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Ask HN: How many professional developers contribute to open source?
8 points by morinted  2 hours ago   2 comments top 2
malux85 42 minutes ago 0 replies      
I have noticed the same, I have worked with probably 500 developers in my 10 year career - I do a lot of integration work, so I communicate with developers at external companies a lot, I would say only ~5 of them contributed to open source, so roughly 1%

Lots of them wanted to - but it was just a matter of time ... they have full time jobs, families etc

bbcbasic 28 minutes ago 0 replies      
I'd ask a different question. How many professional developer's employers are investing their resources back into open source?

Since tech companies are the financial beneficiaries of everything open from operating systems to databases and programming languages, shouldn't "they" be reinvesting?

Why would we expect professionals to do this for free? When they do it is extremely generous.

Ask HN: What kind of chatbot do you need?
38 points by alexander-g  4 hours ago   37 comments top 19
sobinator 2 hours ago 1 reply      
A bot to keep me engaged outside of work. I need to be kept on task with small stuff around the home, chores, maintenance, finances, etc. Also when I've completed those tasks, I need stuff to do/read when I'm bored. What should I do with my weekend? What should I read on my ride home from work? Lists are fine but what I'm really looking for is a bot.
317070 2 hours ago 1 reply      
A bot warning me when the boss has logged out from Slack (and is therefore likely to leave the office soon). Bonus points if it could warn me x minutes after he left, so I can start packing immediately, rather than having to pretend I'm working hard those x minutes.
c3RlcGhlbnI_ 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Mostly just one for every app on my phone that is just wasting space. However here are the first few ideas that come to mind. Because it is a chatbot for most of these things you can offer an app for just the local business, it doesn't matter if I have to use different chatbot in a different city.

- Pay parking (payment, expiry notification)

- event tickets (purchase, rsvp, ticket image)

- catching pokemon (just catch whatever and message me a snazzy report full of pokemon names every once in a while)

- ordering food

- managing bills (let me know when phone/electrical/heat bill comes in, check usage so far, coordinate payment between all the people in the conversation)

gelisam 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Not sure what the context of the question is, are you offering services to build custom chatbots? The startup I work for, keatext.ai, happens to need one.

We analyse free-form comments and uses NLP to extract commonly-mentioned problems. Currently users need to log into the app and explore their data in order to discover problems, but it would be much more convenient if we could send the problem descriptions to a slack channel as our AI discovers them. It would be even more convenient if the users could then ask our bot for more details about a problem, such as giving example comments illustrating the problem or listing the customers who are affected. We have the data required to answer those questions, but even though our AI extracts information from free-form text, it's not the kind of AI who can answer free-form questions, so we might need help with that.

Eridrus 2 hours ago 1 reply      
A JIRA bot so that I never have to use it's web UI.
shekkizh 2 hours ago 1 reply      
A bot that gives me gist of unread messages so that I don't have to browse through all the messages and read selectively the messages I want.
sushaantmujoo 1 hour ago 0 replies      
It should be a utility driven approach.

For tasks & information which are required for a short duration & thats it and value for which is only for that moment should be implemented as bots.

Parking, ordering are all short, instantaneous tasks which are only of value there & then. Anything that meets this criteria can fit the bill of being a chatbot


myroon5 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I would love a messenger bot that messaged me when it was going to rain.
mirekrusin 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd like one which tells me which stock to buy/sell to make money.
houssr 1 hour ago 0 replies      
One that allows voting with in the team/channel. Bonus points if it can be Quick and Easy Voting for Normal People (shout out to CPG Grey!)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=orybDrUj4vA
swozey 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I'd like a daily aggregate of;

 Git changelogs/releases News with #keyword Messages where my name was tagged @swozey and a few lines before/after Maybe my calendar events for the day

kzisme 2 hours ago 1 reply      
> Messenger, Telegram or Slack

Failed to mention IRC? :( what gives hah

serg_chernata 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Hmm, something to send me one article according to my preset interests once a day. From sources I suggest but also let it search the web and places I don't frequent. Let me ask for more. Let me save.
viach 39 minutes ago 0 replies      
I believe you've seen "Her" movie. Bots are 30 or so years old. There is no useful bot, except it has General AI, imo.
daveloyall 2 hours ago 4 replies      
clishem 2 hours ago 0 replies      
One for lifelogging.
arthpalme 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I'd like one that gives relationship advice ;)
MrMid 3 hours ago 2 replies      
I'd use one that replied facebook messages for me, kind of autoreply.
0xdeadbeefbabe 3 hours ago 1 reply      
The kind that would make a good president.
Ask HN: Examples of exceptional Git repo wikis?
2 points by lukeHeuer  2 hours ago   2 comments top
Ask HN: 8 years working, now 3-4 months off to learn. Looking for advice
206 points by ramblerman  1 day ago   110 comments top 41
bamboo_7 1 day ago 4 replies      
WTF is wrong with this industry?!?

You have 4 months to train for a better job and the best advice is to spend the time studying interview techniques??

I'm not criticizing anyones post here, but the industry in general. That's where we are? Teaching to the test??

I know, I know, "interviewing is broken" and "that's the way the big companies evaluate you" and all.. but geez! Is anyone else bothered by this? Isn't it possible to get a good job at a good company based on your skills & knowledge rather than interview-ability?

I can understand an argument of "well, OP wants to get into Google, and this is the best way", but maybe that means that sights are set too high... maybe it should take longer than 4 months to get a job at Google. Am I taking crazy pills?

gervase 1 day ago 4 replies      
If your goal is be employed by a large company with a "Google-esque" interview model, your time will be much better spent working on your interviewing than on learning a broad base of CS knowledge, because that's not what they're going to be testing you on.

Cracking the coding interview is pretty good, but you'll go crazy if you just try to work through it straight without any other content to broaden your perspective.

I'd suggest doing challenges on Topcoder, Hackerrank, etc. to help reinforce the concepts. These questions are very similar in format (if not content) to those you'll see in your interviews, so it's helpful to get thinking in these kinds of modes.

If you're not already comfortable coding on a white board, or talking and coding at the same time, you'll want to work on those as well. Even some simple rubber duck programming will be useful.

Note that the above is probably not going to be anything new to you - you've probably already read this in a bunch of other blogs you found while googling. I repeat it only to reinforce its accuracy.

brad0 1 day ago 1 reply      
Short answer:

Understand all of Cracking the Coding Interview. Surround yourself with other developers who know the material well.

Long answer:

The big 4 hire thousands of engineers a year.

They have an interview process that brings in developers who can "get the job done". What I mean by this is that 99% of those thousands of developers won't be building anything groundbreaking.

Before you decide you want to work for these guys ask yourself why you want to work for a big company.

Is it:

- To get away from contracting - do you feel trapped?

- You're not learning any more or getting anything out of contracting?

- You just want to try something different?

- You want to work on a specific team in a specific company because their problem is interesting and unique?

Another thing that's interesting - you say the interview process terrifies you.

You need to ask yourself why it scares you.

A lot of the time when something terrifies you it means that you need to expose yourself to it.

Ask yourself:

- What's the worst that could happen? (you fail the interview and you're in the same place as you were today, just with more experience)

- What do I lose by going into one of these interviews without being prepared (you can't interview again with this company for a year)

- What do I gain by going into one of these interviews without being prepared (you get a feel for how the interview process works)

Don't be afraid of failure - it's the key to success.

ma2rten 1 day ago 2 replies      
I am going to start at Google in two weeks. Having recently passed Google interviews, I would give you the following tips:

1. Unless they contacted you at LinkedIn or you know someone at Google who can refer you, the most difficult part is actually getting an interview.

2. Apply as soon as possible. They don't mind scheduling an interview 3 months in advance and they will send you preparation material and they will be able to answer questions. (This is specific to Google, I would not do that at most other companies).

3. Check out Quora they have a ton of information about the Google interview process. Also some info, but not so much about other companies. That shouldn't matter because the preparation is mostly the same.

4. I don't think it's a bad idea to follow courses as well. At least for me it would motivate me more if I learned something of value in addition to just getting a job. However, unless you are interested in it, don't worry about Math.

5. As others I would recommend to work through the book Cracking the Coding Interview. I also found the website interviewbit.com helpful. It's similar to leetcode, but they organize the questions by topic and gamified it. This helped me to stay motivated.

6. Also prepare for system design questions. Those are equally important as coding, algorithms and data structures for candidates that have industry experience.

7. Do mock interviews. Ask friends, otherwise there is a YC startup called Pramp.com. They allow to do mock interviews with peers for free. There also services that let you do payed mock interviews with people that actually work at big tech companies.

8. Don't be naive about what impact you can have working at big companies like Google. You are going to work on a small subpart.

mathgenius 1 day ago 2 replies      
All of this sounds a bit pre-meditated to me. If you are a "planner" then perhaps this will work for you. The alternative is to just GO NUTS! and pick up whatever random stuff you find interesting TODAY and dig in there. Most of these roads lead to rome, and if you find something that makes you curious, even though you have no idea why, that curiosity is likely to make you 10 times faster at absorbing/processing (and creating) new ideas.

For example, you want to do some graphics programming, maybe a raytracer, and that leads to thinking about projective geometry and linear algebra and whoah, a few years later all of that stuff is useful when you end up in a machine learning job. (maybe)

But back to the plan, if that's your thing. All the blog posts that complain about the "interview process" seem to be about how they don't understand dynamic programming. So, put that at the top of your list! (And by the way it is loads of fun.)

umbs 1 day ago 2 replies      
Since your goal is to clear interview at Google (or companies with similar interview style), I would recommend straight up interview preparation.

I have recently found "Elements of Programming Interviews" [1]. For people with 5+ years of experience trying to clear Google style interviews, this is the perfect book for following reasons:

+ The quality of problems is much much better than the other two books popular in this category ([2,3]). I am not saying problem are hard, but they found a right balance between quality and solvability in interview setting.+ The solutions are methodical and of high standard. For experienced people, problems in [2,3] may appear too dumb down. + It has some 260 or more problems covering various areas of CS. By going through this book, you should get CS fundamentals and interview prep in one shot.

I have all three books but strongly recommend EPI

[1] Elements of Programming Interviews[2] Cracking the Coding Interviews[3] Programming Interviews Exposed.

I have no affiliation with authors/publishers of [1]

grobaru 1 day ago 1 reply      
I do not want to discourage you but these companies hardly solve "real problems". Yes they might be challenging and more prestigious but you will probably end up just working on better ads targeting.

I mean I do not want to underestimate your skills and intellect but look at what happened to Geohot and I believe he is above your average MIT/Stanford graduate

yogeshp 1 day ago 0 replies      
Here are some of resources you can use for learning CS topics related to interviewing. You don't have to do all of them, do as per whatever combination suits you.

For learning Algorithms and data structures for interviews

1. Coursera courses on Algorithms by Prof Roughgarden

2. Coursera courses on Algorithms by Prof Sedgewick

3. OCW 6.006 as listed above would be good too.

4. Prof Skiena's algorithms course

5. Berkeley CS 61b by Prof Shewchuk for refreshing basic Data structures like Linked list, tree traversals which are not covered in above mentioned courses.

For practice,

1. geeksforgeeks.org

2. leetcode.com

3. interviewbit.com

4. careercup.com

5. Hiredintech.com

6. topcoder, hackerrank , spoj etc are good sites for practice in general but their problems are embedded with extraneous information not seen in interviews. For example, interviewer is not going to explain you 2 page story, instead he will tell you directly what needs to be done.

In books,

1. Cracking the Coding Interview

2. Programming Interviews Exposed

3. Elements of Programming Interviews

Books on Design Patterns

1. GoF

2. Head first design patterns

3. Software Architecture books by Robert Martin

4. Elements of Enterprise Architecture Patterns by Fowler

5. System Design research papers, gainlo.co has many design questions

fecak 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm a mod on Reddit's /r/cscareerquestions, and we get questions like this so often that we created a specific weekly "Big4" thread to address them.

Even if your BS in SW had been heavy on math, it wouldn't likely matter much now that several years have passed where you haven't used that education.

As others have said, practicing for the type of interview you'll be subject to at these companies is probably a better plan than taking a bunch of online courses.

My concern is that you seem to equate "solving real problems" with only a handful of companies, and it turns out that those companies are somewhat known to all have this particular interview style which will require you to memorize algorithms and data structures (even if you won't use those skills on a daily basis at that job).

Essentially, you're talking about taking a few months to prepare for the interview that most entry-level candidates with "Big4" aspirations prepare for after graduation.

Another option would be to consider whether there are other companies solving real problems (of course there are), and whether or not these other companies would subject you to the same style of interview (probably not).

Other companies won't interview the same way, and still solve big problems. I'm not sure if this is something you'd considered, but thought I'd throw it out there.

CyberFonic 1 day ago 0 replies      
With your experience in so many application areas, I doubt that so much theory oriented learning would be of much benefit. You are more likely to be hired for your domain knowledge.

Based on your plan, you would become better versed in several areas of theory, but still limited to being a Java programmer - which in turn will probably lock you into the enterprise space. Unlikely to give you real problem solving opportunities.

@grobaru hit the nail on the head. The established firms you list are either going to hire you for your general programming knowledge or for a specific project. In the latter case domain knowledge and experience is going to be valuable.

I think you need to revisit your goals. What industries do you prefer to work in? What domain knowledge do you bring to the table? Look at what languages, frameworks are used in those areas and then get some experience with them. And have you considered startups? Their mission and problem domain(s) tends to be more focused than the big companies.

msg 1 day ago 0 replies      
Amazon engineer here.

Before I worked here, I read Steve Yegge's posts on interviews at Amazon and Google. You cannot get information more straight from the horse's mouth.

I also agree with the general point that you are better off doing interview prep than your general undergrad algorithms courses.

But the catch is that interview prep will lead you back to CS fundamentals anyway. This is a both/and, not an either/or.

The other thing I wanted to address is whether working at Amazon can be practical and cool.

My team is the full stack physical rentals team. When you press a Rent-Now button on Amazon.com, you enter my team's world. Today, we rent physical textbooks to millions of students every semester, and they all get returned at the same time.

We own custom checkout, order management, and return customer experiences. Underlying them is a service ecosystem we built and maintain. To handle the seasonal, spiky nature of our business (back to school, Christmas vacation returns), we use AWS to scale up and down during peaks.

Success breeds success, and we're working on category expansion. Twenty engineers in three teams run the software for this business. That is cool.

There is an incredibly broad spectrum of work going on at Amazon, from mammoth services to front end optimization and everything in between, including unfortunately some very unhappy firefighting operations. Undergirding it is heavy company investment in builder tools and infrastructure, and excellent engineers.

One person's cool is another person's depressing, but I would look at the job listing carefully before writing off a stint at any of the Titans of software.

ruraljuror 1 day ago 3 replies      
Check out the Recurse Center. Their sessions are normally about 3 or 4 months. I am not an alum, but I think you could meet some good people, learn from them, and maybe get some good career perspective. It is free but you would have to find a place to live in NYC.
ryporter 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think it's a great idea to study algorithms and math for CS, and that OCW is a very good resource. Also consider taking a Coursera course on algorithms. One taught by Tim Roughgarden started Aug 8. [1] I haven't taken the class, but I've met Tim and seen him talk. He's both extremely intelligent and a dynamic speaker.

I wouldn't prepare specifically for the interview yet. I know that others are very skeptical of the algorithms interview, but I conducted it myself many times, and I'd like to defend it. When done right, the goal is to see how you think about algorithms. I didn't care about whether you jumped to the solution as much as I wanted to hear you think out loud.

My goal was to decide whether I could see myself developing a new algorithm with you as a peer. For many interviewees who lacked a former CS background, the answer was clearly, "No." You need to have a basic and intuitive understanding of Big-O notation, and you need to be able to develop an algorithm yourself. These courses will teach you exactly that (though you absolutely must do the problem sets as well).

Now, it is true that the interview process has its own quirks. So, get experience. Apply to a bunch of jobs, and try to setup interviews with other companies before you even have a phone screen with a company you really want to work for. As with developing algorithms, nothing beats experience. However, I really believe that this step should be secondary to learning the fundamentals. They truly are the basis for the rest.

[1] https://www.coursera.org/learn/algorithm-design-analysis

jasonkester 1 day ago 1 reply      
I think the first question to ask, before you set off on this, is "what happened when you interviewed with google that scared you so bad?"

If the answer is "well actually I haven't tried yet, but I hear it's really scary" then maybe a better plan is to go interview with google.

They really want to find people who are good at programming computers, which you seem to be. They want that even more than they want to humiliate people with impossible algorithm trivia, believe it or not.

Seems like you might save yourself a few months of no fun, and end up landing your dream job in the process.

alexdowad 1 day ago 0 replies      
In your 3 months, make sure to limit the scope of what you expect to learn. There is just so much out there, and when you start learning about one thing, that will lead you to another, and another, and another... so be selective about which "rabbit holes" you go down.
eddd 1 day ago 1 reply      
> I want to stop contracting and apply to a company solving real problems after this process, google, facebook, zalando, amazon, etc..

The bigger the company, the smaller the feeling of doing something 'real'. Just my experience.

MK_Dev 1 day ago 1 reply      
Not meant to steal your thread, but any advice on picking up good contract work? I'm in the exact opposite situation you're in.
k__ 1 day ago 0 replies      
You can "solve real problems" as consultant too, you just need to marketing yourself different.

But yes, learning new things is always good. I too 1 1/2 year off to do a master degree in CS.

p333347 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think a top down approach is much better, practical and actually interesting than diving into theory directly. To that end, there are two books that I recommend - Programming Pearls by Jon Bentley & Algorithm Design by Jon Kleinberg and Eva Tardos. These books cover a wide variety of important CS aspects starting with extremely practical problems and scenarios. They are more narrative in style with very limited maths formulas and diagrams, but don't be fooled by that because they are expository, which is often superior to simply following a dry mathsy problem solution theorem proof style. (The Klienberg book says in the preface that it is meant for students who have completed two semester standard CS course, and even includes some proofs, but you may skip those without losing any insight into the solutions or techniques.)

These books really pique your interest, and after finishing them you will see the big picture and find sufficient motivation (problem solving wise), and may venture into following proper undergraduate courses with proper textbooks. You might even like to quickly read through Skiena's The Algorithm Design Manual as an intermediary step. This book is a proper 'engineer's book' as in it is basically a catalog of algorithms and data structures with advise and illustration of where to use what.

With this approach, you won't be needing a tutor and can gain a lot by self studying at your own pace.

jheitzeb 1 day ago 0 replies      
these are things I might consider if I was in your situation:1) build something that you think will force you to learn whatever data structures and algorithms you want to learn. Two benefits; learning and having something to show for it2) ask someone to do mock interviews with you to practice3) take the coursera ML course - fascinating, useful, marketable skill and hard to do unless you have a couple of months free to dedicate4) network. Coffee with people IRL regularly
a_c 1 day ago 0 replies      
I am curious where you get all those contracts. Isn't it always easier to get an employment, compared with, for example , finding customers, listening to client requirement, dealing tax form, drafting contract, etc?
leonhandreke 1 day ago 0 replies      
I can't really comment on any of the courses, but taking a few months off to learn and recharge sounds like a great idea if you can afford it.

However, the problems solved at Amazon, Google and Facebook aren't necessarily more "real" than what you're solving now. Google also builds a lot of Java webapps. Sure, there are many advantages to working at these companies, but be aware that you most likely won't end up on the team that builds the algorithms for the self driving car or the machine learning powered object detection for photos.

0xmohit 1 day ago 0 replies      
Additionally, I'd recommend "Introduction to Functional Programming" [0] by Erik Meijer.

Depending upon your areas of interest, you might also want to look into related open source projects and attempt to contribute. Chances are that you'll learn a fair bit in the process.

[0] https://www.edx.org/course/introduction-functional-programmi...

xiphias 1 day ago 0 replies      
Courses are good but not enough. Definately read cracking the coding interview as you wrote and the most important is to solve hundreds of problems on hackerrank, topcoder and similar sites. I think it takes maybe half year to get there, still be prepared to survive for at least a year (optionally move to a country with cheap cost of living). I don't know any tutors as I always prepared alone (and employed by one of these companies)
roronoaZoro 1 day ago 0 replies      
Funny because i saw this today. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12260512

I don't work for amazon but yeah i work in one of the so called top 4 companies.I got lucky to get into a good project. But talk with some google employees and you will be surprised to see how many engineers work on some pretty mundane stuff inside of google.

Still i can't process the thought that the OP is not solving real world problems right now as a contractor and would be doing some sort of a dream job after he gets through the google interview process.

What exactly is a real world problem?

drewm1980 1 day ago 0 replies      
Depending on how much else you have going on in your life, and how much of that 8 years of salary you saved, you might want to consider getting an engineering degree and gaining some domain specific knowledge; I doubt a few more general CS courses will dramatically change the types of problems you will be considered to work on. I can't speak for you, but most people's concept of "real problems" means that there is a simple and direct way in which they can see people in society benefiting from their work, and those problems tend to get domain specific in a hurry. i.e. if you want to get to work on improving the water people drink or the air they breathe, you're probably going to need to know some chemistry. An upside of being an engineer who also happens to be a good programmer is that your interviews won't be pure coding interviews.
JSeymourATL 1 day ago 0 replies      
Google's HR Chief likes to boast in his book, that its harder to get a job at Google than it is to get accepted at Harvard.

Gaining cutting-edge skills sends a strong signal to the market. And can make you more attractive to recruiters.

Don't overlook the professional network piece of making new friends and contacts amongst your fellow students. Those individuals often have inside tracks to hidden opportunities.

Here's a review of Laslo Bock's Work Rules > http://www.wsj.com/articles/book-review-work-rules-by-laszlo...

andrew_wc_brown 1 day ago 1 reply      
I've been professionally been developing for 10 years, and I stay a contractor because the hiring process of companies depresses me.

When there is a CS person interviewing me I get depressed because I know they are going to do a sanity check on CS things and I will fail because I don't have Big O memorized.

Why it depresses me is if they say, they want to scale postgres, I can come back to them with a working model, and I may utilize CS like-things, but since I can't remember textbook answers its gates me from jobs.

hbhakhra 1 day ago 0 replies      
Good luck first of all. Sounds like you've done well for yourself thus far.

If you got the savings, I would say go for it and take the time to learn. I don't know how helpful the math for computer science course will be but understanding various algorithms is useful for general knowledge and especially for interviews. Once you know basic algorithms, start on cracking the coding interview, hackerrank etc.

Lastly, I would say the grass is always greener on the other side, so don't disregard all you have accomplished and all that you will continue to do. If you think you will enjoy a job at a top company, go for it, but don't do it because you think what you are doing is inadequate.

qwertyuiop924 1 day ago 0 replies      
Need I even mention that if you're looking to broaden your horizons in programming, you may want to try 6.001/SICP? It's hard, but you'll probably learn a lot.
pklausler 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've conducted hundreds of technical interviews, mostly at Google. It bothers me a lot when I read comments here saying that tech interviewers are just testing trivial knowledge or for memorization of obscure algorithms. (And some are, but they're bad interviewers.) As if you need only memorize the right magic spells, and bang, you're in.
joelg 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I took 042 and 006 simultaneously, and wish I'd have just skipped 042 altogether. I'd seriously consider jumping straight into 006, and adding something else (SICP, 6.945, learn a new language, or commit yourself to a personal project).
plinkplonk 1 day ago 0 replies      
4 months is a decent chunk of an MS. Just saying.
goldenkey 1 day ago 2 replies      
If you think the glory of the big co awaits you, you'll be sorrily dissapointed. I worked for one of the companies listed, it was a shit show. Stick with startups. Do what you love. The only way to solve real problems is to be close to them. And most likely Big Co will put you near a black hole that will swallow you up.
ianwalter 1 day ago 1 reply      
I did something similar and in retrospect I wish I had developed a solid routine and stuck to it from the outset. When you're suddenly in direct control of most of your time, it can get easy to get lost in the weeds.
haack 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm curious, by 'Zalando' do you mean the online fashion store?If so I'm interested to know what makes you group them with Google, FB and Co.
cenkozan 1 day ago 0 replies      
I would say find a freelance job from a site like Upwork and work there. You don't have to re-learn everything again.
adultSwim 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is a good idea. Go for it.
DanielBMarkham 1 day ago 0 replies      
The thing I would get into if I were in my early 30s would be DevOps. No matter what you build, it should be going through a pipeline to the cloud. And more and more that pipeline is managed by developers.

This is called vertical integration, by the way. Instead of spending your time learning more and more about the arcane details of programming, you might be much better off learning more and more about how and why people ask for programs to be created -- and what happens to them after they're coded.

sitkack 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ask HN: What are good reads for designing APIs?
299 points by adnanh  1 day ago   90 comments top 52
ccallebs 1 day ago 6 replies      
You'll notice in this thread that (at 9 comments in) there are no repeated recommendations. If the question was "What are some good reads for learning about algorithms?" you'd probably see the same handful of books being praised by everyone.

Don't be overwhelmed by this though -- API design isn't an exact science. It's also very opinionated.

Personally, I would just start reading actual API documentation (GitHub is a great place to start -- their API is a joy to work with). Find things you like and don't like about it and try to figure out why those decisions were made.

andreasklinger 1 day ago 3 replies      
When doing my last bigger API i read every recommendation. Still learned a lot.

Everyone has different recommendations - dont get discouraged by this.

Make sure also to look into newer standards like JsonAPI if they are suitable - last time i tried to use it the tooling around it was still not strong enough and i decided to go w/ simpler custom api.

Assuming it has to be a restful api (vs graphql) and assuming you want to create an api for multiple kinds of clients (that's the the harder part) - Here my personal TL;DR:

- Autogenerate your docs with your tests

- Do versioning in URL (easier to route/cache/etc)

- Worry about caching (a lot)

- Personalized info only in isolated namespace, rest is fully cacheable

- Never embed personalized information (eg not `{ post: { user_has_commented: true } }`

- Never nest data (not `post: { author: { } }` but reference only `post: {author_id: }`)

- Embed referenced objects only by whitelist

- Never nest routes (not `/posts/343/comments` but `/comments?post_id=232`) filtering tends to become more complex

- Use public feedback tools (eg github issues) for your user questions/complains - so it can become searchable for people with similar problems

hth - happy to answer some of those in detail if useful

As said - highly subjective opinions - i am sure others might disagree w/ some of the points

lnikkila 1 day ago 4 replies      
I really liked Building Stripes API and its sequel, Move fast, dont break your API:



esja 1 day ago 1 reply      
The Little Manual of API Design (Trolltech/Nokia):http://people.mpi-inf.mpg.de/~jblanche/api-design.pdf

How to Design a Good API and Why it Matters (Josh Bloch):http://static.googleusercontent.com/media/research.google.co...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAb7hSCtvGw

hbcondo714 1 day ago 0 replies      
Microsoft's REST API Guidelines are newly hosted on Github and were posted here last month with plenty of discussion:


niftich 1 day ago 0 replies      
I recommend this physical book: 'RESTful Web Services Cookbook'. It walks you though the rationale behind HTTP APIs and progressively using more and more of HTTP's features to build a sophisticated but elegant API.

[1] http://shop.oreilly.com/product/9780596801694.do

mandeepj 1 day ago 0 replies      
API could be in any form - be it a dll lib, wcf or rest so I am pasting a resource for each.

1. Restful API with WCF - https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd203052.aspx

2. Restful API using WebAPI - https://github.com/Microsoft/api-guidelines/blob/master/Guid...

3. API via dll - https://www.amazon.com/Framework-Design-Guidelines-Conventio...

mordocai 1 day ago 0 replies      
I thought https://apisyouwonthate.com/ was pretty good, assuming REST API.
gabriel 1 day ago 0 replies      
A good read for API design is "The Little Manual of API Design": http://www4.in.tum.de/~blanchet/api-design.pdf

It falls into the category of non-web API. It's a good read and I think it carries over to web APIs quite well.

omgitstom 1 day ago 1 reply      
This question is a little vague. My assumption is you mean a REST API.

This is a must watch and encapsulates good design and theory:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hdSrT4yjS1g

Good API design, if you are trying to learn from zero, comes from learning from good examples.

These are some of my favorites APIs by design

+ Stripe

+ Twilio

+ Slack

+ Stormpath (fd: I work here)

There is a lot of work that goes around the API design to make it a great API (examples, documentation, live samples, etc)

JimDabell 1 day ago 2 replies      
I think it depends on what type of API you'd like to design.

If you're talking about REST APIs, then the best book I've come across is RESTful Web APIs by Leonard Richardson and Mike Amundsen:


It actually shows you how to do REST properly, not that shoddy knock-off REST that some people push, where you have to document all your URI structures and hard-code them in your clients. There's solid examples that you build upon throughout each chapter, and jumping off points to standardisation work like JSON-LD etc.

tengbretson 1 day ago 0 replies      
You should checkout the MQ guide. They do such a good job of first defining the problem space, and then establishing the design patterns they use to solve it.

The code examples almost become irrelevant because they make the patterns so clear.


joeld42 1 day ago 0 replies      
Casey Muratori - Designing and Evaluating Reusable Components


johnwheeler 1 day ago 1 reply      
Times really do change very fast.

Many of the comments here take API to mean an HTTP exposed API (REST), but API stands for "Application Programming Interface"

It is much more generalized than APIs designed for HTTP consumption.

rcpt 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I found this SIGCHI paper from Google to be an interesting read. Abstract:

>The number of APIs produced by Googles various businessunits grew at an astounding rate over the last decade,the result of which was a user experience containing wildinconsistencies and usability problems. There was no singleissue that dominated the usability problems; rather,users suffered a death from a thousand papercuts. A lightweight,scalable, distributed design review process was put intoplace that has improved our APIs and the efficacy of ourmany API designers. Challenges remain, but the API designreviews at scale program has started successfully.


aeijdenberg 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I think the single best thing an API designer should do is write a getting started guide with working sample code for the API they are producing.

On my last project I found myself revising the API surface twice as a result of doing so.

wooptoo 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Web API design by Apigee - https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B8qU9uFznmLsdFBHS1I2c1ZLRk...

Restful service design - https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B8qU9uFznmLsUEZ3TEFMbDZQcU...

Notes on RESTful APIs - http://wooptoo.com/blog/notes-on-restful-apis/ - written by yours truly some years ago

cyberferret 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Aside from Vinay's guide that has already been mentioned - http://www.vinaysahni.com/best-practices-for-a-pragmatic-res...

There is also this Medium post: https://bradfults.com/the-best-api-documentation-b9e46400379...

jbox 1 day ago 0 replies      
Heroku's Interagent is a set of practical guidelines for building APIs based on their Platform API: https://github.com/interagent/http-api-design
danpalmer 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'd recommend the original REST thesis from Roy Fielding. It's a bit lower level than most of the other things mentioned here, but helps get a good feeling for what is important to achieve in a RESTful web service.
neves 1 day ago 1 reply      
Don't miss Joshua Bloch (from "Effective Java" fame) great presentation:How to design a good API and why it mattershttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAb7hSCtvGw

and the accompanying slides:http://static.googleusercontent.com/media/research.google.co...

idan 1 day ago 0 replies      
Though it's somewhat dated and C# oriented, the really, really fantastic Framework Design Guidelines by Brad Abrams and Krzysztof Cwalina is a thoughtful treatise on designing usable APIs. A lot of the things I read in there still resonate with me almost a decade later.


caseysoftware 22 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm horribly biased as one of the co-authors, but check out: http://TheAPIDesignBook.com

It documents a number of things we've learned building, using, and supporting APIs at Twilio, major banks, major hotel chains, and others. It's 100% driven by practices in the wild, not academic or theoretical info.

cesarb 1 day ago 1 reply      
I always liked Rusty's list on making an API "hard to misuse" (and its followup):



avicoder 1 day ago 2 replies      
Check this one:Build APIs You Won't Hate - Phil Sturgeon
rudedogg 1 day ago 0 replies      
I know you asked for books, but if you are an Apple Developer they had a really good talk at WWDC about API design called "Swift API Design Guidelines".

