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Ask HN: Novelty addiction is ruining my life and career. What should I do?
154 points by atemerev  19 hours ago   171 comments top 55
duncanawoods 9 hours ago 5 replies      
I have found people like you really useful to know because you have had contact with such a broad range of techs that when I have a problem, I can quiz you and get some killer pointers for where to look next.

I wouldn't want you to change, just to find your place in the world and satisfaction in being naturally you. Its like you have pockets full of keys and really good at finding new keys just no locks to use them with. There are other people who have the opposite problem and have locks they obsess over but find looking for keys exhausting, frustrating and confusing. You can be a force multiplier for them.

One idea, if you wrote a blog about each new thing you try, you accidentally create something "you stick with" because its about all the things you are not sticking with :) When your attention moves on, its not a failure any more because each article is a success. Documenting what you are doing might also let you spot some patterns that take you to the next level.

I wonder if you might find teaching \ training a rewarding occupation. Keeping up with continually moving tech and having a breadth of knowledge might make you excellent at that.

y0y 13 hours ago 4 replies      
Do you often show up to work late? Are you seen as generally unreliable? (Be honest with yourself.)

Do you procrastinate a lot?

Do you have a hard time transitioning? Are you late for things because you a) can't accurately estimate time and b) can't pull yourself away from the thing you're doing at that moment even though you know you're going to be late if you don't?

Do you have a very unstructured sleep schedule?

Do you have high impulsivity? Spending (sounds like it)? Speeding? Substance abuse - including alcohol?

Did you breeze through HS with decent grades without trying but then suddenly find college and its unstructured environment and lack of supervision much harder and hard for you to succeed in?

If you answer yes to many of those questions, then you may want to talk to a psychiatrist about the potential for you being ADHD.

I was very much the same way and was diagnosed at age 29. Best thing to happen to me. I've managed to turn my career and my personal life around.

Everything you describe sounds like the impulsive behavior of ADHD to me, but I am not a medical professional and I am not trying to diagnose you. You just sound an awful lot like I once did.

Best of luck..

tunesmith 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I know you can't share your entire life context in a short question, but upon reading this I really wondered if the employers that fired you would have described novelty-addiction as your problem. In many cases, "novelty" is just another word for "avoidance".

Is it possible you are just abandoning ship on any project as soon as it gets hard? The first few stages of any tech - googling, researching, following tutorials - is pretty easy. Shorter projects are easier than longer projects.

When you read textbooks, do you actually do the exercises, or do you just skim? There's an entire second part of learning that involves thrashing and struggling against your own limitations as soon as the tutorials run out, and that's where the real learning is. The trick to that is to accept that it's supposed to be hard and you're supposed to feel helpless and dumb when it happens. The successful ones are the ones that keep trying anyway in spite of their own feelings of stupidity.

Anyway, ignore this comment if it doesn't apply, but your question can be read in a variety of different ways, and this one interpretation is just if you haven't toughened up and learned some tenacity.

jng 10 hours ago 2 replies      
Fixing that may take a long time, but it will probably fix your whole life, so it's worth it to just focus on this instead on software or work. Dedicate to work only the minimum necessary time for survival.

There are probably a number of causes, but coffee may be one of them. Don't be radical, but if you're having too much coffee, I'd suggest cutting down to just one coffee in the morning. It will take a bit of effort but may help you concentrate.

Then I suggest you try to focus on finishing things as the main goal. You have to get rid of the addiction to the rush of novelty, but you can get addicted to the rush of publishing, with obviously positive results. In order to do this, lower the bar enormously. Take only TINY projects: writing a short article or even a tweet. Writing a tiny piece of software that does something. Cleaning up one corner of your disk. It is key that you accept average or even poor quality, that shouldn't be a consideration. And it is very, very helpful that you publish the result: post the essay on Twitter, Facebook, or a blog. Upload the code to github and share it. Obviously, cleaning up your disk drive isn't so amenable to be published, so maybe you want to write a line in an "achieved.txt" file.

Make sure we are talking really small projects here, and that we are not expecting anything from them but completing them. They will be small and mediocre. No problem at all! You can't solve everything at the same time. Make things small enough that their scope fall under your current reach, which you said is tiny - so make tiny thing! Err on the side of caution. You want to make sure you complete them. Half-an-hour projects are perfectly fine here!!

Do this for a week and recap.

roneesh 16 hours ago 2 replies      
You might be a good candidate to teach at a coding bootcamp.

PROS:1. Your energy level would match the students2. You could make sure the curriculum stays up to date, and every few years transition some large parts of the curriculum to a new language/framework.3. You have tons of experience to draw for the many left-field questions you would get4. The consistent new influx of students might feed that need you have for novelty

CONS:1. Not sure if you could teach each session knowing 80-90% is the same content as the last, but you're just changing 10-20% for this batch.2. Could you handle answering some of the same newbie questions every 3 months?3. They would, like most jobs, want you to stick around, but this isn't a total CON, they are likely more amenable to you leaving than almost any corporate gig.

So maybe it's something to consider!

I do think you might need some more help in managing this, but in the meantime, you can always find work that fits what some part of you needs right now.

invalidOrTaken 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Most addictions are flights from rather than flights to.

I realized embarrassingly recently that I am a mental coward---if I don't like the implications of something, I just don't think about it. This is surprisingly non-disabling in a classroom setting, especially if you enjoy learning. It is a no-good for homework, though. I was everyone's favorite student---and failing.

My fear of unpleasant mental work ( http://paulgraham.com/schlep.html) led to an inexperience with mental work, making the fear worse.

When I untangled all this, the solution manifested itself in a few different pieces:

1. I gave up on the entitlement of always being in a flow state. This was scary, and my faith helped.

2. I started my days by planning them. I am actually not very good at this, and often I just write "coding" for a significant portion of the day, but the biggest benefit here is that I force myself to think about whatever it is I don't want to think about.

3. At the end of the day, I write down what I did that day. This forces me to confront myself about whether I'm planning badly or not.


staunch 16 hours ago 1 reply      
(This is intended as just another idea to think about)

The long-term passion and commitment come after some level of success, not before.

Steve Jobs didn't dream of dedicating his life to Personal Computing. It was his early successes that fed into his self-image and a feeling that it was what he was meant to do.

Maybe you need to find the right project.

Turn your weakness into a strength by publicly launching a new project every week. A new mobile app, web site, screencast, open source project, whatever. They don't have to be good, just a bit useful. Make things that you want and try to give them away and/or sell them to other people.

There are a lot of ways to make a living as a skilled programmer. Most people have trouble finding the right kind of project, and that's mostly because they don't iterate quickly enough.

brandonmenc 15 hours ago 1 reply      
> Is there a cure from novelty-seeking behavior?

Start a project, commit to the technologies beforehand, and deviate under no circumstances.

Facebook was built with PHP. AdWords was built with MySQL. Instagram was built with Django. GitHub was built with Rails. Stack Overflow was built with Microsoft technologies.

It seems there are few instances where a "boring" tech stack prevents the product from being built. If the idea is good enough, you'll make it work with what's on hand.

If you can commit to a stack, yet still can't finish a project, you may have to face some uncomfortable possibilities: that your ideas are no good, or that you're simply not a very good programmer.

Attention span is a requirement for being a decent programmer.

tudorw 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Hunter or farmer?

The hunter seeks new challenges, is less risk adverse, needs to be good at responding to the unknown and seeks the thrill of the pursuit and catch.

The farmer is more risk adverse and has the patience and diligence to gain satisfaction from seeing plans develop, mature and deliver results.

For me, while a definition of ADHD delivered by someone trained in identifying personality traits might be useful in developing a perspective on the strengths and weakness of one's personality, one might choose a more 'active' approach and look at the techniques that can help mitigate the most destructive aspects of the 'condition'.

Everyone is unique, we are somewhere on a bell curve and I don't believe that classification is particularly helpful, knowing one's self is not always any help in changing the status quo.

In terms of advice, I've never met anyone who has come to any harm from seeking talking therapy, I loved CBT and met a very nice councillor with a 'holistic' approach, trained in many diverse disciplines and with a very rounded and realistic angle, baby steps towards things you want to change.

Good Luck :)

pbreit 14 hours ago 4 replies      
I know I'm a monster but my answer would be something along the lines of "suck it up". We're on this planet for 80 years or so. There's going to be some repetition. Not everything is going to be "novel". Best to train yourself to lose this odd hang up.
theWold 17 hours ago 1 reply      
I would second a therapist/counselor/etc. Did that during college (thanks to the couseling services my Uni provided), and it helped me just not feel too crazy.

I spent a long while, and still do, thinking about what am I heading towards. I know a lot of people don't know this and there is no way I will ever know all the details to make a decision, but I prefer the 'fail to plan, plan to fail' montra. Thus I plan, but am willing to scrap my planes in the wink of an eye, contingent on new infromation.

This is what I did and maybe you'll find something helpful in this method. Find what makes you tick. Make a list of things you enjoy doing. Try to be specific as you can. (You like novelty. Okay then maybe something like 'I like to learn a new trade skill (wood carving, stained glass, etc.) every 6 months.') Try to begin to boil it down to a long list. Keep adding things to the list, and take a break from the list every now and again (just to bring a fresh pair of eyes to it). If an idea seems broad, try to break it down (when I did/do this, I try to be able to tell someone the idea and they would be able to go out and do it exactly how it is in my head).

Then next to the list make columns like 'Financially sound ideas' (buying 32 Raspberry PIs to make a large cluster computer is not as financailly sound as Learning how apache2 works), 'Speed of doing' (you can learn how to write C at a basic level in an afternoon, but learning how to weld may take you longer), 'Practical for you to do' (if you weigh 400lbs and wanting to go backpacking through the Rockies is not as practical as learning how to write better on a whiteboard), 'It would bring me immediate gratitude', 'it would bring me long term gratitude', etc.

After you make a large list rank each column with 1-5 or some other ranking system (I liked the 1-5 because I could say I really hate, sort of hate, neutral, like, love an idea). Then you can hopefully start to see things that rank high in each category you made. (e.x. I really want to take a trip around South America (drive for two weeks or so through the Andes). It isn't practicle, it isn't quick to do, it isn't finacially sound, but it would be one hell of a memory. It is something I want to strive towards and go one day.)

angdis 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I have some similarities with you. 8 full-time jobs in 15 years all after a 9 year stint in graduate school where I quit a PHD program. I also crave trying new things even when they're risky, much to the horror of the people I work with (I'm in manufacturing, so I deal with operations and supply-chain people everyday).

You cannot "cure" what you find motivating. Just learn to live with it and perhaps force yourself to take longer "tours of duty" in jobs. Consecutive jobs held less than 1 year is universally considered a red flag by employers, as is getting fired. Engagements lasting 2 years in fast-paced industries are generally OK. If you're good at what you do you can probably control your urge to quit for a bit longer and do enough to not get fired. 2 years is not a long time and if you're able to do other things besides work, it can be a great advantage to have a job while exploring new things.

Another thing to consider is your life outside of work and your relationships with family or a significant other. If you're defining yourself strictly through work and ignoring the role you play in the lives of others, you're going experience some profound disappointments. In other words, perhaps your career decisions aren't really the root cause of your turmoil-- perhaps it is something far more personal? In that case nothing you do related to work will resolve your issues. YMMV-- just a thought to consider.

rachelandrew 12 hours ago 0 replies      
My own experience is that I look for novelty outside of the main job I'm doing.

Our product (https://grabaperch.com) is a PHP and MySQL CMS. A self-hosted PHP and MySQL CMS. That means that we are not only PHP, but we have to support really old PHP, we support right back to PHP5.3 as that is the reality of the terrible shared hosting people use. Then in the UI we have to support the browsers that our customer's clients use. So we can't use all the latest front-end techniques.

So it's very easy to get bored and not learn anything new.

To counteract that my personal projects tend to be about really new stuff, for example I've spent a lot of time writing and talking about an emerging CSS spec that interests me. I tend to implement new and interesting things in our own stack too where we don't have the constraints that the product does.

So my best advice would be to see if you can channel your novelty seeking into places outside of work, and accept that work sometimes involves having to stick at something that is boring. Sad but true!

coldtea 14 hours ago 0 replies      
>I realised that the only thing that motivates me in software engineering is learning new things

One could question if you really "learn" those new things, instead of merely skimming over them, since you don't seem to stay with them long enough to really get into the details.

Maybe what you're afraid is really learning? Which involves comitting to a stack, and also getting to the parts where a project approaches being finished, which is where the real and important issues emerge.

ldd 14 hours ago 1 reply      
I will try another approach that has not been mentioned so far.

I know this is HN, but you haven't really mentioned anything about novelty outside software. Now, I will try to not make assumptions, but is it perhaps that you are only seeking novelty in a very constrained way, which makes you feel uneasy about your choices?

What type of food do you eat? What hobbies do you pursue? Maybe you have a very monotonous life (or at least you think you have it) and try to compensate in your career with novelty.

If I were in your position, I would first write down when and where I experience these 'novelty rushes'. The key here is not looking at these notes after you write them for at least a couple of weeks. After a couple of weeks doing this, look at what you wrote and see if it maybe has to do with other factors in your life (maybe you rush to try something new after an argument with your wife, when you don't drink your coffee in the morning or when you don't go running for 1 or 2 days)

Perhaps it has nothing to do with your life outside this area, but maybe you just like reading documentation. At any rate, writing down what you are doing when you get these 'novelty rushes' would help you identify the problem. Hopefully.

LargeCompanies 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I am much like you, yet am older and I too havent been able to hold a dev job for longer then a year. My addiction is the high obtained from starting up and the opportunities that always seem to knock and i pursue, yet never work out.

I recently had an awesome remote front end gig, yet this crazy outlandish opportunity knocked and I tried to ignore it, but they kept knocking (reality TV show for startups), so I gave up my job for it. I didnt make it that far in the competition, so now I am jobless .. late 30s .. similar debt .. dont own my own home .... no family and g/f is tired of my lifestyle/gave up on me.

Overall you are not alone .. this stuff for those who struggle with business guys/girls (im an inventor), don't have rich relatives or friends (investors to help you have a long runway to figure your road to success) isn't easy. Yet, we continue to do it ... it is an addiction, yet again Im too old now to drop everything(as I just did).

Also, there are so many of us in the industry who jump from one dev job to another for various reasons. Again, you are not alone ... we all have the desire to leave our mark on this earth and or just do what we love to do.. create awesome stuff on the web! Ironically my stuff helps me get jobs and then as you can see above distracts me from keeping many great steady jobs(but I AM DONE unless those who knock offer me loads of money & or a solid job doing what I love to do; invent).

kevinr 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Have you considered a career in information/computer security?

I have some of the same tendencies, and infosec has given me all the entertainment I can handle and then some.

(There are other fields adjacent to software engineering which you might prefer as well---consulting, operations.)

rybosome 11 hours ago 1 reply      
> I realised that the only thing that motivates me in software engineering is learning new things and trying new fancy toys, not building something working and useful

I used to feel this way as well, but at some point things changed for me and I began to care deeply about the impact of a technology far more than what components it was assembled with. The obsessive, myopic phase is good for awhile because it gives you the motivation to build useful skills when doing so is hard work, though it does become a burden eventually for the reasons you list.

Others have recommended speaking with a therapist or counsellor, and I agree with that advice; you may be surprised at how deeply-held attitudes or patterns of thought can hold you back.

Finally, I can tell you what changed my goals, though this is obviously anecdotal and not treatment advice. I joined a big tech company, which gave me the ability to work on projects with a ton of reach. I didn't realize how tired I was of working on little-used web apps and experimental stuff that never saw the light of day until experiencing the contrast.

innertracks 14 hours ago 2 replies      
I can relate I think. Whether you need a cure or not is probably a question for you and a therapist. Ask about sliding fee scales and other options.

My story and maybe something for you to explore. I never held a job longer than 24 months when I was younger. Not being able to figure out a career direction and trying to get some direction in 2000 I sought testing at a great organization called Johnson O'Connor Research Foundation. They do aptitude testing and have been for 70+ years. Lots of data and studies on job satisfaction, aptitudes (which are different from both interests and skills), and success. Check out their web site they have some great info.

I tested high aptitude (80 - 99th percentile I think) on about 1/2 of the 19 or 20 aptitudes they've identified in their research. About 10% of the population tests this way. Most people have 3 or 4 max. The problem is if the aptitudes don't get used they agitate. Deeply. Like having a team of 20 sled dogs all fighting to run and no sled to pull or direction to go.

So I have learned I must use them or suffer the consequences. For example, Argentine Tango exercises my musical and social aspects. Engineering aptitudes, inductive reasoning, rapid idea generation, etc... all need expression. Some more so than others. Ideaphoria is rapid idea generation, handy in marketing or teaching, and a real pain if it is suppressed.

Commonly people with many aptitudes have a lot of difficulty with careers. Some use seasonal work or multiple part-time jobs or many different activities in one job to deal with what can often be conflicting drives.

