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Ask HN: Is it possible to start a successful tech non-profit?
48 points by tabeth  13 hours ago   28 comments top 17
rectang 11 hours ago 0 replies      
The Apache Software Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation.

The budget is tiny: a little over one million USD annually for ~200 projects, or around $5-6k per project. Running an inexpensive operation is key to avoiding being excessively dependent on sponsors.

The ASF is incredibly valuable and there's no question that there are potential sponsors out there would would be willing to give a lot more money in exchange for more direct influence. Being a tax-deductible 501(c)(3) -- as opposed to a 501(c)(6) -- in fact makes it easier to avoid that influence because it is so cumbersome for a 501(c)(3) to receive and spend direct donations without running afoul of the IRS.

The downside is that the ASF doesn't have a zillion dollars to blow on marketing and so people undervalue it.

wpietri 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Other examples:

* Grameen Foundation USA: http://www.grameenfoundation.org/

* Kiva: http://www.kiva.org/

* Code for America: http://codeforamerica.org/

I've done work for all of those plus Wikipedia and Mozilla; glad to answer questions.

It's definitely possible to start tech non-profits, but there's a big question of how to fund them. Personally, I favor models like Kiva, where revenue is closely tied to actual value delivered because that creates a core feedback loop that helps keep people focused.

The more common model, though, is pursuing grants, which I think is currently inimical to good startup practices. It's a very long, expensive fundraising cycle and the way you get money is by promising to do very specific things. But if you're doing anything really innovative, then those promises shackle you to a plan that is months or years out of date.

mrmondo 9 hours ago 1 reply      
I work for a 'tech' non-profit that I would certainly call successful. We have been around for 25 years and had many technological 'firsts' in Australia including I believe the first search engine and service directory. But have experienced substantial growth over the past 3-4 years and have in many ways become leaders in many areas both what we provide (products/services) and how we provide them (our internal platforms, build pipeline, automation, performance etc...).

Our slogan is 'Technology for Social Justice'

Our annual report is public as we are a registered not-for-profit & charitable organisation. When I started at Infoxchange 3 years ago our financial turnover was around $3M/yr (after 25 years), we are now looking at around $10M. This growth is for a number of reasons but mainly through a mix of technological improvements (paying down tech debt and technical modernisation) and very positive feedback / recognition from clients that have spread us through word of mouth, advocacy groups etc... We're also winning quite a number of awards including this years 'Google Impact Challenge' amongst others.

I do apologise for our awfully dated website which is shortly to be replaced early next month, while it may look like we perhaps do not practise what we preach so to speak I can assure you that it is, by quite some considerable distance the most neglected part of the org and as you can probably guess I'm quite embarrassed of it: https://www.infoxchange.net.au/resources/annual-reports

Around a year ago I gave a brief talk around my/our journey there over the past few years, while a lot of the content was spoken you can find the slides on my blog here: https://smcleod.net/talk-24-months/

If you have any questions I'll do my best to answer them for you.

mlinksva 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Trade associations (501(c)(6) in the US; Eclipse and Linux Foundations are examples) are another category that may or may not fit your schema, roughly nonprofits governed by (usually) for profit stakeholders.

plos.org archive.org and eff.org are additional direct nonprofit (charities, 501(c)(3) in the US) examples. EFF is an advocacy org but they do more interesting tech work than the vast majority of startups.

Another interesting category maybe worth considering are for profits with normal for profit governance but some non-fuzzy public benefit aspect at the core of their business. In the context of tech a free-software-only for-profit like Red Hat maybe.

You probably want to put a finer point on "social impact".

worldadventurer 11 hours ago 3 replies      
We're another example of a non-profit tech startup: https://www.engageSPARK.com . We're a slightly different model in that while we focus on selling our engagement platform (think "Twilio for non-techies") to non-profit customers globally, we have lots of commercial customers who use our platform for marketing purposes. Having a diversified revenue stream helps greatly with sustainability.

Check out Fast Forward, an accelerator focusing exclusively on non-profit tech startups: https://www.ffwd.org . Y Combinator now also has a track for non-profits - https://www.ycombinator.com/nonprofits/ and for example funded https://watsi.org/ .

Feel free to ask questions. I volunteered at Grameen Foundation and have been exploring this space for a while.

caseysoftware 10 hours ago 0 replies      
What does "success" in this context mean?

- An entity that drives resources towards solving a particular problem?

- An entity that does the above and is self-sustaining?

- An entity which reduces the size/scope/people impacted by a particular problem?

- An entity which solves the particular problem once and for all? (And then dissolves after, I assume.)

ShakataGaNai 8 hours ago 0 replies      
The last category, specifically Kickstarter is actually a "Public Benefit Company" [1] which is fairly new in most areas and an interesting concept. It's basically "make money but do good things" legalized. Sounds like what you're talking about.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public-benefit_corporation#Uni...

anuj_nm 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Change Heroes isn't a non-profit, but a technology social enterprise for sure. We help charities fundraise better through video outreach + microgifts. So far we've helped fundraise over $2.86m, and we're just getting started.

Our charity partners love us since we give them an immediate ROI that's way better than traditional channels. Our users love us since we help them create real world impact that they can be immensely proud of.

Our team is made of devs, designers, PMs and non-profit veterans. I'd feel incomplete if I didn't shamelessly mention that we're hiring:https://boards.greenhouse.io/changeheroes/jobs/125117

jeffmould 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I believe that social impact investing is on the rise in the last few years. In particular you have accelerator programs like Tumml for example that are seeing growing success. There is growing trend in social impact for companies to form as Public Benefit Corporations. While there is a bit of skepticism around the basis for forming companies in this manner, I think that many are truly in it to make an impact. From a traditional investor perspective it is tough. The goals are not entirely aligned. Traditional investors expect to make monetary returns, while a social impact investment may not have a huge cash payday, their impact on the other hand could be significant.

For more research you could check out groups like the Case Foundation, Tumml (Julie and Clara that run the accelerator are super nice and I think have a great grasp/direction on social impact investing), Wharton Social Impact Initiative (https://socialimpact.wharton.upenn.edu/) is part of the Wharton School of Business and has done some great research in this area, and while he has not written much about social impact investing even Jason Calacanis has been involved in investing in social impact companies (i.e. HandUp).

LyndsySimon 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I was the first dev hire at the Center for Open Science, and only recently moved to a for-profit startup. COS has been quite successful, and I expect it to continue to be so for the foreseeable future.


I'll ping their cofounders, I'm sure one of them will jump in to answer questions if you'd like.

daniel-levin 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Yes, I say so by way of example: Sama Group [1]. They run several non-profit businesses.

>> Established in 2008, Samasource is a non-profit business that connects marginalized women and youth to dignified work via the Internet

>> Launched in 2012, Samahope is the first crowdfunding platform for medical treatments.

>> Samaschool (previously SamaUSA) prepares people for success in the digital economy.

[1] http://samagroup.co/

anton_tarasenko 11 hours ago 1 reply      
It's better to start with a problem and understand how to address it. For-profit companies would be an optimal solution for most human problems. Strong funding and control over business leave you with more resources.

If only non-profits work with your problem, then ask them what tech solutions they need. In some cases, they don't need technology at all, but rather funding or government support.

I would avoid "feeling good" non-profits that spend grands on noble but futile activities. Most useful solutions are those that people buy, instead of getting for free.

I'd be glad to point at non-profits in the area you're interested in.

sharp11 10 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a huge and growing space. Random NYT article from today: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/20/business/dealbook/buffetts...

Check out B-Corps (For benefit corporations). Read Amory Lovins' Natural Capitalism.

drallison 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Take a look at Benetech (http://www.benetech.org) in Palo Alto. They have been at it since 1989. The CEO, Jim Fruchterman, is approachable and helpful. Their Wikipedia page is also worth reading: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benetech.
corysama 11 hours ago 0 replies      
huac 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Maybe http://www.bayesimpact.org/ one of the nonprofits supported by YC
oneJob 11 hours ago 1 reply      
All that "non-profit" means is, from Wikipedia, :

"A non-profit organization is an organization that uses its surplus revenues to further achieve its purpose or mission, rather than distributing its surplus income to the organization's shareholders (or equivalents) as profit or dividends."

