hacker news with inline top comments    .. more ..    19 Nov 2014 Ask
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Ask HN: The best road to travel?
4 points by feroz1  1 hour ago   6 comments top 3
jasonkester 33 minutes ago 1 reply      
The East Coast of Australia is the obvious choice. Start in Sydney, lots of cool coast up to Byron Bay. Chill there a while, hit the Gold Coast for some surfing, into Brisbane, do a Fraser Island trip, then head north to Airlie Beach where you'll get certified to dive (if necessary) and head out to the Great Barrier Reef. Maybe head up to Cairns to get the tick before heading back south. It's a steak-eatin' Toohey's swillin' good time.


South Africa has a similar route from Cape Town to Durban, but with more getting robbed at gunpoint. Seattle to San Diego on the 101 works too, substituting cold water for warm and rain for sun.

Good luck!

pathy 1 hour ago 2 replies      
In America?

I found the coastal route between San Fransisco and Los Angeles to be stunning. A road right on the cliff edge by the water. Amazing views. I don't recall name of the route but it shouldn't be too hard to find.

In Europe I would suggest something like traveling in Cornwall in The UK or along the French riviera. Both are well worth a visit. Better in the summer or late spring though.

kachhalimbu 28 minutes ago 0 replies      
Ask HN: Any other good discussion boards or subreddits?
6 points by ybalkind  2 hours ago   2 comments top
wooster20 2 hours ago 1 reply      
/r/programming has some good stuff sometimes, but most of the articles are here, too. Also the Dunning Kruger effect is at an all time high there. They get pretty tetchy about shit that they decide is "bad", and then devolve into flaming.
Tell HN: Wear a Helmet
259 points by stevesearer  15 hours ago   166 comments top 43
kazinator 14 hours ago 3 replies      
Please throw away your helmet and get a new one; they are only rated to be in one accident.

Also, get a better bicycle for commuting; chains should not break after a few weeks. This shows that the bicycle had been heavily used, or is an ancient rust bucket, and may be a "bicycle shaped object" to begin with.

I carry a Park chain linkpin press tool for opening and closing chain links. Though occasions for using that on the road are rare if the chain is well-maintained and replaced regularly, not long ago I had a fairly new chain derail off the front ring, and by some unfortunate combination of events get itself into a tight kink which jammed and caused a link to bend severely. Having the tool, I was able to splice out and discard the bent link, and be on my merry way. I also carry a short piece of chain that was left over from the original chain installation, because there is only so many links you can throw away before the chain gets too short.

When you get a new chain, the rear gear cluster should be changed at the same time, since they wear together. A new chain can slip on old sprockets even if the old chain didn't. The front rings have to be changed maybe once every three chain changes.

chrismealy 14 hours ago 6 replies      
In the Netherlands, where 30% of trips are by bike (compared to 1% in the US), almost nobody where a helmet, and it's extremely safe. It's almost impossible to go over the handlebars on a Dutch bike. You're sitting upright, you're going slow, the roads are safe, and there are no hills to go zooming down. Dutch cycling is basically at jogging speeds. Nobody expects joggers to wear helmets.

However, when Dutch cyclists do go fast, they wear helmets. In Dutch there are even separate words for everyday cyclist (fietser) and speed cyclists (wielrenner):


I live in Seattle, where we have killer hills and shitty bike infrastructure. I always wear a helmet, and I've had three minor crashes that would have been major crashes without a helmet. When I finally move to the Netherlands, I'm not bringing my helmet with me.

rconti 15 hours ago 6 replies      
There's some interesting research out there suggesting that head/neck injuries are actually more common among helmeted bicyclists than the non-helmeted. The factors include the extra weight of the helmet, the size of the helmet causing the helmeted head to strike the ground when an unhelmeted head would not have, and additional risks taken by helmeted riders (think: risk homeostasis). Unfortunately I can't find the link that was making the rounds a few months ago.

In my own personal anecdotes, I have had one major bicycle wreck where I somersaulted into a car, one bicycle wreck where my chain snapped and I flung myself over the bars onto the street, and a couple of low-speed (~10mph) motorcycle offs where I collided with the ground but my head did not touch. Though there was one motorcycle case where the side of my helmet dragged on the ground slightly from about 5mph; it's arguable whether my head would have hit.

That said, I have hit my head incredibly hard snowboarding, after catching an edge at very low speed ("last run of the day!" type thing), and always always always wear a helmet every single time I ride a bicycle or motorcycle or snowboard, just as I always wear a seatbelt in the car. It's just a habit, and a good one.

bbulkow 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Honestly, I think you're .... oh, I don't want to be harsh .... being a bit wishful by saying that you would have been badly injured had you not been wearing your helmet. At least, there's no evidence in your post that shows it. Probably, you have no idea.

Without a helmet, your effective head is "smaller", I know that in an accident of mine - where everyone said "thank god for your helmet" am I certain that the part of the helmet hanging out the back hit the ground, and without the helmet, my head probably wouldn't have touched.

As a long-term bicycist and a long-term motorcyclist (serious crashes in each), I am increasingly skeptical about the technology in current bicycle helmets, especially compared to the technology in my current motorcycle helmets. Bicycle helmets are simply not tested to the same standards. They use very hard shells. They extend the "impact radius" --- basically, your head becomes bigger --- with only some decrease in crash absorbancy.

Reading the literature, it seems that the current bicycle designs are based on voodoo more than good science. The designs look like what bicycle racers used 30 years ago (little leather padded strips).

Compare this to the motorcycle helmet industry. There are plenty of crashes to analyze, mostly of motorcycle racers. There are numerous standards (like SNELL) which measure levels of transient G force within the brain on a simulated head.

We deserve better bicycle helmets, and people are willing to pay for good science and proof of protection. I pay a LOT of money for my motorcycle helmet, and glad to do so. I would pay 4x the price of a current bicycle helmet to buy one with solid, verified science and an international standard behind it.

In my suspicion, the lack of good bicycle helmet science is why the upper level numbers are bad: helmets don't decrease injuries or deaths, except that they cause people not to ride.

Really, we deserve better helmets.

gumby 15 hours ago 1 reply      
I was struck by a car while biking with my helmet (which I generally wore but wasn't super diligent about). Broke my arm, which I was quite bummed about. Got back on my bike and rode one-handed to the emergency room.

At the hospital they reconstructed my accident and wouldn't you know: I fell on my occiput; elbow shattered as a subsequent side effect. Since I had had the helmet on I hadn't even noticed; without the helmet, well, I wouldn't have noticed either. I went back and looked at the helmet and the foam was damaged at the back of the head (it had absorbed a bunch of K.E.) and the back of th helmet had grit embedded.

Needless to say I ALWAYS wear my helmet.

jessevdk 14 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm Dutch, and used to biking everywhere since I've been little. It is true that people in the Netherlands don't usually wear helmets, and the infrastructure and general driving attitude (you do have to pay much more attention to bicyclists when learning to drive) promote this. However, since I've moved to Switzerland I've become accustomed to wearing a helmet. One year ago I was in a pretty serious accident where I broke two vertebrae (one compression fracture and one clean break) and... my helmet. I don't care what studies say, I'm pretty sure that in my case the helmet saved my life.

On a side note, the situation in which the accident happened could have happened likewise in the Netherlands, it was on the flat and I was on a driver lane, except maybe that it was driver negligance that could have been avoided if drivers where more accustomed to bicyclists.

maerF0x0 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Ive been hit three times, the third time the helmet mattered. If I had of done false presumptions of "I've been hit before and it doesnt matter" I might be dead or worse off now.

if you have a 0 dollar brain, wear 0 dollar head protection.

deutronium 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Additionally if you ride a bike, grow your hair long.

Dr Ian Walker did some experiments with a bike fitted with an ultrasound distance meter and found cars kept a greater distance to people with long hair.


Alternatively, fit your bike with a flame thrower - https://www.eta.co.uk/2010/09/29/bond-bicycle-boasts-ejector...

MrQuincle 13 hours ago 3 replies      
You can do it, but you shouldn't advocate it. Arguments against widespread use:

- making people wear helmets will make less people bike, less people biking on the road leads to more accidents with bikes, and more deaths [1]

- a helmet may make people in general more reckless [1]

- cars will pass closer to people when they are wearing a helmet than when they are unprotected [1]

- if people need helmets, cycling is apparent a dangerous activity, attracting risk-seekers, skewing the statistics [1]

- compulsory helmet use in Australia seems to support some of these (perhaps) counter-intuitive arguments [1]

- helmet itself is dubious [2]

Morale: sure, wear a helmet, but don't evangelize its use. It's a tragedy of the commons if you will succeed.

[1] http://hanlonblog.dailymail.co.uk/2011/07/should-my-son-wear...[2] http://www.tbd.com/blogs/tbd-on-foot/2011/08/idea-of-the-day...

grecy 15 hours ago 1 reply      
I was riding home last winter and a car blew a stop sign and t-boned me.

My helmet hit the ground hard, I was perfectly fine.

The ambulance guys were pretty sure I would not have been if not for the helmet.

Please, wear a helmet.

skierscott 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Please, wear a helmet. The costs of not wearing a helmet can be severe and far outweigh the minor inconvenience of wearing a helmet.

I'm a severe traumatic brain injury survivor. I was wearing a helmet (skiing crash) but lived with the effects for two years. It was incredibly frustrating -- I was surrounded by loving friends and family that cared enough to give me some painful feedback.

I'm still skiing and researched helmets in depth before returning. There's some interesting technology called MIPS[1]. The protect against moving impacts, a large improvement. Current helmets are just dropped straight down and these helmets are tested while spinning/moving/etc. That's how crashes happen -- while you're moving, whether it be on skis or on a bike.

It's a little more expensive, but it's your brain. Please protect that.


maxmcd 13 hours ago 1 reply      
For all the usual discussion on HN about sample size, confirmation bias, FUD, survivorship bias, etc... I'm surprised to see so many personal experiences gaining upvotes. There are certainly quite a few linked studies and supported arguments, but they are the minority.

Isn't anyone's personal account of risk and danger pretty much irrelevant?

beilabs 15 hours ago 2 replies      
I was presently surprised moving to Australia to find that it was compulsory to have a helmet while on a bicycle.

Many on my cycle run have been attaching go-pro mounts to their skull cover; I wonder how ineffective it renders the helmet if you landed straight on it.

stevebmark 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Glad you have a friend like that. Please continue the social pressure and actively encourage your less self-preseverational friends with the same message. I yelled at my non-helmet wearing friend (otherwise very bright) and eventually he started wearing it. Social pressure can bring good change.
mooreds 15 hours ago 1 reply      
And replace your helmet every five years: http://www.smf.org/helmetfaq#aWhyReplace
kaybe 12 hours ago 1 reply      
I can also recommend martial arts fall training, which saved my head in a similar situation.

I got my handlebars hooked on a rail going downhill and flew over the handlebars; my training allowed me to take the whole impact with my hip and butt. Light graze on the forehead, I'm lucky my reflexes told me to tuck in the head. (However, I couldn't walk that day. Cycling was fine.)

I'm wearing a helmet now, but I'm not sure the situation would have ended as well if I had been wearing it then, because of the bigger head radius.

edit: spelling

mod 13 hours ago 0 replies      
If you're moving quickly and could impact the ground, is maybe a better phrasing. Check out this skateboard wreck I saw posted on reddit a little while back.


