hacker news with inline top comments    .. more ..    9 Oct 2015 Ask
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Ask HN: Looking for robot toys/kits for young ones
20 points by louise02  16 hours ago   9 comments top 8
saluki 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Lego Mindstorms EV3 would be a good start.

Also checkout First Lego League.http://www.firstlegoleague.org/

It's a great program. This is my Son's third year and our second year coaching his team.

The season is in full swing right now so you could probably go observe (possibly join) a local team. And find out when their competition is and go watch.

Here's a video of what they could create.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJSeMeAGmXE

The FLL program consists of core values, a project and the robot game. Robot game is the most fun but they have a good time coming up with a project idea and learning about core values (work as a team, do the work, etc).

If you want to start your own team you can get donations/sponsorship from companies to pay for your startup costs. 2 or 3 robot kits, some extra parts, T-shirts, the FLL kit (mat and mission pieces), supplies to build the board, FLL fees, etc.

ruraljuror 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I have heard about Little Bits from advertising on twit, and it looks like what you are describing:http://littlebits.cc/

If you want to give twit credit, you can go through the link here: https://twit.tv/sponsors

jitl 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Lego Mindstorms are excellent. I haven't tried their more recent stuff, but it looks very good. Combining the ease of design and assembly of Legos with robotics... I spent hours building, rebuilding, and programming my set. Could not recommend anything more.
whiskers 8 hours ago 0 replies      
We have a system called Flotilla which will be available before Christmas. It's a set of smart electronics modules that talk to a Raspberry Pi and can be controlled via Python code (or through our web-based interfaces for beginners).

Sounds like exactly what you're looking for!


mcphage 9 hours ago 0 replies      
The Edison Robot: http://meetedison.com/ was a successful KS project last year. I got a pair, and haven't played with them too much but they seem to work well. They've got a nice visual programming environment, and are compatible with Lego. And decently priced.
marcelcor 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Sad that this https://vimeo.com/130435350 didn't go forward
antoniuschan99 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I have a Lynxmotion AL5D that I built but haven't used:


tpiha 9 hours ago 0 replies      
It's not cheap, but I really love what Makeblock is doing:


Ask HN: Canvas Drawing Library
14 points by maresca  10 hours ago   10 comments top 7
doublerebel 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I prefer PixiJS (http://www.pixijs.com), it comes with a ton of primitives and renders efficiently even on mobile. I've created layered drag-and-drop webapps with Pixi, draw & erase would not be much different.
fgtx 6 hours ago 0 replies      
In simple cases like you described, you can always create your own. I've done something sorta like that in here: https://github.com/felipegtx/Raska
skuunk1 5 hours ago 0 replies      
If you have an ActionScript background, I highly recommend Easel JS.


lochlan 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I am a big fan of pixi.js (http://www.pixijs.com). I haven't explored its "erasing" capabilities, but it is a great library for performant 2d graphics programming in the browser.
Aaronneyer 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Check out LiterallyCanvas: http://literallycanvas.com/
gandydancer 5 hours ago 0 replies      
angersock 9 hours ago 1 reply      
If you're building something simple, why not just use the HTML5 Canvas API?

There's no reason to overcomplicate things, and it'll give you fine control over how things work and what you expect it to do. Layers and whatnot are pretty simple to implement a rough cut of, so why make things complicated?

Ask HN: Outside of HN and Reddit what discussion communities are you a part of?
15 points by urs2102  8 hours ago   8 comments top 6
brlewis 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I keep lists on Twitter. Twitter is bad because you're limited to 140 characters, but it's good because everyone else is limited to 140 characters.
wvenable 5 hours ago 0 replies      
http://www.crazyontap.com -- It was created to replace the off topic board of Joel on Software when it closed. A bunch of old programmers bitching about things.
Nilef 3 hours ago 0 replies      
youngstartups.io - It's a slack community for those under 25. As the name suggests, we talk about businesses, tech and...school
pranaya_gh 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Fastlane forum is pretty good - more entrepreneurship oriented.
tmoullet 4 hours ago 0 replies      
HiLo 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Ask HN: Critique My Paranoia
5 points by thrwyparanoid  7 hours ago   6 comments top 5
bediger4000 14 minutes ago 0 replies      
Instead of traveling hours out-of-state to buy a laptop, how about buying one used, maybe from a pawnshop or a garage sale or one of those one-man-show used computer stores? Its possible that pawnshops have cameras on all the time, but anything in it is likely to be, maybe not "hot", but disowned with extreme prejudice. You'd be putting a cut-out between yourself and the purchase of the laptop.

The Step 5 checklist should include setting a random hardware address for the wireless card or ethernet port. Maybe you can obtain MAC addresses using nmap in one coffee shop, then use them in another shop.

Step 7, get a USB wireless that lets you put a directional antenna with high gain on it, so you can actually be some distance away from the coffee shop, library, etc while you use it.

scholia 6 hours ago 0 replies      
You might still be tracked by device fingerprinting


Also, I guess you'd have to make sure you used a VPN that didn't keep logs...

auganov 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Why not get a prepaid data card?Using tor on a public wifi is suspicious enough.

If you're okay with disabling http (and all plaintext protocols really) then you're better off just using tor instead of a VPN. Keeps the trail of ip connections more distributed. If not you want to make sure you disable them during the process of buying that trusted VPN/S.

Mz 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Step 7: Only access the internet using cafe Wi-Fi and other networks not tied to myself.

I spend a lot of time in libraries on public computers or on public Wi-Fi. Their policies often state up front that there is no expectation of privacy, that staff can check up on your activities if they have reason to do so. I have not paid much attention to policies at, say, Starbucks, but I wouldn't be surprised if they have similar policies. Furthermore, my understanding is that Wi-Fi has pretty big security holes compared to a landline. Plus, if you are a regular, people will recognize you.

I gave up driving years ago and I walk everywhere. This is bizarre and noteworthy behavior in the U.S. People stop me and talk to me and say "I see you walking All The Time..." The degree to which people in cars notice me, recognize me and feel not only free but compelled to speak to me is downright creepy.

So I will suggest that if you spend time very regularly in cafe's using their Wi-Fi, etc. people will not only recognize you, they will feel friendly and curious and like they have some goddamn right to grill you about your life and why you are there all the time and so on and so forth.

I also agree with AnimalMuppet that the lengths to which you are willing to go in order to be "completely anonymous" raise enough red flags that someone, at some point, will take an interest in tracking your ass down and that "someone" may very well be a government agency. So while I get annoyed at how humans are wired and how they conclude they have some goddamn right to grill me merely because they fucking recognize me when I have no clue whatsoever who they are, beyond being annoyed as hell at the whole thing, I don't really need to worry too much because walking everywhere isn't actually a crime, no matter how bizarre and eyebrow-raising it is. But I cannot imagine any reason to go to the lengths you want to go that don't involve serious crimes and most other people will be far more critical of your motives than I am. I am pretty live-and-let-live. On average, other people are much more judgey, butt-in-sky and controlling than I am. So you can bet dollars to donuts that most people will assume you are up to something incredibly evil and that suspicion will fuel their interest in grilling you, tracking you down, etc.

AnimalMuppet 7 hours ago 1 reply      
> purchase a burner laptop with cash


> and not in sight of any cameras.

Almost impossible, unless you're buying from a fence. Laptops are high-value items; almost every place that sells them has cameras on the area where they are sold.

> Is this sufficient operational security to remain totally anonymous against every reasonable threat save for an extremely motivated nation state?

You go to those extremes, and you're likely to motivate a nation state...

Motion for injunction
3 points by boniface316  5 hours ago   discuss
Is Robinhood Brokerage running out of money
10 points by Leeflanagan  17 hours ago   6 comments top 4
ksherlock 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Back around the turn of the century, I used BrokerageAmerica, which not only had $0 trades but gave rebates on your trades. They made their money as a market maker. Eventually, they dropped the rebates, then they dropped the $0 trades, then they dropped themselves (selling off their accounts to Ameritrade).

Which is to say, they aren't the first $0 brokerage and they won't be the last $0 brokerage. But I don't expect them to be around long term and I double don't expect them to provide $0 trades long term.

nicholas73 14 hours ago 1 reply      
I never understood their focus on mobile app rather than desktop. No real trader is going to want mobile, which makes their zero cost trades rather pointless doesn't it? A buy and hold person doesn't care about fees as much. But they do care about stability of the company...

I was excited to try Robinhood until I realized that bad execution on the app side (my side) and on getting order fills (their side) would eat up all if nor more of the benefits. Plus frankly if they were poor at getting you to trade to generate exchange rebates, I have to wonder what else they were doing/planning with your money.

joefarish 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Side note, just because you don't pay fees with Robinhood that doesn't make it free. Robinhood has larger spreads than many of it's alternatives.

In other words - Robinhood's competitors make you pay a fee for access to better prices. That seems like a reasonable value proposition to me.

