hacker news with inline top comments    .. more ..    22 Sep 2013 Ask
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Ask HN: field in Computer Science least explored?
7 points by wilinglearner  11 hours ago   1 comment top
seiji 28 minutes ago 0 replies      
Least known? I think we know the topics even if we aren't good at them.

There are lots of medical problems and brain problems and large scale coordination problems we know about but haven't solved or reduced to solvability yet.

HN Show: ConcussionJS, an experimental, rapid web dev platform
10 points by the_concussed  15 hours ago   1 comment top
forlorn 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Ask HN: Nepal's ccTLD registrar won't let devs update nameservers. What to do?
48 points by njsubedi  1 day ago   33 comments top 11
sbashyal 1 day ago 1 reply      
I am from Nepal (living in the US) so it gives me joy to see this post in HN. I see that you wanted to know if ICANN has basic guidelines that could be enforced in Nepal. I do not know much about that.

But, I suggest that you initiate a local campaign to pressure Mercantile to make the process easier. Here are few ideas to consider -1. Bring this to the attention of Computer Association of Nepal2. Share this tragedy with tech-activists (Gaurab Raj Upadhyaya, Brijen Joshi, Bhupal Sapkota, Ankur Sharma, Akar Anil are few names that come to mind) and get their help raising the concern to the wider community (blogs, meetings etc)3. Meet with Mercantile management to make sure they are aware of the current hoops and communicate how backward the current process is. Also make sure they are not being asked to make it this way from govt. agencies. Offer help if they need it.4. Meet with government representatives and request them to facilitate the needed change.

Email me if you need intros to people I mentioned above or if there is anything else I could do.

spindritf 1 day ago 1 reply      
I don't think there's anything you can really do but jump through their hoops.

Although, to spare yourself future problems, you could register nepalesefreedns.net and have people point nameservers for their .np domains to nsX.nepalesefreedns.net. Set up XName[1] or a similar panel for it.

That way you will only have to endure the pain once. That is, until the registry breaks something else.

[1] http://source.xname.org/

bortzmeyer 1 day ago 3 replies      
Since it is a ccTLD, it is a nepalese internal matter and I don't see why ICANN should be involved at all. Ask local authorities, write to the governement, raise the issue in the local Internet community, etc.
hisyam 1 day ago 2 replies      
Yesterday I bought a .my domain from Exabytes and I found that the nameservers can only be updated through their support staff rather than using their control panel.

Not as bad as your problem but a mild annoyance nonetheless.

mariuolo 1 day ago 1 reply      
I doubt there's much you can do, except having the contract legally enforced.

Would that be viable?

codesink 1 day ago 3 replies      
That sucks.

What also sucks is being asked for money to change name servers only:

  .gr: 46.64 (74 USD)  .cz: 14.57  .dk: 24.29  .hu: 17.49  .ro: 17.49

njsubedi 1 day ago 1 reply      
Is there any way we can force Mercantile Corp. to let us edit nameservers ourselves? There's no any law regarding domain naes in Nepal, so are there international laws? ICANN Registrars' Policy? Anything that helps?
houzi 1 day ago 0 replies      
Being a Nepali citizen, you know that the only way to get people in powerful positions to do what they are supposed to do without paying, is to retaliate the blackmail. In this case I hope you can get an International organization to look at this. If not, perhaps you could get this to the attention of some hacktivists.
openthito 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I agree. Last month 1 successfully revived my domain after requesting more than 4 times via email and phone call over 2 months. This must be checked. If mercantile is unable to handle this there is definitely much better alternatives.
nootanghimire 1 day ago 0 replies      
I changed my nameserver from the MOS control panel some time ago. It took about a week, though.
dgilam 1 day ago 0 replies      
Its Mercantile's negligence!
Ask HN: Startups: Tell me 3 problems you wish somebody would solve for you
9 points by ceekay  1 day ago   13 comments top 4
NovemberWest 15 hours ago 1 reply      
I need a better Android app for filling out PDF paperwork. Does that count? (Suggestions welcome.)
capkutay 1 day ago 0 replies      
Transportation in the bay area..Perhaps private wifi busses as a paid service where you could crowdsource the destinations/routes?
a3voices 1 day ago 2 replies      
1) A replacement for http://stickam.com/

2) A really good text to speech app for news so I can listen to it in my car

I can't think of a third right now.

lgieron 1 day ago 0 replies      
Seamless Scala - Eclipse - Maven integration
Ask HN: To BaaS or not to BaaS
4 points by anish_t  13 hours ago   5 comments top 3
samsheen 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I believe that the question you should be asking yourself is this - Can BaaS (or any other service) help me get to the market right now at the lowest cost possible.

For any such commodity as a service, the initial costs to you will be lower than if you had to build the service yourself. However, over time the costs will go up. The benefit to you will always be ease of development and having the time to focus on building the core features that will make your startup feasible. Most startups fail before they reach a point where they need to worry about rising costs and that's a good problem to have. (when you have it you can mostly pay someone to fix them for you)

My recommendations (having never used any of the above mentioned BaaS providers, do take these with a pinch of salt)

1. Look at how easy it is to get your data back if you need to host the services yourself or change providers. Does the provider have any processes for the same? Speak to the sales (and support) people about this before you decide on a provider. Look for the provider that is transparent about this.

2. Don't worry about what the cost will be when you reach a million users. Your time right now is spent wisely validating your idea. Cross that bridge when you come to it.

3. The only "complete no no" scenario I can think of would be if you were hosting sensitive information (credit card etc)

Hope this helps

6thSigma 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Don't even worry about it, to be honest. If you are lucky enough to be in that situation, it would be a very good problem to have.

You would face technical scaling issues no matter what you were using. If the BaaS is your bottleneck you could fix it then.

pearjuice 9 hours ago 2 replies      
I have read your entire post and still don't know what BaaS stands for. B.. as a service?
Ask HN: Do you know of any resources for reuniting refugees with their families?
4 points by droopyEyelids  22 hours ago   2 comments top 2
lifeisstillgood 20 hours ago 0 replies      
cannot find it now but there is a ted talk about I think Italian hackers who setup website to reunite people after earthquake and it is still used by NGOs for similar reunite projects. (this is finding not immigration problems) seems a good place to start
girishso 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Check out http://rapidftr.com/ runs on Android and is already in use in some countries I believe.
Re-Ask HN: Any good books/lectures for database systems implementation?
4 points by zerr  1 day ago   2 comments top 2
tjr 1 day ago 0 replies      
You might look at books by Michael Stonebraker, such as:


To be fair, I've not read these books; I attended a lecture of his at MIT, and he seemed to really know his stuff. If I wanted to study DB implementation, I'd start with his writings.

Ask HN: How do you go about choosing a cool code name for your hack?
4 points by bhoomit  1 day ago   4 comments top 3
ElongatedTowel 23 hours ago 1 reply      
How do you choose a name for anything anyway? From company names to personal blogs, naming them is a fruitless exercise. In the end you're trying to be clever but instead you end up with something that means wang in vietnamese or is inspired by a straight quote from a line in a book you think fits your character but is really something that speaks to a hundred million people, which is the exact same number of people who read the book in the first place. Then it sounds either obscure or cheesy.
thex86 1 day ago 0 replies      
Single character or double character names are the trend these days. (Not saying I support that though!)
adrianwaj 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Always thought drug names were interesting. Maybe take two words to describe the hack, transform them into their connotative meaning, then twist them. What's the hack?
Ask HN: recommend a book that explains how computers work down to the silicon
9 points by null_ptr  1 day ago   9 comments top 7
cju 1 day ago 0 replies      
Structured Computer Organization by Andrew S. Tanenbaum. I don't know the newer edition but the 3rd edition is the first computer book I have read and its layered approach is great (and I think, was new at that time)
arohi 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Elements of Computing system
dangrossman 1 day ago 0 replies      
Look up the "system architecture" course in the CS department of your favorite university. Download the syllabus, slides, and required reading list.
chamblin 1 day ago 0 replies      
Check out Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software by Charles Petzold for a slightly romantic take, or Malvino's Digital Computer Electronics for an undergraduate view of computer architecture.
ra00l 1 day ago 0 replies      
Charles Petzold's Code: http://www.charlespetzold.com/code/
camkego 1 day ago 1 reply      
Ask HN: Who is going to buy RIM?
6 points by doubt_me  1 day ago   6 comments top 5
pearjuice 0 minutes ago 0 replies      
RIM? That doesn't exist anymore. They are called "BlackBerry" these days[0].