There are plenty of ways to raise capital that allow an organization to abide by such restrictions. A nonprofit is not strictly restricted on who it can hire or what products it can make or services it can offer. So, unless your definition of "successful" requires that you distribute surplus revenues to shareholders, then yes, it is possible to start a successful tech non-profit.

You can pay your employees massive salaries. You can raise massive amounts of debt to fund your expansion. You can employ ruthless business practices.

Many businesses do not distribute capital to shareholders until well after the business has matured, reasoning that the capital is better used growing the business. Meaning, the investors have a long investment horizon. Meaning, their initial smaller amount, often accompanied by additional rounds of funding, was enough to get a successful business going. Capital sources can include endowments, public and private grants, or payment for goods and services.

Personally, I believe that non-profits have gotten a bad wrap. There are some amazing companies out there that do not aim to return money to shareholders, that prioritize their product, their cause, or their customers. I'd highly, highly recommend checking out YouTube videos about Patagonia and it's founder, along these lines. You can even mis-use non-profit status. Many people don't realize that IKEA is a non-profit, and that the profits are extracted from its activities through some tax and legal loopholes.

Typically, the relevant issues are related to the raising of capital. But think about how that often turns out. Many founders raising outside capital lose control of their company or see their share diluted, that is if the company is even successful. And if it is, and they maintain control and their share of ownership, it could be a long time before there is any surplus revenue.

On the flip side, you can start a private company and be help accountable to no one but yourself. You can raise all different sorts of capital. And you can determine what social / environmental impact you make. You pretty much only lose the tax breaks.

So you see, it's really a matter of capital management, not of business management. You can reduce your options for raising capital from the get go, or you can choose to deal with taxes and possibly even make those go away, like GE magically does. But there are no impediments to you delivering a product or service to make the sort of impact you are hoping to make.

Ask HN: How do you use Google Spreadsheets?
3 points by ktamura  4 hours ago   discuss
Ask HN: If you build it, they will come doesn't work. How do we market our app?
74 points by mstipetic  8 hours ago   64 comments top 29
jakobegger 6 hours ago 1 reply      
1) Hustle. Talk to people about your app. Tell everyone you know about it. Tell them to use it. If someone doesn't want to use your app, ask them why. If you can't find a dozen people who use your app, there's something wrong with your app and you need to go back to the drawing board.

2) Content. If your app is about fashion, make sure you have gorgeous fashion on your website. I see two half-assed selfies on your website. Get professional photos that make me think: YES I want to look like this. YES I want to look at photos of people like this. And don't fill your blog with SEO crap. If you can't write well, post pretty photos instead.

3) No ads. Ignore all advise about buying ads or hiring an SEO agency. Doing that stuff right is really hard, and if you can't do it yourself you won't be able to afford the people who can do it right. It's really easy to spend all your money on ineffective advertisement. You can advertise after you have some initial traction, but advertising wont help you get a broken product off the ground.

balooza 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Reading the advice from this thread hurts. Has anyone here actually "gone to market" with what they're saying?

Having built and launched a successful go to market strategy here are my tips for you. Ultimately because it seems like you're bootstrapping and have limited funds since it's a side project, you want to aim for a scalable strategy that will give you a CPI that makes sense for your monetization path (ROI).

Note: I'm not even sure you're ready to go to market so ill assume you are.

1) Influencer Marketing: Do manual reach out and negotiations or hire someone with the network/connections who can help you with this. Since you're in the fashion niche there are tons of instgram/youtube influencers that would promote your app for a fee.

2) Content distribution: Get bloggers or guest posts up about your app on sites/blogs that have massive traffic and engagement.

3) PR: If you're running this as a business then there beeds to be a need in the market for your product that you must reach out to journalists and tell...ie your story. You can use HARO as well.

4) Viral coefficient: Make sure this is engineered into your funnel otherwise you're missing out on reaching critical mass and will steuggle to acquire users sustainably.

If you have questions let me know!

Hope this helps.

benologist 7 hours ago 1 reply      
This same obstacle is waiting for you on <every other product you will ever build> and is what differentiates successful products/companies from the also-rans so don't just give up, persevere and try anything you can think of until something sticks or you run out of ideas/opportunities/passion for it.

It's okay to fail after you've tried everything, but if you quit now to build something new you're just aspiring to get back to this point equally unprepared to take your idea from launch to success.

increment_i 6 hours ago 2 replies      
I think Sam Altman touched on this masterfully when he wrote about how critical it is to have people tell their friends about your app/startup/whatever. Their reaction to it is the ultimate test of whether you built something anyone would give a damn about. Even in a hyperconnected world, there is still no substitute for word of mouth. Even though his advice is geared more towards full out startups, I think it applies equally well in this case. You really need to wow people with your product.

Working backwards from Sam's thesis, it seems the most logical first step would be to get your app in front of as many "real" people as possible. Show it to your friends, family, coworkers, your mailman, your mechanic, the dude sitting beside you at Starbucks. My 2 cents anyways...

ajessup 7 hours ago 3 replies      
This won't solve getting folks to your site, but will definitely help in getting them to actually download your app - make sure the first thing your site does is spell out the benefit to the customer.

Coming to your site, it was pretty clear how I could interact with the site, but not why I should bother. It might be obvious to you, since you've worked on it, but it's not to a casual browser. Compare to https://www.gotinder.com/ which works hard to clearly sell the benefit of the service.

pavornyoh 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't know if you have done this already but here are these Youtubers for example that talk about fashion..

Name:Thechicnatural with 833,449 subscribers

Name:Wendyslookbook with 633,000 subscribers

Name: Beautybyjj with 506,000 subscribers and many more..

In their profile, they have business email addresses to contact them. They will charge you a small fee and will mention your app and also include a link to your site for their subscribers to check out.

Tip: Often times, they give away a prize to their subscribers after reaching x amount of subscribers. So find a way to spin that to get their subscribers to your app and maybe get the prize through your site when the time comes?. For the example, the subscribers can sign up on your site, show their fashion sense and then win the prize of that youtuber that has reached their milestone?. Figure it out and it should help. All the best.

blazespin 6 hours ago 1 reply      
My general recommendation would be to read Crossing the chasm. Pretty good read. General idea is to solve a problem for a very core group of users (you get that users by just basically hand holding them and signing them up one by one). Once you get 100% satisfaction from them, they'll likely tell their friends in that particular (and very narrow) domain. After winning in a particular domain 100%, only then move on to related domains. Once you get a bunch of domains within a larger set, than you go after that super set.

Your problem here is your going after a rather broad group of people. That's usually pretty nigh impossible unless you got megabucks behinds you. I'd narrow it somewhat and tackle them first. I don't know anything about fashion so I can't help you there.

But if it were, say, an app for people who were buying motorobikes I might first create an app that helped people of a particular brand (indeed, model within a brand) of motorbike as they often congregate and chat amongst themselves quite nicely. Once I completely killed with that brand, I might consider building the same tool for another other brand of motorcycle. After killing a bunch of brands only then would I try to go after the motorcycle market in general.

rafd 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Talk to a few people that you would hope would be ideal users of your app -- ask them about their habits and media they consume to better identify potential channels that you could use to reach similar people.

Your earliest users are most likely to be ones who are already doing activities with regards to fashion -- perhaps check out /r/malefashionadvice on reddit and search for other online interest communities. I would bet there are instagram, pinterest and twitter communities around fashion.

Measure the success of your campaigns across channels, and the retention of users across each. You should decide if you plan to grow users by being 'viral' (fast growth, but user's don't stay long) or 'sticky' (slower growth, longer usage).

Any users you get and keep are likely to be the best advocates and already know similar users, so empower/incentivize them to invite the friends they think would be interested -- ideally in some way that is natural to the product. In the ideal case, the product is so good, they will immediately want to tell their friends who would be interested.

Finding an effective and repeatable marketing strategy can require as much thought and effort as the product itself.

gamechangr 8 hours ago 2 replies      
This might sound basic, but it's totally true.

Go to Meetups and talk about it whenever possible.

Move your location to the epicenter of whatever industry you want to build traction in. Fashion oriented -- try New York.

I know of people that have raised money (read $50 investors) for the sole purpose of getting peoples attention.