KrishnaKumar 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I have an account with E*Trade and I tried Robinhood too. The reason I use Robinhood is because its free. The app crashes on Android all the time and is limited, but its Free. Everyone knows Trading costs fees, but if rich silicon valley VC's are willing to pay for my trades, I will take that all day. I did that with Zecco before they ran out of funds. You cannot beat it. I will make sure I get my $131 out before that run out. Its just $131, so i do not care. My suggestion is ride it while the VC sponsored trades last.
Who submits and comments on HN?
7 points by finnjohnsen2  15 hours ago   1 comment top
gexos 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Some older posts/polls made on HN provide some interesting demographic facts, https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4397332Look also at http://hnstats.appspot.com .

There are many various HN statistics on different blogs out there, I personally liked this one 3y old http://royal.pingdom.com/2012/08/21/report-social-network-de...

Ask HN: How Do You Plan to Use Perl 6?
13 points by brudgers  1 day ago   2 comments top
gaze 1 day ago 1 reply      
I like implementing things as languages. I'll probably use perl 6 for its built in grammars. I suppose there are languages with nice parser combinators but I'd like to see what it's like having it designed into the language.
What Angular2 tutorial (book/screencast) should I purchase now?
8 points by jbchoo  1 day ago   1 comment top
JohnMunsch 3 hours ago 0 replies      
As someone writing one of those tutorials, I think it's a little early at this point. The material provided by Google is thin at best at the moment and you frequently find yourself having to dive into the code to get anywhere.

I think it's fun to play with, but not ready for hard-core study yet.

Just launched- new insurance for startup investors
1 point by ock800  2 hours ago   1 comment top
gregmac 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Does this company have a track record? What assurance is there to an investor this startup will actually pay out?

Also, I'm rather curious about the math behind the business. (Note: I am a programmer. I could best be described as having a low and/or dangerous level of knowledge about investing).

If assure.li has 7 customers buy insurance for their $100k investment at 15% (so +$15k insurance premium), they are making $105k. If one of those companies "fails", assure.li now pays out $100k and now are left with $5k. If two customers fail, assure.li is now down $95k.

It's pretty widely cited that nine out of ten startups fail. assure.li seems to be betting that 90% succeed: even splitting the difference and saying 50% succeed, it seems to me this company will run out of money very quickly. An insurance company with no ability to pay claims is not a very useful insurance company.

Or am I completely missing something here?

Ask HN: What's your personal workflow environment like?
1 point by igammarays  2 hours ago   discuss
Ask HN: Do you want to be employed only 3 days a week while starting a startup?
1 point by gull  1 hour ago   3 comments top 3
noomerikal 53 minutes ago 0 replies      
I have been trying this out the past year. More like, get a contract gig for a 3-6 week period working on the startup stuff at night and then taking 4-8 weeks off to work on it full-time. It's a tough balancing act. I know personally for me the context switching with shorter time periods is difficult. There are so many times I want to complete a piece of functionality or fully fix a defect and not leave it in mid-stream to go work on something completely different.
eschutte2 54 minutes ago 0 replies      
I've done this a lot, usually as a consultant. Works great. I haven't found that I wanted more time for the startups - in fact, the consulting work has been a good counter balance to the startup work.
davelnewton 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I'd love to have a part-time full-time job so I had time to work on various passion projects.
Thank HN: for helping me get traction with DuckDuckGo and Traction book AMA
165 points by epi0Bauqu  1 day ago   78 comments top 29
Torgo 1 day ago 1 reply      
How much traffic does the Tor hidden service for your search engine get? Would you characterize the usage as significant, or is it mainly kept up as a public service for a small number of people who use it?
sspiff 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Are there any plans for a Google trends like analysis tool or any plans on opening up anonymous search statistics?

On a personal note, DDG has been my daily driver for about 2 years now. I love the bang shortcuts (!man and !cpp mostly).

The first few months or so, I ended up following almost every search query with a "!g query", but search results have really, really improved. Now I only have to use Google for local topics and/or very recent events.

rahiel 1 day ago 1 reply      
I love DDG's bangs and instant answers. Do you have any statistics on their usage? Like counts of how many times a bang or an instant answer was used?

And will Dax play a bigger role in the future, in branding to give more personality? It wasn't easy finding the name of the duck I see daily. (https://duckduckgo.com/?q=name+of+the+duckduckgo+duck)

atmosx 1 day ago 2 replies      

Congrats for your search engine. I admire the work you did. The only reason I don't use DDG is that I'm Greek and the results for Greek keywords are many orders of magnitude off-mark compared to Google. Why is that? Any hope to improve results in the future?


kawera 1 day ago 1 reply      
Gabriel, do you plan to implement time-bound search filters on DDG? I'm probably not alone in finding it very usefull and would gladly avoid jumping back and forth between DDG and Google. Anyway, kudos for all you've done.
yyz_rush 1 day ago 1 reply      
What are your future plans for DuckDuckGo? Knowing what you know now, what would you have done differently with DuckDuckGo over the last seven years?
lmedinas 1 day ago 1 reply      
Gabriel, thank you for DDG I have been using and promoting for years.

In terms of mobile any plans for the future you can reveal? How do you feel about Siri, Google Now and Cortana is it something you think DDG can do or can be used as a backend/source ?

fecak 1 day ago 1 reply      
We don't see too many Philly area firms getting attention on HN. I try to promote the area when I can (here or on Reddit). What would be your top reasons software engineers should consider the Philly tech scene as a place to work and live?
mackwic 1 day ago 1 reply      
As a user, I am always a bit afraid that DuckDuckGo might be gone one day.

How do you keep the DuckDuckGo afloat ?

calpaterson 1 day ago 1 reply      
Thanks for publishing your book it has been really useful for me.

When you were first working on DDG who did you show it to before you "launched" on here? What kind of early feedback did you get?

alexis 1 day ago 1 reply      
Congrats and all the best with the book! Happy to participate and hope it can help get my experiences with Reddit, Hipmunk and beyond into as many people's heads as possible.
huangc10 1 day ago 1 reply      
Great job w/ DDG and thanks for sharing this encouraging thread.
donrhummy 10 hours ago 0 replies      
when will you add instant search results in the browser's search box? For example, if i use Firefox and have Google ad the default, and i type "32 * (13 - 9)" it will instantly show a dropdown with the answer 128. I would really like DDG to do this too.
Nononce 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd just like to say thank you for making the search box the first thing that gets focus when pressing Tab.

Google got this one wrong (though I suspect that google does it on purpose).

acconrad 1 day ago 1 reply      
Was this book updated for the Oct 2015 release? Or is this more or less the same as the book you asked when you originally solicited feedback?
djd3141 1 day ago 1 reply      
Hey Gabriel,

Just wanted to say thanks for DDG, it's been my default search engine for going on a year now and absolutely love it. I'm also a developer(DDG is also the reason I started to dabble with Perl) from PA (about 10 minutes from DDG) and have to say it's very exciting to see something like DuckDuckGo created in my hometown area. Thanks again for the great work!

dontscale 1 day ago 0 replies      
You're an inspiration. Keep up the great work!
jihip 1 day ago 1 reply      
Are you working on any new business dev for DuckDuckGo?I feel that no-tracking is a soft value add and I imagine keyword-based targeted ads is limiting when competing with large search engines that tracks more information about the users. Which direction are you taking DuckDuckGo that further differentiates your product?
zbruhnke 1 day ago 1 reply      
I think there is real value in consumers being able to glean value they want from their own data, would you or have you ever considered a program that allowed users to share data with you in exchange for services, ads or other products they continually found relevant?
discreditable 13 hours ago 0 replies      
How does DuckDuckGo index content? Does it use its own spider?
ersii 1 day ago 1 reply      
How would you self describe the general search quality of DuckDuckGo, excluding the (brilliant) Instant Answers?

How do you evaluate the general search quality?

Do you have any focus on expanding crawling in general? And localized content in particular?

malnourish 1 day ago 1 reply      
Perhaps it's completely out of reach (fiscally or ethically) but have you considered partnering with Mozilla to become Firefox's default search engine?
AdmiralAsshat 1 day ago 1 reply      
Are there any features that you wanted or thought about implementing into DuckDuckGo but could not for technical reasons or otherwise?
siquick 1 day ago 0 replies      
Just switched to DDG 3 weeks ago and can't see me going back. :-)

Where did the name for DuckDuckGo come from?

S4M 1 day ago 1 reply      
Hey Gabriel,

Do you have some plans to open source the search engine of DuckDuckGo one day and let people contribute?

ryanjmo 1 day ago 0 replies      
Where is the current best place to buy the book in an electronic format?
aunty_helen 1 day ago 1 reply      
Do you think DDG would have still been a success without the Snowden revelations?
bradnickel 1 day ago 0 replies      
Great book Gabriel! Excited to help you promote it.
JupiterMoon 1 day ago 1 reply      
Is there any chance that you guys could implement a feature like your major competitor's "scholar" search for searching academic articles?
Ask HN: How do you set up your work day, schedule/life to maximise flow states?
5 points by japadoggg  1 day ago   1 comment top
pedalpete 1 day ago 0 replies      
Can you prefix your question with an 'Ask HN:'? That way HN users can easily see what is a question vs. an article or link.
Ask HN: How to find a job in the bay area quickly?
12 points by bonobo3000  1 day ago   6 comments top 5
ILIKEPONIES 1 day ago 0 replies      
We (https://underdog.io/) might be able to help. No guarantees, but if you want, apply (https://underdog.io/candidates) and then email me (josh[at]underdog[dot]io). We might be able to feature you to our startup network as soon as next Monday.
JSeymourATL 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Power Network: Get out, meet people, there are worthwhile events daily > http://www.meetup.com/cities/us/ca/san_francisco/
calcsam 1 day ago 0 replies      
Yes. Start by reaching out to recruiters. Let them know your situation. They will be happy to work with you as the chance of you taking some job is very high.

