moderating it in a more heavy handed way.

glesica 22 hours ago 3 replies      
I think that this...

   > One of the most admirable things about hackers is their ability to accomplish great things without - or in spite of government.
... is really a pretty sad, small statement. If anything, government is of more importance to us because it is the hacker mentality itself that is under attack right now. The reason, I think, that so many of the recent issues have salience with this community is that what various governments are trying to do is to shut down disruptive economic and social activities, the lifeblood of the hacker community, in order to protect entrenched and well-connected interests.

At some point we all have to stop saying "well I'm a {baker, hacker, librarian, truck driver,...}, why should I worry about these problems?" and realize that this is world-altering stuff happening, and if you want your little corner of the world to survive, you have to mobilize to protect it, even if that means doing a little less of the things you normally do.

So I'm OK with more political posts, as long as something actually comes from the emotions they generate. Frankly, I've noticed a change in myself. Twelve months ago I didn't care one bit about cryptography and networking, they were just useful plumbing that worked (or didn't). But now I'm moving to learn more about these topics because of recent events and a desire to at least better understand what is happening. HN was partially responsible for this shift in my attitudes, so good on you guys!

TeMPOraL 1 day ago 1 reply      
I think the reason HN has seen more politics recently is that the topics directly relate to every-day life of hackers. Most of the things happening on the political scene are pretty much irrelevant to us (or to anything, really), but when someone is trying to break the Internet, we take notice.

pg actually described this quite nicely in 'The Word "Hacker"'[0]

[0] - http://www.paulgraham.com/gba.html

To quote:

To hackers the recent contraction in civil liberties seems especially ominous. That must also mystify outsiders. Why should we care especially about civil liberties? Why programmers, more than dentists or salesmen or landscapers?

Let me put the case in terms a government official would appreciate. Civil liberties are not just an ornament, or a quaint American tradition. Civil liberties make countries rich. If you made a graph of GNP per capita vs. civil liberties, you'd notice a definite trend. Could civil liberties really be a cause, rather than just an effect? I think so. I think a society in which people can do and say what they want will also tend to be one in which the most efficient solutions win, rather than those sponsored by the most influential people. Authoritarian countries become corrupt; corrupt countries become poor; and poor countries are weak. It seems to me there is a Laffer curve for government power, just as for tax revenues. At least, it seems likely enough that it would be stupid to try the experiment and find out. Unlike high tax rates, you can't repeal totalitarianism if it turns out to be a mistake.

This is why hackers worry. The government spying on people doesn't literally make programmers write worse code. It just leads eventually to a world in which bad ideas win. And because this is so important to hackers, they're especially sensitive to it. They can sense totalitarianism approaching from a distance, as animals can sense an approaching thunderstorm.

The another, more mundane reason, would be that political topics are very conductive to flamew^H^H^H^H^H^Hdiscussion, and we fall prey to this like everyone else.

As for my personal feel, I do think there have been a bit too many political articles here recently. Not because the topics are bad, but because most of them don't add anything new to the story.

Maybe it's time to start posting about Erlang again?


As for other solutions, maybe let's just wait 'till the Snowdengate blows over while aggresively flagging any political non-topics that tag along for a ride?

tikhonj 1 day ago 3 replies      
I think having some threads about politics--at least the main issues most people here care about--is very valuable. HN provides a particular perspective that is fairly hard to find outside other tech sites. Sure, the comments are not always up to quality and are sometimes quite extreme, but they offer a very interesting and often reasonably well-supported perspective.

The real problem is how many different articles and threads get upvoted on the same topic. One or two Snowden threads? Great! But ten or twenty? With more than one at a time? It's all too much. Not only does this take spots away from other relevant topics but it also fragments the discussion. And so we get repetition. Repeated comments, repeated ideas, repeated arguments... ad nauseum. I only have so much to gain from reading the same opinions over and over--especially if I agree with them!

This happens with other common topics as well, but it seems particularly endemic with certain political themes. Moreover, the political articles tend to be fairly similar to each other in nature and content. Sure, we get a fair amount of Go and Haskell articles too, but at least the articles themselves tend to vary quite a bit.

Of course, a very important aspect of HN is that everything is ultimately implicitly decided by the community. So here's my plea to everyone voting on articles: try to vote for fewer political articles, especially on "hot" topics. Don't completely ignore politics, but try to avoid having more than one every couple of days or at least more than one at a time.

Now, how do we actually go about doing this? I actually have no idea. Hopefully somebody else can come up with something :).

Wilya 23 hours ago 1 reply      
My problem with political topics on HN is that the focus is (in 90% of the cases) completely US-centric.

Hearing what US people think about their health system, their education system, their immigration system, or SF roads is pretty uninteresting to me, since it doesn't affect me. I can tolerate them once in a while, just to be aware of the general opinion, but I have zero interest in diving in detailled discussions on the details.

And the political context and problems in my country are completely different, so they can't even be taken as example or something.

felixmar 1 day ago 0 replies      
I suspect that PG has given up moderating Hacker News and currently sees HN mostly as an effective marketing channel for YC startups. Lately most replies from PG and many founders seem filtered to prevent the inevitable backlash. The raw opinionated discussions likely happen elsewhere and i miss reading those.
kjackson2012 23 hours ago 0 replies      
If HN wasn't interested in politics, the threads wouldn't make it onto the first page. If you don't like the post, then downvote/flag it. If you don't like the post, but your peers do, which appears to be the case, then suck it up. That's the whole point about crowdsourced moderation, you might not like what you see. Crying over the content of crowdsourced newsfeeds because it's not showing what you want is ridiculous.

Politics has been extremely important in the past several weeks to many Americans. It turns out that our hacker peers have been using technology to circumvent the Constitution. This isn't something done by lazy, government-level programmers. If you look at some of the other IT projects commissioned by the government, like consolidating government datacenters, those projects have all essentially failed. Instead, as Snowden demonstrated, you have a very, sophisticated mechanism to view everything about anyone. The programmers at the NSA are the very best of our peers. And they are working on arguably illegal programs that have made the US a worse place. It's certainly a worse place for foreigners who want to use services like Google, Facebook, etc. If I were a foreigner, there's no way I would use those services, since I have zero protection or privacy against the NSA. And if you are one of the 0.01% startup success stories and become billionaires, you will now need to face the US government and hand over all your user data.

Forgetting about politics, forgetting about things like the Constitution, and living in your bubble of a life is great if you're a kid, but the world doesn't work like that. Things like DefCon that remind people that sometimes you do have a reason to be paranoid is important. I was talking with an Ivy League 19 year old, and he didn't care that the US government was potentially reading everything about him. He said he had nothing to hide. This is the type of fate we need to avoid, having the seemingly best of the best being uneducated on things like like politics and ideas of simple freedom.

rdl 1 day ago 0 replies      
I have no problem with political issues on HN if they're issues inherently relevant to technology: US immigration, censorship, secret spying, DRM, CALEA, CISPA/PIPA/SOPA, etc. Things related to startup financing (JOBS Act and equivalent) are cool too.

Borderline are probably general education (edu tech or tech specific education are fine), maybe investment tax laws to the extent they influence startup investments. Healthcare is generally not relevant except as there are tech solutions (which is highly relevant); healthcare for startups or individuals working in tech is maybe borderline.

Unrelated political issues (gun control or gun rights, politicians in general, tax policy, war, ...) seem better suited for other forums.

What we really need is "meta headlines" where the ~10 daily articles about Snowden can get consolidated into one post with shared comments. Same thing happens whenever a new product is launched, too -- it's not specific to the content.

yareally 1 day ago 0 replies      
There's a few way to improve content without altering the system (which can take much longer and have positive/negative effects).

One way to instantly get more diversity in content is to frequent the "new" page more often. I find myself doing it more lately to vote up unique/interesting stuff that might otherwise get passed over. There's actually quite a few articles that are front page worthy that get passed over, but it takes time to go through and look. I just take a small break from working every now and vote a few up instead of waiting for them to hit the front page.

Another is to be more discriminative with what one upvotes. Avoid upvoting things from questionable sources or those that fall into being link bait/deceiving.

A third suggestion is to submit content that's accurate, informative and more diverse in hopes it gets upvoted. Try to find articles that you generally wouldn't find on another community.

Fancy algorithms and solutions aside, content on a forum is mostly a reflection of the current state of the community, for better or for worse. Alternatively implementing restrictions/policies would irritate some percentage of the community, but mostly that comes down to whether it's a percentage the community that one wishes to cultivate and maintain. As a community grows larger, interests become less focused more watered down as the community becomes more widely known. No major online community thus far I know of has been spared of that.

Addendum: I don't come to HN for the politics really anymore than I would come here for sporting news. I came here originally for the hundreds of insightful hacker/technology related discussions I have bookmarked and found more useful than any previous forum I have frequented. When discussions stray over into other interesting things at times, that's okay, but too much of any topic, tech/hacker related or not, becomes trite and repetitive.

DanBC 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Yes. There is far too much political nonsense on HN.

Most people do not downvote it. Most people do not flag it. A few people who have flagged it have lost flagging privileges.

Some of the new users brought in with political stories are using behaviours learnt elsewhere.