A person in the thread (so value accordingly) said they worked in an ER and their estimation of the result of the impact, were there no helmet involved, was "likely death."

Also, as kazinator said, helmets are only good for one crash (or even drop from very high off the ground). Get a new one!

stronglikedan 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Agreed. My front tire slipped to the left on wet slanted concrete. My helmet hit the ground so hard that my glasses flew off my face and were flattened upon impact. I just ended up with a little scuff and a headache. (and a broken shoulder and knuckle)

There was nothing I could do to prevent the impact, as I've trained myself to pull my money makers under me in a fall and let my body take the hit (the broken finger got wrapped up in the brake lever on the way down). There was something preventative that I could do in case of an impact, and boy am I glad I did: wear a helmet.

frandroid 14 hours ago 0 replies      
There is one study that shows that car drivers give less space to cyclists who look more "professional"/well-equipped than those who look like casual riders. Of course people who cite this research say that the solution is to not wear a helmet, as opposed to take measures to make drivers give you more space when you wear a helmet. In my case, I have an old large Coca-cola plastic crate on my rear rack, plastered with reflector stickers, and that seems to give me plenty of space. A female friend holds her U-lock in her left hand and that seems to do the trick as well.
kohanz 15 hours ago 2 replies      
It always amazes me how many cyclists I see riding without helmets (and anecdotally they seem to be the ones who typically ride in a less safe/defensive manner as well).

My wife works in healthcare and has worked in settings looking after patients with acquired brain injuries and she always tells anyone (even if she barely knows you) to wear a helmet. She's met too many young people turned into living vegetables or something similar to idly stand by and watch people take that risk.

haldean 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Weird coincidence; last night I was car-doored on my bike ride home from work. I had my lights on and flashing, I was paying attention, and a guy opened his car door about 20 feet in front of me, way too close for me to respond. Even if you're careful, the people around you aren't always going to be. My helmet saved me a pretty serious head injury last night.
MalcolmDiggs 12 hours ago 0 replies      
When I was 18 I crashed riding home from the gym at night. I was jumping off of a curb and my shitty front-wheel collapsed under the weight, bringing the bike to a sudden halt and sending me over the handlebars. Wasn't wearing a helmet. Landed face first and slid into San Pablo avenue. Concussion and Ripped most of the skin on the right side of my face off. I was pretty grotesque for awhile. Half my face was just an open wound.

If I had been wearing a helmet the cushion around my head would have lifted most of my face off the ground. Probably would have ended up with nothing but a chin scrape.

sidcool 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Absolutely. Can't stress this enough. This image is worth a thousand words:


OmarIsmail 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Glad to hear you're safe! And as a fellow bike commuter I echo the message to wear a helmet.

Your head is arguably the most important part of your body. I'd like for it to be socially acceptable to wear a helmet at all times.

ddispaltro 14 hours ago 0 replies      
A bit OT: bicycle corridors are one thing in SF that is mostly good with a bit of second order bad.

Good if you know the routes you generally try to ride with other cyclists, safety in numbers. Plus the wide green lanes help make it abundantly clear to cars that this is a bike lane.

Bad the other streets turn into crazy biking gambles. Every once and while I see someone riding on Guerrero and want to yell at them to go one street over (Valencia) and reduce your collision chances. It emboldens bicyclists to not follow the law quite as well, or maybe since the sample size is high, I don't know.

joshmn 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Some comments here suggest buying new. I didn't, and I'm perfectly fine with it. Used bike shops are your friends, people. Find a reputable one and you'll always go back.

In Minneapolis? Yeah, it's not in season right now, but bookmark http://oneononebike.com - not affiliated, but I've recommended plenty of people over to Gene and they've always thanked me.

fendrak 13 hours ago 0 replies      
The thing that made me start wearing a helmet was the realization that, even if I'm the safest possible bicyclist there's ever been, there's no way to stop the environment from acting against you!

I managed to go over my handlebars while riding down a quiet side street (with no hands, like a badass :/ ), when a gust of wind blew me sideways and caused me to overcorrect and crash.

The Lord protected me on that one and gave me a chance to be a bit more proactive :)

fsckin 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I experienced a highside [1] dirt bike crash a few years ago. I hit the ground with incredible force, which fractured my arm.

The following day, one side of my body was covered in contusions, and I had a severe phone-shaped hematoma on my thigh.

I have every reason to believe that wearing a helmet prevented a serious brain injury. Also, Otterbox makes a pretty good product.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Highsider

tunnuz 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I second that. I started commuting myself four months ago when I got my current job in a new city. After just two weeks I fell down from an elevated cycling path, and hit my head (w/ helmet) on the tarmac. I had to replace my helmet, but I walked away with just a small scratch on a hand.

Also, check regularly the tightness of your wheel spokes, and replace a wobbly wheel if you can.

angersock 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Also, never forget blinkers at night!

Headlights aren't a bad idea either.

jsilence 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Please "Stop forcing people to wear bike helmets"


"While they do protect your head during accidents, there's some evidence that helmets make it more likely you'll get in an accident in the first place."

lexap 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Good news, and yes please wear helmets. A similar incident happened to a friend of mine. Literally the day before his boss insisted he wear a helmet "to protect his investment." Invasive managers aside, if it were possible for companies to incentive employees to wear helmets, I would support it.
biggerfisch 14 hours ago 0 replies      
A helmet has saved my father's life several times while commuting to/from work. We have at least one of the helmets saved, complete with a crack down through the entire side. It was a hard enough hit for him to be unconscious for a few minutes. The EMTs said that without the helmet, it would have been dicey odds of survival.
garyfirestorm 14 hours ago 0 replies      
if cycling is the primary transport,you might want to consider this.https://www.youtube.com/embed/0aX-WXBMI8I?start=29&end=33http://www.hovding.com/
masklinn 14 hours ago 0 replies      
> My helmeted head definitely hit the ground and would likely have been badly injured had I not been wearing it.

Now buy a new helmet and go get your head checked (literally, a helmet will protect against a skull fracture but not a concussion or other brain injuries)

btbuildem 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Be on the lookout for symptoms of concussion - they can take weeks to manifest. Take care especially if you're working long hours, it can make it worse.
amjaeger 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Just to echo the OP: Was biking with my brother and a friend in San Fran. The friend crashed when his tire got stuck in the trolley track. Then my brother crashed same way while looking back to see what happened. Always wear a helmet; Especially in San Fran
elif 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Some practical advice: Even if you don't ride a fixie, you should get comfortable doing skid stops. Just because the rear wheel locks up doesn't mean you have to lose balance.
JoshTriplett 13 hours ago 0 replies      
In my case, when I was much younger, I skidded on some gravel and went head-first over the handlebars. I had a finger-thick dent in my helmet. I'm glad that dent was not in my skull.
TimSchumann 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Glad to hear you're safe Stephen, thanks for the reminder.
mindcrime 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I crashed while mountain biking a couple of years ago, and hit the ground headfirst with all of that energy driving through my head and then my right shoulder/arm. The impact was severe enough to split my helmet and knock me unconscious for a couple of minutes. I expect that without that helmet I likely would have been killed or very seriously injured.

So yeah, don't play around... just wear the damn helmet. That's my advice anyway.

cyclewisdomage 13 hours ago 1 reply      
1 Bicycle cyclist riders save your brain!

2 * allegedly stupidity and dumbing down of the USA3 increases and the 'i wear a helment' is an example.

4 * At age 58.34 years, I still ride a bicycle. I have5 survied various adventures, including learning to6 ride as a child in New York City, NYC, USA.


8 1.) fastest way to lose your career, and live in9 the 'nursing home prison' for a life sentence is10 'bicycle cycling cyclist.'

11 2.) Do I have the best equipment like helmet?

12 3.) Do I assume that the 'impaired driver' or13 old driver with OLD EYES does not see me?14 Do I assume that I am running Microsoft Windows15 XP and I have alreaady been 'cracked'??

16 4.) Do I practice FALLING OFF MY BICYCLE in a17 controlled procedure? Do I know how to tumble18 and roll?

19 5.) Like driving a car, where is the escape route?20 Like soft grass and NOT lighting poles?

21 6.) Do I practice tumbling on 'hard ground'/22 DO THIS PRACTICE to strengthen your neck muscles!23 Push on your head with your hands, while rolling24 and rotating your head.23 Push on your head with your hands, while rolling24 and rotating your head.

25 7.) Why does this work? The reason GRANDMA dies26 SLOWLY is hip fracture from falling down.27 That's the reason why TAI CHI WITH WEIGHTS works.28 It 'strengthens the BALANCE FUNCTIONS.'

29 8.) WEAR ALL PROTECTIVE GEAR. Ater a few falls,30 and YES I AM STILL ABLE TO WALK AND HAVE ALL31 MY FINGERS, wear the 'dollar store cotton gloves'32 and the knee covers and yes SAFETY GLASSES.

33 9.) Most sunglasses shatter. Blind for the rest34 of your life and then you go to the 'nursing home.'35 Even MURDER in the USA has an average sentence of36 less than seven years.

37 10.) 1.) fastest way to lose your career case:38 THE CENTRAL PARK JOGGER with TBI traumatic brain39 injury. When you LOSE YOUR short term memory,40 your career, especially if you are a programmer41 or white collar work IS FINISHED due to TBI.

42 11.) A truck tractor trailor jack-knifes and43 skids. The car crash and 'multi-car pilup'44 cuts off your legs. What a pity!45 Seeing in the old age homes in Florida, FL,46 USA, this is not a problem.

47 12.) Think of it this way. Would you rather have48 dementia - Alzheimers or 'wheelchair no legs49 disease.' For me the choice is 'wheelchair.'50 http://theinvisiblegorilla.com/blog/2010/06/22/51 unexpected-bicycles-and-inattentional-blindness/52 "unexpected-bicycles-and-inattentional-blindness"

53 14.) YOU ARE INVISIBLE for this is the USA -54 United States of Attention Deficit and55 USA - United States of Amnesia.56 Europe and even Asia - cyclists are treated57 with respect. In the USA, expect loose dogs,58 even wasp nests operating out of abandoned59 houses, sand and slipperty stuff on the roads60 and drivers who don't care and can't see well.

61 15.) the most dangerous times are are dawn62 and dusk. Simply test your OLD FRIENDS with63 OLD EYES who have a driver's license.

64 16.) How do we know this is true? The65 rate of motorcycle accidents in Florida66 and Arizona is very high. The old driver67 or teenager texting says in the court:68 " HE CAME OUT OF NOWHERE; NEVER SAW HIM."

PPPS. There is little penalty in the USA for 'manlaughter.'or Traumatic Brain Injury. Let's take an alleged legal casein FL or AZ, USA, shall we??

the worst penalty for BAD DRIVERSthat might happen is two (2) years in jail.Florida, FL, USA protects the house. Civil courts cannot usuallyget the 'pension/annuity.'The worse that can happen to the GARBAGE TRUCK DRIVERis he gets fired and usually the company will try to protect him.LIKE THE BIG BANKSTERS, company fines are a 'small inconvience.'