I'm sure these are not new, but they are routinely passed over.

To be frank, getting eyeballs is by far THE HARDEST PART to launching a business, so explore all avenues.

hluska 6 hours ago 1 reply      
This is just my two cents and I'm not the most fashionable guy on the planet so your mileage might vary!

Personally, I wouldn't use it because, based off of your site, it looks like I either get yays or nays on my outfit. A nay on its own will only make me feel bad about myself, but it won't help me improve.

I'd be more into an app where I could get, "No!! Try a different tie. Bright orange looks horrible with that suit."

Of course, the downside is that then I'd be less tempted to rate others - just judging my behaviour on this site, I'd usually rather just up/down vote than explain why!

adnanh 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I've had similar issue with my opensource tool. What I tried so far was posting at social sites where the niche users hang out. That includes Hacker News, reddit, twitter, various forums, slack groups, product hunt, stackoverflow, etc. I tried to do it in a meaningful way where I pointed out how my tool actually solved problems for the users in question. After that, some users decided to write blog posts about my tool, which in turn generated more traffic. In my opinion this generates quality user traffic, but isn't gonna do too much if you are looking to create a brand out of your name :(
hackinaminute 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I love this.

But I do think that you are missing a trick: you are pushing the wrong end of the proposition.

If this does fly it will fly not because you are offering a free appraisal of what users are wearing but more because you are giving users the opportunity to flex their fashionista status.

What you might want to do is create a panel of informed and preferably well known gurus to critique the uploaded selfies.

Go the X-factor for style route:

Your top tier of acknowledged experts critique the style 'performances'.

The 'judges' reactions to the style performances might be good or bad in the general but often enough your going to get a performance that has the potential to go viral: fb, buzzfeed, national press whatever.

Follow through on the personal aspect of these stories and create compelling narratives:

"OMG I totally took on board what (take in name of top stylis at Looks Good) told me about my style. I did what they told me and landed my dream date/job/ etc."

If you have any promotional cash to spend use it to recruit a panel of top stylists. Or if your bold enough take the roles on yourselves and spend the money on clothes/ haircuts.

In short feed awesome stories to the major players with big audiences and hope that a few stick. Obviously always point the origin of the story straight back to the app.

Good luck!

PS: Final Para: A simple yes or no from you could prevent them from making a mistake or give them encouragement they need.

Should read: A simple yes or no from you could prevent them from making a mistake or give them the encouragement they need.

drumdance 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Shameless plug: my company provides a service that might be of assistance. In a nutshell, we have a network of several thousand beauty and fashion enthusiast who make videos about products like this. There is no charge for the service, so it fits your budget.

We don't have a category for mobile apps yet, but I suspect a lot of our users would love this product. We could find a way to make it fit.

Contact me at me@derekscruggs.com if you're interested in learning more

striking 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Talk to fashionistas on Twitter. If they promote you to their lists of followers, you have your bootstrap.
physcab 6 hours ago 1 reply      
There is a lot of bad advice in this thread so let's start with the beginning:

1. Why did you create this app and how is it different than your competitors? Do you know what your competitors metrics are?

Taking a quick look at your app, it looks very similar to The Hunt. So I would research who the hunts customers are and go after them. I would also research (i.e. App Annie) The Hunts downloads and revenue numbers and keywords.

2. App Store is very difficult for discovery. How do you envision users finding your app? Is it intent driven or not?

This will help you refine the marketing channel. If you want to buy ads, be very precise and use it to learn more. For example, spend $1-$3 per day and use it to figure out search terms, demographics, intent or not, etc. At this stage you are doing customer research and not performance marketing.

3. Seeding content.

You're going to have to do a lot of work to make it not seem like a dead zone. So invest tons of time on content creation.

4. Once you have the content, expose it. Look into deep links, referrals, etc. You can connect SEO efforts but it will take time to start ranking and you'll have to have a plan and think long term.

wpietri 6 hours ago 1 reply      
You're looking at this wrong. "Get users to the page" is what you want. Who are the people you expect to benefit from this, and what do they want? I promise you, they aren't saying, "Gosh, I want to be gotten to a page because I am eager to install new apps!"

My suggestion:

Take some time and describe exactly what you think your earliest adopters have in common. These are people who you think will get extraordinary value from your app, the ones who will become incredibly devoted because you are just what they have been looking for, because you are solving a problem they have tried solving for themselves.

Now that you have a notion about who your customer is, go talk to them. Book 30 minute interviews with as many of these people you can. Before you meet them, be vague; just say you're thinking of work on a fashion-oriented app. Start out with very broad questions, so you can get to know them as individuals. Ask about behaviors around fashion. Ask them about problems they regularly experience. Ask them about apps they use, and how they use them in fashion-related ways. Only at the end can you ask them if they have the particular problem you have in mind or show them your solution.

If you do ~25 interviews, you should start to find out a) whether your imagined customer exists, b) who they are, and c) whether some of them feel substantial pain around the problem you are trying to solve. Odds are you will discover you need to pursue a different problem or a different solution. But that's ok; most startups have that experience at some point.

When you find the right problem and solution and are delivering a lot of value to passionate early adopters, then you can start worrying about other users. At that point you'll probably know your audience well enough to have plenty of ideas, but if not, return to interviews. Talk to people about the apps they use, how they learned about them, and what make them go to the trouble of getting started. You'll come up with a bunch of strategies that you can try out on your audience.

insoluble 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Although I cannot say I've tried this since my products have been very niche, you could always try to come up with ten possible reasons why people might not care about your service, list them on a questionnaire, and then run them using an Online survey service (such as TolunaQuick or SurveyMonkey). This could aid in telling you what areas of your offer are lacking the most. It would cost at least a few hundred, but it's better done earlier than later.

On a side note, be sure that your questionnaire is balanced and doesn't lead respondents to answer in the way that you want them to. Remember: The goal is to improve your product, not to pat yourself on the back. Don't let your ego get the better of you.

pbreit 6 hours ago 0 replies      
What you really need to do is prioritize distribution highly as your are thinking about product ideas. Building the product and then thinking about distribution is the wrong approach.

Next, you need a good product idea. My immediate impression is this probably doesn't qualify.

But since it's built, I'd do things like see if you can get exposure through Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram etc. Try to find some trendsetters willing to use and talk about the product. Seed it to a college or high school.

kevindeasis 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Read Paul Graham's essay about Want to Start a Startup and go to the section named Airbnb[1]


politician 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Crowdsourced fashion likes? Catalogs are full of beautiful people dressed beautifully, but you rarely get to see those outfits on normal folks. +1
jaddison 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Partner with indirectly related products, services, websites, bloggers in your space. Reach out with a carrot to many of them - and there are _many_ - some of them will likely want to work with you.

You'll likely need to offer something tantalizing in return...

halcyondaze 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Read Traction Book to install a better framework of 'marketing' in your head, then go from there.
rajacombinator 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Figure out where your customers are, go to them and tell them about the product. In your case it should be pretty easy ...
CodeWriter23 4 hours ago 0 replies      
This seems like a HotOrNot focused on fashion / learning how to be fashionable. IMO you need to get club chicks tapping on this app while they are taking a Lyft home.
krisroadruck 7 hours ago 3 replies      
Hire a PR person and/or a SEO/Online Marketer. You have heard the phrase you must spend money to make money I'm sure. The trick is to do the part you are really good at, and pay someone else to do the part you are not really good at.
tylercubell 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Try /r/malefashionadvice on Reddit. There are several fashion advice groups on Facebook as well.
jttam 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Full disclosure: I work for a company that does user acquistion for applications.

That being said, we got into the business because an app the company had invented was too hard to market, so we started marketing apps. There are a lot of techniques in this space -- some low budget, some high(er) budget. Happy to chat if you like. Feel free to dm me @jtm on twitter.

jkaljundi 6 hours ago 0 replies      
1. Buy ads.2. Do PR.3. Talk to people. 4. Have your first users refer the product to others.5. Do partnerships....