I've noticed a few long time users are missing. I don't know if that's got anything to do with the atmosphere on HN, or if they're just too busy at the moment.

But please, flag content that should not be here. Down vote comments that should not be here.

And please stop feeding the fucking trolls - While it's possible to have a discussion on the finer points of climate change science there are a number of climate change denialists[1] on HN, but there are also people happy to feed those trolls. It's disruptive and harmful.

[1] Also other wingnuts.

lifeisstillgood 1 day ago 0 replies      
I believe that Software is the new literacy. As such software will / is becoming a vital operational part of all parts of modern life, from drone operating systems to 911 call centres.

The new literacy has the capacity to bring marvellous new benefits - mostly if it comes with the attitudes that foster that literacy (most literate people do not advocate burning books, most software-literate people advocate net neutrality). (see pg (http://www.paulgraham.com/gba.html) thx to Temporal)

Like it or not, what we do for a living will impact everyone, and carries with it a political overtone for maximum success. That means hackers have a political role to play (not in the partisan sense, but in the broader life of a polis.)

And so we should do what HN does best - demand evidence.Agitate, vote for and lobby for empirically driven politics.Demand a law that requires every national or federal political decision to have a 95% confidence value of working. Seems simple :-)

ThomPete 1 day ago 0 replies      
Once Reddit turned into a liberal orgy I left and found HN which for a long time haven't been occupied by political discussions. (and I am not a republican)

Now it seems that the same tendencies are trending, which is sad because it's very hard to not see how this can spin out of control and attract the "wrong" people.

We should discuss things like healthcare, snowden, patent law etc. but try and keep a focus on the mechanics of these things, rather than the morals.

sanukcm 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't disagree that HN has been preoccupied with political issues recently.

Given the nature of these political issues (and their direct impact on tech) I'm not sure that this is such a bad thing.

As far as this thought:

> Great minds could be focused on better things.

I disagree.

I feel our focus on these things is extremely important. Don Knuth says it well here: http://www-cs-faculty.stanford.edu/~knuth/iaq.html

> "If day after day goes by with nobody discussing uncomfortable questions like these, won't the good people of my country be guilty of making things worse?"

Of course, this is just a re-wording of Edmund Burke's famous (and oft-used to the point of clich) quote: "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." The point is nonetheless valid, however. If hackers don't commit to thinking, speaking and debating about political issues relating to tech - who will? Sure, HN might be an echo chamber where we preach to the choir until our faces are blue - but it provides a place for us to hone our arguments, build alliances and keep our fingers on the pulse of the hacker community when it comes to such issues.

All of that said, I couldn't agree with you more on this point:

> "Very few are evidence of some "interesting new phenomenon". Most are a rehashing of the same old topics."

I'd definitely like to see less than 7 articles on the front page every time Snowden opens his mouth, unless all those 7 articles each have something unique and interesting to add to the discussion.

I'm not sure how this can be reconciled with the fact that if 7 different posts about the same thing make it to the front page, then there is obviously a massive interest in the community on that topic. What about the wishes of all of these contributors, who have voted already in our debate by putting the content on the front page in the first place?

One possible solution is to implement some sort of clustering system that groups posts about the same topic into a single "uber post" (with links to articles and a single comments thread). I'm neither a NLP nor a ML guru, so I have no idea how feasible this would be to automate given such a small data set. I'm also not sure if a manual tagging / grouping system would carry with it more overhead than it is worth. Most of the time (when we are blissfully ignoring the NSA, censorship, etc.) the front page is reasonably diverse.

smackay 1 day ago 0 replies      
Most of the political posts are related to the delay (or inability) in legal/social systems catching up with technological change. This is not really new but the frequency of these mis-matches are probably increasing as the technologies improve and get more widely used/deployed. There will be similar debates when each wave of change (3D printing, genetic engineering, etc.) hits the mainstream.

This all points to a greater requirement for technologists to be aware of and indeed in control of the political aspects of what is being created. The days of tinkering for tachnologies sake are probably becoming rather limited.

kmfrk 1 day ago 2 replies      
Hacker News is reddit, reddit is Hacker News.

I think the only alternative is go create a competing site with heavier, visible moderation.

A non-political Hacker News might have enough people interest to garner a decent audience. I am pretty fed up with the screeds myself and would welcome any (well-executed) alternative.

I haven't seen any competing sites/CMSes that weren't incredibly half-assed.

lifeisstillgood 23 hours ago 0 replies      
A quick summary of the discussion as I see it [#]

We would like politics threads on HN to be more heavily moderated (out of the way) because

1. HN is still US-centric, and US policy discussions are not the same as discussing the facts behind the politics.

2. We can get our political fix in (m)any other place(s).

3. The total number of political comments and discussions on HN that have add to the total sum of human knowledge is zero.

4. Finding articles that do satisfy ones intellectual cravings is hard and if it is not rewarded, will be done less and less.

[#] cos its had the highest signal to comment ratio for a very long time

peterwwillis 21 hours ago 0 replies      
If one more upvoted story talks about a possible controversial law that somebody doesn't like, or the latest development in The Snowden Drama, or a new article about how the FBI might be talking to the NSA about the CIA doing something somewhere, or how somebody in government might be doing some thing wrong, i'm going to bludgeon the mods with a LART.

We want hacker stories. Not the politico-news roundup for computer geeks.

kybernetyk 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Overload? Hardly because HN is self moderating. If the community wasn't interested in those topics they wouldn't rise to the top.

I for myself really like to read what fellow hackers think about certain topics. And for that HN is great. Because I certainly won't get that from the washington post comment section or /r/politics.

tomelders 21 hours ago 1 reply      
It's a tricky one. I for one discover most of the political issues relating to "hacker stuff" here on HN. I'd be worse off if it went away since I don't have time to spend on other sites.

But I agree, purely political stuff that has no relation to "hacker stuff" should probably be kept elsewhere.

But then, we're hackers. We're meant to be the people who find practical solutions to complicated problems, and I think that political issues do present the kind of problems that hackers would like to take on.

I don't know. Like I say, it's a tricky one.

acjohnson55 21 hours ago 0 replies      
"One of the most admirable things about hackers is their ability to accomplish great things without - or in spite of government. The recent preoccupation is a bit sad. Great minds could be focused on better things."

Government is certainly capable of excess, as we see on the front page of HN every day, but there's a tremendous irony (or blindspot, more accurately) in your statement. The computer industry as we know it, let alone the Internet, would not exist if not for the government. Many of us benefited from public education at some point in our lives, or were educated at universities by professors whose research is at least to some extent government supported. Let's not mythologize ourselves by pretending we build all of this great stuff on our own in a vacuum.

Like it or not, government plays a huge role in the hacker world. It can be both a huge force for innovation and an instrument of oppression. It behooves us to understand how government interacts with individuals and organizations, and current events. For me, the HN community does a great job of surfacing news stories at the intersection of politics and technology.

shin_lao 1 day ago 1 reply      
It's probably because everybody has got on opinion on political issues, whereas technical matters might generate less feedback...
brymaster 18 hours ago 0 replies      
EzGraphs: just because you don't find the topics of...

- patents


- mass surveillance

- privacy

- censorship

...interesting, doesn't mean that others do not. These are all very real issues happening now and affecting the tech industry (you know, the livelihood of most people that post here).

I know, for example, many programmers start squirming when these issues come up because they're of the personality type that 'don't want to rock the boat' but technical and 'political' issues overlap in a major way.

Certainly you wouldn't find these recent posts more relevant than the topics at hand?

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ollysb 1 day ago 1 reply      
HN is currently the best site I know of for quality political discussion. It doesn't cover the broadest range of topics though, heavily leaning towards politics related towards technology. I'd actually like to see a broader range of political stories. HN has grown hugely over the last few years and I'm sure PG is resisting the urge to become more than a site for hackers. Having said that it seems to have become that already. Some way to tag and filter the stories would seem like the best way forwards. Any thoughts?
runn1ng 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I will add this:

I generally don't mind the news, but the discussion at these submissions are generally pretty retarded; and what is more scary to me, a lot of nonsence gets upvoted and a lot of voices of reason get downvoted.

But I guess we are just becoming new digg/reddit/(take your pick) and this is inevitable.

Zarkonnen 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm going to have to point out that "One of the most admirable things about hackers is their ability to accomplish great things without - or in spite of government." is in itself a pretty political statement.

But I definitely think it would be nice to not have the entire front page blanketed with posts on the same current affairs topic. Not sure how to do that though, without introducing tags, or categories, or asking/forcing people to post links as comments if there's an existing post on the topic.

patdennis 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I eat sleep and breathe politics. It's what I do for a living, and it's most of what I care about.

That said, I don't come here to read about politics.

narrator 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Politics is popular now because the hacker news crowd are like a bunch of geeky high school kids who obsess about the gang that's been bullying them. Their brilliant intellectual life is decimated by thoughts about the bully gang.
Zigurd 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Surveillance, patents, DRM, and education have a direct impact on the technology industry. Getting these things wrong could destroy our industry. Health costs make it significantly more difficult to hire staff for new ventures.

If there was a problem with electric power in the US, we would be talking about that.