Whether or not you are in this situation I don't know. What I did learn that may be of help was that I needed to respect the cards I was dealt in life. Gifts or burdens depended on how I looked at things. It's okay to have multiple projects and very diverse abilities and interests. Some may get abandoned quickly while others stick around.

Sharing seems to help. Get a blog up and start writing about all your projects. The ones that work and the ones that don't! For some reason sharing project results seems to help regardless of how they turn out. For example, I just had a surprising and inspiring response from HN readers on a blog post I wrote in November. I didn't realize other people would find what I was doing interesting enough to discuss!

I'm going to be 50 this summer and finally feel like I'm getting a handle on things. Keep at it. I hope some of this was useful. Get the help you need as you find the resources. Take care of your health, physical and emotional,and honor your gifts.

peterkelly 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Here's how to turn your "problem" into an advantage:


You love learning new stuff, but get bored quickly. Seize the enthusiasm you have for a new technology while you've got it, and make the most of it. Create books, online courses (e.g. Udemy), and blog about what you're learning. Build up experience and a reputation as someone who can turn lots of new and confusing technologies into stuff that helps other people learn.

If you already have, or can develop, the skills necessary to write and present well, after 2-3 years you could have a pretty impressive portfolio of material. If you can successfully monetise that, you've got yourself a career that fits your working style.

I recommend checking out the book "Authority" by Nathan Barry: http://nathanbarry.com/authority/

jharohit 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I would suggest create a profile on Upwork.com (or some other active freelancing website) and list down your areas of knowledge. Price yourself competitively - slightly below average rates so as not be considered cheap and low quality but not overpriced as well.

This will help in 2 ways:1) Slowly bring in cash which will tackle your $50k debt in definite time period. Remember "compounding" is the biggest weapon!2) The client's project will be short self contained tasks which will bind you in a timeframe to complete stuff. This is very important if you want to grow the focus and tenacity that you lack right now.

After a couple of months or a year, you will notice substantial benefits. The big debt will have come down a lot + you would have learnt to execute on ideas.

Now you will finally be ready to execute on your own stuff and make it big hopefully.

(Advice rendered from personal experiences!)

mindcrime 14 hours ago 2 replies      
I can relate. I get bored really quickly as well, and I am one of those people who usually kicks ass at a new job for about the first year, and then starts to tail off after that because I'm bored out of my mind.

I've found two things that seem to help:

1. Start a startup. I started Fogbeam at least in part because it gives me an outlet to pursue things that are interesting to me, and a place to work on really cool new cutting edge stuff, even if my day-job doesn't. Back at my last "boring enterprise software development" job, I found that coming home and working on Fogbeam stuff helped keep me sane. (Note: in my scenario the startup is just a side project, but if you have savings or feel like raising money, I suppose you could just jump into it full time. YMMV)

2. Become a consultant. I started consulting for Mammoth Data back in 2012, and I've found that this consulting lifestyle is quite a bit more interesting than the typical "sit at the same desk, working on the same product, with the same people" routine. I'm constantly working on new and different things... every project is different, and since we focus on "Big Data", analytics, BI, etc., there's a non-stop stream of new technologies being invented / released that we have to try and keep up with. In the past year or two I've worked with Neo4J, Hadoop, Spark, Storm, Kafka, Knox, HBase, Phoenix, Couchbase, EMR, Google's Cloud stuff, Impala, Kinesis, Pentaho, and probably some other stuff I'm forgetting. The downside, of course, is the need to travel a lot at times (which is another of those "good and bad" things) and the feeling you get sometimes that you're drowning in all this new stuff. Example: In the past month or two, 3 different major companies have released distributed Machine Learning platforms (Google, IBM and Microsoft). And every day or two there's some new Hadoop / Big Data related sub-project hitting the Apache Incubator. And as a consultant, I feel a need to be on top of all of that stuff.. which, unfortunately, it's pretty much impossible to be.

Another side-note: You may find that signing up for and taking lots of MOOC's on Coursera, Udacity, EdX, etc. may serve as an outlet for your neophilia, and might let you stay more focused at work. Just treat coming home and working on a cool new class on Machine Learning or Synthetic Biology or $WHATEVER as a reward for putting in a good day of hard, focused work at the day-job.

rifung 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't know if it will help but the way I tried to stop job hopping was to realize that I work to make a living, and if I want to learn stuff and play with new toys, I can do that on my own time. After all, they don't pay me to learn, they pay me to get stuff they need finished.

It sounds like you need to see a therapist. However I imagine that's difficult if you're in debt, so you probably need to first try to get a job and pay that off.

Honestly there's going to be parts of any job that you don't like. Unless you are filthy rich or have someone paying for you, you're going to have to do things even if they bore you sometimes. The best you can do is try to do them efficiently so you can spend more time learning.

ideaoverload 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Seek professional help,good therapist who you trust. People get treated for all kinds of addictions, your case likely will not be that special nor hard. I am not an expert but I would guess addiction may not be the only psychological problem to address. It might be expensive but should be worth it. Good luck.
adrtessier 17 hours ago 1 reply      
It sounds like you may be best off seeing a psychotherapist that may be able to help you better understand and control your novelty-seeking. Your pattern sounds self-destructive and it is obviously causing you distress.

Also: have you considered contract or consulting work? If you have the freedom to travel around for work, it can be more dynamic and rewarding than your current pattern.

vic_nyc 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Start a daily meditation practice. Just 15 minutes a day can work wonders - I speak from personal experience, having experienced some of those symptoms myself, and pretty much all of them gone. Here is a very effective one:


hcarvalhoalves 16 hours ago 0 replies      
You like technology and learning, but you don't have an engineer mindset.

You can look for research jobs or freelance, where you can try lots of things quickly.

Alternatively, find a business partner or team that complements your skills/interests.

clockwerx 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Oh and: want to market yourself as a tutor? I'd pay a reasonable rate for 1:1 tutoring on the math side of things for an hour or two a week. Get a few recurring people at the right rate, you get the novelty of a stream of problems others are trying to solve and an in depth way to see how others think.
mgmeyers 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I would recommend a 10 day vipassana meditation retreat (they're free). They're extremely difficult, but participating in one will jolt you out of your cycle of cravings.
rathereasy 12 hours ago 0 replies      
There's nothing wrong with you. Your passion for novelty and learning can be a huge asset in the right environment. There are companies who hire software engineers to quickly build proof of concept prototypes to then throw the prototypes away. You might be a good fit for that. I know Nuance in Montreal has teams that do it.

Also, you might want to consider switching to front end software development if you haven't already. There's always a new framework or library to learn in front end development and the development cycles are shorter.

oneJob 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Also, check out the book "Changing For Good" by James Prochaska. There is quote, (not from the book) "Trying to define yourself is like trying to bite your own teeth." So bounce ideas off people you know and trust. Seek council and constructive criticism. Read evidence based "self help" books. Get a life coach. Because, "I want to change this or that about me" is never as simple as it seems. Especially if you want to make it a beneficial change.
wwwater 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I would look at the problem differently. I think this approach when you try to accept that you are "broken" or "ill" does not really help or motivate. I would consider myself, my brain, my subconsciousness as a one whole and try to interpret the signs it gives me. Like if you are bored by a project, that does not mean that you are a bad person who has problems with concentration or something. It might mean that it is not complex enough for you.

There is this theory that says that for every IQ level you have to find an appropriate occupation. If the occupation does not require the whole your potential, you feel bored. If it requires higher abstract capacities than you have, you feel overwhelmed. So the thing is to find your level.

On my previous job I switched projects every 6 months. At the beginning they all sounded so exciting, I didn't know anything about things that I would have to do on them, so I was so eager to start them and learn all the stuff. But after 3-4 months they were so boring, I was struggling so much and then I always inevitably landed in my boss office telling him that I cannot stand it anymore and I have to switch the project otherwise I have to leave the company. But the thing is this subconscious urge to do something different is much stronger than rational thoughts. I can fight for some time with myself and then I give up.

But then I decided to switch the whole industry where I was working. And now I am incredibly happy with that switch. Now I am on the same project for 8 months and it is nowhere any sings that I wanna jump to the next thing. It is very different here and the tasks I have, they require really whole my mental capacities leaving no place for boredom.

So what I wanted to say is that IT project != IT project. You can use the same programming language to build something that is not that complex in its nature and it will make you bored, or you can use it to solve a very complex problem and then you don't need to satisfy your thirst with new technology because the project itself is already demanding whole your mental abstract capacities.

So what I would do in your place, is that I would try to find an industry which is not only using new shiny tools but also builds something extremely complex. You have to find a complexity level appropriate for your. So take something that you think you are not capable of (something with complex math or physics or whatever) and see whether you can deal with that.

mattdesl 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I feel a bit like this sometimes. It is one of the reasons I embrace small JavaScript modules on npm. You can write a 100-line module with a narrow scope. It can quickly (even on first release) reach a stable and frozen API, and it will prove useful for years to come.

It allows you to experiment with a wide range of topics while still providing useful contributions to the community.

hittudiv 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I am on similar lines, but i have a stable job .. (changed 3 jobs in the last 6 years). I quit my own startup because its boring. I cant stick to a project for more than a month.

Try working with a really growing startup you might like it. I was into infra for a while, the QA team, then development, then scaling dbs etc... Keep changing the role.

It is not just about the job. Try doing a course on coursera/edX. I do multiple courses across very different domains. I did Mathematics, biology, Electronics, then philosophy, Quantum computing etc. It gives you the element of "novelty" if the job doesnt interest you.

jeffmould 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I can somewhat relate. Although I was able to trace the cause of my novelty addiction to a particular job. I then built that into a career path for a bit (doing short term, very targeting consulting jobs. Most were subcontracts to larger projects) and oddly got tired of it and forced myself back to focusing on one thing. I do still find myself reverting back to always wanting to do new things. Usually I will devote a few hours a week just to doing something new or learning something new. Downtime between projects is used for learning as well. I make this a habit to feed my addiction to new things.

My first job in a R&D/Testing type role was working for an application service provider. I was responsible for evaluating new hardware from vendors before it would be released to our data centers. I had to not only test the hardware, but ensure the applications worked correctly, performance test, and document configurations. Each week was something new and I had great relationships with vendors such as Compaq, HP, Dell, and Microsoft that would constantly send demo hardware/software just so I could play. I left the job to take a position at Microsoft, and looking back regret it. I stayed at Microsoft for a little over a year for the same reason as you, I got bored. That is when I switched to just doing consulting.

But, if that doesn't work, I would look for positions in R&D for a company (that is the type of position where I traced my problem back to). Depending on the company/position you actually get paid to find and work with new "toys". Also, look at testing type positions.

illumen 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Craftsmanship. Quality.

There's always a new technique to master which can be brought upon in your work.

It is novel once you get there, but may take a while.

Quality construction, impeccable tailoring, expert craftsmanship these are the marks of quality.

There's novelty in the next feature around the corner, but there is beauty in something crafted.

Ecstatic pleasure can be obtained from crafting. Perhaps give it a go.

jwatte 15 hours ago 0 replies      
What kind of job requires novelty? How about reviewer/writer of new technology? How about testing of new products? May not pay as much as software engineering, but you seem to not actually be successful at doing that anyway.

Also, if you haven't yet talked about this with a mental health professional, you probably should. It may take trying a few before you find someone who understands your particular problem.

Scarblac 11 hours ago 0 replies      
You finished the level. Time to move on to the next.

You probably have a good idea how great software development should be done. But can you get 10 programmers to actually work like that and stay profitable, while they still don't resent you too much?

anaolykarpov 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Define for yourself a different set of objectives: find the novelty in staying 2, 3 years at a company, in having a life without debt, in having money set aside.Work for a company that has a big and complex project. There are projects where it's virtually impossible to get to know all the parts of the code. Lower a little bit your definition of novelty when you're at work: consider as new having to work on bugs/features that you don't have any idea where are situated in the codebase when you first hear about them.Remember, there are jobs where you have to work only 8 hours.

Take one of those jobs and spend your afternoons working on your own projects which can be implemented using whatever technology you want and can be as concrete as you want.

Look at your job as a necessary hell, but try to find the fun in it while at work and always remember that you have your fun projects back at home

stared 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I am a novelty-seeker and I've turned to freelancing (in my case: data science). A lot of short, fast paced projects, everyone being different and requiring me to learn new things.
redthrow 15 hours ago 0 replies      
You reminded me of an article by Nassim Taleb called "The Future Will Not be Cool":


j-l- 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Looks like you have to adjust your mindset (definitely not easy but probably achievable) or, if you are confident enough, to adjust your career. For example you can write articles and do workshops/lectures.Third option (more EU one than Swiss :) would be to postpone the decision.
matt_morgan 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I know it may not sound like it, but you could be depressed, or in any case treatment for it may help. Talk to your doctor, or get a recommendation for a therapist.
tvm 16 hours ago 2 replies      
Such behaviour can be hardcoded for certain types of personalities and is not bad per se. You're just trying to achieve something that isn't compatible with your personality.

I'd perhaps recommend doing an MBTI personality test (there's a bunch of them on the internet). This might help you to understand the mechanisms behind your behaviour and most importantly give you some hints how to make yourself useful.

I recommend to consider psychologist only as last resort.

tylercubell 12 hours ago 0 replies      
You ought to consider a career change. If what you've been doing for the past 12 years hasn't worked out, it's time to reflect and make some hard decisions. "If your only tool is a hammer, then every problem looks like a nail." The problem with the replies in this thread is most folks are from a tech background and are suggesting you double down on the software development path because that's all they know. From what you said about your job history and debt situation, this isn't working out so well for you. Why not pick up a skilled trade like plumbing, electrical, or HVAC? They all pay reasonably well, there's always something new to learn, and you're always going to new places and working on new jobs. And you'd be surprised how successful people with 'dirty jobs' are. [1]

[1] http://www.npr.org/2013/11/01/240780579/are-people-with-dirt...

dathrowaway 13 hours ago 1 reply      
That is a lot of debt. I was once in debt like that and I eventually found Debtors Anonymous to be very, very helpful. I ended up deciding my debating behavior was causing a lot of the other problems in my life and dealing with that really gave me the space to figure out my other problems.

DA website: http://www.debtorsanonymous.org/help/questions.htmThere is a meeting every day somewhere in the bay area. If you come to the friday night Laurel Height meeting you'll see me: http://www.ncdaweb.org/SF.html

encima 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I have a similar issue of self destructive behaviour with impulses I cannot control. An extreme solution that I was recommended by my therapist was DBT, it is less therapy and more learning to.control the urges.
nikanj 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Find a company that embraces neophilia, these guys for example https://blog.enki.com/coding-is-boring-unless-4e496720d664#....

"Component has bugs? Rewrite it in a new language!"

kazinator 14 hours ago 0 replies      
If we add CR to "neophilia" we get ...

The CR moves the cursor to the start of the line without a LF, so the "ne" prefix gets overwritten with the rest of the word.

Sheesh ... what did you all think I was talking about?

bbq 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Consulting firms will offer new projects every ~6mo.

There are research engineering jobs that also might be a good fit - you deal with a lot of different problems and get to satisfy your need to learn additionally from the researchers.

hnuser123 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I have seen plenty of jobs where requirements are to go for novel solutions, get preliminary results and then pass on the job of following up to another dept. I wouldn't say your case is bad, but just not a good fit. Nevertheless there should be balance in everything, getting fired twice in short time may not be a good sign.
finishingmove 6 hours ago 0 replies      
You should man the fuck up, and focus on doing your job, first and foremost.
eecks 8 hours ago 0 replies      
> I am a fairly decent software engineer,

You need to stop saying that. You're not a software engineer.

fivedogit 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I think you should sidestep into a related but more appropriate job.

Above all else, engineers should be obsessed with the proper functioning of a system, throughout all aspects - speed, security, robustness, etc. What tools are chosen are chosen only for the purposes of enhancing those goals. An true engineer senses these needs and works towards them uncompromisingly. To choose otherwise - for any reason - is to be a bad engineer, which it sounds like you are (sorry! Just being honest!)

The good news is that having an insatiable appetite for novelty has its place in this world. Could you work as an angel scout? Or a tech crunch (-style) writer?

findjashua 8 hours ago 0 replies      
contract work?
Ask HN: Best desktop multiplatform wiki-like software
4 points by Insalgo  7 hours ago   3 comments top
Insalgo 4 hours ago 2 replies      
After some search, TiddlyWiki seems like a nice alternative
I am Peter Roberts, an immigration lawyer who does work for YC and startups. AMA
306 points by proberts  2 days ago   301 comments top 117
kemitchell 1 day ago 1 reply      
As a fellow (non-immigration) attorney, I'd just like to stress how remarkable and generous is Peter's willingness to do this via HN, even with the very obvious disclaimer. It speaks volumes about his confidence in his expertise and communication, as well as a genuine desire to spread good information around to those who need it.

Neither the dated, often fuzzy rules about practicing law nor lawyers' developed risk consciousness encourages this kind of "innovative" altruism. Instead, they create anxiety that keeps many community-minded attorneys from doing anything like this.