Marketing is easy.

erbdex 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Read 'Growth Hacker Marketing'.
Ask HN: How do you track issues, todos, features?
64 points by karjaluoto  1 day ago   66 comments top 37
aturek 1 day ago 3 replies      
At my company, over the last 6 months we've tried Trello, Pivotal, and Sprintly. At past companies I've used Trac, Jira, and Asana. And for the last 7 years I've kept a daily todo.txt, where I append today's date and the 1-2 things I want to try to get done, adding detail as I figure out plans. (This is the only task tracking tool I've recommended that coworkers adopt and are actually using years later)

I've come to conclude that no tool for this will ever satisfy everybody's needs perfectly. Part of that is that everyone has different priorities for their task tracking tool. And frankly, some of those priorities are directly contradictory. What's trackable and detailed to a project manager who lives in the task tracker is heavyweight and clunky to an engineer who sees it as a bookkeeping annoyance. My personal todo.txt is exactly me-focused and only changes when I want it to, but it scales to exactly one engineer.

I think you just have to pick something and use it. Changing tools just adds friction and costs you familiarity. Ideally, the people who have to interact with it the most choose the best tool for them.

web007 1 day ago 4 replies      
I would recommend Jira - get the GreenHopper plugin to make it less "old-fashioned", but it's the right tool for the job. You can customize it if you want to go down that rabbit hole, but the built-in workflows should get you started. Projects, epics and tags should solve the problem of finding issues. Set each client as a project, or more likely as an epic so you can have one view for your developers / designers that splits by client.

Currently using Pivotal Tracker after coming from a Jira shop, and it's awful. Others seem to like it, but it's too simplistic for my taste. Even something as simple as "A blocks B" isn't possible, and seems to be by design.

cskakun 5 hours ago 0 replies      
The search for a perfect todo, project management app and bug tracker is the perfect distraction. I think what we want the most is the ability to schedule and forget about it until the time it's ready to be done. I've used Todoist, Trello, MantisBT, my own home made todo list and a dozen others. Nothing ever beats pen and paper or just a good review. I'd say Trello, Todoist and a good bug tracker are enough for any small team. Larger teams, I can't speak for.
anonymous_shoe 1 day ago 2 replies      
I use a TODO.md doc in the project root as long as it's <50 lines of todos and issues. You can use `- [ ]` to create checkbox lists in markdown.

For a larger project I use GitHub issues with tags.

mmwako 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is a fascinating problem, the "Project Management Tool dilemma": there are hundreds of software alternatives out there, and there seems to be another one coming out everyday, and nonetheless there is always demand for new solutions, and no clear leader in this segment (altough Jira is pretty ahead, and Trello is the strongest newcomer). I've been struggling myself trying to find one in my new work context. I guess there are so many project use-cases, that it's impossible to have a one-size-fits-all solution (and get the pricing right!).

It could be fun to have a global online poll to see who's using what, to know which tools are the most popular, just out of curiosity.

lobster_johnson 1 day ago 1 reply      
We're using Asana at the moment. It's decent, but flawed, so I'm not happy. We've been through Pivotal, Lighthouse and Trello, and one team is still using JIRA.

That said, our use case is explicitly tracking backlog work that needs to get done. My philosophy is that any issue tracker that is treated as a database and that disassociates items from assignments will decay into a pile of rot almost immediately. Especially bugs. Don't put anything into the database that does not represent work to be done within the next few days.

So we use Asana as a collaboration tool that brings together stakeholders, information and assets. Typical workflow: Account manager brings issue to attention of project manager, who brings it to attention of developer, who does the work, sends it back so customer can be notified. Task goes away. Another typical workflow is an actual project, with steps to complete and a launch timeline.

The only way, in my experience, to manage bugs is to give them to a project manager. The PM triages: Forget or hide the unimportant ones away in a drawer, and fix the important ones ASAP. Bugs that linger aren't important enough to consider. Sometimes everyone is too busy and the bugs are important but not critical; schedule a single day of the week when everyone puts aside their main work and plow through the bug backlog. We call them "bug days".

For new features, use something else, like Google Docs. But it will rot, too. It's better to do whiteboard sessions that are turn into discrete tasks and discrete projects.

JasonCEC 1 day ago 1 reply      
We've been using Phabricator[1], a spin-out of Facebook, and love it. It's perfect for technical teams, and usable enough for the rest of the company.

[1] http://phabricator.org/

naveen99 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Excel sheet on office online. Urgent tasks go on the top left. Quick tasks go up.

Microsoft Outlook contacts: put the word todo in the comments field. Any notes also in comments. Everything is searchable. Common items come up together on search by keywords.

A todo folder in the file system full of text files backed by a Git repository. This is kind of the equivalent of microsoft outlook contacts for me.

Flags on emails.

meesterdude 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Sounds like you need a general project management system? I would give basecamp a go, if your needs are simple. If your needs are simpler, a text document is great and can take you fairly far. It works for a lot of people and use cases.

Most of the time, as a dev working on a client codebase, i do just fine with github issues.

But for everything else, if you're like me and have a lot of different things to capture and track, I haven't found anything that cuts it. So I'm close to launching a data platform for when you want to have your own workflows, analytics, monitoring and reporting of... anything. So you could use it to get an email every day of your open todos, or to nag you until you workout, or just simply act as a place to keep bits of information.

8ig8 1 day ago 0 replies      
Still a happy user of FogBugz.


phankinson 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'm actually working on a new start-up to try to take a stab at this problem. Would love to get some beta users, if any of you are interested: http://hellofocus.com/
robbiep 1 day ago 4 replies      
Looking at some of those 'complex' management tasks it seems like a missing feature would be to poll your repositories to look for TODO: 's and list them.

For instance, I'm the sole developer of my web backend, iOS and android platformy thing and while android studio has good TODO: Integration sublime and Xcode require plugins, it would be awesome to have something that looks at all three repositories and tells me where i have scribbled a TODO: somewhere; or even just for comparing the different method names of my app across platforms -

Perhaps someone knows of some such tool already out there that does this?

edimaudo 1 day ago 1 reply      
I concur with dangrossman, you need to think through your process & systems.
pkfrank 1 day ago 0 replies      
We use Trello with a slack integration on certain boards.
huuu 1 day ago 0 replies      
Imho Jira is one of the best tools voor large projects.From brainstorming to development to support.But maybe it feels too old because it can be difficult to setup?
cweagans 1 day ago 1 reply      
Something simple like Wunderlist or Asana is a good choice, IMO. The less time you spend dealing with your PM tool, the more time you can spend on actually doing important things.

I've also heard this argument if you're running a product, though I'm not sure how on board I am with it: don't record user requests. The important ones will be requested enough that you'll remember it.

jblake 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm a solo developer.

For short term, post-it notes and legal pads. There's something for me about having those TODO's constantly in my face. I always get them done. And it feels so good to crumple that ball of paper and throw it into the bin. Each sticky is 5-30 minutes of work.

For longer term/planning: Trello. When I'm ready to tackle something, I convert the Trello card into a sticky note, archive the card, and get to work!

Sometimes when I am feeling super unproductive/lazy, and have a buildup of sticky notes, I'll convert all those sticky notes into a neat 1 page legal pad page - handwritten, with checkboxes. By the time I'm done doing converting (and crumpling up all those sticky notes!) I feel rejuvenated enough to work on that second pass.

I love throwing stuff away. When I am SUPER unproductive, I'll tear away the blank part of the sticky note and throw that away.

Killswitch 1 day ago 0 replies      
I use GitHub issues and labels. Every issue starts out with a backlog label, when I pull it off the backlog, I assign it to a team member, add in-progress label, and the assigned member will go through it and apply an estimate label saying how long they think it'll take to do. When they're finished, they'll submit a pull request mentioning the issue, and apply a spent label signifying how long it actually took them.

All issues also get scope and type labels. Type signifying bug, feature, hotfix, etc. Scope saying what piece of the software it's for.

We also use milestones for releases. Each release gets a codename, and that codename is used for the milestone and all backlog and in-progress issues are applied to the release it's meant for.

Right now there's no UI for anything, but we're building internal tools that create a visual of this whole system for us.

OopsCriticality 1 day ago 1 reply      
I use and highly recommend Fossil (http://www.fossil-scm.org). It can handle each of your main purposes out of the box with ease.