MichaelMoser123 1 day ago 0 replies      
One could add a new political page, there is one for 'ask' and 'jobs', maybe there should be one for 'politics'.
tareqak 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I think if you look at submissions from a numbers standpoint, the main difference between political news submissions and "hacker news" submissions is the number. As annoying as it may be, there are more outlets (publishers/bloggers/articles etc) for political news than there are for hacker news. Therefore, when someone writes about his or her weekend project, there is one article; when a major security flaw is found in some piece of hardware or software, there are three articles/blog posts; and when something like news about SOPA/NSA/Snowden breaks, there are five to ten (or even more) articles/blog posts/news media pages.

If we generously assume that 100% of arrive on HN as submissions, then it makes sense that the distribution of submissions will weigh towards the more popular in terms of number of submissions for different articles for the same topic (visualize a histogram).

My solution would be to have a way to merge separate submissions that fall under the same topic (basically, one or more URLs per topic). How it would be implemented (tags, users marking submissions as "similar" or "flagged for merge") would be up for debate.


Maybe a single optional "political" tag with a profile setting and/or a separate subsection for submissions marked as "political".

rb2e 23 hours ago 1 reply      
People are passionate. If a subject comes up which ignites the passion and touches them, they will get worked up about it. Its not a unique feature of HN. Its everywhere from Reddit to Facebook and YouTube comments.

Ive come to believe there is a lot of group think when it comes to the nature of comments. Its a consensus of opinion and if you write something which goes against the tide of the consensus, you will be down voted especially when its around subjects people are passionate about it. I dont have a problem with this per se but it can be annoying when you just wish to give an opposing view point.

The fire, anger just touches some and the quiet ones shy away from posting for fear of down votes and those who just wish to give an opposing viewpoint, end up being censored by down votes and negative comments. To be honest, its seems Reddit has influenced a style of voting behavior. Its a hive mind mentality.

I personally believe if you stopped displaying the total Karma for each comment and on your profile, it would stop it being a point scoring mentality. Quality content and discussion, not gaining karma points should be the focus. Keep the number internal. Sometimes people say something popular just to get points of Karma but there is no benefit of having a Karma total displayed, it just turns into a phallus measuring completion ultimately. With the total Hidden from profiles and comments, you will see in time a different dynamic.

rpicard 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Yes! Over the past several months I've found myself wishing that I was in a better position to launch a site that is solely for tech links.
DanielBMarkham 1 day ago 0 replies      
When I started working with computers, nobody had one. People who programmed computers wore suits, and went to work in special air-conditioned rooms. Then we went through a stage where anybody engaged in commerce had a computer. My dentist had several computers. Finally, we're at the point where everybody in the world has computers -- many times several of them.

My point being that it's very difficult to distinguish between a computer story and a dentistry story. Computers are everywhere. They are part of everything. Likewise, people who hack and busy hacking everything. As hackers, we are involved in most all of the world's activities.

As several other commenters have pointed out, it's not that hackers are suddenly interested in price subsidies for turtle farmers in rural Texas. It's the other way around. It's that politics has invaded hacking. Political-types are taking the tools we have developed to help people and are using them for massive surveillance.

I think we do a great disservice to technology and ourselves if we view anything outside of technical, startup, and nerd-bait topics as not germane here. I think there is a difference between partisan bickering about some issue where one party is wanting to fight the other, for instance the issue of minimum wages in the U.S., and an issue like the extent of foreign participation in Echelon.

So sure, divisive political stories on social issues that only create strife and division? Count me out on those. Stories about how the tech we use and develop every day is being used to harm people? If that's not hacker-related, I don't know what is.

beaker52 21 hours ago 1 reply      
I think it should be left to the will of the upvote.

If people want to upvote it, they shall.

patrickwiseman 19 hours ago 0 replies      
It's been a much more acute phenomenon lately, but that's what I'd expect when there is an onslaught of stories that are going to upset hackers.
northwest 1 day ago 2 replies      
This of course leads to the question "What counts as a political post?".

The reality is: Everything is connected and interacts and we usually prefer to ignore this fact, because it "makes things easier" (only on the surface).

There is a huge link between technology and politics.

Personally, I believe it is in our future's interest that we learn to think more complexly.

EDIT: Can you answer the question "What counts as a political post?", so we're on the same page?

northwest 1 day ago 3 replies      
Can somebody please answer the first question "What counts as a political post?"

- Is "Snowden" = politics?

- Is "NSA" = politics?

- Is "War machine" = politics?

- Is "Poverty" = politics?

- Is "Unemployment" = politics?

Let's first try to see if "everybody" has the same definition.

Then "HN management" can update their manifest so we actually do have a tangible result after this discussion.

EDIT: As of now, we still don't have an agreed-on definition for what counts as "a political post". Or am I taking this discussion too seriously? Please downvote if you feel it was a bad idea I signed up on this site, I'd like to know...

jlengrand 22 hours ago 0 replies      
And I would be even more precise : US based political news.
swehner 20 hours ago 0 replies      
"One of the most admirable things about hackers is their ability to accomplish great things without - or in spite of government. The recent preoccupation is a bit sad. Great minds could be focused on better things." What, what, what? Better things?
PavlovsCat 1 day ago 1 reply      
Oh yeah, more articles about Bootstrap 3 please. I hear it got released or something, and it has flat buttons.

Great minds could be focused on better things.

For that, great minds would first need to stop patting themselves on the back, and be concerned about more than what's on their desk or in their bank accounts. Supposedly great minds built drones and surveillance technology the not so great minds get to clean up after. Oh so great minds are giving politicians who can hardly spell "web" correctly these fantastic toys because... hmmm, why, actually?

Maybe it would help if you defined "great mind" first? Consider Einstein, Russell or Chomsky, for example. Consider Socrates or just about anyone... If they had two brain cells to rub together, chances are good they cared about politics. Saying that politics doesn't have any place on HN is itself a political stance in a way, and it's hardly like all stories are about politics now.. we simply have those, too. What's so horrible about that? What kind of fucked up beauty sleep does it disturb?

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patio11 2 days ago 2 replies      
Any system which allows you to locally decrypt information, for the purpose of doing anything for the user, should be assumed to allow an attacker who roots the box to locally decrypt information. That's the unfortunate harsh technical reality.

If you have compliance reasons motivating this need for encryption, you'll find that e.g. HIPAA and PCI-DSS ignore technical reality, in favor of requiring that you encrypt information stored at rest and imposing substantial penalties on you if it leaks. There are a variety of ways to do this. One fairly common one for HIPAA-compliant applications is putting the e.g. MySQL data files on a partition which is block-level encrypted. You then issue decryption keys to folks who need them, such as e.g. the application.

If your host is totally compromised, the host holds both the decryption key and the ciphertext, which means "Sucks to be you." However, this does provide non-zero increase in security (e.g. if an old copy of the DB drive ends up floating off to eBay because of poor physical control on your part, and you can document that it doesn't include the encryption key, you just avoided a reportable information breach), and it does check the appropriate boxes on e.g. HIPAA.

michaelt 1 day ago 1 reply      
1. If at all possible, don't store credit card numbers in your database. A payment gateway will take care of this for you - you have an iframe the user uses to submit their credit card details straight to the payment gateway, and the payment gateway gives you back a token you can use to charge and refund at your convenience (locked to your merchant account so not useful to attackers). DataCash and Chase Paymentech are two companies that provide this service, and I'm sure there are others too.

2. If the user forgets their password and resets it, ask them to re-enter their credit card details in case their e-mail has been hacked. (Also ask them to re-enter their details for deliveries to new postal addresses, if applicable)

So if you can't access CC data after a customer resets their password, that's no problem.

3. Use database-level security; set up roles and accounts in your database so tables containing sensitive data only have select grants to apps and users that really need them. When a table has some columns that are sensitive and others that aren't, set up a view with the sensitive columns replaced with placeholder data and give them access to that instead.

RyanZAG 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'd say the first thing to understand here is that absolute safety is impossible in this case. If the hosting server is compromised, password loggers can be installed and even the login page itself can be altered to remove any form of security. With access to emails, an attacker could send an official email asking everyone to reset their passwords, etc.

So your question is actually: How can I make my system divulge the least amount of data as possible over time to someone who has compromised the service?

To hamper someone from changing your service to remove security you could set up daily checks from a server hosted in a different location to download your static resources and check them against a pre-validated hash.

For storing data - as others have mentioned - the key is to store that data in a way that it cannot be accessed from that one server alone. A simple solution for this is to setup an internal service that will provide the data when given the correct login details. This gives the attacker an additional server he would need to hack. If you keep this layer as simple as possible it can add a lot of security. Of coarse, if the hacker is able to compromise your server for a long period, he can record anything passing through here anyway.

In the end though, the web-server itself is a lynchpin in which all customer data has to flow at some point, and if that key server is compromised for a long enough period, eventually all data can be extracted regardless of precautions. That means that designing your web service with security in mind from day 1 is very important. Regardless of what people try to sell you here, there are no silver bullets that will prevent data theft - only mitigate the impact or delay it.

bradleybuda 1 day ago 0 replies      
As many commenters have pointed out, there are theoretical problems with what you're asking for (if you can decrypt the data, then your attacker can too). But, there are some practical things you can do to make the attacker's life harder:

- Don't write your own cryptographic code or design your own crypto systems; use existing libraries as much as possible.