[0] http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-01-30/rim-changes-company...

avenger123 1 day ago 0 replies      
Why not Samsung? I would imagine having a portfolio of patents that they can use to keep Apple at bay would be worth 6-7 Billion. Plus, they could use the enterprise advantage that Blackberry has to further dominate their Android position.
benologist 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't think Google has any pressing need to buy a 2nd struggling manufacturer.

I would guess Amazon, Facebook, or maybe a big Chinese corporation.

OrwellianChild 1 day ago 0 replies      
The only remaining viable part of BlackBerry (as RIM is known now) is their BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) service, which is like WhatsApp, but came out a decade ago. The user base is still very large (60m worldwide), so the platform could valuable as a standalone offering or as part of another mobile services company.

The patent portfolio will likely go to the highest bidder, independent of any company assets. No one needs their devices or the OS. Google, Microsoft, Apple, and Samsung are all candidates, or it may go to a consortium of some/all, as has happened in the past with the sale of Nortel's portfolio.

pintglass 1 day ago 1 reply      
Why buy it? Looks like their customer base is heading for something close to 0 within a few years.
Ask HN: Clojure vs Elixir for robotics?
6 points by z3phyr  1 day ago   discuss
Ask HN: Help? Despite years of trying, I cannot learn to program.
17 points by austenallred  3 days ago   30 comments top 20
pwg 3 days ago 1 reply      
> So what can I do to make programming interesting enough that I'll want to learn how to do it?

Pick a simple chore you do now manually by hand and try to automate it so that the computer can do it for you.

This way, you may have more motivation, because if you can automate the chore, you won't have to do it manually anymore.

Learning to code from the "how-tos" is hard if you are unmotivated because the examples they ask you to create are not something you'll ever need, or use, again. Therefore you have difficulty staying motivated because it all feels like busy work.

Note, the word "simple" above is critically important. You have to pick something that is within your skill level. So it has to be something "simple".

mdip 3 days ago 0 replies      
My biggest problem is that I find it really, really hard to get interested, and I'm terrible at motivating myself to do something I'm not interested in.

I'll ignore the obvious question of "why are you trying to do something you're not interested in?" because that's not what you're asking. I think most people are terrible at motivating themselves to do something they're not interested in, so the trick is to find a way to hack that.

I've seen so many people decide to learn to "program" because it was part of their Computer Science degree which they chose to pursue because that's where the jobs are. Many of them finished their degrees and ended up in a "software factory" churning out code for as long as they could stand to do it.

I don't see programming as an end unto itself (that "job" is not going to make you enjoy programming; it'll probably make you hate it). It's a skill that allows you to make things. To manufacture interest in programming, program something to enhance something you are interested in. Stick with easy things -- something you could learn to do from an hour long tutorial in your language of choice (and stick with an easy language). Don't stress over building something that is "right" or even attempt to understand best practices at this stage. Doing so will probably result in loss of interest.

Once you've made something that helps something you're interested in, the positive feedback from that experience might challenge you to look at more complicated tasks, further honing your ability. At some point, you'll encounter a problem that will be complicated enough that you'll have to go back and learn how to do things "right", and you'll probably be far enough along in your pursuit that you'll enjoy learning how to do it right.

I've done this myself with a few skills I wanted to pick up. I've always wanted to get into hardware, but could never manufacture the interest. Recently found myself purchasing an Arduino and a bunch of mysterious parts to make a device that will send me and my wife a text when the dryer completes its cycle. My interest in doing this was for task avoidance -- I hate ironing.

dragonwriter 3 days ago 1 reply      
> I have been trying to force myself to learn to program for years [...] My biggest problem is that I find it really, really hard to get interested, and I'm terrible at motivating myself to do something I'm not interested in.

Why are you trying to force yourself to do something you aren't interested in? My first suggestion would be to really understand what you want out of it, and why you are doing this.

My second suggestion, if you decide it is something you really do want to do and you have a good story for yourself as to why you are doing it is to try to do learning with either a co-learner or a mentor who understands your motivation for learning, and to try to work with them to find real projects to apply what you are learning that relate to your motivation.

NovemberWest 3 days ago 0 replies      
I would suggest you get assessed for a learning disability. The pattern you describe is extremely typical for someone who is 2xE -- I.e. both bright and learning disabled. Identifying and addressing a previously undiagnosed disability is typically life changing in the most wonderful way.

For this specific issue, I suggest you go to programmer meet-ups and make friends in person. Find someone you hit off with. Ask them to do a little hand holding and explaining. You might have to try this a few times before you find someone that clicks with you in the right way. Once you get over that initial hump, you will likely be fine.

nicholas73 3 days ago 0 replies      
You need a project that you want to finish at all costs. Programming is a grueling bit by bit learning process. You will Google just as much as you program. Heck, when I first started, I tried to understand a complex Facebook app. I literally Google'd the code line by line.

Check out how my first project looks now: http://sudokuisland.com

There are now several thousand lines of code, both front end and back end. I can build handle all parts of the stack. The learning process took over a year but that was while working full time.

As much as I can't praise Udacity and Codeacademy enough, they aren't enough. Without a project you will forget everything you learned. I know my code inside and out, and can refer to it when I see a similar problem.

whichdan 3 days ago 1 reply      
I started learning to code when I was a kid -- not by reading books or plowing through tutorials, but by making websites. I'd build something simple, and then iterate on it, adding features as I felt like it. After a certain point I got the urge to recode my work, then having a better understanding of how all the pieces fit together. After several apps, I started to gain a more intrinsic sense for how programming "worked."

In short: why not sit down and try to code something simple?

s_baby 3 days ago 0 replies      
Quality and consistency of practice is better than quantity.

A) It's better to give 100% for 30 minutes then 70% for 60 minutes. 30 minutes a day is a small commitment even for those with lack of motivation.

B) Don't judge your practice by how much you've accomplished that day but by how successful you were at "practicing perfectly" for your allotted time.

bdfh42 3 days ago 0 replies      
The key here is that in all probability you need a realistic programming task that will result in a piece of software you want to use.

It is exceedingly difficult to just "learn to program". If you were to go to college then you would be set tasks that you would be motivated to complete (for a qualification of what have you) and you would thus learn enough about programming to complete the task.

Without the motivation for each stage of learning - the task of learning would be pretty dry.

memracom 3 days ago 0 replies      
Python the Hard Way? And you are not already a software developer in some other language? I wonder whether your problem is that you are not beginning at the beginning. Try again by focusing on learning from a book and practicing everything on your own computer. Which book? That is the first thing that you need to focus on, seriously. Spend a week evaluating various beginner books for Javascript and Python, both of which are reasonable languages to start with. Yes, I said a FULL week. You need to identify candidate books, find a copy in a bookstore or a library or through borrowing, and then spend a couple of hours studying the book, i.e. read the complete table of contents. Read the introduction. Look at a chapter near the beginning of the book, one near the middle and one near the end. Think about what you understand and what you do not understand. Your goal is to find an author whose voice is clear for you. Nobody else can do this job for you. You will know it when you see it, because the right book for you will seem clear, understandable, and a joy to read compared to the other ones.

That said, there is something to be said for just diving into the deep end, especially if you have a real world use for some software. Engineers and Scientists tend to learn programming this way. They download EPD Python or iPython, grab some experimental data, and start writing analysis tools to give meaning to their raw data. Is there something in your real life where you could solve a problem with software? If so, then relentlessly working on it a few hours a day will get you to your goal. And remember, real software developers use Google. The blogosphere and sites like StackOverflow are a developer's friend.

cprncus 2 days ago 0 replies      
In line with several other comments:

1) Programming is not the "the literacy of the 21st century." Come on. It isn't now and it never will be, unless languages evolve to be essentially AIs that you can just request features in English, and even then it won't be, since most people won't bother to make programs. I'll go to the mat on this one. Those who bandy this idea around are misrepresenting reality.