Also, I would do what's below. I would reach out specially to the company and see if they can send out ~500 resumes / week instead of 100 for 5x the $. Or just outsource this to ODesk instead.


trishume 1 day ago 1 reply      
If you get really desperate you could try walking into the offices of some small companies and telling them about your situation and then offering to work for below market rates in exchange for a quick hiring. This would probably only work if your resume is good enough to interest them.
huydotnet 1 day ago 0 replies      
Try lookin gat startup companies, it's much easier. Good luck!
India's Premier Student Run Hackathon InOut
8 points by oswalpalash  1 day ago   discuss
Ask HN: How to keep up?
7 points by AbdulBahajaj  1 day ago   9 comments top 6
rrrrrraul 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Follow blogs / forums / prominent devs on Twitter for the tech you use /are interested in, at least that's what I do. And HN =)
nmquirk 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Yeah, good luck. Sites like HN, Techcrunch and Reddit allow the technology with the loudest voice behind it to bubble up. Loudest doesn't equate to people count or company support. This has made our industry trend based. Something like Perl is hugely popular but you only hear about it when there's a new release (as a side not, I'm not a fan of Perl just proving a point).

When I entered the industry, jQuery was hugely popular on these sites. Now, it's all about Node and Angular. And it's only been 5 years for me.

brudgers 14 hours ago 0 replies      
At best a person might keep up with a sliver or two of the frontier and chase a few more. But the idea of being on a par with people Norvig and Moore and Cunningham and... all at the same time? Nobody can.

Good luck.

JeffreyKaine 1 day ago 0 replies      
Just spending your time here will get you pretty far. HN is kind of the techcrunch for that.
boniface316 1 day ago 1 reply      
Meetup...I think thats the only way.
izolate 17 hours ago 0 replies      
You want it spoonfed to you, but to really keep up you must learn to seek information out. There is no shortage of brilliant people in our industry pumping out insightful article after article. Start googling.
Ask HN: Is there a method for finding the optimal kerning?
11 points by valine  2 days ago   7 comments top 4
JamesMcMinn 2 days ago 1 reply      
I don't think that there's such a thing as the optimal kerning. Whilst there are a bunch of rules and guidelines you should follow [1], it's quite a subjective process.

Kern Type [2] is an interesting game to play which allows you to compare your kerning against that of a typographer. It's a fun way to burn a few minutes and learn a bit about kerning.

[1] https://99designs.com/designer-blog/2014/01/20/11-kerning-ti...

[2] http://type.method.ac/

andyjohnson0 1 day ago 0 replies      
"It seems like it should be possible to build a formula ..."

I seem to remember that Knuth's Metafont [1] has a DSL for specifying kerning. I don't know if it produces optimal results (whatever that means) but it might be a place to start.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metafont

panic 1 day ago 0 replies      
There was some discussion of this topic on typographica back in 2004: http://typographica.org/on-typography/automated-kerning-with...
brudgers 1 day ago 1 reply      
It seems like the sort of activity where machine learning might be a good approach to automation, i.e. where a computer could produce output like that of a typographer.
Ask HN: Get into computer security
13 points by newbie_hacker  2 days ago   10 comments top 8
alltakendamned 1 day ago 1 reply      
OSCP certification: https://www.offensive-security.com/information-security-trai...

The lab is a lot of fun.

TobbenTM 2 days ago 0 replies      
Go play some CTFs! https://microcorruption.com is amazing.
debacle 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hound 'tptacek to take you under his wing.

Alternately: http://www.amazon.com/lm/R2EN4JTQOCHNBA/ref=cm_lm_pthnk_view...

He (or Matasano?) also has an article somewhere outlining roughly what steps you need to take from programmer -> security expert, but it wasn't easily googleable.

sarciszewski 1 day ago 0 replies      
I maintain (curate, really) a list of resources on Github. Most of the content on the list was suggested by other folks in the community: https://github.com/paragonie/awesome-appsec
vampire_dk 1 day ago 0 replies      
You can practice CTF challenges at https://backdoor.sdslabs.co/ :)
phaus 2 days ago 1 reply      
What area of security interests you and what do you mean by "I already know all of the basics?"
Ask HN: How effective are Who is hiring posts for employers?
21 points by svec  2 days ago   8 comments top 4
Nilef 2 days ago 2 replies      
Not brilliant in my experience - lots of 5 minutes resumes, graduates for "experienced" positions and really poor English speakers (Might not be a problem for some, but not a fit for us)

Couple of diamonds in the rough though

svec 2 days ago 0 replies      
I get 5-10 replies each month, and they're mostly reasonable matches for our open positions.
janbernhart 1 day ago 1 reply      
Couple replies per month. Most of people who didn't actually read the post well unfortunately (freelance remote workers for a permanent on site job). But some good ones. Average quality still higher than most job boards.

I've had (way) more success in the 'who wants to be hired' thread.

ddorian43 2 days ago 0 replies      
~I got approached twice in the 'who wants to get hired'. Both were very good.
Ask HN: What should I do?
13 points by tonym9428  2 days ago   16 comments top 13
hiram112 2 days ago 1 reply      
One thing rarely mentioned when these questions pop up is the ratio of single women / men for various criteria. For example, certain areas, mostly in the West, are heavily lopsided with single men in various age brackets. This means, if you're a hetero guy, it's really tough to date, find a potential partner, etc.

OTOH, in NYC and DC, there are more women with college degrees than men; this equates to an easier time for that same guy.

Same thing applies if your a woman, gay, etc. - find whichever area favors your target market. You can have a good guess of your boss, work environment, etc. based on the interviews, but until you've worked there, a lot of it is a gamble. OTOH, finding a detailed study of demographics is a Google search away. There is an interesting chart here:


boniface316 2 days ago 0 replies      
One of the best adice I received was 'Choose your boss not the company'. My first employment was not a big company, but the man I worked for would lose his sleep if I dont get paid that month. It tought me a lot. Hope this helps!
michaelpinto 2 days ago 0 replies      
Old dude advice here:

Have you gone to to each company and city in person?

If so which one really speaks to your heart?

Which company has people that you'd like to meet who you might learn from?

Which city would you want to look for the job after this one if this company falls apart overnight?

Forget logic young Jedi Tomy and use the Force!

By the way it sounds like you're young, so realize that you can do something in life, realize that it's a mistake and then move on. Once you're married with kids and/or have elderly parents your choices become narrowed down a bit...

thelittleyes 2 days ago 0 replies      
That's not a tough situation, you're in a great situation! Two job offers that you get to choose from is not a bad place to be.

I help people think through these kinds of situations all the time with my work. If you're interested I'll give you a HN special of a free phone call so we can figure this out together. I'm not going to sell you on anything, so don't worry about that. If you're interested email samuel at thelittleyes.com

You can learn more about what I do here: http://www.thelittleyes.com

brucehart 1 day ago 0 replies      
I currently live near Dayton and grew up near Pittsburgh. If you don't have ties to either city, I would take job with better benefits and manager in Pittsburgh. Both are nice cities with a surprising number of tech jobs. Housing is a little cheaper in Dayton but not dramatically different. If family doesn't factor into your consideration then there are more lifestyle options and things to do in Pittsburgh.
trcollinson 2 days ago 0 replies      
I would personally pick Pittsburgh, because I lived there at one time. Lovely city, so much to offer, and they are REALLY upping their business game. If it were me, this would be a no brainer.
MalcolmDiggs 2 days ago 0 replies      
Personally I'd go with Pittsburgh.

But, it should be noted: If you have two similar offers, you're in a good position to make a counter-offer to either one and get more money out of the deal. If Ohio is willing to raise the salary to dwarf the other offer, maybe it's worth going with them. If you're considering telling them "thanks, but no thanks", then you might as well send a counter-offer instead. You really have nothing to lose.

JSeymourATL 2 days ago 0 replies      
> client interaction good chemistry with hiring manager

Social currency wins. The friends and contacts you make will create higher visibility and more opportunities as your career progresses.

debacle 1 day ago 1 reply      
I really like Pittsburgh, and I really dislike Dayton, FWIW.