- Separate your reads from your writes. Using a public/private key pair, you can give one set of systems the ability to write encrypted data but not read it, and a different set of systems the ability to read the data. The systems that can decrypt / read data should be isolated as much as possible - don't expose them to public networks, limit which operators have access to them, etc. The separation also forces you to encapsulate your secure data and define an API over it; rather than arbitrary reads, hosts that don't have the decryption keys will have to ask the hosts that do to perform specific operations. If you're writing a Rails app, the Strongbox gem [1] enforces this pattern for you.

- Rotate your encryption keys.

- Don't store keys in code. Follow the Heroku pattern [2] of storing any sensitive data (i.e. private keys) in the environment, where it is bound at runtime to your code and encrypted data.

- Store as little sensitive data as possible. Make sure data you don't need any more is periodically purged.

- Human processes are just as important as code; keep track of who has access to sensitive data, make that access opt-in, and remove it when those people change jobs or are terminated. Do everything in your power to keep those operators from being phished (user education, two-factor auth, etc).

- Don't store credit cards if at all possible. Find a payment processor [3] to do it for you. It's not worth the headache, it makes you a more attractive target, and it may come with additional legal overhead (depending on your jurisdiction).

[1] https://github.com/spikex/strongbox

[2] http://12factor.net/config

[3] https://stripe.com/

raverbashing 2 days ago 2 replies      
- Keep passwords in memory (so as if you start the service it prompts for the password)

- Asymmetrical crypto. So for example, you encrypt your CC data upon sign-up but then to run the charges you need the private key (and this is somewhere else)

- Enable SSL communication with your DB. Postgres has this, because being defeated by network sniffing is bad.

jahewson 1 day ago 0 replies      
The best practice for storing sensitive data: don't. You have to design your system presuming that someone has hacked your server - if the encryption key is stored there, they can find it.

- As you're aware, password hashes are a way to avoid storing sensitive data (though they should still be treated as sensitive). You're using a strong hash function and a salt, right?

- Re-use the principle of password hashes for API keys to simply avoid having to store hyper-sensitive data: generate a long (say 512-bit) secure random number (using OpenSSL) as the user's secret API key. Then hash the key as if it were a password and store only the hash. Now if someone steals your API key database they can't use it to authenticate as your users.

Note: for API keys a strong hash such as bcrypt will probably be too slow and resource-intensive. However, because API keys are (long) random data, unlike passwords, you can use a faster hash function like SHA-1.

- As for credit card data: don't. You probably can't afford the PCI audits and dedicated hardware and the same principle applies: just don't store sensitive data. Instead, many payment gateways offer 'tokens' for recurring payments in which you pass the payment information to their API without storing it (or use their hosted page in iframe, if acceptable to you) and they return a token which can be used to charge against that card in the future. Not all payment gateways offer this, and some charge (too much) so take a look at https://spreedly.com/ which offers a middle-man gateway service which adds tokens and other API feature to pretty much all of the payment gateways.

As you can see, in both cases it's possible to simply avoid storing the most sensitive data.

brasetvik 2 days ago 0 replies      
There's a book series "Translucent Databases" with a lot of interesting use cases, where the assumption is that an adversary has gained access to the entire database.

I've only read the first edition, and it's some years ago, but I'd recommend giving it a quick read. :)

jevinskie 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is an ideal use case for homomorphic encryption, whenever it becomes useable.


adg001 1 day ago 0 replies      
If statistics are considered sensitive, you can use cryptographic counters in lieu of their plaintext counterparts.

A cryptographic counter is a public string representing an encryption of a quantity, satisfying the following properties:

1. Subjects with access to the public-key can update the encrypted counter by an arbitrary amount, by means of increment or decrement operations and without first decrypting the value (i.e., the operation is performed over encrypted data);

2. The plaintext value is hidden from all participants except the entity holding some secret key;

3. The adversary can only learn if the cryptographic counter was updated (i.e., information about whether the counter was incremented or decremented is kept hidden to all participants except the secret-key holder and the updating entity -- honest-but-curious threat model).

An implementation is available at https://github.com/secYOUre/Encounter .

harrytuttle 1 day ago 1 reply      
We keep encryption keys for sensitive data in active directory and have a front end firewall, web servers, midplane application firewall, back end service layer cluster, internal firewall before anyone front facing can get at the info. The decrypted data is never passed to the web layer.

To gain access, someone will have to root two separate active directory domains after breaking into multiple low privilege accounts and a database cluster.

Possible always, but we make it a hard target.

EGreg 1 day ago 0 replies      
Let's say you are able to perfectly encrypt something so that only the people who have "authorized access" can get the data.

You still have a problem of determining who these people are. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confused_deputy_problem

Your best bet is to have three-factor authentication (something they are, something they have, something they know) generate a key to encrypt the data. Then their user agent still has to be trustworthy (no viruses on their computer, etc.) In addition it has to not be tricked by various exploits (such as https://www.owasp.org/index.php/Session_fixation, https://www.owasp.org/index.php/Session_hijacking_attack, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cross-site_request_forgery, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cross-site_scripting). You also have to secure the channel, preferably with TLS using Diffie-Hellman Key Exchange or some other way that won't be compromised just by stealing keys on the server. Even with all this, the Web (HTTP) is not a good way to access the data on the server, because the client usually loads all the code it runs from the server, and thus has to trust the web server not to serve malicious code. Otherwise the server can later do a http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Man-in-the-middle_attack such as a http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Replay_attack, to get the same data. And when I say the server, I mean the server compromised by some hackers who got root access credentials. And so forth.

In short, you will never have perfect security, just approximations. (Unless possibly if you make use of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_cryptography)

rythie 1 day ago 1 reply      
Here's an idea:

Use the user's password to decrypt a key, that then decrypts the data - which I know you can't do because of password resets...

So to deal with password resets, create another password which decrypts the same key. Store that other password in a physical safe, possibly in a bank safety deposit box. This will slow down password resets to a manual process of course.

For additional security you can store these split a password in two or more pieces and store in different banks. For convenience you could allow users from the same organisation to reset each other's passwords (since they all have access to the same key).

Also, use a IDS so you know know as soon as you've been hacked - because people logging in at that time are still at risk.

adamlj 2 days ago 1 reply      
If you have to store CC data inhouse I would suggest storing it on a completly sepatate machine which only stores and charges cards. The only communication allowed from this box would then be Store this card, Charge the card with this token etc.
dankohn1 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm a fan of using client-side encryption so that the database only ever stores encrypted content, and therefore can be treated as out-of-scope for PCI compliance purposes.

Take a look at https://github.com/braintree/braintree.js which is a nice library for encrypting data with a public key before being uploaded.

This is a specific exception to the generally correct concept that Javascript cryptography is bad and should be avoided. http://www.matasano.com/articles/javascript-cryptography/ Of course, it's essential that the whole transaction take place over SSL.

And even then, you still need to have a set of machines that can read from the database and access the private key, and those machines must be highly secured, as well as supporting requirements like key revocation and key rotation.

halayli 2 days ago 1 reply      
use Asymmetric encryption and store the private key in an HSM. The private key never leaves the HSM device.
a_smith 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've recently been looking into the same issue. I need a way to encrypt data before inserting it into a database in such a way that the person inserting the record can read it, their supervisor can read, but their colleague can't. It needs to survive a password reset and I don't want to store any keys on the server unencrypted.

This lead me to attribute based encryption and the libbswabe library. The idea is you generate a master keypair and from these you generate private keys for each of your users. Your user's private keys can only decrypt data that was encrypted with attributes that were also applied to their key.

For example, let's say we have 2 users Alice and Bob. Alice is a supervisor for the IT department. Her key was generated with the attributes "alice" (her username) and "itdepartment". Bob is a normal employee in the IT department, the only attribute applied to his private key was his username "bob"

Now lets say we use the master public key to encrypt each of the fields in the user table (Firstname, Lastname, Email, etc). If each field for a user record is encrypted with the attributes: [current_username] and "itdepartment", then Bob can decrypt his fields because they are tagged with "bob" and "bob" is an attribute in his key and Alice can decrypt her record through the same logic AND every record whose fields were encrypted with the attribute "itdeparment".

If users private keys are encrypted with their password and stored in the database, then the only way you can get Bob's key is to break his password. An attacker now has access to the data that Bob's key can decrypt, but importantly, not everything. If Bob forgets his password (and therefore can't access his private key) then a new one can be generated and all it needs to do is have the "bob" attribute in order for him to have access to all his old data.

Now this is by no means a complete description of a solution, you have to securely store the master private key (you only need this to generate private keys for your users though, not for every put/get request), there's issues around key revocation and lots of gaps in my description, but these issues are present for any crypto system. Attribute based encryption though seems to me like it overcomes a lot of the issues that plague other solutions, the biggest single one being that other solutions require the master private key to either be on disk, or in memory at all times, this solution doesn't need that.

buro9 1 day ago 0 replies      
patio11 got this right, if your application is able to decrypt it, then nothing you can will secure this data. Encryption is not the tool that you are looking for.

You can persist with encryption, but only if the user holds the key, ideally via 2-factor auth.