PPS. Some of the garbage truck drivers may be hearing impaired,SO THEY DO NOT HEAR YOUR WARNING BICYCLE HORN.

Have you ever seen 'rear view mirros' on GARBAGE TRUCKS andother commercial vehicles THAT HAVE NO BLKND SPOTS??


Luc 15 hours ago 4 replies      
> If you ride a bicycle, please wear a helmet.

Or you know, don't, because you've got perfectly safe bicycle infrastructure and you're never going faster than 20 km/h anyway.

What works for you is not a universal law.

You know how this bicycle helmet issue always turns into a shouting match on the internet? I think it's to a large extent because people don't have the empathy to see themselves in the situation of a bicyclist on the other side of the world, in a different automotive culture, with different laws and history.

Ask HN: Why is the used car websites so much like 1999?
5 points by hyh1048576  12 hours ago   1 comment top
oostevo 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't have personal experience with it, but this just launched: http://driveshift.com/

It seems to only be available in San Francisco right now, though.

Should I rootkit my own machine?
2 points by akakane  8 hours ago   2 comments top 2
csmattryder 25 minutes ago 0 replies      
Check out something like Prey, it's like the "Find My Mac" for Android/PC/Mac/iOS. I had it on all my devices, but I don't really take them out enough to make it worthwhile.


Ask HN: A big company wants an on-premise license of our SaaS app
10 points by tmcz26  14 hours ago   12 comments top 8
jasonkester 2 hours ago 0 replies      
This is pretty common. I field a half dozen requests like this a year for Twiddla. Very few of them pan out to actual deals.

A good plan to avoid wasting your time is to give them a ballpark figure up front for what it will cost to make this happen. That figure should not be less than six figures if it involves any significant effort on your part.

If you've already packaged everything up, and it really is as simple as delivering a VM image, you might only quote them 20X - 100X the retail price of your most expensive subscription plan. Naturally, this will be an annual contract, with the first year paid in advance and a fair amount of lead time.

Keep in mind that your email outlining this will typically be the last contact between you and the customer, since they're often simply middle manager types with an expectation that the price will be the same as your "Big Customer" subscription level, except that it will somehow magically run behind their firewall. Your mail will simultaneously give them a heart attack and correct their understanding of Enterprise licensing. If they do engage after that, you can start your Enterprise Sales cycle.

Good luck.

eschutte2 14 hours ago 2 replies      
I did this last year. Just figure out how much it will cost you to package things up, write out explicitly what will be your responsibility (maybe bugfixes, updates, whatever) and what will be theirs (keeping the server running, backups, etc).

Expect to spend three or four times longer than you think you should dealing with their IT department.

Make sure you charge a healthy amount for all this because it will take more resources than you think on your side.

jamescrowley 13 hours ago 0 replies      
When my startup launched in the B2B finance space a few years ago, we were SaaS - but faced the same dilemma. Our first customer wanted on-site for security reasons, and we needed the money, so said yes.

A week or two after signing the contract, they said they couldn't get the hardware after all and could we go hosted instead. I look back at that moment, and thank my lucky stars. Now 2 1/2 years later we would never offer on-site as an option.

Be sure of what you're getting in to. Will they allow automated deployments with updates to your appliance (as that's essentially what it is). Will you need permission to access it? How will you support users accessing it? Often those same 'security' reasons apply. And then you'll find yourself stuck in the old model of yearly release cycles, supporting old versions and all kinds of pain.

Think long and hard and be 150% sure it is worth it.

logn 3 hours ago 0 replies      
> implications like updates, new features

They might be understanding if you told them there would not be updates or new features aside from critical security patches. When they're desperate for new features 10 years from now, dispatch a team of on-site consultants to help them upgrade.

mobiplayer 14 hours ago 1 reply      

Do they consider having it hosted on a private cloud environment? So you guys still control the systems while they can access it securely (i.e. VPN tunnel between their premises and your cloud servers).

The difference with your current offering is that this "instance" of your APP won't be shared with anyone else and you can land a nice maintenance contract, plus keep everything under your control.

jakozaur 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I would probably consider it, but put a really premium price and make clear that they will get substantial discount if they choose SaaS version.
geoffbrown2014 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Can you build and a deliver a box in a U form factor that you can setup a service contract around?
general_failure 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Yes, go for it. Every other SaaS has an on-premise license - github, for example.
Ask HN: What are the quick sales ideas for an eCommerce store in 2 weeks?
7 points by shahocean  2 days ago   7 comments top 3
patio11 2 days ago 1 reply      
Do they have an email list? If so, then emailing existing customers with a time-bounded promotion is the single easiest way to juice sales numbers. If not, remember to tell them "If we start building an email list now, you will not need me to pull a rabbit out of the hat in Q4 2015."

Otherwise: where are your prospective customers presently in their purchasing cycle? The channel you use depends on where they are.

Also, smack your employers and tell them that there is latency involved in doing e.g. creative development and negotiating private placements (which are, n.b., one thing you really want to be doing), and that two weeks before the planned sale is way the heck too late to use many appropriate techniques. There is a reason why traditional retailers start going into war footing for Christmas in early summer.

MalcolmDiggs 1 day ago 0 replies      
My top 5 are:

1. Advertise on Google (adwords)

2. Advertise on Bing (which is the same thing as advertising on Yahoo at this point)

3. Advertise on Facebook

4. Advertise on Twitter

5. Open an affiliate program (CJ, Shareasale, etc)

While that's happening: Run split tests and optimize every part of your conversion funnel. Up those conversion rates, lower those bounce rates and abandoned shopping cart rates. Every little bit helps.

companyhen 1 day ago 1 reply      
What niche is the store in? Holiday/seasonal store?
Ask HN: What's your favourite sci-fi/fantasy book?
23 points by mkaziz  3 days ago   29 comments top 22
rajacombinator 1 hour ago 0 replies      
"The Golden Age" by John C. Wright - just awesome, and I agree with the values of the main character

"Chronicles of Amber" by Roger Zelazny - for imagination and badassery

Favorite short story is "Understand" by Ted Chiang - mind-expanding ;)

Also in general the lesser known Heinlein books are amazing. Not a fan of Stranger in a Strange Land. Named my current company after a reference to The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.

db48x 3 days ago 0 replies      
Almost anything by Vernor Vinge. "A Deepness in the Sky" in particular is amazing. I was/am particularly impress by how he handles the idea of fundamental limits on the scope of human achievement, and by how he weaves that into the story so that it's there at all levels.

"Diaspora" by Greg Egan has a great story, huge ideas, and probably the most cogent explanation of sentience/sapience ever written.

"The Diamond Age, or A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer" and "Accelerando" have already been mentioned.

"Reteif!" Made me laugh out loud. Larry Niven's "Destiny's Road" points out the difficulty of interstellar colonization. "Ringworld" blew my mind. Gene Wolfe's "The Book of the New Syn" taught me to pay attention; "Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency" by Douglas Adams reinforced the lesson.

There are a lot of good ones; I could go on for ages...

nl 3 days ago 0 replies      


It's easy to categorise these as wonderful and well written space opera, but that undersells them. Their author (Venor Vinge) invented the idea of the Singularity, and worked as a computer science professor. Both won both the Hugo Award.


As good as people say it is.

Most of Richard Morgan's works (esp the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Takeshi_Kovacs series). Not his fantasy books though.

For fantasy books, Patrick Rothfuss is doing good stuff. The Kingkiller Chronicles is excellent. Read his other books before "Slow Regard of Silent Things", though, because that is one weird story.

From more recent SciFi books:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Windup_Girl is excellent.

I'm currently reading Ancillary Justice and I'm really enjoying it. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancillary_Justice

codemonkeymike 14 hours ago 0 replies      
"Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy" As someone who simply cant sit down and read a book this was the first book I have ever read and reread. First comedic release, is littered everywhere in the book. Recurring jokes for those who pay attention to detail are little nuggets of gold. There are social commentaries that ring true today. Lastly all the characters are believably absurd.
pkinsky 3 days ago 1 reply      
Bruce Sterling's Distraction. He touches on net-smart nomads, technology-driven disruption and the resulting unemployment, gridlock in congress, something similar to the Occupy movement in DC, a trade war with China that ended when they dumped all US IP online, a war referred to as 'Iraq 3', etc.

This is seriously impressive considering that it was published in 1998. My current hypothesis is that he's a time traveller messing with us.

dllthomas 1 day ago 0 replies      
A single book? Impossible. I don't think I could even name my favorite Zelazny or PKD. Many of the works of both are in the running. As is "Dune", for sure. Possibly "Snow Crash". "Protector" might not quite make the cut, but comes somewhat close - from my recollection it was my favorite Niven (not counting short stories)... I'm currently finally getting around to "The Mote In God's Eye". Further back, "Foundation" was pretty amazing, and I've a bit of a soft spot for "Childhood's End". Bester's "The Demolished Man" is well worth a read, but I think also doesn't quite make the cut.
mswen 1 day ago 0 replies      
I have read and enjoyed many of the classics that others have mentioned. I would give a shout-out to Wasteland of Flint by Thomas Harlan. I enjoyed it for how it incorporated alternate history in our relatively recent past - imagine a world in which the Inca and Imperial Japanese kingdoms became the dominant superpowers and led the industrial revolution, Europeans were conquered and fast forward into far future world with aliens, FTL space travel all mixed with what the Inca and Japanese cultures might have evolved into in that context and how those of European descent were seen as the lower caste. Some interesting cultural reversals and twists mixed in with future technology and ancient alien technology.
mattivc 22 hours ago 1 reply      
A great one that haven't already been mentioned is "Stranger in a Strange Land" by Robert Heinlein.


It's one of those books that just takes a while to digest after you are done reading it. I highly recommend it.

jimsmart 3 days ago 1 reply      
I have two ultimate faves:-

Accelerando (Charlie Stross) - truly epic, hard-scifi, from near to far future, truly hardcore

Diamond Age (Neal Stephenson) - awesome tale, plenty of nanotech, almost fairy-tale-esque

[Edit: formatting]

hoggle 3 days ago 0 replies      
The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia by Ursula K. Le Guin


DanBC 3 days ago 0 replies      
I really like the ideas from Greg Egan, so any of his books.

I still love Gibson, even his later books.

I want to say one of my favourite books is "Salt" by Adam Roberts. I love the characters and description of political views and the way the war between factions plays out. Roberts' other books are pretty good too.

I loved REAMDE - I could have done with a bit more inside the game and a bit less tramping through the woods. I love Stephenson's other books too.

Finally: Bruce Sterling seems to be under-appreciated. Hard to recommend one of his books.

This question is perhaps a FAQ. Has anyone on HN ever scraped the answers posted to the various threads, added information about number of mentions or votes; with links to Amazon (and other book sellers)?

Having some carefully chosen adds and duplicating all the links with affiliate links would turn this into a mostly passive income project.

kristianp 1 day ago 0 replies      
One great book that hasn't been mentioned so far is the Forever War by Joe Haldeman.
gadders 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Some I have enjoyed:

The Left Hand of God Trilogy The Bad Company seriesIain M Banks Sci-FiPhilip Jose Farmer Riverworld

kele 3 days ago 0 replies      
"Ice" by Jacek Dukaj

Every time I read a novel written by Dukaj I start feeling smarter. The ideas presented by characters are always worth considering and eye-opening.


mithras 3 days ago 2 replies      
Lord of Light by Zelazny. It's on another level really and I love the Buddhist, Hindu influence combined with the technology.
partisan 3 days ago 0 replies      
Hard to say... had you asked me this question 15 years ago, I would have answered without hesitation, The Hobbit and Ender's Game.