Bravo, Peter. Inspiring.

mtrpcic 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm currently on an H-1B in California working at a startup. In my spare time, I work on side projects that might provide value to somebody somewhere, but have an operating cost that I would have to cover if I wanted to offer the project as a free service. I'd like to be able to charge for this (or at least provide the option of a "Premium" plan) to supplant the money that I will lose in hosting the platform. I am NOT trying to make this a high revenue generator, and I am NOT trying to supplant my personal income. I'm more than happy to have an LLC or corporation (with a bank account), and all revenue stays within that ecosystem to cover costs. Is this possible?

1. Can I set up a company with zero employees? Since I am on an H-1B, I am not allowed to work for this new company that I would create to house the service.

2. Is there any legal implications for me of doing this? Most of what I have read claim that any additional work is illegal, but I am not trying to get paid. I am just trying to make the service self sufficient so it's not a cost to me. I will not take a paycheck or salary, and will not remove revenue from the account of the Corp/LLC.

3. What other avenues would you recommend for doing something like this? I've heard from many other engineers in the field that they have similar ideas. They want to create things to benefit others, but are not willing to do so if it is a literal cost to them.

billconan 2 days ago 3 replies      
What are the options for an h1b who wants to start up?

we can't lose our jobs to maintain the h1b status. will yc care that we are not working on the idea fulltime by the time of applying to yc? (will certainly quit the job if accepted to yc.)

what are the common attitudes of companies, like google, microsoft, apple, facebook, toward employee moonlighting?

tinbad 2 days ago 3 replies      
Not a question but wanted to point out the L1 visa that is often overlooked by foreign startup founders. It allows for founders/workers of foreign companies to be transferred to a US subsidiary that is majority owned by the foreign entity. I found it a fairly simple and straightforward process that got me from nothing to L1 to Green Card in about 13 months (although with help of immigration lawyer of course). The main requirements are having worked for at least 12 months for the foreign entity before transferring and the person must be in a managerial/executive position. Also the foreign entity must own the majority of the US subsidiary.
leroy_masochist 2 days ago 2 replies      
Say for the sake of argument we're a seed-stage startup and we've identified an engineer with a very specific set of skills -- skills necessary for the growth of our company -- who would need an H1B to work here legally. All-in, about how much will it cost us to get that H1B visa processed through the system in a timely fashion?
ojbyrne 2 days ago 1 reply      
I am curious about the approach YC takes for foreign founders who are accepted into YC. How do they come to the US for the initial incubation period? What happens after demo day?
jeevand 2 days ago 2 replies      
Can founders of a startup who have majority ownership & with appropriate board having the power to fire them sponsor green card through their startup? Founders are currently on H1b with approved I-140. Thank you
newuser2016 2 days ago 2 replies      

USCIS recently approved my EB1 visa I-140 petition. Since I'm abroad my process will go thru the NVC and then consular processing. What kind of questions should I be prepared for at the consular interview? And about how much time should I have to wait for my green card?


ancarda 2 days ago 4 replies      
I live in the United Kingdom but I've always wanted to move to America. I don't know much about the process as I find it very hard to go through the volume of information online. Do I need to apply for a visa, then find a company in the U.S. to hire me? Is there a good website for finding green card jobs?

I'd be grateful for a pointer on doing this or even just an FAQ as a starting point.

franciscop 2 days ago 1 reply      
I won a NASA contest as a programmer and I'm interested on working in the USA (also as a programmer). Am I elegible for an O-Visa? My degree is on Industrial Engineering which I'll finish in January in Spain, my home country. I also have about 1 year of work experience in two startups as an internship.

PS, thank you so much for the help so far.

shekispeaks 2 days ago 0 replies      
How can people on H1B Visa be founders. What is the best way for them to say spend 6 months figuring out what the product is without actually having an actual company?
mindvirus 2 days ago 1 reply      
What are the typical visas for a Canadian who gets accepted into YC, and afterward/during raises seed funding and sets up shop in the USA?
mahyarm 2 days ago 1 reply      
How does one with a H1B, TN, H1B1, or E3 visa move from their current US employer and start their own company legally while living in the USA?
sadok 2 days ago 1 reply      
Hi Peter. There have been several times where YC companies wanted to hire me (designer) but couldn't because they can't sponsor work visas at the moment.

How hard is it for a YC company to be able to sponsor visas? Have you had experience with this? And, as an applicant, is there something I could do to ease the process? Thank you.

alantrrs 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hi Peter, thanks for taking the time for this AMA. I have a ton of questions, but here's a summary:

1. Can I incorporate a company and look for funding under a B1/B2 Visa? 2. Once incorporated and funded, what type of Visa could I get for myself to work for my own company? 3. Would my two-year home-country presence requirement "212(e)" affect getting those visas? 4. If I'm unable to get any other Visa, could I be living in the US with a B1/B2 Visa working for the company I founded but without receiving a salary? How long could I stay? How about a TN or TD Visa?

lfittl 2 days ago 0 replies      
What are your experiences with going from a successfully issued O-1 visa to an EB-1A?

Any lessons learned / things one should watch out for? (specifically around required evidence or RFEs that you got issued)

Thanks for your time! :)

cagenut 2 days ago 1 reply      
This isn't really an immigration question so much as an avoiding-having-to-immigrate question:

What are the challenges in having co-founders in other countries and being able to grant them meaningful chunks of equity. Say example someone with 10% in Hungary and another with 10% in the Netherlands.

RohrerCarlos 2 days ago 1 reply      
Thanks for you time.I'm a chilean entrepreneur developing a startup here in SF. I'm one of the founders and we have already incorporated as an LLC.

1-What's the easiest path for me to get a visa that will allow me to work and receive a salary here in the US?2-Can I do that through the company we just established?

I'm fully dedicated and focused on our company and growing as fast as we can and I need to come to a solution to my visa so I can continue working here with no problems.

Much appreciate your help Peter.

randall 2 days ago 0 replies      
My cofounders are from Finland and Pakistan respectively. We want them to be able to move them and their families temporarily to the us for a year or two. Is h1b the best option?
disbelief 2 days ago 4 replies      
How would you rate a senior engineer's odds at qualifying for an O-1 visa? Can they get by on career/work history alone or does it require a level of public notoriety?
disbelief 2 days ago 1 reply      
If someone is on a visa tied to a specific job at a specific company, what is the legality of working on personal side projects (that may turn a profit)?
throwaway333349 2 days ago 1 reply      
Questions regarding international companies being able to sponsor H1B visas in America.

1/ How long does the process take for a company to be eligible to sponsor H1b visas. 2/ How much does it cost ?3/ Does the company need any minimum funding ? 4/ Does the company need to hire a certain number of American citizens/Green card holders before it can hire H1B visa holders ?

pboutros 2 days ago 1 reply      
We hear a lot about the limited # of H1B visas available, about how it functions as a lottery, etc... What are common issues with the H1B application process that don't receive as much public attention?
mydpy 2 days ago 3 replies      
As US citizens, how can we help our international friends trying to get H1-B support? It is really hard to watch friends get denied, and I really wish policy makers would admit more very talented people from highly competitive countries.

One of my good friends from China is gay and if he goes back home, he could actually be in danger.

I feel helpless and I want to do more.

iktl 2 days ago 1 reply      
Hi Peter as H1B / E3 visa holders are only allowed to work for the company sponsoring them, are these holders able to provide contract work (separate to their regular work) to clients either in or out of the US provided the work is conducted and billed via a registered business entity in their home (or another non-US) country?
haydenlee 2 days ago 0 replies      
When working for your own company (a Delaware C-Corp) on OPT there is some language in the policy about having to be an employee, but that you can also work for yourself. Is being a founder enough to stay in status without technically paying yourself minimum wage and being on the payroll? And does this apply to the extension too?
baristaGeek 2 days ago 0 replies      
1) Is winning an ACM-ICPC national/regional contest enough to be considered a top programmer and be able to apply for an O-1?

2) If my B1/B2 visa allows me to stay in the US for 6 consecutive months; can I do programming, sales, fundraising, etc. for my Delaware C Corp in the US?

michwill 2 days ago 1 reply      
Hi Peter!

I am a citizen of Australia and I am going to switch on ZeroDB [http://www.zerodb.io/] fulltime pretty much now. For that, I have to leave my employer with whom I have an E3 visa (and I have a wife on E3D). Also I need to travel right after that.

Would there be any problem for us to enter back under Visa Waiver? Should we just fill an ESTA form online and have back out-of-US tickets on hand when we enter back? Any possible caveats here?

Another thing - my employer could technically terminate my employment very close to our date of re-entry (due to some corporate stuff). Would it cause problems in getting ESTA (when you are still technically on E3 visa but in a couple of days you're not)?

Thank you!

shekispeaks 2 days ago 1 reply      
Can I drive for lyft part time on an H1B?
d--b 2 days ago 2 replies      
I currently hold a green card, but am temporarily abroad (2 times 6 months). How long can I stay abroad and retain the green card, if I periodically come back to the U.S.? And how frequently should I get back to the U.S. ?
jason558 2 days ago 1 reply      
Hi Peter, thanks for doing this session! My question relates to techniques and probabilities of getting H1B visa for potential hires. We are a 5 year old profitable start-up with more than $1 million in revenue...how hard would it be for us to sponsor a potential new engineering hire for the visa process? I understand that it can cost $4k in the application and X in legal fees ($5k?) which we would be ok with.

My questions are (a) what are the actual chances of success given the lottery system process for sponsoring an employee for the H1B visa, and (b) are we limited in the # of applications?

bobfunk 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hi Peter,

I have a question about E2 VISA's and what to do when you raise enough funding that you loose majority ownership?

The situation is company with 2 founders on E2 VISAs with majority ownership of a company, who'll most likely not be able to keep majority ownership after a series A.

Is there a good way to prepare for this and a good alternative strategy to not end up with a series A funded company where the founders can't stay in the country?

And do the E2's stop being valid once the founders loose majority ownership, or is it just impossible to renew them?

focus986 2 days ago 0 replies      
I was married to a US citizen for some years and recently got divorced over infidelity/financial issues (have proof). I have since filed an appeal as "Abandoned Spouse" which has yet to be acknowledged by USCIS so I am yet to have a new case number at all. My current work permit has run out and I have received notice to appear for Removal proceedings in Sept 2017. Is there a way to get my work permit renewed in the interim? I am yet to receive acknowledgement of receipt from USCIS about my abandoned spouse appeal
erehweb 2 days ago 1 reply      
Is there a good source of information for Presidential candidates' proposed changes to immigration laws? If you were a betting man, what (if any) changes would you bet on post-election?
kylnew 2 days ago 3 replies      
In your experience, how necessary is it for Canadians and Mexicans applying for a TN Visa, to be accepted for Software Engineer or Computer Systems Analyst jobs without a degree in computer science or engineering? For example, I have a B.Comm degree.

I've heard it's a bit hit and miss and if you don't have a good lawyer working on your side getting through might be tough. I'm not sure if it's a different story for H1B Visas though.

morriswong 1 day ago 0 replies      
How does a startup know if what they are doing is breaking the law or not? Usually ideas are cool until they realized that there might be legal issues that aren't intuitive enough or straight forward to those who does not have a law background.
infocollector 2 days ago 1 reply      
I am currently on F1 (Alien from India, getting my PhD in early 2016, Computer Science) and am planning to apply for either the EB-1 or NIW. I have one publication (and multiple submitted), and my work has mostly gone in supporting Department of Defense. Do you recommend EB-1 or NIW route, or perhaps something else? I do have strong letter writers both in the DoD and Academia/Industry.
OSButler 2 days ago 0 replies      
There was a post here a while ago about s.o. coming to the US on a tourist visa asking to do volunteer work in return for a place to stay.I'm just curious if you've ever dealt with similar cases, where people came into the country with the wrong visa, found a place to live/work, but then had to get their papers sorted out to be able to stay?Were they actually able to stay or did they have to go back and apply from outside the country (US) again?

And more of a personal anecdote than a question, but during my own immigration process I've noticed that there appear to be mostly people who are either extremely over-prepared (have all the documents filled out in advance with additional papers/proofs/documents for every single step), or they are not prepared at all.My fondest memory was a man walking into the embassy asking to immigrate right now. No papers, documents, nothing. Just walked in, went to the clerk's window and asked to immigrate today. Even the clerk was a bit dumbfounded by the demand.

erispoe 2 days ago 1 reply      
Could the administration decide to lower the bar for some visas, like O-1, without the need for congress to approve it?

For instance, could the administration decide that anyone with a PhD, or even a master's degree, is eligible for a O-1 visa? If that's the case, why is the focus some much on statutory reform and not on the administration which could get results much more quickly?

anarazel 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think it'd be awesome if somebody with actual clue, and without the primary intent of getting new clients, would start collecting information about the US visa situation at some permanent location.

Looking for information about US Visas on your own right now is made very hard by all the immigration lawyer's homepages. Those mostly seem to contain copied and low quality content. Often with conflicting or outdated information.

Given the obvious desire, by US companies, of hiring non-residents, it seems that there'd be a rather big collective interest in providing quality information.

jensv 2 days ago 1 reply      
Can you recommend some immigration resources for self-service? I am a Canadian who is seeking better work opportunities State side, with a Bachelors in Computer Science and 3 years of experience. I wonder if flying down with the intent of networking and finding companies to meet is a good and realistic way of meeting employers and lining up interviews.
h1b_transfer 2 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for doing this! I have a question regarding time off between jobs while on an H1B.

I've been working at a startup for 2 years that sponsored my H1B. I've just accepted an offer at a big tech company, and they are transferring the H1B in the coming weeks. In the meantime, is it OK if I take 2-4 weeks off in between the two jobs without pay?

keyblock5 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hi Peter, thanks for your time.

I have job offer to work in US, reliant on immigration.

I haven't completed my bachelor's degree, and my final exams are after the April 1st 2016 deadline. I do not have more than a year of professional experience. UK citizen.

Am I right that an H1B won't be applicable? Would any other visa types fit (Other than work abroad, then L1)?

octopus00 2 days ago 1 reply      
Hi Peter, thanks SO much for doing this

- Is it ok to form a side company while on H1B?

- Is it ok for me to develop free or paid apps through my own side company (just me doing everything, without hiring anyone else)? If not, what do I need to do to not violate my status?

- What are the minimum criteria for an O visa and is that a viable solution if the side company is going really well?

haydenlee 2 days ago 0 replies      
What's the current status of the OPT extension? I'm a co-founder of a startup that I started during my 12 months of OPT and its about time to apply for the extension, however I recently realized there'd been some changes to it.

Should I apply now for the extension or do I have to wait until further policies are put in place?

ic10503 2 days ago 0 replies      
I am moving from a big company to startup and I have initiated my h1b visa transfer. I want to take a break between the two jobs. Is it OK to go outside US after leaving the current company and come back to start working for the startup ? Will carrying the approved h1b petition for the startup be enough to re-enter US ?
CAThrowAway 2 days ago 2 replies      
Hi Peter,

Thanks for taking two full hours to do this - I've learned a lot.

I am a US/Canadian dual citizen, my cofounder is Canadian. We're currently running our business as a Canadian corporation, but would like to set up shop in San Francisco full time over the next year or two, preferably incorporating in Delaware.

My cofounder has a BSc and has done some impressive things in her career, but the O-1 looks difficult from the outside. We're in a position to raise ~1M of funding from US investors over the next 6m - would that make her eligible for an E-2? The L-1 looks like a reasonable fallback if we can get nothing else setup over the next year, but we've been told not reincorporating as a Delaware corp will make fundraising more difficult.

Is there an obvious standout option here? Are there any that I'm missing?


hamhamed 2 days ago 2 replies      
Hi Peter, thanks for doing this. I've been applying to YC for the past 4 years and never gotten an interview, I'm starting to suspect it's because of my background (hence they never reply to you with the reason of rejection). I'm born in Canada, meaning I'm Canadian, but I never managed to finish my college CompSci Degree so I'm not eligible for a TN-1 visa. However I do have around 6 years of professional web dev experience, founded a couple of startups, raised money and exited. I am 23 now. Any tips?

This might also help, but I did not finish my degree because I was kicked out of college: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5090007

Eridrus 2 days ago 2 replies      
Is it possible to transition from an E-3 to a green card directly?

I had a person at the US consulate remark on the fact that I was applying for a third E-3 visa with the comment "you can't keep doing this indefinitely", I didn't challenge him, but this by understanding was quite the opposite, that there was no limit on E-3 visas issues; can you provide any insight into this?

If I obtain a green card by marriage, but then split up before the 2 year deadline, does that have negative repercussions on your ability to get employment-related visas? I've already been dating my girlfriend for 2 years and we've been living together for most of that, so it's something that comes up as a reason to get married, but I'm not sure if it's a good idea.

yranadive 2 days ago 1 reply      
What are the top 3 things required to make a strong case to get EB1 for startup founders on H4 EAD?
fawaz 2 days ago 0 replies      
Canadian starting a startup in the US:

I haven't launched my startup yet, and I reside in Canada. I've never been employed in the US.