Instead of this, I'd go for whitelist of access, audit logs, monitors, rate limiting and alerts.

If you hold all the encrypted data and the keys, you only need your application server to fail. My personal view is that worse than thinking you have security is not responding (or even noticing) when the inevitable happens.

Configure your systems to be as secure as possible without going down the obscurity path, and then tripwire everything and know what unusual patterns of activity look like and who did what.

Eduard 2 days ago 1 reply      
What is "CC data"?
My free instant image upload site for those click and share moments
3 points by Prefinem  10 hours ago   3 comments top
ivanbrussik 10 hours ago 2 replies      
feedback: just did a test and it took me about 2 seconds to find the URL instead of seeing it instantly.

the URL to be copied/pasted should be BIGGER OR should stand out really well.

i also love that you can see a thumbnail

the domain is kind of "meh" its not really easy to say out loud, know what i mean?

wish imgur was this simple

Ask HN: Hiring Ruby developer
2 points by reggievc  8 hours ago   2 comments top 2
tagabek 4 hours ago 0 replies      
There are monthly threads where people can post jobs like this, which are posted on the 1st of every month.

These are the list of those posts for each month:


rk0567 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I just sent you an email. [checkout my profile for contact/project details]
Ask HN: Tools to achieve your goals?
2 points by edwardy20  8 hours ago   5 comments top 4
tagabek 4 hours ago 0 replies      
"Commit" is a nicely designed iPhone app that does this.


j2h6mW 7 hours ago 0 replies      
It's not exactly a stand-alone app, but Org-mode in Emacs is pretty excellent for this. I like it because I can take text files with me anywhere (even onto a smartphone if I'm using a syncing app like SpiderOak).

Here's a link to get you started: http://orgmode.org/worg/org-gtd-etc.html

jlengrand 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Thats exactly how dev management tools like Jira work.
lujaw 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I am using app called Everest on the iPhone. You can set due date for the goal(dream) and break it down into smaller tasks. Its awesome.
A blog about Python
10 points by yasoob  14 hours ago   1 comment top
ereckers 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Cool. Waiting to see if you catch hell for running your Python blog on a WordPress hosted account.
Ask HN: is it legal to price discriminate based on Geo-IP
4 points by lifeisstillgood  14 hours ago   14 comments top 10
patio11 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Ask a simple question, get a simple answer: not illegal. It may or may not be wise operationally.
relix 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I think I read an ancient article from Joel Spolsky (?) about this once. Basically if you're going to charge different prices for the same product (the context was A/B testing price), you could marginally change the product so that there's no real difference, but at least they're not exactly identical. It would circumvent the question you're having if you're not sure about the legality, because they'd be different products legally. There's no law that says you can't not sell something.

If your product is software/SaaS, it's very easy to do this: allow 101 actions per month instead of 100, offer longer trial, change the colours/interface, offer longer money-back-guarantee, ... Of course be careful that these changes themselves don't skew the A/B testing.

ignostic 14 hours ago 1 reply      
IP-based pricing is in itself not illegal in any jurisdiction I am aware of, but that doesn't mean you're in the clear.

Legally, you may not charge one protected class more than another. For example, you cannot charge a racial minority more or less for the same service. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_discrimination#Discrim...

But that's not what you're trying to do, right? You don't mean to discriminate intentionally. That just means you are not guilty of "disparate treatment." IP-based pricing will, however, almost definitely lead to "disparate impact."http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disparate_impact

If you charge people in certain areas more, you're almost certainly going to end up charging more on average to people of a race, religion, or other protected class. It might not be your intent, but the outcome will be the same.

Given the potential PR or legal problems, I'd strongly advise you not to price a product or service based on geographical regions.

fosap 13 hours ago 2 replies      
Asking for different shopping fees and taxes should not be illegal anywhere.

The price itself could be more tricky. Of course it highly depends on your jurisdiction, but i some this would easily racial (or ethnical or whatever) discrimination.

Also I'm almost entirely sure that this would be a violation of the "one market" principle (and therefore illegal) of the EU if you operate from the EU and distinguishes between two EU countries.

But I'm not a lawyer or ever tried this.

aresant 14 hours ago 0 replies      
A sort of interesting side bar - Capital One may have offered different rates to different customers by browser type ->


kerenyaniv 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Should be legal, but as previously mentioned - you better create a product difference which will make it easier to justify the price discrimination.
kitcar 14 hours ago 0 replies      
In some cases Yes. Specifically, for government regulated products such as Credit and Insurance it may be illegal to price discriminate based on Geo-IP, as the factors allowed for use in determining the pricing of the product are set by the government.

For example, I vaguely remember reading that in Quebec, Canada, you are not allowed to use people's location (postal code) when pricing banking services, for example.

ra 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Microsoft does it, Adobe does it, Apple does it. It's not illegal but that may change [1]

[1] http://www.smartcompany.com.au/information-technology/056753...

jeffmould 14 hours ago 1 reply      
There was an article in the Wall Street Journal about this back in December. In particular it dealt with office supply stores having different online prices for different locations based on zip codes.


lifeisstillgood 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I have a sneaking suspicion the answer is buy two domain names and serve them from same server.

But then people in Tokyo could theoretically visit the lower priced service site. I recognise there are many barriers to this (not least language) but how will this arbitrage be dealt with "in the future"?

Ask HN: How do you motivate yourself?
51 points by kevutu  20 hours ago   51 comments top 31
edw519 19 hours ago 5 replies      
My father dropped out of high school to help support his family. He served in the military and started his own business. Except for Sundays, he worked his ass off 12 hours every day of his life until he died.

My mother could have been anything, but never got the chance. Instead, she raised us so that we could become what she never could.

My grandmother had nothing. When she was 13, she had to drop out of school to care for 7 other children. She ate her first egg as an adult. She never travelled more than 50 miles from home her entire life.

My grandfather was the smartest man I ever knew but never went to school a single day in his life. Instead he did mind-numbing factory work and stimulated himself with books, musical instruments, languages, and people whenever he had energy after work. He died prematurely from industrial causes.

I, on the other hand, was born at the perfect time. I got to go to college and now I'm a computer programmer immersed in thousands of opportunities of the biggest technological change in human history. I am limited only by my own imagination in building almost anything I want. And I make more money than any of my ancestors every dreamed possible. I'm probably the first out of 100 generations of my family who actually gets to do what I want and love it.

It that doesn't motivate someone, I don't know what would.

Arjuna 18 hours ago 0 replies      
In my personal experience, motivation is secondary (but closely related) to passion.

Generally, when one has an issue with motivation, then he or she may not have discovered his or her true passion in life.

You have to find your passion.

If you do not find it, then it is likely that you will never be truly motivated.

However, once you have found your passion, then you will find that it is literally game on in your life. You will wake up earlier, because you have engaged passion in your life, which will bring motivation to your actions. You will be bringing the thunder. You will be firing on all 12 cylinders. You will not want to sleep more than is necessary, because you will know from deep within you, that you want to bring what is inside of you to others, and to the world.

Ask yourself:

1. "What am I truly passionate about?"

2. "How can I deliver what I am passionate about to others?"

Answer these questions, back the answers up with action, and you will see motivation unfold in your life.

I wish you every success.

norswap 19 hours ago 0 replies      
For me, a big change was to stop to beat myself so much about my failure to work on the things I wanted to do. Now, I'm much more leisury about my projects. I have very unproductive periods, and very productive periods, I goes in cycles. It's normal.

The only thing is to persist. As Confucius said "It does not matter how slow you go, as long as you do not stop."

j45 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Finding and remembering why you're doing anything in any situation is motivation.

How much we want to do anything, is relative to how energized, focused, and passionate we feel about it, or more importantly, take time to regularly reflect on.

Motivation, as classically defined doesn't fit techies that well because we march to own drum so much. Those that fall for someone else's koolaid can end up jaded and on the same search imho.

Motivation is like bathing.

If we don't bathe our body, we begin to smell and not feel fresh.

Similarly, our thoughts, feelings, and gut begin to smell from having not enough energy placed on hitting the reset button and starting fresh with a clear reminder.

What can do it? Remembering why. Also, things like meditation, exercise, going for a walk, etc can be very powerful to clear your senses to deeply embed the why. Over time it resonates more and more on it's own.

No one can learn about you for you, you have to dedicate time to it just like the time you have to dedicate yourself to technology.

Motivation for me is remembering why I want to do things at a very deep level. I like taking the 5 whys approach to get to a root trigger word or two.

Building discipline and work ethic are the two master skills that underlie any goal I'll find or want to undertake, so it's what I try to optimize on.

So, instead of wanting some eureka moment, I build a practice of improving my discipline and work ethic a little every day. I am part of a weekly group where we set goals and check in with each other, creating obligations around the things I want to be doing for others to force me to move.

The above could be a blog post in some way as I've been self employed for over a decade and have had to work on these routines to be my own best support.

Thoughts and input most welcome :)

yesimahuman 20 hours ago 2 replies      
For me, the motivation comes by having other people use and respond to the software I create. This means getting out of my developer bubble and doing some marketing. When people are engaging with your creations in a positive way, it's hard to not be motivated.