The docs have similar content: https://swift.org/documentation/api-design-guidelines/

junto 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I found Apigee's API design eBook really useful:


I was impressed with the Rackspace Cloud API and documentation too. Especially their authentication services.

erikb 21 hours ago 0 replies      
You can't learn that in a book. Use other ppls APIs, read other people's APIs, design own APIs, overcome the desire to say "FK U" to everybody who criticises your APIs, edit your APIs, rinse&repeat.

It becomes interesting once you start to use/read "hard" or "shitty" APIs. You may discover that many of them aren't either of their given labels, but that they solve really complex problems, that can't be solved (even) more intuitively.

abhip 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Good documentation is a key part

- Good summary of best practices for documentation: https://bocoup.com/weblog/documenting-your-api

- Tips for good api doc design: http://blog.parse.com/learn/engineering/designing-great-api-...

solidgumby 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is my goto resource when the team starts bike-shedding on implementation details. http://jsonapi.org/
Walkman 1 day ago 0 replies      
A cow helped me understand idempotency. :D http://www.restapitutorial.com/
danm07 20 hours ago 0 replies      
The best thing to do is to start using API that other people have built. Try getting the data, see where the bottlenecks/friction points are - what things are clear and what things are not. This will put you in the shoes of someone who will physically use one. Otherwise, its all conjecture.
yareally 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I was always fond of the "how to GET a cup of coffee" article on REST and APIs. I know it's been posted here in the past (how I found it), but for ease of access:


b0sk 1 day ago 0 replies      
a bunch of API design guidelines flow from Scott Meyer's famous maxim "Make interfaces easy to use correctly and hard to use incorrectly."


morenoh149 1 day ago 0 replies      
I asked myself this a couple of months back. Here's what I found http://harrymoreno.com/2016/03/31/API-design-link-roundup.ht...
mh8h 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you need programming APIs, and not necessarily REST, take a look at "Practical API Design, Confessions of a Java Framework Architect": http://www.apress.com/9781430209737
dmreedy 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm going to take the pretentious and predictable* route here and recommend The Design of Everyday Things. It's not about REST APIs or whatever particular instance you're after, but it is more philosophical about what APIs are.

*Like a freshman preaching Rand

azhenley 23 hours ago 0 replies      

This page was started by a dozen or so researchers back in 2009 and has a list of publications on the subject.

edoceo 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Terrible API: BioTrackTHC

Read their stuff for what to NOT do. Use it for real torture.

divkakwani 1 day ago 0 replies      
Have a look at Facebook's Graph API: https://developers.facebook.com/docs/graph-api
pjmlp 1 day ago 0 replies      
For C++ APIs, "API Design for C++" from Martin Reddy:


enitihas 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think if you have the time you should read SICP. It is not just about APIs, but my understanding of good APIs too increased a lot after reading this.
mchamati 1 day ago 1 reply      
Definitely http://swagger.io/, supported by AWS as well.
rdsubhas 1 day ago 0 replies      
Teach a Dog to REST: Some great REST API patterns distilled into a simple presentation http://www.slideshare.net/landlessness/teach-a-dog-to-rest
djuang1 1 day ago 0 replies      
darkfishboat 1 day ago 0 replies      
Any good online courses?
duncan_bayne 22 hours ago 0 replies      
It's a bit meta, but consider that building a culture that supports good APIs is every bit as important as the APIs themselves, and usually harder.

A good starting point in this area is Steve Yegge's famous platform rant:


Ask HN: High Build Quality Alternatives to Thinkpads and MBPs?
9 points by anexprogrammer  9 hours ago   14 comments top 7
pravula 1 hour ago 1 reply      

32GB, Xeon processor, 3840x2160 Touch. You can buy it with Ubuntu preinstalled.

tbolt 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I recommend waiting for the new MBP.

Otherwise, Chromebook Pixel - https://pixel.google.com/

soulbadguy 8 hours ago 1 reply      
There is indeed some a lack of quality notebook for processional. My single advice would be to avoid any device from the "consumer line" of the main PC manufacturer. The PC industry have made some amazing progress this past 5 years, but the reliability is still lacking. (maybe except the xps line which is having good reviews, but again most reviews focus on the multimedia side of the equation)

You should look into business oriented laptops : HP elite books, dells latitudes, Toshiba tecras. Haven't looked into them for a while now, but HP elitebooks are usually great in term of reliability (but sometimes have sucky screens)

Which thinkpad do you currently own ?

TurboHaskal 4 hours ago 1 reply      
As much as you seem to dislike Lenovo it looks like the Thinkpad P50 is exactly what you want.

i7/xeon, 64GB RAM, 3 HDD slots, FHD to 4K 15" screen, thunderbolt and dGPU although I think the latest quadros are not currently supported on FreeBSD.

tucaz 4 hours ago 1 reply      
I got a 15" Dell Alienware with latest i7, 8gb video card, 32 gb of RAM and FHD 4k touch screen monitor. Its a bit pricey and bulky, but it is a GREAT laptop for all kinds of development and even some hard core gaming.


alex_hitchins 9 hours ago 1 reply      
I have a Dell XPS 15, not the latest generation however I am happy with the build quality. I can't attest to it's friendlyness with BSD's or Linux. All that goes on inside VMWare WorksStation for me.
msh 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I kind a like the build quality of my HP ProBook. A bit big but very solid and good keyboard.

It also got a track point.

Ask HN: Know a good tool to purge all posts/likes/photos from Facebook?
107 points by galaktor  2 days ago   94 comments top 33
bsbechtel 2 days ago 9 replies      
This is tangentially related to this, but apparently their mobile app now automatically downloads all the photos on your phone if you give permissions to access photos? My wife and I recently had a child, and when I opened up the app to post one single photo of our child, Facebook was showing in my newsfeed a video they made with all of my photos I had taken. This seems like a gross violation of my privacy. Is there any way to prevent this aside from deleting the app and no longer sharing photos with family and friends via FB?
mgberlin 2 days ago 5 replies      
It's impossible. A few years ago I manually went through and "deleted" all content. It probably took me five or six hours all told. A year or so later someone was showing me something on their profile, and I noticed a picture that I thought was gone. Digging around, everything I marked for deletion had re-appeared publicly. I've since "deactivated" my account (there's no apparent way to actually delete it) and refuse to use the service, much to my family's chagrin.

tl;dr: Even if you delete things, they will eventually reappear.

palerdot 2 days ago 3 replies      
A related personal experience. I deleted my facebook account few years ago. Much Later (actually around 2 years later), when I wanted to check something related to facebook sdk, I created a fake account but gave my original mobile number.

Surprise! Surprise! Facebook was recommending all the people from my deleted account magically to my newly created account which has nothing in common with my old account except for the mobile number.

For all those sharing content in FB, worrying about your privacy is pointless and a total waste of time.

My personal opinion is that, Google somehow values people privacy more than Facebook, that why its social networking attempts are failing. On the other hand, Facebook is just ruthless when it comes to handling people's data and that is why it is having much success as a social networking platform.

webwanderings 2 days ago 0 replies      
Just deactivate first and forget about it. Your life does not cease to exist because you are not on Facebook anymore. If there are people out there who genuinely care for you, they'll know how to get a hold of you. You can then share your life with them, if you care for them. The world has existed like this for thousands of years.
pedro2 2 days ago 1 reply      
Facebook detects automated activity or scraping and tries to stop it.That being said, only this one seemed to partially work for me: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/timeline-cleaner-f...
danwinters 2 days ago 0 replies      
They introduced the ability to restrict those who can view your past posts quite recently, which might be useful. A link to news article is here:


That news article also mentioned: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/facebook-post-mana...

nibnib 2 days ago 0 replies      
If you are outside of the US or Canada you are entitled to request all data Facebook holds about your account. This may be useful in determining what is actually deleted.


syphilis2 2 days ago 1 reply      
I've found that there are old messages of mine that Facebook will not let me delete. I took the manual approach of scrolling through my history and deleting every post I no longer wanted, and I found that some of my early posts produce an error when I try to delete them. I believe it has something to do with them being on a friend's wall, but I really am not sure. It's frustrating to not be able to remove my own content.
bungie4 2 days ago 1 reply      
My plan is to corrupt my data. I'll warn my friends that if they see stupid stuff going on with my profile, it's just me.

If they won't delete it, might as well make it useless.

raverbashing 2 days ago 1 reply      
Another idea would be to flood your page with a lot of stuff: like everything that FB suggests (unless it's controversial or possibly illegal), create posts with random content (you can make it visible to "Just Me", reshare everything that pops in your timeline, etc
pwenzel 2 days ago 0 replies      
There is the "Limit Past Posts" feature under the privacy settings. It doesn't delete your stuff, but it does make it less visible. Not ideal, just a start.

Go to "see more privacy settings"... then look for 'Limit the audience for posts you've shared with friends of friends or Public?'. It will present a "Limit Old Posts" button.

greyfox 2 days ago 1 reply      
Anyone know a tool to stop people from being able to tag you (in their posts)? this shit is getting out of hand..
triangleman 2 days ago 1 reply      
Did you know it's impossible to disallow comments on your facebook posts? You have to allow them and then remove them manually.

FB is like a poorly-featured blog.

SoreGums 2 days ago 0 replies      
Funnily tonight I've spent about 3hrs going through and marking everything "only me" which leaves everyone that was tagged or has commented on it with access. So it is completely doable through a chrome extension, would just take time to do. Plus now the site is all react based it should be fairly simple.My goal was to reduce my public footprint and each month I'll go through and close out the previous 2nd month of content.
juskrey 2 days ago 0 replies      
Selenium driver and manual clicking through history.
mattstrayer 2 days ago 0 replies      
There was an app that did something related to this called facewash (renamed to simplewash) https://www.facebook.com/simplewash/, but it seems to since have been shut down. May be worth it to shoot them a message
keyboardhitter 2 days ago 0 replies      
Slightly unrelated to OP's question... but something I just thought of, how would trying to reduce one's footprint impact the algorithm? i.e. would a lot of removals of likes invoke Facebook to suggest radically new content different than the thing which was removed? Or would it continue to suggest similar content?

For example, if someone unliked and removed every post and/or action that had to do with goats. Would they still get suggested content about goats or animals in the same family; would they get more animal-based suggestions than someone who'd never liked goat content? Or would those kinds of suggestions drop off entirely and change to common trends?

I have not used Facebook in a long time, so I'm curious if anyone has insight into the behavior.

kzar 1 day ago 0 replies      
There's https://github.com/chander/social-network-cleaner which more or less worked for me when I deleted my account. (Over a year ago now.)
erdevs 2 days ago 0 replies      
Reading all the comments on how little control users have over their data on fb. Isn't this kind of messed up? How is FB still able to get away with this? Especially when Apple and Google are pushing for more privacy and user control over data, I'd think FB would get called out more.
doc_holliday 2 days ago 0 replies      
Not sure how possible it is, but i've used Javascript from the web console to do some interaction with Facebook, perhaps they have restricted this though?

But if that is allowed that could be one route, getting all the elements by Xpath that are posts.

Otherwise automation with Selenium or similar could work?

ecesena 2 days ago 0 replies      
To my knowledge fb doesn't allow apps to delete data. Or, better, an app can only delete data it created in the first place. This is the reason, I guess, there are no such "server-side" services.

I don't know the status of client side, sorry.

Namrog84 1 day ago 0 replies      
Not a tool and Maybe not for photos. But I'd recommend doing potential edits instead. Where possible (comments and text posts). As this will screw with a lot of the undelete aspects and archiving. I do this in a variety of places and is far better than "delete" in most scenarios.

Tl;dr; better footprint reduction method than delete: Replace all text posts with a single letter or word.

beachstartup 2 days ago 0 replies      
delete it. that uncomfortable feeling in your gut is telling you something important.
merpnderp 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm trying this right now and it appears to be working. Although it looks like it will break once the timeline scroll gets too large. Maybe a page refresh will fix it.


mr_O 2 days ago 0 replies      
You could take a look at testing with spock & groovy. With those you can instantiate browsers and control their behavior with just some lines of groovy code. Haven't heard of any tools that still work and do the job right, so though it might seem a bit of an overkill, it may just be worth the effort and you learn something cool ;-)
libeclipse 2 days ago 0 replies      
As far as I can tell, the only surefire way is to delete your Facebook account permanently.
fimdomeio 2 days ago 0 replies      
I did this once for fun. At the time I used Sikuli (it just controls your mouse / keyboard and find things on screen). easy to code it, takes quite a while to run and makes your computer useless to do other things.
geggam 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder if you could breathe life into this and perhaps mold it to do what you want ?


fred_is_fred 2 days ago 0 replies      
I had good luck with a greasemonkey script but it was 5 years ago and it no longer works. I did have to run it several times. Maybe see if there's an updated one.
hnrodey 2 days ago 0 replies      
There is an app Xpire that should do what you're looking for. I have it for iOS.
Kinnard 2 days ago 0 replies      
People would pay for this!
awinter-py 2 days ago 1 reply      
the court system
angry_octet 2 days ago 1 reply      
Nuke them from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.
Ask HN: I want to learn electronics design. Where should I start
25 points by zyngaro  1 day ago   11 comments top 6
neverminder 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I found this an excellent resource, it literally starts from the basics of electricity - http://www.allaboutcircuits.com/
sprobertson 22 hours ago 0 replies      
One good project if you're familiar with Arduino is to build your own AVR based Arduino clone. Some thorough examples:

* http://makezine.com/projects/make-36-boards/make-your-own-dm...

* https://learn.sparkfun.com/tutorials/using-eagle-schematic

* https://learn.adafruit.com/boarduino-kits/overview

It's also good to know the lower level concepts of directly programming an AVR:

* http://hackaday.com/2010/10/23/avr-programming-introduction/

* http://highlowtech.org/?p=1695

Gibbon1 23 hours ago 1 reply      
There are a lot of tutorials on the sparkfun website.


I find some of the articles on PCB Design magazine to be useful for PCB layout.


Note that a lot of hobbyists use 'Eagle' which is free(ish) as in beer. Profession tools are $$$, though Altium offers http://circuitmaker.com/ (which I can not speak for).

childintime 21 hours ago 0 replies      
That's really what electronics magazines are for! Elektor still exists, but old issues can be even more valuable to get a feel for circuits. This resource should keep you occupied for some time: https://archive.org/details/radioelectronicsmagazine
kevindeasis 22 hours ago 0 replies      
They also have some cool project ideas at instructables.com
jgamman 18 hours ago 0 replies      
find and hire an expert who you get on with to guide your self-study.
How often do you see nepotism/ethnic bias in Software industry?
3 points by zippy786  9 hours ago   9 comments top 6
chatmasta 3 hours ago 1 reply      
To be fair, a startup in the US might prefer hiring employees from the US simply to avoid the administrative and financial overhead of the visa sponsorship process. In that particular case it doesn't seem fair to call it "ethnic bias." I don't see anything wrong with that. I generally believe that as an American company, you should hire an equally qualified American worker over a foreign worker seeking visa sponsorship.
drakonka 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I have the advantage of being white but my name clearly gives away my Eastern European heritage.

Literally every job I've had has been in a country other than that of my birth - from an unofficial farmhand job when I was a pre-teen to my first QA job in Australia to my subsequent engineering role in Sweden. The positions in Australia and Sweden were both obtained via an online application followed by an in person interview. None of the interviewers or recruiters I've dealt with knew me prior to my application. So far I personally have not experienced the kind of discrimination you describe.

I do hear however that here in Sweden it is often more a matter of people who are Swedish having an easier path into management positions. On the other hand I've been asked if I would like to move toward a management path in the past, so the opportunity was certainly not being denied based on my nationality. How far I'd have gotten I don't know as I opted for a different route.

cmal 8 hours ago 1 reply      
This is quite common, indeed. But the only solution is to build grassroots cooperatives that do not work for money.

Historically, racism and slavery by the European nations started as a means of doing more business exploiting people who were precisely considered not to be people back then (notably by the Catholic church).

These intersections between racism and capitalism (and many more oppression schemes) are now well-studied, but they still exist.

In France, where nazism is slowly winning the battle on the political spectrum (with the fascist party gaining votes and the socialist ruling party adopting an incredibly authoritarian and nationalist stance), there's a resurgence of both racist and capitalist feelings :

- veiled women can be insulted on the streets, cops beat up refugees and rroma kids, many youths feel like the Jews are responsible for capitalism

- "working more for earning more", "you get what you deserve", the recent exploitative labour-law reforms

And this is not just about France, look at what's happening in the US, in the UK, in Germany, Spain, Mexico, Turkey, Japan

Everywhere, the bigots and the exploiters are allying to stop any alternative to this fucked up society.

Now is the time to stop doing business, and attack capitalism and racism FRONTALLY.

twunde 7 hours ago 1 reply      
This is a concern across most industries, not just software as hiring managers are more likely to identify with people who share their background. This is reasonable to some extent. When interviewing non-native speakers, their ability to communicate with you can be a major factor in whether to hire. If you can't communicate well with the person, they're unlikely to do good work. That said there's been a problem in the US startup scene where after the emphasis on culture fit, many companies end up only hiring people that look exactly like themselves.
no_hams_fly 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I've personally never seen racial discrimination* (in Australia, and have dodged around a lot of companies). That said, I've not been in a hiring position often, but sometimes.

If anything in Australia, the companies I've experienced have leaned towards 457 visa workers, which I suspect work out pretty cheaply for them (and are invariably Indian).

* Edit: With strong emphasis on the hiring process. I'm not saying racism isn't alive and well in Australia beyond that.

no_hams_fly 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Aside from my other comment though, what you've described I think is basically human nature.

Nepotism has been a factor for centuries; perhaps shining a light on it as the Internet is trying to do, will help people understand what's going on in a larger way.

Some might say it's too late now though.

Ask HN: How do you deal with the increasing global race to the bottom?
18 points by votr  1 day ago   18 comments top 12
doozy 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Supply and demand, the one thing economists get right.

You seems to be assuming the supply of software developers will keep outgrowing the demand for them. Why? I predict the exact opposite: As the developing world develops, local demand for software will keep outpacing global capability to create developers. I live in the developing world, I should know.

99% of people cannot play an instrument. 99% of people cannot draw. 99% of people cannot do math. 99% cannot develop software. And that's a conservative estimate.

Today's computers "Just Work", no one needs to know anything to use one anymore, and it shows. You find today people working as developers who would have a lot of trouble just using a computer from as late as 20 years ago.

Developers are getting dumber, not smarter. As abstractions have been piled upon abstractions actual programming skills have decreased. No one knows how to do anything anymore without an IDE to hold their hand and a web browser to look up everything. We've replaced the hacker with the hack.

Am I exaggerating? Try interviewing a few people for a developer position and see for yourself. The level of incompetence is astonishing. Degrees, experience or national origin seems to have no correlation whatsoever with their skills.

user5994461 22 hours ago 0 replies      
>> What are some strategies to deal with this beyond picking a hyper specialization?

Well, stop thinking about it. Not only it is depressing but it is also seriously wrong.

I've been hearing that since before I started. Not only did it never happen, but it's getting more unlikely to happen every day.

It's not possible to commoditize something that 99.xxx% of people are unwilling and/or unable to do.

Yes, most people simply don't want to sit at a computer all day and/or don't have what it takes to be a decent programmer. And everyday the barrier to entry is getting a bit harder with more tools and more technologies and more abstractions appearing, each adding a bit more complexity over the precedent.

If anything, look around you and watch the race to the top for the few who can follow. There are entire companies in our industry which exist to attract and bread the best and the brightest.


Now, I can understand why some people would be afraid of a commodity market.

Somewhere in the world, there will ALWAYS be a guy who only has $10 to pay for whatever thing he wants done AND there will ALWAYS be a guy that will offer to do the job for that price.

That first guy will always accept the offer because he has no seemingly better alternative and he'll just burn the money hoping to get something in return. (note: ain't gonna happen. You just don't get anything real for $10).

The point being: Just because there are some guys with no money and some guys who are screwing them. That doesn't mean that it's a "commodity market", let's just call that a "scam market".

Anyone serious who wants to get the job done or anyone who can get the job done will simply NOT participate in this scam market. When we're talking real work, there is simply no commodity market whatsoever (in our field).

dhruvkar 1 day ago 1 reply      
Not knowing your currently technical niche, industry or passions, this question implies that you think about yourself as a commodity.

Rather, think of yourself as a problem-solver, who has many tools at his/her disposal, (a major) one being writing code.

This allows you to fit yourself into many different molds, rather than just a fixed position as a programmer, much like a factory worker at a manufacturer.

I personally enjoy thinking of myself as a consultant, as it allows me to focus on figuring out solutions to problems I encounter, rather than the tools I have at my toolbox. This is not always natural or easy, but a continued, concerted effort at developing this mindset has paid off for me.

akg_67 22 hours ago 1 reply      
IMO, you are on the right path by looking beyond hyper specialization. There is a devaluation trend for all type of labor. Sooner or later your hyper specialized labor will also be devalued. Will this devaluation happen in your lifetime, that is the only open question?

In the end, we all are either a labor provider or capital provider. With the ongoing devaluation of all type of labor, instead of moving from one type of labor to another type of labor that may get devalued in the future, you should be thinking and planning about moving from being labor provider to becoming capital provider. You might want to consider exploring labor to capital conversion path.

- Maximize labor to capital conversion rate. Favor "love what you do" over "do what you love."

- Maximize storing of capital. Favor much lower spending than what you make.

- Maximize capital generation through stored capital. Favor experiences over things.

Once your capital is generating enough capital, you no longer need to focus on the devaluation of labor. You can focus on doing what you love irrespective of the value of that labor.

codegeek 1 day ago 0 replies      
Don't be good only at programming. Know how to sell solutions and have the ability to communicate effectively. You will be pleasantly surprised how far along you will be if you have those extra skills other than the programming one.
johngalt 22 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't agree with the premise. But if you do believe that the future of programming will be commoditized workers making peanuts, then you would want to position yourself ahead of that curve. Be the guy who is putting together teams of low paid offshore programmers to take on the whales who have high margins/salaries.

Anytime you feel that the future will be X, while the present is Z, you should focus on being Y.

elevensies 23 hours ago 0 replies      
The economic system we live in is Capitalism, and if you want to maximize your control of your outcomes you need to be a Capitalist. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capitalism
insoluble 22 hours ago 0 replies      
For many in the field, a bigger issue than commoditisation is probably wage gaps between higher and lower cost regions of the globe. While it should not be expected that the average person can or even could compete with top-notch developers, for most of us, we still have to compete with good developers in extremely low-cost regions. Until the globe evens out in cost-of-living, this issue should continue to exist. Until quality programming and engineering do not require substantially above-average intelligence, these professions should not become a commodity.
ImTalking 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't understand these types of questions. If you can program, can't you create stuff? Stuff that people are willing to use/buy?

Techies will always think as techies. A techie that can think like a businessperson is as rare as a unicorn.

swah 1 day ago 0 replies      
Right now, I kinda feel like you. I think its just a narrow mindset - we should change into an abundance mindset instead..
banku_brougham 1 day ago 0 replies      
yet, remote work is limited not by tech skill as much as communication difficulties, at my large tech company.
DrNuke 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Entrepreneurship (creating jobs) is the way to stand out and command respect within your community and maybe globally.
Ask HN: Donate to Open source software, How? How much?
3 points by soulbadguy  4 hours ago   1 comment top
opendomain 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Find a cause you believe in or your own niche.

I did this 16 years ago - I started OpenDomain years so I could give back to Open Source. I buy domains from squatters and let open source groups and non-profits use the domains for Free. I fund this all myself and have given domains worth millions today.

Ask HN: What do you use for password management and why?
10 points by master_plan  21 hours ago   14 comments top 13
troydavis 4 hours ago 0 replies      
1Password for Teams and 1Password personal. I use 1Password because, even with their sync service, 1Password's central systems don't ever receive the keys required to decrypt the passwords. That is, 1Password's sync infrastructure is completely untrusted. That's what sold me compared to other options.

More: https://1password.com/teams/white-paper/

a_lifters_life 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I use Lastpass, but got paranoid (and will forever be) about someone hacking it. I developed my own command line tool that doesnt use the internet for anything, albeit its much less convenient for me when at work, but gives me piece of mind that its no longer an attack vector (unless someone gets through my workstation).
msencenb 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been happy with 1Password for teams. They have a white paper, which outlines their encryption strategy clearly, and their family of apps have worked great.

Of course, when sharing 'vaults' with team members you have to remember that each vault is only as strong as the weakest master password of everyone on the team.

dirktheman 13 hours ago 0 replies      
We have KeePass, with the database file stored on our server. It's free, pretty basic but it does the job just fine.
eukaryote 8 hours ago 0 replies      
passwordSafe. It runs fine on Windows and on Linux under Wine. I have never tried an alternative, to be honest, as it does a good job - double-click to copy password, an option to display certain characters from password, auto-generation of new passwords, hierarchically organised and searchable.

When sharing passwords with a team when using passwordSafe, we had to share the same sign-in password - not ideal.

wingerlang 11 hours ago 0 replies      
1Password because it seemed much more polished than LastPass. And yes, I was quite swayed by the nice animations.

Still use some "pattern" passwords for things I want to remember should my 1P break for some reason.

raarts 20 hours ago 0 replies      
1password for families. Create multiple shared vaults. Automatically create and store password for each service you signup to. Worth every penny. Happy user here.
squiguy7 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I signed up for LastPass a few months ago because I got tired of keeping track of credentials for so many accounts. For $12 a year it is nice to sync across devices and be able to have peace of mind.

Also they have a command-line tool that I can use to copy passwords to the clipboard for SSH.

acesubido 10 hours ago 0 replies      
We've used Vault (from Hashicorp) as a password management for teams on a self-hosted VM.
chrisked 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Using 1Password on my Mac and iPhone. Recently started playing with 1Password for teams.

I generate a random password for every site which requires a login.

dadude 16 hours ago 0 replies      
1password on computer and iPhone. Generates strong password for every stupid site that wants a login and store it for easy use should I need to return to the site.
afarrell 10 hours ago 0 replies      
1 password at work and lastpass at home for shared passwords with my wife.
rmurri 17 hours ago 1 reply      
Enpass. Easy to use. Supported nearly everywhere. Syncing options.
Ask HN: Specialist vs. All-Rounder?
5 points by franco456  18 hours ago   3 comments top 3
otoburb 13 hours ago 0 replies      
The "specialist vs. generalist" question is only one dimension. It would help if you could explain which business function you're interested in trying next.

The System/Sales Engineer role is flexible enough that you should be able to move laterally into a field services function (e.g. professional services or product support), or stay in the sales function and graduate to an [technical] account manager role with quota responsibilities.

Breaking into product management/marketing or product development/engineering is generally easier at the same company because most people already know you. You'd have to convince them that you have the skills or to take a chance on you, and revealing your side project may help there (but be careful about the legal department asserting rights).

Whether your new role & function combination will require you to become a specialist or generalist is usually role-dependent. Most small companies only have a single point product for sale, tending to force everybody into specific domain specialization, whereas larger companies usually have a suite of products allowing staff the choice to hop from product to product.

CyberFonic 16 hours ago 0 replies      
It depends! ... How much of your technical work is actual software development? What marketable skills have your acquired using your side project? Do you enjoy being a Sales Engineer or would you rather be a full-time developer? Are you prepared to take a salary reduction while you rebuild your profile as a developer?

Small companies and startups also need sales engineers - is that an option for you?

It is not your "official" titles but the demonstrable value you bring to your potential employer that counts. There many incompetent people out there with fancy titles - I wouldn't be wanting to hire any of them.

franco456 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Could a mod add "Ask HN:" please? Won't let me edit
Ask HN: How do you get notified about newest research papers in your field?
397 points by warriorkitty  6 days ago   135 comments top 60
karpathy 6 days ago 7 replies      
I wrote http://www.arxiv-sanity.com/ (code is open source on github: https://github.com/karpathy/arxiv-sanity-preserver) as a side project intended to mitigate the problem of finding newest relevant work in an area (among many other related problems such as finding similar papers, or seeing what others are reading) and it sees a steady number of few hundred users every day and a few thousand accounts. It's meant to be designed around modular views of lists of arxiv papers, each view supporting a use case. I'm always eager to hear feedback on how people use the site, what could be improved, or what other use cases could be added.
Al-Khwarizmi 6 days ago 4 replies      
(1) I manually check the proceedings of the important conferences in my subfield when they come out.

(2) I check my field's arXiv every other day or so.

(3) Google Scholar alerts me of papers that it thinks will interest me, based on my own papers, and it's very useful. Most of what it shows me is in fact interesting for me, and it sometimes catches papers from obscure venues that I wouldn't see otherwise. The problem is that you need to have papers published for this to work, and also, it's only good for stuff close to your own work, not that much for expanding horizons - (1), (2) and Google Scholar search are better for that.

mbjorling 6 days ago 0 replies      
I like to follow The morning paper by Adrian Colyer. He writes a summary of an influential CS paper each day and sends it out on his e-mail list.


sampo 6 days ago 3 replies      
Write one influential paper. Then all the later papers in the same sub-subfield probably cite your paper. Go to Google Scholar and check the latest citations to your paper.

Ok, it doesn't need to be your paper. Just find a paper that was so influential that others working on the same problem probably will cite it, and monitor the new citations.

dredmorbius 5 days ago 0 replies      
Tossing out a contrarian view: I'm finding there's a tremendous amount of good information and publishing that's old. Keeping up with the cutting-edge can be interesting, but you have to do a lot of the filtering yourself.

Finding out how to identify the relevant older work in your field, finding it, reading it, and seeing for yourself how it's aged, been correctly -- or quite often incorrectly -- presented and interpreted, and what stray gems are hidden within it can be highly interesting.

I've been focusing on economics as well as several other related fields. Classic story is that Pareto optimisation lay buried for most of three decades before being rediscovered in the 1920 (I think I've got dates and timespans roughly right). The irony of economics itself having an inefficient and lossy information propogation system, and a notoriously poor grip on its own history, is not minor.

The Internet Archive, Sci-Hub, and various archives across the Web (some quite highly ideological in their foundation, though the content included is often quite good) are among my most utilised tools.

Libraries as well -- ILL can deliver virtually anything to you in a few days, weeks at the outside. It's quite possible to scan 500+ page books in an hour for transfer to a tablet -- either I'm getting stronger or technology's improving, as I can carry 1,500 books with one hand.

jeffspies 6 days ago 2 replies      
Just FYI, you should know about SHARE. It's an effort to create a free, open dataset of research activity across the research lifecycle. You can read more at


So, if you want to see a reddit for research, better news feeds, etc., it is the SHARE dataset that can provide that data. SHARE won't build all those things--we want to facilitate others in doing so. You can contribute at


The tooling is all free open source, and we're just finishing up work on v2. You can see an example search page http://osf.io/share, currently using v1. Some more info on the problem and our approach....