Today, it's a bit less clear, but here is what comes to mind.

Rendezvous with Rama - Arthur C. Clarke

Worthing Saga - Orson Scott Card

fred_is_fred 3 days ago 0 replies      
I really enjoyed reading Snowcrash. It's no literary magic but it's a fun read.
atmosx 3 days ago 0 replies      
Cryptonomicon, it's by FAR the best I've read!

EDIT: Come to think of it, I don't know is in the right category as Sci/fi. Well if not cryptonomicon, then SnowCrash probably :-P

kephra 3 days ago 0 replies      
The Sheep Look Up by John Brunner is still my favorite novel while A Ticket to Tranai by Robert Sheckley is my preferred short story.
lastofus 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hyperion Cantos is my personal favorite.
pmoriarty 3 days ago 0 replies      
Ubik by Philip K Dick.
mindcrime 2 days ago 0 replies      
The Mysterious Island - Jules Verne

Neuromancer - William Gibson

Nineteen Eighty-Four - George Orwell

Perdido Street Station - China Mieville

Snow Crash - Neal Stephenson

Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card

Foundation series - Asimov

among others...

Ask HN: Bootstrapped business is good but slow growth. Should I raise money?
18 points by newpreneur  18 hours ago   25 comments top 11
rajacombinator 1 hour ago 0 replies      
If you have to ask others, you're probably not ready to jump ship and go 100% on this business. I don't mean to discourage you because in your place I would probably do it, but it will be very stressful especially with your family situation. If you already have doubts going in it will be very hard on you.
davismwfl 17 hours ago 2 replies      
Why not hire and train a part time person (or friend) that can help cover demo's and help you grow a little faster and stay bootstrapped. It would mean that you would need to add more customers before you can go full time but it is a way to stay bootstrapped and not take others money. You could even pay this person per lead closure, so for every client they get signed up you pay them $200 (or $400 whatever).

You could also work to simplify/automate the on-boarding, spend some of your monthly revenue on creating some videos that cover the features/questions people seem to ask the most about. You can make a few videos, 45 seconds or less, and have those on the site for users to view without registering. Then record a full demo that is say 5-10 minutes and if someone registers for more information then send them a link to that video and then follow up with them. You may help shorten your need to be involved in every sale, and decrease on-boarding time. This doesn't mean you can necessarily make a sale without jumping on the phone, but it does mean you may be able to minimize those conversations more and therefore make them more scalable and even possibly easier for you to train others to help you close deals.

In the end, raising money takes way more time and effort than you initially think, and even with friendly investors it can change your ability to go the direction you want. Lastly, remember a lot of investors try and minimize founder salaries, and if you need 10-14k a month to survive then you may struggle to find an investor that will commit when 85% of his investment is just paying for you. If you are thinking you just need 50k to make it for 3-5 months, you might be able to get that more through friends/family/bank to help bridge the gap until you get more signups.

saluki 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I wouldn't take funding . . . stay bootstrapped . . . sounds like you're growing things nicely . . .

You're making enough you could hire an assistant to handle some of the support, inquiries, billing/accounting so you can focus on demo's and growing . . . support would probably be the first thing to outsource . . . setup a google doc outlining typical questions/responses . . . so it's pretty straight forward and have them send something more complex on to you to handle . . .

That will free up some time for demos, etc.

You might get a bump from conversion optimization, reducing churn, etc . . .

Could you go to 4 days per week at your day job . . .

Start doing one demo call over lunch a few times per week . . .

I think there are lots of less expensive ways to gain more time/revenue vs. losing equity.

Good luck scaling your SaaS.

gyardley 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Not sure if you're talking about scaling to a $10MM exit or $10MM in annual revenue or what exactly in 7-10 years, but that sounds to me like too little too long for a knowledgeable SaaS investor to invest in - they're looking for something that has the potential to be at least an order of magnitude larger.

That suggests to me that either a) you're not going to be able to raise in the end, which is bad because you're wasting time, or b) you are going to be able to raise but only from unsophisticated investors with unrealistic expectations, which is a hell of a lot worse.

It would be a real shame to give up a lot of control and attach yourself permanently to unsophisticated investors with unrealistic expectations - just so you can quit your job a few months sooner.

If I were you, and if I really thought my business' potential was $10MM in revenue in 7-10 years, I'd gut it out and do what I needed to in order to continue to bootstrap until I could safely quit. You've got the potential for a great personal outcome - if you can just keep it personal.

jbverschoor 13 hours ago 0 replies      
How about getting a loan from a bank?That way you don't have an angel breathing down your neck, so have some air to scale the business, which then should be big enough to pay for your salary
rxm 8 hours ago 0 replies      
In general it is not a choice, but a question of numbers. Software businesses tend to benefit from having many customers, which requires growth and capital. A consultancy that develops and uses software tools might go the bootstrap route. Do the numbers and then decide. What does it cost to add and maintain a customer? Would you get more customers with a better feature set? How smooth is the API, interface, and documentation?

I have a nice consultancy that developed many unique software products. Over the years I have not been able to maintain them. If I had taken outside money I could have taken those tools to market and probably grown beyond my current stagnation point.

schutzsmith 11 hours ago 0 replies      
You don't happen to be in the Hudson Valley do you? We've got the Hudson Valley Tech Meetup second week of December and there's several folks just like you at that. Several now have distributed workforces.

Happy to introduce you.

PS. I'm totally intrigued now to find out what your WP app is!

bengali3 16 hours ago 1 reply      
pertinant quote from Mike Taber of singlefounder.com

>Great, Ive built a bunch of systems Now What?

>You have one job left: Fire yourself.

>Thats right. Once youve built the process and have tested it to be sure a) its doing what its supposed to and b) has a feedback loop that lets you monitor its progress, you need to fire yourself from executing that process. Outsource it, hire someone part-time, hire an employee, use a virtual assistant, automate it with code, etc. Whatever the case may be.

>If a process youve developed is functioning properly, then as the business owner, you probably shouldnt be doing it.

>Your job is not to build products. Your job is to build systems.

>Thats how profitable companies are built.

tbrooks 17 hours ago 1 reply      
Are you me?!

Wow this described my situation exactly.

Same revenue, same costs, same lifestage (2 kids, mtg), same high paying job, etc.

I've found some ways to make the process even more self-serve than it already is, maybe we can compare notes?

partisan 17 hours ago 1 reply      
First, congratulations. And good on you for not putting the cart before the horse (quitting before having revenue).

Could you hire an employee, part-time, using the revenue you are currently bringing in?

kayhi 18 hours ago 1 reply      
How long did it take to reach that revenue?
Apple Watch App Ideas
6 points by drizzzler  16 hours ago   discuss
Ask HN: Is Stackoverflow running out of questions and answers?
11 points by untilHellbanned  17 hours ago   16 comments top 4
jaydles 16 hours ago 4 replies      
It sounds like what you're mainly describing is that it's hard to ask a question that isn't already answered on the site. (You can't close as a dupe unless the duplicate has answers.) From a "helping the most people learn" perspective, this sounds like a champagne problem: There's so many answers that it's hard to find something to ask that's not already covered.

From a community perspective, we do want all devs to be able to get involved in the site, so it's not ideal if the solution set is actually so comprehensive that it raises the bar for getting involved.

But I'm not too worried. SO still gets over ten thousand questions per day, which gives devs who want to contribute to the programming community a ton of opportunities to share answers and help. Plus, and new languages like swift leave a lot of blue ocean for asking new questions.

Don't get me wrong, our two biggest product priorities are focused on how we can make it easier for new users to get involved, and how we can ensure that more active users continue to feel appreciated and find it rewarding to share their knowledge on SO, where so many others can benefit from it. There's plenty more we can do on both fronts, but I'm not too worried that we're running out of ways for devs to contribute if they want to.

Disclosure: I work at Stack Exchange. I love Stack Exchange. I am not an unbiased observer of Stack Exchange. My mom says I and my company are special, and I believe her.

DanBC 16 hours ago 0 replies      
So long as the existing answers can be gradually refined and improved.

The other problem is when questions are sort of the same but not quite.



Someone1234 16 hours ago 1 reply      
It is fun when you google stuff, get SO results, and then see that it was "closed due to duplication." Particularly when it is the top Google result with no clarification what it is a "duplication" of or similar.
_RPM 17 hours ago 0 replies      
No, Stack Overflow is just getting more popular. A lot of beginner programmers want to know how to send a JavaScript variable to a PHP script. This has been solved years ago on Stack Overflow, so it will get closed. This is just an example.
Ask HN: $45k wages unpaid. What should I do?
21 points by antarium  1 day ago   7 comments top 6
bavcyc 1 day ago 1 reply      
Talk with a lawyer is your best course of action, as a great deal of this will depend on documentation, e.g. contracts, emails; and your relationship with the company.

Best of luck to you.

techjuice 1 day ago 0 replies      
You would need to Lawyer up, the costs would be set by the lawyer. Each of them have their own costs for their services. You may even be able to get your case or if it is multiple people that were unpaid class action done for free or low cost if you look around.

Just a future suggestion for you in the future. If your employer doesn't pay on time even if it is the first time it is time to leave (from personal experience). The longer you stay the higher the wage and time losses will become.

An employer should always have money set aside for payroll, payroll taxes and pay the employees first. If this is not possible it should be a hint to the employees that the business is failing and will eventually start bankruptcy proceedings or closing up shop.

If your boss does not let you go before they are in this state as they know in well in advance before this ever occurs, it is an even worse sign that their pride and emotions are now running the business.

MalcolmDiggs 16 hours ago 0 replies      
IMHO, legal action across country lines may not be worth your time unless you're absolutely certain that they have the money, and just aren't giving to you. If they're really broke, a legal win in your favor isn't going to help you much; the defendant will just end up on a payment plan paying you a hundred bucks a month for years and years. It'll be quite awhile before you even recoup the costs of suing them in the first place.

I would just walk away.

AgentGreasy 1 day ago 0 replies      
I am not a lawyer.

Unfortunately, if you are in China, while I'm sure there are some laws that protect you, you aren't subject to all of the American labor laws unless you were qualified for work in America. Texas has strong labor laws that protect this sort of event - including subsidized representation. It is possible that they may still represent you, depending on the situation, and if the company failed to pay wages beyond just simply yourself. If nothing more, they can point you in a helpful direction I should hope.


They are specifically around Texas workers of course, however it is also their job to police Texas companies. Ultimately, if indeed you have a US citizen in your work force, you may have a greater leg to stand on.

As others have said, your single greatest asset is representation by a lawyer. If at all possible, I suggest having one of your US counterparts start with the Texas Workforce Commission as I stated before. Have all of the documentation ready, including the contract, emails, and so on.

chrisbennet 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm not sure a lawyer will be able to put any money in your pocket. If the company ran out of money, it maybe some time,if at all, before they have money to pay you even with a court order.
metaphorm 1 day ago 0 replies      
Lawyer lawyer lawyer lawyer lawyer.
Ask HN: If you're not using a password manager tool, what's stopping you?
9 points by tim_nuwin  6 days ago   27 comments top 12
AznHisoka 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I wish they would just work.Example: I use LastPass, and everytime when I log in to Twitter, it asks me if I wanna save my password even though I logged in 100 times before and saved it previously. it always does this.