What's your five year goal? Are you looking to start a family? Looking to get experience? Looking to just have a nice life?

a_lifters_life 1 day ago 0 replies      
Just by the way you explained it, it appears you like pittsburgh better. Plus, you mention "good chemistry with mgr" - that is HUGE. good luck!
pavornyoh 1 day ago 0 replies      
Go with Pittsburgh. The good chemistry with the hiring manager is very important here.
percept 1 day ago 0 replies      
Do you have a connection to one city or the other (living in one now, family, etc.)?
whatnotests 2 days ago 0 replies      
PA all the way. There's nothing in Dayton. Also easier to find other gigs, like-minds and leisure activities in PA.
Ask HN: Dealing with a Toxic Co-Worker
42 points by NoIInTeam  3 days ago   51 comments top 41
vcool07 2 days ago 1 reply      
well, this is what helped when I faced a similar siutation :1. I took the guy who offended me to an informal cup of coffee and discussed about the situation. 2. Instead of confronting him, I explained my perspective and sought out his guidance to help me out.

It did help me in two ways :1. The other person realized that I'm another human being just like him and not some "ideal code cranking robot" that he expected me to be ! He even apologized at some point for any offense he would have caused, explained his reasons and assured me that it was not personal.2. I realized that he was under similar stress for meeting his own challenges / expectations laid out to him by his superiors. So, helped me feel better about myself , that the situation was caused mostly due to his inability to communicate rather than any fault from my end !

greenyoda 3 days ago 0 replies      
I don't think going to HR is the right approach. HR works for management, and they're much more likely to side with your manager (who likes toxic-guy) than you. Also, it doesn't sound like toxic-guy's behavior breaks any laws, so HR might prefer to ignore him since he poses no legal threat to the company. They could just throw the problem back at you and tell you to work it out between yourselves. Or you could end up getting branded as a "troublemaker".

Similarly, your manager's boss is much more likely to side with your manager than with you. And complaining to your own manager may backfire if he values toxic-guy more than you (which seems to be the case).

So I'd suggest that if it really bothers you, start looking for a new job. Otherwise, ignore it. If your manager is already talking to him about his behavior, he might eventually improve his attitude.

For more on HR's role in a company, you might want to read this book (which I read after it was recommended a while back by someone else on HN):

Corporate Confidential: 50 Secrets Your Company Doesn't Want You to Know---and What to Do About Them

By Cynthia Shapiro


kabdib 2 days ago 0 replies      
Don't go to HR. Don't go to HR. Don't go to HR.

HR is not there for you. HR is there for the company. Expect the worst if you go to HR and ask for any help. Doing this will immediately politicize the situation, making you the "bad guy" and you'll be on the defensive trying to save your job so fast your head will be spinning.

This has been true at every company I have worked at. HR might be a fine ombudsman at your company, but this would be an exception that I have never seen.

paulojreis 2 days ago 0 replies      
Shouldn't you try to invite him for a beer and talk about it?

Also, be careful when stamping the "toxic" label. I'm not saying you're wrong in your judgement, but maybe you just don't know what's happening with his personal life. I have a fellow colleague which I always considered at least "cranky" since I joined my current company (half a year ago). Last week we traveled to work abroad and had some free time to talk over beers - he confided me that his mother was and still is very sick. Tough stuff, which reminded me clearly how frivolous we all can be when making judgements.

moomin 2 days ago 1 reply      
4), and here's why: the manager is already aware of this behaviour and hasn't acted on it. In other words, you're dealing with a toxic _culture_, not a toxic co-worker.

By all means do 5 while you execute on 4, but you're in no position to change the culture of the firm. Go and find a better one. (Context: I've done exactly this.)

Ellahn 2 days ago 1 reply      
He needs to feel superior. He is confrontational to prove himself, he needs to "win" to feel he is better than everyone and validate himself.

If you call hiss bullshit he'll probably go into denial (sooner or later). He can also become depressive, or even more aggressive. Those are defense mechanisms. They are triggered in confrontational situations, the "fight or flight" instinct. Men usually fight, women usually flight. Best option is for him to actually feel good about himself, as people "at the top" do not belittle the little people, as it would mean they feel threatened (and, as such, are afraid, meaning they're not as strong as the other).

Best way imho is to be friendly to him, and when he belittles someone, instead of confronting him, you approach tangentially, making him feel he would be even "more superior" if he helped. This way he will be validated by his experience and by his understanding.

For example, "man, you don't need to go that far. I mean, you've [been doing this for a long time]/[studied a lot]/[put a lot of effort], you must have made some mistakes too. And you're [one of the best]/[probably the best]/[an awesome] developer. If you could give us some tips sometimes, II bet we'd become an even greater team. :D"

And obviously, whenever you can, praise stuff his done well and ask for opinions. Can be on conceptual stuff or whatever, just help him feel "validated" for his good points and he will naturally shift to a less confrontative behavior, plus he will focus on the stuff that got people to like him.

He should do therapy btw, but suggesting this will probably make things worse. If nobody can make this work, all the good devs will end up leaving, and the company will be left with people that have no other options... Not a good place to work at, unfortunately.

citrusx 3 days ago 1 reply      
My advice, to take with appropriate salt: Leave.

It's a seller's market for people with your skills right now. There's no guarantee that you'll find a new environment that doesn't have one of these cancer-in-the-locker-room culture killers, but they're not quite as common as you're fearing.

It's not just this one employee that's the problem, it's that the bad apple, the manager, and the manager's manager are all knitted together into a situation that you can't break, which is making you "miserable". You may not like the idea of leaving. But, given the information you've provided, it is your best option. (Or, maybe your least-worst option.)

MichaelGG 2 days ago 0 replies      
If you decide to report to anyone, is it a bad idea to keep a log of what he says? Not necessarily audio (depending on jurisdiction), but keep a journal? Then you can point out what insults were levered against which people on which dates. It would make your complaint much harder to dismiss.

And it would be pretty bad if said report was leaked to other employees. People might put up with this stuff one by one, but hearing the insults about themselves suddenly changes things. Though again, this might be a horrible idea.

sinneduy 2 days ago 0 replies      
At my current workplace, this also wouldn't fly. Its just not worth it in the long run, especially when your company is small (from a managerial perspective)

That being said, obviously your manager doesn't share this ethos. In the future, this is something you might want to filter for.

If I were you, I would make preparations for the worst and escalate. You don't want to leave, but you need to be willing to and prepared to do so. If you do escalate though, go to your manager. He's clearly aware of it, and ultimately its politically a mistake to go to either HR or your manager's manager, since it'll hurt your relations with your direct manager.

Doing nothing isn't an option in the long term if nothing changes. There's no real point in considering it.

wisty 2 days ago 1 reply      
Is it possible they actually need a guy like this, because there really are an unmanageable number of cock-ups? If so, it might be a symptom of deeper organizational problems. They're hiring a head-kicker and a fire-fighter.

So you can leave (because you don't really want to work in an organization that needs that kind of intervention).

Or you can speak to the co-worker, and try to come up with strategies for fixing shit. It doesn't sound like he's just angry (otherwise management wouldn't have his back), it sounds like he's angry at actual problem. Try to get him focused on the problems that can be fixed (see the Joel test?), not ones that can't (people issues).

Try to get him to focus on the process, not the people.

Or just leave. It's possible he's just an asshole.

onion2k 2 days ago 0 replies      
They constantly belittle other employees, usually to a coworker after they have left their office, when this employee dislikes work they have done. Anytime someone screws up in the organization that person is an idiot or worse. For someone who is supposed to be a technical leader, they set a poor example for other developers to follow.

Question what this person is saying. Stand up for your coworkers if you think they've done good work and the comments are unreasonable. If your coworker is wrong then he won't able to defend his position, and he'll look ridiculous. If he's right that the work is poor then he'll look stupid for complaining when the developer in question isn't there.

Just make sure there are plenty of other people around, particularly your boss.

kathishah 2 days ago 0 replies      
How about just talk to this person directly? It may be more effective to have the conversation about the actions and not the person.

At my current workplace, this kind of "brilliant ahole" is shown the door asap but most workplace cultures encourage (passively or actively) this behavior.

meerita 2 days ago 0 replies      
I experienced the same in my company.

How I solved it:

1. Confrontation.2. Talking to managers and tell them I would leave.3. Giving him the attention and greet him when he wanted to do something good.4. Hear his opinion.5. Remind him my role when power argument arise.6. Indifference and segregation also worked well. The company started to avoid him.

If none of these calm him, then I would simply leave. Theres no need to gift life and sanity for a jerk.

trcollinson 3 days ago 0 replies      
I assume by your post that you are one of the people who thus coworker is speaking badly of. Either that or you are a person who this coworker is speaking to about others. In either case, it can be uncomfortable.

Have you thought about talking to your coworker directly? I know this may sound rough right now and I don't suggest being confrontational. Maybe just ask him out to lunch with you. Build a relationship. It's hard to be mean to a friend... You could become his friend. I had a similar situation recently with a coworker. At a company lunch I noticed this particular coworker was not invited to sit with anyone. I invited him over. We chatted about non-work things. Our relationship did improve. He's still overbearing and mean, but less so. Our relationship has improved.

Also, are his evaluations actually incorrect? Sometimes people are mean and honest at the same time. Are the people he is speaking badly about actually completing work poorly? Is he having to pick up their slack? Does he have to work late or harder because of them? He is purely venting his honest frustration?

sheepmullet 1 day ago 0 replies      
Perhaps it's the situation rather than the person?

Ive worked in high pressure environments before and a little bit of venting is incredibly tame.