What is SHARE doing?

SHARE is harvesting, (legally) scraping, and accepting data to aggregate into a free, open dataset. This is metadata about activity across the research lifecycle: publications and citations, funding information, data, materials, etc. We are using both automatic and manual, crowd-sourced curation interfaces to clean and enhance what is usually highly variable and inconsistent data. This dataset will facilitate metascience (science of science) and innovation in technology that currently can't take place because the data does not exist. To help foster the use of this data, SHARE is creating example interfaces (e.g., search, curation, dashboards) to demonstrate how this data can be used.

Why is SHARING doing it?

The metadata that SHARE is interested in is typically locked behind paywalls, licensing fees, restrictive terms of service and licenses, or a lack of APIs. This is the metadata that powers sites like Google Scholar, Web of Science, and Scopus--literature search and discovery tools that are critical to the research process but that are incredibly closed (and often incredibly expensive to access). This means that innovation is exclusive to major publishers or groups like Google but is otherwise stifled for everyone else. We don't see theses, dissertations, or startups proposing novel algorithms or interfaces for search and discovery because the barrier of entry in acquiring the data is too high.

gravypod 6 days ago 4 replies      
I know this question is probably a little off topic for this post but I'm very eager to get some kind of answer.

What should I be reading? I'm a computer science student, I want to go into a "Software Engineering" line of work. Are there any places to read up on related topics? I have yet to find something that interests my direct field of choice. Is there one on in academia writing about software?

I also like NLP and other interesting parts. Basically all practical software and their applications are things that interest me.

semaphoreP 6 days ago 2 replies      
I actually just manually check arxiv every morning for the new submissions in my field. It's like getting in the habit of browsing reddit except with a lot less cute animal pictures (maybe because I'm not in biology).
stenl 6 days ago 2 replies      
I made a simple service for myself (http://paperfeed.io) which is a feed of all the new papers in journals I care about. I can "star" papers for reading later. Works extremely well for my habits.

You're welcome to try it (not sure if the signup workflow still works; let me know). I'll be happy to hear your feedback.

Edit: you can upvote papers, and they'll float to the top just like on HN.

jlarocco 6 days ago 0 replies      
I don't. If I'm working on something and need (or want) the latest cutting edge algorithms then I search for papers in that area as I need it. Otherwise, there's simply too much stuff going on to try reading through everything, or even a filtered down subset. Only a very small portion of it will be remotely relevant to my work or my interests.

If there's a fundamental new result in basic CS or something like that, I figure I'll hear about it on HN or another news site.

I can imagine it's different for people actively working on new research, though.

housel 6 days ago 0 replies      
For programming language research, 1) the RSS feed of http://lambda-the-ultimate.org/ (Lambda the Ultimate), and 2) my old-school paper subscription to ACM SIGPLAN, which includes printed proceedings for most of the relevant ACM conferences (POPL, PLDI, OOPSLA etc.)
eatbitseveryday 6 days ago 0 replies      
I manually check conference proceedings when released:


These days, accepted papers in specialized conferences are actually on mixed topics these days.. like you'll see security and file systems in SOSP

yodsanklai 6 days ago 0 replies      
In addition to the important conferences proceedings, it's common for researchers to work in a very narrow subfield where everybody knows everybody. They keep seeing each other at various events where they discuss their ongoing work.
tachim 6 days ago 1 reply      
Surprising that feed.ly hasn't been mentioned. It's like gmail for feeds, and it has all the arxiv categories prepopulated. My workflow is as follows: (i) check feedly every day, see ~20-30 new articles, (ii) skim all the abstracts in 5-10 minutes, (iii) mark 0-2 to read later in the day, (iv) mark rest as read, and repeat.
inputcoffee 5 days ago 0 replies      
Just knocked this out after reading this question (using an open source tool developed as a Show HN project called https://www.hellobox.co ):


I hope it catches on.

Others have tried and they don't get enough traffic to get it to take off but since low levels of hosting are free, I could just keep it out there for a long time.

otaviogood 6 days ago 0 replies      
http://www.arxiv-sanity.comThat helps sort through arxiv papers and get recommendations.
adamnemecek 6 days ago 4 replies      
There should be something like reddit for academic papers. With upvotes and what not. But I guess it takes people longer to read a paper than to read reddit content.
azuajef 6 days ago 1 reply      
In the bio/health/bio-info areas: a key option is to create alerts with http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed
sybilckw 5 days ago 0 replies      
I've been using http://www.sparrho.com throughout my PhD (in Biochemistry) and I was so impressed with its recommendation engine that I joined their team last year. We've been making a lot of changes to the Sparrho platform lately, including adding a pinboard feature to help lab groups and journal clubs coordinate their reading and keep their comments in a single place. Our database are updated hourly with papers from 45,000+ sources from all scientific and engineering fields, including arXiv. Most of our users set up Sparrho email alerts to replace journal eTOCs/newsletters, RSS feeds and Google Scholar alerts. I'd love to hear what you think! Free sign up here: http://www.sparrho.com
outerspace 6 days ago 1 reply      
Take a look at academia.edu. It's basically a social network for the academia. Researchers can post their papers and follow other people's work.
dspoka 6 days ago 0 replies      
Some people have already mentioned these but so far I'm using:

Karpathy's http://www.arxiv-sanity.com/librarysubscribe to archive email lists

Semantic Scholar (no notifications) is good for manually finding things

Google Scholar notifies you when your papers get citations... Unfortunately they don't have a way for you to get notified if the paper is not yours.. so I made a few fake accounts that add papers to the library as if they are the author and then I set up a forwarding to my email. (really wish they would just expand the notified of citations feature to your library and not just your papers but whatever)

rectang 6 days ago 1 reply      
As a software developer, my effectiveness doesn't depend on up-to-the-minute knowledge of what's happening in my field. It's more useful to pursue a deeper understanding of the fundamentals.
tonysdg 6 days ago 0 replies      
My university subscribes to Engineering Village (https://www.engineeringvillage.com), which collates 3 major paper databases (Compendex, Inspec, NTIS). I set up a weekly alert for a variety of keywords that I'm interested in. It's not perfect - I do a bunch of searching on my own - but it at least lets me know of major papers so they don't slip under my radar.
JohnHammersley 5 days ago 0 replies      
Sparrho[1] is a new startup tackling this problem, built by early career scientists to help solve the issue of scaling / distributing the knowledge that builds up in experienced academics about where & how to find papers.

They index a whole bunch of sites and repos to provide a recommendation engine tailored to you and your field.

[1] https://www.sparrho.com

karmelapple 5 days ago 0 replies      
Hello, cofounder of a company that makes a product to help stay up to date with the latest academic research here!

I help build a product called BrowZine [1]. It's focused on researchers at an institution - academic, private, and medical especially - who want to easily track the latest research papers in their favorite journals.

If you have login credentials at one of our institutions, please login and try it out! We think it's a great way to discover what journals your school/hospital/organization subscribes to, and My Bookshelf lets you save favorite journals for later, and keeps track of new articles as they are published.

If you don't have login credentials at a supported school, you can try out the Open Access library with just OA content.

Give it a try - we have a great team trying our best to make it easy to stay up to date with your journal reading! Love to hear your thoughts.

[1] http://browzine.com

arcanus 6 days ago 0 replies      
In addition to the other excellent mentions here, I get weekly ToC alerts from several pertinent journals.

I scan the emails during weekly meeting.

imwally 5 days ago 0 replies      
This doesn't necessarily fall under the "newest" category but I wrote a twitter bot (https://twitter.com/loveapaper) that tweets random papers from the Papers We Love (http://paperswelove.org/) repository as a simple way to find new (to me) papers that might be interesting. Do check out PWL though, it's a great community with chapters from all around the world that meet up to discuss and learn more about academic computer science papers.
spystath 6 days ago 1 reply      
Almost all journals have an RSS feed. I just subscribe to a dozen or so major journals. Add a web feed reader as well you can skim through them easily, or save up the more interesting ones for later.
loopasam 6 days ago 1 reply      
If you're in the biomedical domain, you can use: http://pubmed-watcher.org/ (shameless plug, I wrote it)
Drakula2k 6 days ago 0 replies      
I'm using this service to get notifications from a few pages without RSS: https://urlooker.com
leemailll 6 days ago 0 replies      
There are a lot scientists nowadays use twitter to share, so does some prestigious journals. So if you know who are the goto guys, follow them and the journals
ya3r 6 days ago 0 replies      
In my field (Computer Vision/Machine Learning) newest research papers usually get into arXiv before getting accepted in any conferences. So I try to keep up with the arxiv's rss of this field.

Further more I follow other people interested in this field on twitter/google +/facebook, some of which are researchers in this field.

Moreover when a major conference's program is released I try to look into the proceedings.

afandian 6 days ago 0 replies      
Can anyone recommend good science blog aggregators? Places I can go to find blogs that reference research papers. I know about http://www.scienceseeker.org/ and http://researchblogging.org/ but I wonder if there are more?
Concours 6 days ago 0 replies      
Like spystath menrionned, all journals have an RSS Feeds stream or more, so I use RSS Feeds with my webapplication https://www.feedsapi.org/ to receive curated alerts in realtime (many of our users have this as use-case as well).

You can also use the rss feeds with a service like IFTTT or Zapier to set up an alert system.

zhuzhuor 5 days ago 0 replies      
For crypto papers, I wrote a twitter bot to track all updates on the IACR ePrint archive: https://twitter.com/IACRePrint

I basically just check my twitter account daily (also follow many great researchers who have twitter accounts :))

neuhaus 5 days ago 0 replies      
CiPHPerCoder 6 days ago 0 replies      
I manually go to https://eprint.iacr.org/eprint-bin/search.pl?last=7&title=1 on Friday evenings and read anything of interest over the weekend.
Dowwie 6 days ago 0 replies      
Here's another resource, from MIT Technology Review:


nreece 5 days ago 0 replies      
* Shameless plug *: Our users track research papers with custom RSS feeds for Google Scholar, ResearchGate, Academia.edu etc. using our tool at https://feedity.com
ffwang2 5 days ago 0 replies      
In computer science, there are a few big conferences in a specific CS discipline, I usually attend those conference or look at their programs. But, computer science is a unique field in which papers are funneled through conferences.
ninjakeyboard 6 days ago 0 replies      
Honestly, I read hacker news for the noteworthy stuff. Otherwise, I ask people who are savvy in the domain what papers I should check out - a lot of the smarter people I've worked with are raving about new architectural approaches etc.
pratyushag2 5 days ago 0 replies      
Google alerts. Just insert the journalist or topic names that you're most interested in. Does an incredible job of not only research papers but of informing you pre-publisihing, which has advantages.
jesuslop 6 days ago 0 replies      
You can get arxiv submissions in a topic in a rss feed and subscribe to it also
kough 6 days ago 0 replies      
As a semi-casual in NLP, HN frontpage more or less takes care of the big news.
perlgeek 6 days ago 0 replies      
Google Scholar Alerts, back when I was still doing academic research (optical communication).

Also, the more experienced researchers all seemed to be have many connections to other researches through which news propagated.

sebisebi 6 days ago 0 replies      
A lot of groups have a journal club/ article aggregator. Try to start one with your colleagues if there is none.Google scholar alerts are also a good option if your field has nice keywords.
merraksh 5 days ago 0 replies      
In my field, most cutting-edge papers show up in the monthly digest from www.optimization-online.org, a pre-print site for optimization papers.
spv 5 days ago 0 replies      
I use google scholar alerts for people whose research I want to follow. You will get a jive email when ever people you follow publish something with links.
reporter 6 days ago 0 replies      
I have set up several Google Scholar alerts for articles. It works extremely well. I also follow everyone I can in my field on Twitter. My field is evolutionary biology.
odavinci 5 days ago 0 replies      
I also find that it is a shame to restrain article sources to arxiv. It would be awesome if your tool would allow saving articles from Sci-Hub into one's library.http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/sci-hub-offline-elsevier-gets-yet-a...I think scientific research should benefit all of humanity.
musgrove 5 days ago 0 replies      
Making friends with the professors in your field at the best local university, and keeping an open line of communication with them can be helpful.
Gimpei 6 days ago 1 reply      
NBER working papers series is great for economics papers. Most go on to be published in top journals.
bioinformatics 6 days ago 0 replies      
Feeds from journals I follow (mostly Bio-related things) and some specific alerts from NCBI.
therobot24 6 days ago 0 replies      
primarily RSS feeds - arXiv alone releases several papers each day worth at least a glance
asfarley 5 days ago 0 replies      
Rsearch.ca is a tool I made for keeping up to date with custom topics
kushti 5 days ago 0 replies      
IACR updates twitter, peers sending links, Google Scholar alerts
evanb 5 days ago 0 replies      
I subscribe to the arXiv rss feeds of hep-lat and nucl-th.
boltzmannbrain 6 days ago 0 replies      
You can setup email alerts directly with arXiv.
mrmondo 5 days ago 1 reply      
Somewhat relevant to a post earlier this week, I use RSS to subscribe to various blogs / sites / alerts etc... - the problem is that it is indeed reactive and not 'organic': https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12196131


That's a link to the various sites, blogs, updates that I subscribe to, Phronix and Ars are both a bit noisey but other than them the rest I take good care to keep up with.

I personally think it's fantastic that RSS has made such a come back (some would say it never actually went away), it' such a simple, useful tool that's easy to integrate with just about anything.


Another interesting discussion I enjoy having is finding out how people read / digest / discover feeds:tldr; I use Feedly to manage my rss subscriptions and keep all my devices in sync, but instead of using the Feedly's own client, I use an app called Reeder as the client / reader itself.I can see myself dropping back to a single app / service, which would likely be Feedly but for me Reeder is just a lot cleaner and faster, having said that I could be a bit stuck in my comfort zone with it so I'm open to change if it ever causes me an issue (which it hasn't).


I use a combo of two tools:

Feedly - https://feedly.comRSS feed subscription management.


- Keyword alerts

- Browser plugins to subscribe to (current) url

- Notation and highlighting support (a bit like Evernote)

- Search and filtering across large numbers of feeds / content

- IFTTT, Zapier, Buffer and Hootsuite integration

- Built in save / share functionality (that I only use when I'm on the website)

- Backup feeds to Dropbox

- Very fast, regardless of the fact that I'm in Australia - which often impacts the performance of apps / sites that tend to be hosted on AWS in the US as the latency is so high.

- Article de-duplication is currently being developed I believe, so I'm looking forward to that!

- Easy manual import, export and backup (no vendor lock-in is important to me)

- Public sharing of your Feedly feeds (we're getting very meta here!)

2. Reeder - http://reederapp.com

A (really) beautiful and fast iOS / macOS client.

- The client apps aren't cheap but damn they're good quality, I much prefer them over the standard Feedly apps

- Obviously supports Feedly as a backend but there are many other source services you can use along side each other

- I save articles using Reeder's clip to Evernote functionality... a lot

- Sensible default keyboard shortcuts (or at least for me they felt natural YMMV of course)

- Good customisable 'share with' options

- Looks pleasant to me

- Easy manual import an export just like Feedly


- Now can someone come up with a good bookmarking addon / workflow for me? :)

Edit: Formatting - god I wish HN just used markdown

somid3 5 days ago 0 replies      
NCBI alerts. Done.
Love My Company but Feel Like My Salary Is Low
10 points by spellsadmoose  21 hours ago   17 comments top 11
jasonkester 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Want the sad truth? You have to leave.

I was in this exact position once. Fun team, fun tech, lots of freedom to experiment and prototype new stuff just in case it became useful. Supportive management and sane working conditions. $37k/year.

Leaving that place was one of the toughest decisions of my young life. I had managed to secure the biggest percentage raise they were willing to give, at the end of a long negotiation explaining the state on the ground as it was in 1998 (when much like today developers were very much in demand and could essentially name their price), but that only got me up to the mid $40s.

So I took the leap. Responded to one of the mails in my inbox and took a job for another shop in town for twice the money. Folks at the old place were stunned and saddened. I wasn't sure it was the right thing to do.

But it was. Absolutely.

15 years later, I was on an even more fun team, with cool tech, respect, and all that stuff from above, but for 10X the takehome pay of that "Dream Job" from the 90s. To put it mildly, that's not where I would have been career-wise had I stayed put.

You have a whole life ahead. Even the best thing to ever happen to you will be something you look back at as a local maxima. It's not worth leaving millions (and I do mean actual real millions) of dollars on the table just to stay someplace fun.

Float your resume today. Future you will thank you for it.

freestockoption 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I usually encourage friends to never stop looking for opportunities to expand. Comfort and "stability" is worth something, but it's important to not stagnate (if you want a career). I would do a side project, consult, do something new at work, or find a new job. :) Do anything but let the status quo guide.

If you work for a reasonable company (and I feel most are), your quality of life is something you make happen or let happen. It is very easy to let the company guilt you into working 12 hours. Set appropriate boundaries and be in control.

advice_giver 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Here's the thing: I seriously doubt you actually love your company or your job. Instead, you're comfortable.

You're not challenged and you're flagrantly underpaid in a great tech city. I would guess someone decent with your profile should make 2x what you're making. Think about that. Would you recommend such a job to a friend?

You need to move on. There are lots of companies as good or better as your current one, trust me. Take it one step at a time - start with updating your resume. Hopefully this will get you excited about the next steps.

When you give your notice it will be an amazing feeling. All your self-esteem will come rushing back. Good luck.

blackflame7000 20 hours ago 0 replies      
My best advice is to never stop learning and improving your skills. The larger your skill-set, the larger your leverage. If I were you, I would use the opportunity to start a side project to supplement your existing skills. As good as high-paying jobs are, they are often equally as demanding and can sap your will power if you don't have outlet to express your creativity.

As a suggestion based on your skills, perhaps in might be beneficial to learn some machine based programming languages (like java or better yet C). You seem to have a strong background in Web development, maybe a side project working with an Arduino would help to supplement your skills and give you a more rounded Computer Science background.

afarrell 13 hours ago 0 replies      
1) List out your accomplishments at the company from the last 4 years.

2) Try to find out which accomplishments grew revenue or cut costs for the business. Try to find out how much. If necessary, take one of the sales managers out to lunch and tell them you're trying to get a broader sense of the work you do from their perspective.

With that information in mind you can get a rough sense for the company's BATNA; When you go to them in a negotiation you now know that for you to leave would mean they lose a resource that generates $450,000/yr in value for the company.

It also means you have some great lines for your resume. "...which earns $4K monthly recurring revenue" is a tantalizing way to end a scentence if it is true.

Google [bingo card creator blog] for more on this topic.

dyeje 15 hours ago 0 replies      
It seems pretty low for Portland. Try applying to jobs you're interested in. Get an idea of what you're worth. If you end up really liking a place you interview, take the job. If you decide to stay at your current place, at least you know what you're worth and can negotiate your next raise better.
borplk 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I have one piece of advice for you. Start looking for higher paying opportunities and when you get a nice offer that you are happy with hand in your notice and move on.

Don't hold out for a big raise at your current workplace, it never works like that.

CyberFonic 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Is everybody in your company paid low or just you?

If it is the latter and you are confident that you are making a solid contribution then you could ask for a raise. I'm no expert in this area, but I've seen posts on how to go about that.

android521 9 hours ago 0 replies      
IS 50K before or after tax? What is after-tax salary? I have a friend who lives in South east asia country and his after-tax income (base+bonus) is 65K.
andymoe 20 hours ago 1 reply      
It's low and If you have been there for four years and are not progressing how you would like or are early in your career it's time to move on.
qaq 19 hours ago 1 reply      
That's about what you would make in Ukraine given the info you listed. So for US this seems really low.
Ask HN: What book have you given as a gift?
354 points by schappim  3 days ago   509 comments top 250
ComputerGuru 3 days ago 5 replies      
The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexander Dumas. I'd read thousands of books, novels, and other literature and never had an answer to "your favorite book?" and thought I just wasn't meant to ever have one... Until I read it. Since then, I've bought copies solely to have on hand to gift to people I actually care about.

To drive home the point of just how much I loved this book, I went on to learn French just so I could read it in the original print.

Make sure it's the full, unabridged edition (1200 or 1400 pages), though!

(Just to throw in a nonfiction title as well, Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything is a great gift for scientifically-inclined minds (esp younger ones) looking for a first foray into the world of nonfiction, wittily-written and well-narrated.)

peckrob 3 days ago 6 replies      
I read a lot of Science Fiction for fun. These are a few of my favorites that I've given to other people:

1. Vacuum Diagrams by Stephen Baxter. When I think of epic hard science fiction, the Xeelee Sequence books spring to mind. With a story line that spans millions of years (and a few dozen books), this collection of short stories is a good introduction to one of the best and most underrated sci-fi series out there. Baxter's Manifold trilogy (Manifold: Space, Manifold: Time and Manifold: Origin) are also fantastic.

2. Foundation by Isaac Asimov. The whole Foundation series is wonderful, but this book is a landmark of sci-fi that should be on any fan's bookcase.

3. The Martian by Andy Weir. This book is what I've been giving the last couple years to people who don't think they like sci-fi. Everyone I've given it to has loved it.

4. Rama by Arthur C. Clarke. Another hard sci-fi staple. The rest of the Rama books he "co-wrote" with Gentry Lee are decent but become more space opera than hard sci-fi. I enjoyed them but many sci-fi fans find them polarizing.

5. Silver Tower by Dale Brown. More of a military thriller than sci-fi (Flight of the Old Dog is another favorite of mine by him) and terribly dated by modern standards (it was written when the Soviet Union was still a thing). But it's the first "adult" sci-fi book I ever read as a kid, so it'll always have a special place for me.

EDIT: Another one:

6. Coyote by Allen Steele. I love stories like this one: primitive, longshot interstellar exploration and primitive, first generation colonization. Especially for desperate reasons. The first two Coyote books were good, but I just can't get into any of the subsequent ones.

qwertyuiop924 3 days ago 5 replies      
I don't have any friends who haven't read it who would appreciate it, but Clifford Stoll's The Cuckoo's Egg is both a highly entertaining thriller, a fascinating look at how computer security was, and is, viewed, and a highly personal story about a man trying to figure it all out. It's very funny, entirely true, and taught me a lot.

Oddly, a lot of people hated the various more personal aspects of the book, as you see Cliff's friends, and his life as a whole. While that's valid, calling it a flaw in the book is, I think, inaccurate. The book as much a story a story about Cliff as the shadowy hacker on the other side of the wires, and that's a big part of its charm, IMHO.

Ghost in the Wires, and Exploding the Phone are also good, and true stories.

mindcrime 3 days ago 2 replies      
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand is one I've given adults. For kids, every year a local group called Book Harvest does a thing with Barnes & Noble where if you go in a B&N store, you can donate a book straight to Book Harvest which gives books to disadvantaged kids. For them, I usually grab a few books like A Wrinkle in Time or some Choose Your Own Adventure books or something.

I also semi-frequently buy (by accident) a second copy of a book that I already own. Usually instead of returning those to the store, I keep them and just give them to somebody as a gift, where the "who" depends on what the book is.

gooseus 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is the sort of thread that hits me right in the wallet.

Here are some books I've given as gifts recently:

* The Knowledge: How to Rebuild Civilization in the Aftermath of a Cataclysm, Lewis Dartnell[1]

* The Black Swan, Nassim Taleb[2]

* Siddhartha, Hermann Hesse[3]

* The Happiness Trap, Russ Harris and Steven Hayes[4]

* Code, Charles Petzold[5]

[1] https://www.amazon.com/Knowledge-Rebuild-Civilization-Afterm...

[2] https://www.amazon.com/Black-Swan-Improbable-Robustness-Frag...

[3] https://www.amazon.com/Siddhartha-Hermann-Hesse/dp/161382378...

[4] https://www.amazon.com/Happiness-Trap-Struggling-Start-Livin...

[5] https://www.amazon.com/Code-Language-Computer-Hardware-Softw...

SwellJoe 3 days ago 2 replies      
The Elements of Style by Strunk and White. I've given it to just about everyone I've known who seriously wanted to be a writer, journalist, etc. as well as some folks who just wanted to write better. It's a small, beautiful, book about writing better. This is the book I've gifted the most.

Several scifi books have also been gifted to friends, mostly Asimov (both the Foundation and Robots series), Herbert's Dune, and Clarke's Rendezvous With Rama.

Also, gifted a copy of Our Band Could Be Your Life by Michael Azerrad, which is my favorite book about my favorite bands (and the American punk scene of the early 80s). The recipient was too young to remember the scene from that era, but was open to understanding why "punk" isn't so much a style of music, but an ethos.

Every book I've gifted is because I really love the book, and really like the person I'm giving it to.

davewasthere 3 days ago 5 replies      
The most: Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card. Think I've bought almost a dozen copies over the years. Although that book wasn't really a gift, more a loan I never got back.


Lord of the Rings - I gave this to the guard who detained me in Russia. I thought it was the best revenge.

The life changing magic of tidying - to my partner. We're both messy. I've read it, she hasn't... neither of us have changed.

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami to the friend who lent me Wind up Bird Chronicle all those years ago and started me on the path.

funkaster 3 days ago 0 replies      
"Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams"[1]. Even if you're not in a management track, it's a great read to learn and better understand how to structure teams for a happy, productive and successful path.

[1]: https://www.amazon.com/Peopleware-Productive-Projects-Teams-...

Edit: add Amazon link.

anonyfox 3 days ago 2 replies      
Rich dad poor dad. It's not the most professional book on the topics, sure. But the content is written in a very accessible manner and I give it to young friends that are about to throw away their life because they were never exposed to any other mindset but "underclass".

It is really shocking to me, that bright young people (with a bachelors degree) choose to go for a crappy paid hamsterwheel job, barely make ends meet, feel miserable at work, begin drinking/TV to cope with these frustrations and complain all day.

A few years ago I discovered that it isnt a choice for them at all. Many can't even imagine that life can could be any different than this suffering. Once you're trapped in the hamsterwheel a few years, your life is basically wasted and you're a slave to the paycheck forever. But being exposed to very basic lessons like kiosaki's early on can spark just enough curiosity to break out. Just invest a little time in yourself aside of work goes a long way to improve life situations over time. Luck is when preparation meets opportunity, not a lottery ticket.

Going entrepreneur isn't even required, but just getting paid adequately for something you actually like doing, and the confidence by being quite good at it, does work wonders to improve your daily quality of life. You just have to "get" some basic ideas and invest a little effort in yourself.

cure 3 days ago 2 replies      
Fiction, because it is so funny:

* Good Omens, by Terry Pratchet and Neil Gaiman [1]

I wish Pratchett and Gaiman had written more books together.

[1] https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0060853980?ref_=sr_1_1&pld...

old-gregg 3 days ago 5 replies      
"The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany" by William L. Shirer. It's a classic history book of our century which, despite its title, primarily focuses on Hitler's raise to power in the early 30s and the long, painful and ultimately futile international attempts at avoiding WW2 in the late 30s.

It's a book I wish everyone would read, particularly everyone in a public office and the media. It's a shame that comparing politicians and their actions to Hitler has became a cliche everyone now is quick to ignore. Meanwhile there's plenty of stuff happening in the world straight from the Nazi playbook of the 30s.

Jemaclus 3 days ago 2 replies      
"I Will Teach You To Be Rich" by Ramit Sethi (http://amzn.to/2aF1vjF). It's a fantastic, easy read that takes you step-by-step into automating your finances and making smart decisions toward not necessarily being rich, but being richer and having some financial security on a month to month basis.

Every once in awhile, I'll have a conversation with friends about finances, and they'll complain about how much work it is to manage money, and I'll go home and order them this book. It's an easy $10 gift, and they've all told me it changed the way they approach finances. Good stuff. Cannot recommend it enough.

taylodl 3 days ago 1 reply      
I give Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance to High School graduates. It's a good book for that time in a person's life.
chenster 3 days ago 0 replies      
"How to read a book" should be the first book gift you ever give. It changed my life.https://www.amazon.com/How-Read-Book-Intelligent-Touchstone/...
justifier 3 days ago 2 replies      
i play a game where i have duplicate copies of some books to give to anyone interested who has yet to have heard of one

here's a incomprehensive list in alphabetical order:

a people's history of the united states; howard zinn

a rebours; joris-karl huysmans

alcestis; euripides

apology; plato

belaya staya; anna akhmatova

die verwandlung; franz kafka

elements; euclid

epic of gilgamesh; unknown

ficciones; jorge luis borges

fractals: form, chance and dimension; benoit mandelbrot

fragments; sappho

gospels of mary and judas; unknown

i ching; unknown

la vida es sueno; pedro calderon de la barca

leaves of grass; walt whitman

letters of vincent van gogh

meghaduta; kalidasa

my life; isadora duncan

nightwood; djuna barnes

oku no hosomichi; basho

one piece; eiichiro oda

poems; emily dickinson

relativity: the special and general theory; albert einstein

saga; fiona staples and brian k vaughan

the brothers karamazov; fyodor dostoyevsky, translated by constance garnett

the first third; neal cassady

the power of pi; stickman lagrou graves

the secret life of salvador dali; dali

the way of a pilgrim; unknown

twelth night; william shakespeare

thing explainer; randall munroe

ulysses; james joyce

women, race, and class; angela davis

if you want a quick description of any i enjoy talking about them, and i appreciate suggestions

halhen 3 days ago 3 replies      
I've given Alan Watts The Book to at least five people I thought could use it. Four of them never mentioned it again. I'm marrying the fifth next month.
collinglass 3 days ago 0 replies      
Eric Fromm's The Art of Loving.

It's my grandmas favorite non-fiction and she's read over 1000 books. She gave it to me and it sat on my shelf for months because the title wasn't appealing and I'm not a big book reader. Since I read it, I've now bought a second version of this book and give it to friends to read.

It's a technical write-up about Love in the general sense. Fromm pitches the idea that love is an art rather than a feeling.

I highly recommend the read. This book discusses the topic in a serious and insightful way.

feiss 3 days ago 1 reply      
"A short history of nearly everything" by Bill Bryson. The best science book I've ever read, recommended for anyone.
klausjensen 3 days ago 2 replies      
I have given away ~20 "Who Moved My Cheese" by Spencer Johnson over the years.

It is a great little book, which deals with how we handle change in our lives (work and other) and how we sometimes fail to see, when it is time to move on.

My favorite one-sentence takeaway from the book is the question: "What would you do, if you were not afraid?" - which has helped me make hard decisions many times over the years.


nickbauman 3 days ago 3 replies      
"Ishmael, An Adventure of Mind and Spirit" by Daniel Quinn. The book that created and destroyed the Turner Tomorrow Foundation Fellowship Award. It will make you examine some of the most profound myths at the center of our civilization and how those myths will determine our destiny, for better or for worse. It's a book that changed the way I think fundamentally. I will never be the same because of it.
jasonlmk 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm surprised there aren't more philosophy-oriented books mentioned here. I think they make great gifts.

Many of my friends are straight out of university, and it's a period where most people seem to start asking existential questions. The two books which have affected me greatly (and which I regularly give as gifts) are:

* Meditations by Marcus Aurelius* Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

kareemsabri 3 days ago 2 replies      
The Selfish Gene - fundamental world-view shaker
AdrianRossouw 3 days ago 3 replies      
Allen Carr's Easy Way to Stop Smoking. I pay it forward.