Lastly, it's too time consuming sometimes when I need to login to a critical service in a PC in a public place. I need to install LastPass (and hope I can install it), then login. if I remembered my password I could just login without LastPass. Those precious few mins are critical if I need to login to my host provider if my site goes down for example.

ark15 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I use Keepass + $cloudsyncprovider so that my KDB file is available where ever I need it.
Stoo 6 days ago 2 replies      
I don't use a password manager tool because I don't feel I need to. I take a kind of algorithmic approach to generating unique passwords for each site I use. I have a root password which contains the usually required alphanumeric with an upper case letter and some special characters. The rest of the password is based on the site or service I'm logging into.

A really simple example would be:

cabbage123!face <- Facebookcabbage123!goog <- Googlecabbage123!twit <- Twitter

I only have two things to remember - the root part of the password and the way to generate the last part. Obviously, just using the first four characters isn't the best idea, but you can change that part to whatever you want to - it's kind of your own secret key.

HorizonXP 6 days ago 2 replies      
I am using a password tool, and I wish it provided the following:

1) Seamless sync between my devices. I want to be able to access my accounts on any laptop or mobile device. I use a BlackBerry, so good luck with that! (I can sideload the Android app, if that helps. :P)

2) Automatic encrypted backups. Sure, I can throw the database into Dropbox or something, heck I can set it up to sync back to my tarsnap account. But if you do this for me, I'll pay you.

3) Shared accounts. This is useful in two scenarios:

a) Accounts & passwords for use within teams/companies/etc.

b) Sharing accounts with my wife.

Right now, she doesn't have full access to my financial accounts. I really want to change that. Make it easy for me to do that.

4) Dead Man's Switch. IMO, the value of a centralized password manager is this last feature. Heaven forbid that I'm no longer around, I'd like my family to have access to my complete online & offline life to take care of things as needed.

MalcolmDiggs 6 days ago 0 replies      
I don't, because I don't feel comfortable with the idea of a single-point-of-failure for all my passwords. I'd rather keep them distributed across a variety of storage mechanisms than any one tool.
sjs382 6 days ago 0 replies      


Fear that the tool (or database) will become corrupted and lose all of the passwords that are stored in it.

DanBC 5 days ago 0 replies      
A combination of:

i) I want it to sync across all my devices but

ii) I don't trust cloud providers. I especially do not trust the cryptography people use.

Also, I am poor / mean and I the price I am prepared to pay is below what people are prepared to charge.

ceeK 6 days ago 0 replies      
I like the concept, I've just never had the patience to go through the entire on-boarding procedure for any of them.
davismwfl 6 days ago 1 reply      
I use different passwords for almost every site and so if one is compromised my risk is fairly limited. If the password manager was compromised in some way it would raise my exposure significantly.
J_Darnley 6 days ago 0 replies      
It doesn't stop me from using one but I am frequently forced to use the clipboard to get the password into the software I want. So integration is a big pain point.
hariharan_uno 6 days ago 1 reply      
1. Disbelief in encryption tech used for the tool.

2. No guarantees that it won't be vulnerable at some point.

jpetersonmn 6 days ago 1 reply      
Don't trust a 3rd party with my passwords.
Ask HN: Cloud Content Scheduling Software
5 points by BorisMelnik  17 hours ago   8 comments top 4
EdwardMSmith 17 hours ago 1 reply      
Our product Camayak (http://www.camayak.com) is a content production management system. We have a number of Content Production agencies as customers.

Camayak provides assignment creation with submission and publishing deadlines, and tracks the assignment through your custom editorial workflow.

We provide an editorial calendar which shows assignments by their deadlines, current status, etc.

There are pitches, comments, activity feeds, various notification streams, multiple content desks per account, customizable workflows, and a ton of other features.

Camayak can publish directly to WordPress, and any other delivery CMS or service through our content API. We support multiple delivery platforms per account and a single assignment can publish to multiple platforms at the same time.

Feel free to shoot me an email at ed@camayak.com if you have any questions!

davismwfl 17 hours ago 1 reply      
Not saying it is the ideal solution, but even as an interim solution until you find the right software, you could use a shared Google Calendar and setup pre scheduled reminders for you and your team. That way 2 days ahead each month for each client (or whatever) you get your reminder.

Outside of that, you could try Basecamp to manage your projects and use the To-Do list as a reminder system to send your team the reminder to do the blog post etc, and then they can mark the task complete in Basecamp once it is done.

Just some ideas as I am not sure of any specific software built for your need.

ckluis 17 hours ago 1 reply      
The product you are looking for is editorial calendar or content calendar.

If you arent truly a marketing agency, then it may be better to augment your existing project management solution (like basecamp) to track this with calendars/projects for each customer with recurring tasks. This will provide great visibility and alerting.

aespinoza 17 hours ago 1 reply      
We @ iKnode support scheduling. Not sure if it fits your needs completely, but write me at aespinoza@iknode.com and I'll help you through it.


How do I start freelancing?
12 points by _RPM  18 hours ago   8 comments top 6
ozy23378 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Since Odesk/Elance merger there's been a flood of freelancers who bid a low as $3 per hour and very little for fixed price jobs. Seems the avg dollar amount for work has been dropping. I could be wrong. Anyone else noticing a trend?
wikwocket 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Here was my approach:

- Talk to a family member who is employed in a business.

- Find out a task they do that is repetitive, inefficient, automatable, and enhanceable. Spoiler alert: there will be a lot of these.

- Automate/improve/streamline said task.

- Get noticed by said family member's boss.

- Arrange to do more of same in exchange for 1099 compensation.

- Lather, rinse, repeat.

- Get referrals from said boss to other companies in same industry. To them, you are not an employee's family member, you are an experienced industry consultant. Raise your rates.

- Lather, rinse, repeat.

gregjor 17 hours ago 0 replies      
This article and comment thread from yesterday has some good freelancing tips.


My article about freelancing:


derwiki 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Check out CodeMentor.io -- I make $60/hr helping people with simple Rails issues. It's great lead gen for other contracting gigs!
cweagans 18 hours ago 1 reply      
odesk and elance are places where you go to get work that a) doesn't pay well, b) has bad working conditions, and c) has next to no chance of future re-hire. I do not recommend this.

As another commenter suggested, codementor.io is a good place to go. gun.io is my favorite. There's a ton of interesting projects on there.

frankwiles 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Start blogging solutions to problems and contributing to Open Source projects, even if it's just docs. Raising your exposure online in general increases the number of random freelancing offers you will receive.
Node.js or Python/Django?
17 points by Zisko  1 day ago   20 comments top 13
nostrademons 1 day ago 3 replies      
Stick with Node because the job market is currently hotter for it, get into a hot startup to get practical experience and make some contacts, and then wait for the next technology cycle. I suspect that both Node and Django will be obsolete in roughly a year or two.

(My background: I started doing Java Swing before college; wrote a bunch of PHP in college; got my first job working on Java webapps with servlets and JSF; founded a startup that successively ended up using web.py, Pylons, and Django; got into Google where I ended up writing webapps in C++; participated in the rewrite of that C++ server in Java, and am now using straight Django for my second startup. The technology world really does move in cycles. Use whatever you're most familiar with, learn it well, milk all you can out of it, and then move on only when you have to. You can save yourself years of effort by avoiding the latest fad and "grass is greener" syndrome.)

dagw 1 day ago 0 replies      
It really depends on what you want to do. Python wins big with a wide and varied ecosystem outside the basic web domain. Do things like computational science, data analysis, mathematical modelling, statistics, GIS etc. sound like something you might want to get into? If so python is a much better bet. If ,on the other hand, you're happy in the web services domain where node has its main strengths, then node.js vs python pretty much works out to a draw and there is not too much reason to switch.
Ronsenshi 1 day ago 1 reply      
Hard question, which I'm dealing myself too.

Right now I think you should concentrate on Node.js - finish your degree, maybe join some exciting startup or start something yourself. Keep looking at python from time to time. Maybe do some hackathons or tiny projects by yourself.

Node.js is certainly fast moving train. But where would it end up in? I don't really keep my hand on the pulse of the node.js community, but I'm not sure node.js is here to stay in the long run. Node.js will be used for various things for a long time. It has amazing websockets implementation, asyc execution does have some great benefits, but the code. My god is it messy. As mundanevoice points out below - you have to be a very solid and experienced developer to keep it all sane.

About python. I think it'll be around for a while. It is solid, it is readable, it is fast. Python community is large, there's a lot of very high quality tools written for it. It may not be so hip as node, but there's a lot of jobs for python devs out there.

All said, I myself is still torn about this question, though. I know both languages, but I've used node.js in more exciting projects than python. Python is so beautiful, but node.js stuff is interesting. So I'm still on the crossroads - which way I want to go all the way. And should I?

Python is a solid choice in the long run - it'll be around. Node.js? Most likely too, but for what purpose and how many companies would go with it?

mundanevoice 1 day ago 0 replies      
I am writing Python/Django professionally for two years now. I have also written some Node.js at work and Open Source. (https://github.com/vinitkumar/node-twitter). So, I think I would be able to give some advice.

Node.js is all cool to experiment with and build some projects but it gets incredibly tough when you want to write something complex. I am not saying that it is impossible to build something complex, but it would take a very experienced developer to do all of that in acceptable time.

Python/Django on other hand has a very mature ecosystem and the development is really fast as compared to Node.js which also has a fast start but you get stuck when you need to build something complex. There are many quality plugins for Python/Django which in IMHO much better in quality than npm packages.

Python on other hand is a better language than JS and you won't need to fight the language to write better code (The point is it is very easy to shoot yourself on foot while using JS).

If I were you at this stage of your career, I would suggest to start doing Python/Django and maybe learn some good Golang/C++.

kyllo 21 hours ago 0 replies      
There's absolutely no reason you can't be fluent in JS, Python and Ruby. Just try Python for your next project, then maybe try Ruby for the one after that. Or perhaps a functional language like Clojure or Haskell. Each successive language you learn will take about half as long as the last one, because you've accumulated the concepts and it's just learning more syntax.

Node may turn out to be a fad, so don't hitch your wagon to it fully. To be a good (web) developer you are often going to need to learn new languages and frameworks as the tech landscape changes.

emergentcypher 11 hours ago 0 replies      

You'll have the excellent Play Framework and Spray IO. WebJars, SbtWeb, and its plugins lets you add all sorts of goodness including calling nodejs stuff on your javascripts. And you won't stray too far from the JVM.

CyberFonic 1 day ago 1 reply      
I've programmed a lot in Python before I started using NodeJS. Once I got over the shock of the tangled mess that can be written in JS, I found NodeJS + NPM very productive. I've never grokked Django well enough to use it in production.

At this point in your career I'd suggest polishing your Node / JS skillz and make yourself valuable to a potential employer. Being so-so with Python (or any other language) is not likely to increase your value in the marketplace.