From the sounds of it whenever there is a crises he is the one expected to take care of it.

The easiest way to fix it is to take on a chunk of the responsibility yourself. At the very least it will give you a better understanding of the pressure he is under.

If I have to work through the weekend fixing critical problems caused by careless coworkers then I'll probably have a whinge. If you make me miss out on spending time with my wife and kids.... Of course I'll be a bit frustrated with you.

ruraljuror 2 days ago 0 replies      
Your coworker's behavior is extreme, but your response shouldn't be. It is not your job to manage your coworker's interactions with others, and your manager already seems aware of the situation. Instead you have a responsibility to yourself as well as your team. You should empower yourself to act on your beliefs. It's telling that none of your five options include speaking to your coworker or trying to enact any change yourself.

If, for example, your coworker begins to belittle someone else once they leave the room, you could say something like: "I don't think that null-reference exception makes them an idiot, but that's why we have code review," or "...perhaps we should have code review," or "...perhaps you could show them how you have handled a similar problem in your code, so we could learn from it."

When you interact with your coworker, use professionalism as a tool: keep the topic relevant to business and remain as unemotional as possible. If you start to become emotional or if your coworker becomes emotional slow down what you are saying to give yourself time. You can also repeat what he or she is saying, in order to confirm or mirror it.

If you keep it professional no one is going to blame you. Obviously you can get away with much worse, but you need to indicate to this person that it's not ok to talk that way around you. If you're feeling that way and your manager is feeling that way, then other people probably are. If you act professionally, you will give your coworker a dignified way of changing their behavior. Everyone, especially management, will want to avoid drama; but that doesn't mean you should let this person do whatever he or she wants. Right now you're enabling that behavior.

Finally, you should think very carefully about leaving your job because of one other person. That is a major life decision you are making, all because of one jackass. What are you going to do at the next job if you don't like someone? I would try to at least exert some influence yourself before changing your entire work life.

huangc10 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've had a similar experience with a fellow co-worker. In fact, my manager also saw this as an issue but the toxic co-worker was too important to the team. I suffered through it for a year and ultimately left in the end (although for different reasons). I guess what I'm trying to say is, having a toxic co-worker isn't the end of the world. Keep on learning and do your job. If at the point you find yourself not learning as much and not enjoying your job (and your co-worker is still toxic), it means it's time to move on. By that time you'll have learned how to deal with and thrive around a co-worker who is "toxic". Live, learn, adapt.
saluki 2 days ago 0 replies      
1. no, he likes this guy2. no, your mgr will be upset going over his head3. definitely not, you'll be the bad guy4. no, stick it out5. yes, try to expect this behavior out of him maybe it won't bother you so much, not the best team player but sounds like he can't change even when counseled by your mgr. Maybe try to take more of a lead congratulating other team members when things go well and helping them learn from mistakes when things do not. Maybe he'll see this and follow your leadership.
mikekchar 2 days ago 1 reply      
To sum up the situation, you have a co-worker that you can't work well with because of their behaviour. Your manager is aware of the situation and tried, but failed to get the co-worker to change their behaviour.

To make life easy for you, I'll lay out your options:

- Go to your manager with a plan for improving the co-worker's behaviour. Any other conversation about it will be pointless because the manager has shown that they are unable to fix the problem without help.

- Go to your co-worker and find a way to convince them to change their behaviour. Remember that the manager has already tried and failed at this. You will have to try an approach other than saying "I would really like you to change your behaviour".

- Engineer the termination of employment of the co-worker by means fair or foul. (Note that going above your direct manager or to HR is essentially an attempt in this direction).

- Find a way to be happy in your work, despite your co-worker's behaviour.

- Engineer your own termination of employment.

I think only one of these approaches is easy and none are without risk. If you are willing and able to help your co-worker, this is likely to have the best possible outcome. The chances for success, though, are vanishingly small.

Improving the quality of the team by engineering other people's termination is something that is not so difficult if you know how to do it, but it rather paints a big arrow at your head with the caption "I am evil". Whether you want to go down this route is entirely up to you. It often makes your team happy at the expense of the person you are targeting.

Finding a way to be happy despite the poor behaviour of your colleagues is a very nice outcome for yourself, personally, but it doesn't do much to help others who share your situation. Still, if you wait long enough, the co-worker in questions may gather enough rope to hang themselves.

Finally, you can leave. Knowing when you have had enough is a wonderful wisdom to have. There are risks, as you have said and nobody can evaluate them for you.

It's not a good situation to be in. It's not entirely uncommon, though, given the short period of time people tend to stay in groups in this field, you are likely to encounter the situation again sometime in the future. Building your own skills so that you can help people who suffer from being assholes is something that can be quite valuable (and even marketable). Alas, I have never learned the knack myself.

Bahamut 2 days ago 0 replies      
Personally, I would escalate, and be ready to leave - this situation is clearly grating on you, and there may be no positive resolution, so it may not be worth fighting here.

On the other end of options, you could grit your teeth and tolerate this further if you don't feel like it's a battle you want to fight.

It's about what you feel is best for you/what you are willing to tolerate. I personally would prepare to leave, as taking verbal abuse often with co-workers is not the type of work environment I want to be in, but that is me.

simmers 2 days ago 0 replies      
I recently left a company where the CTO was exactly this kind of personality. He's actually an awful programmer but he complains so much about other people's code that management sees him as the authoritative figure. Despite his behavior directly causing a high turnover rate for engineering, the founders have still kept him around because they're brainwashed into his elitist point of view. When you're in a situation like that, you're better off jumping ship. Nothing will improve...
kennytilton 2 days ago 0 replies      
I do not see where you have a problem. You do not mention him accosting you, all you describe is having to listen to him rag on others. Perhaps the problem is you being too tuned into his unpleasantness. In which case moving on will not help, because us capable geek jerks are everywhere.

Remember, he is not your partner or your friend, he is just there. You do not have to let him under your skin. Turn down the gain on your butthead antenna. Visualize a force field around you off which his assininity just bounces. That is how most people (including my best friends) deal with me: they just do not listen to me.

This is an incredible growth opportunity for you. Seize it! You will tolerate us idiots more effectively for the rest of your life.

zhte415 3 days ago 0 replies      
I wrote a whole load about my own experiences, but deleted it, because it could be bad advice.

I say that because I don't know your organisational structure and culture. I've done all you've written above, and sometimes it went well, other times not so well. 5 in particular.

Something I recommend for everyone to do is find someone to be a mentor. I have a couple, one a former boss I stay in contact with, the other someone that just took a liking to me. I'm sure I'd have more had I been aware of the power of simply making an effort to stay in contact. For you it could be someone that goes to the same gym, restaurant, or any common connection to bond over. Cultivate that relationship, but don't make it seem like sucking up, because it shouldn't be. No mentor likes sucking up, but they all like being able to share some wisdom and like seeing the results.

tallanvor 2 days ago 0 replies      
As someone who is often perceived to be too negative or worse (although I've improved a lot over the years), I can tell you that in terms of the options you're considering, the best solution is different, but does involve #1.

First, recognize that not everyone thinks the same, or has the same style. Consider that just like his attitude upsets you, your (or your coworkers) attitudes may be upsetting him. This is key to coming up with a solution that works for everyone.

Second, understand that this is probably more venting than anything. The guy is getting frustrated and knows he can't (and shouldn't) take it out on people he sees as having messed up. This doesn't make it right, but consider that the guy is trying not to be toxic.

Third, the guy needs regular feedback about this. --You mention that when your manager talks to him, things improve for a time. This ties into my second point, that the guy is actually trying. You may or may not be in a position where he'll listen to you. I'd recommend trying to talk to him about this directly. When you do this, don't beat around the bush. --Tell him that you know he's good at what he does, but that the constant complaining about coworkers makes it hard for you and others to work with him. I really recommend that you do this. Or if not you, the coworker who he seems to have the most respect for - it'll often mean more coming from a coworker than a manager.

Fourth, ask your manager to follow up regularly. --He needs to help keep reinforcing the attitude change so that the guy doesn't fall back into old habits.

Finally, consider offering the guy a chance to vent over lunch once a week or so away from the office. --This helps give him a chance to get things off his chest, but to do it somewhere that it doesn't hurt others. And it might give you a chance to give him some insights of your own about the people he complains about.

This guy may never be your ideal coworker, but you can probably help find the middle ground that makes things better for everyone.

sailking 3 days ago 0 replies      
Honestly, I would say something to your manager. I would try and step away and not get personal about it, refer along the lines of "the attitude is deamining to other developers" and "can harm retention and acquisition of new talent".

I was recently in a similar situation where anyone disagreeing with the "golden boy" was chided by him. He's just another bully, generally when you stand up they leave you alone.

I had a word with my bosses boss and my boss at the same time, said basically I have thick skin, but at the end of the day his behaviour is pissing me off, something needs to be done because if a Jr was being "coached" they would likely freak out due to the condescending manner.

Good luck!

aikah 2 days ago 0 replies      
option 4 or 5 .

If it is a big corp ask to be transferred to another position for instance. There is nothing you can do about assholes, other than avoid them, especially if they are fully supported by the hierarchy.