I think this applies to any software product that is written with the intention of having someone else use it, open source or otherwise.

lettergram 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I have three things that motivate me:

1) I keep a photo on my desk as well as the back ground on my computer: http://austingwalters.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/skyline...

It is an image I took at the Taste of Chicago. There was a crowd of roughly 10,000 people and directly above them there is a group of buildings, seemingly rising from the crowd. The picture always reminds me that humanity is the creature that can build ANYTHING. So, I find that motivational because I want to be one of the people to build something like a skyscraper making me worthy of calling myself human.

2) I read inspirational books, to me The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand) and Time Enough for Love (Robert Heinlein) are always inspirational because they project characters that are considered "ideal" or at least worthy of aspiring to be. I also read a fair amount of history books and biographies about inspirational people, if find it helps me to maintain focus when I am attempting to be competitive (in work ethic) with the great people throughout history or characters with similar traits.

3) I go for walks and think. Nothing is better than pure and utter relaxation/boredom to stimulate your creativity and motivation. For example the average person can only do high quality mental processing (learning or creative thinking) about 4 hours a day and if you want to increase the that 4 hours to a longer period you must extend the relaxation time as well. In other words, its good to do stuff you enjoy and its good to be lazy for a while, it gets you motivated to do other things.

gadders 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Get a wife and kids that rely on you. You'll quickly find you'd swab toilets if it would keep food in the mouths of people you love.
__--__ 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Motivation, passion and inspiration are mostly figments of the mind. It's the dopamine hit you get when you learn something for the first time or when you come up with (what you think is) an inspired idea. Just like a hit of cocaine, the high doesn't last forever. What you want to do is establish routines and habits. When the excitement, passion and motivation wears off, what's left is the routine.

"Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work." - Attributed to Chuck Close, echoed by countless writers and artists.

dreeves 19 hours ago 2 replies      
My startup is all about solving this problem! http://beeminder.com

It's specifically for lifehacking data nerds (so probably most people here on HN) and the idea is to combine a quantified self tool with a commitment contract. Specifically, you pledge (actual money) that you'll keep all your datapoints on a "yellow brick road" to your goal and if you don't, we charge you.

We integrate with various gadgets and apps like RescueTime and Trello and GitHub (also fitness things like Fitbit but I guess this thread is more about productivity-related motivation) so, for example, you can force yourself to waste less time on Facebook or commit to GitHub more often, or enforce a steady rate of moving Trello cards to the Done pile.

mattm 11 hours ago 0 replies      
There's no such thing as motivation. Most likely you are just giving into distractions. These distractions are there to test you as to how much you actually want to finish the thing you are working on. It comes as a result of looking towards the future too much instead of just focusing on what you are doing now.

I'm putting together a course related to this if you're interested - http://www.programmingspiritually.com/

majc2 19 hours ago 1 reply      
I use the Napoleon Hill method of having a definite chief aim - Bruce Lee is probably one of the most famous users of it. http://imgur.com/r/GetMotivated/CvaN5QB

The method boils down to writing something down to yourself outlining what you want to achieve, how you're going to achieve it, and when you're going to achieve it by. Then you keep reading the aim and it helps to motivate you.

jzf 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I imagine how my son (5 years old) sees me through his eyes, and I think about how my life is a large predictor of his life, and then I ask if I am being the kind of man I want my son to be.
RTigger 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I like to set external-facing deadlines. I'll do things like tell my department I'm going to do a presentation on technology X in two weeks, and then start learning about it. If I don't get it done, I have to tell 20 other developers why I have to cancel the meeting they've all accepted.

This is part of the motivation of team and peer-accountability in some of the agile methods like Scrum / XP / Pair Programming. If you feel personally responsible to someone else, you're likely to follow through. A good way to do this with personal projects is to find a partner - I work with a designer on a lot of my personal projects, and telling him that I'm going to get X done helps, as well as seeing the time and progress he's invested in the project.

ibudiallo 19 hours ago 0 replies      
First you have to remind yourself it is ok to be bored. Second you should find people that share the same interest. I wrote about it recently, and I rather sound like a self promoter then repeat my self:


beat 19 hours ago 0 replies      
It's not about being motivated. It's about working when the work itself isn't intrinsically motivating. I think that's what pg calls the schlep.

I deal with schleps by making them a part of larger, non-schlep goals. And if the schlep is really resistant to attitude adjustment, I'll wrap the larger goal in a more formalized project plan, so I can clearly see the schlep's role in the more valuable/interesting/motivating work.

gdubs 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I think it's helpful to do something on a project every day, no matter how minor. If I'm feeling unmotivated that could be as simple as renaming some files I've been meaning to rename, or fixing the simplest of warnings in my project. Usually by the time I've done that, I'm in the project and rolling into the next thing. Conversely, it's important to take a day or two off after more vigorous stretches of productivity.
GBKS 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I think of what my long-term goals are, then how the task at hand fits in the path to reach those goals. This makes it much easier to work through the boring stuff, since the motivation is drawn from the big, personal life goals.
m_ke 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Not to get off topic but I have a much harder time focusing on a single task/project. The motivation is there but I'm all over the place. There's so much to learn and I seem to start a new project every other day, but they just never get finished because I end up stumbling on a new thing that I want to learn/make.
swayvil 14 hours ago 0 replies      
My level of conscious figures highly. That which I find sufficiently satisfying depends on my level of consciousness.

When my consciousness level is low I am satisfied to mope around aimlessly, watch stupid tv and sleep a lot.

When my consciousness level is high I demand higher joys like cool projects, am happy and motivated and my shit is together.

I keep my consciousness level high by taking care of my body and meditating a lot. You see how it can be an upward spiral.

However sometimes I fall into laziness, life upsets my wagon, etc. So there's the "get back on the horse" thing.

evilstreak 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I find that my motivation is self sustaining as long as I get started. When I'm feeling demotivated it usually manifests as putting off getting started. "I'll start after I've read Twitter". "I'll just read these articles from Hacker News". "It's almost lunch times, so I'll get started after I've eaten something". And then it's the end of the day, I've done nothing, and I feel really crap about it.

Every time the trick is to just get myself started. Work out a way to reduce the commitment in getting started. Never tell yourself you'll settle down to 10 hours straight work after you read that article, send this tweet, or reply to that email. Instead break down your todo list into tiny chunks, and just do the first thing. Or use something like Pomodoro and just sit down to do 25 minutes work.

mackwic 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Motivation is something personal, you have to find what motivates yourself. There is books on that, but I can't advise you as I never used them.

As I see it, the key for doing things is to begin, then to focus. Can't focus ? Do another. Just keep doing.Motivation is not really something that helps you when you are doing, it's something that helps you to begin and to end.

But is motivation the only way to begin and end things ? Obviously not. Duty, deadlines, promises, anything that make you morally engaged in an action.So, go set some goals ! Make it as a timeline with deadlines, make it as a flat TODO, make it as a scrumy (http://scrumy.com is a great service), try, fail, repeat until you win.

There is no way to find the good one until you tried it. So keep doing things, be amazing. ;-)

TheAnimus 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Adequate sleep, ensuring I get up with daylight. Okay so they aren't motivations per say, but without them I suffer, my creativity suffers and my ability to actually do work suffers greatly.
polskibus 16 hours ago 0 replies      
It's the difficulty level of the challenge that matters. It can't be too easy, it can't be too hard. Read the flow book if you need to understand the road to happiness.
threepipeproblm 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Sometimes the harder you try to force yourself do things, the harder it becomes to do them. I lost a lot of time in the past trying to make myself more regimented, clearer about goals, etc. and it just made me resist (ironic process theory).
rockyj 19 hours ago 0 replies      
That one day, I will be able to do some great work while living in the US / Europe / Australia / Canada and provide good quality of life and education to my kids.
sreitshamer 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I quit my job to work on my own stuff. Lack of income is an excellent motivator, for me anyway.
alockj 20 hours ago 1 reply      
I stumbled across a site on here called http://getinspired365.com that dishes out daily inspiring/motivating quotes and videos. I find it a good way to start my day but my friend who uses it dips in and out as and when his motivation levels drop..
_neil 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Genuine interest and the ability to blacklist hackernews via /etc/hosts
djent 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I find the only way I'm able to work on anything to my full potential is to force myself to look at it without any distractions. At any time, I can rattle off three or four things that I should be working on.
A__MJ 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Caffeine and Metallica (...and Justice For All > other albums)
gprasanth 18 hours ago 0 replies      
do great stuff
Flynn - Docker based Opensource PaaS needs $5000 today
10 points by macarthy12  1 day ago   7 comments top 4
sdoowpilihp 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I threw in 25 bucks personally. I'd love to see this project become a reality. Good luck!
stigi 1 day ago 1 reply      
Well, I just chipped in 100$ myself 10 minutes ago and the site did not update yet.Actually I'm not seeing any increase on the pledged sum over the last two days... Now I wonder if they might have reached the goal already and the site is just not updating.
stigi 1 day ago 0 replies      
I was just about to post on the same topic. I really hope to see this project fly!
munimkazia 1 day ago 1 reply      
I am about to throw in a small amount I can afford... But why do they have to shut it down today itself? What's wrong with waiting for more time?
Show HN: My weekend project - a baby naming app
10 points by iamds  1 day ago   6 comments top 3
wikwocket 20 hours ago 0 replies      
This is technically a neat app, congrats for launching it.