If I were in your situation, I'd sooner look at Go or Rust than Python, but only once you are earning good money.

jardaroh 1 day ago 0 replies      
I personally love the Python environment and community. There is very little you ever need that you can't find a module for. It is also a very well adopted language that many developers know and is increasingly popular in education so the amount of people using it is almost artificially increased.Django as a framework is used by a ton of big companies and sites and has proven itself to be very scalable and durable.Node to me is horrible just because of javascript, so take my bias with a grain of salt ;)
svs 1 day ago 0 replies      
Why limit your choices to these two? There are more great frameworks and great languages. Ruby on Rails is an obvious candidate. Ruby is a lovely language and Rails is a solid framework, perhaps even the best web framework out there for many tasks. There's also plenty of demand for Ruby/Rails talent.
munimkazia 21 hours ago 0 replies      
No harm to learning Python, especially when you are a student and have the time.

You need to learn multiple languages/platforms, and learn to use the best tool for the problem.

_RPM 20 hours ago 0 replies      
If you have the time, don't jump into Django right away. Try Python without a framework first, if you have time.
CmonDev 1 day ago 0 replies      
What is Node.js? It's an implementation of the Reactor pattern along with some package management capabilities plus a bit of hype:



Both are possible in Python, while leveraging a MUCH better language.

thezisko 15 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a horrible question, why would you even ask something so stupid and mundane. If I were you I'd just give up and become a wordpress developer
Good tools to convert HTML5 to XHTML5?
2 points by schrijver  1 day ago   1 comment top
schrijver 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I found this package, https://github.com/aleray/html5tidy but that only does the serialising part.
Ask HN: Should Google make a web server?
2 points by source99  21 hours ago   13 comments top 4
chuhnk 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Google has a few web servers internally for different purposes. Maybe they'll open source something one day much like kubernetes, a simplified example of what they have. To be honest web serving is more about configuration than speed. Serving a lot of traffic isn't difficult these days. We solved the c10k problem long ago.
mod 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Is Apache slow in some obvious manner?

If so, wouldn't time be better invested in improving that?

Since the bulk of the web runs apache, that'd be the best way to improve the speed of the web, no?

MalcolmDiggs 16 hours ago 0 replies      
They did make their own server, they just don't talk about it much.


This the reason you see:

in the response headers when you visit Google.com.

The real question is whether or not they should open-source it... and I'd lean in the "yes" direction, but I'm biased.

dkopi 21 hours ago 1 reply      
That's pretty much what the google cloud platform is about.https://cloud.google.com/
Ask HN: How do threads on HN tend to pick up speed?
6 points by cbovis  1 day ago   4 comments top 2
gus_massa 23 hours ago 0 replies      
When you read all the interesting stories from the front page, you should go to the new page to rescue a few undervoted interesting stories. It's like a public service, because there is a lot of crap there.
opless 1 day ago 1 reply      
As I understand it, five up votes in the first few minutes gets you on the front page.

Of course that means this is a regular popularity fest, complete with sock puppets, politics and the rest.

Ask HN: What do you think about Dart Lang?
7 points by cupofjoakim  1 day ago   2 comments top 2
conradk 1 day ago 0 replies      
While I haven't used Dart for large projects, I have played around with it quite a bit. I'll describe what I like about it, what I don't and why I tend to prefer other "compile to JS" alternatives.

I have put two libraries on "pub", the dependency manager for Dart. An implementation of the Levenshtein distance [1] and a tool to build lexers [2].

What I've found is that I like it more for back end stuff than front end stuff. It is very easy to refactor, and once you've got something rather stable, type annotations give you great feedback.

For client side stuff, I've found it not to be fully cross-browser. I had a few bugs in Firefox, for instance. And when you compile Dart to JS with "dart2js", the result is completely unreadable. Sure you can use source maps. But I have found Typescript [3] to be much better for client side projects. It has optional static type annotations too and a lot of features from ES6. But it compiles to very readable Javascript, without any weird transformations. And, Javascript is also Typescript, which means transition from the former to the latter is painless (unless you use bleeding edge things like generators, which at the time of writing are not yet supported by Typescript, I think).

Another thing that bothers me with Dart is that "pub" is bound to your Google account. I had pushed the two projects mentioned above with an account I don't have access to anymore. And since I am not able to recover that account, and "pub" does not allow password recovery, I have no way to update things. This can be seen as a security feature or as a blocker. But the truth is, right now, I have lost access to these projects. With a more open system like NPM [5], I can at least get a new password sent to my email address (which uses TLS when possible and is secured by a veerryyy long password, so I don't think it's less secure than "pub").

Finally, my subjective opinion on Dart is that it is way too much about Google. If you look closely at the Dart website [4], you'll see references to Google products all over the place (and Chrome in 1st position in the browser list). I get that Google is trying to get a ROI, but I feel like I'm bound to get locked in to a Google technology with Dart. If Google stops Dart development tomorrow, I'm screwed. With something like Typescript (or similar alternatives that compiles to readable JS), you are way less dependent on the language developers' goodwill, since the generated Javascript is readable: you can leave at any time with the readable plain Javascript if you need too.

One nice thing that Dart used to be criticized about is that is actually a standard [6].

[1] https://github.com/conradkleinespel/levenshtein-dart

[2] https://github.com/conradkleinespel/lexer-dart

[3] http://www.typescriptlang.org/

[4] https://www.dartlang.org/

[5] https://www.npmjs.org/

[6] http://www.ecma-international.org/memento/TC52.htm

Pharohbot 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I posted an identical post about this 12 days ago, check it out:


Ask HN: New city, freelancer job, how do you make friends and fight loneliness?
12 points by yulaow  1 day ago   15 comments top 9
thirdtruck 1 day ago 1 reply      
There's a worthwhile chance that someone you already know back home has connections with others where you live now. That's how I made such a smooth social transition from one state to another twice in the space of a year: I asked everyone I knew for connections, and someone set me up with an existing gaming group even before I arrived. I had new friends within a week of moving.

In the meantime:

+ Check out as many conventions or conferences as you can, but focus on the "hallway track" and the bar (you don't have to drink, either!).

+ Check out Meetup.com or even OkCupid.com (or the EU equivalents). Other people are trying to make new friends through those sites.

+ Chat with the folks where you work. Spend time in a coffee shop or co-working space if you don't already. I made a good friend, for example, out of a totally random Starbucks encounter.

Hope that helps!

GFischer 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Others have suggested it, but:

- local groups for your preferred hobby (there are lots of tabletop gaming events, I met some cool people in Europe that way)

- taking classes is a way I've met lots of people. Even if it's short courses

- going to events

- sports and other hobbies - as some mentioned, biking, trekking, climbing, running. In southern Europe there has to be some kind of sports app.

Other family members use other kinds of social support:

- couchsurfing (there are local couchsurfing events almost everywhere)

- churches / NGOs / charities / volunteer work

alain94040 1 day ago 0 replies      
I had the same problem a few years ago. I solved it by going to coffee shops to work maybe an hour per day. And in good hacker fashion, I eventually built an app for that, that lets you find "co-lunchers" (check out http://colunchers.com). Hope you find it useful.
LadyMartel 1 day ago 1 reply      
What do you do for fun? I always just go to some meetups related to either my work or my hobbies. I think any sports (hiking, mountain climbing) or artistic endeavors (woodworking, photography) type of hobbies make it really easy to make friends.
lazyfunctor 1 day ago 0 replies      
Try to find a co-working space in your area. If not maybe work from a cafe for some time during the day.

I was gonna suggest meetup.com but looks like you do not have interesting meetups in your area.

Maybe pickup some sport in your free time. Leisure, fitness and socializing all rolled into one.

atmosx 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'd rather write a blog post and use it as reference. The topic is been discussed in very long detailed on HN, but I'm too lazy t find the link.

The only advice I have is: Take haircuts and dancing lessons as often as you can.

munimkazia 1 day ago 0 replies      
Don't underestimate the old fashioned way of making friends..

Hit the bar, have a few drinks, talk to other people at the bar.

donotbackup 1 day ago 0 replies      
Reading a bunch of Classics always help melt the time away. But also just go to a local bar and socialize with the locals.
ainiriand 1 day ago 0 replies      
meetup.com is a good way of finding other people interested in the same things as you are.
Best free resources for learning Node.js
21 points by gordian  1 day ago   7 comments top 6
smilepet_26 1 day ago 1 reply      
These are some excellent resources for you to get started with node and free too.



http://nodetuts.com/ video tutorials)


When you are done, look at this list of extensive node at Stackoverflow:


z1mm32m4n 1 day ago 0 replies      
Quick overview of the way Node works:http://www.nodebeginner.org

Great tutorial to get up and running with a web framework (Express), database (MongoDB), and simple, functional app:http://cwbuecheler.com/web/tutorials/2013/node-express-mongo...

I realize the title suggests free resources, but I've also found the $9.99 book Hands on Node.js to be very helpful.

lpinca 1 day ago 0 replies      
Maybe a bit out of topic but take a look at this https://github.com/sindresorhus/awesome-nodejs and this http://nodeschool.io/
krrishd 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you're looking to use Node specifically for web development, I've found http://scotch.io to be quite useful.
_RPM 1 day ago 0 replies      
The first thing to understand: Node.js is not a programming language. It is a JavaScript platform.
Ask HN: Where to sell a product/codebase (almost developed)?
6 points by vijayr  1 day ago   3 comments top 2
mod 22 hours ago 1 reply      
Sideprojectors is the other place I've heard of:https://www.sideprojectors.com/project/home

What general role does she need from her partner?

AznHisoka 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Not really. Unless it's something static like a website, the owners need someone who they can rely on if something goes wrong.
Ask HN: Why aren't people using PayPal Payflow?
10 points by aj0strow  1 day ago   9 comments top 4
patio11 1 day ago 3 replies      
The developer experience for Paypal integrations leaves... much to be desired. I don't know how to convey the magnitude of the difference without forcing you to implement code against a Paypal API.

Maybe, for a taste of it: Paypal ships API documentation as X00 page PDF files. Their Payflow Pro product, being relatively simple, requires only 176 pages.

Or, in terms of design decisions, consider all the fun of writing software which implements a case statement that maps error code 100 to "Invalid transaction returned from host (Processor), in the case where the processor is Global Payments East or Central." to, well, whatever the heck you're supposed to do when that happens.

dangrossman 1 day ago 0 replies      
> Am I missing something?

Yes, a merchant account. "Start accepting credit cards using your existing merchant account."

PayFlow is just a gateway. A gateway cannot process credit cards without being attached to a merchant account; it is just an API to bridge the web with the processing network of the merchant account provider. You can't use it to charge credit cards for $25 and $0.10 per transaction, you pay that _on top of_ the processing fees charged by the merchant account provider.

PayFlow was previously a Verisign product that PayPal acquired in 2006.

That isn't to say you can't save money over Stripe with PayPal. PayPal Payments Pro is their integrated gateway and processing solution, and discounts below Stripe's rates start at $3,000 per month of volume instead of $80,000 per month.


webnrrd2k 1 day ago 0 replies      
There is a decent range of businesses who are well-served by going the Payflow route -- government offices, non-profits, Universities, etc... Generally small-to-mid-sized businesses with small-to-mid-sized payment processing needs.