DavideNL 2 days ago 0 replies      
It might be a good idea to regularly confront him with the things he says about other employees (in a subtle way), in front of those other employees, and thereby creating an uncomfortable situation that he has to handle.

By doing so other employees will then become to know what you already know, and some solution is more likely to arise.

In any case, before this thing starts impacting your mood outside of work, definitely leave the company.(i have been in the exact same situation and regret not leaving that company much earlier.)

weddpros 2 days ago 0 replies      
In my opinion, don't involve a tier. You can't report a problem that has no solution: it's nobody's job to change the toxic co-worker.

Go talk to him, tell him how he makes you feel (not "you do this, you do that", but "I feel like shit when you say X"). And ask him to be kind/patient to less experienced devs.

Make him feel important by requesting his mentorship instead of acid complaints.

Tell him he can help empower others instead of belittling them.

Talking to a manager will only make things worse.

alphaBet123 2 days ago 0 replies      
How big is your organization? Is it possible for you to switch teams to get away from this guy and is that something you'd be interested in doing?
MalcolmDiggs 3 days ago 0 replies      
That depends: How are their actions affecting you personally? Besides observing their (bad) behavior, how is your work day affected? I think teasing out these effects might lead you to a solution. And conversely: filing a complaint about an issue that doesn't directly affect you might come off poorly to HR.
molyss 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've been in this situation where I was the "jerk".

I've only changed when I pushed for a promotion and another manager blocked it based on my behavior. When I asked people who I knew could have influenced my promotion to not happen, she just said "I blocked it because despite being by far the strongest technically, your behavior negates most, if not all, the value you can add to the team." The next week, she was going to my manager telling him he _has_ to promote me.

She's probably one of the person who had the best impact on my career so far (I was 31, so my career was closer to the beginning than to its end.

Another person that was extremely helpful in the same period of time was a coworker who joined as a tech lead 2 years before my promotion got rejected. His title was above mine even though I was technically stronger than him. He had no problem acknowledging it but also that his people skills were putting mine to shame. We had the most honest discussions about both skill-sets and while we were brutal with each other more often than not we became very good friend. I'm a bit frustrated by the fact that I don't think he got as much out of our relationship than I did, but I think it was more coming from his own shame than from my behavior.

A third was a person out of work that had been classified as "gifted" as a kid. He used to introduce me as a "genius" to people around me. I hated that but it got me thinking.

Anyway, coming from the other side, there were a couple of things driving my judgement :

- I thought I was normal and that anyone not performing to my level was just stupid. And that was making me angry towards others. The third person made me realize that maybe I wasn't normal (sorry if that sounds very pretentious), which means others are not stupid. They're actually quite smart, just not the same way I am. And my responsibility is to help them gain the insight I have, granted they want to.

- I didn't feel recognized enough. The 1st person made it brutally obvious that people saw what I could do and the only reason why they couldn't let me know what they saw was because I didn't let them. I was trying to prove myself all the time through the wrong behaviors, which just became an infinite loop of mutual deception.

- I felt lonely and frustrated. The 2nd person made me aware of my own shortcomings and also offered me both a mentor and a mentee with which I could share insight, transfer knowledge and ask questions, expecting nothing but the cold harsh truth.

If this colleague is the only thing that would drive your change of job, I would take that as a last resort option. You should not have to leave a job you are happy/content about because of a single person, so I'll take 4 out of the equation.

As said by other comments, going to HR is a waste of time. Nothing to gain there IMO. It's a human relationship issue that won't be solved by someone you've never seen around and that basically considers all of you as a liability. (Not all of HR is like that, but that's a big part of their job)

I think going to your manager is not a bad idea. if you come to him with a "I feel like" rather than a "it's his fault" approach, it should at least get him thinking. "I feel like XX is unapproachable/angry at others/aggressive all the time and I'm not sure howto approach him and make him an ally and learn from him". It's his job to advise you, to ask around and to advise this person if the feeling you have is shared by your other colleagues. If he breaks confidentiality and that backfires on you, I'd suggest changing managers. You cannot trust him with your career.

Go above your manager only if you are closer to your n+2 than to your manager. There's only so much he will be able to do without engaging your manager in the loop.

Try "confronting" him. Not so much in an aggressive way, but by using your soft skills. Praise him a bit for the things he really is better at you than you are. Learn from him. Don't hesitate to ask him for his opinion/advice/how he got there. And if you can build a connection, tell him about his own shortcomings in the areas where you are better than him. If there's no such area, use him to learn where he's better at than you are. You might be able to learn what he seems to know without having to put all the effort he put in it rather than his social skills. He will probably sound like an insufferable jerk from time to time, but what you'll get out of him might be worth thousand times the 30 minutes of jerkiness and self satisfaction you had to suffer through.

Good luck. I still feel bad about my past behavior but I've grown so much since then that I can only be thankful to all the people who had to suffered through this coming from me.

trumbitta2 2 days ago 0 replies      
I had a similar experience.

Turned out the offending co-worker just favored bluntness over politeness and was more than happy to discover I was able to discuss with him over concepts and not over how those concepts he expressed.

The two of us never had a problem since.

orionblastar 3 days ago 0 replies      
I had a programming job that had a toxic environment. I could not leave because I had a house and family. It was during the Dotcom busts so finding a job was difficult to impossible. I worked for a law firm that didn't value their IT workers. While I wrote programs that saved them millions of dollars a year by eliminating waste and missing court dockets was eliminated by writing a docket calendar, they would only go by how much money we earned and how long it took to get projects done.

A lot of the programmers rushed their code so it was sloppy and crashed the system and take down the database. I had to fix those programs and also work on my own programs. I got assigned Legacy Software Support and anything that broke became Legacy Software and assigned to me. I had over 134 projects to work on and had tight deadlines.

I ended up stressed out and on short-term disability, and when I returned to work and had a panic attack I was fired for not snapping out of it. I ended up on disability.

My best advice for you is to learn how to manage stress, no matter where you work there will always be a toxic element to it. The better a programmer the bigger the ego they have in some cases. Sure it is hard to get along with a jerk that management likes and is fire-proof. But if you can change your reactions and manage your stress better you can deal with it better. Don't make the mistake I did and let it get to you to the point that you make yourself sick.

pjc50 2 days ago 0 replies      
(Is this Linus Torvalds we're talking about?)

The first step should be a private conversation using the "when you do X I feel Y" template. They may not realise the effect they are having.

debacle 2 days ago 0 replies      
I was in an environment like this once. I just left. You really can't fix a problem like this if he's a management darling unless you want to go the HR route.
DanielBMarkham 2 days ago 0 replies      
Over many different work experiences, all over the place, my simple rule is this: if I am thinking about whether or not I should leave? I should leave.

That doesn't always mean that I leave -- only that by the time I'm asking the questions you're asking, it's always been too late. It was time to go a while back and I just didn't want to admit it.

Good luck! I doubt there's some magic sauce or fairy sprinkle dust that will turn a jackass into a flower, but perhaps your experience will be different from mine.

leppie 2 days ago 1 reply      
6. Tell the coworker to vent on Twitter. Works wonders for me. It is like shouting at /dev/null :)
ed_blackburn 2 days ago 1 reply      
Talk to,the guy in private.
calibraxis 2 days ago 0 replies      
Some info missing:

- Does your team lack the ability to healthily self-critique, with the goal of improvement?

- Are your coworker's criticisms usually right?

- Do they dominate discussions so others can't get a word in edgewise, or are they an active listener?

- What do other coworkers do/think about your coworker?

If you can get a healthy process in place to self-critique, with action points... and where everyone has the ability to speak (with a facilitator who tries to understand why some people aren't speaking), that's a possible solution. That provides a constructive vent for your coworker's critiques.

This book is the best I know at discussing team dysfunction: http://model-view-culture.myshopify.com/products/your-startu...

badpenny 2 days ago 0 replies      
6. Kick his ass.
hwstar 2 days ago 0 replies      
You should always consider yourself as a possible cause of the problem, but I don't see how you can say that without any detailed information.
Ask HN: Good books / resources about the history of computing and comp sci?
6 points by adpirz  2 days ago   3 comments top 3
brudgers 1 day ago 0 replies      
Knuth covers a fair amount of history with references in Art of Computer Programming.
BWStearns 1 day ago 0 replies      
Turnings cathedral is a pretty great look at the early development of computers and the Internet and the Princeton/Los alamos groups involved. Also really well written.
Ask HN: It's 2015 and I still can't program
8 points by shire  3 days ago   19 comments top 15
hitsurume 2 days ago 1 reply      
OP, I know you've been asking these types of questions for a long time, but there is no magic way to learning development and getting a job right after. From your past posts it sounds like you've went through the school route and can't even complete your courses. There is no quick and easy way to become a developer, it takes hundreds of hours working at it and even then not everyone gets it.

Thankfully the internet is full of resources on how to get started without asking Hacker News every few months. Many people are self taught and have done it without asking for help, usually they just learn to figure out the answers for themselves.