I'd like my startup's HQ to be based in the US. What's the best way for a Canadian to set up base and launch in the US?

SeoxyS 2 days ago 0 replies      
H1B, L1, O1, etc. are all non-immigrant visa. You must be able to show non-immigration intent. (Except for O-1 which allows dual-intent.)

Edit: I may be wrong about this. IANAL.

izzosismyfav 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm graduating senior(F1 visa) in this December. I'm waiting for my OPT card. Can I work in between that? Once I get my OPT can I apply for H1B on year 2016 or will I have to complete H1B? What other legal things I need to be aware of?
patrickddaniel 2 days ago 0 replies      
Let's say you're working toward getting an O-1A, and you fulfill the three categories out of eight, how broad can you make the scope of work that you can do? (since the category includes sciences, education, business, or athletics)

For example, if you are not set on one career, and have pursued 3-4, and you get the O1 for one career (where you can show extraordinary proof), can you still do work in other areas? In other words, how broad can you define the O1 so that you could do almost any type of work as you could do with a greencard.

an4rchy 2 days ago 0 replies      
Great topic.. just out of curiosity.. Has YC directly sponsored any H1B visas (if not for founders but people who actually work for YC)? I tried the usual h1b websites and couldn't find anything...
immiques 2 days ago 1 reply      
Hi Peter,

I have a very specific question I think will apply to many people here. Me and a buddy who is from another country are building a product. We will soon be done with the product and we are thinking about registering the company here in the USA just because it is very easy to get funding here. The company will be a registered in both of our names, (even though he is a foreign national, I am flat-out assuming this is possible). Eventually, if the company does well we would want to stand up an office here. At that point, what are his options to get to USA ?

diogenescynic 1 day ago 1 reply      
How do you feel about companies and law firms gaming job postings to disqualify qualified workers in the US so they can hire a candidate on a visa for much less? Employers are posting jobs that dont really exist, seeking candidates they dont want, and paying for bogus non-ads to show theres an IT labor shortage in America. Here is the law firm Cohen & Grigsby advising other employers in running classified ads with the goal of NOT finding any qualified applicants, and the steps they go through to disqualify even the most qualified Americans in order to secure green cards for H-1b workers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCbFEgFajGU Do you consider this abuse or fraudulent? Also, how much of your firm's work is done by paralegals using templates and boiler plate support letters?
KAdot 2 days ago 1 reply      
Can I sell my own software as a H1B worker? E.g. my own apps in App Store?
ameen 2 days ago 0 replies      
Is it possible to start a company on a B1/B2 Visa? This would an extension of my startup in India. Is any investment required? We're bootstrapped and yet to launch our product.
geoka9 1 day ago 0 replies      
Would you recommend a Canadian wishing to work (remote, from Canada) for a US employer to get a TN visa. The work may require short (2-3 days) onsite visits several times a year.
throwawayforlaw 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hi Peter! Thanks for doing this AMA.

I had a question about H1Bs. My F1 OPT expired Feb 2015 and I had a grace period of 180 days to apply for STEM extension. But in the meanwhile (April 2015), I heard that my H1B got picked in the lottery. So I googled it and read someplace that I wouldn't have to worry about the OPT STEM extension anymore, so I didn't go forward with my STEM extension application.

Is this something I have to be worried about going into my visa interview in my home country?

rdc12 2 days ago 0 replies      
Is getting a visa to work at a U.S at startup something unique to the YC program? I am/was under the impression that the company had to be accredited to be able to employ foreign nationals.

Is there any advise you can give for a current undergrad (for me personally citizen of NZ and UK if that matters) to improve the odds of being able to accept a job or PHD study in the US (on the visa side of things), both at application time and now til then (~2 years away).

graeme 2 days ago 1 reply      
What are the odds of getting an O1 visa in a very small niche. I'm legitimately one of the top experts in the field of LSAT preparation. I've published several books, run a popular website, moderate a major forum, and have written guest articles for most major sites about the LSAT.

However, it's a small field, and not one that attracts much press coverage. How does this balance out?

I run my own business. All online, mostly US customers, soon will be a Canadian corporation.

anindyabd 2 days ago 1 reply      
The 17-month OPT extension has recently been terminated by a court. What are the chances that a new rule will be implemented regarding the OPT extension?
sul4bh 2 days ago 1 reply      
How does H1B and remote work? Say, can I work in Nashville remotely from home for a company in San Francisco and have a valid case for getting H1B?
poerkladsfl 2 days ago 1 reply      
L1 related. What should I do if I want to go work for a different company but am currently on an L1-A visa (been here in the USA for 3 years).
laxinger 2 days ago 1 reply      
Hi Peter. I'm currently preparing for O1 visa. I'm on B1/B2 visa now and planning to extend 2 months so I can stay total 8months while I prepare for O1 visa. My question is if I ever get denied for extending B1/B2, can I have any disadvantages when I apply for O1 visa? I met a person who told me this but I'm not sure whether this is true.
tosseraccount 2 days ago 1 reply      
Critics have charged that H visa guest worker programs are subsidies to the already rich holders of enough capital to influence inside the beltway politics. They say that the program is designed to keep wages down and facilitates outsourcing. Are the current laws also a subsidy to the legal industry who get to charge for an overly complicated process?
n00b101 2 days ago 0 replies      
What is the usual or best process followed by Canadian citizens who get into YC and then relocate from Canada to Silicon Valley?
shpx 2 days ago 1 reply      
If I were to take a year off school right now, can I still get a J1 for an internship this summer?

Also just wanted to say thanks for doing this.

cpenarrieta 1 day ago 0 replies      
I am from Peru and I have a software engineer degree, I'm currently taking a Dev Bootcamp in San Francisco and will look a job here after that. I am currently with my Tourist visa. What are my real chances to get a H1B visa?
ojbyrne 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm curious about gambling while on a work visa. It seems obvious that spending your vacation in Vegas is acceptable, but what if I think I'm good enough to become a professional poker player and decide to pursue that part-time while working full-time. At what point (if at all) does it become an immigration issue?
sn0v 2 days ago 1 reply      
Hi Peter, thanks for doing this.

How would you recommend an H1B holder go about transitioning to founding/working for their own startup?

erispoe 2 days ago 0 replies      
What is the best way to transition from a J1 visa (visiting researcher) to a visa allowing to work one's startup?
roadbeats 2 days ago 0 replies      
The new startup I joined is filing a new H1B instead of transferring (because it took so long to transfer due to company's registration progress). Previously, I was filed H1B two times (2011 and 2014). Is third time possible ? Especially now, since visa regulations are getting strict for security reasons.
homakov 2 days ago 0 replies      
What's best way to move to US and not work for anyone and not invest much money? O-2? I work in infosecurity
gemmakbarlow 2 days ago 0 replies      
What process would you recommend for a startup looking to relocate software developers immediately from the UK to the US?

The H1B process officially kicks off in April, so am interested to hear about types of contractual agreements that might allow employment from now for the next twelve months whilst processing is underway.

a-zA-Z0-9 2 days ago 1 reply      
Hi Peter,

I'm a Canadian and I had an H-1B several years ago. I used about 2.5 years of it and left US in summer 2011 before using up the full 3 years.

Am I eligible to come back on H-1B without lottery by claiming the remainder time? I read something about this online saying that I can come back on H-1B before 6 years past the date I left US?


danieltillett 2 days ago 0 replies      
Peter a basic question about the L1 visa. If you are the owner and manager of an established foreign business can you apply for an L1 to establish the USA branch? Does the USA branch need to be established for some length of time? Does being the owner of the foreign business cause problems?
PureSin 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hi Peter,

My wife and I are Canadians working in California on TN visas. I'm at a small startup that doesn't sponsor H1-B but I might start my own business in the future. Should I look switching to a larger company in order to get H1-B so I have the freedom start my company?

Thanks for doing this AMA.

susiemielekim 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm currently under OPT visa until next August. How would getting a resident visa work after incorporating the company in my home country work? (the company has already been incorporated in United States under the other co-founder). Thank you!
kur158 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hi Peter,

I want to know how can a founder and a co-founder who are on F-1 and F-2 Visa respectively start a company. What are the requirements for the company to sponsor their own Visas at a later date if and when required? Do investors have a bias against investing in such companies.



judge 2 days ago 0 replies      
Can you complete an H-1B transfer (moving from one job to another) while outside the US (traveling for 2 weeks), so that upon your return you can join the next employer? Or do you have to physically be in the US while the request by the new employer is filed and accepted?
arunbahl 2 days ago 0 replies      
Are there options for a foreign national to move from an E-2 visa (treaty investor) to permanent resident status? I've heard that it wasn't possible previously but now may be, making the E-2 a possible "startup visa" for many.

And thank you for doing this!

throwaway_nj 2 days ago 0 replies      
Can you share some advice on how to build a prototype / proof of concept while working as an employee? I have read this is not an issue in places like California as long as you do not use company resources. But what about states like New York?
_fabio 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hi Peter, thank you so much for doing this!

I'm a student on F-1 visa. Am I allowed to form an LLC and sell products / offer services, while revenue from said products or services will be kept in the company bank account, without me pulling a salary?

Thank you!

msvan 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm told that it's easier for musicians/artists to get O-1 visas than for software engineers. Are software engineers disadvantaged from getting the O-1, simply because the visa wasn't designed for software talent?
ulobabacan 2 days ago 1 reply      
In these days, how long does it take for a H1b holding engineer from a "rest of the world" country to get green card via EB2(or EB3 if faster) from the day the current company starts the progress?

Also at what stage he/she can change the job?

henkel 2 days ago 1 reply      
As a competent and above average software engineer from Morocco, not holding a university degree, what are my options for a work visa in the US, assuming I get a job in a company willing to put every possible effort into this?
crorella 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hi, right now I'm processing my perm, in particular, the PERM application was sent to the DOL last September. I would like to know if there is any problem if I change jobs now. Will this cause delays in the process?

Thank you

shpx 2 days ago 2 replies      
Canadian, recent high school grad. What are faster ways to working and eventually living in the US than doing a degree then getting H1-B?

F-1 and OPT then H1-B? O-1? Making some money in Canada then starting a company and E-2?

miciah 2 days ago 1 reply      

Is it possible to do YC, if the founders are initially registered as 'tourists'?

nathanvanfleet 1 day ago 1 reply      
If I come over from Canada and work somewhere, is it easy to change my job to another company if things don't work out? Do I have to leave and come back? Is there a deadline in finding a new job?
manuelgodoy 1 day ago 0 replies      
I have 5 years of experience and a BS and MS degree in Electrical Engineering from a top school in the US. How easy is for me to get an EB2 visa if a company is willing to do the process?
nathanvanfleet 1 day ago 1 reply      
How does the process work. If I (a Canadian) get a job in the US, what is the timeline for me to be onsite working? What kind of help settling (finding a place to live etc) is there?
alinspired 2 days ago 0 replies      
What happens with L1 visas of a company that is acquired by another US company?

and related: How long until you have to leave US if the L1 issuing entity is acquired (and disappears as an entity)?

tty7 2 days ago 1 reply      
1. What is the best course for an E3 Visa holder to move to a Greencard? (or something similar).

2. If an E3 Holder would like to found a startup, how does one go about self sponsorship?

raitom 2 days ago 1 reply      

Is it possible to apply directly for a green card through employment while being on J1-Intern visa?How long do you think it takes to receive it if approved knowing I'm French?


edko 2 days ago 0 replies      
I had an H1B visa granted to me in 1998, but have never used it. Would that have any influence, either positive or negative, on me getting a new H1B?
golergka 2 days ago 1 reply      
How important a degree is for H1B? I think given amount of self-taught engineers in the profession, you have to answer this kind of question a lot
shpx 2 days ago 0 replies      
I will need a J-1 visa this summer, but I applied for the diversity visa this year. Could my J-1 be rejected for having an intent to immigrate?
throwaway-apg 1 day ago 0 replies      

Can you describe in practical terms how the requirements between an O1 and an EB1 differ? If I got my O1 recently, can I reuse the reference letters directly?


BradRuderman 2 days ago 0 replies      
What is the average cost you recommend for a new the H1-B petition? What about an h1-b transfer? (Legal fees not including filing)
erispoe 2 days ago 1 reply      
How hard is it to create an entity that is H1B cap-exempt and can this entity be related in any way to a for-profit company?
susiemielekim 1 day ago 0 replies      
Currently under OPT visa co-founding a startup. How would a resident visa from my home country work?
patrickddaniel 2 days ago 0 replies      
Can you get a J-1 visa even if you have already had 2 OPTs and studied for undergrad and grad in US?
chill_bro 1 day ago 0 replies      
Is it possible to own stock in a start-up and work on it without getting paid while on an F1 visa?


goodcall 2 days ago 0 replies      
If a H1b holder participates in a Hackathon with cash prizes and wins. Can he claim the money?
gobr 2 days ago 0 replies      
What are the most common difficulties for immigrants? Any Brazilian examples?
PameVls 2 days ago 1 reply      
Do you need a visa to attend a 3 month program like YC or Techstars?
franze 2 days ago 1 reply      
Meta question: Do the US immigration laws make sense?
tosinaf 2 days ago 0 replies      
How does the J1 to H1B visa work?
gozo 1 day ago 1 reply      
Uhm. I don't want to sound ungrateful, but I was slightly disappointed by the result of this. They might want to change the format in the future to promote fewer longer answers. "You might try X Y Z visa" doesn't really use his expertise very much. We also didn't really get an answer to the most obvious questions like if you can actually attend YC legally or if a temporary worker in the US can also run a company. Still a good thing of course, but a bit more structure would go a long way.
treasuresque 1 day ago 5 replies      
DO NOT WORK WITH HIM. Can't believe he made it to HN!!He somehow became a thing but I can't stress out enough how much money he had cost me while providing either no service -even declined to work on my first case- or really shitty service, where i ended up writing all docs myself. He does not think out of the box at all or provides any value bigger than digging into Google. He didn't have any plan B or even replied to my emails asking what we should try next after we had lost. The only thing he ever did for me was sending the invoice. Everything else was taken care of by his assistant, sending information and documents i had drafted to the government, trying things that i had researched myself.Please feel free to reach out to me for a curated list of good immigration lawyers. I would have taken my return flight back to Germany more than a year ago if i listened to his advice, which has been "i don't see any options here" when there WAS an option for another year.
rorykoehler 2 days ago 0 replies      
In your personal opinion how far away are we from your job becoming obsolete?
RjCharm 2 days ago 1 reply      
We're shortly going to be opening an office in a European country and employing several local employees. Once the organization is established, what would the process be for inter-organizational transfers of employees between countries? For example, if someone were to relocate from primarily working in Europe to primarily working in the USA?
Ask HN: What was your best passive income in 2015?
77 points by ca98am79  5 hours ago   78 comments top 21
DizzyDoo 4 hours ago 3 replies      
I released a small computer puzzle game based on finite state automata called The Cat Machine[0] back in August, which still steadily sells copies, accompanied with bigger spikes when a Steam sale comes around. From what I hear, the 'long tail' after release goes on for some years, which I believe since back in 2009/2010 I wrote a number of Flash games and I still get a monthly Paypal of about $5 from them. Steam is a bit healthier than the Flash marketplace nowadays.

[0] http://store.steampowered.com/app/386900

apdinin 4 hours ago 3 replies      
During my day job I run a full-time startup, but, as a weekend hack a couple years ago, I built an automated email sales tool called Autopest (https://autopest.com). I've never done any promotion for it, but it keeps growing on its own organically via word-of-mouth.

About a year and a half ago I mentioned Autopest in an HN thread titled "Ask HN: How to start earning $500/month in passive income in next 12-18 months?" Since then, it keeps getting featured in Reddit and Quora lists for "best growth hacking tools" and "best sales hacks," and I've also seen it popup on sites like Inc.com and LifeHacker.

I guess Autopest isn't technically passive in the sense that every few months I code a new feature or two based on user feedback, but I also go months without touching it, and more people just keep signing up.

P.S. Here's the original HN thread... some good links to other passive income projects as well: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8246255

ggambetta 4 hours ago 3 replies      
My novel -- in English http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00QPBYGFI and Spanish http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00I1EU1Q0

Sells a couple Kindle copies per week. In terms of actual income, it's negligible. The feedback has been unanimously positive, so my problem is to get it in the hands of as many people as I can. Therefore, if you want the epub/mobi files, just message me (see bio) and I'll be happy to send them :)

robinhoode 5 hours ago 6 replies      
Is anyone doing old-fashion landlording these days? I'm trying to break into that space, but I have no idea what I'm doing and could use some advice from someone who's done it before.
dangrossman 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Improvely (https://www.improvely.com) and W3Counter (https://www.w3counter.com) have grown to $45,000 MRR.

W3Counter is completely passive -- no new code or features in over a year, no customer support load, autoscaling frontend (EC2) and backend (Aurora). Improvely gets feature updates a few times a year and has some light e-mail support load.