Stopped smoking six years ago and haven't had the desire to start again since. it feels great.

I actually played the nintendo DS adaptation of the book, which was also available on ios for a while.

it turned all the points the book was trying to make into a series of minigames that really illustrated the principles beautifully.

mwest 3 days ago 2 replies      
The Player of Games, by Iain M. Banks - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Player_of_Games
warpas 3 days ago 1 reply      
"Freakonomics" by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. Great book about how and why people respond to incentives. A lot of good examples told through fascinating stories supported by data.
SyneRyder 3 days ago 0 replies      
Anything You Want by Derek Sivers.

It's still my favorite book on business, a short easy read filled with anecdotes from his time running CD Baby. The situations are ones I keep encountering myself running a small business, and the way the stories are written makes them highly memorable & applicable. If I can't decide between opportunities, I remember "Hell Yeah! or No." If I'm working on fraud screening, I remember "Don't Punish Everyone For One Person's Mistake". When working on an MVP and feel it isn't big enough, I'm reminded of "Start Now. No Funding Needed." And it has my favorite twist ending in business.

It's the first book I've specifically bought multiple copies of to give away, including to clients.

pjmorris 3 days ago 1 reply      
I've given a copy of 'The Making of the Atomic Bomb', Rhodes, and lent a copy that didn't come back. The gift recipient has urged the book on various managers, as the book has much to teach of scientific and technical management, as well as much, much more.
durga 3 days ago 2 replies      
Surely you're joking, Mr Feynman is amazing.
jen729w 3 days ago 1 reply      
Hyperion by Dan Simmonds. It, and the follow-up Fall of Hyperion, are by far and away my favourite sci-fi books.

Given them to 5+ people over the years and every one has loved them.

AlphaGeekZulu 3 days ago 3 replies      
Douglas Hofstadter: Gdel, Escher, Bach
pjmorris 3 days ago 0 replies      
The software-related books I've given most often are Gerald Weinberg's 'Becoming a Technical Leader', Brook's 'Mythical Man Month', Demarco and Lister's 'Peopleware', Hunt and Thomas 'The Pragmatic Programmer', and Mconnell's 'Code Complete'.
endgame 3 days ago 1 reply      
Gift? Not quite, but I enthusiastically offer my copies of Simon Singh's books up for loan when anyone sounds vaguely interested. "The Code Book" is a great history of cryptography and "Fermat's Last Theorem" is a good history of the problem and its eventual solution.
xacaxulu 3 days ago 3 replies      
I always have copies of George Orwell's "Animal Farm" to give out. As I get older, I love seeing younger people flip out when they read it and see how applicable it is in modern life.
stevenking86 3 days ago 1 reply      
Vagabonding by Rolf Potts

It opened the doors to the remote lifestyle for me and led me to switch to careers to tech (due to the abundance of remote opportunities) and to embrace a new kind of lifestyle.


chiph 3 days ago 0 replies      
I've given out a few copies of Corporate Confidential: 50 Secrets Your Company Doesn't Want You to Know---and What to Do About Them. So far, the recipients have done well after reading it. It really clued them into the hidden meaning behind common corporate-speak.


iamben 3 days ago 1 reply      
I've literally just bought someone "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle" by Haruki Murakami. It was the first Murakami book I read, and I've read plenty since. Wonderful.
mooreds 3 days ago 0 replies      
Books I found so amazing that I actually bought copies and given them as a gift (in some cases to multiple people):

* Perennial Vegetables by Eric Toensmeier--eye opening list of vegetables that come back year after year

* The Hard Thing About Hard Things, by Ben Horowitz. Somewhat presumptuously, I bought multiple copies and sent them to some of my friends/acquaintances that were CEOs.

* Climate Wars, by Gwynne Dyer. This mix of fiction and non fiction really brought the climate change crisis to my attention.

PebblesHD 3 days ago 0 replies      
My personal favourite that I've given as a gift is Thomas Glover's Pocket Ref [0]. Its easily the most useful thing you can buy for anyone in engineering, fabrication or just generally a tinkerer. I've loved my copy since I was given it as a kid.

[0] - https://www.amazon.com/Pocket-Ref-4th-Thomas-Glover/dp/18850...

crdb 3 days ago 1 reply      
It's tough finding books that don't send a message to the receiver. I particularly remember a colleague expressing disappointment at whichever secret Santa gave him The Fountainhead at the office Christmas party (he was pretty left wing).

The four I remember gifting were Asimov's entire Foundation series, Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, The Phantom Major by Virginia Cowles and See you in November by Peter Stiff.

david-given 3 days ago 0 replies      
Barry Hughart's Bridge of Birds.

Set in a mediaeval China that never existed (but should have), it's the story of how village peasant Number Ten Ox and the ancient sage Master Li (who has a slight flaw in his character) go on a quest to save the children of his village from a plague which can count... and the other quest which they find themselves part of.

On the way you'll learn how to make a fortune with a goat, how not to cook porcupine, the best way to move rocks using only a corpse, why you should always be polite to ginseng, and the true meaning of courage. You'll meet ghosts, monsters, and gods --- and they're typically less bizarre than the human cast, which contains such jewels as the Ancestress, Miser Shen, the Old Man of the Mountain, Lotus Cloud and of course, the inimitable Ma the Grub and Pawnbroker Fang...

It's by parts hilarious, touching, gripping, and there are parts that will make you cry from sheer beauty. Read this book.

d-roo 3 days ago 0 replies      
A couple years ago a friend gave me 'It Starts With Food' and after reading it I bought it for at least a half-dozen of my friends. It was truly life changing for me and my approach to food and health. Within a couple weeks I went from having hypertension/pre-hypertension to normal blood pressure and over the course of 6 months or so I lost 40 lbs. Changing my diet to 'whole' foods redefined for me what hunger was. My daily diet had been one of going from one sugar high to the next. What I interpreted as hunger and a big appetite were in fact cravings for sugar.

Admittedly, it may be a bit below the reading level for the average user here but I can't recommend this book enough. Especially for those of us that sit in front of a computer all day. Take a look at the reviews at Amazon which are numerous and nearly unanimous. Do yourself a favour and give it read.


psiclops 3 days ago 0 replies      
Siddhartha by Herman Hesse. I learned a lot from that novel
joshstrange 3 days ago 0 replies      
Motivating the Middle [0] by T.J. Sullivan

It's a relatively short book and it's focus is on college fraternities (which is what I was in when I first read it). I bought about 20 copies and handed them out after reading it. While it has nothing to do with software development I have found it's core message to be applicable to working on a team. The core message is you can normally divide your organization up into 3 categories, these will not necessarily be equal in size. These categories are the highly motivated "top" go-getters who will do everything they can to help further the org, the "middle" who with the right motivation can work just as hard and be just as driven as the first group, and the "bottom" who rarely make more than minimum effort if that and are extremely unlikely to go out of their way for the greater good of the org. The book suggests to more or less ignore the bottom and spend your energy on "motivating the middle" to use them to their greatest potential. It says that spending your time on the bottom is a fruitless endeavor and will only result in alienating the middle people who are somewhat on the fence.

Now this applies much more to a community-run (in this case student-run) organization where letting someone go is often off the table (in greek life removing a brother/sister can be a much bigger challenge than one might assume). I do not bring any of this up to debate the pros and cons of greek like of which there are many (you can talk to me privately if you wish to do that), but just to bring some clarity to what I'm trying to say.

Often as an employee not in a managerial role you are in a similar situation and while I'd be a lier if I said I always applied this logic but I do try to always remember that being annoyed/angry with under-performers is, in all honesty, a zero-sum game. It's best to focus on what I can do to make the place I work better and work to bring the "middle" to want the same.

It's probably not the best book to bring up here but it's really the only book I'd ever bought for more than 1 person (and the only one that I didn't by for purely entertainment/enjoyment reasons, I've gifted fiction books on a number of occasions).

[0] https://smile.amazon.com/Motivating-Middle-Fighting-College-...

thallian 3 days ago 0 replies      
Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett + lots of the Discworld novels (also by Terry Pratchett).

The latter have become one of the basic building blocks of my life.

matwood 3 days ago 0 replies      
Replay by Ken Grimwood.


It's ground hog day, but on a lifetime scale. The search for happiness and what it means to be happy.

nhumrich 3 days ago 0 replies      

Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams (3rd Edition) https://www.amazon.com/dp/0321934113/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_1Y6P...

probinso 3 days ago 0 replies      
"Calvin and Hobbes: there is treasure everywhere"

This book was amazing.

upbeatlinux 3 days ago 0 replies      
I found each of these invaluable at different points in my life. YMMV

Biz - the Personal MBA - Josh Kaufman - http://amzn.to/2aFsj3c

Org - the Fifth Discipline - Peter Senge - http://amzn.to/2aNpbQz

SciFi - Perdido Street Station - China Mieville - http://amzn.to/2aNoWFn

Parenting - The Continuum Concept - Jean Liedloff - http://amzn.to/2aZEAAL

misiti3780 3 days ago 0 replies      
Antifragile by Taleb

The Black Swan by Taleb

Thinking Fast & Slow by Kahneman

Guns, Germs, and Steel by Diamond

The World According To Monsanto by Robin

The Organized Mind by Levitin

The Vital Question by Lane

Life Ascending by Lane

Chasing the Scream by Hari

Anything By Gladwell.

pavlov 3 days ago 0 replies      
I gave Stafford Beer's "Think Before You Think" [1] as a gift because I didn't seem to understand any of the book, so I gave it to someone smarter than me in the hope she would eventually explain it to me. I've forgotten to follow up on that.

[1] https://www.amazon.com/Think-Before-You-Complexity-Knowledge...

(Edit: I just looked at the Amazon page and realized the book seems to cost about $200 used -- can that be true...?! I think I paid $30 for it. Maybe I should have kept it.)

openfuture 3 days ago 0 replies      
I buy books that catch my interest when I'm travelling and then give them to people I meet who I think will appreciate them. I'm so tired of giving books to family that then never read them. Anyway, books I've given recently (last 3 months):

The Dominant Man: The Pecking Order of Human Societyhttps://www.amazon.com/dominant-man-pecking-order-society/dp...

__ Completely changed my perspective on social interaction. I've been trying to get people to read this but the title sounds very non-pc. Got it for 1AUD on a second hand book table somewhere, it's very dry though and mostly just presents evidence without drawing conclusions.

Cat's Craddle - Kurt Vonnegut__ I love the word Karass. Lots of travelers like this book.

When Nietzsche wept__ Amazing book, the amount of strategy in their conversations is amazing and the book is just high quality. Best to know some stuff about Nietzsche and that era before you read it though.

Teach us to sit still - Tim Parks__ Not something you'd give to anyone but if the person is a little intrigued by meditation then this book will probably get them to start doing it.

Why the West Rules for Now: The patterns of history and what they reveal about the future__ I had learned the history of certain periods in certain locations but this book brought it all together into a cohesive narrative. Highly recommended if you want to start inquiring into history but don't know where to start.

Carlos Castaneda's series on learning shamanism__ I dunno what to think of this. I can believe that the guy actually experienced what he's writing, it's just too much to make up imo. Anyway I'd recommend it to anyone interested in philosophy, religion or meditation because it's just such a radically different perspective on how to live life and the meaning of enlightenment.


I also have a long list of books that I've seen recommended here or recommendations from people I've met all over the world that I use for inspiration when I need to give gifts for Christmas or something but I haven't read them yet so I won't mention them here.

voycey 3 days ago 1 reply      
I tend to either give "The Belgeriad" or "Mistborn" as a gift to people who want to get into Fantasy.

I think when Rothfuss releases his final Kingkiller Chronicle book it might be my new intro series :)

azogue 3 days ago 0 replies      
Colleen McCullough's The First Man in Rome. It's historical fiction, set in Rome a few years before Julius Caesar was born. I began reading it to see what I could learn about how war was waged by the romans and was absolutely dazed by the political and social intricacies exposed.

One of the most welcome gifts I've ever bought. One friend told me he had rediscovered the pleasure of reading; another read the full Masters of Rome series shortly after. Really good feedback.

Terry Pratchett's Night Watch is also one of my favorites to give. Although when asked if it is the first of a series people tend to be somewhat surprised by the answer: I send them a graph spanning all the Discworld books[1]. Night Watch is in no way the first but I've found it to be a good starter and the order is not that important in Pratchett's books.

Hermann Hesse's Siddhartha. Already mentioned by someone. Some translations have an incredibly lyrical prose, but you've got to be careful with the one you buy.

[1] http://images6.fanpop.com/image/photos/38700000/The-Discworl...

x0x0 3 days ago 0 replies      
_The Book With No Pictures_ by BJ Novak. It's a great book for friends with kids under 6 or so. You can see the author reading the beginning here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cREyQJO9EPs

I've given probably 10 copies to family and friends with kids and it's been universally liked.


ehudla 3 days ago 1 reply      
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
phaitour 3 days ago 0 replies      
Fiction: The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafn is beautifully written and I've recommended it to many people. I've gotten lost in Carlos' worlds over and over again, and the cemetery of forgotten books is mesmerizing.

Humor: Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson. I've recommended this to many friends who needed a good laugh. I don't remember another book that made me laugh so hard that I dropped the book.

Non-fiction: this one's a tough one because many good books are mentioned already, but two that I really enjoyed and have recommended in the last year are: Boyd by Robert Coram and How the Other Half Banks by Mehrsa Baradaran. Boyd tells the story about a brilliant but petulant air force pilot who rewrote the guidelines of US military aviation. How the Other Half Banks is an eye opening account of how broken our banking system is and the history of how we got to where we are.

Business: again, a lot of good books are mentioned already, but two I've enjoyed are Smarter Faster Better by Charles Duhigg and Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss. Both are fascinating books that'll leave you thinking about how to improve your own game.


Bonus: When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi is a tremendous piece. It's a short read but a must read!

tixocloud 1 day ago 0 replies      
The Essential Marcus Aurelius was a book that was given to me as a gift. Since reading it, I've bought many more copies to share with people I deeply care about.

This book contained so many great insights into how to deal with life's stresses and has been a revelation in my transformation of attitude.

simonpure 3 days ago 0 replies      
Alexander Osterwalder's Business Model Generation [0]

[0] http://www.businessmodelgeneration.com/book

itbeho 3 days ago 1 reply      
Fiction: Nine Princes in Amber by Roger Zelazny.

Non-Fiction: How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Technical: The C Programming Language by Kernighan and Richie

jsmith0295 3 days ago 0 replies      
Atlas Shrugged

Just kidding. I did give a friend The Go Programming Language by Donovan & Kernighan, though

cyman 2 days ago 0 replies      
Four Hour Work Week. Take it with a grain of salt, since it takes a lot longer than the author suggests to create a business. (I'd say a year of hard work at least to finally hit a product that sells easily enough in high enough quantities rather than a matter of months.) But it's possible. It's a great read with direct, practical advice. Ex: It says exact what services to use and how much they cost, rather than the more typical theoretical "think this way" of other business books.
dantheman 3 days ago 0 replies      
Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitthttps://mises.org/library/economics-one-lesson

It's focus is to get people thinking about 2nd and 3rd order effects. It's very simple and well written.

KRuchan 3 days ago 0 replies      
"The Defining Decade" by Meg Jay to anyone in their twenties.

Shameless plug -I posted a summary here: https://rkirti.wordpress.com/2015/12/05/learnings-from-the-d...

miduil 3 days ago 0 replies      
This Saturday as a birthday present for a 14 year old friend of mine, who haven't been reading so much lately:

* Persepolis, first version

* Dark Angel, by David Klass

I've just started reading "Flowers for Algernon", I guess this can also be a good birthday present. I think gifting books is something very difficult, in my experience I never wanted to get books for present.

evanb 3 days ago 2 replies      
Bradbury: Now and Forever: Somewhere a Band Is Playing & Leviathan '99

Gleick: The Information

Michener: The Source

Martin: A Song of Ice and Fire (all of them, digital)

shabinesh 3 days ago 0 replies      
I am not much into fiction, my gift depends on the kind of person I gift to, few books I most of the time prefer gifting,

1. The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche, for those spiritual minds. I am a huge fan of this book, I am traveling this week to Dharamshala to learn about Buddhism after reading this book.

2.Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, for those aspiring young minds.

3. Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer, for my adventure loving friends. I had an intense desire to see Mt.Everest after reading this book, I traveled to Everest base camp.

4. Bhagavad-Gt As It Is by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, for everyone, I don't remember how many I have gifted.

5. Imitation of Christ, I have gifted it, but haven't read it myself. It's in my list.

6. Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

rahulskateboard 3 days ago 0 replies      
I have in the past gifted multiple books written by Terry Pratchett,his Discworld series is an amazing example of social satire.The people who tend to love his stuff most are usually science oriented folks though since he tends to reference a lot of technology in an oblique fashion,including programming.
schappim 3 days ago 0 replies      
I have given The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch.
kidster 3 days ago 0 replies      
The Little Prince and The Alchemist. Whenever I make new friends I give them either of these books if they haven't read them yet. These two have changed my point of view significantly -- and I've read them at an adult age already.
adrinavarro 3 days ago 0 replies      
I have given out as a gift a copy of 'Predictably Irrational'. I found it interesting and insightful at many different levels (whether you're just a normal person and enjoy those 'huh' moments, or you're actually dealing with this stuff at a professional level).
wj 3 days ago 0 replies      
A cookbook is the book I have given the most. Ad Hoc at Home by Thomas Keller is an absolutely great book for somebody that is getting into cooking.

Of the top of my head some books I gave my brother included Salt, Siddhartha, and Shantaram. There were others that didn't start with an S as well.

bjelkeman-again 3 days ago 0 replies      
Maverick, by Richardo Semler. I must have given away a dozen of this book to various people. Very inspiring if you are looking to build an organisation.


acidburnNSA 3 days ago 0 replies      
East of Eden by John Steinbeck. It's about life. Has become 2 recipients' favorite book so far.
Frogolocalypse 3 days ago 1 reply      

The Emperors New Mind - Roger Penrose

Godel, Escher, Bach - Douglass Hoffstadter

Brocas Brain - Carl Sagan

The (mis)Behavior of Markets - Benoit Mandelbrot

The Black Swan - Nicholas Nassem Taleb


Gates Of Fire - Stephen Pressfield

Neuromancer - William Gibson

Snow Crash - Neal Stephenson

Hardwired - Walter Jon Williams

Altered Carbon - Richard Morgan

Red Mars - Kim Stanley Robinson

Space - Stephen Baxter

Enders Game - Orson Scott Card

Skeleton Crew - Stephen King

I've given away a lot of books. I'm old.

wilwade 3 days ago 1 reply      
No kids books have been listed, but I have found them all too often enlightening. Sometimes even more than an adult book.

I and my kids have enjoyed all of Graeme Base's books, but The Eleventh Hour is particularly good and have given it to many kids and adults:http://graemebase.com/book/the-eleventh-hour/

I am also thinking about giving Yertle the Turtle By Dr. Seuss out to anyone I meet before the election:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yertle_the_Turtle_and_Other_St...I have given many Dr. Seuss books away as well.

smacktoward 3 days ago 1 reply      
The Stephen Mitchell translation of the Tao Te Ching: https://www.amazon.com/Tao-Te-Ching-Laozi/dp/0060812451/ref=...

It's beautiful.

Jaruzel 3 days ago 0 replies      
Last Christmas, I was given and then bought for others:

The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Computer

( https://www.amazon.co.uk/Thrilling-Adventures-Lovelace-Babba... )

It's a halfway house between a graphic novel and a proper book, and is written in a very entertaining way. I can thoroughly recommend it for anyone who is interested in Computer History, and normally struggles through dry tomes of non-fiction (which this is most definitely not!)

billhendricksjr 3 days ago 0 replies      
A People's History of The United States by Howard Zinn. Given it at least 5 times.

All students should realize that history is written by the "winners" see US history from the perspective of the oppressed - Native Americans, slaves, women, the poor.

jayroh 3 days ago 1 reply      
I've given this as a gift several times -- "What Should I Do with My Life" by Po Bronson.


Had a run-in with serious burn-out about 12 years ago and had considered leaving software entirely and starting a landscaping business. This book was inspirational in that it helped me figure out what I might LOVE doing, and then made me realize it was right under my nose the whole time. I just needed to get a new job that appreciated and challenged me

francasso 3 days ago 0 replies      
Obviously "The Universal Master Key" by Franz Bardon. They might start looking at you in strange ways though... you have been warned


RobLach 3 days ago 0 replies      
"Meditations" by Marcus Aurelius. A stoic tenet plus it grounds everyone once you realize not even the power and wealth of a Roman emperor is enough to escape certain realities and you need to re-adjust your definition of success.
Induane 3 days ago 0 replies      
Gdel, Escher, BachZen and the Art of Motorcycle MaintenanceEnders GameSpeaker for the DeadA Brief History of TimeI Am a Strange LoopLila: An Inquiry Into MoralsThe Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (5 or 6 book trilogy)Dune
bschwindHN 3 days ago 0 replies      
* How to Sharpen Pencils: A Practical & Theoretical Treatise on the Artisanal Craft of Pencil Sharpening for Writers, Artists, Contractors, Flange Turners, Anglesmiths, & Civil Servants

* Ulrich Haarburste's Novel Of Roy Orbison In Clingfilm

petr_tik 3 days ago 0 replies      
I give books to people I work with and the 3 books that people will have heard of are:

Thinking fast and slow by Danny K

Antifragile by Nassim Taleb

Algorithms To Live By by Brian Christian & Tom Griffiths

I thought about giving fictional books to people, but it seems to personal a present for a work acquaintance

pessimizer 3 days ago 0 replies      
Vampires, Burial, and Death: Folklore and Reality by Paul Barber. It's pretty much my Bible, and is all that needs to be said about the nature of my secularism. I tell people it's a cool book about vampire myths, though.
hartem_ 3 days ago 0 replies      
Mostly 'Hackers and Painters' and 'Surely you are joking Mr. Feynman'.
yumaikas 3 days ago 0 replies      
Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software was one of the most formative books for my programming self education. I've tried to loan it to several of my friends more than once, and it was a gift to me.

Also had a strange case of loaning out C# 4.0 in a Nutshell and never getting it back, but I would do it again (with an updated version). Albahari is good at writing a reference without being too boring, and C# has some legitimately interesting sides in how it does some things, like it's dynamically compiled regexen.

thatha7777 3 days ago 0 replies      
1. The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupry. Repeatedly (to different people).
rgun 3 days ago 0 replies      
Glimpses of World History by Jawaharlal Nehru:

A collection of letters written by Jawaharlal Nehru to his daughter Indira Gandhi, from jail, teaching her about world history. An interesting introduction to history.

davidtpate 3 days ago 0 replies      
Creativity, Inc. by Ed CatmullIt's the story of Pixar and there's so many things I enjoyed about this book. It helped validate for me many of my instincts in running a creative business.

The Martian by Andy WeirI very much enjoyed the story and how it was all approached.

Seven Eves by Neil StephensonSimilar to his other books (Snow Crash and Cryptonomicon) I've gifted these a few times. I really enjoy his method of storytelling and his stories appeal to the geek in me as well.

jfb 3 days ago 0 replies      
River-Horse, William Least-Heat Moon. It's a wonderful account of a classically idiosyncratic journey from the Atlantic to the Pacific, through the waterways of North America.

Speak, Memory, Vladimir Nabokov. The pinnacle of the memoirist's art. I find it nearly uncreditable, Nabokov's facility with English, his 5th language.

Lyonesse, Jack Vance. Vance is the greatest stylist in 20th century American letters, and Lyonesse is probably his greatest achievement. Fantasy indebted to Celtic mythology, not Tolkien. Marvelous, poetic, pungent language in service of a wonderful story.

brianzelip 3 days ago 0 replies      
Kahlil Gibran's 'The prophet'
nrjames 3 days ago 0 replies      
West with the Night, by Beryl Markham.

This is the autobiography of a woman who grew up on a farm in British East Africa (Kenya) in the early 1900s. She eventually became a bush pilot and the first person ever to fly an airplane solo across the Atlantic Ocean from east to west. It is a beautifully written and interesting story. Note: if you decide to read it, skip the Forward because it sort of spoils the book. Come back to it at the end, however, because it provides some interesting historical context.

adolgert 3 days ago 0 replies      
bash Pocket Reference. I keep a stack by the office door, sort of like a candy bowl.
ehudla 3 days ago 0 replies      
Programming Pearls (Jon Bentley). His essays on bumper sticker CS, Doug McIlroy @ Bell Labs, and little languages still resonate in mind regularly. It's when I feel someone can be trusted with really cool ideas.
mch82 3 days ago 0 replies      
[Rework][] from DHH and Jason Fried.

Rework explains the "life beyond work" and "make a dent in the universe" philosophy behind Basecamp and Rails and is a valuable counterpoint to the popular media narrative of the startup IPO mindset. The book also explains how to apply the philosophy with actionable examples and it's fun to read.

[Rework]: https://37signals.com/rework

EliRivers 3 days ago 1 reply      
Books by David Mitchell. Possibly the finest modern literature author alive.
dmourati 3 days ago 0 replies      
The Little Prince, or Le Petit Prince if the recipient is a francophile. A wonderful story that I personally try to read every year. Netflix has recent plans to release as a film as well.
robot 3 days ago 0 replies      
The intelligent investor - benjamin graham. In my home country investing is still a mystery for many and there are no good books. This book gives you some base and perspective about investinng
jbmorgado 3 days ago 0 replies      
I've given Flatland: an adventure in many dimensions on some occasions.

I think it's a wonderful and amusing book, full of philosophical and political meaning that can be read at almost any age.

bmh_ca 3 days ago 0 replies      
How to Win Friends and Influence People
cmdrfred 3 days ago 2 replies      
Dune, Enders Game and Ready Player One.
neelkadia 3 days ago 0 replies      
Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach.. I've bought around 20 copies and given as a gift to all my close {friends, cousins, co-workers} two years back.
d4nte 3 days ago 0 replies      
One book I've given is Mere Christianity, by C.S. Lewis. It is deeply philosophical, beginning with astute observations about human nature, continuing with an evaluation of possible worldviews and their consistency with logic and evidence, and concluding with an enlightening discussion of Christian theology. Regardless of a person's beliefs or lack thereof, it provides interesting ideas to consider and challenge.
dedalus 3 days ago 0 replies      
These days I present anyone with this book:Mindset,The New Psychology of Success https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000FCKPHG/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?...

and they tell me it makes a difference to their lifestyle

ScottBurson 3 days ago 0 replies      
Oliver Morton's The Planet Remade: How Geoengineering Could Change the World.

Obviously this is a selection for someone who likes to read serious nonfiction and is interested in the science of climate change and what we might be able to do about it.

I've mentioned the book on HN before and got an unenthusiastic reception, but I loved it. The author does an excellent job avoiding both knee-jerk skepticism and knee-jerk credulity, and it's so well written I could hardly put it down.

woodpanel 3 days ago 0 replies      
"Why the Germans, why the Jews" by Gtz Aly - good insight into younger German and Ashkenazi history. Is the most comprehensive book I've read about the why. Why the broad anti-semitism, why the NSDAP, why the holocaust.

Poor Charlie's Almanack - It's one the books that Warren Buffet always recommends. I gotta say though that I don't get why. But it makes a good gift since it has good "coffee table" value because of the many illustrations.

anonbiocoward 3 days ago 0 replies      
Strunk and White. I put my email and phone number in the inside cover. Only for good friends. Have gotten contacts from people I haven't seen in 10 years.
koolba 3 days ago 0 replies      


Intro to programming in Python - I don't remember which one though. I think it was one of the O'Reilly ones.

CalRobert 3 days ago 0 replies      
Getting out: Your guide to Leaving America

The title is a bit provocative but if you're looking to move from the US to another country it's a great place to start. I've given it to a couple of footloose people in their twenties who wanted to move abroad but were intimidated by dealing with visas and expense. (Remember, not everyone works in fields where countries are clamoring to give out visas!)

mbauman 3 days ago 0 replies      
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Daz (fiction) - At face value, a story about a nerdy outcast in love, which means most people I know will relate to it. Pulitzer Prize winner.

The Elements of Typographic Style by Bringhurst (design) - Most designers I know already own a copy, but interesting for laymen.

The Little Schemer by Friedman & Felleisen (programming) - Fun and educational for anyone interested in programming, at just about any level.

vectorpush 3 days ago 0 replies      
The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe.

My favorite sci-fi story, I might even admit it is my favorite of all stories. I've given it as a real book but the experience really benefits from the e-reader format because, at least for me, there were many terms to look up and many sections that I wanted to notate for consideration later. It's a challenging book but a very thoughtful and rewarding read. Highly recommended.

xf00ba7 3 days ago 0 replies      
An imaginary tale, the story of sqrt( -1 ). link: http://press.princeton.edu/titles/9259.html. One of my favorites. Oh....also handed out the foundation series in combined hardback form to a few folks for the winter holiday. I loved that series as well. Thankfully so did the people I handed it out to.
Gnarl 3 days ago 0 replies      
"The Body Electric" by Dr. Robert O. Becker. Everyone in healthcare, medicine and especially the wireless industry should read it. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Body-Electric-Robert-Becker/dp/0688...
zgotsch 3 days ago 3 replies      
I've given out several copies of "The Diamond Age" by Neal Stephenson and "Stories of Your Life and Others" by Ted Chiang.
is_it_xmas 3 days ago 0 replies      
There are so many great books here. I'm surprised to see nothing by Palahniuk. I've given Choke and Survivor as gifts.

Also disappointed that George Saunders didn't make the list. His essays in The Brain-dead Megaphone are great and his short stories, especially Isabelle and others is The Tenth of December, are heart-warming.

agentgt 3 days ago 1 reply      
Many of the books I would have been covered already but one that hasn't (ie not found via option-f) is:

"Is God a Mathematician?" by Mario Livio

It is a wonderful exploration and history of math, science and light theology (mostly historic though. the book is written by a mathematician).

I still wonder frequently if math is human made up thing or is it innate. Is the universe inherently mathematical? Can we prove it?

smountcastle 3 days ago 0 replies      
I give these three books out to new managers in my org:

* High Output Management by Andy Grove https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0679762884/

* Turn the Ship Around by David Marquet https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1591846404/

* The Score Takes Care of Itself by Bill Walsh https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1591843472/

For interns I give out these two books:

* The Pragmatic Programmer https://www.amazon.com/Pragmatic-Programmer-Journeyman-Maste...

* The Passionate Programmer https://pragprog.com/book/cfcar2/the-passionate-programmer

bluejekyll 3 days ago 2 replies      
"The Four Agreements", I wish I had read it when I was younger, I give it to anyone who seems to feel other people are their problem.
jackess 3 days ago 0 replies      
Carol Dweck's Mindset. Really gives insight into how our limiting self-beliefs can stunt our growth and potential, and how to fix them.
ktRolster 3 days ago 0 replies      
I gave my own book, "Zero Bugs and Program Faster."

I gave Randall Jarrell's version of Faust it is an excellent book.

mironathetin 3 days ago 0 replies      
Franz Werfel: Pale Blue Ink in a Lady's Hand.The story of an Austrian aristocrat and politician, who is - through his marriage - well established in society and on a safe carrier path, who discovers that he might have a child with a jewish woman (in pre-WWII Austria).