Lastly, if you really are serious, you might just want to look into coding bootcamps that have sprung up all over the place. And please don't give me that crap about not having money, many bootcamps provide financial assistance and if anything, you can take out a loan, which if this is what you really want to do, will be well worth it when you succeed.

apryldelancey 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I agree that coding bootcamps are a great source. Most of them are incredibly supportive and have instructors, mentors and TAs that are generous with their time. I've seen a few also have free meetup groups that are open to all, not just students, to learn a quick project in a couple of hours.

Also, to echo @hitsurume the coding bootcamps do have easy ways to pay, most have flexible payment plans. @saluki has a great point as well to start with HTML and CSS. I agree.

Other than that, what works for me is practice, practice, practice. I practice in the programming language and actually writing out code with pencil and paper.

atmosx 1 day ago 1 reply      
At some point in time, there was this guy called 'Euclid'. He was a mathematician, of sorts. So he wrote a book called "Elements". Pretty famous book. There were tons of Geometry. The kind of Geometry you could build temples for kings, find the shortest road or just show-off your math skills by proving that prime numbers are infinite(!).

Since the book was so famous and deemed important, the Farao tried to read the book. But it was a difficult book. He had to go back and forth more than twice. He was struggling to understand the first chapters. Eveything was so complicaed and soon he got bored to death. So being a Farao (a God among humans) summoned Euclid and asked if there was a shorter path to learning geometry than reading the book. Euclid turned to the royalty and replied: "There is no royal road to geometry."

So, that's the problem: There's no royal road to programming. You have to put the in the hours and patience. If you're really going to do this, stop pressing your self to learn fast. Just choose a language, buy an introductory book and jump in.

T-A 3 days ago 1 reply      
I can tell you what works for me (and others, I hear): pick a project. Decide what are you going to create; a site or program which does X. Write it down, in detail.

Then do it.

Of course, you don't know how to do it. That's the point. Your project goal will guide you to learn the things you need to know in order to accomplish it.

When you succeed, pat yourself on the back, then pick a new, harder goal and repeat.

veddox 2 days ago 0 replies      
Find a book. Seriously. I find books a lot better than the Internet when reading a new language. For one thing, reading on paper is a lot more relaxing than on-screen, secondly, studies indicate that we actually do remember more that way. Find a good book (the Head First series is a great place to start) and get reading. Do the examples and exercises. If you find something that sparks your imagination, give it a shot as a first project. Stay simple, the 3D multiplayer shooter game can wait. If you don't understand a section, read it again. And again. Skim through the whole book, then read in more detail.

Yes, it will take time. You are learning a new language and a whole new way of thinking. Don't think it will be easy. Don't expect to be able to get a job programming after a month's practice. (Peter Norvig wrote a great article on that: http://norvig.com/21-days.html.) But keep at it. Practise, read, practise, read more. Start reading open source code. Increase the complexity of your projects - make sure every project contains something new, but avoid projects that are way too advanced. Eventually you'll get capable enough that somebody might even consider hiring you.

Be committed to making it work, but most importantly: don't forget to have fun along the way :-)

saluki 2 days ago 0 replies      
Start with HTML and CSS.

Run MAMP or WAMP locally with Sublime Text . . . learn basic html/css

This book is great for getting your feet wet.http://headfirstlabs.com/books/hfhtml/

Once you make it through that one move on to PHP/MySQLhttp://www.headfirstlabs.com/books/hfphp/

Once you have those two completed you'll be ready to create a simple app, maybe a to do list or tracking something you collect.

After a few simple applications, even doing the login/authentication you'll be ready to move to a framework.

I'd recommend Laravel or Rails (laracasts.com/railscasts.com) are great resources. But don't skip laying the framework with the books above.

TeamTreehouse.com is a great resource too, but I think the books are better to get you started.

Good luck.

brudgers 2 days ago 0 replies      
Edx and Coursera have a variety of software development courses. Classes that run on a schedule offer the benefits of a cohort of peers versus being on your own with a resource like CodeAcademy. Edx's Engineering Software as a Service is beginning now. Edx's Systematic Programming Design series uses Racket and is a sound introductory course.

Another approach is via printed books. I am a big fan of O'Rielly's Head First series. In particular, Head First Java not because Java is the wind beneath my wings but because Kathy Sierra is an excellent author and the series is based to some extent on her work.

Good luck.

France98 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've found the tutorials on Lynda.com to be very engaging. The videos are very thorough, and it's definitely worthwhile coding/making notes as you watch the video. I started with James Williamson's Essential HTML Training, then moved on to Simon Allardice's Essential Javascript. Once you have the basics, try and come up with a little side project of your own and just go for it. If you get stuck, there's lots of help available on places like StackOverflow.
mrits 1 day ago 0 replies      
I certainly wouldn't try to build a website like some of these suggestions.

Build a text adventure game. It shouldn't take more than a few days and you can actually say you finished the project.

NumberCruncher 2 days ago 0 replies      
You ask the same question here since years. Maybe web development is not the right thing for you...
mliq 3 days ago 0 replies      
I have found teamtreehouse.com and codeschool.com both more engaging than codeacademy, but it can be tough to stay focused unless you really want to build a particular thing, or, you have a group / class that you are working with to keep you focused and motivated.
kelukelugames 3 days ago 0 replies      

Also try to find a local support group and/or a mentor.

shire 3 days ago 1 reply      
I just wish I had something that goes through me every step of the way to landing a job as a Web developer
dwhitworth1 1 day ago 0 replies      
I started learning to code in mid-2013 (I knew some HTML, but no real programming language at the time). I have been a professional web developer since mid-2014. While learning, I was working full time and have a wife and young daughter. It takes a lot of perseverance more than anything. If you have gotten bored with CodeAcademy, you should try other resources and find a track that suits your learning style. This is kind of cut-and-pasted from a previous comment I made to another poster, but this is the track I took:

1. Code Academy - Finish completely the HTML, CSS, JavaScript, jQuery and Ruby tracks. I like Ruby because there is an incredible support structure (both online and in person) for those new to programming.2. Read (and do the exercises in) Chris Pine's "Learn to Program"3. Read (and do the exercises in) Command Line Crash Course (easily found via Google Search)4. Read (and do the exercises in) Learn Ruby The Hard Way5. Go through most, but not necessarily all of the courses on RubyMonk.org6. Do all of the exercises from Test First Ruby (testfirst.org/learn_ruby)7. Do a lot (but not necessarily all) of the HTML, CSS, JavaScript, jQuery (and jQuery AJAX), SQL, and Ruby courses on Team Treehouse. If you're interested in design, go through those courses as well.8. Do a lot (but not necessarily all) of the JavaScript, jQuery and Ruby courses on CodeSchool.com9. Learn about version control through Git and Github (there are many online tutorials, as well as on CodeSchool and Team Treehouse)10. Read (and do the exercises in) The Rails Tutorial (www.railstutorial.org). Do every single thing in this book step by step. Then do the entire book again. Then do it again.11. Build stuff using the knowledge you have gained. Use Google and Stack Overflow to help you when you get stuck.12. Attend as many local meetups as you can find that are in the topics you are studying.... you'll find lots of nice people willing to help. There are even learning meetups for specific languages and frameworks.13. Attend a 10-12 week bootcamp. Research the hell out of them before you decide to go to one. Chances are if the interview to get into them is easy, the bootcamp will probably not provide you with enough ammunition to get a real job afterwards. Most of them that are worth anything will have probably wanted you to have a lot of the knowledge that I've described above before attending.

That was enough (barely) for me to get a job as an entry-level developer. I'm kind of doing it backwards, but I've also gone back to Uni part-time to get my degree in CS. I've now finished courses in C, Java and some semi-advanced mathematics.

After almost a year and a half as a developer, I know 10x as much as I did last year, and I still don't know squat :) I think that's a big part of the reason I love it.

Mz 2 days ago 0 replies      
Your mind may work differently from the sort of mindset that codeacademy works for. You may have a learning disability or just a different learning style.

It might be worthwhile to get checked out for a possible learning disability. If you have one, once it is identified, you can look for resources on how best to accommodate it. Specific disabilities respond well to specific approaches.

You can also look into learning styles. Your mind can just work differently from the norm without it being a disability per se, but it will impact how you best take in information.

You might try going to Hacker Events or networking or looking for a tutor. Sometimes, someone can explain something in person more effectively than any book. Or you might try going to the library and trying different books to see if different approaches work better for you, etc.

Try things you haven't tried yet, things that are different in some way from what you have been trying.

Ask HN: IDE Right Screen == Better Problem Solving Skills?
5 points by glynjackson  1 day ago   10 comments top 7
insoluble 1 day ago 2 replies      
Aside from habit alone, such as how scrollbars are customarily at the right, this phenomenon may result from psychological or even neurological factors.

Psychologically, the side of your dominant hand is where you prefer to keep things you see as dangerous or more difficult to control. This is why a male and female couple usually walk with the male at the right. The male's job is to protect the couple from outside intruders, for which the male needs his good hand free and facing the outside world. The male's left hand is on the more trustworthy, less dangerous side -- by his female partner.