It's been a while, but I've set up a few Payflow-based systems, and it's been a great way to go... Payflow allows you much more control and detailed logging than, say Stripe. Yes, it's a bit of a pain to get it all set up at first, and there are a few tricks with error handling, but it's a good way to go to implement your own payment system.

joshdance 1 day ago 0 replies      
First mind share. If you are a developer and you want payments, currently you think Stripe.

Second, ease of use reputation. Paypal is not known to be easy to integrate with and use.

Third, reputation in general. Paypal has a history and reputation (whether deserved or not) of freezing your accounts and leaving you in the worst situation etc.

Best way to get started with SQL?
7 points by comatory  1 day ago   7 comments top 4
techjuice 1 day ago 1 reply      
If your really serious about enhancing your SQL skills the following should take you from beginner to expert with time. Udemy and other online resources are nice but they will not take you to your maximum potential, only the books and official documentation will as that is where the experts get there information. The videos and tutorials are good for overviews and helping with certain scenarios but not the best resources if you want a professional high end learning path to the top.

If you want working with SQL to become extremely easy to you, you will need to start creating websites, bring traffic to those sites and implement the scaling procedures you have learned from the books below.

As if you go to a job interview and want to blow it out of the water it is to your best advantage to know for example MySQL in and out so well you make the interviewer smile inside and go yes we have found the one. You will probably see a little smirk as the interviewer is trying to hold in their smile when this happens but you will know when this occurs very easily. Upside to this is you will be very comfortable getting started on day one and the only training you will need is the current architecture and backup or non existent backup plans in place so you can get to work.

I recommend the following hardcopy books in order:




If your wanting to do Microsoft SQL Server, I recommend the following:http://www.amazon.com/Microsoft-Server-2012-Step-Developer/d...



davismwfl 22 hours ago 0 replies      
You have already gotten good academic and research based advice, so I'll toss something else in.

Install MySQL on your machine to play with. If you have access to a Wordpress install that has some data in it, take a backup of that and restore it to your machine and learn how to write queries for it. The way to figure out what to query is ask yourself questions, like, how many blog posts were posted in the past year. What was the count of blog posts per month for the past year. Stuff like that. And anything that you could see someone asking you to answer. BTW -- I am not suggesting that Wordpress is an amazing database design, but it is fairly typical of what people do so its a reasonable place to learn.

Then once you feel pretty comfortable there, take a couple of the public datasets you can find online, Amazon shares a bunch of them and you can find others. Then create a database, import the data and write queries against it, following the same process of asking questions that seem interesting. You can even take the max-mind CSV file they provide and create a database out of that to learn how to query it and get answers. It is a small and simple dataset but there are a number of things you can figure out using it.

While I personally prefer postgres, I think MySQL is probably a good place to learn as there are a ton of tutorials and resources for it. After you master the concepts then you can switch between platforms much easier, MS SQL, MySQL etc. The basics are the same between them all, even though each has their own quirks and gotcha's, knowing how to work in one you can always ask Google how to do X in Y if you already know how to do X.

timClicks 1 day ago 1 reply      
I would start with adding fields to a CSV from some open public data and building reports that include featurs like GROUP BY month and ORDER BY city_name.

That'll give you some understanding of the richness that's available to you when you start to use SQL. Until you get why SQL is amazing, SQL will feel like a chore.

Once you feel comfortable with custom reports, you should learn about performing queries on queries (via subqueries, CTEs or views ... all very similiar) and queries between tables (JOINs).

Once you have JOINs and subqueries down, you'll be able to do things that are both blazing fast (compared to similiar operations in your application) and extremely memory efficient.

joeclark77 1 day ago 0 replies      
I recently asked my 4th-year students (who take a relational database course in their 3rd year) how much they used what they learned from the database course. Most of them had internships between the 3rd and 4th year, and they told me that in their jobs they needed to (a) write complex queries and (b) write stored procedures. Our database course had focused, I think, too much on ER diagramming and things like field data types. You need to know those things to create a database, but as a new person I guess you're more likely to have to deal with a database that already exists.

To my point: make sure you learn how to do complex SQL queries including subqueries and correlated subqueries. Also, learn to create stored procedures and triggers in your favorite database.

You might look into the book "Refactoring Databases" by Ambler and Sadalage. It challenges you to think about the database as an evolving system, which is different than the kind of textbook exercises where you just sketch or build it once and then move on to the next problem.

Ask HN: Is Rosen and relational biology nuts?
10 points by danabramov  2 days ago   1 comment top
hga 1 day ago 0 replies      
From his Wikipedia page:

Rosen believed that the contemporary model of physics - which he thought to be based on an outdated Cartesian and Newtonian world of mechanisms - was inadequate to explain or describe the behavior of biological systems; that is, one could not properly answer the fundamental question "What is life?"

"Mainstream biology" isn't particularly interested in the "What is life?" question (ADDED: rather, it's an interesting philosophical question brought up when viruses are seriously taught), and is quite productive with its current reductionist approaches. That would include, for example, MIT's Biology department, infamous, as of the '80s at least, for not looking much above the level of the cell.

I'd look at two things: there's a semi-joke item or two about how mainstream biologists would never understand a radio based on their methods, and look at the ones trying to understand the brain, or why MIT created a Brain and Cognitive Sciences department (http://bcs.mit.edu/aboutbcs/history.html) or some of the reasons why e.g. Jerry Lettvin was in the EECS department instead of biology (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerome_Lettvin).

Ask HN: Code tests from potential employers
6 points by csorrell  1 day ago   10 comments top 9
priyaaank 1 day ago 0 replies      
I disagree with anyone who says that code tests are scam. I work at Thoughtworks and we follow extreme programming practices. The most basic of which includes pairing. Pairing is a super strenuous activity which brings in productivity as well. However it is not everyone. Doing a code pairing round validates a lot of softer aspects.

I personally believe in show and don't tell. So if I am interviewing with someone or vice versa I would rather appreciate that I get to see some code that an individual has written or have someone assess me on that rather than how I well I can articulate myself or conjure up jargons and buzz words.

I am comfortable taking on large problems as long as there is flexibility in time. I spend about 15 hours over three days solving a problem that intrigued me when I interviewed 5 years back. I learned a lot about company, programming and myself int those three days.

Years later as I am trying to make that experience smoother for others, I have done a 5 series blog on what we look into coding solutions. Hopefully, that solidified them a little bit and doesn't make them look like "vague" and "just a whim and fancy" coding round.

Find my detailed take on coding problems given out by Thoughtworks recruiting here.


bjourne 1 day ago 0 replies      
Most of those code tests are scam. It's a psychological tool used by companies to improve their bargaining position vis a vis employees. It's called the IKEA-effect -- people like IKEA furniture more because they had to assemble it themselves. Programmers become more attracted to job opportunities if they have to work for it.

I've been asked to write constraint solvers for hexagonal Graeco-Latin squares which I did complete. It took me days, I got an optimal solution and was the only candidate able to do so. Still didn't get the job.

My current strategy is to only agree to solve puzzles if the recruiter can tell me how many of my potential coworkers solved what puzzles when they were hired. If it turns out most of them solved very challenging ai or dynamic programming problems, then I could jump through almost any hoops to get the job. Because working with people smarter then you is just invaluable.

If they aren't able to divulge such information, or most of the employees didn't solve any puzzles at all, I would be weary.

geoelectric 1 day ago 0 replies      
That strikes me as absolutely insane, to be frank. I work in a different segment of the industry now (SET) but to my knowledge I've never been at a reputable company that gave a coding assignment that extensive, especially if they haven't talked to you yet.

So here's the question: is the code being asked to be production-ready, or otherwise real-world useful?

Because one possible thing that's happening is that they're mechanical-turking their codebase by doling out assignments to hopeful applicants.

bwh2 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think <30min is reasonable. I send candidates a test that should take about 5-10min. My primary goal is to filter out candidates that can't complete tasks on the level of fizzbuzz.
pdovy 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think 10 hours is a lot, but I would consider it if the position was really intriguing.

Calibrating tests like this is pretty difficult though, anecdotally. We give out a work sample test that we think should take 2-3 hours maximum and try to frame it that way in the problem description. Nonetheless, we have gotten a few in the past where it was clear that way more time was spent, and I feel bad when they don't make the cut.

Tip - if you are giving out tests like this, ask for feedback from hires on how long they spent and then adjust accordingly. Anything you give out is probably way easier for you than the candidate.

robgibbons 1 day ago 0 replies      
You've stated it perfectly. Either you're totally misjudging the amount of work involved (in which case, you're probably not what they're looking for), or they are asking far too much for a coding interview.

The longest off-site coding test I've ever been involved with took 1.5 hours, split into two parts of 45 minutes. If they can't gauge your chops in an hour and a half of technical questions and real-time problem solving, they're not doing it right.

rnovak 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you're really new to the field, there are a lot of really horrible developers, a bunch of developers interview well but are horrible on teams, and a whole bunch that are just not people persons at all. 10 hours of work really isn't a lot to ask, IMHO. The best tests though are like short contractual work to test a dev out, because then everything is tested (culture, intelligence, people skills).
allenbrunson 1 day ago 1 reply      
like every other developer ever, i have often been asked to do coding tests for a job interview. personally, i think ten to twenty hours of work is reasonable, if it's a place i really want to work.

what i have a problem with is companies that want you to do the coding test before they've even talked to you. i may rule them out as a potential employer as part of that process, in which case it would be a waste of time.

debacle 1 day ago 0 replies      
2 hours is maybe on the far end of what I would consider reasonable. I might complete a slightly larger project for a more appetizing position.

10 hours is outright. That company is unlikely to value your time when you work for them.

Ask HN: Alternative jobs to take a break from being a developer?
21 points by tiredofcodingya  3 days ago   24 comments top 14
tapan_k 3 days ago 1 reply      
The answer depends on what you mean by "for a while". If its a few months or a year or two, it does not matter what the alternative career path is, as long as you do land a job that pays enough for you to support your family. If you are looking for alternate career paths for more than a couple of years, why think of this as temporary? Just switch to a different path and reevaluate when you stop having fun. Check this list to see which of the following helps:

1. Take a week or two off. Go on vacation. Maybe you just need a short break.

2. Find a new job as a developer. The change in environment (people and/or technologies that you work with) may do the trick.

3. Switch to a PM role for a while.

4. If you think being a developer is no longer fun, consider a career change.

Whatever you do, do not wait too long for the problem to fix itself. Do something now, before you start to drain out and find yourself unable to muster the energy and enthusiasm to come up with a solution.

plikan13 2 days ago 2 replies      
I worked in a department store filling shelves for a couple of months and I actually enjoyed it. The work is boring, but what happens inside your mind belongs to yourself, all day long. Made a nice change for prostituting my brain. The social interaction is nice too. You would be amazed how many old people come to department stores just to have a word with another living soul.
jasonkester 3 days ago 1 reply      
The simple answer is to work as a developer for half the year then take the other half off to go do whatever gives your life that meaning. It's simply more cost effective to do it this way than to try to find a "meaningful" job that you can pick up with zero experience that will still bring in enough to support your family.