Great story and so well written by Werfel.

avh02 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm really surprised by no mention of the tripods trilogy by John Christopher. Only managed to gift it once. Don't think they even read it :(

Truly a phenomenal story IMO


ehudla 3 days ago 0 replies      
Danny, the Champion of the World. For kids and kids at heart. One of the books that I feel made me want to be a maker/hacker.
stevewilhelm 3 days ago 0 replies      
Turtle Island, by Gary Snyder.

or more recently,

Tamalpais Walking: Poetry, History, and Prints, By Gary Snyder and Tom Killion


Quiet Light, by John Sexton


Places of Power: The Aesthetics of Technology by John Sexton

sevensor 3 days ago 0 replies      
The Soul of a New Machine: it's the 1970s and the mincomputer wars are hot. A bunch of young engineers at the upstart Data General race to get a new mini out the door. Tech has changed a lot in 40 years, but the way people work on it hasn't.
kingkawn 3 days ago 0 replies      
Letter to a Teacher by the Schoolboys of Barbiana. Beautifully written call for better education for the poor by the children who need it.

Available in PDF now too: http://www.swaraj.org/shikshantar/LTAT_Final.pdf

NTripleOne 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm not a big reader (Last book I read was back in 2010~?), but I think my favourite was Arkady and Boris Strugatsky's Roadside Picnic. Big fan of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series as well as the film, so it only made sense that I read the book that it was all based on.
lettergram 3 days ago 0 replies      
Time Enough for Love by Robert Heinlein, I've recommended it to four people and all came back with it being their new favorite book.

It has all of science fiction classics, but focuses on a guy who can live forever and attempts to experience everything. Of course this leads to some strange events, and is definitely worth a read.

a_c 3 days ago 0 replies      
The Phoenix Project by Gene Kim.

A novel that tells how to manage IT department in a very enchanted manner. The situation entailed in the story is too real. I had some many "I have come across this shit before, wish I handled it better" encounters that I couldn't put the book down until finished.

spapas82 3 days ago 0 replies      
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov.
hkhall 3 days ago 0 replies      
The most recent is Liquid Intelligence by Dave Arnold[1]


m12k 3 days ago 0 replies      
Letters of Note. From the blog of the same name - a fascinating collection of letters from and/or to historical figures. Makes a great coffee table book. https://unbound.com/books/letters-of-note
wdr1 3 days ago 0 replies      
The Princess Bride.

I've given it away seven times & purchased it eight.

Like every book, it's different from the movie. I'm not going to say it's better than the movie, but I'm also not going say the movie is better either. Both are just so amazing in their own right that I adore them both.

ehudla 3 days ago 1 reply      
The Swiss Family Robinson. A children's book, about a family that has no other option but to become makers.
yla92 3 days ago 0 replies      
I have given Humans of New York book as a gift to a friend of mine and now preparing another one to another friend.

Mainly because I think the book has so much great quality photo essays, worth keeping it for a long time, sit down, flip it through from time to time and enjoy the beautiful stories.

sflicht 3 days ago 0 replies      
Huygens and Barrow, Newton and Hooke [1] by mathematician V. I. Arnol'd.

[1] https://www.amazon.com/Huygens-Barrow-Newton-Hooke-quasicrys...

grafelic 3 days ago 2 replies      
I haven't yet gifted a copy of Robert Anton Wilson's and Robert Shea's "The Illuminatus! Triology", but I want to. This book strikes the fine balance of being funny and mindblowingly weird at the same time. Great fun.
matthewvincent 3 days ago 0 replies      
Siddhartha by Herman Hesse is my current go to gift book. It's so short that anyone can dive in without being intimidated.

I don't think it's possible to read Siddhartha without coming just a little bit closer to enlightenment.

sokoloff 3 days ago 0 replies      
Web Operations:Keeping the Data On Time
sguav 3 days ago 0 replies      
The Ambidextrous Universe, Martin Gardner, 1979 edition. I find it fascinating even today
cheshire_cat 3 days ago 0 replies      
"The Genius and the Goddess" by Aldous Huxley. It's one of his lesser known works and also quite short (128 pp).

I really like Huxleys way of waving thoughts on psychology and philosophy into a story and specially liked it in this novel.

Ace17 3 days ago 0 replies      
Masters of Doom, by David Kushner.
japhyr 3 days ago 0 replies      
When I've had friends interested in learning to play chess, I've given Play Winning Chess by Yasser Seirawan. It's great at explaining what to think about when playing the different phases of the game, with no emphasis on memorizing particular lines.
ehudla 3 days ago 0 replies      
Mindstorms: Children, Computers, and Powerful Ideas (Papert)

Since this was discussed here recently (in sad circumstances), I'll just say that everyone who might be involved with kids, either as an educator or parent needs to read this book. And it was great to read when I was a kid, too!

daniel_iversen 3 days ago 0 replies      
"Strategic Selling" by Miller Heiman. It was the first book that really opened up my eyes to the fact that sales is (mostly) a science and its an awesome methodology. I got it as a gift and I've given it as a gift too.
remmelt 3 days ago 0 replies      
Cooked by Michael Pollan.

Great history about food, how cooking made us "human," links to religion, feminism, consumerism, and much more. Very insightful and at times heart felt. Not recommended if you don't eat food.

physicsyogi 3 days ago 0 replies      
I gave Joseph Brodsky's Watermark and Alan Watts' The Wisdom of Insecurity to two friends last year. And for Mothers Day last year I gave my wife a book of themed photos and prose, Two, by Melissa Ann Pinney.
Pulce 2 days ago 0 replies      
"The hacker Ethic and the spirit of the information age", Pekka Himanen.

"Deadhead", Robert Sheckley.

"The world she wanted", Philip K. Dick.

"Poesia in forma di rosa", Pasolini.

jboynyc 3 days ago 0 replies      
Most recently, Password by Martin Paul Eve. Highly recommended. http://www.bloomsbury.com/us/password-9781501314872/
typeseven 3 days ago 0 replies      
The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine.
35bge57dtjku 3 days ago 0 replies      
I give One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, in movie form, to departing coworkers.
drited 3 days ago 0 replies      
Misbehaving by Richard Thaler. It's like Thinking, Fast and Slow except more hilarious.
aaron695 3 days ago 0 replies      
If the book is so generic that someone can suggest it here, then it's not a good gift.

But a great philosophy is below. People will appreciate the gesture and you'll never get cranky about lent books never returned.

It's a gift. Never lend a book.

Bill Adama

markvdb 3 days ago 0 replies      
"Dead souls", by Nikolaj Gogol. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dead_Souls
nl 3 days ago 0 replies      
Lots of good books have been mentioned.

I think Watership Down is worth considering.

I only read it because I had to as a 15 yo, and it was absolutely brilliant. I went and read every other book Richard Adams wrote.

dmichulke 3 days ago 0 replies      
"Economics in one Lesson" by H. Hazlitt (conveys the same as "Atlas shrugged" in much much less pages)

"The Selfish Gene" (R. Dawkins)

"Dune" (F. Herbert)

"Walden II" (B. F. Skinner)

jvrossb 3 days ago 0 replies      
Snow Crash by Neil Stephenson
dredmorbius 3 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting question, and a quite difficult one for me to answer as I'm refactoring much of my thinking presently. I'll offer a list, some authors, and some guidelines, largely based on books which radically changed my thinking.

Madelaine l'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time. A quite profound children's book with lifelong impacts.


Frank Herbert's Dune introduced true complexity into storytelling for me.


James Burke's books Connections and The Day the Universe Changed, and their accompanying television series, were a profound introduction to the history of technology, science, ideas, and philosophy. Though 30+ years old, they remain highly current and relevant.



Jeremy Campbell's Grammatical Man (1984) introduced the concepts of information theory and their deep, deep, deep interconnections to a tremendous number of interconnected systems, many not explored within his book. Darwin's The Origin of Species, James Gleick's Chaos, and many of the works of Santa Fe Institute members, including John C. Holland, J. Doyne Farmer, Geoffrey West, W. Brian Arthur, David Krakauer, and Sander van der Leeuw, continue these themes.



William Ophuls' Ecology and the Politics of Scarcity (1977) is perhaps the best, most comprehensive, shortest, and most readable exposition of the fact, reality, dynamics, and interactions of limits on the present phase of fossil-fuel fed economic growth I've found. This is a book I recommend not only for the message, but the author's clarity of thought and exposition, his meticulous research, exquisite bibliographical notes, and, given the nearly 30 years elapsed, testability numerous of his predictions, some failed, yes, others uncannily accurate. Rather more the latter. In a similar vein, William R. Catton's Overshoot looks at the ecological dynamics in more depth, with much wisdom, the writings of Richard Heinberg cover the ground of limits fairly accessibly and more recently. Vaclav Smil in numerous books addresses technical factors of the profound nature of the past 250 years, and implications for the future. Meadows, et al, in Limits to Growth set off much of the post-1970 discussion (though they're hardly the first to raise the question -- it dates to Seneca the Elder),





Though hardly pessimistic, Daniel Yergin's book The Prize (and TV series) impressed upon me more than any other just how much petroleum specifically changed and transformed the modern world. Though intended largely as laudetory and championing the oil industry by the author, my read of it was exceptionally cautionary. The impacts on business, everyday life, politics, wars, industry, and transport, and the rate at which they occurred, are simply staggering. You can continue this exploration in Vaclav Smil's Energy in World History (1994) (I've recommended Smil independently elsewhere), and a rare but profound two-volume set I'm currently reading, Manfred Weissenbacher's Sources of Power: How energy forges human history (2009). The shear physicality of this book speaks to the message -- it's divided into five parts: 1) Foraging Age (6 pages), 2) Agricultural Age (156 pp), 3) Coal Age (160 pp), 4) Oil Age (296 pp), and 5) Beyond the Oil Age (142 pp). That is, the ~2 million years of pre-agricultural existence are little more than a footnote, the 8,000 years of agriculture roughly equal to the 150 years of coal, and the 100 years of petroleum use roughly twice either. The oil and post-oil ages comprise their own volume. Yergin followed up with The Quest, continuing the search for oil, though I've been less impressed by it.





Adam Smith's An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations is among the most-cited (and most incorrectly cited), least-read books of high influence I'm aware of, outside religious texts (and perhaps it is a religious text to some). The author's message has been exceptionally shaped and manipulated by a powerful set of forces, quite often utterly misrepresenting Smith's original intent. Reading him in his own words, yourself, is strongly recommended. I'd also recommend scholarship particularly by Emma Rothschild and Gavin Kennedy, though also others, on Smith. Contrast with the portrayal by the propaganda disinformation front of the Mont Pelerin Society / Atlas Network / so-called Foundation for Economic Education, and much of the modern American Libertarian movement (von Mises, Hayek, Friedman, Hazlett, Rothbard, and more recently, Norberg). Contrast The Invisible Hand (1964), a compilation of essays published by Libertarian house Regnery Press in 1966, at the beginning of the rise in public use of Smith's metaphor to indictate mechanism rather than an expression of the unknown.

There are numerous editions of Smith, I believe the Glasgow is frequently cited by Smith scholars: https://www.worldcat.org/title/glasgow-edition-of-the-works-...





I'd like to put in recommendations on technology specifically, but am still searching for a good general text. The material's covered somewhat in the chaos and complexity recommendations above (Campbell et al), though I'd add Joseph Tainter's The Collapse of Complex Societies. Charle's Perrow has several excellent books including Normal Accidents and Organizing America. I'd like to reference something concerning Unix, Linux, and programming, perhaps Kernighan and Pike's The Unix Programming Environment, Linus Torvalds' Just for Fun, Richard Stallman's The GNU Manifesto, and Steve McConnel's Code Complete. The O'Reilly book Unix Power Tools also encapsulates much the strength of the Unix toolset. All these are somewhat dated.









spdionis 3 days ago 0 replies      
The Dune series by Frank Herbert is by far one of the best works of fiction ever written.

I recommend it to anyone interested in something mind-expanding and entertaining at the same time.

aaronbrethorst 3 days ago 1 reply      
ultrasandwich 3 days ago 0 replies      
The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis. I think her writing appeals to a wide range of people. The stories are simultaneously experimental, hilarious, methodical, obsessive, but mostly just excellent.
jrs235 3 days ago 0 replies      
The Underachiever's Manifesto: The Guide to Accomplishing Little and Feeling Great http://amzn.to/1GmFRvX
ilikebits 3 days ago 0 replies      
My favourite is "The New Way Things Work" by David Macaulay. Loved this book as a kid, it really got me into trying to figure out how the world worked (the title really nailed it).
nabusman 3 days ago 0 replies      
- 48 Law of Power (Because we all have to deal with power games and politics)

- The Intelligent Investor (Because people ask how do I invest)

- Fooled by Randomness (Same ideas as Black Swan but oriented towards the markets)

Edit: formating

rukuu001 3 days ago 0 replies      
I heard the owl call my name, by Margaret Craven

I get the feeling this is better known in the US/Canada than here in Australia.

I found it during an unstable time of my life and it helped a lot.

phonon 3 days ago 0 replies      
"Mathematics: From the Birth of Numbers", by Jan Gullberg.
randcraw 3 days ago 0 replies      
"At Home" by Bill Bryson.

"Quiet" by Susan Cain.

"Hackers" by Steven Levy.

gpestana 3 days ago 1 reply      
The Art of Travel, by Alain de Botton https://g.co/kgs/3WZtk1 . I highly recommend it!
lackbeard 3 days ago 1 reply      
The Blind Side, The Hard Thing about Hard Things, Sex at Dawn.

If asked, I would say those aren't the books I've found most amazing but they're the ones I felt compelled to give as gifts.

jgord 3 days ago 0 replies      
Capital in the 21C - Thomas Piketty

Because it changes the way you see the world.

daltonlp 3 days ago 0 replies      
Shadows on the Koyukuk, by Sidney Huntington

Skunk Works, by Ben Rich

cionescu1 3 days ago 0 replies      
After reading Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers, I offered it as a gift to most of my friends. It's an exhilarating read, one that I would recommend to anyone
shoedog 3 days ago 0 replies      
Shoe Dog by Phil Knight.A memoir of how Nike was build from scratch. Written is a witty funny way that can be totally funny and brutally honest.
JimmyM 3 days ago 0 replies      
On What Matters by Derek Parfit.

Happened to be vol. 1, but vol. 2 is also fantastic. Honestly, Reasons & Persons would also make a fine gift.

elorant 3 days ago 0 replies      
This year I gave "The Martian" to four different people. They couldn't thank me enough. Best SF book I've ever read.
mattsouth 3 days ago 0 replies      
I love this thread. One that hasnt been mentioned and that I've enthusiastically gifted is The Dispossessed by Ursula Le Guin.
ehudla 3 days ago 1 reply      
The Mythical Man-Month
fillskills 3 days ago 0 replies      
I've given On Intelligence and The Alchemist as gifts.
pareidolia 3 days ago 0 replies      
Neil Postman's Amusing Ourselves to Death makes a great gift for anyone who watches too much TV or is addicted to Youtube
hardmath123 3 days ago 0 replies      
One book that works well for techy parents who have kids is The Number Devil. It's fantastic read-with-your-kid-at-bedtime material.
quantum_nerd 2 days ago 0 replies      
Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future

to my college best friend as a birthday gift.

callmeed 3 days ago 0 replies      
On Writing Well by Zinsser

Traction by Weinberg & Mares

Predictable Revenue by Ross

Choose Yourself by Altucher

Learn Python the Hard Way by Shaw

Mere Christianity by Lewis

Atwood 3 days ago 0 replies      
Nonfiction:Global Brain, Fiction:Robinson Crusoe. A handful of poetry (rumi) and philosophy books over the years too.
eddd 3 days ago 0 replies      
Zero to One by P. Thiel (cheezy for HN, I know)

Meltdown by T. Woods (cool guy, Austrian Economy)

The Witcher by A. Sapkowski (Fantasy, but It reads well only in polish language)

ptha 3 days ago 0 replies      
2 that I've given and reread myself a few times would be:

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

The Third Policeman by Flann O'Brien

nether 3 days ago 0 replies      
Being Peace by Thich Nhat Hanh

Great primer on mindful meditation.

abrkn 3 days ago 0 replies      
10% Happier by Dan Harris (audio book, narrated by the author)

A light hearted account of a news anchor's introduction to meditation

BarkMore 3 days ago 1 reply      
Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt.
mudil 3 days ago 0 replies      
I gave my father Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. Horrors of war and the triumph of the human spirit. What a story, what a life!
bcook 3 days ago 1 reply      
Android Internals: A Confectioner's Cookbook
syngrog66 3 days ago 0 replies      
Steven Levy's Hackers, to a boy considering a career in computers

Shirer's Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, to a fan of history

zelcon 3 days ago 0 replies      
The Little Schemer
jackgavigan 3 days ago 0 replies      
Against The Gods by by Peter L. Bernstein
Gatsky 3 days ago 0 replies      
Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy.

This book got its hooks into me. Also fantastic writing craft if you get a kick out of that.

kp25 3 days ago 0 replies      
"The Fault in Our Stars" by John Green,

"P.S. I Love You" by Cecelia Ahern,

"To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee,

bch 3 days ago 0 replies      
"how to cook a wolf" by mfk fisher. Insight into tough times, getting by, and making the most of those times.
SeaDude 3 days ago 0 replies      
"Ecotopia" by: Earnest Callenbach

"Self Reliance" by: Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The Iron Heel" by: Jack (fuckin) London!

pop8row9 3 days ago 0 replies      
The Dark Side of Camelot, by Seymour Hersh. A very, very interesting treatment of the Kennedys.
danvesma 3 days ago 0 replies      
Will Self Great Apes. To remind people that sometimes we're just fucking monkeys.
werber 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think I've given "Go Tell It On The Mountain" by James Baldwin more times than any other book.
nugget 3 days ago 0 replies      
The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas Stanley
omginternets 3 days ago 0 replies      
Calculus Made Easy by Silvanus P. Thompson

I was surprised to find out how old this text was. It hasn't aged a day!

qq66 3 days ago 0 replies      
"Maus" by Art Spiegelman

"The Way Things Work" by David Macaulay

"Winnie the Pooh" by A.A. Milne

rmchugh 3 days ago 0 replies      
The Spinning Heart by Donal Ryan. A beautiful and moving tale of post-boom rural Ireland.
davidjnelson 3 days ago 0 replies      
The Power Of Now by Eckhart Tolle.
StanislavPetrov 3 days ago 0 replies      
The Gambler by Fyodor Dostoevsky. Not a long read but classic Dostoevsky. A real gem.
kowdermeister 3 days ago 2 replies      
Would anyone recommend a book about mathematical thinking? Basic, intro level would fit best.
arkadiyt 3 days ago 0 replies      
I've gifted the PostSecret books to several people - it's always well received.
danbolt 3 days ago 0 replies      
I've received The Brothers Karamazov, and found it to be my new favourite book.
danmaz74 3 days ago 0 replies      
"Make you contacts count", to a couple of cousins who will start working soon.
dmd 3 days ago 0 replies      
For the under-4 set: The House In The Night. It's a perfect new-baby book.
vskarine 3 days ago 0 replies      
- The Ultra-Mind Solution, by Dr Mark Hyman

- Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand

- The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho

mangamadaiyan 3 days ago 0 replies      
One, Two, Three... Infinity by George Gamow.

I can't recommend it enough.

edoceo 3 days ago 0 replies      
Lean Customer Development
rendx 3 days ago 0 replies      
Mitch Albom: Tuesdays with Morrie

Karin Boye: Kallocain

Ray Bradbury: Fahrenheit 451

Raymond Chen: The Old New Thing

jurgenwerk 3 days ago 1 reply      
Cookin' with Coolio
ehudla 3 days ago 0 replies      
Breakfast at Tiffany's (Truman Capote).
hkmurakami 3 days ago 0 replies      
The 4 part LBJ book series by Robert Caro.
gardnr 3 days ago 0 replies      
"How the World Works" by Noam Chomsky
GnarfGnarf 3 days ago 0 replies      
James Kunstler: "The Long Emergency"
oaalami 3 days ago 0 replies      
"What do you do with an idea?" By Kobi Yamada
darksim905 3 days ago 3 replies      
The 48 Laws of Power
Dowwie 3 days ago 0 replies      
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
fny 3 days ago 0 replies      
Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
ehudla 3 days ago 0 replies      
The Interpretation of Cultures (Clifford Geertz)
mrjummyman 3 days ago 0 replies      
The Denial of Death - Ernest Becker
skmurphy 3 days ago 0 replies      
many copies of "Secrets of Consulting" by Gerald Weinberg and two copies of Bionomics by Michael Rothschild
mrmondo 3 days ago 0 replies      
The Phoenix Project, many, many times.
krapp 3 days ago 0 replies      
Seamus Heaney's translation of Beowulf
ehudla 3 days ago 0 replies      
Primo Levi, The Periodic Table.
hanoz 3 days ago 0 replies      
The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists
sonabinu 3 days ago 0 replies      
The Alchemist
ehudla 3 days ago 0 replies      
The Double Helix (Watson)
gravypod 3 days ago 0 replies      
The Kamasutra to a friend.

Didn't work sadly.

arisAlexis 3 days ago 0 replies      
The peripheral by Wiliam Gibson
bertique 3 days ago 0 replies      
The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
miloshadzic 3 days ago 1 reply      
The Art of Computer Programming
Thriptic 3 days ago 0 replies      
Complications by Atul Gawande
LeicaLatte 3 days ago 0 replies      
Life Inc. by Douglas Rushkoff
jesuslop 3 days ago 0 replies      
Something of John Verdon
anonymoushn 3 days ago 0 replies      
Thinking, Fast and Slow
lagirl1994 3 days ago 0 replies      
Uncle Toms cabin
raymondh 3 days ago 0 replies      
Thing Explainer.
bostonaholic 3 days ago 0 replies      
The Lean Startup
thomasreggi 3 days ago 0 replies      
The Alchemist
iyn 3 days ago 4 replies      
> Meanwhile there's plenty of stuff happening in the world straight from the Nazi playbook of the 30s.

Can you elaborate?

caretStick 3 days ago 4 replies      
To be fair, it is a good book with a noble goal. After reading it, I didn't smoke any more. Granted, I didn't smoke before it, but that's beyond the point.
atsaloli 3 days ago 1 reply      
"The Way to Happiness" by L. Ron Hubbard is a common-sense moral code. It's inspired me to be a better person in different ways (e.g., as a husband, professionally, personally, etc.). I gave it to a plumber in Sydney once (I used to hand them out) and he came back and asked for a few more for his mates "because they could use it".


We're Andromium. Making the Superbook, a $99 Android Laptop Shell. AMA
145 points by ajiang  2 days ago   146 comments top 38
ethanpil 2 days ago 2 replies      
Whats your plan on competing with China copycats, who are no doubt already working on a lower cost clone of your product?

Since its such a great idea, but uses mostly off the shelf parts and doesn't require much specialization, its a perfect target for them.

Look at the patterns: They quickly cannibalize and eventually completely commoditize the market for easy-to-copy products by flooding ebay, amazon, aliexpress, etc with comparable but cheaper items, some of which are probably going to be made by your own supplier/factory in China. Eventually the best of these these get on Engadget or Gizmodo and that's it.

Examples: Android tablets, Google Cardboard, Android Phones, Phone Batteries, etc.

Certainly many will have inferior packaging and engrish manuals. But some will be good enough or better than your product... I would be terrified to base a business around this type of item.

Jedd 2 days ago 2 replies      
I have a bunch of possibly naive questions.

I have an Android tablet (Samsung Tab Pro - the 12" beast). An experiment at replacing a laptop on some outings. I bought the A$140 Logitech keyboard / cover, which is good but not great, with some keys being a bit recalcitrant.

Some UI features are frustrating (example: alt-tab brings up the alt-tab switcher - you need to alt-tab twice to move to the most recent process, and toggling between two or three apps on the top of the stack is a common use case for me if I'm trying to do Real Work). An Android problem, I concede.

Given that context - how good is the keyboard, and how are you shipping keyboard + screen at less than a Logitech keyboard - I know, retail, scale, brand mark-up, two years later, etc ... but nonetheless?

Does the app smooth out some of the frustrations (f.e. the alt-tab problem) of working with Android with a keyboard & mouse as though it's a real grown-up DE? Is the app going to offer an increasingly customisable experience, or does it defer to the phone's native Android (and skins) features?

How does it feel - I know you're biased, but have you tried some phones that it just doesn't work on, and/or have some benchmarks or recommendations? I'm on an original Nexus 5 - which still performs adequately, but with low expectations on a phone interface - how well would it drive the Superbook?

ajiang 2 days ago 4 replies      
I'm serious about the offer to visit our office. We know Kickstarters have a bad rap for vaporware that takes forever to deliver. You can visit and play with our working prototype. You can try our software beta on your Android phone. And if you're in Shenzhen next week, you and I can kick it at one of the CMs we're looking at (currently in Shanghai myself).
franciscop 2 days ago 1 reply      
Hi I love the superbook. However I totally feel like calling 11.6" a "Large screen" is a stretch. Is there any plan to bring an actually middle-sized screen such as 13.3"? If there was a 13.3" 1080p screen I'd buy it right now.

PS, would love that it was backlit, that is literally the only complain I have with my Asus UX305CA

outdooricon 2 days ago 6 replies      
You mention that you can write code on the Superbook, but I've yet to find any good ide in Android. Any plans to create or partner with someone to get something like Atom running in Andromium/Android? Do you have a particular favorite that you always use right now?
tlundberg 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Have you guys heard about the Casetop? https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/lividesign/casetop-ever...

Cleaver way of docking the phone! (Especially the option to slide it in under the keyboard.) I wish you could do something similar :)

daveguy 2 days ago 2 replies      
How well does it work without Andromium? For instance:

Can I enter directly to the phone with the keyboard? Does the phone screen show on the large screen without Andromium? Is the large screen a touch screen?

Even more important -- if I have a rooted/virtual machine instance of a standard Linux distro running on my smartphone, can I use that? Do I have to use Andromium if I have a setup like a rooted chromebook? Turning the smartphone into a laptop it seems the biggest limitation would then be the app store. I don't want it to "feel" like a computer. I want it to be a computer -- OS and all.

One final question. What is your privacy policy, open vs closed source and permission requirements for Andromium and why?

This is a great idea, but I am raising a serious eyebrow at the Andromium aspect of it.

daveguy 2 days ago 0 replies      
A few items that would make me buy two $200+ versions of this:

Video extension for multiple monitors. For example the ability to plug my phone into a dual monitor setup for coding.

A 13" primary monitor.

Touchscreen on the primary monitor for those annoying times when you forget it's not touchscreen.

USB ports on the device so I can plug in a wireless mouse and keyboard.

Standard Linux OS virtual machine or rooted a la chromebooks.

Then I would carry my phone between home and work and plug it in both places. No more need to carry a laptop. You could pick one of them up and take it with you for travel. That would be beautiful.

I currently tote my 13" laptop around and plug in an extra monitor and wireless usb mouse/keyboard at the endpoints.

ajiang 2 days ago 1 reply      
Real talk on limitations: really intensive apps will be hard to run in Andromium. Also, phones with <2GB RAM will run into latency issues. Most apps will currently run in full screen mode, with only those with our SDK included having resizing / multi-window capabilities.
wiredfool 2 days ago 2 replies      
Is it plausible that this could work with a raspberry pi?

Or hell, even as a tty/dumb terminal for a random linux box?

franciscop 2 days ago 1 reply      
Another question, how does it all work internally? Is it just an USB Hub? Would I be able, for example, to connect my main Laptop to the Superbook and use it as another screen+keyboard+mouse?
ajiang 2 days ago 1 reply      
A few technical questions also covered in our AMA on Reddit a couple weeks back: https://www.reddit.com/r/Android/comments/4ty163/were_androm...
logfromblammo 2 days ago 0 replies      
What I want is to sit in my recliner at home, and put one device--that includes monitor, keyboard, speakers, and mouse--into my lap, with one shared cable--for USB, audio, video, and power--running down to a MiniITX shoebox on the floor next to my chair.

Can Superbook do that, with any combination of commodity cable adapters?

I want to turn a large self-assembled home computer into a laptop, not just my phone. That is, something with a powerful processor and dedicated high-resolution video hardware. I think you probably know what I'm getting at, here. I want to put my feet up and play 3D games with WASD+mouse, without juggling all the human interface devices in my lap or building my own custom swing-arm stand for them. Right now, I can handle a regular laptop and wireless mouse, but if the monitor is not affixed to the keyboard, it all falls apart. More specifically, the monitor falls over.

So will Superbook be able to connect with DisplayPort/HDMI in addition to connecting the human interface devices through USB? If not, extra bonus stretch goal?

ChartsNGraffs 2 days ago 2 replies      
I remember a while back there was the similar ClamCase Clambook[1] (all manufacturer links now non-existent). It never shipped. Any relation to that project?1 - http://www.zdnet.com/article/clambook-turn-your-smartphone-i...
tikumo 2 days ago 2 replies      
Already bought the Nexdock..

I would really like to see a slot for the phone, like the old Asus Tablet where you could insert a telephone in the back.

type0 2 days ago 1 reply      
Does my phone needs to have MHL (Mobile High-Definition Link) to be able to connect it? or how does it work via USB?
bergie 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm curious about how the Superbook is charged. It seems you're shipping a custom charger, but also somewhere on the Kickstarter it talks about micro-USB. So, would a regular USB charger be able to charge the Superbook, or does it only work with your own charging brick?
nomanisanisland 2 days ago 1 reply      
Wouldn't have been possible to put a slot inside the keyboard dock where you could insert your phone and close it inside?

Not an Ubuntu touch expert, but would it be compatible? Just plugging it in and have what ubuntu want to reach? a complete linux distro on the go?If not, are you able to support it?

qwertyuiop924 2 days ago 1 reply      
Okay: Will you opensource you app?

On a related note, will you have a well-defined API for other apps to have first-class support for this thing?

I think that's everything... ooh! ooh! No it isn't!

You said that the superbook would be suitable for coding. so will you provide any of:

1: A terminal emulator

2: An X Server

3: Emacs

Thank you for your time.

tlundberg 1 day ago 1 reply      
I read that someone mentioned it already, but didn't find a good response, so I'll ask again.

When doing web development the browser dev tools are indispensable. Is there any possibility to run a full desktop browser on an Android phone to get those tools? Or some other way to inspect elements, live edit CSS properties, debug JavaScript etc.

skoczymroczny 1 day ago 0 replies      
I love the idea of the device, but I have doubts about international shipping costs. It's hard for me to imagine buying a product, 50% price of which is shipping costs :/
cableshaft 2 days ago 1 reply      
Are there plans to bring the Superbook to retail later at a similar price point (or even just selling off your website)?

I'm tempted to back this but I'm in the middle of a move and some personal expenses so I'm trying to be good and conserve money right now, so it'd be nice to know that the Kickstarter won't be the only opportunity in the next year or two to get this.

nashashmi 2 days ago 1 reply      
On a more theoretical question:

Is a solution technically possible where the phone is connected to a normal desktop/laptop via USB, and I could extend in to the phone via a semi-full screen portal?

What limitations are there that are preventing this from happening?