Neurologically, the left visual field (left of the visual fixation point) is processed directly by the right cerebral hemisphere, and vice versa. In normal mammals, the two hemispheres share data efficiently. For some individuals (particularly "split-brain patients"), this sharing may be more or less interrupted, in which case it would be better to keep the logical information in the right visual field so that the left cerebral hemisphere can process the data effectively. After all, the left cerebral hemisphere is made to process serialised data, such as source code.

brudgers 1 day ago 0 replies      
If there is a difference, I'd suspect it to be the result from a combination of environmental, ergonomic, and physical factors. The subjective experience could be shaped by slight differences between monitors; directional glare, acoustic comb filters and air drafts; habits related to posture, ocular dominance, or physical ailment; or a preference for interacting with the IDE via mouse or keyboard. Which is to say, that a good first working hypothesis is that the phenomenon is limited to "this place, this work, this time, this equipment" rather than generalizing to an intrinsic property of the person.

My advice: keep working with the IDE on the right so long as it makes you happy.

Good luck.

hanniabu 1 day ago 0 replies      
I always assumed that your dominant side is the side you should keep the screen of focus on. I'm a righty and always have my editor on the right screen, even when I'm doing a lot of research. Then again, my right screen is nearly right in front of me with the left screen offset and angled just next to it ~my 11 o'clock.
shoo 1 day ago 0 replies      
some of my most productive times have been away from the computer -- thinking very hard how to do things. perhaps walking around the block, or staring at the wall, or standing in front of a whiteboard.

personally, i used to have a pretty nice setup with one screen and a tiling window manager. with one screen you don't have to move your head at all, just use the keyboard to flicker between desktops. perhaps this works better with plain terminals / terminal editors, where you don't lose any screen real estate (in comparison, using e.g. visual studio is pretty nice, but on a small monitor it is sort of like looking at a text file through a porthole)

sjs382 1 day ago 0 replies      
Running an iMac (23") with a second display (23"). Second display is on my right, and there's a wall on my right, too. Keyboard is positioned directly in front of the iMac (left) and the 2nd display is slightly tilted toward me.

My usual setup is:

Browser on right. Mail and IM in a different desktop also on the right.

Sublime, iTerm, SourceTree and other dev tools on the left.

wvenable 1 day ago 0 replies      
My IDE's are always on the left and my other materials on the right. But I haven't felt very productive since I got my new 24" dual monitor setup. Perhaps I should move my IDE to the right and see what happens.
percept 1 day ago 1 reply      
Sounds worthy of a more formal study. (If I had to bet, I'd say there's something to it.)
Ask HN: What's a proud hack of yours?
16 points by diego  2 days ago   9 comments top 5
MalcolmDiggs 2 days ago 1 reply      
A few years ago everyone in the office was sick of answering the phone just to buzz people into the building.

So I rigged the downstairs call-box to call a Twilio number instead of ringing the office line. The Twilio bot would then prompt the user to enter a passcode, and would then buzz them into the building if the passcode they entered was correct.

This allowed us to give guests temporary passcodes to get into the building, and allowed us to track who was coming and going (because we gave every employee a unique code to use as well). Worked pretty well, and total setup time was just a couple hours.

csmattryder 1 day ago 0 replies      
Probably integrating the live-streaming api-less app Periscope into one of our products at Eventbeat.

We had a large client asking whether they could load up a Periscope broadcast of a launch party in NYC (where all the big names were) and stream it to their press event London.

My first act was just catching the stream - all JS were naturally minified, though some M3U8 files (a playlist of video URIs) were coming through and fortunately from an insecure HTTP source. This lead to warnings of mixed security in Chrome's console; we could essentially isolate the link and load it in VLC!

Because this had to be actionable by a non-programmer during the event, I hacked in some temporary functionality into the Announcement feature of Eventbeat to listen for an announcement title "Periscope", and the message was expected to be the hash of the M3U8 video stream that I trained them to grab from the console.

Turns out that on the night it worked really well, fortunately, though they ended up only using it for ~10 minutes.

Fun little hack to get going though, not sure if they're serving the video over SSL now.

gravypod 1 day ago 0 replies      
A 100k line text parser to add an api to a game so I could make plugins that wrap around debug messages
AnimalMuppet 1 day ago 0 replies      
I had to detect which version of an external circuit board I was talking to. Version 1 had an 8-bit read/write register at location X; version 2 had a 16-bit register there. So I wrote out a 16-bit pattern, read it back, and...

... and the card with the 8-bit register remembered all 16 bits!

Turns out that the unused 8 bits were still being driven onto the data bus, and setting a voltage there. Then, when I did the read (microseconds or nanoseconds later), the data bus still had the same voltage, and that voltage got sent to the CPU.

So I wrote a 16-bit pattern to that register, wrote a different 16-bit pattern to a different register, and then read back the first register. Then I could reliably tell whether the board was version 1 or version 2.

Just a very simple thing, but it amuses me still, nearly 20 years later. (Though maybe the problem amuses me more than the solution...)

dawie 1 day ago 1 reply      
We found a way to hack getting a meeting with people. We discovered a process to get people to want to meet with us: http://6figuremeetings.com
Ask HN: Trying to Extract Roll Call Votes of Cambridge City Council
8 points by theszak  2 days ago   8 comments top 4
dagw 2 days ago 1 reply      
Start by looking for the words YEA, NAY, ABSENT and PRESENT using simple OCR or pattern matching. Clip the images into 4 vertical columns the same width as the text, starting just below the text. Use a horizontal line detection algorithm to try to find the boundary of each 'box'. Clip out each box and count the number of black pixels. If it's greater than some level, then that box contains a tick.

OpenCV should be able to do all these things.

Someone1234 2 days ago 0 replies      
Ouch. There are at least two ways PDFs can be created, those with embedded text, and those with a picture of embedded text. This is the latter group.

Effectively what you have here is a bitmap in a PDF which happens to contain a scan of text. So in order to even begin to extract it, you'll have to extract the bitmap, then OCR it, but while you OCR it you'll have to try to keep the location of the different blocks somehow...

You'd need to look at several of these to see how consistent they are. If they're laid on a flatbed scanner manually, they won't be very consistent. However if they're scanned via a feeder then it should be extremely similar each time, and you could hard code in the coordinates of the data you want (which is extremely fragile, but is the least amount of work).

Then you just OCR the names only, while looking in other boxes for any content at all.

e1ven 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is a fixed-sized problem - There are only so many documents, even if there are a lot of them.

I'd suggest you set up a job on Mechanical Turk or similar, and pay a small amount per page to have them re-entered in a format you can more easily read.

opless 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hi from the other Cambridge!

Looks like there's a lot of manual work there, unfortunately.

Most of the gov.uk info is the same, scans, pdfs, poorly formatted word and excel spreadsheets. :(

Ask HN: Do you also get a stream of domain sales inquires under fake names?
4 points by bhouston  1 day ago   3 comments top 3
apryldelancey 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I also get them at least weekly.
Hairy_Sasquatch 1 day ago 0 replies      
I get them, trying to sell me a similar domain to the one I have (my surname . net). The domains are (my surname+IES . net) and are not registered, these guys are trying to sell me a domain they don't own. All sent to the tagged address used to register my existing domain with 123-reg

29 June


Would you you be interested in XXXXXies dot net since you do own asimilar domain name?

Thank you for your time.


9th April


My name is Becky. I understand that you hold a domain name analogous to XXXXXies(net)and was wondering if you would consider getting the XXXXXies(net)?

Please accept my apologies if you are not interested.Becky.

jlgaddis 1 day ago 0 replies      
Yep, get one or two a week.
Ask HN: How do we solve the email problem?
2 points by cmacole  1 day ago   6 comments top 5
Gustomaximus 1 day ago 0 replies      
While I think the short/medium term solution is training people on how to use email as much as the software improvements itself, id love to see some smaller time saving features added like;

- A 'do you need to reply all' pop-up when people do a short thanks message. Kinda like the check for attachments.

- A 'drop me from this thread' button so the next reply-all person see a note that these people have been removed. Then they can add them back if needed.

- More personal statistics on email to chart how many you are getting and time spent etc. Seeing this might encourage people to be more efficient.

- Improve threading of emails to more like SMS. Outlook and Gmail ate both horrible on this. Opera M2 used to have quite good threading so perhaps the new Vivaldi team will improve this when they re-make the mail client.

dreamdu5t 6 hours ago 0 replies      
What's wrong with email?
Tomte 1 day ago 1 reply      
Ex falso quodlibet.
cmacole 1 day ago 0 replies      
And what startups are currently working on this problem?
joeclark77 1 day ago 0 replies      
Years and years ago there was some talk of having a "postage stamp-like" fee to send and receive e-mails. Enforced by the recipient's server, I guess. That way spam and low-quality memo-writing would be discouraged. Instead of monetary points it could be karma points or something. This didn't go anywhere 10 years ago, but maybe the time is ripe for it now. People are a lot more comfortable with micropayments and there's a lot better infrastructure for the necessary communication/negotiation between sender's and recipients' email.
Ask HN: Any recommendations for selling hardware in developing markets?
1 point by syedkarim  1 day ago   1 comment top
ewams 13 hours ago 0 replies      
You may think I am joking, but Coca-Cola or Dean Kamen might have some ideas for you:



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