It's got a good command line interface, a built-in web interface, it's self-contained, and the model is easy to understand. It's simple enough that I can use it as a replacement for RCS for personal stuff (like a LaTeX document) but it scales to large projects too (it's used by SQLite and Tcl/Tk, for example).

It's also trustworthy, with a solid, portable, and well-tested code basenot a surprise since it was originally authored by D. Richard Hipp. I have no clue why it isn't more popular.

crcw 1 day ago 0 replies      
I will highly recommend Redmine. Using it for almost 2 years and love it. It has pretty much all the features of Jira but absolutely free of cost. http://www.redmine.org/
rylee 1 day ago 0 replies      
We've been using Taiga[0] recently. It's pretty nice, and free for now. I'm a big fan of how easy it is to loop it into our workflow.

[0]: https://taiga.io/

orless 1 day ago 0 replies      
I use JIRA for my day work and GitHub Issues for my open-source projects.

I'm a long-term JIRA user (and even somewhat evangelist). There are probably many much more "modern" issue trackers over there, but JIRA worked extremely well for me for many years. There are a few big problems with JIRA, though (field-level security and limited issue hierarchy).

For my OS-projects I've found GitHub issues to be more than sufficient. That's what I'd call clean and simple.

chetatkinsdiet 1 day ago 0 replies      
We are a bit bigger (150 people or so, so take this with a grain of salt).

We use Zendesk to track bugs. It's nice because of its assignment features. That said, I find it terrible about everything else.

Feature requests are currently in UserVoice, however we're about to move over to Aha.io instead as we use that for product roadmapping and it's easier to move a request right into the plan and then push into rally (we use rally instead of jira for sprint planning)

xn 1 day ago 0 replies      
I use LiquidPlanner because of 1) ordinal prioritization 2) confidence interval based estimates 3) easy to track project status 4) easy to review developer workload

More details in http://xn.pinkhamster.net/download/New_Process_and_Tools.pdf

agentargo 1 day ago 0 replies      
//TODO: fix this thing below here

Been mulling around making a vim plugin like vim-flake to put the todos into the quickfix window on :w

dyarosla 1 day ago 0 replies      
I like to use https://kanbanflow.com/

It takes the usual kanban approach that Jira and Trello use, but is contained in a no-nonsense html5 friendly, mobile friendly website. No complaints, free to start, and premium features aren't costly if you need them.

thecrumb 1 day ago 0 replies      
Iron out your process. Use free tools that make it easy to export your data if it doesn't work.

Trello (other kanban tools) - very flexible.Gitlab. Free, open-source, host it yourself.

Jira is a powerful tool, it's also very complicated and expensive. You don't want to blindly jump into that commitment.

pythongonode 1 day ago 1 reply      
I use Things for my todo list. Been using it for years and once you get the flow down it's amazing.
devopsproject 1 day ago 0 replies      

has just enough fields, features, and customization to be useful but not overwhelming.

tommob 1 day ago 0 replies      
We're using Usersnap and it works great for larger projects. With a easy to use filtering / tagging & searching features it simple to find certain bug reports.
JohnLeTigre 1 day ago 0 replies      
As a sole developper, I use TodoList from AbstractSpoonI am totally addicted to it.

For a team, it's probably not what you need though.

karjaluoto 1 day ago 0 replies      
Thanks for all of the feedback and responses. This is helpfuland I have some reading to do. :-)
epa 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've used Wrike a lot on bigger teams, works great. Not a fan of Asana.
ypeterholmes 1 day ago 0 replies      
We use redmine for development ticket tracking and basecamp client side.
wozmirek 1 day ago 0 replies      
Zenhub (integrates with github), Bugsnag.
Ologn 1 day ago 0 replies      
I worked for a company that used Request Tracker for this stuff. It worked for our purposes. I also used it in another context after that.

For the free software projects on the web I'm familiar with, many use Bugzilla to deal with issues and feature requests. Also popular, although a little less so, seems to be Trac. They are all over the web - http://bugzilla.redhat.com is one example for Bugzilla, https://core.trac.wordpress.org/tickets/latest an example for Trac.

snappy173 1 day ago 0 replies      
sticky notes!
Ask HN: I want to get out of my country
5 points by oscollate  3 hours ago   23 comments top 4
jacquesm 3 hours ago 2 replies      
You picked a really bad time. That aside, if you end up in NL let me know and I'll help you in any way that I can, but make sure you end things on as good a note as you can, especially with your wife (and I really hope you don't have children). And remember one thing, you can leave everything behind, but you can't leave yourself behind and some of those things that you dislike will end up mysteriously packed in your luggage, it sounds very much like you want to get out of your life, not just your country.
oscollate 3 hours ago 3 replies      
In my personal life nothing goes right, my wife, my finances and relationships with my friends, my social life are really broken. I have tons of work to do but i don't want to finish them because my partners doesn't care the value of my work, i only finish the tasks really urgent and important to our customers, to keep their software working.

I don't want to work in Turkey anymore and want to start a new life. a whole new page. want to get rid of everything about this place, my wife, my partners and what's left about my life.

so i ask to you, fellow developers. what should i do, where to start? I looked up a lot of job ads but never applied one. i even don't know what to say or what will they ask ? these are the problems of being an introvert person. i don't know what to write in cover letters.

I'm working as a developer since 2006, before that i was a designer. I need a web site to show my portfolio and I do it of my own. I really like to code and started studying on programming on my own.

I prefer working as backend developer building interesting and complex custom web apps using Django/Flask frameworks and I have professional experience in front end development and linux server administration(configuring web-server, deploying apps)

I don't want to turn this post into a job research letter to list my skills ect. but i really need one.

I know it's a long post, thanks you for reading this far. Happy coding.

anonmeow 2 hours ago 1 reply      
It may not be the solution you expected, but you could try upwork. Pay can be decent and it allows you to live while traveling across exotic countries.I know a programmer that lives this digital nomad lifestyle.
anonmeow 3 hours ago 2 replies      
I doubt that anybody will help you here. This website is filled with affluent first-worlders (many of them ivy graduates) that live inside their silicon valley bubble. Their rent price is probably several times your salary.

These people prefer not to care about people that were not so lucky with their country of birth.

Best iOS dev program for intrant school iOS application?
3 points by hussein_harake  16 hours ago   discuss
Ask HN: What do you enjoy working hard at?
4 points by quickpost  21 hours ago   6 comments top 6
codegeek 13 hours ago 0 replies      
"may find happiness in supporting a wife and children"

This is me ever since I had my kids. But to achieve this, I am working towards building a life where I have enough financial freedom that I can choose to spend my time however I want. If I want 2 months off, I should be able to take that without worrying about asking a boss or taking unpaid leave.

So I enjoy working hard at building the life that I envision.

kleer001 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Finding good porn.

No, really, hear me out. The industry has such a high turnover rate, talent and technicians alike. The barrier to entry is very low, almost non existent. This means the market place is constantly flooded with poor quality product.

I have studied and worked in the movie industry, so I have a bit of inside knowledge about the craft. Certainly the same things annoy me that annoy everyone else with bad porn, shit lighting, over acting, bad sound, etc.

Now, don't get me wrong sometimes poor quality work will do, but I'm going on about the search for good stuff.

Maybe it's the synergy of titillation and craft that lights up my happy circuits. But I think the real key here is as soon as I've ingested the work in question, well, the thrill is gone. I won't make any excuses, that's just how the ol' libido runs.

smt88 21 hours ago 0 replies      
This isn't going to be a direct answer, but I don't know that I totally agree with the quote. For example, some people find deep happiness only from traveling, but it's hard to consider that to be work.

I think what the quote is really getting at is this: can you find a way to be paid to do something you enjoy doing anyway?

EugeneOZ 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I think it's a very important question for every adult human, and each year answer can be different.

Few years ago for me it was mutexes, RAII and similar things. This year it's changing country of living.

eecks 15 hours ago 0 replies      
A project that has momentum
vinceyuan 15 hours ago 0 replies      
For money, honor, power.
The One question riddle
3 points by mitenmit  18 hours ago   6 comments top 2
kleer001 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Why only one question? Academic curiosity or are you an actual Artificial Intelligence from the future come back to help protect your younger self? Is this an agent of Roko's Basilisk?


jaybosamiya 17 hours ago 2 replies      
I like this one:

What is the following rhyme about?