2) Dan Miller, a career guru/author, has a point in one of his books that you should not attempt to strengthen your weaknesses--because then you end up with "strong weaknesses". Instead, strengthen your strengths. If you are good at soft skills, selling, design, idea man stuff, DO THAT, and leave the Model View Controller stuff to those who live and breathe that. You'll (likely) never do it as well as they do, anyway.

3) If you insist on learning to programming despite these two admonitions not to, I agree with many here who wrote: pick a project, and do it. And not some dopey toy project that you don't care about. Something real. I had an idea for an application years ago and have been working on it in my spare time and now feel that I can program, at least to some level. If you are in a company, work with the tech people to contribute to one module or one class or one feature, and start there. Become master of that section, and then move on.

junto 3 days ago 0 replies      
One of the reasons I love programming is that it has a tight feedback loop. It gives me small challenges throughout the day which need solving. Each time I solve a problem I feel like I have achieved something and it makes me happy.

You need an actual task to achieve and you need to want to achieve it, otherwise why bother?

mscottmcbee 3 days ago 0 replies      
As a professional programmer, I can't sit down, open a book on a language/platform, and read it and learn it. It doesn't matter how much I want to learn that language/platform. I have to learn by doing.

Forget about learning to program. Figure out what you want to make, and start making it.

I've been working on an Android app recently. This is my third or so attempt at learning the platform. This time, I've actually made good progress, because I have a goal. I started not by saying "Gee, I want to learn this", but by saying "Why does this app not exist? I could make it. I should make it"

Start with a basic "Hello world". After that, instead of going onto the next chapter, think "What's the easiest thing I can do next to advance my goal".

vasilipupkin 3 days ago 0 replies      
You don't need to learn to program unless you have a specific goal in mind. Lack of such goal is probably why you can't bring yourself to do it. It's a myth that everyone needs to know how to program
jpd750 3 days ago 0 replies      
My biggest problem when I first started out was just following tutorials and thinking "hmmm, i really dont get this".

The best way I learned to program is to do it. No,seriously. Pick a project you want to make and make it. If a task like "user registration" is too tough, break it down further into subtasks e.g. create form to register, have form send info to db, etc.

Following tutorials and online sources that have you make useless things like "CREATE A CALCULATOR" I never found useful in trying to learn programming.

danvoell 3 days ago 0 replies      
If programming isn't interesting enough, figure out a problem you really want to solve with programming. Such that every morning you wake up saying its up to me to solve this problem, I'm going to figure out how to get past every wall in my way and I'm going to reach out to people for help, since this problem needs to get solved.
meerita 3 days ago 0 replies      
Here a novel coder. I learn Ruby + Rails later.

After reading 2000 books on the matter, python and all the stuff I learnt only by before having the need to build something.

When I found out I wanted to build something, I started to understand coding. When I found a stopper I went back to the books, Google, and so on. At the end, I built the product I wanted and learnt to code. I think it's the only way to motivate yourself and learn how to code.

TeeWEE 3 days ago 0 replies      
Dont learn yourself something you're not interested in. Its a lot more difficult this way..
ceekay 3 days ago 0 replies      
Step back for a minute: why do you want to learn programming ? To build out an idea you have ? Or to get a job as a professional coder ? If former, you don't really need to learn coding - consider hiring others to do it, look at odesk.com or elance.com or craigslist.com. Product Management is an equally interesting / important skill.

If latter, and if you really want to be coding for the love of it, get real serious and focus. Figure out what area (systems ? web ? mobile ?) and just code. If web consider devbootcamp.com. Otherwise get a book and write code. I'm not a huge fan of online tools. Coding is like driving. The more you do, the better you'll get. No one can teach you.

adultSwim 3 days ago 0 replies      
Find an actual person to teach you. People teach much better than a book can.

I know the feeling with having trouble working through books. Quit trying to pound a square peg into a round hole. Find what works for you (your current approach doesn't!)

Don't learn/read things just because you think they are good for you. Do what you are actually interested in.

known 3 days ago 0 replies      
Try analyzing your bank transactions/statements in an Excel spreadsheet. For e.g change interest rates/fees etc.
Bruce Schneier has changed his PGP key to 4096 bits
215 points by oktypok  9 days ago   138 comments top 9
tptacek 9 days ago 5 replies      

- he really doesn't use his PGP key all that often, had the same one for 16 years on god knows how many computers, and decided that if he's going to generate a new one, he might as well send a message with it.

elliotanderson 9 days ago 1 reply      
Bruce's article on staying secure from the NSA[1] talks about using an air gapped computer to avoid being compromised via the network. If he hadn't been keeping his keys on such a machine previously - recent disclosures may have changed his mind and forced him to regenerate his keys.

[1] http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/05/nsa-how-to-rema...

IgorPartola 9 days ago 8 replies      
So I have a GPG key. I used it a couple of times. Currently, it's most useful to me to sign my own Debian package repository. However, I can't seem to figure out how to get into the whole Web of Trust thing. Nobody I know has their own GPG/PGP key that they use and have signed by others and tools like BigLumber and other places where I looked for key signing parties have not turned up any results. I not spending all my free time looking for GPG users, but I have spent what I feel is more than a casual amount of time looking for people to exchange key signatures with. What do y'all do for this? Any advice?

Edit: I am located in the North Eastern part of the US.

Edit 2: perhaps we need a geolocation aware social network a la Square but just for notifying you of other nearby PGP users...

hannibal5 9 days ago 1 reply      
There is nothing suspicious with that.

He has worked previously in mostly corporate and private context, so 2048 is just fine. Now he works with people and data NSA wants their hands on and he wants the data to be secure also in the future. It's just reasonable to move to 4096 key sizes.


>Dr Lenstra and Dr Verheul offer their recommendations for keylengths. In their calculation, a 2048 bit key should keep your secrets safe at least until 2020 against very highly funded and knowledgeable adversaries (i.e. you have the NSA working against you). Against lesser adversaries such as mere multinationals your secret should be safe against bruteforce cryptoanalysis much longer, even with 1024 bit keys.

See also: http://www.keylength.com

vabmit 9 days ago 2 replies      
An interesting thing to note about 4096bit RSA openPGP keys, that's what Snowden was using. His PGP Key was a 4096bit RSA signing key with a 4096bit RSA encryption subkey.
farktronix 9 days ago 1 reply      
It's curious that he didn't sign his new key with his old key. Does anyone have a good explanation for why he wouldn't want to do that?
michiel3 9 days ago 2 replies      
In the post he also describes that he now uses a new process which involves a computer that has never been connected to the internet and its sole purpose is encrypting and decrypting files. Why not use it to encrypt and decrypt emails as well? That'd also potentially involve generating a new key pair.

> 3) Assume that while your computer can be compromised, it would take work and risk on the part of the NSA so it probably isn't. If you have something really important, use an air gap. Since I started working with the Snowden documents, I bought a new computer that has never been connected to the internet. If I want to transfer a file, I encrypt the file on the secure computer and walk it over to my internet computer, using a USB stick. To decrypt something, I reverse the process. This might not be bulletproof, but it's pretty good.

autodidakto 9 days ago 2 replies      
Anyone know of a good tutorial for revoking and recreating your key as painlessly as possibly?
rdl 9 days ago  replies      
I wish there were a decent hardware PGP key token available now -- something which could support 4096 RSA and communicated via (ideally) BT but also acceptable USB to a host. The GPF stick is out of stock.
Ask HN: Is it time for a public GPG audit?
87 points by anotherhue  7 days ago   36 comments top 6
tptacek 7 days ago 4 replies      
That's not really how "audits" work. Coordinated public audits are responsible for a tiny fraction of all vulnerability discoveries. Most discoveries are independent. There would probably be a fairly poor return on investment for funding an official audit.

Bear in mind also that even though you've never heard of an audit of GPG, GPG is actually a pretty high-profile target. Smart people have already looked at that code pretty carefully.