ChartsNGraffs 2 days ago 1 reply      
I don't know if this feature is on the roadmap, but touchscreen would be cool (and probably super hard to implement) because of how much of the mobile experience is geared towards that.
Rachine 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hi, with all the experiments you made on android smartphones, have you documented the performance of the smartphone over the time?
supernintendo 2 days ago 1 reply      
I see no mention of audio on your Kickstarter page or amongst these comments. Does the Superbook have audio support or does it use my phone for that?
cordite 2 days ago 1 reply      
How does this compare to the user experience on Remix OS?
davidiach 2 days ago 1 reply      
How do regular apps like Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter etc. look like on the device. Are they stretched out versions of the Phone apps?
ChartsNGraffs 2 days ago 1 reply      
Do I have to run Andromium to use it or can I also use my current setup and have it simply mirror my display with keyboard/mouse?
pekingduck 2 days ago 1 reply      
Works well with Termux (especially with Emacs)?
blackguardx 2 days ago 1 reply      
What marketing did you do prior to launching the Kickstarter? Did you use paid ads to build an email list?
mstrblueskys 2 days ago 1 reply      
Hey - I'm thinking about pulling the trigger - but I have one question - does it work with Continuum?
a_lifters_life 2 days ago 1 reply      
How really does this work? I plug in my android 5+ smartphone, and I can access my apps on it?
56k 2 days ago 1 reply      
Are you going to deliver, unlike most hardware Kickstarter projects?
sgt 2 days ago 0 replies      
Slightly off-topic, but is there something similar that exists for iOS? I have an old iPhone 5 in my car that I'd like to control using a much larger touch screen that is to be mounted on the dashboard somewhere.
mkaziz 2 days ago 1 reply      
How much are you anticipating this will cost after launch?
humanfromearth 2 days ago 1 reply      
Love how the website in the demo is theverge.com. That pretty much convinced me it's good hardware.
Ask HN: At what time to post an Ask for maximum exposure?
12 points by leksak  1 day ago   8 comments top 6
brudgers 1 day ago 0 replies      
My observation is that exposure is more a function of thoughtful content and dumb luck than timing. If there's an interesting question waiting in the wings, my advice would be to just ask it.
_RPM 1 day ago 1 reply      
I don't think it's about when, it's about what you ask. This is based off instinct; I don't have data to back it up. The Ask HN page is small.
tcamp 22 hours ago 1 reply      
My good friend google told me that 12PM UTC on Wednesday is the best time to post.

Its and old article though... https://wiredcraft.com/blog/how-to-post-on-hacker-news/

zhte415 1 day ago 0 replies      
If I were doing this, I'd do it at the best time for me.

After some sleep, my goal is ready, for example testing a product, and when similar-type things get upvoted.

This depends a lot on niche, I think.

For Ask though, I always visit it when also visiting the homepage, as a lot of interesting questions get posted. Perhaps for Show an optimal time is more critical?

ffggvv 1 day ago 0 replies      
Not now it seems.
Mz 21 hours ago 0 replies      
This is very much more about writing a good hook. For example, I asked about small shops, but didn't use the right language it seems. It was ignored: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10314142

In contrast, this got 390 upvotes and made the front page: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12065355

I have gotten articles onto the front page. My experience with that suggests it has little or nothing to do with when you post. It is mostly about posting something good.

Ask HN: How do you find friends after moving to a new city?
22 points by rayalez  2 days ago   11 comments top 9
dmuhs 1 day ago 0 replies      
Since a few months I am living in Panama City (Panam) for work. Of course I met many people at my work place. However, there are some other approaches that helped me a lot:

1. Couchsurfing. Travelers and hosts are everywhere and many of them love to share their experiences. I messaged different people whether they're up for a coffee/ beer and met their friends. It didn't take long until I was part of their social circle and met amazing people.

2. User groups. I've been a Python developer for a long time and in the bigger cities there is almost always a user group - even if it's just students looking for help with their exam preparation.

3. Sports. I don't have to mention how important it is to stay healthy and fit. So I checked out a local boxing club. Enjoying sports (IMO especially contact sports) with others creates some special kind of friendship.

All of these points (plus the obvious social interactions with coworkers) helped me a lot to get set in this city, but also find travel partners and improve my Spanish. All you have to do is bring yourself to go out and talk to as many people as you can. After all, they're all different and you never know what you get.

lumberjack 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Friends as in "professional contact"? Meetup.com has tons of groups dedicated to startups and software development. They have talks and meetups routinely. Very informal and easy to just get to know other professionals in the area.

Friends as in people you hang out with during your down time? That's beyond me. I'm afraid. I only manage to befriend old people.

Jtsummers 1 day ago 0 replies      
1) Work. If you have coworkers around your age, or not, and they invite you to things and you like them well enough, go. You may not become good friends with them, but that'll introduce you to people (and it's built-in, you're already meeting your coworkers).

2) Sports. Rec league. Just sign-up and play. You get to meet random people if you never pick your team and just get assigned. After a season or two you'll know who you want to play with. Organized play can be better than pick-up games (depending on where you are) because you'll see the same people regularly and have a chance to actually get to know them. Invite them, or accept their invitations, for food or drinks after the game.

3) Church. Unless you're vehemently atheist or have some other fundamental issue with the churches available in your area. Stick around after service, enjoy coffee and donuts, they usually have social and outreach organizations. You don't have to be religious, though you may get pestered about why you don't go to the Bible study, easy to deflect (IME).

4) Bars. Someone else said this. One thing to avoid, if you're feeling particularly lonely/depressed, don't do this. But otherwise, if you can find a nice small bar (not a sports bar, they tend to be too noisy), and sit at the bar. Get to know the bartender, talk to them, there will be other regulars. It's kind of fun too, you may not make as many friends, but I met a guy that was visiting here studying Native American tribes (archeology) from Oxford. Cool random conversations you can have sometimes.

5) Invite people to things. One thing to realize about life, at some point you have to take charge or things won't happen. If you find yourself not being invited to movies, sports, trivia, parties, potlucks, whatever, do the inviting. Get a small group, encourage them to invite their friends. Keep doing this. You can control who you invite so after a while you can focus on the ones that you're actually becoming friends with.

beyondcompute 2 days ago 1 reply      
That's a good question. I'd love to hear about it as well. But so far the popular answer is "hobby groups" (dance classes, photo walks organized via discussions on flickr, etc.).

What sort of worked for me the most so far, are various "international" meet-ups/communities, like Couchsurfing (they now have this feature called "Hangouts" where you could hang out with locals and travelers in real life) but those of course are a bit farther from "locals" and more into expat/traveller scenes.

Also, I believe, going to bars works as well. But you need some calm, cozy and compact places (not the crazy/party ones). Craft beer places work good in my experience also some "artsy" venues.

masudhossain 1 day ago 0 replies      
For dating, I recommend Tinder. You can explicitly say you're new to the area and just wanna make friends (they might think you're lying).

You can also go to meetup.com and find stuff you're interested in.

Bars are fun, I guess, but usually people go with groups so meehhhhh.

vincentbarr 1 day ago 0 replies      
1. Volunteer

2. Participate in recreational activities suited for small groups, such as dance, rafting, backpacking

3. Join a local hackerspace

4. Practice the art of disinhibition

macoughl 1 day ago 0 replies      
I moved to San Francisco without knowing a soul. I started going to a Steelers bar every Sunday during football season and it's where I met my first new group of friends. It was a lot easier when everyone around me was talking about the team/game.
stand-in 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Check out getastandin.com (or look up Stand-in on FB)You'll be able to connect with someone via the app to hangout with vs showing up somewhere and hoping to randomly meet your new bff. ^.^
curiousgal 2 days ago 0 replies      
Bars, meetups, maybe the city's subreddit...
Ask HN: What book impacted your life the most and how?
109 points by curiousgal  3 days ago   66 comments top 40
bmer 3 days ago 6 replies      
A series of essays and books impacted my life the most. It all started on a sunny day, when I was a structural engineering intern full of hope and a beautiful girlfriend, waiting for my code to run(blah blah iteratively determine deflections of structures with non-linear stress-strain responses blah blah), when I read: https://www.cs.utexas.edu/~EWD/transcriptions/EWD10xx/EWD103...

I quit my job the next day.

This was the beginning of the end. Like with all drugs, there is a slippery slope. You start with marijuana, and you move onto heroin. In my case, I graduated to:

"Formal Methods of Software Design": http://www.cs.toronto.edu/~hehner/FMSD/

After that I read: https://www.amazon.com/Predicate-Calculus-Program-Semantics-...

Now in general I am quite depressed:

* I am very judgemental and look down upon most HN posts, especially the ones that praise Alan Kay, natural language programming, or view programming as a "craft" rather than a "science"; my favourite HN feature is the "hide" button

* I am disappointed with my math education, and tired of all the rabbits being pulled out of hats in my textbooks

* I wish I had enough will power and discipline to write a programming language that is nothing more than predicate calculus, but I don't

I foresee that as a result of these readings, I will die alone, sad, and depressed...oh AND penniless.

I wish I was joking.

That's a pretty huge impact.

supersan 3 days ago 0 replies      
For me it would have to be the Michael gerber's Emyth books. It will forever change how you think about business and maybe the world around you.

Followed by sam carpenter's work the system. I think if you're a programmer trying to make it as a business person those two books are the most invaluable.

Edit: about the how part.. Before reading and understanding these books I was always in a kind of firefighting mode. It was like a constant pain in the neck that something was somewhere needed me. Sure i was making money but I was not enjoying it and felt stressed all the time. Plus I wasn't scaling my business because of the constant need of attention from everything. Then I learned the systems thinking and it all started to change.. It was like I felt I had wasted 10 years of my life being stupid before. I'm telling you these two books can forever change your life both professionally and personally if you aren't already doing it.

WalterBright 3 days ago 3 replies      
"How To Win Friends And Influence People" helped me a lot with social skills that are obvious to most people but not to me. It's still something I work on regularly, it doesn't come naturally.
p333347 1 day ago 0 replies      
Sedgewick's Algorithms in C++.

I am a non CS guy who learnt C++ programming in order to do simulation for my final year project in mechanical engineering. I ended up creating a wonderful GUI (MFC) simulation complete with the diagram of the engine etc. For the next 5 years or so as a freelancer developer assisting professors and the like, I created pretty hot shot applications with nifty graphics, UI etc. I began to see myself as a master programmer and thought how easy it is for CS guys compared to Mech guys. Then I picked up this book. I had never known any of what it talked about. The very first example of union find was a revelation. My ego was completely thrashed. I was thoroughly humbled.

As for non technical, it would be The Count of Monte Cristo. I first read an abridged version of it as part of high school curriculum. As a young teen, I was instantly enamored by revenge and adventure. I still long to own a yacht and sail the oceans, if not get imprisoned, or find a treasure, or kill people. I am reading it again at bedtime and Dantes just got locked up at Chateau d'if.

umbs 3 days ago 0 replies      
"Autobiography of a Yogi" [1] - If you grew up with people doing Yoga and Meditation, or at least were exposed to these topics for some time, this book is a great window in that world. It is from a person who brought Meditation and concept of Self-Reliazation to the West [2].

At the risk of being ridiculed, I'll venture to say this: There's a big part of us that we don't fully know. All of us are trying to different things to find happiness. Above book proposes that Meditation has answers to most of the questions and talks about various Yogi's. This triggered a deep desire for me to know more. I learnt Meditation from a different organization and am very happy at where I am. This book started that journey.

Warning: There will be a bit of mysticism in all this. Take what your gut says and leave the rest.

[1] https://www.ananda.org/autobiography/[2] https://www.yogananda-srf.org/

walrus01 3 days ago 1 reply      
Not a book, but this essay:


Convinced me that I absolutely wanted to do backbone ISP network engineering on a grand scale. It's taken a while to get to the level of knowledge where one is trusted and confident working on circuits that can take whole countries off the internet if you fuck up, but very much worth it.

jotux 3 days ago 1 reply      
Meditations is a book I come back to over and over: http://classics.mit.edu/Antoninus/meditations.mb.txt
markpapadakis 3 days ago 0 replies      
This may be because I have always admired John Carmack, and because I love video games - although I am drawn to all kind of different book genres, but "Masters of Doom" had a profound effect on me.

I read it every few months, and I have gifted it to family and friends, and most of them loved it as well.

Its not the writing, nor the story per se that stand out, its not just about how it beautiful highlights and highs and the lows of the Johnss symbiotic relationship and their accomplishments, its not even about how their skills, strengths and weaknesses play into their success and failures (which I am sure is typical of most co-founders stories).

Its about empowering the reader to believe that everythings possible, and how smart, hard-working people can build technologies that affect the lives of many.

This book works wonders for when I am going through burn-outs, or I am not motivated enough to pursue a problem or a project. When I am done reading the book, I am excited and eager to get back into the game. I cant recommend it enough.

orasis 3 days ago 0 replies      
Mindfulness in Plain English changed my life. You can read the PDF free here: http://www.wisdompubs.org/sites/default/files/preview/Mindfu...
Mz 3 days ago 0 replies      
If I have to pick just one, it would be "How to survive without a salary" by Charles Long. In short, it helped me escape the American Rat Race. Most of my life, I was middle class, but I side stepped the typical thing of running faster to stay in place. The poverty I have suffered in recent years would have been worse without the mental models it provides me.
theaustinseven 3 days ago 1 reply      
For programming, "Game Coding Complete" by Mike McShaffry and David Graham. The book gave a very nice intro to a number of design considerations and given that McShaffry did a decent amount of game programming in the early days of programming, there are discussions of how they dealt with incredible design constraints. The book served as a good introduction to thinking about performance and size of the software that I build today. The book introduced me to concepts like how hardware could introduce unexpected performance changes. I honestly don't do much game programming at all, but it was a very nice introduction to some otherwise difficult topics. I think that even some experienced developers could get something out of that book.
mud_dauber 3 days ago 1 reply      
Not one book - but a series. The Encyclopedia Brittanica. (That's right, the old-school hard bound set of books taking up an entire shelf.)

My 3rd grade class had a set, and I devoured each one. They turned me into a nerd thanks to a teacher who told me to never stop reading.

Brainix 3 days ago 1 reply      
The Essential Calvin and Hobbes. That book taught me to be a decent person.
alex_ixd 3 days ago 1 reply      
"The Illuminatus! Triology" by Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea

I did my first reading in high school and it was absolutely brilliant. I never expected so many twists and turns where characters melt into one another and plots jump from world domination conspiracy theories to self discovery and awakening.

Decades later, I am now looking more into Robert Anton Wilson's other work (in particular Maybe Logic) and am seeing some very interesting applications, especially in software quality and artificial intelligence.

bjourne 3 days ago 1 reply      
The Bible. Probably has impacted the society I live in more than any other book and society in turn has impacted me. It's well-worth reading for a lot of reasons.
323454 3 days ago 0 replies      
Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance. As a scientist, it helped me to realise that the quest for truth is only a tool: I have to choose my own goal.

Edit: I also want to mention "Language in Action" by S.I. Hayakawa. I read it too recently to say that it has had the most impact on my life of any book, but it opened my eyes to orders of magnitude more cases of imprecision in our language than I had ever noticed before.

dandare 3 days ago 0 replies      
On a personal level the Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins because it explained that "evil" is not evil but "mathematically" inevitable, thus allowing me to find (relative) peace of mind.

On a professional level The Mobile MBA by Jo Owen, because it explained to me - the programmer - valuable management skills in no bullshit way (I can not stress this enough), thus allowed me to grow in my career.

user7878 3 days ago 0 replies      
"Shreemad Bhagvad Geeta" -A book that believed to be narrated by God Krishna on lessons of life living in spiritual way.Though it is considered as most religious book in Hinduism, yet proved good for motivation and being a confident in life


stryan 3 days ago 0 replies      
"Nicomachean Ethics" by Aristotle.It's easy sometimes to get caught up in the idea of doing things for technology sake or because it would be cool to implement or to make a lot of money. Reading this book really made me start to think about why I'm taking certain actions and the type of person I want to be. While you may not necessarily agree with Aristotle's conclusions on ethics or even some of the premises he starts from (his justification for slavery is notoriously...bad) the Ethics is great example about how to rationally determine the "most ethical" action to take in a situation or at the very least will introduce you to such types of reasoning.
mdikici 3 days ago 1 reply      
"Gdel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid" by Douglas R. Hofstadter
Mendenhall 3 days ago 0 replies      
Reading "Art of worldly wisdom" as a kid. Still read it often. I find it incredibly useful in interactions with people in almost every facet and I strongly suggest reading it.
nanospeck 1 day ago 0 replies      
"7 Habits of Highly Effective People" [1] - I listened to the audio book and it was really an eye-opener. It changed my perspective on people and personality a lot. Highly recommended. Same with the book "How To Win Friends And Influence People" [2]. It's written decades ago and still holds the principles true. Another gem I found recently was : "How to Stop Worrying and Start Living" by the same author of [2]. It's really good if you are stressed with your lifestyle. Really gives practical advice.
mangamadaiyan 3 days ago 0 replies      
The Demon Haunted World, by Carl Sagan.

It showed me that the questions I'd always had were real, and finally let me break free :)

Jasamba 3 days ago 1 reply      
Flowers for Algernon, by Daniel Keyes. This is easily the most moved I have been by a book that was equal parts a theory of intelligence and equal parts a realization of how important of an ingredient intelligence is to enable one to be aware of the fact of being 'alive', to have been given a variable amount of intelligence to process this fact for the next 80 years or so and that this variability in intelligence influences how that turns out.
lolive 2 days ago 0 replies      
Different books for different ages:

- Discourse on the Method [1], to become a healthy criticist of everything (perfect for your 15's-20's development)

- Beyond Good and Evil [2], a definition of the 20th century craziness by the crazy genius Nietzsche (perfect for your 30's burnout)

- The Praise of Folly [3], to realize that life is just a game (perfect for your 40's post-burnout rehab)

- Propaganda [4], because you want to play the game too (perfect for your 50's meteoric rise to fame & success :).

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

[2]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beyond_Good_and_Evil

[3]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Praise_of_Folly

[4]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propaganda_(book)

galazzah 3 days ago 0 replies      
I read "The five people you meet in heaven" by Mitch Albom. Sure it might be fictional and meant for a younger audience, but this book really changed the way I think. Really makes you realize that every little interaction you have with someone affects that person for the rest of their lives in one way or another; and vice versa.
XVII 3 days ago 0 replies      
Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder. Gave me my first glimpses of philosophy at a young age and allowed me to get some perspective on my place in life.
alok-g 2 days ago 0 replies      
Minds, Brains and Machines by Geoffrey Brown [1] for introducing me to the complexities of the mind-body problem. It did not show the answers of course, but helped me think right about it.

Siddhartha by Herman Hesse [2] for contributing to helping me come out of excessive questioning of everything (philosophy) to science that helps towards actually answering the questions answerable.

Feynman Lectures in Physics [3] and Surely You're Joking Mr. Feynman [4], with no need to explain "how". :-)

The Ghost in the Atom [5] for explaining varied views on the nature of science, especially Quantum Mechanics, and what goes in the minds of the top-notch scientists working on these problems.

Parsing Techniques by Dick Grune [6] for teaching me the fundamentals of computer science and helping me proceed with my deep interest in Artificial Intelligence.

[1] https://www.amazon.com/Minds-Brains-Machines-Mind-Matters/dp...

[2] https://www.amazon.com/Siddhartha-Hermann-Hesse/dp/161382378...

[3] http://www.feynmanlectures.caltech.edu/

[4] https://www.amazon.com/Surely-Feynman-Adventures-Curious-Cha...

[5] https://www.amazon.com/Ghost-Atom-Discussion-Mysteries-Quant...

[6] https://www.amazon.com/Parsing-Techniques-Practical-Monograp...

copist 2 days ago 0 replies      
"The Beginner's Computer Handbook - Understanding & Programming The Micro" by Judy Tatchell and Bill Bennett


I crafted my first computer from cardboard :) and learned to type and code using hand drawn keyboard :)

binalpatel 3 days ago 0 replies      
The Rational Optimist.

It helped me realize (along with other things), that no, the world isn't getting worse. Things are much better than they've ever been for most people, and they're only getting better, faster.

dannels 3 days ago 0 replies      
Abundance by Peter Diamandis totally changed the way I look at businesses and future technology and helped me clearly see the difference between exponential growth and linear growth changing the world.
strimp099 3 days ago 0 replies      
Night by Elie Wiesel. It showed me how resilient a human being can be.
hoodoof 3 days ago 0 replies      
Sur/petition: Creating Value Monopolies When Everyone Else is Merely Competing

Edward DeBono


This is the book that inspired me to start in the world of business.

TrickedOut 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami

because the pace of half the book so closely resembles my life, decisions, alternative histories and the limited time we have in the world. not sure how much more I can say without spoilers.

SeaDude 3 days ago 0 replies      
"Still Life With Woodpecker" by: Tom (fuckin) Robbins!

Defined "Outlaw", a philosophy for dope folk.

rman4040 2 days ago 0 replies      
As the Basic Instruction Before Leaving Earth "The Bible", changes the way I look the world by showing more love and more compassion.
partomniscient 3 days ago 0 replies      
For me perhaps its "Out of Control" by Kevin Kelly : http://kk.org/outofcontrol/
chygryn 3 days ago 1 reply      
The holy Quran number 1

Don't be sad by dr alqarnee

babayega2 3 days ago 1 reply      
Millennium trilogy. I was a math guy, those books convinced me to be a computer dude.
miguelrochefort 1 day ago 0 replies      
"Getting Things Done" by David Allen

I've been obsessed with productivity and mindfulness ever since.

Ask HN: Technology stall
100 points by bidev81  4 days ago   39 comments top 24
virmundi 4 days ago 4 replies      
First to your lack of focus. I had the same issue. I jumped around various languages like Scala and Closure and D. I would jump around background products like Mongo or Arango or PostgreSQL. Probably for the same reason for you: novelty driven by a sense of the industry leaving me behind.

I think this is a false sense driven by HN and the like. Startups playing with new things made me feel that my Java centric knowledge was outdated. They would say, "look at the scale we achieved with clusters of Node and Mongo." When I looked at what they were doing, what they actually produced the sheen faded. A generation spent on ads.

Then I turned my attention to a problem that I have and to another faced by my clients. This gave me clarity. Stay aware of new tools and techniques, but realize they are just tools and techniques. Don't lust after them. Rather look how and if they can be applied to your problems. Look if they are a better fit. See if they can help you achieve your goals in a compressed timeline. Then dig in.

As for teams and deadlines, that is not really a matter of tech. Poor teams occur even in the newest tech. I've seen people totally misunderstand, at best, and squander Hadoop and its tooling. I've seen systems that used proper decoupled design rot into a quagmire of failure due to people not reading about software architecture or the tools in the stack. You have to power through this. In such situations, I've seen first hand that people want leadership even if during the process of asserting that they despise you.

peteforde 4 days ago 0 replies      
I agree with other posters that you should exercise, take a vacation, make sure that you're not burning out. It does sound like you need to shake things up in your life. Can you leave Enterprise world and try a startup? Can you leave Italy? Can you take a job in a different industry for a year?

Here's what I learned when recovering from burnout (it took a year): the reason you do something dramatically impacts whether you're able to enjoy doing it. This is why being a prostitute is not the best job ever. I recommend to all of my artist friends that they find a job that pays the bills so that they can do art on evenings and weekends. This prevents them from coming to resent their art as necessary to live. Why do we let our need to buy things strip away the joy from things we enjoy most?

I do want to say that it's not your lack of focus which is the problem. It's good to be curious and try new things. There are some people that thrive because they spend their lives being the best at one thing, but many of us are valued because we're really good at a lot of different things.

Make sure that you have hobbies that are not technical. I like photography. You'll find that being an interesting person, you'll attract other interesting people (and opportunities) to you.

Finally, always make sure that anything "work" related that you do, including programming, that you do in the context of having a problem to solve or a project to finish. Even if you're the one with the project or problem. The key is that problem solving is how we learn to use tools and the reason we retain knowledge. You know a language or tool not when you have the API memorized (forgotten next week!) but when you have developed your instincts suitably to know how you'd use it to solve a problem.

People don't pay you to know everything, they pay you to be faster/better at figuring out the solution than the others.

Anything worth doing in life is hard. Good luck and have fun.

mpermar 3 days ago 0 replies      
Being specialized in .NET stack you're likely like me in your 30s or 40s. Life in our 20s was simple. Java or .NET or PHP, specialize in one or the other, and there we go, we can build a career on top.

I share many of your feelings. I live in Spain. The markets are common. But honestly, I think it's not a matter about Italy being shitty at anything. The IT world has changed. There is no three platforms any longer. There is no one single deployment paradigm any longer. Things are much more complex now and it's truly impossible to try to take on everything as it was 15 years ago. I found that myself frustrating many times. Thinking, heck, 15 years ago I could study this, this and this and be an expert pretty much on everything software related. Now this is not true any longer and it can be very frustrating for all of us that come from that world.

I think the key here is holidays of course, but also to adapt to the new software world. And learn that not all what appears in HN is shiny and great, not all that is done in the cool places like SV is shiny and great, and not all those frameworks and languages that pop up are shiny and great. Rather than a matter of focus is a matter of taking it easy. Do something that you like and that you enjoy learning and learn to let things pass on. You don't have to be a master of react, golang or angular to be a competent software person, there is more choices than ever. Focus on the models, patterns, problems and solutions. That's where the value is today.

ankurdhama 3 days ago 0 replies      
Yes, I have been in this situation and I guess most programmers who started programming coz it is amazing felt the same at some point. I call this the "infatuation with tools", where we keep learning new languages, frameworks, libraries, OS etc but once you learn it you feel empty and bored coz somehow our subconsciousness develop the idea that tools gives you silver bullet to solve any problem, which of-course is wrong. The way to overcome this is that you need to understand that Computing is a tool that can be used to many problems. The tools are not fun and interesting rather the problems are fun and interesting. Think about real world problem and how computing can solve them or at least play a part in solving them. Get fascinated by problems and not tools. Probably that's why I hate most job postings where they say "hey do u know x,y,z tools?" rather than saying "Hey we want to solve X, are u interested?".

And yes, computing is about data and algorithms and nothing else. Don't fall into the trap of new names of same concepts. Always think about problems in terms of data and algorithms and no other bullshit like objects, patterns that so called software engineering piled up in search for a silver bullet.

vonklaus 4 days ago 0 replies      
Take a vacation; you are burning out.

If you can take a >1 week you can program for fun after 5-7 days and get a sense for what interests you without work interfering. If you can only take a shorter vacation have fun and do something outside of technology and relax.

Consider working on a side project in the weeks following a break and hack on small projects that interest you. If you want to leave the .net space find local companies working on interesting problems.

Ask to get coffee with anyone in your network (or outside) to get information about other parts of the industry/other companies and methodologies.

All in all take a vacation and then spend 2 months hacking on projects and talking to anyone in any part of the industry around your area (or potential prospect cities).

> I am interested in security, c, go ect...

Talking to people actually coding in a language, securing infrastructure, doing X, will be a lot better then learning Go for 2 months and finding out that it didn't help with your core goals.

Take a break. Expand your professional circle and knowledge base. Format a plan based on that info. Execute

noname123 3 days ago 1 reply      
My suggestion is to try to audit a series of courses. This will force you to concentrate on a particular theme; some of the courses are not self-paced and have a deadline to finish problem-sets (which are Juyptor notebooks where you have to actually do the work, and fill-in the code snippet but not to muck around with setting up annoying IDE/dev environment, autograded with unit tests), so will force you to stick to deadlines.

Here are some of courses that you might (read: actually I am) interested.

https://www.edx.org/xseries/data-science-engineering-apache-...(3 courses on Apache Spark using PySpark and introduction to simple machine learning and distributed computing)

https://www.edx.org/xseries/genomics-data-analysis (3 courses on R, next-gen genomics sequencing, annotation and some more cool computation protocols involved with CHIP-Seq and RNA-seq).

https://www.coursera.org/specializations/scala (4 courses + capstone, spearheaded by Martin Odersky; the guy who is the big-wig in the Scala community).

Also, I'd recommend taking the verified tracks for all of them. This will force you to complete them as money is on the line (if possible ask HR/your boss if it's related to your work, for tuition reimbursement benefit).

brianwawok 4 days ago 1 reply      
Non tech advice but do you exercise? A 30 minute run ever day before work makes a day 100% more enjoyable.

Seldom does using a different language fix anything. Programming is programming.

Excercise can fix your life outlook. Better teammates can change things. Nicer boss. But seldom will language or business do that much do your day to day life.

DenisM 4 days ago 1 reply      
Most likely you will not be satisfied working on technology in a non-technology company. Find a job where a company considers technology to be instrumental to what they do, and you might see a much better environment.

If you can't, move to another country.

nercht12 3 days ago 0 replies      
Whenever that new tech excites you, just remember that behind the scenes, everything is that same "old" tech you've always been using, and that your could do "the next big thing". Nothing is really "new" in programming. Most of it is C and C++ behind the scenes. Those fancy new languages? - Some of them take just as long (if not more so) to create the same software you're already making with the "old" stuff (despite the repeated boasting of a puny hello-world), and they have their own new set of pitfalls. If it makes you feel any better, find a fancy icon and stick it in your project folder. Once you do, congrats, you're now more geeky-hip. I mean the action of programming, between you and the computer, not the industry, duh.
hacknat 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've been there. The problem with being a good programmer is that you quickly exhaust the low hanging fruit of interesting things to work on in your career. Remember that time when you knew next to nothing and everything you did was interesting, because it was novel. Those days are over, because you are now pretty good at doing what 95% of organizations need out of Software Engineers.

Don't panic.

Work is going to be a little bit boring for you for a while; learn how to cope with this for a bit. It is going to take longer for you to become an expert at something interesting and important than it took for you to get to where you are now. This may seem counterintuitive as you are quite a bit more aware of what you don't know than you than you were before you typed your first "hello world". That's okay. This is how knowledge works. All those abstractions you've built up in your brain for the the low-level things you didn't need to know at first are massive wells of knowledge that you only see the surface of.

So How do you get good at something? I truly believe you can only get good at something that you can sustain working on for a few years. I find, personally, that I can read one theory book or set of papers between bouts of working on something. That seems to be a good mix for me.

This isn't a race, this takes time. Once you start down the path of becoming an expert at something you'll realize it is the work of an entire lifetime. Enjoy the ride.

bkanber 4 days ago 1 reply      
There's no good answer. You have to learn how to focus. You can't wait for focus or motivation to come to you, you have to make it happen. Why do new languages interest you? Probably you're just looking for something different, to escape some depression you're feeling. Instead you should focus your attention on solving problems, and then picking the right language for those problems. You may also want to talk to a therapist about depression, it really does help a ton.

I don't know much about tech in Italy but I have heard the same complaints -- culturally, Italy doesn't have high standards for quality in technology. If you struggle with that, then there are two solutions: work for a US or Israeli company, remotely if you can, or start your own business.

If you want to start your own business, I'd recommend starting a solo software consulting practice first, that way you know you can make some money on the side while building your business.

terminado 3 days ago 0 replies      

 in my country (Italy) there is no importance (or almost) to quality of projects (especially Technically), you have to face with ridiculous deadlines, poor team mate (in order of thech knowledge) and tremendous customers.
Quality versus deadlines, jousting with shitty team members, or suffering the burden of demanding and insipid customers. All of this is normal. These are human factors, and they exist within a spectrum (or gradient). Some areas can be worse than others, but none are ever quite good.