I also added a single banner ad to each of my open source projects' documentation sites, and that's added ~$200/month via AdSense. Developers are surprisingly lucrative targets for advertisers I guess.

twelvenmonkeys 4 hours ago 0 replies      
My passive income for 2015 was (http://kihi.io) a VPS / cloud server provider for coreos, atomic, shit like that.

Netted me enough income to pay for the data center hosting and a few starbucks coffees per month for myself.

It's not much, but it essentially gives me a free dev area with a ton of computing power for me to roam free.

pedrokost 4 hours ago 1 reply      
A very simple website which does the maths for `today() + N.days` for you.


Total earnings: 7.35EUR in total from Google Ads

andy 4 hours ago 0 replies      
-Advertising affiliate offers from Convert2media. ($1496 profit so far this month)

-Adsense/Lifestreetmedia on my Pirates FB app (Adsense: $29 this month. Lifestreetmedia: $47 this month) http://greenrobot.com/pirates

-Mopub, Inmobi and Facebook ads on my iOS and Android apps ($14 from Mopub this month)

coupdetaco 5 hours ago 3 replies      
Sperm donation, 1k/month and I have to go in twice a week.
2bluesc 44 minutes ago 0 replies      
My neighbor and I built https://backroad.io for easy on-demand OpenVPN servers
mkaroumi 5 hours ago 6 replies      
My watch company.

Started it in September and started selling before the watches were made. They're still in production and will be finished soon.

Wouldn't maybe call it "passive income", but the sales keep coming through WOM. (http://gardannewatches.com)

turley 4 hours ago 1 reply      
https://www.ottopost.com/ - a simple Instagram postcard printing service.

I created it as an alternative to the many printing services that require a dedicated app. OttoPost doesn't require an app since it just searches for your new Instagram photos and prints automatically (that's configurable).

Not exactly world-changing, but definitely something hands-off at this point and better than nothing :)

paltman 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I have been running http://aminosoftware.com for almost 10 years now with a partner. It's not huge money but we do zero promotion and support amounts to a handful of emails a year and pays for my kids private school. Our customers are government and enterprise so purchase through invoice/PO paperwork but that's just a few minutes using a google docs template.
watmough 3 hours ago 0 replies      
My iPhone apps I created from 2009 - 2011 still provide a small income typically around $20 - $40 per month. Back in the day FemCal alone was doing $1500+ per month, with me 'full-time' on promoting and supporting it, but with little support or maintenance, apps waste away quickly.

It might be several hours to fix, retest and update documentation for even a small platform change, so just keeping up with platform changes can be significant effort if you work a full-time job, have children, other commitments etc.

The good news for me is that changes at work are affording me the opportunity to escape some process and re-open some of my side-projects again.

 * http://femcalapp.com

mherrmann 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I co-founded a company developing QA automation software in 2012. Worked on it full-time until 2014. Had an EU grant covering our costs during that period. In 2015, I invested about 200h into it (mostly answering support emails and dealing with taxes) and made about 20k this year.

I've been working on an Appointment Reminder clone for a year now in my home country Austria. I will about break even in 2015, but will have an MRR of ~1500 in 2016, with low ongoing costs.

So I reckon that in 2016 I can have a pretty passive income (working 5-10hrs/week) of 2000+ per month. Not that I will work that little because I obviously still want to grow my income. And I also need to add that I've been earning considerably less in the past 3.5 years than I would have if I had stayed employed as a software engineer.

Oh, and then there's the Android app that makes about 15 per month ^^

tarball 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I design logos for Bitcoins. Designing a graphic identity can take me weeks, but this particular project is for me an experiment. The logos I design are quickly made: it takes usually 1 to 2 hour per logo. They are totally adapted to the (really) small brief I receive by mail, from total strangers. My clients usually want something smart, quickly. The small economy of those projects are for me interesting and inspiring design constraints. I use only open source fonts. Sometimes, I draw the typeface myself when I feel inspired.

Total income this year: about 5 Bitcoins http://ecogex.com/logos/

ortuna 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been running https://commits.io/ The income is passive, but I know I can do a lot more if I put more time into it.
taprun 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I wrote a book on pricing software [1] that sells for $50+ per copy. Not only does it supply me with passive income, but it serves as instant credibility when I introduce myself to people in the field.

[1] http://taprun.com/pricing

mbesto 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Has anyone in this community had success dropshipping? Any indications of expected margins? I'm particularly looking at TV accessories.
nonotmeplease 4 hours ago 1 reply      
roycehaynes 4 hours ago 0 replies      
https://pareday.com - I'm making passive income off SitterCity affiliate program.
Ask HN: What platform do you use for current events and news?
4 points by DadFoundMy  20 hours ago   5 comments top 5
cakes 5 hours ago 0 replies      
A combination of NPR, local TV news, national TV news, RSS feeds (tech, NPR, general news, etc.), and general "browsing" of sites like reddit/hackernews/etc.
ctstover 13 hours ago 0 replies      
In order of where most to least information comes from:

-regular websites (as in I don't use rss)-talk radio about 50% of the time I'm driving (music the rest of the time)-gmane with pan-occasional tv in public places (better for local stuff)-books (< 5% of my book choices are current events related)

akg_67 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Evening News: ABC and NBC/CBS, local NBC/CBS TV stationRSS Feeds: Bloomberg, TechcrunchReddit: /r/news, /r/worldnews
lovelearning 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I spend half an hour daily going through my ~100 tech-related RSS feeds in Thunderbird. Works well for me. What's the obvious flaw with RSS?
eecks 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I am writing my own web app for this.
Ask HN: How do you documenting/visualising a microservices architecture?
8 points by kostarelo  1 day ago   5 comments top 4
kapad 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Caution: You may find this irrelevant: When I was working at Amazon, I had attended a tech talk in which the speakers discussed about how they had tried to build a tool to visualize service dependencies within Amazon (It was a fun side project for them). The issue they faced was that there were just too many services and an attempt to display all the services, even on a large monitor just resulted in a large black mass (or white mass on a black background, don't really remember) that conveyed zero useful information.
simple10 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Cloudcraft has some pretty output for diagrams.



edoceo 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I've tried this one once or twice: https://jujucharms.com/
tylerFowler 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I use Terraform, which allows me to visualize my infrastructure as it stands. Though I must admit it's not too pretty.
Pcd quickly cd interior components of your current dir
4 points by kazinator  1 day ago   discuss
Ask HN: Are new grads expected to exaggerate their skills on resume?
10 points by ayberk  2 days ago   13 comments top 8
theWold 2 days ago 3 replies      
So, I graduated last December (2014) from a small accredited University in Texas with a BS in CS. I applied to 137 companies before I accepted at Capital One. I had many friends of friends who were HR and recruiting at other companies and during my arduous process I picked up many things that I felt helped me (and hopefully they'll help you). I ended up getting 43 offers, and at least a ~80% return on contact back (I forgot the actual statistic).

If you choose the shotgun approach, as I did, Keep a spreadsheet, or something, to help organize all the information.

Always Customize your resume by using the words that they put on their job hire post. (This will get you past electronic screenings and non-technical HR people who just look for keywords). This is really annoying (writing your resume each time) but I felt it helped me.

I always researched the company the night before resumes and try to find a technical blog that a company may produce, or some niche thing that the company does. (Capital One and it's AutoNavigator is what I focused on when I was interviewing).

Lastly, I did embellish the truth a little in any of my stories. Not to the point of a lie (... sort of ...) but I made my past technical experience an enjoyable story to listen to. There was a quote I read in 'Iterating Grace', paraphrasing it: Great Stories are better than Great Facts. Don't lie in the facts, but like statistics, you can bend the truth and still let it be truth.

Another piece of advice is make sure you are confident when you walk in. Even for technical roles, confidence is key. Being able to talk and have the interviewer like the interviewee is one of the many keys I found to being successful.

If you don't mind lying, most companies will never check your GPA past the transcript you hand over (if you do that at all). So you want to embellish that 3.2 GPA to be a 3.5+ go ahead. Most companies never check. (Come to find out I didn't have the correct GPA on my resume when I changed semesters even though I had an updated Transcript I was sending out. No one ever bothered me about it). I did not ask the HR at my company this question as well and they did not confirm this fact.

I hope that helps you some :D

collyw 1 day ago 1 reply      
When I was reviewing CV's recently (not specifically for new grads) I notice that some people list about more than ten languages and frameworks. For me that was slightly offputting as it shows shallow knowledge on lots of them, rtaher than deep knowledge in any of them.
dyeje 1 day ago 0 replies      
You probably just have a weak resume / cover letter. Post a link to your LinkedIn, I'd be happy to give some constructive criticism. I'm sure your school also has a career center which can help you polish them up.
ThrustVectoring 2 days ago 0 replies      
What are the actual numbers? Like, how many resumes have you sent out, and how many return calls have you gotten? And that of your friends?

A big fact about the field is that a large number of companies aren't in a place where they can hire new graduates or junior programmers. I have a suspicion that most of the difference in number of responses is that your friends are simply hustling harder and sending out more applications than you are.

eecks 2 days ago 0 replies      
Don't hide that a project was a group project - that's a good thing. Use it to your advantage. You worked well with people, you took ownership, you distributed tasks and managed the workflow.

Don't put down technologies you don't know but lets say you can write something in javascript.. like an anagram generator. In that case you can put javascript even if you don't know node, angular, react, etc.

lacker 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you're a new grad, getting a callback is probably more defined by where you're going to school and whether you have internships in the past than any of the fuzzy stuff like "skills list" on the resume. Where did you go to school, and do you have any internships?
jackcosgrove 1 day ago 0 replies      
No, I think it's dishonest. However it is an honest mistake to underestimate the skill of people with a decade or more of experience and oversell yourself simply because you don't know how good good can be.
namelezz 2 days ago 0 replies      
Yes. You know the game whether or not you play our cards that's up to you.
Ask HN: Making $3000+ residual income monthly? Any tips/advice for a beginer?
35 points by wilsonfiifi  2 days ago   12 comments top 5
MattBearman 2 days ago 2 replies      
I'm actually on the same path, I've built a SaaS website feedback tool, which started 4 years ago as a side project, but since Sept this year I've been working on it full time, hoping to reach around $3,000 MRR (currently at $900)

So far it's working, I'm way ahead of my target 7% month on month growth, so I'd recommend doing something similar - build a SaaS app that you can manage by yourself, and invest as much time as you can in learning marketing.

If you're interested I'm doing a completely transparent blog series about my progress - https://blog.bugmuncher.com/2015/10/22/from-side-project-to-...

Good luck!

codegeek 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is totally possible. The general advice is to solve a problem. But to be a bit more specific, I will say the following:

- Create a product in a niche and focus on finding customers within that niche. For a goal of $3000/month, it is surely possible and not too crazy

- Don't just rely on yourself even though there are many 1 man success stories here on HN. I would say get at least 2-3 trusted helpers even if they are part time and slowly delegate the not so critical aspects to them while you still focus on the core. For example, if you a SAAS product, you could still do coding + customer support while you could delegate some of the other admin stuff including some customer support to someone else. This will give you leverage.

Inf8 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Hi Wilson, since you said you are self-taught and currently doing Msc you might wan't to try some freelancing jobs (maybe part-time) until you work on something your own. Something like Toptal? http://www.toptal.com/#find-only-supreme-devs-now this is a referral link if you don't mind). With a part time job you can get close to 3k a month (can't talk about exact prices) and use extra time to work on other projects and your studies.

Good luck!

sharemywin 2 days ago 1 reply      
The problem with most Saas problems is capital. If most investors suggest a LTV of 3x CAC and if your average customer is $30 per month and your LTV is $360(3 yrs) then you need $120 per customer or $12,000 to invest in advertising to match what other Saas companies are doing to reach your goal.
SQL2219 2 days ago 2 replies      
Solve problems for small businesses, they have lots of them. If you can save a business owner time or money, they'll give you money!
Ask HN: How do you focus if you work online?
11 points by josephjrobison  2 days ago   17 comments top 12
suprjami 2 days ago 0 replies      
Separate browser profiles on separate Linux desktop workspaces. My "work" workspace has my work email, work calendar, work websites, work terminals, work files. This is the place where work gets done, no browsing for fun here. The other workspace has a personal Firefox profile where I can check my own email or look at Facebook. This is the place where work doesn't get done. Set yourself times when you're allowed into the personal workspace, maybe over your lunch hour and a 15 minute break in the morning and afternoon. The rest of the time, do work.
josho 2 days ago 1 reply      
Go outside and get some fresh air, if that isn't possible step away from your workstation until you are ready to work.

You'll come back to your desk feeling refreshed and ready to focus.

This practice becomes even better when just prior to returning to your desk you devise a plan of action for when you sit down. That way you won't be tempted to sit back down at your desk and check email or see what's new on YC.

hnuser123 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I once worked in an environment where such distractions are tightly monitored by management (they use some sort of tools to track what you browse, plus it's an open office space where everyone can see what you do). This helped me a lot in being more focused and stricter to myself. I guess regardless of what tools you use to block distractions, it's all down to your strong will to resist it. It helps much more if your task is what you love to do.
stuxnet79 2 days ago 1 reply      
Whenever I need to do work that the boss needs to see asap, somehow I fail to get distracted by all the usual suspects (e.g. HN). But whenever work is light or I'm stuck on a bug or something then yes, it is a problem. Look at when and why you lose focus, and try to fix your issues on a case by case basis. Focus and attention is a reservoir that is depleted slowly. The more you structure your habits, to avoid distractions in the first place (to a point where focusing doesn't require force of will) the better you will get at this. But it is never ever perfect so don't beat yourself up if you slip.
vincentbarr 1 day ago 0 replies      
What I've learned:

Accountability.This can mean sharing with a colleague what you intend to complete at the start of your day, and then sharing what you actually completed at the close of the day. It can also mean finding a location where you feel the risk of your distractions being observed when you begin to indulge them (e.g. sit next to the CEO of your company; manage your work on a large, external monitor that's within your team's line of sight).

Sleep. The poorer my sleep habits, the easier it becomes to focus on and become excited by the wrong things. What's tricky is that you may actually feel more energized or alert when sleep-deprived, but this is perhaps due to the extra releases of dopamine that help fuel you through the day, a mechanism that was once useful in hunter-gatherer days when survival depended on persisting through fatigue to complete a successful hunt.

Nutrition.Breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I require all three if I wish to maintain consistent performance.

mindslight 2 days ago 0 replies      
A bit tangential, but develop an awareness of how ambient light affects your concentration on different tasks. Brightness positively kills my desire to focus on intellectual problems.
xyzzy4 2 days ago 0 replies      
You have to work on something that provides so much value to you that you become obsessed with it.
staunch 2 days ago 0 replies      
The hard part is getting started. Productivity is all about momentum. Blocking reddit or whatever is distracting you the most can help you from falling in the procrastination loop.

Start working on something small at first. Tweak a color or whatever to get started.

ljk 2 days ago 0 replies      
- minimize unnecessary windows

- install browser plugins that block certain sites for some time. e.g. leechblock on Firefox can block certain sites for X minutes every X minutes, similar to the tomato method

- discipline

tinkeredlife 2 days ago 1 reply      
Procrastinate until you have to do your work.
eecks 2 days ago 1 reply      
Grow up? Sorry to be harsh but I used to be distracted by the internet in college. Now I can take it or leave it and just focus on my work.

Maybe I feel I have exhausted the internet - social networks don't hold my attention any longer, digg/reddit sites just annoy me now because the user bases seem so immature.

Mz 1 day ago 0 replies      
Eat right. Exercise. Good sleep hygiene. Etc.

I have a medical condition. So looking to my physical health has long played an important role in being able to focus. When I can't focus, it often means I am dehydrated, hungry, running a fever or something like that. I strongly suspect that when other people complain they just can't concentrate, it suggests they have some kind of minor health issue, such as an unrecognized allergy or poor sleep quality for some reason.

When I was in really poor health and had a corporate job, I took a break every hour on the hour to have a snack, a drink and a bathroom break and try to get myself pulled together enough to focus. I need less of that these days, but I still have days when an afternoon break and snack and drink and some caffeine can help get me going again when I am flagging.

Ask HN: Do you have any patents?
3 points by eecks  1 day ago   5 comments top 3
auxym 1 day ago 0 replies      
As pedalpete mentioned, most of the time you'll want to do the bulk of the prority research yourself before you start costing lawyer and/or patent agent* time.

We submitted a few patent applications during my master's research project, that the university eventually bailed out on due to the industrial partner pulling out.

The patent agents basically pulled a list of a few hundred (might have been a few thousand, there were many duplicates though) patents we had to go through and make sure they weren't prior art. We mainly used google patents. We reduced that list to less than 10 patents, which we then we through in detail with the agents, them explaining to us the subtleties of the law and patent specific language (words on patents don't always mean what you think they mean) and us explaining the technical aspects of our invention and how it's different.