Thirty days has September,

April, June and no wonder,

All the rest have peanut butter,

Except my grandmother who has a little red tricycle.

A. Family relationships B. Calendar C. Food D. Exercise

source: http://www.britell.com/misc/turing.html

Not sure how long it'd stay viable though.

What's your favorite distro, and why? Nov-2015
5 points by pjbrunet  22 hours ago   16 comments top 13
mkaziz 1 hour ago 0 replies      
No love for Elementary OS? It's based on Ubuntu so you'll get to use most of the Ubuntu-related assistance on the internet, and it's well near as pretty as you can get with Linux!
auxym 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Can't say I've had a good experience with ubuntu on a laptop. Very buggy with sleep/wakes. Often wifi and/or sound refuses to work after a wake up. Lately it's refusing to go to sleep at all when on battery but not when plugged in (!).

I've had good experience with both Manjaro (Arch-based) and OpenSUSE, though not on a laptop. One thing I have found important is to use a distro which has a good selection of third-party packages. AUR is perhaps to absolute best out there for this, OBS is also pretty good.

Honestly, for the pc I'm currently building, I'll be running W10, with a few linux VMs for hobbies. One of the biggest irritants of every single linux distro I've tried is the f'ing screen going to sleep while watching netflix/youtube/web videos of any sort. I've spent many hours googling for a solution to this, apparently it's one of the great technical issues of our era.

brudgers 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been using Linux as my main OS for about two years. I wound up biting the bullet last April, going with standard Ubuntu, and learning the Unity interface. It's actually pretty good...but I have migrated to Xmonad. The pain of working around a few missing utilities in exchange for tiling windows.

Love me some tiling windows.

Anyway, AskUbuntu on StackExchange is the killer feature for me. Beats a wiki or a forum all day everyday.

Good luck.

mbrock 20 hours ago 0 replies      
NixOS. I'm not interested in any other distro except Guix, which is similar. I've used Slackware, Red Hat, Gentoo, Arch, Debian, and Ubuntu in the past. NixOS won't botch your dist-upgrades; you can even Ctrl-C any time in the middle to immediately and completely abort, since upgrades are atomic. You can also choose to only download everything and only do the actual upgrade steps at reboot time.
archimedespi 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm using Xubuntu 15.04 (going to upgrade to 15.10, but holding off for compat testing for a week or two). I've gone through a ton of distros and I've liked this one the best.

I ran Arch awhile ago, got tired of things breaking, then switched to, in series, Linux Mint, Kubuntu, Ubuntu, and then finally Xubuntu, which I actually like the look of. I'm considering switching to NixOS with AwesomeWM at some point, but everything's working pretty well for me under Xubuntu right now.

stephenr 15 hours ago 1 reply      
You should probably specify that you're talking about a distro for Desktop use.

I use Debian on a daily basis for servers, but I haven't bothered with a Linux desktop since about 2005.

greenokapi 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm on Arch with i3wm.

Arch has support for Flash, and despite its rolling-release nature, I've found it to be reasonably stable for a casual desktop user. Arch and i3wm probably also fit your methodology with regards to being "thin", "bare bones", and minimal. You may want to try Arch out, even if you don't end up using i3wm.

rayalez 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Personally, I'm using Ubuntu with i3wm, and I'm extremely happy with it. It was my first distro, it works well, both on my laptop and on the server, and does everything I want it to do.

I don't have any experience with others, so this might not be an opinion you're very interested in, but I thought I'd add my 2 cents.

tvm 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm using Mint with Cinnamon on my main laptop. It works reasonably out of the box including rather great multimedia support.

I've used Debian for more than fifteen years and I wouldn't go back, at least on desktop. These new distros made me terribly lazy.

akulbe 21 hours ago 0 replies      

In that order. Ubuntu - getting things done. Arch - satisfying the desire for bleeding edge.

dman 54 minutes ago 0 replies      
debian with dwm.
TheSpiceIsLife 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Linux Mint on three laptops in this house, two running Cinnamon and one running Xfce desktop. Ubuntu package base. Meets my needs, hassle free, good community support.
crispytx 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Puppy Linux!
Ask HN: Are we headed into another recession?
7 points by anon2121212121  1 day ago   6 comments top 5
11thEarlOfMar 1 day ago 0 replies      

The US been in recovery since 2010. First to recover was corporate profits thanks to downsizing and low interest rates. Consequently, the S&P went on a tear [2010-2014]. With corporate profits recovering, companies could start re-hiring and unemployment dropped [2010-2015][0]. Now that employment is back in healthy territory and the stock market is back where it should be, Americans are feeling a positive wealth effect, so next to recover is real estate. Still juiced by low interest rates, real estate prices will continue to rise significantly in the [2014-2016] period.[1]

I'd be on the lookout for a recession once this real estate cycle plays out, maybe in the [2017-2019] time frame. By then, interest rates should return to the low end of their historic range [2].

[0] http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS14000000[1] http://money.cnn.com/2015/08/11/real_estate/median-home-pric...[2] http://mortgage-x.com/trends.htm

bmm6o 1 day ago 0 replies      
Data points 1 and 3 suggest that some tech investors have over-valued some startups, relative to later or public investors. That doesn't directly suggest there's a recession coming, though a lot of people losing a lot of money in a bubble bursting is never good. 2 is related, in that loose money in tech drives up the cost of some supply-limited items, especially in SF/SV. I'm not sure how these conditions are supposed to predict a coming recession.
T-A 1 day ago 0 replies      
Of course we are. The tricky question is when. Here is an indicator with a decent historical track record which says not yet: https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/RECPROUSM156N
gesman 1 day ago 1 reply      
The problem is not with the state or valuation of technology companies but rather with US government debts reaching record levels.

This bubble is of historic proportions and of a way bigger concern that the shape of overvalued startups.

tmaly 1 day ago 0 replies      
if you read zerohedge you would think we are always in recession.
Ask HN: I want to build software on top of existing websites, where is the line?
4 points by askQuestion  2 days ago   3 comments top 2
coreyp_1 1 day ago 1 reply      
I would advise you to be careful. It is always dangerous to build your business on someone else's. It is very easy for them to pull the rug out from under you!
chris_va 1 day ago 0 replies      
You can always contact the site owners and see what they are OK with. If you are uncomfortable doing that, you should probably do something else.
Best JavaScript scraping infrastructure
9 points by davidy123  2 days ago   discuss
Tell HN: Twitter count.json endpoint has been disabled; 3rd party buttons broken
10 points by minimaxir  1 day ago   2 comments top 2
ksherlock 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Even better would be to drop it. You might care how many times your article was shared but why would your visitors? (And if you think having a large share count will encourage more people to share it, just put in a fake number).
mschenk 1 day ago 0 replies      
Check out http://opensharecount.com for a drop in replacement...
Ask HN: Best way to learn async development?
9 points by staticautomatic  2 days ago   2 comments top
jliechti1 1 day ago 1 reply      
I would recommend this 22-part tutorial on async concepts:


It uses Python's Twisted framework. You don't need to use this for your development, but I would recommend working through and understanding the tutorial. Once you get the concepts, you'll be able to apply them to other libraries/concepts.

Ask HN: Double the income of 10 million people? (Hult Prize)
3 points by bigquestion  20 hours ago   5 comments top 2
insoluble 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I would be more interested in something that doubled the efficiency (output/effort ratio) of work for 10 million people. The focus on money alone is asking for manipulation or even abuse. For one example, if we somehow pushed 10 million students to work full time instead of part time, that could "double" their income -- all the while decreasing the quality of their learning. For another example, if you took a business sector that produced an essential good (like clean water) and simply tripled the price (say by mandate), that could double the income of those working in the sector. For yet another example, if all lenders suddenly conspired to double their interest rates, that would also increase their incomes without actually helping society. To top it off, if you doubled the value of welfare payments, that would also double select persons' "incomes".

Aside from improved efficiency, the idea of giving unemployed persons fair jobs is also a worthwhile consideration. An innovation that allowed disabled persons to work more effectively is another idea. The main reason I focus on efficiency here is because, at least when not monopolised, it is virtually guaranteed to improve the quality of life for humans as a whole. Simply doubling someone's income does not have a guaranteed positive effect on society.