Moving into a different field (one which is more specialized than generalized-enterprise-business development-in-yet-another-problem-domain) won't fix any of those things.

 i constantly feel interested in IT Security, then low level programming (C/C++) than again "new" languages like GOLang, RUST etc.. i can't focus on nothing, i think it's due to my work frustrations
Having tangential interests (security, low-level computing, new languages) is also normal, and a symptom of possessing a naturally curious creativity.

So, the question: Is an inability to deliver on hobbies, and convert them into productive professional skills, driven by miserable distractions? Nah. Whether you make something of them, isn't going to be the cure of the things that you find frustrating, BUT the time you spend tending to frustrating tasks will be time that is poorly spent, under any circumstances. Fluffy bean-counting busy work will eat up the precious moments of your life, no matter the career.

So, now you'd like to migrate your skills over to newer hoobyist interests, that you've explored tangentially? Makes sense, but it won't solve the human factors stemming from social circumstance. Nor will it prevent unfulfilling, soul-crushing toil from creeping into your newfound career path.

It WILL, however, temporarily cure your wanderlust, and relieve that dreaded sensation of stagnation.

I dunno, try this, for starters:


 LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman looked back over his career and cited his biggest career mistake as not leaving Microsoft for Netscape. At the time, Netscape was where all the innovation was happening. It was spouting out entrepreneurs. The right question wasnt how can I learn to be a product manager? It was, how can I get in the building at Netscape?

imaginenore 3 days ago 0 replies      
My brother in law worked in IT in Italy. He ended up quitting and working for a US company. Makes a lot more money.

Italy is so far behind when it comes to the internet adoption, it's not funny. It's also a rather poor country, especially among the young generation, many young people live with their parents till 35-40. So you're much better off making (or working on) a project that faces some of the more developed countries (US, Australia, UK, Germany).

sixFingers 3 days ago 1 reply      
Hey, I can't express how much I can relate. Some facts:

- I'm Italian

- I'm in my 30s

- I have ~8 years of professional experience, mainly in big agencies

- I have fully experienced the pains of your country, consider also I have been independent contractor for some years (you know, clients not paying you?)

I moved to France following my girlfriend, and I'm sitting here waiting for a response to some job positions I applied for. Also I'm running out of money. I am also really thirsty when it comes to technical challenge. So well I'm the last who can give you advice, but here are some things that worked for me:

- Stop looking at Italy for jobs, instead look at Europe. I had an experience working for a company in San Francisco (ok, that's USA) and it was ages beyond the typical Italian experience. I'm pretty sure that Berlin, Amsterdam, Barcelona can offer great positions _and_ professional cultures. I'm actually checking europeremotely.com basically daily, but also StackOverflow jobs is pretty cool for that. I hope not being wrong about this.

- Don't stop feeding your passion. If you love coding, keep doing it. Personally, I took everything which was outside my consolidated professional competence, and put it in a box called "game development". That's my secret corner where I experiment everything I love. Like well "modeling a mafia economic system through agent based simulation". There, I practice stuff I'll probably never use professionally: C#, LUA, C++, Golang, OpenGL.

- When you evaluate new technologies which may become part of your daily work, don't stop at the tool, but look at the context around it. RUST is good for system development. Would you like a job in that area? I'm basically a PHP developer, but man how much I would like to escape from it. I'm currently learning Elixir, as it looks like the Ruby of the next decade. I bet there will be a lot around it in web area.

- I force myself to switch off the mac after 8 pm. Before, I could sit there all the day and a good part of the night. Doing something else, especially if it involves physical activity, often helps me seeing more clearly myself, my real interests, and above all works as an antidepressant.

After all of this, I'll fail and be forced to return to Italy anyway. In that case, I'll give up coding and learn doing pizzas.

benologist 3 days ago 0 replies      
For me it helps to try and recognize that a constant state of procrastination, and distraction, are just like a constant state of learning when it comes to finishing the task at hand.

The right tool for launching might be the one that requires the fewest trips to StackOverflow via Google, or maybe that idea is not an important optimization to your workflow.

viraptor 3 days ago 0 replies      
While other comments are great, I don't think the things you listed as new interests are really that diverse. As a security person I don't use C that often, but it's really useful to know well and gives you the knowledge of memory management that other languages will not. But if possible, I'd write any new user facing service in rust/go due to the safety they provide.

If those technologies excite you, great! Maybe you'd rather do security / be a generalist. Just make sure that's the path you choose rather than just looking for escape from boring enterprise software. If it's that, then see other answers and take a break.

zubat 3 days ago 0 replies      
Find something that seems challenging and maybe a little scary. Maybe that means getting away from development somehow and picking up a complementary skill. You've already seen a lot of aspects of development, but in the larger picture any development job is just one segment of how a business operates. As long as you feel like you're really changing and not just staying in your comfort zone you'll feel alive.

Edit: And try making it more than just a cursory whim. Write up a whole document of what you do and how you plan to do it, as if someone else had to approve it. That really tests your resolve up front.

partycoder 3 days ago 0 replies      
Well, enterprise environments are in many cases are not early adopters. They may need to comply with different standards, policies or guidelines that make technology adoption slower.

There might be a division in your company dealing with newer technologies. You can try to switch there, or try to join a startup that is more akin to your technology preferences.

Regardless of what you prefer, I strongly suggest that you join a meetup (see meetup.com) that is related to your interests. You will be learning new things and connecting with people that share your interests. If you lack the time, hang out in IRC channels and join interesting conversations.

ilaksh 3 days ago 0 replies      
Work frustrations: find a better job, if you can. Not every software job in Italy has the problems you mention. Of course, its easy to say that, hard to find a really good job. I think honestly most people are frustrated one way or another with their job. Some are better than others though. A steady job though, in a way, is a good job, even if its a bad job.

Focus: its healthy to try lots of different things, there are lots of interesting areas. Maybe if you can get a better job, they will be using a particular new technology, and then that will motivate you to focus more on that.

drewm1980 3 days ago 0 replies      
An italian expat colleague studying in Belgium explained to me that Italy is so beautiful that it has to have severe societal problems just to maintain homeostasis; otherwise everyone else would move there. If it's any consolation, there are people in colder, rainy countries, with worse food, and with cultures where next door neighbors don't even know each other's names, looking at Italy and wondering if they should accept some boring job there for the other benefits.
asimuvPR 4 days ago 0 replies      
What do you want to do?

What is stopping you from doing it?

What can you do to remove the obstacles?

Can you work around the obstacles?

Note: Whenever I find myself in such situation these questions help figure out the next step. I posted them with hopes to help the OP.

bobosha 3 days ago 0 replies      
I would suggest trying to contribute to various open-source projects e.g. in machine learning ("deep learning" is all the buzz). You could pick up a tool like Keras and see if that piques your interest. Similarly, you could try other areas such as security and see if you can contribute to some of the OSS such as Snort or OSSEC.

Personally I find trying to work on an OSS project the best way to "try-before-you-buy".

wlievens 3 days ago 1 reply      
A very vague comment but here goes: IIRC Italy is a pretty significant partner in ESA projects, maybe there are some interesting challenges in that space?
didibus 3 days ago 0 replies      
You sound unhappy, and if so, it won't disappear without concrete change. Change your job, change your department, change your neighborhood, change your girlfriend, change your friends, change your morning routine, you have to change something or nothing will change. I hope this is self-evident.

Since this is mostly work related, I'd say change your job. You want to find a place where you can work with psychological safety. Psychological safety is the condition where you feel safe to take risks, and be vulnerable to people you interact with. It's proven (https://rework.withgoogle.com/blog/five-keys-to-a-successful...) to be the most important factor in success and employee satisfaction. You cannot achieve this by yourself, it is dependent on the work culture of your workplace, and unless you have enough authority to change the work culture, you'll have to keep switching job until you find a place that has the culture you need to have psychological safety.

Trust me, at first glance, two jobs might appear similar, but work culture is a very subtle arrangement of tiny details that add up to be the most influential factor, and so, it's really hard to know without just trying the work for a few months. But also, each and every workplace will have a vastly different culture. So try other jobs, it's worth it.

Now about your lack of focus, that's normal. Try to work at two levels of attention. Off course, you want to have some fun, learn some new things, be curious. This is your intrinsic motivation, and do not kill it off by trying to tell yourself you need to focus and bore yourself to death to become more "professional". Don't try to have rewards take over it either, value a lesser paid job if it allows you more creativity and freedom for you to learn and try new things. This is the first level of attention, you enjoy the details, the tech for tech's sake. Now also try to think more about the second level of attention, imagine all the code you write is assembly language, and even though such details are interesting, it is mostly the case because it is also easy for you to work at that level. So spend some time learning about the higher level. What happens if I consider all algorithms to exist as tools for me to use, what problems can I become interested in solving at that layer. This is when you realize it takes you closer to business problems. How do you optimize the business needs, with the tools you have. How do you arrange multiple systems together to scale, etc. Unfortunately, most people's CS degree didn't go there, and so going to that level is hard, and most people find hard things less interesting. If you put some more thoughts into hard things though, they start to become easy, and suddenly, interesting again.

How do you go about getting contracts for remote work?
19 points by sova  2 days ago   11 comments top 6
jasonkester 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's not really any different than getting on-site contracts, in my experience. You find somebody with hiring authority at the place you want to work, and talk to them.

Sometimes, companies who don't advertise remote positions are willing to try it. Sometimes, companies who prefer full time salaried employees are willing to bring you on as a contractor. Sometimes they may even be willing to consider a short 3-6 month gig to build out a prototype or project that they'd been meaning to get to but never had a full-time dev to throw at.

The only way to find out is to ask. Good developers are hard to find, and good companies know to grab ahold with both hands when they find one. If that developer just happens to want to do his thing remotely, in short bursts, or even from the beach in Costa Rica, that might not be as much of a stumbling block as you think.

wayn3 1 day ago 1 reply      
Well, if you want to do freelance you're essentially a business that sells a high ticket item, which means:

You're going to have to do sales of some kind. Outbound is faster.

Proactively talk to people who need professional services, talk to them, understand their needs, explain their business to them and then tell them that you can do it, for X. X is a lump sum or a number of hours billed at Y, doesn't matter. Sell your business and be on point.

Do not be the guy who does "oh this takes X hours" and then it takes 3x as many hours.

Be professional. And don't mind anyone else. Don't compete on price. Compete on quality.

If you can't do the outbound sales thing, apply to Toptal and Gigster. On toptal, its the same thing. People say you can't earn a decent rate, which is not true. I showed up there, with my very lofty rate, and made it happen in a week. Exactly the contract that I wanted. I'm working part-time on a full-time salary that dwarfs anything I could make anywhere in the world outside of the Valley while living the good life.

Just be quality. It's 2016. If you're good and you can make this your profession, you'll live pretty well.

And pay the naysayers no mind. There is no race to the bottom. Indians who charge $15/hour are just fundamentally bad. The really good indians won't work for that rate either. They know what they're worth. Compete on quality.

It is fundamentally impossible for there to be a race to the bottom, since there is too much demand. If anything, we are experiencing a race to the top and its only begun. Increase your hourly by 50% per semester at least until you hit $250/hour.

bigmanwalter 1 day ago 0 replies      
I found mine through networking. Making it known amongst friends and family that I'm a programming "freelancer" or "consultant".

It started out small. With only a handful of small jobs, but if you make your clients happy, more work will come.

The more established you become, the more access you will have to higher paying clients.

microman 2 days ago 0 replies      
If you work with a particular technology than start a blog and start getting your name out there on things like Stackoverflow and Github. Once you start engaging in the community you will be surprised how many inquiries you will get. Once you have a couple of jobs, try use those relationships to get more jobs. Referrals and word of mouth are invaluable.
sporkwitch 2 days ago 2 replies      
It's really hit-and-miss in my experience. One source is upwork (what used to be "elance"), a kind of networking tool for employers and freelancers to find each other. They take a pretty big cut (20%), but there's the potential to make a fair bit of money on short-term and / or remote projects. It doesn't just cover tech either.

I'm fairly new to using it myself, and while I've not gotten any work through it so far, I have gotten a couple phone interviews, so it's not nothing.


BillSaysThis 1 day ago 0 replies      
We Work Remotely: https://weworkremotely.com
Ask HN: How do I write a resume after five years of a startup?
245 points by boxcardavin  8 days ago   126 comments top 36
otoburb 7 days ago 2 replies      
Do not fixate on job title progression alone; your co-founder titles are impressive enough. Outline your area(s) of responsibility on each project, especially if you all rotated roles once in a while.

Focus on growth of both top and bottom lines, and highlight margin improvements over the 4 years and 4 projects. Try to quantify your accomplishments in dollar figures since they stand out more. Statements such as "Grew revenues 50% YoY from $0 to $X million over 36 months" will quickly catch anybody's attention.

Throw in some specific, targeted technical phrases that are keyword friendly and you'll easily be an outstanding candidate.

Be prepared to explain why you'd want to join the target company and not stay at your current company.

TLDR: Hiring managers hone in on results, not only titles. Quantify your business impacts and list your technical accomplishments.

EDIT: Regarding my comment about quantifying your margin impact, for those that don't know, "margin" and "markup" are not equivalent[1]. Thankfully it's really easy for technically inclined folks to grasp this insanely useful financial concept.

[1] http://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/102714/whats-differe...

AustinBGibbons 7 days ago 0 replies      
Hey! I'm an engineer involved in recruiting at Periscope Data. We see resumes/LI from people who've been doing startup things all the time. It's definitely not an issue, usually the opposite - I love talking to people with less structured backgrounds, they usually have interesting stories to tell. We recently hired someone who had been "technical co-founder" of a successful startup for the past six years. He wanted to join a larger team, and we were totally comfortable with him having been in a more jack-of-all trades scenario because he is very obviously brilliant.

Shamelessly, don't hesitate to reach out if you might be interested - we're hiring in all areas, and I would especially love to chat if you or your co-founders are looking for engineering, PM, or marketing roles :)

lloyd-christmas 7 days ago 12 replies      
> So, how does one communicate that they are hirable after running a semi-successful startup for years

The fact that you've held a job for more than just 6 month stints is enough to push you all the way to the front of the line. Most applicants we see just do 6 months here and there. I refuse to hire anyone that hasn't stayed at a company at least 2 years (excluding new grads). 4 years is pretty much a unicorn nowadays.

tapanmittal 7 days ago 0 replies      
I was in the same boat 1 year back. I had very diverse work experience across my 10 yr career, none very deep, none very relevant to my desired target industry (ecommerce)- I had worked majorly in manufacturing and finance. In my 30's, family and toddler to support, bootstrapped hardware startup failed after 2 yrs.

For the resume I focused on the journey's small wins, just bulleted. I had no revenue numbers to share, so just highlighted what was achieved in what time.

It was very hard, but what I figured quickly was that the resume mattered way less than the people i pushed it to.

What worked:

1. Sent linkedIn connects to a crazy number of startup founders (50-100 daily), apart from the usual HR connects. side note : i bought linkedIn premium subscription at about $40 a month to cover my search limits.

2. Whoever connected back (10-15%), I shot them a crisp email telling them I'd like to meet for startup advice and/or opportunities with a one liner.

3. Whoever responded with 'No', I politely asked if they could recommend someone they knew who'd like to connect.

4. Whoever responded with maybe/Yes (5-10% of the connects), immediately tried to set up a time within the next 2/3 days. Could be a call/meeting/skype/anything.

Note: the eMail always

a) had a touch of personalisation.

b) was no more than 3 lines

c) included my product snapshot as an attachment

d) ofc, had resume attached and contacts+linked in profile link included in signature.

Met great people along the way, will surely help in future. And met one of the best founders in my country - he made me join his company Nearbuy (Groupon India). The hunt took me 6 months, partly because I had 2 hard filters a) not going to wear a suit to office..so consulting/finance was out b) no politics..so most corporate jobs were out.

Takeaways: Seek help like crazy. Your passion and hardwork at your startup is your resume, nothing else will matter.

ecesena 7 days ago 0 replies      
I had a similar experience. My suggestions are:

- have a clear, simple story to answer "why are you (single person) leaving the startup". You'll be asked at every interview (and if multiple people apply to the same company, you want a coherent answer). Include that you all are leaving if this is the case -- the risk is that you (single person) are seen as one giving up

- list down 4-5 main achievements. Make sure there are 1-2 which are not co-done, but you can state "this was mostly my own achievement". This is the hardest part, but if you're still working together you can easily agree on how to split

- make sure to clearly tell 1 story, which doesn't need to be the one of the startup, but the one for which you're seeking the new job position -- if I'm looking for a position as data scientist I'll focus on my research experience, if I'm looking for devops I'll focus on security, etc.

- in linkedin specifically, if it applies, link some press or some blog post, or anything I could spend time digging in to get to know you more -- if you feel that the list of jobs is not enough, help me finding more info about you

From the other side of the table, when I look for people to source/interview, I look at the total working experience. Wether it's 4y in a single company or 2+2 it doesn't make any difference. I personally (I see others can disagree, but this is me) see as a yellow flag a 1+1+1+1 experience, simply because I fear you'll leave my company after a sole year.

(If you'd like to chat more feel free to ping me via email.)

sharemywin 7 days ago 0 replies      
You can also break out job titles under the company. So, if you worked on one project as the tech lead and program manager as another. or break out responsibilities under job titles. Hiring managers could respond to this but seems like:

Awesome Great Company I started: 2014 - Present

CEO/HR - I was responsible for ...

CEO/VP Sales - I successfully sold 4 large projects which resulted in ... sales ...

CTO/Tech Lead - I designed, built, tested ... Also, created a complete automated test suite... using NoSQL, Android...

Taylor_OD 7 days ago 1 reply      
I'd be happy to spend ten minutes giving you pointers. I've a tech recruiter in Chicago and I've worked with a number of CTO's from 1871 (local co working space/tech incubator) to transition from their startup to a new role.

But like many have said here if you write on your resume what you have actually been building over the last couple years you should be fine. Being able to clearly talk about your experience is more important.

amorphid 7 days ago 0 replies      
Figure out the intersection of what you want to do, and what you can do, and emphasize that. So, for an experienced technical founder at a successful company, think about...

- this job for which I'm applying, what do they REALLY need, and which 3 to 5 bullet points capture my competence and accomplishment in this area

- how is this company like mine, and how can I communicate the similarities to my experience working w/ others, building a certain type of product, applying domain expertise, etc.

- what story will I tell if/when they ask, "So do why do you want a job when you've been your own boss for so long?" Maybe something like "You know, what I really like to do is make an impact doing X, and that's something I get to do in any position with responsibilities A, B, and C."

And my generic resume writing advice is... try writing your resume without adjectives. It forces you to focus on highlighting what you've really done. Let your awesomeness sell itself. Calling yourself awesome doesn't do much for you.

lintiwen 7 days ago 1 reply      
You don't need that.Anyone with basic understanding of how business works will know that you have far more profound experiences than most corporate ladder climbers.
moondev 7 days ago 0 replies      
I don't think it matters as much as you think. If anything it shows that you are a more stable employee that won't jump ship.

Put all 4 projects on there and try to sell them as technically as possible.

I was at an unknown company (nationally) for 7 years before I left. I had no issues whatsoever getting interviews.

dvcrn 7 days ago 0 replies      
It's weird, my experiences were more the opposite to what most people wrote. I only did my own gig (2-3 people) for a bit more than a year but until now it affects my career to that level that I want to exclude it from my resume, or at least make it look like a normal company.

When people talk to me about what I did they think it's impressive and love the technical challenges I tell them about, but most of the times the rejection happens only because of fear that I will create my startup again after a short time of working at company x. I got this confirmed multiple times after asking about the reason.

I'm living in Asia and it might be a thing here but it is very frustrating.

Silhouette 7 days ago 0 replies      
For what it's worth, I think your experience is a strong point to have on your resume. You have collectively demonstrated an ability to run profitable projects, over an extended period, doing everything that is necessary between you since there was no-one else to hide behind. That is more than many people in our business will achieve in their entire career. As long as you were all contributing substantially and can show that, just to avoid any perception that your team was actually built around one key person or anything along those lines, I expect you'll do just fine.

As an aside, not everyone is on LinkedIn, and those of us who aren't apparently can't see the profile you linked.

Also, full disclosure, it sounds like I'm a bit older than you but my background is somewhat similar, so my views here may be biased. But having sat on the hiring side of the table in various roles, I'd take demonstrated ability to get things done and build successful projects over some random progression of short term jobs with increasingly impressive-sounding job titles any day of the week.

LargeCompanies 7 days ago 0 replies      
If your a developer with a good amount of experience and stuff/projects to show then you have nothing to worry about.

If you didn't pick up any coding or tech skills during running your start-ups you may or may not have issues.

For me my start-ups were like going to school to pick up a new/in-demand skill that I could fall back on if my startup dreams fell flat.

gorbachev 7 days ago 2 replies      
Do you know your shit? If yes, you have nothing to worry about.

If no, work on that.

There're so many unqualified job candidates out there, you can rise above the crowd just by being good at what you do.

jest3r1 7 days ago 2 replies      
I went through this a few years ago.

Ran a semi-successful web / mobile app development company. We were a small team of four, hitting early to mid thirties. From the outside anyone would have thought our company was successful. Good brand recognition in our geographic region, finding clients was easy. They found us.

We paid ourselves decent salaries, paid the bills on our dev infrastructure, we all worked in the trenches, at our own pace, and we all generally loved what we were doing.

However, after about five years we got that itch. In a way we were too comfortable. Our finances looked the same year after year. We purposely weren't growing. Or maybe we just didn't want to take that risk. I guess we peaked early and got comfortable staying there.

At first no one really talked about it. You could feel it though. As we got older. Being so close to the business administration became a chore. Planning summer vacations with a small team became a chore. Riding out December became a chore. Maintaining apps over a five+ year lifecycle became a chore. Dealing with dev infrastructure maintenance became a chore. Wearing too many hats became a chore.

Life outside of work becomes more important as you get older. Family and that sort of thing.

So we decided to shut it down. Lots of emotion, soul searching, panic, joy.

Anyhow ...

I personally had the same feeling you did. Does co-founder look good on a resume? What the hell did I do for the past five years? Will I fit in with corporate culture? How do I transfer my skills to the corporate world?

What I learned is that you've got nothing to worry about.

Working on a small team, and staying profitable, and paying the bills means that you understand the value of money. You wear multiple hats. You're skilled at sticking to a budget and meeting deadlines. You had to "show up" every day. You worked the trenches and enjoyed getting your hands dirty. You worked twice as hard and twice as fast. You stayed the course for four years. You're loyal. You're reliable. You understand the entire lifecycle of building something from start to finish. And you've done it successfully multiple times over. You understand failure too, and know how to bounce back. You have an amazing combination of business savvy and technical smarts that's difficult to find. You're entrepreneurial. You've got vision. You're an ideas person. You've got real-world experience. And a track record of success. Most startups crash and burn early, you didn't, and you're leaving it on your own terms. Knowing when to exit is an extraordinary skill in itself. You understand how it all works. You haven't lost touch.

Don't scare potential employers with big fake C-level job titles. In a company of four you never really had a specific job title anyways. Use that to your advantage.

Custom tailor your resume for different roles. You've got so much to offer your challenge will be figuring out what to "leave out". You've got volumes of specific examples and accomplishments to draw from, which you can talk about for hours.

You're still young. In fact you're in your prime. You'll be a massive positive addition to any team.

Look for a larger (than yours) company that hasn't lost their entrepreneurial spirit. You'll be right at home. Don't settle and don't be surprised if five or six years from now you get the itch to embark on another startup.

It's all good.

bwooceli 7 days ago 0 replies      
Just do a "functional" resume. instead of titles "from 2010-2016", do "Selected Accomplishments" and categorize them.


* Implemented xyz process to reduce pdq by x%


* Developed market strategy for team of y teams to improve market share by z% in 3 months


fecak 7 days ago 0 replies      
I'm someone who has recruited mostly for startups for almost 20 years, and two years ago I launched a resume review and writing service (resumeraiders.com). My focus is on tech resumes, and I've done work for at least a few HN readers.

You don't need to show a ton of progression. You just need to know how to market the skills and experience that you have. If you've been profitable and are getting paid well, and have four substantial projects over four years, you're marketable.

Feel free to inquire if you'd like professional help.

barnacs 7 days ago 1 reply      
Just skip the resume. They're worthless anyways.

If you find a position you like, send an email. Tell them why you're interested, what you could bring to the table. You can mention your history if it's relevant, casually, just like you wrote it up here.

If they don't like it, fck them, their loss, try a different company.

edit: Just to be clear, i'm not suggesting you skip the resume because of your specific history, rather because the whole concept of presenting resumes is utterly inhumane and counter-productive.

nilram 7 days ago 1 reply      
Are you guys all agreeing to disband? I have heard that selling yourselves as a qualified, functional team can bring a higher value than each person solo. I guess acqui-hires are an example of that; maybe some of the recruiter types that have responded here have thoughts about how to initiate that dance.
withdavidli 7 days ago 0 replies      
recruiter/sourcer, 4 years exp.

- don't worry about inflated job title, especially in the bay area.

- resumes are targeted to its audience.

- know what you want to do (engineering, product management, etc).

- reach out to managers at companies that you'd like to work at. ask them what they need (don't go by job postings, too generic most of the time). fill resume with relevant info if you have them.

- communicating that you're a desirable hire is done in the interview stage. resume is a tool to get you the interview if you have zero connection inside that company (don't blow it off though, since it's usually shown to a hiring board for final decisions).

santiagobasulto 7 days ago 2 replies      
Are you behind snap2print.me? Looks super cool. A good idea for sure.
somberi 7 days ago 0 replies      
I have started startups before and now, am in a senior role in a large corporate. My gentle suggestion is that don't sweat it and just reflect what you have built in your resume.

Your work will speak for you, and discerning employers will find you.

More and more large corporates value what you have, and in cases, are willing to pay a premium for startup skills. They are also sophisticated enough to separate the company's failure from your skill.

Really, don't sweat it.

All the best.

hartator 7 days ago 0 replies      
I've noticed given absolute numbers works great also. Like "Built a back end for a video game that was doing ~5M active players"
highCs 7 days ago 1 reply      
I've been there, and this is a real concern. My cofounder and I both didn't succeed to get our experience really recognised and we both got to start again with entry level jobs. However, we've found that we got up in the ladder quickly. My cofounder is almost CTO again now after only 4-5 years.
blhack 7 days ago 0 replies      
I guess I'm really naive.

Isn't 5 years at a startup doing [presumably] technical work pretty much the best thing you could possibly put on a resume?

I guess if you were a bizdev-type, then maybe the negative here is: why was still a startup after 5 years?

5 years at a startup, for a technical person, sounds awesome.

bsbechtel 7 days ago 0 replies      
Tell the hiring manager that companies aren't built to show career progression/build a resume, they're built to fill a customer need. You prefer to spend your time thinking about how to better fulfill your customer's needs than checking off boxes for your resume.
jdoliner 7 days ago 1 reply      
I have a very small company / startup mindset but to me co-founder is really as impressive as titles get. I'd just focus your resume on what you did there. To me that experience counts for a ton since founders have so much less supporting them.
danenania 7 days ago 0 replies      
I built a project-focused rsum builder geared toward exactly this problem. Perhaps it can help out! https://makerslate.io
ashwinaj 7 days ago 0 replies      
It depends on where you are located?I've found recruiters/HR in silicon valley being cognizant about the fact that titles do not really matter if you are in a startup.
gwbas1c 7 days ago 0 replies      
I think this is very desirable. 5 years of solid engineering under the same title / company is desirable when looking for a mature developer.
kriro 7 days ago 0 replies      
"""we have done 4 major projects"""


"""We've been profitable the entire time"""

Just communicate that and you should be fine.

jchrisa 7 days ago 0 replies      
Do some marketing of your brand, if technical team members are excited about you the titles and stuff don't matter as much.
beachstartup 7 days ago 0 replies      
personally i don't think it's that big of a deal. on my resume i just call myself a co-founder of my company, X years. i don't even put a title on my linked in because i don't want people to try to pitch to me.

otherwise, give yourself a different title for different periods of time, and list your co-founders or customers as references.

codecamper 7 days ago 0 replies      
I'd say you make it very short, but be sure to study up on algorithms, algorithms, and more algorithms.
matco11 7 days ago 0 replies      
the definition of impressive resume depends on the purpose you want to achieve. There is not such a thing as THE impressive resume.

If you are looking for a certain job, you don't want a resume with a bunch of empty titles. You need a strong resume addressing the specific requirements of that particular job, in terms of skills and relevant experience.

Large organizations need both people that take care of the "ordinary business" and people that take care of "special projects", that are the doers, that figure things out by themselves: your startup experience automatically qualifies you for all the activities that require this second type of people.

known 7 days ago 0 replies      
Customize your resume to the relevant opening;
Is AWS Aurora a sound reason to start with MariaDB/MySQL?
12 points by malloryerik  2 days ago   6 comments top 4
gregw2016 1 day ago 1 reply      
In my view it depends on what you want.

It's not obvious but in my view, Aurora does not have a great scalability story, it's more of a reliability play currently. It can give you greater throughput due to the internal replication of data, but not faster queries than you can get on your own big server (owned or rented) if you spend the big bucks. When you are getting a big server, it is not particularly cheaper over time, although it does reduce/remove the need for capex and let you spend opex. It is however wonderful if you want to reduce the need for a DBA and/or have really easy to setup and manage replication and resiliency to hardware failures for your database. There aren't great MySQL open source or AWS MPP options out there for scaling-out in my view (MySQL Cluster requires you use NDB tables and MySQL Fabric imposes some significant shard key limitations.)

Postgres-based scale-out options include AWS Redshift (for analytics) or open source Greenplum (for analytics) or, for more regular web/oltp-type traffic the recently open sourced citusdb. The latter two you presumably could run on AWS EC2 instances.

To me the scale-out story for Postgres looks better than MySQL. But if easily-managed reliability is more of a concern, I would probably go Aurora.

KingMob 2 days ago 1 reply      
That's a bit of a premature optimization. By the time you might have heavy loads, Aurora might support Postgres, or you may decide not to use AWS. If you'd prefer Postgres currently, go with that.
the_arun 2 days ago 0 replies      
I guess, you use any database of your choice with a layer of abstraction.
smt88 2 days ago 0 replies      
Use Postgres
Ask HN: Interesting things to do with old smartphones?
27 points by user7878  3 days ago   13 comments top 12
soylentcola 3 days ago 1 reply      
I usually keep my previous phone whenever I get a new one so I have a backup in case I break/lose my main one and it takes a little while to get a replacement.

Other than that, I was going to use an old iPhone or Android phone as a wall-mounted touch panel for my Hue lights or to run media apps to cast to one or more Chromecasts around the house. The original plan was to put the phone in a 3-gang box in the wall with some foam or other material to hold it in place. Then I attempted to use my dremel to rout out an opening in a blank plastic wall plate so the phone was held in place but the screen was accessible.

Unfortunately my dremel skills aren't good enough to the point where I could get one looking good enough that I'd want it on the wall. I guess I should just have one 3d printed but I've slept on it after the initial disappointment.

Additionally, I wouldn't be able to mount the power supply in the wall if I want it to be safe/up to code so I would need to run the wire down behind the wall and have it exit out of a notch in the receptacle wall plate below it near the floor with the wall wart plugged in. Still not very attractive so there are definitely shortcomings with this concept.