Overall though, I came out of the whole process feeling like the utility of patents for the independent inventor is very limited. Not to mention the initial time and cost to apply for a patent, think about the eventual cost if you need to actually defend it in court, ie, make actual use of the patent. Is protecting your invention worth this?

pedalpete 1 day ago 1 reply      
I am named as the inventor on a patent which is held by my employer, we have lawyers to do most of the law stuff, but they make us do a bunch of work first before we start costing lawyer time.

Searching for patents online is fairly trivial, but time consuming. I'm assuming you're in the US (I'm not, but the value of most patents is that they are not yet patented in the US, so we did our patent search there). http://patft.uspto.gov/

As far as patentable, I can't really comment. I am extremely disappointed that the Amazon single click purchase was awarded as a patent as I don't believe it is non-obvious. I'm not too far off the same belief for my own patent, but a bunch of experts had looked at the problem before and didn't get to my solution. They thought my solution was elegant and decided to patent it. At the same time, we mostly patented because that is what the higher-ups like to measure. I can't imagine my patent every actually being used for monetary gain.

So, you don't want to be a patent troll, but you have an idea. Do a patent search, see if it is already patented, but more important, do a search to see if anybody has come up with a solution that is close to yours. If the concept is already in the public domain, or something close enough, than you can't patent it.

The big question is why do you want to patent it. You say you don't want to be a patent troll. Will you be building a business around this patent? Can it be used in your existing business? Do you have the ability to make your invention into a viable product?

What is your definition of a patent troll?

jantzus 11 hours ago 0 replies      
You might want to file a provisional patent as you think about the commercial viability of the patent.


"Another thing inventors can do to reduce costs is to first start by filing a provisional patent application. A provisional patent application needs to disclose the invention completely as would a nonprovisional patent application, but the exact formalities are greatly reduced making it easier to prepare, meaning it costs less. We can attach documents to support the originally drafted provisional patent application, and we focus on getting as much as possible into the document. In my experience most inventors who pursue the provisional do so because they have made an interesting advance and want to protect what they can now while they continue to refine and work on the invention. Done in that way a provisional patent application makes all the sense in the world because it gives you protection with respect to what you have presently and lets you continue to work to improve the invention over 12 months before you need to file a nonprovisional patent application.

The cost for attorney time alone for a provisional patent application is typically at least $2,000. The filing fee is $130 for a small entity and drawings typically cost $100 to $125 per page, so a high quality provisional patent application for a mechanical or electrical device can typically be prepared and filed for $2,500 to $3,000. As with nonprovisional patent applications, the technology involved and the complexity of the invention do greatly affect the quoted price for a provisional patent application. For example, for computer related inventions and software the cost to prepare and file a provisional patent application is typically $6,000 plus the filing fee and drawing costs. The increased cost for a high quality provisional patent application that deals with software is due to the reality that so much more information is required in these applications. You really need to describe the complete architecture of the system and drill down to the algorithms, routines and sub-routines. See A Guide to Patenting Software, Building Better Software Patents and Patenting Business Methods and Software in the U.S. Of course, these are just ballpark estimates."


Some people just prepare their own provisional patent, without the help of an attorney, but you might not get the protection you want if you do this.

Ask HN: Why are so few people using/talking about Mithril.js?
9 points by demetriusnunes  2 days ago   14 comments top 11
lhorie 2 days ago 0 replies      
(Mithril author here)

I think perception plays a big role. There are fairly large and high traffic apps[1] built w/ Mithril, but when someone is taking a risk to learn a new thing (and there's a lot of that in js), of course something used by google or facebook feels "safer" to learn than something used by mashape, guild wars 2 or lichess. I've seen the "might no longer be supported later" fear being mentioned more than a few times, even though the reality is that it's not really a solo project anymore - it has almost a hundred contributors - and has a fairly sizeable ecosystem[2][3]. There are even Mithril jobs[4] out there.

Another somewhat ironic issue is that Mithril's main appeal is its lack of ceremony. It doesn't ask you to drink the revolutionary koolaid of "bi-directional data binding" or "immutable unidirectional data flow" or whatever other fanciness you can explain to others to make yourself look good. It's just a tool to get stuff done. And even though that's an important metric, it's not exactly newsworthy.

re: ES6: to clarify, you can use ES6 w/ Mithril. The issue in question has to do w/ trying to shoehorn ES6 classes to be components (which are normally plain objects in Mithril). Things like arrow functions actually make things cleaner in places where you'd otherwise use a .bind for example.

[1] https://github.com/lhorie/mithril.js/wiki/Who-Uses-Mithril

[2] https://github.com/lhorie/mithril.js/wiki/Community-Projects

[3] https://github.com/lhorie/mithril.js/wiki/Components

[4] https://github.com/lhorie/mithril.js/wiki/JOBS

twunde 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's partially marketing and partially support-based. React and Angular were released with a lot of fanfare by Facebook and Google respectively (and with a lot of documentation) after being used inhouse. This meant that there was already a decent number of developers familiar with the framework, already proven as "web-scale", and indicated that there would be good support for it going forward. This meant that it was an easy sell to CTOs. Mithril.js came out after React and was released by a lone developer. While it was well-documented it didn't have the amount of documentation as react and angular, was supported by one developer and didn't have a large install base of existing users. I'm starting to see it being used by more companies but it's certainly a harder sell than angular or react
artminister 1 day ago 0 replies      
I was a Mithril user before i moved to React. Mithril is really easy to use, reading blog post of lhorie was a bliss. But the community and code was just not moving ahead. Nothing changed, nothing exciting in roadmaps and I wasnt learning anything new.

React was just as easy as Mithril. And for big projects, React brings in a better structure and performance. React ecosystem is full of amazing people, there is always something new that i want to learn. Flux, Redux, Relay, RN, the list just goes on.

kapv89 1 day ago 0 replies      
For me, its mainly because of React Native. React is a pretty decent View layer abstraction, and being able to use same concepts in developing UIs for all the platforms I want to target is a very big plus. I was fiddling with mithril before react-native came out, but ever since its release, I have just stopped looking at any other JS framework.
mariust 2 days ago 0 replies      
I for one, just found out about it, based on your link, so maybe this is related to marketing or to the fact that people are afraid to use 'non big names' libraries until they prove they are worth a try, because if you are a business and start development on a tiny library and after 5 months you see that it's no longer supported you have:option a) support further the development with your teamoption b) rewrite with an other framework

Both options are costly and that's maybe one of the reasons.

mxvanzant 1 day ago 0 replies      
IMBA is another unknown but excellent Javascript library for UIs and is also a language derived from CoffeeScript. So far I've used it on two projects and I am really liking it. It has some quirks and not much doc. Your best bet is to look at all of the sample code and read the Issues forum.
codegeek 2 days ago 0 replies      
With all due respect to Mithril author, I would say it is perhaps the brand name ? React = facebook, Angular = Google, Mithril = ? But then I have no idea about Ember or Knockout. So may be I am wrong.
aprdm 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've a friend who has been using in production and couldn't be happier.
AngeloR 2 days ago 1 reply      
Just found out about it as well - and it seems way better than any of the others. It'll probably default to being my standard front-end framework. It abstracts just the right parts of things.
eecks 2 days ago 1 reply      
What is superior about Mithril? If I run into a problem with React or Angular, it's probably already been solved.
izolate 2 days ago 1 reply      
Doesn't seem to have good ES6 support from what I can gather. I can be wrong, I don't know enough about Mithril.
Question for YC Graduates
8 points by goodJobWalrus  1 day ago   discuss
Ask HN: Looking for beta testers for receiving cooking help via text
5 points by palidanx  3 days ago   9 comments top 4
somberi 2 days ago 1 reply      
Some friendly suggestions:

1. The domain name could be different. It is a little longwinded and it does not convey the value of the service clearly. It places it in a SOS context, whereas you will be able appeal to a larger customer base if it were positioned as a Chef-on-tap service.

2. How do you throttle chatty customers? How do you rebate non-power-users?

3. $20 per month is on a high side (I can get A family plan of Google Music and Netflix for ~3$ more per month). I am not saying everything should be pegged to these services, but as a customer I think this way. May be charge per question?

4. How have you implemented the chat? Curious to learn.

All the best.

tabeth 3 days ago 1 reply      
What's your rationale for making beta testers pay?
virken2015 2 days ago 1 reply      
If you are cooking and have a May Day event or other urgent need, would you not be more likely to ask Google and get an immediate response? Sorry, still trying to get my head around the value proposition. Can imagine price resistance when you get get many professional opinions for free via Google.
tanukiforme 2 days ago 1 reply      
Cool idea. I'd be down to pay after the 14th of this month as a beta!
Ask HN: Are you happy with using PayPal on your website?
5 points by tarikozket  2 days ago   7 comments top 5
codegeek 2 days ago 1 reply      
Paypal is almost the necessary evil if you want to take payments from anywhere in the world. I don't mind making money by using Paypal (Hey it is just a tool) BUT I absolutely hate their UI/UX. To do anything their UI takes average of 5-6 clicks at the minimum IF I am lucky to find the right page in time. Horrendous UI even though I am glad that I don't have to use it for the most part as my business uses the API. But then again, their API is just ok when compared to players like Stripe. Want to do test payments ? You need to signup for a separate Sandbox environment, uggh. Ok I know some other providers do this as well but this is where Stripe is so good.
gesman 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Lots of chargebacks.I switching to Bitcoin.
DrScump 1 day ago 1 reply      
Are you in a business segment that has a meaningful risk of chargebacks? If so, I wouldn't use Paypal.
dangrossman 2 days ago 0 replies      
Yes. Why do you ask?
Mz 2 days ago 0 replies      
Ask HN: Standing Desk Folks What shoes do you wear?
6 points by morepyplease  2 days ago   15 comments top 5
OWaz 2 days ago 1 reply      
I have a gel mat that is similar to a kitchen standing mat. I forgot what brand it was but it was less than $35 on Amazon. I stand on that without shoes and it's very comfortable. I have a National Public stool to sit on when I need to give my feet a break.
theWold 2 days ago 3 replies      
I wear my hiking boots. I can stand in those things all day. (Vasque is the brand, but I can't seem to find the exact pair on REI). They are plane leather, and look decent in a pair of slacks (though I only wear slacks when my jeans are dirty). Plus they'll last longer than any other business casual shoe you will ever wear.
gonyea 2 days ago 1 reply      
None at the desk. I have a nice gel floor mat and comfy socks.
avitzurel 2 days ago 0 replies      
I used a standing desk for a long time (year+).

I recommend minimalist shoes, this will help your feet get stronger, stay away from anything that has cushion in it.

Lately, I got these: http://naturalfootgear.com/collections/mens-shoes/products/l... Can't recommend them enough.

cyberpanther 2 days ago 3 replies      
No shoes is the best
Ask HN: Bought manufacturing biz how to bring into modern age?
5 points by redfalcon6  2 days ago   8 comments top 5
DanBC 1 day ago 0 replies      
I used to work for sub-contract electronic engineers. I was working there when almost everything was done on paper; I was working there when they transitioned to computer based systems. It was a fucking nightmare because nobody buying the new software bothered to speak to people doing the work; and then when the software was bought the people in charge of changing stuff didn't bother to understand how the data would be used.

Here's just one example: The software had an internal part number field, and 2 description fields. The guy in charge of part numbers and descriptions wanted 5 digit numbers and wanted the description to start at the top level and drill down.

Here's one description:

That looks okay until you realise that people need to search on the descriptions, and the software only allowed searched on the first 16 characters.

That's a lot of components, and so people have to search through a bunch of stuff to find the item they want.

The first thing you must do is learn and understand the system. It works for them, and anything you replace it with is likely to break things and to make life worse.

Most places will have payroll software. And so a bunch of manufacturing software is an add on or extension to that software - maybe some accounts stuff for handling invoicing, and then for handling buying materials and stock, and then for handling stock internally. But accountants (who create this software) don't understand how shop floors run, and so you end up with frustrating weirdness.

avitzurel 2 days ago 1 reply      
First, congrats! Buying a business is not an easy task.

Before anything else, I would sit down with all the employees (together and separately) and hear from them what are the problems in the business and what they think should be the priority.

This will have 2 affects.

1. They will respect you for giving them a voice.2. You will get smarter by the minute on what the business needs.

After that, before anything else I would just set up systems in place, processes and systems are super important when you run a time and materials business.

Understanding the cost and getting the cost of goods and labor down would be my first priority. Processes will help with that since less time will be lost.

Systems I would put (in order of priority)

1. Orders and production2. CRM *customer service, customer relations, sales and more should be included to make sure you maximize your business.

Without more details it's hard to give more tips, but depending on the business type a website with online orders and online quotes can go a long way, for other types it's not that important.

Above all, good luck with your journey and your business. Take care of your employees, they will take care of you a lot more in return.

If there's a single tip I can give you is to treat your employees as equals, as you want yourself to be treated, they are your single most valuable asset.

chris_va 2 days ago 1 reply      
People are usually the most limiting factor. What is the machine utilization? Just one shift? How long do the workers take to setup each piece (zero each block, etc)?

You may find this semi interesting:


kspaans 1 day ago 0 replies      
I once heard of a woodworking shop that would sticker parts & components with RFID tags. Each product as it went step to step along the production line could be physically tracked along the shop floor with a hand-held RFID scanner, and there was a sales/production backend system that tracked all components and progress as they moved along production.
gesman 1 day ago 0 replies      
I would start with customers and the end product.

Then think how would you build business from scratch to deliver products that customers need.

Then come back and make adjustments into the existing operation that fits your vision.

SAAS, hacks, shmacks may (or may not) be part of the process to optimize the business.Nothing wrong in paper, excels, quickbooks and order forms per se. If business is a smooth machine in operation - be careful in making drastic changes.

Ask HN: Text Classifier benchmarks?
2 points by codyguy  2 days ago   2 comments top 2
dennybritz 2 days ago 0 replies      
Classifier for what task? You'd need to be more specific.
codyguy 2 days ago 0 replies      
Here's a Specific case: A classifier to bucket input text(email body containing 1 or more sentences) into booking, refund, other (3 buckets).
Deep Neural Network that learns algorithms
7 points by kkurach  2 days ago   discuss
Domain loccal.com: does somebody want to use it?
5 points by blaincate  3 days ago   3 comments top 3
hienyimba 2 days ago 0 replies      
yea. tempting.. buts its not generally good to build a business around a domain. it should be the other way round. Would this work for any Congress related stuff? Sounds compatible?
jasondecastro 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sure! My e-mail is jasonrdecastro (at) gmail.com
j_mcnally 2 days ago 0 replies      
Tell HN: I spend so much time solving problems I feel like giving up
65 points by throwaway000020  2 days ago   56 comments top 29
rjknight 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm guessing a bit, but it sounds like you're suffering from trying to find the 'right' way to do something.

I've been in situations where I've spent weeks or even months re-writing things because I read one more article about how some given approach is better than the one I was considering. Ultimately it doesn't matter enough to make a difference in the real world - your application will not be appreciably better because you used gulp instead of grunt or React + Redux instead of Backbone.

That doesn't mean that there isn't a difference between those things, or that some aren't better than others (I like React and would recommend it) but the choice of tooling is not your main problem[1]. This is going to sound very dull, but your best bet is to make some simple choices, stick with them for a while, and see how far you get. Try to avoid questioning things for a while, even if that feels really unnatural.

I think there's a kind of tooling FOMO that afflicts developers, where we get worried that if only we were using a particular tool or technique then our jobs would be, say, an order of magnitude easier, more successful etc. This is hardly ever true, and if it is true then you will be unlikely to be able to identify the choice you need to make until you've spent a good while building version 1 of your application anyway.

[1] https://xkcd.com/309/

thom 2 days ago 3 replies      
I call this 'feeding the machine'. There's the thing you want to do, the interesting, valuable, real-world problem you're trying to solve. But you're using a library, that has a dependency, that doesn't build on your machine, because of your version of the compiler, and the new version isn't in your package repository, so you have to download and build it, but your version of readline is wrong and so on and so on. You're feeding the machine constantly, when you feel that it's supposed to be working for you.

It sucks, but it doesn't end. Every once in a while you're be in a nice place where you're using familiar tools and libraries and doing familiar work, but every new project and technology brings potential new demands to feed the machine.

You can have a long, happy and prosperous career working with a single stack that someone has made work on your OS of choice, but if you don't enjoy feeding the machine, there is a ceiling on your flexibility and problem solving ability.

johansch 2 days ago 0 replies      
I have plenty of relevant platitudes :)

Go simple. Pick a language. Start writing code. Stay focused. Only solve the problems that you need to solve, not any problems that you might maybe, perhaps, come across. Don't go shopping for a toolkit until you have tried building something yourself. Especially if you are young - remember that writing code to solve problems that someone else has already solved is not a lost cause; you are learning!

YAGNI: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/You_aren%27t_gonna_need_it

Remember, perfect is the enemy of good.