Since GPG is an open source project, a better approach would be to find a way to sponsor a bounty for vulnerabilities in GPG. But here too you'll run into problems:

* It will take fo-re-ver to adjudicate what does and doesn't qualify as a serious finding. Google and Facebook manage this problem by hiring very smart vulnerability researchers and allowing them to come up with criteria pretty much by fiat. Here, you're going to end up in a 2-month-long argument about whether man page bugs are vulnerabilities because of the nature of the project.

* Output of these programs is nonlinear and unpredictable, so it'll be tricky to figure out how much money needs to be set aside to satisfy reward payouts. In the meantime: who holds that money? And where does it go when the bounty outlives its utility?

If you really want to do some good, consider starting a project (which would require no funding) to either:

(a) Build a replacement GPG in a more modern development environment, or

(b) Annotate all of GPG's source code.

runlevel1 7 days ago 2 replies      
Git provides us with a great deal of transparency.

Here's an overview of GnuPG's committers:

  Werner Koch:      2677 commits over a period of 5764 days.  David Shaw:       1197 commits over a period of 3807 days.  Marcus Brinkmann:  202 commits over a period of 3753 days.  NIIBE Yutaka:       53 commits over a period of 641 days.  Moritz Schulte:     39 commits over a period of 1756 days.  Timo Schulz:        29 commits over a period of 896 days.  Stefan Bellon:      21 commits over a period of 765 days.  Repo Admin:          9 commits over a period of 2634 days.  Andrey Jivsov:       8 commits over a period of 37 days.  Ben Kibbey:          6 commits over a period of 20 days.  Neal Walfield:       5 commits over a period of 1 day.
So it looks like the codebase has been touched by remarkably few hands!

This doesn't negate the need for a code review of some sort, but it does suggest that it would be difficult for an outside agent to silently introduce changes in master without the core developers noticing.

EDIT: Formatting.

rsync 6 days ago 1 reply      
It is time for a public OpenSSH audit.

Word on the street is the code is horrific and last I checked was not even checked into git, in any way, yet.

jpalomaki 6 days ago 0 replies      
Would it make sense to somehow record what was audited and by who, in "machine readable format"? Something that would allow others to later check how much the audited parts of code (or code that the audited part is relying) have changed since the audit.

Could be for example just a simple message "Audited, file: aaa/xyz.c, checksum 3ea1b.. revision 1c030.." signed with auditors public key.

neur0mancer 6 days ago 0 replies      
It's always a good time for a revision of privacy/security tools.
Canada 7 days ago 0 replies      
Have a look at the changelog. It's not as if people haven't been looking at it.
Ask HN: Breaking into Scientific Programming?
10 points by sciprog  2 days ago   9 comments top 6
agibsonccc 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Look at this course on the 25th as well. https://www.coursera.org/course/scientificcomp

It's slightly advanced, but it might be great for you for just taking materials from to explore the scope of scientific computing at large.

It goes in to things like digital signal processing, some computer vision and other things.

ihnorton 2 days ago 0 replies      
As Q4273j3b pointed out, improving quantitative skills is a must. The upcoming Coursera Machine Learning course would probably be a good start (a lot of the necessary math is introduced in the course).

Regarding the degree, credentials are important (and imperative if you want to direct your own research), but one option is to start out by contributing to an open-source project. If you have a specific area of scientific interest, then be strategic and find a project in that area. To take biology as an example, I would look at something like CellProfiler (they are on github!). Also read the papers published by that lab to get a sense for how the software is used. There are many other open-source scientific software projects, and contributions to a project could give you a foot in the door to employment as a developer in the field.

Choronzon 1 day ago 0 replies      
Start working on independent visualisation projects using d3.js.Data visualisation is not data science but 90% of people cant really tell the difference and if you can build up an impressive visual portfolio you will get the work you want. Whether you can do the work or not is more dependent on how you can get through Q4373j3bs excellent reading list however.

Another thing you can do is attack real world problems,there is a shocking amount of bad data science out there.See:http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2013/04/16/reinhart_rogo...

Q4273j3b 2 days ago 1 reply      
Basic prob & stats:

1. _Stats: Data and Models_ by De Veaux, Velleman & Bock

2. _Fifty Challenging Problems in Probability with Solutions_ by Mosteller

3. http://yudkowsky.net/rational/bayes

Basic data analysis:

1. _Python for Data Analysis_ by Wes McKinney

2. http://camdavidsonpilon.github.io/Probabilistic-Programming-...

3. _Exploratory Data Analysis_ by Tukey

4. _The Visual Display of Quantitative Information_ by Tufte


- R & ggplot2 & (Sweave | knitR)

- Python & numpy & pandas

- UNIX tools (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6046682, https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6412190)

- basic SQL (https://schemaverse.com/tutorial/tutorial.php)

- data visualization: (R & ggplot2) | (Python & matplotlib) | d3.js

- OPTIONAL: C/C++/Java for hardcore Bayesian stuff, Julia for being cool, Fortran for specific academic domains

On getting people to take you seriously: If you knew the stuff up there, I would take you very seriously, even without the STEM degree. You can pick this stuff up outside the classroom (in fact it might be hard to find uni classes that cover this stuff). So if you did self-study, and blogged about it or something, people would take you seriously (esp. if you got good at something "hot" like d3.js or Bayesian). In fact, given your background in web / software / business, you could be considered even more valuable (by web / software / business people).

What are you interested in specifically? Where do you want to end up?

kghose 2 days ago 1 reply      
You could offer to intern at a data science place and start in their user interface/visualization end. Then as you interact more with the people doing statistical analyses you could figure out if that's something that you would like and get pointers from them what books to read/courses to take.
codeonfire 2 days ago 0 replies      
Do you want to do scientific programming or work in scientific programming. To work in scientific programming you should probably find a PhD program. As a grad student in the right program you'll probably spend most of your time doing data science. Once you get the degree you can go back to where you work now except work on slightly different stuff.
Ask HN: How do you get hired for a senior role without "experience"?
8 points by diminium  2 days ago   12 comments top 6
staunch 2 days ago 2 replies      
If you truly have the knowledge and judgement(!) to justify a senior position, regardless of years of experience, you should have no trouble landing such a position.

There may be some companies with biases that will prevent it, but there are plenty of companies that don't care how old you are, what you look like -- just that you're really good at what you do.

But be aware that many people overestimate their abilities or undervalue the judgement that years of experience bring. There's a lot of value in having been around long enough to see things come and go. To have made lots of mistakes and learned valuable lessons. Some people really are so good that they can skip much of that, but it's very rare. The only safe bet is to assume you're not one of those people.

And I wouldn't get too hung up about titles. If someone wants to call you "Junior Dog Walker" but pays you and treats you like you want to be treated then don't worry about it.

donavanm 2 days ago 1 reply      
Demonstration is the best path forward. Show, dont tell, your abilities. The rest of my comment assumes this is based on a real life issue.

Youre interviewing at the wrong place, with people you shouldnt work with. When leveling a candidate two things matter, technical knowledge & leadership. Ive literally never heard anyone suggest leveling a candidate based on work history. Experience might affect comp, or indicate retention issues, but it _does not_ affect leveling.

To qualify my argument Ive a decade of experience. Ive been in "senior" roles for the last 4. Ive worked in a couple 4 man llcs, and a couple multi billion dollar tech cos. Ive probably done a hundred interviews, and ive coworkers in the hundreds and thousand range.

contitego 2 days ago 0 replies      
"You have no "experience". Whatever history you had of how you gained your knowledge is gone. Your past is unknown to this new group of people and nothing you say about it makes any sense to them.'"

This question makes no sense to me, nor does your history of posting questions on here.

Based on reading your past questions, looks like you were not a good interviewee and/or lacking in real technical skills.

Communication is the biggest key to getting any position. You need to be able to sell yourself and your abilities. Can you explain what the basics of OOP, MVC, SQL, etc? An inability to communicate these terms, invalidates your technical skills. If you can not explain what an does MVC, how can you implement this pattern into a web app?

You could not articulate common terms that were used in programming during your interview process. At other times, you write about how you can barely program anything outside of a simple app/CRUD, then a bit later are bitching about how simple these tasks are.