However, I don't think many parents look to browse names based on prefix/suffix/infix. You may wish to add additional filters (based on what sort of census data you have).

Some ideas:

* Show only popular or only unique names

* Show modern names (recently popular)

* Show traditional names (long history)

* Show names with recent rising popularity

* Show names with historical popularity (that may have fallen out of use)

* Show names with similar histories (this would allow you to add a very important feature: "I like this name, show me related names!")

Finally, your graph feature is very nice; some of my favorite baby-naming books show this. But it's not very discoverable. You could make the name look more like a link, or show some graphics in your header as a demo.

jayrobin 1 day ago 2 replies      
A bit of feedback:

* Nice and simple design

* I can't select the "Contains" or "Ends with" fields (this may be intentional)

* I'm pretty sure it should be Boys' and Girls' rather than Boy's and Girl's

* As Ecio78 mentioned: needs to be case-insensitive

* If I type too quickly in the "Begins with" field, it only matches the first one or two letters (e.g. Begins with bor returns Byson, Byrum, Byron...)

* I could eventually select the "Contains" and "Ends with" fields after messing around with it, but then couldn't sort by "Popularity" until reloading (at which point I couldn't select the text fields again)

* It turns out that I can only select all the buttons and text fields if the browser is maximised. Looks like div#myModal is covering a number of interactive elements and preventing clicks at a certain screen height and below

* Popularity graphs are a nice touch and make it far more interesting to play around with, but I didn't realise I could view them for quite a while (thought I could only see the tooltip)

* Disappointed with the lack of "Bort"

Ecio78 1 day ago 1 reply      
You should use case insensitive matching for filtering, if I put "K" on the "begins with" it shows nothing
Ask HN: What can I do with vast amounts of text?
6 points by philtar  1 day ago   8 comments top 4
agibsonccc 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I could understand if you don't want to reveal the nature of the data, but what kind of data is it? IM Conversations? Reviews? Data mining wise, it would be neat to build something like a named entity tagger or doing sentiment analysis with it. If you're really ambitious, you could do something like relation extraction with it.

There are a lot of monetization options you could do with data like that. Using some of the tools already mentioned here, there's a lot of options available.

lsiebert 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Low hanging fruit. Find and publish Character and word frequency. Character frequency can be used for the arabic version of dvorak, or something like that. That could actually sell.

If you are tagging, take a look at supervised machine learning.

yareally 23 hours ago 1 reply      
What do you want to do with the data? That can alter the tools/software one wishes to use with it.
xmpir 1 day ago 0 replies      
check out http://gate.ac.uk/ but I'm not sure wheter it supports arabic
Asynchronous procedurally-generated competitive multiplayer in the browser
4 points by richtaur  19 hours ago   1 comment top
NoPiece 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Very nice. I liked the screen rotation in the death world.
Ask HN: ToS and Legal Liability
7 points by dome82  1 day ago   2 comments top
patio11 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is one of the classic ways in which developers justify not starting things because of unfounded fears of success. Fears of litigation are vastly overblown, because nobody cares about your business and won't for a while yet.

ToS: Feel free to grab from any of my businesses and find/replace as necessary, or use WordPress.org's one, which they've "OSSed". You can have a lawyer write you one, if you want to spend a few thousand dollars, but it is unlikely it will meaningfully affect your outcomes.

Legal liability: Your main way to avoid liability is not pissing anyhow off so much that they want to sue you. You can incorporate an LLC cheaply, and should do so when you hire, take investment, want to sell to the Fortune 500, or are instructed to by your lawyer or accountant.

n.b. You can also buy insurance for this. It may be called professional liability or errors and omissions insurance. My business' policy runs about $3k a year. (The quote you get will likely be sensitive to what you are doing and how large your business is.) I only got it after 8ish years into the business, after I was in charge of hospital data and attempting to get largish deals done with megacorps, who required it as a checkbox in their purchasing process.

Launching an app/website under your full name is not a bad idea. You're going to be discoverable regardless, it will just cost modestly more money, but not nearly so much money as attempting to sue you, so if someone is that peeved you're going to get sued regardless.

Tell HN: I would pay for that..
16 points by weakwire  1 day ago   28 comments top 10
DanBC 1 day ago 0 replies      
"Drawer Liners for Men" - tumble dryer sheets suggest that you place them in drawers of clothes to give the clothes a nice fresh smell. That's a good idea, except all the tumble dryer sheets I've tried smell a bit horrible. I want something like that (doesn't need to be a tumble dryer sheet) but which has manly scents. I don't mean Woodsmoke and Whiskey, but maybe some kind of sandal wood or cedar wood or somesuch.

"Aircon will stop working if you open the windows" stickers. Or, if I'm grumpy "Close the fucking windows if you want the aircon to work". - I see many people who open windows instead of waiting for the aircon to start working.

"A Better, Nicer Wikipedia" - WP is great. Except, it's full of crud and some of it is thoroughly toxic. The meta stuff is bizarre and hateful. Pick an arbitrary limit (10,000? 100,000 most important articles? The 10 MB most important articles?) and fork those off. Pay experts to review the articles, and pay writers to re-write them. Make sure every article has an introductory sentence that defines the topic, or at least gives it enough context for people to know what it is. I'd pay to be part of that community. I'd pay to subscribe to downloads of it, updated every month.

"Price Comparison Website for UK Broadband that Compares Total Cost of Ownership" - the UK has a bunch of price comparison websites. Unfortunately, for broadband, they only compare the bullshit offers that broadband providers offer. I'd pay for a website that compares that actual cost of each provider over the time of the contract. With maybe some margins each side, to allow for comparison over different contract lengths. As an example: (http://www.uswitch.com/broadband/packages/) Virgin Media is shown as being 18 months, at 4 per month. But it's actually 4 for 8 months, and then 14.50 per month, which is bad enough, but you also need to get Virgin Media phone for 14.99 per month.

AznHisoka 11 hours ago 1 reply      
1) API for classifying article into topics, or alternatively extracting the entities from a piece of text. Basically NLP as a service.

2) Twitter automation: Sort of like IFTTT. Let me specify rules on when to automatically retweet an user.

systemtrigger 1 day ago 1 reply      
Every day I have a list of ~500k images hosted on CraigsList that I want copied to Amazon S3. Once a day my service would send IWouldPayForThat the list of urls, and IWouldPayForThat would download then upload all of the images to my S3 bucket as well as delete the images from the day before. If CraigsList banned the IP range used by IWouldPayForThat, moving to a new IP would not be a problem thus continuous service could be counted upon.

I would pay $40/day for that.

Felix21 1 day ago 4 replies      
When I write an article,

1. I write it in Microsoft Word2. Copy into notepad to strip away the formatting an extra mark-up that comes with word3. Paste into word-press and re-format the article before publishing.

I would pay for an app that will allow me do draft my article and format it, then just copy directly into wordpress and publish the article without having to reformat it in wordpress.

bjourne 1 day ago 2 replies      
Dating for awkward and unattractive male nerds that is guaranteed to work. :)
Sealy 1 day ago 0 replies      
One backup solution that 'just works'. Maybe the technology doesn't yet exist or is not just being applied correctly. I must be fast, easily expandable, easily accessed, secure, future proof.

Also a storage company which follows 'moores law', ie like a dropbox that automatically expands your storage size as time goes by.

workhere-io 1 day ago 2 replies      
Web mail hosted in a relatively "safe" European country (privacy laws vary a lot in Europe).

Also, a web-based calendar.

tvtime15 1 day ago 1 reply      
An organic, non-toxic solid ball that I can put down a drain/garbage disposal. The ball would then dissolve and eliminate odors in the sink/drain.
iamshariq 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'd pay for a saas to manage all my (similar) iphone apps from one central location. Something that would replace the things I currently do with a plist file on my server.
tvtime15 1 day ago 1 reply      
IMAP support from Hotmail (err Outlook).
Ask HN: How are venture capitalists compensated?
7 points by LedZeppelin  1 day ago   4 comments top 3
patio11 1 day ago 1 reply      
The firm overwhelmingly makes two and twenty.

Two: The firm charges a management fee based on committed capital. The typical rate is 2% per year. So, if they're running a $100 million fund, they transfer $2 million from the limited partners (the investors) to themselves every year. The management fee theoretically pays for salaries and those costs which can't get passed to startups the firm invests in. (I say "theoretically" because there is an inflection point in the hundreds of millions in fund size range where the management fee is so large that one cannot possibly spend it all except by increasing salaries, such that partners no longer need to be successful in investing to do well.)

Twenty: VCs receive a percentage of the "carry", which is the capital gains on the fund's investment. My understanding is this is typically due upon an individual investment's exit or the end of the fund's life, whichever comes first, but don't trust me on the micromechanics of that. If a VC firm invests $20 million in a company and it later sells for $60 million (their share), the gain is $40 million, so $8 million gets taken for the VC firm and then $32 million is split by the limited partners.