Today I think it's way too easy to get lost in the flood of of platforms/toolkits/frameworks. When I got started 20 years ago it was a lot simpler - crappier but simpler. :) You might or might not have what it takes to be a good developer - but I seriously see the risk of potentially good developers getting stuck before they learn how to navigate these new-fangled floods of ... stuff. It's like a tax on brain cycles to keep up with it all. If you have no discipline you will end up spending all of your cycles shopping toolkits rather than solving problems and learning how to actually program.

chipsy 2 days ago 1 reply      
Stop-and-start development is completely normal when you introduce a lot of project tooling and it's new and shiny.

For this reason, projects run by a solo developer tend to use less tooling and process than team efforts; the friction introduced by each new step in the workflow is a major penalty. The solo developer can just opt to ignore all the cruft and use a cheap, lazy option, because there is no communication issue.

This also presents a bit of a dilemma if your goal is to learn a workflow in order to get hired on a team using that workflow, because you will feel like you are making nothing interesting or noteworthy. Your best option is to temporarily change your mindset from "engineer building software" to "writer building documentation".

The person documenting has to play detective and ask questions constantly. It takes them four times as long to do anything because they have to write down the steps and make it digestible. But each time they make progress and write down those steps, they set down a little roadway for people to drive over in the future. They also gain more credibility as an expert in the process.

hyuuu 2 days ago 1 reply      
I know exactly where you coming from, ESPECIALLY if you are in the javascript ecosystem. There are a lot of gaps in the whole flow, from what you have mentioned, build tools, frameworks, standards, architecture (flux? mvc?)

Personally, I would suggest, to go at it one at a time. The reason being, these "things" (build tools, frameworks, etc) are there to solve specific problems. If you don't have that problem, then you don't need to understand it, yet.

Pick a project and start building, you might find that you need one specific tool, which then you would use that specific tool or you might find yourself having trouble with a certain design then you use a framework that fits your model. This resonates well with @johansch comment. Over time, you will notice a pattern in your knowledge where jumping from one framework to the other is not that difficult because you are jumping from a higher board knowing the frameworks you already used, this applies generally.

Be depressed but don't give up, the joy comes when suddenly it all just clicks.

throwavay_java 2 days ago 0 replies      
You've already proven to yourself that the tooling that you are trying to use is costing you time, not saving you time like you want.

Just don't use them for this project. Just build the project using what you know now.

You can pick up that new tooling again at a later stage when you aren't so pressured to deliver something.

99% of being a successful programmer is coming back tomorrow, and getting a tiny bit more done, and learning a tiny bit more.

hnuser123 4 hours ago 0 replies      
No one gets the perfect start, and there are gonna be painful change as you progress and realize past mistakes. That's part of the learning process. Regardless of the changes you're still improving and gaining experience, and that's never a bad thing. Try to look more on the positive side of things. Take small steps and satisfaction once u get it, then move forward.
metasean 2 days ago 0 replies      

Relevant Quotes (Sometimes these help me push through)


> I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work. ~~ Thomas A. Edison

> A failure is not always a mistake, it may simply be the best one can do under the circumstances. The real mistake is to stop trying. ~~ B. F. Skinner


Actual Advice


Based on your question and comments, I'd actually suggest you reach out to your friends in the community who know more about the tools that you think you need. They might be able and willing to get you up and running with those tools, so that you can move forward.

For example, I'm fairly junior, but comfortable with testing once there's a framework in place. I've been through this enough that I've reached the point where I can get a basic Jasmine or Mocha framework up and running on my own, but recently ran into a problem where I needed more than a basic set-up. I mentioned it to a coworker and he said I needed Webpack. When I expressed concern about spending time learning and setting up Webpack, instead of working on my application code, he volunteered to get Webpack in place. As I learn more about Webpack, the process of setting it up for my next app should be less intimidating.


Other Thoughts


I love this meme - http://i.imgur.com/5mAUQj2.jpg - If you're a programmer, you've certainly experienced both states. While I think I run about a 1:1000 ratio, when I've spent a significant amount of time on the right, I try to remember the sensation of being on the left and I know that each mistake is one less mistake I can make and therefore moving me toward the left.

And one last, very relevant quote...

> Do not fear mistakes. You will know failure. Continue to reach out. ~~ Benjamin Franklin

[edited for formatting]

alex- 2 days ago 0 replies      
It might comfort you to hear:That almost everyone hits a steep learning curve when moving to new technologies.That teams expect new members to take time getting to know how everything works (they have been there).and that in time you may actually find yourself craving that feeling of having so much to learn.

Ultimately the times you are learning/improving the most are when you are facing many new challenges.

If you are anything like me, you may find trying to find ways to enjoy this time more helpful than trying to bypass or speedup this phase.

qwertyuiop924 2 days ago 0 replies      
Pick a language. Write some code. I recommend one that requires minimal building. Maybe python. If you need a build tool, use make. Use a text editor, like nano, gedit, or notepad++. Not a complex one like vim or emacs. Keep it simple. Now - And this is the important part - WRITE SOME CODE. It doesn't have to be complicated, It could just implement cat or something. But the important thing is to write it. Don't bother trying to find the "right way." If you need libraries, go for the path of least resistance.

EDIT: This is important, so I want to say it as clearly as possible. FUCK. ES. 2015. ES5 is actually pretty good. Learn prototypical inheritance, or just don't use OO. People have built real apps in ES5, you'll live. It might be hard at times, and you might have trouble learning, but the important thing is that you'll be writing code, not fixing your toolkit.

quicky123 2 days ago 0 replies      
My first large app I built the hard way. I started by copying code from samples and modified them to my needs. I stuffed a bunch of api's together, dojo, jquery, etc. I spent an inordinate amount of time testing the app and modifying it to work on all browsers. Half of the time I didn't know what the heck I was doing. I just obsessively kept hacking away until the app got built.

Well, it got built and it's been successful for its built purpose. The code isn't exactly pretty but it's fast and not buggy at all.

I spent the last year learning object oriented programming, software architecture, ui toolkits. I'm just starting with react, typescript, node, aws for my new app.

Because I built my first app 'the hard way' I now appreciate the value of these toolkits and frameworks and think they're worth taking the time to learn, but only if they simplify my process and not complicate it.

Keep working you'll get there and it's worth it!

sergiotapia 2 days ago 0 replies      
Since I see that you're a Javascript developer, I'm going to suggest you switch to something like Meteor.

It's COHESIVE. You have an idea and want to work on it? It'll just work, no bullshit gluing together bits and pieces from other libraries. It's comes with realtime, javascript everywhere, documentation is on point.

I can guarantee it's going to restore your faith because you will spend most of your time writing your features and ideas, instead of glue work. Nobody likes glue work.


Where do I start? Right here: https://www.udemy.com/learn-meteorjs-by-building-10-real-wor... - you build ten real world apps, not some shitty task list garbage. I promise you won't regret it, it's -fun-. Like that first time you used Rails way back when? That kind of fun!

elros 2 days ago 1 reply      
I've read you saying you want to tryout modern JavaScript applications. Look for a boilerplate repo with the tools you like and fork it. It's tedious to set up the tooling part and if you want to focus on proper coding, that's the easiest way to get started.
bonesinger 2 days ago 0 replies      
I was tasked with building a WPF project with no prior experience. I jumped on pluralsight for a lecture on wpf and mvvm, then started building the app. I realized I could use a framework for mvvm but I've learned a lot by doing everything from scratch. At one point I realized I needed some plugins for help (INotifyPropertyChanged, I'm looking at you) and started using them, which has made my life considerably easier. Build the project, use what tools are necessary. Don't let tools dictate your project. I've been down that hole a lot with JS. Gulp, Webpack, Grunt, Node, Express, Babel, ClojureScript, TypeScript, and it goes on and on and on.
wonnage 2 days ago 0 replies      
Having worked with webpack and babel at large-social-network for the past year, they're great tools and make a whole range of things possible. But as soon as anything breaks or behaves unexpectedly you are in for a hell of a time even just figuring out at what layer or step of the pipeline the breakage occurred.

So it's not just you. I would never set any of this up from scratch for a personal project. And I don't expect you'd need to, ever - established companies will have an existing pipeline (with its own problems you'd never learn externally), and new ones can just use one of the various boilerplate project templates.

3pt14159 2 days ago 0 replies      
Stop rushing yourself. It takes time to build up skills. Keep learning. I've been at this for 20 years, and even I have gaps and frustrating days. You'll get better. Just keep improving every day.
dperalta 2 days ago 0 replies      
> You can't connect the dots looking forward you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.

Don't give up and keep learning!

erlich 2 days ago 0 replies      
The JS/React ecosystem is moving rapidly right now. I got caught in the middle of a storm when I updated my toolchain from Backbone/Sprockets to React/Redux/Webpack. There was Flux, then a bunch of Flux implementations, then Redux took the crown - a library which didn't exist a few months back. But as Redux has taken the crown, Relay has emerged along with it's own alternatives such as Falcor. Then there is Angular 2 on the horizon. Back in the day it was Knockout vs. Backbone which made things a lot simpler.

There is a proliferation of [boilerplate projects](https://github.com/xgrommx/awesome-redux#boilerplate) out there at the moment but they are quite heavy and all do things a little differently.

I think what is lacking and will emerge eventually is some glue to fill the gaps that everyone is identifying. I think it will be a few small core libraries with some conventions about project structure, toolchain, and modularity.

mod 2 days ago 1 reply      
Are you just learning?

Use less-shiny stuff. Ditch the frameworks etc. Do the simplest thing.

brad0 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm guessing you're feeling depressed because you don't have a strong idea of why you're doing all this.

I'd say that what needs to change is your mentality.

There's a lot of things you can do to change how you're thinking. It all comes down to understanding the essence of why you're feeling this particular way.

What are you trying to achieve?

Ellahn 2 days ago 0 replies      
I get the impression you are learning, if you're not, I suggest you think again, because actually you are. :D

Programming is much about learning and it never gets easy when you need to pick something new. I suggest you find a mentor if you don't like experimenting alone, somebody who can give you some guidance.

After you learn something, it gets easier, and very rewarding.

On the subject of "not having what it takes", I disagree. Find a friend who draws, sings, plays an instrument or whatever, and ask them to tell you how much effort they had to put to learn their craft.

"Computers" are probably a lot easier, at least in comparison, since you have to use them anyways.

guscost 2 days ago 0 replies      
What's currently in your JavaScript stack? I'm probably going to suggest getting rid of most of it if possible so that you can focus on your code. Here's a dirty secret: you probably don't need a JS build system or anything from ES2015+ if you don't feel like learning it yet[0]. If you're using React, you probably don't need to integrate any of the latest tech like Redux and tcomb-form and all those other super cool innovations. You can even get away with using Node modules in the old-fashioned "link to a script file" way[1]. Sure, someone can claim that each of those tools serves a purpose and can prevent a whole class of headaches that might happen. What they won't say is that trying to wrangle them all together right away is causing you a bigger headache than any of the others!

I'm working on an application that has about 15K lines of hand-prepared React/Flux JavaScript (well, TypeScript) and it is planned to scale up by maybe an order of magnitude eventually. It's built with ES5 and plain old revealing modules. I'm managing dependencies by hand. I'm not using Node or CommonJS modules at all. Heck, I'm not even using JSX yet because my version of Visual Studio doesn't have TSX (TypeScript+JSX) built in. Does this mean some headaches and extra labor? Sure! Do I feel like an imposter when reading about all this awesome fancy new stuff? Sometimes!

But the headaches are surprisingly minor and barely figure in most of the time. If/when these headaches get bigger (I suspect this will start in earnest when more front-end developers join the project), then I'll take another look at integrating a module loader, or a form generator, or an automagic React router, or a super-cool atomic state system like Redux. In case you're wondering the application works amazingly well and most of the time implementing even far-out crazy features has been easy and fun.

Finally, don't get too worried about making the "wrong" choices, and don't bail out for something newer when you hit your first roadblock. Most of the options you have available these days work great! The things we expect them to do are totally incredible, that's the only reason people are still proposing alternatives all the time.

[0]If you don't need to support older browsers, ES2015 is pretty easy to include. Otherwise if you need to use examples based on an ES2015+ version, just paste the code into the Babel REPL: https://babeljs.io/repl/

[1]You can get any bundled npm module here: https://wzrd.in/

ksenzee 2 days ago 0 replies      
All that "modern" tooling is simply there to solve problems people have encountered. Give yourself a chance to experience the problems first, before you go adopting everyone else's solution to those problems. Just write some plain old code that works.
sonabinu 2 days ago 0 replies      
You are going to get better as you learn more. You will still need to figure out how to set up things but you will have more tools in your tool kit to help you. Keep an open mind and remember you are learning as you struggle through things.
facepalm 2 days ago 0 replies      
There was a link to a programming advent calendar on HN a while ago: http://adventofcode.com

Solve some of those puzzles once in a while, no tooling necessary. Or if they are too easy, go to project Euler.

I also feel the same frustration of JS tooling. It's just not a lot of fun to go through so many steps before you can actually start coding. I hope it gets better once the basic setup works.

such_a_casual 2 days ago 0 replies      
Use pencils and paper. Learn one tool and learn it well.
gt565k 2 days ago 0 replies      
Just use Rails with Heroku for deployments. You can deploy a small instance for free on Heroku.

It'll save you the headache if configuring and setting up everything, and with a feature complete framework like Rails, you'll hit the ground running and be cranking out features in no time.

quicky123 2 days ago 0 replies      
One more thing, when I first read about something like Grunt or Backbone, I didn't really get it. After several months of reading blog posts, articles, books and hacker news I started to get it.
Friendly reminder in CA, at least, property taxes are due today
2 points by DrScump  2 days ago   8 comments top
gonyea 2 days ago 2 replies      
Sign up for rewards credit cards and "make" some money. $500 bonus cash back if you spend $4k. The processing fee on $4k is about $95, so you get a ~10% discount on your property taxes.
Ask HN: What's so special about HN? Why do you hang out here?
6 points by nonotmeplease  3 days ago   19 comments top 7
Nicholas_C 1 minute ago 0 replies      
Good discussion. I don't know anything about a many posts here (not a programmer by trade, and barely a hobbyist) and I don't work in startups. But there are a lot of interesting things that are posted here and the intelligent discussion keeps me coming back.
stephenr 3 days ago 4 replies      
There is also https://lobste.rs, and I like their approach more (it's not inherently related to venture capital backed startups, and its much more transparent with the community (i.e. the concept of effectively hiding unpopular opinions does not exist there)

Unfortunately, it's also nowhere near as active - possibly because it works on invites and its often hard to find someone who will invite others.

Having said that, if anyone wants an invite, please reply here (or see my profile to email me, please include your HN username if you do that) and I'll shoot you an invite.

AnimalMuppet 3 days ago 1 reply      
Mostly-polite interaction on the content of ideas rather than personal attacks.

High signal-to-noise ratio.

A fair number of thought-provoking posts from a lot of different angles.

mod 1 day ago 0 replies      
Comments, that's 95% of why I'm here.

I could find the same stories elsewhere with no (or worse) discussion.

saywahat 3 days ago 0 replies      
Simple ui. No crap to cut through.
mwhuang2 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's like a newspaper for techies. The community is also polite and intellectual, and I feel more comfortable here than on other sites.
frou_dh 3 days ago 2 replies      
Low-effort 'humour' comments get downvoted here! Compare to much of reddit, which is to wade through hoards of comedy-slugs attempting to riff off each other.
Ask HN: Why did OS X win out over Linux for so many developers?
31 points by coned88  21 hours ago   45 comments top 24
im_down_w_otp 17 hours ago 1 reply      
It's the best possible bridge platform for *nix development.

POSIX enough that tools and environments work pretty well without a mountain of hacks and workarounds (e.g. Cygwin).

Mac enough that the user experience is coherent and consistent across the overwhelming majority of applications. (e.g. drag n drop, key bindings, media interop, etc.)

Popular enough to have native MS Office in orgs where that's still a hard requirement.

I tried to force myself to go full Linux by swapping out my Macbook Air for an X1 Carbon Gen 3 running KDE Plasma 5. The environment was nice and customizable and I was able to get pretty comfortable with it, but the instant I wasn't using a qt5 & KDE 5 frameworks application, the user experience fell apart. Couldn't set my key bindings the way I like in GTK apps because the GTK/GNOME teams apparently gave up entirely on accels files and key-themes. Media interop was pretty much non-existent, and there were lots of annoying little bugs (e.g. resizing a window would drop its focus leaving in a context where there was no active window and I'd have to click back in it.)

I still use Kubuntu 15.10 on a 12-core Dell T5500 w/ 48GB RAM for running larger distributed systems simulations/tests, and it seems about a hundred times more usable than the Windows 7 machine my job originally provided, but when I want to move fluidly between development, making arch diagrams, writing docs, or creating conference decks I can't escape how much better the complete experience is on my Macbook.

Also, LibreOffice Impress somehow managed to make a UX more bewildering, broken, and obtuse than PowerPoint, which I'd previously thought to be impossible. Viva la Keynote!

officialchicken 20 hours ago 1 reply      
It seems the migration to laptops as primary dev box was the biggest driver.