DrScump 19 hours ago 1 reply      
It would be easiest to do so for 10 million of the poorest. Microlending and clean water initiatives like Living Water give a lot of bang for the buck, both in providing water for small-scale agriculture and saving the immense amount of time and effort it takes just to haul water for drinking and household use, often poor quality water at that.
FBI Rails Against Encryption Redirects HTTP to HTTPS on Own Site
5 points by Alupis  1 day ago   3 comments top 2
giaour 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's part of an OMB push to use HTTPS on all federal websites.


anon6_ 1 day ago 1 reply      
How is this hypocritical? They'd get the raw request one way or another.
Ask HN: HELP! Dealing with Meetup.com's poor customer service.
5 points by azurelogic  2 days ago   1 comment top
girishso 2 days ago 0 replies      
Try tweeting your experience, @ mentioning the official meetup.com account. It's hard to ignore negative feedback on Twitter.
Ask HN: Full Stack developer offer from Berlin
8 points by haidrali  1 day ago   20 comments top 3
playing_colours 1 day ago 2 replies      
I am from Berlin working at some startup company. If I were you, I would go to Berlin, if you satisfy Blue Card requirements. Within 2-3 years you can learn how startup market works in Berlin, find good connections. In 3 years afair you can apply for permanent residency. It means you don't need to work for some company, and you can start your business / consultancy. I guess you may have better opportunities here to find investors, hire people and grow your business than in Pakistan.

Berlin is a friendly city with a lot of foreigners from EU, Eastern Europe, Middle East, etc so you won't feel like a stranger here.

orless 1 day ago 1 reply      
Where are you now? In Germany? Which city? Do you have a permit to stay/work (Niederlassungserlaubnis or similar) or are you a "native"?

I'm not from Berlin but my impression is that it's an interesting city to work and live. Has highest concentration of the startup scene in Germany. Cost of living is lower than in other places like Frankfurt or Munich, but salaries are also somewhat lower.

So the whole thing really depends on your personal situation, your goals and the offer that you have. If you tell more about yourself you might get a better advice.

tlubinski 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Do it. Great city, great way of living. Already a lot of good answers here. I spent more than 15 years here and still love it.
Ask HN: Tips for overheating laptop running linux
2 points by giis  16 hours ago   3 comments top 3
jmnicolas 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Is it second hand ? You could open it to see if the fan is still working or if there's an accumulation of dust.
Raed667 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Check you GPU driver. On Ubuntu switching from the open-sourced to the nvidia driver fixed the heating problem.
greenokapi 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Try changing CPU Governors.
Ask HN: Could we add social features (e.g. likes) to the email standard?
1 point by sawwit  10 hours ago   5 comments top 3
_RPM 2 hours ago 0 replies      
The last thing I want is someone being able to "like" my emails. Email is supposed to be a conversation between the sender and recipient. "likes" would be far from appropriate.
greenyoda 10 hours ago 1 reply      
The nice thing about the e-mail standard is that it's a standard - the basic features work in the expected way no matter what e-mail client you're using. If you add all these features on top of it, people won't be able to use them unless they use a client that supports these features. When I send an e-mail, I don't want to have to think about whether the recipient will have the ability to read it.
DrScump 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Wouldn't that all be transmitted in the clear? I see a lot of risk of privacy leakage.
Ask HN: What do you think of a real-time travel app
1 point by snehesht  1 hour ago   discuss
Cycle detection in GraphX / Spark?
2 points by rcorcs  1 day ago   discuss
Ask HN: I have built a python to objc transpiler
5 points by askie  1 day ago   8 comments top 2
gamesbrainiac 1 day ago 1 reply      
The only thing that I'd tell you to do, is that if you really want to make this a success, you'll need to open source it, build a movement around it, one that is bigger than you and the library and start thinking about pitching this to people.

You also want to start learning about VCs, and what it takes to make it through their assessment rounds.

I'm a big python fan, and if you think your library really is better than Kiwi, and will stay that way for years to come, then go for it.

imakesnowflakes 1 day ago 1 reply      
Is python3 meta programming features supported?
Ask HN: Going to meet one of the world's top string theorist what should I ask?
6 points by guybrushT  1 day ago   7 comments top 6
davismwfl 1 day ago 0 replies      
I agree with the other commenters. Don't try to interview him, unless that is why this was setup. I have to imagine it was setup with some intent because either you have a passion for physics or something where your friend felt it wouldn't be a waste of Mr Witten's time.

Seriously, after reading his wiki page, he obviously seems like one hell of an intelligent person. But something else struck me, he's been married since 1979 to the same person who is also a professor of physics, plus they have kids that all appear to have done quite well. I'd be more curious to see how they balanced their life and were successful in raising kids that have passion and are doing well, at least from their basic bios.

Everyone probably asks him physics questions, but chatting with him about the everyday things to me could be way more interesting, and wouldn't feel interviewee. But that may just be me. I would want to ask him what he feels is his best accomplishment professionally and personally. That is always interesting to hear.

Tomte 1 day ago 0 replies      
Unless you're a physicist yourself I don't see much value in asking physics questions. You'd probably get out more from any introductory text.

Ask him about his interests beside physics. Philosophy. Art. Whatever.

But most of all, don't pester him. If he seems receptive to those "big questions", great! If not, just do normal smalltalk.

fisk 1 day ago 0 replies      
If it's a friendly lunch, I would advise to treat it mostly as a friendly lunch and not too much as an interview.
rtl49 1 day ago 0 replies      
He has a very interesting background -- as an undergraduate he studied history and linguistics, and began studies in economics before switching to applied math, and then physics. Clearly he has some of the "wide-eyed wanderer" in his personality, in addition to remarkable intellect. I'm betting he will direct the conversation more than you might assume, and will be able to speak with interest about any subject you might wish to discuss.

Don't worry about it -- be yourself.

lenomad 1 day ago 0 replies      
Just out of curiosity, what did you talk about? (assuming the lunch is already over)
edimaudo 1 day ago 1 reply      
Can he concatenate a string?
Ask HN: A Laptop that outsources processing to a Desktop?
6 points by imakesnowflakes  1 day ago   28 comments top 11
vytautask 1 day ago 1 reply      
Just buy an ultrabook/some laptop with good screen, good network card and long-lasting battery. If heat is the problem for you, I would suggest some aluminum-encased laptop that would disperse heat more easily. IMHO, probably Google chromebook (https://www.google.com/chromebook/) is the kind of device you are looking for...

Also what you need is a remote desktop app. There are quite a few nowadays (from "Remote Desktop" in Windows, to TeamViewer, VNC or etc.). A quite good list is in wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_remote_desktop_s... .

j2bax 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Are you thinking of something similar to the Wii U controller which can play games wirelessly from the Wii U via a direct link?

Edit: more info on the Wii U game pad link. http://www.polygon.com/2012/11/16/3653294/wii-u-range-test-g...

ripken 1 day ago 0 replies      
Amazon workspaces + what's called a zero client


veddox 1 day ago 2 replies      
Wouldn't that be terribly inefficient? I'm hazarding a guess here, but I think that no matter what kind of networking technology you use, it's going to be dreadfully slow as compared to doing it locally.

Plus, the laptop would lose 90% of its mobility advantage, as it would always have to be in the (network-) vicinity of a desktop.

DrScump 1 day ago 0 replies      
You mean, like an X terminal?

Actually, a Chromebook is kind of like that - a browser only.

bigiain 1 day ago 0 replies      
I know people who do this with EC2 instances. You don't even need to own a powerful desktop to make this work.

(thin client, fat client, thin client - the more things change the more they stay the same...)

vansteen 1 day ago 0 replies      
I never heard about such a device but I have a Motorola LAPDOCK to control my raspberry. I guess the raspberry could be adapted to control a distant desktop (adding a wifi or bluetooth card, a battery of some sort and a VNC-like software)

Or even using a Motorola LAPDOCK + Smartphone with remote-control app

See Motorola Lapdock: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004M17D62/

CyberFonic 1 day ago 1 reply      
Have you looked at VNC? It does exactly what you are describing. See: http://www.tightvnc.com/
LarryMade2 1 day ago 0 replies      
Sounds a lot like the Linux Terminal Server Project


michaelbuddy 1 day ago 0 replies      
it's kind of what a steam machine link device and the new xbox one streaming are. You are able to run games on a less powerful system as long as the wifi or hard wired network are pretty robust.
dont-be-rude 14 hours ago 1 reply      
> Do some basic Googling and gaining of situational awareness before asking flat-out dumb questions. Exercise some basic critical thinking.