Incidentally, if there exists a job orthogonal to your skill set as a developer that you can jump into and make upwards of half your current salary, that's a good sign you're not billing enough today.

lumberjack 3 days ago 0 replies      
Teaching is incredibly rewarding. Depending on your qualifications you might find an institution willing to put you on their payroll but if not you can always advertise yourself as a private tutor.
tonteldoos 3 days ago 1 reply      
I was semi-involuntarily faced with the same situation this year. Giving a meaningful answer will depend on situational things, ie:

- How old are you?- How senior are you in your profession?- Are you the sole provider for your family?- How much savings/equity/etc do you have floating around?- What other skillsets do you have that you could leverage?

The problem (I found, anyway) with 'alternative careerpaths' are that they either require some sort of previous experience (to get them, or earn a good wage, depending on where you live), or the ones that don't will have 1e10 other people lining up for it (again, depending on where you live).

It may be more productive to find a way to cut down on expenses and tap into savings, and try and learn something new, or get in touch with your inner geek again. A side benefit might be getting to spend more time with the kids/wife, or discover a talent or skill you didn't know you had.

My experience has shown that I don't want to get out of development, but having to do seemingly meaningless drivel for other people sucks the life out of our profession. I'm going to try and actively keep that spark alive going forward (not sure yet how, but at least it's a start).

I'm happy to chat privately if you're interested...

kephra 3 days ago 0 replies      
Its winter soon, at least here.

Time to maintain motorbikes or sailing boats. Do you know any craft, e.g. sewing, that could be used to make money in that market. Motorbike saddles, tarpaulins, seats and cushions are things I produce when tired from coding. Hand crafted quality sells well, and builds up a customer base that is even more loyal then a mainframe service contract.

Especially the biker scene has the tendency of regular up or outs. Some bikers move up, others move out, when ever a club closes, or is patched over. Same happens to good quality saddles also. So even if you do not sell to the Angles right now, they will might ride your saddles in 10 or 20 years, and they will be top paying customers.

Same same but different with sailing boats. Even if one can not move a tarpaulin from one boat to an other, like you could do with a Harley saddle, the sailors themself move up or out regular. They either buy a bigger boat, or quit sailing. Selling quality ensures a loyal customer, who tells his club.

You'll soon be invaded by wanna be customers every winter, if done right. Do not take to many, keep it to a maximum of 2-3 month of 20 hours work per week. Some of the sailing club customers might even become software customers next summer.

rayalez 2 days ago 1 reply      
If you have some time - you could create a udemy course based on what you know. Making screencasts is very fun and will provide you with a stream of passive income.

Other than that - I think it's hard to give an advice about career that would be both fun and wouldn't require a lot of skill to start with.

But if you are willing to invest time and effort - writing, painting, and computer graphics are the thing that I massively enjoy in my free time. I bet you could use your programming skills in 3D graphics as well.

Also - some sort of internet marketing. It isnt usually considered fun or worth doing among programmers, but it can actually be fun and profitable, and obviously a useful startup-related skill that you can utilize to make/sell your own products if you ever want to.

partisan 2 days ago 1 reply      
Man, I can really relate to this. I sometimes consider taking a development job at a small, non-IT company. Just an easy, get-it-done type of place. The kind of place where the users will love you for saving them from spreadsheets and access databases and their manual processes. Job satisfaction without the other stuff for a while.

So I guess what I am saying is that maybe you can find a place where you can continue on your career path while saving your sanity.

readme 2 days ago 0 replies      
Do what I did: join the Army as a linguist. Now I have served 1 out of the six years of my commitment, and I've learned Arabic while I got paid for it with all my living expenses taken care of.

Also when I get out I can go back to school and I'll have a huge leg up on government jobs. OTOH, if I can become a warrant officer I'll just stay in.

Yes it's risky/dangerous. I can't deny that. But I can say for sure it will get you in shape and builds a lot of discipline and character.

czbond 3 days ago 1 reply      
I understand whole heartedly - I've been there. If you are a family provider, and don't want to get too far out of your comfort zone (every personality is different) - you could look at consulting, software consultants, software architecture, sales, etc. These would provide a rough average income of what you're earning now. Or, as an aside - you could also teach yourself a new skill or do a side job at night/weekends. Find what you are yearning to do, and incorporate it. Are you feeling isolated coding too much? Find a more extroverted position, etc etc.
atmosx 3 days ago 1 reply      
When I'm tired, I do gardening. But where I live I'm happy to have a lot of sun, most of the time and my place kind of in the suburbs so whole thing is perfect for gardening / taking care of plants, flowers, etc.

EDIT: Sorry didn't read the question well enough. Gardening isn't an good alternative career path to programming IMHO, just a nice distraction. Even helps you think about programming and/or other problems.

azurelogic 3 days ago 0 replies      
Project manager, front end designer, QA, or DBA maybe? Depends on your background and passion.
mknits 3 days ago 0 replies      
You could try writing your experiences in a book.
mc_hammer 3 days ago 0 replies      
deliver pizza or bartend, good tips :
Ask HN: Did Idea Sunday HN Discussion Die?
62 points by andersonmvd  3 days ago   19 comments top 6
ioedward 3 days ago 2 replies      
dang killed it because he didn't like it. (I'll go look for the source)

edit: source - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7693262

> Ok, when people start racing to post these at midnight, and beg for upvotes on top of it, this experiment has officially jumped the shark. I'm going to bury this post and ask you all not to post any more of them.Only one account (whoishiring) is allowed to make regular feature posts that we don't kill as duplicates. (That's for the obvious reason of preventing karma sweepstakes and race conditions.) Should we make this "Idea" thread a regular feature? I've thought about it quite a bit. I think the answer is no.Experiments are worth trying, but this one has gone on for a month now and I don't think it has cleared the bar [1]. Something about having all these ideas in one place makes the whole less than the sum of its parts. The threads seem to me to have gotten less interesting as they've become more regular.I'm sorry to disappoint those of you who disagree. But our job is to optimize HN for quality and I don't think the quality is high enough here. Ideas are better in the wild. Let's discuss them as they come up organically, rather than try to organize an idea-fest.1. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7682938

lowglow 3 days ago 1 reply      
You can bring any idea discussion over to Ideas on Techendo: https://ideas.techendo.com/
kasbah 3 days ago 1 reply      
I guess people could try doing it in /r/startups where (I think) the mods are more laissez-faire.
tlb 3 days ago 1 reply      
http://www.halfbakery.com/ is a better replacement for Idea Sunday.
pinkyand 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think dang, the moderator of this forum decided that we should stop doing those, if i remember correctly.

But there's this:


IdeaSunday 2 days ago 0 replies      
I made a post for todays Sunday:


Ask HN: Why do people believe PHP developer means security ignorance?
6 points by sarciszewski  2 days ago   22 comments top 8
ubertaco 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's not that people don't think you can know security AND write PHP, it's that it's seen as very uncommon, largely because of historical context and PHP's ecosystem.

PHP, as you probably know, started as a really basic (if obtuse) preprocessor for HTML pages. It plugged nicely into Apache via mod_php, and was relatively simple and low-footprint to set up, so a lot of cheap shared-hosting sites set it up. For beginning/inexperienced web developers on small projects, this was great; you no longer had to go host your own Java/ASP/whatever web server to have server-side logic, now you could just use a text editor and FTP.

Unfortunately, this also meant that PHP attracted a lot of inexperienced developers -- the kind who haven't yet learned things like why you should hash (and salt) your passwords, why you should use stored procedures, and so on. (Editorial: it didn't help that the language itself didn't, at the time at least, make it obvious how to do such things.)

Granted, there were some developers who knew better who picked up PHP. But generally developers who have some working knowledge of web security best practices get that knowledge by working in the field -- which at the time, typically meant "heavier-weight" stuff like Java or ASP.

So with large numbers of inexperienced, security-unaware devs enabled to write webapps in PHP, large amounts of poor, insecure PHP code was written. So PHP got a bad rep, which only exacerbated the problem by creating a self-fulfilling prophecy that turned companies who could hire more-experienced devs off from PHP.

I haven't personally touched PHP in a long while -- I personally just don't like some aspects of the language -- but I've heard some steps have been made in the PHP community to make best-practices more easy/commonplace. Which is great! But the old reputation is still there, and bad reputations are hard to dispel -- especially in the corporate world.

edavis 1 day ago 1 reply      
> And yet, I've never succeeded in extracting a straight answer from anyone about why they believe that someone cannot simultaneously have some working knowledge of security and enjoy building PHP applications.

These people are probably thinking: "If you truly knew infosec, you would have moved onto a more advanced language by now."

PHP has a reputation as a "training wheels" language. It's seen as a great starter language to learn the fundamentals of web development, but the expectation is that a "good developer" will eventually migrate to Python/Ruby/Node/whatever once they outgrow PHP.

By staying with PHP, you're signaling that you haven't cleared the bar of being a "good developer" yet.

Is this fair? Hell no. But that's life. My advice? Get familiar with another scripting language. The difference between "I'm a PHP developer" and "I'm a developer that knows Python, PHP, and Javascript" to a lot of people is huge.

ksherlock 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm sure it's possible to write secure PHP code but PHP actively works against you. The language has improved a bit over the years (magic quotes is no longer a thing) but I don't have any confidence that the PHP developers will make reasonable choices in the future.

Take something like == to compare two strings. A reasonable person would compare them as strings. A PHP developer would try to compare them as numbers (losing information in the process). Many PHP users don't consider that a problem. Many PHP developers don't consider that a problem. (Some realize it's stupid but don't want to break backwards compatibility).

debacle 1 day ago 1 reply      
Like it or not, a cross-sample of PHP developers will have more bad programmers than possibly any other language (barring ColdFusion, Flash, and ASP, possibly).

Our good developers are just as good as the good developers in Python or Ruby or JavaScript, but we have enough bad developers to keep the guys at Soylent fed for a long, long time.

Edit: It also doesn't help that two of the biggest PHP projects are Drupal and WordPress, two pieces of software with atrocious security records.

Bahamut 2 days ago 0 replies      
If I had to guess, it is because many people came into web development and would write PHP code with basic security bugs - some of the old built in functions didn't help PHP any (mysql and mysqli).

I don't share this belief mind you.

twunde 2 days ago 1 reply      
1)Memories of the older days where mysql_escape vs mysql_real_escape2)It's 2014 and Drupal just got exploited by a sql injection attack.3)Because of php's weak typing, php will accept a lot of strange input such as arrays with variables in them. Which is weird and can lead to some remote code execution4) If you're busy defending against xss and sql injection still who is defending against more esoteric attacks like csrf, denial of service, timing attacks, etc? (If you can tell me about csrf and have set up csrf protection in a project you're in the minority of php developers)
mahadazad 2 days ago 1 reply      
Insecure code can be written in any language. Its not something that is built-in (to some extent its true). Its not the language to be blamed, but the one who is developing insecure code. PHP is bad reputed only due the the inexperienced developers. Actually, PHP is so easy to pick up that any one can start building stuff with it. PHP is a great language, it has some odd sides, but overall its a great language if you use it wisely.
blueside 2 days ago 1 reply      
" person pretty much said that they will never take me seriously in the realm of [computer/cyber/information/network/application] (select appropriate) security as long as I write PHP code."

that's reason enough not to take that person seriously - a truly experienced fellow programmer would have a tough time making that presumption about another programmer in ANY language

       cached 19 November 2014 13:05:01 GMT