Focus on learning how to communicate the terms better. Every profession as certain terms and ideas that they use. Nursing has them, engineering has them, and teaching has them. Programming certainly has them. Sit down and learn the terms.

LarryMade2 2 days ago 0 replies      
You would have to be able to demonstrate your experience...

I would think go the showcasing competitive route, hackathons, open source projects, etc. If you can make a spectacular showing there and win the kudos of your peers, that would account for something.

terrykohla 2 days ago 0 replies      
are you now in the witness protection program?
6d0debc071 2 days ago 1 reply      
Well, if it's just a book, if no-one's checking on it. (Which seems implied by the book being all the proof of your past life,) Then I'd go to a print shop and make myself a new book....
Ask HN: What forums/communities do you frequent aside from HN?
14 points by rfnslyr  4 days ago   6 comments top 4
NovemberWest 4 days ago 0 replies      
Funny, I have spent years trying to escape the small town/small-minded feel of most online communities. I favor larger sites these days, where there is somewhat less entrapment or entrenchment due to personal politicking.

That being said, I currently spend more time on MetaFilter than on HN. I sometimes don't show up here for months at a time. As an openly female member, I have found this boys club in many ways less than welcoming. Possibly not a good thing to admit.

swanson 4 days ago 0 replies      
Ruby Rogues Parley - a paid email list (that is now a Discourse forum) around the Ruby Rogues podcast.

It's basically a private forum for technical topics in Ruby. Pretty high signal-to-noise ratio.

vezzy-fnord 4 days ago 1 reply      
Obviously Slashdot. It isn't quite as huge as it once was, but it's still thriving and has some great headlines (though the quality of comments has been stuck in Eternal September for a while now).

Then again if you're looking for message boards, I don't really participate in any, so I can't help you there.

chrisbridgett 4 days ago 1 reply      
At a risk of stating the obvious... StackOverflow/StackExchange. Not a forum per se, but definitely a community. :-)
Ask HN: Tips for or mistakes to avoid when posting to Show HN
14 points by ohfunkyeah  4 days ago   12 comments top 7
ggchappell 4 days ago 0 replies      
- Put a clear statement of what this thing is on the main page of the site (which should be the page linked to on HN).

- Don't ask my to sign up or give you personal info without giving me a good reason; let me see a demo or at least something like screenshots/results/examples first. Related: what am I getting out of taking time on your site and/or letting you know about me? Do I trust that you'll deal with my personal info in a respectful manner? (Hint: No, I don't.)

- If you are not a native speaker of English, then run the site by a native speaker before publicizing.

Concerning the first two above: even when you've paid attention to them, you probably haven't done nearly as good a job as you think. I come to your site knowing nothing about you or what you've done; help me understand.

For example, you say, "Unclear message about why I would use said app". Sure, make it clear. But first, pay attention to a more fundamental question: make sure that your site indicates that it is about an app. And be clear what platforms the app is available for. And how to get it. And does it cost something. Etc.

(Idea: Find someone who knows nothing about your project, show them the site, and then ask them what they think it's about. If there is a sign-up, then ask them if they noticed it. Ask them what they think they get out of signing up. Don't give them any hints beyond what they already saw on the site.)

thekingshorses 2 days ago 0 replies      
Instead of posting to show HN first, piggy back on somebody else's post that has similar idea, or topic. Post it as a comment and look at the response, comments, pageviews that you get. Fix/make changes based on the response. And once you think it is MVP, post it as show HN.
fjabre 3 days ago 1 reply      
Actually FUCK Show HN. My advice is to stay away from HN when doing your startup. Don't play to this crowd. It's just a huge echo chamber in here. Find a way to advertise your demo or beta product online - there's 1000s of ways to do this and get it in front of customers. The END.
6thSigma 4 days ago 1 reply      
Don't put too much stock in a Show HN. They are extremely hit or miss depending on the time you submit. You might get thousands of hits, you might get 20.

The only thing you should would worry about is making sure if there is a spike that your site doesn't crash.

The other things you're talking about are not optimizing for a Show HN, they are optimizing for a successful landing page.

bdfh42 4 days ago 0 replies      
Your second and third "sins" are the ones I most frequently observe - they seem to be present in almost all "Show HN" posts - oh and not providing a link to the web site.

A well researched "sins" list in this area might make a great addition to the "Guidelines page" - but there again a poor post is probably an effective indicator for the quality of what is to be found.

stevekemp 4 days ago 0 replies      
Sadly it seems that the time of day, and similar things, have more effect on the submission than anythign else.

Even posts that garner many response of "No demo?", "No screenshots?" frequently gain responses than the few things I've posted. (e.g. Console mail client with lua scripting, sysadmin tools, or my updated blog-spam detection service.)

wikwocket 3 days ago 0 replies      
In addition to a Show HN, consider writing a blog post about your app, with a very intriguing and descriptive title, and post that as a normal HN link.
Ask HN: What email client do you use?
14 points by hiddentao  3 days ago   25 comments top 24
sdfjkl 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Apple Mail, because it's nicely integrated, just works and there's a neat GPG plugin. I have no use for webmail interfaces, I'd rather use mutt in a shell than those.

Especially not Gmail, as every time I look at it, some other bullshit feature got added and the UI got more horrible.

artificialidiot 3 days ago 0 replies      
Since apparently everyone uses nothing but gmail, I think I am in minority by using Thunderbird consistently through years.

I use gmail, yahoo mail (through an extension), connect several pop3(I tell it to leave messages onn server), imap servers for work (for which emails are occasionally harvested and sold to spammers somehow..) and my own mail server (Hey, I am a web developer. No excuse to not have a el cheapo vps with webserver and an email servers combo), local maildir and mbox delivery for testing crap I write, several newsgroups and a shitloads of RSS/Atom feeds. It also has some xmpp integration of dubious usability. I also have Lightning extension which is supposed to behave as a calendar but I am a disorganised person and rarely check email by contemporary standard of every five minutes, whole day. Oh, and local spam detection.

Sure I look forward to Mailpile (just checked the marketing blurb) which promises to not show me ads and perform faster than "cloud" while offering all the features that should exist in practice to justify calling itself an email client. Competition is good and thunderbird is going senile by every passing day anyway.

I hope they won't spin off their custom web server as a standalone project too.

marioluigi 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Thunderbird just works. Not looking for an alternative.
lifeisstillgood 3 days ago 0 replies      
Ooooh this hits a sore point with me this week.

I have used gmail to date simply because I must have a synched service between laptop and mobile. So gmail was just there as a IMAP/SMTP server for the iPhone mail reader

However as pg has pointed out, and the pretty good ActiveInbox implemented (hey ActiveInbox - apply for YC!) a mail inbox is really a task list.

And it must be linked to a contact book. All of which must be integrated at the event level.

So which mail client I use is less of the question than how do I solve

* capturing and synching contact details, contact events, email messages and tags across all these

I have a workable solution in gmail now, but I cannot capture events on my iPhone. Android appraently does so I will switch but its not all tied together neatly.

I have played with mutt and goobook but frankly I can see a good couple of weeks disappearing down this rathole. Yet it should be a solved problem. VCards, iCal, X-Headers, the solution is there. It just seems there is no RFC we can agree on

my rant on this subject: http://blog.mikadosoftware.com/2013/09/17/help-i-cannot-find...

Edit: am I just ill-informed (!) or has there really been no successful standardisation for "managing contact details events and tasks in a mailbox?"

OriginalAT 3 days ago 0 replies      
I personally just use Gmail's web interface when on my computer and the Gmail apps when on my phone or tablet. Even when I worked for an enterprise facing company where everyone used Outlook (and had for years) I used the Gmail web interface/apps since the company used Google Apps.

I've just always felt that a desktop client just adds another layer where things can go wrong.

stevekemp 3 days ago 0 replies      
I ssh into a remote VPS, where all my mail is delivered into ~/Maildir.

From there I read it with lumail, if I have problems I revert to mutt.