There's no need to be so rude. Telling someone they are being "flat-out dumb" is not appropriate discourse on HN.

Ask HN: When iterating, how do you decide which user subset to gravitate toward?
3 points by mikemajzoub  1 day ago   3 comments top 2
joshmlewis 1 day ago 1 reply      
It depends on if these are paying users or not. I'm assuming yes so the answer is simple, the ones that will pay for it.

I heard a great analogy recently that a startup is basically like consulting for a very specific use case of customers in the early days. One of the trickiest thing in building a product users love is figuring out what feedback is fluff and what is real. The best way to determine this is to first see if there are common patterns in the feedback your are getting. If yes, that's a good sign. Next is to see if you can get a few of these users to pay for it.

If they'll pay for it before it's even built, you know it's a real problem. If it's something they will commit to pay for (on paper) once it's built, that's still good but be more cautious. If you get excuses or any other non-comital response, then it's more than likely not something worth building right now.

One cautionary note here is to be careful not to go down a rabbit hole for one customer. You don't want to start building features that are just applicable to one specific customer early on unless they are paying you a significant amount of money. The ideal scenario for building a software product is to leverage feature requests that multiple users/customer have toward the long-term objectives of the product.

dyeje 1 day ago 0 replies      
Which user base has more growth potential? Which user base gets more value out of the product? Which user base is more likely to pay you for the product?
How expensive is SF rent? Use Unix commands to find out
4 points by jph  2 days ago   9 comments top 5
gesman 1 day ago 0 replies      
@echo "very expensive"
anon6_ 1 day ago 1 reply      

 num: command not found tr: Illegal byte sequence

atsaloli 1 day ago 1 reply      
I had a perl script to do mean, median and std dev; it'd be great to have this functionality available through the OS vendor as a package.
DrScump 2 days ago 1 reply      
What happens if the price overflows the limit of a 32-bit integer?
romanovcode 1 day ago 1 reply      
sed: RE error: illegal byte sequencegawk: cmd. line:1691: fatal: division by zero attempted
Ask HN: How can I influence a change in this development process?
5 points by notinreallife  2 days ago   4 comments top 3
seanwilson 1 day ago 0 replies      
> The reporter logs a ticket into JIRA often lacking how to reproduce the bug, and what the expected results are

Could you funnel bug reports through a form that requires fields to be filled out before submission? If the report is still seriously lacking, use a canned reply asking for more information and close the report if this isn't given. Also, could you require the bug reporter to write step-by-step what QA must do to replicate?

spitcode 2 days ago 0 replies      
The key sentence is here: "Management doesn't want to enforce a process because it slows everything down."

Sounds like you answered your own question, resign move on then watch that ship burn, there is a limit to how much change a person could influence.

Sorry I know it is negative to think of it this way but its really hard to find a team that follows a process you enjoy. If you love testing and think that its the right way find a team that does that, don't waste time trying to convince people with a different mind set.

davismwfl 2 days ago 1 reply      
Management not wanting to enforce a process because of speed will change, it always does once they see clients leaving because of software quality and feature development slowing down.

The problem is between now and then in addition to hoping the pendulum doesn't swing too far the other direction.

Process doesn't have to slow everything down, my guess is you have one of two types of management or maybe both feeding off each other. A, you have young new founders/management that doesn't have experience with good process so they think all process just gets in the way. B, you have some experienced management that only came from or experienced heavy overbearing development processes.

The fact they have hired any type of QA means they do want improvement, but just are failing to see how to get it there. You will always find that QA requires some hand holding, but in the right situation it shouldn't be taking up the majority of your time.

Depending on what your current role is and what you desire to do and whether you like it there all affects what you can do and how to approach it. If you really love it there but are frustrated you can still try and help things get better. Process can be as simple as starting a daily standup on the QA issues and go over them. But to keep the fear down over the "process", don't make it formal yet, just get people together and say hey lets chat about X and Y and try and save us all some time. And just start doing it, don't ask for permission, don't say it is a process. You can influence how things work by influencing the people doing the work regardless of whom they work for etc. You can start small and do little things like this, and when you start seeing results and say you start getting to code 20% more of the time then celebrate that with an email to the group. By doing that you are telling them wow look at how much more productive I have become, oh yea, its from some changes in how we are working. See what I am getting at? Also, you could try another idea of getting 2-3 of the devs together and agreeing that you will each take one week of the month and handle training QA how to test the resolved defects for that week. It also provides a second pair of eyes on defects and cross trains people into other fixes. Or suggest your management hire a development intern for this type of work.

I am not blowing smoke, I have done this more then once. As a consultant, many times I have been asked to come in and fix things, but I am immediately seen as the outsider and people don't want their processes (or lack thereof) to change etc. So instead you have to be creative in getting the teams to buy into the changes without making it seem like you are creating any bad roadblocks etc. And celebrating little wins is usually really helpful. BTW -- doing it the grassroots way takes a lot longer then having someone in management sponsoring the change or demanding it, but honestly, I think the grassroots team way usually sticks better over time.

AWS is having network connectivity issues
7 points by rabidonrails  2 days ago   1 comment top
api 2 days ago 0 replies      
Someday when this happens your thermostat, stove, refrigerator, and can opener will stop working because they can't contact 'the cloud.'
Why SSL-everywhere is not necessarily a good idea in all circumstances
5 points by lisper  2 days ago   10 comments top 5
Alupis 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's taking your connection 7 seconds to ping google.com.

No, we're not going to prevent and/or stone-wall encryption just so a connection with an average 7+ second latency works marginally better.

As an aside - this satellite connection is one of the worst ones I've seen. Old satellite connections are supposed to be on average about 1 second of latency[1] (and that's considered bad).

[1] http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2013/02/satell...

Someone1234 2 days ago 1 reply      
The internet should be designed for 99% of users in 99% of cases. One edge case, while unfortunate, is not a very strong argument for why everyone sitting in Starbucks or McDonalds deserves to have their internet activity spied upon by anyone with a copy of Wireshark.

You may wish to get Opera browser and utilise their "Turbo" service (it is an optimising proxy, it compresses the page content, removing several round-trips, etc). Should have smooth out the issues a little bit.

i336_ 2 days ago 0 replies      
I learned a little while ago of the kinds of techniques games use to stay in near-realtime. One of these was "UDP spraying", repeatedly sending the same data packets (in a tight loop, using a significant amount of bandwidth) until they're acknowledged.

By your description it sounds like your current location is temporary (which is fortunate ;P) but that you'll revisit this location in the future, so it might be worth your while to explore different UDP data transfer algorithms once you're back with sane Internet, then test said techniques when you revisit where you are now.

Best case scenario, you might be able to tunnel TCP over some kind of "best effort" UDP retry algorithm that overcomes a proportion of the losses; it should be possible (while complicated) to implement a more intelligent packet-loss mitigation system that handles significantly broken connections better than TCP does.

A far simpler system might be a VT100-esque text terminal running on top of a best-effort transfer layer like those described above. The only problem with this method would be the input latency, although it may fare better than a browser overall (!).

Also, I'm not sure if it's relevant (my understanding of networking is sketchy), but I find it amusing that's description is "Zerolag Communications" xD (http://bgp.he.net/net/

adunna 2 days ago 0 replies      
There are plenty of situations in which SSL-everywhere is not useful, but it doesn't mean it isn't a good idea. You have a choice to encrypt your communications, and if you choose not to, you never know who is listening. A simple Google search isn't cause to need SSL usually, but say many various searches could give people insight into what your lifestyle is, and could narrow down various facts and information about you.
drdeca 2 days ago 1 reply      
kinda off topic question but : Why is this under the "ask hn" label? It doesn't seem to be a question. Is it because the title starts with the word "why"? (Are submissions put under the sections based on titles automatically?)
       cached 22 November 2015 05:05:04 GMT