The linux driver issues were much more severe when running linux on a laptop (power management, CPU C-states, etc). I need dependable wifi, sound, video and other driver updates... I got absolutely tired of wondering wondering if X, network, and/or sound was going to work after each and every minor update.

Apple was/is the only vendor shipping a "working" system in laptop form for a reasonable price.

kawera 20 hours ago 0 replies      
- OS/hardware integration "just works" out of the box, with occasional hiccups on major OS updates. Overall, very little wasted time.

- Trackpad and MagicMouse are generally well above the mainstream.

- Good iOS interoperability.

- Excellent screen, battery life, weight and finish.

- Most unix dev tools/apps run well. Homebrew.

- Aesthetics. Yes, it counts.

ramtatatam 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Through 15 years I was working on OS X, Windows up to Windows 7 and Linux (KUbuntu, Mint, Arch). In the end Arch Linux won.

There is no argument about the fact that OS X / Windows are much easier to use by people who start their jurney. However at some point cons are simply overtaking all the pros.

Although I disagree with some other commenters that Linux is hard to use on laptops (linux went through long way - "normal" people can enjoy it just like pros). I also do not agree comments about sharp look or battery life - I personally use Samsung Ativ 9 and find it way way more aesthetic than mac book. No problem setting up Arch on it. No waste of time to make things working.

And none of my devs is using OS X. They went through long way themselves and probably know better than me.My observation is that Macs are much more popular in US so since I'm based in London my view may be biased.

racerror 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Corporate procurement practices and policies definitely come into play, as well.

With Linux, there isn't a consensus laptop model that everyone will request. One ends up with a lot of one off business cases, vendors, service contracts, etc.

With Mac, you have a consistent upgrade cycle, one service contact, and no fragmentation of OS distribution usage, etc.

TLDR;It's easier to say "I want a macbook pro w/ cinema display..." and "we hired another developer, please re-order a mac dev setup", than any similar Linux setup.

mschuster91 19 hours ago 0 replies      
The hardware is pretty solid, you can literally beat up someone with a MBP, and 8+h battery life when coding (on the shell, not phpstorm/idea)... nothing even comes close to it.

And it's reasonably enough unix-y (and modern if you use macports to install current versions of core tools) to allow daily work on OS X instead of Linux.

maxharris 20 hours ago 0 replies      
It gave users unix with a visually consistent desktop environment right out of the box. Also, the hardware integration makes it easy to just get started right away without fiddling for days.
gamedna 19 hours ago 1 reply      
There are lots of great techical reasons already discussed, but I would like to add one factor to consider: the "mercedes effect". Apple devices do have a certain status associated with them. Combine that with many startups like to showcase their developers in videos working on dual monitor 27" imacs and macbook pros.

Food for thought.

fian 18 hours ago 0 replies      
My understanding is that the OS X EULA does not permit OS X to be run on non-Apple hardware or in a virtual machine that is not also running on Apple hardware.

So if you want to test on OS X (including Safari) then you need at least one Mac.

Sharing a single Mac for testing could be enough, but given a team of more than a few devs and it may become a bottleneck.

You can run Windows and Linux VMs on a Mac - without breaching any EULAs.

For web devs who care about Safari, Macs become almost mandatory.

Note, I do not own or develop on a Mac. I primarily work on a desktop simulation software written in Java. I found the Mac love professed by other devs I know somewhat bewildering for a long time. I was only when I dabbled in some web development with a Rails app that I realised how much pain came from browser differences across platforms. Now the strong preference for Macs made more sense.

ranedk 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I have done .NET programming on windows for 3-4 years and felt the programming environment was pretty neat. The frustrating part was windows upgrades and the OS eating up all resources and the frequent need to upgrade the machine.

I switched to Linux(redhat and then ubuntu) for the next 8 years and loved vim and programming tools that linux had to offer. The resource utilization was never a blocker. The frustrating part was wireless drivers and machine hanging up because of them.

I recently shifted to OSX and installed iTerm/vim and all that. There have been no issues with wireless hardware and resource utilization. However, setting up production-like environment, which runs on Linux is a huge pain. Running a dual-boot ubuntu is also not as seamless and there are quite a few display driver issues. My take:

- If you have just started programming, start with Linux (if you haven't fought enough to compile drivers for your machine, you are one bit less of a real programmer)

- If you are doing a lot on the server side which largely is Linux driven, then you better use Linux to understand systems and deployment.

- If you are using eclipse, then you better shift to OSX because no other hardware-os combo at that price can let you code in peace.

colept 20 hours ago 0 replies      
OSX is a lot more refined and the GUI programs available for developers are more rich. If you're switching from Windows, you're likely to find more of the programs you're familiar with or alternatives. Also Mac hardware is often found in Universities which gets students familiar with the environment.
dmritard96 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Not sure what it is exactly but the retina display doesn't play nice with Ubuntu 14.04 LTS.

Webcam drivers also broke when apple switched from a USB Webcam implementation to pci or something.

Power consumption on osx is probably a half or third of 14.04 LTS.

I founded a company and need MS Office (unfortuantely), Fusion 360 for CAD work (FreeCAD didn't quite cut it) and once things got rolling the number of Skype calls picked up.

I still dual boot and prefer Ubuntu, but now I am 90+% in osx.

Before this computer and startup, I had been using Ubuntu for 6 years and loved it. Looking forward to going back one day, but for a while, I'm going to be on osx.

eecks 5 hours ago 0 replies      
There's still no good linux laptops* that come with Linux as the main OS. MacBook Pro blows away all the compeition.

*I've seen poor reviews of System76s stuff.

edoceo 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Hmm, I've been using Gentoo on desktop, laptop and servers for over 10 years.

My Mac devs make work around in our code (geared towards Debian servers) so it runs in MAMP. Linux all the way through is a win.

As far as having to edit config files to make things work: I think it's good to know what's under the hood.

We get recent CS grads who know very little about how computers work. Linux might force you to learn the fundamentals but, I argue that is a good thing.

And, my Gentoo desktop (primary dev box) has been happy for a decade - through upgrades to hardware and software. Cheap & stable. What's not to love?

LarryMade2 20 hours ago 1 reply      
I could guess that the bar for entry to develop via OSX is a bit lower than on Linux.

While Linux Distros like Ubuntu make it really easy to set up a developer system (with localhost web, languages and database) it is even easier on OSX via MAMP: install MAMP, configure with a GUI, ready to roll.. Linux you might be tweaking some config files to get the optimal setup.

On Linux you are partially a dev-op not only working on your code but also learning and tweaking your OS, services, etc. for one reason or another.

Another factor is there are some shinier tools on Macs, (i.e. the Adobe lineup, and a easily installed Sublime Editor) And many that went to learning institutions will be comfortable more with Dreamweaver/Photoshop/Illustrator than Eclipse/GIMP/Inkscape.

I took the Linux route, even though I already owned a Mac, I felt on Linux I was closer to the metal where Mac OSX had too many safety rails (both for the user and many publisher's safety)

oxguy3 15 hours ago 0 replies      
For me at least, I made the switch to OS X simply because of software support. There wasn't a good Linux equivalent for Sequel Pro; there's no git gui tool on Linux that matches SourceTree (which my team was standardizing on for its gitflow integration); etc.

And damn, the hardware is just nice. If I could run Fedora on a MacBook Pro, that'd be my ideal setup. Or if OS X wasn't so terrible at customization -- the number of sketchy hacks I've had to install to get my setup how I like it is just depressing.

mxvanzant 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Seems to be the case in US. I work for a small dev shop and everyone else is using OS X, except me. I'm running Linux Mint 17.1 (Mate Desktop) on a Toshiba Satellite w/4K screen, SSD, and 16GB ram. Love it. And I like PC style keyboards better than Mac keyboards :
sgtpepper43 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I know the only reason I use OSX for work is because we have an iOS app. If we didn't have that I, and probably half the other developers, would be rocking some flavor of Linux. You can write software for 99% of users on OSX (with a windows VM, anyways).
proyb2 17 hours ago 0 replies      
On the hardware side, Repairability, same hardwares and less waiting time to repair than competitors which are too fragmented and far less hardware defective.
stefantalpalaru 18 hours ago 1 reply      
For the same reason so many developers use javascript in the back-end - misapplied laziness.
pdkl95 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Why? Because far too many developers are distracted by technical baubles instead of prioritizing the long term freedom. We are losing the War On General Purpose Computing, and apple - having convinced a generation of programmers to develop for their closed platforms - has done a lot of damage to computing freedom.
AznHisoka 19 hours ago 2 replies      
Because Apple products are very popular. What laptop/pc comes with Linux preinstalled?
Ologn 19 hours ago 0 replies      
One obvious thing is OSX runs on top of a BSDish architecture. So while using Macos 9 or Windows could be painful in some respects, OSX has a shell etc. similar to Linux already.

Prior to Ubuntu, this was a no-brainer, setting up things like a wireless adapter could be a trial. I run Ubuntu on a System76 laptop and have been happy with it. I like being able to get the source for everything I use and be able to patch it.

j_s 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Ain't nobody got time for that [Linux]!
Ask HN: Feeling stuck Looking for suggestions
4 points by throwaway5023  3 days ago   5 comments top 4
Raed667 2 days ago 1 reply      
As a senior engineer it is partially your task to "make something happen".
samuelm 2 days ago 0 replies      
Are you interested in a new challenge?

I ask because a friend who works in IP Law recently was telling me how she needs software engineers to come and work for them (DLAPiper is the firm) as experts. They even help you pay for law school if you're interested in that.

If that sounds at all like an interesting challenge hit me up at shmandell at gmail.com for more information.

icedchai 3 days ago 0 replies      
Sitting around "waiting for something to happen" gets old pretty quick, no matter how much money you're making. I suggest you find something new and quit.
eecks 2 days ago 0 replies      
I would love to be making 210k+ a year
Ask HN: How to explain functional programming to my 13-year old?
4 points by jamessun  3 days ago   14 comments top 12
jarcane 10 hours ago 0 replies      
This is what Racket is made for (among other things of course).

I strongly recommend asking on the Racket-users Google Group as they'll know more about educational use than I, but Racket is actively used to teach 13 year olds programming in maths at school, and the basic Racket education program doesn't even teach mutation until much later.

The Racket group is here: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/racket-users

I also know there are some youth education specific resources here: http://www.bootstrapworld.org/ And here: http://www.wescheme.org/

I might also recommend the Little Schemer, which presents and teaches recursive functional programming as if it were a book of puzzles. Realm of Racket is also pretty cool, though it does assume at least some programming knowledge already (it was written for first-year CS students), and you could try the early exercises in How To Design Programs as well (though I find them a bit long-winded and it may bore a younger programmer).

Good luck! I started programming at around that age, and I wish I'd had resources like Racket. If I'd discovered FP and Lisp then, I might've stayed with it instead of taking a break for ten years.

imakesnowflakes 2 days ago 0 replies      
Imperative programs work in steps. It will be like, "Do this, then do this, then do this" etc, etc. Functional programming does not have 'steps'. A functional program is a series of definitions like, A IS B, B IS C and C IS D.

Running an imperative program comprise of setting up some initial state of all the variables and executing the steps in it, after which the state of all variables contain the result.

Running a functional program comprise of taking the input value, and following through the definitions and the end, you will have the result.

The difference between the two is that with imperative programs, there is a dependency on the state at every step. This makes it harder to write complex imperative programs. Functional programs does not have any steps, and hence no 'states' and hence eliminates this overhead...

brudgers 2 days ago 0 replies      
The best explanation I've heard is Rich Hickey's in the Value of Values...i.e., what we usually want when we do something is the next value and changing something and then reading it is more complex than just getting it. I'm not necessarily saying sit your child down with the video, but watching parts of it with your child might be worth it...or watching it and explaining it.

As for a first language, my opinion is Racket unequivocally. The Beginning Student Language is entirely functional and the ecosystem offers a gradient from there to just about any point on the spectrum...from Typed Racket, Datalog, Lazy Racket and Algol 60...all within the same package, DrRacket.

Racket is also designed as a teaching language and extends that part of Scheme's mission. It has decades of educational research in its history.

Good luck.

joshschreuder 2 days ago 0 replies      
If he's already learning JS, why not stick with functional concepts there, in a language he is familiar with?

Two resources I can recommend are:

- http://reactivex.io/learnrx/

- https://github.com/MostlyAdequate/mostly-adequate-guide

The second link in particular is quite an in-depth look at the more theoretical side of functional programming but in the first part it deals with fundamentals, and is not super complex to follow.

I say this as someone who can grasp the basics like functional composition, currying, partial application etc. but not stuff like monads, functors, etc. so take my advice for what it's worth :)

Good luck!

e19293001 2 days ago 0 replies      
I would recommend [0] An Introduction to Functional Programming Through Lambda Calculus. This does not require any mathematical background, starting from simple substitution through list processing. This is a good opportunity to introduce lambda calculus since the child is interested. I mean it, lambda calculus would be a good start.

[0] - http://www.amazon.com/Introduction-Functional-Programming-Ca...

eveningcoffee 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think that maybe you should start from some fundamental questions like why one should at all want to write in a functional programming language (immutable data, pure functions etc, and perhaps you have to learn it first by yourself).

If your child already understands some OOP concepts like objects, classes, you could approach it from that perspective, that is, functions are special case of classes (and then explain why we want this). The whole Clojure language on top of JVM is built on this idea, so why not.

seren 2 days ago 0 replies      
I guess that he should be introduced to mathematical function rather soon in his curriculum. Maybe you should start from there. Function Composition is a mathematical concept as well.
lumberjack 3 days ago 0 replies      
Go to project Euler. Do problems 1 to 5 in Java or Python and then do them in Scheme.

The most important take away for the kid is that these are programming paradigms, i.e. different approach used to solve the same programming problem.

atmosx 2 days ago 0 replies      
I didn't want post a huge comment so I made a gist[1]. This is an excerpt from Peter Cooper's book "Ruby: From novice to professional" which is the best ruby book for non-programmers IMHO.

You can sugar-coat the story accordingly. It doesn't explain the entire concept, but gives a quick glance at the difference. I am not sure it's going to work or if it's exactly what you need. If you try though, I'd like you to share the results with the rest of us :-)

[1] https://gist.github.com/atmosx/85f5aced1f0f5859130a

theWold 3 days ago 1 reply      
My mother introduced me to Java when I was younger due to me making programs on my calculator to do my math homework for me. (Quadratic Formula: Input A, B, and C and outputs the answers, Infinite many solutions, or No solution). I continued to keep doing this with other mindless equations in Algebra, Geometry, Alg 2, and into Calculus.

(Also, if you are in the U.S. then as much flack as Java gets as a language, it is the language used for the College Board AP exam for Computer Science (https://apstudent.collegeboard.org/apcourse/ap-computer-scie...)

dsschnau 3 days ago 0 replies      
wouldn't you try to teach him how to work in an functional language? He didn't "learn object oriented" programming, he just learned to code in languages built around it. i think understanding the difference between OO and functional comes after working with both for a while.
tjr 3 days ago 0 replies      
The Little Schemer ?
Ask HN: How to find a buried story/app on HN (human assisted)?
4 points by waffl  3 days ago   2 comments top 2
ldd 3 days ago 0 replies      
I do not know if this will help you in this specific case, but whenever I want to find an article on HN, I just use google

site:news.ycombinator.com some words i remember

you can use google's search tools to help you too.

mod 2 days ago 0 replies      
There's no such forum, other than these Ask posts.

Might be Ritzy or Ghost.

Ask HN: Would anyone use a JIRA mac, windows or linux client?
5 points by wnm  2 days ago   11 comments top 6
jason_slack 2 days ago 0 replies      
I started writing one for iOS, using a game engine to get some really rich effects, but JIRA changes very quickly and I always found myself in their web interface rather than using what I had written. I am in the Atlassian ecosystem myself.
joshstrange 2 days ago 0 replies      
Honestly probably not as all client interfaces I've tried end up lagging behind the web or not having all the features. It's a huge undertaking to recreate JIRA in a client.
breakingcups 2 days ago 0 replies      
Personally, I wouldn't be. Just adding a voice :) The web interface is good enough for me.
pawelniewie 2 days ago 1 reply      
Someone would as there's already an app for that (http://almworks.com/jiraclient/overview.html) and it is doing fine :-)
brianjking 2 days ago 1 reply      
Paid or free? Would it work for both self-hosted and Atlassian Cloud instances? Both Jira Core & Jira Agile?
mikejmoffitt 2 days ago 1 reply      
I would use a Linux or OS X client. I would appreciate a good CLI as well.
Ask HN: Does PCIe/PCIX slot based Quantum processor product a good idea?
4 points by anoopmunshi  3 days ago   discuss
Ask HN: Who writes the most interesting posts on driverless cars?
3 points by zabramow  3 days ago   1 comment top
       cached 13 December 2015 21:05:03 GMT