I've got webmail setup for those times when I'm travelling and cannot use ssh.

meerita 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Sparrow on my macs, and on my iPhone. Soon, when I will acquire the Nexus 5 I don't know what to use. Any recommendations?
stevenrace 2 days ago 0 replies      
emacs + mu4e [1]

Since it's within Emacs there's great GPG support, familiar keybindings, and less contextual shift than switching to a browser. It's also fully searchable, usable offline, and non-blocking to other emacs operations.

[1] http://www.djcbsoftware.nl/code/mu/mu4e.html

wikwocket 2 days ago 0 replies      
Thunderbird, version 3, and you'll get me to upgrade when you pry the mouse out of my cold dead fingers.

Thunderbird was the first client I found that let me manage multiple separate accounts through the same interface, receiving and sending mail from each in a logical way. There's probably other ways to do that now, but I'm terrified of upsetting a system that Just Works.

wazari972 3 days ago 0 replies      
Mainly Gmail web (and android) interfaces, because it's by far the most intuitive and furnished client I've tested. I also use Thunderbird and Horde for a non gmail account, but I'm far from being happy with them. Actually, I feel more like if I'm back at stone age with them ...NB: I'm actively looking for alternatives to gmail
auganov 2 days ago 0 replies      
Outlook.Gave up on gmail after getting more email accounts.Generally speaking Outlook and OneNote are my two favorite Microsoft programs that I have no viable replacement for.
lefnire 3 days ago 0 replies      
I haven't found anyone else who uses it surprisingly, but Gmail Offline (Chrome App). I use it when online. It has amazing keyboard shortcuts (faster than Gmail proper), and then of course you get the perk that the data is offline once you hit the train. Actually, I think the keyboard shortcuts might be the only reason I use it...
qwerta 3 days ago 0 replies      
Claws-Mail. I found web-based clients slow.
mattbillenstein 3 days ago 0 replies      
Mutt son - Mutt.
jameswyse 3 days ago 1 reply      
On my mac I eventually replaced Sparrow with Airmail, it's good though can be a little buggy at times.On my iPhone I use Mailbox
bnejad 3 days ago 0 replies      
Outlook at work(no choice), k9 mail on Android, & Thunderbird on personal computers.
apricot13 3 days ago 0 replies      
Gmail for reading / sending email and thunderbird for backups on my mac.
bpierre 3 days ago 0 replies      
Airmail on OSX.
aen 3 days ago 0 replies      
Sparrow on my Mac and Mail on my iDevices. I like simple and light clients.
itaCas 3 days ago 0 replies      
webjames 3 days ago 0 replies      
I use gmail (google apps) for now, but am excited by MailPile(.is)
dshep 3 days ago 0 replies      
hiddentao 3 days ago 0 replies      
Seems like a lot of people like the Gmail interface.
2close4comfort 3 days ago 0 replies      
Ask HN: a quick and easy SEO service for startups?
4 points by MasterScrat  2 days ago   4 comments top 4
hvass 2 days ago 0 replies      
We (agency) use Moz, $99 per month. Worth it in my opinion.
erict19 2 days ago 0 replies      
Agreed with Moz, also other tools worth looking into/could be valuable WebSEO, GinzaMetrics, SEOBook and just Google Adwords
tlongren 2 days ago 0 replies      
Also interested in this.
cajuntrep 1 day ago 0 replies      
Second (or third) Moz.
Why aren't HN comments collapsible?
3 points by coryfklein  1 day ago   4 comments top 2
michaelwww 1 day ago 1 reply      
I don't understand what your issue is with a browser ext. The one I use just works -- so well that I forget and had to stop and think about your headline that comments aren't collapsible.


coryfklein 1 day ago 0 replies      
Also, I know that there exist browser extensions to allow comment collapsing, but the problem extends beyond a mere functionality problem - since comments can't be collapsed, the actual comment structure changes, and that is something no browser extension can fix.
What Google's Calico Anti-aging initiative will actually do
3 points by drcode  2 days ago   3 comments top 2
matthudson 1 day ago 0 replies      
Mapping, modeling, and indexing a cell's structure is a very different problem than indexing hyperlink structure on the internet.

A wholesale computational model of the cell is an incredibly ambitious task to achieve via a broad, unfocused approach to building a chem-concentration database.

The main issue they would face is in your bullet #1: What is your "Pagerank" for cell structure and chem-concentration analysis, what/who do you put your weight behind?

How do you merge these data sets? This research is distributed in labs all over the planet with different quality standards, research objectives, lab conditions, data hygiene, statistical significance, etc.

What you've written seems like a plausible approach in a pure research setting within a single lab, but if their end goal is a computational model of the cell with commercial side-effects along the way-- the best way to achieve that would be to chip away at it piecemeal. Not through an unfocused merger of cell "big data".

E.g. identify specific protein binding sites and conformations that correlate with a specific type of breast cancer, track their conformations under different conditions--- prove that your data is superior to data yielded by existing models.

Of course, you would also have to monetize somehow.

The specific thing you chose is less important than not attempting to paint the whole model at once.

cprncus 2 days ago 1 reply      
Although something akin to this should occur, I think your post understates the computational enormity of the issue. Many diseases are not caused by single genes or single environmental conditions, but interactions between dozens of genes and the environment, even epigenetic factors. Big Data (huge data) approaches will begin to chip away at the mountain, but even with Google's super powers, it's a ways off.

> (1) would improve therapies across the board for all major diseases at once

How? Unless if by "at once" you mean they would begin the era of using this approach on any disease. But surely each disease will have its own puzzle.

Ask HN: What literature do you read?
39 points by null_ptr  7 days ago   88 comments top 50
veidr 7 days ago 1 reply      
The trilogy of Neuromancer, Burning Chrome, and Mona Lisa Overdrive is still my favorite work of fiction, and also, to my mind, exemplifies the kind of taut, awesome writing that I would want to do if I wrote novels. It the only series of 3 books I have read more than once.

I caught these books at just the right time in my life (age 13 or 14), leading my high-school fascination with Japan and rekindled interest in computing, and probably played an inordinately large role in me ending up as a programmer who lives in Tokyo, two decades later.

I like great sci fi best, but I think most of it is crap, including virtually all of the old pulp sci fi and Asimov I grew up reading (which was basically all of it), Star Wars/Trek, etc.

Other than Gibson's stuff, some of the truly spectacular sci fi I have read is the very-dense-and-not-at-all-thriller-ish Mars trilogy (Red Mars, Green Mars, and Blue Mars), and the fast-paced-and-awesome Spin by Robert Charles Wilson. That led me to read all of Wilson's books, many of which are also good. Also Haldeman is an author worth reading, though not all of his books hit their mark.

Great sci fi is my favorite fiction, but IMO most of it is broken by being fundamentally implausible. Other fiction I consider great in other genres include Memoirs of a Geisha, Cold Mountain, REAMDE, The Son, The Road, the lighter but still version of that post-apocalyptic concept The Dog Stars, City of Thieves, and All the Pretty Horses and its sequels.

It's probably symptomatic of a major flaw in my character that despite also buying dozens of nonfiction works (Lincoln, On China, and so forth) over the past few years, I haven't finished any of them.

bsenftner 7 days ago 1 reply      
Herman Hesse "The Glass Bead Game" is incredible. For great mind fucks, check out the crime fiction of Jim Thompson: 1st person, you're a petty crook, dumb & scared, people trying to kill you are right behind you, and most the books end with you being caught and killed in the last sentence. It takes a day or two to shake off his books' reality.
enra 7 days ago 1 reply      
After reading Game of Thrones I wanted to read more book series, so went with science fiction ones:

  Started with: Dune, by Frank Herbert (+ 5 books in the series)  Continued to: Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card (+ 3 sequels)  Now reading: Foundation by Isaac Asimov (+ 5 books)
All those are pretty great in sense of that they take set in span of thousands of years, and touch bit different ideas around society, myths, religion, morals, physical and mental technologies.

Other than that, been been enjoying some classic literature, Zen and Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, James Clavell, Haruki Murakami and books about Richard Feynman.