In the end, it's just been easier to use our existing phones since they're always close at hand and my ambition comes and goes with projects like this. It's a real shame that there don't seem to be any ready-to-buy, relatively universal wall mounts for charging and using smartphones or tablets this way. I've seen some but they're usually specific to one model of phone or tablet and they tend to be pretty expensive and ugly.

palakz 3 days ago 0 replies      
Install BotBrew and use it as FTP/Web/File Server.

Use it as a Chromecast controller.

Maybe build a cool robo/drone/tool using Arduino and use your phone to control it.

Maybe, as a paperweight too? Even a non-functional phone would work here! :D

nanospeck 2 days ago 0 replies      
You can also use it to build a telepresence robot leveraging the android os. Here is the one my friends and I built for a tech event.http://akhilspassion.blogspot.co.id/2014/10/worlds-cheapest-...Let me know if you want the code / design.
niftich 2 days ago 0 replies      
This 'Show HN' decided to make old smartphones into an inexpensive car/fleet tracking solution:

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12240542

[2] http://gping.io/

harperlee 3 days ago 0 replies      
With something like this: https://www.adafruit.com/product/2264

You can easily connect a lot of things to your mobile and automate them. The phone already has a lot of sensors so I would think more along the line of "which motors can I connect my phone to?". You could build a robot for example...

nanospeck 3 days ago 0 replies      
Use for home improvement. Can hang in the wall to show current weather, motivational quotes, old photos etc in a beautiful UI.
NarcolepticFrog 3 days ago 0 replies      
dedicated google cardboard viewer!
ashitlerferad 3 days ago 0 replies      
Work on adding support to Linux mainline for them, so people can eventually run distros other than Android.
curiousgal 3 days ago 0 replies      
Security cameras.
rajeshmr 2 days ago 0 replies      
use it as a music player device in your car maybe ? Most smartphones work well past their intended usage time. Its better to repurpose it for specific uses like playing music or for maps.
lormayna 3 days ago 0 replies      
You can install an app like Torque and use it with a car dongle for monitor your car
AnimalMuppet 3 days ago 0 replies      
Trap shooting.

(I know, it's probably bad for the environment...)

Ask HN: Can you be tracked by a CDN?
8 points by hnreader24  2 days ago   2 comments top 2
c0nducktr 2 days ago 0 replies      
There's an add-on for Firefox called Decentraleyes that is supposed to help combat this tracking.


pravula 2 days ago 0 replies      
yes. Same IP.
Ask HN: What are the most popular product roadmap tools?
32 points by traviswingo  4 days ago   11 comments top 8
Bookington 4 days ago 1 reply      
Sounds stupid, but if you are talking big milestones and overall vision, Excel works just fine.
tomashertus 4 days ago 0 replies      
Don't know if it is the most popular tool, but I can definitely recommend ProductBoard - https://www.productboard.com/

It is beautiful app with many integrations(Zendesk, Jira, Trelo, Slack, etc) and many features which helps you to conduct research, prioritize what to build next, communicate plans and progress.

Hubert, the CEO of PB, is also very active on Medium where he writes about product management - https://medium.com/@hpalan

voycey 3 days ago 0 replies      
JIRA Agile would cover most things you need, attractive if you are already tied into the Atlassian eco-system.


calciphus 3 days ago 1 reply      
I've used Product Plan consistently for the last several years.


Full disclosure: I helped them get started (supplied some early coding time).

rudimental 4 days ago 1 reply      
Aha is such a tool - some PMs swear by it. It seems ok. It's super expensive.
maddyjk11 3 days ago 0 replies      
If it's not already on your radar, be sure to check out ProductPlan. It's intuitive and very visual: www.productplan.com
olegious 3 days ago 0 replies      
Prodpad is great. Trello is also flexible enough to be used with many different workflows.
hartator 4 days ago 0 replies      
Trello and Asana are pretty good.
Ask HN: How much job hopping is acceptable?
68 points by romanhn  6 days ago   104 comments top 29
jbob2000 6 days ago 9 replies      
I think for software development, it takes about a year to get fully up to speed on a company's development practices and processes. So after a year, most people will ask themselves, "is this the company I want to stay with for a while?" and leave or stay for a few more years.

Under 1 year, I have to think that something out of the ordinary happened and I would be inclined to ask about what happened. Did the company go under? Were there some crazy red flags that forced you to leave? And internally, I'd ask myself, is this person really picky? Do they have some red flag that keeps getting them let go? Etc.

I don't have an upper limit, but definitely a lower limit; 2 years. 1 year to get up to speed, 1 year to give the company a chance. I recognize that all companies have problems and I want to see progress being made on solving those problems. If, after 2 years, we're still talking about the same issues we faced when I started, then I'm going to start looking.

Curious why someone would place an upper limit on time served? If the work is good and the company is good, why leave?

antoniuschan99 6 days ago 1 reply      
I have been contracting for the last two years and have been doing ~3-6 month contracts so my answer might be a little different.

Whatever the stack I get up to speed usually after 1 week and provide value to the company pretty much immediately (it's always scary starting a new project because I feel like I need to prove myself within the first few days since I'm working with a new team).

If it's a normal job, I think 1.5 years should be a good amount since that is apparently the median for how long developers stay at a company nowadays.

I think the mentality that a hiring manager won't hire someone because he's afraid someone will leave after 6 months is old school. People are going to leave, but you need to figure out how to get the most value out of your developers while they are there. Also, if it takes you that long to get someone up to speed it's either that developer is too slow or there's someone wrong with your process.

Ultimately I see the pros of job hopping (early on in your career at least) because you will have worked with so many different people. Your gauge in people's personalities and experience will be a useful asset. Plus you will get to know a lot of people in the industry.

throwaway1979 6 days ago 1 reply      
I don't see a big deal with 1 year tenures. Under 1 (3-4 months seems suspicious). I imagine people leave after 1 year if they took a job that wasn't a nice place but they had some incentives requiring them to stay a year (sign on bonuses are typically vested at 1 year; moving assistance also needs to be paid back if an employee leaves within a year).

So ... if a person leaves at the 1 year mark, it was likely they who chose to leave. Given the stories about bad employers in tech and the fact that there are many good employers too these days, I would say good for the moving employee!

apocalyptic0n3 6 days ago 1 reply      
When I am looking at resumes, I generally hope to see at least some stability. If someone has had 10 jobs in 4 years (which I would say is about 1/4 of all resumes I read), it makes me think there is something wrong with the employee, not the employer.

Another red flag I look for is when someone has freelancing on their resume and they will basically have this:

Freelancing, Inc. 2005-Present

Company A July 2014-September 2015

Company B December 2012-August 2013

Company C January 2011 - March 2012

You get the pattern. While those people generally end up spending more than a year with the company, they always quit and go back to "freelancing". I've spoken with some people about it in the past and it seems semi-common for freelancers to work full time for a company, save up as much as possible, then leave and skate through their savings and the odd freelancing job for a year or two, and repeating. That's generally not what we are looking for

So for someone with more than a few years of experience, I generally like to see at least one job in the last 5 years where they lasted 2 years.

fma 6 days ago 1 reply      
I'd prefer if someone joins my team that they show they will stay on my team. I don't want to spend my time getting them up to speed and have them leave in 6 months. I'd rather have an above average developer for a few years than a rockstar for 6 months...because you'll be wasting my time and everyone else's on my team.

If I have context why you're job hopping then I'll take it into consideration. There are legitimate reasons to leave in a few months. However, if you've never been at a place or project for more than a year, I can safely assume you never had to support an application much in production because by the time you were knowledgeable enough to do so, you left.

ShakataGaNai 6 days ago 1 reply      
Ask first. Please, please, please. If you are a hiring manager ask the candidate about their job history before you dismiss them entirely on their job history.

I had two slighty-more-than-a-year stints in a row and I know some people who it caused concern for. What was the reason? One was a contract with a non-profit that didn't have the budget to continue and the second was a failing startup that was downsizing. Both perfectly logical and understandable. Fortunately my next boss-to-be asked first.

I've also seen people who love small startups, they get in on the ground floor and stay for 18months before they move on. They did an amazing job and I wouldn't hesitate to hire them on even if I knew it was only for 18 months. (oh, then they found an amazing startup and stayed for ~4 years)

At the end of the day there are way too many variables. As a hiring manager myself I've seen and heard it all. So don't make assumptions. Don't guess. Interview them as normal and ask the pertinent questions about their history.

pklausler 6 days ago 1 reply      
If the answer to "why'd you leave that job so soon after starting?" was "The next company called me up and offered me a deal that was so much better that I'd be stupid to not take it," then that's totally fine and is in fact a good sign.
snockerton 6 days ago 0 replies      
Looking at tenure in isolation of any other context is meaningless. I've interviewed candidates with multiple 6-12 month positions on their resume that turned out to be great contributors, and other folks with 5-10 year positions that were horrible.
soulnothing 6 days ago 0 replies      
I've been very curious about this as well. For financial reasons I have needed to do contract over the past 2 years. Primarily doing 6 months stints, some were outlined as a year but that fell through. The problem I've had is that mid way through my contract the project is canceled.

This has become a really big issue as when I look my "stability" is bought to light consistently. My first two roles were 2.5 years, and 1.5 years respectively. Both times I left on good terms. So I can commit, and will if given the oppurtunity too, and room to grow. My contracts have just been largely proof of concepts, that were shelved.

The thing is I'm tired of jumping, worrying how long my contract is going to last. That I need to keep going looking for the next thing, because either the contract will run out or I stagnate. This is also leading to a counter point and negative when I look. I've not been able to ship any projects to production. I feel at this point I'm stuck in a contracting loop, and I'm not sure how to get out.

dbrower 6 days ago 0 replies      
A reasonable career trajectory is something like doubling the time at each place until you hit the 8-10 year mark, modulo uncontrollable events, like a place shutting down.

When you have someone who's been repeatedly changing employers every 12-18 months for a while with no mitigating factors, you begin to wonder about ability to commit.

It may matter less if your are in a field where things are done in sprints, the person is likely to be instantly productive, and there isn't a lot of complexity to absorb.

There are people who have the temperament to be short to mid-term contractors, and who don't like to be and wouldn't be good long-term hires.

ecesena 6 days ago 0 replies      
It depends if the candidate is applying or you're sourcing her. I generally don't skip based on the very last job, because even if it's 3mo there may be a reason that is worth investigating in an info interview.

But in general, I skip if the pattern seems to be hopping every year in the last 2-3 years.

Another thing that I look at is where geographically the candidate was working. If I see no hopping for a while, then moved to Silicon Valley and started hopping every year, then I pass, or at least I yellow flag that in the pipeline.

I don't have any issue with several years in just a company, actually I think it's rare and very positive.

nilkn 6 days ago 0 replies      
I don't mind multiple short tenures in general, but that doesn't mean that they can't be a negative. If you've never stuck at a job longer than a year, then that means you've never had to support your own code and infrastructure at all except perhaps immediately after it was hot off the press. That's pretty critical experience, and if you don't have that experience, I will notice that and take it into consideration when it comes to how much seniority and pay you expect.

Speaking of seniority, it's very hard to hire someone into a senior or leadership position if they've never stuck around at a job long enough to actually develop any seniority. It's impossible to develop management skills if you're quitting your job every 12 months. Even at every 24 months you're really limiting your ability to get some truly solid management experience under your belt.

All that said, having long tenures on your resume obviously doesn't guarantee anything. A week or two ago I interviewed someone with 15 years at the same company and the title of Chief Architect who seriously struggled with a simplified version of FizzBuzz.

The bottom line is that I try to keep an open mind about everyone, and if I have concerns over the lengths of previous jobs I'll always give the candidate the opportunity to explain their viewpoint. Usually I can be convinced and won over.

logfromblammo 6 days ago 0 replies      
It depends on who initiated the breakup, and why. If a person got fired or laid off, that person might not have had any control over it. If the employee resigned, I'd be wary of any duration shorter than 18 months.

It might be that long before seeing your first "annual" pay increase. It is very common for me to see the crap raise that I got for the year and send out resumes to check on competitive offers, to see if I could do better.

It is also long enough to see a company on its worst behavior, and decide that enough is enough. I personally go two years with a merely bad--but not awful--company, to see if I can jump-start any improvements. After that, I send out resumes, and jump ship as soon as it is feasible.

But I'd also see that as an indicator of the quality of companies these days. I have only worked at two companies (out of 8 jobs) where I would have been happy to stay there indefinitely. They both got bought out, and the new owners laid me off without regard to my individual value.

I have always been "at will", so if you're going to question my durance at previous companies, I'm going to question your commitment to all your employees that have no contracts. That door swings both ways. If you're looking too closely at that, I might think you're trying to weed out candidates that are too sensitive to the corporate bullshit that may be driving your existing turnover rate, in which case, I might get spooked and either withdraw or demand a higher offer from the start.

itsdrewmiller 6 days ago 3 replies      
There are two types of red flags that can come out of frequent job changes:

1. Several <1 year tenures - this person gets fired a lot

2. Exclusively 1-2 year tenures - This person is trying to jump around to maximize salary (and isn't able to convince their current employer to match/exceed an offer)

For #1 job history is usually not the only indication that this will be a problem. Depending on how many open positions you have they might make a screen, with the vast majority washing out there. "It was contract work" is usually a flag, and being at startups that went under is a mitigating factor.

#2 is somewhat more risky as a hiring manager - more expensive to interview because they are less likely to flame out early in the process, but then much more likely to not be able to agree on an acceptable offer. Overall these folks are still going to be net positive contributors over their tenure, but there is opportunity cost in missing out on hiring someone who would kick ass over 5+ years at your company. It's hard to definitively pin someone down as this category outside of 4+ jobs never going more than 2 years. If they are coming through a recruiter that's a flag, and if they have moved cities that's somewhat of a mitigating factor.

Seeing someone who stayed at the same company for 4+ years and got one or more promotions there is a big plus on resumes.

There is not a lot of research into any of this stuff AFAIK, so this is basically all just my opinion. What I have seen basically says that people are pretty bad and inconsistent at evaluating resumes:


davio 6 days ago 0 replies      
I'm a hiring manager and I don't really care about short tenures. I think recent grads are doing themselves a disservice if they aren't moving every year or so for the first 5 years.
cauterized 5 days ago 0 replies      
Hiring is exhausting and expensive and eats a ridiculous amount of my team's time, not to mention onboarding and learning curve. It's not worth my while to hire someone who I think has a <50% chance of staying at least two years.

That doesn't mean every bullet on your resume needs to be 2 years long, but if you're at least a handful of years into your career, you should have at least one.

And yeah, if you're working for startups and they keep going under, that sucks. But maybe it suggests that you could stand to learn a bit more about the business end of things and improve your ability to evaluate an employer's prospects.

xutopia 6 days ago 0 replies      
My average is roughly 1 year at every position with the maximum being nearly 2 years.

I prefer working in startups and smaller businesses rather than a bank or government entity. In the startup world I found 1-2 year stints don't seem like a bad thing. In the conservative banking world it could be.

dsfyu404ed 6 days ago 0 replies      
It's goanna depend a lot on exactly what industry niche you specialize in and what you specialize in below that. As long as the details have a semi-obvious non-negative explanation it shouldn't be a problem.

Employees are like expensive, specialized tooling. The more specialized and refined your skill set is then the more acceptable job hopping becomes. If you're the kind of person that's brought in as a subject matter expert to help do something your experience may not be relevant and you may be, expensive, under utilized and dissatisfied when there's no more work for you. To continue the tooling analogy, if a company buys specialized equipment for a contract job it's usually sold afterward. This is why highway plowing and bridge building equipment is all ancient and has had half a million owners. A contract is won, (used) equipment is bought, maintenance (or modification for the specific task is performed), the work is done, someone else wins the contract, the equipment is put up for sale and the cycle continues. It takes resources to keep specialized equipment or specialized employees around and functional (pay/maintenance) and it's not efficient to have it sit around mostly unused (making a senior dev chase bugs). However, if you're switching jobs in less time than a typical project takes you're gonna come under the same scrutiny as the crane that's up for sale while the rest of the fleet is building bridges, "what's wrong with this one?" If you're not sticking around for about as long as it takes to complete on project then it's gonna draw scrutiny.

If you're resume looks like you're job hopping and moving up it's likely going to be looked upon neutrally or favorably (i.e. "nobody can keep this guy because everyone else has more important/lucrative stuff for him to do").

Job hopping is definitely within the range of normal for the vast majority of the industries people on HN work in so unless your resume practically says you can't hold a job then it shouldn't be a problem.

I'm not going to put a number on "job hopping" because it's dependent on industry, specialization, region, training time and probably a bunch of other things" What's short for someone developing control software for radar systems in Boston is likely an eternity for a JavaScript dev specializing in UI in SV.

brador 6 days ago 0 replies      
Stop waiting until you lose a job to find a new one.

Upgrade regularly, as soon as you find a new job that you like more go take it. Building your skills and Networking are key. Network all the time, get to know people who will be hiring, conferences, events, find people who are working on things you want to work on and people you want to work with.

Lifes too short to wait it out.

Upgrade fast and regularly, pay shoots up, location improves.

Gustomaximus 3 days ago 0 replies      
A good rule of thumb is 3 jobs in 10 years. Other factors like contracting/projects etc matter. This could shift to 4 jobs these days as people tend to move about faster.

Upper limits depends on company and movement within the company. 10 years in a company with good reputation isnt a problem. 10 years in a staid government department with no movement wouldn't likely represent a go-getter.

benjohnson 6 days ago 0 replies      
If someone bails on a pressure-cooker job - I view it as a sign on wisdom.
Silhouette 6 days ago 0 replies      
(I'm not a dedicated hiring manager, but have been involved in my share of hiring decisions over the years.)

I don't really believe in hard and fast rules with recruiting. There are usually too many variables for arbitrary limits to be helpful, and I've seen plenty of good hires with unusual resumes. The important questions are:

1. Is the person you're looking at likely to be an overall benefit if you hire them for the position?

2. Is anyone else who is applying likely to bring more overall benefit?

There are three concerns I usually have with a resume full of short-term gigs.

Firstly, someone who has never stuck around long enough to deal with the consequences of their own decisions or who has no real understanding of issues like technical debt is a huge liability above entry-level positions. If someone is applying for a senior developer role and I don't see evidence of knowing how to maintain software long-term from their employment history, there would need to be something else in the resume to make up for that or it's basically an instant no-hire.

Secondly, the equivalent for more junior positions is that someone moving jobs every few months may not be gaining useful basic skills and developing sound professional judgement as effectively as their time served might otherwise suggest. There's an old joke about someone with ten years of experience and someone with the same year of experience ten times. The latter is probably a no-hire.

Finally, there is always some cost and some disruption associated with hiring a new member of staff. Someone whose pattern of previous moves suggests they're just trying to climb a ladder as fast as possible without necessarily contributing much value in each step along the way is a no-hire. Just as important, even someone who looks like they'll probably stick around for a year and generate some real value after a few months ramping up is still going to be a much less attractive candidate than someone who usually sticks around for say two or three years.

cloudjacker 6 days ago 0 replies      
Minimum 1 year

Maximum 2 year

1 year for some equity and to judge if I even want it, 2 year solely so hiring managers don't disqualify me (along with random employees that anecdotally heard what red flags).

And I remove all the 3 month stints off my resume

And I also take off contracts done in chronologically parallel time periods because they confuse people that are silently judging how long I had been anywhere, than any other merit

Easier to get an experienced based salary upgrade at a different company, than at the current company.

Another quirk seems to be that everyone in engineering seems to like seeing gaps. So disappearing my 3 month stints has an added effect that would be counterintuitive to all the unemployed bloggers writing resume tips on ask.com

It is an adaptation. Get money.

acjohnson55 6 days ago 0 replies      
I'm for more concerned with seeing a record of accomplishment and career progression. If someone is only staying at companies for a year, but they're shipping work through the whole product cycle, I don't have a problem there. However, if they're leaving things undone as they bounce from place to place and not showing experience with the pre-launch, launch, maintenance, and re-launch phases of a major project, that's problematic.

On the other hand, if someone stayed at one place for 5 years and doesn't have a lot of progress they can point to, I'd be somewhat concerned about their trajectory in their field.

tedmiston 4 days ago 0 replies      
I know the stat for average employee duration at a startup is about 9 months, excluding founders I believe.

Personally I think I would ask more details of an engineer who stayed with a company 6 months or less but I wouldn't necessarily be suspicious. Anything beyond 12 months, I wouldn't ask at all.

UK-AL 4 days ago 0 replies      
Hiring managers ignoring the fact that best way to increase salary is to move. That's why people move a lot. Nothing to do with skill

It's because your not paying employees the market rate so they leave.

Nothing to do with skill of the employee.

They just want to get away with paying below rate salaries.

tedmiston 4 days ago 0 replies      
Re: the trend of shorter tenures - In tech, especially startups, switching companies is still considered the best way for an engineer to get a good raise.
lj3 6 days ago 0 replies      
It doesn't matter. If you have the exact experience and expertise they're looking for, they'll overlook everything else. Otherwise, they'll use anything as an excuse to reject your resume.
thefastlane 6 days ago 1 reply      
if you're hot, you're hot. tenure doesn't matter anymore.
Ask HN: Chances for mature newbie
73 points by Bumsonfire  6 days ago   39 comments top 17
fecak 6 days ago 0 replies      
The key for you will likely be getting in the door. The hurdle is not so much your age (especially for Assembly) as it is your lack of experience. I don't think you'll find the same level of ageism for Assembly jobs as you might for other types of programming work.

You won't get in the door just applying to jobs and saying you've got 30 years of being a hobbyist and love Assembly. You'll have to demonstrate something you can do, and ideally it will be something interesting to the person receiving your message/application. This becomes a marketing issue, and you can market yourself as a junior programmer and career transition candidate willing to take on junior work at junior prices for the chance to get in the door.

You can usually disguise your age at least a bit by omission in resumes. A resume isn't a full biography, so we don't need to list every single thing (especially since you will likely have lots of irrelevant professional experience). We can also delete things like graduation dates (if you attended college) in order to avoid someone guessing your age.

I'm the same age as you - if you're priced correctly for your skill level, your age might even be considered somewhat of an asset (maturity) in certain companies and jobs, but the key for you is marketing whatever skills you do have and leveraging those to get the skills you want (more programming).

jakecodes 6 days ago 0 replies      
I've had a few old guys on my teams in the past and they've been great.

You aren't old. They were 55+.

When I interview people, age does not concern me (45 wouldn't even make me blink). It is only if I think that person will be an asset to my team. And if they are, why should age bother me?

More important questions I ask myself is: Is this person going to be self sufficient or are they going to need a lot of assistance?

Is this person a generally positive person who is willing to communicate with others and me about any struggles they are having so we can fix it?


smoyer 6 days ago 1 reply      
Loving assembly language is a great trait for an embedded systems programmer. It's also (in my opinion) almost mandatory if you want to be a good C/C++ programmer. Those languages are close enough to the metal that you often have to know what's going on at the instruction level.

There are still tons of projects/products that use very small microcontrollers or microprocessors. You're not going to run Linux and Java on an embedded system that's got 8KB of EEPROM and 256 bytes of RAM.

Good luck!

jonwinstanley 6 days ago 3 replies      
Why not document one of the projects you have been working on, maybe a medium post, a Youtube video and link to them here. Make sure you mention all the skills/techniques required.

Next time someone is looking for those skills, hopefully your name will show up in their Googles?

drblast 6 days ago 0 replies      
There is a demand for reverse engineers in the security field. If you know how to use IDA Pro and you're confident with reverse engineering malware, which most people find intensely boring and tedious, you can probably find a job doing that. There are also excellent RE classes at Recon (https://reconcx) although that requires an investment of time and money.

A word of caution... doing RE in a mediocre way is fairly easy. Doing it well requires knowing, well, a lot of shit about a lot of shit. Encryption, compilers, information theory, high level compiled languages, network protocols, etc. are all required knowledge to not get stuck at some point while doing that job. And sooner or later you'll find you'll be writing your own RE tools out of necessity.

This might sound cynical, but the good news for job seekers is that there is often a higher demand in the security industry for a mediocre reverse engineer who is willing to make a lot of guesses, abandon problems that are too difficult, and move on to the next thing quickly. If you're willing to learn in the job it's almost an ideal place to start.

PeterWhittaker 6 days ago 1 reply      
There are a couple of paths that might work.

One would be to start working on an OSS project that is well supported locally and to attend relevant meetups. Get known in the community, get credibility, and, after a while, let people know you are looking for work.

Another would be to start in testing - if you have the mindset for it. I know quite a few people with non-technical backgrounds who started in testing and moved onto careers as developers, integrators, and more, all with non-technical backgrounds. Testing is more about mindset, curiosity, organization, and detail, than about specific technical skills - or at least some types of testing are.


i336_ 6 days ago 2 replies      
Assembly language is sadly not widely commercialized. I'm sure there are lots of vacancies out there, but the positions are likely incredibly specific and require a lot of specialized knowledge about a particular field.

Both assembly language and reverse engineering are vast, ambiguous fields of knowledge, so it's difficult to provide an on-point answer. A couple things come to mind though:

- Quite a lot of demoscene-related sourcecode has been released over the past few years (covering many individual productions along with supporting tools), and quite a lot of it is in assembly language. Considering that you've been tinkering for 30+ years, DOS/similar-era stuff may be of particular interest to play with or explore. This would best be considered akin to soldering practice, to use an electronics analogy - DOS-specific knowledge (including eg low-level VGA or SoundBlaster/GUS control) is not likely to be helpful commercially. That said. old technology is similar to learning a language like Latin, and provides the advantage of neatly sidestepping the general social/human confusion concentrated within the current focuses of technological development.

- Many people are likely to generally recommend microcontroller development, but I understand chips with eg 256 bytes of RAM or ROM (where hand-assembling code would be useful) are somewhat rare nowadays. This may be interesting to explore though.

- Finally, considering that you really like reverse engineering, you could make yourself available for hire for medium/long-term contract work reversing major applications or systems. Depending on the system in question this may be a lot of fun or incredibly tedious; reverse engineering is generally nontrivial work, as on the one hand there's the occasional tedium of picking IDA up when it doesn't realize it's fallen down, and there's also the general strain of ensuring the technical specifications you produce are complete, bug-free, and provide 100% coverage (or, in the case of self-modifying code, "100.% coverage").

As an aside, I think your age is actually a big asset - I don't think enough emphasis is generally put on the fact that age and maturity means an applicant already has a lot of "life" things taken care of. Obviously domain-relevant skill(s) remain key, but it's possible an employer may be willing to provide additional education to someone who's been around the block a bit. Case-by-case-specific though.

This forum doesn't provide a way to edit posts and comments after an hour, but you can always update it via a top-level reply.

ericssmith 6 days ago 0 replies      
I was delighted to see most of the answers here encourage you to continue from where you are in your interests. Only one comment mentioned abandoning your love and going to where everyone else is. Bad idea. You will find that if you keep pulling on the threads that interest you, worlds will continue to open up. And there is definitely work in those worlds.

Age is definitely not a factor. The speed with which you are able to learn definitely is. Good luck. I think this is awesome.

gaius 6 days ago 0 replies      
Get some demos up on Pouet http://www.pouet.net/ no finer portfolio in the ASM community than that!
onetwotree 6 days ago 0 replies      
I think that ageism might be less of a problem than you think. While it certainly exists at companies that have a certain culture, I've generally worked for companies that explicitly reject "Valley Culture" and we often try to hire older engineers. The difference in experience, work ethic, and overall attitude is huge and positive. I'm the second youngest engineer at my current (small) company at 31, and it's great.

Your main barrier is experience, but if you're willing to go for a junior level position, that shouldn't be an issue.

So generally, look for companies with a more mature culture - avoid buzzwords like "rockstar" and "ninja" (secretly, everyone should do this), steer clear of "unicorns", and read the bios on a companies website, and you should be able to find a good fit.

Bumsonfire 6 days ago 1 reply      
Sorry to sound like an old record, but I truly feel humbled. I have never in my life received the encouragement I have received from total strangers here today. The best way I can repay I feel is to make a success of my new to be career and give back just as much.
ebbv 6 days ago 1 reply      
For me your age wouldn't be a factor but your lack of experience is. Especially if your goal here is professional Assembly development, those jobs don't usually go to someone with no experience.

If you really want to get into programming, I'd go for something higher level like PHP, Ruby, JavaScript, Python, etc. Then create some stuff in the language(s) you've chosen. This will give you a shot at getting a junior level job in that language.

When I hire someone to a junior level position, I'm still not going to hire someone with no experience. It's going to be someone with less experience but still some. I don't have the time to teach someone starting from zero. You need to go from zero to a low level of experience on your own.

maxxxxx 6 days ago 0 replies      
I don't think you'll have a chance at a lot of Silicon Valley companies but there are plenty of companies who may give you a chance. Especially since you seem to be willing to do junior work and take a junior salary.
tomelders 6 days ago 3 replies      
I'll tell you what I tell all my friends and acquaintances when they ask me how to get "into" programming.

"First find a problem to solve, then we'll talk."

I know it's glib, but I genuinely believe that learning to program or learning to be an engineer is, in and of itself, pointless. And every time I've tried to teach people the fundamentals of programming, they get bored, move on, and never come back. It could be that I'm a bad teacher - and I am - but I think there's something else at play.

I think it's that the reality of being a programmer is very different to what people think it is. For example, people think you can lean to program to a point were you "know" how to program. As though at any point a programmer can accomplish any task by sitting at a computer and bashing the keys in just the right way to solve any problem as if the solution was pre-ordained, just hanging in the aether waiting for you to pluck it into existence.

In reality, it's a never ending journey of learning. You can never stop learning. There will never be a day when you can stop educating yourself and proclaim to the world that you are now, and will forever be, a programmer. And I think when that dawns on people, they lose interest.

Also, programming is just the tool. The job is something very different. I could teach you how to swing a hammer in no time at all, but you'll be no closer to being a sculptor or a joiner or a stone mason. A web developer can't write a high frequency trading algorithm without first learning a lot about a lot of other subjects.

People often want to learn to program for all the wrong reasons. But if your desire is to solve a problem? Well that's a different story.

If you can find a problem AND you have a desire to solve it then you've taken your first step towards becoming a programmer... or a doctor... or a farmer... or anything else. And if you can also think of a good solution, that's your second step. What follows is a few million more thankless, frustrating steps. If your problem is best solved with the help of a computer, you will become a programmer.

So I would say this to you. You're probably going to have a hard time breaking into assembly as a career at your age for all kinds of reasons. Some valid, some not.

But if you can use what you know to solve a problem, and it's a problem people want someone to solve, or better yet if it's a problem people don't even realise they have! If you can do that, then all the challenges you would otherwise face in your quest to become a professional assembly programmer, they all disappear. You won't need a job. The people who have all the jobs to give, they'll need you.

saynsedit 6 days ago 0 replies      
Be more confident and you'll get any job you want. No one here on HN knows the future and you know yourself better than anyone does.
Bumsonfire 6 days ago 0 replies      
So many great answers with encouraging practical advice, it's heartening. Maybe I'll be as much help to someone someday.
Ask HN: Best book on topography?
5 points by avindroth  1 day ago   4 comments top
eswat 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'm not sure if it's still the case but The Elements of Typopgrahic Style by Robert Bringhurst was my bible for picking up the nitty-gritty on typography: https://www.amazon.com/Elements-Typographic-Style-Robert-Bri...
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