This is compensation for firms. Compensation for partners and associates are handled differently. Typically, associates are on straight salary. (Want a ballpark number? "Well-off lawyer.") Partners typically both have a salary (Want a ballpark number? "More than anyone in the Valley who is not CEO of a public company.") and take home a percentage of the carry (the twenty). Which partners get what percentage is a matter highly specific to the firm's internal structure: suffice it to say that it is good to be king in a lot of places.

Much like law firms, the main form of professional advancement at VC firms is to claw one's way from associate to partner, at which point things get radically more financially rewarding. (The alternative is to build up relationships with wealthy people and then go into business for yourself, by convincing 5 to 20 people to stake you with a few million dollars apiece.)

n.b. It is common for senior partners in the VC fund, particularly those who have successfully lead funds before (many VC firms manage multiple funds, each with a 10 year life and, say, 3-4 years between start dates), to have money invested in the fund themselves. This is generally a fairly modest amount of money relative to fund size.

ethanazir 1 hour ago 0 replies      
If you really are a capitalist; your reward is the growth in capital. If you are an agent working for some capitalists then you get whatever you bargained for. This question implies that capitalist collude or that some elite U. grads are unionized to set wages. Which is essentially what both groups are are trying to do; but view the status quo with this lense.
wmf 1 day ago 0 replies      
You're probably better off googling how VC works, but AFAIK all of the equity would be effectively owned by the limited partners so the VC can't really take it. The VC's profit comes from carried interest.
Ask HN: Best way to store web traffic logs?
4 points by Mamady  23 hours ago   7 comments top 4
sehrope 22 hours ago 1 reply      
How you store your logs depends on your server configuration. Analytic services like Google Analytics or Mixpanel will work for any type of config as they're initiated by the client. They both also have a nice UI so can see live user's, plot them on maps, etc.

If you want lower level detail such as data for each user's IP address you'll need something on the server side. I haven't used Mixpanel but Google Analytics doesn't give you raw IP addresses. Also, if a user has it blocked (ex: by Ghostery) then you don't see them in Google Analytics. To get around this we also log all requests server side.

The two options I know are either do it yourself (that's what we did, more below) or use something like Piwik (http://piwik.org/). The latter is kind of like your own Google Analytics that you run on your own infrastructure.

For our public cloud app (https://cloud.jackdb.com/) we run all the infrastructure so we aggregate the server access logs from each nginx instance and push them to an S3 bucket. It's pretty straightforward and really cheap (S3 costs peanuts and log data gzips well). Besides audit events (which do get logged to a database and can be queried) any funky research is done by good ol' awk/grep/sed.

Our public website (http://www.jackdb.com) is hosted on S3 so we don't even control the actual server. Instead we've got logging enabled on the S3 bucket sent to another S3 bucket[1]. S3 creates files there with 1-3 hour lag of all requests with full details (IP, useragent, etc). Only pain is that S3 creates a lot of files so we've got a cron job that runs regularly to combine them into daily files, gzip them, and put them in a different S3 bucket. Again ad hoc research is done via unix commands on either the latest log files or the archived files (we keep a local copy in addition to the ones in S3).

Regardless of how you get your logs onto S3. If you want to make the storage costs 10x cheaper in the long run (again this will only matter once you actually have a significant amount of data) then you push it from S3 to Glacier. Even better you can setup S3 to auto expire data to Glacier after X days[2]. Just remember that you can't access them directly from Glacier. It's just for "cold-storage".

[1]: http://docs.aws.amazon.com/AmazonS3/latest/dev/ServerLogs.ht...

[2]: http://docs.aws.amazon.com/AmazonS3/latest/dev/object-lifecy...

darkxanthos 22 hours ago 1 reply      
If you have the cash and analytics aren't a real distinct business advantage just go Mixpanel.

If you decide to do it yourself this is what I've done:Create a small web service that you can call to log data from the UI. Start with one server and if it starts to go over 60-80% usage consistently create a second.

The server should log every call to the service in a large flat file (csv is easiest). The file should be named by date and time down to the minute. As you scale up servers you just have a process pull down each file and aggregate them server side. Or just throw them into S3 and use Hive/EMR to report on the data.

It's a middle-class man's Mixpanel. I served tens of millions of logging events a day with this solution. At the time the cost was somewhere around $1,500 a month I believe. I was running 6 servers on Ruby/Sinatra though and never tried to optimize much.

EDIT: typo

taylorbuley 23 hours ago 0 replies      
If you are planning to run at any sort of scale I advise staying away from logging into a database. Tying throughput to i/o like that could really hurt.
rip747 23 hours ago 0 replies      
just use Google Analytics. It's a free and extremely powerful reporting. Trying to roll your own solution is a total waste of time.

The only thing you should be doing with your logs are archiving them in case of a security breach so your can try to pin point how the attach happened.

Don't waste the space on your lan either for the log archives. Get an S3 account, zip them up and store on S3.

Tell HN: Google: "Keyword Tool will no longer be available"
8 points by mazsa  1 day ago   1 comment top
ereckers 1 day ago 0 replies      
Not a big deal. You just get access to a better tool through your Adwords account.
Ask HN: Best Haskell projects and gists to learn from
9 points by malandrew  1 day ago   4 comments top 4
jmct 1 day ago 0 replies      
There is a great Stackoverflow answer about this very thing:


Personally, I learned a lot from reading a lot of the Functional Pearls that are published in the Journal of Functional Programming. The XMonad source and the source for Monad-Par are also great to read.

pestaa 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'd 100% trust anything Michael Snoyman, the author of Yesod, writes and publishes.


Yaa101 1 day ago 0 replies      
I add this also to bookmark this thread as I am curious for more sources...


Purpose of a surveillance state?
4 points by biinui  1 day ago   8 comments top 3
bjourne 3 hours ago 0 replies      
States are likely to share its surveillance with the big corporations (who are much more powerful than elected politicians) to ensure that any union activists never ever gets a job again. It's a much better tool to maintain the status quo with than physical force. There is at least two dozen famous political philosophers who you can read for all the details.
antoinevg 1 day ago 1 reply      
The purpose of the surveillance state is to preserve the existence of the surveillance state.
runjake 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Ultimately, it's about self-preservation and control. Control over citizens, corporations, the economy, and so on.
What are the best paying java dev roles in London?
3 points by retube  22 hours ago   3 comments top
ig1 20 hours ago 2 replies      
Front-office investment banking. Quant dev, risk, algo trading, low latency, etc. Lead dev can make 100-130k base + substantial bonus. At small hedge funds it's possible to get carry which obviously means the sky is the limit.

Contracts rates are generally in the 500-1000/day range.

Show HN: Platform for data scientists
4 points by ndcrandall  17 hours ago   3 comments top 2
livestyle 12 hours ago 1 reply      
How much different is it than http://www.kaggle.com/
ndcrandall 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Ask HN: why are there no dates in the HN RSS feed?
2 points by lkrubner  14 hours ago   1 comment top
ricardobeat 9 hours ago 0 replies      
HN's RSS "feed" is actually just the home page formatted as XML. It shows posts sorted by votes, and that is constantly changing. If it displayed posts by date, you'd have an endless stream of content that never got to the front page.

A smarter implementation would keep a tally on past items to avoid duplicates, and emit a new item (with a pubDate) when it reaches the front page.

Ask HN: User Documentation solution?
2 points by martinbc  16 hours ago   4 comments top 2
swanson 9 hours ago 1 reply      
You probably want to look at help desk SaaS apps. Or bite the bullet and roll your own - FYI you can just render Markdown directly pretty easily in Rails/Sinatra to avoid pasting HTML :)
johns 15 hours ago 1 reply      
daux.io perhaps?
Ask HN: What are the current trends in programming?
2 points by xmmx  18 hours ago   3 comments top 3
shubb 18 hours ago 0 replies      
From reading job ads, I think most people work in the languages you mentioned.

HN is more oriented towards python/ruby/objective C because it's demo is making relatively simple applications as fast as possible, and critically don't have legacy code.

C# and Java have moved a lot in the past 10 years. You could say that Scala is the next natural transition for Java. Microsoft have a really compelling offer in terms of Azure and .net 4.5, and have a functional language of their own (F#) if they take off.

Personally, I'm watching C++11. It is really transformative, making the language feel much more modern (even sort of python like). If it improves C++ productivity enough we may see a resurgence, although I think it does too little to make coding for parallel/asynchronous natural.

ScottWhigham 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Another vote for "It's often a matter of where you look and what you read". Like others have said, HN has a slant towards some languages - if you only took thoughts/advice from this site, you'd be led to believe that everyone everywhere uses those languages. That's not the case though - look at lots of sources.
tubbzor 18 hours ago 0 replies      
you are going to see different langs here than what's generally trending at stackoverflow purely due to the culture that surrounds hn (which is start-up based), so you're going to see more Ruby, Python, Go, ect (although you should be able to search all those tags on SO as well).

In the industry (as far as what I read anyway), it seems mobile programming and 'Big Data' are currently at the forefront.

Web vs standalone: depends on the application. If there is a need to make it web-based...then make it web-based. If there's no need then why put in the extra work/resources.

It really is a very broad question, but you want to pick the best tools for the job. You wouldn't use a spoon to saw a tree down, similarly you wouldn't use Java for a car control system. The only way to know the differences is to dive a little into each language and learn it's pros/cons.

       cached 30 July 2013 12:05:01 GMT