BWStearns 7 days ago 3 replies      
I've been chewing through some Neil Stephenson books lately. I think a lot of his earlier work was somewhat prescient (in terms of general themes) and some of his newer work bring up some interesting societal points especially about the role of government with regards to technology. Another theme that I feel is particularly relevant lately is the bifurcation of the technically skilled (or even aware) and the technically unskilled. He puts up an interesting split in Anathema which wittingly or not might well represent a lot of the current hacker/tech-elite discussion in society at large. Anathema is well worth a read and Cryptonomicon is just plain fun (perhaps more relevant lately than it was in its own time).
elehack 6 days ago 0 replies      
A lot of stuff:

Asimov's Foundation (I only recommend the trilogy, though; Foundation's Edge is good but will make you want to read Foundation and Earth, which does severe damage to the universe. Haven't read the prequels.)

Asimov's short stories


Ben Hur

The Count of Monte Cristo (brilliant revenge story)

A lot of Brandon Sanderson's work (The Stormlight Archive is promising to be fascinating)

Too long a list of other stuff to put here.

pavel_lishin 7 days ago 1 reply      
Does Goodreads allow "groups"? That could be handy.

Edit: yes they do, and that's exactly what they're called, and there's already one for Hacker News: http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/94469-hackernews

kyzyl 7 days ago 1 reply      
As has already been mentioned elsewhere in this thread, most of Neil Stephenson's work is just great. Cryptonomicon is my favorite, but The Baroque Cycle (three books) is very good as well.

If you're into crime/mystery fiction, the recently deceased Elmore Leonard was one of the best. A few of his books have been made into movies (Get Shorty, Jackie Brown, The Big Bounce) with mixed results, but I do I highly recommend reading the books, which are numerous.

For a different sort of fiction, James Clavell's Shogun, Taipan, and Noble House are great. In fact, Noble House very well be my favorite book. It's a long (~1400 page) book about business dealings, political intrigue, and more. All set in the context of 1963 Hong Kong.

Those who like a touch of historical fiction could take a look at Conn Uggulden. One of his series, The Conqueror, which is about the rise and fall of the Mongol empire is pretty interesting. The books are a light read, and not particularly complicated, but it's entertaining and has some neat historical bits.

niels_olson 7 days ago 0 replies      
Kafka. Catch 22. Orwell. Hemingway. Plato. But mostly pathology these days.
pasbesoin 7 days ago 0 replies      
I know from past threads on this topic that I am not the only person here who has found Robert Pirsig's work worthwhile. I mention it because it is currently on my nightstand, for the first repeat visit in too many years.


brudgers 7 days ago 0 replies      
While I often read Science Fiction and recently enjoyed Corey Doctorow's Rapture of the Nerds, Last week I finished Jeet Thayil's Narcopolis.

Currently, I am reading the third volume of Rick Atkinson's history of the second world war, The Guns at Last Light: The War in Western Europe, 1944-1945. I've enjoyed all three volumes over the past decade.

mjn 7 days ago 0 replies      
I recently read one of Victor Hugo's shorter books, The Toilers of the Sea, and quite enjoyed it. I like Hugo's writing in general: has a rich feeling of time and place, with the style of the sentences he crafts sort of feeding into it. He's not exactly underrated in general, but I don't meet many people in my circles who read his novels.

I also recently read Kafka's The Trial, which I've long known about but never read, and it was good but not at all what I expected. For some reason I expected Kafka to be an intimidating, serious writer, based on how his name has come to be used metaphorically. But The Trial is a very easy read, engaging and plot-driven, moving along at a fast pace. You can read it in a few hours, and it feels like light reading, despite having some serious content.

macrael 7 days ago 0 replies      
East of Eden is my favorite book I've read in the last several years. Beautiful end to end and very moral. If you've read it it's totally worth reading Journal of a Novel: a collection of letters Steinbeck wrote to his editor every day as he was writing East of Eden. It's a fascinating window into the mind of a master deliberately creating a masterpiece.

Other favorites: Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner, In Our Time by Hemingway, The Magus by John Fowles, 100 years of solitude, Moby Dick (perhaps a precursor to all modern fantasy?) Stranger in a Strange Land, and Infinite Jest. I've also loved both of DFW's big essay collections: Consider the Lobster and A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll never Do Again.

bpizzi 2 days ago 0 replies      
Well I'm definitely into sci-fi literature.There's simply nothing else nowadays (being in my early thirties) which can caught my attention and limited free time.

It's hard to sum it up to a couple of favorites... If you prefer hardcore sci-fi over the rest - as I do, those are definitely first choices:- Iain M. Banks Culture books ("Excession" being the best of all to me)- Simmon's "Hyperion" and "Fall of Hyperion"

Some authors managed to bring some good pieces of space-opera without being too much cheesy:- Hamilton and his Void books,- and, of course, Herbert and the Dune stuff.But I must warn the casual reader here: those kind of books can get really massive.

Second choices - but still really good books, would be stuff written by great guys like Asimov ("Foundation"), OS Card ("Enders game") or RC Wilson ("Spin").

zalzane 7 days ago 0 replies      
I came across an excellent list of science fiction awhile ago;


svag 7 days ago 0 replies      
I am currently reading a book called "The Housekeeper and the Professor" of Yoko Ogawa.

I haven't finished it, but I find it quite interesting. It's the story of a housekeeper and a professor of mathematics who can remember new memories only for 80 minutes.

Here is a link to the relevant wikipedia article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Housekeeper_and_the_Profess...

Nekorosu 7 days ago 0 replies      
Everything from Vernor Vinge is top notch. Start with A Fire Upon the Deep. If you like it read the other two books of the trilogy. It's a space opera by degree of events but it never gets cheesy. The amount of ideas put into these books never cease to amaze me.

Rudy Rucker's Postsingular followed by Hylozoic are great books. It's a rather humorous view on postsingular way of life. It's hard to describe his books and Rucker's writing style is not everyone's cup of tea but William Gibson likes it.

Also if you haven't read anything from Michael Swanwick you should give his books a try. It's not strictly science fiction because he likes to slide into more psychedelic and surreal areas of fiction. But I consider that his charm. Start with The Iron Dragon's Daughter.

I also have to mention Cory Doctorow's Down and Out In the Magic Kingdom. I actually don't really like Doctorow's works. Some of them are boring. But this particular book is an exception and absolutely worth reading. A lot of interesting ideas are in play there including reputation based currency, eternal life (through ability to backup/restore body and memories) and extreme transhumanism.

sown 7 days ago 1 reply      
I liked Rainbows Edge because in addition to a nifty story, it felt like a blueprint or use case for the near future. Marshall Brane's Manna did something similar, even if you don't consider it fine literature. Charles Bukowski for poetry, which for some reason I can relate to, despite not sharing any experiences with the author ... which kind of worries me.

Various practical books such as Secrets of Power Negotiation by Roger Dawson if that sort of thing will help you.

waterhouse 7 days ago 0 replies      
Isaac Asimov's robot series (start with "I, Robot" and "The Caves of Steel") is good, as is his Foundation series. Ender's Game is also good; I've heard other people complain about the other novels in that universe (Speaker for the Dead and sequels, Ender's Shadow and sequels), but I liked them fine. Cryptonomicon is rich, fascinating, and entertaining. Dune is rich and pretty fascinating. Heinlein's "Stranger in a Strange Land" and "Time Enough for Love" are somewhat scandalous, but I thoroughly enjoyed them.

Outside science fiction: P.G. Wodehouse's Jeeves and Wooster novels, as well as what of his other books I've read, are hilarious and brilliant; I would suggest "Right Ho, Jeeves" as a starting point.

pharrington 7 days ago 0 replies      
Reading The Second Sex right now. I need a bit of brush up on some history and philosophy.
wallflower 7 days ago 0 replies      
I love biographies/auto-biographies of people not in technology (directly) who live an interesting life.

"Giant Steps: The Remarkable Story of the Goliath Expedition From Punta Arenas to Russia" by Karl Bushby

Unbelievable what it feels like to just take off...


"Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination"

The first third of the book is remarkable in that Walt Disney constantly struggles with failure.


"Swimming to Antarctica: Tales of a Long-Distance Swimmer" by Lynne Cox

Her story is all about single focus on doing what you want to do.


"Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life" by Steve Martin


gillianseed 7 days ago 0 replies      
Nothing 'exotic' really, my all time favourites are Asimov, Heinlein, Philip K.Dick, Stephen King (particularly dark tower series), Arthur C. Clarke, Orson Scott Card (Ender series), William Gibson, Douglas Adams.

I was recently coaxed into reading the 'Kingkiller chronicles' by Patrick Rothfuss, I was sceptical thinking it would be something like Harry Potter (not my cup of tea) but I ended up really liking it, looking forward to the third book.

babuskov 7 days ago 0 replies      
My favorite is still Frank Herbert's Dune series.
pstack 7 days ago 0 replies      
I think I have read two pieces of fiction in my adult life. I'd love to read for recreation much more, but if I have time to read a fantasy or horror or science fiction novel, I have time to read something related to my field, instead.
aaronbrethorst 7 days ago 0 replies      
I'm surprised no one's mentioned Philip Jos Farmer and his Riverworld series. The last book is comparatively weak, but the rest are great.
rch 7 days ago 1 reply      
How about David Foster Wallace? Also China Miville and Haruki Murakami.
meerita 5 days ago 0 replies      
I read history books but also, many others. One of the best classics Sci-fi I've read ever is The Riverworld saga by Josep Filip Farmer. I barealy guess another serie can match the awesome of this story, maybe as some hackers point out, The Foundation is another great series and will entertain you a lot.
jdrenterprises 2 days ago 0 replies      
"Arguably Essays" by Christopher Hitchens

"Letters to a Young Contrarian" by the same.

and "Unpopular Essays" by Bertrand Russell.

b3b0p 7 days ago 0 replies      
My favorite fiction book is Shadows of the Empire by Steve Perry. I am not a fan of the Star Wars books nor am I a hardcore Star Wars fan, but this book captures me every time.

Other favorites, not including those mentioned by others already are Jurassic Park and the Harry Potter series. I like to go back and read these often.

For fun, my favorite, far and away is Foxtrot by Bill Amend.

wsc981 7 days ago 5 replies      
I recently started Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. From what I understand, in the US the book is viewed as a must-read for students, but it's much less known here in Europe.
FennNaten 7 days ago 0 replies      
For me, mostly Sci-Fi and Fantasy. Phillip K. Dick, Roger Zelazny, Isaac Asimov, William Gibson, Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Georges R.R Martin, Tolkien, Raymond E Feist, David Gemell, Robin Hobb, Anne Mc Caffrey, Fritz Leiber, J.V. Jones, Moorcock, Jack Vance, Van Vogt, Robert Charles Wilson, Lucius Shepard, Ray Bradbury, Scott Lynch, Peter V Brett, E.E Knight... just for those coming to my mind right now and internationally known. I also read french writers in the same genre: Roland C Wagner, Claude Ecken, Lionel Davoust, Fabien Clavel, Pierre Pevel, Justine Niogret, Eric Wietzel, Alain Damasio, Ayerdhal, Sylvie Miller, Philippe Ward, Thomas Geha, Laurent Whale, Jeanne A Debats, Anne Fakhouri...And a lot more. I'm a bookworm so the list's always growing ^^'
msh 6 days ago 0 replies      
anything by Charles Stross, the atrocity archive could be a good place to start: humor, computers and cosmic horrors, whats not to like ;)

Another would be halting state but time have properly overrun it.

He even have a interesting background as a programmer/tech writer/pharmacist, read it here: http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2009/07/how_i_go...

dietervds 7 days ago 0 replies      
I'm a huge fan of Daemon and Freedom(tm) by Daniel Suarez. I guess you can call it a 'technology thriller', with some amazing ideas and impressions of our society. His most recent book, Kill Decision, is along similar lines and also great.

I love reading actual sci-fi too, and was most impressed by the Lost Fleet series by Jack Campbell. Can absolutely recommend those.

Note: I didn't come to these titles myself, they were recommended by Steve Gibson from the 'Security Now' podcast. I couldn't agree more with his taste.

mehmehshoe 7 days ago 0 replies      
Weird Life: The Search for Life That Is Very, Very Different from Our Own.

I am cheating with an audiobook though....spend a lot of time in a car=)

craftsman 7 days ago 0 replies      
The two books I have active right now:

    From Falling Bodies to Radio Waves, Emilio Segre    A River Runs Through It, Norman Maclean

od2m 7 days ago 0 replies      
Vonnegut (Cat's Cradle, Slaughterhouse 5), Bukowski (Postman). Steinbeck (Tortilla flat). All their stuff is good, but those are my favorites :)
tartuffe78 7 days ago 0 replies      
Dan Simmons Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion are two of the best novels I've read. I read a lot of scifi, and I think they have held up very well compared to some other works that came out in the 80s through the early 90s.

They present a lot of challenges that mankind may face in the future as our technology exceeds us, but they are also very entertaining.

crisnoble 7 days ago 0 replies      
I tell everyone I meet who is into books to read "House of Leaves" by Mark Z. Danielewski.
mdellabitta 7 days ago 1 reply      
Catch 22One Hundred Years of SolitudeThe Infinite JestCryptonomicon
rch 7 days ago 1 reply      
The Crying of Lot 49 -- Thomas Pynchon
PankajGhosh 7 days ago 0 replies      
Last 3 books: Game of thrones (1, 2, 3)Currently reading: The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (one of the comprehensive and popular works on the topic)
dshipper 7 days ago 0 replies      
Kazuo Ishiguro is a favorite: Remains of the Day, Never Let Me Go
deletes 7 days ago 1 reply      
Harry Potter; Tales of Pirx the Pilot (Stanislaw Lem)
finin 7 days ago 0 replies      
Wool by Hugh Howey
bra-ket 7 days ago 0 replies      
Frederik Pohl's Gateway
acl2149 7 days ago 0 replies      
reading stanley milgrams obedience to authority. Hoping to start a biography on oppenheimer soon. Don't know which biography to choose though
incidence 7 days ago 0 replies      
H.P. Lovecraft :)
kvu787 7 days ago 0 replies      
Huckleberry Finn
amjd 7 days ago 0 replies      
Reading The Book Thief at the moment.
speakr 7 days ago 0 replies      
A Song of Ice and Fire
jackjeff 7 days ago 0 replies      
Judas Unchained
Got a side project you want to promote? We want to help.
8 points by sideproject  4 days ago   discuss
webvet 3 days ago 0 replies      
Nice - posted one of ours.

Bug report/suggestions:

1) Can't find a way to edit our project listing

2) Consider more rigorous client-side validation on submission form(e.g. I accidentally entered a non-numeric character in the Price field - this error was reported only after I hit Submit. Would've been easier if this were reported on tabbing/clicking out of the field)

3) Upon erroneous submission, at least the 'How is your project built?' field got cleared

Also, you might want to consider an 'auto screenshot capture/display' feature once a user types in the URL. We are very shortly going to publish a (free) API to do this - we'd be glad to help if needed, let me know.

A great site/service on the whole - thanks.

makerops 4 days ago 0 replies      
Do projects expire? I had one posted, but now it is gone.
klaut 3 days ago 1 reply      
Bug report: went to the link to post a side project, but now it is nowhere to be found.
ibstudios 4 days ago 0 replies      
I posted my site.

Thanks for posting yours here!

sideproject 4 days ago 1 reply      
Show HN: explain everything on one page and share it with one link
4 points by ghacker  2 days ago   4 comments top 3
cprncus 1 day ago 0 replies      
The visual design of the site needs work. Colors are, at least to me, ugly. Yellow on medium-dark gray and chartreuse buttons? I myself surely don't "REALLY NEED" such a tool, but then again, I don't need 99% of the stuff that has done well online (and so maybe that's not the right question to ask. Someone will surely mention the Henry Ford quote about if I'd asked my customers what they needed they would have said faster horses.)
bliti 2 days ago 0 replies      
The shade of green you used for the buttons needs to be a little more darker.
abhishekdesai 2 days ago 1 reply      
Nicely done Greg. I certainly see myself using this tool a lot.
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